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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Valentino & Ice Cream

It's time for another Daring Baker's Challenge! The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

I followed the recipe for the flourless chocolate cake to the letter, but mine ended up like a molten chocolate lava cake. I used a combo of Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate & Ghiradelli Baking Chocolate. Also, instead of vanilla ice cream, I made Cinnamon Ice Cream, adapted from a Paula Deen recipe (good, but VERY rich...a couple spoons full was enough for me. However, my husband really liked the combination, so it's all good.) :) On to the recipes:

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Cinnamon Ice Cream
1 quart half-and-half
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
Up to 2 quarts milk, as needed

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine half-and-half and cinnamon sticks. Cook 20 minutes over low heat (do not boil). Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks, stir in ground cinnamon, and chill for 4 hours.

With an electric mixer at high speed, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add condensed milk and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Add chilled half-and-half.

Pour mixture into canister of a 4 to 6-quart ice cream freezer. (Or, if your ice cream freezer is smaller, just do it in batches - I had to do 2 batches, but I didn't use any of the milk.) Add milk, if needed, to fill canister to the freezer line. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Yield: 4 to 6 quarts (for me, it was more like 2.5 quarts)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Broccoli Salad

I've always loved broccoli. I could eat a huge bowl of steamed broccoli by myself when I was a kid. Mmmm. Mushy. Crisp. Steamed. Raw. In a casserole. It didn't really matter. So, I was really excited when I first had this salad with a couple from a church we belonged to before we moved. Not only did she prepare the dish, she also gave me the cookbook from which it came (church cookbook)! Yay! I've been making it ever since. And, since my husband doesn't really like raw broccoli, this one's all for me. :) I did, however, reduce the amount of dressing by half since I thought it got a bit gloppy after a while. But, if you want more dressing, feel free to double the amounts. I also add the stalks of the broccoli, chopped fairly fine, because (1) I don't like to be wasteful, and (2) I like the taste. Enjoy!

1/2 cup mayo
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1/8 cup sugar (or Splenda)
few splashes of millk to thin it out


1 bunch of broccoli, florets trimmed & stalks peeled & chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins
~2 Tbsp. finely minced red onion
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds (optional, but recommended)

In a large bowl, mix the dressing ingredients, adding as much milk as you need to get the a sauce-like (not mayo-like) consistency and set aside. Prepare the broccoli and onion, then add the salad ingredients to the sauce. Toss to evenly coat. Refrigerate until serving. This gets better the longer it sits; I recommend at least overnight.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Stuffed Berries

I recently bought some very delicious strawberries and was surprised at how good they were at this time of year. It reminded me of a dessert I made late last summer but never posted. So, here is my version of the Deen Brother's Stuffed Strawberries. I thought they were really good, but they were a bit of a pain to stuff with just an "x" cut into them. Next time I'll probably just use a star icing tip to hollow out the berry before stuffing...might make things easier.

Stuffed Berries

2 quarts whole medium/large strawberries
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 to 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or almond)
1/4 cup toasted coconut

Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each strawberry so the berries stand upright. Place berries, cut side down, on a serving platter. Carefully cut the berries into 4 wedges, cutting almost to, but not through, the bottoms with a criss-cross cut. Fan wedges just slightly, taking care not to break them. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until combined but still stiff. Using a teaspoon or pastry bag with decorative tip, fill the strawberries with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the stuffed strawberries. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Adapted from The Deen Brothers