Monday, April 28, 2014

Cornmeal Cookies with a Dark Chocolate Center

Hi dear readers! My urges to bake have been diminished this year. I have a feeling that my normal one post a week might change to two posts a month for the year. I hope you'll forgive me.
My urges to enjoy NYC haven't been diminished though. I thoroughly enjoyed finding eggs "hidden" around the city as part of the Faberge Big Egg Hunt. Over the course of a couple of weeks, people could find these fun works of art around the city. Then, for the last week, they were all at Rockefeller Center. Here are some of the ones that tickled my fancy:

Then, this past weekend I left my beloved NYC and headed to Boston for a singing gig. On my day off, I went on a Freedom Trail tour and tried to learn a little bit more about the American Revolution.
On Sat I sang the mezzo solo in Duruflé's Requiem in Worcester, MA.
It was a lovely experience but I was happy to be back in NYC. So happy that I felt like baking! So I made up this recipe.
These cookies are rather flat, but the texture is perfect. It's a crepe-like cookie and the sweetness of the sugar blends together well with the cornmeal. The dark chocolate is just something I added for a dollop of yuminess.
Cornmeal Cookies with Dark Chocolate Center (my recipe creation)
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup and 2 Tablespoons cornmeal
small dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces
Heat oven to 350°F. Mix the butter and sugar together. Mix in the egg. Blend in the flour and cornmeal. Roll dough into balls and place on cookie sheet. Place a piece of dark chocolate in the middle of each ball of dough. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool before enjoying.
Bake well and prosper!

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)
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!