Wednesday, October 29, 2008

White Chocolate Brownies

I've wanted to make white chocolate brownies forever and I remembered seeing them on Tartelette's blog so I went to find the recipe. Mine don't look as gorgeous as hers - and actually hers look more fudgey rather than cakey. I halved the recipe and it was perfect plus it came together really quickly.

People actually couldn't tell that this was a white chocolate brownie. Next time I'll go for a full out white chocolate brownie with white chocolate in the batter and for the chunks. Maybe earl grey white chocolate brownies?? Mmm. I just realized I posted this and forgot to mention whether I liked them! Yes of course I did. Delicious.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Pecan Squares
Quintuple Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Cookie Bark
Earl Grey White Chocolate Chunk Muffins

White Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Tartelette

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces white chocolate
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare an 8x8 inch square pan, by lining it with parchment or buttering it.

Melt butter and 4 oz of white chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water. When melted remove from heat and add the remaining white chocolate. Stir to blend well. Set aside. In an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and thick. Add white chocolate and butter mixture, vanilla and flour. Beat just until smooth. Add chocolate chunks and mix in by hand, being careful not to overmix.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Cut into squares or bars.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lemon Miso Tofu & Eggplant

Here we have my new favourite way to eat tofu, and my discovery that yes I can cook eggplant at home and it will taste good. I don't know why I was always so afraid of eggplant because it's really delicious.

This is one of those amazing tofu recipes that you could use to try and convert non tofu believers, but on the other hand - why not just hoard its deliciousness all for yourself?

In other news, we just adopted a kitten! She's 7 months old and we've had her for a week now.

Lemon Miso Tofu and Eggplant
Adapted from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook

You can either use the suggested eggplant and tofu, or do no eggplant and double the amount of tofu yum!

1 tbsp minced lemon zest
2 tbsp miso
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp wasabi powder
1 block extra firm tofu
2 Japanese eggplant

Press and drain the tofu. Prepare the glaze by whisking together the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl (minced lemon zest through wasabi powder). Marinate overnight, then strain through a sieve to remove the solids. Next, cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Arrange them in a single layer in a shallow dish with sides. Pour half of the glaze over the tofu, toss to coat and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

Slice eggplants into 1/2" thick coins and pour remaining glaze over the eggplant. Toss to coat and let marinate for 30 min.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare a baking sheet with oil, parchment paper or whatever you want. Evenly spread out the tofu and eggplant (you might need two baking sheets for this if you want them evenly spread out). Bake for 20 minutes, or until the eggplanta nd tofu are golden and cooked through. Halfway through baking, flip the tofu and eggplant. Serve hot and use leftover glaze for dipping.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tiramisu Cake

I made this cake for my birthday (which was a while ago) and it was really quite delicious. The icing was absolutely addictive and I would definitely double it next time. I'm really into coffee flavoured things right now so it was hard to stop myself from eating too much icing before the cake had any icing on it. I love the mascarpone cheese in the icing (which wow is expensive from regular grocery stores but is a lot cheaper from Costco).

I only sometimes like actual tiramisu because I hate when the ladyfingers are completely soggy (yes I know this is one of the key points of the dessert). I've never used a syrup on a cake before (to moisten it) so I was scared it would turn too mushy, but it didn't. It was obviously a bit moister where I had put the syrup on but nothing like I had feared. The cake was actually still good a few days later (usually I'm really picky about how dry things can get in a couple of days).

Other yummy cakes I've made:
Elvis Fluffernutter Cake
Caramel Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot Coconut Cake (with Cream Cheese-White Chocolate Icing)

Tiramisu Cake
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the cake layers:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the espresso extract:
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water

For the espresso syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Kahlua

For the filling and frosting:
8-ounce container mascarpone
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Kahlua
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional)

Getting ready:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two 9×2 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To make the cake:
Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right-side up.

To make the extract:
Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.

To make the syrup:
Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.

To make the filling and frosting:
Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.

Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.

To assemble the cake:
If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right-side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer - user about 1 1/4 cups - and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.

For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks as if it might be a little too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.

With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, press them into the filling, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving - the elements need time to meld.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Pecan Squares

I saw these bars on Everybody Likes Sandwiches and of course knew I had to make them. Oats, coconut, chocolate, pecans - how could I resist? At first when I tried them I was disappointed that there wasn't more coconut, but then I froze them and started to eat them out of the freezer. A little too often. They're really addictively delicious.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Chocolate Oatmeal Coconut Cookies
Chocolate Fudge Souffle Bars
Chocolate Marble Chunk Cookies

Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Pecan Squares
Adapted from everybody likes sandwiches

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8x8 pan with parchment paper or butter. Combine all the dry ingredients (oats through salt) in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together the melted butter, egg and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth it out evenly with your hands or a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes and cool. Cut into 12-16 squares.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Caribbean Roasted Vegetables

I know it's pretty shocking that I'm not posting a baked good. Sometimes I think about just changing my blog to only baking but there are some really yummy (and sometimes healthy) meals/dips/etc that I find and I want to share those too. Like this one. Practically every weekday for the last year, I took raw vegetables to work or school to eat as a snack. It took me a while but yes I got sick of them. This is what I've replaced them with. Roasted deliciousness. Usually I do sweet potatoes, carrots, rutabaga, beets and butternut squash. I've also used celery root (which I've always wanted to try) and yea maybe I just don't know how to cook it but that did not taste very good. I've tried a couple of different dressings (and done it with just a bit of oil too) but this one is the best so far. I was skeptical of the cinnamon and cloves but the dressing tastes so yummy.

When choosing vegetables for roasting, choose ones that are more sturdy. Broccoli and eggplant are definitely not sturdy (I tried those knowing what would happen but did it anyway). I've been roasting vegetables every week for the last month or so and have determined that I like to cook them at a lower temperature for a really long time (up to 3 hours if the pieces are a bit on the big side). It's really important that you cut the vegetables approximately all the same size (seems obvious but I'm usually not too concerned about this). We cook up a big batch on the weekend then eat it randomly throughout the week, with lunch or dinner.

This recipe comes from my new favourite cookbook, Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. Not every recipe I've tried has been awesome but there have been some good ones. The reason I love it is because they're vegetarian (aside from the chapter on fish - what's with that), healthy and relatively easy and quick to make.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Balkan Roasted Vegetable Salad
Portabello Fettuccine with Spinach Pesto, Roasted Peppers & Romano Cheese

Caribbean Roasted Vegetables
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites

12-15 cups of chopped vegetables (could be a butternut squash, a sweet potato, a few beets, a few carrots, and a rutabaga)

3 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and minced

Puree the dressing ingredients in a food processor.

Prepare the vegetables and two baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the vegetables with the dressing in a large bowl or pot. Spread them out evenly on the baking sheets. Bake for about 2 hours or longer, depending on how roasted you want them to be. Flip the vegetables a few times (definitely check them at the 1 hour mark to make sure they're doing okay) and if you want move the sheets as well in the oven.