Milk Bar Mondays

Chèvre Frozen Yogurt with Pistachio Crunch and Beet-Lime Ganache – Milk Bar Mondays!

Chèvre Frozen Yogurt on Beet-Lime Ganache with Pistachio Crunch

gluten free, cow-dairy-free

My roommate pulled me into the show “Fashion Police”, where Joan Rivers and her panel praise or destroy the fashion choices of the Hollywood elite for the week. Very unlike me to watch. I adore it. In the last bit of the show the panel tries to convince Joan which is the worst look of the week, and they have 10 seconds to speak directly to the offending starlette, pointing out what went wrong.

Inevitably, and to my absolute frustration, at least one of the three melodramatically says “oh my god, what were you thinking?” Unless you’ve seen the show and share my pain, there’s no way to fully convey how infuriating that phrase is.

It was running through my head all day while I composed this recipe.

“Oh my god, Jacqueline, what were you thinking?”

It’s my turn to host Milk Bar Mondays, where a lovely group of lady-bloggers is baking our way through Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar cookbook every other week. The gluten-free and dairy-optional Compost Cookies, Carrot Cake Truffles and Apple Pie Layer Cake have been particular standouts, but all have been worth the time and effort.

Since I have unavoidable food allergies, I’m given a little leeway to adapt as I need, but in general we all stick directly to Tosi’s method on point. When glancing through to see which recipe I’d want to host, a chèvre frozen yogurt sounded perfect. I love making ice-cream, and while I can’t have cow’s milk, I’ve always been cool with other forms of dairy.

Damn me for not looking closing enough.

What was I thinking?

The end result was, of course, incredible. It was one of the prettiest desserts I’d ever plated, and once again I learned new techniques that I will apply to so many other recipes. But there was a lot of risk in adapting this recipe.

The full recipe for all steps is below, with my variations in italics and thoughts on the adaptation process there as well. This dessert is delicious: creamy, an intense contrasts of smooth / crunchy and light / rich. And, wow, what a plate.

Meet the Ladies!

Erin of Big Fat Baker

Meagan of Scarletta Bakes

Audra of The Baker Chick

Nicole of Sweet Peony

Follow the group on Twitter!

Chèvre Frozen Yogurt

Makes about a pint, enough for four desserts

I was psyched to try making an all-goat frozen yogurt. The first time I didn’t bloom the gelatin enough, and so had hard bits of it once it was spun a bit. I tossed it completely. The second time it also didn’t thicken in my ice-cream maker, but froze well in the freezer. I’m curious to see how the other ladies’ came out – mine was delicious but the consistency could have been whipped more.

Tosi stresses the importance of using citric acid specifically, and while I had been using corn syrup in previous recipes I gave in and bought glucose (since they’re nutritionally the same anyway, I discovered), and found the consistency definitely helps in this recipe. You can substitute the gelatin sheets with 1 tsp powdered gelatin and 2 Tbsp corn syrup instead of the glucose if necessary.

2 gelatin sheets

1/4 cup milk / goat milk

1/4 cup fresh chèvre
1/4 cup buttermilk / goat milk
2 Tbsp yogurt / goat yogurt
1/4 cup glucose
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp citric acid

Bloom the gelatin by placing it in a bowl of cold water for 2-8 minutes. It should be completely soft with no hard edges, but not falling apart.

Warm a little of the milk and whisk in the gelatin to dissolve.  Transfer to a blender and add the remaining milk, the chèvre, buttermilk/milk, yogurt, glucose, sugar, salt, and citric acid. Puree until smooth.

Pour the base through a fine-mesh strainer into your ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturers instructions. The frozen yogurt is best spun just before serving or using, but it will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two weeks.

Pistachio Crunch

The pistachio crunch requires feuilletine, which is essentially toasted crepes in tiny pieces. Some say these can be adequately be replaced with corn flakes or crispy rice cereal, but Tosi says it’s not the same. To make the crunch gluten-free, she suggests replacing the feiulletine with 1/2 cup additional pistachios. I made my own gluten-free crepes, over-toasted them and then processed them into bits. It was delicious, but went stale extremely quickly. Just so ya know.

It was really hard for us to find pistachio paste in our areas. We tackled this in different ways, I by using almond paste instead. Again, it was delish, but would have benefited more from pistachio paste. Still delicious.

1/2 cup raw, unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup pistachio paste
3/4 cup feuilletine
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Heat the oven to 325°.

Put the pistachios on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Put the toasted pistachios in a clean kitchen towel and bash them into smaller pieces, at least 1/2 of their original size but not into nut crumbs.

Combine them with the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on medium-low speed for about one minute, until homogenous. The crunch can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Beet-Lime Ganache

I used dark chocolate instead of white, and coconut milk instead of heavy cream. While I could see how appropriate white chocolate would be, and how it would lighten up the flavors of the entire dish a bit, it was still delicious.

My blender couldn’t cut pureeing the beets, but my food processor made quick work of them.

2 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks

1 lime
4 1/2 ounces (120g) white chocolate  / dark chocolate
2 Tbsp butter / Butter-flavored Earth Balance
1/4 cup glucose
1/4 cup heavy cream / coconut milk
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Heat the oven to 325°.

Wrap the beet chunks in foil and put on a sheet pan. Roast for 1-2 hours, or until the beets are on the mushy side of tender; give them additional 30-minutes intervals in the oven if they aren’t.

Meanwhile, grate the zest from the lime; reserve. Squeeze 2 tsp juice from the lime and reserve.

Transfer the beets to a blender and puree them (if your blender is giving you trouble, add up to 1 Tbsp milk to help get it going). Pass the puree through a fine-mesh strainer – it should have the texture of baby food. Measure out 1/3 cup puree. Let cool.

Combine the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt them in the microwave and 15-second bursts, stirring between blasts. The result should be barely warm to the touch and totally homogenous.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to a container that can accommodate an immersion blender – something tall and narrow. Warm the glucose in the microwave for 15 seconds, then immediately add to the chocolate mixture and buzz with the hand blender. After a minute, stream in the heavy cream / coconut milk with the hand blender running. The result will come together into something silky, shiny and smooth.

Blend in the beet puree, lime zest and salt. Put the ganache in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

Use a spatula to fold the lime juice into the ganache (do not do this until the ganache is set, or you will break the ganache). Put the ganache back in the fridge for at least 3 hours or, ideally, overnight. Stored in an airtight container it will keep in the fridge for 1 week. Serve cold.

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Gluten-Free Compost Cookies – Milk Bar Mondays

“I love you, Christina Tosi.”

“I hate you, Christina Tosi.”

This went on for a while as I scooped cookie batter onto Silpats and wrapped each sheet with plastic wrap. I couldn’t stop eating tiny nibblets of dough. Dough that was most likely the unhealthiest thing to ever come out of my kitchen. Dough housing chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, granola, potato chips, oatmeal, cookie crumbs, coffee grinds and a crap-load of sugar.

I love food, obviously. And, for the most part, food loves me. But maybe you’ve noticed that I’m trying to behave a bit more for various reasons.

Enter, these damned cookies.

Luckily, they’re so big and indulgent that one is all you need before you’re shivering in your shoes. There are so many fun flavors and textures happening inside, all you know is they make you obnoxiously giddy. I made it through one half and then had to step away. They should be called Compost Crack Cookies.

This recipe is part of Milk Bar Mondays, where a ridiculously lovely group of lady bloggers is baking our way through the Milk Bar Cookbook. I’m the gluten-dairy-free adapter of the group. In general we don’t change anything about the recipe – rather, we’re learning how to be better bakers by getting into Tosi’s world, and sharing our varying opinions as we go. Other than the gluten and dairy thing, I don’t alter.

Except that this recipe gave us a tiny bit of leeway.

The Compost Cookie was created to be endlessly adaptable, depending on what was around to be loaded up. I had a limited amount of cash in my wallet for the bodega and not enough time to run to Fairway for gluten-free pretzels, graham-crackers (I normally make my own), etc. So I used all of Tosi’s proportions and then had a little fun.

  • Instead of butterscotch chips, I used raw cocoa nibs
  • Instead of graham-cracker crust, I used some crumbled cranberry chocolate cookies that were chilling in my freezer, the result of a not-perfect recipe that still tasted really darned good
  • Instead of popcorn I used granola

It’s a scary-good cookie. The base and proportions will forever be one that I’ll use when needing some really big, chunky cookies and when feeling creative. My recipe’s below.

For the original recipe, head over to this week’s host Krissy of Krissy’s Creations. Her site is truly stunning.  And then check out what the rest of the ladies are up to, and come back on May 7th for my pick – Chevre Frozen Yogurt with Pistachio Crunch and Beet-Lime Ganache. Yes, I’m excited.

Meet the Ladies!

Krissy of Krissy’s Creations

Erin of Big Fat Baker

Meagan of Scarletta Bakes

Cassie of Bake Your Day

Audra of The Baker Chick

Nicole of Sweet Peony

Averie of Averie Cooks!

Follow the group on Twitter!

Compost Cookies

Adapted from the Milk Bar cookbook by Christina Tosi

Makes about 20 cookies

Note: I go back and forth between weighing and measuring – depending on if I need ease or accuracy with the ingredient. When adapting recipes with gluten-free flour blends, 90% of the time I weigh – otherwise I can’t be sure as to the proper quantity. Hope this isn’t maddening; it’s just my method.

Ingredients:

  • 16 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp molasses

———-

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

———-

  • 75g brown rice flour (soft, fine and a good base)
  • 75g arrowroot flour (the starch that pulls it together, corn-free)
  • 50g millet flour (it’s golden and sweet!)
  • 25g white rice flour (to soften a bit and make more flavor-neutral)
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum (to help bind together)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

———-

  • 150g bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 25g cocoa nibs
  • 125g gluten-free granola
  • 85g gluten-free cookie crumbs (I have a stock in the freezer of leftover cookies I crush for this purpose – this batch was some sort of chocolate cranberry I think? Mysterious….)
  • 40g old-fashioned gluten-free rolled oats
  • 5g decaffeinated espresso or coffee grinds (unused, not instant)

———-

  • 2 cups potato chips
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

———–

Method

In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, paddle the butter, sugars and molasses on medium/high for about 3 minutes, until smooth and light.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 8 minutes. This creaming method is somewhat unique to Tosi and gives these cookies incredible lift and chew. If you don’t cream long enough, they’ll spread and crisp too much.

Meanwhile, measure out your flours and dry ingredients, whisking to combine.

With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until it just comes together, about 30-45 seconds (don’t overmix).

With the mixer on low, add all ingredients but the potato chips. Spin for about 30 seconds, until everything is evenly dispersed.

Dump in the potato chips and stir for 5 seconds, just so that they’re here, there and everywhere.

Tosi suggests measuring with a 1/3 cup measuring cup – these make HUGE cookies (awesome, but huge). I did 1/3 and 1/4, and found that the slightly smaller ones worked more for me. Drop onto Silpat or parchment-lined sheets, and press/shape into circles with slightly flattened domes. Wrap each sheet in plastic and stick in the fridge for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours (do NOT put directly into the oven, or they’ll just fall into a flat, nasty mess).

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°. Bake each sheet for 18 minutes, until lightly browned at the edge but soft-looking in the center. Cool for a few minutes on sheet before removing to rack.

I crumbled about 4 of these to have on hand in the freezer. The rest went to craving friends (big, big hit).

Milk Bar Mondays – Cinnamon Bun Pie (Gluten and dairy free)

I was nervous, then I was excited, then I was nervous again.

“Mother dough” may sound pretty awesome in the gluten-full world, but in mine any recipe that swears it can be used as a bagel, brioche, focaccia or croissant dough – as well as one ready for a sweet filling such as this – sends up too many red flags.

Gluten-free and bread dough are not casually made connections.

Yet, in the spirit of the Milk Bar Mondays swaps, I’d learned to question little and go forward with strength and spirit.  My Carrot Cake Truffles? Um, delicious.  The Apple Pie Layer Cake? Worthy of a sister’s birthday and one of the most fun things to disrobe.  Confetti Cookies? In my attempts to control my sugar levels I gave away most of the batch, both with a swing in my step since I was gifting such an outstanding cookie and with the regret at having gifted away such an outstanding cookie!

This pie?

Well…

The filling is outta this world… cinnamony, sweet and creamy.  Oh, and of course gluten and dairy free.  Well, almost, because I used butter and not Earth Balance or coconut milk… but close…

The dough rose and got puffy when it proofed, which is always fun to watch…

…but then it hardened while baking, and got the trademark look and mouth-feel of an adolescent, gluten-less bread dough.

My suggestion?

Rock on with the filling, but put it into one of my gluten free pie crusts (maybe this one, or the one linked below).  Or wait until I get off my tush and start making gluten-free bread for real.

Oh, and rock on hard with the filling, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my budding relationship with Tosi, it’s that you can’t go wrong with liquid cheesecake and brown butter.

Happy Milk Bar Mondays, folks.

Meet the Ladies!

Host Erin of Big Fat Baker (go to her site for the original recipe)

Meagan of Scarletta Bakes

Cassie of Bake Your Day

Audra of The Baker Chick

Nicole of Sweet Peony

Krissy of Krissy’s Creations

and welcome to Averie of Averie Cooks!

Follow the group on Twitter!

Gluten Free Cinnamon Bun Pie

Components:

  • 1 recipe my pie crust (I adapted the Mother Dough recipe from the original, but it’s not worth writing home about… on the list now)
  • 1 recipe Dairy-Free Liquid Cheesecake
  • 1/4 cup brown butter (microwave in a heat-proof container with a lid for about 5 minutes, until the butter pops and gets all caramely and brown)
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 recipe Cinnamon Streusel (recipe follows)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Roll out dough to fit a 10″ pie plate, and flatten within.

Spread half of the brown butter into the bottom of the pie plate.

Gently layer on 1/2 of the liquid cheesecake, then a second layer of brown butter.

Scatter the brown sugar on top, then tamper it down with a spoon or the back of your hand.

Sprinkle on the salt and cinnamon.

Gently layer the 2nd half of the cheesecake, then the entire batch of streusel topping, patting it into place.

Bake for 40 minutes.  Serve warm.

Cinnamon Streusel:

  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats (not quick cooking or whatever)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, coconut oil or Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all dry ingredients thoroughly.  Pour in melted butter etc. and vanilla.  Stir thoroughly into large clusters.

Gluten-Free Confetti Cookies – Milk Bar Mondays

It's a friendly little cookie, no?

I have a feeling if Christina Tosi ever knew what I do with her recipes, she might wanna punch me in the neck.

My gluten-free Carrot Cake Truffles and Apple Pie Layer Cake from the last two swaps were, yes, divinity.  But in my allergy-friendly adaptations for this lovely group of swappers, I went one step further with this swap, and tried to swap certain ingredients with their slightly healthier cousins.

Because while I think Tosi is a dessert genius, there are just some things I can’t use: milk powder and liquid glucose being two of them.  I gave in a little and swaped agave for the glucose.  And I just omitted the milk powder and did a little dance of prayer in my kitchen, hoping they’d come out (it was a cross between how silly I look chanting kirtan and a rain dance I made up when I was little and wanted to be Pocahontas – no joke).  I love her book, and really admire her recipe writing style.  So I hope neck-punching isn’t in my future.

These cookies are exactly what Tosi intended them to be – the best confetti birthday cake in cookie form.  It truly tastes like the vanilla Betty Crocker cake mix I remember from days of yore, rolled up in a snicker-doodle-esqe base with a touch more salt.

They’re incredible.  The Birthday Cake Crumb adds that extra touch of awesomeness, and the design is just fun!

Now head over to Cassie’s Bake Your Day for the original recipe and go say hi to the Milk Bar Ladies!

Meet the Milk Bar Ladies!

Gluten-Free Confetti Cookies!

Ingredients:

  • 225g / 2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 300g / 1 1/2 cups of white sugar
  • 50g / 2 Tbsp light agave nectar

——

  • 2 eggs
  • 8g / 2 tsp vanilla extract

——

  • 100g quinoa flour
  • 150g arrowroot starch
  • 50g sorghum flour
  • 100g brown rice flour
  • 9g cream of tartar
  • 6g baking soda
  • 5g kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 40g rainbow sprinkles (my grocery store brand had no gluten ingredients)

——

  • 1/2 recipe Birthday Cake Crumb (recipe below)

Method:

  • Combine butter, sugar and agave in bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Paddle for 2-3 minutes on medium/high.  Scrape the side of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla, and paddle on medium/high for 7 – 8 minutes, when the mixture is incredibly pale, light and fluffy and has doubled in size.
  • Reduce the mixer to low and add in the flour / sprinkle mixture.  Mix until it just comes together, less than one minute.  Do not over mix.
  • On low speed, stir in the Birthday Cake Crumb, just until it’s incorporated.
  • Scoop onto parchment or Silpat lined sheets – I made 12 large cookies by doubling my cookie scoop, then another 12 small cookies by single-scooping.  Either way, make sure there’s a good 3-4 inches between each on the sheet, and press down with your fingers to flatten (this version will not spread that much).  Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 1 week before baking – do not bake directly, these must be chilled!
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°.  Bake large cookies for 18 minutes and small ones for 14 minutes, or until the edges are brown and the centers are just starting to show color.
  • Cool completely on sheets before removing to plate or container.  Can be kept at room temp for 5 days or frozen for 1 month.
TheDustyBaker

Birthday Cake Crumb

Birthday Cake Crumb:

Once again this whole crumb thing blew me away.  It adds a bit more texture and salt to the recipe, and a lot more flavor.  These crumbs are a tad more healthful than the original, but are addictive nonetheless.  Use your fingers to press the crumb into little clusters if paddling doesn’t do it.

Oh, and I grabbed my bin of “dog-knows” gluten-free flour, where I’ve basically thrown whatever cookie flour I have leftover from a recipe into the bin.  I used that for the 90g below, but a fair estimate is that it’s 1/3 starch, 1/3 brown rice and 1/3 white rice flour with 1/4 tsp xanthan gum.

Ingredients:

  • 100g palm sugar
  • 25g light brown sugar
  • 90g gluten-free flour (see note above)
  • 2 g baking powder
  • 2 g kosher salt
  • 20g rainbow sprinkles

——

  • 40g coconut oil
  • 12g vanilla extract

Method:

  • Heat oven to 350°.  Line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment.
  • Combine the top ingredients in mixer with paddle attachment and paddle until completely combined.
  • Add wet ingredients and paddle again until clusters appear.  When all the moisture is absorbed, use your fingers if necessary.
  • Spread the clusters on the sheet and bake for 20 minutes, tossing half-way through.
  • Cool completely before using.

Milk Bar Mondays – Apple Pie Layer Cake (gluten-free, dairy-optional)

The cake layered and frozen, ready for birthday love

It’s a Milk Bar Monday, folks, and I couldn’t be more tickled pink than to have it coincide with my Lil Sis’s birthday.  A whopping 26 years old (cough), Lil Sis is one of my favorite people on the planet, and a very dear friend.  She massages my weary, arthritis-laden body when I’m sore (awesome having a massage therapist in the family), gave me my first lessons in pasta making in preparation for my upcoming Easy Eats magazine feature, Mitra runs up to her full of love, and she’s instrumental in helping me cope through those big, life-changing moments we all love to fear so much.  Lil Sis claims to be moving to Virginia or North Carolina or something like that in May.  I choose to remain in a state of denial.

Me and Lil Sis, circa 2011

On top of being a truly loving, creative person, Lil Sis has somewhat recently started a gluten-free diet.  I had this CRAZY layer cake to make for this round of Milk Bar Mondays, where a small group of incredible lady bloggers bake out of Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar cookbook.  I’m the alternative baker of the bunch, and was immediately sold on the awesomeness of the swap when my Carrot Cake Truffles were quickly hailed as one of the best things I have ever made.

Because the cake had to freeze and defrost before being plopped in the car to Connecticut and stripped of its acetate mold before being presented, I don’t have great pics of the final product, or us enjoying it.  Head to the other ladies in the swap for some stunning photos of their creations, all which look too amazing for words:

Host Nicole at Sweet Peony has the whole recipe too!

Cassie at Bake Your Day
Erin at Big Fat Baker
Krissy at Krissy’s Creations
Audra at The Baker Chick

Follow the Milk Bar Monday ladies on Twitter! 

Follow the Milk Bar Monday board on Pinterest!

Happy Birthday Lil Sis!

Now, this cake is a little insane.  A brown butter cake layered with Liquid Cheesecake, Apple Pie filling, Pie Crumb and Apple Cider Soak, then topped with Pie Crumb frosting.  Tosi might be a bit insane, but she’s a genius. There were layers of “wow” going through my family as we all tasted, it being proclaimed an incredible combination of coffee cake and apple pie.  It is extremely sweet.  If I ever make it again I’ll cut some of the sugar from the apple pie filling and cheesecake, because it’ll still be plenty sweet with a little omission. But it is ridiculously, amazingly, scarily delicious.  Don’t be afraid of the many steps – it comes together brilliantly.  Just plan ahead a bit (I made most of the components in one day then made the cake and built and freezed it a second), and it makes a stunning presentation.

Happy Birthday Lil Sis.  I love you up to heaven, down to earth.

– Jacqueline

Apple Pie Layer Cake – Gluten Free, Dairy Optional

My version is gluten free, and while I used butter in the cake itself it can be made dairy free as well by substituting the brown butter with melted Earth Balance.  Adapting Tosi’s recipe to be gluten free didn’t work, as there was far too much fat and gluten-free flours can be heavier than all-purpose wheat.  So I made my basic vanilla cake with brown butter instead, and got the same taste results with a better texture.  The key to this cake is making sure that the oven is hot, the ingredients are all at room-temperature or warm, and that you whip the eggs to at least twice their size before folding in the rest of the ingredients.  This way you get an incredibly spongey cake that’s full of flavor and doesn’t risk sinking when you take it out of the oven.

Special Equipment:

  • Quarter sheet pan
  • Parchment paper
  • 6-inch cake ring
  • Acetate strips (2 strips 3″ tall and 20″ long)

Components:

  • 1 recipe Brown Butter Cake (recipe below)
  • 1 recipe Liquid Cheesecake (click on title for link to recipe under Carrot Cake Truffles)
  • 1 recipe Pie Crumb (recipe below), divided equally in two
  • 1 recipe Apple Cider Soak (recipe below)
  • 1 recipe Apple Pie Filling (recipe below)
  • 1 recipe Pie Crumb Frosting (recipe below)

Building the Cake:

  • Use the cake round to gently cut 2 circles of cake from the pan.
  • Place cake ring on a piece of parchment on a sheet pan.  Insert one of the strips of acetate securely into the ring.
  • Pile the scraps of cake cut around the circles into the bottom of the cake ring and use your hands or the bottom of a glass to press into a flat layer.
  • Wash the cake layer with a healthy dose of the Apple Cider Soak, about 1/2 of the recipe.  Use a spoon to evenly spread 1/2 of the Liquid Cheesecake on the layer.  Spread 1/3 of the pie crumbs, pressing them into place.  Spread 1/2 of the apple pie filling as equally as possible over the crumbs (for a firm cake, don’t use the more liquidy part of the filling).
  • Gently insert the 2nd ring of acetate, overlapping about 1/4 of an inch to make an almost 6-inch ring.
  • Gently place one of the rounds of cake in the ring, and repeat with equal amounts of filling.
  • Top with second round of cake, and frost completely with Pie Crumb frosting.  Sprinkle with remaining pie crumbs.

Brown Butter Cake

Ingredients:

  • 8oz (1 stick) unsalted butter  or Earth Balance
  • 8 oz white sugar
  • 4 whole large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3oz white rice flour
  • 3 oz tapioca flour
  • 2 oz millet flour
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a quarter-sheet pan with parchment paper and do not grease the edges.
  • If using butter, makes it all deliciously brown and nutty by microwaving it in a heat-proof bowl (Pyrex is great) closed with a heat-safe plate for 6 minutes.  You’ll hear the butter bubble and pop, and it should be dark and golden when you (carefully) remove the plate.  If it’s melted but still yellow, nuke it for another minute or so. If using Earth Balance, simply melt it over the microwave or on the stove until thoroughly melted.  Either way, allow the melted fat to cool while you prep the rest of your ingredients.
  • Weight our your dry ingredients into a medium bowl.  Prep a standing mixer with the whisk attachment.
  • In a double boiler over simmering water, whisk the eggs and sugar until the sugar is completely melted and the mixture is slightly above body temperature (do not let the egg cook, you’re just warming them so that they whip up more easily).  Immediately pour into standing mixer and begin whipping on medium/high-speed until the mixture more than doubles in size and becomes light and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.
  • Remove from mixer, and fold in flour mixture.
  • Fold in melted butter.
  • Immediately pour into pan and bake for 30-38 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool completely before building the cake.

Apple Cider Soak:

Whisk together 1/4 cup apple cider, 1 tsp tightly packed light brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon until the sugar is dissolved.

Apple Pie Filling:

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium Granny Smith Apples
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter or Earth Balance
  • 2/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar (this could be cut to 1/3 in my opinion)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  • Fill a bowl with cold water and add lemon juice to it.  Peel the apples, then half and quarter them.  Remove the core, then cut each piece lengthwise into thirds and crosswise into fourths, so that you have 12 small pieces from each apple quarter. Move them to the lemon water to keep them fresh while you cut.
  • When all the apples are ready to go, strain them and toss them into a small pot with the rest of the ingredients.  Put on medium heat and bring up to a boil.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the apple are soft but not getting mushy.
  • Pour into a container and refrigerate until completely cold. (Can be kept in fridge for a week, but do not freeze)

Pie Crumb:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter or Earth Balance, melted
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp water

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a half-sheet pan with parchment or a Silpat.
  • Combine flours, gum, sugar and salt in bowl of a standing mixer with paddle attachment and paddle on low-speed until well mixed.  Add the butter and water and paddle on low-speed until mixture starts to come into crumbles.
  • Pour onto baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, checking them occasionally to break them up.  The crumbles should be golden brown but not hard – they’ll seem to crumble when you press on them, but as they cool they’ll harden a bit.
  • Let the crumbs cool completely before using for the cake (you’ll use half the recipe for the frosting and the other half for the layered cake).

Pie Crumb Frosting:

This makes enough for 2 cakes but Tosi says it’s really hard to make a single serving, so make double and use the rest for snacking or cake-truffle-ing!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 recipe Pie Crumb
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used hazelnut milk to bring out the nuttiness in the brown butter cake.  Unsweetened almond milk or your milk of choice will work well too)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (I found the frosting to be a bit salty, so I’d suggest cutting down to 1/4 tsp)
  • 3 Tbsp Earth Balance or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free confectioners sugar

Directions:

  • Combine crumbs, milk and salt in a blender and blend for about 3 minutes on medium/high-speed until it’s smooth and homogenous.  Scrape under the blade halfway through to make sure the entire recipe mixes completely.
  • In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, begin paddling the Earth Balance / butter and confectioners sugar until fluffy and pale, about 2-3 minutes on medium/high-speed.  Scrape down the sides with a spatula.
  • On low-speed, paddle in the milk mixture.  After a minute, bring up to high-speed and whip for another 2 minutes. If mixture is not fully uniform, very pale and fluffy, scrape the bowl again and paddle for another minute.
  • Use immediately, or store in fridge for up to one week in an airtight container.

Milk Bar Mondays – Carrot Cake Truffles (gluten and dairy free)

Carrot Cake Truffles

Around the holidays, I was at Barnes and Noble flipping through cookbooks for my chef roundup feature coming out in March for Easy Eats magazine.  Content with a decaf Americano, the rain pouring out over Union Square and my shared table stacked high with books from Blue Ribbon, The Meatball Shop, Frankies Sputino, Eleven Madison Park and such NYC food havens, I merely flipped through Christina Tosi’s Milk book.  Tosi has almost a cult following (Chef Stephen Collucci admitted to calling one of her creations so good it was “stupid, it’s just dumb”).  I’ve never partaked.

Because milk – a featured ingredient along with sugar and glutenous flour in Tosi’s work – will send me into a flu-like state for days if I accidentally imbibe.  Not that I don’t admire and respect what she does, at all, but I remember setting the book aside thinking, “there’s no way I can even adapt 1% of these recipes”.

Enter the Milk Bar Monday swap.

This title intimidates the crap outta me

A few weeks ago Meagan of Scarletta Bakes emailed me asking if I’d consider participating in a bi-weekly swap, all of recipes from the Milk Bar book.  I was walking to a date on 9th avenue and literally my heart started shaking as if I had just swallowed a Tbsp of white sugar.  I was scared.  Tosi’s recipes have a ton of steps to them like soaking cereal in milk and then using the milk in recipes (or drinking it straight, according to some of my friends in the know).  Adapting was gonna take planning.  But I really admire the ladies of this swap, and when something scares me, it usually means I should do it.  So of course I concluded, “this is gonna be awesome”.

Welcome to the first installment of Milk Bar Mondays, folks!

Meet the Ladies!

Meagan of Scarletta Bakes

Erin of Big Fat Baker

Cassie of Bake Your Day

Audra of The Baker Chick

Nicole of Sweet Peony

Krissy of Krissy’s Creations

Follow the group on Twitter!

I have to say I am particularly enamored by this collection of bloggers.  Just check out their sites for today’s creation and for their work and writing style in general.  Stellar photos, clever ways with words, mouth-watering recipes… I’m truly psyched to be in such company.

And now… the recipe.

I have to hand it to her, these are goooooooood.  Like, so good they are indeed stupid good.  I’ve passed them along to friends who all had an eyebrow raise when they started chewing.  Dumb.

If you follow me on twitter you may recall that last weekend I spend hours making (and cursing over) cake pops for an event.  They came out adorably, but hurt my soul in how long they took and at how little skill I have with white chocolate and craftiness.    But everything happens for a reason, and last weekend made this one actually a cinch.  Because Tosi’s truffles are actually cake balls.  And since these didn’t require sticks, double dipping, dyed chocolate or lettering, I felt like a pro.

For this swap in general I’m going to try to keep as much as I can to the original recipe, making versions of Tosi’s recipes that gluten and dairy-free eaters can enjoy without putting my own spin on things.  So for this I simply used gluten-free flour, almond milk and Earth Balance in the cake, soy cream cheese in the liquid cheesecake and dark chocolate instead of white.  For the milk crumbs I used crushed Classic Butter Cutout Cookies I’ve had in the freezer for just such an occasion.

Voila.

Carrot Cake Truffles (gluten and dairy free)

recipe adapted from Milk by Christina Tosi

Ingredients: Cake

  • 8Tbsp / 1 stick butter flavored Earth Balance, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled, grated carrots

Directions: Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 6×12 inch cake pan or a quarter baking sheet with cooking spray and line with parchment or Silpat.
  • In the bowl of  a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium/high until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides, add the eggs, and beat another 3 minutes until fluffy and smooth.  Scrape down sides again, turn the mixer to low, and slowly stream in the oil.  Return to medium/high and beat about 6 minutes until the mixture is almost doubled in size and looks almost like Fluff.
  • Meanwhile, combine flours, starch, powder, soda, gum, cinnamon and salt in a bowl ad whisk to combine.
  • Turn mixer to low and slowly add in flour mixture.  Mix to combine.
  • Remove from mixer and fold in carrots.
  • Pour into pan and smooth top.  Bake for 25 minutes, until it is puffy and almost doubled in size.  The edges of the cake should be springy and the center soft but not jiggly.  Bake another 3 minutes if it’s not at this point.
  • Cool completely.

Ingredients: Liquid Cheesecake

  • 1 8-oz container “Better Than Creamcheese” Tofutti cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg

Directions: Liquid Cheesecake

  • Preheat oven to 300°.  Line a 6×6″ baking pan with plastic wrap – yes, with plastic wrap. I had never done this before but it worked just fine.
  • Beat “cream cheese” on medium/high speed in bowl of standing mixer with the paddle attachment until soft and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the sugar and beat again for another 2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch with salt, then add 1 Tbsp milk and whisk to combine.  Add 2nd Tbsp and whisk to combine.  Add egg, and whisk thoroughly until smooth.
  • With the mixer on low, stream in egg slurry.  Return speed to medium/high and beat for 4 minutes until mixture is smooth and loose.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until the edges are set but the middle of the cake is still loose and a bit jiggly.
  • Cool completely so that the cake has time to set.

Ingredients: Truffles

  • 6oz 70% dark chocolate
  • 2 cups crushed sugar cookies (I used this recipe from Christmas and had them in the freezer, then ran them through a food processor so they were incredibly fine)

Assemblage:

  • In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment beat the cake and 2 Tbsp liquid cheesecake. If you can shape it into a ball, it’s good to go. If too dry, add more cheesecake 1 Tbsp at a time. It should be a tad moister than a cake pop combo, if you’ve made them before.  I found this cake already quite soft so I only needed 2 Tbsp.
  • Roll into balls a tad bigger then a tablespoon, and set on wax paper.
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute, then stir to completely incorporate and melt chips.
  • Place the cookie crumbs in a second bowl.
  • Roll each ball in a thin layer of chocolate then in two coats of cookie.  Set back on wax paper and chill until hard.

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