Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ever.

I know, everybody says that, but I really mean it. These are, these have to be, the best chocolate chip cookies, ever. Crispy around the edges, chewy and chocolaty in the middle, and thin, oh so thin.

The only way someone doesn’t love these, is if they prefer thick cookies instead, which, in that case, makes their opinion invalid, since they’re obviously crazy. Besides, you know you can just press two thin cookies together to get a thick one. Right?

My “secret” formula has been adapted from Alton Brown’s famous, “The Thin” recipe, and is fairly foolproof. The only real variable is the baking time, since we all scoop slightly different amounts. Mine took about 12 minutes, but if you make yours a little bigger, or smaller, that time will change.

And yes, of course you can add nuts to yours! I’m a walnut guy from way back, but decided to go sans nuts for this video. Speaking of nuts, you’re nuts if you don’t try this very simple, and amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 32 Chocolate Chip Cookies (depending on size):
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt (or 3/4 teaspoon of fine table salt)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (1 cup) very soft unsalted *butter (be sure the butter is room temp, and very, very soft!)
*I used a high-quality European-style butter, and recommend you do the same. Cheaper butters will have more water content, which can affect the fat ratio, and thickness of your cookie.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Bake at 375 F. for about 12 minutes
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fresh Fig and Goat Cheese…Tart?

There are worse problems in the kitchen than making something that tastes amazing, but is very difficult to name. Like, for example, something that’s easy to name, but tastes terrible. Luckily, this fresh fig and goat cheese “tart” was the former.

I wanted to make some sort of crostata, or galette-type, free-form tart, which I’ve done successfully in the past (and have the video to prove it), but instead of using standard pie crust dough, I decided to try something a little more rustic, and savory, using spelt flour and olive oil.

I knew this would pair beautifully with the sweet fruit, and tangy cheese, but what I didn’t know, was that it would end up being way too crumbly, and pretty much useless as a tart crust. So, I crumbled it into the bottom of a shallow ramekin, and the rest is history.

As predicted, the combination of flavors really worked extraordinarily well, and the somewhat gritty texture of the “crust,” added to the interest. But, what the heck is this? I don’t think it’s a tart. An upside-down crumble? Sandy tart? I give up, but if you have some time to kill, I’d love to know what you would call this delicious accident. Semantics aside, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


For  the crust (makes enough for about 4 small tarts):
1 cup sprouted spelt flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 or 4 tbsp water, or enough to form a crumbly dough

For one “tart:”
about 1/3 cup “crust” mixture
2 ounces creamy fresh goat cheese
1 black mission fig, sliced
tiny pinch of salt
very tiny pinch of cayenne
1 tbsp white sugar
spring of fresh lemon thyme
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Peach Financiers – Because French Bankers Hate Dirty Money

There are many different techniques used for making financiers, but as usual, I’ve chosen the easiest one. I would have been happy to try those other more complicated versions, but fortunately, I enjoyed this one so much, there’s no need.

I mention in the video that these are called “financiers” because they’re rich, and look like gold bars (if you use the traditional rectangular molds). Well, apparently that’s not quite right.

Word on the “rue” is that there was a bakery next to the Paris stock exchange that made these small almond cakes so bankers could enjoy them on the way to work, without getting their fingers dirty. I assume this is accurate, since I read it in the YouTube comments.

Anyway, not only is this an easy recipe, but it works beautifully with pretty much any summer fruit. Berries are popular, as are other stone fruits. Just don’t use too much. It’s merely a garnish, and adding too much could effect the texture and cooking time. I hope you give these delicious peach financiers a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 small cakes:
3 egg whites
1/2 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond meal (or finely ground almonds)
3 tablespoons flour
3 oz unsalted butter (6 tablespoons), toasted to a golden-brown
12 small sliced of peach
- I used mini-muffin pans, so you'll have to adjust your time if you used regular muffin tins, or other molds.
- Bake for 5 minutes at 400 F., then top with fruit, and continue baking until browned, about 10-12 minutes.
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Friday, September 23, 2016

Poached Pears “Belle Helene” - Why Escoffier Really Created This Dish

They say Auguste Escoffier created this dish in honor of the opera, La Belle Helen, but we chefs know the real reason. How else are you going to use up bruised pears in such a delicious and beautiful way? Okay, so maybe that wasn’t his motivation, but as you’ll see in the video, it sure does work great.

The recipe is very straightforward, so instead we’ll go into your options for the chocolate sauce, as well as what to do with all that extra simple syrup. We have two chocolate preparations that will work for this (and have been linked). The first would be our easy hot fudge recipe; and the second, and more traditional choice, would be the classic chocolate ganache.

If you follow the link to the later, you’ll be taken to our Boston Cream Pie video, where you’ll see the technique for creating a classic ganache, but you’ll probably need to adjust the ratio of cream to chocolate. Generally it’s equal parts chocolate and cream, but if you want something more pourable, then 2 parts cream to 1 part chocolate (by weight) would work better.

As far as the extra vanilla poaching liquid goes; you’ll want to strain it, pour it into some cool looking bottles, and give it away as edible gifts. The taste is incredible. Better than the pears, if we’re being honest, and would make a fantastic holiday treat for the wannabe mixologists in your life. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 poached pears:
6 cups water
zest and juice of one lemon
4 bosc pears, cored and peeled (you can also use Anjou or Bartlett)
1 split vanilla bean, or a few teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 cups sugar
Simmer for about 20-25 minutes, depending on size and firmness
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pumpkin Zeppole – You “Can” Do It

It may sound strange, but the only way to mess up this pumpkin zeppole, is by using a fresh pumpkin. Like virtually every other pumpkin dessert, I think using pure canned pumpkin will give you the best results. That really is the trick to this Halloween treat.

If you take a pumpkin, roast it, and scoop out the flesh, it may look similar to the canned stuff, but you’ll be surprised at how little sweetness and flavor it actually has. It sounds like a great way to go, but in reality, it is not. And what about “sugar pumpkins;” that smaller variety of pumpkin specially grown for cooking? They are definitely better, but still, it’s been my experience that even those don’t have as concentrated a flavor.

Like all things cooking, people will vehemently disagree with me, and claim they can achieve results that are just as good using fresh, but even so, that’s a lot of work for something that’s basically the same. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide.

By the way, if you can't get canned pumpkin, roasted butternut squash (just like we did for this soup) will work very nicely!

Special thanks to my old friend, Jennifer Perillo, for this recipe was adapted from one of hers. I’m not above stealing a recipe from total stranger, but it’s nice knowing the foundation for a recipe is coming from someone who actually knows what they’re doing. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 24-30 depending on the size:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup (8 ounces) fresh ricotta cheese, well-drained
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (or roasted butternut squash)
1/4 cup white sugars
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Canola oil for frying
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