Chocolate Toffee Covered Matzo

April 8, 2015

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I would like to note that there are many versions of this recipe.  With every type of cracker, with all types of chocolate, and with various topping to sprinkle over.  All of these recipes are called crack.  No joke.  There is no other universal name for this recipe.

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So let me tell you what the components of crack are: a cracker of some sort, brown sugar, butter, chocolate, vanilla and salt.  Yep.  The naming of this recipe seems about right.  And the addictive qualities are those of what the actual substance are (or so I hear, people…come on now) – I’ve already eaten about half of the pan, even though I finished making this about 10 minutes ago.  Yes.  Stomach ache.  Worth it.

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So be careful making this.  It’s lethal, but so, so good.  Make it Passover friendly this week!  Or make it Passover friendly all weeks!  Because, trust me, you’ll be making this all weeks.

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Chocolate Toffee Matzo (recipe from David Lebovitz)

It has been noted that for Passover, this recipe works well with margarine; also omit the vanilla extract or find a kosher brand.

  • 4 to 6 sheets unsalted matzohs (or saltine crackers, enough to be lined up on a baking sheet)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (160g) semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate)
  • 1 cup (80g) toasted sliced almonds (or another favorite nut)
  • a sprinkle of flaky sea salt

Line a rimmed baking sheet completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 375F.

Line the bottom of the sheet with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.

In a medium sized pot, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add 1/2 tsp. salt and vanilla, and pour over matzoh, spreading evenly with a heatproof spatula.

Put the pan in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350F degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it’s not burning every once in a while. If it is in spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325F, then replace the pan.

Remove from oven and immediately evenly sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes.  They will melt and then you will be able to spread all over with an offset spatula.

Sprinkle with toasted almonds (or another favorite nut, toasted and coarsely-chopped), and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

Let cool completely, first at room temperature, and then in the refrigerator, then break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week.  Ha, it will never last that long.

 


M and M Cookies

March 25, 2015

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I have a slight fascination with M&M cookies.  I think it all stems from snack time in elementary school.  Parents would bring those peanut butter cheese crackers all the time (so yum), or boxes or raisins (whyyyyy?!), but sometimes, sometimes there would be that mom that sent cookies.  And cookies, my friends, were fab.

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But it didn’t stop there.  Because there were those amazing days that my classmates would not just bring in cookies for snack time, but they would bring the cookies with the rainbow candies in the them.  The cookies that exuded all things magical, fairies and unicorns.  Those were the cookies that had an actual rainbow on the package itself, because those cookies just knew how special they were.  Those were the cookies that came around only if you happened to be lucky.

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Clearly I’m a bit nostalgic about them.  So I made them.  They’re not quite as magical as I remember.  Most likely because the original had about 3 candied nestled on top, and therefore, much more appreciated.  But these studded gems sure are fun, and tasty.  Perhaps eat them in a sandbox for the full nostalgic effect?  Or perhaps not.

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M&M Cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup + 1/4 cup M&M candies, divided

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lined two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together butter and both sugars until well combined, and light in color.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix together salt, baking soda and flour.  Slowly add the flour mixture to butter mixture, with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined.  By hand, fold in 1 cup of candies.

Scoop out tablespoon-sized balls of dough and place on baking sheet, ensuring that there is enough space between each cookie.  Press in several of the additional candies on top.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are cooked-through and light in color.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Chocolate Streusel Poundcake

March 3, 2015

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I need something sweet to top off every meal.  (I made a pan of rice krispy treats last week, and I ate three for breakfast every morning until I finished them.  I felt the need to tell you that).  And not the type of sweet where I can eat a piece of fruit and call it a day.  I typically want some chocolate.  I always want chocolate.  Revised: I need something chocolate to top off most every meal.

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This doesn’t mean that I break the calorie bank every 4 hours.  I improvise.  Sometimes I sprinkle some chocolate chips on to yogurt.  Sometimes I sprinkle some chocolate chips onto a graham cracker.  Sometimes I sprinkle some chocolate chips on to a rice cake.  Sometimes I sprinkle some chocolate chips into my mouth.  It’s sophisticated stuff.

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But you see a pattern.  So when I saw this recipe – a chocolate poundcake with a chocolate chip streusel not just sprinkled on top, but also the bottom – I knew that this would satisfy my chocolate needs for a bit.  This is actually brilliant.  A salty crumbly streusel, with chocolate chips still in tact, surrounding a velvety chocolate cake.  The streusel gives it texture and depth and everything you cannot get from sprinkling several chocolate chips on a rice cake.

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I may make a batch of the streusel and keep it for my daily chocolate sprinkling needs.  That will class it up a bit.

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Chocolate Streusel Poundcake (recipe from New York Times)

For the Streusel:

  • ½ cup/60 grams all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons/45 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons/11 grams cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon/4 grams kosher salt
  • 4 ½ tablespoons/64 grams cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • cup/60 grams semisweet chocolate chips

For the Poundcake:

  • 3 ounces/85 grams extra-bittersweet chocolate (70 percent), chopped
  • 1 ⅓ cups/185 grams all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup/89 grams Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon/2 grams baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon/2 grams baking soda
  • ½ cup/113 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • ½ cup/100 grams dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon/4 grams kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons/10 milliliters vanilla extract
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters whole milk
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, then line with parchment paper, leaving enough to hang over the edges of the pan. Grease the parchment on the bottom of the loaf pan.
  2. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate for the cake, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool while you prepare the streusel.
  3. Prepare the streusel: In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Using fingers or a fork, cut in the butter until it is evenly distributed and forms large, moist crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Scatter half the streusel evenly into the bottom of the loaf pan. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until baked through.
  5. Prepare the cake: In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat melted butter, both sugars and salt together until combined. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, yogurt, milk and melted chocolate. Fold in dry ingredients until just combined.
  7. Scrape batter into prepared pan and top with remaining streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake emerges clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool completely before turning out and slicing.

Macadamia Nut Brittle

February 20, 2015

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I don’t know if you have noticed, but it’s pretty cold outside.  Like, bone chilling, never want to go outside, wearing layers at home, cold.  And from what I hear, everyone is pretty sick of it.

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This winter is pretty bad – maybe even worse than we ever have had before – but I feel like whenever winter comes along, I completely forget what it’s like to be warm.  What did that feel like?  How did we go outside without a scarf, hat and a coat?  We didn’t have to layer?  What a wondrous time that must have been.

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So instead of day dreaming of the warm weather in front of my space heater, with three pairs of wool socks on, I decided to change things up a little bit.  I brought a little bit of tropical-ness to me with a macadamia nut brittle.  Macadamia nuts completely evoke warm weather, and they are able to play with your mind to make you think that you may just be sitting on a beach in Hawaii.

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Swirl it into some coconut ice cream made from fresh snow!  Or eat it piping hot and warm yourself up.  Either way, this will momentarily take you away from the misery that is outside, hopefully reminding us of a time when we were complaining about the summer heat.

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Macadamia Nut Brittle (recipe from here)

2 T brown sugar
1/2 T light corn syrup
1/2 T butter
1/2  C nuts
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Place brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter (and cinnamon if you’re using) in a non-stick skillet on the stove top. Set heat to medium or medium-high. Stir the mixture as it comes together until it bubbles.  Add nuts and stir to coat completely.  Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly until nuts turn golden brown in color and smell toasted.

Transfer to foil, lightly sprayed with non-stick spray, or parchment and cool completely.

Break them apart with your fingers and enjoy!

 


Orange Corn Muffins with Crunchy Orange Glaze

February 3, 2015

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I have been known to have breakfast spurts.  I go for a couple weeks only eating oatmeal in the mornings (including a great oatmeal bake that I will be posting soon!).  Then, I switch to smoothies (green ones, if I’m really feeling ambitious).  That, of course, doesn’t last long.  So then, I switch to yogurt and granola, which is actually my go-to when it’s warmer outside (I don’t know why – it seems like a perfectly delicious winter breakfast).  And then I go back to tea and and an English muffin (maybe with a digestive biscuit or two on the side), because that seems easy and I feel like that was my original breakfast from back in the day, which somehow qualifies it to be the best.

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And then, like clockwork, every couple of months, all I want to eat for breakfast (or a snack, or dessert!…or just breakfast), is a muffin.  It’s slightly bizarre, actually, because I almost never go for a muffin when they’re part of a breakfast spread.  They are almost always too sweet, and too big, and too greasy.  But homemade muffins, they just can’t be beat.  They’re just a quick portable breakfast that can be eaten cold or warm, and can even be made healthy!

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I should say that the original recipe did not call for a glaze.  And it certainly didn’t recommend spreading butter on it.  But, any cornmeal-based carbohydrate product practically demands to be smeared with butter, so I give myself a pass there.  And the glaze, well, we’re in hibernation mode at the moment, it’s really cold outside, and that’s the best excuse I can give about that.  And it’s a darn good one.

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So take advantage of this glorious orange season and make these muffins.  They will satisfy your breakfast needs until muffins need to be brought back into the morning rotation.

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Orange Corn Muffins (recipe slightly adapted from Taste of Home)

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

zest of 1 orange

crunchy orange glaze, recipe to follow

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray, or line with muffin liners.

In a bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, oil and orange zest.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  Gently fold together until just combined – do not over mix.

Spoon out and distribute into prepared muffin tin.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden and a tester comes out clean.  While the muffins are baking, prepare the orange glaze.

Let cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Place a baking sheet under the wire rack to catch the excess glaze.

While still warm, pour the glaze evenly over the muffins.  Spoon the excess glaze from the baking sheet and pour over muffins again.  Eat warm or let cool completely.

Crunchy Orange Glaze (recipe adapted from David Lebovitz)

1 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup white granulated sugar

zest and juice of 1 orange

Whisk together all ingredients until combined and uniform.

 

 


Eclairs

January 21, 2015

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As we all know, I wanted to make eclairs last week.  Very badly.  But my conscience got the best of me for my first January post, and decided to make some healthy instead.  So now, now that it is squarely in the middle of the month, and we have long forgotten about the holidays, and hopefully, the resolutions, and we have already fast forwarded to gamewatching and chocolatebased foods, we can move on to French pastries.  Please join me.

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Thank you for your time.

Eclairs (recipe from Food and Wine Magazine)

I probably should have pointed out that these are extremely easy to make.  Perhaps a little time intensive, but certainly nothing too difficult.  This could be your new game food!  Seriously, how popular would you be.

Also, important to note: I preferred the smaller cream puffs, over eclairs.  Mostly because they came out more hollow, allowing for more cream, and more goodness all around.  They were also easier to eat.  Alas, I will note – on the third day of eating these eclairs (still so fresh!), I ate these by tearing the pastry, and dipping it, first, directly into the vanilla pastry cream, and then straight into the chocolate.  Yes.  That is just fine with me.  That could be your new game food!  Really, how helpful am I with all of these ideas.

Choux Pastry

  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  3. 2 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  6. 4 large eggs

Pastry Cream

  1. 1 cup whole milk
  2. 1 vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 3 tablespoons cake flour
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 1 large egg yolk
  8. 1/2 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Glaze

  1. 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  2. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.   Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes, until the dough comes together and a film forms on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the dough to a large bowl and beat at medium speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  2. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1-inch round tip. Pipe twelve 5-inch-long logs onto a baking sheet.  You can also do this with a ziplock bag, and just cut off the corner.  Or, you can scoop out tablespoon-fulls of the dough to make cream puffs.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Turn the oven down to 325° and bake the shells for 30 minutes longer, or until golden brown. Transfer the baking sheets to a rack and let cool completely.
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, vanilla bean and seeds just to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the sugar with the cake flour and salt. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk. Slowly add the hot milk, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly. Continue to boil the pastry cream, whisking constantly, until thick, about 30 seconds longer. Immediately strain the pastry cream through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until cool.
  4. In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Whisk the pastry cream, then fold in the whipped cream into the chilled pastry cream until combined.
  5. Chop the chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl.  In a medium pot, heat cream for the chocolate glaze until scalded – do not let it come to a boil.  Pour over  the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute.  Stir to combine, until it’s thick and silky.
  6. With a serrated knife, split the éclair shells lengthwise. Spoon a generous amount of the pastry cream into the bottom half of each shell. Dip the top half of each shell into the chocolate glaze, close the éclairs and serve.  If making cream puffs, poke a hole into the side of the cream puff, and pipe in pastry cream.  Dip the cream puff in chocolate.

Fosters Granola

January 5, 2015

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This week, my friends, I wanted to make eclairs.  Delicate pastries filled with a luscious vanilla cream and doused in rich chocolate sauce.  Mm, I wanted to make nothing more.

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And then I saw them: the commercials prompting me to lose the holiday weight I had gained.  The ones that told me that I actually may benefit from buying a treadmill that I would totally be able to make room for it in my apartment.  And the ones that told me that I should most definitely feel guilty about the delicious sweets I happily consumed throughout the duration of the last two weeks in December.

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Alas, here I am, practicing the art of restraint.  As it turns out, though, this is a perfect recipe for the new year!  There are a couple Fosters Market around my college town.  Without fail, whenever there we did anything important (“important” in that 19 year-old college sense), me and my roommate would get Fosters granola to pump ourselves up.  We would get it for a usual breakfast too, but we would get the full size before an interview, or a race or a school show.  So, in a way, this granola represents new adventures and beginnings!  Making connections!

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So, enjoy this.  This nostalgic breakfast treat is so crunchy and satisfying and perfect with some vanilla yogurt and berries.  The only thing that may be able to top this is…maybe…eclairs.

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Foster’s Granola (recipe from here)

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¼ cup canola
¾ cup maple syrup
¼ cup honey

Preheat the oven to 275°F.

Spread the oats, coconut, and almonds on a large baking sheet with sides. Sprinkle with salt and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are lightly toasted but not yet golden. Transfer the ingredients to a large bowl.

Increase the oven temperature to 350°F.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.

Stir the maple syrup, oil, and honey together in a small bowl, pour over the oats, nuts, and coconut, and toss to coat evenly.  Spread the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the granola is just crispy and golden brown, stirring several times, about every 10 minutes, while baking.  Let the granola cool completely on the baking sheet, breaking up any large clumps while it is still warm.


Sticky Toffee Pudding

December 18, 2014

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This, my friends, is a winner.  I don’t know how many times I’ve made this dessert, but it never fails to be a show-stopper.  I don’t know whether it’s the cake being served straight out of the oven, the warmth of the spices, or, hello, the over-the-top toffee sauce.  It never fails to amaze people.

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Which is what is so interesting about these ingredients.  I love dates.  They are little gems of wonder to me.  But I never knew how polarizing they were until I made this cake.  When people would ask me what was in the “pudding” part, I would excitedly tell them about the warm date cake.  I got…well…reactions.

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It is quite astonishing how many ways people can contort their faces and say “dates?!” in a semi-disgusted manner.  I don’t know what it is about this fruit.  Maybe it’s the texture?  Maybe it’s the sweetness?  Maybe it’s people pretending to not like them because no one else does.  I haven’t figured it out yet.

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But put that aside, and you’re left with warm, moist cake with pockets of sweet dates and toffee, all served with a smoky, buttery sauce on top.  Everyone went for seconds, even after finding out ingredient information.  This is a star.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding (recipe slightly adapted from David Lebovitz)

For the toffee sauce

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup demerara or muscovado sugar (dark brown sugar will also work)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup or molasses (my preference is golden syrup, which most grocery stores carry, but I’ve successfully used honey too)
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt

For the pudding

  • 6 ounces (180g) pitted dates, snipped or chopped
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups (175g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and butter an 8 1/2-inch soufflé dish (or similar-sized baking dish.)

2. Make the toffee sauce by bringing the cream, demerara or turbinado sugar, golden syrup (or molasses/h0ney) and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often to melt the sugar.

3. Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly for about 35 minutes, until the mixture is thick and coats the spoon. Put it aside.

4. To make the pudding, in a medium saucepan, heat the dates and water. Once the water begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda.

5. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

6. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then the vanilla.

7. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the date mixture, then add the remaining flour mixture until just mixed. Don’t overbeat the batter.

8. Scrape the batter into the soufflé dish and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.

9. Remove the pudding from the oven, and let cool and cover until closer to serving time.  Poke the cake about fifteen times with a chopstick. Distribute half of the sauce over the top, as shown in the photo, cover with foil, then re-warm in a 300F (150C) oven, for 30 minutes.

Serving: Spoon portions of the cake into serving bowls and douse with additional warm toffee sauce.

 


Fried Cauliflower with White Wine Vinaigrette

December 10, 2014

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There isn’t a time in my life that I did not like cauliflower.  It is actually a pretty sneaky vegetable.  Steam and mash it, and you are rivaling potatoes.  Cut it in half and sear it, and you have yourself an extremely satisfying vegetarian entree.  Roast it with just a bit of salt and pepper and you are fighting with broccoli.  But fry it?  Dress it with a vinaigrette?!  Add some dried fruit and nuts??  You have yourself a show stopper.

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Yep, I said it.  Cauliflower is a show stopper.  You know it’s true.  It’s become such a trendy vegetable!  There is always some kind of cauliflower dish as an appetizer of side dish, and people are thinking of such innovative ways of serving it.  The reason why cauliflower can be so delicious is because it is such a blank slate.  It tastes like whatever flavor you give it, and this, my friends, has very great flavor.

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Think: freshly fried cauliflower, with a sweet tangy sauce poured over so it just seeps into the cauliflower to make these delicious, amazing bites.  It’s special, this cauliflower dish.  You’ll never look at this vegetable the same way again.

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Fried Cauliflower with White Wine Vinaigrette

White Wine Vinaigrette

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper

Cauliflower

Canola oil, poured to about a half an inch high in a large, straight-sided skillet
1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
1 cup all purpose flour
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup dried currants
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1. Whisk together the vinegar, honey, and mustard. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk to emulsify. Add salt and pepper and set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add cauliflower and boil for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and put it on a paper-towel lined plate to dry off.

3. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large resealable bag. Throw in the cauliflower florets, seal, and shake until thoroughly coated.

4. Heat the oil in you large skillet to medium-high.  Test oil by dropping a tiny piece of cauliflower in the oil.  If it immediately sizzles and floats to the top, the oil is ready.  Working in small batches, carefully drop florets into the oil and fry until they are a deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel-lined serving bowl.

5. Transfer the cauliflower to a bowl and pour vinaigrette on top.  Toss cauliflower with vinaigrette, currants, and pine nuts.

 


Apple Crostada

December 5, 2014

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Is it taboo to post a pie recipe immediately after Thanksgiving?  Is pie even consumed after Thanksgiving, or are we squarely in the cookies and cocktails part of the holiday season?  And then on top of that, it’s an apple recipe, which is obviously an October treat.  We’re out of the cinnamon part of the season, and on to the gingers and caramels.  Right?  Am I reading too much into this?  I’m so off-season with this recipe!

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But I must share.  Because 4 ingredients (+ some water) made the best pie dough I’ve ever had.  So good, in fact, that I made this crostada twice last week.  Once pre-Thanksgiving, and one the day after Thanksgiving, because, quite frankly, I missed it.  It was gone so quickly the first time, that I felt we needed another one, immediately after consuming a Thanksgiving meal.

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That flaky, buttery pie dough combined with the obviously sweet, spicy flavor of softened apples.  I mean, I have nothing else to say but to put aside holiday rules and make this immediately.  If not for a holiday party, then for breakfast tomorrow.  You won’t be able to get enough of it either.

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Apple Crostada (adapted from Epicurious)

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice cold water

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 apples, peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/4″-thick slices
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp. cream
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar

For crust:
Place flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to blend.  Add butter; pulse just until coarse meal forms.  Add 1/4 cup ice water; pulse until dough forms clumps, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap dough in plastic and chill 1 hour, or up to 1 day.  If doing it by hand, work the butter into the dry ingredients by hand, or with two forks until the butter is pea-sized, and then gently stir in water with a wooden spoon.

For filling:
While dough rests, place a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Roll out dough disk on parchment paper to 15″ round (some of dough will extend over edges of paper).

Whisk sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Add apples and lemon juice to bowl with sugar mixture; toss to coat apples evenly.  Let the filling sit for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Transfer apples to crust, mounding in center and leaving a 3″ plain border, leaving the juices in the bowl.  Fold crust edges up over outer edges of filling, crimping dough and folding and pleating as needed to fit. Slide crostata and parchment onto a large rimless baking sheet. Crack egg into a small bowl. Using a fork, beat egg with cream, just to blend. Brush crust edges with beaten egg, then sprinkle crust and on top of the apples with the raw sugar.

Place crostata in oven and bake until juices in center are thick and bubbling, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool for 5 minutes. Run a long, thin knife or offset spatula around edges of crostata to loosen from paper and to prevent it from sticking to the paper.

Transfer baking sheet with crostata to a wire rack. Slice and serve.


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