Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I don't think I can post any recipe at this moment but I want to share this plate of cookies with you.  All of those were made these past weeks, my family would be so happy to devour them tomorrow.  Hopefully in the coming days I'll be able to post the recipes.

As of now, I just want to say to you, my readers,  may the spirit of Christmas bring joy to your heart and happiness to your home!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Toffee Chew Bars

This is literally the second batch of cookies I made.  It sounded good on paper, it was very delicious in real life.  Chewy, true to its name, with lots of coconut and almonds which we all love.  Chocolate drizzle is optional but recommended because who doesn't like chocolate on cookies?

This was a quick cookie recipe to make as well.  The only fussy thing to do was toasting the coconut and almonds.  By toasting those two items, the flavor of the cookie is actually enhanced and slightly smoky.

Be prepared to have sticky fingers while eating this! :)

Toffee Chew Bars

Makes 24 bars

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut, toasted
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

For the crust:  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325F.  Line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with foil, leaving overhang on all sides.  Grease the foil.  With an electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat the butter, sugar, and salt until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the flour and mix until combined.  Press the mixture firmly into the prepared baking pan.  Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

For the filling:  Whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together in a medium bowl.  Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk until until combined.  Stir in the coconut and almonds and spread the mixture evenly over the crust.  Bake until lightly browned around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely, about 2 hours.  Using the foil overhang, lift the bars from the pan and cut into 24 bars.  (The bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.)

Source:  America's Best Lost Recipes

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cocoa Snickerdoodles

I've started baking again about a week ago, a few days after Thanksgiving break ended.  In the beginning, I had a baking frenzy that lasted two days, which these cookies were the first to be made, then it tapered off until I picked it up again on the weekend.  I guess when the house went back to normal--meaning there's no more guest--I was liberated.  I could do whatever I want!  I found that there's time to think about what I want to bake, things to plan with my free time.  As a start, cookies are in high priority item in my to-do list.

This cocoa snickerdoodles are too pretty to be eaten, aren't they?  Its flavor is the same as that of Mexican chocolate with its main ingredient being cinnamon as well as cocoa powder.  We love eating it because they are crunchy on the edges and chewy in the middle.  I was out of the white sanding sugar, as the recipe called for it, but I had plenty of the red.  I don't think the color matters, how the cookies taste is more important.

If I could keep my baking energy high, I could have a dozen cookie variety by Christmas!

Cocoa Snickerdoodles

Yields about 18 cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup red sanding sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 375F.

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Increase the speed to medium high and beat until fluffy, about 2 more minutes.  Beat in the egg and vanilla; reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just combined.

Combine the sanding sugar and cinnamon in a small shallow bowl.  Form heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into balls with damp hands; toss in the cinnamon sugar to coat.  Arrange about 3 inches apart on 2 baking sheets.

Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are set around the edge, 9 to 11 minutes.  Let cool 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Source:  Food Network Magazine, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Tart

I'm back!!!  Yes, it's been a few weeks since I wrote my last post.  Holiday and mother-in-law visit got in the way of me time, but I had a good time during my week off break.  It was also the time of indulging myself with delectable dishes that my mom made.  But there was one occasion that I had to make a special treat, that was my dad's birthday in the middle of November.  When I asked him what he would like for his birthday cake, he wanted to have something chocolate, preferably made with bittersweet chocolate.

I thought long and hard and I found the answer in this chocolate truffle tart.  It was rich in chocolate flavor, smooth, and a little fruity; a dessert that's manly and elegant.  The trick that I learned was that the chocolate didn't need to be super bitter to achieve the velvety texture.  Chocolate can get grittier as it gets bitter, so choosing chocolate liquor content between 60-70% should be enough.  I use Lindt chocolate bars and was very pleased with the result.  We enjoyed having tiny slices accompanied with a big dollop of frozen espresso-flavored custard.

Speaking of frozen custard, I tried a new brand called Snoqualmie.  Costco had the pumpkin custard sample in their store and it was excellent, and that made me decide to try the coffee custard--yay for egg yolk in ice cream!  This makes me want to try their Peppermint Stick Gelato once I see it in stores.  It'll be my holiday spoil that I may (not) share! :)

And yes, the photo above was what's left of the frozen espresso custard after too long of a photo shoot.  It was still amazing to eat!

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Tart

Serves 10

For crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground chocolate wafers, such as Nabisco Famous (28 wafers)
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling:
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cocoa), coarsely chopped
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces fresh raspberries, plus extra to serve

Make the crust:  Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly butter side of pan.  Stir together ground wafers and butter in a bowl until combined.  Pat mixture evenly over bottom of pan and 1 1/2 inches up side.  Bake until crust is slightly puffed, about 10 minutes.  Cool completely on a rack, about 15 minutes.  (Leave oven on.)

Make the filling:  Melt chocolate and butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.  Whisk together eggs, cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a bowl.  Whisk in chocolate mixture and until well combined.

Scatter raspberries on crust.  Pour filling into cooled crust and rap pan once on counter to eliminate any air bubbles.  Bake until filling 1 inch from edges is set and slightly puffed but center still trembles slightly when pan is gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool tart completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours.  (Center will continue to set as it cools.)  Refrigerate tart, uncovered, until center is firm, about 4 hours.  Remove side of pan and sprinkle with cocoa before serving.  Serve with extra raspberries, cream, and/or ice cream.

Source:  adapted heavily from Gourmet Today 2009