Saturday, May 31, 2008

THE OVER ACHIEVERS

Now that I am in Daring Bakers I just love it. With a few other people we are making up for lost time. We decided to go back and do the challenges we missed. Too funny. But I guess that is what I like about Daring Bakers. It's a group of people who so enjoy baking and creating things in their kitchens.

Collectively it was decided that Soft Pretzels would be the one we would pick. I am so glad because I am on sweets overload. I seriously need to start shipping these desserts out of my house. Immediately. I truly thought the pretzels would be a reprieve... ah no. I ate two right away and had a third one later. They are delicious. And so so easy!

HOT BUTTERED PRETZELS (Recipe available on King Arthur website. Click here)

Pretzels are available crisp and hard from your grocery or, if you're lucky and in the right place, soft and chewy from street vendors. Our recipe is for the soft, chewy kind.

Dough
2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons regular instant yeast
7/8 to 1 cup warm water*

Topping
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse, kosher or pretzel salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

*Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.

Food Processor Method: Place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in the work bowl of a food processor equipped with the steel blade. Process for 5 seconds. Add the water, and process for 7 to 10 seconds, until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl. Process a further 45 seconds. Place a handful of flour in a bowl, scoop the slack dough into the bowl, and shape the dough into a ball, coating it with the flour. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag, close the bag loosely, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Dough or Manual, and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its two kneading cycles, then cancel the machine, flour the dough, and give it a rest in a plastic bag, as instructed above.

Manual/Mixer Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat till well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, till it's soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough and place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying them with vegetable oil spray, or lining them with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda, and place it in a shallow bowl. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved; if it isn't, it'll make your pretzels splotchy.

Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28 to 30 inches long), and twist each rope into a pretzel, as illustrated. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown, reversing the baking sheets halfway through.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that's what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave. Yield: 8 pretzels.

Nutrition information per serving (1 pretzel, 85g): 171 cal, 4.7g fat, 4g protein, 27g complex carbohydrates, 1g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 12mg cholesterol, 444mg sodium, 63mg potassium, 43RE vitamin A, 2mg iron, 66mg calcium, 44mg phosphorus. The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ENCORE, ENCORE, ENCORE

YES! I am a new proud member of the Daring Baker family. And I love it. It has been a blast baking along side of such talented people with a lot of know how. Thank you to all of you for such great inspiration and ideas!

(Couldn't resist putting in this picture as the lime looks so neat, even though the cake does not in this shot.) Such fun this was!

This Opera Cake ended up being my Fathers birthday cake. I will tell you there was no complaining on his part. Of course a few of my family members, who shall go nameless, wanted a more chocolatey type of cake. Not me, I LOVED it. I have to say it is the best cake I have ever eaten. It was so creamy and well balanced and I just loved the raspberry and lime combination. Although there are many combinations of flavors by other Daring Bakers that certainly piqued my interest! I told my parents I would be making this cake for my birthday in the Fall! And I will do the chocolate hazelnut variation of this cake. Yes make my own cake... why not I have so much fun doing it.



A Taste of Light: Opéra Cake


This recipe is based on Opéra Cake recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets and Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty’s Chocolate Passion.

For the joconde
(Note: The joconde can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept wrapped at room temperate)

What you’ll need:

•2 12½ x 15½-inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans (Note: If you do not have jelly-roll pans this size, do not fear! You can use different-sized jelly-roll pans like 10 x 15-inches.)
•a few tablespoons of melted butter (in addition to what’s called for in the ingredients’ list) and a brush (to grease the pans)
•parchment paper
•a whisk and a paddle attachment for a stand mixer or for a handheld mixer
•two mixing bowls (you can make do with one but it’s preferable to have two)

Ingredients:

6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tbsp. (30 grams) granulated sugar
2 cups (225 grams) ground blanched almonds (Note: If you do not want to use almond meal, you can use another nut meal like hazelnut. You can buy almond meal in bulk food stores or health food stores, or you can make it at home by grinding almonds in the food processor with a tablespoon or two of the flour that you would use in the cake. The reason you need the flour is to prevent the almonds from turning oily or pasty in the processor. You will need about 2 cups of blanched almonds to create enough almond meal for this cake.)
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
6 large eggs
½ cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. (1½ ounces; 45 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1.Divide the oven into thirds by positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven and the lower third of the oven.

2.Preheat the oven to 425◦F. (220◦C).

3.Line two 12½ x 15½- inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.

4.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the meringue into another bowl and set aside.

5.If you only have one bowl, wash it after removing the egg whites or if you have a second bowl, use that one. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer again) and beat the almonds, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes.

6.Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (be very careful not to overmix here!!!).

7.Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.

8.Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes depending on your oven. Place one jelly-roll pan in the middle of the oven and the second jelly-roll pan in the bottom third of the oven.

9.Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold.

10.Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

For the syrup

(Note: The syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.)

What you’ll need:

•a small saucepan

Ingredients:

½ cup (125 grams) water
⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 to 2 tbsp. of lime juice that has been reduced

Juice about four limes and place in saucepan. Reduce the juice to 2 tablespoons.

Stir in the remainder of the syrup ingredients in the saucepan and bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

For the buttercream (I used Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake Buttercream)Modified with different flavors.

(Note: The buttercream can be made up to 1 month in advance and packed in an airtight container. If made way in advance, you can freeze the buttercream. Alternatively you can refrigerate it for up to 4 days after making it. To use the buttercream simply bring it to room temperature and then beat it briefly to restore its consistency.)


What you’ll need:

•a small saucepan
•a candy or instant-read thermometer
•a stand mixer or handheld mixer
•a bowl and a whisk attachment
•rubber spatula

Ingredients:

1 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
4 egg whites
3 sticks (7 ounces; 200 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup raspberry puree made with a tablespoon of Chambord
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat. Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again. On medium speed, gradually beat in the raspberry puree, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more. You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream.

For the white chocolate ganache/mousse (this step is optional – please see Elements of an Opéra Cake below)

(Note: The mousse can be made ahead and refrigerated until you’re ready to use it.)

What you’ll need:

•a small saucepan
•a mixer or handheld mixer

Ingredients:

7 ounces white chocolate
1 cup plus 3 tbsp. heavy cream (35% cream)
1 tbsp. Chambord

1.Melt the white chocolate and the 3 tbsp. of heavy cream in a small saucepan.
2.Stir to ensure that it’s smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Add the tablespoon of Chambord to the chocolate and stir. Set aside to cool completely.
3.In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form.
4.Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
5.If it’s too thin, refrigerate it for a bit until it’s spreadable.
6.If you’re not going to use it right away, refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

For the glaze
(Note: It’s best to make the glaze right when you’re ready to finish the cake.)

What you’ll need:

•a small saucepan or double boiler

Ingredients:

14 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream (35% cream)
1 drop of red food coloring

1.Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth.
2.Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake. Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out into an even layer.
3.Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

Assembling the Opéra Cake

(Note: The finished cake should be served slightly chilled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 day).

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

Working with one sheet of cake at a time, cut and trim each sheet so that you have two pieces (from each cake so you’ll have four pieces in total): one 10-inch (25-cm) square and one 10 x 5-inch (25 x 12½-cm) rectangle.

Place one square of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavoured syrup.

Spread about three-quarters of the buttercream over this layer.

Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square. Moisten these pieces with the flavoured syrup.

Spread the remaining buttercream on the cake and then top with the third square of joconde. Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).

Prepare the ganache/mousse (if you haven’t already) and then spread it on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for at least two to three hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up.

Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.

Serve the cake slightly chilled. This recipe will yield approximately 20 servings.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

BUTTERY, STICKY, CREAMY, CHEWY


I have always wanted to make brioche. I partially thought it was beyond my skills but I was also intimidated by the amount of butter. Not that I even thought twice about the same amount of butter in my husbands birthday cake a few months ago. But bread... well that was not supposed to have that much butter in it. I have officially changed my mind. Not that I would have it on a regular basis but as a once in a while treat, okay. And Dorie's recipe is three sticks of butter but that is for basically a double batch. So that relieved a lot of butter producing guilt. Or should I say fat producing guilt. Oh yeah, they are the same thing!

So once in a while indulge yourself in this buttery, sticky, creamy, chewy treat!




Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Makes 15 buns
For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)
For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)

Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).
To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.

To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.

To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the
glaze recipe accordingly).

With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they're very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.
Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.
Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.
The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

What You'll Need for the Golden Brioche Dough
(this recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it!):
2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm
What You'll Need for the Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.

Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.

Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

THE TRICKY CHEF


I am not going to call myself the Sneaky Chef because I would not want to copy anyone. Although that is certainly where my inspiration came from. Thank you Missy Chase Lepine. I think you have some great ideas. Don't get me wrong I still think it is important for children to eat recognizable vegetables but hey it doesnt hurt to sneak a little nutrition in here and there. Okay I know I said sneak but trick just didnt work in that sentence.

I made red quinoa the other night. My five year old would not touch it. Mind you she has actually eaten quinoa (the white variety) before, smothered in butter and loved it. Afterall it was smothered in butter. Like the lady says, "A spoonful of sugar..."

So here I was with a ton of red quinoa and nowhere to put all the leftovers in my fridge. I went to my books and to the web but to no avail. I could not find a recipe that was going to suit my needs. Well if you cant find it, make it up.Enter chocolate. I figured hey if I just add some essential ingredients I will have the making of a cake. And indeed I did. Chocolate Cake, alias for Quinoa Chocolate Cake, is nearly all gone. My five year old is begging for it.

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

2 cups cooked red quinoa
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray the pan that you will use. Combine dry ingredients. In another bowl combine quinoa and wet ingredients. Mix wet into dry. Depending on your pan, baking times vary. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.

I had a mini loaf baking pan, along with 3 mini cake pans. I put them in seperately. The mini loaf baking pan took about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MADELEINE'S


I thought using spoons was a great idea. And maybe it was... in someone else's kitchen. The batter ran all over the pan and it stuck to the spoons. I was so excited about not having to buy a madeleine pan. Since I never had a madeleine I really could not justify the purchase.


After the spoon fiasco, I decided to put them in mini muffin tins so I could at least try them and give my kids a treat. I glazed them with the lemon sugar from the recipe. I had put in 2/3 of a cup of sugar instead of the half of a cup. I took out some, added some lemon juice and a little water along with confectioner's sugar.

Madeleine's just melt in your mouth.

I definitely will purchase a madeleine pan in the near future. I keep hoping to run into one at a local store for a good price. I will probably end up getting one that Tartelette suggested on her site.

Check out the bloggers from Tuesday with Dorie. I am sure you will find some outstanding Madeleine's.



TRADITIONAL MADELEINES

Madeleines are among the most recognizable pastries in the French repertoire because of their look: they are made in scallop-shaped molds from which they emerge ridged on one side, plump and full-bellied on the other and golden. That they are among the best known is thanks to Marcel Proust, who immortalized them in his novel Remembrance of Things Past. Everyone seems to know the story of Proust's narrator dipping the cookie into his tea and having the first taste bring back a flood of childhood memories. With that short entry, Proust and the madeleine gained such celebrity that even people who've never tasted the cookie refer to it with confidence as a touchstone. Yet when you take away all the literary allusions and all the romance, what you're left with is a tea cake that deserves to be famous for its deliciousness alone.

The madeleine is a beautiful, if somewhat plain, cookie made from the kind of batter you'd use for a sponge cake. What distinguishes it is its lightness; its texture—the tiny-bubbled crumb is très raffiné; and its flavor, a delicate mix of lemon, vanilla and butter.

This recipe is for a classic madeleine like the one I learned to make in Paris—it's the kind that would make Proust happy. But there are other kinds of madeleines, madeleines Proust might not approve of but that would please most everyone else. When you're ready for a different take on the classic, try Mini Madeleines, Earl Grey Madeleines and the far-from-traditional Fluff-Filled Chocolate Madeleines. I don't even want to imagine what Proust would think of those!

Just to set the record straight, while it's Proust who gets all the credit for making madeleines a household name, the honor really belongs to King Stanislas Leszczynski of Poland, who, in the eighteenth century, tasted a tea cake made by a local woman in Commercy, France. He was so delighted with the cookie that he named it after the baker, Madeleine.

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Working in a mixer bowl, or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl. Working with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the batter form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines. (For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pans.)

GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, or up to 36 mini madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Or, if you have a nonstick pan (or pans), give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed. Place the pan(s) on a baking sheet.

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don't worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven's heat will take care of that. Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, and minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature.

If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch(es), making certain that you cool, then properly prepare the pan(s) before baking.

Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioners' sugar.

makes 12 large or 36 mini cookies

serving: Serve the cookies when they are only slightly warm or when they reach room temperature, with tea or espresso.

storing: Although the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, the madeleines should be eaten soon after they are made. You can keep them overnight in a sealed container, but they really are better on day 1. If you must store them, wrap them airtight and freeze them; they'll keep for up to 2 months.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SUGAR HIGH FRIDAY and Sunday, Monday, Tuesday...


Here I am baking again. I just cant help myself. When I saw Tartelette's Sugar High Friday I just had to join in on the fun. I love these events! If you have not had the pleasure of seeing Tartelette's site you must view it. You will salivate outragously. She has paired up with The Domestic Goddess to bring us all Sugar High Friday.

I wanted to use my fresh strawberries for my dessert but did not have enough lemons on hand to make a proper lemon cake. I decided to go with oranges as they are taking over my fridge. I also decided to go a little healthy as I have been making way too many desserts lately. I need more Zumba and less sugar.

ORANGE CAKE
adapted from King Arthur's Whole Grain Baking

Batter:
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon orange zest (I zested the whole orange)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Glaze (I did not do this)

1/2 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9" or 10" bundt pan. I used mini tart pans and mini muffin cups.

I am going to paraphrase here:
Cream butter and sugar in mixer. Add zest and eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Mix dry ingredients in a seperate bowl. Add to the butter mixture alternately with the milk. Pour batter into desired size pan. If you are doing a bundt, the baking time will be about 55 minutes.

STRAWBERRIES MACERATED in CURACAO

1/4 cup Curacao (Orange Liquor)
2 tablespoon sugar
4 pints strawberries, sliced

Combine Curacao and sugar. Pour over sliced strawberries and refrrigerate.
Spoon strawberries over orange cake and add a dollop of whipped cream!
(BTW... no my kids got the nonalcoholic version).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A STOLEN MOMENT

Those of you out there with children know exactly what I mean when I say that you and your significant other have a "stolen moment". On Mothers Day a beautiful thing happened. Besides getting the wonderful homemade gift from my five year old, which I have to say was so fitting... a card made by her with a little paper mug inside and two tea bags. Tea for her and me. How sweet is that? I also received kind of a mini date with my husband. No planning involved just an innovative grab for a moment that usually never happens.
I was finishing up Dorie Greenspan's lovely Florida Pie and I had an idea. Just so happened it was after my kids were in bed. Usually I want them up when I finish making dessert so that they can enjoy it. The pie came out of the the freezer and I said wow what a gorgous set up I could make for this pie. I had received pink roses for Mother's Day and they would just be so nice on a table set for my husband and I. Here's to hoping that the pie set up nice. And it did. What a great pie! Of coure limes are one of my all time favorites.


See the beautiful layers. Great pie Dorie. You totally turned up the volume on a Key Lime Pie! So glad you did!

Check out all the blogger's on Tuesday with Dorie for their rendition. We have some talented people in the group.



FLORIDA PIE

1 9-inch graham cracker crust (page 235), fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, seperated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
1/4 cup of sugar

Getting Ready:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat.

Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the reaming juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.

Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

To Finish the Pie with Meringue:

Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.

Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you've got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

CHICKEN SATAY AND TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

My husband decided to do an upgrade on our computer. A note was left on the computer for me to finish it. It was a five step process. One through four went fine. Five, well, it was called clean up. That should have been my first clue. It cleaned up all right. I hit the wrong button and poof there went our data. Everything... hard drive completely erased. I cried. Truly I did. But after an hour I said hey, its a hard drive, sure all those pictures of your babies are priceless and now they are gone but they were JUST pictures. Yes I got over it and miracle of miracles, he was able to temporarily retrieve everything. Just enough time for to save like crazy.

I just had to get something on the blog before the food pictures were gone as well. I bring you Chicken Satay without the recipe... for now.

Here it is... back up and running. Now I know I wont win any awards here for my pic as this was "chicken satay in a hurry style." Notice its not on skewers. I love meat on a stick though. The other thing that I altered is that I left out the coconut. I know it is an essential ingredient here. I really didnt know what to call it. It really wants to be chicken satay. Okay now I am feeling like I should bag this whole post. I guess it is a lesson. Never post when your desperate for a post and your computer is failing. Okay thats enough rambling.

The not quite chicken satay recipe

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon grated gingerroot
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup water

Marinate chicken in sauce for at least one hour and up to overnight. Broil chicken under broiler.

Dip in Sauce

1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup water or more if you like a thinnner sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili paste (or to your liking)
2 green onions

Stir peanut butter and add a little water at a time to the desired consistency. Add soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chili paste. Sprinkle green onions over sauce.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A NEW OBSESSION... French Macarons


Okay I would have to say that Veronica's Test Kitchen and Tartelette are responsible for making me aware of French Macarons. I had never had one before and thought I had better make one so that I know what all the fuss was about. Okay now I know and now I am addicted. All the flavor combinations hit me as I am lying there trying to go to sleep. Is it me or is this a foodie type ailment?

Anyway, while reading Pierre Herme, I was inspired to try chocolate macarons. I also have been wanting to try some salted caramel frosting. Sweet and salty is so delicious, I just knew I would like it.

After much searching and a little playing around, I came up with a delicious frosting or should I say filling for the magnificent macaron. (My two year old was not cooperating so this is the best picture I could muster up under the circumstances.)

Now the ingredients for the chocolate macarons are from Pierre Herme's book but the directions are adapted from Veronica's Test Kitchen.

The recipe for the salted buttercream is from "A Foodie Froggy". I have changed it up quite a bit. To see her original click here.

SALTED CARAMEL BUTTERCREAM

1 stick of salted butter (8 oz)
1/2 stick of unsalted butter (4 oz), room temp
1 cup sugar
1- 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temp.
2 tablespoons sour cream

Melt salted butter in heavy bottom sauce pan, then add 1 cup of sugar. Keep stirring until sugar has melted. Watch the mixture and stir occassionally. Remove from heat when it turns golden. Pour into a glass or stainless steel bowl. Stir in unsalted butter. Stir in cream cheese. Beat mixture with a mixer. Spoon in sour cream and beat until fully incorporated. Place in the refrigerator. It will set fairly quickly. Voila. Hmmmmmm.

Now the macaron...

CHOCOLATE MACAROONS
(Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé - Little & Brown, United States, 2001)

1 1/3 cup almond powder
2 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup (100 grams) egg whites

I have added and subtracted directions from Veronica's. The following is my interpretation, at least for this recipe. If you would liket o see her original which I use for all other type of macarons go to, Veronica's Test Kitchen

Preheat oven to 300 °F (I used 310°F to compensate for opening and closing the oven door).


Process the almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor. Sift twice.


Place egg whites in mixer and beat at medium speed. Continue beating until the whites attain medium-peaks and are glossy.

Remove mixer bowl and fold in your dry ingredients slowly to the meringue taking about four additions in all.

Pipe the batter to a diameter of an inch. And let rest for 30 minutes before baking. Bake for about 11 minutes or until done, turning the sheets halfway through.


After about five or six minutes you will see the characteristic little feet. I found that one of my pans of macaroon were a little underbaked. They need to be a lighter brown to know that they are ready. If yu cook them for too long they will crack.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

PUTTIN' UP STRAPPLE SAUCE


I heard about Pixie's, You Say Tomahto, I Say Tomayto and Rosie's, Rosie Bakes a ‘Peace’ of Cake blogging event. It's called Putting Up. How cute is that? What a perfect time to make my Strapple Sauce.







This has to be one of my all time favorite homemade canned goods. It is a combination of apple and stawberry sauce. There are no hard and fast rules to make it, just a few canning concepts need to be applied.

Here you can see the spot easily where you need to press.



Here in New York there are lots of great apples, before all you people in Washington say that you have the best, I will just say that in the North East, I think NY rules. The particular variety that I use here is Empire. We buy a lot of apples so I usually have plenty on hand. My husband eats five a day. That is his breakfast and lunch. Crazy, but hey he lost 40 pounds that way. OK back to that sauce. These particular Empires were getting sandy and yucky as we had them in the garage and the weather has become too warm for them. So you can use older apples but fresh is always better.

First core and peel all your apples. I quarter them to cook them down faster. Put your apples on a low heat with about a 1/4 cup of water to get them started. As they begin to heat you can put the heat up to a medium to medium high. Check and stir occassionally as the can stick to the bottom especially in the beginning. Once they melt you can put in your strawberries (Note: rasberries, mango and other fruits work as well). I had some strawberries in the freezer but you can use fresh of course. Depending on the tartness of the apples you chose, you can use sugar or not. I used none and they were perfectly sweet. Just make sure that you cook till the sugar is melted.


Blend in a food processor or blender. You can either have it kind of chunky or pureed smooth, your choice. My children don't like chunks. Spoon into jars, pints or quarts. Fill to 1/4 inch from top. Wipe away any sauce on jar rim, place lid and then screw top on jar. Place jars in large pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and process for 15-20 minutes. "Process" in canning terms means boil. Remove jars from water, there is a special tool you can use for this. I place them on a cutting board and cover with a towel. I highly recommend the Ball Canning book for all the specifics on home canning. Although I am always open to suggestions for Canning and Preserving Books.

After some time, even over night, check the seals on your jars. Just press the top, if it has some give it is not properly canned. Refrigerate and use. If the lid does not have any give then you have a canned good, yeah! In the picture above you see where you need to press on the lid.

Don't be afraid of canning, it is so easy, really. You will be rewarded with a product with less sugar and salt than anything you can get on the market. Plus you are totally in control of the ingredients. The easiest and safest things to can are things with acid. The acid acts as a natural preservative. So things like, tomatoes, apples, vinegar or pickled goods, all of these are easy and relatively safe.

Friday, May 2, 2008

BREAKFAST A GO GO


Last winter I was on a mission to find the ultimate granola bar. I wanted something a little more chewy (although this one can be crunchy as well). I made countless granola bars ruling out the extreme fat ones as I wanted something with a little less fat than the average. A lot of recipes actually have a cup of butter. While finding many flavorful granolas, this is my granola of choice. I would love to credit the author of this recipe but did not write down my source. Since I have been blogging, when I find a recipe I like I now habitually credit the source.

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

GRANOLA BARS

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 13.

In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients. Make a well and add wet ingredients. Mix well, I use a fork to mix. Using the back of a rubber spatula flatten granola into pan and smooth. Bake for 30-35 minutes until bars turn golden at the edges. Cool 5 minutes and cut into bars or squares. Do not allow them to dry completely as they will be very difficult to cut.

If you want more crunch , patiently smooth out in a baking sheet. I also have added another half batch and smoothed it out in a jelly roll pan.

You can add all kinds of mix in, cranberrys, almonds, marshmallows (minis), chocolate chips, the list goes on!

Related Posts with Thumbnails