Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Stacks

 

The Stacks

The Stacks

I was trying to decide on a dessert to make for Altaf’s birthday and since he loves chocolate as much as I do, there was no doubt that it was going to definitely be chocolate related. I waffled throughout the week about what I was going to make and went through a few of my cook books looking for ideas. Well it came around to Saturday and I still had not come up with any idea. I happened to be reading King Arthur’s blog on cookies and spotted this cookie recipe that looked amazing.

So I went about making them. I will say they are very easy and a lot of fun to assemble. The one thing that is important is to roll them out evenly. I used a crinkle cookie cutter as I wanted to get a pretty edge. However, once the cookies were baked you could not really tell that they had a scalloped edge to them.  Another important factor is that you want them to all be the same thickness. These cookies do not spread so you can bake quite a few of the per sheet.

Once you have assembled them cookies refrigerate them. The longer you let them sit in the refrigerator the softer they become as the cream softens them. Which allows you to very neatly eat them with a spoon. They only stayed in my refrigerator for about 6 hours and were not really soft to be eaten with a spoon. Everyone ate them a cookie at a time licking the cream off of them just like you would a sandwich cookie.

I used Bailey’s to add a bit of oomph to the cookies but you can add Kahlua or any other liquor that would pair well.

 

Ingredients

Cookies (Makes 50) 

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 large egg (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder

 

Chocolate Baileys Cream
 
1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish cream

 

Method

Cookies

Line two baking sheets (11×17) with silicone sheets or parchment paper.

Using your electric mixer (with the paddle attachment) beat the sugar, butter, salt, baking powder and espresso powder until well mixed.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined.  Add the flour and cocoa powder and continue until combined.  Place the dough ball in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment/wax paper. I used the rubber guides on my rolling pin to get an 8th of an inch thickness. Well its pretty thin really. I used a circle crinkle cutter of about 1 1/2 inch. Place the cut cookies (they are not going to spread so they do not need to be placed far apart) on your baking sheet and then re-roll the remainder of the dough and repeat. The advantage of using the parchment paper is that you do not need to flour any surface.

Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes checking them prior to the 10 minutes and removing them if done. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack.

Cream

Whisk the cream until it starts to thicken. Then add the sugar and cocoa powder and continue until you get soft peaks. Then beat for a little bit more. Add the bailey’s if using and fold into the whipped cream.

em>Assembling
Put a cookie, spoon a  tablespoon of filling then stack the next cookies and continue until you get a  5 layer stack. Gently press down each cookie as you add it to the stack. Top with some more cream. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Dust with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings before serving.


Challah

Challah Bread

Challah Bread

As most of you know I love baking bread. Well it could be said I just love baking. I think if I had a library it would mainly feature cookbooks as well as cake decorating books. I was reading up on food52 and came across the challah bread. I have always liked it and so I started reading the multiple ones on both quantities and method as well. All the recipes make two loaves and are easily halved if you would like to make only one loaf. I finally settled on this one.  One thing that I would always encourage you to do is read the recipe in full. I tried her method for braiding the bread but after three tries I gave up and tried a three braid with the six braid. On my second try I checked youtube for a video and used this one which was really good.

 

Ingredients

Makes 2 loaves. Prep time : 15 minutes. Resting time : 2 hours. Baking time : 30 minutes

  • 1 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • large eggs (use 2 for a less richer loaf)
  • tablespoon salt
  • cups all-purpose flour

Method

Put the warm water and sugar in a glass container and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the yeast, stir and let it rise for about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and oil to incorporate.

Put the flour and salt in a stand mixer. Turn on the mixer and add the water mixture, followed by the egg-oil mixture. Knead the dough until it has all come together and when pressed with a thumb leaves and impression. Put your dough into a well oiled bowl and cover with a dish cloth. Let it rise for an hour in a warm place. It will more than double in an hour.

Using a scraper gently take the flour out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for a bit and then form it into a ball. Divide the ball into two equal halves. Cover one half with the dish cloth. Divide the other half into 6 equal portions. They come out to a little under 5 oz each. Working one at a time roll each ball into a log about 12″ in length. I do this by rolling the log back and forth starting from the middle and extending to the sides. Once you have all the logs rolled out you are ready to braid them.

To braid watch this video : Braiding your Challah bread

After you have done the first loaf, place it on a lightly floured surface of either the pan you are going to bake it in or on your paddle. Then start on the second loaf. After they are both done cover with your dish cloth and let them rise for another hour. They will again rise a fair amount.

Heat your oven to 350. I used a stone in my oven so that goes in before I turn the oven on.

Before placing your loaves into the oven brush them with milk (You can use egg whites but I prefer milk). Once your oven is ready using your paddle transfer the loaves into the oven or place the pan into the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let it cool before cutting it . (I normally share the second loaf)


Squash Latkes

Squash Latkes

Squash Latkes

Don’t you just love the summer. In addition to being wonderfully sunny – the garden is in full bloom and for those of us with vegetable gardens there is an abundance of produce. Well i do not have a vegetable garden – purely due to the lack of space, however, I do have friends who have gardens who are so nice to always share. I got these from my friend Sherry. I was so excited when she said she would bring me some. Look at them aren’t they simply gorgeous.

So I took them home and then was trying to think of what I could make with them (no bright spark at that moment). I was on flipboard reading the food section and came across kefedes and looking at the picture I thought Squash Latke’s – I can do those. So I did try them out and they were brillant. I think it would have helped if I had done the draining technique on them so they had less water in them. They would probably have cooked a lot quicker. I have made Latke’s out of sweet potatoes and the next one I am going to try it with is with Parsnips – I think those may come out a little on the sweeter side but I will let you know.

Ingredients

Serving : 6-8, Prep time : 15 minutes

Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons light sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Latke’s

  • 6 cups shredded Squash (4 medium squash)
  • 1 cup grated onion
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

 

Method

For the sauce

Mix the ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

For the Latke’s

Combine squash and onion in a mesh colander and press to drain excess water. Put into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except for the olive oil. Mix well. Your mixture will be moist and a wee bit sticky.

Heat some oil on a skillet. When hot pour about a 1/4 cup of the mixture on the pan and then press down to flatten. Repeat until you have filled your pan. My wide pan does about 3 at a time. Now let is sauté until it has browned and then turn it over and repeat on the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve with the sauce.