Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Parker House ROlls

Rolls fresh from the oven are just so darn good.

1 1/2 cups milk

4 oz butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 package active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

3 eggs

1 1/2 tsp salt

6 cups all purpose flour

Bring milk and butter to a simmer. Mix warm water, sugar, and yeast let sit 5 mins. Combine milk, eggs, yeast, salt and flour. Knead until a smooth ball forms.

Place in greased container and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Punch down dough and shape into small balls. Place a pan, cover, and let rise until doubled in size.

Bake at 350 F until browned. Brush with melted butter.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bakewell tart and my first DB Challenge (again)

Blackberry bakewell tart with blackberry cheesecake mousse.

So this is my 2nd first time doing a daring bakers challenge. I wait till yesterday to make them...anyone that knows me isn't surprised by that. But hey its been crazy at work.
I made my own blackberry jam for these...well more of a reduction than a jam. I also served mine with blackberry cheesecake mousse. Ok so I have to admit this is prob one of my fav desserts...atleast for now anyway.

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

Bakewell tarts…er…puddings combine a number of dessert elements but still let you show off your area’s seasonal fruits.

Like many regional dishes there’s no “one way” to make a Bakewell Tart…er…Pudding, but most of today’s versions fall within one of two types. The first is the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry. The second is the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling.

Bakewell Tart…er…pudding
Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Jasmine’s notes:
• If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It's a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn't have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search. That said, our dear Natalie at Gluten a Go Go has sourced some recipes and linked to them in the related alt.db thread.
• You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
• The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.
Annemarie’s notes:
• The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).

Sweet shortcrust pastry
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Jasmine’s notes:
• I make this using vanilla salt and vanilla sugar.
• If you wish, you can substitute the seeds of one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla paste or one teaspoon of vanilla extract for the almond extract

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

Annemarie’s notes:
• Add another five minutes or more if you're grinding your own almonds or if you're mixing by hand (Heaven help you).

Jammy Blackberry Reduction:
1 lb frozen blackberries plus the juice
4 cups sugar

Put berries and sugar in pan and simmer until it has reduced and is thick and jammy. I strained this after it was cooked. Then added a small amount of the seeds and pulp back to the mixture.

I don't have a recipe for the mousse...just kind of put stuff in a bowl and went by taste.
Cream Cheese
Powdered sugar
Blackberry Reduction
Heavy Cream

Put cheese in a mixing bowl. Add a few tbsp of the reduction and some of the powdered sugar. Whip till smooth. Add some cream and whip. Adjust adding more of whatever it needs. If you think it needs more blackberry flavor add more reduction...not as sweet as you would like it..add more sugar. It should be a light fluffy mixture like cream cheese frosting.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Monkey

I have a pet monkey at work.

Isn't he cute.

Someone didn't listen and gave him bananas....people never listen *sigh*

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not sure where I got this recipe but I think its from Alton Brown. I really like this recipe because it uses melted butter instead of softened. That means I don't have to plan ahead or try to figure out how to soften that butter because I forgot to lay it out.

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
8 oz unsalted butter, melted
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (opt)
1 cup toffee (opt)

Mix together flour, salt, and soda. Set aside. Mix sugar, brown sugar, and the melted butter. Add egg, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla. Mix well. Slowly mix in flour mixture. Stir in chips and any other mix ins like nuts or toffee. Scoop onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F until the edges turn golden brown (around 10-15 mins).
The orginal recipe says to chill the dough before scooping and baking. If you chill the dough it won't spead as much. I usually don't chill mine because I like thin cookies. Either way makes a really good cookie. Try doing it both ways and see which you like best.

I dipped the bottoms of mine in tempered chocolate and placed them on a transfer sheet to get that cool pattern on them. Transfer sheets are plastic sheet which has been sprayed with colored cocoa butter to form a pattern. When tempered chocolate is placed on the sheet and allowed to cool the pattern transfers to the chocolate.

Exciting News!

I'm a daring baker (again). I can't wait to get started on my first challenge. You can check out the daring kitchen at http://thedaringkitchen.com/.

Part two of my exciting news. I'm in the process of starting a chocolate business. I'm going to rent a kitchen and then sell the chocolates out of some stores around town. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. lol.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Fresh made soft pretzels are just so darn good...and easy to make.

10.5 oz water
.33 oz yeast
16 oz flour
.1 oz salt
.3 oz sugar
Soda wash:
8 oz water
1 oz baking soda

Make soda wash. Mix water and soda. Bring to a simmer.

While that is heating. Mix water with yeast and sugar. Let sit 5 mins. Mix flour and salt. Mix yeast mixture with flour. Once dough has came together knead for a couple of mins. Scale into 5 oz pieces and shape. Dip into soda wash. When they float take out and place on sheet pan. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 500 f for 8 -9 mins. Brush with melted butter. I like to sprinkle mine with parm cheese :-)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Black forest ham and swiss puffs

One of the blogs I frequently read is Joy the Baker. She had a recipe for prosciutto dijon and gruyere puffs that I just had to try. You can find her recipe here.

I used blackforest ham and swiss cause thats what I had.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Orange Basil Sorbet

This has to be my all time favorite sorbet. It has such a wonderful flavor.

1 pt orange juice (fresh squeezed is best)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup sugar

Heat juice, basil, and sugar. Bring almost to a boil. Then turn off heat and let steep for 15 - 30 mins. Chill for a few hours..overnight is best. Then turn in ice cream maker.

Place in a container and freeze for a couple of hours.

Pomegranate Sorbet

My ice cream maker. Just look.....don't touch. ok?
Pomegranate Sorbet:
16 oz pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar
Heat juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool. Turn in ice cream maker.
Put in a container and freeze for a couple of hours.
Then eat...yummy.