Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Day 8 Candied Fruit

Hello, it's almost a week before you'll bask in the glory of your own candy fruit. If you've been following along, congratulations you're almost at the end of the race...Let's get back to it..
Day 8
drain off your syrup and dissolve 1/3 of a cup of sugar by bringing the syrup to a hard boil.
  • add your fruit,
  • allow the mixture to reach a boil (not boiling)
  • then place the fruit and syrup back in your container to age for 2 days (age 48 hours).
Then repeat again on day(9/1) 10, but leave the fruit to age for 4 days before moving onto the next step. Is your journal helping? My kids like to have a calendar on the fridge., with each stage written out? whatever works best for you?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Almond Paste

Almond paste is a very versatile medium to make marzipan figures, fruits, covering or mixing in cakes as well as other dessert decorations and designs . Freshly made it has a somewhat grainy texture depending on how well you processed it, but mostly because of the almonds. It's best to buy unsalted almonds. To begin this process we’ll blanch the almonds, to separate the brown skin from the nuts. Wait a few minutes for them to cool and dry. If you wish to skip this step just buy blanched almonds and Start at step 2. and place the almonds in a processor or blender to grind them with powdered sugar and a little binding liquid such as corn syrup, pasteurized eggs or glucose. Finally knead and form to a consistent dough of almond paste...ready for whatever you want to make.

Almond Paste recipe ingredients
1 ½  c. whole blanched Almonds
1 ½  c. 10 x
¼ c. Pasteurized eggs whites or substitutions
½ tsp. Almond extract (more or less)

Let’s begin with Step 1. If you understand blanching, this first step, will be a breeze for you.  Look for the skin to become wrinkled and kinda lift from the almonds. When gently squeezing an almond between your finger and thumb it should easily slide out of the skin.

  1. Boil water in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Carefully place the almonds in the boiling water and simmer for 1 min. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner.
  3. Place almonds on a towel to cool and remove the skin. Gently, because they are slippery little devils.

To Begin step 2 Using a 7 c. Vol. processor Grind the almonds with ½ c. powdered sugar, to a fine ground consistency.

After the almonds are ground add the rest of the sugar and pulse until the whole mixture is combined completely. Stop the machine once more feed in the egg whites and extract. Start up the processor and let it combine to a mass of dough, then remove from the processor to your dusted working surface of powdered sugar.
If you are like me, and rather mix the binding liquid into the ground almond sugar by hand,
place it on the work surface or bowl, make a well int the middle of the almond mixture, to knead in the egg whites. All that’s left is to form it into a consistent ball of almond paste that’s not sticking to your hand. Just keep adding the powdered sugar as needed to achieve a slightly non-sticky dough. It's a bit tacky, but it doesn't stick to your hands at all.

Once it is a nice dough, I keep it in the refrigerator (will keep up to 3 months and freeze up to 6 months) wrapped in plastic wrap and parchment paper to keep it fresh for use and free of unwanted refrigerator flavors.. Bring the almond paste to room temperature before using. It is very easily colored too. I’ve added gel color after it’s made with pleasing results. I think it would be fine to add the color to the binding liquid as well or just painting directly onto the formed fruit or what have you, using a bit of petal dust.

Next time I will share how I make Marzipan from the Almond Paste
For these adorable little snowman

Friday, August 26, 2016

Day 4 Candied Fruit

Hello, it’s day 4 and I’m here to look in on your progress...:D I think it’s a good halfway point before day 8...by now you’re seeing  changes in the fruit and the liquid. for now stick with 1/4 c. sugar and dissolve over the heat.
In two days... Day 8, you’ll increase the sugar to ⅓ c.
All you'll be doing from that point is ...
  • Let the syrup boil.
  • Add the fruit which will bring the temperature of the syrup down and let it come "just to a boil" again. It’s a tiny bit tricky...this is where the right tools for the job come in handy.
I'll post day 8 on the 30th in the mean time have fun
Until Saturday here's...
*A Tool Tip. A large metal/silicon mesh strainer with handles makes putting the syrup back in the sauce pan easy, because now the fruit are separated and once the syrup boils you’ll have no problem carefully putting the fruit back in.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Day 2 Candied Fruit

Here we are again, ready for day two?
The best part of the next 5 days is that it just a repeat of today. No mysteries here. Have your measuring cup, sugar and spatula handy. I want to also mention if you're using other sugar for this project like beet sugar or raw or even honey I'd love to hear about your results. I'll check in here in two days and see how it's going...feel free to post comments and questions.
Day 2
Remove or strain off your syrup and place it in a sauce pan. Heat and dissolve 1/4 c. of additional sugar to the syrup and cover your fruit with the syrup when it reaches a hard boil and all the sugar is dissolved. Cover again and leave for another 24 hours. Today's process will be repeated for days 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 (The next 5 days) Here's where you mark your calendar and take notes of your fruits changes.

  • Drain syrup, Heat it to a Simmer is what you want and make sure the sugar is dissolved each day.
  • Mark you calendar and journal. if you forget a day or got too busy...it's happened to me. I went to the next day with 1/4 c. because adding too much sugar at once takes longer to dissolve and absorb, which can cause sugar crystals...a different kind of candies fruit and not what we are going for. So I needed an extra day or I just went to the next set of days when I had to add more sugar. It worked out good.
Till Saturday...All the best

Monday, August 22, 2016

Day 1. Candied Fruit

Candied Fruit Recipes
One of those little niceties that goes on top of ice cream or even mashed into it. These look lovely enough to go on and i cakes. I'd posted this project in earlier post, but I wanted to let it go solo here because of it's versatility.  I hope you can give it a try.

Candy Ginger and Cherries

There are quite a few recipes for making candy fruit, but this project will take 14 days. I like the results. I can choose if I want the fruit glazed or crystallized looking. Believe, when i tell you...It's well worth the effort. I'm going to walk you thru making candied fruit in a cluster of  days. So let's get candy making.
You'll need. 
  • A calendar or journal to keep track of each days process. Personally, I like the journal type calendars, because I can take notes on how each fruit does through the candying process.
  • A sanitized needle for pricking berry type fruits.
  • 2  8 oz. canning jars with lids(depending on how many pounds of fruit you're candying)
  • Or a glass baking sheet one with a top would work nicely, but it's not necessary.
  • Medium sauce pan or skillet
  • Almost 3 c. Sugar for the whole process
  • Water to cover fruit at the start
  • Small saucer or bowl to keep fruit submerged.
  • A candy thermometer (help when gauging the hard boil)
  • A few spoons and spatula

Use only firm, unblemished fruit in this process and always wash fruit before hand. It will be necessary to prick each cranberry before the first step with a sanitized needle otherwise they will burst open in the cooking process and become mushy.

Candied Blueberries

Day 1.
In a sauce pan place your washed and needle pricked berries. Cover with just enough water to cover and set on a medium heat. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, not enough time to make the fruit mushy but enough time to break down the cell walls so your sugar will penetrate the berries easily over the next couple of weeks. Taking into consideration that you will cook these again in the near future. Remove the blueberries from the heat and strain setting the juice aside off the burner

For every one pound of fruit that you just cooked place 1 and 1/4 cup of liquid in a sauce pan. Heat to a boil and dissolve 3/4 cups of granular sugar. When completely dissolved pour this sugar mixture over the berries and set this aside.
*Note... if at all possible you should lay your fruit in a single layer on the baking sheet, for the sugar syrup. This allows the syrup to cover every piece of fruit.

If you're limited on kitchen space save the single layer technique for orange slices and fruit of that nature, but I used glass jars for blueberries and cherries. Since all fruits love to float this is the point where you weigh down your single layered fruit with a plate or a cookie sheet of a smaller size and your jarred fruits with a small bowl...I used parchment under the cup to push the fruit down even further. Leave your fruit to set at room temperature for 24 hours.

Fruit to try

Kiwi  only required half the process
Mango lovely and the syrup looks just like honey
Peach syrup taste way more heavenly than anything I've ever tasted on the grocery shelf. It just doesn't come close.
Blueberries Candy blueberries ... way better than grape jelly, which brings up the matter to candy grapes. I have to try it...

Golden Nugget...

Be sure to start your fruit at a gentle simmer...All fruit are not created equally and one fruit can become mushy quite quickly, than another would.  So gentleness and attentiveness is the key to achieving wonderful candies and syrup.

Our Next step is a cluster of days...so make sure to use your journal for notes as well as keeping up with what step and day your on.

Can you imagine your fruits on top of chocolate cup cakes or cakes? I have more projects like this one, so like and subscribe to Chocolate Mondays to receive more of this type of recipe, to your in box once a month...
happy chocolate Monday to all

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Chocolate and lemon filled cookies recipe

Chocolate Cookies by Martha Stewart Magazine
I'm still on the hunt for the first chocolate cookie Martha aired on those first shows. It wasn't too sweet and I loved the ease and consistency of the dough. When I posted the original recipe I gleaned from her magazine, I said it was too sweet. This is my attempt to decrease the sugar to 1 c. and increased butter 1 ½ c.  They taste chocolaty and softer than the original. Very familiar taste, if you've ever had those cookies with the bear drawn out on the face of the cookie on the box? Yea, they taste like those.
I want them to be thicker so I may make another adjustment with the flour next time...in the mean time I'm very happy how these turned out. I hope you get to try them...and the chocolate mint leaves with the lemon are a very sophisticated combination.

*Chocolate cookie Ingredients
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cups sugar, plus more for flattening cookies
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg

Cookie Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Into a medium-size bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat to combine. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture; continue add the flour mixture; continue beating until dough is well combined.
Use whatever sized ice cream scoop you want. Drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

Place cookies in the oven until firm, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire racks to cool completely.

Lemon Butter Cream filling
2 c. sifted Confectioners sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) Whipped soften butter
1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. lemon juice

Filling Directions
Soften a stick of butter to room temperature and whip in a mixing bowl.
Combine the whipped butter with the sugar in a mixing bowl with a whisk or in a stand mixer on low.
Add the lemon juice a little at a time. It may not be necessary to use it all depending on the humidity and how the frosting consistency comes together for you. I like mine on the thicker side. You may like a stronger lemon flavor.

Place cream filling in a pastry bag fitted with a round or star tip and pipe about 1 Tablespoon filling onto the flat side of half the cookies. Top with another cookie and gently press on each to squeeze filling to edges. Filled cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days. Or placed in the fridge in a container.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Chocolate Mint Leaves

Today's post for Chocolate Monday is all about making chocolate leaves. Two reasons to use real leaves for this project instead of cutters or a mold is because they're frugal and edible leaves leave a hint of the herb or flower in the chocolate. Through this post you'll see I've placed a couple of links. One is a list of the leaves or plants, that are non-toxic for use on a pastry and beautiful samples of uses for chocolate leaves.
Chocolate Mint Leaves
you'll need...
Large mint leaves
Tempered Dark chocolate
A silpat or parchment
If You don't want to use mint take a look at edible/nontoxic leaves that will work well for what you're baking. Basil or Rose. Pick, wash and dry the best looking and largest mint leaves. Flatten them if you like, between a paper towel or napkin.

Temper a few ounces of dark chocolate (I used 60% for these leaves) Either paint on the chocolate or place each leaf on the surface of the chocolate. (btw, use the side shown above to have more indentation... in other words use the back of the leaf) Lift and allow to drip off the access. Using a toothpick or skewer, pop any bubbles, make sure  to stretch out the leaf completely in hand or on the silpat and fill in any gaps, with a little dripping chocolate on the tip of the tooth pick.
Glossy Goodness
Place these shiny gems into the fridge. Or freezer until solid to the touch. I use the stems to make a slight crack and peel off the leaf from the chocolate and walla, Chocolate Leaves.
You'll love the mint scent and hint of mint flavor of these, provided you like mint and chocolate. I do as long as chocolate is the dominant flavoring.
Looking at these leave we see a good indentation and range of sizes. I missed a few bubble which gave me a more, organic feel for the way leaves are naturally, with bug holes and stages in growth for this type of mint.
I thought it would be fun to have some samples of fall leaves. Green or any color is good but make sure to use
Gel colors and not the liquid food dye used for Easter eggs.
White chocolate leaves
Use a sharp tool to clip off access chocolate, while the leaves are still chilled. Now the only thing left to do is place them on a cake, cupcakes or cookies.

Minty leaves with lemon butter cream filling
sandwiched between two chocolate soft
sugar cookies

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A vintage Cake: German Chocolate Cake ...Reposted with recipe from the box

German Chocolate Cake Named so because of
Samuel German who created the mild dark chocolate bar
for Baker's Chocolate in 1852. 
This German Chocolate Cake is a recipe repost, because somehow the instructions were omitted with the filling, and frosting(s). This is a really good recipe. I've combined several elements from a few recipes. I researched the recipe in the Cake Bible and on-line.  I like a moist cake, but some people love the dryer bitter side of chocolate this recipe is in the middle. I consider this an intermediate skills cake.
If you decide to make this cake having all the ingredients measure out is the best way to make sure nothing is left out. I like to have my frosting prepared before the cake is done, sometimes I even prepare the frosting days in advance and place in the refrigerator or freezer if necessary.

Baker's Tools
2 9 in. cake pans
2 sauce pans
 Sm, M, and L mixing bowls
Mixer and attachements
Parchement paper
non-stick spray
Measuring cups and spoons

German Chocolate Cake Recipe
4 oz. Baker's German Chocolate ( If you can't find the BGC, Substitute 4 ounces of chocolate  = 113.40 grams, 4 ounce (120 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate plus 2 tablespoon (28 grams) granulated white sugar)

4 eggs, separated (for grocery - make sure to have 4 xtra or 8 all together to make this filling)

2 1⁄3 c. Cake flour(actually 2 c. 4 Tbsp.)

1 1⁄2 c.  sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1⁄4 tsp. salt

2⁄3 c. butter, room temp. (2 sticks)

1 c. butter milk

1 tsp. vanilla

To make the cake

Preheat the oven to 350°

Prep 2 (9 in.) pans with wax paper / parchement paper spray with cooking spray

1. Whip egg white to stiff peaks -set aside

2. Melt Chocolate-to almost melted and stir-(the recipe on the box use 1⁄2 c. water, but i believe it dilutes the chocolate flavor, why not use coffee or something to enhance the flavor of the chocolate)

3.Sift; Flour, baking soda and salt

4. Cream; butter and sugar until light and fluffy-add egg yolks in one at a time to be sure to

incorporate each one.

5. Combine; 3⁄4 c. butter milk, vanilla chocolate and flour mixture together..but you want to

alternately add the milk and flour as you combine. Then mix in 1⁄4 c. milk lastly.

6. Gently stir in whipped egg whites and pour into your pans

7. Bake; at 350 f for 30-35 min. Allow to cool for 15 min. in the pan but shimmy a knife around

the edges of the pan first, immediately after it is baked. Remove the cakes from the pans to cool

on a cooling rack completely.  Decorate as planned.

Dark Chocolate Ganache frosting
9 oz. 70% chocolate baking bar
1 c. of heavy cream

heat the heavy cream either in a sauce pan or double boiler...just want it hot enough to melt the chocolate, so don’t let it boil.(bring to a boil) pour in the chocolate and let it sit there for about a min. then wisk it until it's a silky liquid. let it cool in a container or plastic wrapped bowl. Than refrigerate.
Makes 2 . cups
*Let the whipped ganache come to room temperature just a few minutes before you whisk it with a hand mixer until you have a thick frosting consistency.

Happy & Glad Chocolate Frosting( I used this to pipe on the top decorations of the cake) I keep in it the frig in a jar and then spoon it into a piping bag...fabulous! A combination of silky and sweet chocolate flavor.
1 stick of butter
2/3 c. Dark cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. of milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter and stir in cocoa. Alternately add in milk and sugar stir. Remove from the heat and whisk in vanilla.

Coconut Cream Filling
4 egg yolks
1 12 oz can-3/4 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2-3/4 c. butter
2 2/3 c. coconut
1 1/2 c. pecans

Beat egg yolks, milk, vanilla in a large sauce pan with a whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter- cook on medium heat 12 min. or until thickened and gold brown.