Monday, December 30, 2013

Hazelnut cake with chestnut mousse

There is only a day left in this year, so I wont keep you long since you probably have many things to do.
I just want to wish you happy, healthy and wonderful New Year. Enjoy the night with your family and friends.
I have some cooking to do, but I made a cake yesterday, and I would love to share it with you. Its joconde with hazelnuts that is soaked with rum, and the  filling is made with chestnut mousse and baileys liqueur. Sounds good, ha? Its a little bit booze, but its a New Years cake, so it should be like that :)))
It light, and flavorful. I wanted to add a chocolate layer, but, I changed my mind at the last minute. Chestnut should be the star here, so I didn't want anything else to distract me from its taste.

You will need 3 joconde layers. These are the ingredients for 1. You can triple the recipe, and bake all three at once, or you can bake them separately.
2 large eggs
75 gr sugar
75 gr. roasted and peeled hazelnuts
25 gr flour
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 tablespoon melted butter

If your hazelnuts are already roasted and peeled, mix them with sugar and pulse them in food processor until you get fine powder. 
Combine whole eggs with hazelnut sugar powder, and beat at medium speed until cream colored and light. Sift the flour over the beaten eggs.
In separate bowl, whip the eggs whites with 3 tablespoons of sugar until medium peeks form. Scoop one third of the meringue into the bowl with eggs, hazelnuts, and flour, and mix quickly. Add remaining meringue and gently fold. Slowly pour the melted butter and fold until the butter is uniformly mixed. Scoop the batter onto prepared 9 inch baking pan that has parchment paper on the bottom. Bake until the cake is lightly browned and firm, but not dry. 6-8 min. Cool completely. 

For brushing syrup mixture:
1/4 cup dark Jamaican rum
2 tablespoons water 
2 tablespoons sugar

For the filling:
3 tablespoons cold water
4 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin 
540 ml heavy cream
3 tablespoons baileys liqueur 

Combine water and sugar in butter melter and stir in the gelatin. Set it soften, than warm over low heat, stirring constantly until dissolves. Remove from the heat.
Pour the heavy cream into the mixer bowl and whip the cream until medium peaks.
Stir the baileys liqueur into the chestnut spread, then stir in the dissolved gelatin with a wire whisk. Fold whipped cream into the chestnut puree.
Place cake ring on a serving plate, put joconde on the bottom, brush with syrup, and put one third of the mousse on top. Repeat layering joconde, soaking syrup and chestnut filling.
Chill overnight to set the mousse. Decorate as you wish.
I did white chocolate collar and whipped cream.
Happy New Year everyone :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Snowflake cookies

Merry Christmas everyone :)
I hope you enjoyed the holidays with your family and friends, with good food, drink, and lots of laughter.
You probably exchanged gifts with loved ones.
I baked my gifts :)
Many, many of them. I had so many snowflake cookies, that I did not know where to put them anymore. Thats why this will be a blog post with the most pictures you have ever seen.
They are just adorable, and it was to hard for me to resist.

For these light sugar cookies, I used recipe from Make bake celebrate

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Mix softened butter with sugar. Add an egg, and vanilla and beat a little bit longer. Start adding flour, and mix until you get nice, soft dough. 
Preheat oven to 350F/180C and line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough between two peaces of parchment paper.

Cut out cookies. I used snowflake cookie cutters, but you can do any shape. Just dust them with the flour, so they dont stick to the cutter. Gather the leftover dough, kneed a bit, and repeat the process, until you use it up. Transfer snowflakes gently to the baking sheet, and freeze them for a few minutes. Bake them for 7 min if you want them really light, and a 1-2 min longer for golden color.

Cool them completely before you start decorating them with the royal icing.

Recipe for dark chocolate sugar cookies comes from Baking a moment. And for that cookie, you will need. 

1  1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 cups butter
1 tablespoon of oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch 
1 egg
1 teaspoons vanilla 

In large bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder. Set aside. 
Cream the butter, oil, and sugar until fluffy and pale, about 5 min. beat in the egg and vanilla.
Add flour and mix until thoroughly combined. 

Roll the dough between two peaces of parchment paper. Cut shapes using the cutters of your choice, and place them on the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake them for 10 min at 375F
Cool  completely before decorating. 

To decorate cookies, you will need royal icing.

Mix 250 gr of powder sugar with 1 egg white, and few drops of lemon juice. You can use pasterised egg whites.
It should have the consistency that is good for piping. If its to hard to pipe, you need to add few more drops of lemon juice. I used Wilton tip #2 , for these snowflakes. Make sure your icing is covered with wet cloth all the time, because it crusts easily. Decorate as desired. 

Let the icing set for at least one hour. 
Package them in cellophane bags for gifts, or use them as a decorations for Christmas tree :) 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Candy cane melting moments

Have you ever tried melting moments?
They do literary melt in your mouth. Its a short bread cute name cookie, and its taste relies on a good butter. Please, do not make it with shortening or margarine, you will ruin it. They are elegant, refined,  lovely, delicate, and for me they are the perfect Christmas cookies. Its not just tenderly melting cookie that I love. I love the filling. And you can really go crazy here. I cant decide which one I love the most.
Strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream?
Lemon curd? Chocolate ganache? Raspberry, passion fruit?
Possibilities are endless, whatever you like, goes well with it. These I made with crushed candy canes. Well its the season, so we are hoping that Santa would like them too ;)

For candy cane frosting:
250 ml. heavy whipping cream
250 gr. white chocolate
1 tablespoon of butter
6 peaces of crushed candy cane
peppermint extract to your liking

Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Just bring it to a boil, and pour it immediately over chopped chocolate. Let it stand for a few minutes. Stir gently until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add butter, stir until it melts and cool it in the fridge for two hours. You can even make it a day ahead.

For the cookie:
350 gr. room temperature butter
150 gr. sugar
350 gr. flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter, sugar  and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour sifted with cornstarch and fold it into the mixture. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star shaped piping nozzle. I used Ateco tip 827. Pipe rosettes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. You should be able to pipe it easily. If its hard, worm up piping bag with your hands for a min, to soften up the butter. Cool piped cookies in refrigerator for about 30 min before baking. You can skip this step, and bake them right away, but they will hold their shape better if cooled.
Bake at 350F/180C for about 12-13 min. They should be pale golden.

While your cookies are cooling, whip the ganache in which you have added peppermint extract. Whip until its frosting consistency. Be careful not to overwhip, it will turn into the butter. Add crushed candy cane, and pipe the frosting on one cookie. Gently sandwich it with another one. Sprinkle them with powder sugar, and enjoy.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Key lime pie

It's really, really cold in Chicago. Temperatures are below 0°C for the past few days. Tonight's real feel is expected to be -31. I love winter, and I love snow, but now its brutally cold, and I need not just comfort food, but something that will remind me of summer. I made this pie somewhere in July and it was hidden in my draft folder for a while. But it screams summer to me, and I had to post it now, and make my day sunnier. Its tart, refreshing, creamy, and its my picks me up dessert every time I have it.
Its a classic although I made it with graham cracker crust, and probably many of you have this recipe in their mothers and grandmothers handwritten notebooks. But I love it, and I need it in my virtual notebook. Especially today in this freezing cold.

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons powder sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F/180C
Mix graham crackers with powder sugar and melted butter. Press firmly into pie pan. Bake it for 15 min, or until crust starts browning. Remove from oven and cool.

For the custard:
2 cans sweetened condensed milk (396 gr each)
3/4 cup lime juice
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
grated organic lime peel (two limes or to your taste)
Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, lime peel and egg yolks, vanilla. Pour into cooled pie shell, and bake it for 20-25 min at 350F. The edges should be set, and the center should jiggle slightly. Remove from the oven and cool for 2 hours. Serve it with whipped cream, and imagine you are in Florida ;)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Quadruple Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake Cake

This cake should be considered dangerous. Its quadruple chocolate cake, with a flourless chocolate base, chocolate cheesecake layer, chocolate egg-less mousse, and chocolate ganache. Its chocolate explosion  in your mouth, and far better than I expected. Not too sweet, rich, just a pure chocolate lover's heaven. I wanted to make it for my birthday, and although I am almost a week late, I am happy with the choice.
Each layer is amazing, and I had hard time controlling myself not to eat them on their own. If you decide to make it, please use good chocolate, it really makes a difference. Chocolate is a star here.
Cake has 4 components, but it's easy to make, don't get discouraged. I baked first and second layer together, so it saved me some time. I promise you wont be disappointed.

For this cake you will need.

Flourless chocolate cake bottom
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
200 gr. bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
4 large eggs,
1 teaspoon vanilla
70 gr brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 325F/162C
Butter and line bottom and sides of 9 inch (22cm) pan with parchment paper. Over simmering water, melt the butter, chocolate and espresso powder, stirring occasionally until smooth. Allow to cool slightly, mix in egg yolks and vanilla. Beat egg whites until frothy, start adding sugar, and beat on high speed until soft peeks form. Gently whisk egg whites with chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for about 25  min, until the cake has risen, and is firm around the edges, and the center has set but is still soft. Transfer the cake to wire rack to cool completely.

Cheesecake layer:
140 gr bittersseet chocolate
453 gr cream cheese
100 gr. sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325F. Butter and line the bottom of 9 inch springform pan with parchment.
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water. Beat room temperature cream cheese. Add in the sugar, cocoa powder, and beat until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla. At low speed beat in the eggs, one at a time. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix until combined. Pour the filing into the prepared pan. Bake it for 30 min. and cool it.

For the eggless mousse:
375 ml heavy cream
200 gr chocolate
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt the chocolate over simmering water. Remove and cool slightly.
Whip the cold cream, add espresso powder and vanilla. Gently fold the chocolate into the whipped cream.

Chocolate ganache:
100 ml. heavy cream
100 gr. dark chocolate
Heat the heavy cream until just hot. Add chopped chocolate. Gently mix until mixture is nice and smooth.

Place the flour less chocolate cake layer on a plate that you will serve your cake on. Put springform ring around it. Place the cooled cheesecake layer over top. Spoon the mousse layer and smooth. Chill
the cake, and pour the slightly cooled ganache over it. Cool it in the refrigerator.

Serve it at room temperature. Original recipe is from , I just modified it a little bit.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cranberry coffee cake

If you have leftover cranberry sauce, or you just like cranberries the way I do, you are going to love this. Its a perfect Thanksgiving morning coffeecake, or for cold lazy weekend mornings, and fall or winter gatherings.  Moist and flavorful, with the crunchy top, and the cranberries add their signature tart flavor of freshness. Its fruity, tender and moist. The ingredients are basic, and pretty much everyone has them in their pantry. 

First, make the streusel.
6 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 cup of flour
In food processor, mix together cubed butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and flour. Pulls it until you get fine crumbs. Scoop the mixture into a smaller bowl, and set aside.

Cranberry sauce:
If you don have leftover cranberry sauce, cook 1 bag of cranberries (340 gr) with 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1/2 of water, until cranberries pop, and the mixture starts thickening. That will take 10-15 min.

1 stick of butter (113gr)
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup greek yogurt
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
pinch of salt
Cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, scraping the bowl and beating until smooth. Add yogurt, vanilla, lemon peel, salt, and flour that you sifted with baking powder and baking soda. Be careful not to over mix the dough because flour will activate gluten, and you will end up with firm elastic structure instead of tender and moist.
Prepare 9 inch pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, and lightly grease sides with  butter. Scoop the batter into prepared pan, and add 1 cup of cranberry sauce on top. Swirl it a little bit with the knife, and add streusel on top. Bake in a 350F/180 C oven for about 50 min, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Dust it with powder sugar and enjoy.