Our final project was to combine everything we learned in previous assignments and then cater to 80+ people. We had both presented primarily desserts throughout the semester and quickly decided that we'd like to do a dessert for the final project. Ange Wang guest lectured on "Experience Design" and led a brainstorming activity in which we came up with the following storyboards:
Hot Chocolate Experience Brainstorming
Based on feedback from our peers we chose to go in the direction of the "Tropical" experience and wanted to serve mini mixed drinks. We came up with a setting in which our area would be enclosed and heated with mini heaters to give a "tropical" feel. Our users would be able to sit and enjoy a mini cocktail, relax, and enjoy the warmth in comparison to the freezing cold, MN weather.
Relaxing Tropical Experience Ideation
Then we found out we weren't able to serve liquor and went back to coming up with ideas. One was that we would serve two options and the guests would be told what specific activity would burn off whatever they had just ate, they would perform the activity, and then be able to eat whatever they had just 'earned'. Due to logistics, we decided against this one.
Then, we went back to the hot chocolate experience and worked from there. We tried coming up with ideas to make it work. This lead to the idea of making s'mores! We were both excited about this idea and decided to go forward with it.
After talking, we decided to try an attempt at making little campfires out of s'more ingredients. The graham crackers were to resemble little wooden logs, the marshmallow would have red and yellow food dye swirled through it and it would combine to make orange, giving it a "fiery" look and be orange flavored, there would be chocolate inside to make it a "s'more" and red spun sugar would be on top to resemble flames and cinnamon flavored to be 'fiery'.
Sketch of campfire s'more
For Monday's guest critique, we prepared orange flavored marshmallows, homemade graham crackers, and cinnamon spun sugar. We also had chocolate to use, but weren't sure how we wanted to incorporate it into the final product. The purpose of this was to test how the ingredients tasted together, their mouthfeel, and an idea of presentation. Classmates were very excited about this, judges were not.
For Wednesday, we decided to make dehydrated meringue bowls (plain, eggnog, and peppermint), chocolate mousse filling, and assorted toppings such as chocolate bobas, graham cracker crunch, and candy cane crunch. Based on feedback, we needed something to provide a different texture besides soft and felt baked meringues would provide this. The chocolate mousse would provide a creamy, smooth texture, and the toppings would allow the guest to help create their own experience. The plan was to have each guest choose one of the three flavors of meringue bowls, then one of us would pipe in chocolate mousse, and they would then be able to choose their toppings. The morning was spent on the more time-consuming preparation of separating eggs, making the chocolate mousse, and graham cracker dough. Then, in the afternoon we would be back at 4, which would allow 2 hours for dehydrating the meringues, finish prepping the toppings, and getting set up before 7. However, our prepped eggs had been put in the freezer instead of the fridge. We let them defrost on the counter and they whipped up fine, so we figured they would be okay. When baking, they fell apart, which can happen with frozen egg whites. Now it was 5 PM with two hours until the event and we didn't have much to present. We could only work with what we had and do our best to come up with something s'more related. We decided to use the graham cracker dough to make tiny squares, pipe on chocolate buttercream, top with whipped cream, and dust with candy cane dust. Luckily we were fortunate enough to have help from Joe Mueller and had a great time in the kitchen. We were able to have something to present! The experience we were presenting had to be completely changed and the wrappers reminded us of opening a box of chocolates and the s'more bites resembled little chocolates.
Recipes for components making up S'more Please:
Graham crackers - http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2012/06/26/homemade-graham-crackers-recipe/
Chocolate buttercream - from "Sugar Baby" by Gesine Bullock-Prado
Whipped Cream - http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2010/05/homemade-whipcream-how-to.html