Archive | April, 2009

terrilyn’s picture perfect pie

30 Apr

This week, it was Terri’s turn to have her dessert request made. She chose caramel, marshmallow and chocolate (as long as it wasn’t dark chocolate). I didn’t want to make a cookie, since I’ve been making plenty of those as of late, and I didn’t want to make tarts, since Caitlin got those already. So, after much deliberation, I came to the decision that she would get a decadent, sweet-til-it-kills-you pie. This is Terri’s Picture Perfect Pie, since I had way too much fun snapping shots of it while cutting and arranging it on a plate. The pie is made with a toffee shortbread crust, filled with melted marshmallows and a gooey caramel filling, and then topped off with a thick and rich chocolate ganache layer. And then, for good measure, broken pieces of (homemade!!) toffee adorned the pie. Yum! Have a look at what Terri will be eating for the next little while!

see how the toffee shortbread crust can barely contain the caramel?

see how the toffee shortbread crust can barely contain the caramel?

ready for a slice of caramel infused heaven?

ready for a slice of caramel infused heaven?

if this is what heaven looked like, there'd be no crime

if this is what heaven looked like, there'd be no crime

getting ready for lift-off

getting ready for lift-off

between the marshmallows and the caramel oozing out...

between the marshmallows oozing out...

...and the caramel following suit...

...and the caramel following suit...

...and the thick layer of chocolate ganache - I don't know which part is my favourite...

...and the thick layer of chocolate ganache - I don't know which part is my favourite...

...good thing I don't have to choose! I'll just have the whole damn pie =)

...good thing I don't have to choose! I'll just have the whole damn pie =)

Recipe

Toffee Shortbread Crust:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup toffee crumbs (recipe found here, and you just give it a whiz in the food processor until they look like graham cracker crumbs)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cream together the sugar and butter until well combined.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until completely smooth.
  4. Add the flour, toffee and salt, and mix until just combined.
  5. Pat the dough into a fluted 8 or 9 inch pie pan.  Bake the crust at 15 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges.

Marshmallow Layer:

  • 1  cup of mini marshmallows OR 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
  1. When the pie crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle with mini marshmallows and return to the oven for 4 minutes until they melt. Using a spoon, just spread the mixture around, and set aside.
  2. If using the marshmallow fluff, there is no need to return to oven. Simply spread it onto the base after the crust has cooled, and set aside.

Caramel Filling (adapted from In The Night Kitchen):

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Stir sugar and water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase heat and boil until syrup is amber color, brushing down sides with wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally, about 8 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Add cream, butter, vanilla and salt (mixture will bubble up).
  4. Return pan to very low heat; stir until caramel is smooth and color deepens, about 5 minutes.
  5. Refrigerate uncovered until cold but not firm, about 20 minutes.
  6. Once cooled, spoon over the marshmallow layer, and spread out smoothly. Set aside.

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2  cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate
  1. Melt the heavy cream and chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals.
  2. Mix until smooth and totally dissolved.
  3. Spoon over the caramel layer.
  4. Sprinkle with chunks of homemade toffee.
  5. Refigerate for at least an hour, and keep in fridge until serving it.
  6. Make sure not to wear white clothes while eating this – and remember: share!

xo dessertchick

coconut butter thin yumminess

30 Apr

I still had almond meal left over from the almond logs I made, so I figured I might as well make these delicious coconut butter thins from Tuesdays with Dorie. I came upon this adaptation of the original recipe on The Brown Eyed Baker, and since adaptation (and running out of ingredients) is the mother of invention, I thought I’d give these a go with a few tweaks.

Since my blog is called Chocolate Fool, it is hard to make something that doesn’t involve chocolate – and why would I want to? =) I didn’t have enough macadamia nuts and couldn’t run to the store at 1am, so I used half chopped macadamia nuts and half chopped almonds. I also only had a really sad looking, shrivelled lime, so I used the zest of two lemons. And since I still had some almond meal, I substituted 1/2 of flour for almond meal. These beauties came out wonderfully – they had the lacy edges that Dorie spoke of, and the combination of coconut/almonds/macadamia nuts and lemon was amazing.

The dipping in chocolate was really not necessary, but it does give these cookies an extra push – and the sprinkle of coconut flakes on top is just oh so pretty!

what rows of beauties!

what rows of beauties!

for those who don't like too much chocolate...

for those who don't like too much chocolate...

....but for me, a cookie without chocolate, is a sad cookie.

....but for me, a cookie without chocolate, is a sad cookie.

lemony & nutty - what a perfect combination.

lemony & nutty - what a perfect combination.

and yet, the chocolate, lemon and almonds combination certainly kicks ass

and yet, the chocolate, lemon and almonds combination certainly kicks ass

Recipe

(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, who adapted it from Tuesdays with Dorie)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground coriander
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut + extra for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup semit sweet chocolate

How-to:

  1. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt and coriander.
  2. If you want to get a little more flavor out of the lemon zest, put the sugar and zest in the
    mixer bowl and, using your fingertips or spoon, work the zest into the sugar until the sugar is
    moist and the mixture fragrant.
  3. Working with a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and zest on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until smooth.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear.
  5. Add the coconut and nuts and pulse to incorporate them.
  6. There will probably be some dry ingredients in the bottom of the bowl – don’t work them in with the mixer, just reach into the bowl and knead them in.
  7. Transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9×10 1/2-inch rectangle that’s ¼inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag,
    pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or for up to 2 days.
  8. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  9. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  10. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the dough out onto the board
    (discard the bag), and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut it into 32 squares,
    each roughly 1 ½ inches on a side.
  11. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them.
  12. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at
    the midway point.
  13. The shortbreads will be very pale – they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool to room temperature.
  14. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth. Dip half of the cookies in the chocolate, and lay on wax paper to cool. Sprinkle with coconut flakes before the chocolate sets.
  15. Wow your friend and family – but make sure to keep some for yourself!

xo dessertchick

roll up your sleeves for some almond logs!

30 Apr

I love almonds. I mean, I absolutely adore almonds, and will pretty much snack on them whenever I can. In an attempt to find something that will top the deliciousness of my chocolate almond florentine cookies, I thought I’d give baking with almond meal a shot. After seeing how yummy these cookies turned out on Baking For The Cure, I whipped a batch up at 12am and had to wait until the next day to actually bake them, because these babies do require lots of refrigeration.

The dough is quite easy, as is the dipping and rolling in almond slices. The only time consuming part is the waiting for the dough to harden up enough to roll into logs, and then harden up once more after the rolling in almonds and before they go into the oven. In the end, this light and lemony butter cookie complements the toasted almond favour to a tee. I will definitely make these again, and my mom approved – and mom knows best!

almond logs right out of the oven

almond logs right out of the oven

I've decided to invest in wax paper, to save my sanity from the messes I make

I've decided to invest in wax paper, to save my sanity from the messes I make

a bowl full of goodness

a bowl full of goodness

meet the regular almond log...

meet the regular almond log...

...and now meet its cooler cousins, the chocolate almond logs

...and now meet its cooler cousins, the chocolate almond logs

look! the buttery, crumbly, citrusy, delicious inside!

look! the buttery, crumbly, citrusy, delicious inside!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • zest from 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/3 cup finely ground almonds
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups almond slices
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate

How-to:

  1. In a bowl, mix together the butter, lemon zest, sugar and vanilla extract until combined.
  2. Add the flour and the almonds and mix just until getting a dough. Cover, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.
  3. When dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 330F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or your trusty silpad.
  4. I like to use a pan, and dry roast the almond slices until golden brown to give them an extra nutty flavour. I found that the baking time in the oven didn’t brown the almond slices enough to make them nice and crunchy. Once toasted, put the almond slices into a bowl and set aside to cool down.
  5. Form the dough into 1 1/2inch long and 1/4 inch diameter rolls from the chilled dough. I found that the dough was very buttery, so the warmth from my hands would melt start melting them after I made 2 rolls. I had to keep washing my hands in cold water to keep the dough from melting and sticking.
  6. After all the logs have been formed, dip each roll in the egg whites, and then in the toasted sliced almonds. Gently press the almonds to the cookie rolls. Place cookies on the baking tray, and chill for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are golden.
  8. Melt the chocolate and drizzle over cooled cookies.
  9. Munch away!

xo dessertchick

almonds + chocolate = florentines

24 Apr

I know that the next recipe was supposed to be one of the requested ones from my friends, but this recipe was too easy and too tempting to pass by! David Lebovitz is such a whiz in the kitchen, and I’ve been stalking his blog for a while. Needless to say, when I saw this recipe, I just had to make it. It was like a kitchen-esque life-or-death situation =)

The recipe is very simple, and the ingredients are few, which always makes life easier. I decided against coating an entire side in chocolate, because I wanted to go for a more elegant look with these. I also left some chocolate-free because my mom likes them better that way. Bon Appetit!

chocolate is the key to my soul.

chocolate is the key to my soul.

sometimes two hearts...

sometimes two hearts...

...just can't dance to the same beat.

...just can't dance to the same beat.

half-dipped in chocolate...

half-dipped in chocolate...

...and drizzled with white chocolate for some extra love.

...and drizzled with white chocolate for some extra love.

ah, what a perfect world.

ah, what a perfect world.

the plain florentines really let the smokey almond flavour shine

the plain florentines really let the smokey almond flavour shine

these two hearts are certainly a perfect match

these hearts are certainly a perfect match

one for you and one for me, together we'll be happy

one for you and one for me, together we'll be happy

Recipe

Ingredients (adapted from David Lebovitz):

  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup blanched sliced almonds
  • a good pinch of flaky sea salt
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate

How-to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F (150C).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush very lightly with neutral vegetable oil.
  3. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for the chocolate.
  4. Keep a small bowl of cold water and a fork near where you’re working.
  5. Dip your hand in the cold water before lifting each portion of almonds, and place heaping tablespoon-sized mounds of the batter evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Once you’ve covered the baking sheet, dip the fork in cold water to flatten the cookies as much as possible. Try to avoid having many gaps between the almonds.
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown. Exact time will vary based on how large your cookies are. The authors recommend lifting the bottom of one with a metal spatula to check and see if they’re cooked through. If they’re not brown across the top and bottom, they won’t be agreeably crispy.
  8. Let cookies cool, then lift with a thin metal spatula and place them on a cooling rack until crisp. Continue baking all the cookies on the same baking sheet.
  9. Melt chocolate in microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth. Dip florentines halfway into chocolate and place onto parchment paper to chill.
  10. Munch away!

xo dessertchick

caitlin is my favourite tart

23 Apr

Okay, I’m not calling Caitlin a silly tart. However, I did promise her that I would make something especially for her so that the goodies cater to her exact taste and whim. Here, I present you with Caitlin’s Toffee Chocolate Ganache Custard Tart. Yep, a very long name, so I’m going to call these Caitlin’s Party Tarts. Because Caitlin is always the life of the party, and these are her tarts.

The tarts have a flaky, buttery crust. The custard isn’t too sweet, and goes well with the semi-sweet chocolate ganache. The homemade toffee adds a crunch and a nice sweetness to this bite-sized dessert.

They are very easy to make, and the longest process was just the assembly. Baking takes 10 minutes, and then it’s just a lot of chilling and taking pictures! Voila!

mini muffin pan = mini tarts

mini muffin pan = mini tarts

homemade toffee in three sizes: giant toffee pieces

homemade toffee in three sizes: giant toffee pieces

toffee chunks

toffee chunks

tiny toffee sprinkles

tiny toffee sprinkles

plain jane: naked custard tart

plain caitlin: naked custard tart

jane with her party hat: chocolate ganache custard tart

caitlin with her party hat: chocolate ganache custard tart

caitlin's the life of the party: toffee chocolate ganache custard tart

caitlin's the life of the party: toffee chocolate ganache custard tart

too many tarts, so little time

too many tarts, so little time

no matter how beautiful - it's the inside that counts

no matter how beautiful - it's the inside that counts

we may look different, but in the end, we're all the same: tasty

we may look different, but in the end, we're all the same: tasty

Recipe

Ingredients:

Toffee (or you can just buy toffee bits):

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Crust:

  • 1 can of Pillsbury Crescents or make your own puff pastry. I’ll post my own puff pastry recipe soon.

Custard:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder or vanilla pudding powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered confectioners or icing sugar

Ganache:

  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp milk

How-to:

Toffee (adapted from Scrumptious Photography):

  1. Melt the butter, sugar, water and salt together in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Continue heating and stirring until the mixture reaches 300F.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Pour hot mixture onto a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silpat.
  5. Let the toffee cool to room temperature and break apart into pieces as small and uniform as you can get them.

Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Unroll Pillsbury Crescent dough. You will have 8 large triangles initially. Cut each triangle into 4 smaller triangles so that you end up with 32 mini triangles. Stuff each one into a small mini muffin pan indent. Make sure that you press up on the sides, so that it’ll be able to cup the custard and chocolate.
  3. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and don’t freak out when your cups look like little balloons instead. Using a spoon, just squish the dough puffs into the shape of a cup, and return to oven for another 2 minutes.
  4. Remove and let cool.

Custard (adapted from Dishing Up Delights):

  1. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter. Beat in the remaining ingredients. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk.
  2. Spoon the filling slowly into each cup, making sure not to overflow them. Let cool in fridge for 15 minutes.

Ganache:

  1. Combine chocolate and milk and microwave at 30 second intervals for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth, and top each custard tart with ganache. At this point, you should probably cover about two tarts at a time with ganache and then follow up immediately with toffee sprinkles, or else the chocolate will cool and the toffee won’t stick.
  2. Let assembled tarts cool in fridge for another 15 minutes, and the start chowing!

xo dessertchick

sprinkle-mania

16 Apr

Okay, I went a tad crazy. Just a little bit. I promise, I still am somewhat sane but I just couldn’t help myself when I saw the sale on the spice rack on top of the sale on sprinkles.

what an impressive sideview!

what an impressive sideview!

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Don’t judge me =)

xo dessertchick

easy-peasy macaroon s’mores bars

12 Apr

Shannon and Toby are my heroes, so I wanted to thank them by baking something decadent and delicious. And since I still had Pillsbury Crescents left (they were on sale for a ridiculously good price!), and didn’t feel like eating plain croissants, I googled for a couple of possible recipes. I came across this one, and the only modification I made was adding marshmallows. This took them from simple macaroon bars to macaroon s’mores bars, because everything is tastier with marshmallows! Feast your eyes on this creation. But beware, it is very very sweet and rich, so cutting these into small bars is key! This was put together in under 30 minutes, but the cooling time requires another hour or so =)

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the silpad keeps the bars from sticking to your pan!

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these bars are dangerous, so please share!

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crescent crust, coconut filling, roasted marshmallows, melted chocolate and chopped almonds

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a tower of decadence

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another picture, just because =)

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ooey gooey yumm!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Pillsbury crescents
  • 2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
  • 1 can (14oz) condensed milk
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 bag (6oz) semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 cups marshmallows (mini ones, or cut the jumbo ones in half)
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (optional)

How-to:

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray or line with wax paper/silpad.
  2. Unroll dough; separate into 2 rectangles. Place lengthwise in pan. Press in bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust, pressing edges and perforations to seal. Press in bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.
  3. Sprinkle coconut evenly over crust. In medium bowl, mix condensed milk and almond extract; drizzle over coconut.
  4. Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown and filling is set.
  5. Pull pan out, and sprinkle marshmallows. Return to oven until marshmallows are melted. Swirl fork around to evenly distributed melted marshmallows. Let cool in pan.
  6. In 1-quart saucepan, melt chocolate chips over low heat, stirring frequently. Stir in peanut butter. Spread chocolate mixture over bars; sprinkle with almonds. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about an hour.

xo dessertchick