Saturday, May 22, 2010

Our One Year Blog-Aversary!

We have been blogging for one year! In celebration of this momentous occasion, we all decided to make the same cake -- Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte. Yum! Here are our takes:Rebecca

This cake took a long time, but also didn't. I know that doesn't make any sense, but the components are very simple and quick to put together, but there is a lot of waiting around time. Part of the reason that my cake doesn't look straight is because I didn't let the layers freeze for enough time before adding the next component (note to self: do not make this cake starting at 9:30PM) and because I am incapable of dividing the ice cream in half just by eyeballing it. However, it was delicious. I am so glad we picked this because it was amazing. Totally worth all the waiting around until almost 1AM.

I didn't make any changes to Dorie's recipe, except that I made my own raspberry ice cream, from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. It was really good, but annoying to strain out all the seeds from the puree. I think raspberry and chocolate are pretty perfect together, but I could see using strawberry, coffee, burnt sugar or pretty much anything else. You can get the recipe for the cake and the raspberry ice cream after the jump.
Sisters? What did you think?

Rachel here. As you all know by now, I'm the freakish sister who doesn't like chocolate. So I decided to take Dorie's recipe and put my own ganache-free spin on it. I used brownies instead of ganache, and then chose a caramel ice cream for the in-between layers, since I love the brownie/ caramel combo. I made the brownies in a springform pan, so that I would be able to take the brownies out and then put them back in the pan afterward. I realized once I took them out that they wouldn't be thick enough to cut slice into thirds-- if I were to do it again, I would make a recipe and a half so they would be thicker. So I put a layer of ice cream down on the bottom, then a layer of brownie, then another layer of ice cream and then another layer of brownie. Yum! Sarah, you're up...

Sarah here. It's odd that we picked this recipe for the Baking Sisters' birthday, since it doesn't actually involve any baking, but after a year of crazy intense baking I guess it was time to give our poor ovens a rest. And this recipe was so excellent! For whatever reason, I had a devil of a time trying to find raspberry ice cream in Cambridge so I ended up going with something called Crema di Marscapone. According to the Carte D'or Web site, it's "Divinely smooth ice cream made with authentic mascarpone, swirled with red berry sauce and sprinkled with pistachios. It's a real taste of Italian inspired indulgence." Indeed. Anyway, I wasn't sure what the pistachios were so I skimmed them off the top and I'm glad I did, because I don't think they would have gone well with the texture.

In terms of the procedure, my only advice would be to make sure the ganache layers are really good and frozen before you add the ice cream, because they can look deceptively smooth and then get all up in yo ice cream's grill when you try to add the next layer. I would also advise you to do something (grease? add parchment paper?) to the bottom of the pan, because the bottom layer of ganache would often get stuck and have to be pried out in an awkward manner that ruined the otherwise beautiful presentation of the slice. And it really is beautiful, not to mention delicious! Everyone will be so impressed when you serve it at your next party or picnic, and it's not that difficult at all! Thanks yet again, Dorie, we love you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Greatest Creation: Chocolate Covered Pretzel Ice Cream Cake

Last year, for my friend Amy's birthday, I created a delicious ice cream brownie concoction that won me rave reviews for excellent cake inventing. So when I volunteered to make Amy's cake again this year, I felt that I had to raise the bar-- especially because by her next birthday, she'll be married and living in Boston, far away from me. I decided to take the winning elements of last year's cake, and mix in something that everyone loves-- the chocolate covered pretzel.

This cake is actually really easy to make, but it seems deceptively fancy because of all of the elements. It starts with a crust made of pretzels, which both adds a little bit of salt to the pie, and has the added bonus of not getting soggy. While I would recommend cutting pieces of this cake on the smaller side because it's so rich (I used low fat ice cream and it was still super intense), don't be surprised if your guests come back for more.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Ice Cream Pie:

2 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup (give or take) hot fudge
1 1.5 quart container of vanilla ice cream
15 oz chocolate covered pretzels (I recommend Nestle Flips)
Caramel sauce to garnish

You can find the recipe for the pretzel crust here.

Make the crust in a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Before it cools, pour a layer of store-bought hot fudge over the crust. Then put it in the freezer and allow it to set.

Before you take the crust out of the freezer, allow the ice cream to soften. Grind up about 2/3 of the chocolate covered pretzels and mix them up with the ice cream until they are evenly distributed. Spread the ice cream evenly over the crust.

Drizzle caramel across the top of the cake. Add extra chocolate covered pretzels around the edges to decorate. Return pie to the freezer and allow it to set before serving.

Friday, May 14, 2010

MSC Club: Tres Leches Cupcakes

A quick note: This is going up a day early because the 15th is Shabbat and we don't post on Shabbat.  I will comment on everyone's blogs on Saturday night.

Another month, another entry in the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club.  I think these cupcakes get better each month -- I didn't like the first two I made very much, but they have steadily improved.  This month's cupcake was Tres Leches, which can be found on page 48 of the book.  They were chosen by Lisa of Smiley's Sweets and Creations.

Tres Leches means three milks in Spanish.  The three milks are evaporated, sweetened condensed and heavy cream, all of which are easy to find and are generally available kosher.  I made these just after Cinco de Mayo, which is a big deal here on the Mexican boarder and they seemed quite appropriate.  I didn't have high hopes for these cupcakes when I tasted the batter.  In fact, I have never tasted batter that tasted so much like...nothing.  However, these cupcakes get all their flavor after they are baked.  While the cupcakes are still hot, you brush the combination of the three milks over the cakes and it sinks in and gives them a delicious, moist flavor.  It takes a long time to brush all the milk onto the cupcakes, but in the end I thought they were really good and worth the effort.

Martha suggests sweetened whipped cream and a cinnamon garnish.  I think I would make the whipped cream just a little bit sweeter next time.  The cupcakes themselves weren't very sweet, so it would have been ok.

My husband took these with him to a party and they got good reviews (even from people who really know tres leches).  He also got to carry them in my nifty new cupcake carrier that I bought on Amazon.  It makes it so much easier to transport them without crushing the tops!  If you make a lot of cupcakes, I highly recommend this carrier.  It is very sturdy and holds up to 36 cupcakes.

One final note on the recipe.  Martha says that you get 20 cupcakes.  I got 24 and had batter left over.  I think I would have gotten close to 30, but 24 was more than enough and I only have two cupcake pans.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Delicious Nemesis: Oreo Ripple Cake

What is there to say about the Oreo Ripple Cake? I love this cake. I love cake, I love oreos, I love chocolate when it's been made all melty. And yet, every time I make this cake, it's as if the baking gods are out to get me, to prevent me from achieving my goal of sweet, beautiful deliciousness. The first time I made it, I undercooked it, and it died coming out of the pan. The second time, my tube pan leaked all over the oven-- and then again, I undercooked it and it died while still in the pan. This time, then, I used a bundt pan instead of a tube pan, and I made sure to bake it past when it looked done. Everything looked good-- until I tried to take it out of the pan, when I discovered I had not greased the pan enough. And again, another oreo cake, may it rest in peace.

This time, I managed to salvage it and kind of put it back together, and my friends assured me that it was delicious. It was really good, and I would highly recommend this recipe: just make sure you cook it enough, and be sure to heavily grease the pan. So good luck and godspeed to one and all. May your luck be better than mine.

Oreo Ripple Coffee Cake, from The Kosher Palette

24 oreos, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup flour
1/4 butter, melted
1/3 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 package yellow cake mix, plus all ingredients listed on the box

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 or 10 inch tube pan and set it aside.

Combine cookies, flour, butter and chocolate chips into a bowl. Mix and set aside.

Prepare the yellow cake as instructed on the package. Sprinkle half of the cookie mixture onto the pan, then half of the cake mixture. Then spread the other half of the cookie mixture, followed by the other half of the cake mixture.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool, then remove cake. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is Bustin' Out All Over

Hooray, here comes spring! Buds are bustin' out of bushes, the sheep aren't sleepin' any more, and my Maw is gettin' kittenish with Pap. If you know what I'm referencing, watch this. (Actually, watch it even if you don't know what I'm referencing, because it's wonderful.) When it's pretty here in Cambridge, it's gorgeous. Unfortunately, most of the time the weather is the same as it was in January. But we had one week of really stunning weather. And you know what that means - picnic time! And what could be more appropriate for a summer-anticipating picnic than pie? And what could be more appropriate for a summer-anticipating pie than strawberry rhubarb?

This is a wonderful, very simple recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie. Unfortunately, I misread it and only put in 3 teaspoons of cornstarch instead of 3 tablespoons, so my pie was more like delicious strawberry rhubarb mess. The other change I made was only stringing half the rhubarb. There's really no need, unless the presence of strings offends you somehow, but I definitely think maintaining the color of the rhubarb is worth a few strings here and there. Then you can have a pie that's as pretty as it is tasty at your next picnic!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
(from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, by way of Rebecca):
5 cups of strawberries and rhubarb
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch allspice or nutmeg
2 pie crusts
2 tablespoons butter

String the rhubarb and cut into 1 inch pieces. Toss fruit with sugar, salt, cornstarch and spices. Put the mixture into one of the pie crusts and dot with butter. Put the top crust on.

Refrigerate the pie while you preheat the over to 425. Brush top of pie lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cut vent holes to allow steam to escape. Bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. Do not underbake.

Friday, May 7, 2010

How I Got On This Blog: White Chocolate Cheesecake

As I've said before, I am not nearly as fancy of a baker as my sisters. I lack a lot of their equipment, and also their patience. That is not to say, though, that I lack their drive to find the most delicious creations. I just look in different places-- and this time, my quest was successful, and now I am here and writing for all of you.

The White Chocolate Cheesecake is an excellent example of the search for a dessert that is both very easy and intensely delicious. I first encountered this pie at my friend Rachel's house, where she assured me that it was best not to ask what was in it until after I had tried it. That turned out to be great advice, because it sounds gross but tastes amazing. It's also incredibly easy to make, and actually involves no cooking or baking at all. However, you wouldn't know it from the taste. In fact, my friend Josh assures me that I will be his best friend forever, if only I continue to make him this pie.

A couple of notes on the recipe. It can be found here, but I usually make a few modifications. First, I have never been able to find white chocolate pudding mix, but I use vanilla pudding and it's just as delicious. Also, for the garnish, I usually use mini chocolate chips instead of chocolate curls. Finally, the crust gets soggy if you let the filling sit in it for too long, so I recommend making the transfer an hour or so before eating it, so it has time to set but stays crunchy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Baking GALS Round 19: Quadruple Chocolate Cookies

Ok, these don't look that pretty (bad lighting = blurry picture), but that should not deter you.  These are AMAZING.  Some of the best chocolate cookies I have ever had.  And it is not just me.  The ones that would not fit in my box to be shipped to a soldier in Afghanistan with Operation Baking GALS went to my husband's office and everyone there agreed.  Two of his colleagues came in to tell him how good the cookies were and they didn't even know I had made them.  I also got an email from one of the secretaries saying that I am a magnificent baker.  I send a lot of stuff to his office and don't usually get such good feedback.

So, hopefully I have convinced you to make these.  I adapted them from the double chocolate cookies in Baking with Julia and I am posting my adapted recipe here.  Don't worry if the batter is really runny.  Once it goes into the fridge it comes out great.

Quadruple Chocolate Cookies

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

  • ½ cups sugar

  • ½ tablespoons instant coffee powder

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1 1/2-2 cups of assorted chocolate chips or chunks (I used white, milk and dark)

  • 1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside until needed. 

  • 2. Place the butter, the bittersweet chocolate, and the unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler over, but not touching, simmering water. Heat the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the butter and chocolates are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. You can also do this step in the microwave, but watch it carefully.  

  • 3. Meanwhile, put the eggs, sugar, coffee and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at high speed for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and forms a slowly dissolving ribbon when the whisk is lifted and the mixture is allowed to drizzle back into the bowl.

  • 4. With the mixer on low speed, very gradually add the warm butter-chocolate mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and work your rubber spatula around the bottom of the bowl, then continue to mix just until the chocolate is thoroughly incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips or chunks and mix thoroughly. The mixture will look like a thick, marshmallowy cake batter.

  • 5. Chilling the dough: Cover the bowl with plastic and chill for several hours, or overnight. The dough can be made ahead and kept refrigerated for up to 4 days.

  • 6. Baking the cookies: When you are ready to bake, position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • 7. Using a heaping tablespoon of dough for each cookie, drop the dough onto the lined sheets, leaving at least 2 inches of space between each mound of dough – these are spreaders.  Put the remaining dough back in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking period. The cookies will puff, then sink and crinkle and wrinkle around the edges. These cookies are better underdone than overbaked, so if you have any doubts, pull them out of the oven earlier rather than later. These shouldn’t appear dry and they won’t be crisp. Use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  • 8. Storing: The cookies can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for 2 days or frozen for up to a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Grown Up Hot Fudge Sundae: Milk Chocolate and Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

I often wish I could be part of Tuesdays with Dorie, a baking group that bakes something from Baking from My Home to Yours every week.  However, the every week baking commitment is too much for me.  I just can't make that kind of commitment to baking from Dorie's book, much as I love it.  However, I often check out the group to see what they are making and I follow a bunch of blogs that are part of the group and I love seeing what they make.

This week, the recipe was burnt sugar ice cream from page 432 of Baking and I was looking for an ice cream flavor to make and decided to give it a try.  Both my husband and I liked this ice cream (a rarity in the chocolate/non-chocolate divided house).  It has a strong, complex flavor with a little bit of bitterness.  This is not ice cream for children.  You can find the recipe here, on the blog of the person who chose it for Tuesdays with Dorie.

I thought the ice cream could use a little something to compliment the flavor.  Dorie suggests a sugar cookie, but I decided to try hot fudge, which I have been wanting to try making anyway.  I tried Dorie's recipe and it was so good. Rich and thick and chocolaty, and it hardened just the right amount when it touched the ice cream.  I thought the flavors of the burnt sugar and the hot fudge went really well together.

I also had some milk chocolate ice cream in the freezer, left over from when we were supposed to have people over but had to cancel because of sick children.  I put some of that in the bowl as well.  The milk chocolate ice cream has a pretty mild flavor, but I thought the burnt sugar actually brought out the milk chocolate flavor well.  And chocolate ice cream with hot fudge is always good in my book.  The recipe is from David Lebovitz (my personal ice cream guru).  He says to use a premium quality milk chocolate (not a Hershey bar or something like that).  I used Scharffenberger, which has just appeared in my grocery store and it worked well.  I thought it had really good flavor.

You can find the recipes after the jump.
Related Posts with Thumbnails