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  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on August 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Daring Bakers, , petit four   

    Daring Bakers 32nd Challenge: Ice cream petit fours 

    The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

    This month’s challenge involved making ice cream once more. I was surprised by this ice cream recipe, mostly by the fact that the cream never gets cooked, but just mixed in at the end. Odd, I thought. But I was game to try it. I love the taste and smell of brown butter, so making the pound cake was simple enough. I followed the ice cream recipe, and it seemed to have come out ok. That’s where things got a little astray. I built this dessert over 4 days, due to a busy schedule that week. Which caused my cake to dry out a bit in the fridge. Which caused it to not stick properly to the ice cream, even after the requisite freezing time. Which caused the layers to fall apart when I tried to dip them into the warm chocolate ganache. The fact that I cut the squares too small (sorry, but where I come from, petit fours are, well, petit) didn’t help either. After a couple of attempts at dipping, I quickly realized a very frustrating time was ahead, and bailed by dumping the chocolate over the cut squares. There. Challenge completed. Sorta. (i had spent the week battling uncooperative tables and borders in Word at work, and my patience was running very thin.) I put everything back into the freezer and later broke off sections and stored in plastic containers. I confesss I threw out most it. The ice cream came out icy in the end, despite using my ice cream maker. This cream-at-the-end business still doesn’t feel right. Certainly didn’t taste right. So, conclusion: great recipe for the cake part, I’ll stick to my crème anglaise recipe for vanilla ice cream, and will try to do everything in one go next time.

    Ice cream petit fours

    Brown Butter Pound Cake – 2 hours (includes cooling time)

    Chocolate Glaze – 15 minutes

    Assembly of Ice Cream Petit Fours – Ice cream must be frozen ahead of time several hours, then the cake and ice cream freeze overnight. After dipping, the petit fours freeze for one hours.

    Equipment required:
    • Small and medium saucepans
    • Paring knife
    • 2 quart (2 litres) bowl
    • Electric mixer
    • Whisk
    • Spatula
    • Sieve
    • 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square baking pan
    • 10” (25 cm) skillet
    • Cake leveler/serrated knife
    • Cooling racks
    • Rimmed half sheets
    • Teacups
    • Plastic wrap
    • Piping bags (optional)
    • Ice cream maker (optional)
    • Cooking blow torch (optional)


    Vanilla Ice Cream

    1 cup (250ml) whole milk
    A pinch of salt
    3/4 cup (165g) sugar
    1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
    2 cups (500ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
    5 large egg yolks
    1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract

    1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)

    2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.

    3. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.

    4. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

    5. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2007/07/making_ice_crea_1.html

    Brown Butter Pound Cake

    19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
    2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
    1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
    1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
    1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
    4 large eggs
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.

    2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

    3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

    4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

    5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

    6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

    7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

    Chocolate Glaze (For the Ice Cream Petit Fours)

    9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
    1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
    1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
    2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract

    Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.

    Assembly Instructions – Ice Cream Petit Fours

    1. Line a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups (450ml to 500ml) ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.

    2. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.

    3. Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.

    4. Make the chocolate glaze (see above.)

    5. While the glaze cools, trim ¾” (2cm) off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square 7.5” (19cm) ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty five petit fours, each 1.5”x1.5” (4cmx4cm).

    6. Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it.

    7. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on October 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Daring Bakers, macaron   

    Daring Bakers 24th Challenge: Macarons 

    The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe. I found this to be a very fitting challenge, marking my second year anniversary with Daring Bakers. Macarons is something I’ve wanted to try for a while. They seem to be popping everywhere in local bakeries, but prices are so steep ($3.50 for a bite of a cookie! I don’t think so…), I had yet to try one. Then came the Gastown Farmers Market last summer. A vendor (can’t find her name now) was selling macarons, 3 for $5. Now, that was a price I could deal with. So I tried the caramel and the lemon flavoured ones. And fell in love. A couple of weekends later, I tried the recipe from Cooks’ Illustrated, but ended up with a pan-full of almond-flavored hockey pucks. Not bad dunked in coffee, but nowhere near what a macaron should be.

    This recipe proved more successful. Reading through posts on the forum, I decided to follow Audax’ suggestion of aging the egg whites at least 5 days. Not being able to find “almond flour” but almond powder, I also decided to dry it out a bit by leaving it in the oven overnight with the light on. Don’t know if that made a difference in the end, but I was thrilled to see feet on my cookies. The domes weren’t quite as smooth as they should have been, but the consistency was bang on. I settled on a simple butterscotch ganache for the filling. Now that I’ve managed to complete a successful batch, I’m already thinking about the next one. Next challenge, getting that smooth dome. Thanks for this, Ami


    Preparation time: Not taking into account the amount of time it takes for you to bring your egg whites to room temperature, the whole baking process, including making the batter, piping and baking will probably take you about an hour to an hour and a half. How long it takes to make your filling is dependent on what you choose to make.

    Actual baking time: 12 minutes total, plus a few minutes to get your oven from 200°F to 375°F.

    Equipment required:
    • Electric mixer, preferably a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
    • Rubber spatula
    • Baking sheets
    • Parchment paper or nonstick liners
    • Pastry bag (can be disposable)
    • Plain half-inch pastry bag tip
    • Sifter or sieve
    • If you don’t have a pastry bag and/or tips, you can use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off
    • Oven
    • Cooling rack
    • Thin-bladed spatula for removing the macaroons from the baking sheets
    • Food processor or nut grinder, if grinding your own nuts (ouch!)

    Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
    Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
    Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
    Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)


    1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
    2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
    3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
    4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
    5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
    6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
    7. Cool on a rack before filling.

    Yield: 10 dozen. Ami’s note: My yield was much smaller than this. I produced about two dozen filled macaroons.

    Additional Information:

    David Lebovitz breaks it down:http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2008/09/making_french_macarons.htm…
    More macaroon 411: http://www.seriouseats.com/2007/10/introduction-to-french-macarons.html
    Get inspired by our own Tartlette!: http://www.mytartelette.com/search/label/macarons
    Go behind the scenes of Paulette: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXIvX0-CEu0
    Watch a pro pipe macaroons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_RfiFoWZKQ&feature=related
    Beating egg whites: http://www.glutenfreecookingschool.com/archives/egg-series-no-1-how-to-b…

    • nutmegnanny 6:21 am on October 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Your macarons look great! This was my first attempt too. I was relieved to learn it was not as difficult as I had always thought.

    • Lauren 5:49 pm on October 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Your macs look awesome! I think it was a first for many (me too!). Love the sound of the butterscotch filling =D.

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on July 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Daring Bakers, 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 12:02 am on April 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Daring Bakers   

    Daring Bakers 18th Challenge: Cheesecake Centerpiece 

    The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. One of my favorite cakes, after Boston Cream pie (which is actually a cake and not a pie), this challenge came at a good time. I finally had an opportunity to serve this challenge to a large group of people instead of facing the challenge of eating it alone or pushing it to my honey. Easter dinner was on the near horizon, and that’s where this cake was headed. I have to admit it was one of the easiest cheesecakes I have made. We were encouraged to use any flavoring we wanted, but when I read the Mexican Turtle variation included in the recipe, I knew it was the one I wanted: bittersweet chocolate, pecans and caramel sauce. Hummm.hmm… To keep with the theme, I added a tablespoon of tequila to the mix. I paired this cake with my favorite salted caramel sauce. The final result was very creamy and quite rich and to die-for, if I may say so myself. Although some of my fellow Daring Bakers experienced some problems with water-logged crusts due to water seeping in, I was pleased my foil-wrapped aging spring-form stayed tight. Now looking forward to next month’s challenge AND the first Daring Cooks challenge (which will be a lot of fun to do — the recipe was posted on Friday). Watch this space on May 14th for the results of this new set of challenges.

    Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake


    2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
    1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
    2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla extract


    3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
    1 cup / 383 g sugar
    3 large eggs
    1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
    1 tbsp. lemon juice
    1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
    1 tbsp tequila


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

    2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.

    3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

    4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

    5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

    Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil “casserole” shaped pans from the grocery store. They’re 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

    Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!

    ** Mexican Turtle – add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.

    Salted Caramel Sauce

    • 1/2 cup salted butter
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/16 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)

    To make the salted butter caramel: In a saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the butter in the heavy cream. Immediately remove from the heat and set aside.

    Place the sugar in a separate saucepan set over medium heat. Sprinkle the water over the sugar and allow it to dissolve over the heat without stirring. As the sugar begins to caramelize, occasionally shake and swirl the pan to evenly distribute the color.

    When the caramel is a rich golden color, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the hot cream and melted butter to the caramel. Take care to stand back during this process; the hot caramel will bubble up the sides of the pan.

    Return the caramel to the lowest heat setting, whisking constantly. Cook and stir the salted butter caramel for 2 minutes over the low heat. Remove from the heat and season the sauce with the 1/16 teaspoon sea salt; stir until it is dissolved completely.

    • Baking Monster 8:24 pm on April 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      This looks amazing.

    • asti 4:12 pm on April 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      pecans and salted caramel.. yummm. Great job

    • Chantal 7:05 am on April 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I’m glad you had a crowd to share that with, it looks soooo sinful!

    • Lauren 2:31 pm on April 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Mmm, your cheesecake looks amazing!! The flavours sound divine =D.

    • Nicole 3:15 pm on April 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Oh I could lick my screen right now… that looks so good!

    • JennyBakes 12:49 pm on May 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      This looks delicious. Thanks for being a part of the April Daring Baker’s Challenge!

      Jenny of JennyBakes

    • Debyi 7:29 pm on May 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Your cheesecake sounds scrumptious! Yummy!

    • pixie o 7:35 pm on May 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      very decadent! did the tequila still give it an edge? =)

  • pixeltheatre 8:40 pm on January 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Daring Bakers   

    Daring Bakers 15th Challenge: Tuiles 

    This month’s challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux. The requirements were fairly simple:

    • use one of the batters given,
    • shape it either prior (using a stencil) or right after baking and
    • pair it with something light; fruit, sorbet, a mousse, or maybe even a fruit soup, think glazes or dips…..

    Bend it, shape it, anyway you want it!

    I was familiar with tuiles, thanks to participating in the BC Chef Table canapé competition when I was in school. We worked with the Thomas Keller tuile recipe for the cones used to house curried crab. I remember the many attempts at getting the thickness just right on the silpat, and the burnt fingertips as we rolled the hot tuiles over small metal cones.  This afternoon was a nice trip down memory lane. I decided to pair the pink tuile, in honour of upcoming Valentine’s Day, with a pannacotta, infused with vanilla and anise star. The coulis is a reduction of mixed berries and balsamic vinagar. 

    • Barbara 8:59 pm on January 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I paired mine with panna cotta as well. Your berry sauce looks delicious!

    • Jo 12:57 am on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Great job on your challenge. I love your combination flavours and am sure it was delicious.

    • Christi 8:10 am on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      ooh, what a great combo, tuiles and panna cotta! yum!

    • sara 8:39 am on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      This looks beautiful…a perfect pairing for valentine’s day! Yum.

    • JennyBakes 10:22 am on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      This looks delicious, nice job!

    • lisamichele 11:08 am on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      What a beautiful plate! Love the pink tuiles!

    • Andreas 12:34 pm on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Yummy picture.

      I did a panna cotta, too. (first try ever)
      Btw. what ratio of gelatine/cream do you use.

    • bakergirlcreations 2:08 pm on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      The tuile looks great! I want try the berry sauce over plain yogurt – yum 🙂

    • suzon 2:09 pm on January 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Mmmmm. J’imagine que c’était aussi bon que la photo est belle.

    • toontz 1:09 pm on January 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds absolutely divine!!

    • Debyi 6:54 pm on February 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I love your pink tuiles, great job.

    • pixeltheatre 9:36 pm on February 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks all for the comments. Always appreciated. To answer Andreas question:

      The recipe I use for my pannacotta is close to yours. The cream is diluted with whole milk and has a bit less sugar. This should help cut down on the heaviness you describe. This is one of my favorite desserts now.

      170 ml cream
      55 ml milk
      30 g sugar
      1.5 sheets gelatin

      Flavoring (vanilla beans, cinnamon, star anise, etc…)


    • Diana 12:16 pm on February 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      That sounds delicious! I love it when cooking takes me down memory lane, it somehow seems to make the food taste better.

    • Y 3:13 pm on February 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Tuile looks lovely, and that sauce sounds incredibly yummy!

  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on November 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: caramel, cupcakes, Daring Bakers   

    Daring Bakers 13th Challenge: Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting 

    We were back with sweet stuff in this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge. Our hosts were Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, with co-hosts, Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo, Jenny of Foray into Food  and finally Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go, for the gluten free version of the recipe. Dolores chose Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting, courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon, as posted on the Bay Area Bites Blog.

    I was happy to get the change to work with caramel again. My favorite ice cream topping is salted caramel sauce. I’ve made it a couple of times, but I still feel hesitant when working with it. It doesn’t take long before the desirably amber colour turns to dark brown, and you’ve burned your caramel. This time though, I was really happy with my caramel syrup. The colour and final consistency felt just right. The recipe made plenty more than what was needed for this recipe, which will give me a good excuse to make this recipe again.

    In the end I did cupcakes and mini cupcakes. I really liked the cake portion, not too heavy and not too moist. The frosting was quiet sweet, but a bit of extra salt helped. as with the syrup, there was some frosting left over. Well worth the investment in time!

    I can’t wait to see what the December challenge will be… 🙂

  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on October 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Daring Bakers, pizza   

    Daring Bakers 12th Challenge: Bake Your Pizzas Like A Real Pizzaiolo! 

    This month’s challenge did not involve so much ingredients as technique. Hosted by Rosa’s Yummy Yums, we were tasked to reach new heights in our baking skills, literally. Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, was the inspiration behind the choice of recipe, with his Basic Pizza Dough. How hard can it be when the ingredients call for simple flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar and olive oil?… It wasn’t and resulted in a very nice pliable dough. Which was key to the next step: tossing it!

    Yep, we were supposed to toss this dough, not once but twice, for the challenge. After viewing the video, I thought, this can’t be too hard… It was. I managed to stretch it on my hands and kinda bounce it on my fists to stretch it. But I was afraid it would rip if I did more. I did not have much more luck with the second ball of dough, as it ripped. I had to roll that one in the end. Still the crusts turned out nice and crispy. I used a combination of tomato sauce and pesto sauce for the base, with salami/prosciutto, pepperoncinis and smoked mozzarella and blue cheese. We had no problem eating it at all. In fact, I nearly forgot to take a picture of the final product. :0 You get hungry after all that “tossing”…

    Here’s how the pros do it:

  • pixeltheatre 10:57 pm on September 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Daring Bakers, lavash   

    Daring Bakers 11th Challenge: Lavash Crackers 

    We got a reprieve from sweet stuff in this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge. Our hosts this time around were Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and Shel, of Musings From the Fishbowl. The challenge was a flatbread called lavash. The additional challenge was to keep everything, including the dip, vegan. It was a nice change to read through the recipe and see I already had all the ingredienst already on hand. A nice change as well was being able to print this recipe on one (1) page!! Something I had yet to see with a DB challenge. 🙂

    The lavash recipe was from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Everything was pretty straightforward. I used zataar as a topping as well as kosher salt and poppy seeds. I used a roasted red pepper dip as an accompaniement. I was happy with the results. Another keeper!

    • Joy 12:44 pm on September 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I love the look of those crackers – really authentic.

    • Lynn 3:10 pm on September 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Great job! The dip sounds really tasty too!

    • teaandscones 6:25 pm on September 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I love the curly edges on these nice thin crackers. They look really good. Great job.

    • Jorge 10:34 pm on September 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Wish u good luck for that competition..

    • Apron Straightjacket 7:07 pm on October 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful job. I love the texture in the surface!

  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on July 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Daring Bakers, filberts,   

    Daring Bakers – 9th Challenge: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream 

    This month’s challenge, hosted by Chris (AKA Mele Cotte), gave us a chance to try another buttercream recipe. Although it sounded very much like the Opera Cake challenge of May, I was happy to try my hand at another layer cake since I had missed the May challenge.

    The Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream was picked from Great Cakes by Carole Walter. After printing the recipe, which came in at six (6) pages, I read it through. And again. And again. And again. This challenge came down to six (6) recipes:

    1 Filbert Genoise
    1 recipe sugar syrup, flavored with dark rum limoncello
    1 recipe Praline Buttercream (buttercream + praline recipes)
    1 recipe Apricot berry Glaze
    1 recipe Ganache Glaze

    A first for me was the praline part of the praline buttercream. Luckily, I like filberts. I tried the method suggested to remove the skins from filberts (roasting the filberts, then rubbing the skins off with the help of a tea towel), without much success. I finally found unskinned nuts at Famous Foods, which is rapidly becoming my go-to store for all things baking. 

    I usually devote a single day to Daring Bakers challenges. This time around I thought I’d  break it up and do a bit each evening, since a lot of the components could be made in advance. By the third evening of prepping and doing dishes, however, I’d come to the conclusion I will return to the dedicated one-day schedule. I just wanted to get it done and over with.

    At the end of it all, I was somewhat happy with the results. My cake collapsed during cooling, but it gave me a new appreciation for the masking power of glaze and chocolate ganache ( 😉 ). Piping the praline buttercream became a reminder to go with the flow, as bits of praline kept getting stuck in my one-size-too-small piping tip. It’s amazing the life lessons that can be gleamed from a DB challenge…

    Bring on August!

    • Ann 9:01 am on July 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Nice work!

    • Lorrie 6:45 am on July 31, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      yes! ganache will cover anything! Your cake looks great 🙂

    • Lauren 9:12 am on August 3, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your cake looks wonderful! Ganache is truly a secret weapon, I’m glad it served you well!

  • pixeltheatre 12:13 am on April 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Daring Bakers, lollipops   

    Daring Bakers – 7th Challenge: Cheesecake Pops 

    Where has the month gone!… Back to working fulltime, my food blogging has come to a veritable stop, Cheesecake Popsthough I’ve been cooking and baking more than ever. 🙂

    This month’s challenge was hosted by Elle – Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah – Taste and Tell.
    The recipe involved making cheesecake and turning it into lollipops coated with chocolate. I decided to do half the recipe – the original calling for five (5) 8 oz bricks of cream cheese – way too much cheesecake to have around the house. Everything turned out fine. My baking time was more 1h15 hours than the 35 minutes called in the recipe. The consistency was really nice and silky, and a snap to do in the mixer, meaning this is a recipe I’ll definitely be turning to again. Though the process was simple, there was a lot of time involved in letting things cool, then freeze. I tried to form the balls using an ice cream scooper, which sort of worked. The resulting shapes weren’t the most delicate (or lollipop-like), but looked a bit better once coated with the chocolate. In retrospect, I should have slightly frozen the cheesecake before scooping.

    Thanks for the challenge, ladies! 🙂

    BTW, Daring Bakers now has a new website/Forum with a section open to anyone interested in baking and meeting DBers. More details here.There are now over 1,000 registered Daring Bakers!

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    • Rosa 1:12 am on April 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Great job! Those pops look delicious!



    • Dolores 1:41 am on April 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Yeah, I used a cookie scoop with pretty much the same results. I think par-freezing the cheesecake might be the solution.

    • Jerry 6:34 am on April 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply


    • marye 8:55 am on April 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Melted chocolate fixes nearly anything!

    • Susan 10:09 am on April 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Very nice. I agree about the freezing before scooping — I’m going to try that next time.

    • JennyBakes 4:55 pm on April 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I froze before scooping and mine still looked pretty messy. 🙂 Nice job on yours, you sound busy but you still fit it in!

    • Deborah 6:34 pm on April 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I’m glad you were able to fit the challenge in, despite your busy work schedule! They look great!

    • Molly W 10:08 pm on April 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Your pops do look yummy, even though I don’t like cheese cake. Isn’t it interesting how cookbook recipes have these little glitches, like needing to cook it twice as long. Makes you think.

    • Lucy V 1:38 am on April 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful looking cheesecake pops, despite the hassles with shaping them. When it comes to cooking times, I realized that my current oven cooks so much faster than my last oven that I have to check everything early! For the most part, I always consider a time in a recipe as an indication and never the rule.

    • Lisa 9:23 pm on April 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Yep, a good dip in chocolate makes ANYTHING look good – and when your talking about cheesecake – well the chocolate doesn’t have to work very hard 🙂

    • Tina 4:04 pm on April 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Great Job!! mine were messy either way hehe.. But they were great and your look wonderful!

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