Chocolate Malt Layer Cake – Savory Simple

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Jennifer Farley of Savory Simple says: “Chocolate Malt Layer Cake is dense, moist and totally decadent. Chopped malted milk balls add flavor and crunch. You need this dessert!”

I recently saw this recipe on Facebook though it was published a year ago. It certainly looks as if it had lived up to Jennifer’s adjectives (“dense, moist, totally decadent”) so I am determined to try it this weekend. However, I noticed some gaps in the instructions; e.g. how to add a perfectly smooth straight border around the crushed Whoppers in the middle of the cake top. I have an idea how she did it. Let you know how this cake turns out in a few days!

Source: Chocolate Malt Layer Cake – Savory Simple

Basic Jam for Beginners, All Natural, Low Sugar, No Pectin Added

The High Heel Gourmet

Basic Jam Making for Beginner - NO Pectin by The High Heel Gourmet

Well, in case you ever wondered (just for the few that do wonder…I hope there is at least one, please!) why I’m not blogging as often in summer months, it’s because I’m busy doing preserves (jams), conserves, syrups or coulis from several fruits at the peak of the season, and some sauces, especially tomato sauce; these are taking time away from blogging and responding to comments.

Since I’ve been busy with preserving fruit, there are a lot of requests about my jam–either wanting to learn how to make them, or  how to BUY them. I’m NOT going to sell my jams, sorry. I don’t make jam to sell. I only make enough for myself and to give to my close friends. With the price I’m paying for fruit and sugar, if I sold them they would be too expensive.

Why? Because I don’t buy cheap fruit! I’m going to be…

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black and white cake

I reblogged this from November 14, 2010 from my (failed) early food blog. I was looking it over, sort of a nostalgia trip, and I saw this. I miss AJ!

***

Ever had those “senior moments” in the kitchen?  Hmm. Forgetting the sugar in the batter of a butter cake once taught me forcibly that baking is an exact science. Today was another one of those moments when I used soy sauce instead of hoisin sauce because the recipe said “Kikkoman’s” and I read no further. Nevertheless I remain optimistic in the kitchen, fool that I am, willing to experiment so long as I have willing souls brave enough to try my cooking; last week’s attempts at Haupia Cake, notwithstanding. John was very diplomatic to say he liked my first attempt, which he called a haupia “torte,” and Richard said that for my second attempt the haupia was exactly right. Well, some things do work sometimes!

This recipe was inspired by the Black and White Cake recipe in Diane Mott Davidson’s book Fatally Flaky a detective novel-cum-cookbook. As a genre I’m not sure how it’s supposed to work–should I read the book or put it down and cook?  I decided to cook. AJ requested an ice cream cake so I decided to give this one a try. It was originally supposed to be a chocolate layer cake with a vanilla ice cream filling; hence a black and white cake. However, AJ wanted a chocolate vanilla swirl filling instead. And I used a different chocolate cake recipe only because I happened to have all the ingredients for that cake in the Teeny Tiny Kitchen.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake (New York Times Cookbook)
Have at room temperature:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare for baking. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease two 9×1 1/2 inch layer cake pans, bottoms lined with parchment or waxed paper and greased. Flour pans. Set aside.

Mix all ingredients. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter, eggs, water, milk, and vanilla. Blend on low speed to moisten all the dry ingredients. Increase speed to medium and blend until just combined. Do not over mix.

Bake the cake. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans. Bake 25-30 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan 10 minutes on wire racks. Then invert the cakes and remove the pans and the parchment/waxed paper circles. Cool completely.

After this I followed the Davidson recipe for Black and White Cake.

Make the ice cream layer.
1 quart vanilla or vanilla swirl ice cream
1 9×1 1/2 inch layer cake pan, buttered

Soften the ice cream in the refrigerator about half an hour; 15 minutes on the kitchen counter. The consistency should be soft to the touch and spreadable. Spread the softened ice cream in the prepared pan and freeze until it is solid again.

Assemble the cake and ice cream layers
Remove the frozen ice cream layer from the freezer. Use  a thin spatula to separate the ice cream from the sides. An offset spatula will help to remove it from the pan. If it breaks apart, just push it back together. 

Put the bottom layer upside down on a serving plate. Place the ice cream layer on top and smooth it together. Put the second layer on top of the ice cream. Loosely cover with foil and freeze for at least 3 hours.

The next part is the fun part!

Making and pouring the chocolate glaze.
10 oz. (1 1/2 cups) bittersweet chocolate chips (easier than chopping up the chocolate, I find)
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons corn syrup

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and the butter. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and whisk in the corn syrup. Let cool to room temperature. I would say when the glaze feels warm when you dip your finger in it.

Set a wire rack over a baking tray. Take the frozen ice cream cake out of the freezer and using a large pancake turner, take it off the plate and put it on top of the wire rack. With a thin blade spatula, smooth the ice cream layer flush with the cake layers. Pour the glaze all over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. The frozen cake will solidify the liquid glaze into a thin coating of chocolate! Is it ever neat!

Refreeze the cake for about an hour to set the ice cream. To cut the cake, heat a serrated knife in hot water–I poured boiling water over the blade–and wipe dry. Slice the cake using a sawing motion–don’t press down.

The cake was cold, lightly sweet, and creamy–but the texture was holey like the last two cakes I made. Over mixed. This disappointing result is because my mixing bowl is too small. Time to get a bigger one!

Post script:
Wow. It’s been four years since I made this Black and White Cake, and I’ve learned _so much_ about baking cakes since then! The key thing to do, of course, is to weigh all the ingredients. And now that I know what I know, I just don’t know if I would try to make this cake in Bangkok. Too hot!

cherry-fennel scones

Reblogged from More Than One More Day, Wednesday January 19, 2011: The Fennel and Golden Raisin Scones looked so pretty in Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook that I decided to try them. My plan was to use up all the ingredients in my pantry before leaving for the States, but  I didn’t have raisins on hand. I did have dried cherries and cranberry raisins. I didn’t know how the combination would work but I went ahead anyway. Halfway through preparations, this recipe has to be frozen so it must be started the night before if you want them for breakfast. Or get up really early! Since Andy will be baking a few at a time for one person, I decided to brush the tops before freezing. To make these scones from start to finish takes at least 3 hours to 13 hours at most.
Ingredients
3 tablespoons fennel seeds, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups dried cherries and cranberry raisins combined, coarsely chopped
4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
1 large egg lightly beatenPrepare the ingredients. In a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle, grind the fennel seeds coarsely. Set aside. Coarsely chop the cherries and cranberries and set aside. It’s important to chop up the fruit otherwise large pieces get stuck in the biscuit/cookie cutter.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter until coarse crumbs form. Add the dried fruit, cream, and 1/2 cup olive oil. Stir until the dough just comes together.

Make scones for freezing. Prepare a baking tray lined with waxed or parchment paper. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured board. Dust your hands lightly with flour. Pat the dough into a circle about 1 inch thick. Using a biscuit or cookie cutter, cut rounds out of the dough. (My cookie cutter is 2 1/4 inches in diameter.) Place on the prepared baking tray about 1/2 inch apart. Gently pat the scraps together and continue cutting out rounds. I got 18  rounds out of this amount of dough.  Firm up the scones by freezing them for at least 2 hours or overnight. At the point, the scones can be put up in plastic bags for baking later. They can be stored for up to 3 weeks frozen.

Bake the scones. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Combine the beaten egg with the 1 tablespoon olive oil and brush lightly on top of the rounds. Using your thumb and forefingers, sprinkle the top of each round lightly with fennel seeds. Place the scones 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the scones are golden and the tops are flecked with brown spots. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool. Scones are at their best on the day they are baked.

The Cake Baker’s Notes: I discovered that the scones were underdone even after 25 minutes. Perhaps the egg wash made them soggy. In any case, I recommend baking an additional 5 minutes or more, in 5 minute increments, up to a total of 10 additional minutes. The flavor was a cross between a savory and a sweet scone. The fennel gave it a light licorice flavor and the cranberries were tangy-sweet. The cherries were negligible, probably because they were unsweetened. I’d make this again using the flavored dried cherries since they have a stronger flavor to complement the fennel.

cuban eggs

I don’t know why this is called Cuban Eggs! I blogged about this recipe about four years ago when I was in New York City–and I was writing another blog. But I’m in Thailand now and writing my second food blog Foodie Joanie. I still don’t know why it’s called Cuban Eggs but it is worth re-blogging!
Anyway, I found this recipe in the South Beach Diet for Beginners. Beginner cooks or beginner SB dieters? However you see it,  it can be either or both. This dish is quite easy to make and takes just half an hour. I made some adaptations to the recipe as you’ll see from the notes in brackets. The sauce was quite flavorful with the tang of tomato but it overpowered the cheese. AJ enjoyed these eggs and we both pronounced this recipe “a keeper.”
Cuban Eggs
8 large hard-cooked eggs (I used large eggs; egg size wasn’t stipulated in the recipe)
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (I used mild)
3 tablespoons non-fat half and half (5 tablespoons non-fat milk)
salt and pepper to tasteSauce for Cuban Eggs
1/2 cup onion, chopped (I used scallion, minced)
1/2 cup sweet green pepper (for color contrast; but any color will do. I had red pepper on hand)
1 tablespoon butter (Oh, no! Use olive oil instead)
2 tins (8 oz.) non-salt tomato sauce (I used 1 salt and 1 non-salt)
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce, optional (my addition)
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped (I used cilantro)

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C

Hardcook the eggs. Put eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Cover the pan and heat the water to boiling. Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Rinse in cold water and remove shells. Split the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and put into a small bowl. But the whites in a 9-inch square baking dish.

Season the yolks. Mash the yolks with the back of a fork. Add the cheese and the milk. In fact, add just enough milk to make the yolks a thick consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fill each egg white with a heaping tablespoon of the yolk mixture. Place the filled eggs in a single layer in the baking dish.

Make the sauce. In a small skillet, heat the oil. Add the scallions and sweet pepper and cook until fragrant. Mix in the tomato sauce and add the Sriracha, if using. Pour over the eggs.

Bake the eggs. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with cilantro, if using.

Snickers Delight

Looks so decadent!

Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

This is a spectacular chocolate dessert that unbelievably delicious. It’s actually a knock-off from my Butterfinger Delight recipe substituting chocolate pudding and ice cream for the vanilla, and substituting Snickers Bars for the Butterfinger Bars in the recipe. It is rich, decadent, creamy, and has a delicious peanutty caramel taste that you expect from eating Snickers Bars. W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L!!!!!!! It is as delightful as the name and relatively easy to make, all things considered.

My inspiration for this recipe is Erma Thorn’s Butterfinger Delight recipe as I said earlier. Erma brought the Butterfinger Delight recipe to a potluck at Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Cedar Hill one day and I sampled a little bit of it. Boy, am I glad I did. It was fantastic. This recipe takes the same basic idea as Erma’s Butterfinger Delight and by making a few changes it becomes another decadent and fabulous dessert with a…

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