Sunday, February 27, 2011
Back in the beginning of January, I had the pleasure of traveling to Mexico with an amazing organization called American Jewish World Service. With a group of future Jewish clergy and communal leaders, I spent 9 days working and living in a small village called Muchucuxcah. Since the trip, I have had the pleasure of raising money for AJWS, helping to support the work they're doing to to alleviate poverty in the developing world.
While many of my friends and family have made generous donations to support my efforts, I still hope to raise more money to achieve my goal, which means it's time to get creative. This week at my school has been declared AJWS bake sale week-- each day, I'll bring a different baked good to school and ask people to make a donation in exchange for some delicious treats.
I'll continue to post on my progress throughout the week, but I wanted to start out with this delicious recipe from my new Kosher By Design cookbook. This fudge is super easy, and also really delicious. I chose to mix in some toffee pieces, but it would be great plain, or with peanut butter also, I bet. This is basically a foolproof recipe: make and enjoy! And in the meantime, if you want to join me in alleviating poverty in the developing world or read more about my trip, click here: http://action.ajws.org/goto/rachel.rosenthal
16 oz high quality milk chocolate
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
4 tbsp butter
Over a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter. Stir in the milk. Blend until smooth. Pour into an 8x8 plan lined with parchment paper, and allow to set in the fridge (about two hours.) Cut with a sharp knife and enjoy!
Sunday, February 20, 2011
This is one of my favorite recipes! I've never been able to blog about it before now because I usually make it for Shabbat and don't have time to photograph it between baking and serving. Luckily, this time I made it for a dinner party, with dairy ingredients for the first time ever! Yes, the amazing thing about this cake is that it tastes the same whether it's dairy or parve, so it's perfect for after a meat dinner, maybe served with some delicious raspberry sorbet or fresh fruit. It's not really a souffle but it has all of the great taste with none of the temperamental-ness; you can whip up the whole thing in about half an hour and it's pretty foolproof. (After all, it is from the wonderful Kosher By Design: Short on Time.) It has a rich but not overwhelming chocolate flavor, and if you cook it for the right amount of time, the cake will be moist around the edges and hot like delicious chocolatey molten lava on the inside. That's really all one can ask for in life, amirght? Okay, here's the recipe.
Warm Runny Chocolate Souffles
From Kosher By Design: Short on Time by Susie Fishbein
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Generously coat 8 (6.8 ounce) ramekins with nonstick cooking spray and lightly cot them with granulated sugar. Hold a ramekin on its side. Tap the sides, turning the ramekin to coat the sides with sugar as well. Repeat with remaining ramekins.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
I joined a new baking group, BAKED Sunday Mornings, which is based on the booked BAKED Explorations. I got this book almost as soon as it came out, since I loved the first BAKED book and I was glad to find this group. They bake every two weeks and post on Sunday mornings.
This week's selection is Red Velvet Whoppie Pies. I guess they are appropriate for Valentine's Day (not a huge deal in our house), but they are also very appropriate for another major event in our household...Brown Bunny's Birthday. My very adorable son has a brown bunny that he carries around with him and sleeps with (actually it is a bear, but we don't argue) and he has cleverly named it Brown Bunny. Apparently, the entire past month has been Brown Bunny's Birthday and his favorite color is red, so he needs a red cake for his birthday. I convinced by son that red cookies were just as good as red cake, so we set about making these Whoopie Pies for Brown Bunny. My son magnanimously agreed to eat one for Brown Bunny, and he enjoyed smearing it everywhere as well.
These were delicious. The ones not eaten by Brown Bunny, I took to work, where they were promptly gobbled up, even by people who say they are on a diet. Someone even called me after leaving the office to ask for the recipe. All 15 mini pies and 2 large pies were eaten in one day.
An awesome bonus of this recipe is that it was so easy to put together. I only made one change, which was to substitute butter for the shortening, since I am not a shortening person. I made some mini (with my tablespoon scoop) and two large ones (with my regular ice cream scoop). I think the minis were the perfect size, since you could finish them in a few bites and weren't too rich. The cake was tender and soft and the filling was tangy and sweet at the same time. I highly recommend these for the red velvet fan in your life (and you'll convert anyone who isn't).
You can find the recipe here.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Last Friday I fell. Not on my butt like I usually do, but on my face. It was dark and I wasn't watching where I was going as well as I should have, and I slipped on the ice in the parking lot ten feet from my apartment. I didn't quite register what had happened until I saw the red liquid on my white gloves. It was spilling out of my mouth, so I felt around with my tongue to make sure none of my teeth had fallen out as I staggered home, trailing red in the snow.
We had no ice packs at home so my roommate gave me a bag of frozen corn wrapped in paper towels to press against my lip, which had a deep gash in it. I called a couple of friends from a nearby house who I was supposed to meet up with and informed them there had been a change in plans. They came over immediately and comforted me while one of them called Health Services. Through some miracle of communication (since he doesn't use his cell phone on Shabbat), my boyfriend arrived just before the EMTs showed up, and he came with me to the hospital. He sat there with me as I bled through endless paper towels, he waited in no less than four waiting rooms, he heard the sad tale of Willy, my roommate in the critical care unit, who had swallowed a piece of her own tooth, and finally, when at 2:30 a.m. the doctor told me he was going to try to get me out of there before 5:00, he went home, he witnessed Part II of a two-part barfight in the very waiting room of the ER. And he still liked me enough the next day to come by in morning while I was still asleep, even though I had gotten eight stitches and my lip was a nauseating scabby mess. In other words, he went above and beyond the boyfriend call of duty.
So even though this isn't usually a space I use to talk about my personal life, I just wanted to express my profound gratitude to him, to my roommates who have taken such good care of me, to the friends who insisted on calling Health Services when I was totally okay with just going to bed, to my parents who have called every half hour to check in on me, to the professors who have been understanding about the fact that I'm on painkillers and a little loopy, and to everyone who has asked how I'm doing and wished me well. It really means a lot to me, and so even though only four people could end up eating the "Thank You" whoopie pie, I wish I could give one to everybody!
Pumpkin isn't my favorite, but pumpkin (especially with chocolate) is my boyfriend's favorite, and as soon as I saw this recipe on 17 and Baking I knew I had to make them. It was my first experience with making whoopie pies. They are extremely simple and, if these are any indication, quite delicious. They look homely and higgeldy-piggeldy, kind of like my face right now, but they got the message across. Plus, they're soft and rather mushy, so I can eat them even without the use of the right half of my mouth. Score.
P.S. I'm thinking of opening up a business where instead of buying cards, people pay me to write their heartfelt messages on whoopie pies. It's perfect - they have broad, flat expanses that are good for writing, and since the frosting is usually a different color than the cookie, the piping material comes pre-made. At the end of the day, wouldn't you rather have a whoopie pie than a piece of paper?
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling
From 17 and Baking, Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 2 dozen sandwich cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
To make the whoopie cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two half sheets with parchment paper or silpat baking mats.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. In another large bowl, whisk together the dark brown sugar and the vegetable oil until well combined. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, then stir in the egg and the vanilla extract. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.
Drop the batter by the heaping tablespoon an inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake until the cookies just start to crack at the top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes (blogger's note: for me, the small ones took 20 minutes, the large ones a bit longer.) Let cool completely on the pan.
To make the dark chocolate cream cheese filling: Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until very smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder on low speed until incorporated, then mix in the vanilla extract and milk until smooth.
To assemble the whoopie pies: Spoon some filling into a piping bag fitted with a large round open tip. Pipe a dollop of filling onto the flat side of one whoopie cookie and top with another. Refrigerate cookies until ready to eat and keep in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for up to three days.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I love snow. Or I once did. Snow is one of the chief reasons I always told myself I could never live in LA or a similarly warm clime. But these days, I can't help thinking that Rebecca got out while the going was good. Here in New England, it feels like we have been hammered by a major snowstorm at least once every week since Christmas. The drifts outside my apartment are taller than I am, and I have already had one extremely bloody encounter with ice (more on that in my next post). Amidst this frozen hell, who would even want to think about ice cream, which so resembles the hated snow?
Apparently, I would. As devoted readers know, I was having some issues with my ice cream maker back in the heat wave of September (ah, who would believe I would remember that weather with a fond smile?) It seemed to me to be a pretty bad design flaw that an ice cream machine, which would see most of its use in the summer, would be unable to withstand the temperature of my admittedly non-air conditioned kitchen without melting, but whatever. I watched Rebecca put together the sparkling cider sorbet, heard the noise the ice cream maker was supposed to make, saw what churning was supposed to look like, and decided to try again. No one would accuse my kitchen of being overheated these days, so I thought that it might be time to pull out the ole Cuisinart. And behold, turns out all it needed was three months in the back of my freezer to start working! So yay.
For my first (successful) endeavor in ice cream, I made white chocolate ice cream from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. I have no particular attachment to white chocolate, but I had just gone to Whole Foods and, for some reason, bought a pound-and-a-half block of white chocolate, along with an equal sized block of milk and dark chocolate. Really, I should have just bought three dark ones because that's the kind of chocolate I use the most. But whatever. Anyway, I realized that I would never use that much white chocolate in a semester unless I really really tried, so here we are.
I was worried that the ice cream would be too sweet, since I sometimes find white chocolate to be cloying, but to be honest, this didn't taste like white chocolate or like ice cream. It tasted like really good-quality vanilla frozen yogurt. Take that to mean what you will. It tastes delicious as a side with some chocolate cake, or with a splash of Bailey's.
White Chocolate Ice Cream
From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk (Blogger's note: I used skim)
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
5 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1. Put the chopped white chocolate in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
2. Put the sugar, the milk and salt in a saucepan and warm the mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the milk mixture, whisking constantly as you pour in the warm milk. Pour the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
4. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the white chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the heavy cream stir until cool in an ice bath. Chill thoroughly.
5. Chill mixture thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.