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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gingerbread Man Time of Year!

It has been a while since I have made gingerbread men, and come to think of it this may have been the first time. I came across a recipe by Liz Prueitt (yea, all you Tartine Bakery fans will like these) and I think they are my new favorite gingerbread man recipe! Not too spicy, not too sweet, and on the softer side with just the right amount of snap.

When you are ready to bake them you will need to preheat the oven to 350. But keep in mind the dough will need to be refrigerated overnight.

Ingredients:

Gingerbread:
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cups and 2 tbs white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tbs corn syrup
Glaze:
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs water
Directions:
  • Combine dry ingredients (except sugar) in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Beat butter on medium speed until it is creamy. Slowly add the sugar and keep mixing until smooth.
  • Add the egg to the butter mixture, followed by the molasses and corn syrup.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until well-mixed.
  • Flatten the dough to about an inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  • When you are ready cut them out into gingerbread man shapes (I had some gingerbread women shapes too) and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 7-15 minutes, but this also depends on the size of the cookie.
  • Let them cool and brush the glaze over them. More on the glaze can be found below.
Glaze:

All you do is mix the ingredients until there are no clumps and it looks like a glaze fit for a cookie :)

And I leave you with a scene Becky and I created. She interpreted it as a nice gingerbread couple sharing a strawberry. I thought one might be mugging the other for its strawberry. She blames my urban upbringing, ha!

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Scones For An Afternoon Tea


    Today my family hosted the Baha'i' Nineteen Day Feast at our home and we decided to do it a little differently. We began with an afternoon tea and as you can see from the pictures at the bottom of this post, my mom did a lovely job. I get 3% of the credit (her words, not mine...gotta love her) for the scones; everything else was all her.

    The scones turned out really nice. If you like butter, you will like these! They are best served with some creme fraiche (or clotted cream if you can find it) and jam.

    Preheat oven to 350

    Ingredients:
    • 3 cups flour
    • 2 tbs white sugar
    • 2 tbs baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 pound (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and diced
    • 1 1/2 cups half and half (I used heavy cream)
    • 1 tbs vanilla extract
    Directions:
    • Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl
    • With a pastry blender or knives, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it is in small pea sized shapes
    • Add the cream/half and half and the vanilla extract
    • Mix the dough and, with floured hands, pat it down onto a floured surface until it is about an inch thick
    • Cut the dough into your desired scone shape and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
    • Brush with scone wash (milk mixed with sugar and cinnamon)
    • Bake for 18-25 minutes and serve


    p.s. This is basically my dream table set-up. Great colors and treats! I love British style teas.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Cranberry Apple Pie

    Looking for the perfect Thanksgiving pie? Make this one! I am sure there will be enough pumpkin pie wherever you go for the holidays, so change it up and offer your friends something a little different this year :)

    I made this pie for a Thanksgiving potluck we had at work and it was such a nice change for me. I love my chocolate and butter overload just as much as the next baker, but the natural colors from the fruit in this pie just came together so beautifully! And, I was reintroduced to the goodness of natural sugar! Okay...there was a little bit of refined sugar too.

    If you have the time I really encourage you to do this all from scratch. That means no store bought pie crust (I know you can do it!) I promise it will taste so much better and whoever you feed this too will say "wow!" Just keep in mind you need to refrigerate the dough for at least an hour; even better overnight. So, plan accordingly. I don't want any Thanksgiving day freak-outs.

    Preheat the oven to 375

    Ingredients

    Crust:
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch squares
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 6-8 tbs ice cold water
    Pie Filling:
    • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 cups of cranberries
    • 5 apples, cored and sliced
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    I also added a bit of streusel topping before covering the pie with the top crust (seen below.) I just eye-balled it and mixed flour, brown sugar, and melted butter until it reached the crumbly consistency I wanted. Then I just sprinkled it over the fruit filling:
    Directions:

    Pie Crust:
    • Place the butter squares in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
    • Once the butter is cold enough, combine the dry ingredients in a food processor and add the butter, pulsing about 6-8 times until they mixture gets crumbly.
    • Add the water 1 tbs at a time until the mixture starts to clump together. You will know it is ready if you pinch it and the mixture sticks together. If it doesn't, just add water until it does.
    • Separate the dough into two and form into discs on a lightly floured surface.
    • Cover each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour, or overnight.
    • When it is ready, roll out the discs with a rolling pin and place one on the bottom of a greased 9" pie pan to create the pie shell. You'll then roll out the other disc to cover the pie once the filling is in there.
    Pie Filling:
    • Mix the sugar, flour, and salt in a large saucepan.
    • Stir in the cranberries and maple syrup.
    • Cook over high heat and make sure to stir it constantly.
    • Once the mixture comes to a boil lower the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Stir in the apples (covered in the nutmeg and cinnamon) and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
    Once the filling is done you can remove it from the heat and pour it into pie shell. Covering it with the streusel is optional, but a nice touch. Then cover the pie with the second disc of dough you rolled out for the top. And don't forget to fold over the sides to lock it all in, and poke some holes in the top with a fork.

    If you made the crust from scratch you will want to bake this for about 45-55minutes, and 30 minutes if you bought the crust. Keep and eye on it though. If it starts to turn golden brown it is almost done!

    This was really really good and I hope at least one reader gets to make this as part of their Thanksgiving feast. If not, there is always an occasion for pie. Serve it warm, and make folks feel cozy.

    Happy holidays!

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Mustache Cookies


    You may think this is just a hipster baking experiment, but no, it is much more than that. I am raising money for Movember people! The office is having a bake sale to raise funds and I was asked to bake, and then handed a mustache shaped cookie cutter. How fun!

    I just used a simple sugar cookie recipe, but gave them some pizazz with food coloring and sprinkles. Manly like a mustache? No, but who cares :)

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees

    Ingredients
    • 1 1/2 cups butter softened
    • 2 cups white sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 5 cups flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt

    Directions
    • Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, then beat in eggs and vanilla
    • Stir the dry ingredients into above mixture
    • Let dough chill in the refrigerator covered for at least one hour, or overnight
    • Once chilled roll the dough onto a floured surface and cut into desired shapes
    • Bake for 6-8 minutes
    Enjoy!

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Pumpkin Scones with Candied Ginger


    I figured it was time to spice up the pumpkin. Chocolate dipped pumpkin biscotti is sweet and all, but time for a little more zing! I found that ginger adds the perfect spice; and when you cover it with sugar it is even better.

    I highly recommend that you eat these straight out of the oven. But first, let's bake them.

    Preheat oven to 425

    Ingredients:






    • 3 cups flour
    • 1 tbs baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp curry powder (don't be alarmed, you'll hardly taste it)
    • 5 tbs white sugar
    • 1 stick of butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
    • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
    • 1 cup of sour cream (you could use yogurt or buttermilk as well but I really think sour cream makes baked goods more moist and delicious!)
    • 1/2 cup of chopped candied ginger
    Directions:
    • Whisk together the dry ingredients, including the ginger
    • Add the butter pieces and use your hands, an electric mixer, or a pastry blender to mix the ingredients until they turn into coarse crumbs
    • In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin and sour cream
    • Add the pumpkin mix to the dry ingredients
    • Roll or pat the dough onto a lightly floured surface, spreading it into a rough 10" square about a half-inch thick
    • Cut the dough into triangular shapes
    • Place the triangles onto a parchment paper-lined/greased baking sheet
    • Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown




    A word of advice: Eat a couple before you given them away. If you don't, you might regret it later (too good!) Oh, and don't skimp on the ginger ;)


    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Halloween Birthday Cake














    This cake was made for a birthday so technically it is a birthday cake, but seeing as it was also Halloween weekend and the San Francisco Giants are playing, we could also say it is a "Happy Birthday Halloween Go Giants" cake. The colors are right, the timing is right, it's just right.



    I had fun with this one because I got to use a new mold to create a design inside the cake (which I hadn't done before) and I obviously have a peanut butter weakness because I loaded it with Reese's Pieces both inside and out, in between the layers and on top. Too much? Uh, no.



    Preheat oven to 325



    Ingredients:


    • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate


    • 4 cups sifted cake flour


    • 3 tsp baking powder


    • 1 tsp salt


    • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened


    • 2 cups of sugar


    • 4 eggs


    • 1 tbs vanilla


    • 1 1/3 cup milk


    • Reeses's Pieces!!!!
      Directions
      :

    • In a small bowl combine the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.


    • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Then add the vanilla.


    • Add the milk and flour to the butter mixture, alternating between the two until the batter is smooth.


    • Beat at medium to high speed for 30 seconds.


    • I then divided the batter in half, added Orange and Black food coloring to each batch respectively. And baked them for 25 minutes.

      The results were sweet and festive. I really liked this cake because it came out light and fluffy like a lot of those packaged cake mixes, but so much better and not too sweet like a lot of packaged stuff is. Not that I don't eat the cake from a box mix, but nothing beats homemade!

    If the Giants win, I suggest you make one! Or you can always wait until next Halloween :)



    P.S. Special little surprise guest: Mini Halloween Swirl cupcake!!


    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Angel Food Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling



    I made these yesterday for a Nicholas Cage movie marathon. You're probably wondering "Why Angel Food?" Well I figured it out last night as we perused the extensive Cage movie list Chris and Shara compiled. Cage was in 'City of Angels' and apparently at the end of 'Gone in 60 Seconds' they reference Angel Food cake. So other than the fact that they were yummy, they were fitting too!

    As I was making these I noticed a red or pink cutesy theme in my cupcakes. But I can't really take all the credit for these ones since the cupcake liners I got in Japantown (which read: "Whoever loves me loves my dog") were so random and cute that they just added the cuteness for me.

    This was my first time attempting Angel Food, but I got the approval of a culinary school student that was at the movie event. So...if I can do it, so can you!

    Preheat oven to 325

    Ingredients

    Filling
    • 3 cups of raspberries
    • 1/4 cup & 2 tbsp sugar
    • 4 tsp of cornstarch, dissolved in 4 tsp water
    Cupcakes


    • 1 cup cake flour
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 10 egg whites
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp cream of tartar
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    Glaze
    • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 1/2 tbsp melted butter
    • 1 1/2 tbsp water
    • pinch of salt

    Directions

    Filling
    • In a saucepan, cook 2 1/2 cups of the raspberries with granulated sugar. Crush the berries as you cook them over moderately high heat
    • Strain the above puree and return it to the pan with the rest of the berries, and the cornstarch mixture
    • Bring it to a boil until it is thickened
    • Refrigerate until firm
    Cupcakes
    • Combine cake flour and powdered sugar in one bowl. In another bowl mix the eggs whites, salt, and cream of tartar
    • Beat the egg whites mix on high speed until peaks form, then beat in the granulated sugar
    • Sift the flour and powdered sugar over the egg whites and fold gently
    • Spoon the batter into muffin tins and bake for 13-15 minutes, until cakes are springy and golden
    • Once they are cool poke a hole in them and pipe in the filling
    Glaze
    Stir the ingredients and cover the cupcakes with the glaze however you like

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Chocolate Dipped Pumpkin Biscotti

    The nice thing about making cookies is that you can make one batch that feeds many. So I brought some to my parents and grandparents, sent some back east, and brought some to the office. By now my office is used to me bringing baked goods in, but these were by far the quickest to go of anything. I sent out an email and I kid you not, within 30 seconds there was a swarm of coworkers. And like that, poof! Biscottis GONE.

    Tis the season for pumpkin, so try them out. This was a bit of my own concoction but people seemed to like them!

    Preheat oven to 350

    Ingredients:

    Chocolate for dipping:
    • 12 oz Milk Chocolate Chips
    • Butter (as needed)
    Biscotti
    • 1/2 can of pumpkin
    • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
    • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 3 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp nutmeg
    • 1 tsp coriander
    Directions:

    • Put the oil, sugar, eggs, salt, and vanilla in an electric mixer and mix at low speed
    • Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to above mixture and blend well
    • Stir in the nuts, pumpkin, and spices
    • Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and shape into a long log (3" wide and 1" high)
    • Space them 4" apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper
    • Bake about 35 minutes, until golden and firm
    • After 35 minutes take them out, let them cool, and cut them into slices
    • Set them back on the lined cookie sheet on their side and bake for another 10-15 minutes
    While the cookies are baking melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave (yea, I was feeling lazy. This is what happens when you bake at 10:00pm on a work night!) Dip the cookies on their side into the melted chocolate, let cool, and you're done!

    Enjoy the pumpkin treat!



    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Milk Bar's Crack Pie


    It's not what you think, well, maybe it is. Once you have one bite it is likely you'll just keep going for more which is why I assume they call it Crack Pie! Last time I was in NYC I went to the famous Milk Bar with some friends and we each got something on the menu to share. After about two bites of each I felt a bit sick (that doesn't mean I stopped), and I have to say the Crack Pie stuck out in my mind most.

    It is everything you could want in a pie, without all the stuff you don't really need (like fruit, ha!) Mr.Jones and I took a stab at it this past weekend for a picnic with some friends and were happy with the habit forming results of butter, cream, sugar, more sugar, and some other supporting ingredients. Friends seemed to like it, and I think it's safe to say this pie lives up to it's name ;)

    Here's how you make it:

    Ingredients:

    Oat Cookie Crust:
    • 9 tbs unsalted butter
    • 5 1/2 tbs golden brown sugar
    • 2 tbs white sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 3/4 cups & 2 tbs old fashion oats
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/8 tsp baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    Filling:
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tbs nonfat dry milk powder (I didn't have any and it turned out just as good)
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
    • 6 1/2 tbs heavy whipping cream
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    Directions:

    Oat Cookie Crust:

    Preheat oven to 350 and line a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan with greased parchment paper
    • Combine 6 tbs butter, 4 tbs brown sugar, and 2 tbs sugar and beat until light and fluffy with an electric mixer
    • Add egg, and continue beating
    • Add dry ingredients and mix
    • Pour mixture onto pan and spread
    • Bake 17 minutes until golden brown
    • Once that is done baking let it cool and then crumble it and mix it with 3 tbs butter and 1 1/2 tbs brown sugar.
    • Pack it into a 9" pie pan to form crust, and fill with the following filling
    Filling:

    • Whisk sugars and salt together, and add melted butter. Mix until well blended
    • Add cream, egg yolks, and vanilla and whisk until well blended

    Pour the filling into the above crust and bake 30 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 325 and bake for about another 20 minutes (maybe less, so best to keep an eye on it).

    You'll need to cool the pie about 2 hours and it is best to make it at least one night before. When you are ready to serve it dust it with some powdered sugar and you are all set!

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    What's puffy and fluffy and tasty?




    A creme puff! Ms. Amy Shelley had the wonderful idea to make these. Neither of us had made them before, but we did good! They came out better than we had hoped and now that we know how simple they are I have a feeling we'll each be making them more often. You can make them too:

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • 1 cup flour
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 box of custard or pudding
    The directions are pretty simple. Just melt the shortening in a sauce pan, add the boiling water, and add the flour. Mix it all until the flour becomes a big ball. Take it off the heat and add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between each one.

    Once everything is mixed place the dough by heaping tablespoons on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 450, and then another 10 minutes at 425. Once they are cooled, cut them open (half way), and fill them.

    Voila, you have le puff de creme!

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Chocolate Truffles!


    I took a chocolate making class this past weekend and it was so much fun! I have a new appreciation for expensive chocolates. There is so much time and precision that goes into making chocolate, and you have to be very detail oriented. Time, measurements, temperature (you'll need a thermometer), you have to pay careful attention to all of it if you want perfect chocolate truffles. Well, in my case, close to perfect ;)

    The truffles have a ganache center, a chocolate coating, and then you can cover them with whatever you like. We chose cocoa powder, powdered sugar, milk chocolate shavings, and white chocolate shavings. Here is how you make them:

    Ingredients:
    • 5 oz chopped darked chocolate (68-72%)
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tsp light corn syrup
    • 1 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1lb of tempered chocolate (we'll get to that later on)
    Directions:

    Ganache
    • Place chopped chocolate in a medium size bowl and set aside
    • Bring cream and corn syrup to a boil while stirring
    • Pour over chopped chocolate and allow to sit for 2 minutes
    • Stir slowly with a whisk, until well mixed and emulsified
    • When the ganache reaches 95F mix in the softened butter, and stir well
    • Let the ganache cool at room temperature for about an hour, or until it has cooled to below 74F
    • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop out small balls of ganache
    • Set aside to dry overnight at room temperature, uncovered
    Dipping, and *Tempering Chocolate
    • Roll the ganache into smooth balls
    • Dip in tempered chocolate and roll in desired toppings
    • Allow chocolate to set before storing at cool room temperature
    *Tempering is the process of melting and cooling the chocolate, which you'll then use for dipping. You'll need to chop the chocolate into small pieces to facilitate the melting. Then melt the chocolate over warm water (not boiling) or in the microwave (at low power.) For dark chocolate you'll want to get it to 115-120F, milk chocolate 100-110F, and white chocolate 100-105F.

    Once the melting temperature has been reached, you'll need to add more chocolate to lower the temperature to 93-94F. Just add chocolate in dosages until you get there. Dark chocolate should reach 88-91F, milk chocolate should reach 85-89F, and 84-88 F for white chocolate. It is very important that you keep stirring the chocolate throughout the process. If you ever need to adjust the temperature you can hold the bowl over the stove for about 10-15 seconds until you reach the temperature range you need.

    And there you go. Now you can make chocolate truffles!

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    Devil's Food Cake





    I made this one for a misty, foggy, typical San Francisco picnic. I was a little concerned it would not brave the elements, but it held up just fine! It's another Magnolia Bakery recipe. The more goodies I make of theirs, the more I like them. They definitely live up to the hype!

    It's a great double-layer cake. The frosting is thick and similar to marshmallow or meringue, and the cake is chocolatey, moist, and delicious. Then I just added some raspberries and sugary pearl decor for an extra touch. I need to figure out how to make it perfect like the pictures, but overall I was pleased with it.

    Here's how you make it:

    Preheat the oven to 350

    Ingredients:

    Cake
    • 3 cups flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 3 eggs, separated (you'll be using the yolks and the whites at different moments, so be sure to keep both)
    • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    • 8 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    Frosting:
    • 3 egg whites
    • 2 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup cold water
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    Directions:

    Cake:
    • Melt the chocolate over a double boiler for 5-10 minutes. You can just put a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water, works fine.
    • Remove it from the heat and let it cool.
    • In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set it aside.
    • Lightly beat the yolks until lemon colored
    • In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks until well combined.
    • Add the chocolate until well mixed
    • Add the dry ingredients to the above butter mixture, in thirds. Alternate with the milk and vanilla.
    • Beat the egg whites on the high speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the batter.
    • Divide the batter between two 9", greased, pans and bake 40-45 minutes




    Frosting:
    • Combine egg whites, sugar, water, syrup, and salt in a metal bowl over boiling water
    • On the high speed of an electric mixer, beat constantly for 6-8 minutes, or until the icing stands in soft peaks
    • Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and beat for another minute until you get the right consistency for spreading
    • Use immediately
    Enjoy!

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    Who You Callin a Tart?





    I finally made a tart! I think I was always intimidated by their beauty and assumed they were going to be hard to make, but now that I have succeeded I am no longer afraid! I love them because they are versatile, colorful, refined, and delicious. Next time you have a party (tea party perhaps?) to attend you can make one too.

    First off, it's suggested that you make the curd (filling) and tart dough beforehand. I made mine the night before. When you are ready to bake it though you will want to preheat the oven to 350.

    Ingredients:

    Lemon curd:


    • 3 eggs
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 1 cup of white sugar
    • 3/4 cup lemon juice
    • 6 tbs unsalted butter
    Tart Crust:
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup of white sugar
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
    • a pinch of salt
    Topping:
    • Fruit assortment of your choosing :)
    • Warmed jam to brush on top of the fruit and make it look glossy!
    Directions:

    Curd:
    • You'll want to set aside a strainer, over a large bowl. Then you can start whisking the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar together in another metal bowl.
    • Whisk in the lime juice to above mixture and set the bowl over a simmering pot of water (but don't let the bowl touch the water).
    • Whisk constantly over the boiling water until the curd thickens (about 6 minutes).
    • Immediately pour the curd through the strainer.
    • Add butter to the curd and let it sit for a minute before you mix it in.
    • Refrigerate the curd, covering it with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic is covering/touching the top of the curd.
    Tart Crust:
    • Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl for about 2 minutes until it looks well blended.
    • Add the egg yolk.
    • Add flour and salt, and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles large peas.
    • Knead the dough together with your hands and transfer to a greased 9" tart pan. (Tip: The best are the ones with the removable bottom so that you can easily slide the tart up and out when it is done baking and cooled).
    • Press the dough evenly across the pan and up the edges to form the crust.
    • Cover and chill one hour, to one day.
    When you are ready to bake it place the crust in the oven (no curd, in case that is not clear) for about 35 minutes until golden brown. Let it cool in the pan and then spread the curd onto the cooled crust. Follow that up with some fruit, let it refrigerate to firm up, and you are set!

    Hope you get to impress some guests with this one :)

    Saturday, July 24, 2010

    I Made French Macaroons!



    I can't take all the credit for this one, I did have one great sous-chef! These were a lot harder to make then expected. The ingredients are simple, but everyone warned me that they are harder than they look. Now I know! It took a couple tries and there is still some perfecting to be done, but I have to say I am pretty darn happy with the results.

    They are the perfect little cookie. Bite size, pretty, great as a gift, and you can color them and flavor them however you like. I chose rose flavored, pink, macaroons with a cinnamon butter creme center. Oh-so-delightful! Here is how you make them:

    Ingredients:




    Macaroon batter:

    • 2/3 cup ground almonds (or almond flour, which is what I used)
    • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 3 egg whites (at room temperature)
    • 5 tbs granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp rose water
    Butter cream filling:
    • 7 tbs unsalted butter
    • 3 tbs water
    • 3 tbs granulated sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 375

    Macaroon cookie:


    • Mix together the almond flour (or ground almonds) and powdered sugar (this is also where you would add the rose water)
    • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on high until they are thick and foamy and create stiff peaks. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites as you are beating them
    • Add vanilla and food coloring to above mixture
    • Once the meringue has a glossy texture, it is done
    • Stir in half of the flour mixture, folding from the bottom. Then add the second half and stir lightly. Be sure not to over mix this as you want to keep the consistency of the meringue!
    • Place the batter in a pastry bag and squeeze them onto a cookie sheet in little circles about an inch in diameter.
    • Let them dry out for 15-30 mins. You'll know they are ready to be baked if you can lightly touch the top of one and it does not stick to your finger.
    • Bake for 15 minutes (tip: Add a second baking sheet underneath so that the macaroons don't burn)
    Butter cream:


    • Stir the water and sugar in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 2-3 minutes
    • Beat the above syrup mixture with an egg
    • Add the butter and mix at medium speed until it is creamy
    • Add cinnamon
    Once the macaroons are done baking let them cool, add the butter cream center, and you are finito!