Friday, April 30, 2010

Chocolate Macadamia Coconut Cookies

I guess I got distracted yesterday since I haven't had a chance to post the recipe for the cookie I promised from my last post.  This recipe was chosen just because I had the urge to make cookies right away, and chocolate is always an easy pick.

Chocolate Macadamia Coconut Cookies

Makes about 5 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

1 3/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut

3/4 cups bittersweet or dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in vanilla.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Mix into butter mixture on low speed until well combined. Stir in macadamia, coconut, and chocolate chips.

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 2 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.

Source:  adapted from Martha

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hot Vanilla

For almost two weeks, I've done nothing to update this blog.  First of all, I've been pretty sick with bad cold, which could further be aggravated by hay fever too.  It's hard to know which one was first happened, but I felt ugh all week long.  Even today I still had some cough that doesn't want to go away.  Secondly, last weekend I went up north to Seattle with my family to attend my husband's surprise party.  This friend turned big five-oh this year, we weren't so sure whether we could make it this week, but thankfully we did find time to go.  It was a fun weekend for us, most of the activities involved eating, talking, and more eating :)  I had some shopping done on the last day too, so I was pretty happy.

The cookies that accompanied the hot vanilla were quite good too that I'm going to post it possibly tomorrow.

Though I felt pretty awful, I managed to make something that's I could write about here.  Even if they're only hot beverage and a batch of cookies.  I had a homework that needed to be done for my online photography club that involved hot drinks, so the timing was not too bad.  I needed one or two hot drinks anyway.  My first thought was to look for coffee-type drink, but I soon looked for something simpler.  I chose to do Hot Vanilla, which was essentially hot milk and sugar, topped with whipped cream mixed with chocolate syrup and cinnamon powder.  Weather in Oregon was a chaos, cold in one week, and mild in another, it's hard to know what would come each day.  When I made this drink, the weather wasn't too terrible, in fact the sun came out for a few days and on the weekend too.  Drinking hot milk with whipped cream mixture was a luxurious sip that didn't involve over inflated budget, I'm sure I could afford this every week if I wanted to.

Hot Vanilla

Serves 6

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

Dash of cinnamon

1 cup milk (per hot vanilla)

2 teaspoon sugar (per hot vanilla)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (per hot vanilla)

Start with the topping:  In a medium bowl, whip 1/2 cup of whipping cream until  it is frothy.  Add 1 tablespoon of chocolate syrup and a dash of cinnamon; then continue to whip the mixture until everything is well blended and peaks form.  Makes enough to top about 6 drinks.

For each hot vanilla, microwave 1 cup of milk and 2 teaspoon of sugar in a mug for 90 seconds.  Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Top with a dollop of chocolate cream, a drizzle of chocolate syrup, and a dash of cinnamon.

Source:  Family Fun magazine

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Chocolate Bread Parfait

Would you throw away leftover bread if you've known that you could make this heady yet luscious chocolate bread parfait?  I wouldn't so you shouldn't either.  I love the idea of using leftover bread which is abundant in Umbrian cuisine; it's kinda like genoise cake but in a slightly chewy way met chocolate-coffee-rum sauce.  This recipe was sent to me a long time ago but I haven't had time to make it sooner.  Spring is already here but this week, it's quite rainy and cold in Oregon so I thought making this parfait sounded perfect for the weather.

This is an honest and humble dessert, using simple and basic components but the result will sway you away.  The sauce is on the spot, not too sweet, very chocolatey, and the rum shines on.  I had to substitute almonds for pistachios because they're what I had at home.  Even with that, they didn't take away the flavor intended in the dessert.  Half of the recipe was just enough for us, more than that meant I need a strong determination not to eat all of them!

Chocolate Bread Parfait (Pane di Cioccolato al Cucchiaio)

Serves 6

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

8 ounces country-style white bread, crusts removed

1/2 cup freshly brewed espresso

2 tablespoons dark rum

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1 /2 cups chilled heavy cream

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted---I used pistachios

Recommended equipment: A large rimmed tray or baking sheet, such as half-sheet pan (12 by 18 inches);  a spouted measuring cup, 1 pint or larger; 6 parfait glasses or wineglasses, preferably balloon-shaped

Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl set in a pan of hot (not boiling) water.  When the chocolate begins to melt, stir until completely smooth.  Keep it warm, over the water, off the heat.

Slice the bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and lay them flat in one layer, close together, on the tray or baking sheet.

Pour the warm espresso into a spouted measuring cup, stir in the rum and sugar until sugar dissolves, then stir in half the melted chocolate.  Pour the sauce all over the bread slices, then flip them over and turn them on the tray, to make sure all the surfaces are coated.  Let the bread absorb the sauce for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, whip the cream until soft peaks form, by hand or with an electric mixer.

To assemble the parfaits:  Break the bread into 1-inch pieces.  Use half the pieces to make the bottom parfait layer in the six serving glasses, dropping an equal amount of chocolatey bread into each.  Scrape up some of the unabsorbed chocolate sauce that remains on the baking sheet, and drizzle a bit over the bread layers.   Next, drop a layer of whipped cream in the glasses, using up half the cream.  Top the cream layer with toasted almonds, using half the nuts.

Repeat the layering sequence:  drop more soaked bread into each glass, drizzle over it the chocolate sauce from the tray and the remaining melted chocolate.  Dollop another layer of whipped cream in the glasses, using it all up, and sprinkle the remaining almonds on top of each parfait.  This dessert is best when served immediately while melted chocolate is still warm and runny.

Source:  reprinted with permission from Lidia Mattichio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali, authors of Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy:  A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mocha Rollcake with Strawberries-Lemon Whipped Cream Filling

The title is long but the cake is short and sweet.  I've a passion for Japanese baking books, they're my inspirations even though I can't even read or speak the language.  I'm craving those exquisite pictures on those books and the recipes are also intriguing.  The pictures depicted a variety of combination in desserts that looks pretty in the books though I'm not so sure if I can have all the ingredients here in the US.  But, these don't deter me from deciphering some of the recipes.  Rollcakes are something that I want to learn and be better at making it.  I think rollcakes are pretty, what with the different flavor fillings I can make and also different types of cakes to be used for rollcake.  Sponge cake, choux paste, meringue, genoise, and many other types of cake can be made into rollcakes.  The main thing is to master the rolling part so the cake won't crack, but hey, if it happens grab a bowl and make some frosting!  Slather that on top of the cake, et voilĂ , the cake is ready.

At this time I made a rollcake with sponge cake base.  The method is practically the same as this post and the filling is the same this post.  I've based my rollcake from two books which I, unfortunately, don't know the name of the books or one of the authors--I only know that on one book the author is Kumiko Yanase.  The strawberries aren't local, I embarrassedly admitted but since they look pretty in rollcake I have to include them.  The one thing that maybe hard to find here, if not cheap to buy, is the mocha paste.  As for myself, I have a bottle of mocha paste that I bought in Indonesia.  Here, I found a company that makes mocha paste which is sold at and it's a product of Indonesia as well.

I've never thought that lemon-strawberry-mocha flavors could be combined in a harmoniously in this rollcake but I like it and I love to do more rollcakes in the future.  Looking at the pictures, I feel like it's Christmas once again with the color combination! ;)

Mocha Rollcake with Strawberries-Lemon Whipped Cream Filling

Makes 1 large rollcake

For the rollcake:

6 large egg yolks, at room temperature

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

1oo gr confectioners' sugar, sifted and divided in half

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 tablespoon mocha paste

50 gr all-purpose flour, sifted

50 gr unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

Lemon curd-whipped cream filling, you'll only need about 1/2 of the recipe

10 strawberries, each cut into quarters

For the whipped cream frosting:

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder

4 teaspoons cold water

1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Line a 10-x 15-inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.

To make the rollcake: In a bowl of stand in mixer with a wire whisk, cream egg yolks and half the sugar until pale and thick.  Add mocha paste and mix in until well blended.  With a clean bowl, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy, add last half of sugar until soft peak, fold a little bit of egg white into the egg yolk and then pour all the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.  Sift the flour and fold over.  Add melted butter and fold quickly, just until the butter is blended.  Pour batter into the pan.

Bake on center rack for 12 minutes, or until it's light brown and shrink a bit from sides of pan.  Immediately take out from the oven and invert to a parchment paper that's been lightly sprayed with cooking spray and slightly bigger than the cake, on top of a flat surface.  Roll the cake and unroll it , this is to get the cake ready.  Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes.

Spread the lemon curd-whipped cream filling on the cake, covering evenly.  Arrange cut strawberries on one of the short side of the cake and scatter some strawberries all around the cake.  Roll the cake tightly and try to peel off the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake as well.  Cover the whole cake with another parchment paper and leave it to cool completely.

To make whipped cream frosting: Combine gelatin and cold water in small ramekin.  Let stand until thick.  Fill a small saucepan with a bit of water and place over low heat.  Stir gelatin until becomes liquidy and remove from saucepan.  Let stand and cool slightly.  Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until slightly thickened.  While beating slowly, gradually add gelatin to whipped cream mixture.  Whip at high speed until stiff.  There'll be leftovers of whipped cream from frosting the cake.

Frost the cooled roll cake with whipped cream and if you like, pipe dots on top of cake with whipped cream.  Scatter cut strawberries on top of whipped cream, press down slightly.  Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired just before cutting.  The cake needs to be refrigerated and will keep for about 3 days.