Coffee & Walnut cake

Coffee & walnut cake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g pack softened butter, plus extra for the tins
  • 100ml strong black coffee (made with 2 tbsp coffee granules), cooled
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 85g walnuts, 2 tbsp roughly chopped, the rest finely chopped

For the filling

  • 100g icing sugar, sifted, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 150ml double cream
  • 100g mascarpone, at room temperature

METHOD:

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter 2 x 20cm round cake tins and line with baking parchment. Set aside 1 tbsp of the coffee for the filling.
  2. Beat the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and half the remaining coffee in a large bowl with an electric whisk until lump-free. Fold in the finely chopped walnuts, then divide between the tins and roughly spread. Scatter the roughly chopped walnuts over one of the cakes. Bake the cakes for 25-30 mins until golden and risen, and a skewer poked in comes out clean. Drizzle the plain cake with the remaining coffee. Cool the cakes in the tins.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling: beat together the icing sugar, cream and mascarpone, then fold in the reserved 2 tbsp coffee. Spread over the plain cake, then cover with the walnut-topped cake and dust with a little icing sugar.
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No-bake peach and almond tartlets

Image

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup 35% cream
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp orange-blossom water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large ripe, firm peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

METHOD:

  1. Stir crumbs with butter in a medium bowl, until mixture is moist. Line 8 cups in a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Scoop a scant 3 tbsp crumb mixture into each cup. Firmly press from centre of liner to edges and up the sides until crust is even with rim. Refrigerate until firm.
  2. Beat mascarpone with cream, honey, orange-blossom water and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until fluffy, about 2 min. Remove muffin tin from refrigerator and fill prepared crusts with mascarpone mixture up to the rim. Smooth tops. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  3. Stir peaches with sugar in a small bowl. Let sit until peaches soften, about 15 to 20 min. Drain liquid and stir in almonds.
  4. Unmold tartlets onto individual dessert plates. Scoop mixture over each tartlet.

Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake

Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

  • 2 cups crushed Oreo
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter

Cheesecake:

  • 3 packs cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cups thickened cream or whipped cream, chilled
  • 4 tsp unflavoured gelatine
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 6 pcs Ferrero Rocher, roughly chopped

Toppings:

  • 4 heaping tbsp Nutella
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 8 pcs Ferrero Rocher
  • Chocolate shavings

METHOD:

  1. Combine all ingredients and make sure it’s mixed well and butter is evenly spread throughout the crushed crackers, press it in a 9 in pie pan.
  2. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 10 minutes (this makes the crust more firm, but you can omit this process if you wanted to)
  3. Chill in fridge for around 20 minutes.
  4. Place softened cream cheese and sugar in a bowl together; using an electric mixer beat the cheese until thoroughly mixed and creamy.
  5. Dissolve gelatine in hot water then let it cool for a while.  Once cooled down add into the cream cheese mixture, continue to beat until mixture becomes fluffy.
  6. Now add thickened cream and chopped Ferrero then fold until it’s evenly mixed.
  7. Pour over the prepared crust.
  8. Top it with the Ferrero Rocher and chocolate shavings. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.
  9. Before serving drizzle melted Nutella on top then serve.
  10. Place Nutella, confectioners sugar and milk in a double boiler, stir until sauce becomes runny add more milk if required.

Coconut Rose Chocolate Macaroons

INGREDIENTS:

makes ~50 small macarons or 20-30 large macaroons

for macaroon shells*:

  • 200 gr powdered sugar
  • 120 gr blanched and slivered almonds
  • 20 gr unsweetened dried coconut flakes (not the sugared kind!)
  • 30 gr granulated sugar
  • 100 gr egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tspn cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tspn coconut extract
  • 1/8 tspn rose extract

METHOD:

  1. Prepare two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper and a pastry bag with a large round piping tip.
  2. Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, and dried coconut flakes in a food processor and grind until a fine powder. Sift thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, have ready the granulated sugar.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, quickly stir the mixture until the entire surface is covered with foam. Then, start whisking the egg whites, gradually adding in the granulated sugar once the egg whites are very frothy. Whisk until you reach glossy, almost-stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold the sifted almond and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites in two to three stages, adding the coconut and rose extracts as you go. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated and the batter slowly re-absorbs peaks. Do not overmix!
  6. Transfer the macaroon mixture to the prepared piping bag and pipe rounds on the lined baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets on the table a few times to release air pockets.
  7. Rest the macaroons for at least 30 minutes (and up to 60), until the outside shells are no longer tacky and sticky to a light touch.
  8. Preheat oven to 145 degrees C, with the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  9. Bake the macaroons in the oven, one sheet at a time, for 24-28 minutes total, rotating the sheet half-way through the baking time to insure even baking.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool.

*Note: the resting and oven temperature and times are adjusted to what works in my kitchen and oven (which, to my knowledge and according to two oven thermometers, is quite accurate). Please note that you may have to adjust according to what works in your kitchen and oven.

for coconut-rose chocolate ganache:

  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (see note below)
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 1 tspn rose water
  • 2 tspn corn syrup
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut cream, butter, rose water, and corn syrup. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Once the coconut cream mixture is simmering, remove from heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Let cool completely, and use to fill macaroons.
  4. Once the macaroons are filled, let them “cure” in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Note: for coconut cream, skim the cream off the top of a can of coconut milk. A little bit of milk is okay.

Chocolate-covered Jam Sandwich Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
makes 20 – 24 cookies

  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • ¼ tspn salt
  • 2 cups (280 g) all purpose flour
  • 12 + 1 Tbspn butter, softened
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (28 gr) powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • jam or marmalade
  • 89 g (3 oz) dark chocolate
  • 89 g (3 oz) heavy cream

METHOD:

  1. Combine the baking powder, salt, and flour in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl, cream 12 Tbspn of butter for 2 – 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add the sugar and powdered sugar and continue to beat for a few minutes more.
  4. Add the egg and beat well.
  5. Add the flour mixture in three stages, mixing just until combined.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and form into a ball. Wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 180˚ C. Prepare baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpats.
  8. Roll out the cold dough on a lightly floured surface to a ½-inch thickness. Using a 1¾-inch cookie cutter, cut out small rounds. Reroll the leftover dough and continue to cut out cookies. Place cookies on a prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes if the dough is no longer cold.
  9. Bake each sheet for 15 minutes, rotating once half-way through the baking time. Cookies are done when the edges begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. To assemble, spread a small amount of jam on a cookie and sandwich with another one.
  11. Finely chop the dark chocolate and place in a bowl.
  12. Combine the heavy cream and remaining 1 Tbspn of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, and pour on top of the chocolate. Let sit for a minute, and then whisk until smooth.
  13. Dip the cookies in the chocolate ganache, shaking gently to remove the excess, and let dry on a sheet of parchment paper or silpat for at least 2 hours until the ganache has firmed up and is no longer liquid.

Peach Froyo and Basil Snickerdoodle Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS:
makes 10 – 12 three-inch sandwichesfor peach frozen yogurt:

  • 2 medium peaches, ripe
  • 3 Tbspn (38 g) + ⅔ cup (133 g) sugar
  • 1½ cups (345 g) whole milk
  • 2 Tbspn (15 g) tapioca starch
  • 4 Tbspn (57 g) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (134 g) light corn syrup
  • 1¾ cups (367 g) Greek yogurt

METHOD:

  1. Peel and pit the peaches. In a food processor, roughly puree the peaches, leaving very small peach bits in the puree. Measure out ¾ cup (165 g) for peach puree and stir in 3 Tbspn (38 g) of sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 Tbspn (43 g) of milk with the tapioca starch to make a slurry. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining (302 g) milk, (133 g) sugar, and corn syrup. Over medium heat, bring the milk mixture to a boil and let boil for 4 minutes, being very careful not to let the milk boil over.
  5. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the starch mixture.
  6. Return the saucepan to medium heat and bring to a boil. Let cook for about 1 minute, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
  7. Gradually whisk the milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the Greek yogurt until smooth, then stir in the peach puree.
  8. Cover the yogurt base and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Then freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions. After freezing, let firm in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.

for basil snickerdoodles:

  • 3 cups (383 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tspn cream of tartar
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • ½ tspn salt
  • 1 cup (226 g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups (300g) + 2 Tbspn (25 g) sugar
  • 14 g fresh basil leaves, very finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tspn ground cinnamon

METHOD:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Place the butter, 1½ cups (300 g) sugar, and chopped basil leaves in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add in the flour mixture, beating on low just until the flour is incorporated. Cover the dough and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until firm.
  5. Preheat the oven to 190° C. Prepare cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silicon mats.
  6. Combine the remaining 2 Tbspn (25 g) sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using about one heaping Tbspn of dough, form a ball and roll the ball in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  7. Place the dough balls on the cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Do not flatten.
  8. Bake each sheet of cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking time. 9. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to let cool briefly. After about 2 or 3 minutes, use a spatula to remove the cookies from the tray. Place the cookies on a wire rack and let cool completely.
  9. for assembly. Remove the peach frozen yogurt from the freezer and let soften briefly. Scoop a spoonful of frozen yogurt onto the bottom of a cookie and top with another, pressing gently. Freeze until firm.

Note: I highly recommend seeking out good cinnamon that packs a spicy kick for these cookies because it will make all the difference.

Rose Marzipan

INGREDIENTS:

Makes about 48 chocolates
for marzipan:

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 lb. almond paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn corn syrup
  • 1 Tbspn rose flavoring (available at specialty food stores; I got mine at Sur la Table)
  • 1/2 Tbspn water
  • 3-4 drops pink gel food coloring

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor, pulse confectioner’s sugar until no lumps remain.  Add the almond paste in chunks and process until combined.
  2. Add the corn syrup.  Pulse a few times until the corn syrup is incorporated.
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine rose flavoring, water, and food coloring and mix.  Add the food coloring mixture into the food processor.
  4. Process until the combination starts to come together.  Stop right before it forms a big ball.
  5. Turn out the marzipan onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap tightly and store in an airtight container overnight before use.

for chocolates:

  • 1 lb. dark chocolate (I used Gittard, but any good quality dark chocolate will work), split into two half pounds
  • rose marzipan, recipe above

METHOD:
You will also need plastic chocolate molds.  available  at arts & crafts stores or online.

  1. Chop a 1/2 pound of the dark chocolate and place in a double boiler.  Melt this chocolate.  Turn off stove.
  2. Add the other 1/2 pound WHOLE, without chopping!, to the melted chocolate in the double boiler.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  This is the easiest way to temper chocolate that I’ve found.  No need to mess with marble pastry boards or thermometers!  But, if you have your own method, feel free to temper the chocolate as you wish.
  3. Once the chocolate is tempered, make sure to keep it only hot enough to keep it melted.  Turn on the stove to simmer the water in the double boiler if heat is needed.
  4. Pour a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the molds one at a time. Once the chocolate is poured into one mold, use a paintbrush to spread the chocolate evenly to coat the inside of each mold.  Do not pour chocolate into all of the molds first and then spread later–your chocolate will cool!  Do this one single mold at a time.
  5. Once the molds have been coated, place them in the freezer for about five minutes.  Be careful not to leave them in for too long–the goal is only to let the chocolate set.
  6. Remove the molds from the freezer.  Break off small pieces of rose marzipan–about the size of a small cherry, and roll into a ball.  Press the marzipan into the chocolate molds, leaving a tiny bit of space at the top of each mold.
  7. Pour melted chocolate into the molds to cover the marzipan.  Jiggle each tray a few times, and tap them gently on the counter to allow the melted chocolate to settle and to release any air pockets.
  8. Return the molds to the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Remove from the freezer and turn out onto a cutting board.  If needed, use a round cookie cutter to trim the excess chocolate around the candies.
  9. You should probably store the chocolates in the fridge, but since the chocolate is tempered, they will survive a bit of time outside the fridge as well, as long as it’s not too hot outside!