Friday, June 26, 2009

Mint Chip Gelato

I've made plenty of sorbet and ice creams in our ice cream maker, but this was my first time trying a gelato recipe (not really sure the difference between this and ice cream...). I started with Martha Stewart's mint chip recipe, and made a few little changes (soymilk, the number of yolks I had, the cornstarch, no extract).

The adapted recipe:
2 1/2 c plain soymilk
15 sprigs mint
4 egg yolks
2T cornstarch
1/2 c sugar
4 oz chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe's dark chocolate)
Bring soymilk and mint to boil, take off heat and let steep 30 min. Blend yolks and sugar til thick and pale. Strain the soymilk and bring it back to a boil, then add half the milk to the eggs. Add the milk-egg mixture to the milk and cook til thickened. Mine didn't thicken so I took out about 1/2 c of the mix and added 2T cornstarch, and added that back. Remove from heat, add cream, and strain into container. Refrigerate til very cold, and then freeze in ice cream freezer. When it's set, add the chocolate and let mix for a minute.

The family loved this! The entire quart was gone in about 15 min. I'm not sure about the color - it's sort of the greyish-greenish color of key lime stuff only paler. I think using regular milk would make for a prettier gelato. We'll definitely be making this one again!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lemonana Granita

It's hot! Til this week we've been lucky if it's gotten to 70 any time this summer, today it's 97! I needed a cold dessert/snack for the day.

A few days ago I'd made lemonana using a recipe from a blog I'm not able to find again - but it was something like 1/2 lemon, juiced; 1 T sugar and 15 leaves mint. I thought it'd make a nice granita. I started with a Mint Granita recipe from epicurious and had to make some changes after tasting (not that I don't like mouthwash...). I ended up with:
2 1/4c water
1c mint leaves
3/4 c sugar
1 lemon - juice and zest
1/3 c key lime juice (bottled)
Bring all to a boil, let sit 3 min, strain into container and freeze, stirring every 30 min.

The lime juice was the late change, it was quite minty, so I threw in the quickest citrus I had :) It's a better balance now, though I've no idea of what a true lemonana should taste like, especially one with half bottled lime - ha! Anyway, it's been nice for our first real days of summer!

Sharing the garden

Our season seems sooooo slow here, I've been anxiously watching our peas. The first pods were this weekend, and I was checking them whenever we were outside. Then I went out this afternoon after reading about recipes for pea shoots, and the tips were snipped off! Just a little irony. I'm no master gardener, as you can tell by my make-shift tomato-cage-pea-support, but from reading online, it sounds like birds like pea shoots, too.

We still did get to harvest a little. Here are our first peas of the season - all seven of them :)

Coconut Pineapple Dacquoise

I was really excited about this pick! I've always wanted to try making a dacquoise, and coconut-pineapple sounded like great summer flavors!

I made a half-batch, which still made a lot of dessert! My pineapple got a little over-roasted, and I don't really like coconut on much (in the meringue was fantastic though!), so mine's not the prettiest. It was still very tasty! I loved the meringue sheets.

Thanks to Andrea of Andrea In The Kitchen for this week's recipe!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fondant and Cookies

Some fun news for my family, my brother and his wife are expecting! They live in Reno, so we don't see them too often, and they happened to be visiting this week, so her mom and sister decided to throw a shower. This was only a week in advance, so I didn't have time to really make something for the baby, but I wanted to do something for the shower, so I decided on cookies. Cookies wouldn't compete with a cake or cupcake or anything that would need to be ordered, but would still be a little something more than a pan of bars...right?

I started browsing flickr and was in awe of some of the cookies there- Whipped Bakeshop has the most incredible delft-tile-inspired, hand-painted cookies, which would be amazing since my sister-in-law is scandinavian....and then I came back to reality. I've decorated cookies with royal icing once. They turned out ok, but they were white rabbits - not a lot of real decorating required :) I browsed some more on cakecentral, and read about fondant on cookies, and thought that might work better for my not-great-decorating skills.

I've used Michele Foster's Fondant, available on cakecentral, before, and I've really liked it. This time I tried her updated version, using cream instead of milk. Here's my gelatin/cream/butter/vanilla/almond extract in pyrex, and the powdered sugar in the mixer waiting to go.

The dough hook didn't seem to do it's thing quite as well as I remembered, but I think I let the mixture cool a bit too much.

And after the kneading, it's ready to rest overnight in the fridge. Then I mixed up my mom's sugar cookie recipe and SmittenKitchen's mom's chocolate sugar cookie recipe (new for me), and they both went in the fridge for the night.

On cakecentral, I'd read that some put on the fondant about a minute after taking the cookies out of the oven to get it to stick, and others use some corn syrup. I decided to try the oven trick - hoping to get my timing right! I had a hard time keeping up - next time I'd cut the cookies and place them on the trays in the fridge, and cut the fondant for each batch as they're baking. Most of them worked, but I ended up using the corn syrup on about four of the onesies. I meant to get pictures of adding the fondant, but it got a little crazy - so the best I got was the first batch of cookies (before realizing how quickly I really should be working to get the fondant going!).

After letting the fondant-ed cookies rest about two hrs (the fondant got pretty soft when it was warm - and then I was sidetracked by the chocolate cookies), I used some candy melts to pipe some hearts, so I wouldn't have to wait for royal icing to dry. I just used disposable bags and cut the tip, so it wasn't the neatest ever, but the yellow and pink worked pretty well. The blue wasn't piping very well, so those didn't look so much like hearts :)

And again, best intentions with the chocolate sugar cookies...but just the cookies.

And then the fondant-ed cookies. The bears were way more time consuming with the little bits. I had to use the corn syrup (they're not dry yet in the pictures so you can see the gloss) with these because I was soooo much slower. Piping would be a much better idea for something with any kind of detail. SmittenKitchen's brownie roll-out/chocolate sugar cookie recipe turned out really well - they're a new favorite. I'm sure we'll be having them again!

Greweling's Lemon Mint Ganache

I was excited to find my library has Greweling's Chocolates and Confections. And I've been loving our mint, so my first attempt was the lemon-mint ganache.

I got some El Rey Icoa. This is some fantastic white chocolate - it actually tastes like chocolate. I quartered the recipe, which seemed to work fine. I don't have a frame, so I lined a pyrex loaf pan with parchment, which worked ok except the ganache wasn't very even- it still tasted great :) My chocolate for dipping turned out to be out of temper, so far I'm 1 for 3 in getting my chocolate tempered. I think part of my challenge, besides needing practice, is the timing of 'emergencies' here with the little ones :) It's been fun trying out a few recipes - I'm hoping to become more proficient as I go along!

The lemon logs and the pecan chipotle brittle both looked really good, and I'm hoping to get to those yet before the 25th :)

Our First Strawberry!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Parisian Apple Tart

I finally made it to Trader Joe's today, and they don't carry puff pastry here due to lack of interest. My other two grocery stops only carried Pepperidge Farms, so from Dorie's comment I decided to skip and wait. I'm hoping to try this in the fall, hopefully with my own puff pastry after we go apple picking!

Visit Jessica of
My Baking Heart for this week's recipe and the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers to see others tarts!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cappuccino Squares

I'm not a huge fan of chocolate-cinnamon combos, so I tried the Playing Around version of adding a tb of espresso powder. These are a fun snack cake, and I was surprised that the kids liked them - course they are chocolate :). I think if I made them again, I'd probably reduce the cinnamon, and maybe up the espresso powder a little.

I'm looking forward to next week's Parisian Apple Tart. I think I'd read good reviews of Trader Joe's puff pastry, so I'm hoping to get a trip down this week!

Thanks to Tracy of Tracy‘s Culinary Adventures for this week's pick!