Category Archives: Desserts

White Chip Chocolate Cookies

This recipe comes practically directly off the back of the bag of Nestle white chips.  Technically,these “morsels”, as they are called by Nestle, are not actually white chocolate as they don’t contain cocoa butter, a derivative of cocoa (instead they use an cheap substitute of hydrogenated vegetable oils such as palm kernel which are in these and they also don’t have any of the “good” qualities of chocolate like antioxidants), but, oh well, they are still tasty.  I did add a bit of cinnamon to the recipe in addition to Craisins.

White Chip Chocolate Cookies

  • 2 and 1/4 cups AP (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup  baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups white morsels (like Nestle)
  • 1 cup Craisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, cinnamon, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a mall bowl.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Add eggs, one at  a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in morsels and Craisins.  Drop by well-rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookies sheet.

Bake 9-11 minutes or until centers are set.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, and then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

Well, I tackled a roll-out dough this weekend, and things turned out pretty  well.  No fits, no dough sticking, and a nice light crust.  My only complaint was I should have brushed more egg wash on my crust to better give it that pretty golden brown color.  In fact, I think I’m ready to  do another one after my next trip to the market – and hopefully peaches will be ready!

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker (which was adapted from Martha Stewart)

Makes 2 tarts

  • 1 recipe cornmeal pate brisee crust (see recipe below)
  • 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into about 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Extra sugar, for sprinkling on tarts

Before starting filling, make crust so it has time to rest in the fridge (see further instruction below)

While crust is resting in fridge, start working on filling for tart.  Combine rhubarb, both sugars, a pinch of salt, and cornstarch in medium pan on medium-low to medium heat.  Stir as needed.  Let cook until rhubarb starts to soften, about 7 – 8 minutes.  Add strawberries and let mixture cook another couple minutes.  By this point, mixture should be fairly thick.  Remove from heat and let cool to about room temp.

Roll out each ball of dough (from recipe below) with a rolling pin on a floured surface.  Roll out to about a 13 inch-ish round.  I used a 12-inch plate to use as a guide for cutting off excess and making it appear somewhat evenly shaped (but I was not exact at all – just a rough guide.)

Transfer dough to parchment lined sheet pan.  To easily transfer rolled-out dough to pan so it does not tear, loosely wrap it around your rolling pin and trasfer it over to pan and then just unroll.

Fill the middle of each dough round with the strawberry-rhubarb mixture, dividing equally between both tarts.  Leave about  a 2 inch ring of dough that does not have any topping on it.  Gently fold excess dough on top of strawberry-rhubarb filling, allowing it to overlap if needed, and pinching excess dough together as needed.

Brush each tart (dough area only, not filling area) with egg wash and then sprinkle sugar on dough.  Bake in 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes, turning pan once to ensure even baking.

Cornmeal Pate Brisee Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) butter, cut into small pieces, cold
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, just a couple quick pulses. Add the cold butter and process until just combined, and mixture looks kind of pebble-like,  about 10 seconds.  With the machine running, slowly add the ice water (but not the ice!) until the dough just comes together (no longer than 30 seconds).  If dough seems too wet, add a little flour and pulse until just mixed in.

Turn dough out onto very lightly floured surface and gather into 2 balls. Wrap in plastic and flatten into a disc.  Let rest in fridge for at least one hour.

It Really IS Incredibly Delicious

So, to all my fellow Springfielders (or anyone planning a visit to the glorious Land of Lincoln), I want to make sure anyone who is not aware yet, that we are lucky enough to have one of the best bakeries in town I have ever been to, here or anywhere.  If you have not been to Incredibly Delicious before, stop what you are doing right now and go.  Well, not really, because they actually have somewhat limited hours and about a third of the time I go they end up being closed I have a total fit (what, me, over-react? never!)  They seem to close by 5 on weekdays and 3 on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.  I suppose I could check the website to verify…

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Look, Ma! I Made a Dessert Tart!

One of my goals this year was  to start cooking things outside of my normal comfort zone.  A big area outside of my comfort zone is desserts, specifically desserts with a homemade crust.  I can remember being the “fill-in” baker at a restaurant once and had to make 6 banana cream pies one day, all of which were supposed to have a “light, flaky crust.”  The banana cream turned out awesome, but at one point, after several failed crust attempts, in my anger and frustration, I had a break-down and threw the last dough against the wall.  Luckily, a seasoned prep cook took pity on me and helped make the dough and also helped me get out of my “dark place.”

Lime Tart with Blueberries

Well, look at me now!  I have already done several sweet things this year, and now, with this Lime Tart with Blueberries,  I can add a press-in dough to my list!  Not that this is that big of an accomplishment, as there is no reason I should be “scared” of doughs/crusts, but I feel like having just one success in an area where you feel trepidation can give you a big self-confidence boost, and the next thing you know, doing that thing actually becomes part of your comfort zone.  Before you know it, maybe I’ll be an expert in crust!  Continue reading

Crepes, Sweet and Savory

I had been wanting to make crepes for some time, but I kept putting it off, thinking,  I suppose, that it would be too difficult (they would stick, they would not flip right, the batter would be complicated, etc.) I finally took the plunge and was pleased to see  I was wrong.  Not too tough at all!  I don’t think in the past I had been very excited about crepes, but I had one this past summer at a crepe stand at a farmers’ market in St. Louis, and had been thinking about them since.  After reading through several recipes, I found one to try and decided to make half the batter for savory and the other half more sweet.  I do think next time I make them, I’m going to cut back the amount of egg and just increase the milk; though I was happy with mine, I felt they were just a tad bit too “eggy”.

Basic Crepe batter

From Alton Brown from the Food Network

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • Butter, for coating the pan

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.

Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.

I finished my savory crepes with an aged balsamic vinegar

Crepes with Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Mushrooms, Onions, and Fresh Mozzarella

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 of above listed crepe batter
  • Parsley

Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast on  a sheet pan in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

In the meantime, saute mushrooms and onions in pan on stove with olive oil on medium to medium high heat for about 5-8 minutes.  Add bag of spinach (add just half at a time if necessary to allow it to fit into pan) and let wilt down.  Season.

Remove pan from heat and toss mushroom onion mixture with potatoes and mozzarella.

Chop parsley and add to crepe batter with salt and pepper.  Cook crepes according to directions above.

Fill cooked crepes with spinach-sweet potato-mozzarella filling.  Roll up crepe to make them look pretty.

Crepes with strawberries, chocolate sauce, and whip cream

  • 1 pound strawberries, de-stemmed and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 of crepe batter recipe

Toss strawberries with 1 tablespoon sugar.  Let stand to allow them to get nice and juicy.

Melt chocolate chips with 1/4 cup of heavy cream in microwave.  Stir until smooth.  Add more heavy cream if needed to reach desired consistency for sauce.

With a mixer, whip the remaining heavy cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, and vanilla.  Whip until fairly stiff peaks form, but do not over-whip as the cream can separate and be ruined.  Just keep an eye on it as it is being whipped and you’ll be fine.

Add 1 tablespoon sugar to crepe batter and cook crepes as directed above.

To serve, fill crepes with strawberries and roll up nice and pretty.  Top with chocolate sauce and whip cream.  Wonder why you did not make this sooner.

my notes:

  • Next time, I’m going to change the recipe to 1 egg and increase milk to 1 cup.
  • I did not like making it in the blender.  Lots of un-mixed-up batter stuck to the blades and was a bit of a pain to fix.  Next time, I’ll just whisk it by hand.
  • During the course of my reading about crepes, I have read that you want the batter to be about the consistency of cream.

Milk and Coookies, Anyone?

I rarely (read: almost always) over-indulge, so I thought I would make a treat the other evening.  I’ve been in the process of perfecting white chocolate martinis, but I thought I would really turn up the level of indulgence and make some cookies to go with it.  I wanted something a bit more over the top than just your standard chocolate chip, so  I decided to go with chocolate toffee cookies.  The cookie itself has a chocolate base, and toffee pieces are mixed in.   Be sure to use good toffee – like Heath or better – because it really helps to make the cookie something special.

chocolate toffee cookies

Courtesy of the Food Network

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate-covered English toffee (such as Heath bar; about 7 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup chopped almond

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg, rum and vanilla and beat until well blended. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into small bowl. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture. Mix in toffee and chopped almonds.

Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto heavy large ungreased baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies puff slightly and crack on top but are still soft to touch, about 11 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheet 1 minute. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely (cookies will become crisp). Repeat shaping and baking with remaining batter. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

 

Chocolate Toffee Cookies

white chocolate martini

Makes 2 Martinis

  • 4 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 3 oz White Chocolate Liqueur
  • 4 oz Half and Half

Fill 2 martini glasses with ice and water to make them nice and cold.

Fill shaker 1/2 full with ice.  Add all ingredients and shake well.

Dump out ice water from martini glasses and strain martinis into glasses.

 

Mmmm...my kind of milk and cookies!

My notes

The cookie dough will seem very dry.  This is ok.  Just go with it.

For the vodka, I just use Sobieski.  It’s inexpensive, but I don’t feel it is low quality.

White chocolate liqueur is expensive (hence our lower priced vodka choice).  We have used Godiva and Mozzart.  Both delicious, both expensive.  Apparently, they have not started making a generic, cheap version yet.  If you know of one, please let me know (as I will promptly go out and by some!)

I like to garnish my martini with some fresh grated nutmeg.  It’s pretty, and is a tasty touch to the drink.  If I happen to have Piroulines on hand, I think those look really cute stuck in the martini as a garnish (plus, they are delicious).