Sunday, October 30, 2011

This is Halloween, Halloween! Halloween!

One of my favorite candies of all time is the See's Scotchmallow, A layer of caramel with a layer of honey marshmallow covered in chocolate. As a kid my Great Uncle would give out 1 pound gift certificates to See's, and I would get an entire pound of Scotchmallows.

For Halloween I made my own candies that I call Carmallows. And then to really show off I wrapped them in Fanci-Foil (paper foil for cake boards found at Walmart) and decorated them with jack-o-lantern stickers. A perfect candy for a Halloween Party.

The recipe I used came from the Chocolates and Confections book from The Culinary Institute of America, but this recipe is very similar.

Adapted from Allrecipes
1 cup Butter
1 pound Sugar
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Light corn syrup
1 pinch Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract

From Hutchinson News
3 envelopes Gelatin
1/2 cup Cold water
1 1/2 cups Sugar
3/4 cup Light corn syrup
1/4 cup Honey
1/2 cup Water
1 tablespoon Vanilla extract

3 cups chocolate, melted, tempered (Callebaut Couverture Callets)

Set aside a silicone 9x13 pan
In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, condensed milk, and corn syrup. Stirring constantly bring to a boil over medium heat, until the syrup reaches 240 degrees.
Remove from heat and carefully stir in the vanilla and salt.
Pour into the silicone pan and let cool while you make the marshmallow.

To make the marshmallow, stir the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a 2-quart saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, honey, and water. Cook to 250 degrees.
Remove from heat and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Allow to cool undisturbed until syrup reaches 210 degrees, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the gelatin over a hot water bath. 
When the syrup reaches 210 degrees add the melted gelatin and mix on high speed for 6 minutes, until light and fluffy. 
Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Pour over the top of the caramel and spread evenly.
Allow to cool to room temperature for at least 2 hours.

Chill slightly before cutting into bars.
Using an oiled knife, cut around the edges of the pan to loosen the marshmallow. Remove the entire slab from the pan and place on a silpat, caramel side down.
Cut slab down the middle lenghtwise. Cut each half slab into 1 inch bars, then cut each bar in half. (Be careful not to cut the silpat. I used my bench knife.)

Dip each bar into tempered chocolate and place on baking rack, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Remove from rack before chocolate sets and place on a piece of parchment paper to set completely.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Desperation Bars

Early Saturday morning I woke up to a sore throat, then a runny nose and then a full blown cold. After 4 days of being confined to a couch and watching Food Network I was ready to crawl into the kitchen and bake something.
Still being a hot mess I could not be seen in public so I had to find something that I could make with whatever I could scrounge up in the pantry. Chocolate chips...nope, milk, heavy cream, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder....uh-uh. I was desperate and had very limited ingredients available, so I threw a Hail Mary, and it turned out extremely tasty. (And I am not a cookie bar kind of person.)

Desperation Bars

Based on 7 Layer Cookie from Inn Cuisine

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tbs melted butter
1 cup Scharffen Berger bittersweet chunks
1 cup Scharffen Berger semisweet chunks
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut
2-3 tbs cocoa nibs  (Doesn't everyone have nibs on hand at all times) (:
1/3 cup old fashion oats
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix graham cracker crumbs and butter and press into 9x13 pan
Sprinkle bittersweet and semi sweet chocolate over the graham cracker
Sprinkle the white chocolate over the bittersweet and semi sweet chocolate
Sprinkle coconut over white chocolate
Sprinkle cocoa nibs over coconut
Sprinkle oats over the top of the coconut and nibs
Pour sweetened condensed milk over all the layers.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool and cut into squares.

Next time I make them I will make sure my pantry is fully stocked, because there are so many possibilities. Peanut butter chips, mini marshmallows, M&M's, raisins... ooh what about pretzels :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baked NYC Brownies

I'm still missing New York City so I continue to live vicariously through recipes of New York bakeries and restaurants. This brownie recipe from Baked turned out to be one of my favorite brownies, dare I say...gasp...even better than Bouchon's.  They are everything I like in a brownie, a rich chocolaty flavor and a gooey fudgy texture. YUMMY! 

Baked Brownies
from brown eyed baker

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (Valhrona)
11 oz dark Chocolate, chopped (Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Chunks & Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chips)
8 oz unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp instant espresso powder (Ghirardelli Mocha Hot Chocolate Mix)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs room temperature (if you are in a hurry place eggs in warm water for 10-15 minutes)
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of a 13x9 baking pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate, butter and espresso powder, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Turn off the heat and add the sugars, whisking until completely combined. Remove the top bowl from double boiler.
Add 3 of the eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the 2 remaining eggs and vanilla and stir just until incorporated. Be careful not over beat the batter.
Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, and fold until just a bit of the flour is visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan half way through the baking. The brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.
Let brownies cool completely before cutting into squares.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Junior's New York Cheesecake

I have gone on several vacations this summer, and as much fun as all those vacations have been, I am still obsessed with New York. Every chance I get I have been researching and testing recipes to bring some of New York to me.
I started with a New York Cheesecake from Junior's. When we walked by Junior's after seeing How To Succeed In Business, we were too stuffed and tired to try their famous cheesecake, but luckily for me I found their recipe online.

Like I have said before I have never been a big cheesecake fan, but I am slowly growing as a person and warming up to cream cheese. Junior's cheesecake is a little different than the cheesecake most people think of, as it replaces the traditional graham cracker crust with a sponge cake. I loved the added layer of sponge cake, but still wanted the familiar graham cracker crust, so I added graham cracker crumbs around the side. It is an extremely impressive cheesecake, and so easy to make.

Adapted very slightly from

Sponge Cake
1/2 cup sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
3 large eggs separated
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 drops lemon extract
3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Cream Cheese Filling
4 (8oz) packages cream cheese
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 cup finely ground graham crackers
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick melted butter

Sponge Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and generously butter a 9in spring form pan.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with and electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. With the mixer still running, gradually add the 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until thick light yellow ribbons form in the bowl, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts. Sift the mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand until no more white flecks appear. Blend in the butter.
In a clean bowl, using clean dry beater, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Stir in 1/3 cup of the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining egg white. (don't worry if a few white specks remain.)
Spoon the batter into the spring form pan.
Bake the cake just until the center springs back when lightly touched, only about 10 minutes.
Let cool in the pan on a wire rack while you continue making the cheesecake filling. DO NOT REMOVE FROM THE PAN.

Cream Cheese Filling:
Place one 8oz package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl.
Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese. Increase the mixer speed to high and add the remaining 1 1/3 cups of sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Blend in heavy cream. Mix the filling only until blended. Be careful not to over mix.

Wrap the outside of the spring form pan with two layers of tin foil.(This is to protect it from the water bath, while it's cooking.)

Spoon the filling on top of the baked sponge cake.
Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a large shallow pan (disposable roasting pan). Place the spring form pan in the towel lined pan. Pour water into the large baking pan about 1 inch up the side of the spring form pan.
Bake the cheesecake until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 1 hour.
Turn oven off and open the oven door for 1 minute. Close the door and let set inside oven 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove from oven and place in refrigerator at least 6 hours.

Run a knife around the side of the spring form pan and remove the cheesecake.

Graham Cracker Crumbs:
In a small bowl mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Pour into a cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes.
Pat the sides of the cheesecake with the graham cracker crumbs, and serve.


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