Thursday, December 12, 2013

Spiced Apple Cheesecake x2

P1020160 by cookinglikespago
P1020160, a photo by cookinglikespago on Flickr.

Here's an extra picture of the cheesecake, with the sauce poured over it. Flicker changed how they share their pictures and I haven't figured out how to add two pictures in one post yet.

The other slice is Miette's gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting I also brought to Thanksgiving. Don't judge on me eating two slices please; it is Thanksgiving after all!

Spiced Apple Cheesecake with Brandy Caramel Sauce

P1020159 by cookinglikespago
P1020159, a photo by cookinglikespago on Flickr.
This is my very late Thanksgiving post. Thanksgiving was certainly new this year, being away from our immediate families. However, we were fortunate enough to meet my husband's uncle's family, whom my husband hadn't seen since he was a 5 year old.

I also made a new cheesecake this year. While I love my standard apple cheesecake recipe, I couldn't pass on this amazing recipe I found on Food 52.

Once again, I used Miette cookies for the crust, this time the gingersnap cookies. The caramel sauce was really different too. Instead of cooking white sugar to the caramel stage, this used brown sugar and butter. It was definitely a runnier caramel sauce than my standard recipe I use from The Secrets of Baking, but it tasted great; especially with the addition of the brandy.

It got rave reviews by all, and I hope we get invited for Christmas so I can bake more new recipes for them.

Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting

P1020157 by cookinglikespago
P1020157, a photo by cookinglikespago on Flickr.

I don't know about you, but every week I buy bananas and every week I seem to have some that go bad before I get to them. My intention is always to eat them quicker, but I don't get that far.

Anyways, I used some bad bananas to try out this cake I found in David Lebovitz's book "Ready for Dessert." It was fun to make a cake rather than standard banana bread. And I would have never thought to do a mocha frosting; the pairing turned out really well.

I'm glad I moved to San Francisco for a number of reasons. I now have another thing to add to those reasons; I got to have my cookbook signed by David Lebovitz since he came back for a visit.

If you have this book, this is definitely a great recipe. If you don't have the book, you should.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Mixed Berry Sauce

P1020139 by cookinglikespago
P1020139, a photo by cookinglikespago on Flickr.
The first time I had goat cheese cheesecake was at dinner at Foreign Cinema in San Francisco. I ordered it because it was unique and seemed like such a "foodie" experience I had to try. Plus, after my delicious entree I trusted that the cheesecake would be just as good. And it was.

The tangy flavor of the goat cheese came through and it balanced well with the sweet rhubarb sauce and candied walnuts that came with it.

So when I saw a recipe for one in the June 2013 issue of Bon Appetit, I saved it to try out. I mostly followed the recipe, which funny enough is a recipe BA got from another San Francisco restaurant, Waterbar. This recipe is pretty good, but I couldn't imagine making a crustless cheesecake. So I paired it with a graham cracker crust.

And not any old graham cracker crust either. I used graham crackers made by Miette, my new employer in San Francisco. These rich buttery grahams were the highlight of this cheesecake for me. The cheesecake itself was fine and while it's fun to experiment with other cheeses, I think I'll be sticking to cream cheese cheesecakes.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Cookie

Sometimes things are so good, you end up repeating them. I made this cookie a few years back, before I started the blog. I found the recipe online, off a link from the World Nutella Day page. I didn't give the recipe much thought for awhile.

Then I saw a chocolate hazelnut spread in a cute neighborhood kitchen store. This store also had Callebaut chocolate at a really cheap price. So I brought home my treasures and went back to the World Nutella page. Then, without thinking I chose this cookie recipe again. It was only after reading the really funny post awhile that I realized I had made it before.

These are so good! The filling is made with chocolate, chocolate hazelnut spread, sour cream, and Frangelico. Oh wow.

Now to go back to the store for more and try another recipe from the amazing stash of Nutella recipes!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fig Almond Tart

Fig Tart by cookinglikespago
Fig Tart, a photo by cookinglikespago on Flickr.

I'm finally back to baking and blogging! I've been gone for the past month because I sprained my ankle badly, which made baking impossible.

I also had to hunt for an apartment while on crutches because my husband and I moved from the Midwest to San Francisco! As you all know, this is such a great food city. Not only do I have a 3 page list of restaurants I want to try, but the fresh produce here is amazing.

I've saved this recipe for 2 years now because it's hard to find dried figs, let alone fresh figs in Wisconsin. This past Saturday I checked out my first farmers market at the Ferry Building Marketplace. It was so packed with people! And what did the vendors have for me? Black Mission figs!

I jumped on the first ones I saw and then realized more than one vendor had them, and there were other varieties too! I also saw Valencia oranges, lots of peach varieties and beautiful berries. A girl/baker could get used to this!

Unfortunately, I can't find the recipe on Bon, but it's from their July 2011 issue.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Coffee Cake

Oh wow.  Just looking at this picture makes me wish I had more of this cake lying around.  This is another brioche recipe from TSOB, and what a great one.  I think I've got brioche down now; what a rich delicious bread!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Chocolate Blackout Cake

Happy Birthday to my husband!  This celebration calls for a decadent chocolate cake.  And this blackout cake I got from Food and Wine is a great one.

On the technical side, I was surprised that all the chocolate in this cake comes from cocoa powder.  I also thought that the cornstarch in the frosting needed to be cooked longer than the recipe says to get rid of it's flavor. I love the idea of crumbling a cake layer and decorating the cake with the crumbs.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bee Schnitten

This unusual "cake" is actually brioche bread.  It's a TSOB recipe, and quite a unique one.  Schnitten means "cut" in German.  The bread is baked whole, then cut in half and filled with pastry cream.  It's coated with honey before baking, so that's why it's a bee.  I decorated the top with pastry cream to look like the rings on a bee.  Another yummy addition to this cake is that the crust gets soaked in a rum simple syrup.  It tasted like a coffee cake, without the crumble.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream

After making the galette, I still had some rhubarb to use.  So I decided to make ice cream, because one can never say no to ice cream.  I mean I even like lemon ice cream and that's saying a lot, given my lemon dessert aversion.  Once again, ice cream did the trick and now I can confidently say that I like rhubarb (with strawberries and sugar of course.)  Recipe courtesy of Martha

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

I'm not sure what possessed me to buy rhubarb at the farmer's market the other day.  I generally don't like it because it's too tart.  But I guess seeing new fruit at the market is exciting, since all winter it's been apples only. Rhubarb's natural pair, strawberries, would have to counterbalance it for this to work.  I also found some golden raspberries at a new grocery store a few feet from my house.  I had the right start for me to rethink my feelings for rhubarb.

I decided to make this galette for my Memorial Day weekend party.  I hadn't made a galette before and wanted to see what it was about.  The dough was super easy to make since you use a food processor.  It was cool to roll out the dough so wide and get it onto the baking sheet- major skills there.  The galette is basically pie, just with the majority of the crust around the border instead of on top.  The recipe comes from Jacques Pepin via Food and Wine magazine.

Overall, this dessert isn't my favorite, but pie isn't my thing either.  Everyone else enjoyed it though, and that's what matters. Also, I guess rhubarb isn't so bad after all.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Carrot Financier Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

For my dating anniversary with my husband (9 years) I made his favorite cake- carrot cake.  (We celebrate both dating and wedding anniversaries.)  The financier cake on it's own is again, a little drier because of the almond flour. But the cream cheese frosting in TSOB that goes with it was runnier than most, it had rum and lemon juice in it.  So good!  I also added coconut and pecans and of course after I threw both on the cake, I realized I should have toasted them first.  Oh well, next time.

For the next TSOB recipe, it's back to the cookie chapter.  I already made Chinese Almond Cookies.  We'll see which one sounds good now.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tres Leches Cake

I went to a friend's house for an Oscar party last Sunday.  She wanted to make tostadas, so I wanted to make an appropriate dessert.  So I decided on Tres Leches cake.

We had made tres leches in school, during our nuevo latino menu, but I didn't get a chance to make it, because I had to work on other courses.  I made a sponge cake for the base instead of a yellow cake.  Then I used Alton Brown's version of tres leches milk.  Then, because we did it in school, I made common meringue, and brought my mini blowtorch to torch it!

I think it turned out nicely and was very elegant for an elegant awards show.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fudge Cake with Hazelnuts

This is both sexy and unsexy at the same time.  Is it a perfect slice? No.  Is that an ooey, gooey center?  Heck yes!

My love for chocolate and hazelnuts is well-known and showcased on this blog.  So of course, any recipe with them together, I have to try.  This one comes from Food and Wine, December 2012.  It's called the Tunnel of Fudge Cake with Hazelnuts.

It's a recipe from a second-place winner in a Pillsbury bake-off in 1966. Wonder what won first place?  Anyways, I don't think this one's a winner for me.  The ground hazelnuts tasted great, but gave too gritty a texture to the whole cake.  I liked the gooey center, but my husband wasn't a fan.  So, I'll have to pass on keeping this in my repertoire.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Update: Strawberry Shortcake

This is how the presentation of my strawberry shortcake turned out in gourmet class.  On the customer comment cards, lots of people remarked that the strawberry sorbet was great.  Yeah!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake and Sorbet

In this semester of culinary school I really want to get as much as experience as I can in desserts.  To this end, I'm going to be road-testing dessert recipes on our menu before we have to make them for school.  This is my first one.  The picture above is how my practice run turned out.  Below is the version in The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller. 

I've got some kinks to work out, put that's what practice is for.  The creme fraiche sauce was to die for and had me licking my plate.  I also really loved the strawberry sorbet, but wonder what the difference is between the deep red in the book vs. my light pink.  Such a fitting dessert for Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Mini Tarts

This recipe comes from pastry chef David Lebovitz.  I love his blog; it's such a great escape to Paris and the city's food and his wonderful recipes.  

These tarts were worth going out and buying the mini tart pan needed to make them.  I used TSOB's creamy caramel sauce recipe again; the only caramel sauce recipe I will probably use from now on.   I also had the pleasure of working with some unusual Peruvian unsweetened chocolate I got as a gift from family that went there on vacation. 

The chocolate was really aerated and crumbly when I cut it.  When I added the cream to make ganache, it was more like a pudding than a ganache.  So Good!  

Other Baking Final

I forgot I had a picture of my other baking final- making a whole fruit tart from scratch. (We also had to make 2 loaves of bread and 10 eclairs and 10 cream puffs that day!)  My teacher liked my tart; her only comment was that the dough was a bit too thick.  I used TSOB's pastry cream recipe, which has some orange zest in it for added flavor.  Since my class was the last baking class of the week, it was slim pickings for the fruit toppings, which is disappointing.  I'm very proud of it though.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chinese Almond Cookies

The next chapter in TSOB is cookies.  Nothing difficult there, right?  Well, I did learn that you want cold butter for creaming, which was surprising.  This helps keep the cookie from getting thin.  I hate thin chocolate chip cookies.

As you know if you've read my other posts, I love the chocolate/hazelnut combination.  My next favorite flavor has got to be almond.  At work we make these almond scones and I just get so happy smelling the almond extract.  So when I started flipping through the cookie recipes, I settled on the almond ones. These cookies have almond paste, Disaronno (an "Italian liqueur flavored with herbs and fruits soaked in apricot kernel oil" that tastes of almond), and whole almonds on top.  

I'm not sure what makes them Chinese.  In TSOB, Yard shares that apricots are in the same family as almonds.  Their pits are often marketed as "Chinese almonds" and are used in traditional Chinese dishes.  I don't eat much Chinese food, instead I prefer Italian.  And to me, these cookies are a great almond shortbread made with an Italian liqueur.

Before I go on to the next TSOB chapter, pies and tarts, I think I'll revisit the financier chapter.