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Dessert, the Sweet Spot


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I thought I should create a thread for desserts, sweets, confection-making, etc. For selfish reasons, of course. I made a clafouti the other night. Not just a clafouti; a heaven-sent, got-religion,

Thanks to Pingarina for spreading the love. I made a plum clafouti for dessert last night (using the batter recipe Omni posted). We enjoyed it enormously.

What did Ali serve last night - was it sauteed pears?

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Last week made a Mille Crêpes "cake" for a family gathering -- needed something portable as was also lugging gifts and a vat of bigos on Metro North. Made the crêpe batter and pastry cream the night before, the crêpes that a.m. and whipped the cream/assembled in situ. Chilled pastry cream was way too thick for folding so just beat it into the whipped cream in the mixer on low speed. Stacking/spreading was a snap; didn't have a mini-torch or salamander so just dusted the top with 10x sugar. Everybody loved it: great-looking, light and unusual. A good option when transportability is an issue.

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...using vegan egg substitutes wouldn't change things much, I don't think.

 

I have a hard time believing this could possibly be true. I've never tried any substitutes, but that's because the egg is a magical ingredient that should not be substituted for. Am I wrong?

 

Anyway, I just put a blackberry pie in the oven.

Actually, I've made some pretty decent muffins and cupcakes without eggs, if I do say so myself. (see pics here)

 

Butter has been more of a challenge. I just love an all butter pie crust. To make do, I put the salt and sugar in the ice water so that the flavoring will spread throughout the pie crust. I use the vodka pie crust recipe from Cooks Illustrated. The taste isn't butter, but it's still quite good. My eaters love my pies. I made several apple pies this winter, and they were all eaten up. :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just made these cookies for a party. They're moist and very chocolatey.

 

Coal Cookies

 

1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter

1 1/3 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. espresso powder

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup cocoa

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

12 ounces chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60%)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment, or lightly grease a mini-muffin pan. (Or use both: the recipe makes 36 cookies.)

 

Cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt. Add the eggs, beating until smooth. Stir in the cocoa, then the flour; the dough will be stiff but sticky. Mix in the chocolate chips.

 

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets or in the mini-muffin cups. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes if using baking sheets, 15 minutes if using an aluminum mini-muffin pan, or 21 minutes using a silicone mini-muffin pan; they'll look not quite done in the center. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool, either in the pan or on a cooling rack. Cookies will stay fresh for a week.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I made the Cook's Country version of Ebinger's Blackout Chocolate Cake yesterday (since a friend gave me the Cook's Country cookbook and DVDs for Hannukah - it's the same folks who do Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen - I've got to say that at least it's better than the Rocco cookbook someone else gave us since the latter is filled with recipes that depend on canned/prepared goods that Rocco shills for, which has meant that we've decided to treat it as a humor book rather than a cookbook).

 

Anyway, back to the point at hand, this cake recipe calls for chocolate layer cake using chocolate pudding both between the layers and as a frosting. The chocolate pudding recipe seems like a totally standard cornstarch pudding recipe, but something went seriously wrong and the pudding never thickened/set up. :angry: Not sure if I am just not remembering screwing something up (like forgetting the cornstarch? I'm really sure I didn't)? Or did I just not take into account enough the fact that my stovetop is barely functional and although I thought I had brought it to a simmer for a few minutes and it seemed like it was thickening, I was imagining that and it didn't cook enough? Or would cooking it too long somehow not allow it to set up? I don't know - five hours in the fridge, and it looked like it had set up but was actually all completely liquid the second you stuck a spoon in it. Just makes me even more eager to get on with renovating our kitchen - started seriously looking for a kitchen designer yesterday!

 

So I served chocolate cake with chocolate "sauce" poured over it. I will say that the cake and the non-pudded-pudding were very tasty. Pudding-sauce made with unsweetened chocolate, cake with cocoa powder, buttermilk, and coffee.

 

I have no idea if it's like the famous original as I'm too young to have enjoyed Ebinger's. I actually served it to my folks both of whom have very fond memories of Ebinger's, but neither of whom remember the chocolate blackout cake in particular.

 

I liked the flavors enough that I will surely make this again one day and hope that I have more success.

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The chocolate pudding recipe seems like a totally standard cornstarch pudding recipe, but something went seriously wrong and the pudding never thickened/set up. :angry: Not sure if I am just not remembering screwing something up (like forgetting the cornstarch? I'm really sure I didn't)? Or did I just not take into account enough the fact that my stovetop is barely functional and although I thought I had brought it to a simmer for a few minutes and it seemed like it was thickening, I was imagining that and it didn't cook enough? Or would cooking it too long somehow not allow it to set up? I don't know - five hours in the fridge, and it looked like it had set up but was actually all completely liquid the second you stuck a spoon in it. Just makes me even more eager to get on with renovating our kitchen - started seriously looking for a kitchen designer yesterday!

I made a vegan version of this cake (took out the egg/milk and made appropriate substitutes). My pudding set up just fine and it was a damn good cake. Actually, I should say cupcake because I cupcakified the recipe.

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Thanks, StephanieL and jschyun. There's really no reason why that recipe should produce liquid instead of pudding, and I really am not sure what I did to screw it up, which is why I was so baffled. And annoyed. I'm perfectly calm when I realize I'm following a bad recipe or do something stupid in the kitchen. When something simple fails and I can't figure out why I get annoyed.

 

But then I just ate the cake covered in liquid-pudding-sauce and forgot every ounce of annoyance. It's really a terrific chocolate cake!

 

Plus which it gave the extra push to get serious about planning our kitchen renovation. :lol:

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