Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cannoli Cake Roll

I have never actually eaten a cannoli before. One of the reasons is that they are hard to find in the U.S.  Also, the cream and candied fruit filling does not really strike up a craving. Upon further research, I have found that chocolate chips can be used and that the fruit can be excluded. That discovery does make me a candidate to seek out and taste a cannoli. However, since they are so scarce here, I decided to have the same flavor in a different format.

This particular recipe puts a spin on traditional cannoli by replacing the cannoli shell with cake and forming a cake roll with the filling inside. This type of creativity has been going on for awhile.  After all, chocolate chip cookies have a countless number of spin offs. There are now versions of this in everything from pie to bar drinks.

For flavor notes, this cake roll uses cinnamon, chocolate chips and orange liqueur in the filling. The cake part is a vanilla sponge. The garnishing with pistachios and chocolate chips is optional, but very traditional.

This was fun and easy to make. It also yielded a stunning and tasty result. If you like the taste of cannoli and are looking for something special for a gathering, this recipe is well worth trying out. Be sure to plan for the 3 hours of cooling steps when you decide to make this. Now, it's time to have some fun in the kitchen with a sweet ending! "Questa torta è squisita!" as they say in Italian.

Cannoli Cake Roll
adapted from All Recipes Cookbook

3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar, separated
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
5 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
confectioners sugar, for dusting

Ingredients/Filling and Frosting
4 tbs orange liqueur, separated
1 tbs water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
4 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup plus 3 tbs confectioners sugar
1 tbs white sugar
1/4 tsp gnd cinnamon
1/4 cup and 1 tbs mini semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pistachios (optional)

Grease a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the cake, start with 2 bowls. Add egg yolks, vanilla and 1/4 cup of sugar to a large bowl.  Fill a second, medium size, bowl with egg whites, cream of tartar and salt.

Both of the mixtures need to be beaten. Start with the egg yolk mixture and beat for 5 minutes. It will thicken up and turn a light lemon, color. After beating, clean and dry your mixer beaters to use for the egg white mixture. Beat the egg white batter until it reaches a soft peak consistency. Continue to beat and sprinkle in 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.

Using a spatula, fold 1/3 of the egg white batter into the yolk mixture. Continue with 2 more intervals of adding and folding the egg white batter into the yolk batter. Lastly, fold in the flour in 1/4 cup increments until no dry streaks remain.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, making sure it is smooth and even. Place in oven and bake until cake springs back when lightly touched. Baking time is about 10 minutes.

During the bake time, place a clean towel on a flat surface and dust with confectioner's sugar. Then make a soak mixture by combining 2 tbs of orange liqueur, 1 tbs water and 2 tbs sugar in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave about 10 seconds. Remove and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Once the cake is done, remove from oven and invert pan onto prepared towel. Peel off parchment paper. Brush cake with soak mixture. The cake, with the towel, should be positioned with the longest side running horizontally in front of you. Then, using the beginning side of the cake closest to you, carfeully rolling it up with the towel to form a jellyroll. With the seam side down, transfer to a cooling rack. Cake will be need to be completely cooled prior to filling. This will take about 1 hour.

As the cake cools, make the filling with the use of a food processor. Fill the bowl of the processor with the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Blend on medium speed until smooth. Fold in 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Transfer to bowl and cover. Place in refrigerator until cake is completely cooled.

Carefully unroll cooled cake and take bowl of filling out of refrigerator. Empty filling onto the center of the cake. Smooth filling out over cake, leaving 1/4 inch border. Repeat the cake rolling process as done before, except without the towel. Remember to start with the same long side as you began with the first time you rolled the cake. Once rolled, transfer to platter seam side down. The platter will be the one that you intend to use for presentation before slicing and serving.

Now the cake needs to be frosted. For the frosting, add whipping cream and 3 tbs of confectioners sugar to bowl of stand mixer.  Beat ingredients together until you reach the soft peak stage.  Add two tablespoons of orange liqueur and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla to the cream.  Using a spatula, fold the flavor additions into the whipping cream until evenly distributed. Spread frosting over cake, covering all surfaces, including ends and the curves that meet the platter.  If you choose, use a design blade to make designs in the frosting, being careful not to expose any cake as you drag along the sides.

Refrigerate cake for about 2 hours before serving.  Decorate with 1 tbs mini chocolate chips and finely chopped pistachios when ready to serve, if desired.

Tips and Notes:
1. Due to the different batters/components using a lot of the same ingredients, so be sure to use the noted amounts in the paragraphs when creating, not the listed ingredient amount.  The measure values are combined in the listing, instead of listing the same ingredient again with a different vallue. If the measurement it is not noted in the paragraphs, then refer to the ingredient list for the measurement.

2. I know that a lumpy filling can cause issues, however, I feel that there could have been a little bit more mini chocolate chips in the filling.

3. The garnish is missing in the picture, however, I do intend to use it once the cake is served. The missing slice is a taste test.  

4. The biggest flavor in the cake is the cinnamon and orange.  If those are not a favorite, try another liqueur and spice more to your liking.
                                            **LAST YEAR: Buckeye State Ice Cream*


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

Brownies have become quite versatile these days. There are so many things that pair well with chocolate, it is hard not to add an additional flavor component to them.  Cream cheese, raspberry, wine, coffee-- and the list goes on.  However, we do not need to turn to the Food Bible to discover this particular flavor combination. Chocolate and peanut butter are a classic pairing that nearly all of us are familiar with.

These treats taste are as if someone took a large chocolate peanut butter cup and stacked it on top of  rich chocolate brownies. Not just plain brownies, but fudgy brownies choc-full of roasted, salted peanuts. Now that I have your attention, lets get right to the recipe.

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies
adapted from Bon Appetit/Jan 2007

4 eggs
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
7 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped peanuts ( preferably roasted and salted)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 or 1 stick butter (divided in half)
7 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup chunky style peanut butter (not natural or old fashioned)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp gnd nutmeg
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the interior of a 9x13 inch pan with foil, leaving an overhang on the long sides. Butter the face up side of the foil, covering all that is lining the interior of the pan.

The first step is to create and bake the brownie base. Set up a double boiler over medium heat. Let the water in the bottom part come to a simmer. Place other pot on top and fill with chocolate and butter. Stir occasionally as the ingredients melt.  Once completely melted, transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add sugar, vanilla extract and salt to the melted batter. Mix together until blended. Add one egg and whisk into the batter. Continue the same process with each egg, one by one. Stir in flour until no streaks remain.  Lastly, mix in peanuts.

Transfer batter to prepared pan, smoothing the surface. Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until tester comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool brownies completely in pan, placing pan on rack.

The first layer on top of the brownies is the peanut butter mixture.  Add peanut butter and 1/4 cup butter to mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until combined.  Sprinkle in the salt and nutmeg and beat again for about 30 seconds.  Sift in the powdered sugar and blend with mixer.  Beat in the milk and vanilla for another 30 seconds.  Spread mixture evenly over brownies and smoothing the top.

For the final layer, set up a double boiler again.  Fill top pot with chocolate and 1/4 cup of butter.  Stir occasionally as the mixture melts.  Once melted and smooth, drop by spoonfuls over the surface of the peanut butter layer.  Using a spatula, smooth out chocolate.  Make sure that the surface is covered evenly.  Place pan in refrigerator for about 1 1/2 hours.  This will give the top two layers time to set up.

To serve, pull sides of foil and lift brownies out of pan. Cut into squares while still cold. Let come to room temperature prior to serving.
                           **LAST YEAR: Pineapple Rum Trifle Cake**

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Raspberry Picnic Pie

Pie is one of those things that makes me think of picnics, family reunions and outdoor get togethers. Usually in the summer, berry pies find their way to the weekend table. I created this pie with my first thought being strawberry lemonade. However, the idea of "cooked" strawberries was unappealing. That is when the flavor idea shifted to raspberries.  Raspberry pie may not be the most favorite berry for pie, but I am more fond of raspberries than any other berry,  in spite of all the seeds.

This pie makes use of fresh and frozen berries. Also, it does not have the tapioca ingredient that you find in some pies. The fresh raspberries are layered on top of the crust first. Then it is filled with a cooked mixture of frozen berries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest. Since raspberries are pretty tart, the crumbly, sweet topping is the offset to the tartness.  In addition, I used a dairy/egg mixture prior to the layer of crumbs in order to seal the surface of the pie.

Creating the pie is fairly easy. There is no fancy lattice top nor is there prep work on cutting and peeling fruit. Definitely good reasons to try a berry pie if you are short on time. However, bear in mind if you bring it to the family reunion this year, consider that you are starting a tradition. Something this tasty will have your family will be expecting it every year! This recipe makes one 10 inch pie.  

Raspberry Picnic Pie
by Flourtrader

Ingredients/Bottom Crust
1/2 cup refrigerated shortening
1/4 cup cubed cold butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Ice water

5 cups frozen raspberries (thawed until still icy but pliable)
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups sugar

Ingredients/Top Crust
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup half and half
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temp

Prepare a baking sheet by lining the interior with foil, making sure all sides and corners are covered.  To create the crust, sift together flour, baking powder and salt into stand mixer bowl. Then add the sugar, butter and shortening. Beat on medium speed until mixture resembles coarse, small clumps. Slowly sprinkle a 1/2 tsp of ice water into the batter and beat. The dough is the right consistency when it comes together on the beaters instead of clinging to the edge.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and empty dough onto plastic. Flatten into a disc and cover with the wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. Once the chilling step is completed, lightly dust a flat surface with flour. Remove the disc from the refrigerator and place on the floured surface and roll out to 12 inches in diameter.

Roll dough over rolling pin and then unroll dough over pie pan and release. Lightly press dough, making sure all the interior of the pie pan is covered. There should be no air pockets. Fold the excess dough under the part of the dough that touches the top outer edge of the pie pan. Then crimp the top edge of the dough. Place in freezer until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill a medium size saucepan with the slightly frozen berries, cornstarch and sugar. Place over medium heat and stir, blending ingredients.  Mixture will come to a boil, but continue to stir and cook for about 2 minutes after it has reached a boiling point. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.

Remove frozen pie crust and place fresh raspberries evenly on the bottom of the crust.  Pour the cooked raspberry mixture on top. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, half and half, 1/4 cup of sugar and vanilla extract. Then slowly pour the mixture over the top of the filling. Start pouring on the outer edge, moving toward the center until bowl is empty.

For the crumb mixture, sift together the flour and the salt. Add the butter and remaining 2 cups of sugar.  Combine by using a pastry blender until it becomes a crumbly sandy mixture. Sprinkle crumbs on top of pie, again starting with the outer edges and moving toward the center.

Place pie on prepared pan and transfer pan to oven. Bake for about 45-60 minutes. Pie is done when you see the filling bubbling over and the crumb surface has turned a deep golden brown.

Let cool to room temperature and then cut and serve.
                           **LAST YEAR:Vienna Chocolate Bars*

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Bundt Cake

I guess we all have a desire for lots of flavor without all the fat and calories. After years of blogging desserts without regard to calories or fat, I decided I would try a lighter recipe. I know that several other countries believe that American desserts contain too much sugar for the palate. It is about personal taste and what you are used to.  I know people that prefer a salty snack over sugary.  Dieting, in my book, is about portion size control when it comes to eating desserts. After all, it is easier to eat less than to change your whole realm of eating habits. Moderation is another key.

This particular recipe is a bundt cake filled with cinnamon, apples and ground walnuts. The cake part has vanilla beans in it. However, the results prove that the filling is the real flavor in this cake.

For my taste, the cake part seemed to eggy and did not offer much flavor. The ratio of eggs to flour  seems unbalanced. As you can see by the picture, the cake part looks very spongy. This is not typical of most bundt cakes. In addition, I was disappointed that you cannot taste the flavor of the vanilla beans in the cake. Since I am not someone that creates low fat/calorie recipes, I am at a loss with how to get to a more flavorful cake, while still retaining its low cal/fat attributes.

If you are a low fat/low calorie guru and enjoy tweaking recipes, then you are welcome to grab this one up and start experimenting. Myself, on the other hand, will go back to sweet indulgences.

Apple Cinnamon Bundt Cake
adapted from Cooking Light/Nov 2011

1 cinnamon stick ( 3 inches long)
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tbs dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups diced, peeled apple (tart style, like Granny Smith)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs flour
2 tbs dark brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts

2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup fat free milk
3/4 cup 2% reduced fat Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
9 oz or about 2 cups flour
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
powdered sugar (optional, for dusting top of cake)

Start by preparing the bundt pan by coating the interior with a baking spray with flour or greasing and then dusting with flour.  Make sure all the crevasses are completely covered.  Set aside and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the filling, place all the filling ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium high heat.  Once the mixture reaches a boil, turn temperature down to medium and let simmer. As it simmers, stir occasionally. The liquid will evaporate as it cooks. After 20 minutes, there should be very little liquid and the apple quite tender. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Divide mixture in half and set aside.

The next step is the streusel. Fill the bowl of a food processor or blender with all the streusel ingredients. Pulse the mixture until it reaches a coarse, sandy texture. Just like the apple mixture, divide in half and set aside.

The cake process starts by sifting the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Then take out another bowl and fill with the butter and sugar. Using a stand mixer or hand held mixer on medium speed, cream the two together by beating for about 3 minutes. Add one egg and beat for another 30 seconds.  Add the other egg and beat again for 30 seconds.  Repeat with the egg yolk.

Take the split vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar/egg batter and blend until evenly distributed. In a separate bowl create a dairy mixture by whisking together yogurt and milk.  Fold 1/3 of the sifted ingredients and into the sugar/egg batter.  Stir in half of the dairy mixture.  Repeat the process of adding the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the dry ingredients. Divide the batter into thirds.

Take 1/3 of the batter and spoon into the bottom of the prepared bundt pan.  Top the batter with 1/2 of the apple ingredients, making a row in the center of the batter.  Then top with 1/2 of the streusel mix, still making a center row.  Add another layer of batter (using the next 1/3 measurement), spooning in and smoothing out. Layer the center row with the remaining apples and top with the last of the streusel.  Spoon the rest of the batter on top and smooth with a spatula.

Place the filled pan in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. A toothpick test resulting in moist crumbs indicates that the cake is done.  Let cool in pan 20 minutes and then invert onto cooling rack.  Once completely cool, dust with powdered sugar if you prefer.

Tips and Notes:
1. The recipe did not specify making a center row of filling and apples, I added this instruction to insure that it would not reach the edges to cause sticking to the pan.

2. Act quickly when assembling, batter rises quickly once the dry ingredients are incorporated.
                          **LAST YEAR:Cherry Almond Cobbler Cookies**  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Charlevoix Cookies

One of the flavors in this recipe is maraschino cherry. In researching cherries, I found that the trees were first were planted by the French along the Saint Lawrence Seaway. That seaway reaches into the Great Lakes area from Canada.  Based on this tie, there are 2 areas called Charlevoix. The first is a town in the far northern area of Michigan and the other is in Quebec. While both are along water and offer fishing and plenty of hiking areas, the Canadian location has mountains along the seaway.

Now that the background of the name has been covered, lets get into the details of this petite sandwich cookie. The cookie part has the flavor of almond and it has a soft texture with a slight crunch of desiccated coconut and almond flour. For an even bigger pop of flavor, the bottoms of the cookies are dipped in chocolate and then sandwiched together with a maraschino cream.

They are small and are perfect for popping in your mouth whole. That way you get the full experience of all the textures and flavors. In addition, bigger cookies would be quite messy after one bite. If you like chocolate covered cherries, then you are reading the right post.

This recipe yields about a dozen sandwich cookies.

Charlevoix Cookies
by Flourtrader

1 stick or 1/2 cup butter
1 egg white
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup and 1 tbs powdered/confectioners sugar
1/4 cup and 1 tbs desiccated coconut
3/4 cup flour
2 tbs almond flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs maraschino juice

Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper. Also, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat the egg white into the batter, running the mixer on medium high for about 30 seconds. With the mixer on low speed, stir in the coconut and almond extract for another 30 seconds. Set aside.

Using a separate bowl, sift together the regular flour and baking powder. Then whisk in the almond flour.  Fold the dry mixture into the wet batter, using a spatula. Scoop out the batter into rounded teaspoons and place each on the prepared baking sheet, about one inch apart. Place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes, rotating pans halfway thru the baking process. Cookies are done when lightly browned on edges and bottom. Let cool completely on pan.

While the cookies are cooling, line 2 more baking sheets with parchment paper. Place in the freezer.  Set up a double boiler and fill top pot with chocolate. Place over medium high heat and stir occasionally until all the chocolate is melted. Take one of the baking sheets out of the freezer.

The chocolate coating process is the next step. Using a wooden spoon, scoop up some of the melted chocolate and then place a cookie on top of the chocolate, flat side down. Transfer to cold baking sheet by placing on the parchment paper, chocolate side down. Continue with the process until both baking sheets are full, placing each in the freezer when complete.

Next, prepare the filling by starting with creaming the butter and powdered sugar together. Once mixture is smooth beat in vanilla extract and maraschino juice. If the consistency is too thick, add more juice as needed.

Take out one baking sheet of cookies and match pairs together by size and shape.  Then sandwich each pair together with a few teaspoons of filling.

Tips and Notes:
1. Clear vanilla extract instead of dark will help retain the pink from the maraschino cherry juice, but you can add food coloring if you are unable to find clear vanilla extract.

2. The usage of the chocolate and filling is not an exact science, so some may be left over. The chocolate can be stored for later use. If you are concerned about excess filling, try halving the filling ingredients then see how far it goes when assembling the cookies.

3. The addition of the egg white results in a curdled looking batter, but that is normal.

Also, I did listen to an old song during my research into cherries. That oldie is called "Life is just a Bowl of Cherries". A nice reminder not to take things too seriously, laugh a little and enjoy it!
                                    **LAST YEAR:Minnies Chocolate Chip Supreme Cookies**

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chocolate Banana Muffins

Well contrary to what the song says, it is not "all about the base." That is, when it comes to muffins. These muffins reinforce what we all know to be true -- muffin tops are the best part of the muffin!

When I read the recipe instructions for these treats, I envisioned a big baked glop as the end result and also some cooked batter on the baking sheet. After all, I have never filled muffin tin cavities to the top with the batter and this recipe stated fill to just over the rim. That's right-- just over the rim! However, since the author made special notes regarding a lawsuit tied to a bakery stealing one of her muffin recipes, I decided to follow the instructions as stated.

I am sure glad I did. To my pleasant surprise, the muffins turned out with a huge top and did not stick or tear when removing from the muffin tin. The inside was very moist and packed with lots of flavor. The baked treats are composed of 2 types of chocolate, bananas and nuts. Prior to baking, they are topped with chewy coconut and ground nuts held together by a little butter. These are a tasty way to start the day, but too good to be segregated to breakfast. They make for a tasty afternoon snack as well. The recipe yields about 16 to 18 muffins with lovely, large tops.

Chocolate Banana Muffins
adapted from The Best of Better Baking

2 tbs packed brown sugar
4 tbs or 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup of finely ground nuts- pecans or macadamia

1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbs strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup banana purée (about 2 ripe bananas)
4 eggs
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans or macadamia nuts
4 oz chopped white chocolate
1/2 semisweet chocolate chips
3 3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder

Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees. Grease the top edge of 18 cavities of muffin tin(s). Line the cavities with paper liners. Line baking sheet (s) with parchment paper. The recipe recommends that most of the mixing in this recipe be done by a food processor. At this time, set up your equipment accordingly.

Using a medium size bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt . Set aside. For the topping, fill the bowl of a food processor with all the filling ingredients. Cover and pulse for about 15 seconds. Transfer topping into a bowl and set aside for later use. Clean the food processor bowl.

Using the same processor bowl, fill with both types of sugar, butter and oil. Pulse until mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla extract and coffee, pulsing again until blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, processing each completely into the batter. Lastly, pulse in the sour cream and the banana puree.

Transfer batter from the food processor to the bowl of sifted ingredients. Fold together until no dry streaks remain. Then mix in both types of chocolate and nuts, making sure all is evenly distributed into the dough.

Fill the muffin cavities with the batter by using a large ice cream scoop. The cavities should be filled to just over the rim. Scoop out about 1 1/2 tbs of the topping and flatten into a disc with your hands and place on top of each cavity of batter and press lightly. Put each pan on the prepared baking sheet.

Place the pans in the oven, using the top and middle shelves. Then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake the muffins until tester comes out clean and top springs back when lightly touched.  Be sure to rotate the pans at the halfway point of baking. The recipe recommends 20-22 minutes, but mine took about 30 minutes. Let muffins cool in pans for about 15 minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

Tips and Notes:
1. Timing is everything and baking time will vary depending if you are using a dark pan or not. The recipe states be careful not to over bake, but my issue was the opposite- making sure they were completely baked.

2. The author instructed cooling time in muffin pan as 5 minutes, but I stated 15 minutes in the above recipe. This change was made to insure that they would retain the same shape when pulled out of the oven. Even with the increased wait time, the muffins did not stick to the pan when transferring each muffin to the cooling rack. 
                           **LAST YEAR:Black Walnut Madeira Cake**

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Honey Bunny Crunch Frozen Custard

Recently, I found 4 baby rabbits laying the grass. They did not even have their eyes open yet, so I guess their mother fell victim to a predator. I scooped them up and put them in a box.  Luckily, there was someone close by that had a daughter that was involved in rabbit rescue, so I gave them to him.  Last I heard was that they were coming along quite well and were starting to get fur and did open their eyes.

Since it is Easter Sunday and the rabbits were still on my mind, I decided to name this frozen custard accordingly. In the early stages of creation, I was thinking of a custard base made with some kind of cereal soak.  The soak idea stems from Christina Tosi's cereal milk, as sold at the Milk Bar. Since there are quite a bit of cereals that are heavy in sugar, I wanted something that was not so sweet.  Then it came to me - crunchy honey oat granola bars. After soaking, I added honey.  This gave it more flavor and reduced the amount of processed sugar. 

The end result is a base with a honey oatmeal flavor. Quite tasty by itself, but I could not resist to put some crunch into the smooth cream. Chopped up granola bars coated in dark chocolate were the perfect add in. The reason it is referred to as custard is that it does not freeze hard like your standard ice cream.  After 2 days in the freezer it still remained soft.  Not like soft serve ice cream, but not like regular ice cream either.

It is that time of year. The time to get outside more- so go to the lake, fire up the grill, have a picnic and enjoy some homemade frozen custard! You will need to plan ahead due to the steep time of 3 hours and the time it takes to freeze. This recipe makes about 1 quart of ice cream.

Honey Bunny Crunch Frozen Custard
by Flourtrader

1 cup and 2 tbs milk
2 1/4 cup cream
2 cups chopped crunchy honey oat granola bars, divided (about 10 bars)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tbs invert sugar (recipe:dessert components)
3 eggs (room temp)
1/4 cup 2 tbs sugar
1/2 cup 2 tbs honey
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Pour milk and cream into a saucepan. Add one cup of chopped granola. Place over medium high heat and let come to a boil. Remove from heat and cover.  Let sit for 3 hours for flavors to meld.

During that time, set up a double boiler over medium high heat and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place semi sweet chocolate chips in the top pot and let melt, stirring occasionally. Once all is melted and smooth, stir in the chopped granola. After coating all the pieces, empty onto the parchment paper.  Separate all the pieces with a fork, making sure no big clumps remain.  Place sheet in the refrigerator for chocolate to set up.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar together. Go back to the saucepan of the cereal cream and strain the liquid into a bowl. Discard the cereal and pour the liquid back into a saucepan.  Add honey and invert sugar (if using) and place over medium heat. Stir and cook mixture until all is melted and completely mixed in with the cream. Remove from heat.

Run the mixer on low, slowly whisking the egg/sugar batter.  As you continue to whisk, pour a small, steady stream of the cream mixture into the eggs.  Continue with this process until all the cream has been mixed into the egg batter.  Lastly, whisk in the vanilla extract.

Transfer mixture back to saucepan and place over medium heat. Let the custard simmer for about 4-5 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. The temperature should reach 170 to 175 degrees. Then pour mixture into heatproof bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator. Let cool for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Check the chilled chocolate covered granola.  If you still see that the chunks are too large, chop into smaller pieces.  Place back in refrigerator until needed. Once the chilling time is complete for the custard, add to an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers' instructions. Toss in the chilled chocolate covered granola chunks at the halfway point of the churning process.  After churning process is complete, transfer to cold custard to a bowl, cover and place in freezer.  Let freeze overnight or until desired consistency is met.

Tips and Notes :

1. If trying another cereal milk flavor, take into consideration the sugar content of the cereal and the elimination of the sweetness of the honey.  For peanut butter/chocolate fans, try Captain Crunch milk soak and add in chunks of Reese cups.

2. The invert sugar is not required if your custard will not be stored in the freezer a long time.  It is mainly used to prevent ice crystals from forming. Just increase the honey content by 2 tbs, which would give you a total of 3/4 of a cup of honey.

3. Do not use chewy granola bars, I used Nature Valley brand crunchy type.

Enjoy your Easter!