Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

This is a light cake that isn't too sweet or rich. The hazelnuts give a delicious texture. Recipe (1/2 batch)
from Joy of Baking.

1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
3 ounces (170 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2-3 ounces (170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup granulated white sugar(divided)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).

Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until nuts are brown and fragrant and the skins are starting to peel away from the nuts. Remove skins. Place nuts in a food processor, along with the flour and salt, and process until hazelnuts are finely ground. Set aside.

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Butter the pan. On a stove melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and set aside. Beat the egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar until pale and thick. Beat in the vanilla extract.

With a rubber spatula gently fold in the warm chocolate mixture and the nut and flour mixture. Set aside while you whip the egg whites. In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, at medium speed, until foamy and then add the cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/8-1/4 cup sugar, beating at high speed until stiff but not dry. Quickly fold in the remaining whites. Do not over mix or the batter will deflate.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake shows moist crumbs. Cool the torte completely in the pan on a wire rack. It will rise and then fall in the center, leaving a higher rim of cake around the sides and there will also be some cracking and crumbs. Once the torte has cooled completely remove from pan.
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Macadamia Nut Pie

I love macadamias and I love pies; thus I googled "macadamia pie." Since I hate it when nut pies are all sugar/corn syrup and no nuts, my version is more of a pie crust filled with caramalized macadamias (which my lil bro hates since it's not supersweet, but hey he's not the one doing the baking). So easy, takes about 10 min to prepare, and delicious with vanilla ice cream. Adapted from Epicurious.

1/3-1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Kahlua
1 frozen 9-inch pie crust
3 cups roasted unsalted macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Whisk sugar, corn syrup, eggs, butter and vanilla and kahlua in large bowl to blend. Fill pie crust with nuts. Pour sugar mixture over nuts in pie crust. Bake pie until center puffs slightly, about 55 minutes. 

Notes: since I only had a regular not deep dish crust, and I like a LOT of nuts and little sugar, I had extra sugar mixture leftover. I put them in ramekins filled with pecans for crustless pecan pie.
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Mascarpone Cheesecake with Almond Crust

Apparently adding either sour cream or marscapone makes the cheesecake lighter (marscapone more so). I've made cheesecakes before but I really like this one because it's so simple and delicate. From Giada de Laurentis.

1/2 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon amaretto extract
2 large eggs, room temperature

Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Finely grind the almonds, cracker crumbs, and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and process until moist crumbs form. Press the almond mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan (large ramekin). Bake the crust until it is set and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Cool. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla and amaretto. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.
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Flourless Monster Cookies

My roommate Abe bought a 10 lb bag of oats from Costco (not sure what he was thinking), and we were wondering what to do with it when we found this recipe. I don't normally bake cookies but I have fallen in love with this recipe.

They're my favorite cookies now - hearty, delicious, and not too sweet. They're so good, you can't go back to normal cookies. Recipe from Picky Cook.

2013 update (including the photos): I baked these for Bryan's mom, and nothing is as nerve wracking as baking for your potential future mother in law. Especially one who's an expert cook.

Chef Uy: Oh my gosh, it's so sweet. Oh no! What should I do?!!! O_O
B: Well, if it's bad (and it won't be bad of course) but just in case, I'll eat all the cookies for you.

That's true love right there. I've adjusted the recipe by reducing the sugar some more (what was I thinking in 2010!)

Flourless Monster Cookies

1 1/2 cup peanut butter - chunk or smooth
1/2 cup unsalted butter - softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups old fashioned oats - not instant
1 1/2-2 cups of stuff (chocolate chips, pecans, raisins, peanut butter chips, toffee bits, etc. The possibilities are endless)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter, peanut butter and sugars together in mixer (about 3 minutes). Add eggs to butter & sugar mixture one at a time. Make sure the eggs are mixed in well. Add vanilla and salt. Mix to combine. Toss oats, cinnamon and baking soda together and add. Then slowly add the "stuff" and mix until it is incorporated. No need to worry about over-mixing because there is no flour.

Scoop the cookie dough onto the lined baking sheets, flattening tops. Bake for 10 min.
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