Don't miss out on these bombes of deliciousness! (Baci Perugina)
D.I.Y. Nutter butter cookies. You need these in your life. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
Copycat Liege style waffles. LOVE! (The Domestic Rebel)
BBQ sauce made with...Goetze's caramel creams? Believe it. (Goetze's)
Turtle twix thumbprint cookies. These make me want to happy-weep. (The Chunky Chef)
Did you miss my awesome interview with Judith Fertig, aka the cake therapist? (CakeSpy)
A bakery in Philadelphia offers a "unicorn cake". Related: I like this bakery. (Ramona Susan's)
Bakery style confetti cookies. YES! (Sprinkled with Jules)
Acrylic painting ideas. Because sometimes you feel like making art while your cakes bake! (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
Chocolate chip pancake ice cream. OMG! (If the Spoon Fits)
Yummy oaty bread. I can't stand it!! I need this. (Babaganosh)
Ever heard of mangoneada, a Salvodorean specialty? (Sun Diego Eats)
DIY lemonade kits. How cute is this idea? (Epicuricloud)
8 ways to make chocolate ganache without cream. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
Book of the week: Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks. This book is where I first came across Mazurka bars when I lived in Seattle! You've got to buy (and read) this book now, and then the second book in the series, because the third book, Baker's Blues, is out soon!
Olive oil ganache, you guys. Believe it. Live it. Love it. Let me explain.
OK. Now that I have your attention, let me tell you how this ambrosial treat came to reside on top of my brownie.
First, I was working on a roundup of creative ganache varieties for Craftsy (it came out great, by the way).
Then, I received a big box in the mail from Bertolli olive oil. In it, they had gifted me a big ol' bottle of their 150th anniversary edition olive oil. Well gee whiz, thanks!
They also sent me a gift card for ingredients and an invitation to enter their #vivabertolli contest by entering a creative recipe made with their products plus any other ingredients which I was to purchase with the card.
Well, I knew right away what I had to explore with that olive oil, and its name was ganache.
So I bought some chocolate and then with the rest of the gift card bought myself new shoes. (TRUTHSIES)
But even though the ingredients don't cost $50, this recipe tastes like a million bucks. It has all the chocolatey goodness of ganache, but a smooth, silky, nutty flavor from the olive oil. It tastes very fancy, like a dessert you'd pay $15 for at a posh eatery. Of course, theirs would be delivered with a random swipe of coulis on the plate. I prefer the less delicate approach of using the ganache to drown my brownie.
Oh, I should tell you, this ganache will eventually set firm, just like regular cream ganache. While it's still warm you can use it as a delightful dessert sauce or filling, or you can wait til it cools a bit and use it to top a cake or to combine with buttercream for a unique treat.
Oh, and while I didn't give her any, Olive the pug approved.
Olive oil ganache
- 6 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 3 ounces extra virgin olive oil (I used the Bertolli 150th anniversary stuff)
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set atop a bowl if simmering water (DIY double boiler).
Once melted, remove from heat and let it chill out for maybe 5 minutes, so it's not piping hot.
Pour in the olive oil and mix. Use a whisk, or use a spatula (not sure why I did but I did)
Once mixed, let the mixture sit at room temperature until it has firmed to the amount needed for your project. Give it a stir every 5 minutes or so to discourage separation.
Have you ever made ganache with butter or olive oil?
File under mind-blowing: you can make ganache with puréed fruit instead of cream (the chocolate, of course, remains constant).
I first learned this when I was exploring cream-free ganache varieties for a Craftsy post.
I came across the idea of making ganache with fruit butter, and I thought, gee whiz, in spite of sounding kind of like health food, this additionally seems like a tasty and interesting idea.
And then came the question: what would happen if I made ganache with mashed bananas instead of cream?
So, I mashed up a very ripe banana...
Then I melted some chocolate in a double boiler.
Then I combined them until they were completely mixed.
Since I hadn't actually puréed the banana, I had more just mashed it, there were some textural bits of banana in the mix. I didn't mind at all, though. It was kind of nice in this instance.
The texture was like a thick mousse or frosting. You could probably use/serve it as either; it will eventually set firm.
This ambrosial mixture could be a dessert as-is, could be used as a frosting, as a filling, or as a swirl-in for ice cream.
What happens when you make ganache with fruit instead of cream? Good things.
Here's how to make it happen in your house.
Note: this makes close to 1 cup. If you want a larger amount, simply double/triple/quadruple the quantities.
Also, you could substitute any pureed fruit you'd like in the place of banana. Let me know how it turns out if you do!
- 3 ounces banana, mashed (about 1 large)
- 4 to 4.5 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped
- Mash the banana, or puree it in a blender if you want a really smooth finished result.
- Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. I did a DIY double boiler, placing a heatproof bowl above a pot of simmering water. This also made it easy to add the banana right to the chocolate once it was melted.
- Combine the banana and chocolate and stir until completely combined.
- There you go! Banana ganache. You can let it set until it's firm enough for whatever you want to use it for.
PS. Here's how the ganache looks like after it has "set" - it firms into a set, frosting-like consistency.
Have you ever made a fruit ganache?
Yay! A new, FREE, coloring book page! For kids and adults!
If you click on the above photo and download the "Large" (1583 x 2048) size, it should come out printer page size!
Let me know if you have problems and I can email you the file. Enjoy!
P.S. Be sure to download the companion I Love Cake page, too!
The best part about making pie is not the finished pie. It's the treasures that can be created with the pie dough scraps. I'm telling you, people: it's all about the roly poly.
You might call them something other than "roly polies". I've heard "snails". I've heard "doodandles". But in my house, they were called roly polies. So that's what you're getting here.
The most traditional version I grew up making is detailed in this post. The classic little roll-ups include butter, cinnamon, and sugar rolled up into pie crust strips. They're an undeniable classic.
But every now and again, I like to take a little riff on the original.
On a recent pie-baking adventure, I decided to make some roly polies using olive oil, brown sugar, and walnuts, and they came out SO freaking good that I really wanted to remember it in the future.
It's reliable that I will remember it if I put it on my site--I'll be honest, I am constantly googling my own recipes! I figure if I write it down, I'll have it on the web so I can remember it, and you might benefit, too. See how I think of you at all times, dear readers?
Brown sugar walnut olive oil roly polies
Note: I am not including specific measurements here because everyone ends up with different quantities of pie crust scraps. Use your best judgment!
- Pie dough scraps, cut into long strips (the pie dough you see here has part whole wheat flour)
- Olive oil
- Brown sugar
- Coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
Since you're already baking pie, your oven is probably set to 400 or so degrees F. If for some reason it's not, set it at 400 and let it preheat.
Brush the pie dough scraps with olive oil. Sprinkle with brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Gently place some walnuts on top.
Roll the little strips of pie dough, snail-style, as if they were the most precious little dollhouse cinnamon rolls ever. Try not to let any walnuts fall out, because they are DELICIOUS once baked.
Place the roly polies on a baking sheet and put them in the preheated oven.
Let them cook until browned and toasty. This can vary between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the size.
Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and enjoy warm.
Have you ever made treats like this? If so, what do you call them?
The thing I'd like to talk about today is this: CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE. This is a fine specimen of the stuff:
Basically, the story behind it is this: I wanted to make a dessert that would please my beloved, who loves chocolate. But I felt like I might have to stab myself in the eye if I made one more flourless chocolate cake (bet you've never read that before). So I took a moment to observe that this was, indeed, a champagne problem--and then I began to look for another simple chocolate cake recipe that would yield a dense, buttery result.
I quickly settled on a cake that if not glamorous, felt reliable: chocolate pound cake.
In particular, this chocolate pound cake from Chow.com. They had some fantastic photos and the recipe looked simple enough, so I gave it a try.
I actually made a mistake with the recipe: I didn't add enough water (I missed the extra 2 tablespoons in the recipe below) to the cocoa mixture, and it didn't turn into a full-out paste before I added it to the batter. This means that in my finished cake, it was specked with a few tiny cocoa lumps. Far from a problem, these mini lumps were actually DELICIOUS. They were sort of like chocolate chips. I am not going to say I did a great thing by being laissez-faire with the recipe, but I am going to say it worked out OK, if you start feeling less than Martha Stewart at any point during the recipe.
The resulting cake is nothing that you haven't tasted before, but every element is so good. It's chocolatey, buttery, definitely cake but far denser than, say, a birthday cake.
This is an assertively hefty, not-afraid-to-take-up-space-and-weight-in-the-world cake.
I didn't feel like making the chocolate glaze featured in the recipe, instead opting to go creative with my slices. So far I've tried one with ice cream, one with a sprinkling of sea salt, and this version--my favorite--features a spoonful of almond butter...
Then a fat dollop of half and half, foamed with a milk frother.
THEN--finally--I added some cocoa nibs. Good stuff.
Find some room in your life for this cake. You won't regret it.
Chocolate pound cake
For the cake:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used coarse sea salt)
- 3/4 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for coating the pan
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan generously with butter; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt, and give it a whisk. Set aside for a sec.
Place the cocoa in a medium heatproof bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly pour in the boiling water and whisk until smooth and paste-like.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium for 5 minutes--it should be pretty darned fluffy at this point. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
Add the cocoa mixture, mixing on low speed until combined (I told you, mine didn't totally incorporate).
Add the flour mixture last, mixing only until combined on low speed.
Spread the thick batter in the prepared pan, and smooth it on top as much as you can. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean--this was 40 minutes for me but I am at high altitude so it might take longer for you.
Remove the cake from the oven; immediately run a knife along the edges to loosen. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for about an hour before transferring to pretty paper for blog photos.
Cut into slices and serve however the heck you want.
Storage? It won't last long enough to go stale, but keep it covered at room temp for up to 3 days or freeze slices and bring them back to room temp before serving.
What would you put on top of a slice of this cake?
NEWS FLASH: your pie could be cuter. Here's how: make pie pops.
If you have a baked pie (versus one that you fill with a custard or filling that you chill) recipe, you can convert it into adorable pie pops.
I posted a cherry pie recipe on Craftsy.com, but you can use the method with your favorite pie recipe or type!
Just look at these things.
You could be eating these things. Really. All you need to do is follow this surprisingly easy recipe for bombes I developed for Colavita and Baci Perugina.
A chocolate ganache topping contains an olive oil chocolate mousse stuffed with Baci truffles which sits atop a cakey brownie base.
Basically, your life needs this dessert.
How to use catalyst wedges. For art, not a kind of shoes!
Watercolor techniques for beginners. I love how this post came out!
Acrylic painting ideas. Get inspired!
How to use acrylic paint. Helpful tips for the newbie!
COLORING BOOK PAGES: for grown-ups! Free download! Awesome!
Do you know what dacquoise is? (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
The case for creamless ganaches. (Dessert Professional)
Awesome interview...with ME! Seriously, check it. (Miss Charlotte Cake)
Old fashioned chess bars. Into it. (Loaves and Dishes)
Punk rock wedding cakes. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
In search of...the perfect s'more. (Pixable)
Learn how to use acrylic paint to create sweet art! (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
Banana cream pie dip. I want to dip everything in it. (Lemon Tree Dwelling)
Black forest trifles. So fancy, so yummy! (Annie's Noms)
I can't believe these cookies are flourless! (Port and Fin)
They're "the bombe". (Baci Perugina)
Peach shortcakes. Summer, summer, summer. (Pass the Sushi)
M+M s'more brownies. I think I turned 6 again just looking at them. (Culinary Hill)
Caramel bourbon milkshake. Can I say how much I desire this? (Grandbaby Cakes)
Not cake, but awesome: homemade chicken nuggets. Yumz. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
Book of the week: The Cake Therapist! It's an engaging new novel featuring LOTS OF CAKE by Judith Fertig. Oh, and you can conveniently win a copy (plus one of another of her books, Bake Happy) right here on CakeSpy!
I've decided to start a new hashtag. My own hashtag. It is this: #whathappenswednesday . Because it seems that every Wednesday lately, I've been posting some sort of experimental recipe that began with the question "what happens..."
The most recent mystery that popped up in my mind was this: "what happens when you put whipped cream in an ice cream maker?". I'm not talking about whipping cream. I'm talking about whipped cream, as in, ready to use to top a sundae or piece of pie.
What happens when you put whipped cream in the ice cream maker and churn it?
I didn't know the answer, but I wanted to.
So in the name of education, I hastened to the grocery store to buy some heavy whipping cream.
And I whipped it, with normal whipped cream makings: some sugar, a touch of vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
And then I transferred it all into the chilled drum of my ice cream maker, and let it churn.
When it finished churning, it looked something like this, and removed from the ice cream maker in a single unit.
It had the consistency of soft ice cream, and was able to be spooned with an ice cream scoop. So I put it into a cup, added some rainbow sprinkles (NECESSARY)...
and took a big bite.
Well, no surprise here: sugar and cream and vanilla, all chilly and served with sprinkles, it was an instant classic, according to my mouth. It was thick but also somewhat light. It was like ice cream, but it wasn't. It was like whipped cream, but it wasn't that either. It had a consistency somewhat like mousse that you've left in a slightly too-cold fridge. I say this as a good thing.
Gosh it was good.
I put a portion of the whipped cream-ice cream in the freezer, and a portion in the fridge. I also used a rubber spatula to scrape out the bits on the sides of the ice cream drum into their own cup and put these in the freezer. Look, you can see my reflection in the spoon as I was scooping here. Yes, my dress matched the sprinkles! Unintentionally, but this fact does not displease me.
After a few hours, the version in the fridge was sort of like wilted whipped cream--it still held a shape, but it was droopy. Not the same as regular whipped cream.
The version in the freezer had maintained its shape but had become very hard. When left to thaw for a few minutes, it came back slightly more rigid, but still just as delicious, flavor-wise.
Interestingly, the little crumbles I scraped from the sides of the ice cream maker drum had remained flaky, and I thought, gosh, they reminded me of something. Then it hit me: they reminded me of butter that had been left in the freezer and how it flakes when you cut it.
And then I had a big whammo moment: basically, what I had done here by churning the whipped cream was basically make a sort of frozen sweet churned butter.
Since I hadn't removed the solids from the whey like you would making butter, it remained lighter than butter, but still, it had sort of the same consistency.
Frozen compound butter, whipped cream ice cream, frozen whipped cream, I don't care what you want to call it. It's suitable as a rich little dessert all by itself, or you could use it an alternative topping to regular whipped cream or ice cream.
I am calling this experiment a success in sweet excess.
Here's how you do it.
Ice cream-churned whipped cream
Makes 2 to 4 servings depending on how hungry you are - printable version here.
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar (or more, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Rainbow sprinkles, for serving
Whip the cream until soft peaks have formed. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Continue whipping until you've attained firm peaks.
Transfer the whipped cream to the drum of your ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer suggestion (I did about 15 minutes in my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker)
Remove from the ice cream maker, and serve immediately. Top with rainbow sprinkles (not optional).
Note: I suggest storing leftovers in the freezer in individual portions and letting them thaw slightly before eating.
Hey, if you enjoyed reading about this ice cream maker experiment, you might like these experiments too:
Would you use this churned whipped cream as a dessert by itself, or as a topping?
Are you one of those jerks who just wants to enter the giveaway and doesn't want to read the awesome interview? Shame on you...scroll down to the bottom of the post for the giveaway.
OMG. Dudes. Dudettes. I am so excited to say that I got to interview Judith Fertig about her new book The Cake Therapist.
My first contact with Judith's work was in the cookbook All-American Desserts: 400 Star Spangled, Razzle-Dazzle Recipes for America's Best-Loved Desserts. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, it was one of those comprehensive books that has all sorts of recipes spanning all sorts of styles, from humble puddings to fancier fare like layer cakes and a killer brownie recipe. Every recipe I tried was absolutely solid, but it wasn't recipes that made the book a treasure to me. It was the headnotes.
Somehow, even in a huge book like this, the headnotes each included interesting anecdotes, historical tidbits, and informative recipe notes. I realized, in reading them, that I liked the author, just from her writing. It was almost like receiving a huge file of recipes from a friend with handwritten, witty notes to accompany each one.
Since coming across that first book, I've followed Judith's recipe books, which are impressively wide-ranging: she's written about everything, from BBQ to plank cooking to even, yes, an entire book about cinnamon rolls.
And now, she's branched out into foodie fiction. The Cake Therapist is an absolutely engaging story about a woman starting over in her hometown after a stint as a fancy pastry chef in NYC. But what unfolds as she opens a bakery in a sleepy Ohio town goes much deeper than just a fresh start. It's a story that spans generations, includes plenty of delicious food descriptions, and will leave you feeling as comforted as if you just ate a huge slice of your favorite layer cake.
OK, so DO buy the book. But before that, enjoy this interview:
You are well known as a cookbook writer...was it an odd leap in any way to dive into fiction after writing so many non-fiction cookbooks? I was an English major before I got into the culinary arts, so it was like writing a headnote for a recipe that turned out to be 62,00 words! Sort of. . . .
I felt like I learned so many cool baking tips from the book. What did you learn while writing this book? That the strawberry cake in The Cake Therapist (and on the cover of Bake Happy) really does take me back to my childhood. Something about the combination of strawberry and rosewater. My mother never made strawberrycake, but this one has the simple, summery flavor that just makes me want to go play outside. I learned that flavor--especially in desserts--really can resonate with us just like a favorite song or the smell of suntan lotion or the feel of cool sheets on a hot night.
The lead character, Claire (Neely) O'neill, says that she makes sense of the world by flavor and taste. Is this something that you identify with? Can you expand on that? I think we've all had times in our lives when we're hungry for something, but don't know what. So we sample this, sample that, until we hit on just the right thing. It's emotional eating. What we're craving is the feeling that that flavor or texture will hopefully induce--like all is well, we're safe, we're loved, we're gonna be all right. Food and flavor can be the vehicles to self-enlightenment. We finally taste the right thing and voila, "So that's what's going on with me!"
I love the fact that the lead character is an unofficial "cake therapist". What therapeutic benefits do you believe cake and baking can offer people? Unlike cooking, which can be spur-of-the-moment, baking is more methodical, more meditative, more repetitive. It give us a chance to just chill out, be in the moment. Baking is also transformative. You take butter, sugar, flour, and eggs, put them together in the right way, and end up with cake! Small-batch baking, like Neely does in her bakery, has the true flavor of homemade, of honest ingredients. Flavor is telling, sort of like a test to determine if you have a diamond or cubic zirconia.
What kind of research went into the historical parts of the novel? When writers say they can get carried away by research, I can relate. You Google something and all of a sudden, you're down the rabbit hole and find out so many more things that are related. And then other things just turn up. Ethel Parsons Paullin really did visit Stearns & Foster in Lakeland Ohio, with Ben Nash. She went on to paint religious art as well as commercial. Ireene Wicker, the Singing Lady, also had a long career. I just happened on a little cereal box with a Singing Lady story on the back at an antique mall.
Tell me more about your inspiration for Rainbow Cake bakery. My first job in high school was at a mom-and-pop bakery that made all of our family's celebration cakes for birthdays, graduations, and so on. I remember walking in and smelling that wonderful bakery scent. I also saved a story from the late, great Country Home Magazine with an inspiration bakery that I put up on a vision board I made for The Cake Therapist. I also visit bakeries or macaron shops when I'm in a new city--or an old one, like Paris.
Writerly question: where, and when, do you prefer to write? What is your working style? I write when I have big blocks of time, any time of the day. When I think I just don't have "it" that day, I do other things like order books from the library or research or bake.
What is your favorite type of cake or dessert? I love a tender yellow cake with a secret filling and a fluffy coconut frosting; I'm also a sucker for a really moist, fudgy chocolate cake.
I'm intrigued by the idea of different flavors having different significance. Is that fictional, based on fact, or anecdotal? Like there can be a language of flowers (a 19th century conceit written about by Vanessa Diffenbaugh in her novel The Language of Flowers), I think there's also a language of flavor. Some of that language is in the scent, taste, and mouthfeel of a flavor. Sometimes it's the chemical properties in the spice or the fruit. A rich, luscious, homemade caramel says "luxury" better than a designer handbag. Cinnamon actually contains properties that help lower blood sugar, so it does sort of hold your hand as you get started in the morning or want to calm down when your flight is delayed at the airport--the power of cinnamon rolls!
In the book, it is mentioned that people who crave salty desserts have secrets. Um, if I like to sprinkle salt on top of my dessert, does that mean I have secrets?? Yes, you have secrets. That makes you very interesting!
What's next for you? I'm finishing the second novel in the series, The Memory of Lemon. It starts out with a "hillbilly" bride who wants pie, not cake and clashes with her high society mother, Neely's growing relationship with Ben, and her homeless father's struggle with PTSD. Two flavors--citrus and spice--and the stories that emanate from them turn out to have a surprising connection to Neely. Maybe families have signature flavors, too.
About the Author:
Cookbook author Judith Fertig grew up in the Midwest, went to La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and The Iowa Writers' Workshop, and now lives in Kansas City. Described by Saveur Magazine as a "heartland cookbook icon," Fertig writes cookbooks that reflect her love of bread, baking, barbecue, and the fabulous foods of the Heartland. Fertig's food and lifestyle writing has appeared in more than a dozen publications, including Bon Appetit, Saveur and The New York Times. The Cake Therapist (June 2, 2015; Berkley), is her fiction debut.
Connect with Judith Fertig online:
BUY THE BOOK: The Cake Therapist
How is baking therapeutic to you?
I'll choose a winner one week from today (July 28) at 5pm MST. Due to high shipping costs, I am going to limit this giveaway to US entrants only this time - thank you for understanding!
Oh em gee. These cookies are so worth your time.
DIY Nutter butter cookies are highly delicious, and adorable. Plus, you can put in double the peanut butter filling if you like and make DOUBLE STUF nutter butters!
Why on earth would you ever, ever, ever want to water down chocolate? I realize that this might be what you're thinking as you read the title of this post. But stay with me, because I promise, water ganache is worth your time.
So, I became acquainted with the idea of water ganache like so. I made ganache with beer, which I thought was terribly clever and inventive, and then someone was all, "Have you ever made water ganache?".
Well, I discounted the idea instantly: why would I ever want to water down chocolate?
But then I started to look into it, and I got curious. Apparently, cream-free ganache varieties of ganache have gained some momentum in the pastry chef world in the past few years. Chef Damian Allsop is considered a pioneer of the water ganache, using spring water and flavor infused waters to create unique ganache varieties.
According to the article linked just above, his "goal with his water ganache is to simply deliver flavor in the best possible way, enabling the consumer to taste the true character of the chocolate to respect what he states is “the amazing chocolates with complex flavors” being produced by the small, artisan chocolate makers who have come onto the scene in recent years."
Basically, if you use water to make your ganache, there is no masking of the chocolate flavor--it shines through completely. This can be a beautiful thing if you're using excellent chocolate. But water ganaches made using substandard chocolate? Not so much.
Without cream to put a warm blanket of tastiness over everything, mediocre chocolate will make a mediocre water ganache.
So the deal here is that if you're making water ganache, you have to use good quality chocolate. And if you do, you will be so, so, so very rewarded. The water doesn't dilute the chocolate flavor: if anything, it clarifies it, simply altering the texture so that the pure essence of chocolate can be tasted in a different structure.
It's almost like your glaze, filling, or icing is a textural version of the taste experience of eating a perfect square of dark chocolate.
Plus, once you've tried out a water ganache, you can mess with it in any number of ways. Instead of plain water, you could use a flavored water: say, one infused with lemon slices (which are drained before you make the ganache) or water with a teaspoon of liqueur or flavoring extract mixed in. You could even start going nuts and use steeped tea or try out different beverages, like my beer ganache recipe.
I'm not saying that water ganache should totally eclipse traditional cream ganache in your recipe repertoire. But I am saying that there's a time and a place for it, and it is good stuff.
Here's how you do it.
Note: the important thing here is that you use equal quantities of water and chocolate, by weight. You can adjust the recipe based on the amount you need.
- 6 ounces very good quality chocolate
- 6 ounces water
Chop the chocolate coarsely and put it in a heatproof bowl. Set to the side.
In a saucepan, heat the water until it comes to a low boil.
Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. It will look muddy at first but will start to combine rather quickly.
Mix with a whisk until the chocolate melts entirely, and you have a hot chocolate-like substance.
Let the mixture cool, stirring every 10 minutes or so until it is of a consistency just right for whatever you want to do with it. I used it as a glaze on mini custard pies, as seen in the photos in the post.
Out of curiosity, I also poured some of the water ganache into silicone cupcake liners and then put it in the freezer. It came to a solid consistency that would make for a perfect frozen treat.
Have you ever tried a non-cream ganache?
Have you ever heard of dacquoise? Pronounced "dah-kwahz", it's kind of like a blown-up macaron cake layer.
It's also the building block of many awesome cakes. If you're not familiar with dacquoise, you need to be!
MINI CHOCOLATE BOMBES OMG. (Baci Perugina)
Blooming nutella chocolate s'mores pull apart bread. You heard me. (Kirbie's Cravings)
Fig and honey cheesecake galette. OMG. (Cookie Named Desire)
Do you know the difference between baking powder and baking soda? (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
Ice cream sundae brick. It's a brick you want in your belly. (Sugar Coated Cottage)
Bannock bread mix. This is very cool! (Instructables)
Shark week may be over, but these adorable shark fin cupcakes are still cute. (I am Baker)
Not sweet, but so yummy: homemade chicken nuggets. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
Blueberry cornmeal cake. So yum. (Joanne Eats Well with Others)
Easy homemade soda syrups. Cool! (Giramuks Kitchen)
Thick and fluffy flour tortillas. Not cake, still yum. (Recipe for Perfection)
Double chocolate mousse cake. A fascinating baking method, too. (Crumbs & Cookies)
Art related: let me teach you how to use watercolor paint. (Craftsy blog)
A perfect strawberry crisp. (Love Grows Wild)
How to bake instead of fry a doughnut recipe. Perfect for those with fear of frying. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
Book of the week: The Bali Cookbook by Lonny Gerungan. I have been missing Bali hardcore this week, and this book has helped satisfy my cravings for sambal, black rice pudding, mie goreng, and all sorts of Balinese specialties. Even if you've never been, you can discover the unique cuisine of Bali in this awesome book.
Let's take a break from cake (don't worry, it will be short) to talk about art. More specifically, how to make your art sparkle and shimmer. Literally.
Learn some easy and fun ways to add metallics to your artwork.
Why would I call such an easy to make dessert Pâté au Chocolat? Not because it's a crazy concoction featuring foie gras. I gave it this name because while it's actually quite easy to make, it tastes (and looks) fancy.
I felt that it deserved a name as fancy as its flavor. Plus, the texture is actually pâté-like: dense, creamy, and incredibly flavorful.
Here's some other stuff I think you should know about this dessert.
1. I made it up.
Maybe there's a thing called Pâté au Chocolat, but I don't know about it. I didn't google it, so as far as I am concerned, I invented this thing and will put my hands over my hears and say lalalala if you try to say otherwise.
2. If you identify as "chocoholic", you will love this cake.
It's a little lighter than pure ganache but heavier than a slice of flourless chocolate cake. Flavor-wise, it melds the best of both, with a little ooh la la from a dollop of sour cream. A little would probably do you, but in my house, it was two servings and they were devoured with no complaints that the serving was too big.
3. Its flavor will improve in direct correlation with the quality of the chocolate you use.
Use the good stuff here. OK?
4. It's easy to make.
I know I already said it, but it bears repeating. This dessert is easy to make. And tastes fancy! Make it for your next get together.
Pâté au Chocolat
Makes two, or four - printable recipe here.
- 1 cup toasted nuts, coarsely chopped
- 5 ounces good quality dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 silicone molds (I used two heart shaped molds with a 1 cup capacity) or 4 cupcake liners
Grab your silicone molds or cupcake liners. Divide the nuts evenly between them.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set to the side.
In a medium saucepan, combine the half and half, butter, and sour cream. Heat over low heat until the mixture comes to a simmer.
Remove the cream mixture from heat, and stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. Stir until it becomes a cohesive mixture.
Pour in the cups with the nuts. Transfer to the fridge and let set for an hour or so, or in the freezer for less. This can vary depending on the heat and humidity - for instance, last night it was really hot here so I had to put them in the freezer to set.
Invert from molds, and enjoy.