Monday, August 24, 2009
This dessert is so easy, yet it never fails to get great compliments because it looks beautiful, tastes delicious, and is perfectly elegant. This is my own version, but there are many similar recipes found in cookbooks and online.
1 1/2 cups flour (white, all purpose)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter
Combine well. Press into two tart pans. Bake at 300ºF until brown (about 30 minutes).
10 oz white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
16 oz cream cheese
Melt white chocolate with heavy cream. Cool slightly. Beat cream cheese with melted chocolate until smooth. Spread over crusts. Top with your choice of cut fruit.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I came across this photo in my files from last year. I made this Baklava for an Egyptian dinner we held after returning from a 2.5 week tour of Egypt (our second visit there). The Egyptians grow sugar cane as one of their main agricultural exports. Their cuisine is infused with syrupy sweet dishes made of phyllo dough or semolina flour. In other parts of the Middle East, honey is often used, but the Egyptians replace the honey with simple syrup made from boiled granulated sugar. This recipe is more typical of Greek Baklava, because it uses honey along with the simple syrup. It really isn't as difficult to make as you might think, although it does take a little patience and time.
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup honey
16 oz phyllo dough (pre-cut to fit 9 X 13" pan)
1 pound of chopped nuts, lightly toasted (I used walnuts and pecans in this photo)
1 cup salted butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
Boil the sugar and water for 1 minute. Add vanilla and honey, then simmer on low for 20 minutes. Allow to cool in the fridge while making Baklava.
Butter the bottom of a 9 x 13" pan. Toss the nuts with the cinnamon and set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Many people cover the phyllo dough with a wet cloth while working, but I find that cumbersome. I just work quickly before the dough dries out.
Place 2 sheets of phyllo in pan, and brush thoroughly with butter. Repeat 3 times (until you have 8 sheets layered in the pan). Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two more sheets, buttering each thoroughly and then add another layer of nut mixture. Continue layering nuts and two sheets until the nuts are gone. Top with 6 - 8 layers of just phyllo dough and butter.
Use a sharp knife to cut either square or diamond shapes. Be sure to cut all the way to the bottom of the pan.
Bake for 50 minutes at 350ºF or until it looks golden and crisp.
Spoon cooled sugar sauce immediately over the baked Baklava. Allow it to cool completely before serving. Don't cover the baklava or it will become soggy. Store extra baklava uncovered in the fridge or freeze wrapped in foil.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Strawberry frosting flavored with real strawberries. Imagine that! Please don't use fake fruit flavorings. For one thing, they don't taste anything like fruit. For another, they are nothing but chemicals... so they aren't really food at all. It is never a good idea to eat something that isn't food unless it's medicine and your doctor has prescribed it. Apparently blue food coloring in M & Ms might help your spine... but I doubt that eating red food coloring or strawberry Jell-O or other flavorings I've found in strawberry frosting recipes is going to do anything good for your health. And why eat something that tastes terrible unless it's good for your health? Brussel sprouts, for example, might be worth eating.
My son, Elijah, wanted strawberry frosting on his cake. I did some research and found that most people have not been successful in putting fresh strawberries into frosting, because they are just too full of liquid. It ruins the consistency. So I came up with the idea of using fresh strawberry preserves in the recipe. That way, I was using real strawberries, but they were already thickened. It was a bit sweet... but the frosting tasted like real strawberries, which was the point. It was so good, that my kids kept sneaking the leftover frosting from the fridge by finger-fulls.
The cake is to die for and probably would cause you to die young if you ate it every day. BUTTER! It's rich, dense and deliciously self-indulgent. But for birthdays? Yes. We can eat this way on birthdays.
3 cups flour (I used King Aurthur Unbleached all-purpose)
2 cups sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of butter, softened (hello, Julia Child!)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
Combine all ingredients in a bowl but eggs. Beat with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in one egg at a time. Pour batter into greased 10inch tube pan. Bake at 350ºF for 1 hour 15 minutes or until done.
1 lb of powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup fresh strawberry preserves (or to texture)
2 tsp vanilla
Whip the butter and sugar until crumbly. Add the vanilla, then add the preserves a couple tablespoons at a time until the consistency is just right for spreading over cake.
Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
I call these "Blomberbloof" as a private joke. Not tellin' why. It's private. You may recognize the dough from an earlier blog of mine. This is my doughnut dough. Simply put, these little blomberbloof things are really just large doughnut holes dipped in a chocolate/amaretto glaze. They are tasty though...
2 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons yeast
4 eggs (beaten)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
7 cups sifted flour
1 cup melted chocolate chips
2 cups powdered sugar
2 T amaretto
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
milk (to consistency of a glaze)
1. Mix together ingredients for glaze.
2. Melt butter in hot milk, add 1 tsp sugar and salt. Allow to cool.
3. Beat in yeast, nutmeg, eggs, remaining sugar, and 3 cups flour.
4. Add rest of flour (dough will be sticky).
5. Knead for 5 minutes then allow to rise for 1-1 1/2 hours.
6. Roll out dough, cut into small circles.
7. Allow to rise for 30-45 minutes.
8. Heat oil to 365° and fry 1 - 2 minutes on each side or until brown.
9. Dip in glaze
Note: Even though this glaze was good, next time I think I'll make it much thicker and more chocolaty.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I think some people might be a little shocked by the amount of chocolate powder I put in these, and by the sugar-to-flour ratio... but the result is really fudgey and delicious. If you want the cookies to taste more dark-bitter, you can try them without so much sugar. These cookies delighted my sons and husband who all prefer milk chocolate, so they are puh-lenty sweet.
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
2 tsps. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cream together the sugars and butter. Add eggs & vanilla and continue to beat until well-blended. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.
Roll into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350ºF for about 8 - 10 minutes or until cracked on the top. Don't over cook! Allow the cookies to cool for about 5 minutes on the pan before removing.