Archive | June, 2014

Kouign Amann

24 Jun

June 24, 2014

The very first time I tried a Kouign Amann was from B. Patisserie’s bakery, located in San Francisco, CA. Before she opened up her shop, I was following her on Facebook and immediately fell in love with her art in the kitchen. Her desserts are well crafted and very detailed- desserts almost too pretty to eat. When her shop finally opened up in 2012, we stopped by to try her well-known, ever so popular Kouign Amanns, and since then I was inspired make them at home. I did some research on the recipe and came across a couple of them, but only recently did I come across a very detailed and easy to follow recipe on The Kitchn blog. So I decided to tackle this.

Making Kouign Amanns require patience and it is very important to follow the instructions carefully. I made this over a period of two days, had my iPad open so that I can reference the blog, and had a printout of the recipe where I jotted down notes. Never once during the process did I feel discouraged. In fact, I was eager to see the results!

If you have the time and patience, I say make these! They taste the best once out of the oven, where the caramelized sugar have infused the buttery layers and the sugar is still gooey. If you’re looking for a sweet option for breakfast, these are perfect with your morning cup of coffee, or a midday snack with some tea. These keep well at room temperature in an air-tight container, but if you don’t get to all of them in time, freeze them. Just reheat for a few seconds, eat it as is, or add a bit of jam.

Recipe and steps can be found here.

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Strawberry Macaron Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream Sandwich

12 Jun

June 12th, 2014

You can’t tell, but I’m actually really excited for this post. Two delicious things- macarons AND ice cream together! I’ve always wanted to try making these since I’ve seen pictures of the giant macaron ice cream sandwiches from a place called MILK in Los Angeles, CA. I have never visited their shop to try the sandwiches, but I can only imagine it’s nothing but pure heaven. It’s on my list of places to go the next time I’m in L.A.

A few factors finally prompted me to make these ice cream sandwiches. First, I was making some strawberry macarons for a friend who requested them for her daughter’s high school graduation. I had extra shells left, so I set them aside for this project. Second, I really, really wanted to make ice cream since the weather is getting warmer and I wanted to use the copious amounts of Whiskey we have on our shelf. Third, I had this article pinned to my ‘Baking Ideas’ board on Pinterest for some time now and it was always there for inspiration.  And lastly, I was talking to my friend, Yao, and he asked me if I ever made ice cream sandwiches before. Prior to that, I told him I have not but it was the one thing I have on my to-bake list. Our conversation went on about ice cream and I was definitely inspired. A couple of days later, the strawberry macaron vanilla Bourbon ice cream sandwiches were born!

I had the macaron shells already made, so the following day I made the custard for the ice cream. That chilled overnight in the refrigerator and was processed in my ice cream machine the next day. I then let the ice cream set up in the freezer overnight to firm up. Then working quickly, the macarons were sandwiched with the ice cream. It may sound weird, but the combination of strawberry, Bourbon and vanilla together? Trust me, it was a great combination of flavors!

2014-06-08 02.18.552014-06-08 02.26.38Strawberry Macarons
I used the same macaron recipe found here.

I omitted the vanilla powder. When processing the almond flour and powdered sugar, I added about 2 tsp of freeze dried strawberries for a more pungent flavor.

Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream
1 ½ C heavy cream
1 ½ C milk
⅔ C + ⅛ C sugar
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla
2 tsp Bourbon

Yield = 1 quart

Directions
1. Heat the cream, milk, sugar and salt. Add the vanilla powder remove from the heat, cover and let steep for about 20 minutes.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the the yolks.

3. Temper the yolks with some of the heated milk mixture. While you’re slowly adding the milk, use your other hand to whisk the mixture constantly. This prevents the yolks from curdling.

4. Add the yolk-milk mixture back into the pot and heat on medium. Using a spatula, continuously stir and scrape the bottom of the pot.

5. Heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

6. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Place bowl over an ice-bath to stop the cooking.

7. Allow the ice-cream base to cool in the refrigerator overnight.

8. Churn ice cream the next day.

9. Once the ice cream is done, fold in the 2 tsp Bourbon using a spatula.

10. Place ice cream in a clean container. Allow it to firm up in the freezer.

11. Once ice cream is firm enough, sandwich macarons. Work quickly as ice cream will become soft. Sandwiched macarons can be stored in an air-tight container in the freezer. Macaron shells will remain soft and ready to eat.

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Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

4 Jun

June 4th, 2014

If you’re looking for something to spice up your cookie routine, then thumbprint cookies are the way to go. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies, but sometimes you need a little variety in your life. Thumbprints are buttery, soft and always filled with something in the center, whether it be with ganache or jam.  And as the name suggests, one of the essential tools in making these cookies is your thumb.

Since I had leftover raspberry compote left from my cheesecake recipe and the idea of throwing out the raspberry compote just did not sit well with me (see previous post about how I hate throwing out ingredients), I decided to make chocolate thumbprints from Martha Stewart’s recipe. I’m particular when it comes to getting all the cookies all the same size, so I weighed the dough to 1-oz pieces before rolling them into semi-perfect balls. Alternatively, you can use a cookie scooper. Then, using my thumb, I carefully ‘punched’ the center of each ball to create a well, in which it was filled with the raspberry compote. You can also keep the rolled and pressed cookies in the refrigerator if you don’t plan to bake all of them at once, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t…they’re delicious!2014-06-01 04.10.482014-06-01 04.13.28                        Rolled, pressed, sugared and filled before going into the oven.

2014-06-01 04.59.072014-06-01 05.08.51Chocolate Thumbprints, from Martha Stewart
2 C AP Flour
1 C Cocoa powder
2 tsp salt
8 oz softened butter
1 ⅓ C sugar, plus extra to coat the cookies
2 egg yolks
2 Tb heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
Raspberry compote

Yield: 27 1-oz cookies

Directions:
1. In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
2. Add yolks, heavy cream, vanilla extract.
3. Sift together AP flour, cocoa powder and salt.
4. Add dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture in 3 additions, slightly mixing after each addition.
5. Mix until dough comes together.
6. Weigh 1-oz pieces and roll into balls.
7. Roll each ball into a bowl of sugar. Place onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Use your thumb to press down into the center of each ball.
8. Bake at 350F 12 minutes, rotating halfway through.
9. Allow cookies to cool completely before filling with desired filling.
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Chocolate Panna Cotta

1 Jun

June 1st, 2014

Panna cotta is a fairly simple dessert to make and it does not require any baking in the oven! It’s also very versatile and a great option if you are looking to serve individual sized desserts. Everything I used for this dessert was already in my refrigerator and pantry. I was merely trying to ‘clean’ out whatever leftover ingredients before they hit their expiration date. I also hate throwing things away, so I decided to make panna cotta with the milk and chocolate I had on hand.

Traditionally, panna cotta is made with heavy cream and milk. However, I did not have any cream, so instead, I substituted that with canned coconut milk. If you are not a fan of coconut milk the dark chocolate will actually mask the coconut scent and flavor. I had just enough 72% dark chocolate, which I usually get from Trader Joe’s (the Pound-Plus Belgian bar).

The options of toppings that can be added once the panna cotta cups have solidified makes this a versatile dessert. Some options include fruits, fruit compote, caramel, chocolate sauce, or whipped cream. Since I was using coconut milk, I decided on coconut whipped cream. I simply placed one can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, I carefully separated the thicker, firm layer that solidified at the top of the can and whipped it on my mixer with a little bit of vanilla extract. Alternatively, if you are using heavy cream, you can just make whipped cream.

2014-05-22 07.31.16 2014-05-22 07.19.41 2014-05-22 07.35.56 2014-05-22 07.38.06 2014-05-22 07.43.58Chocolate Panna Cotta
1 ½ tsp Knox, unflavored gelatin
⅛ C Cold water
½ C Coconut milk
1 C Milk
¼ C Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
4 oz Chocolate, chopped (72% dark)

Directions:
1. Bloom the gelatin by combining it with cold water. Slightly mix together.
2. Heat the coconut milk, milk and sugar together until it just begins to come to a boil. Reduce the heat. Add vanilla extract.
3. Add the bloomed gelatin to the heated milk mixture. Mix with a whisk.
4. Place chocolate in a clean bowl.
5. Pour half the heated liquid mixture to the chocolate. Stir to combine.
6. Add the melted chocolate back to the pot and mix with the rest of the liquid. Carefully divide into cups.
7. Let the cups stand at room temperature until they slightly cool down. Place the cups in the refrigerator to firm up for a few hours or leave them overnight.
8. Once ready to serve, top with choice of topping.

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