The Sensitive Kitchen

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Spaghetti with Mascarpone, Blue Cheese and Pecans

10 oz penne
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled
6 oz mascarpone cheese
freshly grated nutmeg
3 1/2 oz pecans, toasted and chopped
2 Tbsp snipped fresh chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta. While pasta cooks, melt buter in a saucepan. Gently fry garlic over low heat 2-3 minutes, until soft but not browned. Stir in cheeses, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Cook gently until sauce is heated through but sauce still has a little texture. Remove from heat; stir in pecans and chives. Stir in cooked, drained pasta. Season to taste; serve hot. Serves 4.

Labels: , ,

Marshmallow Fluff

From "Baked Elements."

4 large egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 c + 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
3/4 c light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites vigorously for 1 minute. Sprinkle with cream of tartar and salt; continue beating until foamy. Continue beating while sprinkling in 3 Tbsp sugar. Beat until soft peaks form.

In a medium saucepan, gently stir together remaining 3/4 c sugar, 1/4 c water and corn syrup. Set saucepan over low heat; stir until sugar and syrup dissolve. Turn heat up to medium; bring to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer to the side, turn heat up to medium-high; and wait for mixture to reach firm ball stage (246-248 degrees), about 10 minutes.

Turn mixer to low. Slowly stream hot sugar into egg whites. Once all sugar is added, increase mixer speed to high. Beat until marshmallow cream is near room temperature and fluffy. Add vanilla; beat 5 more seconds or until incorporated. Use immediately or refrigerate tightly covered for up to 3 days.


Simple Chocolate Syrup

From "Baked Elements." Makes a syrup, not a sauce. Good in milkshakes or other places that require a thin, straightforward syrup whose wallop is undiluted by dairy. Use a LARGE pan; mixture bubbles up considerably when cooking.

1/4 c dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c water
1 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt

In large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together cocoa and water until dissolved. Whisk in sugar; increase heat to medium-high. Boil for 3 minutes, then reduce heat to low and simmer another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salt. Let cool to room temperature. Can be stored in refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 3 weeks. Warm gently to use as topping or use directly from refrigerator as a milkshake mix-in.

Labels: , ,

Spicy Chocolate Brownies

From "Baked Elements"

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger root
9 ozs good quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
2 ozs good quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 ozs (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1" cubes
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350. Butter bottom and sides of a 9"x13" baking pan. Line with parchment; butter the parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, chile powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Place chopped chocolates and butter in bowl of double boiler over medium heat. Stir to melt and combine. Turn off heat, but keep over water. Add both sugars and ginger; whisk until completely combined. Remove bowl from water; let mixture come to room temperature.

Add 3 eggs to chocolate mixture; whisk until just combined. Add remaining eggs; whisk until just combined. Do not overbeat batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle dry ingredients over egg mixture. Fold until just a trace of flour is visible. Pour into prepared pan; smooth top with spatula. Bake 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time, or until a toothpick in center comes out with moist crumbs. Remove from oven; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving. Store at room temperature, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.


Chocolate Malt Madeleines

From "Baked Elements"

1/2 c + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp malted milk powder, divided
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp dark unsweetened cocoa, divided
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 ozs (5 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and nearly at room temperature

Butter madeleine pans, dust with flour, and knock out excess flour.

Whisk together flour, 3 Tbsp malted milk powder, 2 Tbsp cocoa, and baking powder.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs, sugar and salt on high until frothy, about 3 minutes. Drizzle in butter on low until just blended.

Remove bowl from mixer; sift dry ingredients atop egg mixture. Gently fold to combine. Cover with a dry cloth; set aside 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375. Give the batter a quick stir, then spoon gently into pans, filling molds about 3/4 full. Bake 10-12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking.

Meanwhile, stir together remaining cocoa powder and malted milk powder. Set aside. 

Remove pans to wire racks to cool 1 minute, then carefully unmold. Sift cocoa-malt mixture over madeleines. Eat within a few hours of baking. Makes 24 madeleines.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 06, 2013

Pressure Cooker Risotto

2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c minced onions
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
3 1/2 - 4 c broth (can use 1/3 c wine)
1/2 c grated Parmesan, more to taste
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp minced Italian parsley

Heat butter and oil in slow cooker. Saute onions until soft but not browned. Stir in rice, coating it thoroughly with oil. Stir in 3 1/2 c broth. Bring to high pressure. Cook 4 minutes. Release pressure. Stir uncovered over medium heat 3-5 minutes until risotto thickens and rice is al dente. Add broth as needed. Stir in Parmesan, salt, pepper and parsley. Serves 6 as an appetizer, 4 as a main dish.

Labels: ,

Chocolate Plastic

Adapted from "Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse." The authors suggest sculpting flowers or bows with it, or even covering a cake with it (they say it tastes better than fondant).

7 ozs chopped dark, milk, white or wafer chocolate
1/4 c light corn syrup

Melt chocolate for 3 30-second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between. Add corn syrup, stirring quickly just to combine. Remove from bowl; wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Let sit for a few hours or overnight at room temperature, or for 1 hour in the freezer.

When ready to use, dust a clean, flat surface with cornstarch. Knead dough to make it smooth and malleable. If too hard to work, soften for 5 seconds in microwave and knead again. Roll out 1/4" to 1/16" depending on design. Use dabs of water to adhere one piece to another. Do not let sit out unwrapped; chocolate plastic will harden and become unworkable.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Marshmallow Fondant

Adapted from "Kids' Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse." I found that I needed far more powdered sugar than they thought I would, and switched to cornstarch at some point in the kneading process as the mixture became tooth-jarringly sweet.

16 ozs marshmallows
2 Tbsp water
Food coloring as desired
1 lb or more confectioner's sugar
1/2 c vegetable shortening
cornstarch if desired

Heat marshmallows and water until melted. The book suggests using a microwave, but to avoid having to transfer, I suggest a double boiler. Stir marshmallows to hasten the melting process. Stir in food coloring as needed, remembering that your color will lighten when sugar is added. Sift 3 cups confectioner's sugar over the top; stir to combine.

Dust a work surface with powdered sugar. Generously grease your hands with shortening. Knead the fondant mixture, adding sugar as needed until fondant is smooth and malleable. Regrease hands and dust surface as needed. Knead until fondant is no longer sticky, is firm yet elastic, and does not rip. You can test this by rolling out a 1/4"-thick piece and placing it over a measuring cup. If it tears, add a bit of water and continue to knead, 8-10 minutes total.

Seal fondant in a zip-top bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Let sit overnight at room temperature. To use, roll out 1/4" thick on a powdered-sugar-dusted work surface.

Labels: , ,