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Jan 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Keller’

Wheatless Wednesdays: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013



Gluten-free flour blends line grocery store shelves like children waiting in line for Santa. Who knew gluten-free would ever be so trendy? Just five years ago, gluten was a foreign term unless you were one of the “unfortunate” ones diagnosed with celiac disease. This autoimmune disorder of the small intestine means eating gluten is a no-no.

Today, even chef Thomas Keller has jumped on the gluten-free flour blend bandwagon with his new product, Cup4Cup. The brand includes four products: a multipurpose blend, a pizza crust mix, a pancake and waffle mix and a chocolate brownie mix. The brownie mix came with a recipe for Chocolate Crinkle cookies, and since I needed to bake a batch for Santa (and the Sauce holiday party), I decided to give this four-ingredient recipe a try.

I have high standards for gluten-free flour blends. It’s rather easy to find blends full nutritionally void, refined flours, but I prefer those with whole grains, nuts and seeds. Unfortunately, the Cup4Cup blends fall into refined flour category; the first ingredients are cornstarch, white rice flour and sugar in many of their blends, among other starches and some brown rice flour. True, we don’t always have to eat whole grains, but these flour blends wouldn’t see regular use in my household.

My experience with the chocolate brownie mix was just OK, but I’ll take some of the blame for that. The recipe called for melted butter, coconut oil or canola oil. I love the flavor and benefits of coconut oil (I eat this stuff by the spoonful.), so I gave it a whirl. But when I added my melted oil to the dry ingredients and added the eggs, the oil started to clump as I stirred. The whole thing became one gloppy, hard mess. I thought I brought the eggs close to room temperature, but apparently not close enough. I struggled to stir the batter, but continued on.

The cookies turned out well enough, and it seems the minds behind Cup4Cup may have encountered similar problems, as the Chocolate Crinkle Cookie recipe on its website calls for just butter and a longer cooking time. Still, even the crew at the Sauce party gave them a thumbs-up, and I’m sure Santa did, too!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Makes 20 2-inch cookies

1 pouch (403 g.) Cup4Cup Chocolate Brownie Mix*
½ tsp (2.5 g.) baking powder
2 (100 g.) large eggs
4 Tbsp. (55 g.) melted butter, coconut oil, or canola oil
Powered sugar for rolling

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Combine brownie mix and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk to incorporate.
• Mix in eggs and melted butter or oil and stir well to combine.
• Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
• Scoop batter into balls about the size of 1 tablespoon. Roll each ball in your hand and drop into bowl of powdered sugar and roll around until fully coated.
• Place on sheet pan about 2 inches apart and bake about 8 to 10 minutes.

*Cup4Cup Chocolate Brownie Mix can be found at Schnucks in Des Peres.

Jill Duncan is the owner of Wellness by Jill and follows a gluten-free diet.



By the Book: Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel’s Bouchons

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013


My most memorable food moments while travelling have centered around baked goods. That’s probably because my pocketbook is thin and bread is cheap. Now nearly 20 years removed from college, I can still navigate my way to the panadería in Madrid where, for a good year at least, I popped in regularly for a palmera. That bakery’s version of the puff pastry shaped like a palm tree (or scroll or ear, depending on your perspective) was not baked to a crisp like other places. It was fluffy and chewy with a perfect smear of sweet glaze. A panadería is likewise were my son first flexed his teenager linguistic muscles one summer abroad in Spain. Being courted by pan del día, Spain’s version of a baguette, will get you to speak up. Because really, who can pass up freshly baked goods?

That’s the reasoning behind Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel’s Bouchon Bakery, an impressive collection of nearly 150 bread and pastry recipes. As Keller explained in the foreword, the pains, meringues, mille-feuilles, tarts and other boulangerie pièces de résistance that he discovered during his Parisian period in the 1980s are still firmly entrenched in his memory, and they’re the source for his interest in pastry.

I wanted to bake a Keller classic. Bouchon – the cylindrical little brownie that is the namesake for Keller’s Bouchon Bistro – was the obvious choice. These are so signature, in fact, that Williams-Sonoma sells the special baking mold needed to reproduce this decadent chocolate dessert.

The recipe is easy to follow, although a few steps differed from what I am used when baking. For example, when working with the butter, half of it is cut into chunks and set into a bowl while the other half is melted in a saucepan then poured on top of the cut butter. Once the batter is prepared, it is set aside for 2 hours. (The batter is so decadent that you need to leave the house at that point or risk eating the whole thing right out of the bowl.) I would have liked an explanation for why these procedures are necessary.



The only hiccup I encountered was upon removing the bouchons from the silicone mold. They did not fall out when I turned the mold upside-down, so I used the dull edge of a knife to loosen them from the mold and then carefully lifted each one onto a cooling rack. Curiously, the directions on the Williams-Sonoma box in which the bouchon mold is packaged give instructions to grease the mold; those instructions are not included in the cookbook recipe. Next time I bake bouchons, I’ll take the greased route.



I have yet to step foot inside one of the five Bouchon Bakery locations around the country, but biting into such grand chocolate goodness brought me one step closer.



12 servings

141 g. or 5 oz. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
50 g. or ¼ cup, plus 1 ½ Tbsp. all-purpose flour
50 g. or ½ cup, plus 2 Tbsp. unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
0.4 g. or ⅛ tsp. kosher salt
75 g. or ¼ cup, plus 2 tsp. eggs*
162 g. or ¾ cup, plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1.5 g. or ¼ tsp. vanilla paste
112 g. or ½ cup chocolate chips
Powdered sugar for dusting

• Place half the butter in a medium bowl. Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir the melted butter into the bowl; all the butter will come to room temperature and become creamy looking, with small bits of unmelted butter. Set aside.
• Place the flour in a bowl and sift in the cocoa powder. Add the salt and whisk together.
• Combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on medium-low speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer running, alternate between adding the butter and flour mixtures in three additions each. Then mix to combine well, scraping the bowl as necessary.
• Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in the chocolate chips. Set aside in a cool spot (not the refrigerator) for 2 hours. The batter can be refrigerated for up to 2 days but should be returned to room temperature before filling the molds.
• Preheat the oven (convection or standard) to 350 degrees.
• Transfer the batter to the pastry bag, or use a spoon. Pipe or spoon the batter evenly into the molds, stopping just below the top rim.
• Bake for 12 minutes in a convection oven, 16 minutes in a standard oven. Test a bouchon with a cake tester, making certain not to hit a chocolate chip; the tester should come out clean (if it comes out with chocolate on it, try again). Remove the mold from the oven and let the bouchons rest for 10 minutes (so that they will hold their shape), then unmold the bouchons onto a cooling rack, turn right side up, and cool completely.
• The bouchons can be kept in a covered container for up to 3 days. Just before serving, dust the tops with powdered sugar.

* Before weighing eggs, crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them with a fork to combine the yolks and whites. Strain the eggs; this will remove the chalazae (white spiral bands attaching the yolk to the membrane) and any small bits of shell and allow the eggs to flow freely when you weigh them.

Special thanks to La Patisserie Chouquette for its generous donation of Cocoa Berry brand cocoa powder for use in this recipe.

What’s your favorite bakery or pastry shop? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Bouchon Bakery. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Marla, whose comment on last week’s  By the Book has won her a copy of This Is a Cookbook. Marla, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.



Baked: Olive Oil Layer Cake with Champagne Frosting

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

I love this cake created by Bouchon Bakery‘s Thomas Keller. It’s spongy and perfectly designed to soak up simple syrup or liquor. Also, the olive oil flavor isn’t overpowering. It only adds a hint of something special.

I’ve been in love with Champagne frosting ever since I tried a cupcake featuring it at La Patisserie Chouquette. The frosting is light with a lovely flavor. I ended up finding champagne extract at Karen Ann’s Cake Supplies store. While I thought about using actual Champagne, the taste gets cooked off too easily. Champagne extract is perfect; although, be sure to add it in small increments, tasting as you go.

I baked the sponge cake in a large sheet pan and used a cookie cutter to stamp out little rounds. I added a teaspoonful of Chambord to each slice before layering it with frosting (Although I’d be interested in experimenting with a simple basil syrup or any other flavor component.). The combination is irresistible, and if you top it with chocolate-covered strawberries … well, good luck eating just one cake.

Olive Oil Cake with Champagne Frosting
Adapted by Amrita Rawat from a recipe originally published in the cookbook Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller
Makes 6 to 8 mini layer cakes (depending on the number of layers and size of cutter)

Nonstick oil (if using parchment paper)
1 cup plus 1 tsp. (145g.) all-purpose flour
½ tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. (3g.) baking powder
½ tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. (2g.) Kosher salt
3 Tbsp. (50g.) eggs
¾ cup plus 2 tsp. (158g.) sugar
¼ cup plus 3 Tbsp. (113g.) whole milk
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. (79g.) extra-virgin olive oil

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Line an 18-by-13-inch sheet pan with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Spray with nonstick oil if using parchment paper.
• Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
• Beat the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer for about 1 minute. Increase to medium speed, and whip for 5 minutes, until the mix looks thick and pale yellow. Scrape the batter down the bowl and beat on high for another 5 minutes.
• Add the wet ingredients, and beat until combined.
• Slowly add in the flour mixture, and beat on low until combined.
• Pour the batter into the sheet pan, and use a spatula to spread in an even layer, making sure to reach the corners.
• Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cake is golden on top and springs back when lightly touched. Let cool completely.
• Invert the pan onto parchment, peel back layer of parchment paper if necessary.
• Freeze the cake before using a cutter to stamp out round shapes, or any shape you prefer.
• Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Champagne Frosting
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
¼ tsp. champagne extract, or more to taste
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
6 to 8 tsp. Chambord
Handful whole strawberries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

• Mix the flour and milk in a saucepan. Once stirred, put over medium-low heat. Keep stirring until it resembles mashed potatoes. It should look like a goopy, cohesive batter.
• Let the mixture cool, and then store in the refrigerator until completely cooled.
• Beat the extract, butter and sugar in a mixer on high until fluffy.
• Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low until light and fluffy.
• Layer two cake rounds with frosting and top with a third cake round. Repeat with the remaining cake rounds to make 6 to 8 layered cakes, in total.
• Pour 1 teaspoon of Chambord over each layer cake. Top with a dab of icing.
• Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave for 10-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate has melted.
• Dip the whole strawberries into the chocolate and place one strawberry on top of each frosted cake.

Note: You may have frosting left over that you can freeze for later use or use as a dip for fresh fruit.

The Scoop: Cleveland-Heath to showcase Midwest roots, California flavor in old Fond space

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

111011_ClevelandHeathThe space at 106 North Main St., in Edwardsville, Ill., formerly home to Fond (chef-owner Amy Zupanci’s shuttered farm-to-table fine dining restaurant), will soon be occupied by a new restaurant: Cleveland-Heath, as first reported by the Riverfront Times’ Ian Froeb.

The tagline for Cleveland-Heath is “Midwest Roots, California flavor.” Owners Jenny Cleveland and Eric “Ed” Heath have returned to their native Midwest to open the “all-American” bar and grill, bringing with them a culinary background honed especially from time spent in California. (For Cleveland, that includes tenures at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc and The French Laundry.) “We are from here. We know our tastes are very much home-style food,” explained Cleveland, adding that the “California flavor” phrase in the restaurant’s tagline implies “attention to produce and product.”

The menu at Cleveland-Heath will include starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, sides and entrées, with items ranging from $5 to $13. When asked which menu items she was most excited about, Cleveland touted the chicken wings, the gnocci used in the chicken-and-dumpling soup, and the house biscuits. “They are buttermilk biscuits. They get tall and fluffy. They’ve got cheddar and herbs. They are really good and I’m not even a bread person,” she raved.

Soft openings will be held at Cleveland-Heath the week prior to Thanksgiving. On Nov. 23, the restaurant will open with a full bar but limited food menu. And on Friday, Nov. 25, it will open for dinner, with lunch service beginning Monday, Nov. 28. Regulars of Fond will notice a few changes to the space, including expansion of the bar to a 16-seat capacity.

The Scoop: Niche GM headed to Keller’s famed French Laundry

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

031511_FrenchLaundryA very Saucy congrats to Bryan Lipa. The general manager at Niche and St. Louis native has accepted a position as a captain at chef-owner Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif. Lipa interviewed for a front-of-the-house position at the legendary Napa Valley restaurant last fall, but the final decision was not made until now.

Lipa has managed the floor at Niche and Brasserie by Niche since joining owner Gerard Craft’s restaurant operations in 2009. Prior to that, he managed Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood and served as the director of food and beverage at the Omni Hotel downtown. In early February it was reported that Lipa was headed to Truffles to replace sommelier John Cain, who left the Ladue restaurant to take a position as a floor sommelier and manager at Annie Gunn’s in Chesterfield. Lipa, however, did not make the move, opting instead to continue working with Craft.

Lipa is among a small group of local talent to have joined the elite ranks at The French Laundry including Chris Hoel, former beverage director at Monarch; and chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, who began his career at Old Warson Country Club and currently co-owns Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Col.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Storied wine with hometown ties hits local market

Friday, January 21st, 2011

012111_DRINKTHISWEEKENDWe’re always rooting for the home team, and in the case of Scarpetta Pinot Grigio – a project by St. Louis native Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson and master sommelier Bobby Stuckey – we’re excited to cheer on the arrival of this delicious wine.

Mackinnon-Patterson began his career at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis (his parents still reside in St. Louis). While working as a chef de partie at The French Laundry, he met Stuckey, wine director of Thomas Keller’s famed Yountville restaurant. The two joined forces in 2004, opening Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Col., and a few years later launched their wine project, La Scarpetta, focusing on white wine from the Friulano region of Italy. Among their accolades, Mackinnon-Patterson was named among Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs in 2005, earned the distinction of Best Chef: Southwest from the James Beard Foundation in 2008 and was a contestant on season one of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. In 2008, Stuckey received a James Beard nomination for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional.

The 2009 Scarpetta Pinot Grigio, which landed in St. Louis this week, is a blend of grapes sourced from three vineyards in Friuli. The wine, which local master chef Gerard Craft called “amazing” and “delicious,” was fermented, aged and blended in stainless steel, resulting in a clean, vibrant, refreshing drink.

Want to try it? It’s available by the glass ($8) and the bottle ($30) at Craft’s flagship Niche beginning today. It’s also on the shelves at St. Louis Wine Market and Tasting Room and at Veritas Gateway to Food and Wine, both in Chesterfield.

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