Posts tagged with dessert:
Strawberries and Cream Spectacular! This recipe comes from the Time Life Series of Books called The Good Cook/Techniques and Recipes published in 1981. I had the entire collection in those days, and through the years I have donated many and sold some at yard sales, but this particular one simply called Cakes remains on my shelf.
It is a great resource for anyone who loves baking cakes as I do. This particular cake is one that I love and continue to make today. I have made it for many special occasions, including a bridal shower for my best friend’s daughter a few years after we had moved here.
It is a great springtime cake and I served it at the brunch we had a week ago.
Now I’ll confess I use a pastry bag and tip to decorate occasionally, but my skills are from from that of a professional.
Somehow with this cake even if you stray as I do from using 3 different tips as the recipe suggests, this cake always ends up looking yummy and tasting yummier.
And, if you don’t run out of whipped cream as I did this time, you can also pipe rosettes around the bottom edge of the cake for a more finished look.
But you know what, nobody said, “Hey, where are the rosettes?”
The cake itself is light as a feather with just enough lemon flavoring that complements the ripe strawberries and vanilla flavored whipped cream.
May is around the corner and with it strawberry season, so find an occasion and do make this delicious spectacular cake.
Strawberries and Cream Spectacular
(The Good Cook, Cakes from the Time Life series, Elise W. Manning, Farm Journal’s complete home Baking Book)
To make one 9-inch cake
2 and 1/2 cups cake flour
1 and 2/3 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 and 1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
4 cups strawberries
2 cups heavy cream, whipped with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup red currant jelly
Sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the shortening and half of the milk. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for two minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.
Add the remaining milk, the lemon extract, the vanilla extract and the egg yolks. Beat with the electric mixer for another two minutes.
Pour the batter into two buttered layer-cake pans that have been lined with parchment paper.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centers of the layers comes out clean.
Cool the layers in their pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks.
While the cake is cooling, wash and hull the strawberries. Chop enough strawberries to make one cup; reserve the remaining berries. Fold the chopped strawberries into one cup of the whipped cream.
Place one cake layer, top side down, on a serving plate. Spread it with the strawberry-cream filling.
Top with the second cake layer, top side up.
Slice the reserved strawberries lengthwise. Arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the cake, starting at the outer edge and placing the slices with their pointed ends toward the edge of the cake.
After the first circle of berries is completed, continue placing the strawberries in this manner until the top is covered.
Refrigerate the cake for 10 minutes.
Melt the red currant jelly in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Carefully spoon or brush the hot jelly over the strawberries
Spread some of the remaining whipped cream around the sides of the cake.
Spoon the rest of the whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a No. 190 drop flower tube. Pipe rosettes between the strawberry points around the rim of the cake. then change to a No.24 star tube and fill in the spaces. Finally, change to a No. 71 leaf tube, and piupe a border around the bottom edge of the cake.
If you do not wish to decorate the cake with decorating tips, spoon the remaining cream in small puffs on the top of the cake between the strawberries.
Refrigerate the cake until time to serve it.
In addition to the Passover Lemon Cheesecake which I made this year I also took this Chocolate Sponge Cake Roll with Raspberries and Cream to the seder at our aunt’s home.
I am not a chocoholic by any means ( I usually prefer desserts without chocolate with a few exceptions), but i know that for many people it is not dessert if it’s not chocolate. So I always like to include something with chocolate when there are several desserts at a holiday meal.
This recipe is an adaptation of a lemon sponge cake roll I have made numerous times at Passover. (See the post from April 2011) .
Instead of the lemon juice and zest I added cocoa powder and vanilla extract, filled it with some fresh raspberries and whipped cream, and covered it in with a chocolate frosting.
Passover Chocolate Sponge Cake Roll with Raspberries and Cream
(serves 8 to 10)
For the cake roll
1/2 cup sifted Passover cake meal
1/2 cup potato starch
6 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line a 10”x 15” rimmed baking sheet with buttered parchment paper.
Sift together cake meal, potato starch, and cocoa powder and set aside.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and lemon colored.
Gradually add the dry ingredients, stirring to make a thick batter.
Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff but not dry. Fold very gently into the batter.
Turn into the prepared pan and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Test with cake tester, or press gently with finger to see if cake bounces back.
Remove from then oven and turn onto a lightly sugared towel. Gently remove parchment paper.
Roll up with the towel while warm and let cool completely on a rack.
When cool, carefully unroll and spread the whipped cream, dot with the raspberries. Reroll and place onto serving plate.
Cover with the chocolate frosting. Garnish with extra raspberries.
Whipped cream filling
1/2 cup heavy cream for whipping
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
Whip cream and sugar with whisk attachment in an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
3/4 cup fresh raspberries, (sweetened with 1 tablespoon sugar, optional)
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 to 4 Tablespoons hot water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
Blend sugar with melted butter, vanilla, and chocolate. Stir in hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until proper consistency.
This luscious lemon cheesecake is one of the desserts I took to the Seder at our aunt’s home last night.
The crust is made from ground almonds and matzo cake meal making it perfect for Passover when flour is prohibited. Its sweet crunchiness complements the smooth lemony light filling.
Passover Lemon Cheesecake (Epicurious, Gourmet/ April 2008)
(8 to 10 servings)
3/4 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted and cooled
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup matzo cake meal
14 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 (8 -ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
a 9-inch springform pan
To Make Crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle.
Pulse almonds, sugar, matzo cake meal, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in butter until combined well.
Press onto bottom and 1 inch up the side of springform pan. Bake until crust is firm and a shade darker, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool crust completely in pan on a rack.
To Make Filling and Bake Cheesecake
Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Beat together cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs 1 at a time, mixing until incorporated. Mix in zest and vanilla.
Put springform pan in a shallow baking pan and pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set 1 and 1/2 inches from the edge but center is wobbly, 45 to 50 minutes (filling will set as it cools).
Transfer cake in pan to a rack and immediately run a knife around edge, then remove side of pan. Cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.
Garnish with blackberries and lemon slices (optional)
Note: Cheesecake can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, loosely covered.
I love pudding! Just a spoonful of
sugar pudding helps the medicine go down, or anything else that ails you! It is the epitome of comfort food.
This past week I had an unexpected visit from my terrific niece from New York who will be graduating this spring from college.
It seems like yesterday that we got the call that she was born. My sister and I filled the car with all the food we had been cooking and baking while we were nervously awaiting the news of my sister-in-law’s long labor.
With the food and our father in tow we headed for NYC to greet our new niece named for our beloved mother, Lily.
I was so excited to have Lily at our home one last time before we head out to the west coast the end of June.
Lily made her first appearance here at 10 months old when we celebrated my younger son’s Bar-Mitzvah with a party in our backyard under tents on a beautiful spring afternoon/evening in May.
From then on she was with us for every Thanksgiving, and for many summers when she was younger she would come and spend a week with us.
I got to experience the joys of having a little girl around…fixing her hair, picking out outfits with her for her to wear, and allowing her to have her fingernails painted blue which was her favorite color one summer.
Trips to the bookstore for storytelling time, hours at the community pool nearby, playing with the neighborhood kids, fixing her favorite foods, and trips to Jimmie Cone ice cream for a vanilla cone with all the rainbow sprinkles it could hold, are just a few of my memories of her visits.
And now here she is all grown up, beautiful and bright and on her way to find her place in the world.
She stayed with us for a couple of days while she attended some meetings in DC.
My sister came in for the occasion and for dessert the first evening I made this Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding which appears in the March issue of Bon Appetit.
According to Bon Appetit… this complexly flavored pudding owes its smooth texture to a quick spin in the blender.
I found this to be a great time to use my immersion blender, and it worked beautifully, saving me some extra cleanup time.
Here is the recipe…
Bourbon-Butterscotch Pudding ( 8 servings)
(Bon Appetit, March, 2013)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon bourbon or Scotch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar
Creme fraiche and crushed gingersnap cookies (for serving: optional)
(Note: I used just a dollop of freshly whipped cream)
eight 6-oz ramekins or bowls
For a video demonstration of this recipe click here to see this from Bon Appetite.
Our good friends from our “Chicago Days” who now live in Rhode Island spent the night with us on their way down to Florida yesterday. It was so wonderful to spend some time with them.
They were a part of a close knit group of friends we had who, like us, were all transplanted to the Windy City from the east coast in the 70’s. We were all beginning our own families at this time, and before long we became family to each other filling the void that living far from one’s roots can create.
So we celebrated holidays and birthdays together, formed a gourmet club, had play dates for our kids, went apple picking, pumpkin picking, and strawberry picking, and the dads even took the kids on camping trips (without the moms).
As is life, eventually we all found ourselves relocating, many of us back to the east coast, but all to different cities.
But those were days we cherish, and no doubt the memories of those good times for our children (now adults, and some with their own children), have impacted their lives.
As luck would have it, it was also my husband’s birthday yesterday, and what better way to spend it than with good friends!
I made a birthday dinner of Greek Chicken and Potatoes, Greek Style Green Beans and Tomatoes, and a Greek Salad, all of which was gluten free as our friend must adhere to this diet.
While dinner was not challenging at all, I was not so confident about making my husband’s favorite chocolate birthday cake with a gluten free twist.
I confess I have never made a gluten free cake other than the sponge cakes I make at Passover which are gluten free by nature since I only use potato starch in them, and an occasional flourless chocolate cake.
But I wanted this to be a real birthday cake, 2 layers with a special filling between the layers, and a decadently rich chocolate glaze.
When I found a bag of gluten free flour at Trader Joe’s I thought I just might be able to pull off a gluten free birthday cake worth celebrating.
I decided to follow the recipe for my chocolate cake, substituting the gluten free flour for the cake flour called for.
A Chocolate Cake That’s Got It All
Butter, for coating cake pans
2 cups sugar
1 and 3/4 cups cake flour 1 and 3/4 cups gluten free flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch process
1 teaspoon instant coffee ( I used instant espresso powder)
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
14 tablespoons (13/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, but not hot
2 (8-inch) cake pans
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease the cake pans with butter and dust with flour. (I prefer to line the bottom of the pans with buttered parchment as well to prevent any sticking).
Whisk sugar, flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
Place cocoa and coffee in a medium bowl. Whisk in 3/4 cup boiling water to form a smooth paste. Stir in sour cream and vanilla and set aside.
With a hand or electric mixer in medium bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Without cleaning the beaters, mix melted butter into dry ingredients until mixture is smooth. Immediately add cocoa mixture, and beat until batter is smooth, 2-3 minutes. Carefully fold egg whites into batter until just incorporated.
Divide batter evenly between pans and bake until a skewer inserted into center comes out with wet crumbs, 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cakes sit in pans to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Invert each cake onto a plate, then onto a cooling rack.
For the filling I whipped up some heavy cream into which I folded some frozen (partially thawed) raspberries, making it a pretty shade of pink, and then covered the whole cake with a rich chocolate glaze.
Chocolate Fudge Glaze
1/4 cup (60ml) water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces (170g) sweet cooking chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 cup confectioners, sugar (2 ounces, 55g)
1 and 1/2 tablespoons dark rum (or Chambord Liqueur)
Pinch of salt
Bring water and butter to boil in a small saucepan. Keep at simmer until needed.
Metal Blade: Pulse the chocolate with confectioners’ sugar 5 times, then process continuously until chocolate is as fine as sugar. With machine running, pour water and butter through the feed tube and process until chocolate is melted, stopping once to scrape the work bowl. Add the rum or Chambord and salt and process for 5 seconds.
With the remaining glaze (I made 1 and 1/2 x the recipe) I decorated the top of the cake with a pastry tip. Allow the glaze to chill a bit to thicken it enough to do this.
Some raspberries for the finishing touch, and I would say it was a delicious success!
And by what was left I think you might agree.
I’m now a believer that gluten free doesn’t have to be taste free!
This is the dessert that ended our Valentine’s dinner this evening.
Nothing too fancy, just a few of my husband’s favorites…homemade rich chocolatey brownies cut into heart shapes, sharing the plate with pure vanilla ice cream blanketed with fresh ripe macerated strawberries.
Dinner was a mixed green salad, steamed lobster tails with drawn butter, pan seared T-Bone Steak, and baked potatoes all washed down with a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
My sister came to visit this past weekend so we could all celebrate her birthday.
Our best friends who have become good friends to her as well joined us for a terrific dinner Saturday evening in DC at a wonderful restaurant called District Commons. Check it out.
Our cocktails, appetizers, entrees, salads, and desserts were all great and it was a really fun evening.
After dinner we cruised our beautiful nation’s capital which is particularly amazing all lit up at night.
We passed by The White House, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, numerous beautifully designed government buildings and more before heading for home.
Having lived here for the past 25 years with these treasures practically in our backyard, and knowing that by this summer they will be almost an entire country away, my appreciation of them and all they represent has grown even deeper.
We plan to go into DC more often over the next four months to savor all that is here before moving to the west coast this summer. It is one more thing to add to our growing list of things/people that will be hard to leave.
After our scenic tour we all came back to our house for coffee and yes, a second dessert. I had made a Coconut Cream Pie for the birthday girl knowing this is one of her favorite desserts.
I have always adhered to the belief that it is not a birthday unless there is a birthday cake, or in this case, pie! That’s just the way it has to be.
After scouring the internet for all forms of coconut cream pie, I landed on this version which comes from a fellow food blogger, and it is amazing. It is Lorie’s Coconut Cream Pie from her blog Mississippi Kitchen. I won’t be looking for another version after having made this one.
Here it is…
Lorie’s Coconut Cream Pie (from Mississippi Kitchen Blog)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2-3 tablespoons ice cold water
1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
1 envelope (about 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 (13.5-ounce) can pure coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 large whole egg
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 (15-ounce) can cream of coconut
2 1/2 cups shredded, flaked coconut, divided
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening and 1/4 cup cold cubed butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the vinegar and 2 tablespoons water, until mixture forms a ball, adding more water if necessary. Pat into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Roll dough out to fit a 9 1/2-10 inch glass pie plate. Place crust in pie plate and trim and crimp edges. Place the dish on a baking sheet for easier handling. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust well with a fork. Line the inside of the crust with a piece of foil, allowing edges to extend several inches beyond the perimeter. Place 2 cups of dried beans in the crust to weight it down during baking and prevent shrinkage.
(Note : I used parchment paper to line the pan and filled it with uncooked rice instead of beans)
Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is no longer raw on bottom. Remove the foil and beans by carefully lifting the foil out by the overhang. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Place 1/2 cup cold milk in a mixing bowl (preferably with a pouring spout) and sprinkle with the gelatin. Set aside to soften for about 5 minutes.
Bring the remaining milk and coconut milk to nearly a boil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.
When the gelatin is soft, add the sugar, cornstarch, egg and egg yolks and whisk until very well blended. Gradually whisk about a 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the gelatin mixture; repeat this process once or twice using about 3/4 cup of the hot milk mixture. Pour the warmed gelatin mixture into the saucepan with the hot milk and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for about 2 minutes or until mixture is very thick.
Strain the pastry cream through a fine wire strainer into a large clean bowl; whisk in the butter, coconut extract, and cream of coconut until smooth. Stir in 2 cups shredded coconut.
Pour into the cooled the pie shell and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
To make the topping, beat the heavy cream in a large bowl on high speed until foamy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until soft to medium stiff peaks form. Spread over the pie. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup coconut. Keep refrigerated.
Happy Birthday to my wonderful sister!
One of the things I love to do most in the kitchen is to take left-overs and re-purpose them. In other words, use it in a different way than originally intended.
Case in point: the Meyer Lemon Curd Tartlets pictured above.
I love making Meyer Lemon Curd whenever I find Meyer lemons available. A small jar makes a great house gift at the holidays.
It is also delicious on scones or toast for breakfast or brunch or served with berries as a light dessert. Or serve it with gingersnaps for dipping and a bowl of berries on the side like my sister did.
Yesterday I decided to make these tartlets with what remained of the Meyer Lemon Curd in my fridge. I had a vision of these mini lemon meringue pies in my mind, and since it is my husband’s favorite dessert, decided to give it a try.
The most time consuming part was already done, making the filling , which in this case was the Meyer Lemon Curd. So with a simple cookie crust and a meringue topping in no time at all my remaining Meyer Lemon Curd reinvented itself as these wonderful mini tarts.
Fortunately I had the mini tart pans. You could use a number of sizes, but mine are 3 and 1/2 inches. I only made 5 because that’s how far I stretched the cookie crust recipe designed for one 8 or 9 -inch tart pan, and there was enough lemon curd for 5 small tarts.
They were the perfect ending to our dinner of salmon and couscous last night and if i don’t get to them before there will still be one for each of us tonight!
Meyer Lemon Curd Tartlets
Cookie Crust (from www.joyofbaking.com- recipe follows)
Meringue (recipe follows)
Cookie Crust Recipe (makes 1 8 or 9-inch tart, or 5 - 3and 1/2 -inch tartlets)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
In your food processor place the flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps.
Place the pastry in the (lightly buttered or sprayed) tart pan (with removable bottom) and, using your fingertips, evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (Can use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface of the pastry.)
Pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the pastry crust from puffing up while it bakes.)
Cover and place the pastry in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. (This will help prevent the crust from shrinking while it bakes.)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place rack in center of oven.
When the pastry is completely chilled, place the tart pan on a larger baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 13-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
When cool, fill the tarts with the Meyer Lemon Curd, leaving some room for the meringue topping.
Make the meringue
Perfect Meringue For Topping Pies (Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook)
Here is the basic recipe for an 8, 9, or 10-inch pie or tart
For 8 ” Pie
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
For 9” Pie
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons sugar
For 10” Pie
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
Have egg whites at room temperature to obtain greatest volume. Place them in a medium bowl with cream of tartar, salt and vanilla.
Beat with electric or hand beater, at medium speed, until entire mixture is frothy. Do not beat until eggs stiffen.
Add sugar, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Do not under-beat. Beat until sugar dissolves to help prevent beading (those brown syrup drops on top).
To test, rub some of the meringue between your fingers to see if it’s still grainy. (The grains are undissolved sugar.)
Continue to beat until stiff, and pointed peaks form when you life the beater slowly.
Place spoonfuls (or pipe them on with a pastry bag) of meringue around edge of pie or tart filling, spreading it so it touches inner edge of crust to seal all around. This prevents shrinkage.
Pile the remainder of meringue in center of pie and spread to meet meringue around edge. If the filling is not covered completely, the oven heat may cause it to weep. Lift up meringue over pie in points with the back of a teaspoon.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until meringue peaks are golden brown. Too long baking may cause weeping. Cool gradually away from drafts.
Note: You can substitute 1 teaspoon lemon juice for cream of tartar when making meringues for lemon, lime, and orange pies. The acid in the juice gives the same result-a wonderful meringue!
Between Christmas and New Year’s most of us find ourselves snacking on the abundance of cookies, cakes, and candies, which throughout the rest of the year are not as easily within our reach.
But during the holidays it seems even the diehard dieters give themselves a bit of a reprieve. After all it’s the season of joy, and can anyone really say that sinking our teeth into some delectable treat has not brought us at the least a tiny bit of joy?
So as my way of spreading some of this delicious joy I present to you this easy recipe for the California Toffee Butter Crunch pictured above.
Now this is not a gourmet candy. In fact, you can tweak it however you like but the actual recipe which I have been making for many years calls for good old Hershey milk chocolate bars, (yes, I said milk chocolate), and roasted and salted store bought almonds (yes, I said salted).
Add to that a buttery toffee (yes, I said butter), and you have a candy so satisfying that, as the saying goes, “you can’t eat just one!”
I made a batch this past week to give as some gifts. If wrapped well it can be frozen so you can make it in advance if you have the time. I, of course made it at the last minute.
As soon as it is well chilled, you can break it up, wrap it in cellophane, put a ribbon on it and go spread a little joy.
California Toffee Butter Crunch
(adapted from The Best Specialties of the House …And More, North Suburban Guild of Children’s Memorial Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois)
2 cans (6 oz. each) roasted, salted almonds
12 (1.65 oz.) Hershey milk chocolate bars ( this time I used 10 of the larger King Size bars, broken up)
1/2 lb. sweet butter (unsalted)
1 and 1/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
Coarsely chop 1 can of nuts and set aside. Finely chop the other.
Butter a 7 and 1/2 by 11 and 3/4-inch rimmed pan. (If using the larger bars of chocolate use a larger (11 and 1/2 by 17-inch) rimmed baking sheet). Alternatively, you can line it with parchment paper.
Sprinkle with half of the finely chopped nuts. Cover with half of the chocolate bars.
Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Using a candy thermometer, cook to 300 degrees.
Quickly stir in the coarsely chopped nuts and pour over the chocolate bars. Immediately cover with the remaining chocolate bars and sprinkle top with the rest of the finely-chopped nuts.
Take a large sheet of waxed paper and press gently so nuts will adhere.
Chill and break or cut into pieces. Can be frozen.
These peppermint brownies are perfect for holiday entertaining. I served them recently for dessert at my annual latke lunch I’ve been hosting for my aerobic dance class the past three years.
It is a moist rich chocolatey brownie with a pronounced peppermint flavor. Peppermint extract added to the batter along with the sugar that has been ground with peppermint tea leaves provides the pronounced peppermint flavor.
They are then covered in a smooth chocolate glaze and a bit of melted white chocolate is drizzled over them. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer you turn that glaze into a beautiful design, which is remarkably easy to do. You really can’t mess them up!
I searched for peppermint brownie recipes online and this one from Fine Cooking is the one that got my attention. It was unanimous from my guests that these are winning brownies. Add them to your holiday dessert list. Here you go…
Peppermint Brownies (Fine Cooking, Greg Case, August, 2002)
Yields about 30 brownies
10 ounces (2 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, more for greasing the pan
10 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 teaspoons peppermint tea leaves (from about 2-tea bags)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 and 1/2 ounce (1 cup) all-purpose flour
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 ounces white chocolate
Center a rack in the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan, line it with parchment (the paper should extend at least an inch above the long sides to act as handles for getting the brownies out), and butter the paper.
Put about 2 inches of water in a small pot and heat to a gentle simmer. In a heatproof bowl set over the water, melt 8 ounces of the butter and 8 ounces of the unsweetened chocolate. Be sure the water is hot but not boiling and that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
Stir occasionally with a heatproof spatula until the mixture is completely melted and uniform, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the bowl over the water.
In a food processor, finely grind the peppermint leaves with the sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, peppermint extract, salt, and peppermint sugar until just combined.
Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture (reserve the pot of water for later).
Slowly add the flour, gently folding it in with a spatula, until incorporated.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a pick inserted into the center comes out almost clean (a few bits of batter should cling to the pick), 35 to 40 minutes.
Put the pan on a rack to cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Lift the paper lining to pull the brownies out of the pan. Peel the paper off the brownies and put them on a cutting board.
To make the glaze, bring the pot of water back to a gentle simmer. Set a heatproof bowl over the pot and add the semisweet chocolate, corn syrup, and the remaining 2 ounces each butter and unsweetened chocolate.
Stir frequently with a heatproof spatula until the mixture is melted and smooth; set aside.
Put the white chocolate in a separate heatproof bowl and set it over the water. Stir frequently until it’s melted and smooth; remove it from the heat.
Spread the chocolate glaze over the cooled brownies in an even layer using a spatula.
Drizzle the white chocolate over the glaze in evenly distributed lines.
Use a toothpick or a wooden skewer top drag the white chocolate into the glaze and make a marbleized pattern.
Lift the cutting board and firmly tap it on the counter to settle the glaze.
Refrigerate until the glaze is set, at least 20 minutes and up to 12 hours. Cut into 30 bars, about 2 inches square (a knife rinsed in hot water and then dried will cut more cleanly than a cold knife).
Keep well covered and serve at room temperature.