It seems that I have skipped Week 9 – will maybe get back to it sometime. And this week I am taking the recipe a bit further. The Outrageous Pretzel Bars are really that! They consist of a Brown Sugar Cake (Brownie-like) and are topped with a Chocolate Fudge made with Sweetened Condensed Milk and Chocolate Chips. More Chocolate Chips are put on top along with crushed Pretzels. And the recipe is huge – they were cut into 24 Bars but maybe should have been cut into 36. The bars are very chocolaty and filling and one cannot really eat much at a time. That being said, my Husband loved the Bars! He is an avid Chocolate Lover whereas I am not. But they were good, especially the next day after they had time to dry out a little.
I took one-third to my Mahjong Group, froze one-third for one of my sons and we tried to eat the other third. Since my husband is very reserved as to how much he eats and I am only an occasional chocolate consumer, we did have some left over. After a week, the leftovers were thoroughly dried out and of course impossible to eat, but being the improvisor that I am, I just couldn’t throw them away.
My Food Reinvention skills came about when my Sons were small and I got my first Blender. I started using leftovers to make other things. The first was gravy that I turned into soup and so on. I have a really yard time throwing food out so the Outrageous Pretzel Bars were the perfect thing to turn into something else.
I broke up the leftover bars and put them into my Food Processor and chopped them up into as fine a crumb as I could. Then I added about 1/3 cup of melted Butter and 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar. (One could just use a Graham Cracker Crust Recipe for this Chocolate Bar Crust) I did use it as a guide but the Butter called for was too much so I only used about 1/3 as stated above.
Next I pressed the Crumb Mixture into the bottom of my 9″ Springform Pan and baked it for about 5 minutes. You could actually make the pie without baking the crust but the oven was already on for something else, so I did bake it. The problem with baking is that it releases some of the butter and then you have to blot it off.
Next I made the Bavarian Creme. I started out by making a Vanilla Soft Custard which is the base for all Bavarian Cremes. Next I incorporated a cup of Whipped Creme into the Custard. Recipe will be found in the recipe section of this blog.
Once the Creme chilled sufficiently I poured it into the Crust and then chilled the whole thing. When it was ready to serve I took off the sides of the Springform and placed the whole thing, (bottom of pan included) on a serving plate and topped with Chocolate Curls. Next I cut it into moderate portions. The Bavarian Creme was actually much less filling than the original Pretzel Bars themselves.
One of my favorite type of Cakes is Angel Food – specifically because I like Sponge Cakes and White Cakes and this one encompasses both. My Husband loves Chocolate so in making the Chocolate Angel Food Cake we both get what we like. Now the Chocolate Version of Angel Food Cake may not be ‘Chocolaty’ enough for the real Chocolate Lover but there are Add-Ons that can be used – for instance:
Chocolate Whipped Cream (or Ganache)
Make a trough by cutting out a portion of the cake from the top and filling it with Chocolate Ice Cream. And so on and so on. For the Recipe for Angel Food Cake and the variations thereof please go to the Recipe.
For making Angel Food Cake you will need a tube pan at least 9″ in diameter. A Standing Mixer or a Portable Mixer. The very first Angel Food I made was when I was 16 – I decided to make an Angel Food Cake for my Mother for Mother’s Day. All we had was a hand Egg Beater, the old fashioned kind. All it had was teeth – no gears like the later models had. It took me so long to beat the eggs that I ended up with a blister on my finger. Well, it was worth it though. (If I had known at the time about a Whisk that would probably have been a better choice but all we had was the Egg Beater.
A Rubber or Silicone Spatula will come in handy for folding the flour mixture into the beaten Egg Whites.
In addition a straight-edged spatula is good for loosening the sides of the cake from the pan.
In preparing the pan for the cake batter there is a variation from the norm in that the pan does not get greased or even lined with paper. This is a ‘Sponge Cake’ and the cake sides need something to cling to as the cake rises. If the pan is greased, the cake batter tends to slip down and you will end up with a heavy inedible cake.
The Cake calls for 1 cup Egg Whites (approx. 12 Whites from large eggs) For a larger cake, use 1 1/2 cups of Egg Whites. The pan that I used, could have held an 18 White Batter but then that would be too much cake for just the two of us.
If you do increase the number of Whites then of course you have to increase the rest of the ingredients accordingly. 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of Cocoa, 2 1/4 cups of Sugar, etc.
Before starting to make the cake separate the Whites from the Yolks (while the eggs are cold – it is much easier to do when the eggs are cold) and then let the whites warm up to room temperature – about 1 hour.
Make sure your mixer bowl is super clean – any traces of oil or other particles will keep the whites from beating up properly.
Once all the ingredients are measured and ready to go set your oven rack at the lowest position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place the Whites in the clean mixing bowl and then beat at high speed until they become foamy. Add the Cream of Tartar, Salt and Vanilla and continue mixing until the Whites form soft peaks. (If they are beaten too long, the cake will be too dry). Once soft peaks are formed slowly add the Sugar while the mixer is going and continue to beat until the Whites will hold their shape when the beater is lifted. If you are using a Standing Mixer this will not take very long. An electric hand mixer will take a longer amount of time.
Once the Whites reach the desired consistency, (see photo above) remove from the mixer and with a rubber spatula, fold in about 1/4 of the Flour/Cocoa mixture to ‘temper’ the Whites. Then gently fold in the remaining dry ingredients.
Place in the tube pan being sure that the batter is evenly distributed throughout the pan.
Bake at the lowest position in the preheat (375 Degree) Oven for 45 minutes or until the top is dry and cracked.
Turn the pan upside down until completely cool. If your pan does not have legs on it, place if over the neck of a wine or water or soda bottle. Allow to cool completely. Once the cake is cooled, loosen the sides with a straight-edged spatula and place on a serving plate.
To slice the cake use a serrated knife (bread knife) or a sponge cake cutting device. Serve plain or with Ice Cream and fresh sliced and sugared Berries, Whipped Cream and Chocolate Sauce
A Group of Culinary Friends and myself (sparked by a suggestion from Terrie Cooper and Eileen DelCore Bennet (who created the Sunday Baking Project Page) have formed a group, the object of which is to try out new recipes.
This week, the first one, the recipe was chosen by Terrie. We all made a Chocolate Cream Pie from the book ‘Flour’ by Joann Chang. We were supposed to make the recipe exactly as called for in the recipe but knowing this dessert was going to be dessert at a Luncheon I had for my Grandson and Wife and Nephew and Fiance, I didn’t want to take any chances in it failing and having to do it over or making something else.
The only deviation I did was to bake the Crust with Foil and Pie Weights for the first half of the baking period and it is a good thing I did because some of the other people in the Group had shrinkage of their crusts. I also put Raspberries on top instead of shaved Chocolate because I didn’t have any Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate would have been too bitter. Next week I will do the recipe exactly as called for.
The Pie Shell was a Pate Sucre and the filling was a Chocolate Cream (really Cream as it was made with Cream and Half and Half and Chocolate that had at least a 62% Cocoa content. Mine was 67. The filling was creamy and delicious and I am not a great fan of Chocolate Desserts. The book is available at https://www.amazon.com/-Bostons-Bakery/dp/081186944X
The Group is called the’Sunday Baking Project’ but since we each make the product in our own kitchens we don’t necessarily have to make it on Sunday but we do post it on Sunday.
It is fun to do and we all end up with a great baked product and get input from each other as to what we like or don’t like about the recipe and ways to change it if we want.
The Procedure to make the Pie was as follows:
- Make the Crust – Pate Sucre with: 1-cups All-Purpose Flour, 1/2 tsp. Salt, ¼ cup Sugar, 1/2 cup soft Butter and 1 Egg Yolk.This Crust made in a Standing Mixer with the Paddle Beater and is actually a Cookie Dough and therefore is made like cookies with the Butter and Sugar being creamed together before the Flour, Salt and Egg Yolk are added. It is a very rich Dough and needs to be chilled before rolling out. Once you do start rolling, it does warm up very quickly so the rolling out process needs to be quick. After the Dough is fitted into a 9 or 10″ Pie Pan, it is then chilled again for at least 30 minutes before baking. I baked it with foil and pie weights even though the directions did not say to do that. Some of the participants who followed the recipe exactly had shrinkage so I think using the foil and weights is a good idea.
- After the Pie Shell is baked, some of the dark Chocolate is placed on the crust and then returned to the oven for the chocolate to melt. Once the chocolate is melted then you spread over the pie crust. This seals the crust from the filling and prevents it from getting soggy. I used a Silicon Pastry Brush to spread but a small spatula can also be used.
- Once the filling is made it is put though a strainer and then poured directly into the baked and sealed crust. Refrigeration for 8 hours before serving is called for. The Pie is topped with Whipped Cream and shaved Chocolate. The complete recipe and directions can be found in the book for whoever is interested in purchasing it.
Ev requested a Black Forest Cake for his Birthday this year. I made for past Birthdays and he loved it so much he wanted another one. So now I have decided to document the preparation of this utterly delicious, decadent cake. If you can, make it when fresh Cherries are available but if not, then frozen or canned Cherries will work. This year I used dried Cherries which I reconstituted in Cherry Liqueur along with frozen Cherries. There was an excess of frozen Cherries, so I put the leftovers on top of the cake as decoration.
The ingredients you will need for a Black Forest Cake are:
1 dozen large Eggs
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Black Cocoa Powder or a total of 1 cup regular Cocoa Powder
Vanilla & Almond Extracts
1 Qt. Whipped Cream
Note: For exact measurements and complete directions please go to Black Forest Cherry Cake
First of all, gather and measure all of your ingredients. Separate the Whites from the Yolks and allow them to come to room temperature.
Prepare three 9″layer pans by spraying with a Vegetable Spray and then fitting with Parchment or Waxed Paper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together the Flour, Cocoa Powders and 1/4 cup of the Sugar.
Beat the Egg Yolks and 1/4 cup of Water with an Electric Mixer until they are thick and light colored. Gradually add the Sugar while still beating; once all the Sugar has been beaten in add the Flavorings.
Exchange the Wire Beater for the Paddle Beater. Sift the Flour Mixture over the Beaten Egg Yolks and slowly beat it in with the Paddle Beater.
Flour Mixture Blended in
Next using a clean bowl and beater use the Wire Whisk to beat the Egg Whites to a soft Peak. (Over-beating them will make the cake dry and underbeating them will cause the cake not to rise fully)
Once all the Egg Whites have been well-blended into the Chocolate Batter, pour into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of each layer comes out clean.
Set the pans to cool on a wire rack; once the layers are cool to the touch (about 15-20 minutes) invert onto the rack by placing the rack over the pan and turning over. Cool the layers completely before assembling.
While the layers are cooling, prepare the syrup, the filling and the Chantilly Creme. (This may also be done while the cakes are baking) See the link above for the recipes and directions.
Brush the cake layers with the Syrup.
Place the first layer, top side up on a serving plate and spread with the Chantilly Creme. Add half the Cherry Filling and the second layer of cake.
Repeat the process with the second layer and then add the third layer.
Use a pastry bag filled with the Chantilly Creme and drop Rosettes on the top of the Cake. If there is Creme left over, spread it on the sides of the cake.
Top each Rosette with a Cherry (if any leftover or use Maraschino Cherries or none at all, if preferred.
Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. When serving cut with a serrated knife and cut small to moderate pieces as this is a rich cake. Delicious, but rich!
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and the weather is wintry – rainy, snowy or windy! What better way to spend an indoor afternoon or morning making Valentine Lollipops with your Children. Children very often make paper Valentine’s to give to their friends, but Chocolate ones are even better. They taste good and Chocolate is good for you!
What you will need to make these treats is:
Candy (Heart-shaped Lollipop Molds) – available at your local Cake Decorating Store or Craft Shop such as Michael’s or JoAnn’s.
Pre-tempered Chocolates (Wilton’s)
A sheet of waxed paper or a flat pan to put the molds on.
A melting pot or double boiler If you don’t have either you can make a double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.
To make the Pops first set up your molds. Make sure they are clean and dry. Water and chocolate do not mix and your pops will not set up properly. The best thing to do is to wash and dry them 24 hours before you are going to use them. When you are finished with them, wash (DO NOT USE SOAP) just hot tap water and dry and then after 24 hours place them in a sealed plastic bag so that the next you need them they will be ready to go.
Place the molds on the waxed paper or sheet pan. Place the sticks in the molds (make sure that at least one inch of the stick is in the candy portion ) If you are using a Melting Pot place the Candy (the melting pots will hold a 12 oz. bag of candy) in the Melting Pot and set it to MELT. Once the Candy has thoroughly melted turn the setting down to WARM.
Once the Candy has melted you can then spoon it into the molds. Be sure and completely cover the Lollipop Sticks. DO NOT fill the mold to the top. Once they are about 3/4 full, stop and tap the molds to get rid of the Air Bubbles. If there is still space left in the mold slowly add additional candy until the mold is full.
Allow at least an hour for the candy to set at room temperature or about 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator or 15-20 in the freezer.
Once the Candy has set up turn the molds over onto a sheet of waxed or parchment paper and gently press on the backs to un-mold. If they are not going to be eaten right away place into bags (lollipop bags can be purchased at Cake Decorating Stores, Party Stores or Craft Stores). Tie with red curling ribbon. These lollipops are a great replacement for Valentines.
For heat loving Valentine recipients you can add a little bit of Chili Flakes (Old Boney Mountain Grotto Dust) available at http://www.oldboneymountainhotsaucecorp.com/
Today is ‘National Candy Day’. Howa about trying this tasty treat called ‘Buckeye Candy’. This recipe was developed to resemble the fruit of the Buckeye tree which is indigenous to the State of Ohio. I was just there recently but forgot to look for the Buckeye tree. The recipe below is a tasty treat and is related to ‘Rice Krispy Squares’ – there are just more tasty ingredients in them.
Buckeye Balls are great to eat and make nice gifts too. Try them for an extra treat for Thanksgiving!
1/4 cup unsalted Butter Large Saucepan
5 cups Marshmallows Wooden Spoon
1cup Peanut Butter Chips Waxed Paper
1 cup Mini-Chocolate Chips Candy Bags or Plate
4 cups Rice Krispies®
Liquid Margarine or Soft Butter
- Melt the Butter in the Saucepan over low heat.
- Add the Marshmallows and stir constantly with the wooden spoon until the Marshmallows are completely melted; stir in the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips.
- Remove from the heat and add the Rice Krispies®; mix until the Krispies are completely coated with the melted Marshmallow mixture.
- Spread the Liquid Margarine or Soft Butter on your hands and then shape the Candy into Balls about the size of Ping Pong Balls.
- Place the shaped Candy onto a sheet of waxed paper or a glass plate. When cooled, place in a plastic bag or covered plate for storage or just serve and eat right away!!
Yield: About 20 Pieces
Tapioca is the starch of the Cassava Plant or Manioc as it is called in certain parts of the world. Portuguese Explorers became familiar with it through contact with the natives of Brazil. The most familiar of Tapioca is the pearl. Other forms are sticks and powder. For those of you who like the Bobba drinks which are popular in many Asian Countries and more recently in the US, the pearls used in Bobba are just large Tapioca Pearls which do need to be cooked before using.
I recently found powdered Tapioca which can be used in place of Cornstarch as a thickener. If you like the texture of Tapioca Pudding but don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking it, this is the way to go. April 28th is ‘National Tapioca Day’ and therefore is a great time to try out this amazing starch. I love the texture that it imparts to pudding. Almost reminds of ‘Gummy Bears’. It is chewy, yet it is not. Try my recipe and see for yourself. /deserts/chocolate-tapioca-pudding/