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Posts tagged ‘caramel’

Happy Valentines Day-Chocolate Layer Cake With Whipped Chocolate Caramel Ganache Frosting

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I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day but one thing I love to do is make a special dessert, usually containing chocolate. The cake is chocolate, my favorite go to recipe from Hershey and the frosting is one that I developed and entered in a contest at Food52, I was lucky enough to win the contest with this simple and very delicious frosting, there is no added sugar so it’s not cloyingly sweet and is it’s very light. Three layers of cake piled high with chocolate caramel whipped ganache is a great way to celebrate this day that celebrates love. Speaking of love, February 13th is Percy’s gotcha day, I will forever be grateful to Emily for letting me adopt Percy and although he cannot have chocolate cake I will make him a special dinner, his outfit a vest, white shirt and red bow time was made by an uber talented designer I met on Instagram see her work @thestylishbisou, she is amazing.  I made a 8 inch 3 layer cake and the recipe for the ganache made just enough to fill and frost the top, you can easily double the recipe for more frosting to cover the entire cake.

I am bringing this special Valentines cake with me to Fiesta Friday #158 and the co hosts this week are Ai @ Ai Made It For You and Petra @ Food Eat Love Check out all the gorgeous food and join us all at the party.

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Hershey’s Best Chocolate Cake

makes 24 cupcakes, two 9 inch layers or three 8 inch layers

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp espresso powder (optional)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup whole milk at room temperature

2 large eggs at room temperature lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Line muffin pan with liners or butter and flour cake pans.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. In 4 cup measuring cup add the wet ingredients and whisk together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with electric mixer for 2 minutes. In the meantime put water on to boil and add the 1 cup boiling water to the batter and mix with electric mixer for 1 minute or until combined.

The batter will be thin, thats ok it’s supposed to be that way. Pour into prepared pans and for cupcakes bake 20-25 minutes. Layer cakes 30-40 minutes depending on size of the pan. Cake is done when tester inserted in middle comes out clean.

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Whipped Chocolate Caramel Ganache

Chocolate Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter cut into tablepoon-size pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 ounces dark chocolate (I used bittersweet)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put the heavy cream in a glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 45 seconds, add chocolate and microwave another 30 seconds Stir until its smooth, add the vanilla extract and stir to combine, add the butter to the warm chocolate cream and set aside .
In large saucepan add the sugar, turn heat to med/high and let sit until it starts to liquefy. Swirl the pot and gently move  with a heat proof spatula.  Cook until it turns amber in color.
Remove from heat and add the chocolate cream. Stir until its incorporated. Be careful when adding the cream and butter the hot liquid sugar will bubble and could burn you. Store in a container at room temperature until ready to use. If you make this ahead of time, simply place the bottle or jar in hot water to warm the caramel so it’s pourable. Note: I changed this slightly, instead of adding the butter and then the choolate cream. I added the butter to the warm chocolate cream and added it all at once after removing the caramel from the heat.
Ganache :
4 ounces dark chocolate broken into small pieces
4 ounces milk chocolate broken into small pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon liquor (I like cointreau or kahlua) or vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate caramel sauce
Heat cream to scalding (not boiling). Pour over the pieces of chocolate that are in a mixing bowl. Let sit 5 minutes then stir until there are no pieces of chocolate and it’s smooth and shiny, then add the chocolate caramel sauce and stir to combine.
Place bowl in an ice bath or in the refrigerator until cooled but not COLD  — it will stiffen fairly quickly if it gets too cold. Remove from the ice bath and beat with a mixer or whisk until the ganache is fluffy and spreadable. Frost the cake immediately. Best served at room temperature.

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Percy

Percy

Pralines And Cream Ice Cream

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It has been so hot in NYC that I have barely turned the stove or oven on. Salads, quick cooking foods are what I am making and because of this my blog has suffered from neglect. Ice cream has become a major food group for me along with cucumbers and tomatoes. A few weeks ago I made mocha almond fudge and now I am going to tackle the other flavor that I love, Pralines and Cream. I am partial to Haagen Daz ice cream and their Pralines and Cream is amazing, but I have not found it in a store around here for years, it must be really unpopular with the general public, it’s not even in the Haagen Daz store near me. The other day I was rummaging through the frozen case in the market looking for a pint of vanilla and almost shrieked, there it was 1 pint of Pralines and Cream, it had probably been there for a while, it was caked with ice but I got it anyway. It was a little worse for wear, probably had partially melted but still the taste of this creamy, dreamy concoction was still there. I was able to commit to memory the taste, fresh in my mind and I set out to make my own. Pralines are not readily available around here, you ask for them and people look at you like you have 2 heads. Searching the internet for recipes for Pralines and Cream Ice Cream I came across one from Emeril Lagasse. There is a vanilla custard base, caramel sauce and pralines, pretty simple really. Taking into account the terrible heat and humidity and not wanting to spend one minute more at my stove than absolutely necessary I decided to use already prepared vanilla ice cream, make some pralines and use dulce de leche I had in the fridge (it’s ridiculously easy to make).  Love this because the time at the stove is minimal and the ice cream is really wonderful. The recipe for pralines is from Emeril and makes enough for several quarts of ice cream.

I don’t like the term semi homemade but thats what this is. Using Haagen Daz vanilla with homemade dulce de leche and pralines this was easy to make and was almost instant gratification and really pretty close to my beloved Haagen Daz Pralines and Cream.

This yummy ice cream is coming with me to Fiesta Friday #132, I’ve got the ice chest ready and will try to make it there without it melting. Angie’s co hosts this week are Sandhya @ Indfused and Nancy @ Feasting With Friends.

Pralines

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 tbs salted butter

2 tbs water

pinch of salt

Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil on medium high heat stirring constantly until it reaches the soft ball stage 238 -240 degree’s, if you don’t have a candy thermometer have a bowl of ice cold water next to the stove and drop a little in, if it forms into a soft ball it’s ready. Add the pecans and place the pan in an ice bath stirring constantly until cooled. Pour onto buttered parchment lined sheet pan and let cool. The consistency will be like fudge. When it’s cool break into pieces and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Making the Ice Cream

To make the ice cream (my shortcut) soften some vanilla ice cream (I chose haagen dazs) put half of it in a freezer container, sprinkle on some chopped praline and drizzle caramel or dulce de leche. Add the other half of the ice cream on top and add the rest of the praline and caramel, swirl with a butter knife and freeze for a few hours.

There was a little dulce de leche left so I added it to a homemade fudge sauce serving it warm over the ice cream. It was really good. To make the fudge sauce is easy, just like ganache, equal parts chocolate and cream. Add the chocolate to scalding hot cream, let it sit, stir and add some dulce de leche if you like and spoon over ice cream. It’s wonderful.

Hot Fudge Sundae

Hot Fudge Sundae

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Happy Valentines Day- Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Madeleines And Chocolate Caramel Sauce

Valentines Day

Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day everyone, I felt I must make something chocolate for today, but didn’t want anything too heavy. This has 3 components, a chocolate madeleine, caramelized white chocolate ice cream and a chocolate caramel sauce. I built this around the caramelized white chocolate that I made, at first I was going to do a mousse but decided on ice cream, after searching the internet I found David Lebovitz recipe and saw that he took a chocolate course that Valhrona offered and made this very same thing. I am therefore crediting the great Mr, Lebovitz for the ice cream recipe. The chocolate caramel sauce is my own creation and is amazing, I sort of winged it having only made caramel sauce for the first time a few weeks ago.  I used the same recipe and simply added dark chocolate to the cream, it worked out perfectly.  I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Madeleines

Madeleines

Chocolate Madeleines:

A recipe by Gale Gand

Makes 2 dozen

  • 1/2 cup, plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, for buttering madeleine molds
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush madeleine pans well with 4 tablespoons softened butter; refrigerate 5 minutes.
  2. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt remaining 1/2 cup butter over medium heat. Continue to cook until butter turns golden brown, being careful not to let the butter burn. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip eggs with granulated and brown sugars until light and thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and stir on low speed until combined. Add vanilla and reserved browned butter; mix just until blended.
  4. Insert a 1/2-inch plain tip into a pastry bag and fill with batter. Pipe mounds of batter into prepared pans until each mold is full, mounding batter in the center of the molds but not filling to the edge. Alternatively, you can use a teaspoon to fill the molds with batter (which is what I did). Bake until madeleines are firm and a little mound is puffed up in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes. Madeleines are best eaten the same day they are baked.

Chocolate Caramel Sauce:

1 cup granulated sugar

6 tbs salted butter (yes salted) cut into tbs size pieces

2 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped (I used scharffen berger 62%)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

Put the heavy cream in a glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 45 seconds, add chocolate and microwave another 30 seconds Stir until its smooth, set aside so that it will cool before adding to the caramel.

In large saucepan add the sugar, turn heat to med/high and let sit until it starts to liquify. Start stirring with a heat proof spatula, the sugar will crystalize but thats alright keep stirring until its all liquid. Stop stirring and let it cook until it turns amber in color, now add the butter, stir to combine. Remove from heat and add the chocolate cream. Stir until its incorporated in the caramel. Store in container at room temperature until ready to use. Note: If you make this ahead of time, simply place the bottle or jar in hot water to warm the caramel so it’s pourable.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream

Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream:

A Recipe by David Lebovitz

Makes about 1 quart (1l)

Make sure the caramelized white chocolate is warm when you mix it with the cream. You can reheat it in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in a microwave on low power, stirring until smooth.

8 ounces (240g) caramelized white chocolate

1 cup (250ml) heavy cream

2 cups (500ml) whole milk

1/2 cup (100g) sugar

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

5 large egg yolks

1. Mix the warm caramelized white chocolate in a large bowl with the heavy cream, and set a mesh strainer over the top.

2. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the milk, sugar, and salt.

3. Whisk together the egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in half of the warm milk, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof utensil, until the mixture thickens and coats the utensil.

5. Immediately pour the custard through the strainer into the white chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Put the bowl in an ice bath, and stir until cool.

6. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

This is the best ice cream I think I have ever had, it’s so creamy and the perfect consistency, thank you Mr, Lebovitz for a wonderful recipe.

Note: In step one I deviated slightly, I heated the cream in the microwave to warm it for 30 seconds, I then added the chocolate and put it back in the microwave for another 20 seconds. It melted the chocolate and made a ganache. It was easier to combine with the custard when it was already melted.

Dessert is served

Dessert is served

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Game Day – Something Sweet

It wouldn’t be a super bowl party without the something sweet, at least in my opinion. I don’t want to be chained to the kitchen and miss the game so I am planning a do it yourself Ice Cream Sundae buffet, with 3 different flavors of ice cream, some hot fudge, brownies, a pot of espresso (for affogato) and an array of different toppings. Everyone can tailor their sundae however they want it. I made some home made caramel popcorn today, if you have never had popcorn on or in ice cream you definitely should. It’s amazing, I first tasted it last summer when a local pastry chef/business owner introduced me to popcorn ice cream. I was blown away!

You can judge how much ice cream to buy or make depending on how many guests you will have. For the brownies, I discovered this recipe from “The Solitary Cook” and it can be found on Food52, its called Brownies to the Power of Four and they are hands down the best brownie I have ever had. Set up a dessert buffet with whatever you plan on serving, bowls and utensils and let your guests serve themselves whenever they want. My dessert buffet will consist of:

Ice Cream (vanilla bean, chocolate and dulce de leche)

Brownies

Pot of hot espresso

caramel popcorn, hot fudge, roasted chopped hazelnuts and almonds.

Fruit platter for those watching the waistline

Everything but the ice cream can be set up on the table, I put the hot espresso in a thermal carafe.

The Brownies recipe courtesy The Solitary Cook  http://thesolitarycook.wordpress.com/author/thesolitarycook/

Makes 12 , 16, or more, depending on how large you cut them

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I like ghirardhelli or guittard)

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup cocoa powder, not dutched

6 ounces butter, 1″ chunks

5 large eggs

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup unbleached flour

3/4 teaspoons sea or kosher salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or white chocolate chips

1 cup toasted nuts (optional) or peanut butter swirled in after panning mixture (also optional, but damn good)

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9″ x 9″ baking pan with parchment and grease or spray the sides.
  • Measure chopped semi-sweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, and butter into a large heatproof bowl and set over simmering water. By melting the cocoa powder into the other chocolates and butter, you get a much better mix with it, and its flavor is deeper. Stir occasionally until all ingredients have melted. Remove from heat and stir to thoroughly blend.
  • While chocolates are melting, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. When chocolate mixture is ready, whisk in the egg mixture. Set or hold a sieve over the bowl and measure the flour and salt right into it. Sift into the bowl, pressing any lumps through with your fingertips. Use a good stiff spatula to stir everything together just until blended.
  • Now gild the lily. Add the chocolate chips of your choice and your nuts if using them. Once everything is nicely blended, scrape the batter into your pan. Spoon in peanut butter if using, and use the tip of the spoon to swirl it in. Bake for 30-35 minutes. When done, the surface should be shiny and the brownies still tender to the touch. A toothpick test is useless; if you bake them until one comes out clean, they’ll be dreadfully overbaked, and that would be so sad.
When done, cool on a rack until completely cool. Wrap securely with plastic and leave at room temperature overnight. To depan, run a small spatula around the edge and invert the pan onto a sheet of parchment. Place a cutting board larger than the brownies on top of the bottom. Carefully turn right-side-up. Cut into 12 equal pieces, or more. They’re fantastic served slightly warmed with your favorite ice cream.

Brownies photo by The Solitary Cook

Caramel popcorn is really easy to make, I used microwave plain (unflavored) popcorn and made the caramel which didn’t take more than 20 minutes. Popcorn is always a great game day treat, I will always put several bowls out for my guests to enjoy, the caramel popcorn I am putting on the dessert buffet. To make it you will need:
  • 1 bag microwave popcorn (follow package directions) dump it into a bowl, sort out any un-popped kernels and place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm

The caramel:

2 tbs salted butter

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup Lyles Golden Syrup 0r Karo clear syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp sea salt to sprinkle on popcorn before it goes in the oven.

Add the butter and melt on medium/high heat now add brown sugar and lyles syrup, stir to combine and when it comes to a boil add the sweetened condensed milk, stir and place candy thermometer in pot you need the temperature to reach 238 degrees. When it reaches the proper temperature remove from heat and add the vanilla. Take the popcorn out of the oven and immediately pour caramel onto the popcorn, mix well and quickly. Dump it onto a silpat lined baking sheet, spread it out and sprinkle with sea salt. Place back in the 200 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. You should stir occasionally breaking up big chunks.  Remove from oven and let cool, break up any large chunks and place in air tight container until you are ready to use.

Salted Caramel Popcorn