Monday, November 30, 2009
I was looking for something different to make for Thanksgiving dinner, and I decided to make this chocolate hazelnut tart. I think that you can make anything in a tart pan and it looks fancy! Many people like pecan pie, and in many ways this is similar to that. You just use hazelnuts instead of pecans and add dark chocolate chips. This pie is very rich, so you can only eat a small portion, but the flavors are great.
For this tart, I used hazelnuts from Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards, which is a hazelnut orchard in Lynden, Washington. I’ve compared these hazelnuts to ones that I bought at the store and they taste so much better. They are bigger and sweeter than other ones I have bought. Holmquist sells their hazelnuts at farmer’s markets in my area, and also at the Pike Place Market. They also sell online, which is a nice convenience! I love hazelnuts, so I go through a lot of them and I’m glad that these are always available to me.
This tart is really simple to make. Just line a tart pan with pastry, mix all of the filling ingredients together, pour in the shell and bake. It looks impressive and tastes that way too, but it’s really an easy pie to put together. If you’d like, you could whip some cream to serve with the tart, if you feel compelled to make dishes to wash. Or serve it with vanilla ice cream. Any way you choose to serve it, this tart is a show stopper.
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped hazelnuts
8 ounces dark chocolate chips
1 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Piecrust for a 10-inch tart pan (unbaked)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 10-inch tart pan with fluted sides with piecrust. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, eggs, hazelnuts, chocolate chips, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt. Make sure the mixture is well combined. Carefully pour the mixture into the pie crust. Don’t fill the crust too full. Bake for 1 hour.
Cool the tart for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe from The Food Network
Friday, November 27, 2009
I hope all of my American readers enjoyed Thanksgiving yesterday! I made a chocolate hazelnut tart and I will post that sometime soon. We had a great quantity of food at the dinner and my in-laws were great hosts. I had originally planned to bake these cookies and take them to have at dinner on Thanksgiving, but I ran out of time and ended up making them once I got home from Thanksgiving dinner. We had plenty of food, so I’m kind of glad that I didn’t end up bringing them.
I don’t like pumpkin pie very much, but I don’t mind using pumpkin in other types of baked goods. I found this recipe for pumpkin biscotti and I thought it sounded really good. The original recipe called for pumpkin pie spice, which I didn’t have on hand. I substituted cinnamon, ginger, and a little bit of cloves. The recipe also called for you to toast macadamia nuts in the 2 tablespoons of butter and add those to the dough. I just added the melted butter to the dough and substituted chocolate chips for the macadamia nuts.
These aren’t very pumpkin-y, but I’m ok with that. The chocolate chips really dominate the flavor, and I guess I would be interested in trying these with the macadamia nuts, since those wouldn’t be so strong in their flavor. I think these would be a good choice if you wanted to make something with pumpkin, but wanted something a little more interesting than pumpkin pie.
3-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixer bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; stir well. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla, stirring well with a wire whisk. Slowly add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.) Add the melt the butter; stir to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Lightly flour hands and shape the dough into two logs, about 3” x 13" long log. Place logs 3" apart on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Bake for 25 minutes; cool logs 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300. Cut each log diagonally into 1" slices using a serrated knife. Place slices on the cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.
Recipe from Christmas Cookies.com
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Britin of The Nitty Britty. She picked the All in One Holiday Bundt Cake. This cake is great for the holiday season because it has pumpkin, cranberries, apple, and nuts. It’s really a great cake and has all of the flavors that you find in holiday baked goods. If you’d like the complete recipe for this cake, visit Britin’s blog!
This wasn’t the first time that I had this recipe. My husband had made this cake a couple of years ago, right after I got Dorie’s cookbook. I think it was one of the first recipes that I made from the book. Now I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin pie, but I don’t find pumpkin if it is used in a cake or a quick loaf. For me, this cake has all of the spices that I associate with the holidays, so the pumpkin doesn’t play the starring role. It’s just there in the background.
I have a Hansel and Gretel Bundt pan that I used for this recipe. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, since the chunks of apples and cranberries might not work very well with the details in the pan. I was worried for nothing since it turned out just fine! When I bake in this pan with all of the details, I typically let it bake for just a couple minutes longer than normal since I don’t want the cake to be too soft (and thus collapse after I have taken it out of the pan). I baked it a couple of extra minutes but the cake was still very moist. Overall, this is a great recipe for this time of year. It looks even more impressive if you have a fancy Bundt pan, but it tastes great no matter what pan you use.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 186
Friday, November 20, 2009
I worked for many years at the local Hallmark. We carried a lot of different kinds of things there, including a small food collection. Oh, we carried a lot of candy, but that’s another story! We carried some locally made foods and a couple of mixes made by local companies. Now, I started baking when I worked at Hallmark, and I’ve always made things primarily from scratch. For some reason, one day I had picked up the package mix for cranberry oatmeal cookies.
You added butter and probably butter to the mix to make the cookies, and these cookies ended up being really incredible. They were buttery and just had a great flavor. Every since that time, I’ve been looking for a recipe that would be similar to that mix. I came across this recipe on my chat list, when someone had asked about cookies to bring to a cookie exchange. I thought that it might be close to those cookies from the mix. They had some additional ingredients, but I figured that would just make them better.
These are excellent! I did toast the coconut and the pecans to add to the depth of the flavors. They don’t exactly taste like the ones from the mix, but they are pretty close. I think you could adjust the ingredients based on what you have handy. I had all of the ingredients but my cupboard is now bare of dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. I need to stock up before the holidays!
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup coconut flakes, toasted
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped, toasted
Preheat oven to 325°F and line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, corn syrup, and vanilla. Beat until combined.
With the mixer running, mix in the flour, salt, and baking soda, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. With a large spatula, stir in the coconut, white chocolate, cranberries, oatmeal, and pecans. Drop by tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for about 12 minutes, until edges are golden and top of the cookie is dry but still soft.
Let cool on baking sheet for a minute or two, and then move to a wire rack to cool completely
Recipe from Books ‘N Cooks, who got the recipe from Fine Cooking
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Pamela of Cookies with Boys. She picked the Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies. This month the Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers were given the option to do the weekly recipes in any order, but I’ve decided to be a complete conformist and follow the regular weekly schedule. If you’d like this week’s recipe, and you really should get this recipe, visit Pamela’s blog for the complete recipe.
I love cookies with molasses and ginger, so I figured these would be great and they certainly were. My favorite cookies are my triple ginger cookies, so all cookies must be compared to those. While these aren’t as good as my favorites, they are pretty close and have some excellent qualities. These cookies have ground ginger and molasses, and I think you could add chopped candied ginger if you wanted a nice ginger boost. They do come together quickly, so that’s a bonus. The dough chills for at least an hour, I chilled mine for longer than that and the dough was still a little sticky, so make sure you leave plenty of time for the dough to chill.
The texture of these cookies is fabulous. They are thin and chewy. I was a little surprised that they were so chewy since they used butter, which typically yields a crisp cookie. I guess the amount of brown sugar and the molasses offsets the butter. I rolled mine in coarse sanding sugar, which adds a good crunch to the cookies and gives them a little bit of sparkle. I made mine a little smaller than the recipe specified (I never did get a final count since my husband ate some off of the cooling rack while I was still baking them up), so I did have to adjust the baking time. They can get too browned very quickly, so watch the last few minutes that they are baking. So while this isn’t as fabulous as the triple ginger cookie, it’s an excellent choice for this season.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 76 and 77
Friday, November 13, 2009
So it’s getting close to Christmas and so I have been planning what I will be baking in the upcoming season. I’ve been trying to gather together the classic cookie recipes that I remember having at Christmas. While I have been looking at my family classics, I always have my eyes on new recipes. I suppose it is a little early for this cookie, but I’ve been waiting to make these for almost a year. What are your favorite Christmas cookies? What ones are traditional in your family?
Chocolate and peppermint is a classic holiday combination. I made some chocolate mint cookies just a while ago, but these are quite different. They start with a refrigerator cookie that is slice and bake. This type of cookie is perfect for the busy holiday season since it only takes a couple minutes to make the dough. Stick it in the refrigerator to chill for a bit while you can go and do something else that needs to be done. (There’s always something that needs to be done!) Slice, bake, wait a bit to cool, and top with chocolate.
I doubled the cookie recipe, but didn’t double the chocolate topping and I had plenty of chocolate to top all of the cookies. It’s pretty messy to crush up candy canes, so I used some peppermint snow that I had purchased at Williams Sonoma. I’m an easy target for some of the special baking items that you can find this time of year! It looked so good in the package and it didn’t get all powdery like it does when you crush candy canes yourself. I cut some cookies thicker than others, and I think I like the thin ones best. I really liked this recipe, and I loved how easy it came together. I think I’ll add this to the Christmas cookie list of favorites.
1-1/2 sticks butter, softened
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
7 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
2/3 cup finely crushed peppermint candy canes or candies
Using an electric mixer beat the butter until soft. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar until creamy, then beat in the egg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt; add to the mixer about one-third at a time, beating at low speed until smooth.
Shape the dough into 12-inch-long cylinder. Wrap tightly in parchment or waxed paper and roll into a smooth, even log. Twist the ends to seal and refrigerate for 30 minutes; reshape the cylinder and refrigerate for 30 minutes more.
Preheat the oven to 350°; line cookie sheets with silicone baking mats. Unwrap the dough; using a sharp knife, slice into 1/3-inch-thick rounds. Place about 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets; bake until firm, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
In a bowl, combine two-thirds of the chopped chocolate with the oil; microwave for 30 seconds, then stir until smooth. (If needed, heat for additional 10-second intervals.) Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate until smooth. Spread a scant teaspoon of melted chocolate on top of each cookie. Sprinkle the peppermints on top and let stand until set, 2 to 3 hours.
Recipe from Pennies on a Platter, who got the recipe from Rachael Ray’s Magazine
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Em of The Repressed Pastry Chef. She selected Cran-Apple Crisps which are miniature apple crisps with fresh and dried cranberries. Check out Em's blog for the complete recipe. This is such a perfect recipe and the timing was just right. My local grocery stores have just started carrying fresh cranberries.
Apple crisp is right up there at the top of my lists of favorite desserts. I was so excited to make this since I love apple crisp so much. I like cranberries, too, so I figured that would be a good addition. They grow cranberries in Washington State, near the ocean, and a couple of summers ago my husband and I visited a working cranberry farm. It was very interesting. They harvest the fruit by flooding the fields and raking up the cranberries. Very hard work, but worth it in my opinion!
Like most crisps, this crisp was very easy to make. You make the crumb topping in the food processor, which is the easiest way to make crumb topping. This crumb topping includes coconut, which is a bit different and very good. The crisp is just apples, cranberries, sugar and a touch of flour. Nothing too unusual, but everything came together so well. I loved this crisp!
I halved the recipe and make 3 crisps. I wasn’t sure which baking vessel to use, but this worked out well. (I usually use these dishes to soften butter in the microwave, so it was nice to use them for something more adventurous.) They baked up perfectly and I wouldn’t change a thing about them. They aren’t too sweet and the cranberries add a good tartness. My husband and I ate these while they were still warm out of the oven and had the same reaction: this is a keeper!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 422.
Friday, November 6, 2009
So we always buy Halloween candy with the hope that we will have kids come to the door, but we never have any visitors. I don’t know where kids in my town go for trick or treating, but it certainly isn’t my neighborhood. I guess they go to the mall where they can hit many stores in a short amount of time.
As a result, we have a lot of leftover candy. Several baking sites that I visit have given suggestions as to how to use up the candy. I figured the easiest thing to do was to cut the candy into chunks and add it to brownies. For this recipe I used chocolate bars, peanut butter cups and almond joy bars. I think most chocolate candy would work. We also had Kit Kats, but my husband didn’t think that those would work in the brownies. I think he just wanted to eat the Kit Kats.
This recipe is based on the recipe for fudgy brownies, since I like fudgy brownies more than cakey brownies. Cakey brownies are just never chocolately enough. You make these in a saucepan, so they are very simple and quick. Some of the candy kind of melts into the batter, which is quite nice. These are quite fudgy, and perhaps they could have baked just a couple minutes more. They were so sticky when I cut them, but they taste very good. The peanut butter cups stand out the most, where the chocolate bars and the almond joy just melted into the brownie.
¾ cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup flour
2 cups chopped candy bars
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the head briefly, just until hot, but not to bubbling; it will become shiny looking as you stir it.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, stirring just until smooth, and then add the flour and the chopped candy, stirring again until smooth. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.
Bake for 30-32 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a tiny amount of crumb clinging to it. Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting.
Recipe adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Katya of Second Dinner. She chose the Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake. As you can see from the title of this blog post, I detoured from the original recipe considerably. I had some issues in the process of making the recipe, plus some ingredients were too hard to find. I substituted ingredients I had on hand, with flavors that I knew I would like. I can’t say for certain, but I don’t think I have ever had a chestnut. So I wasn’t sure about this cake.
The cake calls for jarred chestnuts and chestnut puree. I knew that these ingredients would be harder to find but not impossible. My husband and I looked at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, the regular grocery store, but there were no chestnuts to be found. I finally went to another well-stocked market and I found jarred chestnuts, but they were $15. They had one version of chestnut puree, but not exactly what was specified in the recipe. Plus it was another $15 so I decided to pass and go with Plan B, which was using hazelnuts and hazelnut butter.
This recipe starts with you making caramel, which I have made a couple of times, but it just wasn’t happening this time! The first batch dried up totally, and then the second batch looked ok but then when I went to add the cream it was completely hard. I might have been able to salvage it, but I decided to give up for the night. I decided to leave out the caramel and just make a chocolate ganache (with butter) for the filling. I used gianduja (milk chocolate with hazelnut paste) for the milk chocolate, so the filling had a nice hazelnut flavor.
So I made quite a few changes, but I ended up with a wonderful cake. All of the layers are infused with hazelnut flavor, which I love. The cake is a bit crumbly, but it isn’t dry. The filling is to die for; it tastes like the filling of a really great candy bar. I will certainly make this again! I can envision using it for all sorts of cakes. This cake took a lot of work, but it was worth it in the end. I’m not sure if I would have liked it as much with chestnuts, I guess I will never know!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 269-272.
Monday, November 2, 2009
This is a guest post from my husband. My favorite cake is German Chocolate Cake and he wanted to make one for me since today is my birthday! He wanted to make something different, so he decided to make a chocolate pudding and then top it with the traditional coconut pecan frosting. It’s the frosting that really makes the cake so good.
This pudding recipe is from the BBC. Puddings are very common in England; in fact, “pudding” has become a synonym for “dessert.” A couple of the British cookbooks that we own have a pudding chapter, which includes all the dessert recipes. Puddings are typically cooked by steaming and we use a special pudding basin. It’s just a tapered ceramic bowl, and you could certainly use a heatproof bowl of any sort, it would just have a different shape. I’m sure it would still taste as good.
The pudding is quick to put together but then takes a while to steam, so you do have to have some patience. This pudding steamed for 1-1/2 hours, which seems like a long time but many puddings that he makes will steam for 3 hours. The pudding is nice and moist, but it still tastes a lot like a normal baked cake. The steaming ensures that it doesn’t dry out. It was nice and light and had a good chocolate flavor. It’s not too sweet, but the frosting is sweet so it works out well. The only drawback to a steamed pudding is that you have to eat it right away, but it makes about 4 servings so that’s not too hard to finish off. We enjoyed eating this pudding right up!
2 oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
4 oz. plain flour
4 oz. sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
½ cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp grated nutmeg
3oz hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
Lightly grease a 2 pint pudding basin (or heatproof bowl) with butter. Fill a large pot with a steamer insert with water and bring to a boil. Melt the chocolate and set aside.
Combine the remaining ingredients, except for the hazelnuts, in a food processor or mixer and blend for one minute at low speed. Add the melted chocolate and blend for one minute at high speed. Fold in the hazelnuts. Spoon the batter into the basin. Cover with a lid or parchment paper tied securely with string.
Put the basin in the steamer insert of your pan. Cook over a medium heat for about 1-1½ hours or until a knife or skewer inserted into the centre of the pudding comes out clean. Remove the pudding from the pan and allow to cool for ten minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and invert on to a serving dish. Top with frosting and serve.
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup white sugar
3 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
In a large saucepan combine evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, margarine and vanilla. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut. Spread on cake while still warm.
Pudding recipe from BBC. Frosting recipe from All Recipes