Kitchen Chemistry : Crème Brûlée

pp. 680-691

What will happen chemically to the sugar when we heat it with the blowtorch?
Why would you want to reduce the heat near the end of heating a sugar syrup?
How does stirring impact crystal size?
What are some non-crystalline candies? What techniques are used to prevent crystal formation?

Crème Brûlée Adapted from Epicurious Food (
For Custard:
• 2 cups whipping cream
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
• 5 large egg yolks

For Crème Brûlée
• 12 teaspoons sugar


Making custard
• Preheat oven to 325 F.
• Mix cream and sugar in heavy medium saucepan.
• Using small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Add seeds and bean to saucepan.
• Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer.
• Cover pan, reduce heat to very low and simmer gently 10 minutes to infuse flavors
• Strain into large measuring cup
• Whisk yolks in medium bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in hot cream mixture just to blend.
• Return custard to measuring cup
• Divide among ramekins
• Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins
• Carefully transfer pan to oven
• Bake custards until almost set in center when gently shaken, about 35 minutes.
• Let cool 30 minutes
• Chill at least 3 hours and up to 2 days

Making Crème Brûlée
• Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar evenly over each custard.
• Working with 1 custard at a time, hold blowtorch so that flame is 2 inches above surface.
• Direct flame so that sugar melts and browns, about 2 minutes
• Refrigerate until custards are firm again but topping is still brittle, at least 2 hours, but no longer than 4 hours so that topping does not soften
• You can garnish crème brûlée with fruit

Chemistry :: Ice Cream

pp. 39-44
1. How do you make ice cream creamy instead of icy?
2. Why doesn’t ice cream freeze at the typical freezing point?
3. What was traditionally done to lower the temperature enough to make ice cream?
4. What makes good tasting ice cream? What things do you need to balance out to make it the best?
5. What is the difference between standard ice cream, frozen custard, and gelato?
6. What happens to the top layer of ice cream in the freezer?
7. How can you help prevent spoilage of the top layer?
8. What is the proper temperature for storing ice cream? Eating ice cream?
9. What flavor ice cream do you want to make? What toppings?
10. Do you prefer a bowl or cone? Waffle cone or cake cone?

Kitchen Chemistry :: Wacky Cake

Homework Questions
1. How is cocoa made?
2. What is the purpose of the vinegar?
3. Why do you have to add both baking soda and baking powder?
4. Why add melted butter?
5. Why do you need to add lukewarm water? Why not cold water?
6. What does the salt do?
7. How is powdered sugar made?
8. What could you have added to this recipe to make it more interesting?


Wacky Cake From Patti’s 7th grade Home Economics teacher in Thunder Bay, Canada

• 1 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 3 tbsp. cocoa
• 1 tsp. Baking soda
• 1 tsp. Baking powder
• 1/4 tsp. Salt
• 1 tsp. Vanilla
• 1 tsp. Vinegar
• 5 tbsp. Melted butter
• 1 cup warm water

• 2 cup powdered sugar
• 1/4 cup butter
• enough milk to moisten

1. Preheat oven to 350 oF
2. Do not grease 8 inch X 8 inch pan. Mix everything in the pan
3. Sift together all of the dry ingredients (sugar through salt)
4. Make three holes in the dry ingredients
5. Add the vanilla, vinegar and melted butter into each of the three holes
6. Pour the water overtop of the ingredients in the pan and stir well
7. Bake 30 – 35 minutes at 350 0F oven with the pan on top of the cookie sheet.

1. Mix together the powdered sugar and butter into a fine mixture
2. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time to make a smooth icing
3. Put on the cake once it has cooled

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