Friday, March 25, 2011

March DOTMC: Hazelnut Creme-filled Chocolate Crepe Cakes

Chocolate Crepes:
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus melted for pan
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Bring 1/4 cup water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate until completely melted. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla in another medium bowl. Gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Add chocolate-butter mixture, whisking until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into an airtight container; discard lumps. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Lightly coat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet with melted butter. Heat over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Remove pan from heat; pour about 2 tablespoons batter into pan, swirling to cover bottom. Reduce heat to medium-low; return pan to heat. Cook, flipping once, until edges are golden and center is dry, about 30 seconds per side. NOTE: I don’t have a non-stick skillet or a crepe pan and making crepes that are flippable is really sloppy without these items. Since i was making them for a brunch I made mini ones and used my largest biscuit cutter on an enamelware skillet and stacked them on 7 layers high. This made 7 servings using the portions of this recipe so you could half the recipe if you want to make fewer. They made for a nice presentation & were easy to serve just quartered.

Slide crepes onto a plate. Repeat process with remaining batter, coating pan with butter as needed. Crepes can be refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day.

Chocolate Glaze:
Makes about 2 cups
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Bring cream, corn syrup, and salt to a boil in a medium-heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; swirl pan to cover completely with cream. Let stand about 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let cool completely.

Hazelnut Creme Filling:
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • 3 sticks butter
  • 1 11 oz can Hazelnut Praline (Love n’ Bake is the brand I use, if you can’t find amazon sells it, one less step OR see following Hazelnut Praline recipe to make your own recipe of it, which is less than the canned but just as hazelnutty since it’s fresh)
Place the egg whites in a clean mixer bowl. Add the sugar and place the bowl over simmering water. Heat the mixture until slightly warmed and the sugar doesn't feel gritty.
Place the bowl on the mixer with the whip attachment. Add cream of tartar and whip on medium high speed until the whites form stiff peaks. Add the softened butter a few tablespoons at a time, scraping the bowl frequently. Whip until the buttercream is smooth and fluffy.

Hazelnut Praline:
Makes about 1 cup
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) hazelnuts
  • Canola oil, for pan
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast them in the oven until they are fragrant, about 8 minutes. Transfer nuts to a clean kitchen towel, and rub nuts in towel vigorously between your hands to remove the brown skins. Lightly brush an 8-by-12-inch rimmed baking pan with the oil. Spread the peeled nuts in the pan.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, brushing down sides of pan with a damp pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals that may form, until mixture is amber, about 9 minutes; do not stir. (Pan may be swirled gently about halfway through to incorporate any uncooked sugar.) Pour directly over nuts to create a thin layer. Set aside to cool, at least 30 minutes.

Place half the praline in the bowl of a food processor; process until the praline is very fine with no sharp pieces. Cut the remaining praline into small pieces for decoration. Praline may be made up to 1 week ahead and kept in an airtight container, at room temperature.

Place a crepe on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet or wax/parchment paper. Spread with a thin ⅛ inch layer hazelnut filling. Top with another crepe. Continue layering with hazelnut filling and crepes, using about 32 crepes and ending with a crepe on top. If making smaller stack to 7. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Spoon glaze on top of the cake, spreading to edges. Spread remaining glaze around sides of cake, coating completely. Refrigerate until glaze is firm and set, about 20 minutes. Cake can be refrigerated up to 3 days.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bomb Brownies

Hello from the new kid on the block!

My month isn't until August, but I've been obsessing over these browned butter brownies since Valentine's Day and just had to share...Crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside, and that browned butter is good stuff...Best brownie recipe I've tried yet!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

February DOTM: King of Cookies

The Disappointment Cookies.

I don’t know why, but I don’t have a repertoire of recipes that I trust. Maybe it’s because I would usually rather experiment with something new than actually make something that I know will turn out well? I don’t know. At any rate, I don't have much of a collection. So when it comes to giving recipes to other people, or suggesting things for a dessert, or whatever, I’m never like, “Ooh, my grandmother’s coconut cake, it’s so easy and perfect!” it's always more like, “Hmmm, I bet I could make a filling out of this tart recipe and then wrap it in the leftover puff pastry I have and oh it calls for hazelnut flour but I’ll just grind up some almonds instead...” and then I have to test it and tweak it forty seven times before it really comes out well.

That’s fun and all, but sometimes you get tired of complicated things. I make enough complicated things at work. I just wanted a cookie. But ya’ll. I went through THREE cookie recipes before I found one that came out well. THREE. Wtf? I mean, they were edible. But I can’t share a recipe that only comes out so-so. As I was chewing on a rubbery sablé I could just imagine your collective disappointment when you finally made them and I COULD NOT DO THAT TO YOU GUYS. So I got really pissed off and stomped around for a while. And then I remembered that I DO have a perfect recipe!

I didn’t come up with this, and in fact it might very well be the recipe off the Nestle bag, I don’t know. But I do know that it makes the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.

1/2 pound butter
365g brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
360g AP flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
450g chocolate chips

Cream the butter and the sugar to a paste. Add the vanilla and eggs. Once that's combined, add the sifted dries, then the chocolate chips and mix just til incorporated. Bake em at around 325 or so.