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Posts Tagged ‘baking’

English: "Holyland" brand matzah, ma...

“Holyland” brand matzah, machine-made in Jerusalem and purchased at Trader Joes in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight which as you know is unlike any other night or if you don’t, you can check out a previous blog of mine https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/why-is-this-night-different-from-all-other-nights/.  Anyway tonight we are going to my sister-in-law’s home for a Seder dinner.  It will of course be a feast, and being the balabusta  she is, she is cooking a very traditional meal as well as adding vegetarian dishes for the one or two non-meat eaters in the group.  And by group I mean she is seating and serving 11 people tonight!

I asked what I could bring and was assigned an asparagus dish.  I’m going to make a room temperature asparagus platter with an egg sauce on top.  If I haven’t already posted this recipe previously, I will tomorrow.  It was a traditional Easter Sunday dinner side in my family for years.

And then if I can organize myself, I plan to make some Matzo Crack!  This is a surprise addition to the meal.  Naturally Stacey, our hostess, who is size 2 is planning on serving strawberries and cream for dessert, something light and moderately healthy.  I, on the other hand, am hoping for the taste of chocolate and in keeping with the holiday tradition of no leavened bread, I’m going to make chocolate toffee matzoh! 

So simple to do (they say) and since I’m posting this prior to actually making it, I can’t attest to that but I do believe this is not going to be difficult at all.

4-5 pieces of matzo

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 cup ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup bittersweet chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate bits

Toppings as desired

Preheat oven to 375º

Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and/or parchment paper.  Place matzo in one layer on baking sheet, breaking it when necessary to fill pan complexly.

In large sauce pan, melt the butter and brown sugar together over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Once mixture reaches a boil, continue to cook for additional 3 minutes, still stirring, until thickened and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Remove from heat and pour over matzo, spreading evenly with a heat proof spatula.

Put the pan in the oven, then immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees.  Bake for 15 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn.  If it looks like it is starting to burn, turn heat down to 325 degrees.

After 15 minutes, the toffee should have  bubbled up and turned a rich golden brown.  Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate over the pan.  Let sit for 5 minutes and then spread the now-melted chocolate evenly with a spatula.

You can leave as it is or add a topping such as sea salt or toasted nuts.  Let cool completely, then break into smaller pieces and store in airtight container.

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Delicious!

Delicious!

No, it’s  not what you think – not Italian white Alba Truffles that cost $188 for an 8 ounces!  It’s not Beluga Caviar which costs $200-$300 per ounce, no, it’s something you can’t buy, you can’t return and you can only have it ONCE.  

It’s your time!  When you make make something or bake something for a someone and give it as a gift, they are receiving TWO gifts.  You have made a soup, baked a cake or whipped up a souffle, surely something  you know your friend will appreciate and enjoy;  But you had also given a gift of your time, your life, an hour or hours you can never get back.  A real Foodie knows what goes into creating culinary masterpieces, knows that the shopping for ingredients, the prepping, and the making all take time!

Today I’m suggesting you bake some DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BREAD;  The recipe makes one loaf and takes about 1 1/2 hours.  

INGREDIENTS
1½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

3 eggs

½ cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup dark-chocolate chips

Confectioners’ sugar, as garnish
DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter, eggs, sour cream and vanilla, then mix with a whisk until well combined.

3. Gently fold in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. It should fill the pan a little more than halfway.

5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

6. Let the bread cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then remove it from the pan while it is still warm by inverting it onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing and serving. If desired, finish the loaf with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

 Wrap in cellophane or Saran Wrap and tie a ribbon around it.  Or you can present it à la Martha Stewart and wrap it up in brown craft paper and tie with the classic red and white bakery twine.

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Candy Canes - A Christmas Icon

Candy Canes – A Christmas Icon

Before today I had never heard of Candy Cane Dust or Peppermint Powder.  However, once I read how ridiculously simple this was to make and the number of ways you could use it, I knew I had to blog it.  There is only one ingredient and only one step!

CANDY CANE DUST

Put candy canes in a food processor and pulverize them to dust.

Candy Cane Dust is delightful sprinkled on your hot cocoa and your coffee.  Sprinkle it on ice cream, yogurt, cupcake frosting or add to your cake and cookie batter.

Crushed Candy Canes

Crushed Candy Canes

Peppermint Power your way through the next 16 days!

 

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I wish I were a better cookie baker but I’m not!   Luckily I have two friends who are fantastic cookie makers/bakers!  My friend Susan in CT brought a large plate of assorted delicious cookies last week.   I had to finally put the last of them in the freezer because I was eating Ginger Snaps for breakfast, Christmas trees for lunch, Milk chocolate and white chocolate chip cookies and Pfferneuse for late night noshing! And my friend Dorothy brought me a plate of cookies ostensibly for Finley, however, I don’t think Finny even got one – they were yum yummy!

Christmas cookies, doves, holiday cookies

Sugar Cookie Doves

Makes 18 cookies| Hands-On Time: 25m | Total Time: 1hr 25m

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated (the dough will be stiff). Shape into a disk and (unless otherwise specified in an individual recipe) refrigerate, wrapped, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. 

Recipe from Real Simple

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Tasty Tidbits Tuesday

Today I received an email from my friend Ginny, who had come across a tasty dessert recipe which she in turn sent to me.  I was surprised; this isn’t something she normally does so I was eager to read it.  It happens to be a very tasty tidbit from a famous pastry chef, David Guos.  He wrote a best-selling New Orleansinspired cookbook and now has brought a touch of The Big Easy to Virginia where he has opened The Bayou Bakery. Here is his recipe for  Bananas Foster Cheesecake

CHEESECAKES:

3 8oz pkg  cream cheese

1  1/4 cups banana puree (made from 5 very ripe bananas)

1 tsp. powered gelatin

2 TBS cold water

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, cut and scraped

1/4 tsp kosher salt

crumbled peanut brittle for serving

SAUCE:

1  1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 TBS unsalted butter

2 TBS dark rum

David Guos, cheesecake, peanut brittle, cream cheese, Bananas Foster, rum

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

Make the cheesecakes.  In a large,  heat proof bowl, combine the cream cheese with the banana puree and place the bowl above a saucepan of simmering water.  Heat the mixture until the cheese melts, about 6 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it bloom for 1 minute.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with  a whisk attachment, combine the cream with the sour cream, sugar and vanilla seeds.  Whip at a high-speed until medium peaks form, about 3 minutes.

Whisk the gelatin into the banana mixture until dissolved and smooth.  Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the salt. Whisk in half of the cream mixture, then using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining cream mixture.

Divide the batter between 6 six-ounce glass cups or highball glasses.  Gently tap the glasses to settle the filling. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with the water and cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until dark amber about 8 minutes.  Turn off the heat and carefully whisk in the cream. Whisk in the butter and then the rum. Transfer the caramel to a heat proof container, cover and let cool to room temperature, about 3 hours.  (Alternatively refrigerate the caramel for 30 minutes before serving).

To serve, drizzle the cheesecakes with the caramel sauce (save the excess caramel for another use) and sprinkle with crumbled peanut brittle.

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