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Posts Tagged ‘Vanilla Extract’


I am continuing in my attempt to make everything from the Flour Bakery + Cafe’s cookbook, and this week I went with the Double Chocolate Cookies (although I’m not really sure why they’re double chocolate, other than they have two kinds of chocolate….I originally thought that meant chocolate with chocolate chips). They turned out really deliciously, although I adjusted the levels of chocolate a bit. These have a chewy consistency if you slightly underbake them, similar to a brownie but in cookie form. I actually found that they stuck to my silpat, I’m not really sure why. Either way, they were yummy and I’m sure they will disappear quickly.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, 1/2 grated

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 1/2 grated

3 ounces milk chocolate

1 stick unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon instant coffee powder

Melt the chocolate (except the grated chocolate) with the butter in a glass bowl over simmering water in a saucepan. (A double boiler, where the water doesn’t touch the bowl.) Stir occasionally until melted. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, coffee powder, and grated chocolate in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and pale yellow. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and just combine. Fold in the flour mixture and refrigerate overnight.

Drop 1.5 inch balls onto a cookie sheet (I recommend using a silpat or putting them directly on the cookie sheet because I think parchment or foil would really stick a lot). Bake at 350 for 14 minutes or until soft to the touch in the center but not liquidy. LET COOL on the sheet for 10-15 minutes or you won’t be able to remove them.

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I am slowly making my way through my new favorite cookbook, the Flour Bakery + Cafe cookbook. So far, everything has been a hit including my Apple Oat Muffins which were based on one of Joanne Chang’s recipes. These were no exception, although I didn’t get them as chewy as she describes. Nevertheless, they are really tasty.

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

1 stick plus 5 tablespoons room temperature butter

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, 1/2 cup of which is ground into fine powder in food processor, the rest chopped roughly

1 1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

12 ounces milk chocolate chips

Cream the butter with the sugars until they are light fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined.

In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients including the flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just incorporated. Let it rest overnight in the fridge if possible.

Scoop into balls into a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until they start to get browned around the edges.

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With 30 pounds of apples in the fridge, it’s definitely time for some apple pie. We had the butternut squash and apple soup and now it’s time for some of this yummy pie. It’s still warm from the oven, and we can’t wait for it to cool. I took an Ina Garten recipe and only made a couple changes, and as always, Ina comes through. It was the perfect blend of tart and sweet with just the right amount of spice and juice. I ended up having some leftover apples and dough, so I made a little apple pot pie after, it worked really well. Only goes to show, leftovers are for trying new things.

The Best Apple Pie

5 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon

For the crust:

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and very cold

3 cups flour

1 teaspooon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup vegetable shortening, very cold

6 tablespoons ice water

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the butter pieces are the size of peas. Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time while pulsing (you may not need all or you may need a little more). Dump the dough out on a floured board and form a disc. Wrap it in plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for at least an hour.

Cut the dough in half and roll out into rounds on a floured board, keeping the dough moving between each pass so that it doesn’t stick to the board. Place one round in your pie pan, making sure not to stretch the dough because it will shrink during baking. (My trick is to roll the dough out on parchment paper and then flipping it over onto the pie pan…you can then just pull off the parchment paper gently.)

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the apples, spices, flour, brown sugar, salt, vanilla and lemon. Spoon the filling into the shell, and you can pile it up a bit because it will shrink as it bakes. Top with the second crust and pinch the edges together. If your crust is dry, you can use some of the egg wash as glue to make a seal. Brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top. Cut a couple slits in the top so that the steam can get out. Place on a baking sheet or something in case it drips and bake for 1- 1 1/4 hours or until it starts to brown on top.

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It’s peak stone fruit season, so I came home from the farmers market with peaches, nectarines, and plums. The plums were already ripe so I immediately set to work on a tart. I made some delicious sherbet with the peaches and nectarines, as well. But now for the plum tart.

I intended to leave a piece of this to photograph in the morning, but it was a little runny and I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit to make it less so. I will hopefully make another one soon and update the post, but until then, here’s the new recipe. It’s loosely based on a tart recipe from Ina Garten, I originally used another recipe for the pastry cream.

Plum Tart

For the pastry dough:

1 1/4 cups flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and cold

2 tablespoons Crisco vegetable shortening, cold

1/4 cup ice water

For the pastry cream:

5 egg yolks, room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup 1% milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon Bourbon

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 pint plums, sliced

1/4 cup Apricot jam

1 tablespoon hot water

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until combined and the pieces are the size of peas. Slowly add the ice water in a drizzle just until it comes together. Turn out on a floured board and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together with a hand mixer for a couple minutes until thick. Add the cornstarch and combine. Bring the milk and cream to a simmer and then slowly add to the egg mixture. Return the whole mixture to the pan and cook over low heat with a wooden spoon until it thickens, about 5-7 minutes. Switch to a whisk when it starts to get thicker. Cook for another couple of minutes until it is the consistency of pudding. Stir in the vanilla, bourbon, and butter, and then strain through a sieve. Chill in a bowl with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. Keep rotating the dough as you roll it out so that it doesn’t stick to the surface. Put into the tart pan making sure not to stretch the dough because it will shrink. (Mine did anyway) Cut off the excess and patch any holes carefully. Line the tart shell with a buttered piece of aluminum foil and fill with baking beans (beans reserved just to use for blind baking). Place tart shell on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, then remove the beans and dock the bottom of the tart (prick with a fork so that it doesn’t create steam bubbles). Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the shell is lightly browned. Let cool.

Spread a layer of chilled pastry cream on the chilled tart shell. Arrange the slices of plum around the tart. Combine the jam and hot water to create a glaze and brush over the tart so that it doesn’t dry out.

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I’ve been looking for the perfect brownie recipe, one that is nice and fudgey and dense. I think this may be it. I found it on Smitten Kitchen, where Deb adapted the recipe from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet. I used a combo of brown and white sugar because the brown gives it a deeper flavor. Either way, once you make these you won’t make any other brownies.

Fudgey Cocoa Brownies

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar, or 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Put the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan (or whatever you have handy that has similar dimensions) with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugars, cocoa, and salt in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl on top of a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl and allow to cool a bit.

Stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks well blended, add the flour and stir until incorporated, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick in the center comes out slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me 40 minutes. Let cool, remove with parchment, and cut into brownies.

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