Gluten-free Baking: Double-Chocolate Cookies

September 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

As SWEETTABLESCAPES ventures into the uncharted territory of gluten-free baking, we discover new ingredients and some tricks of the trade. The territory is in fact quite well mapped-out with many, many bakeries and books specializing in this type of baking, but since we are novices, we started small with fairly simple recipes.img_0021
We got this one for Double-Chocolate Cookies from: img_2939You’ll need:

1.3 ounces white rice flour (about 1/4 cup)

1.15 ounces brown rice flour (about 1/4 cup) Note: Since we only had white rice flour in our pantry, we used only that instead of a mixture of both white and brown. The cookies seemed quite delicious that way..

1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate mini chips, divided

1/4 cup non-dairy buttery spread (such as Earth Balance) Note: As non-dairy was not a necessity for us, we used butter.

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/2 tsp instant coffee granules

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

Cooking Spray

Directions:

  • Combine flours, cocoa, xanthan gum, baking powder and slat in a small bowl, stir well with a whisk.img_0028
  • Combine 1/2 cup chocolate mini chips, buttery spread, unsweetened chocolate, and coffee granules in a microwave-safe bowl. img_0029Melt chocolate gradually, staring until smooth and creamy. img_0030Let cool 10 minutes and add vanilla.
  • Place sugar and eggs in a medium bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. img_0031img_0032Add chocolate mixture; beat until blended. img_0033img_0034Add flour mixture; beat until just blended. img_0035Fold in 1/4 mini chips. img_0036Cover and chill 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Lightly coat hands with cooking spray; shape dough into 30 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets, lined with parchment paper. img_0045Flatten cookies slightly with palm of your hand. Bake at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges look cooked. Cool 2 minutes on sheets. Remove and cool on wire racks. Enjoy!!

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Cinnamon Roulade with Roasted Apple-Cream Cheese Filling: does that say Fall is here or what??!!

September 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

Once you feel the first chill in the air, after the last hot and humid days of summer, you know there is no going back. Fall is officially here even if we are still enjoying an Indian Summer. To celebrate this meteorological blessing, SWEETTABLESCAPES had to join the apple-fest and try this recipe from Southern Living (Sept. 2016 issue). It looks too good to pass up!

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You’ll need: 

APPLE-CREAM CHEESE FILLING 
2 large Fuji apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 lb.)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups (about 6 oz.) powdered sugar
CAKE 
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (about 2 7/8 oz.) bleached cake flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
Directions:

1. Prepare the Apple-Cream Cheese Filling: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place apples and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a bowl;

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toss well to coat. Spread apples in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. img_0003

Bake in preheated oven until tender and well browned, about 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove apples from pan, and cool completely.img_0012

2. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. img_0021

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Add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar; img_0023beat until smooth, about 1 minute. img_0024Fold in roasted apples. img_0025

img_0026Refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 17- x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; line with parchment paper. Coat parchment with cooking spray.img_0004

4. Beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup granulated sugar at high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. img_0005

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Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in a separate bowl at medium speed until foamy. img_0008Increase speed to high, and beat until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed until medium peaks form. img_0009

img_0010 img_0011Stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture;img_0010 gently fold in remaining three-fourths egg white mixture.

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5. Sift together cake flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sift cake flour mixture over egg mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, folding in until blended after each addition. Spread batter in prepared baking sheet.img_0013
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6. Bake at 400°F until puffed and lightly browned on top, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons powdered sugar over top of cake. img_0018Invert cake onto a parchment paper-lined surface. img_0019
Peel off top layer of parchment paper from cake. Starting at 1 short side, roll cake and bottom parchment together. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely, about 30 minutesimg_0020

7. Unroll cake onto a flat surface.
Spread Apple-Cream Cheese Filling over top, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. img_0027

Starting at 1 short side and using parchment paper as a guide, roll up cake in jelly-roll fashion. Place cake on a platter, seam side down. Sprinkle top and sides with remaining 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

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Roquefort Shortbreads or as we say in French: Sables au Roquefort

September 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

If you love cheese as much as we do here at SWEETTABLESCAPES, then you’ll love this 5-ingredient recipe. It ‘s quick and easy and packs a punch in the flavor department, so serve it at a grown-up aperitif and enjoy! The recipe is from Cuisine et Vins de France.

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You’ll need:

100 g  roquefort ( a very flavorful French blue cheese), at room temperature
80 g salted butter, at room temperature
100 g all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp polenta
1 pinch Piment d’Espelette (or Cayenne pepper)

Directions:

In a large bowl with a fork (or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment), mix Roquefort and salted butter until smooth.img_0001

Add flour, polenta and pepper and mix until smooth.img_0002

Shape dough into a tight 1 1/2 inch-round cylinder and wrap in plastic.img_0003

img_0004Refrigerate or freeze. When ready to bake, just slice in 1/4 inch-thick slices. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes at 350F.

img_0018Let cool and enjoy!!
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Fraisier: a French Strawberry cake classic

September 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

Enjoying good desserts can be quick and easy and SWEETTABLESCAPES is a big proponent of time-saving, on-the-fly, almost instant-reward recipes out there, BUT, (and you saw that one coming!!) every now and then, we all want to present our family and friends something special, impress our guests and  take that Instagram-worthy picture.

Make this Fraisier, in spite of its several steps, and you shall reap the rewards, visual ones as well as the ones for your tastebuds; and if the slightly delicate preparation scares you, remember that is must all be done the day before, so there is no stress on D-day. (you will need a large -7-inch square- bottomless cake ring for this recipe.)  We found ours at Chef Central

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You’ll need:

For the Creme Patissiere filling:

250 ml milk

50 g sugar

20 g cornmeal

3 egg yolks

60 g butter at room temperature

(1 pound strawberries, cleaned.)

Bring milk to a boil.

Whisk egg yolks with sugar until light in color and add cornmeal.

Pour half the milk into the egg yolk mixture. whisking continuously. Pour this mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk.

Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, whisking continuously until the mixture is thick and bubbling.

Add half the butter while it is still warm and mix thoroughly.

Let cool. Then add remaining softened butter. Refrigerate.img_0001

For the Genoise:

3 eggs, separated

50 g flour

5 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For syrup:  100 ml water with 80 g sugar. heat up sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.img_0006

Line baking sheet with parchment paper, coat with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour. Shake off excess.

In bowl of electric mixer, whisk egg yolks and 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar until thick and pale. Beat in the vanilla.

In a clean mixing bowl, using a clean whisk, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. img_0011

img_0012Slowly add remaining 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture in three equal batches until smooth.img_0013

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Spread the batter evenly on prepared baking sheet. img_0015Bake until the top is golden and springs back to touch, about 20 minutes. Run a small knife around the cake. Cut 2 squares with your mold.img_0016

Place one square still inside the mold, on a serving platter and brush generously with syrup.img_0017

Cover with half the “creme patissiere”. Cut strawberries in half and place cut side along edges of the mold, pointing towards the top. Place the rest of the strawberries on top of the cream, face down.img_0018

Cover strawberries with remaining cream. img_0019Brush second genoise square generously with syrup and place on top of cream. img_0020Press a little so it sits tightly on top. Refrigerate overnight.  (or at least 4 hours)

When ready to serve, remove square mold and sprinkle top with powdered sugar.img_0023

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Cookie and Cream Bark: black and white delight!

September 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

As part of a video shoot for About.com, SWEETTABLESCAPES made this delicious Cookie and Cream Bark; quick (microwave friendly), easy (2 ingredients only) and quite tasty!! Crushed cookies and white chocolate–what could be easier? This Cookies and Cream Bark (click here for the video) is an easy white chocolate bark candy packed with bits of Oreo cookies. I like to stuff this bark with as many cookies as possible, with just enough white chocolate to hold the crunchy, chocolatey, cream-filled cookies together.If you want to increase the chocolate factor, add a semi-sweet chocolate layer on the bottom, or give the finished bark a generous drizzle of chocolate on top. There are many different flavors of cream-filled sandwich cookies available now, so feel free to experiment with different flavors of cookies in this bark.IMG_2306

You’ll need:

  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
  • 18 cream-filled sandwich cookies (like Oreos)

Preparation:

1. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil or waxed paper.IMG_2177
Coarsely chop the sandwich cookies until they are in small pieces. Don’t chop them so much that they turn into fine crumbs—you want to have some texture and crunch left in the final product!IMG_2178
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2.
Place the white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl.
IMG_2180Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Heat the white chocolate until it is melted and smooth and free of lumps.IMG_2181

3. Add most of the chopped cookies to the melted white chocolate, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cookies to sprinkle on top. Stir the cookies into the white chocolate until they’re completely coated.IMG_2182

4. Scrape the candy out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it into a thin, even layer.

IMG_21835. Sprinkle the remaining reserved cookies on top of the candy and gently press them down to adhere them to the chocolate.

6. Refrigerate the tray to set the chocolate, for about 30 minutes. Once set, cut the bark into small squares or break it into irregular pieces by hand.IMG_2193

7. The chocolate might get soft at warm room temperature, so you should store this Cookies and Cream Bark in
an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Bacon and prunes: an unusual pairing for a delicious loaf!

August 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

Do you like mixing sugar and salt? The trend is not new and has a lot a appeal. At Sweettablescapes, we know lots of people who love salted caramel, salted chocolate and the less obvious combos including bacon and other savory flavors married with sweet ingredients. This recipe for a Bacon and Prune Loaf  tickled our fancy and we can honestly say…no regrets!!

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The recipe stems for one of our go-to little baking books “Quatre-quarts For Ever” and is quick, easy and really tasty. Give it a try!

You’ll need:

2 eggs

120g sugar

120 slated butter

120g  buckwheat flour (we used plain whole wheat) + 20 g to sprinkle on prunes (this helps prevent them from completely sinking to the bottom of the pan)

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

200g small bacon cubes (“lardons”)

120 g pitted dry prunes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

In a medium bowl, beat eggs, sugar and pinch of salt with an electric mixer until mixture is light in color and creamy.IMG_0113

Melt butter in microwave and add to the egg mixture while mixing. Add flour and baking powder.IMG_0115

In a frying pan, cook bacon bits on medium heat for about 5 minutes and discard fat.

Cut prunes in quarters and sprinkle them with flour. IMG_0114

IMG_0117Add bacon and prunes to the egg and flour mixture.IMG_0116

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Spray loaf pan with anti-stick spray, unless you are using a silicone pan. Pour batter into pan and bake for 40 minutes.IMG_0119

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Enjoy with a salad, or as an aperitif treat.

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Little Princess Cookies

August 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

It had been a while since SWEETTABLESCAPES made little girl’s cookies and when this request came, we were thrilled to dive back into the tiara, gown, castle and wand cookies for a birthday party!!

The colors were, of course, pink and purple with some grey for the boys and we made a selection of shapes and designs, including Princess Sofia’s magnificent ball gown and some Rice Krispie wands, with ribbons!!

Take a look!

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The tiaras were decorated with “diamond” sprinkle by Wilton that we stumbled upon at Target a few days before we had to decorate the cookies! What luck!!!

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Some castles and shields…IMG_0036

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and for the “piece de resistance”, Sofia’s gown:

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And just in case there was not enough of a sugar rush, a few Rice Krispie wands:

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