Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring baker's flourless delight


    The end of February is here and what a way to finish off the month then with a chocolate cake that would be the envy to all chocolate cakes.  This daring bakers challenge comes to us from Wendy at wmpes blog and Dharm at Dad - Baker and Chef.
They have choosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan, and a vanilla ice cream recipe from Dharm and Wendy. I must say I had a little trouble with the ice cream.  I don't know if it was me or my ice cream maker but that thing did not want to give me a creamy cool delight but a runny one.  I ended up just putting it in the freezer.  On the other hand I've made the flourless chocolate torte many times before and it never seems to disappoint.  



Chocolate Valentino

1 pound (454g) of chocolate (60% cocoa or higher), roughly chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter.
5 large eggs separated

Preheat oven to 375F / 190C

Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set of a pan of simmering water, stirring often till cream and melted.  Set a side to cool.
Using a spring form pan, line with parchment.  Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/ large blowls.  Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip).  Beat the egg yolks together in the other bowl then add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the choc mixture and then the remaining 2/3rds.  
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 min.  The top of the cake will look similar to a brownie.  Cool cake on a rack for at least 10 min.

Vanilla Ice cream

2 cups of half and half
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cups of white sugar
dash of salt
1 vanilla bean (seeds removed) or 1 tbsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a plastic container.  Refrigerate for 30 min or longer.
Mix in your ice cream maker as directed.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

lemon loaf

Hello everyone!  Yet another lovely lemon treat! For some reason I've been dying to make a lemon poppy seed loaf.  I think it could be my love for all things yellow? This cake did indeed live up to my hype.  I didn't have a pic of the loaf done up with the icing, but the lemony glaze was amazing and so was the cake!
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

lemon  poppyseed loaf

1/3 cups poppyseeds
3/4 cup milk
200g butter, softened
1 tbs grated lemon rind
3/4 sugar
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
lemon glaze
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup lemon zest

Preheat oven 325 F.  Place poppyseeds and milk in a bowl and stir to combine.
Place butter and sugar and lemon zest in a bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beat well.  Sift flour and baking powder and pour over butter mixture.  Add lemon juice and milk mixture until combined.  Makes 3 small loafs or one 8in cake.  Bake for 40-55 min. Test with a skewer. 
For the  glaze, combine all ingredients and spoon over cooled loaf.

recipe adapted from Donna Hay's: Modern Classics 2  ( orange poppyseed cake)

Monday, February 16, 2009

waiting for summer


   Hey guys and gals, hope you all had a great weekend!  Today was a holiday here for us and I think I spent most of it cleaning.  Our basement was trashed from the lazyness of not yet putting away the christmas boxes...it's getting there.  These things take time and if you're not really in the mood, then you pretty much should just forget it and save it for another day!  I think I might just be making up excuses. haha
  I've decided that I can't wait for summer... or even at least spring!  When is the nice weather going to get here already!  Then I heard were going to get another snow storm this week! Great.
So only in wishful thinking and day dreams I will feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and walking along the beach.

   I'm in the mist of making a summer time pie. Maybe the taste of summer will bring some nice warm thoughts.  So until then I will leave you with these basking ladies and a pic from a trip in Fiji.  Chao

Friday, February 13, 2009

happy valentines


    Wishing you all a love filled Valentines and a happy weekend!  But never the less I will leave you with some sweetness of my own!  Remember those homemade marshmallows a few posts back?  Well for all of you who like to sip on something warm and sweet.... I leave you with my hot chocolate on a stick. Inspired from a article on chocolate I can no longer seem to find, but remembering its coolness I had to make these.  These are dead easy and pretty much only require you to melt down some really good chocolate (I used 70% cocoa mass) and place in a mold and pop a stick in. Plus I couldn't resist on adding my left over vanilla-bean marshmallow's...  since there is nothing better then marshmallows to go with hot chocolate!

Just add hot milk and stir.

Monday, February 9, 2009

just in time for valentines


  With five days away, Valentines is the perfect holiday for sweet lovers.  It's a holiday that's all about pink, red, sexy loads of chocolate, candy, small sweet bites and of course looove.  What better way to treat that special someone is with a little homemade gift... truly made with love.
  
  My weekend was spent watching movies and wrapping cookies ALL weekend long. I think I packaged well over 500 cookies. YES that was 500 + cookies! Truly a labor of love.   From making cake truffles, decorating butter cookies, and making lots and lots and lots of tiny 'conversation heart' cookies, did I mention lots!  
...I think I'm ready to relax.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Friday, February 6, 2009

lazy dish

     I've been crazy busy lately filling my valentine's orders.  (I will post some pics of my fabulous heart cookies soon!) I've been busy decorating, packaging, bow tie-ing and tagging each of these little cookies.  So through all that I haven't had much time to make some really good eats for my self.  Craving something hot other then the usual quick soup I can't seem to get enough of lately, I felt like pizza.  This pita pizza is pretty darn good and super fast.  I love thin crust and this is where the store bought pita's come in.  I just plop all my favorite things on top and put under the broiler for a few. Simple enough eh!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

muffins & marshmallows

   Hellllooo everyone!   Weekends are great and believe me I love them just as much as the next person, from its lazy days, the sleepy days and the baking days, weekends are the time to do things without all the haste. So for my weekend exploits I thought I get some much needed baking in.  I've been dying to make homemade marshmallows and after a failing smoked-out attempt with a friend have finally mastered the vanilla fluffy goodness. I was quite happy to find just how easy marshmallows are to make. There was some avid staring at the boiling sugar as to not burn...   and they are a bit messy, but oh so worth it!
    Then there was some muffin making.  Now these are muffins of the odd sort, but pretty darn delicious.  These muffins are sweet, cheesy, and just plain wonderful. The sharp cheddar and mellow honey are a delight and will very well be made again in this house. Hope you all had a great weekend!

If you're looking for the marshmallow recipe check out this great site.