Sunday, May 31, 2015

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Pie

Do you sometimes want homemade but find that your lifestyle may just be too busy to fit in the time? Then the cookie pie is the answer. You can have all the taste of an oatmeal or chocolate chip cookie, but in the form of a cookie pie. After just one baking session, slice and eat!

This particular recipe yields the same chewy texture that you will find in regular sized oatmeal cookies. I have been contemplating changing out the raisins for chocolate chips and skipping the icing. In the end, we must satisfy what the tastebuds are craving. Whether it is grandma's tried and true oatmeal cookies or the updated chocolate chip version, the cookie pie is the quickest method. It makes for a tasty after dinner dessert with coffee as well as a good addition to a lunchbox.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Pie
adapted from Serious

Ingredients/Cookie Pie
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup raisins

1 tsp and 1 tbs heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Grease the interior of a 10 inch springform pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take out a medium size bowl and sift together the ground cinnamon, baking soda, salt and flour. Then stir in the oats and set aside.

Place both types of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend until evenly mixed. Cut the butter into cubes. Add butter to sugar and beat until smooth. This should take about 3 minutes.  With mixer still running, add the egg and vanilla extract.

Once all is evenly distributed, fold in the dry ingredients until no streaks remain.  Stir in the raisins. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the surface so all is even.

Bake until the batter turns a golden hue and is set in the middle, approximately 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes and then remove the outside ring of pan. Leave on the bottom of the springform pan and let cool completely.

Once cool, fill a small bowl with the heavy cream and then sift in the powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. Take a zip lock bag and clip off a small part of of the corner. Fill bag with icing and drizzle on top of the cookie pie. Let icing set up prior to slicing and serving.

Tips and Notes:

1. You can also use a pie plate or 9 inch pan, but you will need to watch because the baking time will  vary.
2. The icing recipe can be doubled, which I did for more coverage.
                                       **LAST YEAR:Hawaiian Loaf*

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cannoli Cake Roll

I have never actually eaten a cannoli before. One of the reasons is that they are hard to find in the U.S.  Also, the cream and candied fruit filling does not really strike up a craving. Upon further research, I have found that chocolate chips can be used and that the fruit can be excluded. That discovery does make me a candidate to seek out and taste a cannoli. However, since they are so scarce here, I decided to have the same flavor in a different format.

This particular recipe puts a spin on traditional cannoli by replacing the cannoli shell with cake and forming a cake roll with the filling inside. This type of creativity has been going on for awhile.  After all, chocolate chip cookies have a countless number of spin offs. There are now versions of this in everything from pie to bar drinks.

For flavor notes, this cake roll uses cinnamon, chocolate chips and orange liqueur in the filling. The cake part is a vanilla sponge. The garnishing with pistachios and chocolate chips is optional, but very traditional.

This was fun and easy to make. It also yielded a stunning and tasty result. If you like the taste of cannoli and are looking for something special for a gathering, this recipe is well worth trying out. Be sure to plan for the 3 hours of cooling steps when you decide to make this. Now, it's time to have some fun in the kitchen with a sweet ending! "Questa torta รจ squisita!" as they say in Italian.

Cannoli Cake Roll
adapted from All Recipes Cookbook

3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar, separated
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
5 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
confectioners sugar, for dusting

Ingredients/Filling and Frosting
4 tbs orange liqueur, separated
1 tbs water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
4 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup plus 3 tbs confectioners sugar
1 tbs white sugar
1/4 tsp gnd cinnamon
1/4 cup and 1 tbs mini semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pistachios (optional)

Grease a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the cake, start with 2 bowls. Add egg yolks, vanilla and 1/4 cup of sugar to a large bowl.  Fill a second, medium size, bowl with egg whites, cream of tartar and salt.

Both of the mixtures need to be beaten. Start with the egg yolk mixture and beat for 5 minutes. It will thicken up and turn a light lemon, color. After beating, clean and dry your mixer beaters to use for the egg white mixture. Beat the egg white batter until it reaches a soft peak consistency. Continue to beat and sprinkle in 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.

Using a spatula, fold 1/3 of the egg white batter into the yolk mixture. Continue with 2 more intervals of adding and folding the egg white batter into the yolk batter. Lastly, fold in the flour in 1/4 cup increments until no dry streaks remain.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, making sure it is smooth and even. Place in oven and bake until cake springs back when lightly touched. Baking time is about 10 minutes.

During the bake time, place a clean towel on a flat surface and dust with confectioner's sugar. Then make a soak mixture by combining 2 tbs of orange liqueur, 1 tbs water and 2 tbs sugar in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave about 10 seconds. Remove and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Once the cake is done, remove from oven and invert pan onto prepared towel. Peel off parchment paper. Brush cake with soak mixture. The cake, with the towel, should be positioned with the longest side running horizontally in front of you. Then, using the beginning side of the cake closest to you, carfeully rolling it up with the towel to form a jellyroll. With the seam side down, transfer to a cooling rack. Cake will be need to be completely cooled prior to filling. This will take about 1 hour.

As the cake cools, make the filling with the use of a food processor. Fill the bowl of the processor with the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Blend on medium speed until smooth. Fold in 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Transfer to bowl and cover. Place in refrigerator until cake is completely cooled.

Carefully unroll cooled cake and take bowl of filling out of refrigerator. Empty filling onto the center of the cake. Smooth filling out over cake, leaving 1/4 inch border. Repeat the cake rolling process as done before, except without the towel. Remember to start with the same long side as you began with the first time you rolled the cake. Once rolled, transfer to platter seam side down. The platter will be the one that you intend to use for presentation before slicing and serving.

Now the cake needs to be frosted. For the frosting, add whipping cream and 3 tbs of confectioners sugar to bowl of stand mixer.  Beat ingredients together until you reach the soft peak stage.  Add two tablespoons of orange liqueur and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla to the cream.  Using a spatula, fold the flavor additions into the whipping cream until evenly distributed. Spread frosting over cake, covering all surfaces, including ends and the curves that meet the platter.  If you choose, use a design blade to make designs in the frosting, being careful not to expose any cake as you drag along the sides.

Refrigerate cake for about 2 hours before serving.  Decorate with 1 tbs mini chocolate chips and finely chopped pistachios when ready to serve, if desired.

Tips and Notes:
1. Due to the different batters/components using a lot of the same ingredients, so be sure to use the noted amounts in the paragraphs when creating, not the listed ingredient amount.  The measure values are combined in the listing, instead of listing the same ingredient again with a different vallue. If the measurement it is not noted in the paragraphs, then refer to the ingredient list for the measurement.

2. I know that a lumpy filling can cause issues, however, I feel that there could have been a little bit more mini chocolate chips in the filling.

3. The garnish is missing in the picture, however, I do intend to use it once the cake is served. The missing slice is a taste test.  

4. The biggest flavor in the cake is the cinnamon and orange.  If those are not a favorite, try another liqueur and spice more to your liking.
                                            **LAST YEAR: Buckeye State Ice Cream*


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

Brownies have become quite versatile these days. There are so many things that pair well with chocolate, it is hard not to add an additional flavor component to them.  Cream cheese, raspberry, wine, coffee-- and the list goes on.  However, we do not need to turn to the Food Bible to discover this particular flavor combination. Chocolate and peanut butter are a classic pairing that nearly all of us are familiar with.

These treats taste are as if someone took a large chocolate peanut butter cup and stacked it on top of  rich chocolate brownies. Not just plain brownies, but fudgy brownies choc-full of roasted, salted peanuts. Now that I have your attention, lets get right to the recipe.

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies
adapted from Bon Appetit/Jan 2007

4 eggs
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
7 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped peanuts ( preferably roasted and salted)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 or 1 stick butter (divided in half)
7 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup chunky style peanut butter (not natural or old fashioned)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp gnd nutmeg
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the interior of a 9x13 inch pan with foil, leaving an overhang on the long sides. Butter the face up side of the foil, covering all that is lining the interior of the pan.

The first step is to create and bake the brownie base. Set up a double boiler over medium heat. Let the water in the bottom part come to a simmer. Place other pot on top and fill with chocolate and butter. Stir occasionally as the ingredients melt.  Once completely melted, transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add sugar, vanilla extract and salt to the melted batter. Mix together until blended. Add one egg and whisk into the batter. Continue the same process with each egg, one by one. Stir in flour until no streaks remain.  Lastly, mix in peanuts.

Transfer batter to prepared pan, smoothing the surface. Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until tester comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool brownies completely in pan, placing pan on rack.

The first layer on top of the brownies is the peanut butter mixture.  Add peanut butter and 1/4 cup butter to mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until combined.  Sprinkle in the salt and nutmeg and beat again for about 30 seconds.  Sift in the powdered sugar and blend with mixer.  Beat in the milk and vanilla for another 30 seconds.  Spread mixture evenly over brownies and smoothing the top.

For the final layer, set up a double boiler again.  Fill top pot with chocolate and 1/4 cup of butter.  Stir occasionally as the mixture melts.  Once melted and smooth, drop by spoonfuls over the surface of the peanut butter layer.  Using a spatula, smooth out chocolate.  Make sure that the surface is covered evenly.  Place pan in refrigerator for about 1 1/2 hours.  This will give the top two layers time to set up.

To serve, pull sides of foil and lift brownies out of pan. Cut into squares while still cold. Let come to room temperature prior to serving.
                           **LAST YEAR: Pineapple Rum Trifle Cake**

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Raspberry Picnic Pie

Pie is one of those things that makes me think of picnics, family reunions and outdoor get togethers. Usually in the summer, berry pies find their way to the weekend table. I created this pie with my first thought being strawberry lemonade. However, the idea of "cooked" strawberries was unappealing. That is when the flavor idea shifted to raspberries.  Raspberry pie may not be the most favorite berry for pie, but I am more fond of raspberries than any other berry,  in spite of all the seeds.

This pie makes use of fresh and frozen berries. Also, it does not have the tapioca ingredient that you find in some pies. The fresh raspberries are layered on top of the crust first. Then it is filled with a cooked mixture of frozen berries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest. Since raspberries are pretty tart, the crumbly, sweet topping is the offset to the tartness.  In addition, I used a dairy/egg mixture prior to the layer of crumbs in order to seal the surface of the pie.

Creating the pie is fairly easy. There is no fancy lattice top nor is there prep work on cutting and peeling fruit. Definitely good reasons to try a berry pie if you are short on time. However, bear in mind if you bring it to the family reunion this year, consider that you are starting a tradition. Something this tasty will have your family will be expecting it every year! This recipe makes one 10 inch pie.  

Raspberry Picnic Pie
by Flourtrader

Ingredients/Bottom Crust
1/2 cup refrigerated shortening
1/4 cup cubed cold butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Ice water

5 cups frozen raspberries (thawed until still icy but pliable)
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups sugar

Ingredients/Top Crust
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup half and half
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temp

Prepare a baking sheet by lining the interior with foil, making sure all sides and corners are covered.  To create the crust, sift together flour, baking powder and salt into stand mixer bowl. Then add the sugar, butter and shortening. Beat on medium speed until mixture resembles coarse, small clumps. Slowly sprinkle a 1/2 tsp of ice water into the batter and beat. The dough is the right consistency when it comes together on the beaters instead of clinging to the edge.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and empty dough onto plastic. Flatten into a disc and cover with the wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. Once the chilling step is completed, lightly dust a flat surface with flour. Remove the disc from the refrigerator and place on the floured surface and roll out to 12 inches in diameter.

Roll dough over rolling pin and then unroll dough over pie pan and release. Lightly press dough, making sure all the interior of the pie pan is covered. There should be no air pockets. Fold the excess dough under the part of the dough that touches the top outer edge of the pie pan. Then crimp the top edge of the dough. Place in freezer until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill a medium size saucepan with the slightly frozen berries, cornstarch and sugar. Place over medium heat and stir, blending ingredients.  Mixture will come to a boil, but continue to stir and cook for about 2 minutes after it has reached a boiling point. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.

Remove frozen pie crust and place fresh raspberries evenly on the bottom of the crust.  Pour the cooked raspberry mixture on top. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, half and half, 1/4 cup of sugar and vanilla extract. Then slowly pour the mixture over the top of the filling. Start pouring on the outer edge, moving toward the center until bowl is empty.

For the crumb mixture, sift together the flour and the salt. Add the butter and remaining 2 cups of sugar.  Combine by using a pastry blender until it becomes a crumbly sandy mixture. Sprinkle crumbs on top of pie, again starting with the outer edges and moving toward the center.

Place pie on prepared pan and transfer pan to oven. Bake for about 45-60 minutes. Pie is done when you see the filling bubbling over and the crumb surface has turned a deep golden brown.

Let cool to room temperature and then cut and serve.
                           **LAST YEAR:Vienna Chocolate Bars*