Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pandan Layer Cake


Coconut Pandan Cake
Oh dear, why pandan? 
Because it's green only found in greenest grass and it tastes like hazelnuts, sort of. It really is delicious.

Years back I made a pandan cake from a box. Today there was a request for the cake. I didn't remember that it was a box. I assumed I had made it before. I might have. Anyway, this time I've captured the recipe. 

The recipe makes a lot of cake
I like to bake cakes in jellyroll pans, mostly because it's quicker and it doesn't require me to split the layers. I can get 4 to 8 layers depending on whatever shape I want the resulting cake to be.This recipe is large enough you could split it between two jelly roll pans and get skinnier layers. Just watch the time in the oven!

This is a Chiffon cake not baked in a Chiffon pan. It has fat for flavor-unlike a regular sponge- and it has separately beaten egg whites which are folded in at the end of mixing for lightness. I use conventional white flour. Some people use cake flour but it's too fussy and I don't use it quickly enough to make it an economical choice. White flour works just fine. 

Isn't that a crazy tall cake? If you want to make it jelly roll style, either half the recipe or make two!




PANDAN LAYER CAKE
6 large eggs, separated
1.5 cups granulated sugar 
2.25 cups white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pandan extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup coconut milk, canned
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)

You need three bowls. In one put the egg whites, the 2nd bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, stir thoroughly. In the 3rd bowl combine 1 cup of sugar with  the egg yolks. Beat until light in color. Add the extract, oil and coconut milk. Beat with hand held mixer about 1 minute.

Clean your beaters. Beat the whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks form. Add the 1/2 cup of remaining sugar 2 tablespoons at a time. Beat until you have very stiff peaks. 

No white streaks
Add the flour to the yolk mixture. Combine well. Fold in 1/3 the egg whites. Once no streaks are seen add 1/3 again, being gentle. Add the remaining 1/3 and fold until you have a uniform color. Don't over do it. 

Into a 17x13 inch jelly roll pan, which has been sprayed with vegetable spray and lined with parchment, pour the batter. Pop it into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

Run knife around the edges when it comes out of the oven and allow it to cool. If you are making a Jelly Roll style cake, remove the cake from the pan and roll into a clean dishtowel so it can cool in a curved shape. If you don't shape the cake before it cools, it may crack when you go to fill it. 



BOILED FROSTING
This is the frosting you've been looking for. 
.5 cup flour
14 ounces of milk (coconut milk, cow milk, soy milk)
1.5 cup granulated sugar
1.5 cup butter (other solid fat, margarine, shortening)
1 teaspoon vanilla
.25 teaspoon salt

1 cup of sweetened coconut 

In a sauce pan combine the flour and the milk. Whisk well. Cook until thick, stirring well. Cool thoroughly. 

In a mixer beat the sugar and butter until the sugar isn't grainy. Add the flour mixture, vanilla and salt. Whip until fluffy. This recipe can be vegan if you use non-animal milk and fat, like coconut milk and palm oil, or vegan margarine and shortening.

Spread frosting between layers, on sides and top. Press coconut into the surface of the cake. 

There you have it.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cafe Mocha Turbine Cookie

Cafe Mocha Turbine Cookie

There was a cookie making competition and I created these cookies. They requested some odd ingredients, like cocoa nibs, coffee, turbanado sugar.

These didn't win an award, but they are stellar. 

Cafe Mocha Sandwich Cookie

1 cup butter
1 1/3 cup tubanado sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons good coffee grounds
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
 2 cup and 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. In a coffee grinder pulverize coffee and nibs. Add to butter. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Scrape sides. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Chill 1-2 hours. Roll thinly and cut into shape. Bake at 350 degrees 10-12 minutes. Cool.

Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Put a bit between two cookies, streak with additional cookies. 


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Carrot Cake

This is the recipe I have given to people the most often.

I'm putting my go to recipes in this blog for you and for me. Here is the carrot cake that is better than any other I've ever tried.

Carrot Cake

2.5 cups flour
1.25 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1.25 teaspoon cinnamon
.5 teaspoon nutmeg, fresh is you've got it
pinch of cloves
.5 teaspoon salt
1 pound carrots, peeled and grated
1.5 cup white sugar
1.5 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1.5 cup oil
4 ounce can crushed pineapple drained
.5 cup raisins, soak in the pineapple juice while you assemble the other ingredients
.5 cup nuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Oil 1- 9x13 pan or 2-9x9 inch pans. Line with parchment.
In a large bowl combine flours, baking soda, baking poder, spices and salt. Mix to cmbine.

In a secon bowl add sugars to oil and eggs. Beat until the sugar is dissolved and it's all creamy looking. Add pineapple and raisins.

Into the sugar add half the flour and all the carrots. Mix in the remaining flour. Once well combined mix in the nuts.

Pour into prepared pan ad bake 35-45 minutes, until the middle is done and when an inserted tester comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon sour cream
.5 teaspoon vanilla
1.5 cup powdered sugar

Cream the cream cheese and butter together until there are no lumps. When smooth add the remaining ingredients. Mix until well combined. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The THIN Pizza Crust

I've been looking to make a better crust. I want a thin crust that can bend but with a crunchy crust.
I want to be able to make in the food processor and I want it work on the grill, not just in the oven. This dough is sturdy enough to toss.

Once upon a time I worked in a pizza shop where we rolled the dough with a rolling pin and occasionally tossed the dough. That's a fun skill to have. 

Thin Pizza Crust

Makes 2 12 inch pizza

3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon yeast
2 cups white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

oil

In the bowl of the food processor put the water, yeast, flour and salt. Pulse until combined. If it doesn't come together add a little more flour. Run one minute to knead the dough.

Lightly line a bowl with oil and turn around in the oiled bowl so all surfaces are covered. Cover with a towel and let sit 30 minutes to 90 minutes.

Preheat your oven 500 degrees.

Divide the dough in half, dust the dough in flour. Roll the disc thinly, pick it up a few times so it doesn't stick. If baking in an oven oil a cookie sheet. Lay the crust out and top with your favorite toppings. Bake 5 to 8 minutes. Carefully remove the pizza from the pan and bake straight on the wires 3 more minutes.

If you are a pizza stone user dust a peel (or lip-less cookie sheet) with the corn meal, build the pizza and slide onto the stone. Bake 8-10 minutes.

To grill, build the fire on one side of the grill. When the coals are ready, brush the rolled out dough with oil. Place the crust over the coals. Let cook 3 minutes. Flip, cook 2 or 3 minutes on the second side. Move to the other side of the grill. Build the pizza, use a quick melting cheese like Fontina or Gruyere. When the cheese is melted remove from the grill.

Or if you making more than 2 pizzas, make the whole grill hot, cook 2 crusts at a time, and remove before topping. When the grill cools off, just before you are ready to serve, top two pizzas at a time.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hungarian Dumplings AKA Spaetzle

Chicken and Hungarian Dumplings

I might be missing the finer points between which is which, a Hungarian dumpling and a German spaetzle dumpling. I'm sure someone could enlighten me, but being a woman in the middle of Ohio, I'm going to blur the line between the two.

Frankly, this post is really a way to capture the recipe that I'm always digging through cookbooks to find. I'm going plead lazy ignorance again: I don't really know what happened to the PBS TV cookery show host, Jeff Smith, and I really don't care to know; I treasure his cook books. I have 6 of them on my shelf and I can never remember which one has this recipe.

As I recall it was scandalous but non the less his recipes work and his prose spoke to me when I was first learning my cooking craft. I think it's perfectly acceptable to love him. May he rest in peace.

This comes from this book The Frugal Gourmet.

Skinny Easy Spaetzle
Makes enough for 6 people

2 eggs
2 tablespoons oil or melted butter, or melted lard according to Mr. Smith
.5 cup milk
.5 cup water
2.5 cups flour
2.5 teaspoons salt (don't skimp!)
.25 teaspoon baking powder

4 quarts of boiling water or a pot of simmering chicken soup

2 tablespoons butter, to saute the dumplings (optional)

About 30 minutes before serving combine the ingredients in a bowl. Mix by hand until well combined. It will be a sticky, stringy mass. Cover and sit on the counter 15 to 20 minutes.

In the meanwhile bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a bit of salt. I use a food mill with the largest holed plate. You can use a spaetzle maker too. Put the dumpling dough in the contraption, while holding it over a pot and actuate the tool. Bits of stringy dough will drop into the pot forming dumpling. Stir to cover with liquid and allow them to simmer 5 minutes. Strain and saute in butter.

Or if making them directly into soup, drop directly into the broth, stir and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.

My chicken and dumplings pictured above:

3 chicken legs and thighs
4 quarts water
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2 celery stalks, cut into 3 inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 3 inch pieces
5 peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Bring to a simmer and cook 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot. Cool, remove the meat and skin from the bone. Discard the skin, reserve the meat and put the bones back into the pot to simmer as long as possible- 1 to 6 hours.

Strain the broth and set aside. In the dirty pot:

1 large onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
3 carrots, peeled and cut
1 teaspoon oil
sage and thyme
salt, if needed

Saute the onions, celery and carrots in the oil. Drop in the strained broth, sage, thyme and taste for salt. Simmer until the carrots are soft.

 Make the dumpling mixture. Once the dumplings are done add the reserved chicken plus

2 cups peas

Serve.

You can make chicken and noodles by omitting the dumplings and adding 6 ounces of kluski or egg noodles instead. Give them 35 minutes or so to cook. Then add the chicken and peas.

This is the most comforting of the comfort foods I make. What is yours?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mast-o Khiar Persian Yogurt and Cucumbers





I'm rushing the warm weather trying to create summer dishes, while my toes are still cold.


Cucumbers in yogurt with minced dried cranberries

Yes, spring is springing, but sadly I don't yet have fresh dill or mint in my herb pots.

However, I'd been invited to a pot luck and my mind wandered to kabobs. But there needed to be more than a platter of meat. I decided to make a dish of cucumber and yogurt, using Labna Cheese/Yogurt instead of the ubiquitous Greek yogurt. As a side note can I say I'm thrilled Greek yogurt is now ubiquitous? I am. I love that I don't need to go seek it out at specialty groceries.

I digress. I live in a university area and there's a middle eastern grocery which I pass regularly. Today I picked up Lebna (the link will tell you how to make your own!) and sumac and some ground chick pea flour, but that's for an altogether different day.

When I look up Lebna some people call it cheese some call it yogurt. It sits in the spot between very dense yogurt and very soft cheese. Marscapone cheese is firmer.

This is a lovey variation on cucumbers and yogurt. No garlic, no lemon, no vinegar. The tartness of the yogurt  carries the dish. The toothiness of cucumbers is satisfying and cranberries on top aren't just pretty but add a hint of sweet that carries the flavors through.

Mast-o Khiar
Makes 3-4 cups

2 tablespoons onion, minced finely
2 tablespoons dried dill, 1 tablespoon fresh
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
16 ounce container Lebna
2 English cucumbers, not peeled or seeded, diced
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, minced

In a large bowl comine the onion, dill, salt and Lebna, mix well. Add cucumbers. Refrigerate an hour or more. Stir again. Mound into a serving dish and top with cranberries.

Serve with kabob or pita or as a dressing on a green leafy salad.   

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Super Nutty Biscotti


Three Nut Biscotti

With it turning to spring (finally) I'm gearing up to clean up the kitchen. I realized I have bit of left over ingredients from my winter baking. There's no way I'd throw away a half cup of hazelnuts so the question was what to do?

Make a nut filled cookie! I had pecans and almonds tucked away in the freezer too. What would be nicer? Also, it's taken until March to recover from all the holiday and competition recipe making. I have enjoyed reading books and watching TV instead of baking though.

Lastly, I have a folder filled with hand written recipes that I want to put into this blog for my own reference and your potential enjoyment.

This biscotti recipe is an updated recipe that was given to me by an Italian grandmother. Filomena isn't my grandmother but she and I had great affection for each other. I met her when she was close to 70. I never caught her with out her hair curled and her nails polished a pearlescent cream. She always looked like a million bucks and invariably had a kind word for me.

The original recipe calls for 6 egg yolks and 1 egg and turbinado sugar. The sugar is not an update, and measured in pounds! Filomena wasn't kidding around! 

Basic Biscotti
Makes about 30 large biscotti

1/2 pound butter
1 pound turbinado sugar
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks, reserve the white
1 1/2 pounds flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon other oil

turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top

For variation add up to a total of 3 cups of nuts, chips, and or dried fruit.

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time. When creamed add flour, baking powder, salt, and flavoring. Mix well. Add additions. The pictured biscotti has 1 cup blanched almonds, 1 cup pecans and 1/2 cup hazelnuts plus 1 teaspoon almond oil.
Just before going into the oven, glaze with egg white and topped with sugar.

Divide the dough in half. Shape into a two loaves. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 30 minutes or until baked well enough that the center springs back when pressed. When cool enough to handle cut diagonally into 1 inch wide pieces. Place on a cookie sheet and bake again for 15 minutes, turning them over half way through. Or bake a little longer if you like them extra toasty.

You can temper chocolate and dip an end or the bottom of the cookie in chocolate for a fancier presentation.

Share with friends, take pictures of them holding a bag of cookies, and enjoy with espresso or cold milk.
Cookies and colleagues are a wonderful combination. 
Do you have a favorite handed down recipe? Or a favorite cookie recipe.