Saturday, January 27, 2007

Chocolate Peppermint Bar Cookies

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped peppermint hard candies

Preheat oven to 375. Line a 13x9 pan with foil and spray with non-stick stuff.

Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. Cream butter and brown sugar, add the egg and mix until combined. Mix in flour until just incorporated, stir in chocolate chips and peppermint pieces. Spread evenly in pan. It just came out in a lump and I tried to smooth as best I could. Bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed and pulling away from sides of pan. It evened out on it's own. Remove from pan and cut into pieces when fully cooled.

These did not come out of the pan very nicely, they are really not fit for a dinner party.

Pasta with Browned Butter Sauce

pre-made ravioli
2 tbs olive oil
4 tbs butter
1 shallot, minced
2 tbs pine nuts

heat oil and butter in skillet. When butter is fully melted, add minced shallot. Cook on medium high heat until butter begins to brown. Add pine nuts and remove from heat. Add cooked pasta to skillet and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Amy's Creme Brulee

8 egg yolks
1/3 c granulated white sugar
2 c heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ c granulated sugar (for tops)

Preheat oven to 300°. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Add cream and vanilla, and continue to whisk until well blended. Strain into a large bowl, skimming off any foam or bubbles. (Important for smooth custard)

Divide mixture among 6 ramekins or custard cups. Place in a water bath and bake until set around the edges but still loose in the center, about 40-50 minutes. Longer baking time will be required for larger, deeper ramekins. Remove from oven and leave in the water bath until cooled. Remove cups from water bath and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.

When ready to serve, sprinkle 2 tsp sugar over each custard and use hand-held torch to caramelize tops.

I totally stole this from Amy's blog.

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup superfine sugar (I used regular sugar for both)
8 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. On each, draw 10 4-inch circles.

Mix the sugars and set aside.

In a bowl or electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and salt. Continue to beat, adding 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time and beating well after each addition. This will take about 10 minutes.

Add the vanilla and beat at high speed until stiff and glossy.

Using a pastry tube fitted with a large plain tip, pipe the meringue in coils starting at the center and continuing to the outside of each circle. (I just dropped in large blobs)

Bake about 1 hour, until cream colored and firm. Leave the meringues in the turned-off oven for several hours or overnight without opening the oven door.

When ready to serve, carefully peel away the paper or foil.

Note: The meringues can be made up to 2 weeks ahead. Seal them in plastic bags and store in an airtight container.

Makes 20 meringues.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Chocolate Biscotti

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. and butter and flour a large baking sheet.

In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until combined well. Stir in flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.

On prepared baking sheet with floured hands form dough into two slightly flattened logs, each 12 inches long and 2 inches wide, and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Bake logs 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool biscotti on baking sheet 5 minutes.

On a cutting board cut biscotti diagonally into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool biscotti on a rack. Biscotti keep in airtight containers 1 week and frozen, 1 month.
Orange Almond Biscotti

3 2/3 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1cup almonds coarsely chopped
1 orange, zest of
1/2 lemon, zest of
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
3 teaspoons orange extract
4 ounces butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (first 7 ingredients on list above).

In a small bowl slightly beat eggs& egg yolk together, and add to the dry ingredients along with the extract& the melted butter. If dough is too stiff, add some juice from the zested orange. Turn dough out onto work surface; knead lightly and form into two logs. Place logs on lightly greased cookie sheet& flatten slightly. Brush logs with beaten egg white. Bake 35 minutes; let cool 5 minutes, then slice each log diagonally into 1" slices with serrated knife, using a sawing motion( I used a kitchen knife and just cut). Stand the slices on the cookie sheet and return to the oven. Bake an additional 20 minutes or until crisp(This time really varies for me).

Chocolate Pudding

2 tbs sugar
2 tbs potatoe starch flour (could use corn starch)
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz milk chocolate (3/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla (I used Madagascar Bourbon last time, could use Mexican)

Whisk together sugar, starch, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt in a 2 quart pan, then gradually whisk in milk and cream. Bring to boil over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, then boil whisking 2 minutes. It should be thick at this point. Remove from heat and add chocolate and vanilla. Transfer to bowl, cover surface with waxed paper to prevent skin, chill at least 2 hrs.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

1/2 pound (about 2 cups) I prefer a large fusilli with this dish
1/2 pound (about 3 links) sweet Italian sausage
1 bunch (about 3/4 pound) broccoli rabe, tough and hollow stems discarded, washed well
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup pasta water
2 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a kettle of boiling salted water cook pasta until al dente.

While pasta is cooking, squeeze sausage from its casings into a large heavy skillet and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring to break up chunks, until no longer pink. With slotted spoon transfer sausage to a bowl, reserving drippings in skillet.

Cut broccoli rabe into 1-inch pieces and sauté in reserved drippings, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown. Add garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Add water and simmer until broccoli rabe is just tender, about 3 minutes. Add butter, stirring until incorporated.

Drain pasta and return to kettle. Add broccoli rabe mixture and sausage and heat through if necessary.

Serve pasta with Parmesan.
Dream Bars

1/2 cup butter
1/2 packed brown sugar
1 cup flour

Press into 8x8 pan lined with tin foil and bake for 10 minutes at 350.

2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs flour
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut(they only had sweetened and this seemed to work well)

Pour filling into pre-baked crust and bake for another 25 minutes. This could be 20, depending on your oven. Let cool and cut into small squares.