Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Cakes!

I'm not going to bother reiterating the recipes here; I'm just going to direct you to the genius who first came up with these recipes: Zinnur of Our Patisserie. Unfortunately I don't have cross-sections for you -- we're bringing these to a party and I'd feel a bit weird whipping out the camera. "Ok! Everyone freeze, I'm taking pictures for my blog! You in the Santa sweatshirt, hold that bite just a little closer to the plate. Closer.... Clooooooooser.... " Yeah. No. Luckily, Zinnur has some beautiful cross-section shots of her own, and I'm just going to assume mine look the same :)

Yule Log
A Romantic Cake with Raspberries

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Nanaimo Bars

...otherwise known as crack. Warning: these things are seriously addicting! Everytime I make them I always end up eating a quarter of the pan. They have a delicious combo of crunchy, dense bottom, creamy center, and chocolatey top. Even though they're called bars, they're actually more like fudge, so cut the squares smallish (1"x1"). They're also labor-intensive (3 hrs in the fridge, between stages) but very very worth while. All told, this currently stands as my favorite dessert recipe!

Recipe from JoyofBaking.com
* 1/2 unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/4 granulated white sugar
* 1/3 unsweetened cocoa
* 1 large egg, beaten
* 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
* 2 graham cracker crumbs
* 1 c coconut (either sweetened or unsweetened)
* 1/2 c walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

* 1/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
* 2 - 3 tbsp milk or cream
* 2 tbsp vanilla custard powder (Bird's) or vanilla pudding powder
* 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
* 2 c powdered sugar

* 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 1 tbsp unsalted butter

-Note: I have always found I've needed to double or even triple the ingredients for the topping, but you can always start with the above and make more if need be.

Bottom Layer:
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).

In your electric mixer cream the butter. Beat in the remaining ingredients. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Cool until lukewarm but still maleable. Spread over the filling and refrigerate.

To prevent the chocolate from cracking, use a sharp knife and bring the squares to room temperature before cutting.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Apple Pie Blondies

Please don't hate me! This is an experiment of mine and, while it turned out very, very well, I didn't take notes on what I was doing. The end result was gorgeous though. A blondie (white-chocolate brownie) with spiced apples throughout it, covered in a white chocolate-apple ganache: mmmmmmm.

Lemon-Blueberry Cupcakes

These are a variation of the delicious black-bottom cupcakes from joyofbaking.com -- chocolate base with a cream-cheese dollop in the center. Instead these have a lemon pound cake base with a blueberry center. I pondered giving them a lemon glaze, but boyo claims they're sweet enough already. The blueberry is more prevelant this way!

Lemon Cake:
* 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 c unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 c granulated white sugar
* 4 large eggs
* 3-4 tbsp lemon juice
* Zest of one lemon

For Pound Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put paper-liners in a cupcake tin.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter until soft and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy (about 3 - 5 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the lemon juice and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With mixer on low, add the flour mixture beating just until batter is smooth. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, making sure you do not over mix.

Fill each cupcake holder almost full (slightly greater than 3/4.) Move on to the filling!

Blueberry Filling:
* 1 package frozen blueberries
* 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
* 1/4 c sugar (or less, to taste)
* 8 oz cream cheese, softened
* 1/3 c sugar
* 1 egg

Heat the blueberries until thawed, press berries through a strainer back into saucepan and discard the skins. Boil the juice, lemon juice, and 1/4 c sugar until there's about 1/2 cup left; set aside to cool.

Beat the cream cheese, 1/3 c sugar, and egg until smooth; add cooled blueberry sauce and stir until combined.

Dollop ~1tbsp of the blueberry filling on top of the cake batter. Bake for 20 minutes.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Chocolate-Toffee Bars

Ok, so they pale in comparison to the post below. I have to admit though, these hit the spot as fully as the cheesecake (partially because they took a fraction of the time.) They're very sweet, and nicely crunchy on the outside while still chewy on the inside. I ate three then packaged them up to be taken away before I could eat them all. Definitely not safe around-the-house food!

* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
* 1 cup flour

* 2 eggs
* 1 cup brown sugar, packed
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 2 tsp flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 cup flaked coconut
* 1 cup almonds, chopped
* 2 cups chocolate chips, or combo chips and toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350. For crust: Cream butter and sugar. Blend in flour. Press into bottom of ungreased 9"x13" pan. Bake 10 minutes. For topping: Beat eggs. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread chocolate chips (or anything else you want) on top of the crust. Spread topping carefully over chocolate chips. Bake 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cool slightly and cut into 36 squares.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Praline Cheesecake

I've been derelict in my posting, but lo, I bring great gifts for forgiveness. I've been wanting to make a praline cheesecake for months, but could not find the recipe I wanted. Today I was looking at recipes for pecan floretines and suddenly I couldn't resist the craving for a praline cheesecake any more. Since I had already started the floretines though, I decided to merge and marvel. This is my pecan praline cheesecake with floretine topping. All together now: "mmmmmmmm!"

Floretines: (from Mrs. Fields' I Love Chocolate! Cookbook)
* 4 tbsps unsalted butter
* 1/3 c packed light brown sugar
* 1/4 c light corn syrup
* 1/2 c finely chopped pecans
* 1/3 c all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a cookie sheet.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and corn syrup, then bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the pecans, flour, and vanilla. Drop the batter into 1/2-tsp mounds 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Using a small spatula, spread each mound into a circle.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until browned, rotating the pan back to front after 4 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for about 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

* 1 c packed dark brown sugar
* 1/2 c whipping cream
* 1/3 c butter, softened
* 2 tbsp praline liqueur
* 3 c pecans
* 1 c granulated sugar
* 3 tbsp melted butter
* 24 oz cream cheese, softened
* 3 eggs, room temperature
* 1/4 c praline liqueur

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, whipping cream, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; boil for 3 minutes. Remove 1/3 c of the sauce; refrigerate until chilled. To remaining sauce add 2 tbsp liqueur; set aside.

Combine pecan pieces and 1/4 c of the sugar in food processor; pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs (do not overprocess.) Transfer to medium bowl and stir in melted butter.

Press nut mixture into bottom and halfway up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap outside of pan with 2 sheets of aluminum foil; bake in 325 degree F oven for 15 minutes.

Beat cream cheese with remaining 3/4 c of sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended. Stir in 1/4 c liqueur. Pour cream cheese mixture into nut crust. Drizzle the 1/3 c chilled sauce on top; gently swirl with knife.

Place foil-wrapped cake in a 1 inch water bath; return to 325 degree F oven for 1 hour. Turn oven off, leaving cheesecake in oven without opening the door for another hour (prevents cake from cracking.) Cool on wire rack.

Break floretines into pieces (1-2 inches); line top of cake with pieces. Drizzle melted chocolate over the top, then frigerate cake for 4 hours or overnight. Serve with warmed remainder sauce.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Strawberry Lemon-Curd Trifle

Happy Memorial Day! The boyo and I got invited to a bbq, and I was put in charge of dessert! Since the boyo loves fruit and strawberries were on sale, I went searching for a light, strawberry-ey dessert that was easily portable. Compliments of JoyofBaking.com, this is a Strawberry Lemon-Curd Trifle. I was slightly pressed for time, since dessert wasn't all I was responsible for, but next time I would add ~1/4 cup more sugar to the pound cake, use vanilla beans in the whipped cream instead of extract, add 1-2 tsps of balsamic vinegar to the strawberry puree to bring out the full flavor, and double the lemon curd recipe. I'm still very pleased with it though, although I've only tasted the individual parts. Overall taste to be determined this afternoon!

Please note: it is very important, especially for the cake, that the ingredients be room temperature. They don't blend together correctly otherwise.

Pound Cake:
* 1 3/4 cups (230 grams) cake flour, sifted
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup (226 grams) (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 cup (200 grams) superfine or castor sugar
* 4 large eggs, room temperature
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* Zest of a lemon or orange (optional)

Strawberry Puree:
* 1 - 20 ounce bag (570 grams) of frozen unsweetened strawberries or 20 ounces of fresh strawberries
* 1/4 - 1/3 cup (50 - 65 grams) granulated white sugar, or to taste
* Freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional

Lemon Curd:
* 3 large eggs
* 1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons) (do not use the bottled lemon juice)
* 1 tablespoon (4 grams) finely shredded lemon zest
* 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
* 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces

* 1/2 pound (225 grams) fresh strawberries, sliced
* 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) heavy whipping cream
* 2 - 3 tablespoons (25 - 35 grams) granulated white sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 4 crushed Amaretti Cookies or ginger cookies (home made or store bought)

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a pan spray, a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter or spray the paper. Set aside while you prepare the batter.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy and smooth. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (this will take about 5 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. After about five minutes the batter should be light in color and fluffy in texture. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. You will notice that the batter will look curdled. Don't worry as the batter will come together again after you add the flour mixture. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, if using, and beat until incorporated.

Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature. Will keep several days well wrapped or it can be frozen for a month.

Makes one 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.

For the Puree:
Place the unsweetened frozen strawberries in a large bowl and thaw. This may take a few hours. Once thawed, put the strawberries and their juice in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process the berries until they are pureed. Pour the puree into a 2 cup (480 ml) measuring cup. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of puree. Add 1/4 cup (50 grams) of the sugar to start and stir until the sugar dissolves. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Can also add a little lemon juice to taste.

Store covered in the refrigerator for one week. The sauce can also be frozen.

Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups (300 ml).

For the Curd:
In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (like sour cream or a hollandaise sauce) (160 degrees F or 71 degrees C). This will take approximately 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately (so a skin doesn't form) and refrigerate for up to a week.

Makes 1 1/2 cups (360 ml).

For the Trifle:
Have ready the pound cake, the strawberry sauce, sliced strawberries, lemon curd, and whipping cream.

To make the whipping cream: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

To start: In the bottom of your trifle bowl place thick slices (about 1/3 inch thick) of the home made or store bought pound cake. Fill in any gaps with pieces of the cake. Pour half of the strawberry sauce over the pound cake. Top the strawberry sauce with half of the sliced strawberries. Then pour half of the lemon curd over the strawberries. Top with half of the whipped cream. Repeat the layers. Cover and refrigerate for 8 and up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to mingle. Just before serving sprinkle the top of the trifle with the crushed Amaretti cookies.

Serves 10 - 12 people

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Cinnamon Buns

Oh goopy gloriousity! This recipe, compliments of the food network, is brilliant. A couple of notes though: when rolling out the dough to spread the filling, roll it out thin. I ended up with thick layers of bread which, while good, weren't as permeated by the filling as it should. Also, the basic brown sugar-cinnamon filling wasn't exciting enough for me: I peeled and chopped up a couple Granny Smith apples really fine and tossed them in with the filling, as well as a handfull of pecans. Apple Pie Buns! Truly delicious.

* 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
* 1 large whole egg, room temperature
* 2 ounces sugar, approximately
* 1/4 cup 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
* 6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
* 20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
* 1 package instant dry yeast, approximately
* 2 1/4 teaspoons
* 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt Vegetable oil or cooking spray

* 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately
* 1 cup packed 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
* Pinch salt 3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately
* 1 1/2 tablespoons

* 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately
* 1/4 cup 3 tablespoons milk
* 5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups

For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Note: it is really important that the eggs, butter, and buttermilk are room temperature. They won't blend together if they're too cold. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes.

Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough.

Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Hazelnut Fingerprints

In making the macarons from my prevous post, I ended up with 2X+ the ganache I actually needed. Not wanting to have a container of strawberry chocolate sitting around to tempt me, I went searching for a quick way to use it. I found something that halfway suited; I forgot how hard it is to shell hazelnuts. These turned out to be well worth it. They're like soft shortbread: dry, with a gentle crunch from the nuts, made moist by the chocolate topping. Yum.

* 2/3 cup Sugar
* 1 cup softened Butter
* 2 tsp Vanilla Essence
* 1 tsp grated Lemon Peel
* 1 Egg Yolk
* 2 1/4 cup Fine Wheat Flour (Maida)
* 1 1/2 cup ground Hazelnuts
* 1/2 cup Jam (I used chocolate spread instead)

How to make hazelnut cookie recipe:
Preheat the oven at 325 degrees. In a bowl mix sugar and butter, beating the mixture till soft and fluffy. Add vanilla essence, lemon peel and egg yolk, mix well.

Add the flour and the hazelnuts. Make 1 1/4 size balls out of the dough. Take a ungreased cookies sheet and place the balls on it 2 inches apart. Press the cookies in the center with the thumb.

Bake the cookies at 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. When completely cool fill the cavity of each cookie with ½ teaspoon jam.

Chocolate-Strawberry Macarons

After reading through Zinnur of Our Patisserie's adventures with macarons, I decided it was time to try them myself. Luckily for me, I had the benefit of her experiences to draw from, as well as those from David Lebovitz's blog (he's in France, where they have ingenious recipes like Salted Caramel Ice Cream. -droooooools-) I decided to use David's recipe, with a few minor changes. The end result was gorgeous: crunchy, chewy, sweet and fruity all at once. My ganache for the center was a little too soft: I didn't drain the strawberry juice before adding the puree because I wanted to keep the full flavor. In retrospect this was a mistake; next time I would add the juice to the cream and boil it a little.

Macaron Batter
* 1 cup (100 gr) powdered sugar
* ½ cup powdered almonds (about 2 ounces , 50 gr, sliced almonds, pulverized)
* 3 tablespoons (25 gr) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
* 2 large egg whites, at room temperature* 5 tablespoons (65 gr) granulated sugar

Chocolate Filling
* ½ cup (125 ml) heavy cream* 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
* 4 ounces (120 gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon (15 gr) butter, cut into small pieces

Strawberry Filling
* 15 medium strawberries (pitted), about 5 ounces (150 gr) strawberries
* 2½ ounces (70 gr) best-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons Amaretto

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready.

Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and cocoa so there are no lumps; use a blender or food processor since almond meal that you buy isn't quite fine enough. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.

Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you're alone).

Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart. Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the countertop to flatten the macarons, then bake them for 10-15 minutes. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.

Strawberry Filling:
Smash the strawberries with a fork until you have a rough puree. Using a sieve and a wooden spoon, push the strawberry juice into a small saucepan. Keep the pulp. Melt the milk chocolate and the Armagnac in a double boiler or microwave, stirring until smooth. Stir into the strawberry puree. Cool completely to room temperature (it will thicken when cool.)

To make the chocolate filling:
Heat the cream in the small saucepan with the corn syrup and strawberry juice. When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, turn down the heat so it simmers for 2-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth. Stir in the pieces of butter. Let cool completely before using.

Spread a bit of batter on the inside of the macarons then sandwich them together. (You can pipe the filling it, but I prefer to spread it by hand; it's more fun, I think.)I also tend to overfill them so you may or may not use all the filling.

Let them stand at least one day before serving, to meld the flavors. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze. If you freeze them, defrost them in the unopened container, to avoid condensation which will make the macarons

Peanut Butter Raisin Cookies

I found these last minute, and it turned out to have the best (and funkiest) texture I've ever found. Although the dough was soft, these cookies crumbled with you touched them and melted in your mouth. The boyo tried one under duress but was soon begging for "just one more!" Recipe compliments of Diana's Desserts.

* 1/2 cup raisins
* 7 tbsp. (3/4 stick/3 1/2 oz/100g) butter, softened
* 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (I used smooth)
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Cream butter, peanut butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 2. Sift together the flour and baking soda.
2. Mix in sifted dry ingredients to butter mixture to form a dough. Add raisins and mix well.
3. Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls and place on cookie sheet; flatten balls with fingers.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes in preheated 350 degree F (180 C) oven.
5. Leave cookies to cool on cookie sheet. Makes 16 cookies.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cappuccino Cupcakes

Ok, so, these things are a pot of coffee and a half. I mean, I was twitchy after eating one. They're flippin' fantastic tasting though. They're a deep chocolate-coffee bottom, a chocolate-espresso ganache middle, and finally a mascarpone-cream topping. Probably just as well I can barely eat one at a time. Recipe was snitched from taste everything once.

* 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
* 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/4 cup instant coffee powder
* 1 1/2 cups cake flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3 large eggs
* 3 cups heavy cream
* 1/3 cup coffee beans, crushed
* 8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
* 2 cups mascarpone cheese
* 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 30 standard muffin cups with paper liners.Combine the milk, cocoa, coffee and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, constantly whisking, until the cocoa and coffee have dissolved. Let cool and pour into a liquid measure.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk mixture in three batches, ending with the liquid.

Fill each muffin cup halfway with the batter. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.


Combine 1 cup of the heavy cream and coffee beans in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and let infuse for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean sauce-pan and bring back to a boil.

Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the hot cream over it, stirring slowly, until the ganache is smooth. Spoon enough ganache over each cupcake to fill the liners to the rim.

Using a whisk or in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attach-ment, whip the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream to stiff peaks. Add the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. Spoon the mascarpone cream into a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip and pipe the cream on top of the ganache in a circle.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fondant Rose

I had some extra fondant so I figured I'd play around with it. Normally, when coloring fondant you stick it in a food processor and blend it until the color is even all the way through. Since I was testing a decoration though, I used an old paintbrush (this was not for eating!) The idea is nifty, but fondant is thirsty stuff and by the time I got it to the color I wanted, it was starting to fall apart from so much liquid added. Perhaps next time I'll try letting the fondant dry some to develop a crust before "painting" it.

Banana Cake with Mango Curd and Pineapple Buttercream

I know, I know, it's very boring looking. It won't be, ultimately, but this is how the customer wanted it -- a blank canvas for her own decoration. It's mango curd and pineapple buttercream layered between two banana cakes and covered over with white fondant. The fondant was a new thing for me, and it turned out to be a lot of fun, if a lot of work.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Chinese Rolls

I have been derelict in posting, but I after the Christmas baking-bonanza, I needed a break. Break-time is over though now! I've been hired to cater a party in February, and these funky-looking things were one of my practice runs. Before yesterday I was scared to death of deep-frying stuff: me and high heat don't mix. But after spending all day yesterday with hot oil and nary a burn, I'm a bit more confident. Enough so at least to tell my client (ee! client!) that I could make them for her. And really, they are very tasty - comfort food with a bit of a kick to them.

* 1/2 lb boneless chicken
* 1 lb potatoes
* 1/2 lb onion
* 2 tblspns red pepper
* 4 tblspns roasted curry powder
* 1/4 cup oil
* to taste salt

Pastry ( maybe any other pancake mix could be used)
* 1/2 lb flour
* 2 cups milk (coconut or dairy)
* 1 egg
* to taste salt

Breading and Deep Frying
* 3 cups oil
* 2 eggs
* 1 can bread crumbs

First make the stuffing. Boil the potatoes and peel of jackets. Cut chicken into small pieces. Dice onions. Add the oil to a pan at medium heat. Add the onions, chicken, and potatoes in that order leaving about half a minute between each and leave for 4 minute. Add the roasted curry powder, red pepper powder and salt and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from stove and place where it is easily accessible.

Now for the pancakes. Mix the flour, milk and eggs using a mixer. Heat a non-stick pan which has been wiped with paper towel soaked in butter or oil. Pour in a little over 1/4 cup of the batter to barely cover the bottom of the pan. Heat at low heat for a minute. Remove the pancake. Place on a plate and place stuffing on top. Tuck in the sides of the pancake to make parallel edges. Roll the pancake to make a roll.

Continue making the pancakes and the rolls from them. Do not allow the pancakes to cool or stand before adding the stuffing as this makes the pancake less malleable.

Finally dip each roll into beaten egg and coat all round. Then coat with bread
crumbs and deep fry until medium brown color.

Makes 10