Sunday, February 17, 2019

Brown Sugar Ginger Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

I have a slight fear of the use of ginger in recipes. It stems from the past in which I made some cookies that were good the first day. The next day the flavor developed more and the ginger took over. The cookies had too strong of a flavor, the ginger even over powered the chocolate in the cookie.There should have been a disclaimer stating serve or eat the same day.

Flavor balancing is a difficult subject because a lot is based on personal preference. Some people want a strong flavor while others want an even balance. For the strong flavor, I recommend making something that has a singular flavor. A singular flavor does not have to balance with another and you will get the pure taste.

This post is a particularly great example of balance of flavor. The caramel, ginger and brown sugar all comes through, which makes this ice cream a real keeper. This recipe requires one special ingredient, ginger spread. The recipe does not require much and I ordered it from Amazon under the "ginger people" brand.

Should you decide not to add the ginger spread, the end result will be a pretty tasty caramel swirl ice cream. 

After I tasted the ice cream, I wished the recipe made more. Delicious and unique, I am sure I will be making this again soon!

Brown Sugar Ginger Caramel Swirl Ice Cream
adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones

Ingredients/Ice Cream
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup of 2% milk
5 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp vodka

1/8 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp of ginger spread

Complete any preparation work required on your ice cream maker prior to creating this ice cream. Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the egg yolks and whisk together. Once blended, add in 1/4 cup of brown sugar and mix on medium speed until sugar is thoroughly blended into egg yolks. Set aside.

Add 1/4 cup brown sugar, cream, milk and salt to saucepan and place over medium high heat. Once it reaches a simmer, remove. Turn stand mixer back on to medium and stream in 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture. After this is blended, repeat with an additional 1/2 cup of the cream. Take the saucepan and place over medium heat and pour cream/egg mix back into remainder of hot cream.

Stir constantly as the mixture heats up. It should cook to a thickened state and coat the back of a wooden spoon. If you swipe your finger through it, the path will remain. This indicates that it is done cooking.

Place a sieve over a large heat proof bowl and pour the mixture into the sieve. This will insure that the custard is smooth. Fill a sink with ice and water. Place the bowl into the ice water. There should be enough ice and water to come level with the top edge of the custard inside the bowl. Whisk in vodka.

Stir the mixture at intervals while it chills. Once 15 minutes has passed, mix in the vodka and cover bowl. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.

As the ice cream is chilling, the swirl can be made. Place a saucepan over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of sugar. As it cooks, the edge of the sugar pile will melt and then start to change colors. Once completely melted, repeat the process with another 2 tablespoons of sugar. The rest of the remaining sugar should be added and melted in the same manner. Remove from heat when all the sugar is melted and it has a mahogany hue.

Slowly pour in the cream, mixing it into the sugar. The cream will cause the caramel to seize up. In that instance, drop the temperature to low and continue to stir the mixture until all the caramel is melted and blended with the cream. This could take 15-30 minutes, depending on how much turned into a lump. Add ginger paste and salt to mixture and blend.

After the chilling time is complete, remove ice cream from refrigerator and fill ice cream machine. Follow manufacturer's instructions. Then place caramel in a squirt bottle. When transferring ice cream from machine to storage bowl, squirt caramel into bowl after transferring a few scoops. Repeat process until 6 tablespoons of caramel is in the ice cream. Take a knife and make a few swirls in ice cream to disperse caramel in streaks throughout ice cream base.  

Cover and freeze until ice cream reaches the preferred firmness for serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. The vodka is for the purpose of keeping the ice cream from turning rock hard in the freezer. It does not impart any flavor to the ice cream.

2. There will be extra caramel sauce for another use. the recipe states that smaller measurements of the ingredients somehow do not work. There is more than enough for double the ice cream base.

3. For a short cut without the ginger, use store bought Dulce de Leche.
                                **THREE YEARS AGO:Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies**

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Chocolate Raspberry Tassies

With Valentine's day right around the corner, it is time for a little dessert that is rich in chocolate. These little gems are perfect for the occasion. They have a bold dark chocolate flavor with a fudgey filling on the inside and a cookie crunch on the outside. In addition they have a dollup of cocoa buttercream for more texture and more chocolate flavor.

Now, concerning the raspberry. They are made with raspberry liqueur, but there is no remaining flavor after baked. As is, the recipe only tastes of chocolate. In order to add more raspberry flavoring, I would suggest an extract, about 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons.

The recipe suggests plain cocoa, however ,for an even deeper dark chocolate flavor, I used dutch chocolate. Even with plain cocoa, I still believe the raspberry flavor of the liqueur would not come through after baked.

These are so rich in chocolate, I doubt if they would be refused due to their lack of raspberry flavor. Nothing like the taste of dark chocolate to bring a smile to someone's face. So if you are looking for a special treat this Valentine's-- add this to your day, you along with someone else will be happy to enjoy these little gems. The recipe makes 24 tassies.

Chocolate Raspberry Tassies
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients/Chocolate Pastry
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter (room temp)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup flour
1 egg yolk (room temp)
2 tbs cold water

1/3 cup sugar
1 tbs raspberry liqueur
2 tbs butter
1 lightly beaten egg (room temp)
2 tsp vanilla
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tbs milk
3 tbs cocoa powder

The first step is to make the chocolate pastry. Sift together flour, salt and cocoa in the bowl of a stand mixer. Then whisk in sugar. Cut the butter into cubes and drop into the sifted ingredients. Beat until mixture is crumbly. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Take out a small bowl and whisk together the egg yolk and the water. Pour into the chocolate mixture and beat until a soft dough is formed. Test the dough for stickiness and the ability to hold its shape. It can be refrigerated and you can use floured fingers for shaping. Once you are ready to shape, divide the dough into 24 equal balls. Place the balls into the cavities of 2-12 count mini muffin pans. Then shape each ball into a cup, covering the bottom and interior sides. After this process is completed, set aside.

Next is to create the filling. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then add chocolate chips and stir until mixture becomes smooth and all is melted. Remove from heat. Add the raspberry liqueur, sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until blended. Then whisk in the egg. Using a tablespoon scoop out some of the filling and fill a cavity of dough. Repeat this process until all cavities are filled with the chocolate blend.

Place in oven and bake until center is set, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for about 10 minutes. Then carefully scrape the outside of the cookie shell and pry the tassies loose from the pan and place on cooling rack to completely cool.

Once cooled, buttercream icing can be prepared. Beat the butter in a stand mixer until smooth, then scrape down sides. Sift in 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar and mix until no dry streaks remain. Repeat the process until all the sugar is incorporated into the butter. Then add the cocoa and milk and beat. The end result is a thick glossy icing. Fill a piping bag with a large star tip and pipe a dollup of icing on top. Let the icing set for 1 hour before serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. The egg may cause the filling to glop up in sections but it is okay, it does not hurt the final outcome.

2. After baked, some of the filling may sink. However, the icing will cover this so the sinking is acceptable.

3. Be sure that the cups made by the dough are even. Any that are too thin will cause them to collapse when removing from the pan.

4. A tablespoon of filling is too much to use in each. It will result in a shortage. In order for all the cups to be filled, use 2/3 of a tablespoon or make some extra.
                                           **LAST YEAR:Nusstaler Cookies**

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Tecate Bundt Cake

There is a thought by some people that beer is the perfect pairing to every type of food imaginable. I believe this becomes more evident during football season. Today's post does support that theory, for this bundt cake is made with Tecate beer. It is not just in the cake, but there is a Tecate syrup that is drizzled on top.

It resembles a pound cake in texture and taste. After tasting the sweet vanilla flavor there is a subtle flavor chaser of malt that stems from the beer. Delicious with a drizzle of Tecate syrup and whipped cream, after one serving your taste-buds will crave a second piece. The recipe is for a 10 cup bundt pan and I have included a buttercream icing for those that like icing. Also, this recipe lists the brand as Tecate, but I am sure it would work for other beers, but I would not recommend a light beer.

Bring this cake out at Superbowl time, I am sure everyone will be impressed with how you have made use of the beer!

Tecate Bundt Cake
adapted from LA Times

3 cups Tecate brand beer
3/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Tecate brand beer
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs (room temp)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks of butter (room temp)
1 3/4 cup sugar

Ingredients/Tecate Buttercream
1-2 tbs milk
3 tbs Tecate syrup
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (room temp)

The syrup, since it has to be room temperature when used will be made first. Fill a saucepan with the beer and the sugar. Place over medium high heat. Stir constantly and when mixture comes to a boil, set the timer to 15 minutes. Continue to stir as the mixture boils. Once the time goes off, check the amount in the pan, it should be about 3/4 cup. If still too much, continue to boil until reduced to 3/4 cup. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease the interior of a 10 cup Bundt pan. Dust with flour and tap out excess.

Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the butter. Beat until smooth and silky, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then add the sugar in 1/4 cup increments, beating to blend after each addition. Once the sugar is incorporated, add one egg and mix for 30 seconds, until combined into batter. Repeat the process with each egg until all 3 have been mixed in.

Pour milk, beer and vanilla into a bowl and stir. Take out another bowl and sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add 1/3 of the sifted ingredients to the batter and fold until incorporated. Then pour half the milk mixture into the batter and mix. Repeat the process, ending with the dry ingredients, until everything is blended together.

Lastly, whisk in 5 tbs of the beer syrup. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top. The pan will be 3/4 full. Place cake in oven and bake for 25 minutes and then rotate. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan 20 minutes, then invert onto baking rack.

If covering in syrup and frosting, drizzle all but 3 tbs of syrup onto cake while still warm. It will drip down sides. If you are not frosting the cake, you can use all of the syrup.

For the frosting, fill a stand mixer with butter and beat until smooth and light. Sift in one cup of powdered sugar and beat on low and then increase the speed to medium. Mix until blended, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat until all the powdered sugar is mixed into the butter. Add 3 tbs of syrup and mix into frosting. Then beat in 1 tbs of milk and check for consistency. If too thick, beat in an additional tablespoon. Frost completely cooled cake as desired.

Tips and Notes:
1. If you have had trouble in the past with the release of bundt cakes from the pan, try using breadcrumbs to dust the interior of the pan instead of flour.

2. Do not use butter to grease the pan, it promotes sticking. Use shortening.

3. You can leave the cake as is and save the syrup for serving.

4. The milk may curdle when mixed with the beer, but that is normal.

5. When making the syrup, the beer will foam up as you stir, so be careful it does not foam over the pan.
                                   **LAST YEAR: Blue Corn Zucchini Bread**