Posts filed under: ‘Chocolate‘




Chocolate Torte

I did some experimenting with some gum paste orchids– rather complicated for flowers but fun once you get the hang of it.  I’ll hopefully post a video in the future.  For now a recipe based on on of my latest cakes– Chocolate torte.  I realized only after doing this recipe that torte usually indicates that the cake contains ground nuts as opposed to flour…this recipe only has flour, but was a dense, rich chocolate cake all the same– not light and fluffly, but thats fine with me.

From: RedBookMag.com

Chocolate Raspberry Torte

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk, warmed
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine your dry ingredients: Sugar (yes this time its a dry ingredient), flour (sifted), cocoa (I used 1/3 dutch processed, 1/3 valrhona), cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Mix till combined and set aside.

In a small sauce pan heat milk– I only warmed it, don’t scald.  Melt butter– over the stove or via the microwave.

Lightly beat eggs. Add vanilla.

Slowly pour in warmed milk.

Add butter.

Add dry ingredients.

Mix until just combined. Bake (in 2 8″ pans-greased and floured) at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Finishing a chocolate torte can be simple– the cake is dense and sweet enough that fresh whipped cream and fresh fruit are perfect.  I went more on the choco-holic side of things.

To Finish:

Each layer will be about 2- 2 1/2″ tall.  I leveled both rendering four layers and iced with a raspberry butter cream (I added a teaspoon or 2 of raspberry extract and 2 tablespoon of raspberry jam.  Seedless is preferable– but I had trouble finding it, even in New York City.

**Careful when added jams or syrups to icings.  In my experience your frosting can get gummy and hard to deal with aka it starts oozing all over the place unpredictably. Between layers I spread raspberry jam.

A little trick to getting you icing super smooth.  With traditional buttercream (butter and powdered sugar) you’ll find that the icing “Crusts” or dries to the touch after about 10 minutes.  Sometimes it even crumbles a little. If you find that you have some spatula marks on your cake you can dip a metal spatula in warm water– don’t get the spatula too wet lightly swipe your spatula against the dry frosting and you’ll notice the marks melt away.  The finish of the frosting will be a little shiney — careful not to use too much water else the cake will look melted.

I finished the cake with Chocolate Ganache— which isnt too complicated to do, but I think is best described in a video…to come.

Chocolate Ganache

2 c semisweet chocolate

1 c-1  1/2c heacvy cream

Melt in a sauce pan over low heat stirring constantly.  Ganache should be cooled but still runny.  I also placed the cake in the freezer to settle and firm up a bit.  Place cake on a cooling wrack, on a large tray.

Pour ganache over the top of the cake letting it drip over the sides.  Push ganache over sides with spatula.  Give one or two passes around the sides of cake to smooth and make sure ganache has totally covered the whole cake.

The best thing about ganache is that if you allow it to cool a little longer its just like chocolate frosting– if you don’t want to pour it over your cake you and spread it like frosting or pipe it with a pastry bag. If it gets too cool warm it up in the microwave or roll the pastry bag filled with ganache between your hands until it softens enough to pipe again.

3 comments March 23, 2011

BRUNCH: Chocolate Stout Waffles

Heres another chocolate recipe for Valentine’s Day…

When I was in college we called the trip to the dining hall on the weekends the “brunch bus.”  Even though we walked, albeit a mere couple of hundred feet to the dining hall there we at least a dozen of us who all met and made the walk together to share breakfast in varying states of soberity. Generally there were rounds of obnoxious and comical phone calls from room to room rousing all our friend to wake up for the Brunch bus.

Had these been on the menu back in my college days we probably would have gotten up a little earlier for breakfast.

Chocolate Stout Waffles

This recipe was inspire by my friend Chrissy who mentioned a vegan recipe for these waffles is available in the book Vegan Brunch, by the same ladies who did Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  I haven’t seen the original recipe so I snooped around the internet and finally just figured I try my own and see how it came out.

1 1/3 c all purpose flour

1/3  cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 c sugar

1 c buttermilk ( 1 c milk, 1 tsp vinegar)

3 eggs

3/4 cup +1 tbsp chocolate stout

1/4 c canola oil

1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients: flour, soda, salt, and cocoa.  Whisk eggs, oil, buttermilk, stout, and vanilla and pour into dry ingredients.

Heat waffle iron, and grease with canola oil, either spraying, or brushing oil on iron with a pastry brush. Pour 1/2c mixture into iron.  Close iron and cook.

I garnished these with homemade whipped cream, strawberries, and maple syrup.  Most folks tend to prefer chocolate syrup which is also lovely.

If you want to make these vegan, first I’d say get Vegan Brunch and use that recipe, other wise, use soymilk instead of the buttermilk, and omit the eggs.  I actually forgot to put eggs in so the first couple waffles I made were egg free. They were slightly heavier, not in a bad way, just dense– more brownie like and didn’t fall out of the waffle iron when they were done.  Still very good.  Adding the eggs made the mixture a little runnier but the waffles lighter and crispier.

2 comments February 13, 2011

Ugly Duckling

Finally!! This recipe has been a year in the making…

About a year ago I headed into work feeling like a million bucks.  I had a sweet new hair cut : a new chocolate brown coif with smart bangs in the front…I felt like I loosely resembled Angelina Jolie in her last movie Salt, well my hair did anyway.

 

Just when I’d believed I’d conquered all the awkward phases in life, I, by the afternoon, upon returning from the dentist, my teeth clad with braces, I was the spit and image of Ugly Betty…

My mom always said my (crooked) teeth gave me character, and over the next 11 months that followed I was miserable feeling all the bones in my jaw sway and shift. I ducked out of most pictures when someone said to say cheese, or just pursed my lips in what looked usually like a painful grimace.

 

I made this cake for my dentist to celebrate finally finishing my dental work!

Originally the estimate of time of how long I’d be feeling like a 5th grader was about 8 months though I secretly crossed my fingers that it might be as short as 6.  Not a terribly long time to suffer, though by August, then September, then Thanksgiving and Christmas there was no sign they were coming off even when my dentist seemed surprised at how quick my teeth were moving.  When you are 20 something and your jaw is fully formed, not to mention being an avid coffee drinker, not only does it hurt to have braces, but they stain and are just kind of embarassing.

Cheese!

Now a year later I COULDN’T WAIT to get them off!!!   My appointment was then pushed back due to the second, third or fourth heavy-duty NYC winter storm…but now FINALLY the braces are gone!! I think difficult experiences make us all a little better off, so FINALLY almost a year later 11 months and a week later I have a white very straight smile.

When you have braces you can’t indulge is candy, not that I am a huge candy person anyway, but i definetly learned my lesson with caramel over they year having pulled and tugged at the wires painfully when I forgot what was on the prohibited menu.

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.

1 1/2 c all purpose flour

3/4 c dutch processed cocoa

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 salt

2 large eggs

3/4 c butter milk ( I used 1 c soymilk with 1 tsp vinegar)

3 Tbsp vegetable  oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 warm water

Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and powder, and salt.  

Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and water with an electric mixer on low until smooth.

Divide into cupcake cups and cook at 350 degrees.  Martha makes these as mini cupcakes, but I went full size.  Yields 18-24 regular size cupcakes.

By the way if you are saying chocolate and Salt?  Go to your local Starbuck’s and order a salted caramel hot chocolate. Mmmmmmmm!!  They are sooo delicious!!  And these cupcakes are much the same.

To finish:

Salted Caramel Filling

2 1/2 c granulated sugar

2/3 c water

1 tbsp light corn syrup

3/4 c heavy cream

2 1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine Sugar, cornsyrup and water in a sauce pan.  Stir and heat on high. Stir until the liquid becomes clear. Once sugar mixture has become clear stop stirring. Use a pastry brush to wash down sides of pan occasional.  Clip a thermometer to the side of the pan or if you have a larger candy thermometer, make sure to really cover the bottom of the thermometer in the sugar so to ensure an accurate reading and swirl occassionally.

When sugar reaches 360 degrees (be patient it can take a while) remove from heat.  The color will begin to caramelize.

Add cream slowly and stir.  Mixture will bubble and spatter is you are not careful.

Add salt.  If you don’t use caramel shortly after making you will need to re heat to soften.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

3 sticks unslated butter at room temperature

1/2 c confectioners sugar

pinch of salt

1/4 c + 2 tbsp dutch processed cocoa

2/3 c boiling water

1 pound good quality semi sweet chocolate

I used callebut chocolate and semiesweet morsels. Melt in a double boiler, or carefully over low heat to melt. Set aside and allow to cool, but not harden.

Combine cocoa and boiling water. Whisk until dissolved. Cocoa will become like a thick mousse. Allow to cool.

Cream butter, confectioners sugar, and salt. Add melted chocolate and beat on low.  Add Cocoa mixture until frosting is smooth and combined.

To assemble Dig out a bit of the center of the chocolate cupcakes.

Pour a few teaspoons of caramel into the center. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

Pipe the chocolate frosting on top and devour!

2 comments February 10, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

In time for Valentines Day these are a great homemade, but really easy to make confection for someone you are sweet on. But first, I want to mention the event I made these for and my favortie, absolute favorite organization: VDay.

When I was in college studying theatre and wondering “What the hell am I gonna do after I graduate?!?!” I auditioned for a play,  and got the chance to be on stage in a neighboring college’s production of The Vagina Monologues.  I was also studying Solo Performance Art and quickly learned about the controversial play’s author Eve Ensler.  I ended up doing a presentation on Eve and her work.  I was astounded how she choose to use her piece to help others.  To this day I don’t think any other playwright has written the rights to their work in such a giving and original way.

Each year (to this day) Eve allows college and community organizers to perform The Vagina Monologues, free of royalties. Proceeds from the performances are donated to a local organization who help to end violence against women and girls.  I soon decided that it was odd the the super progressive, funky, eclectic and very eccentric college I attended didn’t do their own annual production of TVM.  So the following year I produced and directed the first of 2 VDay events during my college career.  Currently there are 1500 schools across the country who participate, raising millions for non profits in their communities.  4,000 events will take place this year around the world, and VDay has evolved too.  Organizers can present many plays and films including The Vagina Monologues, A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and  a Prayer, Any One of Us, and films: What I Want my Words to Do to You, and Until the Violence Stops.  There are book clubs for young girls, and teach-ins for the issues that VDay spotlights each year: Haiti being this years spotlight Campaign. There are V groups for men too, because violence doesn’t just affect women. VDay involves many amazing women and men who are all committed to ending violence and they use art to spread this transformative message.

Ever been on a stage? I’m sure you can attest to a metamorphosis feeling of being an actor, storyteller, or having seen a great piece that really changed your life. One of my favorite plays I’ve ever seen, is aptly called Metamorphoses— a pool of water instead of stage? A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  And thats theatre– art really.  My story with VDay doesn’t really end.  I made a brief but powerful connection to one of the Campaign Directors at the West End Theatre the year I first produce The Vagina Monologues, the next year I was interning and amoungst all the volunteering I still do for VDay whenever I can, and especially when they need a theatre nerd backstage.  And that Campaign Director, Shael well I was there when she went into labor for her daughter Aela, and every year I make her birthday cake.  Its our thing.  And its always been my excuse to show a little V-girl what cool lady’s can do for the people who are special to them. 

I hope to make the world a great place one cake at time, and VDay, aside from being all over my professional resume has been at the heart of how I want the world to be: happy, safe, amazing, accepting of everyone, for everyone.  When violence is no longer perpetrated against women and girls– we are all ladies and gents safe, happy, accepting, progressing. We’re better. Better People, Better Friends, better family, better lovers, better artists. GOOD.  If you want to get involved: be in a play, become or wake up that activist in you, reach out, open up, raise funds for a good cause, get educated, educate, become apart of a heart beat, a backbone of people who want the world to be a better place, be an artist, inspire, lead, be an example to the next generation of people, make the world better for your own kids, then go to VDay.org. You’ll find a performance or film screening near you and organizers always need help, so reach out and jump in. Make a donation if you want.

On to a really easy recipe just in time for VDay.  Save the cash on store bought chocolates and make these for your sweetie.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles:

Start with a package a Nestle’s mini morsels.

Omit the eggs and levening agents. Walnuts are optional, and you are good to go.

Combine 3/4 c sugar, 3/4c  brown sugar, 1c  butter and 1 tsp vanilla

Add 2 1/4c flour and 1 tsp salt.

Its like a fluffy cloud of buttery sugar!

Fold in chips.

and you are ready to start scooping.

I recommend a cookie scooper, although my plastic one broke after a batch of these.  I think a more heavy duty metal scooper is best and they come in all shapes and sizes. 

Of course try to get these as uniform as possible, scooping and rolling the truffles in your hands. Chill in the refridgerator for about an hour or longer before you dip in chocolate.

In a double boiler or microwave gently heat 1 c (more if you need) semisweet chocolate chips. I recommend adding 2 tbsp butter or shortening to thin the chocolate for a really thin consistency.  Use a plastic fork with the 2 middle tines removed. Dip chilled truffles and allow to set on wax paper.

I like to finish these off by placing them in mini cupcake cups or candy cups for display.

Of course you can doctor these but using vegan butter and chocolate.  I haven’t seen mini vegan chocolate chips, but chopping up your chocolate always works.

2 comments February 8, 2011

The Rocky Road…

From the beginning this website has been about me taking my life experiences and using them to interpret or influence my endeavours in the kitchen.  Most of the time I hope I’m uplifting, though I worry sometimes that I sugar coat things, as I’ve rarely used this space to get all too personal.  Tonight however I found myself cooking up a recipe from a rather sour encounter.

After a Long day at work, and may I say I LOVE my new job, I decided, though totally exhausted to head to the gym, blow off some steam in preparation of getting a good nights sleep.  I decided to do a quick grocery run before heading home on the subway, and though a bit on the pricey side I thought the convenience of the Whole Foods market on the lower level of my theatre far out weighed leaving my cabinets bare until the weekend.

I should say Whole Foods is not one of those places I’ve been to frequently just based on proximity but it’s always been my go-to place for the random baking items that no other store carries: Match green Tea Powder anyone? So having the opportunity to drop in at my convinience now that I work at Columbus Circle is just another perk of my new position at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

I was on the look out for vegan white chocolate chips– I’ve heard they exist, though I have yet to find them. Instead found myself perplexed by the fact that I could not find plain old dutch processed cocoa powder. There were lots of natural cocoa powders of which I already have an abundance so I turned and started to look in the baking aisle.  I noticed as I walked, a women with a large cart, an additional push cart strapped to the front of her shopping cart– no doubt to carry her groceries home.  She was sifting through the large rack of extracts and spices, as I proceeded to pass her.  No doubt she was taking up a lot of room as I skimmed the shelves next to me as I tried not to disturb her when I passed.  I bumped her purse as I passed, gently though and immediately said quite audibly “I’m sorry” and proceeded to the cake mixes.  Immediately I was met with “YOU STUPID F*cking uncivilized B*TCH! Next time you should start with EXCUSE ME!!!…..explitive explitive explitive.”

My mind draws a blank.

REALLY?!!??! I couldn’t believe that someone would accost a perfect stranger like that even in New York City and trust me I’ve had crazy-people encounters.  All over being nudged in the Baking aisle?? My beloved and sacred baking aisle?!?!

Before I left my favorite aisle, I gently reminded the women that I had apologized immediately when passing her. I proceeded to try and continue shopping though even with a list in front of me I was too stunned to remember what I needed or what I had in my fridge.  What a crap way to finish your day!!

I spent a few minutes thinking about what I would say if I had it to do over again, like “How do you seriously berate a perfect stranger and then have the audicity to call them uncivilized”  I hate situations like this.  I just don’t have the ability to zing people with equally nasty words, and even when I’m upset I just don’t call people names. You feel totally powerless, when someone projects their garbage on you. Or at least I do. I can’t help but feel like I must have done something terrible if it illicted such a nasty exchange.

But I decided instead that if I had that chance to say what I wanted that I would say that if she’d taken a breath she might have realized that we were both in the baking aisle, and that that we actually have something in common.  Which allowed me to refocus enough to shop, as a blog started to form.  I ended buying a bunch of chocolate. I was probably craving it for the sense of euphoria it gives you when yo eat it. Lavender chocolate, valrhona cocoa powder, dutch processed cocoa powder, and double chocolate stout. I also walked out with a rocky road brownie. I thought the chocolate craving would undoubtedly be satisfied, and the name was appropriate for the end of my night.

Rocky Road bownies (I made this one up)

4 eggs

3/4c granulated sugar

3/4c brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

5oz. 60% c0coa chocolate, or bittersweet chocolate (I used

1/4 c double chocolate stout

3 tbsp valrhona cocoa powder

1 1/4c flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup of the following for the topping:

melted semi sweet chocolate

marshmallows

nuts, I used pecans, walnuts or almonds work

I also added white chocolate chips.

Combine Valrhona chocolate powder and flour and salt.  Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degreesIn a double boiler melt 5 oz. chocolate and butter.  Watch carefully not to burn. Set aside to cool to room  temperature, but not harden.

Combine sugar and eggs and beat on medium.  Add cooled chocolate, then chocolate stout and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Fold in dry ingredients.

Spread into a square pan 8″-10″ wide.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately spread 1/2 c semi sweet chocolate chips on stop.

Let them sit for a few seconds before spreading with a knife.

Add marshmallows, chopped nuts, and white chocolate chips.

Melt 1/2 c semisweet chocolate in a microwave.  Place in a cake decorating bag, or plastic sandwich bag. Be sure chocolate is cool enough so that the bag doesn’t melt.  Drizzle melted chocolate over toppings.  Allow to cool before slicing.

1 comment February 7, 2011

Serendipity 3, Part 3 Frozen Hot Chocolate

We can’t talk about Serendipity 3 without discussing Frozen Hot Chocolate.  Its similar to a milk shake, but it doesn’t contain ice cream.  More of a combination of high quality chocolates, blended with milk and ice.  Served overflowing in a old fashioned sundea dish with whip cream and chocolate shavings.  Serendipity uses a combination of fancy chocolates, and though they have a frozen Hot Chocolate mix you can buy and make at home, they’ve managed to keep their lips sealed in terms of what exactly is in the drink they’ve made famous.  Rumor has it they wouldn’t even share the recipe with Ms. Jackie Kennedy Onasis.

So Paula Deen has a recipe, and so does Oprah, both pretty similar.  So I’m going to take these and then add a little something extra: Godiva Liquor.

From Oprah.com Start with:

3 oz of high quality chocolate chopped into little pieces

2 teaspoons hot chocolate– I used dark hot chocolate by Land o Lakes

2 1/2 Tbsp Sugar

1 1/2 c milk

3 c ice

1 shot Godiva liquor (optional)

Melt Chocolate in a double boiler.  Add Cocoa and Sugar.  Remove from heat and add 1/2 c milk stirring until smooth.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a blender pour 1 c milk, 3 cups ice, Godiva liquor and cool chocolate mixture.  Blend until smooth.  To serve Serendipity style, pour into a shallow sundae dish or goblet.  Place Saucer underneath to catch slip over.  Add whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

1 comment January 20, 2011

Miracle on Ice

Lake Placid Olympic Arena

I spent this past weekend in Lake Placid, New York.  Famed for both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.   Lake Placid, population 2,800 would be a sleepy town if it weren’t for the Olympic training facilities, and Hockey Tournaments.  The mile high sky jumps can be seen towering over the winding highway as you make your way to the downtown strip of Mirror Lake (sister lake to Lake Placid).  There are tons of cute shops, restaurants and even if you aren’t a Hockey Fan you have to take a quick stroll through the famed “Miracle on Ice” hockey rink, otherwise known as the Herb Brooks Arena.

I find it funny that more than a few of my posts have to with sports because truth be told, I’m not athletic and I’m not someone you’ll tuned in to ESPN or any other sports channel for the most part, that is of course until it comes to hockey.

Love of hockey goes way back in my family to when my grandfather was a dashing young student in New York city.  He regularly went to see Rangers’ games at the Garden, for 25 cents, as he often bragged.  Whether or not you are a die hard sports fan, an occasional observer, or totally hate the fact that I’m tying yet another recipe to sports, everyone LOVES a good underdog story.

Herb Brooks Arena

Lake Placid was just the setting in 1980, when a young scrappy team of college hockey players took on the elite Soviet club on home ice.  If you haven’t seen the movie Miracle, I strongly suggest you Netflix it.  Its the perfect feel good flick.  Which brings me to the New York Rangers.  The big-hearted blue shirts, the team I love,  and for many seasons the underdogs…without the happy ending as of yet.  There were 54 long years between the last 2 Stanley Cups (1940, and 1994).  They have 4 total, which is embarassingly low for a talented team that is member of the Original Six.  (The Rangers, Blackhawks, Maple Leaves, Red Wings, Canadiens, and Bruins are the original 6 teams that started the NHL in 1926.)

The New York Rangers are currently in a tight race to make the playoffs.  As the weather outside gets warmer, the race on the rink, namely between the Boston Bruins and the Rangers gets hotter too.  One point could make the difference in who actually gets to contend for Lord Stanley’s Cup.  The Rangers and Bruins won’t actually face each other again, as the season ends, but none the less the competition is fierce. I will state here and now that should the Rangers pull it out and knock Boston out of contention, AND go on to win the cup or even just make it through the second round of the playoffs, I will make a replica Stanley Cup cake.

So in the spirit of high hopes and miracles, heres a cup cake recipe.  CREAM BOSTON! cupcakes, I mean Boston Cream  Pie Cupcakes, courtesy of Martha Stewart, because I’m hoping the Rangers cream Boston.

No paper liners needed for Boston Cream Cupcakes!

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes:

1 1/2 c Flour (plus more for pans)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c whole milk

6 TB unsalted butter softened (plus more for pans)

3 large eggs

1 c sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

(Filled with Vanilla Cream, and topped with Chocolate Ganache)

Butter and Flour your cupcake tins like you would for a cake.  You won’t be using capcake papers to bake with.  Combine Dry ingredients (flour, powder, and salt). Set aside.

Combine milk and butter in a sauce pan over low heat.

Beat  eggs and sugar for about five minutes.  Mixture should look pale and thick.  Add dry ingredients.  Bring milk and butter to a boil, then combine with batter using mixer on low. Add vanilla.

Fill baking tins half way ( I usually use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to keep my cupcakes uniform looking).  Bake for 15 minutes or until a golden.  Cool for 10 minutes, then slice in half horizontally.  Fill with Vanilla Cream.

Vanilla Cream, (If you have Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, she uses Pastry Cream to fill these cupcakes.  Its the same recipe roughly.  The Pastry Cream recipe  yields more.  You could just as easily make instant vanilla pudding, or really cheat and use pudding cups.  I suggest skipping the short cut at least once)

2 large egg yolks

1/4 c sugar

2 TB cornstach + 1/2 tsp

pinch of salt

1 c whole milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk yolks till smooth.  Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add milk in a slow steady stream and stir continually until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. (apprx 5 minutes)

Pour 1/3 of the milk into yolks mixing constantly and rapidly– this will temper the eggs without allowing them to coagulate– You don’t want the eggs to scramble in your pudding.  Stir in the remaining milk and return custard to saucepan cooking 2-4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in vanilla.

Martha suggests pouring the cream through a sieve– this will remove any coagulated eggs. Cover with plastic wrap across surface of pudding and refridgerate until chilled.

The cupcakes are topped with Chocolate Ganache.

Melt 1 c semi sweet chocolate , and 1/2 c- 3/4 c heavy cream in microwave or double boiler.  Allow to cool slightly so that frosting is spreadable, but not runny.

Eat to your hearts content!  Here’s to Miracles on Ice!

Chocolate Ganache Frosting!

1 comment April 8, 2010

Dessert Wine

Not to long ago I was in my local wine seller (haha pun intended) and a particular bottle caught my eye.  When comes to spirits I have a proclivity for red wine.  I’d like to believe my palate is well versed in tasting all the notes in a good glass of wine, but the truth is I’m just no sommolier.  When it comes to choosing wine I have some favorites,  but I’m more apt, like anyone, to judge a book by its cover and buy a bottle with a pretty label or funny name. So when I saw this bottle with a big ole slice of cake on the front I was intrigued and completely skeptical.

Surprise surprise Layer Cake is actually a really nice bottle to try.  Here I thought they were trying to sucker this cake enthusiast by using a clever name for their vino.  The name Layer Cake comes from the family’s philosophy on wine making.  “…wine if  properly made was like a great layer cake, fruit, mocha, chocolate, with hints of spice and rich–always rich.” (www.layercakewine.com)

What a great philosophy on wine…and cake for that matter.  I could cozy up with a glass of layer cake just about any day of the week.  I recommend the Primitivo, though all the different kinds are delicious.  I’ve also started incorporating this wine into my baking.  As we speak I’m soaking fruit for a black cake (recipe to come soon), and I thought it only fitting to soak my fruit in Layer Cake.

Add a comment February 26, 2010

Valentine’s Day

I celebrated Valentine’s Day  like anyone else might, with a bone crushing Hockey game!  Nothing like a bunch big angry men slaming into each other to symbolize a day of love, but enough about me.

Valentines Day is actually one of my favorite holidays because it is the celebratory day of one of my favorite organziations VDay.  VDay has been doing alot of work over the last 12 years to make the world a better place, especially for women and girls. I applaud their work and have tried to volunteer time or donate funds when I can.   I think Valentines Day is just the appropriate day to spread love so why not try to do so by giving time and or money to those who need it?

That brings me to my dear friends Chrissy and Nathan.   They spent February 14th running a marathon!!  NO SMALL FEAT, thats for sure!  Chrissy and Nathan were really dedicated to their cause of completing the 26.2 mile  race around the Austin city limits. (And they both managed to finish in under 4 hours!!)  They trained hard for months completing 20 mile hilly courses in their East Texas neighborhood all in preparation  for a race that can really do a number on you if you aren’t ready.  To give themselves some added inspiration while on the grueling course this past V-Day, Chrissy and Nathan asked their friends to donate to their favorite charity Doctor’s without borders.   They both said it really helped knowing that they’d helped raise money for an important cause all while accomplishing a big personal goal.

www.VDay.org

www.DoctorsWithoutBorders.org

So though I might have spent an enjoyable V-Day drinking beer and screaming when Sean Avery sunk in a top shelf penalty shot I did try and donate to the Chrissy and Nathan’s training regimen …with calories!  Adaquate caloric intake is essential when training for a feat of this nature and Chrissy and Nathan are also vegan which in my opinion is another challenge at least from my humble baker’s prespective.  So I sent my friends a large box of Vegan Cookies to keep their spirits and their calories high in anticipation of a mighty race!

 

Vegan Chocolate Chips from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

These Cookies were so awesome you’d never know that they don’t contain butter.  I had to save a couple for myself before sealing up the package and sending it off.

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

2/3 c canola oil

1/4 c unsweetened almond milk or your choice of non dairy milk

1 tsp tapioca flour (sometimes called tapioca starch, I substituted 1 tsp cornstarch, as I couldn’t find tapioca flour)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Combine sugars, oil, milk, and tapioca flour with a fork.  Mix with vigor for about 2 minutes! As the authors of this awesome book mention “there is a chemical reaction when the sugar and oil collide, so its important that you don’t get lazy..”  The mixture should look like thick carmel when you are done.

Add 1 cup of flour, baking soda and salt and mix well.  Add the remaining flour and fold in chips.  Scoop dough into balls.  I suggest 1.5″ in diameter.  Flatten slightly when placing on cookie sheet.  I lined my cookie sheet with parchment paper.  If you don’t have parchment make sure you grease the cookie sheet.

**Parchment is great at limiting the messiness of baking and you can use one piece of parchment batch after batch in the oven.  Replace with a fresh sheet when the paper starts to look brown.  By the way I don’t recommend using wax paper in place of parchment, unless you want you cookies to taste like crayons…

1 comment February 18, 2010

The Spectrum 8 and the Joy of Brownies

My favorite movie Cinema is not in New York City, though there are quite a few great ones. I like the Spectrum 8 in Albany, not far from my home town.  Whenever I’m home and especially on Christmas Day my brother and I make a point to go see a flick.  Its nice to avoid the mall cinemas, especially at holiday season, and this little indie joint has great atmosphere.  They screen your standard blockbusters, as well as more obscure films.  For instance we saw Sherlock Holmes on Christmas, which was really great.  I can’t wait for the sequel where I’m sure that great chemistry between Robert Downey Jr and Jude Lude will surely have steeped a bit more.

Speaking of chemistry lets get to a recipe.  The Spectrum 8 has a great snack bar.  They offer movie-goer-favorites like buttered popcorn and generous amounts of candy, but are great because they pop their popcorn in real corn oil and butter–not flavorcal (eek!) and also have a selection of fresh baked goods (YES!) and other indulgent yet wholesome goodies.  They have selection of wonderful brownies, so without further adieu.

Homemade Brownies from none other than The Joy of Cooking

4 oz unsweetened baker’s chocolate

1/2c (1 stick of butter)

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler until smooth.  Set aside and let cool, though chocolate should not harden.

4 eggs at room temperature

2 cups of sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 c flour

Beat eggs and salt, gradually add 2 cups of sugar, vanilla.  Combine chocolate with egg sugar mixture with a few swift strokes.  Do not mix till uniform!  Fold in 1 c flour and 1 cup chopped nuts.

Bake in a well greased cookie sheet or pyrex dish at 350 degrees.   Bake 25 minutes.

4 comments January 29, 2010

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