Category Archives: Chocolate

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Baum1

Jeff Foxworthy says – If you know all four seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you might live in Minnesota.  I can’t believe how depressing the winter gets and the impact it has on our daily lives. The weather has to be factored in for every single outdoor activity however seeming simple it may appear. I am so paranoid that the first thing I check every morning is not my mail nor my blog but the weather forecast for the day!  That said, there is an old saying that goes something like this “When winter is here, can Spring be far behind” ? I am optimistic and so looking forward for sunny days ahead :)

Baum 3

On that positive note I plan to resume my blogging though I can’t make promises! To start with I am planning to work on all the Daring Baker’s challenge recipes and also recipes from events that I have missed so far. I was quite fascinated with the January’s DB challenge –  A beautiful Baumkuchen(Tree Cake), layered cake. It’s a traditional dessert in many countries across Europe and a popular dessert in Japan. The challenge was to use the Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte technique of smearing thin layers of batter on top of each other, and baking them one by one, so creating a layered cake structure.

The January 2014 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Francijn of “Koken in de Brouwerij”. She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake).

Baum 4

I believe a commercial Baumkuchen is cooked layer on layer in a big spit above a large container containing the batter, with a broiler (grill) next to it. The batter is poured over the spit, and when cooked, the next layer gets poured and cooked, this is repeated; until you have 15, 20, or even 25 layers of cake.The little brown lines between the layers of cake are the reason we call this cake “tree cake”. However I didn’t get the distinctive lines as expected – I am pretty sure its because I under-baked each layer.

Now onto the challenge recipe, which is Schichttorte (layered cake, Schicht means layer). This is a simple version of Baumkuchen, with horizontal layers. The layers in Schichttorte are not dipped, but smeared, and the cake is not baked on a spit, but in a baking mould (tin) (pan) producing a flat multi-layered cake.

Baumkuchen(Tree Cake) – January’14 Daring Baker’s Challenge

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Yield: Makes one 8" cake

Ingredients

  • Batter:
  • 6 large eggs (room temperature)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup marzipan
  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's (icing) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose (plain) flour (sifted)
  • Glaze:
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur (optional)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate couverture chunks
  • 1 tablespoon pure coconut oil

Instructions

Preheat your oven to hot 450°F. Line your cake tin with parchment paper, grease both paper and tin.

Divide the eggs. Beat the egg whites with the salt until nearly stiff, add the sugar and beat until really stiff.

Crumble finely the marzipan. Beat it with the softened butter, confectioner's (icing) sugar and vanilla sugar until soft and creamy. Add the egg yolks one by one and beat well between each addition. Add the stiff egg whites and flour and gently fold it into the batter. Trying not to lose too much air.

Smear 1/12th to 1/10th of the batter on the bottom of the pan, keep the sides of the pan clean, and bake for (about) 4 minutes in the oven, until it is cooked and brown. Take the pan out of the oven, smear the next portion of batter carefully over the first, and bake for another 4 minutes or until cooked and brown. Repeat until all batter is used. If you need to flatten a bubble insert a tooth pick or similar to deflate the bubble.

Let the cake cool down for a few minutes, take it out of the pan, remove the parchment paper and let the cake cool completely on a wired rack. Trim the edges.

Heat the jam a little, pass it through a sieve, and add the orange liqueur (optional). Cover the cake with the jam and let it cool.

Melt the couverture with the coconut oil in a bowl above warm water. Pour it over the cake to cover completely, move the cake to a cool place and wait until the glaze is dry.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2014/02/baumkuchen-tree-cake-january14-daring-bakers-challenge/

Also the other blunder that I made was – once the cake was baked, I cooled it down and inverted it from the pan. I covered it with Jam and then with melted chocolate. I completely forgot to invert the cake back before I did this step. So my cake was upside down. I realized my mistake only when I took a bite, the base was soft and the top was slightly hard(thanks to the thick coat of chocolate). Nevertheless it tasted great !. The cake had a nice vanilla flavor, it was very soft and moist too. I truly enjoyed each and every bite of it!. Thanks Franscijn for a lovely challenge!

Enjoy!

Nina

 

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Brownies main 1

Satisfying a picky eater is not an easy task. Little A hates veggies, so I try different ways to incorporate them in her diet. I add grated carrots in Savoury Pancakes which she eats with no fuss. Similarly I add grated Daikon, carrots,spinach,beets in tortillas( to the dough). Pumpkin puree  comes to help in most baked items. I was very happy to see this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge. It was a perfect challenge for Mom’s like me who struggle with their kids eating habits. I loved all the recipe’s suggested by Ruth and was particularly intrigued with the “Cashew Chocolate Kidney Bean Brownies”. I have made brownies with Adzuki beans long back and wasn’t happy with the taste. One could easily make out the beans in the finished item. Since then I have used Beets puree in Brownies and Cakes and have been happy with it. I wonder why I never posted them so far!

Ruth mentioned that she had tested these brownies in half a dozen people and no body could identify the kidney beans in it. And she was so right…I baked these Brownies and no one could taste the beans. I have already made this twice. Little A loved them too…she enjoyed each and every bite . I was amazed to even see the “Scottish Macaroons” in Ruth’s blog. You would be surprised to know that she made them using mashed potatoes….can you believe it? Head on to her lovely  blog for more such recipes.

Brownies main 2

Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!

I made a few changes in the recipe to suit our taste buds. I have reduced sugar by ¼ cup, reduced one egg and also added Instant dry milk. I have also omitted two tablespoons of maple syrup, mentioned in the original recipe. And finally to make it all the more chocolaty I have added ¼ cup white chocolate chips which is optional.

Cashew Kidney Bean Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant dry milk(milk powder)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup canola Oil
  • 4 large eggs ( I have used 3 eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raw cashew nuts (can use roasted cashews, but unsalted is best)
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips(optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease and base line your baking tin(8x8 square).

Drain, rinse and puree the kidney beans until smooth - if in doubt, blend it a bit more - bits of unblended kidney bean in the finished brownie spoil the ‘hidden’ element of surprise!

Combine all the ingredients apart the nuts and beat well until mixed. You could do this in a food processor or mixer if you wanted.Stir in the nuts.Pour into the prepared tin, and bake for about 25 minutes until just firm to the touch.Cool in the tin, then cut, serve, allow people to enjoy, and then surprise them with the secret ingredient!

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2013/03/cashew-kidney-bean-chocolate-brownies-daring-bakers-march13-challenge/

Hope you enjoy making these brownies. I am posting late this month….better late than never. Thanks Ruth for a great Challenge!

Bon Appétit

Nina

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BF Cake 1 main

Off late I have been busy with too many things. Sadly, baking and blogging weren’t the top priorities.It was Valentine’s Day celebration all over the blogging world,I saw so many wonderful recipes, posts, photographs and I just couldn’t resist myself in joining the bandwagon. I know I am late, but then what the heck :)

BF cake 2 main

I was reading on the net that -In the second half of the twentieth century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts in the United States, usually from a man to a woman. Such gifts typically include roses and chocolates.In the 1980s, the diamond industry began to promote Valentine’s Day as an occasion for giving jewelry. The day has come to be associated with a generic platonic greeting of “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Imagine if we women got jewelry instead of flowers and chocolates. Wow…honey I hope you are reading this one:)

I baked my all-time favorite Black Forest Cake again. This is one cake that has made multiple entries in my kitchen. You’ll find this one in my blog too – here. I had baked one for my daughter’s first birthday. It was actually the first time I had baked such a huge cake (12”x18”). By the way, I have never found Black Forest Cake at any restaurants/ coffee shops in the US. I wonder why??

BF Cake 3 main

This time I wanted to use whole wheat. So I baked a Chocolate Whole Wheat Genoise Cake adapted from King Arthur Flour’s – Whole Grain Baking book . Though this cake uses whole wheat pastry flour, it DOES use a lot of eggs. The cake tasted very chocolaty and was slightly dense. I have baked this earlier too but had frosted it with chocolate ganache. You really have to pay attention while baking. Unlike any other cake, this one doesn’t rise much. I over baked my cake when I had made this the first time ( I was hoping it would rise up well, so increased the baking time which resulted in a little hard cake). So watch out.

BLACK FOREST CAKE ( MADE WITH CHOCOLATE WHOLE WHEAT GENOISE )

Makes one 8 ” cake(4 layers)

CHOCOLATE WHOLE WHEAT GENOISE
Ingredients:

½ cup( 1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa, natural or dutch processed
2 tablespoon unbleached all –purpose flour
7 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar

SYRUP

6 – 8 oz Maraschino cherries with the syrup
2 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon corn flour( optional )

FROSTING

1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DECORATION
Chocolate shavings, MAraschino Cherries, Chocolate chips/bars for Filigree

Directions: Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and slightly flour the pans lightly with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Melt the butter over low heat and set aside to cool at room temperature. Whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour,cocoa and all purpose flour in a medium bowl;set aside.
Combine the eggs, egg yolks, salt,vanilla and sugar in a large bowl. Place the mixing bowl over a larger bowl half filled with hot tap water.Whisk the mixture until it feels just slightly warm to the touch when you touch it in the center with your finger( 3 to 5 minutes). If you want to be precise, use a thermometer – the egg mixture should be at 100F. Warming the eggs and dissolving the sugar this way will ensure they reach the highest possible volume when beaten.
Place the mixing bowl on your stand mixer and beat with a wire whip until the mixture is tripled in volume and a very pale yellow color. This will take 5 to 8 minutes on high speed, depending on the power of your mixer. When done the egg mixture should fall off the whisk and mound for a moment before disappearing back into the bowl.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a whisk to gently fold in the reserved flour cocoa mixture by hand, until no streaks of flour remain. Gently fold in the melted cooled butter, a little at a time, taking care not to mix more than necessary to get the butter to disappear. If you pour in too much at once, the butter will collapse the egg foam, then pool on the bottom of the mixing bowl, making it harder to distribute. The volume of the batter will decrease a bit during this process, but a light touch and quick, confident strokes from the bottom of the bowl up through the batter will see you through.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the chocolate is fragrant and the top springs back when lightly touched in the center, 25-27 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a rack to completely cool before assembling. . Also, slice each cake horizontally into two.

SYRUP: Drain the maraschino cherries from the bottle, reserve the liquid. Crush or chop the cherries. Bring the liquid, cherries and sugar to a boil – stirring until the sugar dissolves. Using a spoon, remove half of the liquid in a cup. Allow the cherry mixture to thicken a little. You may use ½ teaspoon of cornflour,if needed. Set aside and allow it to cool.

WHIPPED CREAM:Place cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add sugar and vanilla extract and whip until it thickens and the whip starts to leave tracks as it moves through the cream. Beat until the cream forms medium peaks.

ASSEMBLING THE CAKE – Place one cake layer on a cake board or a plate. Drizzle the syrup all over and put a generous dollop of cream and spread uniformly; and finally spread the cherry mixture. Place the next layer on top, repeat the same for the second and third layer too. After placing the last one, spread the whipped cream on top and sides and frost the cake. Decorate as per your liking-you may use some chocolate shavings/chips/sprinklers and maraschino cherries. For the Filigree – Melt some chocolate (I used 4 Ghirardelli squares) in the microwave. Pour it on a pastry bag or zip lock bag. Make a small hole on the bag and make designs on a parchment paper (measure the height and circumference of the cake and cut the parchment based on this measurement before you start). Allow it too set in the refrigerator for ten minutes or so. Wrap it around the cake and press it gently so that it sticks to the frosting on the sides. Gently peel the parchment.

Usually Kirsch syrup is used which I didn’t have, so chose an easier option for the simple syrup. Also since I was planning to do the filigree, I didn’t want to frost much on the sides as it wouldn’t be seen. Hope you enjoy baking this:)

Bon Appétit

Nina

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I made it…Tah-dah!

I have reached a point in life where the idea of home baked desserts is more appealing than the store  bought ones.In this way I also have control over the ingredients I use. My love for Chocolate never ends,infact I try and read a lot about it.There are so many different kinds of chocolates available. If a recipe calls for Dark chocolate, Semisweet or bittersweet can be used compromising a bit in the taste.Ofcourse, White chocolate cannot be substituted with any other chocolate. I came across an interesting read on Cocoa powders – Often we come across recipes asking for Dutch Processed  Cocoa,this actually means that the cocoa has been treated with an alkali such as Potassium carbonate which makes it much darker and less acidic.

As we all know,chocolate can be melted either by using a “microwave” or a “double boiler method” where in two bowls stacked with some water on the lower one and the chocolate on the upper .As the water heats up,it slowly heats the upper bowl and melts the chocolate.Its also said that the upper bowl should never touch the lower one.I always wondered why this would make a difference in melting chocolate,until I got to know that Water and Chocolate are fatal. Chocolate is an oil based product and hence does not combine well with water. When melted chocolate contacts water, it will seize (solidify rapidly).So you should avoid any contact with steam.That’s too much of trivia,lets head to the recipe.

I came across Bridget’s blog Bake at 350 and her event  Flavor of the month – Chocolate and thought my Molten Chocolate was a perfect entry.

Recipe Source – Good housekeeping – All Chocolate recipes

MOLTEN CHOCOLATE
Preparation time – 20mins ; Bake – 8-9 min

Ingredients:

4 ounces semisweet Chocolate(1/3 Cup Chocolate chip)

½ Cup Butter(1 stick)

¼ Cup Heavy or Whipping Cream

½ tsp Vanilla Extract

¼ cup All Purpose Flour

¼ cup Sugar

2 Large Eggs

2 Large Egg yolks

Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice cream for serving

Confectioner’s Sugar (for decorating) optional

Method: Preheat 400F.Grease 8 six ounce custard cups/ramekins.Dust with Sugar.In a three quart saucepan, Combine chocolate,butter and cream.Heat over low heat stirring occasionally until butter and chocolate have melted and mixture is smooth.Remove from heat.Add Vanilla with wire whisk.Stir in flour just until mixture is smooth.

In a medium bowl,with mixer at high speed beat sugar,eggs and egg yolks until thick and lemon colored, about 10mins.Add egg mixture ,one third at a time into chocolate, until blended.Divide batter equally among prepared custard cups/ramekins.Place jelly roll pan for easier handling.Bake until edges of cakes are set and center still jiggles,8-9mins.Do not overbake else you will end up with just a moist cake.Cool in pan on rack . Run knife around the cakes to loosen from sides of cups,invert into dessert plates.Serve immediately with whipped cream or icecream if desired. You may also sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on top of it.

Verdict: Each servings is about 281 cal; 22g total fat. As always,chocolate at its best.Its one quick recipe with absolutely no fuss.When you run a fork to take a bite,goey chocolate oozes out from the center,that is the perfect Molten chocolate.Its sinful and delectable.If you are passionate about chocolate like me….this is what you shud bake!

http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2010/02/flavor-or-month-chocolate-raspberry.html
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