Chow Bella

Sparkling Caramel Cold Medicine on "FoodLab 2010" (Part 4 of 7)

Molecular gastronomy (not the after-effect of eating too many black bean, spicy sausage and cheese nachos) is a scientific discipline that studies the physical and chemical processes that occur while cooking. Wonder what it tastes like? Find out in this seven-part series.

Inspiration from last week's coco jelly, mango compote and chantilly recipe outcome quickly disappeared when trying to find, Get 27, a French (surprise!) liquor with mint used as an apéritif or in cocktails. With that ingredient still M.I.A., a new recipe, sparkling soft toffees, is the next FoodLab 2010 experiment. Sparkling sounds fun...right? Right?

Recipe 3: Sparkling Soft Toffees

According to the brochure from Cuisine Innovation, effervescence occurs when an acid is set into contact with sodium bicarbonate. An evolution of gas is observed. Being a base, sodium bicarbonate reacts with an acid, here the citric acid, within the aqueous medium constituted by saliva.

Or, to translate, the sparking part happens taste-wise when food meets drool.

Tools and Ingredients:

Apart from the sodium bicarbonate and citric acid already in the kit, the only other ingredients are icing sugar (confectioners sugar or extra-fine sugar) and a packet of soft toffees (or, in this case, caramels.)

The Process and Outcome:

The process was easy, but once again, Cuisine Innovation's measuring spoon silliness (smidgen, pinch and dash - seriously, this is supposed to be scientific?) and a crazy conversion table (a smidgen of sodium bicarbonate is different from a smidgen of citric acid) made the process tedious. After the powder was made, rolling the caramels around in it was a cinch.

What About the Sparkle?

Was there a sparkling taste when food met drool? Hardly. The experience was more like tossing a handful of Lemon Lime Alka-Seltzer tablets in your maw -- cue watery eyes, grimace, and hunch-over -- and that was before biting into the caramel, which made the sickening situation continue in slow motion. Ugh.

FoodLab 2010 Report Card: Sparkling Soft Toffees Food Grade: D Science Grade: C

Drop by next week for another adventure of FoodLab 2010, or The French Are Trying to Kill Us, Please Tell Our Embassy.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld