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Monday, May 25, 2015

Earl Grey Cookies with Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache

My oven has staunchly refused to bake anything properly for nearly a month now, and I've just about had it. As soon as I slide a cake or tart in, ready to bake, the lady doth protest too much. The sides are elegantly charred, the top is like volcanic ash. It's almost as trendy as blackened chicken.

Same same, but different.

The only things the oven doesn't set fire to are cookies. Inevitably, the past few weeks have been an endless parade of the little guys: chocolate chip, oatmeal (sans raisins, as my flatmates are not sultana-inclined), lemon bars, and on and on and on.

I'd wanted to make a Malted Vanilla Bundt Cake, a perfectly sweet, tender backdrop for this ganache. However, I knew if I tempted fate and gingerly pushed a beautiful bundt cake into the inferno that is my oven, we would end up eating a hockey puck draped in Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache. For fear, I went for these crisp cookies delicately flavored with Darjeeling Earl Grey tea. So, my friends, feast your eyes (and feed your grumbling stomachs) on these cookies.

Earl Grey Cookies with Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache
Makes 2 dozen

For the cookies:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons Darjeeling Earl Grey tea leaves, ground in a spice grinder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Beans scraped from 1 vanilla pod
8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the ganache:
14 ounces white chocolate, roughly chopped
1/3 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons ground cardamom

To make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, both sugars, tea leaves, cinnamon, and vanilla beans. Add butter and cream until mixture starts to come together. Slowly, pour in the heavy cream. Add vanilla extract and beat until dough comes together in a ball. Divide dough into two balls. Roll each ball into a log and wrap in parchment paper. Freeze for 30 minutes. Slice into 1/4-inch rounds and bake on prepared baking sheets for 10 minutes, until edges are lightly golden and tops are firm to touch. Let cool on a wire rack.

To make the ganache: Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat gently until white chocolate has melted. Stir in icing sugar, heavy cream, and cardamom. Once cookies are cool, ice them with the ganache. Sprinkle extra tea leaves over top, if desired.

More Tea Recipes
Green Tea White Chocolate Brownies
Raspberry Earl Grey Cake
Thai Iced Tea Ice Cream

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cake

Undoubtedly, you know what Saturday is. I mean, how could you not? If one more person asks me what I'm doing for The-Holiday-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, I might have to end it all.

Now I'm not one of those girls you'll find with mascara-stained cheeks sobbing over a bottle of red wine and a pint of ice cream, but I still find the whole thing kind of tedious. Restaurants are overpriced, the food usually falls flat, and it's nearly impossible to navigate the streets without bumping into some starry-eyed, star-crossed lover on a mad dash to buy roses (hey, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, am I right?).

Instead, I want to have a day filled with delicious things. Things I make myself. Though if I'm being honest here, there might be an extra-large Domino's pizza heading to my door, if I play my cards right. This chocolate yogurt snack cake is the perfect thing to make. You can have a slice for breakfast, another for lunch, and then polish of the rest of the cake for dinner. And no one can stop you.

Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
200 grams semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt (ideally Greek or Icelandic, for a thick texture)
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Brandy

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch loaf tin, line with parchment paper, and grease parchment. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and sea salt. In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt the chocolate with 1/4 cup coconut oil. Once melted and smooth, remove from heat. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup coconut oil, yogurt, brown sugar, eggs, and almond extract. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Gently fold in dry ingredients. Pour into prepared baking tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and light. Add coconut milk and almond extract and beat to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture and beat to incorporate.

In a large bowl, whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and Brandy and whisk to incorporate.

Once cake is cooled, ice and serve with brandied whipped cream.

More Snack Cakes
Mango Bread
Blueberry Cardamom Crumb Cake
Strawberry Almond Crumb Cake

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Coconut Pistachio Crumble Ice Cream

I'm going to keep this short and sweet because it's unlikely anyone is really going to take the time to read this today. But, in keeping with Christmas tradition, I couldn't leave you without any gifts. I'm very generous, I know.

Since the likelihood of a white Christmas here in Charleston is worse than, well, a snowball's chance in hell, I thought I would make my own snowballs. My dad used to bring us back those pink Hostess Snoballs every time he came back from a trip. I could barely stomach the things, so I would dutifully swallow them whole, trying to taste as little of those super sweet pink puffs as I could.

Instead, I offer you this ice cream. It's sweet, but not too sweet. It's smooth and creamy and will help you wash down that extra slice of pie (or would be excellent topped with the Bailey's that's been knocking around in your liquor cabinet for years).

Coconut Pistachio Crumble Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart

For the ice cream:
2 14-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk
8 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the pistachio crumble:
1 1/3 cups pistachios, finely ground
1 cup coconut flour
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
4 tablespoons maple syrup

To make the ice cream: In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Once hardened, transfer to a loaf pan or tupperware container and freeze until ready to eat.

To make pistachio crumble: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together pistachios and coconut flour. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil and maple syrup. Pour over dry ingredients. Using your fingers, mix together until crumble comes together in pea-sized balls. Pour onto baking pan and bake for 7-10 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Let cool completely. Scatter over ice cream.

More Coconut Recipes
Coconut Angel Food Cake
Creamy Coconut Porridge
Coconut Bread