Monday, April 14, 2014

Dark Chocolate Ganache Crepe Cake

This cake was so yummy that I really don't have much else to say about it.
Ok. Ok. I'm kidding. I can say tons about it! First, it was quite a process to put together. I ended up having tons of help making it though since I was visiting family at the time. 
This was my assembly line. Quite a mess (so it came out a success!)
 
The robust dark chocolate was slightly mellowed when added to heavy whipping cream. That ganache nicely complemented the eggy crepes. Altogether, there wasn't one complaint about this cake from the many taste-testers.
 
I can't wait to make it again. (I might do a mini-version in the future.)
 
PS Check out my tips on how to make it in less time.
Chocolate Ganache Crepe Cake (found on Completely Delicious)
Ingredients:
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter
3 cups (710 ml) whole milk
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (75 grams) sugar
Pinch of salt
 
For the whipped ganache:
10 ounces (285 grams) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 cups (475 ml) heavy cream
 
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Break the dark chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the heated heavy cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth and chill in fridge until ready to use.
 
2.Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Continue to cook, while stirring occasionally, until browned. Set aside and let cool slightly.
 
3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in another saucepan until steaming and small bubbles appear at the edges. Set aside and let cool slightly.
 
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or with a hand-held mixer, mix the eggs, flour, sugar, and salt until combined. While mixing on low speed, add the butter and milk slowly until incorporated.
 
5. Heat a 9-inch skillet over medium heat and grease with a small amount of butter. Add approximately 1/3 cup of batter to the skillet and swirl to coat the pan evenly. Cook for a few minutes until edges begin to brown. Flip and cook for an additional minute. (Erika's Extras: I found it easiest to shake the pan a little and then flip in air, but feel free to use a spatula to turn it.) Repeat until the batter is gone, stacking crepes and letting them cool to room temperature.
 
6. Take ganache out of fridge and whip until there are some peaks.
 
7. To make the cake, layer the crepes with a thin coating of chocolate ganache. Garnish cake with powdered sugar or cocoa, if desired, and let chill for a little bit before serving.
Bake well and prosper!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cornmeal Biscotti

Here's something I find a little weird: I don't like biscotti bought from a store (grocery or coffee shop), but I love the ones I've made for this blog. That's a little weird, right? Because I like cookies I buy at stores and also cookies I make. (But I guess nothing beats home-made!)
These biscotti were just as delicious as these Lavender Biscotti with Dried Cherries and Pistachios, these Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti, and these Soft Cranberry Orange Biscotti. The stone-ground cornmeal created an extra crunchy texture. I made half with the walnuts and half without. I think I enjoyed them better without, but hey. Sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don't.
Cornmeal Biscotti recipe found here: David Lebovitz 
 
For less crunchy texture, don't use stone-ground cornmeal.
Bake well and prosper!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spicy Chili Chocolate Cookies (gluten-free version)

The spice in these cookies are perfect for the cold days we keep having here in NYC. Have I mentioned that this winter's been a bad one? Oh yeah. I mentioned it here, here, and here. There doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
 
Two weekends ago I made these cookies to share with my fellow running team mates. A group of us cheered on other runners while standing out in the cold.
See how bundled up everyone was? Yeah. It was COLD.
 
But the chili dark chocolate mixed with cayenne pepper and cinnamon had a nice enough kick in it to help warm up whomever ate one (which was most of us.)
 
So, if it's still super cold where you are and winter seems never ending, consider making these cookies. (And if it's not, send warm weather my way and keep this recipe for next fall/winter.)
I used gluten free flour for these cookies and they turned out perfectly fine. Besides that change, I followed everything else called for in the recipe. The recipe can be found here: Completely Delicious
Bake well and prosper!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pear Date and Coconut Cake

La di da di...oh, wait. Hey! I have a blog!
 
I've left my baby blog alone for over a month now. Time flies! I don't really have any reasons for not baking/posting. I was in Austin for a little bit in February, but besides that, I just haven't felt like baking. I'm going to blame the winter.
 
However, this past Sat I baked TWICE.
I usually always have dates on hand. Is that a weird food item to always have on hand? Well, I do. They are such an important part of eating a raw foods diet. Why important? Well, they help make desserts, which is important! 
 
I saw this recipe awhile ago and couldn't wait to try it. The cake turned out to be nice and moist. It's not overly sugary and I find it went well with chai tea. Next time I'll make sure to save time for the powdered sugar design on top. This is what one gets when making up something within a couple of minutes:
It's not awful, but I know I can do better!
 
Pear Date and Coconut Cake recipe found here: Hummingbird High
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Caramel Rolls

I did it! I finally made my Mom's caramel roll recipe! I wanted to make it last year when I was trying to "challenge myself" in the kitchen, but I just never had the time/the right occasion to make it.
 
The recipe takes about 4.5 hours altogether and involves yeast! (I'm still slightly scared about working with yeast even though I've made these amazing donuts, this heavenly overnight coffee loaf, these delicious croissants, and this yummy from scratch monkey bread. You'd think I'd feel like a pro by now, but I don't. I still think yeast is finicky!)
 
I had to call my Mom twice to clarify some parts of the recipe and she admitted that she didn't have a real recipe for it. She had to kind of make it up when my brother asked for it a couple of years ago. Well, her slightly made up recipe has been delighting me for years and now I've "conquered" it!
Isn't it beautiful? So shiny and caramel-y?
 
I also tried something special with the recipe for Valentine's Day. I made the other dish of rolls with red colored caramel and tried to shape the rolls into hearts. Can you see the heart?
I think the red color scared my taste-testers seeing the natural colored one was eaten first. I don't blame them. As it turns out, the red dye slightly messed with the texture of the caramel.
 
But both versions tasted great! I must admit that I think my mom makes them better, but hey, she has more years of experience on me!
 
Oh, and in case you have 4.5 hours to make rolls, here's what they taste like: cinnamon rolls with caramel and pecans on top instead of frosting. Yum! 
Caramel Rolls (adapted from my Mom's Best Recipes Cookbook)
Ingredients
3/4 C scalded milk
1/4 C shortening
1 scant T yeast (1 packet should do)
3/4 C lukewarm water
1/2 C sugar
1 t salt
1 egg
4-4 1/2 C flour (see directions)
1/2 C light syrup
1 C brown sugar
4 T butter
1/2 C chopped pecans.
1 C cinnamon and sugar

Pour hot milk over shortening in a mixing bowl; let cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in water (100-110 degrees F). Yeast should be good to use after about 5 minutes (there will be some foam on top of the water.) Mix these together along with the sugar, salt, egg, and 2 C flour (not the entire amount.) Beat with electric mixer until there are air bubbles appearing in the batter. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let rise for 1/2 hour. (It might not rise much. This is ok.)

Add the other 2-2 1/2 C flour: knead on counter top for 8 minutes or so. Let rise in a greased bowl, covered for at least an hour.

While it's rising, heat the light syrup, brown sugar, and butter together until melted. Mix well and pour into 2 8x8 or 9x9 baking dishes. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the caramel.

After the hour of dough rising, roll dough with a rolling pin onto a counter top. Roll out into about an 18 inch by 12-16 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (1 1/2 t cinnamon mixed with 1 C sugar.) Roll up dough and cut into 18 equal sections. Place on sides on top of caramel mixture (cinnamon & sugar side down), 3x3 in each pan. Let rise, covered, for 1 hour.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until the dough is slightly brown. Remove from oven and flip onto a cooling rack. (Place wax paper under rack.) Make sure to spoon out the left over caramel mixture that is stuck to the pan back on top of rolls.

Eat warm. Add butter if desired.
Bake well and prosper!