January 30, 2009
This month’s challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux. My daughter turned 8 this month, and I decided to make tuiles tiaras, perfect for my little drama queen. I paired it with raspberry sorbet and the crisp cookie was a great hit among the 8 year old set. By far the simplest and most inexpensive Daring Bakers Challenge I’ve participated in, it was was also enjoyed by everyone who tasted it.
Following is a recipe taken from a book called “The Chocolate Book”, written by female Dutch Master chef Angélique Schmeinck.1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet
Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch
65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams /
Oven: 180C / 350F
Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly (or tiara).
Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.
If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….
November 19, 2008
Even before my daughter became a Brownie, I would stalk local grocery stores and malls for girls sporting bemedaled green sashes sitting behind a table piled high with those familiar colorful boxes. I loved them all – Shortbread, Thin Mints, Tagalongs and of course, my particular favorite, Samoas (which is also known as Caramel De-lites). Alas, these cookies are only available during late winter and early spring in my area, so by November, my stockpile of frozen cookies has long been depleted.
Samoas consist of a cookie base, caramel, toasted coconut and chocolate stripes on top. I had some extra homemade caramel and decided to make my own stash of Samoas. I bought sugar free shortbread cookies, mainly because I liked the shape and size, not because it was sugar free. The caramel is very sweet, so I thought all the better. You might want to avoid any cookies with a hole since the caramel will drip through, unless you coat the bottom of the cookie in chocolate (like the original).
one container round shortbread or butter cookies (or make your own if you feel ambitious)
one recipe of homemade caramel
8 oz. sweetened coconut
8 oz. semisweet chocolate
Set oven on low broil. Toast coconut on a baking sheet on the lowest rack for 3 minutes or so. Mix coconut to toast evenly and broil for 3 minutes more, being careful to not burn.
Cut out 1/2″ tall nickle-size circles of caramel and flatten on top of the cookie. Top with toasted cococut.
Melt chocolate in a metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occassionally until smooth. (or use a super fancy chocolate tempering machine like me). Holding the coconut-topped cookie carefully, drizzle chocolate on top of the coconut. Place cookies on wax or parchment paper to set.
April 12, 2008
Traditional biscotti – just add coffee.
My husband comes from a large Italian family for whom bringing a plate of homemade biscotti to any gathering is de rigueur. The first time I brought my version to a family celebration, I received more than a couple incredulous “You made this?” kind of comments. It’s funny how food is so intricately woven into our very identity. Instantly, the Korean girl who married cousin A. was now truly part of the family.
When I was newly married, I asked my mother-in-law for her mother’s biscotti recipe and have tweaked it enough to feel I could claim ownership to it. After years of my husband’s family telling me how different my biscotti (albeit delicious) tasted from any of theirs, my mother-in-law and I actually went over my recipe ingredient by ingredient since my biscotti was heavy, dense and crumbly and hers was lighter, more porous and crispier. We were bemused to discover the two recipes were completely different and she still has no idea whose biscotti recipe she wrote down for me all those years ago.
This is the only dessert recipe I have committed to memory as I have been making it about once a month for the past 5 years or so. I make it for cookie exchanges, for parties, as hostess gifts, for school snack days, and of course, for our family to munch on. My favorite way to eat it is dunking it in my morning cup of coffee. Or, for those who like to mix it up – try it with a glass of red wine. If your only experience with biscotti is Sahara-dry Stella D’Oro cookies, give this recipe a whirl. I think you’ll like it.
One Spicy Mama’s Biscotti
4 large eggs
3/4 C. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. anise (optional)
4 C. flour
3/4 – 1 C. sugar
3 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk eggs, oil, vanilla and anise in a medium bowl.
Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) in large bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix with whisk or rubber spatula until just combined.
Do not overwork. The flour will be aborbed into the dough because of the high oil content.
Divide dough into two. Pat the dough alternately on the sides and on the top the elongate the dough into a long, slightly domed log, 3-4 inches wide. Repeat with other ball of dough.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 – 17 minutes or until golden. Take out and let cool slightly.
Cut the logs into 3/4 inch wide strips and place on one side.
Place cookie tray on the bottom rack in the oven and broil on high for about 3-5 minutes. WARNING: Do NOT walk away from the kitchen. You WILL burn your biscotti!
Turn the biscotti over on the opposite side and repeat. Let cool completely and dust with powdered sugar if desired.
I have made healthier variations of this recipe using 1 C. whole wheat flour, 3 C. regular flour. That’s a easy way to sneak in more whole grain into your family’s diet. I’ve also tried 1/2 C. Splenda, 1/2 C. sugar combination, but my outraged husband protested so strongly that I never tried it again.