The Bread is in the Baking

Rikki Wynn - Baker and actor, currently living in Portland, OR.

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Question or comments about the cooking?

Hello, lovely wonderful followers.

Thank you so much for sticking with me through the spell of no posts. I wish I was posting to say that this was going to change… but it probably won’t. I’ll try to start posting recipes at least once a month soon, but my new job makes it a little hard because a lot of the recipes I would post here are now being used in the restaurant.

After getting back from Ireland (check the post before this one for the travel blog), I immediately got a job working at Bridgeport Brewery! I am now one of two bakers for the brewpub. I help make most of the bread served in the restaurant and get to make (almost) whatever I want for the dessert menu. It’s honestly the best job I’ve ever had. I feel like I’m learning a lot here and I get to work with some amazing people.

These pictures are of just a few things I’ve made since I started a little over two months ago:

1. Carrot, walnut and coconut cake with cream cheese icing

2. Fresh strawberry tart with vanilla pastry cream and rhubarb glaze

3. Coconut macaroons

4. Vanilla almond cake with blackberry jam center and brown sugar buttermilk swiss buttercream

5. Chocolate cake with chocolate chips and chocolate swiss buttercream

6. Strawberry Rhubarb ramekin pies

7. Strawberry rhubarb and blueberry basil mini flag pies (this recipe is actually on my blog here from last summer)

8. Como loafs

July 7, 2014 @ 10:34 PM 3 notes

This was my birthday cake this year.
Yes. I made my own birthday cake. I know you’re supposed to let other people take care of this kind of stuff, but it was such an interesting cake! I couldn’t let someone else make it before I got a chance!
I got this very interesting recipe from my mom. She emailed it to me saying:


This recipe sounded interesting because the person who sent in the recipe said the combo of the black pepper, chocolate and coffee gives great depth to the flavor. The person at the NY Times said she couldn’t stop eating it.


How could I pass up making this cake?
For my birthday, I met up with some friends at a cider bar near my house and I brought the cake to share. At the end of the night I had a couple slices of cake left over and I offered it to the bartenders. They took a small slice, and one of my friends said he saw them picking at the crumbs left on the napkin.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that this is a good cake recipe.
It’s a rich and dense cake and (I think) tastes best after it comes to room temperature. However, you’ll be tempted to eat it warm. The whiskey in the cake comes through in waves, sometimes you’ll taste it in a bite, other times you won’t.
Whipped cream would make a lovely addition to the cake, and powdered sugar off sets the pitch black color of the cake nicely.
Chocolate Whiskey Cake
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, more for pan
85 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups brewed strong coffee (I used stumptown coffee)
1/2 cup whiskey
200 grams granulated sugar
156 grams light brown sugar
240 grams all-purpose flour
8 grams baking soda
3 grams fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar, for serving
Heat oven to 325°F.

Butter a 10-inch springform pan and dust with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm coffee, whiskey, 12 tablespoons butter and the remaining 3/4 cup cocoa powder, whisking occasionally, until butter is melted. Whisk in the brown and white sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and cloves.

In another bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Slowly whisk egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into prepared pan. Tap the spring form pan lightly on the table to release any air bubbles. Transfer the cake to oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, about 50 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack, then remove sides of pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

To get the powdered sugar lines, place pieces of paper across the cake in the pattern you want and dust over the paper pattern. Carefully remove the paper from the cake, making sure to not pour any of the excess powder on the paper onto the cake or to smudge the powdered sugar on the cake.

Total Time: About an hour and half.

The lovely picture was taken by my very talented roommate, Rachel King. View Larger

This was my birthday cake this year.

Yes. I made my own birthday cake. I know you’re supposed to let other people take care of this kind of stuff, but it was such an interesting cake! I couldn’t let someone else make it before I got a chance!

I got this very interesting recipe from my mom. She emailed it to me saying:

This recipe sounded interesting because the person who sent in the recipe said the combo of the black pepper, chocolate and coffee gives great depth to the flavor. The person at the NY Times said she couldn’t stop eating it.

How could I pass up making this cake?

For my birthday, I met up with some friends at a cider bar near my house and I brought the cake to share. At the end of the night I had a couple slices of cake left over and I offered it to the bartenders. They took a small slice, and one of my friends said he saw them picking at the crumbs left on the napkin.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that this is a good cake recipe.

It’s a rich and dense cake and (I think) tastes best after it comes to room temperature. However, you’ll be tempted to eat it warm. The whiskey in the cake comes through in waves, sometimes you’ll taste it in a bite, other times you won’t.

Whipped cream would make a lovely addition to the cake, and powdered sugar off sets the pitch black color of the cake nicely.

Chocolate Whiskey Cake

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, more for pan

85 grams unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups brewed strong coffee (I used stumptown coffee)

1/2 cup whiskey

200 grams granulated sugar

156 grams light brown sugar

240 grams all-purpose flour

8 grams baking soda

3 grams fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Powdered sugar, for serving

Heat oven to 325°F.
Butter a 10-inch springform pan and dust with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm coffee, whiskey, 12 tablespoons butter and the remaining 3/4 cup cocoa powder, whisking occasionally, until butter is melted. Whisk in the brown and white sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and cloves.
In another bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Slowly whisk egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into prepared pan. Tap the spring form pan lightly on the table to release any air bubbles. Transfer the cake to oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, about 50 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack, then remove sides of pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
To get the powdered sugar lines, place pieces of paper across the cake in the pattern you want and dust over the paper pattern. Carefully remove the paper from the cake, making sure to not pour any of the excess powder on the paper onto the cake or to smudge the powdered sugar on the cake.
Total Time: About an hour and half.
The lovely picture was taken by my very talented roommate, Rachel King.
December 23, 2012 @ 3:48 AM 12 notes

Shortbread cookies are so wonderful because they are so simple.
I like shortbread cookies as they are, but every once in a while I like to dress them up. They do dress up so nicely.
I rarely make shortbread cookies because the process of rolling and stamping can be so boring. Especially the stamping. So deciding to make these cookies is a bit odd. Especially since these cookies are so small, so you’re stamping out cookies for a while. I’m not sure if you can tell from the picture, but the cookies are the size of your thumb.
I changed a couple things in this recipe. I added vanilla bean seeds to the cookies, I used a smaller cookie cutter and I baked the cookies for only 10 minutes (due to how small they were).
If you don’t have time to wait for the dough to cool in the fridge, place it in the freezer for 30 minutes instead. You can also do the same to harden up the chocolate on the cookies after you dip them.
I used some cherry blueberry jam that I got at a food exchange in between the cookies. I think that raspberry jam would be nice too.
Chocolate Dipped Jam Sandwich Cookies
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups (280 g) all purpose flour
12 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
1/4 cup (28 gr) powdered sugar
1 egg
Seeds scrapped from 4 vanilla beans
jam or marmalade Whisk together the baking powder, salt, vanilla bean seeds and flour in a bowl. Set aside.  In a mixer bowl, cream 12 Tbsp of butter for 2 – 3 minutes until light and fluffy and then slowly add the sugar and powdered sugar and continue to beat for a few more minutes. Add the egg one and beat in well. Slowly add in the flour mixture in three stages, mixing just until combined. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and form into disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350˚ F.
Prepare baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Roll out the cold dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 1 inch cookie cutter (or whatever size you like), cut out small rounds. Re-roll the leftover dough and continue to cut out cookies. Bake each sheet for 10 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. To assemble, spread a small amount of jam on a cookie and sandwich with another one.
Chocolate Ganache
89 g (3 oz) dark chocolate
89 g (3 oz) heavy cream
1 Tbsp butter (cut in 4 pieces)
Place chocolate chips in a bowl.
Pour the cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, and pour on top of the chocolate. Let sit for a minute, and then whisk in the butter in until smooth.
Dip the cookies in the chocolate ganache, shaking gently to remove the excess, and let dry on a sheet of parchment paper for at least 2 hours until the ganache has firmed up and is no longer liquid.
Total Time: About 3 hours (if you place the dough in the fridge and the dipped cookies in the fridge to harden)
Sidenote, that has nothing to do with these cookies: I’m hoping to get on a better schedule of baking things for this blog, but I just started a new job at a bakery and I’m still adjusting to the hours (yeah night shift!) and I’m moving soon. Thank you to everyone who follows this blog, you’re awesome and please like the facebook page when you have a chance. View Larger


Shortbread cookies are so wonderful because they are so simple.

I like shortbread cookies as they are, but every once in a while I like to dress them up. They do dress up so nicely.

I rarely make shortbread cookies because the process of rolling and stamping can be so boring. Especially the stamping. So deciding to make these cookies is a bit odd. Especially since these cookies are so small, so you’re stamping out cookies for a while. I’m not sure if you can tell from the picture, but the cookies are the size of your thumb.

I changed a couple things in this recipe. I added vanilla bean seeds to the cookies, I used a smaller cookie cutter and I baked the cookies for only 10 minutes (due to how small they were).

If you don’t have time to wait for the dough to cool in the fridge, place it in the freezer for 30 minutes instead. You can also do the same to harden up the chocolate on the cookies after you dip them.

I used some cherry blueberry jam that I got at a food exchange in between the cookies. I think that raspberry jam would be nice too.

Chocolate Dipped Jam Sandwich Cookies

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups (280 g) all purpose flour

12 Tbsp butter, softened

1/4 cup (50 g) sugar

1/4 cup (28 gr) powdered sugar

1 egg

Seeds scrapped from 4 vanilla beans

jam or marmalade

Whisk together the baking powder, salt, vanilla bean seeds and flour in a bowl. Set aside.  In a mixer bowl, cream 12 Tbsp of butter for 2 – 3 minutes until light and fluffy and then slowly add the sugar and powdered sugar and continue to beat for a few more minutes. Add the egg one and beat in well. Slowly add in the flour mixture in three stages, mixing just until combined. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and form into disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350˚ F.

Prepare baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Roll out the cold dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 1 inch cookie cutter (or whatever size you like), cut out small rounds. Re-roll the leftover dough and continue to cut out cookies. Bake each sheet for 10 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. To assemble, spread a small amount of jam on a cookie and sandwich with another one.

Chocolate Ganache

89 g (3 oz) dark chocolate

89 g (3 oz) heavy cream

1 Tbsp butter (cut in 4 pieces)

Place chocolate chips in a bowl.

Pour the cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, and pour on top of the chocolate. Let sit for a minute, and then whisk in the butter in until smooth.

Dip the cookies in the chocolate ganache, shaking gently to remove the excess, and let dry on a sheet of parchment paper for at least 2 hours until the ganache has firmed up and is no longer liquid.

Total Time: About 3 hours (if you place the dough in the fridge and the dipped cookies in the fridge to harden)

Sidenote, that has nothing to do with these cookies: I’m hoping to get on a better schedule of baking things for this blog, but I just started a new job at a bakery and I’m still adjusting to the hours (yeah night shift!) and I’m moving soon. Thank you to everyone who follows this blog, you’re awesome and please like the facebook page when you have a chance.

June 17, 2012 @ 5:41 AM 7 notes

I love coffee.
I drink about 2-3 cups of coffee a day. I’m a purist though, I don’t like adding all the syrups and flavors. Just a cup of coffee with some sugar and a little bit of milk for me. I did make an exception for these cupcakes though…
I had a bunch of eggs in my fridge I needed to use before they went bad. Usually, I go through eggs really fast. I bake something about every other day (usually a recipe I’m still trying to perfect). However, last week I was really busy with interviews (I have a new job!!) and getting my pretzel class together so I didn’t have time to bake as much.
And the eggs just sat there.
Yesterday was my first day I was able to sit back and just breathe, so some baking was in order.
I looked through recipes I had bookmarked on foodgawker and found this one. Although these cupcakes don’t have the nice dome shape, they are still light and fluffy and the hazelnuts and coffee bits give them a nice little crunch.
I changed a lot in this recipe. I used finely ground coffee instead of instant coffee, added more hazelnuts, an egg yolk (to offset the addition of more dry ingredients) and some vanilla extract.
Coffee Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache 
Cupcakes
100g soft butter
220g sugar
3 eggs and 1 egg yolk
190g flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
40g hazelnuts
2 tablespoons finely ground coffee
 2 teaspoons vanilla
 Preheat the oven to 340 degrees F.
Whip butter until fluffy and then add the eggs one at a time until they are incorporated. Grind hazelnuts in a food processor with 1 tablespoon of the flour (otherwise you will get hazelnut butter) until they are finely ground and in separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ground nuts and coffee in a bowl.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until the batter is smooth and free of lumps. Pour the mixture into cupcake pan filling only 3/4 of each cup at most.
Cook for about 25 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back to the touch. When they are ready, leave them to cool on a wire rack.
Chocolate Ganache
150g dark chocolate
125ml heavy cream
a few coffee beans to decorate (optional)
Prepare the chocolate ganache by melting the chocolate on low heat, stirring occasionally and mix in the cream. Let stand 10 minutes before spreading over the cooled cakes.
Place a coffee bean on the center of each cupcake as decoration.
Total Time: About an hour View Larger

I love coffee.

I drink about 2-3 cups of coffee a day. I’m a purist though, I don’t like adding all the syrups and flavors. Just a cup of coffee with some sugar and a little bit of milk for me. I did make an exception for these cupcakes though…

I had a bunch of eggs in my fridge I needed to use before they went bad. Usually, I go through eggs really fast. I bake something about every other day (usually a recipe I’m still trying to perfect). However, last week I was really busy with interviews (I have a new job!!) and getting my pretzel class together so I didn’t have time to bake as much.

And the eggs just sat there.

Yesterday was my first day I was able to sit back and just breathe, so some baking was in order.

I looked through recipes I had bookmarked on foodgawker and found this one. Although these cupcakes don’t have the nice dome shape, they are still light and fluffy and the hazelnuts and coffee bits give them a nice little crunch.

I changed a lot in this recipe. I used finely ground coffee instead of instant coffee, added more hazelnuts, an egg yolk (to offset the addition of more dry ingredients) and some vanilla extract.

Coffee Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

Cupcakes

100g soft butter

220g sugar

3 eggs and 1 egg yolk

190g flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

40g hazelnuts

2 tablespoons finely ground coffee

 2 teaspoons vanilla


Preheat the oven to 340 degrees F.

Whip butter until fluffy and then add the eggs one at a time until they are incorporated. Grind hazelnuts in a food processor with 1 tablespoon of the flour (otherwise you will get hazelnut butter) until they are finely ground and in separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ground nuts and coffee in a bowl.

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until the batter is smooth and free of lumps. Pour the mixture into cupcake pan filling only 3/4 of each cup at most.

Cook for about 25 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back to the touch. When they are ready, leave them to cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Ganache

150g dark chocolate

125ml heavy cream

a few coffee beans to decorate (optional)

Prepare the chocolate ganache by melting the chocolate on low heat, stirring occasionally and mix in the cream. Let stand 10 minutes before spreading over the cooled cakes.

Place a coffee bean on the center of each cupcake as decoration.

Total Time: About an hour

May 29, 2012 @ 3:16 PM 1 note

I made these cookies with my dad in mind.
He loves chocolate. Absolutely loves it. So when I saw this recipe, I thought of him. They melt in your mouth, while stilling allowing you to bite into them. I’ve made them a couple of times now and have had no complaints (and lots of praise). So if you love chocolate, you should probably make these.
I’ve changed a couple things from the original recipe. I doubled the amount of baking powder so they are fluffier, I prefer to use regular flour as supposed to gluten free flour because they have better flavor with regular flour. I used bitter sweet chocolate chips, which I think worked out great. Also, the last time I made them I forgot to add butter and they were just fine, but not as moist. So feel free to leave that out if you want a little less fat or need to be dairy free. Aaaand I changed the name…
Chocolate Cloud Cookies
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 eggs (at room temp)
2 tablespoons butter
A little more than 1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or microwave). While the chocolate is melting, whisk the eggs until thick and airy and slowly add the sugar to them. After the sugar has been incorporated, whisk in the vanilla. Temper the chocolate so that it doesn’t cook the eggs and slowly add the chocolate/butter mixture into the eggs. After the eggs and chocolate are completely mixed together, add the flour and baking powder and salt.
Using a spoon, scoop the dough the size of a silver dollar onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper with a generous space between each cookie. Bake for 12 minutes or until the cookies are crinkly on top.
Total Time: About 30 minutes View Larger

I made these cookies with my dad in mind.

He loves chocolate. Absolutely loves it. So when I saw this recipe, I thought of him. They melt in your mouth, while stilling allowing you to bite into them. I’ve made them a couple of times now and have had no complaints (and lots of praise). So if you love chocolate, you should probably make these.

I’ve changed a couple things from the original recipe. I doubled the amount of baking powder so they are fluffier, I prefer to use regular flour as supposed to gluten free flour because they have better flavor with regular flour. I used bitter sweet chocolate chips, which I think worked out great. Also, the last time I made them I forgot to add butter and they were just fine, but not as moist. So feel free to leave that out if you want a little less fat or need to be dairy free. Aaaand I changed the name…

Chocolate Cloud Cookies

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 eggs (at room temp)

2 tablespoons butter

A little more than 1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or microwave). While the chocolate is melting, whisk the eggs until thick and airy and slowly add the sugar to them. After the sugar has been incorporated, whisk in the vanilla. Temper the chocolate so that it doesn’t cook the eggs and slowly add the chocolate/butter mixture into the eggs. After the eggs and chocolate are completely mixed together, add the flour and baking powder and salt.

Using a spoon, scoop the dough the size of a silver dollar onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper with a generous space between each cookie. Bake for 12 minutes or until the cookies are crinkly on top.

Total Time: About 30 minutes

May 9, 2012 @ 2:10 AM 14 notes

I’ve made macarons once before.
But I don’t think the recipe was a good one.
The recipe didn’t call for almond flour and the meringue cookies came out dry and crispy. They tasted okay… but were not the cookies I was looking for. I wanted the light crunch then chewiness and then the smoothness of the ganache. The macarons I first made did not do this.
So I had to start researching. What makes a macaron? How do you make the perfect macaron? And the rules I found were:
1. Almond flour - I used almond meal instead of almond flour because almond flour is really really expensive. The downsides of this is that the cookies taste more almond-y then vanilla and you can see the almond flecks in the cookies. I could have avoided this if I’d pulsed the almond meal in a food processor to make it a bit finer (but I only have a tiny one).
2. Three day (or a bit more) old egg whites - By using older egg whites, the meringue holds it’s shape better, rather than falling into puddles on your cookie sheets.
3. A steady hand - Try to keep the size of your meringue cookies equal- about the size of a quarter is cute, or a silver dollar. Pipe by starting in the middle and letting the meringue pool out around the tip of your pastry bag (or in my case, plastic bag). The evenness of your cookies will also lessen the likelihood of cracked cookies after you bake them.
The recipe I used came out well. I had some trouble with the ganache, but that had more to do with me not having enough cream and then enough cream and not enough chocolate and then… but I fixed it!
Vanilla Bean Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
110 g almond flour
200 g powdered sugar
Seeds from one vanilla bean
50 g sugar
100 g egg whites (about 3 eggs) at room temp.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk the almond flour and powdered sugar together.
Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and scrape the seeds out using a paring knife.  Add the seeds to the granulated sugar and whisk to combine. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the granulated sugar and continue to whip until a shiny, glossy meringue forms (but not dry). Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and add the almond mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, briskly and quickly fold the almond meal into the egg whites.  After a few brisk strokes, slow down and then gently incorporate the rest into the batter.You want a batter that flows and “ribbons” for at least 5 seconds. Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.  Pipe the batter into 1 1/2-inch rounds, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Drop the baking sheets on the counter a few times (this creates a smooth foot on the cookies), then allow to sit at room temperature 45 minutes-1 hour, or until a hard shell forms. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Bake the macarons 8-10 minutes, depending on size.  Allow to cool completely on the pan before using a small spatula to remove them.  Match the cookies according to size and pipe filling on half, using the other half to form a sandwich.
Chocolate Ganache
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
Pinch of salt
Heat the cream and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  When the sugar is dissolved, add the butter, chocolate chips, and bittersweet chocolate and stir over medium heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the salt. Remove from heat and stir in the whiskey.  Whisking often, allow to cool to a pipe-able consistency.  Can also be refrigerated overnight to achieve the desired consistency.
Total Time: About 2 hours View Larger

I’ve made macarons once before.

But I don’t think the recipe was a good one.

The recipe didn’t call for almond flour and the meringue cookies came out dry and crispy. They tasted okay… but were not the cookies I was looking for. I wanted the light crunch then chewiness and then the smoothness of the ganache. The macarons I first made did not do this.

So I had to start researching. What makes a macaron? How do you make the perfect macaron? And the rules I found were:

1. Almond flour - I used almond meal instead of almond flour because almond flour is really really expensive. The downsides of this is that the cookies taste more almond-y then vanilla and you can see the almond flecks in the cookies. I could have avoided this if I’d pulsed the almond meal in a food processor to make it a bit finer (but I only have a tiny one).

2. Three day (or a bit more) old egg whites - By using older egg whites, the meringue holds it’s shape better, rather than falling into puddles on your cookie sheets.

3. A steady hand - Try to keep the size of your meringue cookies equal- about the size of a quarter is cute, or a silver dollar. Pipe by starting in the middle and letting the meringue pool out around the tip of your pastry bag (or in my case, plastic bag). The evenness of your cookies will also lessen the likelihood of cracked cookies after you bake them.

The recipe I used came out well. I had some trouble with the ganache, but that had more to do with me not having enough cream and then enough cream and not enough chocolate and then… but I fixed it!

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

110 g almond flour

200 g powdered sugar

Seeds from one vanilla bean

50 g sugar

100 g egg whites (about 3 eggs) at room temp.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the almond flour and powdered sugar together.

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and scrape the seeds out using a paring knife.  Add the seeds to the granulated sugar and whisk to combine.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the granulated sugar and continue to whip until a shiny, glossy meringue forms (but not dry).

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and add the almond mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, briskly and quickly fold the almond meal into the egg whites.  After a few brisk strokes, slow down and then gently incorporate the rest into the batter.You want a batter that flows and “ribbons” for at least 5 seconds.

Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.  Pipe the batter into 1 1/2-inch rounds, spacing them about 1-inch apart.

Drop the baking sheets on the counter a few times (this creates a smooth foot on the cookies), then allow to sit at room temperature 45 minutes-1 hour, or until a hard shell forms.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Bake the macarons 8-10 minutes, depending on size.  Allow to cool completely on the pan before using a small spatula to remove them.  Match the cookies according to size and pipe filling on half, using the other half to form a sandwich.

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbs butter

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

6 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped

Pinch of salt

Heat the cream and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  When the sugar is dissolved, add the butter, chocolate chips, and bittersweet chocolate and stir over medium heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the salt.

Remove from heat and stir in the whiskey.  Whisking often, allow to cool to a pipe-able consistency.  Can also be refrigerated overnight to achieve the desired consistency.

Total Time: About 2 hours

March 10, 2012 @ 2:21 PM 3 notes

These are by far the best chocolate chip cookies. Ever.
They have a light crisp crust with a gooey center. When I found this recipe I just had to make them. What intrigued me the most was the fact that the recipe calls for three types of sugar. I had to look into this. Why would you need three types of sugar in chocolate chip cookies? And here’s the deal:
When creating sugar crystals, the first type of sugar you get is “raw” sugar, which is larger light brown crystals that people know best from the little brown packets you find at cafes. It holds a little more moisture than white sugar and has a bit of a molasses taste. The next stage is the most processed sugar, it is small, fine white crystals. It no longer has a color because all the impurities have been removed. This is also known as “white” sugar or “regular” sugar. When recipes call for sugar, this is what they’re referring to, unless stated otherwise. Brown sugar is white sugar that has been mixed with molasses and then dried.
I thought this was all so interesting that I had to make these cookies. The recipe comes from a really cute blog that you should check out. I used a little less butter than was called for, and I might even cut it back a bit more next time so my cookies will be a bit puffier.
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ever.
1 1/2 sticks butter (6 oz)
1/4 cup white sugar (2 oz )
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar (aka raw sugar) (2 oz )
1 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (12 oz )
2  eggs
2 tsp vanilla (1/4 oz)
3 1/2 cup All Purpose flour (1 lb. )
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 lb. Dark Chocolate Chips. Preferably really big ones that are 60-70% cocoa
1/2 teaspoon good quality salt, for sprinkling on top before baking
Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F.
Cream the butter and all the sugars until very light and fluffy, on medium high for about  5-7 minutes . Scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue  mixing while adding the eggs one at time. Make sure each egg is  incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the  bowl with a spatula. In another bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt and whisk to combine. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour.  Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix and then slowly add the chocolate chips.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and Scoop the cookie dough onto sheet in rounds that are a bit smaller than a tablespoon. Leave plenty of space in between each cookie.
Sprinkle a very  fine dusting of good quality sea salt over the cookies and place in the oven. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, or until lightly golden on the outside but still look gooey on the inside.
Total Time: About 30 minutes View Larger

These are by far the best chocolate chip cookies. Ever.

They have a light crisp crust with a gooey center. When I found this recipe I just had to make them. What intrigued me the most was the fact that the recipe calls for three types of sugar. I had to look into this. Why would you need three types of sugar in chocolate chip cookies? And here’s the deal:

When creating sugar crystals, the first type of sugar you get is “raw” sugar, which is larger light brown crystals that people know best from the little brown packets you find at cafes. It holds a little more moisture than white sugar and has a bit of a molasses taste. The next stage is the most processed sugar, it is small, fine white crystals. It no longer has a color because all the impurities have been removed. This is also known as “white” sugar or “regular” sugar. When recipes call for sugar, this is what they’re referring to, unless stated otherwise. Brown sugar is white sugar that has been mixed with molasses and then dried.

I thought this was all so interesting that I had to make these cookies. The recipe comes from a really cute blog that you should check out. I used a little less butter than was called for, and I might even cut it back a bit more next time so my cookies will be a bit puffier.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ever.

1 1/2 sticks butter (6 oz)

1/4 cup white sugar (2 oz )

1/4 cup Turbinado sugar (aka raw sugar) (2 oz )

1 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (12 oz )

2  eggs

2 tsp vanilla (1/4 oz)

3 1/2 cup All Purpose flour (1 lb. )

1 1/2 tsp Baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 lb. Dark Chocolate Chips. Preferably really big ones that are 60-70% cocoa

1/2 teaspoon good quality salt, for sprinkling on top before baking

Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F.

Cream the butter and all the sugars until very light and fluffy, on medium high for about 5-7 minutes . Scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. In another bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt and whisk to combine. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour. Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix and then slowly add the chocolate chips.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and Scoop the cookie dough onto sheet in rounds that are a bit smaller than a tablespoon. Leave plenty of space in between each cookie.

Sprinkle a very fine dusting of good quality sea salt over the cookies and place in the oven. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, or until lightly golden on the outside but still look gooey on the inside.

Total Time: About 30 minutes

February 13, 2012 @ 3:00 AM 10 notes

Chocolate is a messy business. You know what’s a really messy business? Almost 3 pounds of chocolate.
I started this chocolate adventure on Saturday night with an amazing mistake of frugality. I don’t know if you are aware, but heavy cream costs more than whole milk. So, looking at all the different milk I could choose from in the dairy isle, I thought “What’s a little less fat in some chocolate going to do?
The chocolate truffles won’t firm up, that’s what. I made the truffles exactly as the recipe stated and the chocolate was still soft. I figured it would firm up after I tossed it in cocoa powder, stickily threw them around, and placed the sheets of truffles in the fridge to help them along, but when I woke up the next morning they were still soft. So I put them in the freezer while I thought of what else I could do. These chocolates started to melt in your hand as soon as you picked them up, I couldn’t just put them in a bowl and that was a lot of chocolate to throw away.
So I went and bought more chocolate, melted and tempered it and dipped the soft truffles in the chocolate. Since the truffles were frozen by now, the chocolate I dipped them in hardened on them with in minutes and the soft truffle center was encased in a hard chocolate shell. And I added cinnamon as a nice holiday kick.
These make wonderful little gifts, it’s what all my professors are getting this year, I hope they eat them while they decide my final grade. ;)
The original recipe I used, from Delicious Shots made a very small number of truffles so I quadrupled it. This recipe makes roughly 80 truffles, depending on how big or small you make them.
Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Truffles
36 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips 4 cups whole milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup of butter 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (or to taste) mixed together Place the 24oz of chocolate and 1/2 cup of butter in large mixing bowl. Heat the whole milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. Remove from the heat and pour cream over the chocolate mixture. Let the chocolate/butter/milk mixture stand for 10 minutes allowing the chocolate and butter to melt. Add the vanilla and gently stir until smooth. Pour the mixture into an 9-inch baking dish and set aside to cool at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes and then place in the freezer for an hour or until set (but still soft). Using a melon baller (for consistent size) or a regular small spoon, scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and return to the freezer for 15 minutes.
While the chocolate is cooling again, melt another 16 oz of chocolate and temper*.
Shape truffles, roll them in cinnamon sugar and dip them in the melted chocolate, making sure to cover all sides. Place truffle back on parchment paper and let set.
After the chocolates have set you can also smudge a small bit of cinnamon on the top of each truffle using your pinky.
Total Time: About 3 1/2 hours
*Tempering chocolate - Tempering chocolate cools down the chocolate at an even consistency and decreases the likelihood of the chocolate “blushing” - that white color chocolate gets some time. In order to temper the chocolate stir the melted chocolate quickly while adding small pieces chocolate to it. The chocolate is done tempering once it is body temperature. This can be checked by placing a chocolate covered spoon to your lower lip. If the chocolate does not feel warm to the touch, it’s ready to use. View Larger

Chocolate is a messy business. You know what’s a really messy business? Almost 3 pounds of chocolate.

I started this chocolate adventure on Saturday night with an amazing mistake of frugality. I don’t know if you are aware, but heavy cream costs more than whole milk. So, looking at all the different milk I could choose from in the dairy isle, I thought “What’s a little less fat in some chocolate going to do?

The chocolate truffles won’t firm up, that’s what. I made the truffles exactly as the recipe stated and the chocolate was still soft. I figured it would firm up after I tossed it in cocoa powder, stickily threw them around, and placed the sheets of truffles in the fridge to help them along, but when I woke up the next morning they were still soft. So I put them in the freezer while I thought of what else I could do. These chocolates started to melt in your hand as soon as you picked them up, I couldn’t just put them in a bowl and that was a lot of chocolate to throw away.

So I went and bought more chocolate, melted and tempered it and dipped the soft truffles in the chocolate. Since the truffles were frozen by now, the chocolate I dipped them in hardened on them with in minutes and the soft truffle center was encased in a hard chocolate shell. And I added cinnamon as a nice holiday kick.

These make wonderful little gifts, it’s what all my professors are getting this year, I hope they eat them while they decide my final grade. ;)

The original recipe I used, from Delicious Shots made a very small number of truffles so I quadrupled it. This recipe makes roughly 80 truffles, depending on how big or small you make them.

Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Truffles

36 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 1/2 cup of butter
1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (or to taste) mixed together


Place the 24oz of chocolate and 1/2 cup of butter in large mixing bowl. Heat the whole milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. Remove from the heat and pour cream over the chocolate mixture.
Let the chocolate/butter/milk mixture stand for 10 minutes allowing the chocolate and butter to melt. Add the vanilla and gently stir until smooth.
Pour the mixture into an 9-inch baking dish and set aside to cool at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes and then place in the freezer for an hour or until set (but still soft). Using a melon baller (for consistent size) or a regular small spoon, scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and return to the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the chocolate is cooling again, melt another 16 oz of chocolate and temper*.

Shape truffles, roll them in cinnamon sugar and dip them in the melted chocolate, making sure to cover all sides. Place truffle back on parchment paper and let set.

After the chocolates have set you can also smudge a small bit of cinnamon on the top of each truffle using your pinky.

Total Time: About 3 1/2 hours

*Tempering chocolate - Tempering chocolate cools down the chocolate at an even consistency and decreases the likelihood of the chocolate “blushing” - that white color chocolate gets some time. In order to temper the chocolate stir the melted chocolate quickly while adding small pieces chocolate to it. The chocolate is done tempering once it is body temperature. This can be checked by placing a chocolate covered spoon to your lower lip. If the chocolate does not feel warm to the touch, it’s ready to use.

December 12, 2011 @ 4:09 PM 7 notes

Yesterday I was lazing around in my bedroom and my mom peaked her head in.
"We’re having company tonight, what should we make? I was thinking ratatouille and then some meat." “Salmon?” “We always do salmon…” “yeah, but salmon is good.” “Okay, so Salmon, ratatouille and polenta?” “Yum.” “We need a dessert, can you make it? It just needs to be chocolate.” “Sure thing.” So I went online and searched my favorite food blogs and found a chocolate pistachio cake. Now, I don’t like pistachios. I did at one point, but I think I ate too  many in one sitting and got sick, so I don’t like them anymore. Even if  they are kind of fun to crack open. But what my family does really like  are walnuts. And walnuts and chocolate go really well together. So I  substituted walnuts for the pistachios and the cake came out  beautifully! This cake is not a light cake, if you want it to be lighter I would try  substituting some of the regular flour with cake flour (but don’t take  my word on it, I haven’t tried).Chocolate Walnut Swirl Cake with chocolate ganache Chocolate part of the cake 1 cup flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/3 cup butter (room temp.) 1 and 1/8 cup sugar 2 eggs 3/4 cup plain yogurt (greek is fine) 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1/3 cup chocolate chips (plus a little extra) Walnut part 1 cup flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/3 cup butter (room temp.) 1 and 1/8 cup sugar 2 eggs 3/4 cup plain yogurt (greek is fine) 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/3 cup chopped walnuts Ganache: 120 g (3 oz) semisweet dark chocolate 125 ml (1/2 C) whipping cream (this ganache is a bit bitter, if you want it to be sweeter I’d ad 1 tsp of sugar) Preheat your oven to 360 F. Grease a 10-inch cake or loaf pan, preferably nonstick with a removable bottom. Prepare the chocolate batter.  In a food processor, mix together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add in  eggs, one at a time, mixing between each. Add in the yogurts and the  vanilla extract and mix again. In a medium bowl, combine the flour with  the baking powder, baking soda and the cocoa mixture. Add the flour  mixture into the food processor and mix again until just combined. Pour  the batter into the cake pan, and reserve in the refrigerator. Rinse the bowl of the food processor, and prepare the walnut batter:  Mix together the sugar, butter. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing  between each. Add in the yogurts and mix again. In a medium bowl,  combine the flour with the baking powder and baking soda, and the  chopped walnuts. Add into the food processor and mix again until just  combined. Take the cake pan out of the fridge, and sprinkle the chocolate chips  evenly over the surface of the chocolate batter. Gently pour the  pistachio batter on top, and smooth out the surface with a spatula. Put  into the oven to bake for about an hour or until a cake tester comes out  clean. Let rest for five minutes on the counter, then turn out on a  rack to cool completely. Prepare the ganache:  Melt the dark chocolate with the whipping cream in a double boiler (or  in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water), stirring with a spoon  regularly until completely melted and velvety. Let the ganache rest in  the fridge until it has thickened a bit, about 30 minutes to an hour,  and frost the cake using a small spatula. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.Total Time: About 2 hours The beautiful picture was taken by my dad! Thanks! View Larger

Yesterday I was lazing around in my bedroom and my mom peaked her head in.

"We’re having company tonight, what should we make? I was thinking ratatouille and then some meat."
“Salmon?”
“We always do salmon…”
“yeah, but salmon is good.”
“Okay, so Salmon, ratatouille and polenta?”
“Yum.”
“We need a dessert, can you make it? It just needs to be chocolate.”
“Sure thing.”
So I went online and searched my favorite food blogs and found a chocolate pistachio cake.
Now, I don’t like pistachios. I did at one point, but I think I ate too many in one sitting and got sick, so I don’t like them anymore. Even if they are kind of fun to crack open. But what my family does really like are walnuts. And walnuts and chocolate go really well together. So I substituted walnuts for the pistachios and the cake came out beautifully!
This cake is not a light cake, if you want it to be lighter I would try substituting some of the regular flour with cake flour (but don’t take my word on it, I haven’t tried).

Chocolate Walnut Swirl Cake with chocolate ganache

Chocolate part of the cake

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup butter (room temp.)
1 and 1/8 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup plain yogurt (greek is fine)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips (plus a little extra)

Walnut part

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup butter (room temp.)
1 and 1/8 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup plain yogurt (greek is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Ganache:
120 g (3 oz) semisweet dark chocolate
125 ml (1/2 C) whipping cream
(this ganache is a bit bitter, if you want it to be sweeter I’d ad 1 tsp of sugar)

Preheat your oven to 360 F. Grease a 10-inch cake or loaf pan, preferably nonstick with a removable bottom.

Prepare the chocolate batter.
In a food processor, mix together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing between each. Add in the yogurts and the vanilla extract and mix again. In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and the cocoa mixture. Add the flour mixture into the food processor and mix again until just combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan, and reserve in the refrigerator.

Rinse the bowl of the food processor, and prepare the walnut batter:
Mix together the sugar, butter. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each. Add in the yogurts and mix again. In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder and baking soda, and the chopped walnuts. Add into the food processor and mix again until just combined.

Take the cake pan out of the fridge, and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the surface of the chocolate batter. Gently pour the pistachio batter on top, and smooth out the surface with a spatula. Put into the oven to bake for about an hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let rest for five minutes on the counter, then turn out on a rack to cool completely.

Prepare the ganache:

Melt the dark chocolate with the whipping cream in a double boiler (or in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water), stirring with a spoon regularly until completely melted and velvety. Let the ganache rest in the fridge until it has thickened a bit, about 30 minutes to an hour, and frost the cake using a small spatula.

Let the cake cool completely before frosting.

Total Time: About 2 hours

The beautiful picture was taken by my dad! Thanks!

October 23, 2011 @ 1:10 PM 6 notes