Archive for January, 2010

January 28, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Berry Coulis

Okay so I promised we would get past all this Christmas business and so here we go. Over break, I went to Chicago and visited my friend Jeremy, and we did a little cooking, a little baking, you know! (I also visited my cousin and had a spectacular failure of a dessert, which will be coming soon).

We made a delicious vegetable soup which was very yummy perfect for the cold weather.  Which brings me to an important broadcast. My wonderful Grandma Snow has started a blog of her own! And… it is all about soups! So, instead of yammering on about the soup I made, I want to point you in her direction – Saucy Soups! I even just did a little guest soup making with her a week ago, so head on over and check it out!! She is just getting started but already has some delicious recipes up.

Now on to what we really like to talk about over here – DESSERT! Enough with all these appetizers and vegetables… we need some good old fashioned Flourless Chocolate Cake.  Jeremy had a little expertise in this area so we charged ahead! The cake came out delicious and moist – one of my biggest issues with this kind of cake is how dry it always seems to be in restaurants.

Ours didn’t look too pretty though, when it first came out of the oven – the sides had fallen all in. Also, it had taken waaay longer to cook than the recipe said!

BUT Jeremy saved the day with some homemade strawberry and blackberry coulis and vanilla ice cream. Can we just get a round of applause for his excellent plating skills? Anyways, this was a delicious cake and it was super fun to bake in Jeremy’s beeautiful kitchen!

Flourless Chocolate Cake (a.k.a. Chocolate Cracked Earth)
adapted from Foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 9 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1 inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs – this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate – then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. (NOTE: Ours baked more like 45-50 minutes!! So just keep checking it…) Let stand 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan.

Top with ice cream, whipped cream, powdered sugar, or a fruity sauce! YUM!

January 23, 2010

Final Christmas post – Andy’s Bûche de Noël!!

Yeah yeah, I know. Christmas is over. Way over. Like last year over. But I’m a busy kid and I was hoping to get my little bro to write up this post, since it was his creation.  But I’m filling in and getting this thing up so we can all finally move on with our lives and see some more recent goodies.

So this brings us to our guest blogger.  My nine year old brother Andy loves cooking and baking, and desperately wanted to make this Bûche de Noël, which he learned how to make at school!

He and my step-mom crafted the whole thing, and it truly was the hit of the party.  One log was chocolate-coffee, and the other was just plain chocolate.  The recipe was passed on to us from my uncle, and I don’t have it on hand, but a thin layer of cake is cooked on a baking sheet, and then rolled up in a log to cool. The cake is then unrolled, frosted, and rolled back up.  The little mushrooms are meringue – crafted by my step-mom Heather!!

Thanks Andy!!

January 11, 2010

Chardonnay Cake with an Almond Sugar Crust

This was meant to be my master piece at the Lane Holiday soiree. I mean, I basically threw this party in order to bake this cake.  Not quite, but almost.

Aaand… it came out OK. Not great. Definitely not a masterpiece. Pretty tasty, and semi-pretty. I was a little disappointed, I’m not gonna lie. I made two… one in a tart pan and one in a regular spring form. They both came out lopsided (thanks oven.) and just not as classy and glorious as I expected. Not sure what could have improved this, but one thing that made all the difference was the strawberry sauce that my stepmom Heather made to drizzle on the serving plate and on top of the slices.

Chardonnay Cake with an Almond Sugar Crust
Adapted from Always Order Dessert (check out the pictures of what it SHOULD have looked like!)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon orange flower water (optional) – I didn’t use this
1 vanilla bean split in half or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup Chardonnay
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (“Sugar in the Raw”)
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9″ springform pan and set aside.

Sift together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the base of your electric mixer, beat the softened butter with the 3/4 cup of granulated white sugar until light and really fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating each well until incorporated. Whisk in the orange zest, orange flower water, and scrape in the vanilla seeds from the inside of the vanilla bean (or add your extract).

Add the flour mixture in two steps, alternating with the wine, and mixing only until both are incorporated

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and use a spatula to smooth out the top. Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar, making sure to cover the whole cake. Then sprinkle the sliced almonds over the sugar crystals making sure they cover it completely and evenly.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top turns golden and puffs slightly. A cake tester inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the springform pan for 10 minutes before removing the sides and sliding the cake onto a dish. Let cool completely before serving.

January 7, 2010

Christmas Cookies!

I’ve got a lot of yummy cookies from our holiday party, so here is the run down:

First up – Pecan Paulines!

These guys were totally yummy, and probably the favorite cookie at our little holiday fiesta. I didn’t have any maple extract, so I just used some maple syrup, and reduced the brown sugar a bit. I also think I might have used honey in the glaze on top instead of corn syrup. Basically they were delicious! Most important thing? Don’t overbake because they get pretty crispy. Check out the recipe at Cookie Madness!

Some Russian Tea Cakes, made by my wonderful Grandma Snow!

Next – Florentines!

These were a very pretty addition to the cookie platter. I left one batch in the oven too long and they got a little too brown and tasted a little burned.  Also, I just wanted the chocolate to be thinner when I dipped the cookies in – this is a constant problem for me and I would love to find a solution! But over all these were pretty easy to make and were very tasty. Thanks to Chocolate Fool for the recipe!

The crowd pleaser: Chocolate Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

Since the pinwheel cookies I attempted went horribly wrong (i.e. no one in my family would even eat them, which is saying a LOT), I whipped up these instead using this yummy recipe I had used over the summer. Foolproof chocolate cookies, and I made them bite sized!!

And of course, the ever classic Thumprint Cookie:

This recipe from 101 Cookbooks was recommended by my big bro and co-chef Dan. They brought us away from refined sugars and bleached flour to a heartier, healthier (?) whole wheat cookie sweetened with honey. These got mixed reviews – some people didn’t seem to care for them, while others really enjoyed them. They got a little soggy and never crisped up the way I would have liked, but were pretty on the plate and a nice variety!

And last but not least – simple Fudge.

I’ll say right now that this was not the best or fanciest fudge I have ever eaten, but it sure was good and it sure was easy. Just chocolate chips, condensed milk I made one plain chocolate batch with Christmas-y sprinkles on top, and one with both regular chocolate and white chocolate topped with crushed Oreos. I preferred the Oreos 🙂

That’s all for the cookie scene this Christmas!

January 6, 2010

Lane Family Holiday Extravaganza

So I’m worried that I exhausted all my baking energy within the first 5 days I was home from break.  All semester I waited for this break, patiently collecting recipes and dreaming dreams of daily baking adventures. What a better way to start of my break than to throw a fabulous Christmas party with all our family friends and just cook/bake my brains out?

Well, friends, that is pretty much what I did. My big brother Dan and I cooked up a storm for about 30-40 family friends the weekend before Christmas and I haven’t really been in the kitchen since.  Or updating this little blog of mine… Luckily, I have plenty of posts to catch up on since I haven’t really made anything new since then.  Hopefully by the time I finish with these, I will have recharged and be back in my apron!

Since this is more of a sweet treats blog, I will do a quick run-down of the “real” food that we made, and then catch up on the REAL food (i.e. the dessert table) in more detail!

First up, Dan whipped up some awesome bruschetta – some with goat cheese and kale and some with mozzarella and tomatoes. I was skeptical about kale at first, but I think I am a convert – it was delicious cooked up with some onions and garlic!

Next up was some Baked Sweet Potato Falafel from 101 Cookbooks. These were pretty good, and I thought they were a nice interesting appetizer.  One note – these taste MUCH better warm than luke-warm or cool. I didn’t get a picture, but follow the link above to see these little beauties!

Dan made a HUGE Bulgar Salad with raisins, chickpeas, parsley, and some lemon juice.  I think we are STILL eating leftover bulgar… but it was yummy! A little goes a long way though…

I cooked up some little cornbread muffins.  I did some in my pretty molded pan and some in a mini muffin tin and then drizzled honey on top. The honey looked really pretty in the molded muffins! Recipe from King Arthur Flour!

For the meat-eaters, we made some Stuffed Mushrooms with turkey and cheese and onions, recipe courtesy of Pete Bakes. I used ground turkey instead of sausage, which turned out nicely. As far as these go, the bigger the mushroom, the easier to stuff. We also made some with tofu for the non-meat eaters! I only got a picture of them pre-baking – then they got eaten all up!

We also made Chicken Meatballs, using this yummy recipe from Smitten Kitchen. They were a big hit, and particularly good with extra tomato sauce brushed on top before AND after baking!

We also had some mac and cheese for the kids, although I can’t find the recipe (and it was kind of wonky anyways).  Other highlights include Dan’s homemade spinach hummus, yummy cheese and fruit platters, etc.

Dan says Yum!!