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.

Good for the Soul

Some people say confession is good for the soul. They may be right but there is no question chocolate is. However, I do have a confession to make. Actually, I have two (at least two) confessions to make.

Fran, my wife of nearly, well let’s just say many, years, frequently tells me due to my New England heritage and upbringing I am a frugal person. Actually, she uses another word, frugal is mine. I acknowledge she is correct, but I contend that’s not a bad thing. For example, I found three 6 ounce bags of Scharffen Berger bittersweet (70% cacao) chocolate that bloomed while stored in the cupboard. As everyone knows chocolate bloom can be repaired by melting the chocolate and allowing it to re-crystallize.

Now I confess (#1) it seemed a waste for me to spend the time and energy, meaning expensive natural gas, to melt and re-crystallize the chocolate with nothing to show for the effort. Not only would it be wasteful, according to Fran, it would be contrary to my nature. Luckily, I recently acquired a new chocolate mold and had all the ingredients in the cupboard to make some peppermint cream filling. This allowed me to finish up the chocolate and test the new mold.

New Bullet Shaped Poly Carbonate Mold

After golf this morning I frugally decided to make some filled chocolates. I tempered and thereby repaired, all 18 ounces and made some peppermint cream filled candies.

The round candy is peppermint from the new mold. The cubes are caramels.

Unfortunately, there was too much tempered chocolate left over, but with my lucky streak intact I had some extra caramel from another batch of candies I made a couple of weeks ago. I dipped 20 caramel cubes in the remaining chocolate and set them aside to cure.

At this point there was barely enough tempered chocolate to fill and seal the new mold to make one more batch. I now have peppermint and previously made vanilla and raspberry. I also confess (#2) what I never tried, but wanted to, was chocolate coated marshmallow creams. While “fluff” is very sweet, the bittersweet chocolate provides a nice balance, plus I have only made marshmallow at home once before and I like to practice. Unfortunately, I only needed a few ounces and the recipe I have makes almost 2 pints, most of which is now sealed and sitting on the counter.

The marshmallow filled chocolates didn’t cut well but the texture is evident

I was pleasantly surprised I could hold the chocolate in temper for the 30 minutes or so it took to make and cool the marshmallow. The chocolate temperature varied between 85 and 95 degrees as it sat on a double boiler. I checked the temperature frequently and turned the burner on briefly from time to time to keep the temperature fairly constant.

Marshmallow Recipe

INGREDIENTS
• 1/3 cup water
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup corn syrup or honey
• 3 large egg whites room temperature
• 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD
1. Place water, sugar, and corn syrup (or honey) in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine.
2. Insert a candy thermometer into the pot and heat over medium-high. Do not stir from this point on as crystals will form.
3. Ensure mixer bowl and whisk are completely grease free.
4. Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
5. When the sugar syrup reaches about 225°F, start whipping the egg whites to soft peaks. Approx 3-4mins.
6. When the whites are ready, the sugar syrup should be at 240°F. Remove from the heat, turn mixer to medium and very slowly and carefully pour the sugar syrup into the whites in a thin, steady stream.
7. Once all of the syrup is in, set mixer to medium/high and continue whipping. The whites will deflate at first, but they will thicken and fluff up.
8. Continue to whip for 7-8 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and glossy.
9. Add in vanilla and whip until the fluff has cooled.
10. Pour into an airtight container and store for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.

There’s Chocolate, Then There’s Chocolate

Sigh, there are many, many varieties of chocolate, and so little time.

I am a fan of dark chocolate, (not intense 85%+ cacoa but a nice 52-70%.) I find the flavor more intense than milk chocolate (34%) and of course there are the currently purported health benefits of dark chocolate. Not only do I have to contend with percent cacao but also many different manufacturers. I should probably create a spreadsheet for them all.

I am also experimenting with fillings for chocolate candies, a tough job, but someone really should do it. Last month I made two new fillings, buttercream and fresh raspberry/chocolate ganache. Both were excellent, but I wanted some candies with a soft gooey filling.

This morning I made a batch with some Guittard 46% semi-sweet baking chips I picked up at the grocery story a couple of weeks ago. I thought these might be a good compromise between the dark that I like and the milk chocolate that Fran prefers.

I tempered the chocolate, coated the inside of a heart shaped silicone mold and let it cure. This morning I made a batch of cream filling and divided it into two. One was flavored with peppermint to make some gooey peppermint patties, the other with vanilla for plain vanilla chocolates.

I want to make this same recipe but flavor with fresh strawberry or raspberry or orange ganache. I am experimenting with fillings as much as I am with different chocolates.

Homemade Peppermint or Vanilla Patties

INGREDIENTS

• ½ – ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk (amount depends on desired consistency)

• 1 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract (optional)

• 339g (3 cups) powdered sugar

Optional Dipping Chocolate or use tempered chocolate in mold

• 8 ounces dark chocolate chopped

• 2 teaspoons oil

METHOD

1. In a medium size bowl mix the sweetened condensed milk, peppermint extract, and powdered sugar together. Add more sweetened condensed milk until mixed to viscosity desired.

2. Divide dough into number of flavors desired and place each portion in a small bowl

3. Add flavorings and mix well.

4. Pipe filling to fill each chocolate well to within 1/8” of the top of the well

5. Let set for 10 minutes

6. Add enough tempered chocolate to each well to seal the filling inside.

7. Scape bottom of mold to remove excess chocolate

8. Store the peppermint patties in the fridge until ready to be served! Enjoy!

A Truffle Trifle

After I finished the caramels and before the chocolate lost its temper (and had a hissy fit) I coated the inside of a silicone candy mold with the leftover chocolate. I left it in the fridge until today. (I should have taken a picture before filling. Dang!)

Beyond what I used to coat the mold I had some chocolate left over from making the chocolate coated caramels and thought, “Hmmm… I also have some raspberries in the fridge that I need to use soon.” Well, one thing led to another so I made some chocolate covered raspberry/chocolate truffles.

I made the raspberry ganache using the recipe below, filled each well of the mold leaving some room at the top to cover with more chocolate. I didn’t bother re-tempering the tops of the chocolates and they seem fine. Actually, the tops become the bottoms of the chocolates once they are removed from the mold.

The ganache stays nice and soft and the raspberry/chocolate flavor was excellent. I may try less chocolate in the ganache next time to make the flavor a bit more raspberry forward.

I also want a nice chocolate covered vanilla cream center, and maybe a nice peppermint filling too.

Chocolate Raspberry Truffles Recipe
INGREDIENTS
• 1 package (10 oz.) fresh raspberries
• 1/4 cup powdered sugar
• 1 lb. semisweet chocolate chips – try with 1⁄2 lb. chocolate chips
• 3/4 cup cream
• 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
• One candy mold coated with tempered chocolate
OR Alternatively
• 1 lb. chocolate candy coating (for dipping)


METHOD

  1. Blend or food process the raspberries until they are liquid. Sieve the raspberry puree into a small saucepan.
  2. Add the powdered sugar to the raspberry puree and heat it over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it is thick and syrupy and reduced by about half. Remove the puree from heat and set aside.
  3. Place the chocolate chips in a large bowl and heat the cream (I microwave in 30 sec intervals) until bubbles start to form around the edges, but do not allow it to come to a full boil. Once simmering, pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit for a minute or two to soften and melt the chocolate before whisking the chocolate and cream together gently, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and homogenous.
  4. Add the corn syrup and raspberry puree to the chocolate mixture, and whisk it all together. Cover the surface of the raspberry ganache with cling wrap, and refrigerate until it is thickened.
  5. Add enough raspberry ganache to each tempered chocolate coated mold to within 1/8” of the top. Cover the top of each mold well with melted chocolate. It doesn’t appear to need to be tempered at this point. Chill and when nearly softened scape the bottom of the mold to remove excess chocolate.
    If you are going to dip the raspberry ganache in chocolate chill until it can be formed in small balls (1” or less diameter) and placed on a lined cookie sheet
  6. Alternative coating method:
  7. Using dipping tools or a fork, dip a truffle into the chocolate. Bring it out of the chocolate and allow the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place the coated truffle back onto the baking sheet and repeat with remaining truffles and chocolate.
  8. Place the truffles in the refrigerator to set the candy coating for about 30 minutes. If desired, you can melt red candy coating (or tint white coating with red candy coloring) and drizzle a small amount over the truffles decoratively.
  9. Place the candy coating in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in one-minute increments until melted, stirring after every minute to prevent overheating. Stir until the coating is completely smooth. Allow the coating to cool until it is barely warm. Do not let it start setting up, but let it cool down so that it does not melt the truffle fillings.
  10. Chocolate raspberry truffles can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Caramel on the Bay

It’s that time of year again. No, not a trip to Carmel, it’s time for chocolate covered caramel candies. I made a single recipe and formed it into a block 8”x8”x0.75”.

The block was cut into strips, about 1”x4” and those in turn were cut into small pieces for incorporation into the tempered chocolate. I have several silicone molds that require different sized caramels.

Each well of the mold was filled (about 4 at a time) and a piece of caramel was pushed into the well and covered. Once the chocolate hardened the excess was scraped off.

The extra caramel was cut into small pieces, wrapped in wax paper to be eaten, or given away.

CARAMELS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 pound brown sugar (2 cups)
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup (288g) light corn syrup
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

METHOD

  1. Melt the butter in 3 quart or larger saucepan.
  2. Add the brown sugar and salt and combine. Stir in the corn syrup, mix well.
  3. Gradually add the sweetened condensed milk, stirring constantly.
  4. Cook and stir over medium heat to firm ball stage (245°F) for harder caramels, 240°F for softer.
  5. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour into 9×9″ parchment-lined pan.
  6. Cool, cut into pieces and wrap in wax paper.

Tempering Chocolate

Stir constantly during the steps and avoid having moisture from coming in direct contact with the chocolate:

  1. Melt chocolate, in a double boiler, to the following temperatures as measured with a chocolate thermometer: Dark 120°F, Milk 115°F, White 110°F.
  2. Cool chocolate to the following temperatures: Dark 82°F, Milk 80°F, White 78°F.
  3. Reheat chocolate to the following temperatures: Dark 90°F, Milk 86°F, White 82°F.

It is now tempered.

KEEP CHOCOLATE IN TEMPER: Ideal temperatures are: Dark 88-90°F, Milk 86-88 degrees F, and white 82-84°F. If the chocolate hardens, you must start the tempering process again.

NOT Caramel by the Sea

I had some leftover caramel in the fridge. It was (almost) too soft to fill chocolates (see below) but too thick to top ice cream. What a dilemma! Over the weekend I re-heated it, being sure it was 248 degrees then poured it into a hemispherical silicone mold.

I have been practicing chocolate work so I figured this would be a good way to conserve caramel and increase tempering skills, and have some chocolates for quality control consumption.

As I said, I poured the 248F liquid caramel into a mold then tossed the mold into the fridge to set. I weighed and chopped 250 grams of semi-sweet dark chocolate. You want the chocolate to be very fine so it will melt easily during the tempering. Dark chocolate is tempered by melting about 2/3rds of the chopped chocolate in a bain-marie to 120F.
Remove Chocolate covered Caramel 1from the heat and add the remaining chocolate a little at a time waiting for each addition to melt. If after all the chocolate is added and melted the temperature is still above 82F stir until it cools to 82F. Then place it back on the barely simmering bain-marie until
it reaches 85-86F. Remove the pot containing the water and the bowl holding the melted chocolate and place it next to the caramel to be dipped. The temperature of the chocolate will continue to rise a few degrees and should hold at 88F to 90F. Dip each piece of caramel, or whatever you are coating, lift it out with a fork, drain and place on waxed paper. Repeat, repeat, repeat…

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I had some leftover chocolate so put some in a piping bag and set it aside to cool slightly. The rest I poured in the cleaned silicone mold to make some nice hard chocolate candies, or to re-melt sometime in the future. Who knows, I may decide to make more caramel to use up the extra chocolate I have waiting in the fridge.

Chocolate covered Caramel 2

When the chocolate in the piping bag was cooler but not set I snipped the end off and drizzled the lines of chocolate over the dipped chocolate to add some character.

A week ago I tried to make some chocolates for Fran’s Mah Jongg group by using the still soft caramel. They looked pretty, but it was hit or miss if there was much caramel in the chocolate candy. I also used milk chocolate which is much harder to work than the dark semi-sweet. Next I think I should make some more caramel, or maybe nougat and practice with the milk chocolate.

Chocolate covered Caramel 3

 

Baking in Jammies?

No, not quite. Maybe it should read “Baking With Jammies,” or “Incorporating Fruit Jammies in Your Baking,” or in this case “How I Made Strawberry Jammies to Incorporate in Strawberry Brownies.”

Recently, meaning within the last 4 months, I bought some Raspberry Jammy Bits from KAF to use in making some Raspberry Brownies. They were soooo good and added extra moisture, chewiness and flavor to the brownies, I decided to make them myself. Short story shorter: it didn’t go well. They didn’t gel adequately to form into little sugar-coated bits which would retain some integrity during baking. I ended up storing them in the trash bin.

Even more recently, as in last week, I had some leftover strawberries and decided to give image1it another go. I pureed 2 cups of hulled strawberries and heated it to boiling in a medium saucepan, added 2 Tbl of fruit pectin and mixed until dissolved before adding 2 cups of sugar.  The mixture was cooked over medium-low heat (just boiling) and stirred very frequently. Once it reached 2250 F, I spread it ⅛” to ¼” thick on a caster sugar coated silicone sheet and placed it in the freezer.

After an hour I coated the top of the still tacky spread with more caster sugar. The mixture was still too sticky to cut easily. Using a pizza wheel, I managed, while using some very short words)  to cut half of the spread both lengthwise and crosswise into bits, which I then rolled in more sugar and placed back on the silicone sheet. The strawberry jammy bits were useable but not great.

image2Undeterred, I tossed the second half of the spread back in a small saucepan and cooked for another 10 minutes or so. My candy thermometer died so had to guess the temperature. One trick I remember is to note how long it takes for the stirring marks to disappear. When I first started the second cooking, after the jam started to boil, the marks would disappear in 5 seconds. After 10 min of a quiet boil they remained 7-10 seconds and the jam spun as a wh0le around the spatula. I spread the twice cooked jam back on the silicone and froze again.

An hour later the spread solidified to a crack. I let it warm at room temperature for a few minutes to soften and was able to cut it with the pizza wheel. Actually, this version was just about the correct viscosity (or jamminess) and I could cut it with a long knife, cleaning in hot water and drying between cuts. Roll in more sugar and store in a air tight container in the freezer. Checking a few days later they are still semi-soft and have not fused back into a blob.

image4

Adding the DIY Strawberry Jammy Bits and some chocolate chips to the brownie batter before baking (good alliteration, huh?) resulted in spectacular brownies (NOTE: Do NOT overbake!! The middle of the pan should feel very soft and the edges should look cooked. Don’t let the middle bake to firmness, the brownies will be over baked.)

Fruit Jammy Bit Brownies

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups Berries (I have now used Rasp and Straw Berries and will try others)
  • 2 TBL Fruit Pectin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Caster sugar (Extra Fine) for coating

METHOD

  1. Hull and puree strawberries
  2. Heat puree to barely boiling and add pectin
  3. Once pectin is incorporated add the sugar
  4. Continue boiling until mixing marks stay 7-10 seconds or about 235-2400F
  5. Spread mixture on caster sugar coated silicone mat and freeze
  6. Remove the sheet of fruit from the freezer and coat top with caster sugar
  7. Flip coated over onto a cutting board and coat the now top surface with more sugar
  8. When the fruit sheet is pliable cut into small squares (1/4” across) with a knife
  9. Toss the jammy bits into a bowl of sugar then store in an air-tight container in the freezer

Stairway to Raspberry Heaven

I saw a KAF recipe for Chocolate and Raspberry Brownie Bars. If you are a regular reader, you know I am baking about 800 one and two bite desserts for a fundraiser in March. Since brownies are baked in a sheet pan and cut to bite size, these brownies become a relatively easy way to make 4 dozen desserts (or about 6%) at once.F677178C-384A-4527-AFD1-0640B7565AD4

Basically this is a brownie with both chocolate chips and raspberry jammy bits folded into the batter and coated with a heavy layer of ganache. Once baked, and still warm a thinned coating of seedless raspberry jam is spread over the brownies. (Don’t over bake the brownies!) I cooled the coated brownies in the fridge for a while as I made and cooled to thicken the ganache.

While not essential topping with a raspberry and dusted with confectioners sugar really set this dessert off. (Rats, just ended that sentence with a preposition.)

CHOCOLATE AND RASPBERRY BROWNIE BARS

INGREDIENTS

BROWNIES

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups dark cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Raspberry Jammy Bits
  • 3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon  water

CHOCOLATE GANACHE GLAZE

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoons light corn syrup (20g)
  • 2 2/3 cups (400 g)) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan. To make very even bars, line the pan with aluminum foil before baking, leaving foil sticking up above the edges of the pan.
  2. Crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the sugar and melted butter, stirring until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, chips, and Jammy Bits, again stirring well.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look moist, but not uncooked. Do not overbake! Remove them from the oven.
  7. Heat the seedless raspberry jam with the water, and stir until smooth. Brush over the warm brownies. Set aside to cool for an hour or longer before topping with the ganache.
  8. To make the ganache, heat the cream and corn syrup until they begin to steam. Pour over the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes, add any flavorings, and whisk until smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes or so.
  9. Pour ganache over the brownies while it’s still warm, but has begun to thicken — reheat if it thickens too much as you work. Allow several hours for the ganache to set up fully. You may refrigerate the brownies to hasten the setting of the ganache.
  10. Remove the brownies from the pan using the aluminum foil sling. Heat a knife in hot water, wipe dry and use to cut the brownies. Repeat with each cut.
  11. Just before serving, garnish brownies with fresh raspberries and confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

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!

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.