Archive | sweets

Lemon Curd and Shortbread Bars

Just a couple of announcements before we get to the golden luscious bars:

Aaaand…back to our regular programming…

Weeks ago I accidentally found some Meyer lemons at the Granville Island Market. I stopped dead in my tracks in disbelief. You’d think I won a mini lottery as my eyes bugged while picking up a bag. A lot of my California friends on Twitter talk so highly of these lemons, making me envy Kristina, who has a Meyer lemon tree in her backyard. I asked my Twitter friends what to do with 5 precious lemons and went with the popular suggestion: Meyer lemon curd. It’s so simple to make (check out Robyn’s method of making curd) that I couldn’t resist. That, and it was discussed like people were talking about liquid gold. To make the long story short: it was spoonfuls of zesty sunshine that I want to eat nonstop. I did manage to wean myself, leaving a little over 1 3/4 cups to freeze for later use.

Fast forward to Monday when I finally had time to think of what to make with them. What could be fitting for my pucker-inducing citrus curd? Then I remembered coming across a recipe Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread in the Tartine cookbook. I used the shortbread part and added oat flour instead of pine nuts — because I have a bazillion bags of oat flour. Don’t ask.

It ended up so incredibly good that I’m getting requests for more shortbread and fruit curd variations.

I love a good crust! The shortbread paired with an equal amount of lemon curd is a marriage of flavors and textures that is sure to be a keeper. Some people prefer thicker “filling”, but for the Meyer lemon curd, equal amounts, is perfect.

These bars are easy to make, so don’t even hesitate to make it. :-)

Get the Lemon Curd & Shortbread Bars recipe

Posted in dessert, make-ahead, snacks, sweets, tarts5 Comments

New York Style Crumb Cake

Before I picked up the new “Baked Explorations” cookbook, coffee and crumb cakes meant the same thing to me and I order them faithfully at coffee shops. Color me surprised when I read that there is something called a New York Style Crumb Cake, and it must never, ever, be confused with coffee cake. Honestly, I thought the crumbs were just a matter of preference! Until, of course, I saw the recipe. For sure I thought it must be a joke that the crumb part had more than 2 cups of sugar. Who does that on purpose? During this time of the year when eating healthy seems to be at its height, whoa, I was on sugar death watch alert. But. I trusted the recipe. I gave the authors the benefit of the doubt and let them have it their way with their cake. The sacrificial lamb. And should this had been a failure, you will never hear of it from me because I will give away the book.

As you can tell, it ended well and the crumb cake survived the scrutiny of family and friends, again and again. The crumb was a toss for me — although it was delish, others thought the base cake itself was the true winner and they would have it any day — flavorful, filling and moist even after 3 days. It actually tastes like puto, the light brown steamed rice cake that we eat in the Philippines. I’ve made many variations of this crumb cake and even so far as ‘ruining’ the crumb, slashing it in half and playing with my own ingredients. In all its incarnations in the kitchen, it had withstood the test of many variations. And that, my friends, is a good thing. Because no matter what you prefer, this cake will work for you.

The recipe makes a large cake and begs to be packed on its merry way to a lot of willing bellies. Go ahead, don’t be shy! It’s a total charmer. In fact, yesterday, a soaking wet Vancouver day, I met up with a few friends and gave a few slices to each of them. They were heartily received and from the messages I’ve received today — they were all devoured and enjoyed to the fullest.

Go forth and bake and share! Have a great weekend!

If you’re looking for something beefy to cook this winter weekend: check out my Asian Style Beef Chili with Garlic Fried Rice! And get a chance to win $100 from Canadian Beef, too!

   Get the recipe for New York-Style Crumb Cake

Posted in baking, books and publications, cakes, coffee buddy, sweets20 Comments

Childhood Monkeys and Monkey Bread

Last Sunday afternoon it was all monkey talk among a handful of friends (Lovelylanvin, hungryrabitnyc, eatlivtravwrite, manggy, inuyaki, fujimama & jenjenk — yay #monchichiclub) and I in Twitter.

Oh, I’m sorry, did that sound loony?

We were nostalgic over Monchichi. How could we forget the monkey doll with its soft dark chocolate hair that’s almost pixie-ish around the face — that rubber-plastic cheeky freckled face (what kind of monkey has freckles?), tucked lower lip that fits its right thumb, and those innocent looking eyes begging for you to hold it. This, my friends, is a glimpse of our 80’s childhood.

Monchichi
The Monchichi doll — please, don’t…just don’t say which infamous US politician reminds you of that parted hair.
Photo courtesy of Winscott.com

I’m not even sure how we arrived at that discussion. I sort of jumped right in, just like when somebody (I’m talking about you, CrippleCreekBBQ!) suggested  Monkey Bread when I tweeted about being unsure what to bake. That’s what I love about Twitter. Everything can be so random and yet somehow make sense in the end.

Was it a coincidence my ape-etite (sorry, there I go again!) conceded that it’s about time to bake Monkey Bread? I think it was fate.

According to Wikipedia, this American favorite is also called African coffee cake, pinch-me cake, bubbleloaf and golden crown. I like it as it is, in all its non-ape-etizing glory [I swear, last time]. You and anyone around you, will be reduced to helpless monkey behavior, tearing apart and eating this bread like it’s nobody’s business. I’ll let you sit with that image for a bit.

Or you can turn to this:

"I die." - RZ

Monkey Bread Making begins with dough balls taking a dip in melted butter (for this recipe, it’s dough from scratch), rolling happily in brown sugar mixed with cinnamon, and reaching their final destination in a Bundt pan, piled on top of each other. And then they’re baked until the they rise, puff from side to side, squishing themselves while liquid caramel ooze through and out of crevices of soft pastry bread. The resulting sticky, gooey fortress is inverted onto a plate and allowed to cool down to eating temperatures before serving. I should warn you that it is so easy to get carried away, pulling-apart each piece, and if you sit down alone you can very well finish it alone.

Oh, look, it's me again playing with my food!

My initiation into the world of this fragmented cinnamon pull-apart bread was through Dan’s mom, whose own version is revered in Arizona, often baked only for special occasions, each morsel coveted like prized truffle. You should see how everyone’s eyes light up at the mere mention of it. It’s something you’ll come to know when you try it.

For those who have never seen or tried Moneky Bread, I’ll give you a point of reference
:
if you love cinnamon rolls, then Monkey Bread is  your friend.

But, but! not all Monkey Breads are created equal. Beware.

My 1st in March 2006 with frozen biscuit dough

I made them once before. The photo you see on the right is the actual photo taken in 2006, showing cut-up thawed frozen biscuit dough. Don’t cringe, most of the recipes call for the packaged stuff! If you want to cut down prep time, it is the way to go.

Having ready-made dough as a bread base meant that you have to up your game when it comes to the caramel. I didn’t realize it could be a frustrating task to get the taste right, given just 3 ingredients. I used a recipe I found online and it wasn’t that good. It was okay at best. Disappointed, I then continued to rely on bake-me-downs, a smuggled slice every now and then. [I’m just joking on the smuggled part — it’s not illegal to bring over baked goods like this to Canada.]

The era of MB Fear has ended. Folks, this is my second attempt at baking Monkey Bread in FOUR years. It took a leap of faith in Cook’s Illustrated, even though their recipes have worked for me without fail. I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant. I received tweets (from TwoPeasandPod and MelleCotte) pointing me to blog posts from browneyedbaker and smittenkitchen, which turned out to be adaptations of the C.I. recipe. That made me feel a better.

The yeasted dough from scratch requiring 2 proofing cycles was the the catalyst for ending my fifteen hundred days or so of Monkey Bread Baking Exile.

It sounds like such a long commitment to be in the kitchen when one speaks of dough rising once, twice. I’ll break it down for you: there are two 50 to 60 minutes blocks of time when you can do other things. You won’t regret it

…until you realize it’s gone so fast. Well, that’s not such a bad thing.

It’s worth it.

The Monkey Bread {enter angelic chorus}

It’s really not hard to make, but it takes time. There’s barely any kneading required. Bring your patience and it will be rewarded.

Are you ready?

Get the recipe for this sticky, gooey, sweet cinnamon-coated Monkey Bread

Posted in baking, bread, coffee buddy, dessert, snacks, sweets29 Comments

Lemon Curd Tart with No-Bake Graham Cracker Crust

Sorry guys, it’s just been such a hectic month for me, catching up with work and with friends, getting ready for one of my closest friend’s wedding last weekend, and Dan’s visit. Things are settling down after almost two months of craziness.

I found time this week to make this lemon curd tart. It’s summer and I need my blast of citrus-y goodness. We had such a good week of sun, but now it’s drizzling outside and a cool breeze is coming through the back patio windows. I have a cup of hot tea and a slice of lemon curd tart topped with sugared berries…I’ll say this Sunday is going well.

I’ve been meaning to make something from the Ottolenghi: The Cookbook since I bought it in May (in May!!!). It arrived a couple of days before my vacation and it just wasn’t going to happen then. Woe.

Deeba introduced me to this lovely cookbook when she gave me the recipe for these successful macarons and after that, I just kept thinking about getting it. It’s easy to get obsessed about these things, and Amazon.com is surely making a nice profit out of my compulsive Amazon Prime buying fingers. Ha!

The second recipe I’m testing from the book is for lemon curd. I used to think that making curd is tedious. It conjures up memories of my grandmother making “ube halaya” (purple yam jam dessert in the Philippines) that requires continuously standing/stirring in front of the stove for a good hour or so. I wouldn’t dream of it in the summer, especially with the 2nd floor of the house (where the kitchen is) feeling like a greenhouse. Nope, there’s no A/C here.

When I browsed Ottolenhi’s recipe for lemon curd, it seemed easier than the key lime curd recipe I used for my key lime meringue pie. After all, it didn’t need a double boiler setup, plus almost all the ingredients are already mixed together before heating. I thought I just had a free pass to a quick vacation!

Summer Quick Tip #1: Choose recipes that require less oven face time. Look for mix-all-in-one-go types.

When it comes to the crust, I like a good crust, but there was no way I was turning on the oven. I sought out my go-to graham cracker crust recipe (minus the lemon zest) to replace a sweet pastry crust.

Summer Quick Tip #2: Try a no-bake crust.

I couldn’t be happier with the results: less work for me, but the lemon curd tart still turned out irresistibly zesty and the graham crust was amazing with it. Those who don’t like it sour tarts beware, the lemon-y goodness could knock you out. :) Kind of. When you add whipping cream on top, it will be fine. For me, sugared blackberries complement it perfectly.

The first bite is god-awful. I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone! :-)

I’m kidding of course. It’s pretty damn good!

The lemon curd requires 6 hours at the very least to firm up, but it won’t stand up well until you leave it in the fridge overnight. If you want to serve it as fast as you could, do this little trick I do for anything that needs a quick setting:

Summer Quick Tip #3: Add gelatin to curd (or no-bake cheesecake) to serve it in under 30 minutes, instead of waiting for a long chilling time.

It might not be the most elegant solution, but it does work and will satisfy most dessert-loving guests. It will also keep the hostess (who forgot to prepare her tart the previous night) stress-free. If you have family like me who simply cannot wait for dessert to be served, gelatin is a godsend.

And with that, I bid you a good summer week! It’s going to be rainy here, but I’m welcoming this break from the heat. Yeah, yeah, welcome to the weather up here. :)

Get the recipe for this Lemon Curd Tart with No-Bake Graham Cracker Crust

Posted in dessert, experiments, fruits, quick & easy, sweets10 Comments

Chocolate Easter Eggs

I’m not the type to post about Easter ‘food’. It’s not that I don’t celebrate it, it’s just…wow, I can’t even explain why there hasn’t been an Easter post in all of the 2+ year history of this website. I think things just get got too busy. However, things took a different turn. I got so inspired by Megan’s post yesterday that I postponed sleep for another day just to make, and post about, these:

Chocolate Easter Eggs

Because I’m a complete sucker for Kinder Surprise Eggs. I used to mail them to friends in the US, because apparently they’re banned there. [Fact: It is still banned and the US authorities urged Canadians to stop sending them as gifts last holiday season.]

Somewhere in one of my bins in the garage lies my Disney World of Kinder Surprise Toy collection.

….

….

Happy April Fool’s!

Who am I kidding? That toy collection does exist and I amassed them in my ’20s. I can’t believe I just told you that.

For a period in my life I dreamed of being a Kinder Suprise Toy designer. What? No, I wasn’t on something, I promise. I wasn’t kidding when I said I have so many of the toys. Love ‘em. And the chocolate? Milk chocolate and white chocolate egg “shells” get gobbled up in seconds. So when I saw that Megan made Kinder-esque eggs, there was absolutely no way that I can wait to try my hand at that. Even for one night. So I did what any food-crazy person would do: Labor. Until. Four. In the morning. So that I could somehow be a step closer to that dream (kind of).

Chocolate Easter Eggs

I always seem to want to make things at hours past midnight, so I had no choice but to use whatever chocolate I had because of the time. I had dark, milk and white Callebaut bars, and decided to go with dark and white so the shell won’t be too sweet. SO, SO YUMMY.

The Road to Pink and Green

It felt like the joke was on me last night. I was trying to formulate a way to make Martha and Not Martha‘s methods (I love saying both in one sentence) easier.

Do you know why there aren’t any plastic eggs chocolate egg tutorial? Because they don’t work. Imaginary varicose veins popped up after standing up to wash, wipe, and grease a dozen plastic eggs of different sizes, and then coat and cool four sets of them with chocolate, only to find out that the only way I was going to get them out is to scrape them. That kind of defeats the purpose of having the mold, doesn’t it? Boy, oh boy.

Eight of the plastic eggs (which were purchased ever so dutifully by my dear brother, who will go to stores if he isn’t busy doting on his two boys) came in plastic egg cartons. Even if I did say, Why the heck did you have to buy all those? I am grateful for that plastic tray. It was a lifesaver for the next “plan”.

So I got to Plan B, which wasn’t really part of the plan because I was trying to find the easy button, remember? After midnight, when you decide to take on a project like this: DON’T be like me! I didn’t have the gadget to semi-cleanly cut the egg’s butt (I call it that, no foolin’ around). I did what any self-respecting crafter would do: improvise.

To illustrate how I do it the rudimentary way, which I think is my punishment for looking for a way out of the well-known path, here is a little video for you:

Preparing an egg to make chocolate (Easter) eggs from Gourmeted on Vimeo.

It’s the best way to separate the whites from the yellows.

I’m. just. kidding.

After emptying out the raw egg, you wash the egg shells and boil them in water for about 10 minutes. I added about a teaspoon of vinegar. Make sure each shell is submerged by putting water inside it. To fish them out of the water after boiling, use a slatted spoon to carefully empty out the water from each, and rinse with warm water. At this point, you might want to (ok, stay with me here, don’t get grossed out) stick your pinkie finger in the egg and scratch off the white membrane that lines the egg shell. It takes some patience. Let the shells dry or put back in the pan with fresh water with food color, a little vinegar, and then boil. I attempted to use beets to color it, but it didn’t work for me. Maybe if I just painted it with the beet juice it would have been better, I am not sure. Suggestions, eggsperts? [Hah, corny.]

I dried out the egg shells, hole side down and propped on chopsticks held in a standing glass. Once dried, I put about 2 tablespoons of melted Callebaut dark chocolate into each egg shell, and turned it around to coat the insides. I drained the extra liquid chocolate back into my bowl of melted chocolate, and immediately placed the coated egg in the freezer. After coating and cooling chocolate, I proceeded for the 2nd coating of white chocolate. Same procedure as with the dark, but you may experience some dark chocolate melting. it’s ok.

** Before you proceed, I should warn you now that the photos you are about to see are awful. I used my point and shoot camera, without flash and hand-held to quickly shoot stuff as I go. Oh…and my method? It’s not neat at all. I need to find another solution next time.

Making the "grass"Melting the chocolate. I went for easy: I chopped the chocolate, placed half a cup in a small bowl and heated that in the microwave for 30 seconds before stirring. Place back for another 20 seconds. And then added another half a cup of chocolate to melt in the bowl. I made cup-batches at a time because it gets thick. Megan used another kind of chocolate and used thinners as well (which I have never heard of until I read her post (learn something new!)). Use what your preferred chocolate method is.

As soon as I finished dumping the excess chocolate, I put each egg shell again in the freezer. While the chocolate solidifies, I added green food coloring to white chocolate. Green = grass. To imitate the texture of grass, I placed parchment paper in the plastic egg holder and poured chocolate. I put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes to let it harden a little, but still soft enough to manipulate.

Basically, the concept is to use this molded “grass” to seal the holes at the bottom of the shells, glued by more green white chocolate:


Easter egg toupee

Then cap off with the chocolate “grass”. You can carefully sculpt it if you like. You can also add more melted green chocolate for some artistic effect. To clean up messes, use a clean damp cloth or paper towel.

The "grass"

Place the eggs again in the freezer, and once solid, place at room temperature to “dry”. The egg shells might be initially moist due to the temperature change and humidity.

In the end, after all that hard work, it really is so pretty to look at them!

Chocolate Easter Eggs

These eggs were hard to crack! I don’t think it’s that suitable for kids. It’s more for adults.I was initially going to put wine candies inside but I accidentally burned the batch I made last night. Whoopsie. Next time!

Until then… Hope you all have a fun (extended/long/Easter) weekend!

Posted in chocolate, experiments, sweets4 Comments

Macarons with Lemon Curd…and Why I Thought I’d Never Fall In Love (with Macs) Again

(name that song…)

What do you get when you fall in love?
Macs with no feet to burst your bubble
That’s what you get for your baking trouble
I’ll never fall in love again…

The first time I made macarons, it didn’t turn out too bad. I think I got it too easy. Meh…I’ve done it and that’s it!

In January, I told Deeba and Jamie (or did I beg?) I will be joining Mactweets for Mac Attack 4. I’ve had the book, I Love Macarons , since December and was curious to try the 2 main recipes there. I also thought to test my luck and see if it will pull me through another round of experimentation. Oh, boy, and did The Universe ever slap me back with a resounding ‘Better luck next time!’ and made me hate myself for undertaking numerous failed recipes. (The recipes from the tiny book above didn’t work out for me.)

Eight batches of macarons from different recipes later, here I am.

Macarons with Lemon Curd

Macarons with Lemon Curd

Yes, you read that right. I said EIGHT. 8!

Making macarons became torture and I asked myself several times — “ARE YOU I-N-S-A-N-E?” during those sad nights of baking.

What do you get when you fall in love…

I became desperate. Our deadline for posting for Mac Attack 4 is today and I had none to show for all my efforts as of yesterday. Before I headed to bed the other night (technically past midnight yesterday), I wailed tweeted about going for my eighth try, and feeling sorry for all the chickens I’ve failed (21 eggs!!!). Deeba gave me the link to the 2-egg-white recipe that she adapted from “Ottolenghi – The Cookbook”. I decided that I might as well try it because I have nothing else left to lose aside from 2 more eggs, putting my egg count to 23 as of last night.

I almost cried and danced when I saw feet about 6 minutes into baking time of the first tray in the oven.

Macarons with Lemon Curd

Dancings queens with dancing feet

Can you blame me for dramatic reaction? And the abundance of photos? I just need to remind myself that It’s okay! You did it! All those depressing night after night of macaruins are a thing of the past.

Macarons with Lemon Curd

True story: I think in my 3rd attempt, I ate a whole tray of baked macaron shells out of anger and frustration. Yep.

I didn’t put any other color or flavorings to the meringue cookie shells, but I made up for it with a very flavorful filling of lemon curd, inspired by my recent Key Lime Meringue Pie. I made lemon curd thickened with cornstarch. It was good, but not good enough to post. I still have to tweak the recipe to have a good flavor and consistency without tasting the cornstarch. I know, I know… The starchy taste wasn’t noticeable once it’s sandwiched between two shells, but I’d just be lying to myself if I say that it’s great. Do you have any suggestions to thicken the curd for the filling? I’d love to hear about it.

In my mind I wanted to have this macaron as a  miniature version of a Lemon Meringue pie: the meringue being the shell, and the lemon curd as filling. I’m happy with it, but I’m going to experiment more. I have renewed macaron baking confidence. Haha.

Aside from that pie concept, one of my other goals was to have no waste with the recipe. I had 2 egg yolks from the meringue recipe that went to the curd. If there’s one thing I learned from my macaron Hall of Shame, I’d say I’m done wasting eggs!

Macarons with Lemon Curd

This little piggy will go to the hennery to ask penance from the chickens we've failed.

The funny thing is, while I mixed the batter for the meringue, I knew this would work. Something about the texture, weight, and feel of it that made me think this one is different. Ah, lather, rinse, repeat.

And this is just the beginning of my Macaronicles: The Saga.

Mac Attack!

P.S. I forgot to mention that this month’s Mac Attack theme is Mac-A-Valentine and we’re supposed to have Valentine-inspired Macs. I’m not one to go with convention, and instead of something chocolate, I’d prefer the puckery lemon curd. Plus, nothing says ‘I love you’ more than never giving up and sticking with it through hell and back. Eight batches of failed macs in pursuit of the best. Now THAT’s what I call love. (Or martyrdom.)

Posted in baking, sweets36 Comments

Nutty Nutella Mochi: The Asian Ferrero Rocher

Nutella on crack — as in, Nutella made with more hazelnuts! Creamy, crunchy, and chewy Nutty Nutella Mochi (mochi = sticky rice cake) is like an Asian version of one of my guilty-pleasure chocolate, Ferrero Rocher. It’s very easy to make and lots of fun!

I used to be hooked on Ferrero Rocher as a child. I would have these gold foil-wrapped chocolates in my school bag and the pocket of my school uniform. When I discovered Nutella, it was like manna for my insatiable chocolate-loving young palate and definitely a much cheaper option than Ferrero Rocher. I would eat it mindlessly by the big spoonfuls (prior to Nutella, I consumed jar after jar of extra creamy peanut butter!). At some point I did learn to restrain myself…sometimes. Nutella lovers — you know what I mean, right? It’s just physically straining to not give in to the craving! Ha ha.

It is with glee that I will participate in World Nutella Day (hosted by these lovelies: Ms Adventures in Italy, Bleeding Espresso, and World Nutella Day) with this Japanese-inspired  treat:

Nutty Nutella Mochi or Asian Ferrero Rocher

Nutty Nutella Mochi: The Asian Ferrero Rocher

I’ve always wanted to make stuffed mochi (addendum: I grew up with mochi or sticky rice cake, but we just call them by different names in the Philippines), so I thought I’d combine that with Nutella. And guess what? They are perfect together!

It’s very easy to make. Crushed hazelnuts and nutella are combined, lumped into balls and placed in the freezer to keep its shape when molding the rice cake around it. The rice cake is a combination of glutinous (sweet) rice flour, water and a little sugar. A little food coloring if you want to make it interesting. You can add flavors as you wish. The resulting paste is zapped in the microwave for a couple of minutes and then the wrapping begins!

The stickiness is the tricky part and it’s easy to solve by keeping your hands and work surface generously floured. Put in the freezer again to set. And voila! You got yourself some Asian Ferrero Rocher to snack on. No spoon needed.

I loved this experiment so much that I’m going to make more over the weekend. This will be a fun Valentine’s treat for friends, family and lovahs.

Happy World Nutella Day and Happy Friday!

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Posted in chocolate, dessert, experiments, original Gourmeted recipe, sweets22 Comments

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

I love biscotti. For the longest time, I sat back in awe, envious of friends (on- and offline) who make it look like it’s a walk in the park to prepare. For me it was intimidating, especially the fact that it has to be baked twice. I don’t know why, but just the thought of that thwart any attempt at it! Enter Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox’s book, “The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets with Ideas for Inventing Your Own“. I pored through the pages, checking the ingredients and processes, and unapologetically drooled over the sweet delights. Then, like cowlick on a well-manicured lawn of a hair, 3 recipes stood out: those of the twice baked cookie variety called the Biscotti. Hello, self-imposed yoke.

It’s crazy to think that some of us have mountains to move when it comes to baking:

  • Mt. Cake
  • Mt. Macarons
  • Mt. Pie
  • Mt. Jelly Rolls…I’m still talking about baking here…
  • Mt. Cinnamon Rolls
  • Mt.Homemade Bread

What else? What’s your baking nemesis?

My friend is leaving to go back to her new home across the border, and I wanted to give her something for their long flight. Biscotti would make a perfect travel snack: light, TSA-friendly, and will survive the journey. And there it was, my work cut out for me and I was ready to face another fear in the kitchen. Luckily, my first try worked like a charm. DeMasco’s recipe is a winner.

Of course I had to try making the chocolate first. Priorities dears.

Biscotti with coffee

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti with Coffee. The coffee was just there for props. I haven't had coffee in 13 days. THIRTEEN! Days! And I'm ok. Really. Did I tell you I'm okay?

The dough was sticky and fragile to work with, but incredibly good to eat. I’m a dough/batter-eater. I cannot resist tasting it, unless it is yeasty. It pretty much goes that if the dough tastes good, the baked product will be good, too. So I do intensive testing. With my mouth. Do you? If not, you’re missing out. Well, unless you’re pregnant, then don’t do it if it has raw eggs like this one.

The trick to transferring this dough from the floured counter to the baking sheet is the speedy lift-and-support-entire-length action. It does have the risk of sagging and breaking apart.

Biscotti

Making biscotti and proof that I may have taken Karen DeMasco's"generously floured work surface" too far. It really didn't stick. At all. I mean, how could it?

The hardest part in making these is the baking time. Your kitchen and its surrounding open spaces will be filled with the come-hitherto aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and a hint of something that tickles your nose, trying to let you in on a little secret. You know what it is? Espresso. The book says the cookies will fall flat in taste without it, and I’ll have to agree. No, I don’t even want to try it without!

Biscotti Council

The Biscotti Council

These biscotti are not too sweet, and would make a perfect companion to coffee or plain milk. Thinking of tea? This is your mate. It’s not too overpowering, even for a light tea.

There are only a few left of this batch, and the generous bag of biscotti I gave my friend for the trip is on the verge of missing the flight, I was told. If that isn’t the best compliment for it, I don’t know what is.

If you’re looking for a biscotti recipe to start you baking, look no further. This newbie approves. And for the seasoned biscotti bakers, this is a worthy addition to consider for your repertoire of old favorites.

For me, honestly, I can’t wait to make more that will last long enough to make it past the front door without being eaten, so I can mail them to friends! I love sending care packages of food, and it almost sounds selfish because I get such sheer pleasure in doing so. :-)

The full recipe can be found online (it’s the 3rd recipe down), and that’s the exact one in the book. I thought I’d just link to it because it’s a long one, plus I didn’t change anything in the recipe.

Happy baking this weekend!

Posted in baking, books and publications, chocolate, coffee buddy, cookies, dailies, dessert, snacks, sweets18 Comments

“Healthier” Ultimate Brownies

Dare I tamper with our Ultimate Brownies?

Healthier Ultimate Brownies

Yes, yes I did!!!

Hop on over to Craftzine for my guest post about the “healthier” version!


Here are the ingredients of the two versions, side by side:

Battle of the Ultimate Brownies

Download the Original recipe:      Download the PDF recipe for the ORIGINAL Ultimate Brownies

Download the Healthier recipe:   Download the PDF recipe for the HEALTHIER Ultimate Brownies

Posted in articles, baking, chocolate, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, snacks, sweets9 Comments

Dobos Torte

I joined this fantastic, dedicated, inspiring and fun group of bakers last March: The Daring Bakers. I wanted in on the amazing and hugely popular–yet highly secretive–monthly challenge. You can’t “reveal” the recipe and results until the designated date.Let me tell you, most of the recipes the “hosts” (it’s different every month) pick ones that I would not willingly subject myself to by my own choice. That’s the beauty of it. Even if you can clearly see the recipe is The Tome of recipes, you still go ahead because you know that several hundreds of the other members are doing it with you…through days, nights, arm/back/leg pain in the kitchen, several trips to different markets to procure all the ingredients, thinking of variations to make,…until you all come up with the results, take a bite and pat yourself on the back.

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Every month, I tell myself that I’m going to finish the challenge way ahead of the 27th deadline and reveal. Then I think about having to keep it to myself for days or weeks! That’s hard. I finished this last Tuesday and took photos, then more photos of the sliced cake the next day. Then forgot to post. Haha. This is classic.

The finished cake was a beauty to behold!

Dobos Torte -- August 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge

I’ve never made buttercream in my life, and having a taste of this cake’s fresh chocolate buttercream was dreamy. I was Mmm-Mmm–Mmm-ing at 3am while gliding in the kitchen.

Download the PDF recipe for Dobos TorteAnd that’s all I’m going to say for now. Wait until I post more photos later. Sorry, foodies, cooks, bakers, and food voyeurs, it’s a busy day ahead. Please come back later. :) I will also let you know what I did to have an almost stress-free slicing of those pesky, sticky caramel slices!

Posted in chocolate, Daring Bakers, dessert, sweets29 Comments