Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking

May 20, 2008

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies and Snickery Squares

Filed under: dessert, Tuesdays with Dorie — Emily @ 12:38 am

For Tuesdays with Dorie this week, I decided to make two of the recipes that had been made before I joined. The recipe for this week were French Madeleines. But these require a special pan and I didn’t have a chance to purchase one, so the alternative was to make a past recipe. I chose Quintuple Chocolate Brownies and Snickery Squares.

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies

(Source: Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home to Yours” pp. 99-100)

For the Brownies:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons strong coffee
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
6 ounces premium-quality milk chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store-bought milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts

For the Glaze:
6 ounces premium-quality white chocolate, finely chopped, or 1 cup store-bought white chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream

Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, and salt.

To Make the Brownies:
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add, in the following order, the butter, the two chocolates and the coffee. Keeping the pan over low heat, warm just until the butter and chocolates are melted – you don’t want the ingredients to get so hot they separate, so keep an eye on the bowl. Stir gently, and when the mixture is smooth, set it aside for 5 minutes.

Using a whisk or a rubber spatula, beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Don’t beat too vigorously – you don’t want to add air to the batter – and don’t be concerned about any graininess. Next, stir in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. You should have a smooth, glossy batter. If you’re not already using a rubber spatula, switch to one now and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. Finally, stir in the milk chocolate chips and the nuts. Scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out streaked but not thickly coated. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the brownies rest undisturbed for at least 30 minutes. (You can wait longer, if you’d like.)

Turn the brownies out onto a rack, peel away the foil and place it under another rack – it will be the drip catcher for the glaze. Invert the brownies onto the rack and let cool completely.

To Make the Glaze:
Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Wait 30 seconds, then, using a rubber spatula, gently stir until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth.

Hold a long metal icing spatula in one hand and the bowl of glaze in the other. Pour the glaze onto the center of the brownies and use the spatula to nudge it evenly over the surface. Don’t worry if it dribbles over the edges, you can trim the sides later (or not). Refrigerate the brownies for about 20 minutes to dry the glaze.

Cut into 16 squares, each roughly 2-1/4 inches on a side.

Snickery Squares

For the Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 TBSP powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For the Filling:

½ cup sugar
3 TBSP water
1 ½ cups salted peanuts
About 1 ½ cups store-bought dulce de leche

For the Topping:

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 8 inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.

To Make the Crust:

Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball.
Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork and slide the sheet into the oven.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it takes on just a little color around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

To Make the Filling:

Have a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet at the ready, as well as a long-handled wooden spoon and a medium heavy bottomed saucepan.
Put the sugar and water in the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Keeping the heat fairly high, continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to color. Toss the peanuts and immediately start stirring. Keep stirring, to coat the peanuts with sugar. Within a few minutes, they will be covered with sugar and turn white—keep stirring until the sugar turns back into caramel. When the peanuts are coated with a nice deep amber caramel, remove the pan from the heat and turn the nuts out onto the baking sheet., using the wooden spoon to spread them out as best you can. Cool the nuts to room temperature.
When they are cool enough to handle, separate the nuts or break them into small pieces. Divide the nuts in half. Keep half of the nuts whole or in biggish pieces for the filling, and finely chop the other half for the topping.
Spread the dulce de leche over the shortbread base and sprinkle over the whole candied nuts.
To Make the Topping:

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate.
Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche, smoothing it with a long metal icing spatula, then sprinkle over the rest of the peanuts. Slide the pan into the fridge to set the topping, about 20 minutes; if you’d like to serve the squares cold, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours before cutting.
Cut into 16 bars.

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


May 19, 2008

Artichoke Chicken and Garlic Bread

Filed under: bread, chicken — Emily @ 7:36 am

This is a meal I made a long time ago and never blogged about. It was great and super easy with minimal ingredients.

Artichoke Chicken

Source: Allrecipes

1 (15 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 pinch garlic pepper

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, and garlic pepper. Place chicken in a greased baking dish, and cover evenly with artichoke mixture.

3. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and juices run clear.

Garlic Bread

Source: Barefoot Contessa

6 large garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup good olive oil

1 loaf ciabatta bread

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Place the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until minced. Add the parsley, oregano, salt and pepper and pulse twice.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan and add the garlic mixture. Remove the pan from the heat.

Slice the ciabatta bread in half horizontally, and spread the butter on 1 half. Spread the garlic mixture on the other half of the bread, and put the halves together. Wrap the bread in aluminum foil.

Place the bread in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Open the foil, and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes.

May 13, 2008

No TWD for me…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Emily @ 4:35 pm

I’m going to have to take a break from Tuesdays with Dorie for awhile. I am having spinal surgery next week and don’t really know how long I will be out of commission. I’ll be back as soon as I can!

May 12, 2008

In honor of my Mom…..

Filed under: Uncategorized — Emily @ 2:16 am

I decided that today I would share some of my favorite recipes that have been passed down from my mom. My mom and I definitely share a love for good food and cooking. She is an excellent cook. One of my most special wedding gifts was a binder of her favorite recipes that she passed down to me. Here I will share some of my favorites (without pictures–sorry). I guarantee that these are all tried and true (and loved).

Vidalia Onion Dip

1 cup chopped Vidalia onion

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup Parmesan cheese

Bake at 350 degrees until warm and bubbling (approximately 15 minutes). Serve with crackers (I prefer Keebler’s Club crackers). I know this sounds kind of strange, but I promise, it is amazing! Everyone always wants the recipe.

Goat Cheese Salad

3/4 tsp. fresh thyme, basil, chives (snipped small)

1/3 cup bread crumbs

Take 1 small log of goat cheese and roll in above.

Cut into 4 pieces and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes.

Take 4 cups packed field greens. Add 2 cups sliced endive and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Dress greens with 3 Tbsp. olive oil; 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar; 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar; 1 Tbsp. walnut or salad oil.

Top with the warm cheese pieces.

Pete’s Baseball Sauce

This recipe was passed down from a family friend (great for bratwurst, sausage or grilled meat)

8 oz. can chipotle peppers in sauce

8 oz. lime juice

8 oz. molasses

4 Tbsp. cumin

1 cup chopped cilantro

Process in a food processor.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

Cream together.

Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla and 2 large mashed bananas.

Mix together 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt, 3/4 cup chocolate chips.

Bake in greased loaf pan for 60-70 minutes at 350 degrees.

German Apple Pancakes

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in small oven-proof dish.

Mix together 2 large eggs and 6 Tbsp. flour and 6 Tbsp. milk. Add to dish.

Top with 1/2 cup apple sliced and tossed with 2 tbsp. brown sugar and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Sausage and Cheese Strata

1/2 lb. sausage, browned

3/4 lb. Monterey Jack cheese; grated

4 large eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/2 cup milk

3 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled

8 sliced white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

Grease 1 qt. casserole dish. Arrange 1/3 of bread crumbs in casserole. Sprinkle with 1/3 of cheese. Arrange sausage over it. Add remaining 1/3 of bread and cheese. Repeat–reserving last 1/3 of cheese.

Press layers down. Mix together eggs and seasonings. Pour over top. Drizzle with butter. Refrigerate overnight. Before baking let stand 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Salmont 3 Ways:

1. Grilled Salmon—mix together soy sauce and maple syrup—baste salmon and grill.

2. Slow Cooked Salmon–cut up carrots and onions. Place salmon on top. Bake at 225 degrees for 45 minutes.

3. Salmon in Parchment–cut out parchment paper to wrap salmon in. Place piece of salmon on paper. Top with 1 Tbsp. of marinade (I prefer an Asian fish marinade), slice of red pepper, green pepper, mushrooms, zucchini. Wrap and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Pot Roast

5-6 lb. chuck roast

1 can coke

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 pkg. onion soup mix

1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients and bake for 3 1/2 hours covered at 325 degrees. Add carrots and potatoes and cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours.

Aunt Josie’s Barbecue

1 lb. hamburger

1 onion chopped

Brown these together and then add:

1/2 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. vinegar

2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce

Flank Steak

1 1/2-2 lbs. flank steak

Marinade: 3/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3 Tbsp. honey, 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger.

Marinade at least 12 hours, then grill after draining marinade. Slice thin and serve.

Comforting Shredded Beef

2 Tbsp. butter

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 bottom round roast (4 lbs.)

salt and pepper

Heat butter and oil and brown roast on all sides.

Put roast in 2 cups beef stock and 1 cup red wine.

Simmer slowly, 3 hours, adding stock and wine as needed so there is always 1 cup liquid.

Remove beef from heat and shred.

Serve with buns.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

1 box chocolate cake mix

Make cupcakes as directed on box until time to fill cups.

Mix together: 8 oz. cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, dash salt, 1 egg,  1 cup chocolate chips.

Fill cups 1/2 full. Add 1 spoonful of cream cheese mix. Bake as directed.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pizza

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup margarine, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

1 1/2 cup flour

Put ingredients for crust together and make dough.

Press dough over bottom of 12-14 inch pizza pan

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Top with 2 cups mini marshmallows and 6 oz. chocolate chips.

Bake for 5-8 minutes or until chips are melted and marshmallows largely browned.

May 6, 2008

TWD: Peanut Butter Torte

Filed under: dessert, Tuesdays with Dorie — Emily @ 5:58 am

It’s Tuesdays with Dorie time! This week some friends of ours, Chris (a fellow food blogger) and Megan invited us over for dessert and general hangout time. So I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to make this torte. I certainly could not have such a tasty treat lying around my house for just Aaron and I. Folks, I’m not gonna lie…….this was a tedious one to make. But the results were definitely worth it. And it really is not that complicated—just a lot of steps. And one good benefit—it requires minimum baking (just 10 minutes for the Oreo crust)—so it’s great for a summer treat without having to keep the oven on fr a long period of time.

Peanut Butter Torte

1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)

24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender

½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Small pinch of salt

2 ½ c. heavy cream

1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy)

2 tablespoons whole milk

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped

Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Crape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To Finish The Torte: put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.

When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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