Archive | February, 2013

Paleo Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

25 Feb

February 25th, 2013

The Paleo diet is quite popular and I’ve been hearing more and more about it lately. It basically entails eating whole, unprocessed foods.  Which means no grains, flour, sugar, legumes, and the list goes on. You might think, how is it possible to cut out baked goods? With a little modification and experimentation, you can still eat your “sweets”. These Paleo dark chocolate chunk cookies uses almond meal instead of flour, and honey instead of sugar. They do the job of satisfying a sweet craving, while staying within the Paleo diet. As an added bonus, they  are very easy to make and quite delicious as well!

Cookies

3C almond meal

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 C honey

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 C almond butter

12 oz dark chocolate chunks or chips

*Note: I made half of this recipe and yielded 26 2-inch round cookies.

Directions

  1. Combine almond meal, baking soda, and salt in a bowl of a mixer with paddle attachment.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, yolks, honey and vanilla together. Mix to combine.
  3. Add wet mixture to the flour mixture. Mix to combine. Scrape down sides.
  4. Add almond butter to the mixture.
  5. Add chocolate chunks/chips
  6. Scoop cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 350F for 13 minutes, rotating half way.

Paleo Cookies

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

14 Feb

February 14th, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m usually not a big Valentine’s Day person and like to take it easy on this day. I think from here on out I will use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to bake something fun and festive, which I did this time around. I couldn’t resist making heart-shaped macarons. Besides, when else do you see macarons shaped like a heart?  At first I was a little hesitant because I wondered if the batter will hold the shape once they were piped, but sure enough, it did! I didn’t use any templates for the hearts, which might have been easier to get consistent sizes of macarons. Instead, I carefully piped the hearts free-handed. Believe it or not, the fun part was trying to match up the hearts when it came time to sandwiching them.

I filled half the macarons with strawberry buttercream, which I had leftover from the dinosaur cake and the other half with chocolate buttercream. The chocolate buttercream was easy to make. I saved some of the plain buttercream from the dinosaur cake and added melted dark chocolate. If you are short on time, another option is filling the macarons with raspberry or strawberry jam.

Hope your day is filled with love, chocolates, and plenty of sweets! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Macarons

7 oz powdered sugar

4 oz almond flour

4 oz egg whites

pinch of cream of tartar

3 1/2 oz sugar

red food coloring

Directions:

  1. Sift powdered sugar and almond flour together. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl, whisk egg whites on medium speed.
  3. Once the whites become foamy, add a pinch of cream of tartar. Whisk on high-speed to incorporate.
  4. Slowly stream in granulated sugar. Continue to whisk until whites reach a medium peak.
  5. At this time, add food coloring and whisk to incorporate. Add as much or as little food coloring to get desired color.
  6. Whisk until stiff peaks.
  7. Fold in the dry ingredients in three additions and carefully fold with a spatula to incorporate each time.
  8. Once all the dry ingredients have been incorporated with the meringue, transfer batter to a piping bag with a round tip (I used an Ateco 803 tip).
  9. Pipe heart shapes on parchment lined sheet pans. Tap sheet pan against counter to remove any air bubbles. Allow macarons to rest 1 hour before baking.
  10. Bake at 310F for 10-12 minutes.
  11. Once cooled, fill macarons with buttercream.

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Dinosaur Themed Birthday Cake

13 Feb

February 13th, 2013

This past weekend I made a birthday cake for someone very special. It was my fiance’s birthday and I decided to make him a cake. The only requirements given to me were the cake had to be vanilla and it had to have dinosaurs. So with that, I created a four-layer vanilla sponge cake with alternating layers of strawberry buttercream. The entire cake was then covered with fondant and adorned with two dinosaur cake toppers, which I molded.

It was my first time using this cake recipe and I’m happy to say that I’m a fan. It’s a milk sponge cake and it remained quite moist.  Needless to say, the 6-inch by 5-inch cake was more than enough for seven people and the birthday boy was happy!

Milk Sponge Cake

6 1/2 oz AP flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 C unsalted butter

1/2 C milk (2% or whole)

10 1/2 oz sugar

3 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

Strawberry Buttercream

8 oz egg whites

12 oz granulated sugar

1 pound 8 oz butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

strawberry puree

Directions:

For the cake:

  1. Butter 6-inch cake pan and lightly dust with flour
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  3. Heat milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Set aside to cool.
  4. Over a double boiler, whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla until temperature reaches 110F.
  5. Transfer to a mixer bowl and whisk until light, fluffy and cooled.
  6. Sift half of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and fold using a spatula.
  7. Sift in remaining dry ingredients and fold.
  8. Carefully pour the cooled milk and butter mixture around the batter and fold to mix.
  9. Divide batter into two 6-inch cake pans, bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

For the buttercream:

  1. Heath egg whites and sugar over a double boiler until temperature reaches 140F.
  2. Transfer mixture to a mixer bowl and whisk until cooled.
  3. Add softened butter in chunks.
  4. Add vanilla extract.
  5. Add strawberry puree to taste. (I processed frozen strawberries and strained to get the liquid).

Layers

Alternating layers of cake and buttercream.

Happy Birthday!

Dinosaur cake toppers

HermanCross Section of Cake

Cross section of the cake

Sliced

Photo credit: Cindy T.

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