March 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
As much as SWEETTABLESCAPES bakes fun cookies, pretty cupcakes and miniature pastries, we cannot and will not ignore the simple and 0h-so-satisfying joys of classics. Brownies (and blondies) are definitely at the top of the list for the all-American, forever-popular and completely delicious dessert. Whether you grab it on the go at your local baker or take the time to bake it yourself at home, whether turned into a guilt-inducing Sunday with all the toppings or enjoyed plain and simple, it is a beloved sweet that can be made quickly and easily on a daily basis.
We used the classic (and reportedly original) Palmer House Brownies recipe cut from an old magazine for the brownies and good old Martha Stewart for the blondies…and voila…perfect week-end treat!
Palmer House Brownies:
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup plus 6 TBsp sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup apricot preserves
Melt apricot preserves in small skillet over medium heat. Strain preserves, brush melted jam over hot brownies. Cool one hour, then transfer to refrigerator and chill until cold, about 2 hours.
We skipped the preserves part to keep the plain, yet delicious brownies. And for the “gourmands” amongst us, we added some Hazelnut ice-cream, freshly whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles!!
- 9 tablespoons (1 1/8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sliced almonds, (3 ounces), toasted
- 1 pint raspberries
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated. Mix 3/4 cup almonds into batter.
Pour batter into prepared pan; spread with a rubber spatula. Scatter berries and remaining 1/4 cup nuts over batter in pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into blondies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, 55 to 60 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before cutting into squares.
March 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
When you bake a lot, as with every other activity, you sometimes feel like whipping up a dessert with a small ingredient list, minimal mixing time and simple yet delicious results. This cake’s recipe is from Bon Appetit (May 2012) but could very well stem from a French “Classic Recipe” book since it is one of the most common and easiest desserts French family prepare on a regular basis. This is not a myth, I’m French…I should know. The “cake au yaourt” is also known for using a small yogurt container as the measurement for all ingredients as in this recipe on Marmiton.com. If you read French, you’ll see that the yogurt container also helps measure the sugar and flour quantities (if you don’t, fear not, i’m translating the recipe below.) But first, let’s try the Bon Appetit one.
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto rack; let cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. Enjoy!
Now for those of you who stuck with me until the end, here is the “French” recipe:
Prep Time: 5 minutes (yeah!!! and note that there is no mention of cleaning time, because there is none! The yogurt container you use will end up in the recycling bin!)
Baking Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients: (for 6 servings – if you eat LARGE slices!!)
- 1 plain yogurt (individual size yogurt – the container will serve as a measuring cup)
– 1 “container” sugar
– 2,5 containers flour
– 0,5 container vegetable oil
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1 TBsp rum (optional)
– parchment paper or spray for the pan.
In a bowl, pour the yogurt, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and oil and mix thouroughly until mixture is perfectly smooth.
Cover bottom of pan with parchment paper or spray with oil spray. Pour mixture into pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 350F until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
March 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
For all Jewish children, Purim is the most fun holiday when they get to dress up in costumes, make noise with their “graggers” and bake Hamantaschen. These cookies resemble the tri-cornered hat that evil Haman wore.
1 1/2 cups butter softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup apricot jam or preserves
1/2 cup raspberry jam or preserves
3. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour
4. Preheat oven to 350F (180 C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
7. Remove from freezer and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies should be slightly browned.
February 25, 2014 § 1 Comment
Prep Time: 20 minutes
- 4-1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- 1 14-oz can condensed milk
- 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) butter
- 45 individually wrapped caramels
- 1.5 tbsp water
- 1-1/4 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1. Prepare a 9×9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine 3 cups of chocolate chips, the condensed milk, and the butter. Microwave in one-minute increments until melted, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Stir until the candy is smooth and well-mixed. Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer.
4. Place the fudge in the refrigerator to cool while you prepare the next layer: unwrap the caramels and place them in a small microwave-safe bowl with the water. Microwave until melted, about 1 minute.
5. Stir the caramels and water until the mixture becomes smooth and loose. If it is very stiff, microwave for another 15-20 seconds until it is easy to stir.
6. Add the chopped nuts to the caramel and stir briefly, then pour the caramel-nut mixture over the fudge and smooth into an even layer. Place the fudge in the refrigerator to cool while you prepare the final layer.
7. Place the remaining 1-1/3 cups chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave until melted, about 1-2 minutes. Stir until smooth, and spread the chocolate over the fudge, covering all of the caramel and nuts in an even layer.
8. Place the fudge in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours. Once set, cut into 1-inch squares and let sit at room temperature briefly before serving. Store excess fudge in an airtight container in the refrigerator.