Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chocolate Meringue

I'm playing with macaroons because these things are things I'd like to get good at making. The most popular, so far, has been the chocolate-almond macaroons with white chocolate-orange ganahce filling, but I am trying some meringues right now with melted chocolate folded in.

Take 1: one egg, 1/2 cup icing sugar, 1/3 cup couverture wafers (chocolate chip size).
French meringue method while the chocolate melts then cools, then a little meringue added to the chocolate and mixed in, then that folded into the rest of the meringue. Piped little spirals, baked at 350F for 10 minutes after the tops dried a bit in open air. Turned out OK but a little too crisp, the feet flew out like mad, which I think is mostly to blame on the oven being too hot for a meringue without almond flour in it, and that the oven seems to go a mavericky 50 degrees over what I ask it to.
Cookies were scrumptious, the tops stayed gorgeously smooth and round, but the bottoms falling out were an issue. Will re-try later with lower temperature and a little more pre-drying time.

Take 2: one egg, 1/3 cup icing sugar, 1/3 cup chocolate chips.
Same as above. Man, chocolate chips are nowhere near as smooth as couverture! I have used nothing but the good stuff for ages now. The chocolate got a little separated and grainy when I folded it in, so that is not ideal. Piped these into sticks and dried them in the oven. They are forming delicious little cookies but I think the weight of the chocolate is causing them problems with being light like meringues. I think it's got to be good melting chocolate here or nothing.

To do: Re-try couverture macaroons, more drying time, lower temp (like 250F probably).

ps did I mention how delicious the raw meringue is once you've folded melted chocolate into it? my lord!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apple Chicken Pot-Pies

So I bought too many apples. Ohno apples.

Basically, tiny chicken pot-pies in a muffin tin, plus apples, added raw to the filling just before it went into the shells.
Came out pretty delicious, but I am pretty goddamn flexible with my palate by now. I do not think I would necessarily serve it as a main, but it makes a nice hor-deerv. Probably would want to just go all the way and make little puff-pastry things out of them instead, in that case.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Crackers are pretty exciting to me! You can get them in boxes and they are OK, but there is something about how they are a factory-made kind of thing that makes me want to make remarkable crackers by hand. Just kind of saying 'hey look I can make stunning crackers I am as good as a machine'.
Anyways, I made my first batch of crackers today after reading up a couple recipes. Predictably, I added rye flour and buttermilk to the mix because I am all crazy for rye and buttermilk. Basically, you want to cut some flour with butter shortening as if for pie, then mix it with enough water/milk to make a dough. Also, you want some baking powder in there too to puff it up.
  • 1/2 cup white pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • Mix your dry stuff, set your butter to "Coarse Meal", turn said meal onto a clean counter, sprinkle the buttermilk over top, and toss together until you've got a dough. Lightly flour your counter and roll out the dough into a big rectangle (1/8 inch thick or less), and trim the edges. Cut crackers, prick with fork a bunch of times, and bake at 350ºF for 7-10 minutes.

    I made two batches, being the first batch and the 'scrap trimming' batch. The first ones stayed mostly flat and have a nice crumbly texture but didn't puff up much, the second ones got worked a little harder as they were rolled and re-rolled, and they puffed up a couple large pockets. I'm not sure exactly how done I want these to be. One thing with rye flour is that it cooks much darker than wheat, in that where wheat would be golden-brown, rye looks burnt-brown. Some of my crackers are still pale, some of them are dark and crisp, and I'm not sure which I like better. Warm, I'm loving the paler, softer ones with goat cheese and shaved smoked brisket, though the crispy fellows will probably keep better.

    Will certainly make more crackers later, these are pretty simple!

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies


    TAKE: 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter, 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter, CREAM TOGETHER on high in a mixing bowl.
    ADD: 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, BEAT until combined
    BEAT IN: 1 egg, dash vanilla, 2 dashes baking powder.
    INCORPORATE: 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup chocolate chips
    INCORPORATE: 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup flour
    ROLL OUT the chocolate dough (should be stiff) on parchment paper, to 1/6 inch thick. DUMP the chocolate chip dough on the chocolate dough, and spread it around. USING THE PARCHMENT PAPER AS AN AID, ROLL UP both dough together. Form the resulting log into a ball, as you would to shape a loaf of bread, by pulling it down and pinching it together in the back. REPEAT this motion a few times, until you've got some nice marbling happening.
    PLACE neat little balls of dough onto parchment which is itself on a baking pan, then bake at 350ºF for seven minutes if you flattened the cookies, nine minutes if you left them as balls.

    Monday, March 29, 2010

    Mail-Box Cookies

    Things need to have names. I can't just call everything utilitarianly descriptively 'oatmeal chocolate chocolate cookies w/buttermilk and coffee'. In this high-paced world of aggressive market branding, I need to name things with catchy, memorable, distinctive names, lest I be swept up in the latest wave of Pepsi-Chip Super Sweet Biscuit Snacks or something.
    So, since these cookies are designed for optimal mailability (spell check has not called me on that, I can not believe mailability is a word!), they are called mail-box cookies for now. Maybe I will think of something better later, I am not totally pleased with that name, but moving on, recipe time:
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp coffee (espresso, strong stuff!)
  • 1 tbsp buttermilk
  • dash vanilla
  • 2 egg

  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tspn baking powder

  • This recipe is just a modification of the recipe off the bag of oats, but I have made it better by killing the raisins and adding exciting things like chocolate and chocolate chips and coffee. I discovered the outsides made nice-ish crispy shells that kept the insides soft for a notably long period of time, hence my desire to mail them to people.
    In bowl the first, cream your butter and sugar together with beaters at medium-high, then add the rest of the wet stuff and beat until creamy.
    In bowl the second, mix all the dry stuff.
    In bowl the third, combine bowls the first and second and mix until combined (bowl the third should be a symbolic pointer to either bowl the first or bowl the second).
    Form into balls the size of the balls inside of golf balls, put on a cookie sheet w/parchment paper, and bake at 350ºF for twelve to fifteen minutes, until they firm up.
    The differences between this and the recipe on the bag that I based this on are that I scrapped raisins, cinnamon, white sugar, and most of the flour, increased the brown sugar, added cocoa, chocolate chips, coffee, and buttermilk. As well, I made the cookies larger and formed them into balls so that the insides would hopefully stay soft as they travelled in the postal system.
    Essentially, they are either buttery chocolate cut stuffed with oats, or oats cut with buttery chocolate.

    If you are lucky, maybe these will show up in your mail box.

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Buttermilk Brownies

    I love brownies and I love buttermilk, so I thought I'd try and combine the two. Also I am hungry and wanting brownies and no cafes are open past 8:00 PM in this nutty little town.
    Anyways, here's the first take:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 150 ml cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coffee (espresso)
  • 1/4 cup bttrmlk (my first rock album will be titled 'BTTRMLK', I have decided)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (actually I forgot these but you shouldn't)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • OK go go go MELT the BUTTER in a pot over medium-low heat. When melted, add the COCOA POWDER, mix well, remove from heat. Add SUGAR, mix, add COFFEE and BUTTERMILK, mix, add EGG (sans shell), mix just until combined. That reads a bit like one of those old-style text based adventure games, doesn't it? Weird. Combine the flour and baking powder in a big ol' bowl, add wet ingredients plus chocolate chips, mix just until combined (but do make sure you haven't left any flour clumps in there, those are unpleasant.
    Portion batter into a greased muffin tin, bake at 350ºF for fifteen minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck in the middle of the biggest of those suckers.
    You could go ahead and use a brownie pan or something, but then you've got to cut them and things, whereas a muffin tin gives you delicious, good-to-go little servings.

    Post-analysis: These are a little cakey. There must have been too much fluid in the batter, and there wasn't enough chocolateyness too them. Taste pretty nice, but they are not what I was going for.
    Not terribly sweet, which I like (and mom likes, apparently), and you can't really pick up on the buttermilk flavour too much. I think the simplest thing might just be to stick with cream-cheese if I want to the cultured dairy flavour in brownies, because buttermilk brings too much fluid to the stage.
    I may try a brownie recipe with strained yogurt later.

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Pita Bread Photos

    Don't think I ever posted pictures of pitas in the oven before, but they are one of the more interesting things I've baked. They swell up like balloons with steam and look ridiculous!
    I don't think alt text is working?
    Look at that ridiculous one in the back! He is like, standing on his tippy-toes or something!