Saturday, January 29, 2011

Double-Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread-LYL

This was one of the easiest recipes I've come across in the BAKED Cookbook. And the boys from Brooklyn recommend it for breakfast-lightly toasted with the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread.  Add a good cup of coffee and the morning newspaper-great way to start the day.  Well maybe not everyday but it makes a special treat at least once a week.

Double Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread
For the Double Chocolate Loaf
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder, (like Valrhona ), sifted
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped

For the Cream Cheese Spread
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar

Make the Double Chocolate Loaf
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the rack in the center.  Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour.

Place the brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Press out any lumps with the back of a large spoon.  Add the cocoa, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk until blended, then add the buttermilk,oil, and vanilla; whisk until combined.

Turn the mixer to low and slowly stream the wet ingredients into the dry ones, mixing just until combined.  Stir in the dark chocolate chunks by hand.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Peanut Butter Spread
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth.  Add the sugar and beat until incorporated.  (If you are not using the spread immediately, place it in a ramekin, tightly cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.)

Serve the loaf plain or toasted, topped with the peanut butter spread.

The loaf will keep , in an airtight container or wrapped tightly, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

This loaf is the ultimate gift.  Double or triple the recipe, cool the loaves completely, and remove them from the pans. To give the loaves a nifty bakery look, wrap them in brown parchment paper, and then wrap them in plastic and drop them off to friends along with a card.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnuts 3 Ways-Leave Your Link

Did you know that archaeologists turned up several petrified fried cakes with holes in the center in prehistoric ruins in the Southwestern United States-and no they didn't find a Krispy Kreme wrapper close by.  Doughnuts have been around for centuries and the Dutch are credited with taking sweet dough balls and frying them in pork fat-they were called olykoeks.  If you want more history and lore surrounding this fabulous treat head over to Mr Breakfast for the definitive history of doughnuts. It seems every culture around the world has their own version of this tasty treat.

Rosquillas from Spain

Israeli sufganiyot
The 90's have seen a major comeback of the doughnuts-long a comfort food.  Skip Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts-if you haven't made your own then find someone who thinks you are special and get them to make some for you.  Homemade doughnuts are the absolute best. And did you know that National Doughnut Day is the first Friday in June .  Let's start celebrating early with some of the best doughnuts I have ever tasted.

Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnuts Three Ways
For the Doughnuts
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly browned and cooled
Vegetable oil for frying

For the Chocolate Dip
4 ounces good quality dark chocolate (60-70%), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Sprinkles to decorate (optional)

For the Vanilla Glaze
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Sprinkles to decorate (optional)

For the Cinnamon Sugar
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon

Make the doughnuts
Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and another baking sheet with two layers of paper towels.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour,sugar,baking soda,baking powder, salt,nutmeg, and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream until combined.  Add the melted,cooled butter and whisk again.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid ingredients into the well.  With a rubber spatula, slowly fold the flour into the liquid center until the mixture forms a sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour.  Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and pat it out until it is about 1/2 inch thick.
Use two round cutters ( 3 1/4" and 1 1/2" for large doughnuts; 2 1/2" and 1 " for smaller doughnuts).  Dip the large cutter in flour and press out the rounds.  Dip the smaller cutter in the flour and cut out the center of each dough round.  Arrange both doughnuts and doughnut holes on the parchment-lined baking sheet, pat the dough scraps back together, and use them to make as many more doughnuts and doughnut holes as possible.  Chill the dough while you heat the oil.

Pour enough oil into a deep skillet to make a layer approximately 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches deep.  Slowly heat the oil over medium -high heat until it is 365 to 370 degrees F.

While you are waiting for the oil to reach temperature, make the assorted toppings.

Make the Chocolate Dip
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium wide-mouthed bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it is just about to boil.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait 1 minute.  Whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the butter.  Keep the mixture warm.

Make the Vanilla Glaze
In a medium wide-mouthed bowl, whisk together the sugar, the milk, and the vanilla paste.

Make the Cinnamon Sugar
In a medium wide-mouthed bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.

To Fry the Doughnuts
Once the oil reaches temperature, gently lift the large doughnuts off the baking sheet and place them in the hot oil.  Do not crowd the skillet-make no more than 3 doughnuts at a time.  Once they have browned on one side (this takes 2-3 minutes), turn them over with tongs or a slotted spoon and continue to cook for another minute or just until browned (they can overcook or burn rather quickly).  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the paper towel lined baking sheet and continue to fry the rest of the dough until finished.  The doughnut holes will cook faster and can be made in two or three batches after the doughnuts are done.

Assemble the Doughnuts
Once you have finished frying, work quickly to dip the doughnuts in the chocolate or vanilla glaze, or the cinnamon sugar.  If you like, decorate the chocolate or vanilla doughnuts with sprinkles.  Serve immediately.

Baked Notes
When you fry doughnuts make sure you maintain the correct oil temperature throughout the process.  Generally speaking, doughnuts taste best served immediately after they've emerged from the fryer ( and taken a quick dip in sugar or chocolate or vanilla.  However if they don't disappear quickly when served take day old doughnuts and chop them into big coarse crumbs, toast them lightly, and add them to vanilla ice cream as a mix in (if you are making it from scratch) or a topping (if you are serving store bought). Doughnuts also work wonders (very rich wonders) when used as the base of a bread pudding.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Almond Joy Tart - Leave Your Link

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons taken by Evan Amos

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't... Little did Peter Paul Halajian know thousands of people would be singing that little ditty about his products. It was almost 26 years after the introduction of the Mounds Bar when the Almond Joy Bar was introduced. It was a replacement for the Dream Bar which was similar in make up to the Almond Joy. An interesting factoid : the Almond Joy was introduced more than 20 years after the death of Peter Paul. And a few more interesting tidbits:

In the song Gett Off, by Prince, he sings "Strip your dress down like I was strippin' a Peter Paul's Almond Joy."

In the HBO series Weeds, Almond Joy was the favorite candy of Nancy's late husband, Judah.

One of the Allman Brothers early band names was the Allman Joys.

And sad but true, the Peter Paul Company is no longer in business-Almond Joys are now produced by Hershey's .

Almond Joy Tart
Yield: Six 4inch individual tarts

For the Almond Tart Dough
1 large egg1/4 cup whole toasted almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ( 1 stick ) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

For the Coconut Filling
8 ounces good quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut ( if you are coconut obsessed, go ahead and use 2 1/4 cups)
1 tablespoon light rum

For the Chocolate Glaze and Garnish
2 ounces good quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces good quality dark chocolate ( 60-72% ), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 whole toasted almonds

Make the Almond Tart Dough
In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg and set it aside.
Put the almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the almonds are finely ground. Add flour and salt and pulse again just until mixed. Add the butter and pulse until sandy ( about 6 to 10 quick pulses). Pour in the egg and pulse just until the dough begins to cohere into a ball. Form the dough into a disk, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Make the Coconut Cream Filling
Place the white chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, heat the cream just to a boil. Pour it over the white chocolate and let it stand for 30 seconds. Slowly, starting in the center of the bowl, whisk the cream and white chocolate until smooth. Cover and refrigerate the ganache for 4 hours or overnight before proceeding.

Assemble the Tart
Dust a work surface with flour. Place the disk of chilled dough on the work surface and divide it into 6 equal portions. Shape each into a smooth disk. (Note: The dough will be sticky. Make sure to turn it with a bench knife or offset spatula as needed and keep the working surface floured.) Use a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough into a 5 1/2 inch circle just over 1/8 inch thick. Very gently press each dough round into a 4 inch tart pan with removable bottom.
Place the tart pans in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line the tart crusts with aluminum foil, and fill each one three-quarters full with pie weights or dried beans. Bake them for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer the tart pans to a wire rack to cool.

Make the Coconut Cream Filling
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the white chocolate ganache at medium speed until soft peaks form. Do not over whip. Gently fold in the coconut and the rum. Divide the filling evenly among the cooled tart shells and place them in the refrigerator while you make the chocolate glaze.

Make the Chocolate Glaze
Place the milk and dark chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it is just about to boil. Pour it over the chocolates and whisk to combine. Let the mixture set for about 10 minutes. Remove the tarts from the refrigerator and spoon the glaze evenly over each one. Top each tart with one almond and refrigerate again until the glaze sets up, about 10 minutes.
The tarts can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Baked Note
It would seem that a chocolate tart crust would be the perfect shell for a riff on the Almond Joy, but it fell short during many tests and trials. The chocolate overwhelmed the coconut, and somehow it just felt entirely contrived.

You won't regret trying this recipe, the only regret will be you can't stop eating them ! Happy New Year everyone.