Monday, July 2, 2018

Hazelnut praline

Following this recipe, more or less. You can almost certainly double it, but I undercooked the batch that I doubled—your mileage may vary.

1 c sugar
2 T water
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 c hazelnuts

Combine the sugar, water, and vinegar in a saucepan small enough so that the mixture covers the bottom, but large enough so that the mixture isn't too deep. Stir to moisten all the sugar. Cover a baking sheet with parchment.

Turn the heat on to medium and cook without stirring (swirling is ok) until the full surface of the caramel is bubbling. Continue to cook without stirring for another 3-5 min or until your desired level of golden brown is reached. Dump in the hazelnuts, quickly stir to coat, and quickly pour onto the parchment in a single layer. Let cool completely.

Nutella cupcakes

An abbreviated record of some seriously delicious cupcakes.

2/3 batch of this cake, with extra nutella-like things.

1.5 oz TJs pound plus, roughly chopped
1/3 c cocoa powder
2/3 c hot coffee
1 T frangelico
1/3 c nutella
2 T sour cream
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 325F. Place paper liners in 24 mini cupcakes and 10-12 regular cupcakes.

In a small bowl, place the chocolates, and pour the coffee and frangelico over them. Let sit to melt, then stir together until smooth. Stir in the nutella and sour cream. In a separate small bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda)

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs. Add the dry ingredients and chocolate mixture in several alternating additions, beating after each addition until just combined.

Scoop a tablespoon or a bit less batter into each mini cupcake, and divide the rest of the batter between the regular cupcakes. Bake the minis for 17 min and the regulars for a bit longer min. Let cool completely before frosting.

3 egg whites
3/4 c sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
1/4 c frangelico
8 drops Scrappy's chocolate bitters

Make into swiss meringue buttercream.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Paneer Tikka Masala, Bonus Veggies Version

[guest post by Amy]

Happy Halloween!
This is a bit of tweak on a recipe I loved from Cook's Hideout, Kashmiri Tikka Masala. I had the best paneer tikka masala ever recently, with tons of spices, raisins and almonds in the dish.  Added vegetables because dating a vegetarian, and trying to sneak veggies into more things!

Marinade: Mix together and divide in half.
.5 c greek yogurt
1 t chili powder
1 t Garam masala
.5 t cumin
1 T lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste, about .5 t each

Add to: (seperate bowls)
1 c paneer
1 head of cauliflower
Let sit for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.

Masala sauce:
3 T ghee
1 red pepper
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic (opt)
.25 c almonds
.25 c raisins
1 c tomatoes
.25 c whipping cream
.5 t chili powder
.5 t Garam Masala
.25 t cumin
1 T Sriracha, or cayenne to taste
.5 t salt

Garnishes and optional:
1 c peas
Basmati rice
Preserved lemons/guava (Anna had some by chance, it was a great addition!)
3 T cilantro (I leave it as a garnish, for people to add as they wish)

Heat ghee in heavy bottomed pot, then add onion, garlic, pepper, almonds, and raisins. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Try not to be distracted by trick-or-treaters. While that's cooking, sauté cauliflower on high heat, stirring occasionally and covering with whatever pot lid you have lying around. Add remaining ingredients and blend with immersion blender. Put back on stove on low heat,  taste and adjust seasoning, add peas if using, and griddle paneer on each side until golden brown. Add to sauce, and you're all set!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Boulevardier cupcakes

Happy birthday John! At the birthday boy's request: cupcakes based on the boulevardier cocktail. Turns out, subbing out most of the liquid in a cake for booze works pretty well, at least in mini cupcake format. (I can imagine the texture might get a bit gummy in a full layer cake though.) And the tangy dark chocolate frosting sets off the edge of complex bitterness of the cupcake delightfully.

Makes about 4 dozen mini cupcakes. This amount of frosting was just barely enough—if you'd rather have too much than too little, you can scale up the frosting recipe. I kind of wish I had, because then I'd have an excuse to try this frosting as a donut filling... next time!

2 c flour
3/4 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 c bourbon
1/4 c red vermouth
1/4 c Campari
1/4 c milk
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350F and put liners in the cupcake pans. Mix together the dry ingredients (flour through salt) and set aside; same with the liquids (bourbon through milk). Beat together the butter and sugars until fluffy, then beat in each egg one at a time. In 3 alternating additions, beat the dry and liquid ingredients into the batter until just combined. Fill cupcake pans and bake for 10 min or until a tester comes out clean.


1/2 bag Guittard extra dark chocolate chips, melted
1/3 c cream cheese, softened
2/3 c sour cream
2 T corn syrup
pinch salt
a few dashes Fee Brothers barrel aged bitters

Melt the chocolate chips until smooth, eg in a double boiler. Beat together the other ingredients until smooth and fluffy. Slowly pour in the chocolate, beating as you go. Pipe onto the cupcakes.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Brown butter bundt cake

San Diego kinda sucks for food, which was especially disappointing when I was there with some of my favorite foodies (John, xtina, Toni) last month. But! Bake Sale had this amazing brown butter espresso muffin, with little flecks of coffee, vanilla bean, and brown butter inside, and lots of cinnamon sugar on top. Perfect for Laura's bachelorette brunch.

I thought I was going to have to be creative coming up with a recipe to match it, but this does the job splendidly. One batch makes one bundt cake (baked for 45 min), or half a batch makes 2 dozen mini muffins (baked for 12 min).

10 T unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)
1 c sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 eggs
2/3 c milk
2 T bourbon
2 1/4 c flour
2/5 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t instant espresso powder (or finely ground coffee)
turbinado sugar

Butter and flour a bundt pan, and preheat the oven to 350F.

Put the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. The butter will melt, then start foaming, then the foam will subside and little brown bits will collect on the bottom. Keep cooking until the liquid starts to get a little bit of color, then turn off the heat and let cool.

Put the sugar in a large bowl. Slice the vanilla bean open and scrape the seeds into the sugar if you can, or toss the bean into the sugar and rub the sugar into the bean to get out the seeds if you can't. (Laura says the even easier way is to put the whole vanilla bean and the sugar into the food processor and grind them up together, which also seems reasonable.)

Beat the eggs, milk, and booze together in a medium bowl. If you futzed around with the vanilla bean as long as I did, the butter should be fairly cool now, so beat it into the wet ingredients too.

Stir the dry ingredients into the sugar, then stir in the wet ingredients until combined. Pour into the bundt pan and sprinkle heavily with turbinado. Bake for 45 min.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Five layer birthday pie

Happy birthday to me! This year, I decided to celebrate by bringing wonderful friends up to Mono Hot Springs in the Sierras. The cabins there have kitchens, but I didn't particularly want to trust their ovens with anything more complicated than biscuits. So I spent rather a long time trying to come up with a good dessert that combines the virtues of transportability, novelty, and of course deliciousness.

This pie, with its sturdy and sweet layers of ganache, golden syrup, and oats, was the first to catch my attention. I'd also just noticed that Lester's rhubarb has been perking up for spring (no thanks to me whatsoever), which reminded me of the rhubarb and chocolate donuts that we had at Walrus and the Carpenter with Sarah ages ago. So to balance out the sweetness of the golden syrup, I added a layer of macerated rhubarb in between the chocolate and the oats, and a layer of mascarpone whipped cream on top.

It all came together beautifully, with a homey mixture of textures and flavors that goes splendidly with coffee, mountains, and old friends. Only caveat is that the crust was a bit tough after sitting in the fridge, so I'd try a more tender shortcrust next time.

crust (layer 0):
1.5 c flour
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 stick + 1 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk (white reserved for layer 3)

Pulse together flour and sugar in the food processor. Add the butter and pulse to cut in. Add the egg yolk and pulse until it forms a dough. Press into the bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan, line with buttered foil, and freeze for 30-45 min. Bake at 375F for 30 min. Remove the foil and let cool while you make layer 1.

ganache (layer 1):
1/4 c cream
4 oz chopped dark chocolate (10 squares TJs pound plus)

Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth. Spread evenly on the base of the pie crust. Place in the freezer to set while you make layers 2 and 3.

fruit (layer 2):
3 stalks rhubarb, sliced 1/4"
2 T sugar

Toss the rhubarb with the sugar, and set aside to macerate while you make layer 3.

flapjack (layer 3):
3/4 c brown sugar
5 T butter, melted
1/2 t cardamom
1/2 t salt
1 c golden syrup
1 T whiskey
2 t vinegar (white or cider)
3 eggs + 1 egg white (reserved from crust)
1.5 c oats

Whisk together the brown sugar and melted butter until smooth. Add each ingredient in turn, whisking until smooth after each addition.

Spoon the rhubarb over the ganache to form an even layer 1-2 rhubarb slices deep, and discard any remaining liquid. Pour the oat mix over the rhubarb. Bake at 325F for 60-70 min until set around the edges and just barely set in the middle.

cream (layer 4):
4 oz mascarpone
1 c whipping cream
splash coffee bitters

Beat the mascarpone to soften, if needed. Add the cream and beat until it holds peaks. Beat in the bitters. Spread in an even layer over the cooled pie and chill until serving, or dollop on slices and serve immediately.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sesame kale salad

I've been making variations on this for lunches pretty frequently for a few months, and I made it for Katie and Alex's superbowl party today, so I guess I should finally post it. This makes about 2-3 healthy delicious lunches.

essential ingredients:
1/2 bunch kale, thinly sliced
2 Meyer lemons, juiced
2 t toasted sesame oil
lots of Trader Joe's sesame honey cashews

optional ingredients:
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 pack Trader Joe's seaweed snacks, thinly sliced

Toss together the essential ingredients and at least one of the optional ingredients (the more the better) until the lemon softens the kale. Keeps and transports well, especially sans avocado.