Monday, January 31, 2011

Marshmallows and Ski

I really regret not enjoying winter as much as I should. Instead of hanging out indoors, watching movies and going for coffee, I should be out there skating, snowshoeing and skiing! Quebec is the perfect place for outdoor sports!

Mont St-Anne, Québec

This is the second year we go on the ski trip organized by Concordia University. Last year was my first time skiing, so I had to take beginner lessons. This year was a bit easier, I remembered the pointe de pizza and that I had to do big S's down the slope, not go down in a straight line... But the reason we enjoy this trip is because we are with friends, hang out in our chalets, have delicious dinners and all get together at night.

If you've never made marshmallows before, this is the best time! Not only can you enjoy them in a warm cup of hot chocolate, you can roast them over a fire or even make S'mores! Make the traditional white ones (vanilla) but also try making some yummy chocolate (I highly suggest) or raspberry ones! Whatever you do, they will taste 10X better than store-bought marshmallows and everyone will be like: "You can make marshmallows? How?"

Here's the recipe by Dorie Greenspan from Baking: From My Home to Yours. Try it out, it's not as hard as it seems!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tiramisu Cake

This is the perfect cake to make for a celebration. It is easy to make, not very time-consuming and tastes wonderful! It will take longer if you make your ladyfingers, I decided to try it out with store-bought Savoiardi cookies. We made this for my boyfriend's mother's birthday and everyone loved it! I would make a bigger one next time I think, maybe a 9-inch cake, because it disappeared quickly!


Tiramisu Cake
Adapted from Happy Home Baking
Makes one 7-inch cake

For the espresso syrup:

1 tbsp instant espresso/coffee powder
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tbsp Kahlua (or Marsala)

Dissolve the instant espresso/coffee powder and sugar in the boiling water. Let it cool and stir in the Kahlua. Set aside.

For the filling:

250 g marscapone cheese
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp Kahlua (or Marsala)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a mixing bowl, whisk marscapone, icing sugar, vanilla extract, Kahlua and 3 tbsp of the espresso syrup with a manual whisk until blended.

With an electric mixer, whisk the whipping cream until soft peaks form and fold 1/4 of it in the marscapone mixture with a spatula. Fold the remaining whipped cream in the marscapone mixture gently.

To assemble the cake:

About 24 ladyfingers (Savoiardi)
Dark and white chocolate shavings
Cocoa powder, to dust
Espresso syrup (above)
Filling (above)

Line the edges of a 7-inch spring form pan (remove the base) with plastic wrap and place it on a plate or a round cardboard base. Cut off one end of the ladyfingers so each is about 3 inches in length. Line the sides of the pan with the ladyfingers (about 17) and save the leftover small pieces.

Gently dip ladyfingers one at a time in the espresso syrup and use them to line the base of the pan, soaked side up. Cut the ladyfingers into shorter lengths if necessary and use the leftovers pieces to fill in the gaps.

Spoon over half of the filling and spread it evenly over the first layer of ladyfingers. Grate some dark chocolate over the filling. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers and spoon over the remaining filling. Spread and smooth the top. Dust with cocoa powder and grate some more dark and white chocolate over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, best left overnight.

Before serving, unmold the cake and tie a ribbon around the outer ladyfingers.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Macarons au café - Coffee Macarons

Last year I had visited a macaron shop in the downtown area of Montreal and wrote a post about it! The owners of that shop have written a book with all the recipes of the macarons they sell there and guess what? I got it for Christmas! It is such a beautiful book! I will attempt to make my favorite macaron one day, caramel fleur de sel.

This week, I made my first macaron from that book, Macarons au café (or Coffee Macarons) following the Italian meringue method. The recipes are planned out for you, dividing the tasks to make each macaron in days. For these, Jour 1 consisted of making the chocolate-espresso ganache and Jour 2 consisted of making the shells and assembling them. They turned out a success, even if I used dark chocolate instead of milk for the ganache! I only think that I should have ground the almond powder more because my macaron shells turned out looking a bit grainy. I'll be doing that next time one day or two before and letting it dry. I can't wait to try making more! Here is their in-store catalogue!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sundae Cupcakes

I'm finally posting the cupcakes I made for Cupcake Camp 2010 a few months ago. Aren't they pretty? I chose to make sundae cupcakes since I love making ice cream so much! I'm really looking forward to participate in the competition next year!

I used the devil's food cake recipe from David Lebovitz and the vanilla buttercream recipe below for the cupcakes. I made the Classic Hot Fudge from The Perfect Scoop and drizzled it on top of the frosted cupcakes after it had cooled a bit. Decorate with sprinkles and maraschino cherries!


Sundae Cupcakes
Makes about 48 frosted cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from David Lebovitz

18 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups cake flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
16 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup strong coffee (or water)
1 cup whole or low-fat milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 4 cupcake pans with papers liners. In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.

In a large measuring cup, combine the coffee and milk. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Stir in the coffee-milk mixture and mix until combined. Add in the remaining dry ingredients, again mixing until just incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling the cups not more than 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream
Adapted from Milk and Honey Cafe

1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp heavy cream

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, for about 20 seconds. Add half the confectioners' sugar, beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium-high speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds. Add the rest of the confectioners' sugar and mix again. Scrape the bowl, add the vanilla extract and heavy cream, and beat at medium-high speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Add more confectioners' sugar if you find your frosting isn't thick enough, or more heavy cream if you find it too thick.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

I have now realized that I cannot follow cooking groups. I feel really guilty calling myself a French Fridays with Dorie member since I participated for only the first two weeks! It's hard for me to make something that is chosen for me, especially when it involves cooking and not baking.

The good thing about cooking/baking groups is that you get to see everyone else's results who followed the recipes from the books. I had read a lot of good reviews about Dorie's Burnt Sugar ice cream from her book Baking: From My Home to Yours, so I had no doubt that this was going to be a successful one!


Burnt Sugar Ice Cream
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Makes about 1-1/2 pints

1 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Stir the sugar and water together in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil, without stirring, until the syrup turns a deep amber color (be careful not to burn it!). Swirl the saucepan from time to time.

Lower the heat and add the milk and cream. Everything will bubble and seethe and the mixture will have some hardened caramel. Keep stirring and it will calm down and smooth. When the mixture is completely smooth, remove the pan from the heat.

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and salt together until slightly thickened. Still whisking (and never stop) drizzle some hot liquid inside slowly to temper (or warm) the yolks. Keep whisking and slowly pour the remaining hot liquid into the yolks. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens and reaches between 170 and 180 degrees F on a thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and strain into a clean heatproof bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract and cool over an ice bath.

Refrigerate the custard overnight (or until chilled, the more the better) and churn it in ice cream machine according to manufacturer's directions.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Salmon Mousse Appetizers

For this New Year's dinner, I unfortunately didn't get the chance to make any of the deserts I was planning to and looked for something rather quick.

My parents always buy smoked salmon but I prefer it on a bagel with cream cheese and believe it or not, I found this recipe on Annie's Eats where you make a mousse using cream cheese. You can use it as a spread or make it look a bit fancier by piping it onto crackers (I used rosemary ones). Next time I think I'll pipe it onto sliced cucumbers instead!


Salmon Mousse
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Makes about 25-30 appetizers

8 oz. smoked salmon, flaked with a fork
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Splash of lemon juice
25-30 crackers

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse repeatedly until all the ingredients are blended and the mixture is smooth. Taste and add more cream cheese, fresh dill or lemon juice if you like, depending on your taste. Pipe or spread onto crackers and garnish with fresh dill.