Monday, July 27, 2009

Baring Bakers' Mallow Milan Madness

My mind is all about ice creams right now. It's just too hot to think about anything else. It's too hot to bake cookies. It's too hot to dip things in chocolate. What? That's what the Daring Bakers' challenge is all about this month? I'd rather have an ice cream... Fine, I'll do it... But only if I can trick myself into thinking they are ice creams!

Marshmallow Popsicles

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

I've made 3 types of "ice cream" popsicles:

  • Vanilla marshmallows covered with dark chocolate and coconut
  • Peanut butter marshmallows covered with milk chocolate and nuts
  • Strawberry marshmallows covered with white chocolate and sprinkles

Peanut butter and milk chocolate heavenly popsicle

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies (Popsicles)

  • 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I've used vanilla)
  • 12 tablespoons (170grams/6 oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs, whisked together
  • Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
  • Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy. Add the eggs and mix until combine. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough. (I've used a popsicle stencil and cut the dough around it with a knife. I've also inserted a wood stick before baking to make the popsicles). Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. (I've poored my marshmallow mixture onto a tray and then cut the same popsicle shape and place them on the cookies) Let set at room temperature for 2 hours. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

A bite into the peanut butter & milk chocolate popsicle

Homemade marshmallows

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 egg whites , room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp strawberry jam

In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff. (I've divided my mixture into 3 parts, I left one simple and added peanut butter to other and strawberry jam to the last one). Transfer to a pastry bag.

Cheerful strawberry & white chocolate popsicle

Chocolate glaze

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

Classic vanilla & dark chocolate popsicle

I haven't forgotten about the Milan cookies either, a clone of Milano Cookies. I used to love the original ones, but I decided to go with other flavours and made them bite size.

Orange & chinese five spice Milan cookies filled with dulce de leche ganache

Milan Cookies

  • 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
  • 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (for the chocolate ones)
  • zest of an orange + 1 tsp Chinese five spice (for the 5 spice-orange ones)
  • Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I've used half milk, half white chocolates)
  • 2 tbsp dulce de leche (for the milk chocolate)
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract (for the white chocolate)

Chocolate Milan cookies with white chocolate peppermint ganache

In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed. (At this point I divided the batter in half, adding the cocoa powder to one part and the orange & spice to the other). With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, blend well. (I've divided the cream in half and used white chocolate with peppermint extract for half, and milk chocolate with dulce de leche for the other). Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools). Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

I'll have one of each please!

At the end of the day, hot or cold, cookies, chocolates or ice creams, it's all delicious in my world!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bits and Bites

Hello! Here are some bits (of granola):

The nice folks at Mix my Granola, a website where you can order costume made granola online, were kind enough to offer sending me a sample, but since it would be so expensive to ship to Portugal instead they're offering you a 15% discount if you order some. Yes, YOU! Just go to their website, choose your mix and at checkout tipe in CLUMBSYCOOKIE at the promotion code. Let me know if you like it!

And now for some bites:

MILK & FRUIT MUFFIN BITES

  • 70 gr (2.5 oz) soft butter
  • 100 gr (3.5 oz) brown sugar
  • 80 gr (2.8 oz) sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 1 apple
  • 70 gr (2.5 oz) dried coconut
  • 1/2 orange (juice and grated peel)
  • 80 gr (2.8 oz) flour
  • 50 gr (1.8 oz) whole wheat flour
  • 1 dl milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cream the butter with the sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time and incorporate them well. Next add the bananas (mashed with a fork), the orange, the vanilla and the coconut. Mix with a wisk the flours, salt and baking powder and add to the first mixture, alternating with the milk. Lastly add the apple cut into little chunks. Scoop (or spoon) the batter into mini muffin linners and bake in a pre heated over at 180º C (350ºF), until golden brown.

Ok, I'm biting out of here to do a bit of work! See you soon!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back from vacations!

So yes, I took a little vacation...

And where, you might ask? Well I've been in a very bright warm place, with a lot of food: My kitchen!... That's where I was all this time... Yes, my kitchen is bright, warm (summer+ oven on- ok, make that extra warm), with a lot of food and a lot of work too!

I usually have some fondant cake orders, but honestly I have no idea of what happened 9 months ago (in different years), because everybody seemed to have their birthdays these last weeks!

In between all that fondant, cake batter and fillings I don't know how I still managed to bake these cookies!

LEMON POPPY COOKIE
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 100 gr butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ tsp lemon essence
  • 1 lemon (peel)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • sugar for sprinkling

Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the egg yolk, lemon peel and lemon essence and beat more until they're completely incorporated in the butter-sugar mixture. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and the poppy seeds, and add to the first mixture. Mix just until all comes together. Form a ball, wrap in cling film and take to the fridge at least 2 hours. When it's time to use roll the dough and cut with cookie cutters. If you're making the sandwiches, cut a small circle in the middle of half the cookies and sprinkle those with granulated sugar. Bake at 180ºC (350ºF) until it's lightly golden brown.

The cookies were great by themselves, but sandwiched with the leftover Raspberry Curd from last month's Daring Baker's Challenge, they were even better! Here's the recipe again:

RASPBERRY CURD
  • 100 gr (3.5 oz) fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 120 gr (4.2 oz) sugar 2 egg yolks
  • 60 gr (2 oz) butter cut into small cubes
  • ½ lemon (juice)

Cook all ingredients on a bain-marie until it thickens and boils for about 5 minutes. Let it cool.

See? Great with or without filling! I always fill a bit of remorse when I eat a sandwich cookie, because that's eating 2 cookies while you think you're only eating one... But you know what? Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right?

You can have this last one if you want! Enjoy!