Desserts

October 29, 2014

Cranberry White Chocolate Ganache

 

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 1 lb high quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 8oz bag freeze dried cranberries, pulverized into a powder
  • 1 5oz bag dried cranberries, minced

 

D I R E C T I O N S 

  1. Heat the cream to a boil in a heavy sauce pan.  Mix in cranberry powder as it starts to warm.
  2. Turn off heat and add chocolate, stirring with a spatula until melted.  Stir in dried cranberries.
  3. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

October 28, 2014

Campfire-Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

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I N G R E D I E N T S 

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Place the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the clean bowl of a stand mixer and whisk by hand to combine.
    1. Nest the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.
    2. Heat the egg white mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (about 120°F on an instant-read thermometer), about 6 minutes.
  3. Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn the mixer to medium and whisk for 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes more. Add the vanilla and whisk until just incorporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes or whatever, and let them chill for at least 30 minutes to set the frosting a bit.  FInally, use a kitchen torch to lightly brûlée the edges.

 

L I N K A G E

  • https://40aprons.com/hot-chocolate-cupcakes-with-toasted-marshmallow-frosting/

Crosseyed and Painless Cupcakes

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In the first of a two part tribute to the Talking Heads, I present an apple walnut cake, cored with apple cider fleur de sel caramel and topped with a Maker's Mark buttercream, candied walnuts and smoked fleur de sel.

 

C A K E  I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 2 1/3 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups peeled, cored, chopped apple, about 1 1/3 pounds whole apples
  • 1 cup diced toasted walnuts or pecans

 

C A N D I E D  W A L N U T S  I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 1 cup toasted walnut halves/pieces 
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter

 

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Frosting

    1. Follow directions for the Jameson Italian Meringue buttercream, substituting the following:

      1. Brown sugar for Castor/Superfine sugar
      2. 2 tbsp Maker's Mark instead of Jameson
  2. Salted Caramel Filling
    1. Follow directions for the Fleur de Sel Caramels, however make the following changes:
      1. Use 1 cup apple cider or apple juice, and reduce on low heat to 1/4 cup.  Cool.
      2. During the second heating phase (after cream and sugar mixtures are mixed), take the mixture to 238-244 degrees instead of 256.  This will allow the mixture to be less stiff and more liquidy
  3. Cupcakes
    1. Preheat oven to 325
    2. Line tins with cupcake liners for 16 cupcakes.
    3. In one bowl, beat sugars and eggs until combined, then add eggs one at a time.
    4. In another bowl, whisk (or sift) flour, spices, salt, baking soda.
    5. Add flour to butter sugar mixture in two parts, mixing until well combined.
    6. Fold in apples and walnuts, letting the apples release thier juices.
    7. Fill the prepared tins with batter about 3/4 full.
    8. Bake for 20 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean, or with just a few wet crumbs clinging to it.
    9. Store in airtight storage, preferably refrigerated, until ready for use.
  4. Candied Walnuts
    1. Heat medium non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Prepare a piece of parchment paper that is 16 inches wide.
    2. Add sugar, butter and walnuts, mixing frequntlyt.  As the sugar starts to melt, stir constantly until all sugar is melted and walnuts coated.
    3. Immediatly transfer the nuts to the parchment paper, and break up any clusters into individual nuts.  Cool and transfer to airtight storage until ready for use.

 

 

LINKAGE

  1. https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/old-fashioned-apple-cake-with-brown-sugar-frosting-recipe
  2. https://natashaskitchen.com/2014/01/11/5-minute-candied-walnuts/

November 27, 2013

Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups stone ground wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 4 Tbsp butter (room temp.) 
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée 
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar 
  • 2/3 cup white sugar 
  • 2 large egg 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 cups rolled oats 
  • 1 cup dried cranberries 
  • 1 bag of white chips
  • 1 cup toasted almonds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup diced crystalized ginger (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the stone ground wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until very well combined.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter (room temperature), pumpkin, brown sugar, and white sugar on low speed.
    1. Once they’re well combined, add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined again.
    2. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed just until a thick, creamy batter forms.
    3. Add the dry oats and dried cranberries, almonds (if desired) and ginger (if desired) and stir them into the batter with a spoon.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use non-stick cooking spray
    1. Spoon the batter onto the baking sheet in 2 Tbsp portions, leaving about 1.5 inches between each cookie.
    2. The cookies will not spread much during baking, so gently pat them down into flattened circles.
  5. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, or until slightly browned on the surface. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack before eating.

August 03, 2013

Sangria Cupcakes

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Sangria is a portugese wine, and consists of wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener, and a small amount of liquor such as Brandy.  It is a perennial summertime favorite, and brings delight to any party.  The fruit tends to absorb a lot of alcohol, and makes for a fun surprise.

I modified the original recipe because the cupcakes tasted good, but the sangria flavor wasn't recognizable.  I gradually reduced the sugar and removed the fruit from the wine to produce a cupcake that has actual wine flavor.   Also, it is important to use Merlot, as any other wine's flavor will get lost in translation.  I made this recipe 5 times before producing a cupcake that tasted like wine, using Pino Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Neither produced the intensity, or blueness, of Merlot.

In order to make this "wine" cupcake taste like sangria, a Strawberry Pineapple compote was used for filling and Hennessey and Grand Marnier were used in the frosting.  The result is magic for your taste buds: Sangria in a foil wrapper.

 

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 bottle Merlot
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Follow recipe for Jameson Italian Meringue Buttercream
    1. Substitute Hennesey and Grand Marnier for the Jameson and 1/4 cup water used to make the syrup
  2. Follow recipe for Spiked Strawberry Pineapple Compote
  3. In medium sauce pan, simmer the Merlot.  
    1. Add the 1/3 cup sugar once the Merlot is simmering, and let cook on medium low heat for about 15 minutes.
    2. Allow merlot to cool to room temperature
  4. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
    in a medium bowl.  
    1. Sift together at least one
  5. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and
    sugar until fluffy and light
    1. about 3 minutes.  
    2. Add sour cream and eggs until combined.  
    3. Add the flour mixture and 2/3 cup of cooked Merlot, alternating between the two, but beginning and ending with the flour.
  6. Fill the cupcakes approximately 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes.
    1. Remove from oven when tester comes out clean.
  7. While cupcakes are hot, brush extra Merlot over the tops of
    each cupcake.  
  8. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
    1. Remove a core from the center
    2. Fill with Strawberry Pineapple compote
    3. Pipe the Grand Marnier Henessey buttercream on top
    4. Garnish with fluer de sel or sea salt

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Spiked Strawberry Pineapple Compote

This filling pairs great with the Sangria cupcake recipe, or as a delicious jam.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups strawberries (diced)
  • 1 cup pineapple (diced)
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour strawberries and pineapple into a deep pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. 
  2. Once the strawberries are boiling, add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved. 
    1. Stir constantly so the sugar doesn’t burn. 
  3. Bring to a boil and then add the butter. 
    1. The addition of butter keeps the foam volume down.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium-low and boil the jam for about 30 minutes, until thickened to jam like consistency. 
  5. Stir in the Grand Marnier.
  6. Store in the refrigerator and serve within 1 week.

LINKAGE

  1. https://thesassyapron.wordpress.com/tag/sangria-cupcakes/

June 10, 2013

Cordial Cherry Macaron Tasting - Part 1

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My good friend Jodie is a huge fan of Cordial Cherries.  For his birthday, I decided to embark on a journey to create a Cordial Cherry macaron tasting for him.  "Why the heck not?", I thought.  Welcome to part 1!  In this recipe, we will create cherry macarons that are light, delicious, memorable, and not a diabolical threat to your waistline.

On a side note, freeze dried cherries are not the easiest ingredient to find at a local store.  I bought them at Fairway Market in Woodland Park, NJ.  If you have trouble finding them, on-line stores might be your best bet.

 

MACARON INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp water
  • 5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2/3 c ground almonds or almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cup Organic powdered sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp freeze dried cherry powder, ground in food processor, plus a few extra cherries chopped in large chunks for decoration
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Filling

    1. Make the Cherry Curd recipe at least one day ahead of time and refrigerate.
  2. Macarons

    1. Follow the recipe for Blueberry Macarons

      1. Substitute cherries for the blueberries.
      2. Sprinkle the large chunks of cherries on top before placing cookies in the oven.
      3. Use the cherry curd instead of the meyer lemon curd

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March 09, 2013

Blueberry Parisan Macarons with Meyer Lemon Curd

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A Parisan Macaron is a sweet meringue-based treat made with egg whites and ground almonds. The macaron is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream, jam or curd sandwiched between two cookies. Not to be confused with Macaroons, which are commonly made with coconut, this delicacy is found at French bakeries in a variety of flavors and colors.

The base recipe author is Hisako Ogita in "I Love Macarons."  I had to make a number of adjustments as her recipe did not work out the first couple of batches.  They tasted teriffic, but were slightly off for one reason or another.

It takes practice to master the art of baking Macarons.  Those seen in the photo are not perfect visually, but they taste great.  This recipe is 100% gluten free, and worth the effort. 

Yields 18 - 22 cookies

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp water
  • 5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2/3 c ground almonds or almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cup Organic powdered sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp dried blueberries, ground in food processor
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

DIRECTIONS 

  1. Prepare cookie sheets
    1. Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit snugly inside of a cookie sheet.
    2. Place cookie sheet on top of another cookie sheet, and set aside
  2. Process dry ingredients in food processor
    1. Sift ingredients (Almond meal, powdered sugar, blueberry powder) together twice
    2. Store in refrigerator until Meringue step is complete
  3. Make the meringue
    1. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in mixer, and beat until stiff peaks
    2. In a small sauce pan, combine the granulated sugar and water
      1. Heat until 240 F
    3. Add syrup (at 240 F) to the meringue, and beat until the bowl is room temperature to the touch
    4. Add the vanilla
  4. Combine all ingredients (very important to follow exactly)
    1. Add half of the dry ingredients to the meringue.
      1. Stir with spatula while scooping up from bottom of bowl
    2. Add remaining dry ingredients, stirring in a circular motion
    3. Macaronage
      1. Press the batter against the sides of the bowl , scoop the batter up from the bottom and flip over
      2. Repeat this 15 times
        1. Do this step at least 10 and at most 20 times
        2. The batter is ready when it is firm and slowly drips from a spatula
    4. Put batter into a pastry bag, and squeeze onto prepared cookie sheet as little circles.
    5. Rap the cookie sheet firmly against the counter to form the pied, or foot of the macaron.
    6. Preheat oven to 315 F
    7. Dry the batter for at least 15 minutes
      1. The batter is ready when the macarons do not stick to your finger when touched.
      2. I've had to dry them as little as 15 and as long as an hour.  The key is to keep checking as too much drying will prevent the pied from forming and too little will cause cracks.
    8. Place cookie sheet in oven, and bake for 15 - 20 minutes. 
      1. Rotate half way through.
      2. Bake until slightly crispy on the top.  The cookies ultimately should be a little gooey on the inside, but not under cooked.
    9. Allow cookies to cool.
    10. Using the recipe for Meyer Lemon Curd, spread curd on one cookie and place another on top.
    11. The Macarons will last for about 1 week in the refrigerator, sealed.

Linkage

  1. "I Love Macarons", Ogita, Hisako.

December 28, 2012

Meyer Lemon Curd

DSC_2725

Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and either a mandarin or common orange.   The taste is sweeter and less acidic in comparison to regular lemons.  As a result, recipes with meyer lemons require less sugar.  They are usually only available in the Winter months.

This recipe yields about 1 2/3 cups.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 to 4 Meyer lemons (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

DIRECTIONS

  1. Finely grate enough zest from lemons to measure 2 teaspoons and squeeze enough juice to measure 1/2 cup. 
  2. Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a metal bowl. 
  3. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, whisking, until thickened and smooth and an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Force curd through a fine sieve set into another bowl. 
  5. Serve warm or cover surface of curd with wax paper and cool completely.
    1. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week

 

LINKAGE

  1. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Meyer-Lemon-Curd-102744#ixzz2GNwpIKps

October 27, 2012

Cannoli Cupcakes

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Cannoli are the irresistible Sicilian desserts with a tube shaped pastry shell and a creamy filling inside.  Last year, I attended a wedding with a red velvet cake layered between perhaps the best cannoli filling I've ever had.  At that moment, I knew Cannoli cupcakes needed to be concocted, specifically for my old boss Chris because he likes to eat cupcakes.

The research unit was mobilized, as I am not Italian.  The bakeries who make the extra tasty varieties are in Brooklyn and on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.  The secret ingredient used by many of them is nutmeg oil.  Additionally, these bakeries use Impasata Ricotta, which is very thick and contains little water.  Ironically, after trapsing around New York City looking for it, Impasata Ricotta was procured from a market about 5 miles from my home in NJ.

The final cupcake recipe slowly manifested, starting with the Red Velvet sans the red cupcake recipe, and filled with the "Brooklyn style" Cannoli filling recipe below.  The cupcake is topped with a Grand Marnier Italian Meringue Buttercream and rimmed with crushed pistachios. 

This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes.

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CANNOLI FILLING INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound impastata ricotta (Or use regular ricotta, and let strain overnight wrapped in cheesecloth)
  • 1/2 cup Castor sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier (or vanilla extract)

GARNISH

  • 6oz bag shelled pistasios

DIRECTIONS

  1. Frosting
    1. Follow the directions for the Jameson Italian Meringue Buttercream
      1. Substitute 3 oz Grand Marnier for the Jameson
  2. Filling
    1. Combine all ingredients listed above with a mixer on medium until well mixed and creamy.
      1. Add more spices if desired.
    2. Filling should be stored in the refridgerator at all times.
  3. Cupcakes
    1. Follow the directions for the Red Velvet sans the Red cupcakes
  4. Garnish
    1. Chop pistasios into small chunks
  5. Assembly
    1. Using an apple corer or a butter knife, cut a large cylinder in each cupcake and discard core.
    2. Overfill each cupcake with cannoli filling....just like regular cannolis are!
    3. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, and rim with pistasio.
    4. Cupcakes should be stored in the fridge.  However, please allow cupcakes to stand for one hour prior to eating for optimal frosting softness.

REFERENCES

  1. https://entertaining.about.com/od/recipesandmenus/r/cannoli.htm
  2. Discussion on ChowHound about Brookln Style Cannoli

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