Thursday, October 23, 2008

Raspberry Muffins

Muffins à la Framboise, Eclats de Fève de Cacao
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
- 1/2 C sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 C plain yogurt
- 1/2 C buttermilk / fermented milk / kefir
- 1 C raspberries
Topping:- 1/3 C cacao nibs- 1/4 C brown sugar, preferably unrefined
(Yields 18 small muffins.)

Preheat the oven to (400°F) and grease (or line with paper cups or leave alone if they are silicon) a set of muffin tins.

Melt the butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan, and set aside to cool. In a small bowl, combine the cacao nibs and brown sugar. Set aside.
In a medium mixing-bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and stir to mix. In another medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (butter, egg, yogurt and buttermilk). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and stir with a spatula until just combined. Do not overmix. The mixture will be lumpy, that's okay. Fold in the berries.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tins, and sprinkle a bit of the cacao nib mixture on top. Put into the oven to bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until risen and golden. Turn out on a rack to cool, and wait for 10-15 minutes before removing from the tins. Serve warm or completely cooled.

Note that the basic recipe (minus the raspberries and cacao nib topping) is easy-breezy and can be adapted to welcome any other ingredient/topping that you would like in/on your muffs.

I got this from one of my favorite blogs: Chocolate and Zucchini. I have tried multiple main flavorings such as fresh, ripe bananas (delish). Also I tried lemon which was not as moist or flavorful. But this is a great recipe because it's low in fat but super moist, flavorful and fulfills my treat cravings. I have only made this as a loaf and my favorite by far was the one with raspberries. Cocoa nibs can be hard to find. I have seen them at select Whole Foods, but I usually just do some choc chunks.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This cake can be served plain or garnished with the topping of your choice. Some options are: whipped cream, creme fraiche, or high-quality sour cream, custard sauce, a small scoop of ice cream, or some raspberries or raspberry sauce.

7 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, broken into chunks
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
4 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar (divided)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (such as Hershey's)
1/8 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides and bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Use the pan to trace a circle of parchment or wax paper, cut it out and line the bottom of the pan; grease the paper.

Put the chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler and melt over simmering water. (You can make a double boiler by setting a stainless-steel bowl over a saucepan; the two should fit snugly and the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water in the saucepan.) Stir to blend and let cool slightly.

Put the egg yolks into a medium bowl, add about half the sugar and, with an electric mixer, beat until the mixture is light and thick and it forms a ribbon when you lift the beater, 3 to 4 minutes.
Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then sprinkle the cocoa powder and salt over the mixture and fold gently until well-blended.

In a separate- and grease-free - bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks; gradually add the remaining sugar, beating until firm, glossy peaks form.

Add about a quarter of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate-yok mixture and gently fold until blended; carefully fold in the remaining whites, trying to preserve as much volume as possible.
Gently slide the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center come out almost clean (you will still see a few moist crumbs)., approximately 40 minutes.

Let the cake cool, in the pan, on a rack for about 10 minutes. Then, run a thin knife around the inside of the pan to release the cake, and unlatch and remove the side of the pan. Let the cake cool completely before cutting; it will be fragile while still warm. As the cake cools, it will collapse like a fallen souffle- that's fine.

Coconut Macaroon Pancakes

1 14-oz. can of coconut milk
2 Tb. honey
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
3 cups unsweetened dried shredded coconut (I used sweetened because I had it on hand and went very light on the honey)
scant 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
3 large eggs, whisked in medium bowl
1/4 cup brown sugar (opt.)

In a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk and honey, bringing barely to a simmer. In a separate large bowl combine the flour, coconut, salt and baking powder. Stir the coconut milk into the flour mixture.

Whisk about 1/3 cup of the coconut mixture into the eggs. Now quickly mix the eggs back into the large bowl of coconut batter. Stir until well combined. You can do this the night before if you like.

Heat non-stick (or very well-seasoned) skillet or griddle to medium-hot and brush it with a bit of butter. Test the temperature by dropping a bit of water onto the skillet. The water should dance. Drop a heaping tablespoon into the skillet, sprinkle the top with a bit of brown sugar (opt.-- I skipped the brown sugar). Wait until the pancake bottom is deep golden in color, then flip with a spatula and cook the other side until golden and cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter.

Bette's Diner Buttermilk Pancakes

I don't know what it is about these pancakes, but they are amazing. The buttermilk and melted butter make them just the slightest bit tangy.

2 cups flour
2 Tb. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, lightly beat eggs, buttermilk, milk and melted butter. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients all at once, stirring just to blend. The batter should be lumpy and quite thick. Let batter rest 5 to 10 minutes.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Portion 1/4-cup measures of batter onto hot griddle, spacing them apart. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles cover surface of pancakes and their underside are lightly browned. Gently turn them over and cook about 2 minutes more, until other sides are browned.

Rosemary Foccacia Bread

Your wish is my command, Linds.... This is a great foccacia recipe. Gotta love fresh rosemary. Semolina flour can be tricky to find. You can often find "Bob's Red Mill" brand in small plastic bags in the flour section of the store or some stores sell it in bulk.

9 Tbsp. Olive oil (divided use)

3 C. unsifted all-purpose flour
¾ C. unsifted semolina flour
½ tsp. salt (divided)
1½ Tbsp. quick-rising dry yeast
1½ C. hot (between 120 and 130 degrees) milk
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves

Pour a scant tablespoon of the olive oil into a 9-inch-square cake pan; spread evenly to cover bottom and sides. Place all-purpose flour, semolina flour, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and all of the yeast in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. (The mixing can be done by hand as well.) Blend ingredients on medium speed. Reduce speed to low and slowly add hot milk. Raise the speed to medium and continue mixing for 5 minutes (knead about 8 to 10 minutes by hand). Sprinkle bottom of cake pan with a little flour. Remove dough from bowl and spread out evenly in pan. Cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°. Remove towel. Brush dough with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle top with additional salt and rosemary. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining oil. Makes 6 - 8 servings.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Herb Focaccia with Artichokes, Roasted Garlic, and Goat Cheese

I recommend being liberal with the toppings. In all honesty, while the dish was fantastic, I was not amazed by the actual dough recipe. If you happen to have a focaccia dough that you love, Please post it :-)

4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (1 package)
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water (100 - 110 degrees)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (stems removed)
1 head of garlic
1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and sliced 1/4 inch thick (canned variety will also work)
6 ounces of goat cheese
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
course sea salt, for sprinkling
fresh ground pepper, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the water and yeast. Let stand for about 1 minute, then add the olive oil, flour, and 2 teaspoons of salt (in that order).
Mix until well combined. Add the thyme and mix for another minute. The dough should be sticky soft and pull away from the sides of the bowl. If too wet add a little flour. If too dry add a little water. Remove paddle and add a little olive oil to the side of the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let stand at room temperature for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size.
While dough is rising, roast the garlic. Cut off the top fourth of the head of garlic. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil over the exposed garlic cloves, wrap the head of garlic loosely with aluminum foil, and place in oven. Roast for about 45 minutes or until very soft. Set aside to cool. Remove the roasted garlic by squeezing the cloves out the cut end. Place in a small bowl and set aside.

Classic Risotto

This is a basic but delicious recipe. I imagine that it would be great with Romano or Dubliner (if only it were affordable) and fresh basil instead of parsley. Sadly I have only made the recipe exactly the way it was written because cooking 110 does not allow experimentation.

1 tablespoon margarine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 cup uncooked Arborio or regular long-grain rice
3 ½ cups chicken broth, divided (up to ½ cup additional broth may be needed at end of recipe)
½ cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

1. In nonstick 10 inch skillet or 3-quart saucepan, heat margarine and oil over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Cook onion and parsley in oil mixture about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is tender.
2. Stir in rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until edges of kernels are translucent. Stir in ½ cup chicken broth. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in 1 cup of the broth. Cook uncovered about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Repeat, adding another 1 cup of broth. Stir in remaining 1 cup broth. Cook about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste rice. If rice is still “crunchy,” add more broth and continue to cook until rice is soft.
4. When rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, stir in cheese and pepper.