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  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on July 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , marshmallow   

    Daring Bakers 21st Challenge: Mallows (Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies) 

    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.  I was thrilled when I saw that marshmallow was part of the challenge. It is something I had wanted to try making for a while, but had never got around to it. This particular cookie also had a more personal appeal to me. I grew up with “whippets“, the name of this type of cookie produced by Viau in Québec. I have fond memories of the way my father taught sis and I to eat this cookie: eat the chocolate covering first, then “inhale” the marshmallow in one breath; a technique which horrified my mother (JP!!), and naturally delighted us. 🙂

    Last Sunday, I finally started on this recipe. We have had a very hot and dry spell, here in Vancouver, and I was worried it would affect the setting time for the marshmallow and chocolate. Nonetheless, time was running out and I went to work. The cookie base was as simple as can be. I was worried how wet and sticky it remained even after the refrigeration period, but it yielded a very nice base, almost a wringer for the original cookie. The marshmallow part turned out to be almost as simple as whipping up a meringue. Since I could not find light corn syrup, I opted for one of the options suggested in the forum, namely half glucose syrup and half normal corn syrup. It worked beautifully (but man, is that stuff sticky when you pipe it…). The ‘mallow setup quickly enough and I was off to the glazing part. Again, simple enough, using my potato masher as the holding and dunking tool. The heat didn’t help in this case at all. It was still soft come the next morning. After reading one of my DB colleague’s problem with chocolate blooming after she had refrigerated the cookies, I was hesitant to resort to that. So I took a couple to work that morning and stored it in the fridge. Not a problem. The chocolate kept its beautiful luster and I became addicted, once more, to this luscious cookie. It will definitely be part of my cookie roster.

    Thankfully we had the option of doing one or both of the cookies for the challenge. The weather being what it is right now, I stopped at this one.  A great challenge, it really piqued my curiosity in marshmallow making. It’s an area I’ll explore more come Fall and more suitable baking climate. Thanks for a great challenge, Nicole!

    Mallows (Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)IMG_0786
    Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

    Prep Time: 10 min
    Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
    Cook Time: 10 min
    Serves: 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.

    • Lauren 10:57 am on July 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Yum!! Your mallows look amazing =D. My chocolate also didn’t want to set very much, and the fridge seemed to do the trick. Beautiful job on this challenge!!

    • suzon 3:12 pm on July 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Mon dieu, mon dieu, mon dieu. Moi qui est folle-dingue des Whippets. Tu me fais saliver la mère. Une chance qu’il y a tous ces fuseaux horaires entre nous parce qu’ils ne seraient pas restés longtemps dans ton frigo, tes Whippets-maison. They look absolutely and devinely delicious. Bravo !

    • pixeltheatre 2:57 pm on August 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Lauren! Merci la mère! 🙂

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on July 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , molecular cuisine, skate   

    Daring Cooks – 3rd challenge: Skate, traditional flavors powdered 

    This month’s Daring Cooks challenge involved an unusual fish called skate. I had tasted skate before at cooking school and loved it. Not a big fan of cooked fish (but I’ll eat sashimi and smoked salmon, go figure), I was pleasantly surprised by its freshness and its texture. Our hostess, Sketchy, from Sketchy’s Kitchen is a big fan of molecular cuisine, so this challenge also provided a good introduction to this side of cooking I had yet to explore. This is a dish from Grant Achatz, found in the Alinea cookbook.

    The list of accompanying ingredients was simple, yet took me a good afternoon to prep, most of it involving my micro-wave to dehydrate the various herbs. Not the best way to do this, to be sure, but I did not have a dehydrator. Everything was pretty straightforward. The results were quite rich, the method involving cooking the beans and poaching the fish in beurre monté. The fish was leaned on a bed of sliced bananas and green beans. I quite enjoyed the combination of fish and banana. Who knew?… All in all an interesting foray into the world of molecular cuisine.

    Skate, Traditional Flavors Powdered
    – with changes

    • 4 skate wings
    • * Beurre monte
    • * 300g fresh green beans
    • sea salt/kosher salt
    • 1 banana
    • 454g butter – 4 sticks
    • 300g lemons
    • 5g citric acid/vitamin c tablet
    • 150g cilantro
    • 150g parsley
    • 100g dried banana chips
    • 300g spray dried cream powder (or powdered milk)
    • 100g cup minced red onion
    • 200g capers (brined, not oil)

    * For green beans, slice each beans into very thin rounds (2 mm)

    • Beurre Monte – 454g butter (4 sticks, 1 pound) cubed and cold, 60g water. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in the butter 1 cube at a time. This should from an emulsion. Keep this heated, but under 195 degrees. The emulsion will not break – this is your poaching liquid.

    Powders – prepare ahead of time
    caper / onion
    lemon powder
    cilantro/parsley powder
    ‘brown butter’ powder

    once dried, all powders should be pulsed in a coffee grinder/spice mill/morter and pestle then passed through a chinois or fine mesh strainer.

    citrus powder
    300g lemons
    1000g simple syrup
    5g citric acid/vitamin c tablet

    zest 300g of lemons (10.6 oz), remove the pith from the zest and poach in the simple syrup three times. dry with paper towels and move to a dehydrating tray. 130 for 12 hours. pulse the zest in a coffee grinder, pass through chinois, and mix with citric acid/vitamin C powder.

    If you do not have a dehydrator, place in microwave for 8 to 10 minutes at medium powder. Once dried, follow the other instructions.

    cilantro/parsley powder
    150g cilantro
    150g parsley

    blanch the parsley in boiling saltwater for 1 second, submerge the leaves in ice water for 3 minutes. Dry on paper towels and place on dehydrator tray. 130 for 12 hours. grind and pass through chinois.

    If you do not have a dehydrator, place in microwave for 30 seconds, turn over leaves and microwave for another thirty seconds. They should be dry by now, pulse in coffee grinder, pass through chinois and reserve.

    onion powder
    100g cup minced red onions

    dehydrator – 130 for 12 hours
    microwave at medium power for 20 minutes.

    pulse in grinder, pass through chinois

    Caper powder
    200g capers (get the ones packed in brine/vinegar)

    run the capers under cold water for two minutes to remove some of the brine.
    dry on paper towels and dehydrate for 12 hours at 130 degrees.
    microwave instructions are unclear. Dry them as much a possible with paper towels, the microwave on medium for 1 minute. Check the moisture content and stir them. repeat for 30 second intervals until they are dry. If you use this method, pleas post the time needed to dry the capers.

    Once dry, pulse and sift the powder. Mix it with the onion powder.

    Brown Butter powder

    100g Dried banana chips (unsweetened if possible – many are coated in honey – the freeze dried ones would be brilliant)
    300g spray dried cream powder

    If you cannot find the cream powder, you can substitute Bob’s red mill non fat dry milk powder, or even carnation instant milk powder. The substitutions will alter the flavor a little, but you will still get the general idea.

    preheat the oven to 350 degrees, sift the cream powder into a fine layer on a silpat or on parchment. bake for 4 minutes, then remove for heat. If it bakes for too long, it will burn. Be very cautious with all powders in the oven. They all go from browned to burnt in a few seconds.

    grind the banana chips in a coffee grinder and mix with the toasted cream powder. Pass this through a chinois and reserve.

    * For green beans, slice each beans into very thin rounds (2 mm)
    * Beurre Monte – 454g butter (4 sticks, 1 pound) cubed and cold, 60g water. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in the butter 1 cube at a time. This should from an emulsion. Keep this heated, but under 195 degrees. The emulsion will not break – this is your poaching liquid.

    Prepare the skate – 50G v shaped cuts are recommended
    Bring 100g water, 100g beurre monte, and green bean rounds to a boil over high heat. Cook until the water has evaporated (about 3 minutes), when the pan is almost dry, remove it from heat and season with 3g salt

    bring 300g water and 300g beurre monte to simmer over medium heat, add skate wings and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and flip the wing over and let rest in pan for two more minutes. Transfer to warming tray lined with parchment and season with 5 grams of fine sea salt.

    • lisamichele 3:23 am on July 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Your dish came out beautiful, and I love the way you plated your powders! Very, very nicely done!

    • Audax Artifex 4:34 am on July 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      What a wonderful result you got. And just love those powders on that geometric plate design. Good to hear that you enjoyed it so much. A very interesting challenge. Great work cheers from Audax in Australia

    • lisamichele 8:10 am on July 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Gorgeous job on this challenge! Your presentation is beautiful, and it looks delicious..perfectly executed! 🙂

    • Singing Horse 12:33 pm on July 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Your powders look very beautiful and the swirls are pretty. Great job!

    • climbhighak 1:01 pm on July 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      For some time I thought I would be the only one actually using skate. Nice to see someone else in the world was able to find it.

      Great work.

    • Lauren 6:51 am on July 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Yum! Your skate looks wonderful =D. Beautiful job!!

  • pixeltheatre 7:20 pm on July 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cherries. cake, cherry, ,   

    Rouxbe’s Cherry and Wine Cake 

    I like to be guided by serendipity. My honey told me last Wednesday night, when we met for dinner, that his neighbor had given him a fresh bag of cherries from her tree, adjacent to his garden. He wasn’t sure what to do with them all. On Thursday I received one of the latest Rouxbe posts in my in-box. Sure enough, there was a recipe for a nice cherry torte. On Saturday, while he was working on a side job, I went to work on this recipe. It turned out to be a perfect grown-up dessert on a hot summer Vancouver night: not too sweet, with a healthy dose of white wine. Served with a bit of ice cream, it was a perfect ending, enjoyed on a cool evening  garden patio. I’ll be keeping this recipe close by to try with other fruit this season.

    • dawn 3:51 pm on July 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      looks great…btw – thanks for the shout-out!

    • Charlotte 9:53 pm on July 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I love everything about cherries, so I had to make the compote and the Cherry & Wine Cake. Both were fabulous! I made two batches of the compote thinking it would last all week….I don’t think so..it’s all gone!!The cake was fast to whip up and very delicious. Bravo Dawn, thanks for the recipes.

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