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Day 7 of Bakers Dozen: Peppermint Meringues

If you’ve seen the cover of Bon Appetit this month, you’ve seen the beautiful peppermint meringues with the red background. It drew me in immediately! So festive! I had to mimic the red on red for the pictures.

Meringues have never been a favorite cookie of mine, mostly because in the past I’d only had store bought ones that were sickeningly sweet. These are sweet, but not quite the diabetic coma sweet of store bought versions. And much tastier with a beautiful airy yet crunchy texture.

These cookies aren’t quite as easy as the past few posts, but they certainly aren’t hard either. Meringue can be intimidating. Mine even turned out a little runnier than they should have been, but they still turned out great. I’m not sure what happened, honestly. I had perfect peaks and then when I added the powdered sugar as directed, it got runny. But they still piped fine and baked up without any issues.

Peppermint Meringues

From Bon Appetit

Yield: About 60 small cookies

Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Prep time: About 30 minutes hands on, 2 1/2 hours to bake

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 12 drops red food coloring

1. Get all your gear ready before you start. Place a 1/2 inch tip in a pastry bag (or use a plastic bag), and have your food coloring and peppermint extract ready, as well as your sugars. Make sure your egg whites are room temperature – very important! Since it is cold most places right now, this may take a couple of hours. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silipat.

2. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until white and foamy, about 1 minute. With mixer running, gradually add sugar in 3 additions beating for 2 minutes between each addition. Beat until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes longer. Add powdered sugar and peppermint extract; beat to blend, about 1 minute.

3. Dot coloring over surface of meringue; do not stir (the coloring will form swirls when piped). Spoon meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2″ tip. If using a plastic bag, cut corner after adding meringue to bag. Twist top; pipe 1″ rounds onto prepared sheet, spacing 1″ apart. They will not spread so they can be close together.

4. Bake meringues until dry, about 2 1/2 hours. Let cool completely, about 1 hour (meringues will crisp as they cool). These will only keep a couple of days. Store in an airtight container with parchment between layers to keep from sticking.

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Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti

Biscotti is one of those words you just love to say…and it is one of those treats you love to eat! What could be better than a crunchy cookie dipped in coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up? Yum. I’ll take two, please.

Making biscotti is pretty basic. You make dough, shape the dough into logs, bake the logs, cut the logs, bake again. Easy! This is by far my favorite biscotti. I’ve made and had others, but I just keep coming back to this. Something about cinnamon and hazelnuts that seem to go well together.  And when the weather is cooperating (i.e. not so freakin’ humid) I also like to dip and/or drizzle with white chocolate. You know I have to throw chocolate in there somehow!

But today I just did biscotti without chocolate. I tried, but the chocolate just wasn’t cooperating. And the chocolate always wins. Temperamental stuff! I originally got this recipe from a friend (who originally suggested adding the white chocolate, which obviously makes her a genius!) and I lost that recipe. Thankfully, Bon Appetit saves the day again (going to have to change the name of the blog to Bon Appetit & Chocolate considering how many posts revolve around the two!) and had a “Hazelnut Cinnamon” biscotti recipe in their Desserts book, which is pretty darned close to the one I had before.

I adjusted the method and added more cinnamon. Their recipe only calls for 1/4 tsp, in which case it should just be called Hazelnut Biscotti. I love cinnamon and I want to taste it, so I added 2 tsp. Adjust according to your taste.

Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti

adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts

  • 3 cups unbleached AP Flour
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I prefer sea salt)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and husked*
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, somewhere in between room temperature and cold.
  • 1 TB orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temp

*To husk the hazelnuts: spread in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake in oven at 350F for about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then take a tea towel and rub.  The skins will come off fairly easily. If not, bake a few minutes longer. Don’t fret if you don’t get all the skins. A little won’t hurt.

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two baking sheets with either silpat or parchment. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

2. Chop hazelnuts in food processor until slightly chunky. How chunky depends on your preference.

3. Place butter, sugar, vanilla, and zest in stand mixer and mix until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl after each addition. Add flour mixture. When flour is almost completely mixed, add the chopped hazelnuts. Mix just until combined.

4. Divide the dough in half and place on prepared sheet pans. Flatten dough into an even rectangle. If you want to cut them diagnol, keep it narrow and long. If you want to cut just straight, make it wider. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden on the edges. Remove from oven,  let cool slightly and move to a cutting board (very carefully!). Slice into biscotti shapes. Place on sheet pan. Bake 10 minutes. Flip pieces, bake 10 minutes more, or until desired crispiness. Careful that they don’t burn. Make coffee, and enjoy!

5. If you are dipping in chocolate, melt about 8 oz chocolate, dip biscotti, let set, and then make coffee.  Sharing is optional.

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Lime & Blackberry Italian Meringue Pie

Gorgeous pie, isn’t it? It is absolutely heavenly to eat. And utterly exhausting to make. It took two days and many steps. So let’s call this a “Special Occasion” dessert. I think a wedding cake might be less work. Ok, now I’m just getting carried away.

This pie was on the most recent issue (August 2011) of Bon Appetit. And what do you know, I had just gotten a brand new kitchen torch! What are the chances?

I’m not a big pie person. I mean, I love to eat pies  (who doesn’t?) but I don’t really love to make pies. I think it might be the dough. I don’t really like rolling out dough, but this dough was quite easy to roll out and easy to work with. It is mostly butter with just a wee bit of shortening (another chance to use my organic shortening!) to keep it flaky. And when it bakes, it actually tastes like a cookie! Love it! I made the dough the day before and baked it the next day.

Moving up…the compote. I reduced mine down to half a cup as directed, and I used a Pinot Noir but I thought it was still a bit too runny. So I soaked the berries (added a few blueberries since I was low on blackberries. Darn heat) in the wine sauce for a couple of hours, then strained out the berries adding only a bit of the sauce. I kept the rest of the wine sauce for another day.

Up next, the curd. This was delicious and pretty straight forward. I used key limes since that was all I had, plus added a bit of store bought (organic) lime juice since I didn’t have enough key limes to get a full cup. I made it the day before so it had plenty of time to chill. And for the cream, well, I like to put liqueur in my cream, so I added a bit of chambord, but I think grand marnier would work great too. Before whipping the cream, place your bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes or so. It will keep the cream cold so it whips better. I also used sheet gelatin, but that is just a personal preference and will have no affect on the final product.

Finally, the meringue. I’ve done meringue many times, but I still worry every time that I will mess it up. In truth, I think it is pretty hard to truly screw up a meringue. This one is Italian, so you beat the room temperature eggs first, and then add the hot sugar. If you’ve never done sugar like this, the key is Not To Stir. That’s right, just let it be. You can give it a slight swish when you first combine the ingredients, but then just leave it alone. If you don’t have a thermometer, never fear. You can check the temperature by first watching the bubbles. They will start to get smaller. As they start to get smaller, take a spoon and scoop out a tiny bit and put it in ice water. After it cools, try to form it into a little ball. If it holds it’s shape, it is ready! This is called the “soft ball stage.” And move quick at this point or you will have caramel. So you should already have your egg whites whipped and ready to go. Be careful to pour the sugar on the side and not onto the whip, otherwise sugar will go everywhere (and that might hurt!). Whip until the bowl is cool to the touch and the meringue holds its shape. Then “artfully” arrange on the pie.

And then if you have a torch, play with fire! If not, the oven will work too, just not as much fun.

Beware, the first piece will not be pretty. Heck, even the second piece wasn’t. I’m not the least bit surprised that BA had the whole pie picture and not a slice. But it doesn’t matter. It tastes amazing. Sweet, tart, crunchy, soft. Delicious.


Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Bon Appetit

Ingredients

Lime Curd

  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream

Blackberry Compote

  • 1 cup fruity red wine, such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 1 Blind-Baked Pie Crust in a 9″ deep-dish glass or metal pie pan (see Master Pie Crust recipe)

Meringue

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup blackberries (about 1/2 pint)

Preparation

Lime Curd

  • Set a strainer over a medium bowl; set aside. Stir lime juice, eggs, egg yolks, and sugar together in another medium bowl. Set bowl over a large saucepan of gently simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk until mixture has thickened, the whisk leaves a path when lifted from curd, and an instant-read thermometer registers 175°, about 15 minutes. Add butter to curd, one Tbsp. at a time, whisking to blend between additions. Strain curd into prepared bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd. Chill until cold, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Refrigerate curd.
  • Sprinkle gelatin over 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl; let stand until gelatin is soft, about 10 minutes. Using an electric mixer, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add gelatin mixture; continue beating cream until just before firm peaks form. Fold whipped cream into lime curd. Cover; chill.

Blackberry Compote

  • Bring red wine, sugar, and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, 20-25 minutes. Let cool. Add 3 cups berries; fold gently to coat.
  • Spread compote in an even layer over baked crust. Spoon lime curd over berries, smooth top, and chill for 1 hour.

Meringue

  • If toasting meringue in oven, preheat oven to 450°. Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat whites in mixer until soft peaks form. Set aside. Stir sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Attach a candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, until thermometer registers 238°, 6-8 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
  • Meanwhile, beat whites in mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in salt.
  • Slowly pour hot sugar syrup down side of bowl into whites and beat until meringue is firm and glossy. Continue beating until cool, about 4 minutes. Spoon meringue over lime curd, leaving a 1″ plain border, and sculpt decoratively. Tuck 1 cup berries in and around meringue.
  • Bake pie until meringue is toasted in spots, 3-5 minutes (or use a kitchen torch to brown). Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Do Ahead: Pie can be made 3 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

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Bon Appetit Blackberry Buttermilk Cake

I’m obviously on a Bon Appetit kick.  This recipe is in the most recent issue, July 2011, in the berry special. I was crazy about the berry special in the first place and then I saw this treat.  It was 96 degrees the day I made this cake, which obviously is a great day to turn on the oven for an hour. You may think I’m crazy, but who could possibly resist a beautiful blackberry buttermilk cake? Not me, and it was worth the extra sweat to dig into this scrumptious summertime cake. And it is easy. Really easy. Yes, it bakes for a long time and heats up your kitchen. But it is worth it. This cake would be perfect of a summer BBQ/potluck type of event. No icing required and the fruit makes it healthy….right? I mean, doesn’t that look so delicious?

Oh, and one more thing. I got a new camera. That’s right, I finally got a DSLR,  Nikon D3100. No, I didn’t get it just to blog. I’ve been taking pictures of everything, but I do admit I am loving the improvement on my food pictures. I am just barely starting to learn how it works, and I have such a long way to go with staging. But, I’m still pleased with my improvement. What do you think?

Ok, on to the recipe!

Like I said, this recipe is very easy. I made it late in the afternoon and it was easily ready for dinner.

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake by Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan and parchment
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour (sifted, then measured) plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • special equipment:

    Use a 9″-10″-diameter springform pan

Preparation

  • Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Butter pan; line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter parchment. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Arrange berries in a single layer in bottom of pan; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup sugar.

  • Sift 2 1/3 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter and remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and zest. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until incorporated. Pour batter over berries in pan; smooth top.

Aren’t the orange specks pretty?

  • Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Note: My cake only took 1 hr, 8 minutes. You will see in the reviews some only took 40 minutes. So watch very carefully! A tester should not be crumb free, that is too dry!   Let cool in pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a thin, sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen. Remove pan sides. Invert cake onto rack and remove pan bottom; peel off parchment. Dust top generously with powdered sugar and let cool completely.

The easiest way to flip is to first undo the sides of the pan, then put a cake board (you can find them in the cake decorating section at Walmart and Michaels, along with a slew of other stores. Well worth the money!) on top of the cake and just flip! Then you have this:

Dust with powdered sugar and you are the hit of the party! Don’t forget to save a piece for yourself….

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Bon Appetit Best Ever Banana Bread

I almost feel like I’m starting to have a normal life again. The boxes are unpacked, most of the pictures are up on the wall, and I’ve finished my online classes. That means free time for baking and the return of my sanity. My hubby brought home a bunch of bananas from a coworker that were about to go bad, apparently assuming I would do something with them. I did, of course, and made banana bread.

I could not find my go-to banana bread recipe. Thankfully I have a bookshelf full of cookbooks. My latest addition is Bon Appetit Fast, Fresh, and Easy. It’s not just desserts, but a little bit of everything.That’s where I found “Best Ever Banana Bread.” A bit big headed of them, don’t you think? Well, they are right. This is indeed the best banana bread I’ve had.

But wait, there’s more! I did a little science experiment with this bread. It says not to double the recipe, but to make two separate batches. In one batch I used high quality ingredients: King Arthur Flour, turbinado sugar, and Madagascar vanilla. The second batch I used “bargain” flour from Costco, basic sugar, and “bargain” vanilla, also from Costco. Don’t get me wrong, I love Costco, but they don’t have high quality baking ingredients.

The difference was, well, see for yourself.

The batch on the right is good ingredients, the batch on the left is bargain ingredients. Amazing, right? You can’t really tell in the picture but the left was much runnier than the right.

Now, let’s look at the after pictures….

Can you guess which one is which? Yep, the left is good, the right is bargain. Amazing, right?? The left definitely tasted moister and more flavorful. The right was by no means bad, just not as good.

Let’s take one more look.

See how the lower quality sunk in the middle? I really don’t know why. They baked at the exact same time, exact same kind of pans, exact same temperature.

We ate the good one, and gave away the bargain. Hey, sometimes you just don’t feel like sharing the good stuff.

Here’s the recipe. The biggest suggestion I can make is not to over bake! The recipe says 1 hour, 20 minutes. Start checking at 1 hour. I took mine out at 1 hour 10 minutes. Another 10 minutes and I would have had a very dry bread.

Enjoy!

Bon Appetit Best Ever Banana Bread

  • 2 ripe medium bananas, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups AP Flour (recommend KAF)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I was running low, so each bread had 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup veggie oil)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 TB buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Butter and flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan. The recipe says metal, I used stone.

2. Whisk bananas and eggs in large bowl to blend. Add remaining ingredients and stir to blend well.

3. Transfer to pan. Bake until top is golden brown and tester comes out mostly clean (a few crumbs is good). This will take anywhere from 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes.

4. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then finish cooling on rack. Bread is best the next day, with a big slab of butter.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Pound Cake

If you haven’t seen the Italy issue of Bon Appetit, leave now and go out and buy it. It is an issue you will want to keep for reference and it has so many great recipes. I’ve already become addicted to the basic tomato sauce that is on the cover.

But this is a baking blog, so let’s talk about this pound cake. It’s in the beginning of the magazine and the official name is “Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple Espresso Glaze.” Whew, that’s a mouthful. I prefer to call it a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake because, well, that is what it tastes like! A moist, delicious chocolate chip cookie disguised as a cake. I think it might be my new favorite. I even went out and bought a bundt cake pan just for this cake (with a Bed Bath and Beyond Coupon, I might add). And today everyone is waking up to the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed by our Rock Star U.S. Military, so we need to do some celebrating. This cake will fit the bill.

It’s yummy, it’s easy, and it’s pretty. What more could you ask for in a cake?

The only change I made was I used only vanilla extract because I didn’t have any maple extract. But the maple in the glaze is subtle and just the right amount. I love the espresso specks in the glaze. Pretty, don’t you think? This cake would be a hit if you needed something for a potluck. You’ll be the star!

Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple Espresso Glaze

from Bon Appetit

Ingredients

Cake

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups all purpose flour, setting aside 2 TB for chocolate chips plus additional for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 12-cup Bundt pan. Spray pan generously with nonstick spray. Dust pan lightly with flour.
2. Mix chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons flour in medium bowl. Toss the chips thoroughly to make sure they are all evenly coated. Sift remaining flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt into another medium bowl.
3. Using electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract and maple extract. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Mix in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chip mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan, spreading evenly.
5. Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 1 hour. Start checking the cake around 40 minutes and check every five minutes or so. It took 55 minutes for me. Another five minutes would have been too long.
6. Cool cake in pan on rack 30 minutes (I only left it in 10 minutes and it still turned out fine). Invert cake onto rack and cool completely.
Good to know: Mixing the chocolate chips with a little flour before adding them to the batter helps the chips stay evenly suspended in the batter and evenly distributed throughout the baked cake. Otherwise, they may sink to the bottom.

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
Combine powdered sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons cream, and espresso powder in medium bowl. Whisk until smooth, adding more cream by 1/2 teaspoonfuls if glaze is too thick to drizzle. Spoon glaze decoratively over top of cake; let stand at room temperature until glaze is firm, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and let stand at room temperature.
I dare you to have just one slice…

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Nothing says Love like a Chocolate Souffle

Happy Valentines (Hallmark) Day!

My hubby and I don’t really get into the whole Valentines Day thing. We celebrate year round (yes, we are one of those couples) but I will take any excuse to enjoy some chocolate. And what is more decadent than a chocolate souffle? Mmm. Technically I didn’t make these on Valentines Day, but over the weekend. Monday is a work day, and darn it if Congress hasn’t decided that Valentines Day should be a Federal Holiday. What are they thinking? Don’t they realize that we need to celebrate this Hallmark holiday with souffles?

 

The recipe came from The Bible, aka Bon Appetit Desserts. If you’ve never made a souffle before, you need to change that immediately. A lot of people are intimidated by souffles. They seem complicated. Light, airy goodness must be difficult, right? Wrong! Including bake time, this took me about 30 minutes. And several of those minutes were gathering up the ingredients which I am quite slow doing. You do need souffle bowls – can’t just use any baking cup. Souffle bowls have a straight edge which allows the batter to rise up, giving you the souffle look. But, souffle bowls are insanely cheap. You can find them on Amazon or at Bed Bath and Beyond. And then you can use them as prep bowls when you aren’t making souffles. But that won’t be often since you will want souffle all the time!

This recipe is very, very chocolately. It will satisfy even the pickiest chocolate lover. It actually made me not crave chocolate for at least 24 hours. That’s a long time, in case you were wondering. It is a very romantic dessert.

Now you can easily just have the souffle, or you can top it with ice cream, blackberry would be wonderful. But I wanted something special (and I didn’t have any blackberry ice cream!) so I made a Raspberry Goat Cheese Cream. Oh yeah, it is as good as it sounds. Don’t be afraid of the goat cheese. It is slightly tart but mostly it just adds to the creaminess. If you have friends who don’t like goat cheese, they won’t even know this cream has goat cheese. Give it a try and either add the Chambord or just add vanilla. Or add whatever flavor you think you will like. Orange would also be great. Make it yours!

Happy Valentines Day!

Chocolate Souffle

From Bon Appetit Desserts, page 386

  • 3 TB water
  • 1 TB instant espresso powder, or instant coffee powder
  • 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61%) chopped
  • 1 TB brandy (key to the rich flavor, but won’t be the end of the world if you omit it)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 large egg whites, room temp
  • 2 1/2 TB sugar

Note: Gather and measure all your ingredients before you start. It will make things much easier. Also, I only made two souffles and the recipe cut in half did quite nicely.

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter four 2/3 cup souffle dishes and coat with sugar. Stir the water and espresso powder in heavy small saucepan until espresso powder dissolves. Add chocolate and brandy. Stir over low heat until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in egg yolks. Cool to room temperature. Move mixture to a large mixing bowl. Be sure to scrape every drop!

2. Beat egg whites in a large bowl until foamy with a hand held mixer. Gradually add 2 1/2 TB sugar and beat until medium firm peaks form.

3. Take about 1/4 of the egg white mixture and fold into the chocolate mixture. This is to loosen up the chocolate mixture. The egg whites are key to the souffle rising properly and if you dump all the egg whites into the mixture, you will likely lose a lot of air. Then, very, very gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. To properly fold, draw your spatula through the center of the whites and then down into the base while turning the bowl.

4. Divide evenly into souffle bowls. Clean up the edges a bit. If you want your souffles to go straight up, overfill the dishes and then scrape off the top and clean off the edge. If you want it to look more homey, just pour it in and let it rise!

5. Bake souffles until puffed but still very moist in the center. It will seem as though it is underdone – this is exactly what you want. Cake like on the outside, pudding like on the inside. Perfection. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Raspberry Goat Cheese Cream

Modified slightly from Bon Appetit Desserts, p. 265

  • 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp chambord liqueur, or vanilla or the flavor of your choice; add more or less to taste

1. Combine heavy cream, goat cheese, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add liqueur. Using an electric mixer, beat until mixture is smooth and peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat or mixture will curdle.

 

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