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Entries in recipes (582)

Tuesday
Sep282010

Get Figgy: Fig-Panettone Bread Pudding Recipe

Bring us some figgy pudding, and make it tasty! Here's an intriguing recipe for bread pudding with figs and brandy--delicious for the shorter and cooler days that lie ahead. It's a sweet guest contribution from self-proclaimed "fig enthusiast" (no, really) Sherri Lee, from her cookbook Under the Fig Leaf, a culmination taking "her passion for figs and 10 years of cooking experiments into a fig cookbook featuring over 130 recipes from appetizers, beverages and salads to main courses and desserts." Here's the recipe:

Chef Joseph’s Fig-Panettone Bread Pudding

 Ingredients

 

  • 2 cups dried figs, chopped, stems removed
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 2 Tablespoons butter for greasing baking dish
  • 12 cups Panettone Italian Bread, torn into pieces
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks, reserve whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Soak the chopped figs in the brandy and set aside.
  3. Butter a 9x13 glass baking dish
  4. Place the pieces of panettone in the baking dish and toss them evenly with the figs and brandy.
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine the whole eggs with the egg yolks.
  6. Stir in the vanilla extract, cinnamon, cream, milk and sugar.  Beat well.
  7. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until they form soft peaks.
  8. Fold the whites into the egg yolk mixture and pour over the panettone and figs.  Let stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Bake uncovered for 1 hour.  Serve warm with a splash of heavy cream.

 

Monday
Sep272010

Bonbon Jovi Truffles: A Sweet Treat for Serious Eats

Bonbon Jovi Truffles: they may be slippery when wet, but they don't give love a bad name.

Starting with a can't-go-wrong combination of smooth peanut butter and chocolate, these truffles get a snappy "pop" from Rice Krispies. Simple and delicious, these truffles are as addictive of a guilty pleasure as a hit single. They'll make your mouth as happy as singing Living on a Prayer at the top of your lungs with the windows down.

Note: I made my toppers using a 1-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to mimic a Bon Jovi band logo, which is an ornate bleeding heart. If you break some hearts while removing them, don't sweat it—just use some confectioners' sugar and water like "glue" to put them back together. Decorate with writing markers or gel icing with the titles of your favorite Bon Jovi hits.

For the full tutorial and post, visit Serious Eats!

Friday
Sep242010

Life's a Witch: Fat Witch Brownies Cookbook, and a Recipe

Fat Witch Brownies is, with capital letters, a Happy Place. My first experience with them was at my first post-college job in NYC, where we purchased these sweet little morsels from their Chelsea Market retail location as client holiday gifts. Well, and a few extras for ourselves, which is how I got hooked on these fudgy, dense little treats. While my true affinity was always for their blondies, when I recently received their cookbook, Fat Witch Brownies: Brownies, Blondies, and Bars from New York's Legendary Fat Witch Bakery in the mail, I knew it was the classic brownie that I had to try first. While my brownies came out slightly chewier than the ones I had remembered, they were still plenty dense and delightfully the opposite of virtuous, and when I put them out at my store, they disappeared in record time.

Of course, I can't wait to try some of the other recipes in the book, including the one for my beloved blondies, as well as some new classics--the butterscotch flip (a fancier version of the blondie-brownie), Lemon cheesecake brownies, and cranberry blondes.

Fat Witch Brownies

Ingredients

  • 14 Tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ubleached flour
  • pinch of salt

Procedure

  1. Grease a 9-inch baking pan with butter. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool while you prepare the next step.
  3. Cream the sugar, eggs, and vanilla together. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until well blended.
  4. Measure the flour and salt and then sift together directly into the chocolate mixture. Mix the batter gently until well combined and no trace of the dry ingredients remains.
  5. If you wanna, stir in nuts or any extras at this point.
  6. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan and bake 33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with crumbs but not batter.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool on rack for 1 hour. Cut just before serving. Makes 12-16 brownies.
Wednesday
Sep222010

Pound It: Pound Cake Recipe, Circa 1824

So, here's the deal. Anyone who has ever had the slightest bit of curiousity about why Pound Cake is referred to as such is probably aware that it is derived from the French "Quatre Quarts"--meaning, literally, four quarts--which refers to the equal weight of the four ingredients (eggs, butter, sugar, flour) which went into early versions of the cake. Apparently, this easy ratio was necessary because"  In the days when many people couldn't read, this simple convention made it simple to remember recipes." (What's cooking America".

But what this brief historical lesson does not tell you, however, is how these early versions tasted.

And so, dear friends, I bravely stocked up my reusable grocery tote (I am in Seattle, after all) with a whole lot of eggs, butter, sugar, and flour, and tried it out for you.

Of course, my first inclination was to try this recipe, found on The Food Timeline:

[1817] A Pound cake, plain.
Beat a pound of butter in an earthen pan till it is like a thick cream, then beat in nine whole eggs till it is quite light. Put in a glass of brandy, a little lemon-peel shred fine; then pork in a pound and a quarter of flour. Put it into your hoop or pan, and bake it for one hour."
---The Female Instructor or Young Woman's Guide to Domestic Happiness, [Thomas Kelly:London] 1817 (p. 462)

But as tempting as it was to figure out how to "pork in" a pound and a quarter of flour, something seemed missing from this recipe: namely, sugar. So instead I opted for a variation on the recipe (also from the Food Timeline):

[1824] Pound cake.
Wash the salt from a pound of butter and rub it till it is soft as cream, have ready a pound of flour sifted, one pound of powdered sugar, and twelve eggs well beaten; put alternately into the butter, sugar, flour, and the froth from the eggs; continuing to beat them together till all the ingredients are in, and the cake quite light; add some grated lemon peel, a nutmeg, and a gill of brandy; butter the pans and bake them. This cake makes an excellent pudding if baked in a large mould, and eaten with sugar and wine. It is also excellent when boiled, and served up with melted butter, sugar, and wine."
---The Virginia Housewife, Mary Randolph, with historical notes and commentaries by Karen Hess [University of South Carolina Press:Columbia] 1984 (p. 161)

In this version, the proportions were pretty much a pound each, but in the effort to produce the most pure final product, I did not add the peel, nutmeg, or brandy.

So, here's how it all went down.

 

  • First, creaming the butter til it was "like cream"--basically, I beat it (in my very not 1824-esque Kitchen Aid) until it was softer than butter itself, and became an aromatic, beautiful sort of thing that begged to be slathered on bread.
  • In my second stand mixer (because yes, I have two...jealous?), I separately mixed the eggs. What did "well-beaten" mean? I took it to mean "beat into complete submission", so I let them thoroughly froth up by mixing them on medium for about 5 minutes (but to be 100% honest, I didn't really look at the clock).
  • Then, I started to add the rest of the ingredients, bit by bit, to the extremely creamy, dreamy butter.
  • This makes a pretty significant bit of batter, so I divided among a few pans. I baked each cake in a moderate (350-degree) oven until lightly golden on top--about 30-45 minutes depending on the pan size.  

 

But what of the cake that came out of the oven? Amazingly, this cake was far lighter than I would have expected. The crumb was surprisingly delicate, and the texture almost feathery--and yet, and yet, the indescribeably buttery and rich taste allows you to make no mistake, this is a serious cake through and through.

Would I suggest moving back to our pound cake roots? Probably not, because ultimately (for better or worse) I think I do prefer the hefty, dense, sliced loaves of pound cake that are more common these days. But it did make for a sweet experiment, and an even sweeter taste of history.

Want more? You can find a plethora of historic poundcake recipes (and info) on Food Timeline.

 

Monday
Sep202010

Stuff It: Cupcake-Stuffed Cupcakes for Serious Eats

I hold this truth to be self-evident: Cupcakes are better when filled. This, of course, is a lesson learned from Bake It In A Cake, which proves that there's no lack of material with which to fill them, ranging from cookie dough to dollhouse-sized pies to baklava.

But the ultimate cupcake-stuffer? Cupcakes themselves. By embedding miniature cupcakes—frosting and all—inside batter-filled standard-sized cups, you get a surprisingly delightful treat: The baby-cakes, sealed by the moisture of the cake batter, don't dry out, whereas the baked bit of frosting lightly spreads, browns, and adds a rich crunch, making for an overall taste and visual contrast which can't be beat.

Note: If you don't cover the mini cupcakes batter, the frosting will spread a bit and you might want to keep a cookie sheet under the muffin tin in case of drippage. Alternately, save a little batter and cover them completely before baking.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Tuesday
Sep142010

Totally Sweet: Roly Poly Recipe from Macrina Bakery

Image Credit: Macrina BakeryLet's see. Things that are delicious: Croissants. Cinnamon Rolls. Things that are even more delicious: the Roly Poly, a beautiful marriage of carbohydratey treat which brings together the best parts of both and also adds coconut and raisins. This is the version from the lovely and amazing Macrina Bakery, featured as their Recipe of the Month. Yes!

Their intro to the recipe:

My Grandmother Bakke made the most incredible cinnamon rolls I've ever tasted. One day, always open to improving on a good thing, she decided to add two of her favorite ingredients - coconut and walnuts. The results were spectacular. I recommend forming these pastries the night before you want to serve them.

Roly Poly

Ingredients 

  • 1 recipe Croissant Dough (see recipe)
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • Spray bottle of water

Procedure 

  1. Complete the Croissant Dough recipe as instructed and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let soak for 10 minutes, then drain and squeeze with your hands to remove excess liquid. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine sugars, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Mix well with a wooden spoon and set aside.
  5. Take Croissant Dough from refrigerator and remove plastic. Cut dough in half and place 1 piece on a lightly floured work surface. (Cover remaining dough with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.) Roll dough into 12" x 20" rectangle and lightly mist dough with spray bottle of water. Spread half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over entire surface. Sprinkle half of the raisins, half of the walnuts and half of the shredded coconut on top. Starting with one of the long sides, roll dough away from you into a log. The finished log should be about 3 inches in diameter. Repeat process with second piece of dough.
  6. Using a sharp chef's knife cut each log into 6 equal rolls. Tuck the loose end of each roll underneath. Place the rolls tuck side down into oiled muffin tins and cover with plastic wrap. Let proof in warm room (about 70 degrees F) for 1-1/2 hours. Rolls will rise slightly. Transfer to refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. The dough will continue to ferment while it's in the refrigerator, developing a slightly sour flavor that contrasts perfectly with the sweetness of the filling.
  7. The next morning, remove the cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator and let sit, still covered, at room temperature for 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 385 degrees F.
  9. Remove plastic and bake for 40-45 minutes. Finished rolls will be a deep golden brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then turn pan over and gently remove the rolls. Don't let them cool for too long in the pan or the sugars will harden and the rolls will stick.

 

Tuesday
Sep142010

Are You Ready for this Jelly? Peanut Butter and Jelly Tart Recipe for Serious Eats

The problem with the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich? Like most childhood treats, it's rarely as delicious as you remember. However, there's a way to update this classic in a totally sweet way: turn it into a tart. Anchored by a substantial buttery shortbread crust, this peanut butter and jelly pie is sophisticated enough to satisfy adult palates—after all, it's an adaptation of the Rosemary-Scented Date-Nut Bars from The Perfect Finish by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark—but simple and tasty enough to please eaters of all ages.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Saturday
Sep112010

Rhue the Day: Rhueberry Pie Recipe from Wendy Sykes

So, when we had a Cake Vs. Pie party at CakeSpy Shop, the winner of the evening was pie. It's ok. Really. While on the one hand I'm still a little bitter (team cake!), I must admit that the pies were some fine ones indeed.

Happily, one of the standouts (and 2nd Prize winner!) can now be made in your very household, because the baker, Wendy Sykes (who just debuted a totally sweet website, Four and 20 Blackbirds!) has kindly offered up her recipe for the unlikely, but totally delicious, combination of rhubarb-blueberry which makes up her Rhueberry Pie. In a nutshell? If you don't make this, you'll rhue the day. Oh, yes I did just say that.

Rhuberry Pie
Source: Wendy Sykes

Note: Use a fairly deep pie dish for this recipe!

Prepared pie dough for 9” covered pie

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 4 T cornstarch
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 C rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 C blueberries, picked over

Procedure

  1. Beat 3 eggs until light and frothy.  Stir in sugar, cornstarch, salt, vanilla, and pieces of butter.
  2. Gently mix in rhubarb and blueberries.
  3. Pour berry/custard filling carefully into pie shell, making sure fruit is evenly distributed. Cover with vented crust, or lattice top.  Brush top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until crust just begins to turn golden brown. Turn oven down to 350 and bake for about 40 minutes until filling is really bubbling and crust is a nice golden brown.
  5. Let cool and chow down!

 

Wednesday
Sep082010

Curiosity Killed the Cookie: Another Experiment in How Not To Make Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not sure about whether or not curiosity killed the cat, but it sure did compromise these cookies. 

That's right: I've been messing with chocolate chip cookies again. It all started about a week ago, after a lifetime of conscientiously creaming the butter and sugar at the beginning of making chocolate chip cookies. I had received a big ol' parcel of freebies from Nestle Toll House (giveaway coming in a few days!) and had cookies on the mind.

A question occurred: "what would happen if I swapped the order in which the flour and sugar are added?".

Well, needless to say I was gonna find out.

And so, instead of creaming the butter and sugar, I "creamed" the butter and flour, and then added the sugar in, bit by bit, later on in the recipe, at the time when I would normally be adding the flour. I didn't mess with the actual measurements of the ingredients, though.

So what happened?

Well, the fact that these were going to come together differently was evident right away. The flour clumped up with the butter like...well, pie crust. (this makes sense, right?)

And then, adding in the eggs and other ingredients, things seemed to start looking like normal cookie batter.

Adding in the sugar, bit by bit, the dough looked, smelled, and felt pretty normal. I added in the vanilla and chocolate chips.

I let it chill for a while. Normal-looking. I spooned it on to the baking sheet, finishing off some of the cookies with these cute Nestle chocolate and white chocolate chip mini morsel toppers.

When the cookies came out of the oven, they looked completely perfect: lightly browned on the edges and bottom, soft in the middle.

But then something strange happened. As the cookies cooled...they turned into cookie crackers!

They looked right. They smelled right. They even tasted pretty right. But the texture was...well, disappointing. Crackery. Weird.

As I found out on Baking911.com, I had basically skipped an important step by making this switcheroo: "Creaming incorporates the maximum amount of air bubbles so a recipe will rise in the oven and be light in texture." So while I can't get technical about the chemistry of why this crackery texture was the result, I can say that while I was happy to have seen for myself what happens when you skip this step, I'm not likely to do it again.

Here's the recipe I used--feel free to try my experiment for yourself, or honor the good Mrs. Paul Franklin, Wife of Governor, from Phoenix, AZ, and follow the directions correctly (listed correctly below). By the way, this is the book the recipe is from--isn't the cover just too much?

Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Favorite recipes of America desserts Including Party Beverages, Vol 1  

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, sifted flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot water
  • 1 6-ounce package semisweet chocolate morsels or pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Procedure

Cream butter and sugars; add egg and beat well. Sift together dry ingredients (except for chocolate); add to creamed mixture. Add hot water; mix until well blended. Add chocolate pieces, nuts, and vanilla, and blend just until incorporated. Drop from teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Makes 3 1/2 dozen small cookies.

Thursday
Sep022010

Totally Stuffed: Cupcake-Filled Croissants Recipe

The list of foods that are made more awesome by being stuffed in croissants is pretty immense and far-reaching, from the sweet (chocolate, almonds, cream cheese) to the savory (ham, cheese, hot dogs).

So I was pretty sure that a buttery blanket of croissant dough would have the same awesomeness-enhancing effect on leftover birthday cake (or, in this case, a leftover birthday season cupcake, from the delectable Jubilee Cupcakes).

And guess what? It turned out pretty good. While the frosting can melt out a bit and get messy, it does lends an extra-buttery richness (and a nice color contrast, as mine had pink frosting), and the cake crumbs give it an extra-carbohydratey boost, perfect for carbo-loading if you're about to run a marathon (or, you know, just a tasty snack if you're not).

Want to give it a try? Here's how I did it.

Birthday Cake-Filled Croissants

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover cupcake (or, 1 leftover slice birthday cake)
  • 1 package ready-to-bake croissants (you know, the kind in a roll)
  • Extra butter, to brush on top (if you're into that)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to the temperature directed on the croissant package.
  2. Unroll the croissants. In the center of each, place a chunk of birthday cake, crumbled up (with frosting!). Roll them up, or (as I did with some of them) form the dough into little dumplings around the cake.
  3. Place on a sheet. If desired, brush tops with melted butter (why not?).
  4. Bake for the time specified on your croissant package. When you open the oven, you may discover that the frosting has oozed a bit out of the sides, but don't worry--plenty was probably able to melt into the croissant dough. Plus, once it cools just a bit, you can kind of scrape off the oozed bits and eat them (if, like me, you have no manners, that is).

 

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