Saturday, February 26, 2011

Double Chocolate Potato Brownies

Even though my Dad has been gone for 40 years, I think of him every day.  Many things remind me of him….a few are black licorice, soft pretzels and the smell of pipe tobacco.  February 26 is his birthday, he would have been 89.  One thing that my dad loved was chocolate, I remember him telling my Mom that he loved it so much he would eat chocolate mashed potatoes!   Well, Daddy….these aren’t quite chocolate mashed potatoes but they are the closest that I could find…I think you would approve! 

I wanted to make something with mashed potatoes and chocolate in honor of my Dad's birthday and found this brownie recipe on Cookie Madness.  It was very easy to make and while the brownies weren't as fudgy as I prefer, they had a moist cakiness about them.  The texture was different than your average brownie....but in a very good way!  If you ever have any left over mashed potatoes this is a must try!

Double Chocolate Potato Brownies

6 oz unsalted butter
3 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed potatoes, unseasoned (meaning no garlic or onion)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  Line a 13"x9" metal pan with foil and grease foil.  Melt butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat until smooth.  Let cool 15 minutes.  Stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt.  Stir in mashed potatoes until smooth.

Add flour and stir to combine.  Pour into prepared baking pan.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts.  Bake until brownies are firm when lightly touched, about 25-30 minutes.  Cool on rack.  Cut into squares and serve.  Store in a container that allows air.  Airtight containers will be soggy.

Makes 24 brownies

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pinkalicious Sugar Cookies

My youngest granddaughter will be 2 soon.  It is her turn for me to send her some birthday cookies.  She is such a girly-girl, I thought she might get a kick out of some Pinkalicious cookies.  I used my tried and true sugar cookie recipe and colored it pink.  Then decorated the cookie like the cupcakes in the Pinkalicious books.  I hope they light up her beautiful eyes!

Sugar Roll Out Cookies

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar

Cream sugar and butter.  Mix in egg and flavorings.  Stir dry ingredients together, blend into sugar mixture.  Form a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Heat oven 375 degrees F.  Using half the dough and roll out 1/4" thick.  Bake for 7-8 minutes.

Sugar Cookie Icing

1 cup confectioner sugar
2 tsp. milk
2 tsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. almond extract
assorted food color

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners sugar and milk until smooth.  Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. (It was at a good consistency to pipe at this point)  

Divide into separate bowls and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. 

Pinkalicious Cookies for my Pinkalicious Girl!

Happy Birthday Syringa!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Meyer Lemon Cake and Raspberry Macarons

This cake was moist and not too sweet.  To me it was more like a sweet bread than a cake.  Very delicious!  Will definately make it again.

Meyer Lemon Cake

1 Tbsp butter, plus 8 tbsp. melted
2 Tbsp fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp. fine salt
1 1/3 cups plus 2 Tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
2 Tbsp lemon extract
Zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a metal loaf pan with 1 Tbsp butter and dust it with the bread crumbs.  Invert and tap out excess crumbs; set aside.  In a food processor, grind the almonds until very fine, about 1 minute;  set aside.  In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Put remaining butter into a large bowl and add 1 cup of the sugar.  Mix with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 1 minute.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just long enough to incorporate, about 30 seconds.  Add the flour mixture and milk mixture in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat until mixed after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, about 3 minutes total.  Mix in the lemon extract.  With the spatula, fold in lemon zest and ground almonds. (The mixture will be thin.)  Turn batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and dry, about 65 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a cooling rack.  Prepare glaze:  Combine remaining sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes, (Do not boil.)  Brush the glaze over the hot cake.  (The excess liquid my pool along the sides of the pan; it will absorb completely as it sits.)  Once the cake has absorbed all the liquid, turn it out of the pan and allow it to cool upright on a rack.  Once it's cool, wrap the cake with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours before serving.

Raspberry Macarons

Makes about 24 macarons

¾ cup (96 grams) almond flour
1 3/4 cups (201 grams) confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons raspberry powder*
3 large egg whites*
3 tablespoons (37 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered or gel pink food coloring, as needed

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
1/2 cup (3.5 oz/100 g) granulated sugar
2 1/2 large (2.6 oz/75 g) egg whites (to measure the ½ white, beat 1 white in a bowl with a fork and then measure out 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 tablespoons (22 ml) water
1 cups (2 sticks/8 oz/227 g) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup raspberry puree (puree fresh or thawed frozen berries and pass through a fine sieve)

Optional Garnish:
Raspberry powder

*Note: If you have time, it’s best to ‘age’ your egg whites before using them. Separate the whites, then store them in the refrigerator in a covered container for 48 hours. Bring them to room temperature before using.

Make the macarons:
1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, process the almonds with the confectioners’ sugar and raspberry powder until well blended. Sift the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy. Very gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until stiff and glossy. Add the vanilla and food coloring and mix until blended and you have the right color.
4. Add half of the sifted almond mixture and fold it in with a spatula. Add the remaining almond mixture and mix it in a light circular motion. Press and spread out the batter against the side of the bowl. Scoop the batter from the bottom of the bowl and turn it upside down. Repeat this motion about 20-25 times. When the batter becomes nicely firm and flows slowly as you scoop it with the spatula, it is ready to be piped. (When you spoon a little on the baking sheet, it should not form a peak.)
5. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375° F. Fit a pastry bag with a .4-inch plain tip (Ateco #4). Scrape the batter into the bag. Pipe out 1-inch rounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them ½ inch apart. Rap the baking sheet firmly against the counter. Dry the batter at room temperature, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
6. Stack the baking sheet with the macarons on it on another baking sheet. Place both sheets, stacked, in the oven and bake the macarons for 13-16 minutes, until slightly crisp (they will crisp more upon cooling). Cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the buttercream:
7. Pour enough water into a skillet so that it comes 1/2-inch up its sides. Bring the water to a simmer; reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer.
8. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, egg whites, and water. Place the bowl in the skillet of water and whisk gently until the mixture registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer.
9. Transfer the bowl to the mixer stand and, using the whisk attachment, beat at medium-high speed until the meringue is cool and forms stiff, shiny peaks, about 5 minutes.
10. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Beat at high speed until the buttercream is smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in the raspberry puree until combined.

Assemble the macarons:
11. Scrape the buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a .4 inch plain tip (about the same size as you used to pipe the macarons).  Pipe a grape-sized dollop of buttercream onto the underside of a macaron. Gently press the underside of another macaron against the buttercream until it spreads almost to the edge. Repeat with the remaining macarons and buttercream. If you like, lightly sprinkle some raspberry powder through a fine sieve onto the top of the macarons. Store the macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

I am getting there!
A pretty sexy and tasty macaron!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Valentine Cookies

 A little treat for my coworkers....just a little something to get them
 through our most recent 12-hour sale!

Chocolate Heart Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from a peanut butter cookie recipe at joy of

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1 large egg
1 teas. pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/4 teas. salt
1/2 cup chopped peanuts or 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer ( or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy ( about 2-3 minutes).  Beat in the peanut butter.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine.  In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add to the peanut butter mixture and beat until incorporated.  Fold in the chopped peanuts , if using.  If the batter is too soft to form into balls, place in the refrigerator for about an hour or until firm)

Roll batter into 1 inch balls place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets  and slightly flatten with your palm.   Bake for about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and press chocolate hearts in the center.  Place on wire rack to cool.  Can be stored at room tempurature, in an airtight container, for about a week. 

Makes about 40 cookies.

They were gone in minutes!!!
I think they liked them.

This is Lucy. 
 She is my 2 year old Alaskan Malamute that loves, loves,
LOVES peanut butter!!!  The entire time that I was in the kitchen making these cookies she was right there hoping that I would drop a tasty morsel on the floor for her to sample.  I don't give her chocolate, but I did make a "Lucy cookie" with
 out the chocolate heart. 
I know, she is hopelessly spoiled.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cyrano Chocolate Cake

I needed a last minute birthday cake for my Aunt Peggy.  I didn't have time to get to the grocery so I had to rely on what I had at home.  Since I had some butter, semisweet chocolate, eggs and cream, I chose to make this lovely flourless chocolate cake.  It turned out great and not at all difficult to make.  I topped it off with some whipped cream and raspberries.  It was not too sweet and and full of chocolateness....hmmmm.... is that a word???? 
Well, it is now! 

Cyrano Chocolate Cake
Baking for All Occassions, Flo Braker

Yield:  One 9=inch round cake, 8-10 servings
1 ¼ sticks of unsalted butter
12 oz. semisweet chocolate finely chopped
3 Tbsp. unsweetened natural or Dutch processed cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
Before Baking:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 374 degrees F.  Have ready a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan.  Select a shallow roasting pan that will accommodate the cake pan with 1 to 2 inches of space between the cake pan and the sides of the roasting pan.  Set the cake pan in the roasting pan and pour warm water into the roasting pan to reach slightly over halfway up the side of the cake pan.  Remove the cake pan from the water and place the roasting pan with the water in the oven while it is preheating.  Butter the cake pan then flour it, tapping out the excess flour.  Line the bottom with parchment paper.  Have all ingredients at room temperature.
To Make the Cake:  In a heavy 1-quart saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over very low heat, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth.  Or, combine in a medium microwave-safe bowl and melt in a microwave oven at 50 percent power for 30 seconds, stirring after each burst, until melted, 2 to 3 minutes.  Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool for 5 minutes.  Stir in cocoa powder.
In a bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the eggs, egg yolk, and granulated sugar.  Attach the bowl to the mixer, fit the mixer with a whisk attachment, and whip the mixture at medium speed until fluffy, pale yellow and double in volume, about 3 minutes.  When the whisk is lifted the mixture should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon that rests softly on the surface and remains there for about 3 seconds before dissolving back into the mixture.  Add the vanilla during the final moments of whipping.  Fold one-third of the egg mixture into the chocolate to lighten it.  Fold in the remaining  egg mixture.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and carefully place the pan in the water bath
Bake the cake until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 160 degrees F, about 30 minutes.  The chocolate firms as the cake cools, so be careful not to overbake.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes.  Then invert a serving plate on the cake and invert the cake onto it.  Slowly peel off the parchment paper and let the cake cool completely.
To serve, using a fine mesh strainer, dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar.   Or, using and offset spatula, frost the top with whipped cream.  Cut into wedges with sharp knife, dipping the knife blade in hot water and wiping dry with a towel before each cut.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Classic Buttermilk Pancakes with Three Berry Syrup

 I love a fluffy, buttery pancake.  This recipe does not disappoint!  It comes together quickly and easily and tastes soooooo good.  Try'll like it!

Classic Buttermilk Pancakes

Makes about 17 pancakes

3 Tbs. unsalted butter; more for serving
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
Vegetable oil for the griddle
Pure maple syrup for serving

Heat the oven to 200°F. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove and set aside to cool briefly.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk gently until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated; stop before the batter is evenly moistened. Add the cooled melted butter and mix just until the batter is evenly moistened (there will be lumps). Let the batter rest while you heat the griddle.

Heat a griddle or a large skillet over medium heat (or set an electric griddle to 375°F) until drops of water briefly dance on the surface before evaporating. Lightly oil the griddle. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle for each pancake, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Let cook undisturbed until bubbles rise to the surface and the edges look dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Check the underside of each pancake to make sure it’s nicely browned; then flip. Cook until the second side is nicely browned, about 1 minute more. Transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you repeat with the remaining batter.

Make Ahead Tips:
Cooked pancakes will keep, sealed in freezer bags, for up to 2 days in the refrigerator and up to 1 month in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes.

Three Berry Syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. strawberry preserves
1 cup of berries (your choice) I used blueberries, raspberries
In a 2-quart saucepan combine the berries, preserves and syrup.   If the berries are big, like strawberries, cut them up first. If they are small like raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, leave them whole. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to prevent it from scorching to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for five minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Store in a glass canning jar in the fridge. This is better hot, but still good cold. Makes about 2 cups.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ABC: Caramel Chocolate Cream Pie

luscious, rich and decadent

time intensive

but worth every minute