The Galaxy is on Orion’s Belt

So you may have wondered the purpose of making and posting a simple white chocolate mousse. Well, there was actually a reason for making the mousse, posting? Not so much.

Being bored during the rain storm yesterday I decided to make a half recipe of chocolate-chip/raspberry brownies. I cut a number of them in small rounds to embed in a white chocolate mousse molded into hemispheres then frozen. Today I made a gelatin based mirror glaze intending to coat the frozen mousse with swirling colors to make galactic mousse/brownie desserts. Well, it was practice. You all know I like to practice at home and failures never pass through the front door. I have an order of agar agar arriving soon so will try a vegetable based thickener for the glaze.

While not a failure, they were not a nice as I envisioned. However, practice, practice, practice and learn. The taste was excellent!!

Brownies – Some with chopped macadamia nuts

MIRROR GLAZE WITH GELATIN

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 packets unflavored powdered gelatin , (1/2 oz)
  • 192 g water , divided use
  • 215 g sugar , (scant 1 cup)
  • 142g or 5 oz (scant 2/3 cup) sweetened condensed milk , (1/3 of a standard 14-oz can)
  • 233 g real white chocolate , chopped or white chocolate chips
  • Gel food coloring (I used Americolor Royal Blue, Sky Blue, Electric Purple, Electric Pink, Super Black, and Bright White)

METHOD

  1. Whisk together the gelatin and 3 oz (1/3cup) cold water in a bowl, and set it aside to let the gelatin absorb the water.
  2. Combine the remaining 3.5 oz water, sugar, and condensed milk in a medium saucepan, and place the pan over medium heat. Stir while the sugar dissolves, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  3. Once it is simmering steadily, remove it from the heat and add the gelatin (no need to melt the gelatin first—just scrape the big blob out of the bowl!) Whisk the gelatin as the heat from the pan dissolves it, and whisk until it is almost entirely incorporated. A few small pieces of gelatin are fine.
  4. Add the white chocolate to the pan, and let it sit for a few minutes to soften the chocolate. If you have an immersion blender, that is best to use—just stick it right in the pan and blend until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is very smooth. If not, you can whisk everything together, just try to avoid vigorous whisking that will create a lot of air bubbles.
  5. Divide your glaze into as many bowls as you want. I find it’s easiest to have a few “base colors” that are larger portions, and a few “accent colors” that are smaller portions. I made 3 base colors, using Americolor Sky Blue, Royal Blue, and a mix of Royal Blue + a drop of Super Black. I made 3 accent colors using Americolor Electric Purple, Electric Pink, and Super White. All you need to do is whisk a few drops of food coloring into each bowl of glaze.
  6. Let the bowls set until they cool down to about 95 Fahrenheit (35 C). An instant-read thermometer is the easiest way to check this, but if you don’t have one, it should feel barely warm on your fingertip, and be thick enough to coat it. Stir the bowls occasionally as they cool, so they don’t form a skin on top.
  7. Take the mousse cakes from the freezer. Cover a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper for easy clean-up, and set small jars or cups on the sheet for the mousse cakes to balance on—try to use ones that are smaller than the base of the cakes, so the glaze can drip down cleanly.
  8. In a new bowl, pour about 1/3 cup of one of your base colors of glaze, then drizzle the top of it with a few other colors—there’s no rhyme or reason here, so go crazy! After you’ve added all the colors you want, give it a brief stir to swirl everything together, but do NOT swirl too much and muddy the colors! Take this bowl of glaze and pour it over one of the cakes, swirling it around the top to make sure that all the sides are covered. Let the glaze drip down the cake onto the baking sheet.
  9. If it is dripping quickly and is a very thin layer, it’s too warm and needs to cool down a few more degrees. If it is gloopy and clinging to the cake and barely dripping, it is too cool. You can warm the bowls of glaze BRIEFLY in the microwave (start with 8-10 seconds each) and stir until they’re fluid again, and keep re-warming as necessary while glazing the cakes.
  10. Repeat the swirling and glazing process with the rest of the cakes. It’s fun to give them all different color schemes so they each look unique. If desired, finish the cakes with a pinch of edible silver star sprinkles. (Any remaining glaze can be saved and used on a different cake within about a week or so. Make sure it stays covered tightly with plastic wrap so it doesn’t form a skin and dry out.)
  11. Let the cakes sit for about 15 minutes, until the glaze is semi-set, then transfer them to small plates. Chill for an additional 10-15 minutes until the glaze is full set.

White Chocolate Mousse

It’s Pi day, so in rebellion, I made white chocolate mousse for mirror glazing tomorrow and chocolate-chip/raspberry brownies with chocolate ganache for the chewy chocolate center of my galaxy mousse cakes.

Luckily, there was extra mousse today for quality control sampling tonight. I had mine with a raspberry coulis and Fran paired it with chocolate sauce. Excellent flavor and texture. Tomorrow I will mirror glaze them experimenting with a galaxy motif. Check back soon.

White Chocolate Mousse

INGREDIENTS
• 1 Envelope powdered gelatin
• 12 oz White chocolate chips
• 2 1/2 Cups Heavy cream

METHOD

  1. Dissolve gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water, and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Place chocolate in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until very finely chopped.
  3. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice and set aside.
  4. Place 3/4 cup cream in a small saucepan, and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Add
    the dissolved gelatin, and stir for 30 seconds to dissolve completely. Pour into food processor
    with the motor running, and process until chocolate mixture is smooth.
  5. Transfer to a medium bowl and place over ice water bath. Chill until mixture is thick enough to
    fall from a spoon and form ribbons on the top of the melted chocolate.
  6. Whip remaining 1 3/4 cups heavy cream to soft peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture. If not using immediately, refrigerate in an airtight container or fill individual dessert dishes cover and place
    in fridge.

Boston Cream Pie

My friend Maggie asked if I would make a Boston Cream Pie using the same recipe she used. While her dessert was reportedly delicious, (I didn’t have any) the cake did not rise to her satisfaction. So, today I made the same cake (Betty Crocker’s recipe) with nearly identical results. The recipe called for a 9” pan sprayed on the bottom only, not the sides. Some cakes, like a angel food require dry sides for the cake to “grow” up the sides so I made sure the sides were dry. It didn’t help. The cake was just over an inch thick. Cutting it in half would result in two tortilla-thick disks rather than layers of cake.

I did a search for another recipe with significantly different ingredients and method. I chose one from Martha Stewarts Everyday Living. Following the recipe as written, Martha’s cake was nearly twice as high as Betty’s

Betty’s on the left – Martha’s on the right.

As I am inept at slicing a cake in half, this challenge provided the opportunity to use the “floss” technique. A butter knife was about half the height of the cake, so I used it to position tooth pics every few inches around the cake. I then laid the floss across the toothpicks and pulled it taut cutting cleanly through the cake, exactly where I wanted, resulting in two even, level layers of cake. THAT is a beautiful trick!

(Make a note for yourself – if you are making something that uses cream-pat and ganache be sure you have some frozen eclairs on hand. They are easy to thaw out, fill and dip in the extra ganache.)

The cake was moist, the cream-pat smooth and chocolate, well you know my opinion of chocolate. Incidentally, I used the cream-pat and ganache from my eclair post elsewhere in this blog.

We Only Have One Second Birthday

Granddaughter Grace’s 2nd birthday was Friday, June 1 and her party was Saturday the 2nd. For Mother’s Day, Fran and I met the rest of the family at the San Diego Zoo sending Grace to near Nirvana with all the animals. In the following weeks she visited the Los Angeles Zoo. She fed the giraffe and when she tried to pet it, the zoo keeper said, “No, no, no, don’t pet him,” so now every time she sees a giraffe Grace says “No, no, no.” She calls lions “Roars,” elephants are the trumpeting sound of an elephant that I cannot spell and zebras, oddly, are just “Zebras.”03C2353D-6118-4EC7-B8C0-84C1E604F759

So of course I had to make a zoo themed birthday cake with several fondant animal decorations. I made a “roar”, a “no, no, no” a “bbbrrrrreeeeehhhhaaaaa” (sp?), and a zebra from marshmallow fondant. They sat atop a  a double layer chocolate cake beside a white meringue “2” cake. The chocolate base cake was frosted with pink Italian Meringue Buttercream and the “2” was frosted with traditional white buttercream.

The white meringue “2” cake and the animals were bordered with green buttercream grass and “Happy Birthday Grace” was piped in purple letters. Purple is currently her favorite color. Unfortunately, my handwriting does not enhance the quality of my piping script.  The zebra is eating the grass (because he was falling forward and Fran suggested having him graze to make it look on purpose.)

White Meringue Cake

INGREDIENTS

• 1 cup butter (softened)
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 3 cups cake flour* (345 grams spooned & measured carefully)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 cup milk (2% milkfat)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup egg whites plus 3 tablespoons (160 g)

METHOD

1. Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until they are stiff and form peaks. This may take a minute or two. Pour the egg whites into another bowl and place them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to add them to the batter.
2. Using the same bowl that you used to beat the egg whites, place the softened butter in and cream the butter for about 2 minutes (using the beater blade attachmenuntil it is white in appearance.
3. Add the sugar to the butter and beat until fluffy (about another 1-2 minutes).
4. In a small bowl, combine the flour (measured carefully*), salt and baking powder. Set aside.
5. In another bowl, combine the milk and vanilla extract.
6. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture alternately with the milk.
7. Add the stiffly beaten eggs to the cake batter. Fold the egg whites in gently. Do not overmix at this point. If you do, your cake will become more dense.
8. Grease and flour 2 9″ round cake pans. Pour the cake batter equally into the prepared cake pans.
9. Bake the cakes at 350 degrees for 25-27 minutes or until the top bounces back when you touch it.
10. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges and remove them from the pans to a wire rack, allowing them to cool completely.

Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting

https://ofbatteranddough.com/italian-meringue-buttercream-frosting-recipe/ Author: Rebecca Blackwell
Serves: 7 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup water
  • 1¼ cup plus ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 9 large egg whites
  • 6 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

METHOD

  1. Combine the water and 1¼ cup sugar in a small saucepan and stir once or twice just to moisten the sugar. Do not stir again; stirring encourages the sugar to crystalize. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and continue to cook until it reaches a temperature between 246 and 250 degrees.
  2. As soon as you set the syrup to cook, begin the meringue. Beat the egg whites in a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment at medium speed until frothy. While beating, sprinkle in the cream of tartar and then the remaining ⅓ cup sugar. Beat until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. *The goal is to have the syrup at the right temperature and the meringue at the stiff peak stage at the same time. If the syrup is not quite ready, but the meringue is, continue to beat the egg whites with the mixer on the lowest speed until the syrup reaches the desired temperature. If the syrup is done before the meringue is ready, add a very small amount of hot (not cold) water to lower the temperature slightly.
  3. When the syrup is ready, turn off the mixer and quickly pour about ⅓ cup into the meringue. Immediately turn the mixer to medium-high and then continue to pour the hot syrup into the meringue in a thin, steady stream. Try to keep the syrup from getting on the beater, although some will get on there no matter what you do.
  4. Continue to beat the meringue with the whisk attachment at medium speed, until you touch the bottom of the bowl and it is cool to the touch. *It’s important to not add the butter before the meringue is completely cool, so that the butter doesn’t melt.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and add the butter in 2 or 3 tablespoon size chunks. Keep mixing and adding the butter until all 6 sticks are incorporated. If the buttercream doesn’t look completely smooth at this point, just keep beating. It will smooth out. If it looks runny or curdled, the butter has probably melted. Put it in the refrigerator for 20 or 30 minutes and then continue beating until it’s smooth.
  6. After the butter has been fully incorporated, you can add any flavor additions you like. See ideas below.

A Remiss is as Good as a Re-mile

I was remiss in not documenting the baking I did for our synagogue’s Oneg (celebration of the joy of Shabbat after Friday night services) a couple of weeks ago. All of the recipes are posted elsewhere. Search this blog for the various key words for more detail.

We were one of three families providing pastries etc for the Oneg. I made Gooey Strawberry Brownies. (Previously I made raspberry brownies so tried strawberry this time.)  Due to the size of the strawberry jammy bits the brownies ended up very moist and “gooey,” which is not a bad thing. Somehow, only half of the brownies made it onto the serving tray, so sadly, the other half had to come home with me.

I also made sweet whipped cream filled, chocolate drizzled profiteroles. I find choux pastries easy to make and freeze well for a last minute snack when invited out, or if friends stop by. I actually saw them online a few weeks ago and decided they would be good to add to my Oneg selection.

There is nothing like a couple of dozen tartlets with cream patisserie filling and blueberry topping. Tartlets and cream patisserie are quick and easy to make, and again the tart shells freeze for future use, if necessary.  It wasn’t necessary to freeze any, they were decimated at the oneg. I like to glaze pastries with apple jelly to add that nice shine. Last year I could not find any apply jelly in the stores, or even anyone who had heard of it, so I made a couple of pints and am still using it.

And finally I decided to make some fig newtons with some of the huge store of figs I have in the cupboard prior to this year’s harvest.

Oh! I almost forgot.  I had some sugar cookies in the freezer so added them to the mix on a whim. A few months ago I froze them in cylinders so I could just cut them into disks and bake them. I used them all up so need to make another batch.

Busy Bakery Day

Here are some samples of one and two bite pastries I am making for a party of about 200 people. We are meeting tonight for a party progress meeting. I decided to give the group a sample of some of the varieties of desserts I am baking for the event.

 

I have both lemon and mango curd filled profiteroles, cream patisserie filled eclairs and tartlets, vanilla cake with pink icing and raspberry drizzle and vanilla cake with chocolate drizzle. There are mini-raspberry cheesecakes, blueberry and apply mini pie bites, chocolate brownie cups with chocolate mousse and a raspberry drizzle. Some of these were made ahead and frozen until today. The tartlets, eclairs, profiteroles and all icings, drizzles and frostings were made this afternoon.

A productive bakery day!

Not My Waterloo

85C73474-EA5B-44BD-83C5-6C3FA75720CFNeapolitans, not Napoleons, one-bite Blueberry Pie and Caramel Sauce while sporting a new Ugandan Youth Center produced apron Neil picked up for me on his trip to Africa last month, made for a good week in the bakery (not to mention the sandwich and NY rye breads… which I did just mention, didn’t I? Sorry ’bout that.)

9E3D9EB7-31C6-4056-A2E2-EB98E5A96B0BThe Neapolitans are chocolate cookie based with a white cheesecake center and raspberry buttercream frosting, cut into 1” squares. Next time, I need to keep any skin from forming on the cheesecake. It kept the frosting from adhering properly.

F226223A-A147-4E15-B8F6-5E3FBAA9DA1AThe Blueberry Bites should be dusted with some coarse sugar after being egg washed to add some sweetness and shine.  The caramelized sugar should add both. I may add a little lemon zest for a little tang.

084CBE55-B2CD-4C2E-9F93-326140831A39The Caramel Sauce will be used later for a Peanut Butter/Caramel/Salted Chocolate petit four, but I had the time and it will keep in the fridge for a longtime so why not? The rest of the dessert will come later this week.

NEAPOLITAN CHEESECAKE COOKIES

https://www.frugalcouponliving.com/neapolitan-cheesecake-brownies/#_a5y_p=4163544

INGREDIENTS (Half Recipe)

COOKIE

  • 1 cup butter, softened (1/2)
  • 2 cups white sugar (1)
  • 2 eggs (1)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (1)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (6 Tbl)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4)

VANILLA LAYER

  • 16 oz Cream Cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Sugar

STRAWBERRY LAYER

  • 1/2 cup softened Butter
  • 6 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Strawberry Preserves (optional)
  • 4-5 drops Red Food Coloring

METHOD

COOKIE

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line a 13×15” pan and set aside. Be sure the paper extends over the sides of the pan.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
  5. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture.
  6. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes in the preheated oven, until top of cookies are completely set.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

VANILLA LAYER

  1. Cream together cream cheese, sugar and eggs until well blended.
  2. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over brownie layer.
  3. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until cheesecake layer is set. 1st try took 25 min
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes until top is no longer warm to the touch.

STRAWBERRY LAYER

  1. Beat butter (and strawberry preserves if using) while slowly add in powdered sugar.
  2. Add in food coloring to achieve pink color, then whip to get uniform color.
  3. Frost cheesecake layer by spreading frosting with a spatula to completely cover.
  4. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

BLUEBERRY PIE BITES

https://www.sugardishme.com/blueberry-pie-bites/

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • about 45 blueberries
  • 2 Tbl raw or turbinado sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)
  • Special Equipment Required:
  • 1½” biscuit cutter
  • pastry brush

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a pan with an edge so the pie bites don’t roll away when you place them in the oven.
  2. Lightly flour a clean work surface and unroll the refrigerated pie crust.
  3. Use a 1½” biscuit cutter to cut all your little pie bite circles out of the refrigerated pie crust.
  4. Place 1 blueberry in the center of each circle. Sprinkle each one with a little sugar (you probably won’t use all the sugar).
  5. Fold up two sides of one of the circles like a taco. The grab the adjacent sides and pinch the corners. This makes a little pocket for the blueberries. You can dip your fingers in egg wash to pinch the corners if you can’t get them to stick.
  6. Brush each bite with the egg wash. Place each bite on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Sprinkle with a little more sugar and bake for about 10 minutes.

CARAMEL SAUCE

16 Servings, Prep Time: 10 Minutes, Cook Time: 15 Minutes

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt

METHOD

  1. Bring the water, sugar, and butter to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not stir the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved in the water. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the caramel has turned golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Carefully pour in a slow, steady stream of cream into the caramel while stirring constantly. The hot caramel will boil vigorously when the cream is added and solidify in areas. Add the vanilla extract and salt. Continue stirring over low heat until the caramel is smooth and creamy, 5 to 10 minutes more. Allow to cool for at least half an hour before using.

 

Which Way to Carnegie Hall?

Everyone knows how to get to Carnegie Hall, right? I am considering making bite size desserts for a gala at our temple with about 200 people expected to attend. Conventional wisdom indicated I will need 4-600 individual desserts. Perhaps you can see why I have not yet committed to this task. Allotting 2-3 desserts per person I should also have 5 or 6 dessert options, too many and it’s overwhelming (for the attendees and the baker!)

blueberry lemon and mango keylime profiteroles

So, back to Carnegie Hall. Practice, practice, practice. For anyone who follows my blog you know mistakes to not leave the house, so I practice everything first. I also experiment with different flavors and combinations. For instance, I made profiteroles last week. One was to be a mango/key lime and the other a lemon/blueberry. They were fine, except the key lime overpowered the mango. I will have to try again. Practice, practice, practice. The lemon was fine, if a bit intense.

vanilla cake and swiss meringue buttercream frosting

A couple of days ago I made some vanilla cake bites with Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting. It was a new cake recipe, I was looking for something a bit lighter, plus a new buttercream. This one uses a Swiss meringue (egg whites and sugar whisked over simmering water in a bain marie. The frosting was delicious but a bit of a pain in the butt. I would use this if I could have  several desserts that use the same frosting. I may just divide it into aliquots and color them differently to make an easy differentiation.

chouxI make choux fairly often so don’t really need to practice, but the little choux pastries are a good way to try the different filling flavors and icings. I made these choux in an hour or two last week, used a dozen or so for experimenting and froze the other 4 dozen. If I decide to do this project I will take a day and make 200 or so. I just need enough freezer space.

This morning I decided to add two new pastries File Jan 10, 10 17 21 AMto my portfolio. The first, and easiest was the chocolate cookies with chocolate mousse filling. I decided to add some shaved milk chocolate and white chocolate over some of them and since I had some raspberry coulis in the fridge, I drizzled that over some to add more color.

pineapple upside down bites.jpeg

Once those were complete and I finished cleaning the kitchen, (yes, I clean everything up between each bake) I started the one bite Pineapple Upside Down cakes. I used the same vanilla cake recipe as last week. It was a little tricky miniaturizing everything and keeping them looking good. Next time I will reduce the amount of pineapple and use a quartered cherry so there will be more room for the cake.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

INGREDIENTS

  • 7 large (210 grams or 7 oz) egg whites
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups (3 sticks or 340 grams) unsalted butter, softened*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt (we use non-iodized fine sea salt)

METHOD

  1. In a medium pot, add at least 1-inch of water and bring to simmer.
  2. Thoroughly wash and dry the stainless-steel mixing bowl from your stand mixer* (you don’t want grease touching meringue). Add 7 egg whites and 2 cups sugar and whisk together.
  3. Place mixing bowl over pot of barely simmering water, creating a seal over the pot (bowl should be over the steam, not touching water). Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 160˚F (takes about 3 min). Sugar should be fully dissolved (you should not feel any sugar granules when rubbing mixture between finger tips). Mixture will feel hot to the touch.
  4. Wipe water from bottom of mixing bowl and transfer bowl to stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff glossy peaks form (about 15-20 min) and bottom of the bowl feels completely at room temp and not warm (important: warm meringue will melt the butter).
  5. Once bowl is at room temp, switch to paddle attachment, reduce to medium speed and add butter 1 Tbsp at a time, adding it just as fast as it is absorbed by meringue. Once all butter is in, scrape down the bowl and continue beating until it reaches a thick whipped consistency (3 min on med-high speed). If it looks lumpy or liquidy at all, keep beating until smooth, thick and whipped.
  6. Add 2 tsp vanilla extract and ¼ tsp salt and mix on med-high until incorporated (about 1 min).

Notes

*Butter should be softened at room temp about 1 hour (more or less depending on your room temperature). It should be slightly cool to the touch and not overly soft or warm. If too soft, refrigerate for 10 minutes at a time.

Vanilla Butter Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk Note: I use 1% milk and add the 2 Tbl as whipping cream

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a cast-iron pan, and dust with all-purpose flour, tapping out excess. Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Fill pan halfway, and bake until golden around edges (time will vary depending on size of pan). Remove from oven, and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Transfer cakes from pan to a wire rack. Let cool. Coat each with glaze just before serving.

Chocolate Mousse Filled Chocolate Cookies

INGREDIENTS (Half Recipe)

  • 1 cup butter, softened (1/2)
  • 2 cups white sugar (1)
  • 2 eggs (1)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (1)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (6 Tbl)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
  4. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture.
  5. Spray Baker’s Joy or similar product into mini cupcake pans and fill ½ full (about a level teaspoon).
  6. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are set.
  7. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 egg yolks (2)
  • ¼ cup sugar (2 Tbl)
  • 1 cup whipping (heavy) cream (1/2)
  • 1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup) (1/2)
  • 1 ½ cups whipping (heavy) cream (3/4)

METHOD

  1. Beat egg yolks in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar.
  2. Heat 1 cup whipping cream in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until hot. Gradually stir at least half of the hot whipping cream into egg yolk mixture; stir back into hot cream in saucepan. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (do not boil). Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, just until chilled.
  3. Beat 1 1/2 cups whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Fold chocolate mixture into whipped cream. Pipe or spoon mixture into serving bowls. Immediately refrigerate any remaining dessert after serving.

Choux on This!

choux dough

I make a very nice choux pastry to be used in profiteroles and eclairs. These are usually filled with crème patisserie and iced with a shiny chocolate. I thought it would be a fun exercise to try some variations, so I made some Mango/Key Lime iced with white chocolate and blueberry iced Lemon Curd profiteroles. The recipe I found for the Mango/Key Lime was way too lime dominant. The recipe posted here is adjusted to what I hope will be more mango dominant. I guess it’s just a guess.

Mixing the choux dough is easy, provided you attain the proper viscosity before attempting to pipe it onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. This picture shows the characteristic “V” shape of the dough as it hangs off spatula. Too runny and it will flatten out, not runny enough it will be harder to pipe and may not have enough moisture to “puff” up while baking.

Mango Curd

Cook’s note” I made first with ½ cup lime juice as per the recipe. The lime overpowered the mango.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe large mango, peeled, flesh cut away from pit
  • 1/3 cup water (this is a guess to substitute for the ½ cup lime juice)
  • 1 Tbl fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

METHOD

  1. Process mango in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and whisk in lime juice, salt, and ½ cup sugar. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add pod. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, egg, and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a medium bowl until no longer grainy and slightly lightened in color, about 2 minutes.
  3. Whisking constantly, very gradually stream about half of hot mango mixture into eggs, then gradually whisk mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until curd thickens and whisk leaves a visible trail, 5–7 minutes (do not let it boil). Remove from heat and add butter a couple of pieces at a time, whisking until incorporated before adding more.
  4. Strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring glass bowl or nonreactive bowl and cover, pressing plastic wrap directly onto surface. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours.

Cook’s note: Curd can be made 5 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Lemon Curd

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits

METHOD

  1. Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes. Note: cook long enough to thicken.
  2. Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.

Cooks’ note: Curd can be chilled up to 1 week.

Entrez Mon Ami

For Hanukkah Fran bought me a set of entremet cake pans, so of course, I had to try Zekner Ring Mold Setthem. As I had decided to make a clock face cake with mirror glaze for New Year’s eve I thought this would be a good chance to try both. I made a chocolate cake with chocolate mirror glaze for Kathy’s birthday and fresh strawberry entremet cakes for our Christmas celebration at Karen’s.

small Fresh Strawberry Cake 1

I added a little red food coloring to the strawberry cake and green to the whipped cream frosting to so they were looking a lot like Christmas, everywhere we go. I thought the texture of the strawberry cake was a little close. I may try a lighter cake and add chopped strawberries next time.

Choc cakes8

 

I crumb coated the chocolate entremet and probably wouldn’t do that again. The idea is to make the cake as smooth as possible so the mirror glaze will be smooth when completed. The buttercream crumb coat was too slippery for the glaze to adhere properly. Maybe next time, just two coats of mirror, if needed at all.

Fresh Strawberry Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing pans
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups (about 14 7/8 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half (equal parts heavy cream and milk to make ¾ cup)
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries (about 7 oz.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red liquid food coloring

METHOD

  1. Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat sugar and butter with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time; beat on low speed just until incorporated after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add to sugar mixture alternately with half-and-half, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat on low speed just until combined after each addition. Fold in strawberries and red food coloring.
  3. Divide batter evenly among 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  4. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire racks to cool completely, about 1 hour.

 

Chocolate Mirror Glaze

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 g gelatin sheets
  • 125 g water = ¼ cup to bloom gelatin
  • 225 granulated sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 150 g chocolate
  • 65 g heavy cream

METHOD

  1. Bloom gelatin in ¼ cup cool water (about 10 minutes)
  2. Add and mix sugar and 125 g water in a large saucepan
  3. Heat to 104C (219F) remove from heat
  4. Add 150 g finely chopped chocolate and mix until dissolved
  5. Add 30g cocoa powder and whisk until dissolved
  6. 65 g heavy cream and mix
  7. Cool to 60C (140F) add gelatin, mix until dissolved
  8. Sieve to remove any remaining lumps
  9. Immersion blend to smooth
  10. Sieve to remove any bubbles
  11. Cool to 32C (90F)
  12. Pour over cake being sure to coat the sides thoroughly

Gelatin Conversions

  • 1 (0.25 oz.) envelope granulated gelatin = 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin = 3 sheets leaf gelatin.
  • One package (1 tablespoon) of powdered gelatin equals 4 sheets.
  • 4 sheets leaf gelatin = 1 (.25 oz) envelope granulated gelatin = 1 tablespoon granulated gelatin; Agar-Agar, which is an alga based jellifying agent

Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
  2. Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in the boiling water by hand. Pour evenly into the two prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.