Monday, December 28, 2009
I made these for holiday dinner with my family. We enjoyed them, but they were a little too rich for me. I think perhaps the "plain chocolate" was supposed to have been milk chocolate, but I used dark. I make this again, I'll either omit the chocolate filling entirely, or make it with milk chocolate and use half as much, and I would increase the mascarpone.
devilish chocolate roulade (from Chocolate, Christine France)
6 oz dark chocolate, broken into squares
4 eggs, separated
1/2 C baking sugar
cocoa powder for dusting
8 oz. plain chocolate, broken into squares
2 eggs, separated
generous 1 C mascarpone
(The recipe also called for brandy in the chocolate filling and for chocolate-dipped strawberries for decoration; I omitted these because I didn't have brandy or strawberries on hand.)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 13 x 9" Swiss roll pan and line with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar ina bowl until pale and thick, then stir in the melted chocolate evenly.
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then fold lightly and evenly into the egg and chocolate mixture.
Scrape into the pan and spread evenly to the corners. Bake for 15-20 min., until the sponge is well risen and firm to the touch. Dust a sheet of parchment paper with cocoa. Turn the sponge out on the paper, cover with a clean dish towel, and leave to cool.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over hot water. Remove from the heat. Beat the egg yolks together, then beat into the chocolate mixture. In a separate bowl,a whisk the whites to soft peaks, then fold them lightly and evenly into the filling.
Uncover the roulade, remove the lining paper and spread with the mascarpone. Spread the chocolate mixture over the top, then roll up carefully from a long side to enclose the filling. Transfer to a serving plate and dust with cocoa powder.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
whether we were actually going to use it. If it was good, we would celebrate with pies and cobblers. If it wasn't, I would prevent any passersby from feeling entitled to take our fruit next year on the mistaken idea that we had wasted it this year. I had a busy day running errands (everything takes so much longer when there's a baby involved), and at night, remembered my
peaches. When I went outside, I discovered that someone had stolen our peaches. Every last one.
My family and I have quite the sweet tooth (teeth?), so when we get together, someone frequently ends up baking dessert. One brother does pies, another has taken over Dad's fudge recipe, though Dad occasionally makes it himself, with mini-M&Ms thrown in while it's still hot. My mom and my sisters and I do the brownies, cookies, and cakes.
However, thus far, only the pie brother is willing to spend the hours baking that result in the kinds of desserts that I love. (We once created a rose cake together that will live forever in infamy. Improvisation in the kitchen, admittedly, has not been my strong point.) So when I bake with my sisters, I try to find simpler recipes that we can make together, so I can slowly convince them of the superiority of from-scratch recipes that don't require half a day to make.
So last time we were all craving dessert, I suggested we try these. We made my favorite yellow cupcake recipe (from New Best Recipes)--quick and no fail. And then we mixed up a batch of key lime pie filling and threw it into the cupcakes. Easy and delicious. You don't even need frosting. B thought they were too sticky and continues to disparage them, but my family and I loved them. If you find them too sticky as well, you could up the liminess of the cupcakes by using more zest and decrease the filling. Or you could use the cone method to fill the cupcakes after baking, if you don't mind raw eggs.
key lime cupcakes
yellow cupcakes: (modified from The New Best Recipes, editors of Cook's Illustrated)
1.5 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 C sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp salt
8 TB unsalted butter, softened
.5 C sour cream
1 large egg, plus 2 yolks, at room temperature
2 TB key lime juice
grated lime zest
key lime filling (from epicurious.com):
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
.5 C + 2 TB key lime juice
Preheat oven to 350. Grease muffin tins and line with muffin cups.
Mix dry ingredients. Add butter, sour cream, egg, yolks, lime juice, and zest, and beat until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl with rubber spatula and stir by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks until combined well. Add lime juice and whisk until combined well.
Divide half of cupcake batter amount muffin tins. Add a generous helping of key lime filling to each tin, and cover with more cupcake batter. Bake as appropriate for size of cupcakes. (You may need to bake slightly longer because of filling.)
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
dinner & dessert: goat cheese and thyme-stuffed chicken breasts with bacon-shallot-sherry vinegar peas and herbed rice, and praline bread pudding
breaded stuffed chicken breasts (The Best Chicken Recipes, editors of Cook's Illustrated)
4 (5-6 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed with tenderloins removed
salt and ground black pepper
goat cheese and thyme filling
2 C panko
.5 C flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1. Adjust a rack in the oven to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 F.
2. Butterfly each chicken breast and pound between two sheets of plastic wrap to .25" thick, with edges .125" thick.
3. Place stuffing near tapered end of breasts. Roll each chicken breast over filling to form a neat, tight package (roll up the end to completely enclose the stuffing, and then fold in the sides and continue rolling to form a cylinder), pressing on the seam to seal. Refrigerate, seam-side down and uncovered to allow edges to seal further, about 1 hour.
4. Toss panko with salt and pepper and spread over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and dry, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a shallow dish and cool to room temperature. Increase oven temperature to 350 F.
5. Combine flour, .25 tsp salt, and .125 tsp pepper in a second shallow dish and whisk eggs and Dijon together in a third shallow dish. Working with one chicken roll at a time, dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess, then coat with the egg mixture, allowing the excess to drip off. Finally, coat with bread crumbs, pressing gently so that crumbs adhere. (Up to this point, the chicken can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. Increase the baking time by 5 to 10 minutes.)
6. Place the chicken rolls at least 1 inch apart on a wire rack set over a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the center of the chicken registers 160 to 165 F on an instant-read thermometer, 35 to 40 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
goat cheese and thyme filling (The Best Chicken Recipes, editors of Cook's Illustrated)
1 TB unsalted butter
1 small onion, minced
2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed (about .5 tsp.)
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 oz. goat cheese, softened
.125 tsp salt
.125 tsp ground black pepper
1. Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the thyme and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; set aside to cool.
2. Mix the cooled onion mixture, cream cheese, goat cheese, salt, and pepper together until uniform. Spoon the cheese mixture onto the chicken.
peas with bacon, shallot, and sherry vinegar (The Best Chicken Recipes, editors of Cook's Illustrated)
6 oz. bacon, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed (about 1 tsp.)
2 tsp. sugar
1 pound frozen peas (do not thaw)
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
salt and ground black pepper
Fry bacon in nonstick skillet until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and pour off all but 2 TB of the fat. Add the shallot, garlic, and sugar; cook until softened, about 2 min. Stir in the peas and cook, stirring often, until just heated through, about 2 min. Off the heat, add 2 tsp. sherry vinegar, as well as the bacon and thyme, to the pan.
Jack's herbed rice
6 tbsp butter
2 small onions, chopped
2 cups white rice
2/3 tsp marjoram
2/3 tsp summer savory
1 1/3 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
4 chicken bouillon cubes
4 cups water
Melt butter in pan. Saute onions and rice until lightly browned. Add seasonings and water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 25 min. on low-medium. Cool for ten minutes on warm.
praline bread pudding (Restaurant Favorites at Home, editors of Cook's Illustrated)
12 oz. good-quality French baguette, cut into 1.5" cubes
2 C pecans
6 TB unsalted butter, cut into .5" pieces, plus more for greasing the pan
12 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3 TB vanilla
2 TB hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico (I used Kahlua)
1.5 C sugar
6 C heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
.5 C sugar
.25 C hazelnut liqueur
8 TB unsalted butter
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 250 F. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until dry, 30 to 40 min. Remove from oven, transfer to large plate, and cool to room temperature. Increase oven temperature to 350 F. Spread nuts on empty baking sheet and toast, shaking the pan once to turn the nuts, until fragrant, 5 to 8 min. Set aside and turn off the oven.
2. Grease 13 x 9" baking dish with butter. Spread dried bread cubes evenly in baking dish. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, hazelnut liqueur, and sugar together in a large bowl. Whisk in the cream. Pour three quarters of the custard over the bread and sprinkle the toasted pecans over the top. Using a rubber spatula, press the bread into the custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 min. Pour remaining custard evenly over the top, replace plastic wrap, and refrigerate until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour.
3. Return the oven temperature to 350 F. Remove plastic wrap and dot the top of the pudding evenly with the remaining 6 TB butter. Bake until the top is a deep golden brown, the center is slightly puffed, and the custard begins to climb up the sides of the baking dish, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool until set, about 20 min.
4. For the sauce: While the pudding is cooling, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. heat the sugar and hazelnut liqueur in another medium bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water, whisking constantly, until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 min. Slowly stir the warm liqueur mixture into the egg yolks. Place the bowl of yolk mixture over the simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and the whisk leaves distinct trails, about 2 min.
5. Melt the butter. Slowly drizzle the hot melted butter into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until all of the butter is incorporated and the sauce is thick and creamy.
6. To serve: Cut the pudding into 12 squares. Transfer to plates and top with 2 TB of the hot hazelnut sauce each. Serve immediately.
Monday, September 14, 2009
I love minestrone. It has a nice, rich flavor, and it always feels like a healthy thing to eat. Whenever I've had too much junk and need some vegetables, I find myself craving minestrone.
Friday, September 4, 2009
This was probably the most complicated dinner I've ever made, what with the packet of spices and the mirepoix and sauce and the stuffing. The mirepoix was the first I'd made, which was fun, even though it wasn't very appetizing. I cheated and used bouillion for the chicken broth. I also used a bag of those microwave steamed vegetables.
The recipe was easy enough to follow; it just took forever on account of chopping and slicing a million tons of mushrooms. The only trouble I ran into was that, being tired after the mushrooms, I neglected to pound my chicken (breasts rather than supremes), so I had to finish my chicken in the oven after frying it. I won't skip that step next time. There's nothing as disheartening as spending four hours in the kitchen to produce a meal and then taking a bite and realizing it's still basically raw.
I hate mushrooms, so I made this one entirely for B's benefit. By the time I was done, I hated mushrooms even more. The kitchen stank of mushrooms, and they ruined the sauce for me. But B enjoyed the meal, so I suppose it counts as a success.
breast of chicken with duxelles stuffing and supreme sauce (The Professional Chef, 8th ed., Culinary Institute of America)
10 (7-8 oz) chicken supremes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 lb duxelles stuffing
5 oz all-purpose flour, or as needed
6 fl oz. egg wash, or as needed
12 oz bread crumbs, or as needed
24 oz clarified butter or oil, or as needed
20 fl oz supreme sauce
1-Trim the chicken supremes and remove the skin, if desired. Butterfly each breast portion and pound between sheets of parchment or plastic wrap to even thickness.
2-At the time of service or up to 3 hours in advance, blot dry the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Fill each breast with a portion of the duxelles stuffing and roll the breast around the stuffing. Overlap the edges to form a seam.
3-Apply a standard breading: Dredge the chicken in flour, dip in egg wash, and roll in abread crumbs. (Refrigerate seam side down if breaded in advance.)
4-Heat .5" of the butter or oil to about 350 F over medium heat. Add the chicken to the hot oil seam side down first and pan fry for 2-3 min, or until golden brown and crisp. Turn once, and finish apan frying on the second side, 3 minutes more or until it reaches an internal temperature of 170 F. (Finish cooking in a 350 F oven once the ccrust is properly browned, if preferred.)
5-Blot the chicken on absorbent paper towels briefly before serving with the heated supreme sauce.
2 oz clarified butter or vegetable oil
8 oz small-dice white mirepoix
12 oz blond roux
1 gal chicken stock
1 sachet d'epices
salt, as needed
ground white pepper, as needed
32 oz heavy cream
2 lb sliced mushrooms
Heat the butter or oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the mirepoix and stock, stirringa occasionally, until onions are limp and have begun to release their juices, about 15 min. They may take on a light golden color but should not be allowed to brown.
Add the roux to the mirepoix and cook until the roux is very hot, about 2 mi.
Add the stock to the pan gradually, stirring or whisking to work out any lumps. Bring to a full boil, then lower the heat to establish a simmer. (Use a heat diffuser, if desired, to avoid scorching.) Add the sachet and continue to simmer, skimming as necessary, until a good flavor and consistency develop and the starchy feel and taste of the flour have cooked away, 45 min. to 1 hr.
Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Strain a second time through a double thickness of rinsed cheesecloth, if desired, for the finest texture.
Return the sauce to a simmer. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add cream and mushrooms. Simmer, stirring and skimming the surface frequently, until it coats the back of a spoon. If desired, the sauce may be finished with 6 oz butter.
2 parts onion or the white of leeks
1 part celery root or hearts
1 part parsnips
3 parts flour
2 parts fat
Heat fat over medium heat and add the flour, stirring to combine. Cook to a golden straw color with a nutty aroma.
6 oz minced shallots
2 oz butter
2 alb small-dice mushrooms
1 TB salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
8 fl oz heavy cream, reduced
8 oz fresh bread crumbs
1 TB achopped parsley
2 oz abutter, melted
20 fl oz supreme sauce
Sweat the shallots in the butter over medium-high heat until translucent, 2-3 min. Add the mushrooms and saute them until dry to create a duxelles. Season the duxelles with some of the salt and pepper.
Add the cream, bread crumbs, and parsley and mix well. If desired, the duxelles can be chilled and reserved for later use.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Because I wasn't precise in following Dorie's directions, mine came out chewy. Fine with me, as all of us who ate them prefer chewy cookies to crispy. In fact, the texture was the major draw of these cookies for B and me. The level of spice and the flavor of the molasses were nice. My dad, who had wrinkled his nose at the idea of pepper in cookies, ended up liking them a lot. As spice cookies go, these are good. But me, I'm sticking with chocolate.
Molasses Spice Cookies (from Baking, Dorie Greenspan)
2.5 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
.5 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
.5 tsp ground cinnamon
.25 tsp ground allspice
pinch cracked or coarsely ground black pepper
16 TB unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 C (packed) light brown sugar
.5 C molasses (not blackstrap)
1 large egg
about .33 C sugar, for rolling
Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and pepper.
With a mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add brown sugar and molaasses and beat for app. 2 min. to blend. Add egg and beat for 1 min. more. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, mixing until flour and spices disappear. If some flour remains on bottom of bowl, to avoid overbeating, mix by hand with a rubber spatula. Dough will be smooth and very soft. Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 min. or refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 4 days).
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. Put the sugar in a small bowl. Working with one packet of dough at a time, divide it into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball between your palms. One by one, roll the balls around in the bowl of sugar, then place them on the baking sheets. dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar and use it to press down on the cookies until they are between .25 and .5" thick.
Bake one sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops feel set to the touch. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, iaf the cookies have spread anda re touching, use the edge of a spatula to separate them while they are still hot. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the second batch of dough.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
A few weeks ago, I finally got around to making the NYT chocolate chip cookies. These cookies were the ultimate test of will power--waiting thirty-six hours to bake them? That is way too long. But I managed to hold out until thirty-four, and the results were fantastic. I didn't roll mine in salt before baking because the dough tasted salty enough to me. I did put the dough back in the fridge between rolling each batch to keep the butter as cool as possible. And I was glad that I spent the extra money to use the chocolate disks (I used Guittard). These cookies were delicious, and I will totally make them again . . . as soon as I can stand to wait another day and a half to satisfy a cookie craving.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I have to say, this is by far the ugliest cake I've ever made. It was fun to put together, though, and I learned some interesting things for next time. (For instance, I didn't know that the frosting color would continue to darken with exposure to air. By the time I got the cake to my brother, it was much darker than in these pictures.)
chocolate fudge cake (from The Cake Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum)
3 oz. unsweetened cocoa (Dutch-processed) (3/4 C + 3 TB) or 1 C nonalkalized cocoa (e.g. Hershey's)
12.5 oz boiling water (1.5 C)
3 large eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla
10.5 oz sifted cake flour (3 C)
15.25 oz light brown sugar (2 C, firmly packed)
2.25 tsp baking powder (if using nonalkalized cocoa, eliminate baking powder and use 1.25 tsp baking soda)
.75 tsp baking soda
.75 tsp salt
8 oz unsalted butter (1 C)
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
In another bowl, lightly combine the eggs, 1/4 of the cocoa mixture, and vanilla.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and remaining cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1.5 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Gradually add the egg mixture in three batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans will be about 1/2 full. Bake 20-30 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pans only after removal from the oven.
Let the cakes cool in the pans on racks for 0 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto greased wire racks. To prevent splitting, reinvert so that tops are up and cool cfompletely before wrapping airtight.
Grease two 9 x 1.5" cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper, and then regrease and flour. (If you only have 2"-high pans, either do 2/3 the recipe for 1 layer or 1 1/3 the recipe for 2 layers.)
milk chocolate buttercream (from The Cake Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum)
1 lb milk chocolate
8 oz dark chocolate
12 oz unsalted butter (softened)
Break the chocolate into squares and place in the top of a double boiler. Set over hot but not simmering water on low heat. The water must not touch the bottom of the double boiler insert. Remove the double boiler from the heat and sitr until the chocolate begins to melt. Return to the heat if the water cools, but be careful that it does not get too hot. Stir until smooth, and cool until no longer warm to the touch. (The chocolate may be melted in a microwave oven if stirred every 15 seconds. Remove before fully melted and stir, using residual heat to complete the melting.)
In a bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixture at medium speed and beat in the cooled chocolate until uniform in color.
peanut butter mousse (from Cafe Johnsonia)
2 cups peanut butter (not natural)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until combined.
Beat the cream to soft peaks; fold into the peanut butter in two additions.