I hate having to come up with witty “titles” for “posts”. It takes up too much brain power.
Have you heard Ikea is considering selling solar panels? Apparently, some Sam’s Clubs have kiosks to buy solar systems, too. There are quite a few houses in our neighborhood that have solar panels. The ridiculously expensive house next door (when it was for sale) used it as a selling point that the house could be operated by solar energy, drastically lowering your monthly bills. Well, I looked at our electric bill and we spend, on average, $50 a month (not including the gas portion). We actually use more energy in the winter using heaters than we do in the summer, since we probably turn the AC unit on a few days only. Then I read about this website, RoofRay, that calculates the best place to put solar panels, the power you can get off that grid, and how much it will cost (roughly). Basically, we learned that installing the smallest system to cover our electrical usage would take 18 years to break even. It would cost $12,000 (after rebates and tax credits). Now, if SDG&E gave you money back for excess energy you feed into the grid, we could totally recoup the investment faster. Like, in less than 5 years. So, basically, I learned that it is not economically feasible to install solar panels. Which is good to know because now I don’t feel guilty about it. Maybe if I had way too much money and had to use it somewhere, I’d install them because it would totally be cool to say you live “off the grid”, but I don’t.
Trader Joe’s is now selling mini jelly doughnuts and canneles. I’ve made canneles before and it’s actually fairly easy. You just have to wait for the batter to set – it’s definitely not a last minute baking treat. I own a silicone mold, which works well but doesn’t get the crispy crust of a beeswax lines copper mold. On the other hand, I don’t have to line anything with beeswax. When T and I were in San Francisco, any time we passed a Bay Bread bakery I had to stop and buy canneles (among other tasty treats). I bought the Bay Bread cookbook just for that recipe.
Anywho, TJ sells frozen canneles and I was extremely wary that they would be anything but odd (how could a frozen cannele end up tasting like a fresh one?) and despite my hesitations I bought 2 boxes (each box has 6). Because if they did end up passable, I wanted extras in the freezer. I also bought the mini jelly doughnuts (also frozen) but haven’t tried them yet. So, I defrosted the canneles and opted to toss them in the toaster for a bit so they weren’t cold. The directions say to just defrost and enjoy or microwave them for 20 minutes. Anyone who likes bread and baked good knows that microwaves are evil in that regard. So, slightly toasted defrosted canneles. And? They were actually okay. Nowhere near as good as a fresh, warm one (even from my oven where they are substandard) but infinitely easier and they somehow had that crispy beeswax crunch to the crust. The taste is pretty spot on and the ingredient list is as simple as they come.
Verdict? If you’ve never had one, you may end up liking these. If you know what a good one tastes like, these won’t satisfy a craving but they make a decent treat with coffee or tea. I’ll easily get through the second box, but I’ll probably end up pulling out a recipe and baking a fresh batch to make my memories happy. All in all, though, I’m very pleased that Trader Joe’s managed to make such a decent version, in the freezer section no less!