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Friday, January 30, 2015

Fantasy Football Desserts

It's time for the SUPER BOOOOOOOWL! Deflate-gate? Who cares. It's time to make desserts you can eat with your HANDS! A giant cookie cake? Brownie bites shaped like footballs? Haven't decided? Whatever you do, maybe these will take you towards the endzone! *Insert eye roll here. Stupid joke.*

Including all of the important Super Bowl flavors...
Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Bars
Grace Parisi

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • One 12-ounce bag bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups mini pretzels, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, allowing overhang on the 2 long ends.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light, 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Stir in the chips and pretzels.
  3. Spread the batter in the pan and top with the sprinkles. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden; the center will still be a little gooey. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
  4. Run the tip of a knife around the side of the pan and lift the bar out using the parchment paper. Cut into 24 squares and serve.

Blatantly Football...
Football Party Cupcakes
Food Network Kitchen

Ingredients
Cupcakes:
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Frosting:
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
Assembly and Decorating:
  • 2 1/2 cups dark green jimmies
  • 15 large marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
  • 8 chocolate cream covered cookie sticks, such as Pocky sticks
  • One 4.25-ounce tube white decorators' icing
  • 2 small chocolate chewy candies, such as midgie-size Tootsie Rolls, unwrapped
  • 22 fruit-flavored gummy candies in 2 different colors, or 11 chocolate-covered raisins or peanuts and 11 yogurt-covered raisins or peanuts
Special Equipment: metallic green, metallic gold and/or dark brown cupcake liner

Directions
  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup standard muffin tins with cupcake liners. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine the butter, granulated sugar, sour cream, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 21 to 23 minutes, rotating the pans once about halfway through baking. Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. For the frosting: Beat the butter, peanut butter, vanilla and salt using an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes more.
  4. For the assembly and decorating: Put 1 cup of frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and set aside. Put the jimmies in a shallow bowl. Frost a cupcake, using about 2 tablespoons of the remaining frosting per cupcake, and then gently dipping the top into the jimmies, turning the cupcake until the top is coated. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. Arrange the cupcakes in 4 rows on a large serving plate or cutting board. Fit a marshmallow between each cupcake, 5 marshmallows per row, to fill in the gaps between the cupcakes in the rows. Using the frosting in the piping bag, pipe thick cross shapes between where the cupcakes meet one another and over the marshmallows so there are no visible gaps between the cupcakes. Sprinkle with jimmies to coat.
  5. To make goal posts for the cupcake "field," microwave the chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl until just melted, 30 to 45 seconds. Keep 2 cookie sticks whole for the bases of the posts. Cut off and discard (or eat!) the bottom third of the remaining cookie sticks. Dip the top of one of the longest cookie sticks into the melted chocolate and adhere it to the middle of one of the cut cookie sticks so that they form a capital T shape. Next, dip the cut ends of two short sticks into chocolate and adhere them to either side of the cross on the T. Lay the goal post on a flat surface and repeat with the remaining 4 cookie sticks to make the second goal. Allow goals to fully harden, 15 to 20 minutes, or place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  6. Using the decorators' icing, pipe 10 lines across the cupcake field to represent yard lines. Pipe out the number 50 in the middle for the 50-yard line. Heat the Tootsie Rolls in the microwave on high in 5-second intervals until they are soft and pliable. Mash them together and form into a football. Use the icing to pipe the lacing on the football; use a toothpick if necessary to help define the lacing. Place the football on the field. Place the gummy candies on the field to represent players and then stick the goal posts into cupcakes at each end of the field.


For those guests feeling nostalgic...
Homemade Yodels
Sue McCown

Ingredients
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Lightly butter two 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-inch jelly roll pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon of the cream of tartar at high speed until soft peaks form. Add 1/2 cup of the confectioners' sugar and beat at high speed until stiff and glossy.
  3. In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, 3 tablespoons of cocoa, 1/2 cup of the confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and beat at low speed until combined. Beat in one fourth of the egg whites, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and spread in a thin, even layer. Bake the cakes for 6 minutes, until firm and slightly puffed. Transfer the pans to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Run the tip of a knife around the edge of the cakes. Dust the cakes with cocoa and cover each one with a sheet of wax paper slightly larger than the pan. Invert the cakes onto the wax paper and remove the pans. Cover the cakes with plastic wrap to keep moist.
  5. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of very hot water with 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the sugar syrup cool to room temperature.
  6. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar with 3 tablespoons of water and cook over moderately high heat, washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush and gently swirling the pan, until a deep amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and the butter and stir just until combined. Cook over high heat for 1 minute. Transfer the caramel sauce to a heatproof bowl and let cool completely.
  7. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, combine the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream with 1/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla. Beat in the sour cream and salt, then beat until firm peaks form. Fold in the cooled caramel sauce and refrigerate.
  8. Peel the parchment paper off both cakes and brush the surfaces with the sugar syrup. Spread the caramel cream over each cake in a thin even layer. Working with the long side nearest you, roll up each cake, using the wax paper to help you form a tight roll. Wrap the rolls in the wax paper, transfer to a baking sheet and freeze until very firm, about 2 hours.
  9. Melt the chopped chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in the oil. Let the glaze cool slightly. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Unwrap the rolls and cut each one into 5 pieces. Working quickly, dip both ends of each roll into the chocolate glaze, then dip the tops and bottoms, letting any excess glaze drip back into the bowl. Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate just until the glaze is completely set. Serve the yodels cold or at room temperature.

Happy (Super Bowl) baking!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lemon Loaf - Snow Day Boredom.

Happy Thursday - TGIT! I'm pretty sure you can guess what I did during Tuesday's snowstorm - but if you can't guess, I baked (not in a tanning bed; I made cake). Monday afternoon I loaded up my shopping bags with cream cheese, butter, peanut butter, lemons, eggs, etc...whatever I thought I would need to make whatever my heart desired. In the end I chose to make a lemony lemon lemon loaf. Using a recipe from a bake shop in Brooklyn, I divided my recipe into one big loaf and 8 minis. The results? Close your eyes and dream of sunshine and flowers in spring.

Lemon Lemon Loaf
Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Ingredients
Lemon Loaf:
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 8 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup grated lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Lemon Syrup:
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
Lemon Glaze (Optional):
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, or more if needed
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Directions
Make the cakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the sides and bottom of two 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.
  2. Sift both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Put the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until combined. With the motor running, drizzle the butter in through the feed tube. Add the sour cream and vanilla and pulse until combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  4. Sprinkle the flour mixture, one third at a time, folding gently after each addition until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, rotate the pans, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F., and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  6. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.
Make the syrup:
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and invert the loaves onto the pan. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the loaves.
  3. Brush the tops and sides of the loaves with the lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again. Let the cakes cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
  4. (The soaked but unglazed loaves will keep, wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap and frozen, for up to 6 weeks.)
Make the glaze (if you want):
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. If the mixture is too stiff, add up to another 2 tablespoons lemon juice and whisk again, adding small amounts of lemon juice and/or confectioners' sugar until you get the right consistency. Pour the lemon glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides. Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.
The glazed loaves will keep for up to 3 days, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, at room temperature. 

Happy baking!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Light the Kitchen on Fire! (...safely)

Happy Tuesday! I recently christened my new blowtorch, making creme brulee with an extra sugary top. It got me thinking...what else can go under the flames? Here are a few ideas. Get the butane
ready!

Mangoes Flambe
Gourmet May 2003

Ingredients

  • 4 (1-pound) firm-ripe mangoes
  • 6 tablespoons turbinado sugar such as Sugar in the Raw
  • 1/3 cup dark rum

Directions
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Wash and dry mangoes. Remove 2 flat sides of each mango with a sharp knife, cutting lengthwise alongside pit and cutting as close to pit as possible so that mango flesh is in 2 large pieces (reserve remaining fruit for another use). Make a crosshatch pattern with a small sharp knife, cutting across fruit down to skin at 1/2-inch intervals and being careful not to pierce through. Grasp fruit at both ends and turn inside out to make flesh side convex.
  3. Arrange fruit, skin side down, in a large shallow baking pan lined with foil and sprinkle evenly with 4 tablespoons turbinado sugar (total). Broil 5 inches from heat until fruit is golden brown (it will not brown evenly), about 5 minutes. Arrange fruit on a large platter.
  4. Cook rum with remaining sugar in a small saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, then carefully ignite rum with a kitchen match and pour, still flaming, over warm mangoes. Serve immediately.

Creme Brulee
Dieter Schorner

Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split
  • Small pinch salt
  • 4 egg yolks
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 275°. In a small pan, bring cream, 2 tbsp. sugar, vanilla bean, and salt just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Remove and discard vanilla bean.
  2. In another bowl, whisk egg yolks with 1 tbsp. sugar until sugar dissolves. Slowly whisk in cooled cream (if it is not cool, yolks will scramble). Strain through a fine sieve. 
  3. Divide custard between 4 shallow gratin dishes (each about 1/2 cup in capacity). Place dishes in a baking pan, then place pan in oven. Pour enough cold water into pan to come about halfway up sides of dishes. Bake until custards set, 30-35 minutes. 
  4. Cover cooled custards with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Before serving, sprinkle 1 1/2 tsp. sugar on each custard and use a blowtorch to caramelize tops, holding torch at an angle (flame should barely touch surface) to brown sugar.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January's Seasonal Fruits in Your Dessert

Happy Tuesday everyone! It's always hard to fill the fruit-void in January: berries aren't great, apples have gotten mealy, and you can only eat so many bananas before you turn yellow. If you're as bored with the blah as I am, I've found a few recipes that revolve around this season's spectacular selection of fruits.

Grapefruit...
Chilled Grapefruit-Caramel Meringue Pie
Deborah Snyder

Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh pink or Ruby Red grapefruit juice
  • Coarsely shredded zest of 3 pink or Ruby Red grapefruits (1/2 cup)
  • 1 dozen large eggs, 6 eggs lightly beaten, 6 eggs separated
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened, plus 4 tablespoons melted
  • 9 whole graham crackers
  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, softened
  • Caramel Sauce
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
Directions
  1. Bring a medium saucepan filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer over moderate heat. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the grapefruit juice and zest with the 6 whole eggs, 6 egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar. Set the bowl over the saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, until a thick curd forms, about 15 minutes; don't worry if the curd looks slightly curdled. Strain the curd through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids; discard the solids. Whisk the softened butter into the curd until blended. Place a sheet of plastic directly on the curd and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, crush the graham crackers; pour in the melted butter and pulse just to combine. Pat the crumbs over the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in 3/4 cup of the Caramel Sauce. In another medium bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold the heavy cream into the caramel cream cheese.
  4. Spoon the grapefruit curd into the springform pan and tap gently to form an even layer. Spoon the caramel cream on top in a smooth, even layer. Drizzle the remaining 3/4 cup of Caramel Sauce all over the caramel cream and freeze until slightly set, about 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, combine the 6 egg whites with the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, set the bowl over the simmering water and whisk over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with a whisk and beat at medium-high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy, about 8 minutes. Spread the meringue over the caramel. Swirl decorative peaks in the meringue. Freeze the pie until firm, at least 4 hours.
  6. Before serving, preheat the broiler and position a rack 8 inches from the heat. Broil the meringue just until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes, shifting the pan for even browning. Alternatively, brown the meringue with a propane torch. Carefully remove the ring and transfer the pie to a platter. Let stand in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
MAKE AHEAD The pie can be prepared through Step 5 and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Cover once it's frozen solid.


Orange...
Spiced Fresh Orange and Honey Sorbet
Michael Psilakis

Ingredients
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup clover honey
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 whole star anise or cardamom pods
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 small bay leaf, preferably fresh
  • 2 cups chilled fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Directions
  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup is thick and mixture is reduced to 2 cups, about 12 minutes. Discard bay leaf; cool syrup.
  2. Strain syrup into medium bowl. Add orange juice and lemon juice. Transfer to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer sorbet to container, cover, and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.

Kumquat...
Candied Kumquat and Ricotta Tart
Gourmet, February 2003

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh kumquats (1 1/2 lb with leaves; 1 lb without)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2/3 cup ricotta
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 (12- to 13-inch) baked sweet tart shell
Special equipment: an electric coffee/spice grinder

Directions

  1. Thinly slice kumquats crosswise with a sharp knife, discarding seeds.
  2. Bring water and 2 cups sugar to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then simmer syrup, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in kumquats and simmer gently 10 minutes. Drain and cool kumquats in a sieve set over a bowl, then return drained syrup to pan and boil until reduced to about 11/3 cups, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Finely grind fennel seeds in coffee/spice grinder, then transfer to a bowl and whisk together with ricotta, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and a pinch of salt just until ricotta is slightly smoother. Whisk in sour cream until just combined and spread evenly over bottom of tart shell.
  4. Arrange kumquats as evenly as possible over ricotta using your fingers or a small spoon, separating slices as necessary with a skewer, then brush kumquats with some of reduced syrup.
  5. Remove side of tart pan.
Notes: Kumquats can be candied 1 day ahead and chilled in syrup (before reducing), covered. Warm mixture before proceeding. Ricotta filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Tart can be assembled 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cakes That You Can Roll!

Happy Tuesday! New year, new resolutions - and hopefully they all involve dessert! Right before the ball dropped and we ran outside to watch fireworks, my husband and I chowed down on some delicious gingerbread buche de Noel and ricotta ice cream (my husband always requests it...). Wrong holiday? Who cares! I was craving a delicious rolled cake. It's not as hard as you think - with gentle hands and a little patience, you can master the jelly roll. Here's a few recipes to get you started (including pics from my New Year's Eve).

A la moi...
Gingerbread Buche de Noel
Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients
Praline:
  • 1 cup/120 grams pecan halves or pieces
  • ⅓ cup/70 grams granulated sugar
Cake:
  • 4 tablespoons/60 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled, more for buttering parchment
  • ¾ cup/100 grams all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup/30 grams cornstarch, sifted
  • ¾ teaspoon/4 grams ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon/4 grams ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon/1 gram fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon/1 gram black pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¾ cup/150 grams packed light brown sugar
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting and rolling
Filling:
  • 8 ounces/225 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons/115 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon/3 grams ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons/10 milliliters vanilla extract
Frosting:
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters egg whites (from about 4 large eggs)
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon/3 grams cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters vanilla extract
Directions

Praline:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in center. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Spread pecans on sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Stir and set aside in a warm spot.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1/4 cup/60 milliliters water. Place over medium-high heat. Cook sugar, washing down sides of pan if needed with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until sugar turns a medium amber color.
  3. Remove pan from heat and add nuts. Stir with heatproof spatula or wooden spoon to coat nuts with syrup. Spread nuts on baking sheet and cool completely. (Praline can be made up to a day ahead; store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.) Finely chop 1/2 cup praline; coarsely chop the remainder.
Cake:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12- by 17-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Butter the paper, dust with flour and tap out excess.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper.
  3. Have a wide skillet about 1/3 full of simmering water on the stove. Using a stand mixer, whisk together eggs and brown sugar. Set the mixer bowl in the pan of simmering water. Whisk nonstop until mixture is very warm to the touch, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Using the mixer, beat sugared eggs until they have more than doubled in volume and have reached room temperature, 7 to 10 minutes. Switch to a spatula and fold in flour mixture in two additions. Pour melted butter into a small bowl, scoop a big spoonful of batter over it and stir. Pour butter mixture into batter in bowl and fold it in. Scrape batter out onto prepared baking sheet and spread evenly with an offset spatula.
  5. Bake until cake is golden brown, lightly springy to touch and starting to pull away from sides of baking sheet, about 15 minutes. Transfer pan to cooling rack for no more than 5 minutes; you want to roll the cake while it’s hot.
  6. Lay a cotton or linen kitchen towel (not terry cloth or microfiber) on counter and dust generously with confectioners’ sugar. Run a table knife around sides of cake and invert onto towel. Carefully peel away parchment. Lightly dust cake with confectioners’ sugar. Put parchment back on cake, with the clean side against the cake. Starting at a short end, roll cake into a log; don’t worry about cracks. Return rolled up cake (still in towel) to rack and let cool, seam side down.
Filling:
  1. Put cream cheese, butter and salt in bowl and, using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Beat in cinnamon and vanilla. If using immediately, stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped praline. If not, leave praline out, transfer filling to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. (Whisk chilled filling to return it to spreadable consistency, then add praline.)
Log:
  1. Unroll log and carefully remove parchment; leave cake on kitchen towel. Beginning with a short end, gently roll up cake, peeling away towel as you go. Unroll cake onto the towel or a clean piece of parchment.
  2. Spread filling across surface of the cake, leaving a scant 1-inch border uncovered on the long sides. Starting from short side, roll up cake, trying to get as a tight a roll as you can. Place cake on a parchment-lined cutting board, cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Frosting:
  1. Put egg whites in clean, dry bowl of electric mixer with whisk attachment. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cream of tartar and 1 cup/240 milliliters water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover and boil for about 3 minutes. Uncover and attach a candy thermometer to pan and cook until it reads 242 degrees. When sugar reaches 235 degrees, begin beating whites on medium speed. If you get to the point where the whites look as if they are about to form stiff peaks and syrup is not at 242 degrees yet, lower mixer speed and keep mixing until sugar is ready.
  2. At 242 degrees, with mixer on medium speed, stand back and carefully and steadily pour hot syrup into bowl. Try to get syrup between side of bowl and the whisk. Add vanilla and keep beating until frosting cools to room temperature, about 5 minutes. You will have a shiny marshmallow frosting, which you should spread immediately.
  3. Remove cake from refrigerator. Frost on the cutting board and then transfer to a serving platter, or put it on platter now. To keep the platter clean during frosting, tuck strips of parchment under the log, putting just a sliver of the parchment under the cake and leaving the lion’s share to protect your platter.If ends of log look ragged, trim them. Using an offset spatula, table knife or the back of a spoon, swirl frosting all over cake in a thick layer. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to set frosting and firm up filling. Sprinkle cake with coarsely chopped praline before serving.

For the chocolate connoisseur... 
Chocolate-Raspberry Swiss Roll
Maria Helm Sinskey

Ingredients
Cake
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup plus granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Filling
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
Chocolate Glaze
  • 1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Raspberries, for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan and line it with parchment paper, then butter the paper. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and the vanilla until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the bowl and fold in the flour.
  2. In a clean bowl using a clean whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and beat until the whites are glossy. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whites into the yolk mixture until no streaks remain. Quickly fold in the melted butter. Spread the batter in the pan. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden and puffy. Let cool in the pan on a rack.
  3. Run the blade of a knife around the edge of the cake pan. Dust the cake with the confectioners' sugar and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Top with a cutting board and, holding both the board and pan, invert the cake. Rap the board against the table, then remove the pan and carefully peel off the paper.
  4. In a large bowl, whip the cream with the granulated sugar, vanilla and salt to stiff peaks. Using an offset metal spatula, spread the raspberry jam on the cake. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the jam. Begin rolling up the cake from the long side, as tightly as possible, using the kitchen towel and plastic wrap to help shape the roll. Wrap the roll tightly in the plastic and transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or, preferably, overnight.
  5. Put the chocolate in a bowl. In a saucepan, stir the cream, milk and sugar over moderate heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate; let stand until the chocolate is melted, 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth, then whisk in the butter and let cool slightly.
  6. Discard the plastic wrap and transfer the cake to a rack. Pour half of the chocolate glaze all over the top and sides and spread it evenly with an offset spatula. Spread the remaining glaze all over the cake and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. Garnish the top with raspberries. Transfer the cake to a platter, cut into slices and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The chocolate-glazed Swiss roll can be refrigerated for up to 2 days before slicing and serving.


For the cans of pumpkin growing dust in your cupboard...
Pumpkin Roll Cake
Saveur

Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. butter, softened
  • 3⁄4 cup plus 1 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of fine salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2⁄3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 1⁄4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 375°. Grease a 10" × 15" jelly roll pan with 1 tsp. butter and dust with 1 tbsp. flour; tap pan to remove excess flour; set aside. Sift remaining flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into a bowl; set aside. Beat eggs in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy and tripled in size, 4–5 minutes. Add granulated sugar in 3 parts, beating after each addition; beat until thick and creamy, about 2–3 minutes more. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice; gently fold in flour mixture. Pour batter onto prepared pan; spread out to edges; sprinkle pecans over top. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle a kitchen towel with 1⁄4 cup confectioners' sugar. Working quickly, loosen edges of still-warm cake and turn out onto towel; roll up snugly like a jelly roll. Set aside, seam side down, to let cool, about 1 hour.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, beat together remaining butter and confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla in a bowl, with an electric mixer, to make a smooth filling. Carefully unroll cake and spread with filling; gently reroll. Transfer cake to a platter, seam side down, cover, and let chill until set. Slice and serve.

Check out my website www.lizzybeesbakery.com and my Facebook: www.facebook.com/LizzyBeesBakery for more photos and discounts. Plan ahead for your next party, big or small! (Sorry, only local delivery to NJ/NYC for now.)

Happy baking!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mini Treats for NYE

Happy Tuesday everyone! It's been a hectic "vacation" here in the Lizzy Bee workshop, with lots of holiday meals to prepare. FINALLY, we are seeing the end of the holiday season with the great celebration of New Year's Eve! If you're like me, you're waiting until the last minute to make a fresh and delicious dessert (or maybe you've been putting it off), I've got a few mini - and not to challenging - desserts to try!

Ringing in a sweet new year filled with good fortune...
Green-Tea Fortune Cookies
Joanne Chang

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon matcha green-tea powder
  • 18 small paper fortunes
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the egg whites, butter, flour and green-tea powder until smooth. Cover the batter and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325° and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat. Have a coffee mug and standard-size muffin tin handy. Spoon two 2-tablespoon-size mounds of batter onto the baking sheet, 6 inches apart. Using an offset spatula, spread the batter to make two 6-inch rounds.
  3. Bake in the center of the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until the edges are browned and the centers are still light. Let cool for 10 seconds, then using a spatula, invert one tuile and place a paper fortune in the center. Fold the tuile in half and then bring the ends together, using the rim of the coffee mug to make the crease. Set the fortune cookie in a muffin cup to hold its shape. Repeat with the second tuile. If the tuile hardens, return it to the oven for a few seconds. Repeat with the remaining batter and fortunes. Let the cookies cool completely before serving.

If you had doughnuts at Channukah and STILL weren't satisfied...
Mini Cake Doughnuts
Lara Ferroni, Real Snacks

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) white spelt or all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) rye flour or whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) barley flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) cane sugar
  • Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • Semisweet chocolate, tempered or melted, or powdered sugar, for coating
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease a mini doughnut pan.
  2. Sift the white spelt, rye, barley, and baking powder together. Whisk in the sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, vanilla, and egg. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix or your doughnuts may be rubbery.
  4. Fill each doughnut cup 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full with the batter. You can do this with a spoon, but I prefer using a piping bag to fill each cup evenly and cleanly. It's important not to overfill or as the doughnuts rise, you'll lose the hole. Bake until the doughnuts spring back when touched, 6 to 10 minutes depending on the size of your doughnut pan. Let cool completely on a wire rack; then dip in melted chocolate or dust with powdered sugar.

For a little French flair (the cheater version)...
Petits Pains au Chocolat
Bon Appetit, April 2004

Ingredients

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (one 17.3-ounce package), thawed, each sheet cut into 12 squares
  • 1 large egg beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water (for glaze)
  • 4 3.5-ounce bars imported bittersweet or milk chocolate, each cut into six 2x3/4-inch pieces
  • Sugar
Directions

  1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush top of each puff pastry square with egg glaze. Place 1 chocolate piece on edge of 1 pastry square. Roll up dough tightly, enclosing chocolate. Repeat with remaining pastry and chocolate. Place pastry rolls on baking sheet, seam side down. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover pastries with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Cover and refrigerate remaining egg glaze.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush tops of pastry rolls with remaining egg glaze. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake until pastries are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Happy baking and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Desserts to Finish Pre-X-Mas Eve

Happy last night of Channukah! We are ending a beautiful holiday and starting a new one - one that has delicious desserts aplenty! The grocery stores aren't closed yet, so if you have time and need one extra dessert for your table, here are a few good recipes.

Chocolate Cream Pie
Nicole Spiridakis, Flourless

Ingredients


Hazelnut-Cocoa Crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate Filling:
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Coconut Milk Whipped Cream or regular whipped cream for topping
Directions
To Make the Crust:
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Have a 9-inch pie pan ready. To make the crust: Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven until the nuts are lightly browned and release a nutty fragrance, about 15 minutes. Remove the hazelnuts from the oven and set aside to cool. When nuts are completely cooled, use your hands to rub off as many of the skins as you can. Don't worry if you can't remove all of the skin; a little bit is OK.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the hazelnuts, sugar, and cocoa powder until fine. Place in a bowl and add the melted butter, stirring to combine. Press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan. Bake the crust until slightly crisp, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
To Make the Filling: 
  1. In a medium, heavy saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks until well combined, then add the milk in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking, then decrease the heat and simmer, whisking, for 1 minute more (the filling will be thick).
  2. Force the filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then whisk in the chocolate, butter, and vanilla. Cover the surface of the filling with a buttered round of waxed paper and cool completely, about 2 hours.
  3. Spoon the filling into the crust. Chill the pie, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for at least 6 hours. Top with a thick layer of whipped cream.
  4. Use a serrated knife to cut the pie into slices and use a cake server to gently place the slices on plates to serve. Note that the crust will be a little crumbly, so go easy.


Caramel Layer Cake
Lisa Donovan

Ingredients
Cake
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups buttermilk
Caramel Frosting
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
MAKE THE CAKE 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 10-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk the 4 cups of flour, the baking powder, salt and baking soda. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the 2 sticks of butter with the sugar and vanilla seeds at medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time until incorporated, then beat until very pale and billowy, 3 minutes. At low speed, alternately beat in the dry ingredients and buttermilk until just combined.
  2. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 35 minutes, until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Transfer to a rack; let cool in the pans for 30 minutes. Unmold the cakes, peel off the parchment and let cool. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving platter.
MAKE THE FROSTING 
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Stir in the sugar, buttermilk, and baking soda. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture foams up and then subsides, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring steadily, until the caramel mixture is very dark brown and reaches 240° on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, add the vanilla and beat at low speed for 3 minutes, until thickened but still pourable.
  2. Using a rubber spatula and working quickly, scrape about 1 cup of the frosting onto the cake layer on the stand and spread it to the edge. Top with the second cake layer. Pour the remaining frosting on top. Using an offset spatula, quickly spread the frosting over and around the cake to cover completely. Let the frosting cool for at least 2 hours before serving.


Sfinj (Moroccan Doughnuts)
Leetal Arazi

Ingredients
Sugar Syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • Pinch of saffron threads
Doughnuts
  • 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • Canola oil, for frying
Directions
MAKE THE SUGAR SYRUP 
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the syrup is the consistency of honey. (To test, place a few small plates in the freezer and drizzle a bit of the syrup on them throughout the cooking process.) Remove from the heat and let cool.
MAKE THE DOUGHNUTS 
  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add 3 1/2 cups of water and mix thoroughly; the dough should be loose and sticky and doesn’t need to hold its shape. Adjust the consistency if needed with the rest of the water. Cover the dough with cling plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
  2. In the bowl, using your hands, fold the dough over onto itself few times. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes, or until it doubles in volume. In a deep pan, heat 3 inches high of canola oil.
  3. Wet your hands and cut a piece of dough the size of 2 golf balls. With 2 fingers quickly make a hole in the center and stretch it a little to form a ring shape. Repeat to form the remaining doughnuts.
  4. Immediately and gently put the doughnuts in the oil and fry over moderate heat until golden on both sides. Drain the doughnuts on paper towels.
  5. Serve the sfinj immediately and let your guests drizzle them with the sugar syrup.

Happy baking!