In a continuing search for places to use chocolate I found Chocolate Torsades. The name derives from the French ‘tornado’ for ‘twist.’
There really isn’t a recipe for this. I used my creme patisserie recipe from the eclairs, (I had some left over.) I also had a leftover sheet of puff pastry, and of course lots of existing chocolate. (Still trying to exhaust the old stock.)
French Chocolate Torsades (Puff Pastry Twists)
INGREDIENTS • 4 egg yolks • 1/2 cup of sugar • 2 tablespoons of flour • 1 1/2 cups of milk • 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla • 1 tablespoon of butter • 1/4 teaspoon of salt • 1 sheet Puff pastry (270 g) • Chocolate chips dark or milk • 1 egg for egg wash • Sparkling sugar
METHOD For the custard
Whisk eggs and milk together and add to all other ingredients (except vanilla) to a medium saucepan.
Bring to boil whisking constantly
Cook until thickened (it will look lumpy, its ok)
Sieve lumpy mixture into a bowl and add 1 tsp vanilla, mix thoroughly
When incorporated, cover with plastic directly on the cream and cool.
For the Chocolate Torsades
Preheat oven to 410 degrees (215 Celsius)
Roll out puff pastry about 14 inches long or just use the store bought roll
Spread a thin layer of the vanilla custard on top
Sprinkle chocolate chips on top
Fold in half and cut into strips
Twist each strip a few times to create the twist
Whisk one egg in a small bowl and brush the tops of the twists with the egg wash
Place chocolate torsades on baking sheet with parchment paper
Sprinkle with sparkling sugar
Bake at 400 degrees (215 Celsius) for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
You don’t hear it mentioned often, but there is a major problem with the game of golf. Although it is possible the problem is with those who play golf.
I play three times a week, which means there are four mornings a week that I don’t play golf and therein lies the problem. What am I going to do with those four mornings?
Sadly, sort of, I saw a new recipe for cinnamon buns this week, and I am not playing golf this morning…. so.
King Arthur Baking published this recipe for Perfectly Pillowy Cinnamon Buns. Often, once the bun cools, while still flavorful, it becomes more dense. Not these! They remain soft and fresh up to four days after baking. The secret is using a tangzhong in the dough batter. Tangzhong is a mix of milk and flour which is mixed and heated to a thick paste before adding the rest of the dough ingredients. It’s easy, you only need to know to do it.
I made the recipe as listed below, except not having whole milk I mixed 2% milk and whipping cream in a 80:20 ratio. I also only used the cream for the icing. The result is outstanding! We are waiting for the QC report, but manufacturing gives these rolls a big thumbs up!
Tangzhong • 1/2 cup (113g) whole milk • 3 tablespoons (23g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
Dough • 2/3 cup (151g) whole milk, cold • 2 1/2 cups (300g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour • 1 teaspoon salt • 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar • 2 teaspoons instant yeast • 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, softened
Filling • 1 tablespoon (14g) butter, melted • 1/2 cup (107g) light brown sugar, packed • 2 tablespoons (15g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour • 4 teaspoons (10g) cinnamon • 1/16 teaspoon (pinch) salt
Icing • 3 tablespoons (42g) butter, melted, divided • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1/16 teaspoon (pinch) salt • 1 1/2 cups (170g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted • 1 to 2 tablespoons (14g to 28g) milk, cream, or buttermilk; enough to thin to desired consistency
To make the tangzhong: Combine both the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until thickened, paste-like, and the spoon or spatula leaves lines on the bottom of the pan. This should take 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the strength of your burner.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl, the bowl of a stand mixer, or the bucket of a bread machine (whatever you plan to knead the dough in).
To make the dough: Add the ingredients to the mixing bowl in the order listed; the heat from the tangzhong will help to warm the cold milk.
Mix — by hand, on low speed of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, or in a bread machine set to the dough cycle — to bring the dough together. Next, knead the dough until it’s smooth, elastic, and tacky. This will take up to 15 minutes by hand, 10 to 12 minutes on medium-low speed of a mixer, or the length of the dough cycle in a bread machine.
Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a reusable cover.
Let the dough rise until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 60 to 90 minutes (depending on the warmth of your kitchen).
To make the filling: While the dough is rising, put the melted butter into a medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients, stirring until the mixture is the texture of damp sand. Set aside.
To assemble the rolls: Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and press it into a 10” x 12” rectangle that’s about 1/2” thick. For evenly shaped rolls, try to pat the dough into an actual rectangle (with corners), rather than an oval.
Sprinkle the filling over the dough, covering all but a 1/2” strip along one long side.
Starting with the filling-covered long side, roll the dough into a log.
Score the dough lightly into eight equal 1 1/2” to 2” pieces. Cut the dough at the score marks, using dental floss for the cleanest cut. If you don’t have dental floss, a bench knife or sharp knife will work.
Place the rolls onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them so there’s at least 2” between each one and they’re 2” away from the edges of the pan; a 3-2-3 arrangement works well. To prevent them from unraveling while they rise and bake, tuck the ends of the spirals underneath the rolls so that they’re held in place.
Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap or a reusable cover and let them rise for 30 to 60 minutes (depending on the warmth of your kitchen). The rolls should be puffy and the dough shouldn’t bounce back immediately when gently pressed.
About 20 minutes before you’re ready to bake, position a rack in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the rolls for 14 to 18 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of one roll reads 190°F. Bake for the lesser amount of time for extra-soft rolls, and the longer amount of time for rolls with a bit more color and slightly firmer texture.
Remove the rolls from the oven, place the pan on a rack, and brush the hot rolls with 1 1/2 tablespoons (21g) of the melted butter. Let the rolls cool for 10 to 15 minutes before icing.
To make the icing: Combine the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (21g) melted butter with the remaining icing ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing with a spatula until smooth.
Ice the rolls and serve immediately. If you’re planning to serve the rolls later, wait to ice them until just before serving. Store icing at room temperature, tightly covered, until you’re ready to use it.
Store completely cooled rolls, un-iced and well wrapped, for a couple of days at room temperature; or freeze for up to 1 month.
To reheat leftover rolls: These rolls stay wonderfully soft for at least 3 days. The best way to enjoy them for breakfast is to bake them the day before, store them tightly sealed (and un-iced) at room temperature overnight, then the next morning lightly cover the rolls with foil and warm them in a 300°F to 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Spread with icing and enjoy.
Tips from the KAB Bakers
With origins in Japan’s yukone (or yudane), tangzhong is a yeast bread technique popularized across Asia by Chinese cookbook author Yvonne Chen. Tangzhong involves cooking some of a bread recipe’s flour in liquid prior to adding it to the remaining dough ingredients. Bringing the temperature of the flour and liquid to 65°C (149°F) pre-gelatinizes the flour’s starches, which makes them more able to retain liquid — thus enhancing the resulting loaf’s softness and shelf life.
These rolls are bakery-sized, meaning big enough to enjoy as an indulgent breakfast or snack. For smaller-sized rolls perfect for a side dish at brunch, score and divide the dough into ten 1” to 1 1/2” pieces and bake for 13 to 16 minutes.
Do you enjoy your cinnamon rolls with tangy, thick cream cheese frosting instead of vanilla icing? Stir in 4 to 6 tablespoons (57g to 90g) softened cream cheese to the icing along with the other ingredients. The softer the cream cheese is, the easier this will be to do. Resist the urge to add more than 2 teaspoons of milk until the icing is fully mixed. If it’s too thick for your liking, add more milk a teaspoon at a time to get it to the consistency you prefer.
Wondering about all the liquid choices for thinning the frosting? Milk is certainly the most convenient, but if you have cream or buttermilk, the former will add an extra layer of richness, while the latter will add a subtle tang to balance out the sweetness.
So, I started the morning with Pain Au Chocolat, (making, not eating.) I have some opened chocolate I need to use before I open the new bag. To me, baking is a hobby so I like to make everything I can from scratch. I don’t use mixes or other short cuts…. except for puff pastry. In the past I made puff pastry a few times and must admit that what I make is not nearly as good as what is available in the super market.
I buy two brands of puff pastry. Trader Joe sells a box with two 10”x10” sheets. TJ’s is good when you don’t want a huge puff when baked. If you knock it before baking it will puff less than 100%, which is what I used for todays pastry. Pepperidge Farms puff pastry also comes in two sheets per box, but each sheet is conveniently individually wrapped. This pastry puffs 200% if baked without knocking, a little less if you do. Pepperidge Farms is available year round, while TJ’s is only available from roughly Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Buy a few boxes and put them in the bottom of your freezer. I do.
Using Trader Joe’s puff pastry makes Pain Au Chocolat a snap. There is the added benefit it is also delicious.
Pain au Chocolate
INGREDIENTS Puff pastry (Trader Joe’s) Chocolate ( I used Guittard’s 63%) Confectioner’s sugar
Roll out puff pastry
Dust with confectioner’s sugar
Cut into 2” wide (Trader Joe’s Puff Pastry – cut 5 long strips, then cut each in half)
Lay chocolate at one end, roll one time, press down gently and roll again, press gently again
Add second row of chocolate and roll one last time, press gently
Chill overnight or at least 2 hours.
Brush with egg wash
Bake 360 deg 20-25 min on parchment lined baking sheet
On a visit to a Restaurant Depot my Q.C. Department convinced me to buy 11 lbs of bulk Chocolat de Couverture Noir. (64% is dark chocolate is not very bitter. I use 73% for dark bitter chocolate.) My question is… what should I make with it?
I am thinking Pain au Chocolat, chocolate croissants, chocolate chip cookies and/or brownies. Note the fluidity on the package. This chocolate is suitable for coating caramel, creams, berries and other confections.
Last year I made an over the top chocolate/orange tart. My neighbor’s orange tree has a abundance of oranges too high up for her to harvest. Hmmm……
Maybe something I made before: Eclairs? Chocolate Babka? Soufflés? Chocolate pudding? (Try the easy home made chocolate pudding recipe.) Chocolate chip scones? Lava Cake? Chocolate Fudge? Oh yes, chocolate fudge!!! (Maybe chocolate/peanut butter fudge, the QC department doesn’t like Chocolate/peanut butter fudge.)
It’s Wednesday and I don’t (usually) play golf on Wednesday. What will I do to occupy my time? What will I do? Well, I froze some choux pastry a couple of months ago, just to have some for an emergency. Choux freezes well but should be used within a few months. Plus I had some leftover chocolate glaze. All I needed was some creme patisserie (which I made before dawn today,) and I could have some eclairs! (I also made a loaf of bread later in the morning.) A very full day!!
I am not sure there is much better than a fresh, warm, chocolate babka. For anyone who is unfamiliar with this bread/pastry/cake I strongly suggest you don’t wait but either make or buy a loaf. Warning, this recipe could ruin you for store bought.
I was going to take a few pictures to illustrate how to make and shape a babka, but the woman who posted this recipe did a great job of it. https://prettysimplesweet.com/shaping-babka. Copy and paste this link into your browser for details.
INGREDIENTS For the dough: • 3¾ cups (530 g) all-purpose flour , plus extra for dusting • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar • 1 tablespoon (10g) instant yeast • 3 large eggs • ½ cup (120 ml) water • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt • ⅔ cup (150 g) unsalted butter , at room temperature, cut into small cubes • Neutral oil (sunflower, canola) for dressing For the chocolate filling: • ½ cup (50 g) powdered sugar • ⅓ cup (30 g) unsweetened cocoa powder • 130 g dark chocolate , melted* • ½ cup (120 g) unsalted butter , melted • ⅔ cup (120 g) chocolate chips or chunks OR 1 cup (100g/3.5oz) pecans, coarsely chopped (optional) For the sugar syrup: • ½ cup (120ml) water • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
METHOD Making the dough:
Place flour, sugar, and yeast in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed until combined. Add eggs and water, and mix on medium speed until dough comes together, 2-3 minutes. Add salt, then butter, adding a few cubes at a time, mixing until incorporated. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes on medium speed, until dough is completely smooth, elastic, shiny, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. During mixing, you will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Place dough in a large bowl brushed with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge for at least half a day or overnight.
Grease two loaf pans (9×4 inch) with oil and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Divide dough in half and keep one half covered in the fridge. Making the filling:
Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate, and butter until you have a spreadable paste.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle measuring 15×11 inches. Position dough so that a long side is closest to you. Using an offset spatula, spread half of the chocolate mixture over the rectangle, leaving a ¾ inch border all around. Sprinkle half of the pecans or chocolate chips on top of the chocolate. Shaping the dough:
Use both hands to roll up the rectangle like a roulade, starting from the long side closest to you and ending at the other long end. Press to seal the dampened end onto the roulade, then use both hands to even out the roll into a perfect thick cigar. Rest the cigar on its seam.
Trim about ¾ inch off both ends of the roulade with a serrated knife. Then use the knife to gently cut the roll in half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing at the seam, essentially dividing the log into two long even halves, with the layers of dough and filling visible along the length of both halves. With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, then lift the right half over the left half. Repeat this process, but this time lifting the left half over the right, to create a simple two-pronged plait. Gently squeeze together the other ends so that you are left with the two halves, intertwined, showing the filling on top. Carefully lift the cake into a loaf pan. Don’t worry if there are gaps in the pan since the cake will rise and will eventually look fine, even if you feel like it’s messy at this point. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1½ hours. Repeat to make the second cake.
Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C, making sure to allow plenty of time for it to heat fully before the cakes have finished rising. Remove plastic wrap or tea towels, place cakes on middle rack of oven, and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean with no dough attached.
While the cakes are in the oven, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring water and sugar to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from heat and set aside to cool. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, brush the syrup over them. Use all of the syrup, even if it looks a lot. Let cakes cool until they are warm, then remove from pans and let cool completely before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Babka will stay fresh for 24 hours in an airtight container at room temperature. Don’t place in the fridge.
Babka freezes well for up to 2 months. To thaw, leave on counter or overnight in the fridge.
To melt butter and chocolate, place them in a heat-proof bowl, and heat in the microwave in 20 second-intervals, stirring in between each interval, until melted and smooth (or alternatively, set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally).
I recently picked another quart of blackberries from my garden and decided some fresh blackberry muffins would be a nice treat. Actually, half of the QA department thought it was a good idea and why would I object?
I found this recipe from an Oregon blackberry grower—how could I go wrong? I actually saw the same ingredients, ratios and method on several websites. Well, they all got it right. These are easy, quick and delicious.
Although the blackberries were fresh from the garden I froze them for a couple of hours. This kept the blackberry juice from diffusing out into the muffin batter. I also cut them in half to help the dispersion throughout the batter.
BLACKBERRY MUFFINS INGREDIENTS
FOR THE BATTTER • ½ C all-purpose flour • ¾ C sugar • ½ t salt • 2 t baking powder • ⅓ C vegetable oil • 1 egg • 1 t vanilla extract • ⅓ – ½ C milk • 1 C fresh frozen blackberries or fresh (cut in half)
FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING • ½ C sugar • ⅓ C all-purpose flour • ¼ C butter melted • 1 t ground cinnamon • Optional – ½ t ground cardamom METHOD
Preheat oven to 400°F .
Grease a muffin tin or line with muffin liners.
Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
Add oil to a 1 cup measuring cup. Add egg and enough milk (⅓ – ½ cup) to fill to 1-cup line. Add vanilla and almond extract (if using) and whisk to combine.
Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in blackberries. To Make Streusel Topping:
Mix together sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and cardamom with a fork until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over muffins before baking.
Divide batter evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle with streusel topping.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. When muffins are done, cool for a few minutes in the muffin pan before removing to cool on a wire rack.
My friend, Maggie, and I have been trading recipes, tips and techniques for a while now. A couple of weeks ago she sent me this recipe for her biscuits, and it is outstanding. Making the batter takes 10-15 minutes, then 15 minutes in the oven and they are ready.
I followed her method exactly, except I cut the biscuits out with a 2” circular cutter. I then bunched the leftovers into a ball, patted them out and re-cut, twice. This provide a good sample for our Quality Assurance Department, who graded them A+
Maggie’s Six Biscuits
INGREDIENTS • 1 tsp Baking Soda • 1 tsp Salt • 1 tsp Sugar • 1⁄2 tsp Baking Powder • 1 1/2 c AP Flour • 1 stick Cold Butter • 3/4 Sour Milk or Buttermilk (I soured whole milk with a bit o’lemon juice)
Mix the dry ingredients.
Cut in the butter (fingers or pastry thingie, your choice) til it’s a shaggy mess … remembering that the less it’s messed with the flakier it’ll be.
Once it’s at the shaggy mess stage begin adding the liquid a bit at a time until it’s a soft dough … keeping in mind then”remembering” bit notes above.
Knead it a tiny bit.
Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, pat it into a rectangle about 1/2” high, spread some melted butter on it,
Fold in half, pat it into a rectangle about 1” high, spread some melted butter on it.
Cut into 6 pieces, place on parchment papered baking sheet, bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.
We saw a recipe for strawberry popovers from William Sonoma. I decided to try straw, black and rasp berry popovers. While the taste was spot on, the moisture from the berries retarded the bake on the bottom, resulting in the dreaded soggy bottom. I will try again with some freeze dried berries. Luckily, I also made vanilla ice cream to fill the hole where the popover collapsed from the excess moisture. It won’t fix the problem, but who cares?
The flavor and texture of the popover was very good. Can’t wait to try them with the ice cream! Oh, and I didn’t have any mascarpone cheese, hence the vanilla ice cream.
• 1 ½ cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk • 4 eggs • 1 ½ cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) all-purpose flour • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest • 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted • 8 strawberries, hulled and very thinly sliced • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting For the mascarpone whipped cream (optional): • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream • ½ cup (4 oz./125 g) mascarpone cheese • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Place a standard 12-well muffin pan in an oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C).
In a blender, combine the milk and eggs and blend on high speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, granulated sugar, salt, lemon zest and vanilla bean paste and blend on high speed until combined, about 30 seconds, stopping the blender to scrape down the sides as needed. Add the melted butter and blend on high speed for 30 seconds.
Remove the pan from the oven and spray the wells with nonstick cooking spray. Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the prepared wells, filling each about three-fourths full. For each popover, place 4 strawberry slices on the surface of the batter.
Bake the popovers for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C). Continue to bake until the popovers are deep golden brown and the strawberries look slightly dehydrated, 10 to 15 minutes more.
While the popovers are baking, make the mascarpone whipped cream, if desired. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Add the mascarpone cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla and beat until medium peaks form, about 10 seconds.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the popovers cool in the pan for 3 minutes, then dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Using an offset spatula, remove the popovers from the muffin pan. Serve warm with the mascarpone whipped cream, if desired. Makes 12 popovers.
I have been baking a lot of bread recently. With the self-isolation, several of our friends were unable to find bread in the nearly empty supermarkets and as I really like to bake I am giving a lot of bread away – a loaf or two a day. Luckily, I bought an extra 10 lbs of bread flour a couple of weeks ago, along with 5 lbs of AP flour and 4 lbs of sugar.
Today, I am taking a break from bread. I made a raspberry curd filled tart. I really like my chocolate tart with orange drizzle, but saw and adapted the Raspberry Curd to use with my tart shell. Luckily, the curd can be made in advance and refrigerated so today I only had to make the tart shell. (Don’t let me kid you. I also made 2 loaves of white sandwich bread for friends.)
Raspberry Curd • 3 cups raspberries • 1/2 cup sugar • 1 tsp Meyer lemon zest • 2 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice • 2 Tbsp water • 2 large egg yolks • 2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch • 1/8 tsp salt • 1 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, diced
Tart Shell • 100 g cold butter cut into small cubes • 200 g almond flour (I may increase this by 50g, not sure yet) • 60 g icing sugar • ½ tsp vanilla • ¼ tsp salt • 2 eggs (100g) Topping
For the raspberry curd, combine raspberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Bring mixture to a boil (about 5 minutes); reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Place in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Wipe pan clean and strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a cleaned pan and discard solids.
Whisk together egg yolks and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.
Stir yolk mixture into raspberry mixture; bring to a boil over medium-low heat (about 5 minutes). Be careful, the mixture can burn if heat it so high. If it does, do not scrape the bottom of the pan.
Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat (the mixture should coat the back of a spoon).
Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth.
Place curd into a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
Chill curd in the refrigerator at least 2 hours, or up to 1 week (if making in advance).
For the tart shell: Mix butter with sugar (I break up the chunks of butter by rubbing them into the sugar with my hands)
Add salt then vanilla
Add egg and mix well
Stir in flour. Mix by hand until incorporated. I did this in 3 parts mixing well between each.
Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 min until it firms up a bit.
Butter (spray) tartlet pan
Coat hands with flour and press the sticky dough into tart mold
Prick holes in bottom and sides of formed dough
Add pastry weights to the pan
Bake in preheated oven 350o F (175o C) for 17 – 20 min
Remove pastry weights with 5 min left in the bake
Remove pastry shells from pans and let cool on wire rack To assemble tart, spoon raspberry curd into cooled tart shell and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula.
Arrange raspberries over filling in a decorative pattern.