Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daring Bakers- Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert. This is my first DB challenge in... over a year and a half! Sad, because this group is so fun and I love trying new things.
This challenge was a little intimidating, I'll admit, mainly because I don't even know how to pronounce it. The challenge is to make a joconde imprime, which is a design baked into a sponge cake. This is wrapped around an "entrement," which is a dessert with different layers of cake, pastry creams, etc. in a mold. If you Google "biscuit joconde imprime" images, you'll get the idea. Gorgeous.
Anyhoo, you make the biscuit joconde first, which is just a sponge cake. I used ground almonds for the nut flour. Once the batter is made, you make the joconde decor paste, which is butter, sugar, egg whites and cake flour. I made mine chocolate (of course).
To make the design, you can use any number of methods. I piped dots and lines, but I wished I had a pastry comb. After I made mine all chocolate, I also wished I had left some white so I could do different colors. Also, I only made half of the decor paste and still had a bunch left over. Maybe quartering or a third of the recipe is sufficient.
After the design is piped, you freeze it solid for a few minutes, and then pour the sponge batter over the design and bake. Do not bake for very long, and do not let the sponge cool too long before releasing from the silicone mat. Mine was a little difficult to remove.
I used a 9" springform for the mold, but you could use small molds of any shape. You cut the sponge to fit the inside of the mold, layering if needed. For the entrement, or filling, you could use cake, cheesecake, fruit, creams, mousse, etc. I used vanilla and chocolate pastry creams, topped with a chocolate ganache glaze.
This was so fun and I would love to try it again now that I know a little better what to expect. The biscuit joconde is not very tasty; next time I would try to make it thinner (mine was about 1/2" thick). I would also use a different filling- layers of cake or a cheesecake would hold up better. Check out the DB site to see others' gorgeous creations!!

Joconde Sponge
YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal - *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners' (icing) sugar
¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
3 large eggs - about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
3 large egg whites - about 3 oz/ 90g
2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted

1. In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
2. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour
3. On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light.
4. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
5. Fold in melted butter.
6. Reserve batter to be used later.

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste
YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners' (icing) sugar
7 large egg whites - about 7 oz / 200g
1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
Food coloring gel, paste or liquid
COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
2. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
3. Fold in sifted flour.
4. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.
Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:
1. Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
2. Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.
3. Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
4. Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.
5. Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
6. Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
7. Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

TWD- Chocolatety, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake

I have a confession.
I don't own a bundt pan.
I've been baking since I was a kid and I don't have a bundt pan. I have a tube pan, which we got for our wedding. I use it maybe once a year for angel food cake. 
I had two bundts to make last week. I should've bought one. But I borrowed.
This week's TWD is for a nutty, chocolatey bundt with raisins (what? EW!). I just made a chocolatey one. The cake is layered with a cinnamon/sugar/chocolate swirl- one in the middle, and one at the bottom (top?).
Dorie says in her recipe not to worry if the mixture on the bottom isn't completely covered with batter.
But you should worry.
That's what happened when I unmolded mine. A pile of filling. However, I didn't have any problem with the cake sticking, like some others did.
I thought this cake was mostly good. I added a 1/2 cup of cocoa powder to the cake batter. There was a little too much cinnamon for my tastes- if you omit the nuts, maybe cut back on the cinnamon to one teaspoon. I would also omit the salt in the filling altogether.
Jennifer has the recipe!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

CS Bakers- Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Snacking Cake

Ok, this cake was SO good. The cake uses graham cracker crumbs and a reduced amount of flour. Chocolate chips help add to the sweetness since there isn't a lot of sugar in it. I doubled the recipe and made a 9x13" cake for dinner guests.
The photo pretty much sums up how it was received:
Right after it was gone, my daughter asked how soon I could make more. A keeper!

January’s Cake: Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Snacking Cake
Makes one 8 inch square cake
(Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)
For the Cake
8 whole graham crackers, finely ground (about 1 cup) *
¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp (¾ stick) butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup milk
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the Frosting
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup confectioners sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup marshmallow fluff *

Method – Cake
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8inch square baking pan and dust it with flour, knocking out any extra. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat until smooth.
With the mixer on low speed, add a third of the flour mixture, then half of the milk, stirring until combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, ending with the flour. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Invert it onto a wire rack, and then turn it right side up to cool completely.

Method – Frosting
Place the butter in a medium mixing bowl and beat until creamy. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in the vanilla and the marshmallow fluff and beat until smooth. Use immediately or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Cut the cake into squares and serve each one with a dollop of frosting on top. (Bring the frosting back to room temperature first if it has been stored in the fridge). Store any uneaten cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

TWD- Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

Poppy seeds always remind me of that "Seinfeld" episode where Elaine fails a drug test because she eats a poppy seed muffin. I always wondered if that would really happen. Because I would be in trouble. I love poppy seeds. Poppy seed bread, poppy seed salad dressings... yum.
I made Almond Poppy Seed muffins for this week's TWD because we love (especially my husband) almond poppy seed instead of lemon. I omitted the lemon and zest and added one and a half teaspoons of almond extract.
The texture seemed off on mine- they were a little less fluffy and almost more biscuit-y. I would definitely make these again, but decrease the baking time a little. Head here for the recipe!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Horse Cake

This cake was for our friend and family photographer Brooke. The cake is covered in ivory fondant with a black horse and black flowers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

TWD- Fluff-filled Chocolate Madeleines (Buttons)

I actually pulled this week's TWD off! I really wanted to make these, but I didn't have a Madeleine pan and didn't want to buy one because I would never use it again. Enter the P&Q. Chocolatechic (who has a great blog) posted about using a muffin pan. Great! I have those!
I used a standard size muffin tin. I halved the recipe and only made 6. I loved the shiny ganache on top. These were so chocolatey (never a bad thing) and yummy. I think I would like something besides the marshmallow fluff in these- maybe a buttercream or something?
I also cut the baking time to about 9 minutes for the size and number of my cookies. Thanks to Margot for the great pick!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken & Wild Rice Soup with Quick Drop Biscuits

I'm not a winter person. I was born and raised in Utah where it's cold and snowy (I know, there are worse places). So I was ecstatic when I met and married someone who, although he was from Utah also, didn't like the cold or the snow either (or sports!!). Yay for me!
But I do admit I do like some cold weather things- sweaters, fires, and soup. I LOVE soup. This recipe for Chicken & Wild Rice soup comes from a family cookbook my cute sister-in-law put together for us a couple of years ago. I love slow cooker recipes that don't require any pre-cooking. I used some leftover cooked chicken breast from the other night, but I have also used store-bought rotisserie chicken. The soup comes together in no time and is loved by my family (especially my kids). Paired with Cooking Light's Drop Biscuits, this meal makes me feel like it's winter (even though it was sunny and 67 today). :)
Slow Cooker Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
adapted from Shauna Williams
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 (4.3-ounce) package Long Grain & Wild Rice (Rice A Roni)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced cooked chicken breast
3 cups water

Combine soup, rice, vegetables and chicken in a slow cooker. Add 2 cups of water. Mix well. Cook on high for 3 1/2 hours. Stir in remaining cup of water and cook another 1/2 hour. Serve.

Drop Biscuits
adapted from Cooking Light
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut in pieces
1 cup skim milk
Cooking spray

Preheat over to 450 degrees F. Spray a standard muffin tin with cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in butter pieces until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Ad milk, stirring only until moist. Spoon into muffin tins. Bake 12 minutes, until golden.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dojo Asian Inspired Cuisine and Lounge

Well, if you don't follow me on Twitter, you might have missed that my brother opened a new restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City. It's an Asian fusion-type place, with incredibly innovative sushi and entrées. Here are a few of my faves:
The White Dragon Roll 
(tempura yam, seaweed salad, cilantro and avocado inside, 
topped with albacore, onion ponzu and white truffle oil)
 The Battle Roll 
(shrimp tempura, avocado and cilantro inside, topped with tuna, lime,
 tobiko, eel sauce and a house‐made habanero sauce)
 Black Cod
Shrimp Tempura Bento Box (not that innovative, but my kids' fave!)
The dishes I don't have pics of, but were AMAZING were the Dojo Ribs with a jalapeno and chocolate glaze, and the Dojo Ramen Noodles with pork belly. Indescribable (which is why I'm bummed I don't have pics)!
If you live in SLC, or are in the area, please check it out! The atmosphere is fantastic and I'm proud of my brother and his business partner for their success!

Dojo Asian Inspired Cuisine & Lounge
423 W 300 South, STE 150
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

TWD- Midnight Crackles

I'm baaack! Ok, I know the holidays should be about baking and cooking yummy things, but this year wasn't like that for me. I really wanted to, but we were in and out of town, so no time. I'm glad to be back to my favorite (only) baking group TWD (I need to find another group!). This is the anniversary recipe, which was chosen by Laurie and Jules, who spend hours maintaining the TWD site.
They chose Midnight Crackles, a chocolatey cookie with a little spice. Melted chocolate and cocoa powder are used to give them a rich flavor, with cinnamon and cloves added for a little kick. I underbaked these (the recipe advises to underbake rather than overbake), but I still thought they were a little dry.
They're yummy and a little addicting. My kids ate about 4 each today. Head here for the recipe!

In other news, those of you in SLC should check out my brother's new restaurant- Dojo Asian Inspired Cuisine and Lounge. We went to the grand opening in December. The food is AMAZING (and I'm not just saying that). The sushi is fantastic, but the entrees are exceptional as well. Here's the cake I made for that night: 
And for Beansy's 5th (what??!!) birthday, I made her a (quick) "Tangled" cake. She is obsessed with that movie. OBSESSED!
Hope you all had an amazing holiday!! Happy New Year!