I am always trying out new chocolate chip cookie recipes and this one is pretty good, its called The Puffy, and its one of Alton Browns recipes on the FoodNetwork. These cookies bake up puffy and soft with a slightly crunchy edge. They stay nice and soft even a day or two after baking. And while these chocolate chip cookies are good on their own, i thought they would be extra special sandwiched around a nice chocolate ganache filling. Break out the milk!
I like going to Starbucks picking up a latte and chatting with friends, but i usually don't care for most of the pastry i've tried: dry and not very tasty, but maybe its because most baked goods are fresh for such a short amount of time. Whatever the reason, I usually end up bringing my own baked goods for my friends to enjoy instead! I noticed that the Starbucks website is promoting some of their recipes under the heading of Pairing Food & Coffee. This Chocolate Cinnamon Loaf was one of those recipes and makes two big loafs of a rich, moist, chocolate cake mixed with spicy cinnamon. The recipe calls for Dutch Process Cocoa Powder so i used Hershey's Special Dark which is a very dark and rich cocoa that creates a very dark and deep chocolate cake. The topping is a sugary-spicy delight with lots of cinnamon a little more cocoa powder, clove and ginger. The topping bakes up crunchy and crumbly, a nice accompaniment to the moist chocolate cake. I can see how this would be great with a nice cup of coffee! Since you get two loafs out of this recipe why not keep one for yourself and give one to a friend to enjoy?
I had been on the lookout for a recipe to use up the leftover hazelnuts that were still in the pantry when I came across this little gem: Russian Tea Cake Cookies. These cookies bake up light and airy due to the use of powdered sugar instead of typical granulated sugar in the simple batter. They were easy to make and tasted delicious with the addition of ground hazelnuts mixed with the butter and vanilla. The key to geting the powdered sugar to stick to the little balls is to let them cool on a rack for about 6 minutes and then quickly roll in powdered sugar (If the cookies are too hot the powdered sugar just melts and becomes a sticky mess!). Put them back onto the racks for another 6 to 10 minutes then roll them in the powdered sugar a second time. Voila, terrific little snowy white cookies that are perfect with some hot tea or a nice cup of coffee. Enjoy!
I like to check out lots of food blogs and lately there's been a reoccuring theme of some terrific "No-Knead Bread" by a baker named Jim Lahey. There is a great write up about it in the New York Times with the premise being that time, not kneading, is what will create a delicious, crispy home made bread that rivals your local bakery! I dont have a lot of experience with yeast. It just seems so complicated and intimidating! The Cinnamon Buns that i made earlier this month is the first time i've attemped anything requiring yeast. Since those turned out good i thought i'd give this bread a try... and guess what, it really turned out as good as all the stellar reviews! The key is to let the dough rest for a LONG time (i let mine rest for over 18 hours, so this is really a two day event). After 18 hrs. the dough will look and feel really sticky and gloopey but just keep adding flour and shape into a ball. Make sure you have a big 6-8 quart pot with a lid that can go into the oven. That's really the only major instructions that really need to be followed and you will end up with this bread that looks and tastes as good as Il Fornaio (i know this is true because we had a loaf of Il Fornaio bread to compare it too!)...This bread is crispy and golden on the outside, so that it kind of shatters when you bite into it. The inside is soft but not squishy. Its perfect with a great brie cheese! Next time i think i will add more salt and perhaps try some fresh rosemary as well. This was so easy to make you could enjoy fresh baked bread every weekend! Try it for yourself!
I live a short 30 minute drive to a small town in the Napa Valley called Yountville. Yountville is home to many terrific and famous restaurants like French Laundry, Boucheron, Boucheron Bakery, Ad Hoc... These are all owned by a well know chef by the name of Thomas Keller. Thomas Keller is known for his take on old childhood favorites... this cookie is his sophisticated version of the Oreo (Thomas Keller's Oreos)! The only place to purchase these cookies is at the Boucheron Bakery (next time i'm there i will pick some up) and they are very popular according to many posts that i've come across... Since my Dad loves the French Laundry I decided to give these cookies a go... they are simple to make and taste great! The outside is a thin, shortbread-like rich cocoa flavored cookie that becomes slightly softer as the filling and cookie meld together. I like to use coarse Kosher salt for a little more salt hit with the chocolate. The white chocolate ganache for the filling whips up nice and fluffy so i was able to easily pipe it in between the two cookies! Try them for yourself and see! You can find the recipe here.
Have you ever been shopping at the local mall when suddenly you smell something overwhelmingly delicious? If you follow the scent of cinnamon and butter you will usually end up at a Cinnabon kiosk with gigantic hot cinnamon rolls covered in gooey icing! That's what these taste like, only better! These are a little more cooked on the inside than the typical Cinnabon and a little less sweet, a little more cinnamon and spice... I pretty much followed the recipe below with the following exceptions: i added more spices (cardomon and clove) to the the filling and then i mixed it all together to form a paste and spread that onto my rolled dough. The other change i made was to roll up the dough into a log and then cut in half, wrap well in saran wrap and foil and put into zip lock bags so that i could freeze them for a few days. I took the frozen logs out and let thaw in the fridge... then cut the logs into rolls, put into a baking pan and left on the counter to proof for a few hours, then cooked. They turned out just as good as the fresh-dough cinnamon rolls and its great to be able to make the dough in advance and then have cinnamon rolls whenever you feel like them. Next time i think i will actually cut the dough into individual rolls and freeze those in bags of four... then when the urge for buttery cinnamon hits i will be ready!
Cinnabon™ Knock-off Cinnamon Rolls
1 pkg. active dry yeast (1/4 oz. size or 2 1/4 tsp.) 1 c. warm milk (105º to 110º F.) 1/2 c. granulated sugar 1/3 c. margarine, melted (used butter) 1 tsp. salt 2 eggs 4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. packed brown sugar 2 1/2 TBS. cinnamon 1/3 c. margarine, softened (used butter)
For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl Mix together the sugar, butter, salt & eggs. Add flour and mix well Knead
the dough into a large ball, using your hands lightly dusted with
flour (i used the KitchenAid with the dough hook and kneaded for about 10 minutes). Put in a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place about an hour
or until the dough has doubled in size. Roll the dough out on a
lightly floured surface. Roll the dough flat until it is approximately
21 inches long and 16 inches wide. It should be about ¼ inch thick. Preheat oven to 400º F. For
the filling, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread the
softened butter evenly over the surface of the dough, and then sprinkle
the cinnamon-sugar evenly over the surface (i mixed my sugar and spices together with the softened butter to create a spread). Working carefully from the top (a 21 inch side), roll the dough down to the bottom edge. Cut
the rolled dough into 1 ¾ inch slices and place 6 at a time, evenly
spaced, in a lightly greased (i used Pam) baking pan. Let the rolls rise again until
doubled in size (about 30 min.). Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden
on top (i baked mine for about 15-18 minutes to get them nice and browned on top).
While the rolls bake, make the icing by mixing the
butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high
speed. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until the sugar is
incorporated, then add the milk and flavorings. Mix on high speed again
until the icing is smooth and fluffy. When the rolls come out of the oven, let them cool for about 10 minutes. I scooped up the gooey, melted caramelized cinnamon butter mixture from the bottom of the pan and drizzled over the top of the rolls for more flavor and texture. Then I coated each roll generously with the icing.
I would like to invite you all to share a piece of this yummy Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake and a nice hot cup of coffee with me as I wish you all a very Happy New Year! May 2008 bring you all good health, happiness and lots of good baking! Enjoy! P.S. I used chopped walnuts instead of pecans because i had a bunch left over from Christmas and i also made a powdered sugar vanilla icing to drizzle on top cause everything tastes better with a little icing!