29 July 2010

Raspberry Chocolate Clafoutis

I love this last photo. It makes me drool.

Clafoutis: the dish so nice, I made it twice... in the span of two weeks. Okay, that was cheesy. I apologize. I'm not going to lie; clafoutis are easy, delicious, versatile, and can sort of pass as breakfast food when I'm running out the door in the morning. Ahem. Also, I just plain love anything chocolatey, and since the HUGE power outage that knocked out the power for something like 300,000 houses in our area, I've been looking to use the defrosted frozen (previously fresh) berries that have been sitting in my fridge.

This is me being industrious and delicious AT THE SAME TIME. Admit it; I'm awesome.

I think my roommates are FINALLY getting used to my style of baking (aka loud music, dancing, godawful singing, and a huge mess everywhere... hey, I never claimed to be the prettiest baker to ever hit the interwebs). Cassie even asked... okay, who the hell am I kidding? Cassie DEMANDED to help me mix the batter, in between screaming at the new episode of Jersey Shore. I live in a mental asylum, but at least it's interesting. :)

Also, for the first time, I let the gods of last.fm decide upon my musical selection while baking. Laaaaazy. I just used the "Play Your Library" function, and it spit out a great mix, which I will now enumerate. Those who care, feel free to add me as a last.fm friend! --> http://www.last.fm/user/alynnhouse
Those who don't, feel free to skip ahead.

1) "The Resistance" - Anberlin
2) "Cuddle Fuddle" - Passion Pit
3) "Are You Sleeping?" - Harry Nilsson
4) "Crush'd" - Say Anything
5) "Tidal" - Imogen Heap
6) "Are You With Me" - Vaux

Primo jumping around the kitchen music. :)

ANYWAY... on to the actual recipe. This recipe, it turns out, is NOTHING like the other clafoutis recipe I posted. This dessert is very much a dessert; it's very rich and sweet and tangy (thanks to the raspberries). The texture is much more like a custard (thanks, I'm sure, to the whole milk and less eggs). Still, this recipe is absolutely a keeper, just for a different purpose. Yum!

Raspberry Chocolate Clafoutis
Adapted from Gourmet

  • 12 oz raspberries
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c whole milk
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
To Make:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray baking dish (I used the infamous casserole dish, but I'm sure any would work) with nonstick spray.
  2. Toss raspberries with sugar and set aside.
  3. Combine all remaining ingredients EXCEPT chocolate, beating until smooth.
  4. Spread raspberry mixture evenly in bottom of baking dish. Pour batter over raspberries.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes (SEE NOTES) until puffed up. Remove and immediately scatter chocolate over the top. Cool for at least 20 minutes.
Some Notes:
  • Next time I am absolutely going to butter the dish instead of nonstick-spraying it. It created the best crust on my last clafoutis.
  • I would definitely recommend lengthening the baking time by at least 5 minutes on this dish. It didn't firm up the way I expected it would... nothing like my last clafoutis. I think this was probably because the raspberries I used were much juicier than the cherries. Although this clafoutis was cooked through, it was the most custard-like around the edges.
  • Next time I might also use bittersweet chocolate, like the original recipe called for, instead of semisweet. The semisweet and the raspberries together were a bit much. It would have been nice to have the bite of bittersweet.

24 July 2010

Cookies 'n' Creme Fudge

If there's anything that I love, love, L-O-V-E, it would have to be fudge. I think I could eat fudge every day for the rest of my life and be completely content with it. So many variations, so much delicious.

It's been hot like Hell in DC this weekend, with temperatures hitting 104. So what did I do all day today? Well, I trekked around the hot and humid streets of DC, hitting museums and searching out food with Jack Licata... in retrospect, not a good decision on our parts. I got sunburnt and dehydrated, and was in no shape to do anything productive this afternoon. I'd been wanting to make fudge for a while, and my roommate Cassie INSISTED on me varying up the flavor. She helped me find a recipe for cookies 'n' creme fudge, and I ran with it.

Cookies 'n' Creme Fudge

  • 12 oz. white chocolate
  • 12 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. roughly chopped chocolate cookies
To Make:
  1. In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine white chocolate, condensed milk and salt. Stir until smooth.
  2. Fold in the cookies.
  3. Line a baking pan with foil, and spread the mixture into the pans. Chill for at least two hours. Turn the fudge out onto a cutting board, and remove the foil.
Some Notes:
  • Eliminate crumbs when chopping the cookies. They discolor the fudge.
  • Be very, very careful to stir the white chocolate constantly while melting, and not to allow it to burn. The mixture can go from beautiful to disaster in seconds.
  • This is such a basic recipe, and so easy to make, I am definitely going to get creative with flavor combinations in the future! Be ready for some weird fudge flavors coming out of this kitchen.

Now THAT'S a kitchen!

Today I visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History, here in DC, for one reason alone... to view the kitchen that Ms. Julia Child used to film her cooking show! Yes, I'm aware that this is incredibly nerdy on my part, but I couldn't care less. I was obsessed. If I'm romantic about anything, it's food, and the Julia Child exhibit definitely capitalized on that. I've posted some of my pictures below!

Pretty phenomenal.

I would KILL for a set of pots and pans like that.

Oh hey, it's me. :)

Ms. Child's diploma from Le Cordon Bleu.

Will do, Julia.

22 July 2010

Sunshine Thins

When I was trying to describe these to Jacob (as I was making them), the only thing I could come up with was "lemon glazed butter things." But after one bite, I knew exactly what they reminded me of... sunshine. Hence, the name, obvi. One bite and I was able to breathe easier, smile, and relax... something I haven't been able to do in weeks. Maybe it was the way that these cookies are airy and light and just melt in your mouth. More likely, it's probably the tangy-sweetness of the lemon glaze, which is by far one of my favorite scent and tastes. Either way, I am impressed with this largely made-up recipe, and suggest you make it straightaway.

Sunshine Thins

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) of butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice, separated
  • about 2 c powdered sugar
To Make:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with nonstick foil.
  2. In large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and 1 tbsp lemon juice, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Place powdered sugar in a small bowl. Form dough into 1" balls (careful... very sticky <-- that's what she said) and roll each ball in powdered sugar, placing on baking sheet. Then roll balls in powdered sugar for a second time. Place about 1.5" apart on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes in the center of the oven. Rotate pan. Bake for another 8 minutes, or until golden around the edges.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes. While they are cooling, mix remaining powdered sugar with lemon juice incrementally until a glaze is formed. Top cookies liberally with glaze.
Some Notes:
  • If you want to go for presentation, when you rotate the cookies, you can fork-press them a la peanut butter cookies. It makes them pretty!
  • Next time, I think I'm going to sprinkle turbinado sugar on after the glaze, for presentation and texture.

Fluffernutter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

First of all, I apologize for the terrible pictures, but you will get over it. I promise.

Some nights, you just don't feel like going out. Some nights, you feel like laying on the floor, even though there is a perfectly good couch, with two of your three roommates, reading good literature, and baking ridiculously easy cookies. Oh, hello, last Friday night...

These cookies are easy-peasy, with 4 ingredients and, like, a grand total of 20 minutes start to finish (baking time included). They require one bowl, one spoon, one baking sheet, and one oven, equipment-wise. So you really can make them, even if you "live in a frat house with no tasty food." No excuses.

Oh, and I apologize for the imprecise measurements, but if it really bugs you, all I can say is: pull the stick outta your butt, and start being more impulsive. Kthanks.

Fluffernutter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 regular jar of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 regular jar of Jet Puffed marshmallow creme
  • 12 oz chocolate chips
To Make:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter and egg thoroughly. Mix in marshmallow creme, but DO NOT mix thoroughly. You should still be able to see white streaks.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips. Be careful not to overmix.
  4. Drop in spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to completely cool on cookie sheet before you try to remove them, or they will crumble.
Some Notes:
  • Honestly, the cookies were better the day after. This might be one of those recipes that you should probably let sit. And they weren't good hot, but they were DELICIOUSLY rich after they had cooled off a little.

Oh, hey roommates...!

21 July 2010

Trainwreck Cookies with Toasted Coconut

I have so many memories attached to these particular cookies.

The story behind the naming of the Trainwreck Cookies:
It took me a very long time to figure out how to make these delicious cookies look presentable (and even now, they're frustrating as hell, and break easily when you try to get them off the foil... but totally worth it). The first time I ever made them was for Thanksgiving a few years back, when my grandparents, my mother, my brother and I visited my mom's sister and her family in Texas. I must say up front that when I was younger I always adored and idolized my Uncle Mike. As I was wrestling with the tin foil, and subsequently looking like a fool, my uncle came into the kitchen, stopped, looking at me, laughed, and said "Well, this looks like a trainwreck." He ate his words later (and, like, the entire plate of cookies... hah!).

Another (less interesting) memory attached to these cookies is when I would make them and bring them into IB English 12 every couple of weeks. It was one of my first experiences wherein I was liked implicitly by people (aka Brittany and the swimmer boys) who really didn't give a damn about me beforehand. Because I brought in cookies, they not only were nice to me, they also requested my baked goods with increasing frequency. It was nice to be of value, but not too nice. Ultimately, it just solidified my dislike of mean and snobby people.

Anyway, this time, I made them to celebrate my 20th birthday, which was on Monday.

Trainwreck Cookies are chocolate-caramel graham cracker cookies with accentuation. These cookies are tied with my Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies for the most universally well-liked of my cookies. The Trainwreck Cookies have the added benefit of being very versatile, and can be topped with just about anything: chopped and toasted nuts, M&Ms, other kinds of chocolate, or (as in this case) coconut. I have vowed to get this recipe completely perfect, and am well on my way. See my notes, at the end.

Trainwreck Cookies

  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 packs graham crackers (they usually come 3 packs/box)
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • about 1 1/2-1 c of desired topping
To Make:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking pan with high sides (trust me, it's important) with NONSTICK foil (also important), so that there is a couple inches of overhang on every side. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. This will make your life so much easier in the long run.
  2. Place graham crackers on baking sheet in a single layer, as tightly packed as possible, so you have a sheet of graham crackers.
  3. In a pot on medium heat, melt the butter, then add brown sugar. Stir until the mixture resembles caramel, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour caramel evenly over graham crackers, and spread with spatula. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the caramel is violently bubbly (and the kitchen smells delicious).
  5. Take pan out of over, sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over graham crackers. Bake for another 2 minutes. Using spatula, spread melty chocolate evenly over graham crackers. Top with desired accenting topping(s).
  6. Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes, then place in freezer for 15. After frozen, allow to thaw for a few minutes, then using a sharp knife, make deep cuts in the sheet of cookies to delineate intended cookie size. Then, pray that the foil comes off.
Some Notes:
  • My Canadian roommate suggested using parchment paper instead of foil next time. I am absolutely going to do so. If you try it before me, let me know how it works!

20 July 2010

Cherry Clafoutis

Helloooooo! We're going to go ahead and pretend that I have not been completely absent for the last half a year. Let's, instead, accept the fact that I'm coming late to the party, and embrace the fact that I showed up at all!

I've been living in Washington, DC this summer, interning and generally getting lost way more often than I probably should be. The apartment that I'm living in came furnished with dishes, but they wouldn't tell me what dishes before I moved in... so I did the unthinkable. I LEFT ALL MY BAKING EQUIPMENT IN AKRON! And of course, we don't even have a baking pan other than a casserole dish. I've had to scrape, borrow, and sell my firstborn child to get any baking done here. Hence, this lovely breakfast food... Cherry Clafoutis in a casserole dish!

Kat and I FINALLY had time to talk on the phone about a week ago... and oh, boy, did we talk. I miss her, although I'm really excited that she's moving out West in a little more than a week, I also am jealous and want to be able to visit her a lot! P.S. Kat- I am buying a ticket next week. Thanksgiving for the ages!

Anyway, she point-blank told me to make a clafoutis. And because I respect my elders, I did. And it was delicious. If you don't know what a clafoutis is... I really can't help you out. It's french in origin. But I can't figure out how to explain what it tastes like other than the french like butter a lot, and cherries are delicious this time of year. And now that I'm absolutely pro at clafoutis-ing, I have a killer recipe for raspberry-chocolate clafoutis that I could probably pass off as some semblance of a breakfast food...

Glad to be back. :)

Cherry Clafoutis "Casserole"
Adapted from Sunlight Cafe

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 c ripe cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 1/3 c flour
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • whipped cream
To Make:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. While preheating, melt the butter in the bottom of the casserole dish, and allow to spread all over the bottom of the dish. Mix 1 tbsp of flour with the cherries and set aside.
  2. Combine milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt and mix until smooth. Pour batter into the casserole dish, and spoon the cherries into the batter, concentrating them near the center.
  3. Bake the dish for 35 minutes, until browned around the edges.
  4. Top with whipped cream, and serve warm.