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Apr 25, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

The List: Stephanie Fischer at Comet Coffee & Microbakery

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.

 

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“You have to see my ingredients,” said pint-sized Stephanie Fischer as she led me into Comet Coffee’s tiny kitchen. Squeezing between her hardworking KitchenAid mixer and her equally hardworking pastry chef Megan Cronin, Fischer proudly pulled out a pound of butter with an 83 percent butterfat content, organic milk and eggs, and decadent couverture chocolate made in France.

Only 24 years old, Fischer is the co-owner of Comet Coffee and the brains behind its remarkable baking program. Her ingredients are locally sourced and organic whenever possible. Everything is made from scratch, including her amazing croissants that are rolled out by hand, “because for now,” she said, “there’s no room for a machine.” Another one of her must-try baked goods: The Rebel Within, a savory muffin baked with Asiago cheese and studded with bits of Salume Beddu’s chorizo sausage. Much like its maker, this muffin isn’t pretentious, showy or loud – it’s simply great. And tucked inside this modest morsel, like a secret, is a soft-boiled egg.

5708 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, 314.932.7770, cometcoffeestl.com

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Baked: Goat Cheese Sugar Cookies

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

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Cream cheese is often used in sugar cookie recipes to soften and add tang to these sometimes overly sweet cookies. Well as it turns out, goat cheese adds an even greater flavor complexity. A splash of bourbon elevates these from a childhood treat to a classy adult snack. Both flavors are subtle – you probably couldn’t pick them out without knowing the ingredients – but they contribute an acidic, almost savory note.

Although sugar cookies tend to be a holiday treat, these are suitable any time. Feel free to play; skip the sprinkles or toss in some lemon zest. Enjoy and happy baking!

Goat Cheese Sugar Cookies
Adapted from a recipe at Food.com
Makes 3 dozen cookies

2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1¼ cups sugar
1/3 cup (3 oz.) soft goat cheese, room temperature
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup canola oil
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. bourbon (or milk if you prefer)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Nonpareil sprinkles or sanding sugar to decorate (optional)

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
• Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
• In another large bowl, whisk the sugar, goat cheese and melted butter until the mixture forms a smooth paste (A few remaining lumps are OK.). Then add the canola oil, the egg, bourbon and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture until it is well incorporated and no dry ingredients remain. The dough will be soft, but it should still be easy to handle. If not, refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes.
• Pour the sprinkles into a small bowl, if using. Scoop the dough out 1 tablespoon at a time and gently roll it into a small ball. Roll the ball in the sprinkles, if desired, then arrange them on a prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie.
• Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are just set and slightly cracked.
• Cool on the baking sheet 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

 

 

Baking and drinking Irish car bombs

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

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With a Guinness cupcake base, a Jameson chocolate ganache and Baileys Irish Cream frosting on top, The Dam’s Irish car bomb cupcakes are sure to impress at any St. Patrick’s Day party tomorrow.

In the event you accidentally drink all your ingredients before you get to baking, head to The Dam instead. Today kicks off National Chocolate Week, and all desserts purchased will support Lift for Life Gym.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
Courtesy of The Dam’s Matt Galati
Makes 30 Cupcakes

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
4 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups stout beer (Guinness)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. corn flour
4 cups sugar
4 tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. salt
4 large eggs
2 cups sour cream

Jameson Ganache Topping
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cocoa), finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
6 Tbsp. Jameson Irish Whiskey

Baileys Buttercream Frosting
12 egg whites
Pinch salt
2¼ cups sugar
12 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 cups Baileys Irish cream

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
• Melt the butter in a double boiler over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Add the beer, cocoa powder and chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool.
• In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, corn flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Whisk until combined.
• In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sour cream until creamy. Slowly add the stout-butter mixture to the egg mixture to combine.
• Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about two-thirds to three-quarters full.
• Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Jameson Ganache Topping
• Melt the chocolate, cream and butter in a double boiler over medium heat. Whisk constantly until thick and glossy. Add the whiskey and stir to incorporate. Refrigerate 5 minutes and stir. Repeat this until the ganache is cool but not solid. It should resemble a thick chocolate sauce.
• Holding each cupcake by the base, dip the top up to the wrapper line in the bowl of ganache. Hold over the bowl to allow excess to drip off. A twist of the wrist as you bring it to an upright position will help reduce mess.
• Let the cupcakes cool 1 hour or until the ganache is not tacky but firm to the touch.*

* To make sure the ganache doesn’t run down the sides of the cupcakes, place them in the freezer for 10 minutes. They should be cool to the touch before adding the ganache.

Baileys Buttercream Frosting
• In a medium metal bowl, add the egg whites and whisk with a pinch of salt to break up. Add the sugar, and whisk until incorporated. Using the double boiler method, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Continue to whisk until the sugar has melted into the egg whites. When you rub it between your fingers, it should feel smooth and not gritty.
• Once the mixture is smooth, transfer it to the bowl of a mixer and whisk on medium-high for 7 to 10 minutes, until it has almost tripled in volume and the bowl is cool to the touch. It should resemble marshmallow fluff in texture and have very stiff peaks.
• Slowly add in the butter. The mixture will appear curdled after you add all the butter, but keep mixing, and it will come together. Taste and add powdered sugar to desired sweetness, about ½ cup.
• Add the Baileys to the bowl. Mix until the Baileys is just combined, being careful not to over mix. Taste and add more powdered sugar if needed, and mix for 30 more seconds.
• Place the frosting into a piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

 

 

Just Five: Rosemary-Parmesan Crackers

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

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You can and should make crackers at home. Homemade crackers are far better than anything you will find in the grocery aisles. They are cheap, easy to make and give you a decent upper body workout while you roll out the dough paper-thin. Without the pepper, rosemary and cheese, these crackers are your basic butter cracker, but so much better than store-bought ones. They bake up with crispy browned bubbles and only take about 30 minutes from start to eat.

Like bread, crackers are a fun blank canvas. Try adding a little lemon zest and serve with a mild cheese, or mix in minced dates or minced dried cranberries and serve with bold cheddar. You can even add finely chopped black olives to crackers and spread with a tangy goat cheese or feta.

The key to these crackers is rolling the dough as thin as possible. If you don’t, the crackers will be a bit chewy. Here’s the trick: flip the baking sheet over and roll the dough out directly onto the bottom of the sheet. This way, you won’t bang your pin or your knuckles on the rim of your baking sheet and you can bake them directly on this surface. Be sure to place a slightly damp towel under the baking sheet to keep it from sliding while you roll. Here’s the recipe, now – I can’t help myself – get crackin’!

Rosemary-Parmesan Crackers
Makes 40 to 50 crackers

2 cups flour plus more for dusting
1 Tbsp. sugar, plus more to taste
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
¼ cup grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp. butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2/3 cup milk (not skim)

• Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
• Add the flour, sugar, salt, pepper, rosemary and cheese to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the pieces of chilled butter and process about 10 seconds, until the butter is incorporated. With the food processor running, pour in the milk and blend until the dough comes together.
• Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 3 to 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and cut in half. Flip a baking sheet and roll out one of the dough halves as thin as possible (It should be almost transparent.). Repeat with the remaining dough ball on the bottom of another baking sheet.
• Sprinkle the dough with salt and pepper to taste. Then pierce the dough all over with a fork and score it with a knife into 1½-inch squares or whatever size cracker you’d like.
• Bake on the inverted baking sheets 12 to 13 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the cooking time. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes, then move the crackers onto a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour.
• Crackers will keep up to 1 week in an airtight container.

Baked: Rum Punch Cake

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

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My family and I recently spent a week alongside the gorgeous turquoise waters coast of Turks and Caicos, sinking our toes into sand soft as powdered sugar and clear blue skies. Throughout the trip, our nautical activities were punctuated with rum-filled drinks and rum-soaked desserts. The islands are known for Bambarra Rum (as well as salt and conch meat), and we indulged in piña coladas, rum punches and rum cakes everywhere we went.

I had never tried rum punch before, and when it was served to us on a boating excursion, I asked the crew what made it so tasty. It turns out three different rums (Talk about a punch!), orange and pineapple juices, grenadine, and a pinch of nutmeg or ginger all make an appearance in this boozy tropical cocktail.

My family stocked up on Bambarra before we left; alas, carry-on rules meant I couldn’t take any back to St. Louis. So when I returned home, I set out to make a cake in honor of that punch with the rum I did have at my disposal. I found that black currant syrup made a suitable substitute for grenadine, so I used it in the glaze. (You could also use pomegranate syrup in lieu of grenadine, too.) The cake packed enough rummy punch for me, but if you’re in doubt, add more rum to the glaze or in the soaking liquid.

This cake turns out incredibly moist and flavorful with a crisp, crunchy edge. The glaze adds an extra oomph of rum flavor, and surprisingly, the black currant syrup lends the perfect flavor notes to bring me back to the islands. This recipe is definitely one I’ll be making again and again. Enjoy and happy baking!

Rum Punch Cake
Adapted from a Lottie + Doof recipe
Makes 1 9-inch round

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. coconut extract
2 tsp. orange extract or the zest of 1 orange
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. dark rum, divided
3 Tbsp. white rum, divided
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. coconut rum divided
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. pineapple juice, divided
1½ cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. black currant syrup, grenadine or pomegranate syrup

• Place a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with piece of parchment paper, then butter the parchment.
• Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.
• In another large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the coconut and orange extracts, then add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
• When eggs are incorporated, beat in the buttermilk, 2 tablespoons dark rum, 2 tablespoons white rum, 2 tablespoons coconut rum and ¼ cup pineapple juice until just combined (The mixture may look curdled.).
• Gently add the flour mixture in 3 batches on low speed until each addition is just incorporated.
Pour the batter evenly into the cake pan and rap the pan on the counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.
• Bake 30 to 35 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then slide a knife around the edge of cake and carefully remove it from the pan. Place the cake on a plate and discard the parchment.
• Use a chopstick or skewer to poke holes all over the top of the cake.
• Fill a liquid measuring cup with the remaining pineapple juice, 1 tablespoon dark rum and remaining 1 tablespoon white rum for a total ¼ cup liquid*. Pour the liquid over the top of the cake into the holes and let it soak in. Let the cake cool completely, about 1 hour.
• Meanwhile, mix the powdered sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons dark rum, coconut rum and black currant syrup in a bowl until it reaches a thick, viscous consistency.
• Pour the glaze over the top of the cooled cake and use a spatula to gently spread evenly. Let the glaze dry before slicing and serving.
• Store the cake at room temperature in an airtight container up to 4 days.

*The amount of soaking liquid can be adjusted to taste. More or less of any type of rum or juice can be added up to 1/3 cup, if desired.

 

 

By the Book: Nathalie Benezet’s Melting Chocolate Cakes

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

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Nathalie Benezet’s Le Petit Paris: French Finger Food takes a bite-sized look at French cuisine. Teacup-sized bowls of onion soup, beef tartare on tiny toasts and foie gras burgers far too dainty to be called sliders grace the pages of this cookbook. I opted to try her mini Melting Chocolate Cakes, small but sophisticated chocolate loaves that make cupcakes look uncouth. Besides, any recipe that calls for equal parts butter, chocolate and sugar is A-OK with me.

 

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After melting and mixing butter, sugar and chocolate the recipe called for four eggs. Now ordinary eggs would have done the job, but this recipe required something special – the last four eggs from executive editor Ligaya Figueras’ chickens Perrault and Cacciatore, who were slain by an opossum this weekend. RIP Perrault and Cacciatore – we made these gooey chocolate cakes in your honor.

 

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This dessert is all but gluten-free, with one teaspoon of flour among all 12 cakes. While I’m no expert on wheat-less baking, it seems that a simple substitution of almond flour might allow these desserts to be enjoyed by a gluten-free friend.

Then you sit. And wait. And wait. The longest moment of my Monday was the 30 minutes spent breathing in that heavenly chocolate scent as the cakes cooled. I’ll admit, my mini cakes didn’t sink the way I wanted. Their centers were resolutely firm, but the middles sagged slightly as if they pitied me for failing the “melting” part of Nathalie’s Melting Chocolate Cakes.

Regardless, these treats were moist and decadently fudgy. They toed the line between traditional desserts, too gooey to be simply cake and too delicate to be brownie. Their texture and taste is distinctly buttery, but the single-serving trays make it easier to eat just one.

Just kidding. It’s still difficult to eat just one.

 

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Nathalie’s Melting Chocolate Cake
Makes 12 mini loaves

200 g. (7 oz./scant ¾ cup) butter, cubed
200 g. (7 oz./scant ¾ cup) dark (bittersweet) chocolate, (at least 70 percent), broken into pieces
200 g. (7 oz./scant ¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. flour

• Preheat the oven 350 degrees.
• Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted.
• Transfer to a large mixing bowl with the sugar, stir with a wooden spoon and leave to cool a little.
• Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Finally, stir in the flour and mix well.
• Pour the cake batter into 12 mini loaf cases and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the centers are set but still a little wobbly.
• Turn the oven off but leave the cakes inside for another 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
• You can store these covered in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 days. Take out 30 minutes before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books

What’s your favorite one-bite sweet or savory treat? Tell us about it in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Le Petit Paris. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Kalila, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of Seriously Bitter Sweet. Kalila, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!

 

By the Book: Alice Medrich’s Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

 

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Alice Medrich’s newest cookbook, Seriously Bittersweet: The Ultimate Dessert Maker’s Guide to Chocolate is a follow up to her hugely popular Bittersweet from 2003. The book covers everything from ganache to torte to savory mains with chocolate. I am admittedly not much of a baker, but as a lifelong chocolate enthusiast, I was keen to try, and Seriously Bittersweet is a great primer.

In her introduction, Medrich breaks down the whys and hows of measuring, mixing (Hint: If you’re not using your whisk, you’re doing it wrong.), and more. But her depth of knowledge really shines when she discusses chocolate. She starts with a detailed explanation on how chocolate is made (Thankfully, I had a little knowledge about this already.), and what really goes on during the baking process when you substitute chocolate that has a higher milk-fat or water content for another type. If my high school chemistry teacher had explained chemical reactions using 60-percent cocoa, I probably would have done better in class.

 

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Normally I’m a frozen dessert girl, more apt to buy a pint of chocolate ice cream than whip up a chocolate cake. But it was Valentine’s Day, and when you’re already going for broke with dinner, you might as well end with an out-of-the-ordinary treat. And when one of the reigning queens of chocolate confections declares The Queen of Sheba chocolate torte as her go-to recipe for any occasion, you take note. But after a meal of braised short ribs and creamy polenta, I couldn’t justify serving a cake that required a stick of butter, four eggs and chocolate ganache.

 

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Luckily, Medrich’s Queen of Sheba recipe is as verstaile as she claims. A lighter version, Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake, falls like a sad soufflé but is as rich as a brownie and soft as a pillow. The cookbook’s lower-fat recipes were designed to have fewer than 300 calories, less than 10 grams of fat and less than 30 percent calories from fat. Not exactly Weight Watchers, but my conscience was clearer.

 

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Six egg whites whipped into a fluffy cloud give the cake the lift it needs to bake up beautifully. The end result was crumbly (No butter or oil makes for a “nubbly” cake, as Medrich would say.), but packed with intense chocolate flavor thanks to the 70-percent chocolate and a half-cup of cocoa powder. Medrich suggested serving the cake with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream, but my valentine and I found it went perfectly with a scoop of coffee ice cream. Old habits die hard.

 

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Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake
10 Servings

¼ cup blanched almonds
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 oz. 66- to 72-percent chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup premium unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
½ cup boiling water
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. brandy
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
Scant ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
2 to 3 tsp. powdered sugar for dusting
Lightly sweetened whipped cream (optional)

• Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unless you are planning to serve the cake on the pan bottom, line the cake pan with a circle of parchment paper. Spray the sides with vegetable oil spray.
• In a food processor or blender, grind the almonds with the flour until very fine. Set aside.
• Combine the chocolate, cocoa and ¾ cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Pour in the boiling water and whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the egg yolks and brandy; set aside.
• Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup sugar and beat on high speed until stiff but not dry.
• Whisk the flour and almond mixture into the chocolate. Fold about a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Scrape the batter into the pan and level the top if necessary.
• Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick or a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. The torte will sink like a soufflé.
• To serve, slide a slim knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake, remove the pan sides and transfer the cake, on the pan bottom, to a platter, or invert the cake onto a rack or tray, remove the bottom and the paper liner, and invert onto a platter. Using a fine-mesh strainer, sift a little powdered sugar over the top of the cake before serving, if desired. Serve each slice with a little whipped cream, if you like.

Reprinted with permission from Artisan Books

What is your go-to dessert to make for special occasions? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Seriously Bittersweet. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Kristine W., whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of Sweet. Kristine, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!

 

 

Baked: Seven-Layer Bars

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

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I usually tell people I started baking around the age of 21, but that’s not entirely true. For some reason, I had completely forgotten about a short phase during my high school years when I baked these seven-layer bars nonstop. When an old friend from my freshman year asked if I still made them, it was like uncovering a delicious memory.

Some people call these Hello Dolly bars, but they’ll always be seven-layer bars to me. The ingredient list is flexible and subject to change depending on what’s in your kitchen. I used to follow a standard recipe (now rampant on the Internet), but I amped these up with some Reese’s Pieces and pretzels. The bars are rich, creamy and slightly sweet, so cut them into small pieces – a little goes a long way.

I made these three times over the holidays for several parties, and the recipe is simple enough that my young niece and nephew got to be helpers. It’s a great way to spend a cold, snowy day indoors. Enjoy and happy baking!

Seven-Layer Bars
1 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish

1 stick butter, melted
1½ cup graham cracker crumbs
2/3 cup Reese’s Pieces (or any chocolate candy)
2/3 cup coconut flakes
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup toffee bits
1 14-oz. can condensed milk
2/3 cup crushed pretzels

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish well.
• In a medium bowl, mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs with your hands until combined and press the mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan.
• Layer the Reese’s Pieces, then the coconut flakes, then the chopped pecans, then the toffee bits on top of the crust one at a time. Drizzle the last layer evenly with the condensed milk, then top with the pretzels. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly brown. Let cool slightly.
• Gently loosen the bars from the sides of the pan and cut into small squares. Bars can be stored 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.

 

 

 

Baked: Red Velvet Cake Balls

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

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I made these two years ago for a New Year’s Eve party. A bunch of my childhood friends threw a big bash, and I put together a dessert table. I made cookies and brownies as well, but these cake balls were by far the most popular treat. When I met with these same friends over the holidays, they asked if I could “please please please” bring those red velvet cake balls.

When you have a food blog and write a column like this, you tend to keep moving forward with dessert ideas. I love the recipes I make, but I often end up having to try something new instead of returning to old favorites. It’s nice they remembered these because I had forgotten how delicious they were. I whipped them up for the dinner party, and they vanished as soon as they were put out.

These are stunningly simple and much easier to deal with than a regular cake. It requires getting your hands a bit dirty, but once you’re done, they freeze for months in an airtight container. Make these and you will always have something to impress your friends when they pop over. Just don’t serve them still frozen – that would be mean. Enjoy and happy baking!

Red Velvet Cake Balls
Adapted from a recipe on The Sweet Art
Makes 25 to 30 golf ball-sized cake balls

2/3 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. red food coloring
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup cake flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. vinegar
1 cup Cream Cheese Frosting (Recipe follows.)
12 oz. white chocolate*, chopped
2 tsp. coconut oil
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-by-8-inch square pan with nonstick spray or butter.
• Whisk the vegetable oil and sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Beat in the egg, then add the vanilla, red food coloring and buttermilk.
• Gently fold in the cake flour, cocoa powder and salt with a spatula until there are no streaks of flour.
• In a small bowl, whisk together the baking soda and vinegar. Add the mixture to the cake batter. Use a spatula or whisk to gently combine everything but do not to over-mix, as it can result in a tough cake.
• Pour the batter into the pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use your hands to crumble the cooled cake in its pan.
• Knead in the cream cheese frosting into the crumbled cake 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, until the cake is moist enough to roll. Roll the mixture into golf-ball sized balls. Place them on the baking sheets and freeze at least 1 hour.
• Microwave the white chocolate in 30-second bursts, stirring until melted. Stir in the coconut oil until combined.
• Remove the frozen cake balls and use a fork to dip them into the melted chocolate, coating them as evenly as you can. Return the dipped cake balls to the parchment paper and refrigerate until set.
• Microwave the semisweet chocolate in 30-second bursts, stirring until melted.  Pour it into a zip-top bag, snip off a tiny bit of the corner and drizzle the chocolate over the dipped cake balls. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set. Serve or store in the freezer in an airtight container. Thaw before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from a recipe at The Sweet Art

Beat 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, 4 tablespoons softened butter, 1 tablespoon heavy cream (or milk) and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract on medium-high with an electric mixer until combined and fluffy. Drizzle in more cream or milk by the tablespoon to reduce sweetness.

 *You can also use semisweet chocolate for dipping and decorate with white chocolate.

 

Sauce Holiday Coundown: Dragées and Luster Dust

Friday, December 13th, 2013

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Help the bakers in your life take their holiday cookies up a notch. Forget icing and sprinkles; spruce up their sweets with baubles like silver, gold or pearl dragées and a sprinkle of luster dust. After all, Christmas stockings are always better with a little bling. Dragées: $2.25 per ounce. Luster dust: $4. Karen Ann’s Supplies, 11553 Gravois Road, 314.842.0886, karenannsupplies.com

And now…

 

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Pokey LaFarge fans, this one’s for you! We’re giving away two tickets to the sold out Dec. 20 show at the Casa Loma Ballroom. Want to rock out with Pokey? Click here to enter!

 

 

 

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