Friday, July 30, 2010

Missing In Action

I've been missing in action a lot lately, especially when it comes to Daring Baker's Challenges; try three months missing.

At work we have a trade board where every employee can post the hours they want to give away and pick up the hours they want respectively; I'm kind of addicted to it. In June I had a brilliant idea to pick up an insane number of hours in trade, so that I could work very few in July and August... but like I said, I'm addicted. I did, in fact, pick up an insane number of hours in June, and then I kept right on picking up hours in July, and all of a sudden I found myself with another month of insane hours and no days off - and, not to mention, no Daring Baker's Challenges or treats of any kind for that matter.

Today, however, marks day 1 of my 6 day off streak, and why yes! I am looking forward to it, especially because Sunday, August 1 marks Gabriel and I's 8 year Wedding Anniversary.

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s World – Life and Food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.
Chocolate Strawberry
Bombe

My bombe is comprised of a Chocolate Swiss Roll filled with a Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling, Strawberry and Rocky Road Ice Cream and rather than filling it with fudge, I used the remaining filling from Swiss Roll.

Sunita's recipes and instructions. I love Sunita's photo tutorial and recipe selections. For my bombe I used her Swiss Roll recipe, however I've included my ice cream and filling recipes.

Strawberry Ice Cream
2 cups milk
Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
Whisk together and place into stovetop pan
Turn heat to high to scald milk and bring it to the boiling point, stiring constantly

Remove from heat, and add 2 cups heavy whipping cream
When mixture has cooled slightly add 16oz of sliced strawberries
Chill overnight
Churn according to Ice Cream Maker Instructions


Rocky Road Ice Cream
2 cups milk
Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
4 oz chocolate chunks
Whisk together and place into stove top pan
Turn heat to high to scald milk and bring it to the boiling point, stiring constantly

Remove from heat, and add 2 cups heavy whipping cream
When mixture has cooled slightly add 1 cup marshmallows and 1 cup crushed walnuts
Chill overnight
Churn according to Ice Cream Maker Instructions


Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
8oz cream cheese
8oz strawberry jam
½ cup sugar
Beat together until creamy

Stir in 1 cup whipped heavy cream

I loved this challenge, and learned a lot for next time... such as freeze the swiss rolls before placing them in the bowl, keep saran wrap tight and straight, and don't soften your ice cream too much that it runs down any gaps in your bombe!

One year ago: Pie in the Sky, Caramel Moon Pies.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Climbing Trees

I grew up on Main Street; I don't say that like the politicians say it (who are all lying anyway), I say that because I literally grew up on a Main Street. I always found the name a little silly because we lived in a house on a cul-de-sac, at the top of a hill, on a dead end street. I suppose our street was a tributary off an actual Main Street, but in all my years of searching, I've never found that street.


Because of our discrete location, we kids never had a lemonade stand but even still nothing says summer to me like tart, fragrant, yellow lemons; and climbing trees. At the top of our hill was a tall tree, perfect for climbing, which we all loved to do, of course. One of the boys in the neighborhood even nailed a small plank of wood to the side of the tree, almost to the very tip top, and the goal was always to climb high enough to sit on that plank and peer all the way down the hill. That plank finally gave way, after many years of enjoyment, under my sister Pamela's unfortunate rear.


In time, that tree and what we liked to call the "forest", though no more than 15 trees comprised that forest, gave way to make room for a nursing home. It didn't matter that my childhood friend Jenine and I talked about chaining ourselves to that tree when the bulldozers arrived, they cut it down anyway, and it seemed that was the day our childhood ended.

Tuesdays with Dorie posted a sweet lemon concoction, it seems like over a year ago, and I quickly added it to my favorite dessert list. It is titled The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart, and it always brings me back to my childhood summers.

Extraordinary Lemon Tart
Dorie adopted this recipe from Pierre Hermé, and I adapted it from Dorie. This dessert is smooth and tart, and it will make you involuntarily squint your eyes and pucker your lips from it's potent lemon flavor. Though I love it, and respect the French for their exquisite culinary taste, I have found a great alteration to this beautiful dessert is to add 3 cups of whipped cream to the dessert (or 1 8oz. tub of cool whip) to lighten and smooth out the flavor.

Crust

1 cup sugar
Zest from 3 lemons
Rub sugar and zest together in a metal bowl, or top of a double boiler, until well incorporated and fragrant

Add
4 whole eggs
¾ cup lemon juice
Whisk together with sugar until frothy

Place over heat, in a double boiler manner, and stir constantly until mixture reaches 180°F, or becomes of a custard like consistency
Remove from heat and let cool to room temp
Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming, and refrigerate to chill
When set, mix with cream and spoon into crust (recipe above)


Enjoy!

One year ago: Our Love Story, Cheesecake Marbled Brownies

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Feet

I made a promise of sorts last year in October, something along the lines of:

That was after multiple failed attempts, a daring bakers challenge and a lot of wasted almond flour; that was when I called them macaroons, and not their proper name, macarons. Since then you may have been the recipient of many a comment on your blog along the lines of: "I hate you" if you ever showed off your cute little footed cookies.

Well, thanks to Barbara, look what I can do!!!


Last month for Mac Tweets Barbara posted her Pink Flamingo Macarons... knowing Barbara lives in my home state, and that she was a skilled macaron maker, I begged her to give me a mac tutorial, and we set a date for July's Mac Tweets: Sing a Song.

Bubblegum Macarons with Chocolate Nutella Filling

I was excited for weeks, building up anticipation to the exciting day of reckoning! And Barbara did not disappoint, she was delightful! She emphasized measuring out your ingredients, gave me tons of helpful hints and suggestions and watched over as I folded in the egg whites (previously, the cause of my demise). Barbara is the reason these macs turned out perfectly, so the test will be if I can make them, truly, on my own.


110 g powdered sugar
60g finely ground almond meal flour
Sift together
Subtract 1 tablespoon flour/sugar and substitute flavoring (1 tablespoon bubblegum powdered sugar*)

Whip 60g egg whites (of 2 eggs) to soft peaks
Add 40g granulated sugar and whip to stiff peaks
**Barbara's Tip: If you are using powdered coloring add to flour, if using liquid coloring add to egg whites once whipped
Fold flour into egg whites in two batches
Stir just until whites are incorporated, but fully incorporated is key
Spoon batter into piping bag, minus the tip and pipe even circles onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper
**Barbara's Tip: Stack two baking sheets so bottom of cookies don't burn
Let rest for 15 minutes - 1 hour
Bake at 310F°, 10-15 minutes until feet have puffed and outer shell is hard

**Barbara's Tip: After 10 minutes lightly tap the top of the macaron, you want them set, but not quite firm
Peel off parchment paper once cooled
Top with filling and match with same size macaron

This was such a fun experience! Not only did I get to meet a fellow blogger, but I finally succeeded in mastering this tiny cookie and consequently eating a a delightful amount of tasty macarons! Can't wait until next time!!

See what flavor Barbara made during our meetup.

*Every year, post Christmas holiday I can't resist the magnetic lure of discounted candy canes in strawberry, raspberry, bubblegum and tangerine flavors; they make deliciously flavored powdered sugar simply by pulverizing them in your blender which in turn lend a creative flair to your desserts. In January I posted an easy recipe using bubblegum powered sugar over at Make it Work Mom.

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