Chocolate-Swirled Coffee Meringues

 

Chocolate-Swirled Coffee Meringues

Meringues are one of my favorite things to bake. I love how just a few simple ingredients—egg whites (often leftover from another recipe), sugar, and flavorings—come together to make something that tastes so great. These have dark chocolate swirl throughout, making them a bit more decadent than your average meringue. Out of the all meringues I’ve made (and I’ve made many), these were definitely my favorite! I seriously could not stop eating them.

Chocolate-Swirled Coffee Meringues

 

Chocolate-Swirled Coffee Meringues

3 large egg whites

Large pinch salt (I used kosher salt, but any salt is fine)

1/2 teaspoon vinegar (I used red wine, because that’s what I had on hand)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground instant coffee

7 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Line to sheet pans with parchment paper.

2. Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When foamy, add the salt and the vinegar, and beat the mixture until you get soft peaks. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture has stiff peaks. Add the coffee, and beat until incorporated. Drizzle the cooled melted chocolate over the meringue mixture, but do not mix in.

3. Using two spoons, dollop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets.

4. Bake for 1 hour and then turn off the oven. Leave the meringues in the oven for a few more hours, or even overnight if you make them in the evening.

Makes about 24 meringues

Inspired by Bakers Royale

Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Cheesecake Filling & Coffee Frosting {For Tova’s 3rd Birthday}

Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Cheesecake Filling & Coffee Frosting

Tova’s been a little obsessed with chocolate chips lately, so when I asked her what kind of cake she wanted me to make for her birthday, of course she said she wanted a chocolate chip cake. I was excited when she said that, because: a) I love chocolate chips, too, and b) I’d get a chance to try a cake from Milk Bar that I hadn’t made yet (yes, these are things I get excited about!).

The recipe for the chocolate chip layer cake in Milk Bar is filled with a passion fruit curd, but I thought that was something that a 3-year-old probably wouldn’t appreciate, so I used the same liquid cheesecake filling that was used in the carrot cake that I made for my birthday last year, and I thought it was great in this cake. Although, really— is there anywhere that liquid cheesecake wouldn’t be great?

Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Cheesecake Filling & Coffee Frosting

Tova also requested pink sprinkles on her cake, so I created a sprinkle butterfly on top of the cake, using a cookie cutter, filling the bottom with sprinkles, and then lightly pressing down on the sprinkles so that they stick to the frosting before removing the cutter (I used a toothpick to gently press down in the sprinkles that my fingers couldn’t reach in the tight spots of the cutter). Chaim wanted to know why everything I make is always butterfly shaped. Well, because I don’t have very many cookie cutters! I have a set of butterfly cutters, and a heart-shaped cutter, and that’s pretty much it (aside from some circle/fluted ones). I asked Tova if she wanted a butterfly or a heart, and she chose the butterfly. She loved watching me assemble this thing (and eating the cake scraps, of course!), and she was thrilled with her cake.

 

Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Cheesecake Filling & Coffee Frosting

Notes: Unlike the rest of the components of this cake, the coffee frosting MUST be made just before assembling the cake. Everything else can be made ahead of time.

You can see photos for assembling a Milk Bar cake at the bottom of THIS post.

Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Cheesecake Filling and Coffee Frosting

Chocolate Crumb

(You will only need half of this recipe for the cake, but the extras are great for munching on!)

105 g (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour

4 g (1 teaspoon) cornstarch

100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

65 g (2/3 cup) dark cocoa powder

4 g (1 teaspoon) kosher salt

85 g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until combined.

3. Add the butter, and mix on low speed until you get small clusters.

4. Spread onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, occasionally breaking the clusters up with a spatula or wooden spoon.

5. Let the crumbs cool completely (they will dry and harden as they cool). If not using right away, you can store these in an airtight container or bag for a week at room temperature or a month in the fridge or freezer.

Makes 2 1/2 cups

Liquid Cheesecake

225 g (8 ounces) cream cheese

150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar

6 g (1 tablespoon) cornstarch

2 g (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt

25 g (2 tablespoons) whole milk

1 large egg

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.

2. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar is completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream. Whisk in the egg until everything is thoroughly combined.

4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg mixture. Paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Line the bottom and sides of a 6″x6″ baking pan with plastic wrap (I used a 6″ round Pyrex, and had to bake it a bit longer, but it worked fine). Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer and more set at the edges, but still jiggly and loose in the center. If the cheesecake is jiggly all over, cake for 5 minute intervals until it is done. If the cheesecake rises more than 1/4 inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately. Cool completely before using.

The cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Makes about 325 g ( 1 1/2 cups)

Chocolate Chip Cake

115 g (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

250 g ( 1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar

60 g (1/4 cup, tightly packed) light brown sugar

3 large eggs

110 g (1/2 cup) buttermilk

75 g (1/2 cup) grapeseed oil

12 g (1 tablespoon) pure vanilla extract

185 g (1 1/2 cups) cake flour

4 g (1 teaspoon) baking powder

4 g (1 teaspoon) kosher salt

150 g (3/4 cup) mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a quarter-sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray, and line the pan with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat on medium-high for another 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. With the mixer on low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Turn the speed up to medium-high, and beat for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is very pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix on very low speed for about a minute, until the dry ingredients have just been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and if you see any flour that hasn’t been mixed in, mix for another 45 seconds.

5. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chip evenly over the top.

6. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the center of the cake is no longer jiggling and the edge of the cake bounces back slightly if you gently poke it with your finger.

7. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

The cake can be kept, tightly wrapped in plastic, in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Makes 1 quarter sheet cake

Coffee Frosting

(As mentioned above, this frosting must be made just before assembling the cake!)

115 g (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

40 g (1/4 cup) confectioners’ sugar

55 g (1/4 cup) whole milk

1.5 g (3/4 teaspoon) instant coffee powder

1 g (1/4 teaspoon) kosher salt

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, instant coffee, and salt.

3. Scrape down the sided of the mixer bowl. Turn the mixer on low speed, and add a very tiny bit of the coffee mixture. You need to add the coffee mixture in very little at a time, because you are forcing the liquid to combine with the fat. Once the first bit is completely incorporated, add a tiny bit more of the coffee mixture and mix until incorporated. Keep doing this until all the coffee mixture is incorporated into the butter. I found that after each addition, if I beat it low for a bit, and then turned the mixer up for a bit, it incorporated a little easier. This frosting does take a little while to make, so just try to be patient—you can’t rush it!

Use immediately.

Makes about 22 g (1 cup)

Assembling the Chocolate Chip Layer Cake

1 recipe Chocolate Chip Cake (above)

About 1/4 cup whole milk

1 recipe Liquid Cheesecake (above)

1/2 recipe Chocolate Crumb

1 recipe Coffee Frosting (above)

1 6-inch cake ring

2 (3″ by 20″) acetate strips

1. Put a piece of parchment on the counter. Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment. (If the cake is stuck to the sides of the pan, go around the edge of the pan with a knife to loosen it.) Use the cake ring to cut out 2 circles from the cake, as if you were using a giant cookie cutter. These will be your two cake layers. The bottom cake layer will be made from the remaining scraps.

2. Clean the cake ring and place it on a clean piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan or cutting board. Line the inside of the cake ring with one acetate strip.

3. Put the cake scraps into the ring, and use the back of your hand to push the scraps into an even layer.

4. Using a pastry brush, apply a nice soaking of milk to the top of the cake layer (not too much, or it can leak out of the bottom of the cake!).

5. Using a spoon, spread half of the liquid cheesecake over the cake.

6. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the chocolate, and use your fingers to pat them in place.

7. Use a spoon to spread 1/3 of the coffee frosting over the chocolate crumbs. It’s a little hard to spread this over the cheesecake and crumbs, put just dollop it on and spread as best as you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

8. With your index finger, gently tuck the second acetate strip between the cake ring and the top 1/4 of the first strip, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall. Set a cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process for the first layer—milk, the rest of the liquid cheesecake, half of the remaining chocolate crumbs, and half of the remaining frosting.

9. Top with the remaining cake round, and cover with the last of the frosting. Sprinkle with the rest of the chocolate crumbs.

10. Cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to the freezer. Freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake can remain frozen like this for up to 2 weeks.

11. At least 3 hours before you want to serve the cake, remove the cake from the freezer. Using your fingers and thumbs (pushing on the bottom of the cake to push it up), pop the cake out of the cake ring. gently peel off the acetate strips, and transfer the cake to a cake stand or serving platter. Let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.

The cake can be kept in the fridge, wrapped well in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

Makes 1 (6-inch) layer cake

Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar, by Christina Tosi

Vanilla Meringue & Blood Orange Ice Cream Sandwiches

Vanilla Meringue & Blood Orange Ice Cream Sandwiches

It was right around this time last year that I made Blood Orange Sorbet in a Chocolate Shell. Well, blood oranges are back in season, and I just could not resist buying two big bags full when I came across them last week. When I unloaded them I realized that there were a ton of them, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them all. I mean, yeah, we could snack on them. But I’m a food blogger—I wanted to make something with some of them!

After a quick search, I found a recipe for blood orange ice cream. It’s a slightly lower fat recipe since it has no heavy cream in it, just whole milk and egg yolks (both of which I had in the house). I’m not going to lie, it’s not quite as rich and creamy as regular ice cream, but it was still delicious.

I then used the leftover egg whites to make some vanilla meringue cookies, and sandwiched the ice cream in between them.

Vanilla Meringue & Blood Orange Ice Cream Sandwiches

Vanilla Meringue & Blood Orange Ice Cream Sandwiches

For the Blood Orange Ice Cream:

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 vanilla bean, split open

Generous pinch of salt

2 tablespoons blood orange zest

4 large eggs yolks (reserve the egg whites for the meringues)

1/2 cup fresh blood orange juice

For the Vanilla Meringue Cookies:

4 large egg whites

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Make the ice cream:

1. Combine the milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the vanilla bean, salt, and orange zest in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat.

2. In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Slowly ladle some of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly (you wan to warm up the egg yolks, so that when you add them to the hot milk you don’t end up with scrambled eggs). Add the egg yolk mixture into the pot with the milk, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

3. Strain the mixture into a bowl and allow to cool. Stir in the blood orange juice, cover, and place in the fridge until very cold.

4. Process according to your ice cream maker’s directions. transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.

Make the Meringues:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Trace 12 3-inch circles onto parchment paper with a pencil, flip the parchment over so that the pencil circles are on the bottom, and place on a sheet pan.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a handheld mixer, or, if you’re feeling  brave, by hand with a whisk), beat the egg whites until they’re foamy. With the mixer in medium-high, beat in the vinegar and salt. Keep on beating until you get soft peaks (when you lift the whisk out of the egg whites, a peak will form but won’t hold it’s shape). At this point you want to start adding the sugar. Add it slowly, about 1 tablespoon at a time, to allow the sugar to fully dissolve into the eggs. Beat on high speed, until the whites are stiff and shiny. Add the vanilla, then sprinkle the cornstarch over, and beat just until incorporated.

3. Pipe or spread your meringue mixture onto the parchment-lined sheet pan, using the circles as a template. You may have extra meringue, which you can pipe onto another parchment-lined sheet pan, for extra cookies to snack on.

4. Place in the oven, and immediately turn the heat down to 300°F. Bake for 30 minutes, and then shut the oven off. Leave the sheet pan(s) in the oven to allow the meringues to completely dry out, several hours at least.

5. Remove from the oven. When the meringues are completely cool, gently remove them from the parchment paper. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days (or freeze for up to a month).

Assembly:

Remove the ice cream from the freezer to soften a bit. Spoon or spread some onto 6 of the meringues. Do this very gently, because meringues can be very fragile! Top each one with another meringue. Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap, and freeze. Remove the sandwiches from the freezer a few minutes before you want to eat them, just so the ice cream is not too hard to bite into (I like it best when it’s just starting to soften).

Makes 12 sandwiches

Ice cream recipe from Pictures and Pancakes

Meringues adapted from Meringue, by Linda K. Jackson & Jennifer Evans Gardner

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough-Pretzel Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough-Pretzel Ice Cream

The first time I looked through the Milk Bar cookbook, one of the recipes that caught my eye was the pretzel ice cream. I tend to be attracted to unusual-flavored recipes, and I knew that was one I wanted to make. I wanted to use it as a base for another recipe, but I wasn’t sure what.

Fast forward about two years: I started thinking about that ice cream again, and what I wanted to do with it. Pretzels and peanut butter is a fantastic combination, so I decided to use that as a jumping off point. My first idea was to make sandwiches, with the pretzel ice cream slathered in between peanut butter cookies, but I didn’t really feel like baking up a batch of cookies. And then it hit me—what if I just made peanut butter cookie dough, and then swirled it throughout the ice cream? What I ended up with was a perfect salty-sweet treat, and one of the best ice creams I’ve made so far.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough-Pretzel Ice Cream

Notes:

The ice cream recipe yielded about half of what the recipe said it would (about a pint, rather than a quart), so the peanut butter ended up overpowering the pretzel flavor just a little more than I would’ve liked. So next time I would either cut down on the amount of cookie dough added to the ice cream or (more likely) make a double batch of the pretzel ice cream.

For my kosher readers: I used Kolatin brand unflavored gelatin in the ice cream base. This works just like regular non-kosher gelatin. I have no idea if any other type of kosher gelatin would work in its place.

Peanut  Butter Cookie Dough-Pretzel Ice Cream

For the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough:

1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the Pretzel ice Cream:

6 cups small pretzel twists

2 cups whole milk

3/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin (see note above)

2 tablespoons cold water

1/2 cup glucose syrup

2 tablespoons tightly packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Make the cookie dough:

1. Combine the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar in a bowl. Cream with a mixer on medium speed for about 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the salt, vanilla extract, and milk. Mix well. With the mixer on low speed, add in the flour until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes, until firm.

2. Place marble-sized chunks of dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until ready to use.

Make the ice cream:

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.

2. Spread the pretzels out on a large sheet pan. Toast for 15 minutes, until the pretzels slightly darken in color. Cool completely.

3. Place the pretzels into a large bowl and pour the milk over them. Stir for 2 minutes.

4. Strain the milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Discard the pretzels.

5. Bloom the gelatin: Put the 2 tablespoons of cold water into a small bowl or cup, and evenly sprinkle the powdered gelatin over it. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes.

6. Warm a little of the pretzel milk in a saucepan. Add the gelatin, and whisk to dissolve. Add the remaining pretzel milk, glucose syrup, brown sugar, cream cheese, salt, and baking soda. Whisk until all the ingredients are fully incorporated (I kept the saucepan over low heat while I did this, to help everything dissolve easily).

7. Pour the mixture into a bowl or container, cover, and refrigerate until very cold.

8. Process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Pour into a bowl or containers and stir in the cookie dough chunks. Cover well, and freeze until firm.

Makes about 1 quart

Ice cream base from Momofuku Milk Bar, by Christina Tosi
Cookie dough adapted from this recipe

What We Ate: The 1st night of Chanukah & Thanksgiving, 2013

How was everybody’s holiday? It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving 2013 is already over, and that we are already onto the second day of Chanukah! Where does time go???

I decided that since both of these meals took place within about 24 hours time, I will combine them into one post. Here we go:

1st night of Chanukah:

Chanukah

When planning what to have for dinner I knew that I wanted something easy (because, hello, it was going to be the night before Thanksgiving!), but I also wanted to do something fun. I vetoed latkes for the first night (I’m going to save the mess from frying for a night that’s not the night before Thanksgiving!). I decided to do finger foods that could be made earlier in the afternoon, and we’d eat it picnic-style on the living room floor in front of the menorah.

Spiced Sweet Potato Gelt with Orange Honey Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

The first thing I made, which is what gave me the idea of doing that type of dinner, are these Spiced Sweet Potato “Gelt” with Orange Honey Sour Cream Dipping Sauce. I loved how easy these were to make, and I way more of them than I should have!

Baked Zucchini Coins with Tomato Sauce

In keeping with the “gelt” theme, I also made these Baked Zucchini Coins with Tomato Sauce. These were a little more time-consuming to make, because of the triple dipping you need to do, but they were very worth it because they were delicious.

Onion, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas

The last thing I made were these Onion, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas. They are made in muffin tins, making them a perfect size for picking up and eating, no forks necessary. The tomato sauce from the zucchini coins was also incredible with these.

I set it all out in a side table in the living room, and after we lit the menorah we filled up our plates, sat down, and watched the candles flickering.

Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving 2013

It was just the five of us again for Thanksgiving this year, so my goal was to have a variety of foods, but keep the prep simple and not have too many leftovers . I made several new recipes this year, many of which are from fellow bloggers. I think the meal I ended up with was perfect!

Pumpkin Glazed Turkey Legs

I knew I didn’t want to roast a whole turkey. Last year I made a roast turkey breast, but this year I decided to go with turkey legs. When I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Glazed Turkey Legs, full of wonderful fall flavors, I knew that it would be perfect. The glaze was wonderful! The only problem I had was that mine took a lot longer to cook, but that could be due to the size of the legs that I used. (You can see how many times I cut into them to check doneness—must get a meat thermometer!)

Bourbon-Vanilla Cranberry Sauce

Due to my insane love of vanilla, I added this Bourbon-Vanilla Cranberry Sauce to my menu the same day it was posted! So simple to make, and so delicious!

Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole

I wanted to make some sort of sweet potato dish, but I did not want anything that involved marshmallows! I went with this Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole, which I thought was wonderful.

Grandma's Saltine Stuffing/Dressing

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving to me if I didn’t make my grandma’s saltine stuffing (dressing). I know it probably sounds weird to most of you, but I love the stuff! This year, I couldn’t resist baking it in a cast iron skillet!

Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard & Parsley

The final recipe for our main course was Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard & Parsley from It’s All Good. This has become my favorite way of serving cauliflower. Try it, it’s outstanding! (Recipe below)

Amaretto Apple Crisp

For dessert I made this wonderful Amaretto Apple Crisp that I served warm with vanilla soy ice cream from Trader Joe’s. Why store-bought ice cream , when I so obviously love to make my own? Well, we keep kosher, which means no dairy at a meat meal. T.J.’s does non-dairy ice cream very well, so I don’t mind relying on the when I need to.

Thanksgiving 2013

And that’s that! Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend (and Chanukah, if you celebrate it)!

Thanksgiving 2013

I’m very obviously way more into the sides than the turkey! 😉

Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Mustard, & Parsley

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed & drained, and dried with a kitchen towel

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets

Extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse Sea Salt

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 tablespoon seeded mustard (I use country-style Dijon)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1. Place a rack in the middle of your oven, and preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Combine the chickpeas and the cauliflower florets on a large sheet pan, and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. roast for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is soft.

3. In a small measuring cup or bowl whisk together 1/4 cup of olive oil, the 2 mustards, the vinegar, a big pinch of salt, and a few big grinds of pepper. Pour over the still-warm chickpeas and cauliflower, add the parsley, and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

From It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen