HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Chocolate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chocolate. Show all posts

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Red Eye Devil's Food Cake...fit for the White House and Our House

         


I know Andrew is good, I mean really good. But his baking skills really hit an all-time personal best with the making of this sinfully rich, fudgy, bittersweet cake.  As Melissa Clark, who co-wrote “The Perfect Finish” (W.W. Norton and Co. (2010) the cookbook it came from wrote, “If this is not the ultimate birthday cake, I can’t imagine what is.”  Its inventor is a pastry chef named Bill Yosses. While his may not be a household name, in one household, he was the king of all pastries. That household was the White House, where he presided as Pastry Chef for both the Bush Family and the Obamas.  Chef Yosses trained in France and then was scooped up by Daniel Boulud and later, Thomas Keller.  From there he went on to work at Bouley Restaurant and Bakery.  Chef Yosses left the White House in June, a departure he says was “all Michelle Obama’s fault.” The First Lady, it seems, piqued his interest in the relationship between food and health. “Mrs. Obama’s quest to improve the way children eat was done “ with humor and good will, without preaching, just the way you would hope the ‘Mom-in-chief’ would do,” he said. Yosses said Mrs. Obama is “definitely an inspiring boss, a combination of spontaneity and seriousness.”  She inspired the Chef to such an extent that he’s headed back to New York to educate children about nutrition.  But I am sure he’ll be forever remembered there for his Red Eye Devil’s Food Cake alone.  Why “Red Eye”, you may wonder ?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Peppermint Patty Flourless Chocolate Cake...And yes, it's Gluten-Free!


Peppermint Patty Flourless Chocolate Cake decked out for Easter


        
One of my oldest and dearest friends, Michael, was the first person I ever met with Celiac Disease, the root cause of which is gluten.  He suffered terribly through college, fearing the worst and not being diagnosed until after we’d graduated and he’d moved to London. Never one to sit on his hands, he attacked his condition with wonderful gluten-free meals.  He’d always been a good cook, and he swung into overdrive and ended up writing a wildly successful Gluten-Free Cookbook called “Great Healthy Eating Gluten Free” (Carrol & Brown 2000).  With over 50,000 copies sold, it’s now out of print but you can pick it up used on Amazon.  Now he shares his words of wisdom on his website http://www.gluten-free-world.com/ as he writes “Global Gluten-Free”, his foray into International gluten-free cooking. Michael has commented that not many recipes on Chewing the Fat are Gluten-Free.  He’s not wrong. But here’s one for him.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Classic Chocolate Mousse from The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook




John Barricelli
the baker behind
this Classic Recipe 
         More often than not, when Andrew is baking I am dumbstruck by the effort he takes.  One recent project involved making three different cupcakes, getting up at 7:30 to do so and finishing the last of the icing with just enough time to hop in the car at 5:30 and take them to the party he made them for.  Phew.  But it’s not just the time, it’s the almost scientific way in which his desserts come together.  As a savory cook, my cooking times seem so much more fluid.  You can compensate for all kinds of kitchen screw-ups.  But when Andrew bakes, he does so with almost military precision.  So as I was in the second hour of cooking dinner recently, I was amazed to hear him say he’d decided he wanted to make a Classic Chocolate Mousse for dessert.  How earth could he do that? With a little help from a third generation baker named John Barricelli.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Baked’s simply incredibly delicious Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake



         There’s a new shop that just opened practically across the street from us.  Across town, on the East Side, it’s called “The Best Chocolate Cake in the World”.  Somehow, on the West Side, it’s morphed into “Choco Bolo” (2058 Broadway between 70th  and 71st  Streets). Perhaps the name change reflects somebody pointing out that the old moniker was slightly obnoxious even in a city of superlatives.  Or more likely, the bakery, which has its roots in Lisbon, is just trading on its Portuguese heritage:  Choco Bolo translates to “Chocolate Cake”.  I have another theory:  As good as Choco Bolo’s cakes are, and I am told they are outrageously good, someone had one taste of Matt Lewis and Renato Poliofito’s Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake and surrendered the title on the spot.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Milky Way Tart adapted from Joanne Chang


         
       I’ve told you some of the story of Joanne Chang, the Harvard educated economist who threw in the towel and went on to open “Flour”, a Boston bakery and cafe that’s grown to three locations. That was between opening a marvelous pan-Asian restaurant called “Myers + Chang” with her husband, Christopher Myers.  But in case you missed it, Ms. Chang’s culinary education bears repeating; it is such an American story.  Ms. Chang grew up in a first generation Chinese American family in Texas.  Her introduction to American desserts consisted of visits to friends’ houses and the consumption of such great American classics as Wing Dings, Whoopie Pies, and Oreo Cookies.  Now, as one of the most inventive of bakers, Ms. Chang has re-invented some of her childhood favorites in recipes she shares in her cookbook “Flour” (Chronicle Books 2010). Here on Chewing the Fat, we’ve already shared her recipe for homemade Oreos (http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/05/homemade-oreo-cookies-courtesy-of.html).  That was such a success that it was just a matter of time before Andrew tackled another one: Her delicious caramel and chocolate confection called the Milky Way tart.  And when he did, I think he actually improved it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Whoopie Pies from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito


         Politics has always fascinated me.  The wonderful things that our government concerns itself with leave me in awe. Take for instance the recent decision by the Maine State Legislature to declare the Whoopie Pie the state dessert.  This has led to two major confrontations but I am happy to say they are strictly bi-partisan.   
The first was highly understandable.  In Maine, which produces 25% of all blueberries consumed in this country, making it the largest producer of blueberries in the world, naturally a hue and cry rose up with this legislative legerdemain.   The Maine State governing body relented declaring the blueberry pie as the state dessert and relegating the Whoopie to something called the state “treat”. 

According to the Associated Press, the measure was approved 107-34 but required a second reading before going to the Senate for consideration. “Off the record, I would say a heavy load has been lifted off our plate,” House Speaker Robert Nutting said to some laughs after the vote was taken. But that hardly ended the controversy.  You see there is some question as to how Maine can justify saying the Whoopie Pie is its own.  It seems that Pennsylvania lays claim to the delicious chocolate and vanilla treat that is like biting into a piece of childhood itself.

        Once Maine made its intentions known, Pennsylvania wasted no time in declaring, no joke, that Maine was committing ‘confectionary larceny’. Pennsylvania’s claim comes with a great story which goes like this: Amish mothers plopped leftover chocolate-cake batter into the oven, filled the result with icing and the whoopie was born. The practical pies were easily transportable for farmers in the field and children at school. The name?  Amish moms put the pies into their children’s lunch boxes and when found the kids would yell “Whoopie!”


Now there are are differences between the Maine and Pennsylvania whoopies. In Lancaster County, the traditional filling flavor is vanilla, and it is usually made of shortening and sugar. In Maine, marshmallow is sometimes used in the filling, though recipes vary.

A Woman named Nancy Griffin, author of the 2010 "Making Whoopies: The Official Whoopie Pie Book," was determined to find the origin of the whoopie.  The first documented evidence she could find was in neither state.

It was from Barry Popik, a Texas researcher who edits a website on the origins of words. His site traces the pies to a 1931 ad in a Syracuse, N.Y., newspaper advertising a five cent "Berwick whoopee pie" made at the now defunct Berwick Cake Co. in Roxbury, Mass.

Because whoopie is a catchy name, food historians believe it must have been coined commercially. Ms. Griffin, however, says the name was derived not from the shouts of glee of Amish children but, probably, from a 1928 show tune.  And that tune…”Making Whoopie” by Gus Kahn.

Well if all this controversy has made you hungry, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliofito, with a sizeable helping of Andrew’s baking skills, are here to rescue you.   Their “Baked Explorations” has a wonderful recipe for the treat.  Now interestingly, they don’t get into provenance.  They acknowledge both the Maine version and the one that’s Pennsylvania Dutch.  And then they offer up this delicious moist, deep dark chocolate cookie with a light and fluffy vanilla filling.  Their goal, they state, is not political at all.  It is to make the Whoopie Pie just as ubiquitous as the chocolate chip cookie and the brownie.  A tall order indeed but one you may latch onto once you’ve tasted these gorgeous “treats”. Or make that “desserts”.



Recipe for Whoopie Pies from “Baked Explorations”
For the Cakes:

3 1/2 cups (17.5 oz) All Purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup (2.18 oz) dark cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) hot coffee
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) hot water
2 cups (15.32 oz) light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) canola oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) buttermilk, shaken

Swiss vanilla filling (recipe follows)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 4 cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat pads.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and espresso powder. Pour the hot coffee and hot water over the cocoa mixture and whisk until the mixture is completely smooth.

4. In another medium bowl, combine the canola oil and light brown sugar. Add this to the cocoa mixture and whisk until combined. Add the egg, 
5. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. 

6. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe into 2 inch rounds on prepared baking sheets, 1 inch apart (or scoop onto sheets with a small scoop).
7. Bake 10-15 minutes, until the cookies crack slightly on top and spring back in the center when gently pressed. Let cool completely, then remove from sheet with an offset spatula. Pipe or scoop half of the rounds with the filling. Top each piped round with another cookie and serve. 

For the Swiss vanilla filling

Talk about a lot of butter!
5 egg whites
1 1/2 cups (10.5 oz) sugar
2 cups (1 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites and sugar. Place over a pan of simmering water and gently whisk until the sugar dissolves (test this by dipping your finger into the mixture - when you can no longer feel grains of sugar when you rub the mixture between your fingers, then the sugar has dissolved) - the mixture will be slightly warmer than body temperature.

Transfer bowl to mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until the mixture is smooth, white, and fluffy - about 5 minutes. Add the butter, one piece at a time. Add sea salt and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Beat until the filling is smooth and glossy (it may look curdled, but just continue to beat - eventually the mixture will come together).
Put a generous helping of vanilla filling atop a chocolate cake, then top it with another chocolate cake.  Serve.  Yields about 24 Whoopie Pies