Thursday, February 18, 2010

Coffee Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh, baking, how I missed thee. After a *very* extended hiatus, I've finally gotten some time to start baking again. I checked in with the Tuesdays with Dorie group, and grabbed the closest recipe to date. It was chocolate chip cookies, so I modified it a bit (with Dorie's help, via her suggestions) and baked a batch. The host this week was Kait of Kait’s Plate.

I added 1/3 of a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the dry ingredients, and used coffee extract instead of vanilla extract as a finishing touch. I also added an excess of salt (I love salty chocolate cookies, ever since Dorie's World Peace cookies) as a little touch at the end.

I'm looking forward to getting into the swing of baking again, and hopefully having time to post longer entries soon.

Recipe: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan p. 68

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Apple Zeppole with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

My girlfriend has made it a habit to record all Giada De Laurentiis shows. While watching one of these, a particular recipe caught our eye. We decided to try our hand at it that night. The outcome were doughnut-like apple morsels and a delicious whipped cream to pair with it.

The zeppole have grated apple in them, giving them their main flavor. If you decide to make these, use whatever apple you like - just make sure they're your favorite, and this dessert will be one too.

Apple Zeppole:
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
4 eggs, room temperature
1 large apple of your choice, peeled, cored, and finely grated
Oil for frying (canola or olive)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Into a large, heavy pot, add enough oil to come at least 2 inches off the bottom. Bring to 325ºF, and keep it close to that temperature. In the meantime, bring to a boil the sugar, butter, salt, and water in a medium saucepan. After reaching a boil, immediately remove from heat and add in the flour. Using a wooden spoon, mix until it all comes together, then place back onto heat. Stir continuously for 3-5 minutes, or until a thick ball forms (similar to making choux). Remove from stove top and mix the dough with an electric mixture for a minute to release some of the heat. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. After the final egg has been added, continue beating the dough until smooth.

Carefully drop about a teaspoon of the dough at a time into the hot oil, working in batches of 5 or 6 at a time, as to not crowd the surface. It helps if you have a small cookie scoop; if you don't, you can drop the dough in with spoons, but your final zeppole won't look as nice. Flip periodically until the zeppole are lightly browned and puffed, 4-5 minutes, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to wick away excess oil. Allow to cool to room temperature, then dust with powdered sugar and serve with Cinnamon Whipped Cream (side note: if you want to eat them while they're hot, that's just fine. However, your whipped cream will melt if you try to dip them, and won't stick to the zeppole). Yields 6 servings.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients and whip with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a serving dish, and serve alongside the cooked zeppole.

These were devoured quickly when I brought the leftovers in to work the next day, so there seems to be no real problems with letting the zeppole sit out at room temperature overnight. Just keep them covered with plastic wrap, and make sure you refrigerate the whipped cream; let this come to room temperature before serving.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Allspice Crumb Muffins

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was hosted by Kayte of Grandma’s Kitchen Table. It's a sweet muffin that can be served for breakfast, or for a snack/dessert. I'm posting a few days late, but rest assured, these were made on Tuesday.

I used mini-muffin pans and got about 3 dozen mini-muffins instead of the one dozen large ones. Make sure there's enough to share, right? They ended up looking like little mushrooms, but the bite-sized treats were light and flavorful.

I had some issue with my streusel. Instead of making a nice crumbly mass to lightly top my muffins, I ended up with a creamy thick goop. Adding a pinch at a time, I just broke up the streusel into as small of pieces as I could get, and lightly pushed them into the dough. Didn't seem to matter too much though - when they were cooking, the streusel melted anyways.

Recipe: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan pp. 16-17

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Split Level Pudding

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by...well, look at that, it's selected by me! Finally put in enough time to pick out a recipe. I picked out the split-level pudding, because something about it reminded me of my childhood, going for those hand-held cups of pudding with multiple layers of goodness.

Unfortunately, when it came time to take the pictures and get everything ready for this epic post, I ended up being rushed. Argh. I tried to get creative, and man did that work out horribly. Also, my photoshop is still dead. If I had that right now, I could at least *try* to make my pictures look prettier. Oh well, maybe next time.

It's a simple vanilla pudding on top, with chocolate ganache on the bottom. I would actually warm up this dessert before serving it - I tried it cold at first, and didn't really like it. My girlfriend suggested I heat it up. I did, and it was about 16 times better. Not sure why, but making it warm just made it awesome. Thanks for everyone who baked with me this week!

Recipe: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, pp. 384-385

For the chocolate layer:
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream

For the vanilla layer:
2 1/4 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Chocolate shavings for decoration (optional)

Have 6 ramekins or cups for the pudding, each holding 1/2-3/4 cup, ready.

To make the chocolate ganache, put the chocolate into a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Bring the cream to a boil, then pour over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds before stirring gently until blended. Divide among the cups and set aside.

To make the vanilla pudding, bring 2 cups of milk and 3 tablespoons sugar to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. In the meantime, place into a food processor the cornstarch and salt. Whir until blended, then turn out onto wax paper. Place the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and egg yolks into the processor, then process for a minute. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and pulse just until mixed, then add the cornstarch mix and pulse until mixed. While the machine is blending, slowly add the hot milk mixture. After all the hot milk has been added, pour back into the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until thickened (about 2 minutes). If it begins to boil, lower the heat. Take off of the stovetop, and add the butter and vanilla. Whisk until fully incorporated (you can do this in the food processor, but I find it easier to whisk). Pour the pudding into the cups, and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate puddings for at least 4 hours before serving.

Chocolate Souffle

This is a delayed post for Tuesdays with Dorie, hosted last month by Susan of She’s Becoming DoughMessTic. It's Dorie's simple, yet delectable, chocolate souffle.

Even with the pep-talk by Dorie in the book, I was worried about making this dish. There's so much stigma surrounding souffles. It seems like the slightest gust of wind can make these formidable desserts cave in and render an amateur baker's heart. Nonetheless, I saw my challenge, and I went for it. Ta da! Success!

A bit of an admission: I've never ordered a souffle in a restaurant. Heck, I've never even had a souffle. This was definitely a first. Given that, I don't even know if I made it right. It looked good on the outside, but I have no idea how it's supposed to taste, or what sort of texture it's supposed to have. All I know is, it was good. I guess that's really all that matters, though.

Recipe: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, p. 406

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Perfection Pound Cake

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart, selected by Carla of Chocolate Moosey. I'd already made this recipe and posted it (here), so I opted to make something from the Tuesdays with Dorie archive of dishes I've missed. Dorie's Perfection Pound Cake is a delicious classic, and I took Dorie's "playing around" suggestion and made it marbelized with some chocolate batter.

Baking the cake for a little too long, I burnt it a little on the crust - what can I say, I've been out of it for a while. I really need to get back into the mode of baking more...I'm really getting rusty. Anyways, this was my second time marbeling, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

Cut into thick slices, microwaved, with just a small pat of butter on top, this treat is an excellent sweet breakfast, or delicious dessert. I'll be trying this out again soon, without the chocolate, just to see how well it turns out - who doesn't love a classic pound cake?

Recipe: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, pp. 222-223

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cottage Cheese Pufflets

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was hosted by Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes. These cookies are made with a cottage cheese-based dough, and filled with a jam of your choice. I used blackberry preserves for mine, giving a bright purple color when you bite into them. Light, tasty, and not overly-sweet, these are a great snack or dessert.

The dough doesn't use eggs in it, so you can snack on it before cooking. Not something I'd really suggest, though. Eating raw cookie dough is usually a hidden treat for me - if nobody's looking, I can grab a spoonful and shove it in my mouth, swallowing before anyone sees. Usually it's this case? Not so much. These cookies are definitely better cooked than they are raw.

I rolled these about 1/4 of an inch instead of 1/8-inch, giving the cookies a thicker texture. Even so, they gave me problems when I tried to fold them over and shape them, so a refrigerator/freezer is definitely your friend when working with this thin dough. If you make them thicker, add about 7 minutes to the cooking time, or until they're lightly golden on top.

Recipe: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, pp. 148-149