If you’re like me, your kitchen is tightly packed and full of potential booby traps. Open the cabinet above the pantry and you’d be wise to duck and cover. I’ll be honest, I’ve been conked on the nog a few times digging around for my mandolin or the lid for my sauce pot. But it’s not for lack of organizing! I’ve invested in carts to store my spices, baskets to house my pots and pans, and containers to keep my grains. Space is limited in my kitchen so if you want to live there, you’ve got to be versatile and efficient.
I love kitchen gadgets as much as the next gal, but I really try hard to refrain from buying anything that doesn’t do double, triple, preferably quadruple duty. Which brings me to our topic for today’s Thursday Tips and Tricks: the double boiler. You can buy one at any home goods store. They range in price from about 20 to 50 bucks. I’m here to tell you to save your money. Chances are you’ve already got everything you need to make a double boiler already in your kitchen. Save that coveted cabinet real estate for something you can use over and over again.
What You’ll Need:
To make a double boiler you’ll need one medium sauce pan and a medium heat-proof bowl, glass or stainless steel work well.
How to Do It:
Put 1-3 inches of water into the sauce pan. Place the pan on the stove and heat to medium. Now’s a good time to place your bowl on top of the saucepan to ensure the water does not come in contact with the bottom of the bowl. You want about an inch of space between the bowl and the bottom of the water. Once your water starts to simmer, you’re ready to double boil! Place your ingredients into the bowl and stir until melted (in the case of chocolate) or thickened (in the case of sauces or custards: helllloooo luscious lemon curd!). Lift the bowl from the saucepan periodically to ensure the water hasn’t evaporated. If it does, just add a bit more water and return to double boiling.
When and Why?
Double boilers are helpful when heating delicate ingredients that may seize or separate over direct heat. Gravies, cream based sauces, and chocolate come to mind here. It works by separating the thing being heated from the source of the heat. As long as there is water in the saucepan below, the substance in the bowl above will never get hotter than 212 degrees. By creating gradual, even heat, double boilers ensure you won’t scorch your spendy, top quality chocolate or ruin brunch by breaking that Hollandaise sauce.
Discussion of double boilers may seem random, but I can assure you that with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you’re newly acquired knowledge of how to jerry-rig one is right on time! Study up now my friends because next week I’ll be back with a boozy, sexy treat to spice up your V-day. My Chocolate Bourbon Truffles are equally tasty when eaten alone in sweatpants while watching bad reality T.V. or being fed to you by your true love after a romantic dinner. They’re rich and decadent and the bourbon goes a long way in making them the perfect treat for any special occasion.