I feel at this point, I've got a real feel for making great butter and cannele. Butter is probably one of the easiest things to make in the world - requiring only great cream (I primarily use Straus, because I can't buy raw cream for less than $8 a pint) and patience. A lot of things are dependent on the quality of cream including taste, density and color. I've definitely made underwhelming butter with not-so-great creams. The cream also needs time to properly convert sugars to lactic acid. Many dairies add active cultures, but you can get a desired tang with butter by letting it sit for a period of time. I suggest keeping a dairy diary (say that combo 5 times) to track times and temperatures when letting cream sit. It's very important to getting a consistent product. All in all, it is super easy to get a good butter to the quality you desire.
Cannele are quite a different story. Do not attempt to produce cannele if you are an impatient person because you will inevitably fail the first 3-4 times getting the recipe straight and buying the right type of oil (for brushing the cannele mold/tin). Even then, it will take 3-4 more tries to get the cooking timing right and 2-3 tries to establish consistently. Did I mention each try is a 2-3 day process? Did I mention once you pass a 6 hour window to eat these suckers, they become soft and no longer crispy? Did I mention all that mis en place shown below only makes less than 20 of them? Yea, I will say the reward is worth the effort though... especially after the 6th time of making them.
Well, creating and cooking at home was good stuff, but last night, I worked Mission Street Food and assisted Ryan Farr. It was a rockin' good time. The line out the door seemed to be 50-60 deep throughout the night and we practically ran out of everything. The only thing left were wieners and pie. Nothing more American than that I guess. A photo update coming up soon!