Monday, December 22, 2014

Ginger Spiced Spritz

This cookie too a bit of work to get it right.  Cloves were the culprits.  A little goes a long, LONG way and the first batch thats all you tasted.  Got it right now and this is a righteous little cookie that packs a punch of flavor.

I like to take half the cookie batter and color it.  It adds to the festive look of your cookie plate by not having them all one color.  Call me funny, but presentation is everything.

Ginger Spice Spritz

  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 c butter
  • 3/4 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 t orange extract'
  • decorative colored sugar sprinkles
  • food coloring

Cream together brown sugar, room temp butter, salt and orange extract until fluffy.

Combine flour and spices.  Sift together.  With stand mixer on low slowly add flour mixture to creamed butter and mix until smooth and all flour incorporated.  Optional: remove 1/2 of batter into seperate bowl.  Add a few drops of food color to the bowl and mix until color is uniform.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Load cookie dough into feed tube of a cookie press.  Select pattern die and press cookies according to package directions.  Sprinkle raw cookies with decorative sugars

Bake 12-14 minutes until firm. Cool on wire racks.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Balsamic Roasted Chicken Breast

File this under stupid easy and incredibly tasty.  Fresh herbs I usually have on hand...dried work just as well.  Just rub them in your hand to crush and activate the oils before adding to the marinade.

Balsamic Roasted Chicken Breast

  • 2 lbs Chicken breast halves
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 T fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 T fresh minced rosemary

Clean chicken breasts and remove tenders.  Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and herbs in a large non reactive bowl.  Add chicken breasts and tenders.  Toss to coat.  Marinade 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350F.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place chicken breasts and tenders in sheet. Pour any remaining marinade over the meat.  Bake about 30 minutes until thickest breast reaches 165F.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sea Salt Caramel Molten Lava Cakes

This is the schiznit.  The best bomb diggety thing I've created in a while.  Sea Salt, caramel in a warm ooey gooey treat.  Served up with coffee ice cream next to it its hitting all the right notes.  RIGHTEOUS.

I inherited from a friend a dozen cans of Nestle dulce du leche and have been wondering what on earth to do with it all.  Topping brownies is a start but only uses barely a third of a can of the sweet thick caramel.  What to do with the rest left me thinking and searching.

Having tasted the caramel by itself its almost too sweet and needs to be rounded off for better depth of flavor.  Salt, specifically sea salt, not that iodized crap sold at the groc rounds out the flavor and enables you to cut through all the sweet and enjoy the caramel notes there too.

This took me a couple of tests to get the recipe just not salty and too cakey, another too salty that you needed a gallon of water afterwards. I used a general purpose sea salt, not an expensive flaked like Maldon.  Really this final iteration is awesome.

Sea Salt Molten Lava Cakes

  • 1 2/3 c caramel sauce
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 T flour
  • butter and extra flour to dust ramekins

Preheat oven to 375f
Butter and dust with flour 4 small ramekins.  Place on baking tray and set aside.

Place egg and yolks with salt in a stand mixer.  With whisk attachment beat on high until thick ribbon falls from whisk when stopped and raised.  About 2 1/2-3 minutes.  Beat in caramel until uniform.  Reduce speed and sprinkle on flour, beating until just mixed in.

Divide the batter between the 4 ramekins.  Place in oven and bake 14-16 minutes until the top is just set and they are still wiggly.  Immediately remove from oven.

To serve run a knife around the edge of the cake.  Grab hot ramekin in an oven mitt protected hand and place serving plate upside down over the ramekin. Invert.  Give the ramekin light tap to to release the cake.  Put a scoop or two of good quality coffee ice cream on the plate and serve.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Browned Butter Brownie with Caramel and Sea Salt

OK, this is my go too brownie.  I made it for the Holiday Meeting of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts.  It was a hit.  EVERYONE raved about how it was the best brownie they have ever had.  EVER.

But really whats not to love.  Its not overly sweet.  Its ooey, gooey chocolatey with just a touch of salt to make your taste buds dance.  Its really yummy.

I cheat too.  Big surprise, right!  Instead of making my own caramel, which I;m totally capable of I use canned Nestles La Lechera brand dulce du leche.  Really good stuff, thick, rich and very caramel.  Why make your own when you can just buy it?

I finish with Maldon Sea Salt, but really anygood quality flaked sea salt will work just fine.  For gawds sake don't use regular table salt, that iodized stuff tastes like metal and just ruins your tastebuds.

I use a good rich ultra pure ducth process cocoa called Black Onyx that I get from Surfas in Culver City. If you can find that, Hersheys Special Dark cocoa powder would be a great substitute.

Browned Butter Brownie with Caramel and Sea Salt

  • 10 T unsalted butter- cubed
  • 3/4 c Black Onyx Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 2 T water
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 C + 1 T all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 c La Lechera dulce du leche
  • 2 t flaked sea salt

Preheat oven to 325F.  Place a shelf in the bottom third of oven.   Line an 8X8 baking dish with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray

In medium sauce pan place cubed butter over medium heat.  Stir and cook until it stops foaming.  Remove from heat and add sugar, cocoa powder, and kosher salt.  Stir until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time and stir until smooth and shiny.  Stir in vamilla.  Stir in flour until smooth.  Fold in nuts.  Pour into prepared pan.

Place caramel into a plastic sandwich bag. Cut off a small, 1/4 inch corner of the bag.  Pipe the caramel in a criss cross pattern on the brownie mix.  Place in oven.  Bake 25-30 minutes until firm and tester comes out with a few crumbs on it.

Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with the flaked sea salt.  Cool completely.  Remove brownie from pan by grabbing sides of foil.  Cut into 16 brownies.