Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book Marked Recipe...




WOot another one done, and we will see if I get it to Ruth at BookedMarked Recipe in time, its late Sunday night, but I am gonna try!! haha I am addicted to food magazines.. and I recently picked up Taste Of Home with adorable Christmas cupcakes on the cover, and on page 18 was this great looking Mac and Cheese.. so I thought, man its cold out and that sounds great!! SO last night, I made it!! And holy smokes was it good!!.. first I didn't read it or I would have noticed it fed 12 people, and well there is only me and my room mate... haha mac and cheese for days to come!! But wow it is really good!!!

Double-Cheese Macaroni

1 pk. *(16oz) elbow macaroni
3 cups (24oz) Cottage cheese
1/2 c butter, cubed
1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
3 c half and half cream (hmm I Just realized I used heavy whipping cream!! haha!!)
1 cup milk
4 cups (16oz) shredded cheddar cheese
Topping:
1 c dry bread crumbs
1/4 c butter, melted

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, place cottage cheese in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic salt until smooth. Gradually add cream and milk. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Drain macaroni, trasfer to a large bowl. Add the cheddar cheese, cottage cheese and white sauce, toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 13x9 baking dish. ( Dish will be full!!! very full!!) Combine bread crumbs and butter, sprinkle over the top.
Bake uncovered at 400 for 20-25 min or until bubbly.

I put mine on a sheet pan, and it was a good thing, it bubbled over with cheesy goodness!! I let it rest about 10 min before serving so that it thickend and it was fabulous. The roomy kept getting spoons to sample it lol. Perfect comfort food. I am not a cttage cheese fan, only use it in my Lasgna but, this will definitely be made again!!! Enjoy !!

Ultimate Chocolate Cake!!


When I got the email from Not Quite Nigella I could not resist finding something!! I remembered my friend picked up this book called I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas by Marcel Desaulniers, I knew I could find something ( ok the damn Italics will not turn off!!!). So I chose Chocolaty Fudge Cake for my entry. And just in time for the cut off date!!
Let me tell you, this was intense chocolate. I was going to up it with a ganach filling and curls, but man it just didn't need it. SO I went just with the recipe and an old fashion icing of the cake. I had never made actual Heavy Fudge Icing befor
e, so was intrigued to see how it all came out.

Chocolaty Fudge Cake:

Heavy Fudge Icing:
2 cups tightly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream

8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, broken into 1/2 oz pieces
6 TBsp unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbsp pieces

Chocolaty Fudge cake:

8 oz unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbsp pieces
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt
8 oz semisweet baking chocola
te, coarsly chopped
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Making the icing:

1. Bring the brown sugar, cream, chocolate, and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and melt the chocolate and butter. Adjust the heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes, stiffing frequently, until thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat. Poor into a baking sheet with sides and use a rubber spatula to spread evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours, until chilled thoroughly.

Cake:


2. Preheat the oven to 325. Spray 2 9 inch cake pans with non stick baking spray. Line with parchment paper and coat again.

3. In a sifter, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Sift onto a large piece of parchment paper.

4. Melt the chocolate and the remaining 8 oz of
butter in a medium glass bowl in a microwave, stopping to stirr occasionally. Stir until smooth.

5. Place the granulated sugar and eggs in teh bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on medium-high for 2 mi
nutes, until slighly thickened and pale yellow in color. Add the melted chocolate and mix on low to combine, about 15 seconds. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add teh dry ingredients, mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix on low to combine, about 15 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter until thoroughtly combined.

6. Immediately divide the batter into the prepared pans, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake on teh center rack of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of each layer comes out clean, 28-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans at room temperature for 15 minutes. Invert the cake layers onto cake circles or cake plates. Carefully peel the pape
r away from the bottom of each layer. Refriderate the cake layers, uncovered for at least 2 hours before assembling.

7. Transfer the chilled fudge to the bow
l of a stand electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on high for 2 minutes until lighter in color (a very mellow chocolate brown.) and slightly fluffly.

8. Remove the cake layers from the refrigerator. Use an incing spatula to evenly and smoothly spread 2 1/2 cups of icing onver the tome and sides of one of the inverted layers, baked side down. Place second layer baked top up
, on the icing and getly press it into place. Evenly and smoothly spread the remaining icing onto the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour before slicing and serving.

9. Heat the blade of a serrated knife under hot running water and wipe dry before cutting each slice. Serve immediately.


Ok.. the cake, wow was it rich!! like very thin slices, I did this, the challenge and the AFAM all in the same day, holy smokes long long day!! But wow this cake was awesome. Work ravashied it, but you will need a big glass of milk to wash down all that chocolate. I was so glad I didn't do the ganach filling hehe.. I couldn't believe how neat that fudge icing was, just went all fluffy and light brown, very glad I chose the recipe!! Thanks for the invite!!

AFAM!!...Cherry..

When I was browsing the none challenge events I came across the AFAM for this month, From Tangerine's Kitchen. Cherries who can pass up something on cherries. Well, I still had the challenge to do and at least one other event I wanted to do, and with Thanksgiving and work time was limited haha. The day after I started the challenge cake, I ended up with Tonsilitis.. and was miserable, which put a stop to the rest of the week, the only other time I had to do anything was that following Monday on the week of Thanksgiving, and the rest of the week I had to work. So I set out that morning to finish it, another cake as well as my Cherry item. Sadly this was the last item of the day..l and holy snap was I tired by then. SO as they are not quite as cute as I wanted, for one thing this recipe calls for Maraschino cherries with stems, I could not find any. so regular ones it is. Then I thought I will make a glaze and drizzle over them, yea I was too tired, and did not get that far either haha.. but dang it I made them and I am submitting them and posting. I took it all to work the next day and had so many want the recipe. So I give you Cherry Tssies!!1 1/4 cups butter, softened
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp peppermint extract ( I actually used almond here)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups al-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely crushed striped round peppermint candies
48 red maraschino cherries or liquor-flavored marachino cherries with stems, drained.

1. Preheat oven to 350. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high of 30 seconds. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Beat in peppermint extract, vanilla and egg. Beat in as much of the flour as you can, stir in remaining flour and candies.
2. Place remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar in a shallow dish. Shape dough in 1 inch balls, roll in powdered sugar. Press each ball into the bottom and sides of a 1 3/4 inch muffin cup.
3. Place cherry, stem side up, in each cup. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until pastry is browned. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cool 5 min in pan. Carefully transfer to rack to cool completely.

Ok.. spray your muffin tins for sure, the candies glue them to the pans, and the dough is so tender you can't just take them out lol. I doubt even that stem would have helped. I also remembered why I didn't do things like this often, felt like forever i was standing there rolling little balls and pressing them in forever lol. But was worth it when they ate them up and loved em like they did, and they weren't even that pretty haha.. and I ended up with too many drained cherries so I just shoved them in lol. But they are tasty.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

November Challenge!!!


Ok this one will start off weird, and may take me a challenge or two to get used to tying this part into the post haha.. so I am doing it the quick way. We now need to make sure we give those that deserve it the Kudos for the posting and props for the recipe! I fully agree!! but there was soo much to include, and then someone ( I looked and looked for the original post, and heck if I could find it, listed what she thought was right) so I copied that and went to each link to link it right.. I hope LOL. We will see if I did it right. I want to link to her page because she did all the work,
Audax Artifex , so I thank you cause it helped me a ton!! So here are the links to the awesome people that chose the challenge, and created everything and did all the hard work!! as well as the Recipe source!!:
(http://culinarycuriosity.blogspot.com/) host this month are Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo: http://blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com/), Jenny of Foray into Food (http://forayintofood.blogspot.com/). And since none of us know jack about alternative baking, we’ve once again turned to Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go (http://glutenagogo.blogspot.com/) to assist us.
Our leading lady this month is Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater (http://eggbeater.typepad.com/) and her signature caramel cake.
RECIPE SOURCE
Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon (http://eggbeater.typepad.com/), as published on Bay Area Bites (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/). Shuna Fish Lydon’s recipe (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006 … he-recipe/)

Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Press, Copyright 2007, ISBN: 978-1579652111
If you’re looking for additional guidance on the cake, Shuna’s got some great information posted here as well (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006 … he-recipe/) and here (http://eggbeater.typepad.com/shuna/2007 … ake-a.html).

So the Challenge!! lets see where to start. My favorite was.. The caramels!! OMg!! they were awesome, In all the postings it was suggested to only cook to about 248.. so I did just that, And holy smokes they were amazing!!! I made the Vanilla Bean Nutmeg version, and soft and chewy and just heaven sent. Absolutely Amazing!! By far my favorite part of the challenge!! The Cake, I liked it, nice mild, I had issues with the caramel syrup but it did not appear to affect the cake so much, so it turned out pretty good. To go with caution I did as suggested and left the syrup out of the icing, which was fine as I loved the browned butter flavor, IT was great. For the filling, well I had made some Vanilla Bourbon Peach Jam over the summer, my first attempt and it did not come out quite as set as I liked, so it was more a thick dessert sauce. I chose that as the filling, OMG!! what a combo.. the flavors of that with the caramel.. fantastic! I took it to work, and one comment was.. " I have died and gone to Heaven" so I think the cake was a huge hit!! Make it again, maybe, depends, I may find a different cake but the rest I enjoyed!!
So here is the recipe!! again the caramels..AWESOME!!!

CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Notes from Natalie for those of you baking gluten-free:

So the GF changes to the cake would be:

2 cups of gluten free flour blend (w/xanthan gum) or 2 cups of gf flour blend + 1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 - 1 tsp baking powder (this would be the recipe amount to t
he amount it might need to be raised to & I'm going to check)

I'll let you when I get the cake finished, how it turns out and if the baking powder amount needs to be raised.


Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

CARAMEL SYRUP

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the carmalization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)

(Optional) GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS
- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -

Ingredients
1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

Equipment
A 9-inch square baking pan
Candy thermometer

Procedure

Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.

Variations

Fleur de Sel Caramels: Extra salt, in the form of fleur de sel or another coarse flaked salt, brings out the flavor of the caramel and offers a little ying to the yang. Add an extra scant 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt to the recipe. Or, to keep the salt crunchy, let the caramel cool and firm. Then sprinkle with two pinches of flaky salt and press it in. Invert, remove the pan liner, sprinkle with more salt. Then cut and wrap the caramels in wax paper or cellophane.

Nutmeg and Vanilla Bean Caramels: Add 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg to the cream before you heat it.

Cardamom Caramels: Omit the vanilla. Add 1/2 teaspoon slightly crushed cardamom seeds (from about 15 cardamom pods) to the cream before heating it. Strain the cream when you add it to the caramel; discard the seeds.

Caramel Sauce: Stop cooking any caramel recipe or variation when it reaches 225°F or, for a sauce that thickens like hot fudge over ice cream, 228°F. Pour it into a sauceboat to serve or into a heatproof jar for storage. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for ages and reheated gently in the microwave or a saucepan just until hot and flowing before use. You can stir in rum or brandy to taste. If the sauce is too thick or stiff to serve over ice cream, it can always be thinned with a little water or cream. Or, if you like a sauce that thickens more over ice cream, simmer it for a few minutes longer.
(recipe from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert)
I had to put the caramels on the cake some how.. so just made some weird design with them lol.Thanks for a fun challenge. My first time to make caramels and I Loved it!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies...


So officially they are called Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies... But I couldn't afford to go buy pure maple syrup so I made the recipe and changed what I needed to with what I had on hand. I got the recipe from Martha Stewart.Com.. the daily email I get from her cookie a day thing. It sounded too good, and I knew I had Chunky Applesauce at home. So I made them for Book Marked Recipes. Which I haven't done in quite sometime. Hopefully I will be able to do this event again at least a couple times a month.
So for the recipe what I did different, I didn't have raisins on hand.. but I had a half a bag of cinnamon chips and butterscotch chips. and they didn't get iced but next time they will!!


Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 lg egg
1/2 cup chunky-style applesauce
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 c golden raisins ( didn't have so used the chips in place of them.)
( I also added a sprinkle of cinnamon plus spice cause I like that in my cookies!!)
1 3/4 c confectioner's sugar
3 tbsp pure maple syrup

1. Make cookies: Preheat oven to 350. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined. Add egg and applesauce, mix until well blended, 2-3 minutes. Mix in oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt (and spices if you want). Mix in raisins ( or the chips and/or nuts..which I so want to do next time!!)
2.Using a 1 1/2 inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until golden and just set, 13-15 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack set over parchment paper; let cool completely.
3.Make icing: Whisk confectioner's sugar, syrup and 3 tbsp water until smooth. Drissle over cookies, let set.I must say they were tasty cookies. And I am totally gonna get me some maple syrup cause I have got to try them with the icing!! The room mate thought they were gonna be weird cause I added the chips.. his words were " those are great cookies!! perfectly baked!" I have noticed that when ever he wrinkles that nose and says it may be weird he ends up loving it lol. They are super soft and damn tasty!! Definitely try them!!
Thanks Martha for a great Recipe and Thanks Ruth for the great event!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

PIZZA!!!!

I am back and I got the Daring Bakers Challenge done!! First Challenge done in my new apartment, and luckily it was during the weekend before everything went to hell again... hopefully that is past well by next week at least, needless to say I was soo excited to get to try pizza, I have always wanted to!! And with my room mate here I can show off!! So I set out to do the Challenge 2 weekends ago. I inquire the roomy as to what he likes on said pizza. he perks up with ohh Peperoni, onions, peppers, sausage and ohh BBQ sauce!! He looked at me and said..wait is that weird?? I laughed and said no I am upping you and doing BBQ Chicken on mine..oh wait.. I want yea...A hawiian BBQ chicken Pizza.. and that my party people is what I had!! SO I started the dough on Saturday, and I have to say.. I remembered why I shouldn't have let the Ex keep the kitchen aid, but then it did my arms some good to beat the dough to submission!! Though I had to read and reread it cause I kept thinking It had to rise first, not just go to the pan, but i went to the website and my pages and followed it exactly.. wonderful smooth dough.. chillin in the fridge. I then went shopping to get my needs.. I had a plain chicken breast grilled off at work, Peperoni, some virginia baked ham slices, can of pineapple, and 2 bags of cheese, 1 mozzarella and 1 italian cheese blend. I waited patiently.. pizza tomorrow...
I set out at 2pm..ok I have 2 hrs for it to rest and then am good to go. SO I waited more..And finally... finally I had my 2 hrs..and well no damn pizza stone, so it was the back of my pan i had out as the oven heated. I yelled for the roomy and said ok, you have to take some pics.. I am to toss it so take pics!! Its really not easy to get the pizza in the air.. but we pulled it off. I did his first. I forgot the sausage though =(. Ok my issues with the recipe.. you put everything on it and bake the dough, awesome, yeah, was not finished it was still soft in the center. Gorgeous, omg was it the most tasty looking pizza I was sooo proud and it smelled great, but it was not done =(. So for my pizza, I tossed and baked a few minutes first, then.. I put on the toppings and baked it the rest of the way. Came out awesome. And after tasting a piece of mine, we woofed that one down and left half of his. I did save 1 of my 4 dough pieces.. and on the 3rd you ask what I did.. I made Carmel Apple Pizza!! I had to make sweet!! its just..well the way it works!! It was yummy, but..too much carmel and the apples made so much juice it thinned the carmel and ran to the bottom of the oven and burnt and set off my smoke alarms haha. But yummy it was.. just need to tweak ;) But tasty it was...SO with our further ado..the reciep!!
**Let it be known this Challenge was Chosen in Memory of Sherry Who tragically passed away on July 20, 2008, Thanks Rosa and Glenna For the awesome Challenge and the Memory of Sherry!
EQUIPMENT: Stand mixer with paddle and dough hook attachments (optional, see recipe), cooking thermometer, baking sheet, parchment paper, cooking oil, plastic wrap, pizza peel/scraper, pizza stone or pan.



~ BASIC PIZZA DOUGH ~
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

Ingredients:
4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled - FOR GF: 4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1 ½ cup arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast - FOR GF use 2 tsp
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar - FOR GF use agave syrup
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

DAY ONE

Method:
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.


2. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

3. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

4. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

5. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

6. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

DAY TWO

7. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

8. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

9. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.


10. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

11. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

12. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.


13. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

I loved this recipe it was tons of fun, and will definitely use it again!! More pizza to come!! And let it be known.. I do not particularly like the pics of me, not the best thats for damn sure!! lol Enjoy and try some homemade pizza!!

WOoHOo I won!!


Something, how crazy is that?? I am subscribed to Megans Cooking, love seeing all the stuff she is up too..and great recipes!! Well, and yes this is late, I got mine about a week ago, but the chaos that is my life has kept me from posting this..SORRY MEGAN!! I get an email about her Birthday and that she is giving away this adorable smiley spoons. Its all random she had like 5 and will draw names of all that posts a comment. ME I run over there thinking they are soo cute and to wish a Happy Birthday, of course is the heat of typing I left out the most important bit, which was Happy Birthday hehe..so needless to day in a few days when I get an email from the Blog not only was I shocked that My comment was among the winners, OMG I didn't add the Happy Birthday.. Heal.. such the heal.. so I fixed that, and then I got my spoon!! Its soooo cute!!!
Thank you Megan for an awesome Blog and the Joy of getting your Updates!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This I found and thought hmmm

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras ( I hate it!!! haha)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I found this at 1 tsp. love . It looked fun, and thoughts why not =). I was out looking at the eclairs when I found them hehe. woohoo for culinary school I got a few things off that list, there are a few I won't try but hmm you never know I just did what I have had! you're supposed to:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results. 0 comments

Sunday, August 31, 2008

August Challenge! Eclairs!!

Almost late I am. It’s late the 31st and I forgot I had to post my Challenge. Leaving for work, I said to myself oh S*** it’s the last day of August. So here I am at work, typing it up on Word to email to myself, add pics and get posted ha-ha.

The Challenge this Month Was chosen by Tony Tahhan and Meetak .

I was quite excited, I have had to sit out the last couple of months, and was looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, I was worried it was going to be a hard and long challenge but to my enjoyment it was not!!

I have made cream puffs many times before, from a recipe I have just always used, making a light pastry cream filling and shiny ganache top. So I was not worried one bit about the challenge. As I read the recipe, I wondered to myself, a glaze and sauce for the top? And I never have to do the many steps required to bake these particular batch. But intrigued and still not worried I set out to do it. I broke it up between days, making the filling and the choux one day and the topping and putting them together the next.

This was the first challenge I made as is. I did not change a thing. I like bittersweet chocolate and was curious as to how it would all come together in complete form, so mine are the complete recipe with no alterations!

Before we get the recipe here is what I think. I love the bittersweet filling, my gosh it was dense chocolate heaven, not too sweet and very formal to me. These would have been fantastic on an elegant wedding dessert table. The topping, I followed the recipes as close to exact as I could and had no trouble. I read on the forums some had oily glazes or they broke, I am not sure why at all, but mine came together nicely, and I really liked it and will use those 2 items several times again. In fact I had so much left, I added Jalapeños to the left over and used it as the topping on my CupCake hero entry! And I will tell you I think it’s the Hostess cupcake recipe ha-ha because those cupcakes looked just like a Hostess cupcake just no cream filling or white zigzag on the top (but I am so going to try to recreate those now that I have that topping!!

Now the Choux dough itself, It seemed pretty much just like any others I have used, but it baked weird. I made mostly small ones, but had done a couple large that I wanted to use for the pictures, but those rose and then fell flat as they cooled, with no possible way to even cut them in half. I had baked them longer, tapping the bottom of them for that hollow sound, and they had a great golden brown color, but anything longer than my finger was useless to me. So those I had to throw away, leaving me with about a dozen mini éclairs, just enough filling, and a top of glaze (hence the cupcakes hehe).

Over all I was very very pleased!! They were loved by all that ate them, with all the chocolate, they were not overly sweet to me at all. I will definitely keep the filling and toping recipes and just use them with my Choux recipe. Thanks to you both for a great Challenge this month, loved coming back to such a wonderful item to make!!

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)
• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed o
r parchment paper.
2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the

handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.


Notes:
1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:


• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the

bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.


3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.


Notes:
1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
bubbles.

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Notes:
1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

[bNotes:[/b]
1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Notes:
1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)


• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Notes:
1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

And for some silly reason.. I took 2 pictures?? wtf was I thinking?? either way I loved em!!

Check out the rest at the Daring Bakers Blog Roll!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

BookMarked Recipes...JAM!!

Well, I figure since I am always doing Jams and Marmalade's, I might as well do one for the Ball Blue Book of Preserving and get my Book Marked Recipe done early. Ruth host's it weekly and I have greatly enjoyed trying to get something done every week. So I had planned on a Spiced Blueberry Jam today, but have been itching to make Strawberry Marmalade. I love Marmalade and Strawberry Jam so how awesome can the 2 be together? Thinking I was putting strawberry lemonade in a jar I just had to make it.
Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade
¼ c thinly sliced lemon peel
4 c crushed strawberries (about 2 quarts)
1 package powdered pectin
1 Tbsp lemon juice
6 c sugar
Cover lemon peel with water; boil 5 minutes; drain. Combine lemon peel, strawberries, powdered pectin and lemon juice in a large sauce pot. Bring slowly to a boil. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling- water canner.
mm..strawberry with a hint of lemon. Yummy!! Sadly I didn’t have much left a ton of foam for once, and a little marmalade that I added to it making a funky bowl of the two which still tastes fantastic. I love the bright red color of it as well. I got a bakers dozen of little 4 oz jars that 13..hmm 12..lucky people will get in their Christmas package! And for once the event is done before the day it is do haha. and this picture above is the funky bowl of foam and a bit of the marmalade, weird lookin but soo tasty lol..like I am not gonna keep anything I can eat??? Check out the round up sometime Monday you will find some awesome entries or go and check out the past round ups, either way check out Ruth's site its great!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cupcake Hero..Jalapeno!


I was super excited with this months ingredient for Cupcake Hero. The hosts this month Rachel of Tangerine Tart and Teri of the 90/10 rule have chosen Jalapeño. I have been out for a few months so was looking forward to getting back into cupcake craziness. I had many ideas, and had settled on one, and then I had this candy bar, and it was awesome, and I actually ended up making 2 cupcakes. I had been worried about finding the jalapeños. So I just decided to ask a couple people and low and behold, one of my coworkers grows them. WOOHOO!! She brought me a little bag of 3 medium sized peppers. I was set.
The first cupcake has a Caribbean flare to it. I thought to myself what goes well with jalapeños? Well salsa of course, but we need it sweet, how about Mango or citrus or coconut or all 3. So I made a citrus (lemon & lime) jalapeño cupcake, with a jalapeño mango curd filling, with a citrus jalapeño icing..more like a glaze.

Caribbean Cupcakes:
Curd:
4 T sugar
8 T mango nectar
2 egg yolks
1/4 tsp seeded, & finely chopped jalapeño
1/2 tsp butter

In a heavy sauce pan cook sugar, egg, nectar and jalapeño over medium heat. Bring to boil and turn to low. cook until curd coats spatula. Nice thick consistency. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Stir until melted and incorporated. put in small bowl and set aside to cool or refrigerate. (This makes a very small amount. I put a small amount in the middle of each cupcake, if you want more adjust the amounts)

Batter:

3/4 c butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp mango nectar
the zest of 3/4 a lemon and 3/4 a lime (save rest of zest from each for glaze in the end.)
1 jalapeño seeded, & finely chopped ( I smashed it a bit with back of my knife to get it juicy ;) )
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c buttermilk....enough coconut milk to fill the measuring cup to 3/4

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add mango, zests and jalapeño. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk/coconut milk.

Full paper lined cupcake pan 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. (my oven runs hot I think mine were about 18min)

Icing:
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 pinch salt
2 c confectioners' sugar
2-4 Tbsp coconut milk (have extra to adjust to the consistency of choice)
rest of the zest from the lemon and lime from earlier, and 1/2 tsp seeded, finely chopped jalapeño

Mix all ingredients together, add extra milk to thin if needed. I liked mine a bit thin so it was a nice glaze.

And there you have it, a spicy citrusy cupcake with a hint of mango and coconut. I can't wait to take them to work and see what everyone thinks =). I love the glaze and the heat of the cupcake, part of why I couldn't wait to try them out. I used about 1 1/2 jalapeño in the whole recipe, you can decrease or increase the heat as you wish =) .

And now for the other cupcake. My favorite chocolate is the Fire Bar from Vosges. Its amazing! I love it. But figured ehh someone will do a chocolate jalapeño cupcake, how could someone not? Well I had to go to Chicago to pick up my husband at the air port and while their I stopped for a bottle of water, and came across a candy bar from Lindt. A dark chocolate cherry pepper candy bar. It was quite tasty, not as good as the Fire Bar but tasty none the less. So I thought , hey I have cherries, and dark chocolate cocoa and the jalapeños why not try it?
The batter..mmm tasted like a spicy chocolate covered cherry! yum! and what of the icing. Well I did the challenge yesterday, and while glazing what I had made I realized how wonderful it would be to have jalapeños added to it and topping a cupcake so hehe thats what I did =).

Spicy Chocolate covered Cherry Cupcakes:

Cake:
6 oz semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 1/4 cups unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 c sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 c packed dark brown sugar
4 lg eggs at room temp
1 Tb pure vanilla extract
1 jalapeño seeded, and finely chopped
1 cup pitted and chopped cherries ( I used bing, and as they sat the accumulated lots of juice, it all went into the batter.)

Put the chopped chocolate and jalapeño in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Set aside to melt for 5 minutes. Add cocoa, stir until smooth, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
Put the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl and cream together until fluffy, 4-5 minutes, using an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and half of the chocolate mixture and beat to combine. Add the remaining chocolate mixture and beat on low speed until smooth. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Fill paper lined cupcake pans 3/4 full ( I did more and they spilled out a bit ;)). You should get just over 24 cupcakes, if you do the 3/4 full probably closer to the 36. Bake 20-25 min at 350. Mine was closer to 18-20 with the hot oven.

Chocolate Glaze

• 1/3 cup heavy cream
• 3½ oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature
1 tsp seeded, finely chopped jalapeño

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate and jalapeño , stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Notes:
1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

Chocolate Sauce

• 4½ oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup water
• ½ cup heavy cream
• 1/3 cup sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Once the cupcakes are cool, carefully dip them into the slightly warm chocolate glaze. You need it warm to get the smooth, ganach like texture to the cupcakes. Be careful, they are a very tender cupcake, if too warm the tops will break on you.

And there you have it, my 2 cupcakes. I like them both, and had lots of fun with them =).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Book Marked Recipe

I almost thought I wasn't going to be able to do Book Marked Recipes this week, work had me super busy, but after telling our room mate a weird dream, he picked up on a small part and perked up with "oh we are having blueberry pancakes?" I thought, well yea we can tomorrow I guess. And then I remembered wait I just saw a recipe. And sure enough, in my newest edition of Fine Cooking, there is a recipe for Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes, perfect for a late Sunday breakfast. So about 11:30am I set out to make those yummy pancakes, with all the blueberries still in the freezer I say why not haha.
Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 pint blueberries, washed and picked over
honey, syrup, or jam of serving.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs and butter.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. With as few strokes as possible, mix until the batter is evenly moistened but still a little lumpy. Let the batter rest for at least 5 minutes.
Very lightly oil a griddle and heat it evenly over medium heat until droplets from a sprinkle of water dance briefly on the surface before disappearing. From the tip of a large spoon, drop about 2 Tbsp. of butter onto the griddle and use the spoon to gently spread the batter into a round. Sprinkle a small handful of blueberries onto each pancake. Cook the pancakes until they're covered in bubbles on top and nicely browned on the bottom. Flip and cook the other side until it's nicely browned. Serve immediately.

Let me just say "WOW". Ok I will be honest, I have never made pancakes without the use of a premade mix of sorts. I have made waffles once at school, but do not recall pancakes. These were amazing! I will never use a mix again. So tender and fluffy, and the berries mmmm wonderful! I am gonna play with the fruit, maybe do strawberry or banana nut another time. They were fantastic. The hubby and room mate loved em, and I have 2 left for my breakfast tomorrow..YAY!! I am loving this event Ruth!! Everyone check out the rest!