Thursday, March 24, 2005

Molasses Cookies with Espresso Sugar

This is a soft tender cookie with just the right amount of chewiness in the center. If you want a cookie that's more chewy, use only one egg.
Bring the eggs and butter out and bring to room temperature and preheat oven to 350 degrees

with mixer cream together 3/4 cup unsalted butter
and 1 cup of packed brown sugar til light and fluffy
blend in 2 eggs and 1/2 cup dark molasses with the mixer
by hand, with a spoon, add 1/2 heaping tsp nutmeg
1 heaping tsp ginger
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1 heaping teaspoon espresso sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt (if you use salted butter decrease to 1/2 teaspoon)
2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
and mix just until combined.

chill for an hour in the fridge or stick in the freezer for 10 minutes for easier handling

roll dough into melon ball sized shapes (spraying a little Pam type cooking spray on your hands makes this less messy) and roll in more espresso sugar (I used about 2 and 1/2 ounces total). Do NOT flatten before baking, they flatten as they cool. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, let sit on pan a minute after you take it from the oven before removing them to a wire rack. They should appear slightly underdone and soft when you remove them. but will harden some as they cool.

Makes about thirty 3 and a 1/2 inch cookies.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Directions for Clarified Butter

Clarified Butter:

Clarified butter has a higher flash point (unlike redheads who have a low flash point) as clarifying it strains out the milk solids that burn too quickly as well as excess water and salt. This allows a slower, hotter cooking process with intense flavor. Perfect for pan, not deep, frying. You lose about 1/4 of the butter in the process, so keep that in mind in both measuring and deciding whether to use a more expensive butter. It does keep well covered in the fridge for at least a month.

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Melt butter slowly in heavy saucepan over low. Remove from the heat heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

Skim the foam from the top, and then slowly pour the rest into a container, discarding the milky solids in the bottom of pan.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Ding Dongs for Adults

Cake Portion

1 and 1/2 ounces shaved Ghiradelli or Guittard semi sweet chocolate
3/4 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened Ghiradelli cocoa powder (use a high quality cocoa, it makes a difference).
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons Penzey's Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F. Measure out the buttermilk and remove the eggs from fridge and let both get to room temperature. Grease and flour two cupcake pans. In a large bowl with a mixer (I use one with a paddle attachment), mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Add buttermilk and oil, mixing on medium until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl.

Mix chocolate into hot coffee, and stir until it liquefies.

With the mixer back down to low speed, add eggs one at a time; beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add coffee and vanilla and mix on low just until smooth. Pour batter into prepared cupcake pans, filling cups to less than 1/2 full.

Bake cupcakes in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack. After about 10 minutes remove cakes from pans and allow to cool completely. While you make the filling.

Creamy filling

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons Penzey's Mexican vanilla.
a pinch of salt

Combine the above in a metal bowl (yes metal, to conduct heat).

Set over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, about 6-7 minutes.

Remove from heat and continue to beat until the frosting has cooled slightly. You will want to use this the same day, it does not keep well.

Place icing in a gallon sized ziplock bag. Folks this is going to get messy. But since, if you are like me, you already have flour on the floor and cocoa powder on he counters, no one will notice.

(If you have one of those metal injectors or a professional pastry or piping bag even better).

Cut off a corner of the redhead pastry bag (the ziplock), and use it to pipe the filling into the cake.

There are two ways to fill the cake. You can poke a hole in it with a chopstick and dig out a little room for the filling, or if you have an injector you can just stick that into the underside of the cake, about halfway in, and fill, being careful not to overfill or break the cake. You only want a little bit. If you pipe in so much frosting the ding dong starts growing you might have a little problem. There is no saying "No thanks" at that point, it's going to blow. (think Exxon Valdez full of frosting). Fortunately mistakes can be eaten before anyone sees.

As each one is done place on a cookie sheet covered with a piece of wax paper (the cake is a little sticky at this point).

Chocolate Ganache
9 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped (I use the E. Guittard Tsaratana Semisweet Chocolate (61% cacao)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dark rum or espresso

Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring JUST to a boil, watching very carefully because if you let it continue to boil, even for a few seconds it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, remove immediately and pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. (Do NOT beat or it becomes frosting like in consistency). Stir in the flavoring and allow to cool just slightly.

Working with a few at a time, gently drop the filled cupcakes into the bowl of ganache, the smaller cupcake base end first. Use a fork to spread chocolate over the top side of each cupcake. Remove chocolate coated cakes from the ganache and transfer to a fresh wax paper lined pan or cookie sheet to set up.

These will keep in an airtight container for 3 days or in a container in the fridge for up to 5 (or so I heard).

Friday, March 11, 2005

Loaded Potato Wedges with Sriracha Dipping Sauce

makes 4 side dish servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha (thai chili sauce, also known as Rooster Sauce)
2 large potatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
pinch cayenne
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cheddar (I used a mix of white and smoked cheddar)
2-3 Tablespoons diced bacon
1 green onion (green portion only) chopped.

Sriracha Dipping Sauce

1 cup sour cream
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons sriracha, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut potatoes into wedges (extra thick steak fry sized). Whisk olive oil and Sriracha together in a small bowl. Pour over potatoes in a bowl and toss to coat. Add spices and toss again. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Roast in oven for 15 minutes. Stir and flip potatoes with a spatula (they will be sizzling) and roast another 10-20 minutes (varies based on size of potato but remove from oven when tender when poked with a fork and golden brown, watching closely the last couple of minutes to avoid burning).

While potatoes are cooking, whisk dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl,

Remove potatoes from oven, sprinkle with smoked cheddar bacon and greeb onion and serve with Sriracha dipping sauce.