Friday, September 30, 2011

Tuscan bean soup with the best croûtons I've ever made

Tuscan bean soup / Sopa toscana de feijão branco

When I told Joao I was making this soup he made his usual “eeeew” face and said: “I hate white beans”. I immediately thought “you hate just about everything” but since I was in a very good mood I kept on cooking and singing ("Breakfast in America" was stuck in my head that day).

The hubby did not eat the soup but went crazy for the croûtons – and indeed they were delicious. I had no idea that croûtons made in a frying pan could be so good. He ended up eating almost all of them – I should have told him “no soup, no croûtons”, but I didn’t. I’m such a softie. :)

Tuscan bean soup
from the always gorgeous and delicious Australian Gourmet Traveller

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g dried white beans, soaked overnight in cold water, drained
5 cups (1.2l) vegetable or chicken stock
1 ¼ cups (300ml) heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
150g day-old ciabatta loaf – or your favorite bread – cut into rough cubes

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add leek, onion and garlic and sauté until tender (8-10 minutes). Add beans and stock, bring to the boil, then cook over low-medium heat until beans are very tender (30-45 minutes; add more stock if beans become too dry).
Meanwhile, for croûtons, heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add ciabatta and stir frequently until golden and crisp (2-4 minutes), then set aside on absorbent paper to drain.
Transfer bean mixture to a food processor or blender and process, in batches, with cream until smooth.
Season to taste and serve hot, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and scattered with croûtons.

Serves 6

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Little almond crostate with roast pears

Little almond crostate with roast pears / Tortinhas de amêndoa com pêras assadas

Spring is here! It’s time to say goodbye to my beloved pears, apples and strawberries (I know that sounds bizarre to some of you but strawberry season here is in the winter). That’s fine: mangoes and watermelons arrive to make me happy – and stone fruit is just around the corner.

One last pear recipe to celebrate the end of winter while I search for recipes with a spring feeling... :)

Little almond crostate with roast pears / Tortinhas de amêndoa com pêras assadas

Little almond crostate with roast pears
slightly adapted from the always gorgeous Australian Gourmet Traveller

Pastry (almond pasta frolla):
60g natural almonds
180g all purpose flour
100g unsalted butter, cold and coarsely chopped
60g icing sugar, sifted
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Almond cream:
2/3 cup (160ml) whole milk
3 pieces lemon zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
2 egg yolks
½ cup (100g) superfine sugar
50g unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (50g) almond meal
1 teaspoon dark rum

8 small ripe pears, such as Corella, halved, core removed with a melon baller – I used very small pears called “Ercolini”
¾ cup (150g) superfine sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter, coarsely chopped

Start with the pastry (almond pasta frolla): process almonds and 50g flour in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter, sugar, zest, remaining flour and salt, process until fine crumbs form. Add egg mixture, process until mixture just comes together, turn onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly until smooth. Form dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate to rest (1-2 hours).

Meanwhile, prepare the almond cream: bring milk and zest to the simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk yolks and ¼ cup (50g) of the sugar in a bowl to dissolve sugar. Add milk mixture, whisk to combine, return to pan, whisking continuously until thick and smooth (2-3 minutes), then remove zest and cool completely. Beat butter and remaining ¼ cup (50g) sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (1-2 minutes), add almond meal, rum and cooled custard, set aside at room temperature.

Now, the pears: preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Place pears, cut-side up, in a roasting pan that fits pears snugly. Scatter with sugar and lemon zest, drizzle with lemon juice and dot with butter, making sure to include one in each cavity. Roast, basting occasionally, until pears are tender and edges are golden (35-40 minutes). Keep warm.
Bake the tartlets: lightly butter eight 9cm-diameter tart pans. Divide pastry into eight pieces. Working with one piece at a time, and keeping other pieces refrigerated, roll on between two pieces of lightly floured baking paper into 3mm-thick rounds and line the prepared pans with them. Prick pastry all over with a small fork. Divide almond cream among tartlet and bake until golden (35-40 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature with roast pears and syrup.
Crostate are best eaten on day of making.

Makes 8 – I halved the recipe above, used 9cm tartlet pans and still got 6 tartlets

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple and lemon cakes

Apple and lemon cakes / Bolinhos de limão siciliano e maçã

No inspiration for today’s post. Not one ounce of it. But please do not let that keep you from baking these cakes: they’re delicious and oh, so tender.

Apple and lemon cakes
adapted from Donna Hay’s apricot cakes

125g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup + 1 ½ tablespoons (218g) granulated sugar + a little extra for sprinkling
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggs
1 ½ cups (210g) all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 large apple

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter six 1-cup (240ml) capacity mini cake pans.
Place butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add the juice, then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt over the mixture in the bowl and stir to combine.
Divide batter equally among the prepared pans.
Slice the apple in half, remove the core and seeds, then slice each half in 9 thin wedges. Arrange 3 slices over each cake. Sprinkle with the extra sugar. Bake 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool in the pans, over a wire rack, for 15 minutes, then carefully unmold. Cool completely over the wire rack.

Makes 6

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Carrot and apricot croquettes and a little white lie

Carrot and apricot croquettes / Croquetes de cenoura e damasco

I might be a cookbook junkie but certain cookbooks don’t appeal to me – I would never buy this book, for example. Never. I hate the idea of deceiving kids in order to make them eat veggies and fruit. They should eat good food and be aware of that. They should know what beetroots and carrots and eggplants look and taste like. That’s how my mom fed me as a kid and how I fed my sister when she was little.

But life is full of surprises and I ended up marrying a picky eater. Yes, go ahead and laugh now. :)
Therefore, when he asked me which ingredients there were in these croquettes, I lied. I LIED, people. I did not tell him there were dried apricots in it. No, sir. Just plain carrots and a pinch of herbs. Nothing more.

I probably should feel guilty for lying to him but I do not. He ate several croquettes and said they were delicious. I guess I’ll keep on lying about ingredients – hell, I might even turn it into an Olympic sport. :D

Carrot and apricot croquettes
slightly adapted from the always delicious and beautiful Australian Gourmet Traveller

650g carrots (about 5 medium), peeled and coarsely chopped
90g day-old white breadcrumbs
5 dried apricots, finely diced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons flaked almonds
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 egg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
breadcrumbs, extra, for rolling the croquettes
2 tablespoons olive oil, for shallow-frying

Steam carrot in a steamer over a saucepan of boiling water until tender (20-25 minutes). Transfer to a bowl, mash to a smooth purée, add the breadcrumbs, apricots, spring onions, almonds, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, egg, season to taste and mix to form a soft dough, adding more breadcrumbs if dough is too sticky. Roll 1 ½ leveled tablespoons of mixture into cigar shapes then place on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Heat olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan over medium-high heat. Roll the croquettes in the breadcrumbs, then cook them in the olive oil, in batches, until golden on the outside. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Makes about 25

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coconut rice pudding with toasted almonds + "Super 8"

Coconut rice pudding with toasted almonds / Arroz doce de coco com amêndoas tostadas

So my sister convinced me to go watch "Super 8" with her – you see, I belong to the Goonies generation, therefore I’m always suspicious towards movies with kids – I never expect much, because I know deep in my heart that nothing will beat my favorite. But I have to say that I was impressed with “Super 8”: I thought the movie was adorable, with very well directed scenes, and Elle Fanning is certainly one to be watched in the future.

What does “Super 8” have to do with this rice pudding? Well, actually, nothing. It’s just that my sister loved it as much as she loved the movie. And I did, too. :D

Coconut rice pudding with toasted almonds
slightly adapted from the always gorgeous Donna Hay Magazine

1/3 cup flaked almonds
1 cup (200g) Arborio rice
4 cups (960ml) coconut milk
1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (112g) superfine sugar

Toast the almonds in a dry nonstick frying pan over medium heat until lightly golden and fragrant. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.
Make the rice pudding: combine the rice, coconut milk, milk and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring often, until rice is tender, 20 minutes.
Serve the pudding warm sprinkled with the almonds.

Serves 4

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chocolate cake with cocoa glaze

Chocolate cake with cocoa glaze / Bolo de chocolate com calda de cacau

One look at the list of cakes I’ve posted so far and you will see that chocolate cakes are not very popular around here (and we’re talking almost 5 years of blogging, people); lemon (surprise!), apple and banana are the usual suspects. But the photo of this cake on Rose's book made me really curious about it: the shiny, dark glaze looked so beautiful. Almost supernatural. I had to make it myself.

The cake is ridiculously tender and oh, so delicious – not to mention that I felt like drinking the entire pan of glaze before pouring it on the cake; a recipe worth baking again, and again – that coming from a lemon freak like me should make you guys curious, too. :)

Chocolate cake with cocoa glaze
slightly adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes

1 cup sour cream*
¾ cup (67g) unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup (67) almond meal (finely ground almonds)
1 2/3 cups (233g) all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup (250g) demerara sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Cocoa syrup:
¼ cup (22g) unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder
1/3 cup (67g) superfine sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Generously butter a 10-cup capacity Bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, cocoa, eggs and vanilla – mixture will be lumpy. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the almond flour, all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt on low speed for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and the cocoa mixture and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 ½ minutes. Scrape the side of the bowl then beat for another 30 seconds. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Make the cocoa syrup shortly before the cake is finished baking: in a small saucepan, whisk together the cocoa and sugar. Add a small amount of the boiling water, whisking until all of the mixture is moistened. Add the remaining water, whisk, and then bring the mixture to a boil over low heat, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool for 5 minutes before using it in the cake.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, poke it all over with a wooden skewer then pour 1/3 of the cocoa syrup over the cake. Let the cake cool in the pan over a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto a plate and brush it with the remaining cocoa syrup. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

*homemade sour cream: to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until thicker (I left mine overnight at room temperature and was pretty thick, beautiful)

Serves 12-14

Friday, September 16, 2011

Linzer muffins and a new goal

Linzer muffins / Muffins linzer

I feel that some of you reading me right now will relate to the following situation: every time I go to the grocery store I buy ingredients I do not actually need just because I might need them for a certain recipe someday. Then days, months go by before I use those ingredients. And, shame on me, sometimes they go to the garbage can. I know, it’s awful. And I’ve done that too many times, I must confess.

I’ve decided to bring that kind of silly thing to an end and bake with the ingredients I have on hand. To achieve that goal, I made an inventory of my ingredients – inspired by Martha – and that resulted in these delicious, super tender muffins.

Linzer muffins
slightly adapted from the wonderful Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen

1 ½ cups (210g) all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups (150g) almond meal (finely ground almonds)
¾ cup (150g) superfine sugar
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (240ml) whole milk, room temperature
6 tablespoons (¾ stick/84g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
about 1/3 cup raspberry jam
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Butter a muffin pan with twelve ½ cup capacity muffin cups.
Whisk together flour, almond meal, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk together milk, butter, egg and vanilla extract in a small bowl, then stir into dry ingredients just until combined – do not overmix; batter should be lumpy.
Put a scant ¼ cup batter into each muffin cup. Top each with 1 rounded teaspoon jam. Divide remaining batter among cups. Bake until golden and muffins pull away from edges of cups, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 to 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Makes 12 – I halved the recipe, used 1/3 cup (80ml) capacity muffin pans and got 8 muffins

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Banana, caramel and raisin galette

Banana, caramel and raisin galette / Galette de banana, caramelo e passas

A couple of days after watching Four Weddings And A Funeral I bought Wet Wet Wet’s "End of Part One: Their Greatest Hits" just because of one song: “Love is All Around” (it was a version of the CD released after the movie, with the theme song included). I had never heard of the band before and not only did I find the CD cover really cool – for the record, I was in my teens – but I ended up liking pretty much all the tracks.

After baking these cookies – which recipe I got on Nic’s old blog – I bought this book; that was a long time ago and it’d been sitting on my bookshelf ever since. I intend to use it more often, even if only for inspiration, because this galette turned out really delicious. I might as well end up liking lots of other recipes, right? ;)

Banana, caramel and raisin galette / Galette de banana, caramelo e passas

Banana, caramel and raisin galette
adapted from The All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookboook and from Modern Classics Book 2

Sweet shortcrust pastry:
1 cup (140g) all purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons superfine sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup (75g) cold unsalted butter, chopped
1 – 1½ tablespoons iced water
heavy cream, for brushing

2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 tablespoon rum
3 medium bananas, sliced in 6mm (¼ in) thick slices
½ cup (100g) superfine sugar
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Start by making the pastry: process the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. While the motor is running, add enough iced water to form a smooth dough and process until just combined. Knead the dough lightly, form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Start the filling: soak the raisins in the rum for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
Roll out the pastry between two pieces of lightly floured baking paper, until you have a 25cm (10in) circle. Carefully transfer the pastry circle to the foil lined sheet. Arrange the banana slices in the center of the pastry, leaving a 4cm (1½in) border. Gently fold the pastry edges over the filling. Brush edges of the galette with the heavy cream.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until pastry is golden – the banana slices may darken a little, but do not worry because you’ll spread caramel over them.
Towards the end of the oven time, make the caramel sauce: place sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, without stirring – just swirling the saucepan occasionally – until a golden caramel forms; remove from the heat and stir in the cream (very carefully because caramel will spit). Pour half the caramel sauce in a small jug and keep warm. Add the raisin mixture to the caramel sauce left in the saucepan and mix well.
As soon as the tart comes out of the oven pour the caramel raisin mixture over the banana filling – reheat the caramel mixture before pouring it over the filling if necessary.
Serve warm with the remaining caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Serves 2

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lacy coconut-topped brownies + "Cowboys & Aliens"

Lacy coconut topped brownies / Brownies com cobertura de cocadinha

My sister and I went to the movies to watch “Cowboys & Aliens” last Saturday; I thought it was a fun movie – nothing huge and it won’t become part of my list, but as someone said on Twitter the movie brings Han Solo/Indiana Jones and 007 together – and that, to me, is definitely a bonus. :)

My sister, on the other hand, did not like the movie; luckily there is something she absolutely loved: these brownies. :)

Lacy coconut-topped brownies
slightly adapted from Alice Medrich’s cookie bible

Coconut topping:
2 large egg whites
1 cup (100g) sweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup (50g) superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
large pinch of salt

½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter
112g (4oz) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (224g) superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, cold
½ cup (70g) all purpose flour

Start by making the coconut topping: combine all the ingredients in a medium heatproof bowl. Set the bowl directly over a saucepan of barely simmering water and stir constantly with a silicone spatula, scraping the bottom and the sides to prevent burning. Cook until mixture is very hot to the touch and the egg whites have thickened slightly and turned from translucent to opaque, 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the bowl from the top of the saucepan (leave the water in the saucepan) and set the mixture aside until the coconut absorbs more of the goop – 30 minutes.
Now, make the brownie batter: preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 20cm (8in) square baking pan, line with foil leaving an overhang in two opposite sides and butter the foil as well.
Place the butter and dark chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set directly over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth.
Remove the bowl from the water. Using a silicone spatula, stir in the sugar, vanilla and salt. Add the eggs and stir well. Stir in the flour and beat vigorously with the spatula until the batter is smooth and glossy and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Using your fingertips, drop the coconut mixture all over the brownie batter. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the brownies puff at the edges and the coconut look deep golden brown and crusty. Let cool completely in the pan over a wire rack. Carefully remove from the pan using the foil and cut into squares to serve.

Makes 16

Friday, September 9, 2011

White chocolate, cranberry and strawberry rocky road

White chocolate, cranberry and strawberry rocky road / Barrinhas rocky road de chocolate branco, morangos e cranberries secas

I’ve been meaning to make these rocky road bars forever: when I saw so many delicious ingredients combined I knew the candy would be great. And it really was (not to mention how ridiculously easy this recipe is).
I have the same feeling about “Carnage”: so many great actors directed by Polanski. It has got to be good. Too bad I’ll have to wait a while to find out. ;)

White chocolate, cranberry and strawberry rocky road / Barrinhas rocky road de chocolate branco, morangos e cranberries secas

White chocolate, cranberry and strawberry rocky road
slightly adapted from the always wonderful Donna Hay Magazine

800g white chocolate, chopped
2½ cups quartered white marshmallows
½ cup chopped dried apples
1 ¾ cups (192g) sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup freeze-dried strawberries, sliced lengthwise

Very lightly butter a 20x30cm (8x12in) baking pan and line it with foil (the butter will keep the foil from sliding around the pan).
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water – do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water – and cook until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat, add the marshmallow, dried apples and cranberries – keep some of the cranberries for decoration – and stir until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the dried strawberries and reserved cranberries. Set aside until firm, 2-3 hours (the recipe calls for placing the pan in the refrigerator but I chose not to).
Cut into pieces, remove the foil and serve.

Makes 25 – I cut them a bit smaller and got 32

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blackberry jam crumb cake

Blackberry jam crumb cake / Bolo cuca com geléia de amora

Not one to be afraid of massive amounts of ingredients – I have made this cake, after all – I must confess that I almost gave up baking the cake on the photo. Almost. Reading the recipe with a calculator on hand I shrieked at the idea of using nearly 400g of butter, 500g of sugar and – my goodness – over 700g of flour in one single cake; a recipe that would pretty much empty my entire pantry. :)

But then I thought that the cake would be huge and that I would be cutting it in several squares to feed all my coworkers – twelve of them – so I decided that they could handle 60g of flour each + a little butter and sugar. To this day no one has complained about it – and I found this cake one of the tastiest I’ve baked so far.. ;)

Blackberry jam crumb cake
slightly adapted from The Weekend Baker, inspired by Valentina’s cake

1 cup (2 sticks/226g) unsalted butter, chopped
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
¾ cup (132g) light brown sugar, packed
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 ½ cups minus 1 tablespoon (340g) all purpose flour

2 ¾ cups (385g) all purpose flour
1 ¼ cups + 2 ½ tablespoons (280g) superfine sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup (240ml) buttermilk*
¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup blackberry jam – or use your favorite flavor

Start by making the topping: in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir well and break up any sugar lumps. Add the flour and mix until well blended and pasty. Put it in the fridge while you make the batter.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter a 32x22cm (13x9in) baking pan**.
Now, the batter: in a large bowl, combine the flour, superfine sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine them thoroughly. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently stir with a rubber spatula just until blended – do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Gently spread the jam over the batter. Top the jam layer with the topping, breaking up the pieces as you go, sprinkling it evenly over the jam, forming a generous layer.
Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 40-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the baking pan over a wire rack. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

*homemade buttermilk: place 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a 240ml-capacity measuring cup and complete with whole milk. Wait 10 minutes for it to thicken, then use the whole mixture in your recipe

** I made the exact recipe above using a 20x30cm (8x12in) pan

Serves 15-18

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chocolate chip cookie cake + classics, destroyed or revamped

Chocolate chip cookie cake / Bolo-cookie com gotas de chocolate

One of my all time favorite songs is New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle”; my reaction to Frente!’s version for the song was sort of like “Stop! Stop! You’re ruining a classic!” – as much as I hate to admit it I can be pretty conservative sometimes. If you’re going to revamp with a classic, do it right, ok? Go ask Fine Young Cannibals for advice or something. :)

Unlike Frente!, Flo Braker has taken a classic to a whole new – and wonderful – level: chocolate chip cookies in cake form. Delicious, easy and very fast to put together and it yields a lot: great for sharing.

Chocolate chip cookie cake / Bolo-cookie com gotas de chocolate

Chocolate chip cookie cake
from the beautiful and delicious Baking for All Occasions

2 cups + 2 tablespoons (300g) all purpose flour
2/3 cup (133g) granulated sugar
¾ cup (131g) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (340g) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (115g) pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 32x22cm (13x9in)* baking pan, line it with foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides; butter the foil as well.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and, using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Add the butter and continue to mix on low just until small, moist crumbs form – they will look similar to streusel – about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until the mixture begins to form a cohesive dough. Increase the speed to medium just as you add the chocolate chips and nuts and beat just until they are incorporated into the dough, 20-30 seconds.
Spoon dollops of the thick dough onto the prepared pan, then spread with a rubber spatula. Place a large piece of plastic wrap over the dough and, using your hands, distribute it evenly onto the pan.
Bake until the cake is golden brown and feels more solid than soft when pressed in the center, 37-40 minutes – be careful not to overbake; it will firm as it cools.
Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack.
Very gently, using the foil overhangs as an aid, loosen up the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert it onto the wire rack, peel off the foil, then invert in again onto a cutting board. Cut into slices or squares to serve.

*I made the exact recipe above using a 20x30cm (8x12in) baking pan

Makes 18 to 42 servings, depending on the size – I got 32 sticks

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Avocado ice cream and things my mom would love

Avocado ice cream / Sorvete de abacate

While certain things instantly remind me of my mom, others make me think of her because I am sure she would love them if she was around. The food shows I watch on a regular basis, for instance: I know that Bill and Nigella would be her favorites (not Gordon; mom hated swearing); dishes like these, because of her deep love for tomatoes; and this avocado ice cream, for all those afternoons when we shared a bowl of avocados sprinkled with sugar and lime juice after I’d finished my homework.

Avocado ice cream
slightly adapted from The Perfect Scoop, inspired by Ana Elisa’s ice cream

500g ripe avocados
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (112g) superfine sugar
¾ cup (180ml) sour cream*
1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream
¼ cup (60ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon lime juice
generous pinch of salt

Slice the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and cut into small pieces. Transfer to a blender or food processor, add the sugar, sour cream, heavy cream, milk, lime juice and salt and blitz until smooth. Taste the mixture and adjust the sugar and/or lime juice if necessary.
Freeze immediately in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

* homemade sour cream: to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until thicker

Makes 750ml

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