Coffee & Doughnuts With Thomas Keller

April Peveteaux

french laundry cookbook thomas kellerThere are some cookbooks that make the reader feel confident in their culinary skills. Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook is not one of those.

However, it is inspiring, challenging, and -- if the stars and the moon align -- incredibly delicious.

While I may have failed to create a masterpiece that could be served in one of the top-rated restaurants in the entire country, giving Cappuccino Semifreddo With Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts a shot was a heck of a lot of frustrating fun.

Like a lot of fancy recipes, my first challenge is finding the very specific, uncommon ingredients. Which is why I miss my Fresh Direct, where this recipe is printed, because they do all the difficult grocery shopping for you.

My search for espresso extract led me to three separate places, finally settling on espresso powder with water. Additionally, I also used a cookie cutter instead of a doughnut cutter, and a trial combo of a hand mixer and regular wooden spoon instead of a dough hook. While I made due with a frying pan and oil, this recipe made me miss my deep fat fryer. At the end of the day, my doughnuts may not have been attractive, but they were delicious.

I can't say the same about the cappuccino semifreddo.

What I learned about complicated recipes such as these: Don't try this when the kids are awake and/or you need to be in bed in an hour. Don't try this in a cluttered kitchen with a tiny freezer. Do try this while on vacation in a summer home that has a kitchen and culinary tools that put yours to shame. In other words, if you're not a pro, this recipe will kick your butt.

That doesn't mean I won't be trying this again in my mythical fantasy vacation kitchen. Or perhaps on a long weekend when I con my husband into taking the kids to his mother's for the day. I'm up for a kitchen challenge when the end result sounds as amazingly delicious as frozen and hot cappuccino.

Or maybe I'll just try to get a reservation at French Laundry. That's gotta be easier, right?

Do you try your hand at incredibly difficult recipes? Would you try this one?


Image via Workman Publishing

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