Tag Archives: chocolate

{gluten-free} Peanut Butter Krinkles and Holiday Kindnesses

I’ve made these classic crinkly peanut butter cookies every holiday season for as long as I can remember. As a child, I’d help unwrap Hershey Kisses and plop them onto still-warm cookies that were made by the hundreds in my family home. For years they were (by far) my favorite out of the many on my mother’s holiday plate and, as an adult, friends request these more than any other from my own kitchen.

In order to “save my spoons” (see here and here for what that means), I’ve cut back on baking a lot in the past year or so. But this Christmas I was gifted with such kindness that I popped into the kitchen to make them as a “thank you” to someone who particularly enjoys them. Someone who has shown me not a passing bit of kindness, but one that is sustained and repeatedly generous. One that, especially during this beautiful but stressful time of the year, I’ve greatly appreciated. One that was folded into another kindness, and two very special people to thank with something sweet.

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Pro Pastry Gluten Free: Spicy Chocolate Chipotle Brownies from Chef Johnny Iuzzini’s new Sugar Rush

 

These are the best fu*king brownies I’ve ever made.

No joke, no lies. They’re definitely not the easiest brownies in my arsenal: definitely not as easy as the Divine Cocoa Brownies that are literally dubbed “the easiest brownies you will ever make”, nor as easy as using the Kitch+Table mix I adore, nor as easy as the booze-bursting Boyfriend Breakup Beer Brownies. They’re definitely easier than the Peppermint Patty Brownie Bars, though, but those are all Christmasy.  And, while all of those brownie recipes (and I obviously adore brownies) are awesome; while they definitely fix a sweet tooth and are ready while the “I can’t believe he just broke up with me” snot is still running down your sister’s face; they’re not these brownies.

These brownies are the best. They come from Chef Johnny Iuzzini’s new book, Sugar Rush, on stands and digital clouds everywhere. And they’re my new favorites for when I have serious brownie people to impress.

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Chocolate Mallow Layer Cake – Gluten-Free for Milk Bar Mondays!

Chocolate Mallow Layer Cake

Chocolate Mallow Layer Cake

I interview chefs weekly for Serious Eats, a national website that covers restaurants, bars, recipes and events. Lately the subject of diminishing pastry chefs and departments has come up a bit, most prominently with Lauren Resler, a pastry chef I adore who turns out layered, whimsical desserts for her restaurants, Empellon Taqueria and Empellon Cocina here in NYC (if you haven’t been – go!).

I’ve questioned many a pastry chef as to who they think the next “it” chef of their generation would be; a Michael Laiskonis, Johnny Iuzzini or Alex Stupak on the rise. Many of the chefs I’ve asked say something simple needs to be done: someone needs to focus on reinventing classics with a deeply personal twist, something old but incredibly new as well.

As I adapted Christina Tosi’s Chocolate Malt Layer Cake into a version us gluten-free eaters can enjoy, I realized that Tosi may just be that chef. Granted I’ve never eaten one of her desserts, as they’re all loaded with gluten and dairy. But as the Milk Bar Mondays ladies and I have baked our way through her cookbook, I see that she’s doing exactly what we want someone to be doing: elevating classics into something so over the top that, like pastry chef Stephen Collucci said when trying her Cereal Milk Ice Cream, “it’s so good it’s stupid”.

This cake is so good it’s stupid.

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Chocolate BlogHop! Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread (gluten and dairy free)

Dark Chocolate Tea Bread

“I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!”

(five points if you can guess the movie)

Hello bloggereaders!

It’s February, and soon NYC will be painted pink and red and boxes of chocolate and racy lingerie will be put to good use in the throws of holiday romance.  Where will yours truly be this year?  Jury’s still out.  I actually dated a man for about 8+ years and I think we celebrated Valentines Day maybe twice?  I have a thing with forced romance or commercially-fueled celebrations.  All I know is the bottle of champagne I have still from one of the wineries on the South Fork will probably make an appearance.

But, heck, baking is what I do and celebrating with food is what I love, so it’s fitting that this month’s BlogHop theme, of which I’m excited to be one of the cohosts for the first time, is Chocolate!

I use chocolate (and carob) all the time: fair-trade, organic and usually vegan as I can then be assured of the dairy-free aspect.  I’m a big fan of extremely dark varietals, decked with spices or infused with flowers.  I ate my fill at the NY Chocolate Fest a few months ago, where I grabbed Paul A. Young’s Adventures in Chocolate, which I have been pouring over with hungry eyes (check out my Spicy Mexican Mulled Wine Cocoa play on one of his recipes).

I don’t think chocolate has to always be the center of the sweet, though, so when stretching my cranium for my bloghop contribution, I wanted a rich, spicy and subtle alternative to the abundance of chocolate this time of year.  Luckily, Young is a master at making a variety of complex, versatile chocolate desserts – I highly recommend his book as a present for the Valentine in your life.

The result?  This tea bread is of my new favorite recipes, and one that will be a staple in my hosting repertoire.  I bake delicious things all the time, but this I will serve with particular love.  Laden with fruit captured perfectly in a dense, spicy cake, the chocolate compliments the other flavors and the tongue finds it in just the right moments.  It’s solid without being heavy.  Exactly what you want in a fun take on a traditional British tea bread.  I’ve adapted it to be gluten free and, if you use dark chocolate, it’s naturally dairy free in Young’s original recipe.  I adjusted here and there for what I had in my pantry and to make sure the gluten-free flours could hold up.  I used puer tea as a nod to my friend Louis, who’s visiting from out of town and with whom I first drank puer years ago in San Francisco.  I’ve given slices of it out wrapped in parchment like little gifts from a Dickens novel.

Sh*t, I’m getting all romantic.  Here’s the blasted recipe.

Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread

Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread

based on Chocolate Ginger and Cardamom Tea Bread from Paul A. Young’s Adventures in Chocolate

Note: you need to soak the fruits overnight!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup / 5.5 oz crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 2/3 cup organic seedless red raisins
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • zest of one large orange
  • 6 Tbsp organic light brown sugar – Young suggests muscovado, which is divine but more expensive.  Take your brown sugar a step up and buy organic and it will have a flavor and texture more on par with muscovado)
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp strong tea – I used puer, which is a very dark, earthy tea.  Have fun with any spicy, strong black tea you like
  • 1 large organic egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature and beaten extremely well
  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3.5oz bar 70% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped – I used Divinebecause it’s fair-trade, 1 bar is exactly 3.5 oz, it’s not overly expensive and I hadn’t tried it before.

Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, combine ginger, raisins, nutmeg, orange zest, brown sugar and tea.  Mix to combine, cover and let sit 8 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325° and line a 8×4 inch loaf pan with parchment.
  • Add beaten eggs to fruit and mix thoroughly.  Add flour and incorporate completely.  Stir in dark chocolate.
  • Pour into loaf pan and smooth out the top.
  • Bake for 80-90 minutes, cool for 30 minutes before carefully removing from pan.

Young suggests wrapping the cooled cake in clean parchment and a kitchen towel and letting it sit for 24 hours.  He overestimates the layman’s patience, I believe.  I cut into this baby 1 hour after it was done baking and it was divine, but the wrapped pieces did taste even richer then next day.

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February is #chocolatelove month!
Please check out the recipes from the other co-hosts and peruse links below!

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Please join in on the #chocolatelove fun by linking up any chocolate recipe from the month of February 2012. Please link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by! The twitter hashtag is #chocolatelove.

Hot Chocolate / Foam / Custardy Thing! A Dairy-Free Vintage Recipe Swap

Hot Chocolate Foam

It’s Burwell General Store Recipe Swap time again!  Click on that site for a background on our awesome group of 20-ish swappers from the world over!

I’m usually rather prepared for this monthly recipe swap, with ideas bandied about and recipes tested.  But the holidays.  The HOLIDAYS! I sorta went into hibernation mode after New Years, bunkering down with work and not baking for DAYS.  I’m also working on a gluten free pasta feature for Easy Eats Magazine, so my kitchen has been ALL about pasta lately (not a bad way to start a new year).

Thankfully CM picked a relatively easy and festive recipe for our first of 2012:

Burwell General Store Recipe Swap recipe, January 2012

A frothy, potent cocktail dessert.  Which, were I entertaining, I’d totally jump on.  Which, were I totally still drinking my fill, I would make for myself if I weren’t.

But, like I said, I’m hunkering down, hibernating, rolling and boiling pasta and entertaining only the resolute January tradition of simplifying and stripping down the gluttonous and extravagance that I totally indulged in these past few months.

Along with making lots of pasta, I’ve  been experimenting with custards (check out my new favorite, Coconut Milk Creme Brulee!).  So I have lots of egg whites proofing in the fridge, ready for the macaron making that gets soclose to happening and then quickly abandoned when Downton Abbey is once again rerun on the tube (yay for season two starting tonight!).

A few months ago I was working on a hot chocolate recipe that my photographer partner and I were pitching to Saveur (it’s coming out soon!).  For it I was playing with a spicy Mexican hot chocolate recipe from Beaner Bar and one from my buddy Johnny Iuzzini that required a coconut milk foam.  Could I take this basic swap recipe, use some of those lonely egg whites and leftover bricks of chocolate and my newly-found hot chocolate skills and make my own deliciously foamy, dairy-free hot chocolate?

Yes, I could. And did.

Now, I’m not hugely into a lot of sugar in my sweet drinks: I’d rather punch something up with liquor.  And even though I have an incessant sweet tooth, I’ve need to chill the f out with all the sugar (sorry for the vulgarity).

So here we have an incredibly creamy, frothy, custardy, chocolatey foam that you can adapt for the occasion.

Suggestions:

  • Add 1 Tbsp of white or raw sugar to sweeten it up and drink/eat it straight as an incredibly creamy hot chocolate.
  • Add some red wine or liquor for a potent cocktail.
  • Spoon over an incredibly sweet dessert to add some unique texture and flavor balance.
  • Spice up with a bit of cayenne for a smoky, warming treat.
  • Use as a dip for shortbread cookies or cut up fruit

Whatever you use it for, this is a quick, easy, satisfying little trick of a recipe and a technique that might inspire some creative new desserts for 2012.

Happy New Year Bloggereaders.  I am so thankful for you!  And for some of my favorite bloggers out there who I monthly get to play with!  Please check out my fellow swappers by clicking on the little frog right here:

Foam.

This mixture makes about 1 1/2 cups of foam, good for 2 people for a small dessert or one large hot chocolate, depending on what you add into it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet (two bricks) Mexican Chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (plus more for garnishing)
  • 3/4 cup milk per person (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 1/4 cup egg whites per person

Directions:

  • Crush chocolate to a fine powder.
  • Add cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and whisk to combine.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp chocolate mixture, milk and egg white until the mixture thickens and doubles in size.  This may take about 6 minutes or so of constant whisking, until it’s nice and thick.
  • Serve garnished with a bit of the crushed chocolate, some freshly grated nutmeg, candied ginger or whatever leftover cookies you have around ready for dunking.
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