Monday, February 18, 2019

Chocolate Mascarpone Bundt Cake

I originally bought mascarpone for a meringue roll cake I intended to make over the holidays, but never did. In searching for a recipe that used the exact amount I had on hand, I came across this recipe. I fear I overbaked it, or perhaps I should have used oil instead of butter, because it was a bit dry. But tasty just the same.



Chocolate Mascarpone Bundt Cake
(Recipe from The Baking Fairy)

2/3 cup (10.5 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
8 oz mascarpone cheese (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a bundt cake pan very well.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and beat until fluffy. Stir in the sour cream and mascarpone, and mix until combined.
  4. Add in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, and beat until creamy and fluffy.
  5. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter* into the prepared bundt pan, and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Let cake cool slightly in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
  

Monday, February 11, 2019

Top Pot Doughnuts (Seattle, WA)

"Begun in February 2002 out of a small brick storefront on north Capitol Hill in Seattle, Top Pot pair[s] a vintage aesthetic with a gourmet spin on the traditional coffee and doughnuts pairing." (I stole this description from their website.)


I was recently in Seattle for the ALA Midwinter Meeting, and my Mom came up to stay with me a bit. I always like to go on some kind of bakery or baked goods adventure, and found Top Pot Doughnuts. The 5th Street location was charmingly lined with books (happy librarian here!) and had an additional layer of seating upstairs.


I was pleased to find the variety of both glazed and cake varieties, and happily without the silly trends of ingredients like breakfast cereal that you can find a few hours south at Voodoo (see my previous posts of Portlanders Standing in Line for Donuts episode 1 and episode 2.) Also impressive - the shop was busy but not over busy. We didn't have to stand in line or wait for a seat.


Maple bars are one of my favorite doughnuts but I swear they can't be found outside the northwest. Maple doesn't come from there, it's a northeast thing. But still, maple bars are a standard traditional doughnut everywhere you go for doughnuts in the northwest. Why? No idea. But I couldn't even take a picture before taking a bite, very satisfying.


My other favorite doughnut is a really good chocolate cake. Top priority is coconut, but without coconut, I'll go for glazed. Top Pot had both "old fashioned" (pictured, half eaten, whoops), and a more standard variety. This was an incredibly tender and chocolatey doughnut and I was a happy doughnut wanderer.

The latte I had was fine but not the star of the show. It was... fine. I used to think of Seattle as the best coffee city but I'm going to say that isn't true in 2018. Half the places I went served Counter Culture, and I like Counter Culture just fine but it is prevalent in the south as well. And Starbucks really dominates everything to an extent that it is difficult to find non-Starbucks places. At last Top Pot had their own!

Monday, February 04, 2019

Kauk Mote | Crepes with red beans and coconut (Burma/Myanmar)

I'm reading books from Asia this year, and alongside that will be baking and cooking some new recipes from various countries. For Burma/Myanmar, the three most frequently mentioned dishes are the tea (see at the end of this post!), fermented tea leaf salad (difficult to track down in the states,) and mohinga, a seafood-curry-noodle soup that is frequently consumed for breakfast. I struggled to find the right ingredients so I decided to make this interesting crepe, a street food often found in this region. It could have had more ingredients in the filling, like coconut cream, chopped roasted peanuts, or savory ingredients, but I went with the red bean and coconut.


The original recipe I found, which is copied elsewhere on the internet, has a major flaw. If you use self-rising flour, you should omit the additional salt and baking soda included in the recipe, which I imagine someone wrote down as what to add to flour to make it the equivalent of self-rising flour. I ignored my instincts and went ahead and added it, and the pancake/crepe batter was awful.

Pictured is one of the books I'm reading right now, about a man who grew up in a traditional way and made it all the way to the UK to study English.

Kaku Mote
(recipe from Hsa*ba, also posted on World of Crepes)


Ingredients:
160g of self rising flour (.70 cup)
80g rice of flour (.35 cup)
1/2 teaspoon of salt [DO NOT ADD WITH SELF RISING FLOUR]
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda [DO NOT ADD WITH SELF RISING FLOUR]
2 tablespoons sugar
100ml coconut milk (almost half a cup)
300ml water (1.25 cups)
oil for frying

Filling:
200g sweetened red (azuki) beans or red bean paste
80g fresh grated coconut
pinch of salt

Put the dry pancake ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk and water, stirring to form a runny batter. Rest for at least 30 minutes, preferably a couple of hours.

Lightly grease a pan with a little oil and heat on moderate heat. Using a ladle pour the batter carefully. The idea is to have an even layer of batter to cover the pan. To spread the batter, tilt the pan.

Cover and leave for a few of minutes. When bubbles appear on the surface, carefully spread the red beans and grated coconut. Remember to mix a pinch of salt with the coconut first. Cover the pan again and allow the pancake to cook for a further minute or two until the edges are golden in color.

Using a flat spatula, fold the pancake into half and ease onto a plate. Serve while warm. The outside should have a lovely crispiness and the inside soft with the filling oozing out.

 Pictured with the tea is a book of folktales from Burma, highly recommended.

Myanmar/Burmese Tea (bonus recipe!)

Brew a black tea double strength, or strong, anyway.
For every 6 oz tea, add 1 oz condensed milk and 1 oz evaporated milk. Or adjust to taste.
Delicious! I've made it three times since 2019 began!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Jam Crumble Wedges

I was poking around Instagram the other day and came across Almond Flour Strawberry Crumble Bars from Joy the Baker. It seemed like the perfect pantry clearing baked good, and I had everything on hand with a few adaptations (which I will indicate with asterisks.) Recipe and instructions are all Joy, and this recipe appeared to be in process even for her, so follow the link above for her marvelous photography and extra instructions.
 

Almond Flour Strawberry Crumble Bars (which I renamed to Jam Crumble Wedges!)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 12 wedges

Ingredients
  • 1 large egg egg
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (gluten free if that's a concern for you)
  • 2 cups almond flour*
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup melted unsalted butter (or melted coconut oil if dairy is a concern for you)
  • 1/2 cup good quality strawberry jam*
  • powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch round pan* with parchment paper and generously grease. Set aside.
  2. To make the base and crumble topping, in a medium bowl whisk together egg and maple syrup until well combined.
  3. Stir in almond flour, oats, coconut flour, cinnamon and salt until well combined.
  4. Pour melted butter into the crumble and use a fork to evenly distribute and stir together until clumps begin to form.
  5. Place 2/3 of the mixture into prepared pan (the remaining mixture will be used for the topping).
  6. Use your fingers to evenly press dough to the bottom. Set the remaining dough aside for just a bit.
  7. Spread jam in an even layer across the bottom crust.
  8. Crumble the remaining oat mixture evenly over the strawberry jam. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly golden. Allow crumble to cool completely on a wire rack before transferring to the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.* Once chilled, carefully invert the crumble, remove the paper, and slice into wedges.*
  9. Slices are delicious at room temperature, lightly dusted with powdered sugar. 
*Notes from JennyBakes:
-I could have used 2 cups almond flour, but I also have some aging spelt flour so I went half and half.
-I had a half jar of lingonberry jam and used this instead of strawberry.
-I used a tart pan, which saved me having to chill or invert as described in step 8.

Monday, January 07, 2019

The Spicy Cowgirl

January can be rough for baked goods, a combination of an attempt to leave behind the indulgent holiday eating ways, and just burnout from all the baking of the holidays. So while I had a few ideas for weekend baking (a cake for book club, scones for work, a savory tart from a cookbook I need to review), I just could not make it happen.

However I did make this iced coffee concoction happen, after finally purchasing chile syrup online. I included Ree's formula for cold brew coffee but I make mine much stronger (8 quarts cold water to 1 pound ground coffee? I use 4 quarts to a pound) using the New York Times iced coffee formula. This kind of recipe is great because I regularly have cold brew on hand, so it's nice to have a few ways to dress it up.


The Spicy Cowgirl

(recipe from Ree Drummond via The Food Network)

Ingredients


1/4 cup heavy cream
1 ounce vanilla syrup 
6 ounces store-bought or homemade cold brew coffee, recipe follows
4 ounces whole milk 
1 ounce chile syrup (or simple syrup with hot chiles infused for 24 hours) 
1 ounce chocolate sauce 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

Cold Brew Coffee:


1 pound ground coffee (a good, rich roast)
8 quarts cold water 

Directions

  1. Lightly whip the cream with the vanilla syrup in a bowl and have on standby.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the cold brew coffee, milk, chile syrup, chocolate sauce and ice, then shake until frothed and combined. Pour into an ice-filled glass, top with vanilla whipped cream to cover and dust with the cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

Cold Brew Coffee:

  1. Mix the ground coffee with the water in a large container. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour the coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all the liquid to run through. Discard the grounds. Refrigerate and use as needed.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Kaiserschmarrn or The Emperor's Mess

This recipe comes to you via a long internet rabbit hole! We were watching the Great Baking Challenge, Holiday Edition, on Netflix. It's the Great British Bakeoff but brought to America, with the addition of judge Sherry Yard. Sherry Yard.. I knew I recognized her name, wasn't she the pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck? So I started poking around, and discovered, yes! She is also the three-time James Beard Award winning pastry chef Sherry Yard. Her Wikipedia page lists her accomplishments and also in a one-sentence paragraph, "Yard has stated that her signature dessert is Kaiserschmarrn.

I had never heard of Kaiserschmarrn, so I looked it up, and watched endless videos in German featuring people making it, and it is one of those recipes that people make in a variety of ways. A video in Tiroli claiming to have the original recipe makes it more like a flat pancake which gets broken into pieces. Other recipes separate the eggs and beat the whites, and bake it in the oven more like a souffle. Whatever the technic, it all ends up on the plate in messy pieces, caramelized somewhat with butter and sugar, and served with plum or lingonberry.


I am going to start with the recipe from the Austrian National Tourist Office and go from there. Many of the recipes used raisins, and some of them had soaked the raisins in rum. I didn't have raisins, but I did have candied orange peel, so I soaked a few tablespoons in a little bit of an apple brandy we have in the pantry, having no rum either. I'm not sure the dish needs it, it almost distracts from the lusciousness that ends up on the plate.

And yeah, it's messy. But it's delicious. Its' closest cousin is probably the pannukakku, the delicious oven pancake from Finland that is more custardy than most German/Dutch oven pancakes. But with added caramelization (meaning added flavor) and more prescribed toppings.

Kaiserschmarrn or The Emperor's Mess

Ingredients
  • 6 eggs
  • 12 oz milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp raisins or other dried fruit
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • a dash of rum or other liqueur
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (for egg whites)
  • 2-4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp of butter shavings and granulated sugar, for caramelizing
  • powdered sugar for dusting
Place the raisins and/or dried fruit in a bowl, mix with the rum and leave to stand for approx. 15 minutes. Separate the eggs and place the yolks in a mixing bowl. Pour in the milk and vanilla, and add the flour. Mix to form a smooth batter.

Beat the egg whites together with the sugar and a small pinch of salt until it forms a firm peak, and fold into the batter mix. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter in a heatproof (coated) dish. Pour in the mixture and after 1–2 minutes sprinkle the soaked raisins over the top. Cook the underside until light brown, turn over using a spatula and bake for 6–8 minutes in the pre-heated oven until golden brown.*

Tear the ‘Schmarren’ into small pieces, using two forks. Sprinkle the butter shavings over the top, add some crystal sugar, and caramelize in the broiler under high top heat.**

Remove from the oven and arrange on pre-heated plates. Dust with confectioners sugar and cinnamon.

Serve with baked plums, a berry or fruit compote.

*Because I had seen it made so many ways, I did not turn over the pancake before putting it in the oven. But after 8 minutes it hadn't cooked through. I cut it into quarters, turned it over in messy fashion, and finished cooking it on the stovetop. I do think the oven helps with the rise of the batter.
**I just tossed in the pan on the stove until everything was cooked through enough and some parts were browning. I only ended up with one piece that seemed too dark.

Over all, the pan I chose didn't quite fit all of the batter, so some adjustment may need to be made (or just leave some out!

Speaking of pancakes...
Like pancakes? I seem to make them from around the world! Check out the Finnish pannukakku, Icelandic pönnukökur, Papua New Guinean banana pancakes, the Danish ebleskiver, the Hungarian palacsintas, the Swedish pancakes from Alaska, and what we call the German oven apple pancake. I also made ratio pancakes from Michael Ruhlman's book, which we can call American.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Cranberry Buckle

Usually my workplace has a holiday luncheon, where all of us bring in dishes to share. I usually make a dessert (see Buche de Noel (2007), gingerbread house (2009), stollen (2010), lemon gingerbread wonderland cake (2012), cocoa pomegranate pavlova (2013), wintermint cake (2015), and fresh pear cake (2016).)

This year because the school year ended so late, and today was the actual last day we were even open, we went with brunch instead. I hemmed and hawed over what to make and ended up with a coffee cake idea. I've had this cranberry buckle on my to-make list for a while, I had 1.5 bags of fresh cranberries in the fridge, and it was just the perfect time.



Christmas Cranberry Buckle
(recipe from Wicked Good Kitchen)

Ingredients

For the Spiked Candied Fruit
  • 3 tablespoons (34 g) finely chopped candied orange peel
  • 3 tablespoons (34 g) finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) orange liqueur
For the Sugar Cookie Streusel
  • ¾ cup (98 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons (75 g) granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) salted butter, cut into bits
For the Cake
  • 1½ cups (195 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for cake pan
  • 1½ teaspoons (7 g) baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon (3.6 g) fine-grain sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon (1.25 g) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon (.65 g) freshly grated whole nutmeg
  • 10 tablespoons (about 141 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) grated lemon zest, from 1 medium lemon
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs (mine weighted 112 g w/o shells), room temperature
  • 3½ cups (14 oz or about 350 g) fresh cranberries, rinsed & dried
  • Shortening or favorite cooking oil, for greasing cake pan
For the Sugar Topping
  • 1½ to 2 teaspoons (6 to 8 g) granulated sugar
Special Equipment
  • One 9-inch (23 cm) round nonstick springform pan
  • Two insulated cake strips, such as Wilton® Small Bake Even Strips (Set of 2)
  • Cake Lifter, helpful but not necessary

Directions

Prepare the Spiked Candied Fruit: In a small bowl, combine candied orange peel, crystallized ginger and orange liqueur. Cover and let stand for several hours or overnight at room temperature.

Prepare the Sugar Cookie Streusel: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Set aside.

Arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Grease 9-inch (23 cm) round nonstick springform pan with shortening and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. If using insulated cake strips, don’t forget to prepare the pan per manufacturer’s directions with the exception of using two (as shown in the article above). Set aside.

Prepare the Cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices until well combined. Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer and large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add lemon zest and vanilla; beat until combined.

Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition on medium speed scraping sides and bottom of bowl as necessary. (Mixture may look slightly separated. Don’t worry. It will pull together with the addition of flour.) Add flour gradually while mixing at low speed until mixture is just blended. Do not overmix. (Batter will be thick and very heavy.) Using rubber spatula, carefully fold in spiked candied fruit and cranberries until distributed evenly.

Using rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan. With spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth the top. Use hand to clump portions of streusel by squeezing and use fingers to sprinkle small clumps of streusel evenly over top of batter. Repeat process with remaining streusel.

Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes. Remove cake from oven and place on wire cooling rack. Immediately, sprinkle sugar over the top of cake and run thin metal icing spatula around edge of pan to loosen cake from sides of pan. This will prevent the cranberries from sticking to the sides of pan and will make removing easier. Cool for 15 minutes.

To Unmold Cake: If using, remove insulated cake strips. Unmold cake by removing sides of pan. Cool until just warm or to room temperature, about 1 hour. Slice into wedges and serve.

Yield: Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) cake, serving 8 to 10.

Notes from JennyBakes:

-When I tried to go to the liquor store, there was a sign up that said "Be right back," but it was pouring down rain and I just wanted to go home. So instead of an orange flavor, I used kirsch, since I had some on hand.
-I no longer have a working 9" springform so I just used a 9" square pyrex, and that fit the cake perfectly. I did not have any burning issues as described by the original baker.