Tuesday, 28 July 2009

TWD :Va-Lavender Ice Cream

Lavender Honey Ice cream (spicing up the Vanilla!)

This weeks recipe is a great one- so great in fact I had already made the plain jane vanilla and let me tell you it is good! So to make things more interesting I decided to harvest some of the lavender buds from the plants outside and also follow dori's suggestions for a Honey variant (though I did choose a less strong flavored honey this time).

Basically I only changed the recipe by letting the hot cream and milk steep in about 1/3-2/3 cups of lavender buds for approximately 3o minutes before moving on to straining and making the custard.

The taste of the ice cream is fantastic- rich and cream from the custard base- but then amazing floral/lavender taste with just a tiny bouquet of honey. Its good..folks- very sophisticated!

Next time I will have to make mint chip after reading all the glowing reviews!
Thanks to Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu who chose Vanilla Ice Cream as this weeks recipe!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Daring Bakers: Mallow cookies

Yum! This months challenge was to create 'mallow' cookies or Milano's- both I think are homemade versions of Pepperidge farms cookies( which my mother never bought for us as she said they were too expensive!) I had planed to go right in to the milano's as I'm vegetarian and marshmallows have gelatin in them.. but I decided to be daring and make veggie marshmallows and I am so glad I did!

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

The cookies were very easy to make, if a bit of a crumbly dough.. next time I will follow the instructions better and make them thinner and smaller- part of the problem was that I didn't have small enough cutters to hand...

So I hunted around on the Internet for a good veggie marshmallow recipe and came across this little collection mentioned in the alternative daring baker forum! and low and behold it works! I was too scared to try and actually pipe the suckers onto the cookies. Here are the leftovers in their various shapes..

• 60 mL water• pinch of cream of tartar• 255 g sugar, granulated• 255 g light corn syrup• ½ vanilla bean• 85 g egg whites (about 3 egg whites)• 5 g xanthan (0.76%)

Ground xanthan with a tablespoon of sugar. Set aside. Heat water, cream of tartar, remaining sugar, corn syrup and vanilla to 120ÂșC. Discard vanilla bean. Whisk egg whites for about 2 min until still soft. Continue whipping egg whites at slow speed while adding syrup slowly. Sprinkle xanthan mix while still whipping. Turn speed up and continue mixing for 2-3 min or until meringue pulls away from sides. Sprinkle a pan or baking sheet generously with cornstarch and spread out the meringue. Sprinkle top with cornstarch, cover with plastic and leave to set for 4 hours in a refrigerator. Cut marshmallows into desired shapes and dip cut surfaces in cornstarch.

After a few hours in the fridge or maybe more like one hour cause i was so curious to see how it would work i attempted to cut smaller circles of marshmallow out of the total blob.. as you can see these won't win any 'cute' awards but they are coming together.

Finally I dipped them in chocolate and I must say I thought these would just be ok.. but no.. they are fantastic! what are you waiting for go make some!

Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network websitePrep Time: 10 minInactive Prep Time: 5 minCook Time: 10 minServes: about 2 dozen cookies
• 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour• 1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar• 1/2 teaspoon salt• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder• 3/8 teaspoon baking soda• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter• 3 eggs, whisked together• Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows• Chocolate glaze, recipe follows
1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.
Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.
Homemade marshmallows:• 1/4 cup water• 1/4 cup light corn syrup• 3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar• 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin• 2 tablespoons cold water• 2 egg whites , room temperature• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.3. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.6. Transfer to a pastry bag.
Chocolate glaze:• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate• 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil
1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

TWD: Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies

I was happy to see a bit of an easier, simple recipe this week as a choice. I admit when flipping through the cookbook I had noted this recipe with interest, purely given the name and anticdotes. I was happy to find this an easy one bowl (saucepan) recipe!

I ommited the nuts as I've never been a fan, but used some of my stash of beligan chocolate which made delicious gooey globs of chocolate! As you can see they cooked up with a nice texture with just the barest of crust- think normal brownies underbaked. I loved them the cinnamon and coffee really heightened the flavor of the chocolate for me. (Fiance also gives them 2 thumbs up!)

Make sure you bake these soon!

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