Friday, December 19, 2008

Tiramisu Cake

A couple weeks ago, we had a italian night at home and decided to give a try to this delicious recipe. I bought this book a few months ago and after searching if the recipe had been published before, then I went ahead and included in this post.

We had a Tiramisu Cake. Soft, moist and full of flavor... simply delicious!!!

Tiramisu Cake
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan


For the cake:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the espresso extract:
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water

For the espresso syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy (Deb note: I used brandy)

For the filling and frosting:
1 8-ounce container mascarpone
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy (Deb note: I used brandy)
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional)
Cocoa powder, for dusting


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9×2 inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right-side up.

To make the extract: Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.

To make the syrup: Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.

To make the filling and frosting: Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.

Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.

To assemble the cake:

If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right-side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer - user about 1 1/4 cups - and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.

For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks as if it might be a little too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.

With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, press them into the filling, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving - the elements need time to meld.

Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa.

Eggnog Cupcakes

Eggnog Cupcakes... a perfect Bake-and-Give Christmas Treat! A few days ago, a friend brought me some eggnog, so I would have some of the typical american taste of Christmas. The result... delicious but too rich for more than a little glass... So... what would I do with the rest?!?!?!? After some cyber research a brilliant idea... Eggnog Cupcakes! and not only that... it is also SUPER easy to make... and EAT :(


For the cupcakes:

¼ cup dark rum or bourbon
1 cup low-fat eggnog
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

For the frosting:

¼ cup butter, softened
3 tbsp. lowfat eggnog
1 tbsp. rum
generous pinch of nutmeg
2 (or more) cups confectioners’ sugar


- ground cinnamon
- cinnamon sticks


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, mix together the rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. In a large bowl, mix together the nutmeg, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Divide evenly between prepared muffin wells.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream together the butter, eggnog, rum, nutmeg and confectioners’ sugar. Add in more confectioners’ sugar if needed to make the frosting stiff, but spreadable. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Source: One of my favorite food blogs : Annie's Eats

By the way... if you see hers are so much prettier!

Parfait Pie

For our Christmas dinner with friends, I was looking for a nice dessert recipe that wouldn't be simply cookies or something related to apples, well, I found a lot of good ones, BUT all the sudden, I was watching the "Food Network" and saw this wonderfully delicious pie from Emeril Lagasse's show. I decided to give it a try and guess what?!?!?! EVERYBODY LOVED IT!!!!

I guess I forgot to tell you, why did I pick up this recipe... tell me if this doesn't sound good to you: Graham Cracker's Crust topped with a thick chocolate ganache, with homemade butterscotch pudding, happy chocolate mousse and finally topped with heavy whipped cream and chocolate curls?!?!?

Even though it seems a very long recipe, it can be done it 45 minutes (always helps to have all the ingredients measured and ready to be used before starting every part) and even when the recipe says to let is set for at least 6 hours, if you make it the day before is even easier to cut and yummier in flavor.

So, here we go!


25 graham crackers (broken into pieces) or 3 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)

Butterscotch Pudding: Recipe courtesy "Joy of Cooking"

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 1/4 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water, plus 1/4 cup
1 package powdered unflavored gelatin, about 2 1/2 teaspoons
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup packed cornstarch

Chocolate Ganache:

6 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter


8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups chilled heavy cream, divided
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy (I used Rum)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Top of the Parfait:

1 cup chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy (I used Rum)
Dark chocolate curls
(I also added 1/4 powder sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the heavy cream)

Equipment: a 9 by 3 1/2-inch spring form pan and a large pastry bag


To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pulse the graham crackers and brown sugar in a food processor to a fine crumb. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add it to the crumb mixture, and pulse until just combined. Pour the mixture into the spring form pan and press it firmly along the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan to make an even crust. Bake until the crust browns, about 15 minutes. Cool and refrigerate while making the pudding.

To make the pudding: In a small medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the dark brown sugar and cook, stirring, until melted and bubbly. Gradually add in the heavy cream and stir over low heat until the butterscotch is dissolved. Whisk in the milk and salt. Remove from the heat and set aside until lukewarm. Pour the 2 tablespoons of water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top, do not stir. Set aside to let the gelatin bloom.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the butterscotch mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until the mixture thickens. Reduce the heat to low; stir briskly, and bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator while you make the ganache.

To make the Ganache: Put the 6 ounces of chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and butter to a boil over high heat. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate; set it aside for 5 minutes before whisking until smooth.

Pour the chocolate ganache into the chilled crust; then swirl the pan so the ganache evenly covers the sides and bottom of the crust. Set the crust aside at room temperature while you make the chocolate mousse.

To make the Mousse: Put the 8 ounces of chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of the cream, the brandy, and vanilla to a boil over medium high heat. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate; set it aside for 5 minutes before whisking until smooth. Cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature, whisking occasionally. In a large bowl, beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups cream until it holds a soft peak. Sift the sugar over the cream, and continue beating until slightly thicker; take care not to over whip the cream. Fold a third of the whipped cream into the chocolate to lighten the mixture. Fold in the remaining cream.

To assemble the Parfait Pie:

Pour the pudding into the prepared crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Pour the chocolate mousse on top of the pudding, smooth the top if needed. Refrigerate until set, about 6 hours. In a medium bowl whip the cream and brandy until it holds a soft peak. Spoon dollops of the whipped cream over the chocolate to cover and decorate with the chocolate shavings. Carefully remove the spring form ring. Transfer the Parfait Pie to a cake stand and serve. Cut with a warm serrated knife.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TWD - Buttery Jam Cookies

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Heather of Randomosity and the Girl: Buttery Jam Cookies. Like you read it, it has jam in it. When I heard about the challenge I thought you would add jam after the cookies where baked or something similar to the Linzer Sablés, but not! You incorporate de jam (whichever flavor you love) to the dough.

This cookies have a very soft consistency and they are excellent with a cup of tea or coffee. The flavor is not strong at all, it's very subtle and they don't have much color either. Once you bake them, they stay closer to the pale side than the gold. I used apricot jam in mine, and doubled the amount so it would have more flavor. Also, I added 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon.

The original recipe, you can find it at "Baking from my home to yours" by Dorie Greenspan on page 80.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TWD - Linzer Sablés

I am a week behind with this post since I was out of town and my computer was dead last week too. I come from a family where homemade cookies weren't a gift, so if we ever want some cookies we would just go to the store and get them. So, whenever I face a cookie challenge I have to breath twice before I make them, considering my inexperience.

This past challenge of Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) was chosen by Noskos of Living the Life: Linzer Sablés. They are buttery, lightly spiced sandwich cookies filled with jam. As I am not a jam fun, I switched it for Dulce de Leche.

As a new cookie baker, I was very pleased with the recipe. It is a very easy dough to work with and after being refrigerated for a couple hours it's absolutely a delight to cut it into shapes. Since I didn't have any cookie cutter on hand for this challenge (I'll go shopping today :S), I used my regular biscuit cutter and for the little whole in the center I used the end of piping tip as the book suggested. It was also de first time I used some almond meal in a dough.

The flavor of the cookies are well blended and soft. If you want them more spice then you'll have to increase the ground cloves amount. In my case, my cookies were close to the crunchy side instead of the soft one, since I made them like sandwich 1/4'' of thickness was a little bit to much for me, so I made them thiner.

If you want to try this goodies, you can find the recipe at "Baking from my home to yours" by Dorie Greenspan on pages 134 to 136.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Torta de Piña - Pineapple Cake

This is one of the most typical chilean cakes. It's composed by a yellow soft cake, heavy whipped cream and pineapples as filling. It's really soft, light and moist. It goes perfect with a coffee!

So, if you feel like giving a try to a "chilean délicatesse" , this one is a perfect opportunity. Here we go!


For the cake:

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup sifted all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
2 tsp. baking powder

1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks
1/8 cup favorite white liquor (such as pisco, tequila, vodka, etc) **optional
1 quart heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup powder sugar
Coconut flakes **optional


1.- Grease a 9" spring form pan and set aside. In a medium bowl sift the dry ingredients all together. In a small sauce pan pour the sugar and wet it with a little bit of water (it should look like wet sand), cook it until it reaches the consistency of a soft ball (240ºF) and set aside. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and add the syrup. Continue beating until the meringue is cool. Add the egg yolks one at a time, making sure they are well incorporated after every addition. Finally, add the dry ingredients softly. Do not over beat.

2.- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake it at 325ºF for 30 minutes. The timing can vary depending on your oven, but make sure that when you insert a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let it cool completely and slice it in two parts, so you'll have 3 layers. To make sure your layers are even, you can use toothpick as a cutting guide as you move your knife through the center of the cake.

(This picture was taken from King Arthur Website)

3.- Preparing the heavy whipping cream. Beat the cream until is thick, if you lift the beaters of the mixer you'll see little picks on top of the cream. Add the powder sugar. Set it in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the cake.

4.- Open and strain the pineapple can. Reserve the juice and mix it with the liquor of your preference. Put the bottom layer of the cake on a cake stand and sprinkle it with the pineapple juice mixture until is very moist (not mushy). Add an abundant layer of heavy whipping cream and evenly distribute pineapple chunks on top of it, add a thin layer of cream again. To wet the second cake layer, put it on top of a plate and wet one side. Turn it upside down on top of the cake and wet the other side. Repeat the process of the cream, pineapple chunks and cream.

5.- Moist the last layer of the cake and assemble it on top of the rest of the cake. Cover completely with heavy whipping cream (a very thin layer, this is just to get rid of the crumbs). Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

6.- Once the first layer is set, add the final coat of heavy whipping cream and proceed to decorate with the rest of pineapple chunks.

** You can sprinkle some coconut flakes for a final decorating touch. Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Turkey


2 onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
½ bunch fresh thyme
1 whole garlic head, cut crosswise in half (skins left on)
One 10- to 12-pound/4.5- to 5.5-kg organic turkey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons/30 ml olive oil


Set the rack at the lowest position in the oven and preheat to 400°F/205°C. Scatter the onions, carrots, celery, thyme and garlic in a heavy based large roasting pan. Place the turkey neck in the pan.

Rinse the turkey inside and out; pat dry. Place the turkey atop the vegetables in the roasting pan. Tuck the wing tips under and truss the turkey to help hold its shape. Sprinkle the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Drizzle the oil over the turkey.

Roast the turkey uncovered for 30 minutes. Decrease the heat to 325°F/165°C. Continue to roast until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F/80°C, about 3 to 3 ½ hours longer, basting every 30 minutes with pan drippings.

Transfer the turkey to a platter and allow it to rest for 30 minutes before carving (the internal temperature will increase 5 to 10 degrees). Strain the pan juices into a 4-cup/1-liter measuring cup; spoon the fat off the top. You should have about ¾ cup/175 ml. Serve the turkey with the pan juices.

Source: "Take Home Chef"

Cloverleaf Rolls

This is a very fun bread recipe to make and an easy one too! If you want to get your kids involved in the kitchen this will be a really good one to start with!

This dough also allows you to put it in a loaf bread or in a regular round one.


1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
3 cups hot water
1/2 cup oil
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
2 pkgs. quick-rise yeast


Mix first 4 ingredients and 2 cups flour in a large mixer (using dough hook). Add 1 cup flour and then yeast, using mixer. Continue adding flour gradually until dough no longer has a shine. Place in large well-greased bowl, tuning once so all sides are greased. Let rise until doubled. Punch down and make into cloverleaf rolls (put 3 balls of dough in each cup of a muffin tin) or loaves of bread; let rise until doubled. Bake at 350ºF about 10 minutes for rolls or 15 to 20 minutes for bread.

Source: Cooking with Smitty's Mom - page 74

Chocolate Nut Pie

This is a very special recipe for me. I got it from my next door neighbor when I moved to the US. She was the best neighbor ever and I am posting this fabulous recipe in memory of her... Mrs. Lola Hayes.


1 unbaked regular pie crust (either homemade or bought from the store)
1/2 cup butter melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup chocolate chips


Mix in order all the ingredients (adding one at a time) and pour into the pie shell. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes (it can vary depending on your oven). Top will be brown and pie will be firm in the middle. Garnish with some powder sugar if you want.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers - Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting


I am so excited to post my second Daring Bakers' Challenge!

This month’s challenge is a Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon, as published on Bay Area Bites. The co-hosts for this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge are Dolores of Culinary Curiosity, Jenny of Foray into Food, and Alex of Blondie and Brownie. Natalie from Gluten-a-Go-Go assisted with making gluten-free changes to the original recipe this month.

It was a great challenge. Especially because I've never made caramel sauce before and I am happy to say that it worked! The cake was sweet and rich. The frosting was sweet too but with a nice touch of sea salt it became unbelievable! My husband loved it and asked me to make him the cake again!

So, let's get started.

Caramel Cake
Recipe courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

Caramel Syrup

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for “stopping” the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

Caramelized Butter Frosting
Recipe courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner’s sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TWD - Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

This is my first official challenge with "Tuesdays with Dorie", and I am very excited about it! This challenge was hosted by Vibi from "La Casserole Carree" and is a beautiful and delicious "Thanksgiving Twofer Pie". I promise to upload more pictures of it once we cut it tonight!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Leche con Platano (Banana Milkshake)

One of the most traditional drinks we have in Chile is this milkshake, which everybody loves! It is very simple and it's especially good when you have those ripe bananas that you don't want to waste.

Get your blender ready!


1 cup of milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
1 ripe banana cut in chunks

Put everything in the blender and chop/mix until everything is well combined. Enjoy it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Banana Waffles (Sunday Morning breakfast)

Hey everybody!

After I served this breakfast at home today, I was asked to post it here since it's such a great recipe.

My guys usually have a special breakfast on Sunday's mornings. So, today I just whipped some things together and made this delicious creation. Let's get started.


For the waffles:
2 cups self rising flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pinch of lemon juice
1 banana (I made it puree with the food processor)

For the toppings:
- Butter
- Caramel sauce
- Whipped cream
- Pine nuts
- Shaved dark/bittersweet chocolate


Preheat your waffle maker.

In a mixing bowl put the flour, eggs and oil. Whisk until incorporated. Stir the milk, vanilla and lemon juice until everything is well blended. Add the banana puree and stir well.

Spray your waffle maker with cooking spry and add almost 1/2 cup of the batter. Once the waffle is made, set it aside on a serving plate. Add butter and caramel to taste. When the next waffle is ready, set it on top of the one you left on the plate and top it again with butter and caramel to taste. Make a little decoration at the middle with the whipped cream and sprinkle the pine nuts and shaved chocolate. Let is soak for a minute and serve. Proceed the same way with the rest of the batter.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cheesecake - NY Style... to die for!!!!

I saw this recipe name at King Arthur Flour website and I knew it that I had to make it right then. I was a little bit concerned after I read their blog considering the challenge of baking the cheesecake, but I decided to give it a try anyway and it didn't disappoint me! (To know what I am talking about, please visit their blog link)


1 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg

2 pounds (four 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Fruit glaze
1 or 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) tart cherries in water, or 1 quart fresh or frozen fruit (I used frozen strawberries for mine)
1 cup water
1/2 sugar
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 drops red food coloring (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan.

2. For the crust: In a mixing bowl with a paddle, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter. Mix until the mixture is crumbly, then add the egg and continue to mix until a soft dough forms.

3. Press the dough on the bottom and an inch up the sides of the prepared pan; dock with a fork, and bake for 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

4. For the filling: Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl with a paddle. Add the sugar and flour, and mix at low speed until there are no lumps. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl at least twice during this process, to be sure no cheese is sticking.

5. Add the lemon zest, salt, and vanilla, and mix to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated and scraping the mixing bowl between additions. Stir in the sour cream.

6. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the edges of the cake are set one inch in from the edge. The middle should still jiggle when you nudge the pan; in fact, the cake will look underbaked. Measure the temperature of the cake an inch from the edge: when it reaches 175°F, turn off the oven.

7. Prop open the door, and let the cheesecake cool slowly in the oven for 1 hour. During this time the center will finish setting. Cooling the cake slowly will keep the top from cracking and ensure a smooth, even texture inside.

8. For the glaze: Whisk together the water, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan until the cornstarch dissolves. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils, becomes clear, and thickens.

9. Remove from the heat and add the food coloring and the drained cherries. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then spoon it over the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate the cake until you're ready to serve

Hamburger Buns

I know... you're going to say... why is she making those? doesn't she know that she can get a bunch of them for like a dollar? INDEED, I know! But I saw these babies and had to try the recipe!

The Source is King's Arthur Flour. Their recipes are just so good and whenever I have a doubt or a question I can either go to their blog or ask for some help at their online help center, isn't that great?

This recipe is really good. It is hard to explain how a bun can be chewy and soft at the same time, but believe, these guys are just like that! They are easy to make and doesn't take a lot of effort to get them ready. You can use them from simple sandwiches, bar-b-q (as we did) or for burgers.

So here we go with the recipe:


2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 packets or 2 scant tablespoons active dry yeast (4 1/2 tspn.)
1/2 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
2 cups warm milk (105°F to 115°F)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
6 to 7 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
sesame, poppy or caraway seeds or coarse salt (optional)

This fairly wide variation for a couple of reasons. First, you'll find in the summer that you'll need a bit more flour to absorb a given amount of liquid than you will in the winter. This is because it's humid and flour acts somewhat like a slightly dampened sponge as a result.

Second, this particular dough should be quite slack, i.e., very relaxed in order to make soft and tender buns. So you want to add only enough more flour, past the 6-cup point, to make the dough just kneadable; sprinkling only enough more to keep it from sticking to you or the board.


Mixing: In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar and then the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk, oil, salt and 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.

Kneading: Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Because this dough is so slack, you may find that a bowl scraper or bench knife can be helpful in scooping up the dough and folding it over on itself.

Rising: Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Shaping: Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 18 equal pieces. This is done most easily by dividing the dough first into thirds, then those thirds into halves, then the halves into thirds.

Shape each piece into a ball. For soft-sided buns, place them on a well-seasoned baking sheet a half inch apart so they'll grow together when they rise. For crisper buns, place them three inches apart.

Second Rising: Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Baking: Fifteen minutes before you want to bake your buns, preheat your oven to 400°F. Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with whatever seeds strike your fancy.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190°F. (A dough thermometer takes the guesswork out of this.)

When the buns are done, remove them from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy

Oven Roasted Pork - Chilean Style

This is one of the fast and easy ways to make pork. Especially if you are kind of late to start cooking dinner. I made the pork, rice and salad in less than an hour!


1 Boneless Pork Rib piece
1 onion sliced roughly
3 roma tomatoes cut in big chunks
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Fresh oregano leaves (15) or 1 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. dill
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


Let's start by heating the oven to 400ºF. Then, grease a 9x13' pan and set aside (I used Pam spry).

Take off the extra fat you can see on the piece of pork. Wash it with warm water and dried with some paper towel. Place the meat onto a cutting board and proceed to add salt and pepper to taste all around. Set is aside.

Peal and cut the onion into these big chunks and place them on the baking dish simulating a bed. Then wash and cut the tomatoes and put them on top of the onions. Sprinkle some salt (only a tiny bit). Put the pork on top of the tomatoes and sprinkle the herbs (dill, thyme and oregano). Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the pork and finally the olive oil.

Bake on the top rack of the oven for 35-45 minutes. You can serve it with rice or mashed potatoes. Delicious!

Caramel-Peanut topped Brownie Cake

This is one of the most delicious recipes I've tried so far from Tuesdays with Dorie.

The consistency is just beautiful and the flavor impossible to describe it fairly. I mean... can anything be wrong when you have a brownie cake, caramel and salted peanuts?

You can decide if I am wrong or not after these shots!

Seafood Paella

Hey there!

I've been cooking a lot lately, but with not much time to upload pictures and do the blog thing... which is not fun at all!! I love to share new recipes and especially since I've been so encouraged by some of the Daring Bakers bloggers!

I made this recipe last week. It was delicious. You can think that involves a lot of work, but guess what?!?! It's the easiest thing ever!!!!

A long time ago, I was watching one of my favorite shows, "Take home Chef" at TLC and he made this dish and I wanted so bad to do it too, so after making some google work, I found his recipe.

So, here we go:

Seafood Paella

Serves 4


¼ cup/50 ml olive oil
3 shallots, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon/1.3 g Persian saffron powder
2 cups/375 g long grain white rice
1/2 cup/100 ml dry white wine
1 teaspoon/6 g salt
4 cups/900 ml chicken stock, warmed
1 tomato, seeded, diced
8 black mussels, scrubbed, debearded
8 Manila clams, scrubbed (I couldn't find those, so I just used a can of whole clams)
4 colossal shrimp, halved lengthwise, deveined (with shells)
4 sea scallops
1 tablespoon/about 3 g roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon/15 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, halved


Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Heat ¼ cup/50 ml of olive oil in a 12-inch/30-cm-diameter paella pan (a broad, shallow pan with two handles--I used the closest pan I had to this one) over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves, and sauté until the shallots are tender and translucent, about 1 minute.

Sprinkle the saffron powder over the shallot mixture and sauté for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes or until the pan is quite dry and the rice is coated with oil. Stir in the wine and salt then the warm chicken stock. Stir the rice to distribute it evenly in the pan.

Bring to a simmer over high heat then remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle the tomatoes over the rice mixture. Nestle the mussels, clams, shrimp and scallops into the rice mixture.Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake the paella uncovered for about 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the seafood is cooked (discard any mussels and clams that do not open).

Remove the paella from the oven. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil. Squeeze the lemon juice over the paella and serve.

Source: "Take Home Chef" - TLC - Curtis Stone

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge for October - Pizza Dough

I am so excited to post my first Daring Bakers Challenge that I can hardly stand it!!!

I've tried some recipes for Pizza Dough and this one is definitely a keeper. I was so nervous just about thinking tossing my pizza and had to wait for my husband to be home so he could capture that on a picture... well, I waited for the best day, he was there, I was stretching the dough but no big toss flying in the air from my side! I'll keep trying... I promise, I still have two more dough balls in my freezer!

The whole recipe is for six, 6 oz. dough balls. I made it that way and used only 4 of them and froze the rest. We didn't make any adventurous flavors as toppings but I have to say it... they turned out REALLY good! The dough (I think I stretched it a lot on my first three pizzas, oops!) was very thin but had a really nice texture. The fourth pizza I made the next day it was FAB, I mean the crust was nice and crispy in the bottom and had an excellent consistency.

Making the dough was a delight. It took only a few minutes to get the dough mixed and made into this little balls and then I had to let it rest for a couple hours before i put it back in the fridge. So, if you work, that is a really good thing if you want to prepare it in advance.

This months Daring Bakers challenge was brought to us by Rosa's Yummy Yums and is in memory of Sher who shared this idea for a challenge with Rosa a few short days before she passed. Be sure to check out the Daring Bakers blogroll to see the rest of the Daring Bakers pizza creations.

So, here we go!

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled –
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting


1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.


8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.

During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping. In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully, then try again.You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice. Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes. After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

(This is our own version of CKP Club --you bake the dough with the cheese and bacon and chicken (I didn't put chicken on this one), and after is done, you top it with fresh tomato slices, lettuce and mayo mix and avocado slices... you won't regret it, I promise!--)