Thursday, January 27, 2011

Brownie? Biscotti? Cookie? Delicious!

Let my recounting of New Year's Shabbat continue. As part of the dessert platter (see here for more on that), I wanted to do a twist on the chocolate white chocolate chip cookies that are always very popular. Sure enough, opening up my new Kosher by Design cookbook, there was a biscotti version of those delicious cookies, so I decided to give them a spin.

I definitely endorse the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Sticks. They are super easy to make and they have a texture that is brownie-like without the same degree of density and richness. I made them with the white chocolate chips, which I thought was a nice balance of sweetness, but those who like intense chocolate would probably like them even better with regular chocolate chips. Just two pieces of advice: First, these burn around the edges pretty easily, so watch them carefully. Second, don't make the logs wider than 4 inches, because otherwise they fall apart when you cut them. Follow this advice and you'll end up with a delicious treat!

1 1/2cups flour
3/4cup dutch cocoa
1 tsp b. soda
1/2tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup white choc or c. chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350
Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
Mix oil,sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg
Stir in half cocoa mix until dough forms. Stir in rest of cocoa mixture, knead dough with both hands for one minute. Mix in c.chips & walnuts. Use hands to knead them in dough.
Transform dough into two logs 3-4inches wide
Bake for 25min

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Goodness: The Snickerdoodle Bundt

A while back, you might remember that Mary, the Food Librarian, made 30 bundts in 30 days to celebrate National Bundt Day.  Actually, she has done this twice, so on her blog there are no fewer than 60 bundts (and probably a lot more since she is the queen of bundts).  That means that anytime I want a bundt cake, I just turn to her since she has so many choices.  

I needed something for Shabbat dinner for a good sized group of people, so a bundt cake is always a good choice.  It is fairly easy to make, it feeds a lot of people and it actually tastes better the second day.  I made this Snickerdoodle bundt on New Year's Eve and served it with sparkling apple cider sorbet.  The apple and the cinnamon sugar were a really nice combination.

This cake was so good, I could have just kept eating it and eating it.  The outside had a nice cinnamon sugar crunch, just like a Snickerdoodle cookie and the swirl was so yummy!  It brought a nice sweetness and great flavor to the cake, which was rich and light at the same time.  I made this cake parve (substituted margarine for butter and tofutti sour cream for the regular stuff) and it was still delicious.  I can't even imagine how good it would be made with all dairy ingredients.

There are two slightly tricky parts to this cake.  First, you really want to coat the whole pan well with cooking spray and then with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Make sure that you get it into all the nooks and crannies so that you get that crust on the outside of the cake.  The second tricky part comes at the end.  When you bake the cake, you cover the top with a cinnamon sugar mixture.  Then, you have to turn the cake over, so the top with the mixture becomes the bottom.  You must, must, must do this over the sink so that you don't end up with cinnamon and sugar all over the kitchen.  Seriously, listen to me on this one.  If you can master both these parts (and neither is hard, so don't worry), you will be rewarded with a bundt of deliciousness.  Next time, I might put chocolate chips in the swirl.  Mmmmmm....

Although I found the recipe on Food Librarian, it actually comes from Dozen Flours.  You can find it here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Molten Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sorry for my recent absence-- I've been traveling the world (or at least the western hemisphere) and been away from my computer and, more importantly, my oven. But now I'm back and it's time to play catch-up.

As has been noted by my dear sisters, New Year's Eve was on Shabbat this year, which made for a different type of celebration. Two of my friends hosted a black tie optional dinner (sadly, not everyone followed directions) and I was in charge of dessert, so I decided to make a platter. And this was the master creation-- the molten deep dish chocolate cookie from the new Kosher by Design.

The awesome thing about this dessert is that it seems very fancy, but it's actually super easy to make. I made it in regular sized muffin tins, but I think next time I would try to make them in something smaller because they were so incredibly rich that most people couldn't finish theirs, which seemed like a waste of cookie. I made them in advance and then warmed them up again-- warm and gooey deliciousness. Enjoy!

You can find the recipe here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Like the Old Days: Pretzel Rolls

Back when we used to go to Dalton, there was a bakery called Glendale's on 87th and Lex. They had many delicious things (frozen hot chocolate, anyone?) but I think my favorite thing they made was probably their pretzel rolls. Alas, time passed, as it has a way of doing. I graduated (that was not sad), Glendale's closed, I started only eating in kosher places. It seemed like the end of an era.

But then something amazing happened! While thumbing through the latest Kosher by Design, I found a recipe for pretzel challah! I was nervous to try out the recipe, but my desire to return to the joys of my youth was too strong, so I set out to conquer my fears. I did decide to make them in roll form because they're slightly easier to handle and because they were for a dinner party, but the idea remained.

I needn't have worried. This recipe is pretty easy. The thing that gives it its pretzel flavor is boiling the dough briefly in a baking soda bath, but other than that, it's more or less like other bread recipes. I thought these were delicious. The only thing to note is that if you want to freeze them, you shouldn't add salt because they'll get soggy. They make a great accompaniment to dinner, especially soup, and also are great on their own. You can find the recipe here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

MSC: Black Forest Cupcakes

Martha Stewart Cupcake Club is back (at least for me).  After taking last month off, I bring you Black Forest Cupcakes, chosen by Janine at Janine's Crazy World.  When I think of Black Forest Cake, I think of chocolate, cherries and whipped cream.  These had pastry cream instead of the whipped cream.  I was a bit apprehensive about making these cupcakes because I am not a huge fan of Black Forst Cake, but I thought the replacement of pastry cream for whipped cream was really great and I ended up enjoying these.  Don't they look like ice cream sundaes?

These were easier to put together than they looked.  The cupcakes were pretty standard and both the pastry cream and the ganache were straightforward.  I always seem to cook pastry cream about 30 seconds past done and then it gets lumpy, but it didn't matter in this case, since the pastry cream was not the star. I know pastry cream seems scary, but if you follow the directions and watch closely, it is not too bad.  I used flour as a thickener because I didn't have corn starch and it was a totally fine substitute.  The ratio is about 2 tablespoons flour for every 1 tablespoon the recipe called for.  I didn't make any other changes, except that I didn't have cherry liquor, so I just left it out.

I quartered the recipe and got 7 cupcakes.  I didn't turn them all into black forest because there was really no one around to eat such huge cupcakes.  These are something I would make for an event, but they are not exactly your "I think I'll whip up some cupcakes today" cupcakes.  They are more involved than that.  Also, these are best the day they are put together, even though you can make the parts in advance.

Thanks to Janine for a great pick!  The recipe is here.  Next month is my pick, so tune in!

**This blog is going up on the 14th because we don't put up posts on Shabbat.  I look forward to commenting on everyone's blogs on Sunday.**

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Cookies: Peppermint Oreo Chocolate Chip

Over winter break, two people in my office had birthdays.  One of the nice things about my office is that we celebrate everyone's birthdays with some kind of treat.  It is both an excuse to celebrate one another and an excuse to eat cake during the work day.

Kirstin, one of the awesome women who works in my office, had her birthday over the break and so we needed to do something for her.  We know that she likes peppermint, so we tried to figure out what to make.  I had a box of Candy Cane JoJos (Trader Joe's version of oreos) going stale in the pantry, so I decided to try and crush them into chocolate chip cookies and see how it went.  They were a snap to put together and, even though it looks like it won't make many cookies, it made over 2 dozen.

It went well.  Very well.  Kirstin enjoyed them, as Candy Cane JoJos are her favorite and my officemate Eve called them the best cookies she's ever had.  2 dozen cookies disappeared from the office very quickly.

With those rave reviews, how could you not make these cookies?  You can find the recipe here and use whatever kind of JoJos/oreos you like! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mini Chocolate = Yummy Chocolate

Happy New Year!  I hope 2011 is off to a great start for all of you.  What better way to start the new year than with chocolate?  Truth is, I made these a long time ago and am just now digging them out of the archives, but they are a great treat.  They are even good for new year's resolutions!  They are so tiny and fairly rich, so you feel satisfied after eating just one.

It is a little hard to see in these pictures, but these are mini molten lava cakes.  They achieve that effect from putting a couple pieces of chocolate into the center of the cakes and then baking them.  The chocolate melts and the outside is the perfect consistency.  When you break into them, chocolate oozes out, just like a lava cake.

What makes them better than lava cakes is that you can freeze them!  With lava cakes, if you were to freeze them after baking, they would likely loose their molten centers upon reheating.  Since the molten part of these cakes comes from chocolate, they can be frozen and reheated and the chocolate just melts again.  Yummy!

These were very easy to make.  The only trouble I had was that some of them stuck to the pan.  I would recommend greasing your mini muffin tins really, really well.

You can find the recipe here, from the great King Arthur Flour.  If you want step by step instructions, those can be found here.
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