Dark Chocolate Chip and Currant Biscotti

INGREDIENTS:

makes ~60 cookies according to Lebovitz (I got ~40)

  • 350 gr AP flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 100 gr white granulated sugar
  • 100 gr dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried currants

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. Whisk to combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, white sugar, dark brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium high for about five minutes, until the batter has considerably thickened.
  4. Gently fold the flour into the egg mixture.
  5. Add and gently mix in the chocolate chips and dried currants.
  6. On a lightly-floured surface, divide the dough into two portions. Shape each portion into a log about three inches in diameter, and transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, allowing a few inches in between the logs because they will spread in the oven. Wet your hands lightly with water and smooth the outsides of the dough logs.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once halfway through baking, until the logs are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10-15 minutes.
  8. Decrease the oven temperature to 150 degrees C.
  9. Transfer the logs to a cutting board and using a sharp, serrated knife, slice the logs into ~3/4″ pieces. Transfer the pieces, cut-side up back onto the lined baking sheet.
  10. Bake the cookies again for 15-20 more minutes, rotating once half-way through baking. Remove cookies and let cool on a wire rack. Cookies will continue to harden when cooling.  Store in an airtight container.
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Cardamom, Orange & Honey Granola

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 4-6 Tbsp. honey, depending on how sweet you like it
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom (1 1/2 if you love it like I do!)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 C gluten rolled oats
  • 1/2 C finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 C finely chopped prunes or dried pears
  • 3/4 C raw nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, chopped brazil, pecan, or a mixture)
  • 2 Tbsp. flax seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • Zest of one large orange

METHOD:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180˚C and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. (You can make this recipe raw if you have a food dehydrator, just set the temp on low and let it dry for a couple days)
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the oil, honey, orange juice, salt and cardamom. Heat on low and stir well.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until well mixed.
  5. Dump the whole lot out onto the parchment paper and spread out evenly.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring once about midway through cooking.

Ginger, White Chocolate, and Strawberry Trifle

makes enough for 3-4 individually sized trifles
INGREDIENTS:
for white chocolate creme anglaise:
You will need ~1 cup of this recipe, so save the rest for another use.

  • 6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 oz. whole milk
  • 4 oz. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbspn sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

METHOD:

  1. Place chopped white chocolate in a bowl with a fine sieve on top. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks until light. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk, cream, sugar, and salt. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the milk mixture and put the pod in as well.  Bring to a near simmer.
  4. Whisking constantly, pour a small but steady stream of the heated milk and cream into the egg yolks to temper. Do this slowly, while whisking quickly. Once the milk and egg yolks are combined, return to the saucepan and to the stove.
  5. Heat the egg yolks and milk mixture while stirring constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom so that nothing burns or sticks.  Slowly bring the mixture to a boil and cook until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about one minute.  Remove from heat immediately.
  6. Pour the hot creme anglaise through the strainer onto the white chocolate.  Let sit for a minute and then whisk until the white chocolate completely melts.
  7. Let cool completely in the refrigerator.

for ginger genoise:

  • 50 grams flour
  • 12 grams cornstarch
  • 1 tspn ground ginger
  • 4.5 Tbspn butter
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 88 grams sugar
  • 2 Tbspn water
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped crystallized ginger (recipe below)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Prepare a quarter sheet pan, lined with parchment paper and then lightly greased and floured.
  2. Combine flour, cornstarch, and ground ginger and set aside.
  3. On the stove, heat the butter until the solids drop to the bottom and begin to brown.  Remove from heat immediately and strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids.  Add the vanilla extract to the liquid butter and keep warm.
  4. In a mixer bowl over simmering water, combine the egg yolks and the sugar.  Whisk constantly until the mixture is almost hot to the touch.
  5. Transfer the warmed egg yolks and sugar to the mixer and whisk on high for five minutes.
  6. Add the water to the eggs and sugar, and whisk briefly on medium to combine.
  7. Using a large balloon whisk, fold in the flour mixture to the eggs in two parts.
  8. Fold in the melted butter and vanilla to the batter in two parts.  Do not overmix!
  9. Fold in the chopped crystallized ginger, being careful not to overmix.
  10. Immediately pour the batter onto the prepared pan.  Smooth out the batter, though it may not fill the whole pan–that’s okay.
  11. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the cake is golden and the top springs back when lightly pressed.  Remove from oven and cool.

for white chocolate creme anglaise cream:

  • 2/3 – 1 cup of white chocolate creme anglaise, cold
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

METHOD:

  1. Whisk the white chocolate creme anglaise for a few seconds.  Set aside.
  2. Using a large balloon whisk, whip the cream until soft peaks, gradually adding the powdered sugar.
  3. Gently but quickly, fold in the creme anglaise to the whipped cream.  Use immediately.

for assembly:

  • ginger syrup
  • fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
  • chopped crystallized ginger, optional

METHOD:

  1. Using a large round cookie cutter about the size of your trifle glass, cut out cake rounds from the genoise.
  2. Brush the cake cut-outs liberally on both sides and all edges with ginger syrup.
  3. In each trifle glass, layer cream, cake, and strawberries.  Top with extra chopped crystallized ginger and strawberries.

How to Make Candied Ginger

candied ginger

You don’t need a candy thermometer to make this. Simply keep an eye on the pot and when the liquid is the consistency of thin honey, it’s done and ready to go.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound (500g) fresh ginger, peeled
  • 4 cups (800g) sugar, plus additional sugar for coating the ginger slices, if desired
  • 4 cups (1l) water
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  1. Slice the ginger as thinly as possible. It can’t be too thin, so use a sharp knife.
  2. Put the ginger slices in a nonreactive pot, add enough water to cover the ginger, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let ginger simmer for ten minutes. Drain, and repeat, simmering the ginger slices one more time.
  3. Mix the sugar and 4 cups (1l) water in the pot, along with a pinch of salt and the ginger slices, and cook until the temperature reaches 225F (106C.)
  4. Remove from heat and let stand for at least an hour, although I often let it sit overnight. Or if you want to coat the slices with sugar, drain very well while the ginger is hot, so the syrup will drain away better.
  5. Store ginger slices in its syrup, or toss the drained slices in granulated sugar. Shake off excess sugar, and spread the ginger slices on a cooling rack overnight, until they’re somewhat dry. The sugar can be reused in a batter or ice cream base, or for another purpose.

Storage: The ginger, packed in its syrup, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one year. If you’re concerned with it crystallizing, add a tablespoon or two of corn syrup or glucose to the sugar syrup at the beginning of step #3. If tossed in sugar, the pieces can be stored at room temperature for a few months.

Gimme s’more cakelettes

INGREDIENTS:
makes eight 3-inch cakelettes
for graham crackers:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 Tbspn molasses
  • 4 Tbspn whole milk
  • 2 Tbspn vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups + 2 Tbspn all purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 3/4 tspn salt
  • 7 Tbspn butter, cold
METHOD:
  1. Whisk together the honey, molasses, milk, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  2. Place the flour, light brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined.
  3. Cut the butter into the food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  4. Add the pre-mixed liquid ingredients to the food processor and pulse just until a dough begins to form.
  5. Dump the contents of the food processor out onto a lightly-floured surface and form into a rectangle. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until firm, preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper or a silpat and set aside.
  7. Once chilled, work with the dough in two batches, keeping a batch in the refrigerator while working with the other. Roll the dough out thinly on a lightly-floured surface until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Cut eight 3-inch rounds of dough out and shape the rest as rectangles. Place the cut-out dough on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about one inch between each cracker.  Prick the surface of each cracker a few times with a fork.  Chill the baking sheet for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Bake the crackers in the oven for about 18-20 minutes, rotating the sheet half-way through to promote even baking. Remove from the oven when the crackers have turned brown and are slightly firm to the touch. Let cool completely.

[Tip: If you can, cut the cookie rounds slightly less than 3″ in diameter, as they’ll “grow” a little in the oven and reach 3″.]
[Tip: The original recipe calls for a 25 minute baking time, but I found this far, far too long in my temperature-accurate oven.]

for graham cracker genoise:

  • 30 gr graham crackers
  • 20 gr all purpose flour
  • 12 gr corn starch
  • 4.5 Tbspn butter
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 88 gr sugar
  • 2 Tbspn water

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare a quarter sheet pan, lined with parchment paper and then lightly greased and floured.
  2. In a food processor, grind the graham crackers into a fine powder.
  3. Combine the powdered graham crackers with the flour and cornstarch and set aside.
  4. On the stove, heat the butter until the solids drop to the bottom and begin to brown. Remove from heat immediately and strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids. Add the vanilla extract to the liquid butter and keep warm.
  5. In a mixer bowl over simmering water, combine the egg yolks and the sugar. Whisk constantly until the mixture is almost hot to the touch.
  6. Transfer the warmed egg yolks and sugar to the mixer and whisk on high for five minutes.
  7. Add the water to the eggs and sugar, and whisk briefly on medium to combine.
  8. Using a large balloon whisk, fold in the graham cracker and flour mixture to the eggs in two parts.
  9. Fold in the melted butter and vanilla to the batter in two parts. Do not overmix!
  10. Immediately pour the batter onto the prepared pan. Smooth out the batter so that it’s about 1/2-inch thick. The batter may not fill the whole pan–that’s okay.
  11. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the cake is golden and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and cool.
  12. Prepare a silpat on a baking sheet or line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Line eight 3 x 2″ cake rings with parchment paper and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Once the genoise is cool, cut out eight 3-inch circles of cake and fit them into the bottom of the cake rings. Set aside.

for chocolate souffle cake:

  • 6 Tbspn butter
  • 7 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 4 eggs, separated.
  • 3 oz. sugar, divided into equal parts (1.5 oz x2)
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the dark chocolate, whisking until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to let cool briefly.
  3. In a mixer using the whisk attachment, whisk together the egg yolks and 1.5 oz of sugar on high until light, fluffy, and triple in volume, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped egg yolks.
  5. In a separate bowl, either by hand or using a mixer, whisk the egg whites. Start on medium low until the surface of the egg whites are covered in foam.  Then increase the speed to medium high, gradually add the remainder of the sugar and whisk until the egg whites hold medium stiff and glossy peaks.
  6. Fold a third of the egg whites into the chocolate and yolk mixture. Then gently! fold the remaining whites in until there are no streaks visible.
  7. Immediately divide the batter into the eight cake rings on top of the graham cracker genoise layer at the bottom.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the tops of the cakes are no longer shiny, but do not allow the cakes to puff up and “souffle”! Remove the cakes from the oven immediately and let cool completely, preferably overnight. They will continue to firm up while they cool.

for dark chocolate ganache:

  • 3 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2.5 oz. heavy cream
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 1 Tbspn chocolate liqueur, optional

METHOD:

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring the heavy cream and butter to just barely a simmer.
  3. Pour the simmering cream mixture onto the prepared chocolate. Let sit for two minutes.
  4. Whisk the chocolate and cream until completely smooth. Then whisk in the chocolate liqueur, if using.
  5. Spread a layer of the ganache onto each round graham cracker. Let cool at room temperature for about an hour, until the ganache is no longer liquid. If a softer cookie is desired for the cake, let the graham crackers sit uncovered for about a day; otherwise for a crisper cookie, use immediately or store in an airtight container.

for Italian meringue:

  • 11 oz. sugar (~310 grams)
  • 5 oz. water (~140 grams)
  • 150 gr egg whites (~5 egg whites)
  • pinch of cream of tartar, optional

METHOD:

  1. Combine water and sugar in a small pot over medium-high heat. Without stirring, bring to a boil and let cook until the temperature reaches 115 degrees C.
  2. Meanwhile, place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a mixer bowl. With the whisk attachment, begin whisking the egg whites when the syrup begins to bubble on the stove. Start whisking on medium low until the whites begin to foam all over, then increase speed to medium high. Whisk until medium stiff peaks form and stop.
  3. Once the syrup has reached 115 degrees C (soft ball stage) and the whites have been whipped to soft peaks, gradually pour the syrup in a small stream into the egg whites, whisking on medium high continuously. Be careful not to allow the sugar syrup to fall on the beaters.
  4. Continue whisking until the bowl of the mixer is at body temperature and not warm to the touch anymore.
  5. Unmold the genoise and chocolate souffle cakelettes. Spoon about a tablespoon or two of the Italian meringue on top of each cakelette and top with a prepared chocolate ganache-covered graham cracker round.
  6. Frost the outside of each cakelette with meringue. Using a blow torch, brown the meringue. Serve at room temperature but store in the refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Cornmeal Cookies

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INGREDIENTS:

Yields about 18 cookies

  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing well. Stir in baking powder and cornmeal. The batter will be very thick. Add 2-3 tablespoons water to smooth out the batter.
  3. Form tablespoon-sized balls and roll cookie dough in sugar. Place cookies on a baking sheet and flatten. Press a fork into the top to create decorative patterns. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 5-10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely. The cookies will be very fragile and need to cool down before they can be moved.

 

 

Chocolate-Dipped Caramels

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt
  • 1 cup walnuts, pecans, almonds, or macadamia nuts toasted
  • seeds scraped from a 1-inch segment of vanilla bean pod
  • 9 ounces of good milk chocolate, tempered

METHOD:

  1. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with non-stick aluminum foil.  Set aside.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, combine cream, corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar, butter, and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.  Once it comes to a boil, cook without stirring until mixture reaches 115°C.  Remove pan from heat.  Add nuts and vanilla seeds, stirring well to combine.  Pour into prepared dish.  Allow to cool for 1-2 hours.
  3. Using foil as handles, lift caramel from dish.  Remove foil, and place caramel on a cutting board. Cut into 1-inch squares. (I like to use a pizza cutter and a plastic quilting ruler as a guide to get perfect squares.)
  4. Line a flat cookie sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.  Melt chocolate over double boiler, and temper it.  Drop 3-4 caramel cubes into the chocolate at a time, and remove with two forks, tapping one fork on the other to remove excess chocolate.  Place carefully on prepared cookie sheet.  When all caramels are coated, set aside and allow chocolate to firm up at room temperature.
Makes 64 caramels.

Sticky Cinnamon Scrolls

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/3 cups self rising flour (or all-purpose flour with 2-3 teaspoons baking powder)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 stick butter, chilled
  • 2/3-3/4 cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
  • large chunk of spreadable butter
  • sugar
  • cinnamon
  • raisins
  • nuts – walnuts, peanuts, whatever you have in the cupboard, coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour with a little salt and the butter until the dough looks like coarse sand (or conversely, you could use your food processor).  Slowly add the buttermilk into a supple dough.
  3. Roll the dough ball out into a very thing slab (say, 1/8 inch thick) on the countertop dusted with flour.  Liberally spread butter on the dough.  Sprinkly with sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and chopped nuts.  Roll slab lengthwise into a long rope.
  4. Butter a baking sheet or cover with parchment paper.  Cut the roll into equal small rolls and place them upright against each other on the sheet.  They don’t have to fit tightly.  Brush with the lightly beaten egg and bake the scrolls for approximately 25 minutes until golden brown and cooked on the inside.

Serve with chilled butter.  Also delicious with whipped cream or unsweetened creme fraiche.
Makes 4-6 Servings