Tres Leches Cake with Dulce de Leche Glaze

May 3, 2016

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Cinco de Mayo is only a couple of days away. You know, Cinco de Mayo. That is the date that folks in Mexico commemorate their victory over France in the Battle of Puebla which took place way back in 1862. I’m not so sure folks here in America know exactly why they’re celebrating, but hey we’ll take any chance for a party, so we’re happy to join in! And it just so happens that I’ve got a great dish for you to bring along to your celebrations…Tres Leches Cake with a boozy, rum laden Dulce de Leche Glaze! Let me tell you, this cake is da bomb! So moist, so sweet and rich, it nearly defies the imagination.

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For those few folks out there who haven’t heard of this confection before, allow me to tell you all about it. “Tres Leches” translates to “three milks”. A Tres Leches cake is a light and airy sponge cake which has been soaked in a milk bath mixture of three different milks, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. Although its origins are not clear, this dessert is very popular in Latin America. And once you take one bite, I assure you, you will know why. That sponge cake soaks up every bit of that sweet, dreamy, ambrosia of a soaking mixture creating the most amazing texture. You might think it would be soggy, but nope. Not soggy, but moist sweet boozy perfection.

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And that rum spiked Dulce de Leche glaze really puts this cake over the top. This recipe is easy but please take care to follow the directions. Now, I won’t lie, there are a few nail-biting moments along the way, like when you suspend the cake upside down to cool (I was sure it was going to fall into a huge pile of crumbles on the counter, but it didn’t) and then when you pour an impossible amount of liquid over the cake (I was sure it would not all get absorbed and my cake would be left ruined bobbing around in that milk lake, but it soaked it all up like a sponge. Maybe that’s why its called a “sponge cake” huh?). Have faith, the cake will be fantastic and you’ll be a Cinco de Mayo legend!

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Tres Leches Cake with Dulce de Leche Glaze

  • Servings: 24 Two Inch Squares
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe from: Once Upon a Chef (One of my absolute favorite blogs! Definitely Check it out!)

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour or unbleached cake flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Milk Bath (soaking mixture):

  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum

For the Glaze:

  • (13-ounce) can dulce de leche (I found this at the local grocery store in the “Hispanic Specialties” section.)
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1/4 cup water

For Baking:

  • One 9 x 13 x 2-inch Pyrex pan, ungreased, plus 4 cups or glasses for inverting the cake pan after baking

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and baking powder. Mix on low speed for 1 minute to combine. Do not over-mix.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks to break them up. Whisk in the oil, water and vanilla, one at a time. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and beat with the paddle on medium speed for exactly one minute to aerate it slightly (it’s very important not to overmix). Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for just a few seconds more.

In a clean, dry mixing bowl combine the egg whites and salt. Place on the mixer with the whisk attachment (or you can use a hand held mixer with beaters) and whip the egg whites on medium speed until they are white, foamy and beginning to hold a very soft peak. Increase the speed to medium high and add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a slow stream. Continue whipping the egg whites until they are shiny and hold stiff peaks.

With a large rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined. Be very careful not to over-mix. Scrape the batter into the ungreased pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, or until it is set in the middle and golden. Let the cake settle on the stovetop or a rack for 1-2 minutes, then invert four glasses onto the countertop and invert the cake pan onto them, positioning one in each corner of the pan. (A chiffon cake needs to hang upside down to cool or it may collapse and fall.)

Once the cake has cooled, flip it over and run a sharp, thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or point of a small, sharp knife at 1/2-inch intervals.

Prepare the soaking liquid: in a large bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream and rum. Slowly pour the soaking liquid over the cake. Let it sit for a few minutes to absorb. If it’s slow to absorb, run a knife around the edges of the cake again and poke a few more holes. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Once the cake has chilled, make the glaze: in a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the dulce de leche, rum and water. (Note: If you want a really boozy cake, change the proportions in the glaze to 3 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons rum. You better believe this is how I made my glaze and it was superb!). Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave, then whisk to combine. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then spread over cake. Place the cake back in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with fresh fruit, if desired.

Enjoy!

Tres Leches Cake with Dulce de Leche Glaze brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Tres Leches Cake with Dulce de Leche Glaze:

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

9″x 13″x 2″ Pyrex Baking Pan

Dulce de Leche

 


Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

March 17, 2016

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It’s here, it’s here! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m going to be celebrating the day with these Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. Oh be still my heart! I’m sure ya’ll know by now that I absolutely love cupcakes. And that chocolate and peanut butter combination? Om nom nom nom! Yup these cupcakes are right up my alley. They are even topped with a Malteser, which is another personal favorite of mine. (Maltesers are malted milk balls. The closest thing we have readily available in Virginia are Whoppers. But you better believe I keep a secret stash of emergency Maltesers squirreled away.)

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I’m not so sure though, upon reflection, that peanut butter is very popular in Ireland. In fact, when I was living there, which was quite a while ago now, I remember having to search high and low to find a jar of peanut butter. And when I finally found it, it wasn’t “Jif” or “Skippy” brand that I was familiar with. It was called “American Peanut Butter” and was covered with red, white and blue and stars and stripes. And Reese Cups, which I’m pretty much addicted to, were nowhere to be found either, much to my dismay. I should say though, there was an abundance of other really tasty food readily available. I certainly was not in any danger of losing weight while in Ireland. The pints alone would see to that!

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So, considering the whole peanut butter scarcity issue, the Irish pedigree on these cupcakes is probably a bit shaky. I did dress them up with some requisite St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks. Well…at least I did dress one up with the shamrock sprinkles. I don’t think any folks out there over the age of three like to eat those crunchy sugar crumbles really. Though they do look adorable!

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And they do have the whole Guinness thing going for them, which is pretty dang Irish, so there is that. Not to mention the whole delicious thing. That is certainly worth a bunch of St. Patrick’s Day points I should think. The cake is dark, rich and oh so moist. And that Peanut Butter frosting is simply to die for, light, silky and fluffy as a cloud.

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These cupcakes are my St. Patrick’s Day dream come true…all sweet and boozy…just like The Husband! Bake a batch before you head out to your St. Patrick’s Day parties. Folks will be so glad you did. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)

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Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

  • Servings: 18 - 21 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe for cupcakes from:Life As a Strawberry

recipe for frosting from: Handle the Heat

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup Guinness Stout
  • ¾ cup dutch process cocoa
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 5 large (150 grams) egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • maltesers -for topping (optional, but not if you are making them for me! Mini Reese cups would also work well as a topper.)

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add Guinness and bring mixture to a simmer.

In the meantime, place sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat them together until incorporated. Add salt and flour and continue to mix. The mixture will be relatively dry and resemble coarse biscuit dough.

Add baking soda to buttermilk. Careful, it will foam up and out and all over the counter if you take your eye off of it for a second. Add the baking soda when you are ready to start streaming it into the batter.:)

Stream buttermilk/baking soda mixture into batter and mix until combined.

Add vanilla extract to batter.

Once stout and butter mixture has come to a simmer, stir a little of the stout mixture into the cocoa and mix until it is smooth and creamy. Add the cocoa mixture into the hot liquid and whisk to combine. Remove the Guinness/cocoa mixture from heat and stream it slowly into batter while mixing. The batter will be thin – that’s okay!

Pour batter into standard sized cupcake liners. Fill about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake at 375° F for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Set cupcakes on wire rack to cool. Remove cupcakes from baking tin after 5 minutes. Continue cooling.

For the Frosting:

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If the buttercream curdles simply keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before continuing mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add the vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

Add peanut butter slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and mix until well combined.

If you would like to make this frosting ahead of time, keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.

When you are ready to frost the cupcakes, place frosting in pastry bag fitted with whatever tip you desire and pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Top with malteser if you desire. (Oh yes! You know you do!)

Enjoy!

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting:

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Malteser’s Candy– If you prefer you can substitute Whopper’s Candy for the Malteser’s

 

 


Guinness Black Magic Cake

March 15, 2016

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Woohoo! Only two more days until St. Patrick’s Day and my oh my do I have a phenomenal sweet and boozy recipe for you today…Guinness Black Magic Cake! And magic it certainly is! The rich, dark Guinness cake layers are unbelievable moist and chocolatey and blanketed with an enchantingly delicious Ermine Buttercream frosting which is drizzled with a Salted Whiskey Caramel Sauce. I’m telling you, this cake will leave you spellbound to say the least!

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The most surprising thing about this cake for me was that Ermine Frosting. Ermine frosting is an old-fashioned recipe for buttercream. It is also known as Boiled Milk Frosting, Flour Buttercream or Butter Roux frosting. Apparently it was the original frosting for the Red Velvet Cake before Cream Cheese frosting became all the rage. And don’t get me wrong, cream cheese frosting is tasty, but in my humble opinion it can not hold a candle to Ermine Frosting. It was ahhhhh-mazing. So velvety and silky smooth, very light, fluffy and sweet but not toothachingly so. My favorite frosting is Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but Ermine frosting in a very close second. I can’t believe I had no idea it existed before making this cake. Now that I’m “in the know”, I’m sure it will be making appearances here frequently!

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This cake was pretty easy to make all in all. The most difficult step for me was the Caramel Sauce. Yup, Caramel sauce and I have a very tempestuous relationship to put it mildly. I tried to make it as Super Golden Bakes indicated in her blog, however I must admit, I failed in my first attempt. So I went back and made a slight adaptation to my Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce, by adding some Irish whiskey and achieved perfection on my first attempt. That is the caramel recipe that works for me, so that is the one I’ve included here.

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So go ahead and cast a spell over your St. Patrick’s Day crowd this year with this alluring Guinness Black Magic Cake. I promise you, folks will be completely entranced!

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Guinness Black Magic Cake

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: moderate - mostly because of that tricky Salted Whiskey Caramel Sauce
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Super Golden Bakes

Ingredients:

For the cake: (This recipe will make 2 – 9″ cake layers or 3 – 8″ cake layers)

  • 200 g (7 oz) plain flour
  • 350 g  (12 oz ) caster sugar
  • 75 g (3 oz )cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225 ml  (8 oz) Guinness
  • 225 ml (8 oz) buttermilk or milk soured with 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 100 ml (4 fl oz) coconut oil (can substitute vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe of Ermine Frosting (to follow)
  • 1 recipe of Salted Whiskey Caramel (to follow)
 Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Prepare 3x20cm (8″) pans or 2x23cm (9″) pans – grease and line the bottoms and sides with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, soda, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl.

Put the eggs, Guinness, buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract into the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk together on low speed until combined.

Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat for a couple of minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. The batter will be fairly thin.

Pour into the cake tins filling only halfway. Bake the 20cm cake layers for about 20-25 minutes (the 23cm cakes take 30-35 minutes) or until the top of the cake is firm and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Pipe or spread the frosting over the layers drizzling caramel over each layer before sandwiching together. Pipe frosting over the top layer and drizzle with caramel. Serve at room temperature (the frosting will harden in the fridge).

Ermine Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 200 g  (7 0z) unsalted butter
  • 200 g  (7 oz) caster sugar
  • 235 ml  (1 cup) milk
  • 5 Tablespoons plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • seeds from 1 vanilla pod
 Directions:

Put the milk and flour in a small saucepan and whisk over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and the whisk leaves a trail. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film, pressing it on the surface to prevent a skin forming. Cool completely before using (speed up the process by putting the bowl in the fridge or freezer).

Whisk the butter and sugar together for about minutes, stopping the mixer and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go. Make sure that the sugar has completely melted before proceeding. Unmelted sugar is what leads to a grainy buttercream, and no one likes that! Once the butter/sugar mixture is smooth and fluffy, then add the vanilla and salt.

Start adding the milk roux, one tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is completely smooth and has the consistency of whipped cream.

Salted Whiskey Caramel

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons Irish whiskey
  • 1/2 tablespoon fleur de sel
 Directions:

Add the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy saucepan, with a capacity of at least 2 or 3 quarts. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking it as it begins to melt. You’ll see that the sugar will begin to form clumps, but that’s okay. Just keep whisking and as it continues to cook, they will melt back down. Stop whisking once all of the sugar has melted, and swirl the pan occasionally while the sugar cooks.

Continue cooking until the sugar has reached a deep amber color. It should look almost a reddish-brown, and have a slight toasted aroma. This is the point where caramel can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds, so keep a close eye. If you are using an instant-read thermometer, cook the sugar until it reaches 350° F.

As soon as the caramel reaches 350°F, add the butter all at once. Be careful, as the caramel will bubble up when the butter is added. Whisk the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted.

Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, be careful because the mixture will once again bubble up ferociously. Whisk until all of the cream has been incorporated and you have a smooth sauce. Add the whiskey and fleur de sel and whisk to incorporate.

Set the sauce aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then pour into your favorite glass jar and let cool to room temperature. You can refrigerate the sauce for up to 2 weeks

Enjoy!

Guinness Black Magic Cake brought to you by: Runcible Temps (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness Black Magic Cake:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Thermoworks Super-Fast Thermapen Cooking Thermometer

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Sauce Pan

Chicago Metallic Non-Stick 8 – inch round cake pan


Baileys & Coffee Macarons

March 7, 2016

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Wow! This year’s St. Patrick’s Day recipes have been quite surprising for me. I’ve actually gone outside my culinary comfort zone with a couple of these and it has been a success. I told you how I’d approached that Irish Cheddar & Thyme Potato Soufflé with much trepidation. And lo and behold all was fine. Well, I was the same way about Macarons. Although I love them, I felt that I would just have to resign myself to purchase them in bakeries. I was convinced that if I were to try them at home, what with their reputation for being so notoriously finicky and sensitive, I was already doomed to fail. But look what I’ve got here for you today…Baileys & Coffee Macarons.

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And I swear to you, I did actually bake these. There was no cheating and buying them in a bakery and then taking pictures of them (not that I would even consider doing such a thing…) I made these all by my lonesome!

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Well, all by my lonesome along with some great tips and advice from Olivia at Liv for Cake. (You simply must take a look at her scrumptious blog!) Now, I won’t fib to you and say that making Macarons is easy-peasy. But it wasn’t a nightmare either. They key is you must follow directions to a T. There is no room for any slap/dash cooks here. An accurate kitchen scale is a must as well. There can be no short cuts, no skipping steps. If you can do this, you will be rewarded big time!

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These little gems are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and filled with irresistible Baileys & Coffee flavors. Soooo worth the effort. These Baileys & Coffee Macarons are to die for I tell you! They will be a big hit at your St. Patrick’s Day fête and folks will think you’re quite the chef!

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Baileys & Coffee Macarons

  • Servings: 20 -25 macarons
  • Difficulty: moderate - you must follow instructions closely
  • Print

recipe from: Liv for Cake

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 120 grams egg whites (the whites from 4 large eggs), room temperature
  • 130 grams (4.6 oz) caster sugar
  • 140 grams (4.9 oz.) almond powder (also called almond flour)
  • 110 grams (3.9 oz.) icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder

For the ganache:

  • 200 grams milk chocolate
  • 100 grams heavy cream
  • 20 grams Baileys

Directions:

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Make a template for the macarons by tracing the outline of a 1 1/2″ cookie cutter. Once you have all of your circles drawn, flip the parchment paper over so that the ink/pencil does not transfer to the cookie. (Be sure to take a look at my helpful links below. There is a link for a silicone baking mat specially made for macarons, with the templates already printed on the mat!)

Place the almond powder, icing sugar, and espresso powder in a food processor. Process until just beginning to clump.

Sift and discard any bits that won’t pass through the sifter. Set aside.

Make sure the bowl of your stand mixer as well as the whisk attachment are clean and free of any oil or grease. If any is present you will not be successful when you attempt to make the meringue peak. Also take care that no tiny bit of yolk has made its way into the whites. Its presence will also doom a meringue.

Whip the egg whites until they’re the consistency of a loose foam. Continue whipping while slowly adding sugar. Whip to a stiff meringue.

Fold the dry mixture into the meringue. In order to achieve the proper consistency, you will need to fold the batter many times. Once the batter is ready it will be smooth and shiny and will run in a steady stream off a spatula to settle back into the batter.

Pour the batter into a piping bag fitted with the 1A tip.

Pipe the batter onto the templated baking sheet.

Once all of the macarons are piped, whack the baking sheet on the counter at least 3 times to get rid of any air bubbles.

Let the macarons dry at room temperature until dry to the touch. Approx 1 hour. DO NOT skip this step.

While macarons are drying, make the ganache.

Chop the chocolate finely and place in a bowl. Heat the cream until boiling and pour over chopped chocolate. Do not stir! Cover bowl with plastic wrap for 2 mins. Stir to combine and add Baileys. Place in fridge to set.

Once dry, bake macarons in a 300°F oven until they stick a little bit to the parchment, about 12 minutes.

Let cookies cool completely before gently removing from pans.

Pipe ganache into the center of one cookie, sandwich with another of the cookies and twist together. Let Macarons chill and age in the refrigerator overnight. They will taste even more amazing when the filling and the shells bond and blend together.

Enjoy!

Baileys & Coffee Macarons brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Helpful Links to Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Baileys & Coffee Macarons:

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Food Processor

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Simple Baker Silicone Baking Mat for Macarons – I know I told you how to trace out a template for your Macarons on parchment paper, but here you have a silicone mat where it is done for you! I have already ordered one for myself!

Ateco 11 piece Plain Round Cookie Cutter Set

Oxo 3-in-1 Egg Separator

King Arthur Flour Almond Flour

Domino White Superfine Sugar (caster sugar)

 


Guinness S’Mores Icebox Pie

March 1, 2016

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Well goodness me! Is it March already?! Sure is, today is March 1st, which means it is time to start my annual St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. In the days leading up to March 17th I will be sharing a delicious assortment of Irish-y recipes. I’ve been doing this for several years now, so I’ve collected over 80 St. Patrick’s Days recipes at this point and that doesn’t take into account all the delicious dishes coming your way this year. If you’d like to take a peek at my past St. Patrick’s Day posts, you can click Runcible Eat/Recipes up at the top navigation bar and scroll down to the St. Patrick’s Day category. That’s where you’ll find them! And stay tuned here for my latest culinary creations. I’m going to kick it all off this year with something sweet & boozy – Guinness S’mores Icebox Pie!

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Who doesn’t love S’mores?!! Rich chocolate, gooey marshmallows and crispy graham crackers…it just makes you nostalgic for times spent around the campfire. And what is that one thing that might make them just that little bit better? Guinness! It really adds such a lovely, rich flavor to all baked goods I’ve ever tried it in. And this pie is no exception. The chocolate/Guinness mixture is folded into whipped cream which gives the filling a light and airy chocolate mousse texture.

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The only other deviation I made from traditional S’mores is that rather than going with a traditional graham cracker crust, I decided to use a Digestive Biscuit crust instead. Digestive Biscuits are a favorite of mine. I first discovered them while living in Ireland and have been hooked ever since. They are similar to a graham cracker, but so much better in my humble opinion. You can find them in British/Irish specialty shops and occasionally in your local supermarket. But if all else fails, you can also get ahold of them on amazon.

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This pie is a “no bake” pie, which although it is still most decidedly Winter here, I’m sure I will be loving that “no bake” aspect once the hot and humid Virginia summer arrives. This Guinness S’mores Pie comes together really quickly and you just need to make sure you allow it to have some chill time in the freezer before you plan to serve it. Once the guests have arrived, simply break out that culinary torch and toast those marshmallows. Delightfully s’mores-y! It will certainly be a great addition to your St. Patrick’s Day feast!

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Guinness S'Mores Icebox Pie

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe slightly adapted from: The Beeroness

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 250 grams Digestive Biscuits (can substitute in 1 1/2 cups (9 sheets) graham cracker crumbs- combine with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 4 Tablespoons butter)
  • 100 grams butter

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup Guinness Stout
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/3 cups (8.5 oz.) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • pinch salt

For the topping:

  • 3 cups mini marshmallows

Directions:

Add the Digestive Biscuits to a food processor and process in bursts until fine crumbs remain. While the processor is running, add the melted butter until well combined.

Press mixture into the bottom of an 8″ Springform pan.

Place the Guinness, cocoa, and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, microwave on high (in 15 second bursts) until melted, stirring frequently.

In the bowl of a stand mixer add the vanilla, heavy cream, powdered sugar and salt. Mix on high until medium peaks form. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add the chocolate until incorporated.

Pour Guinness/cream mixture over the Digestive Biscuit crust and level with spatula.

Top with mini marshmallows.

Freeze pie until set – at least 2 hours.

Before serving, toast the marshmallows with a culinary torch.

Enjoy!

Guinness S’mores Icebox Pie brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness S’mores Icebox Pie:

8″ Springform Pan

Culinary Torch

Digestive Biscuits – McVities are the best!

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Cuisinart Food Processor

 


Banana Cream Pie

February 13, 2016

 

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Today is Valentine’s Eve. Does everyone know just what decadent dish they are going to make for their sweetie tomorrow? You know, that culinary creation that will totally sweep your beloved right off of their feet! I’ve got mine all done and dusted. A classic Banana Cream Pie!

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Yes sir-ree. And this is no ordinary Banana Cream Pie. Nope….this one is special and totally home-made. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of tasty Banana Cream Pies that were done with graham cracker crusts, instant Jello banana pudding filling and Cool Whip topping. But I got to tell you, this pie, made totally “from scratch” just leaves them all in the dust! Let me tell you why. I’ll start with the crust. It is light, flaky and wonderfully buttery.

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And as if, this pie crust weren’t good enough on its own…which it definitely is, for this Valentine’s creation, I gilded the lily a bit and brushed a silky dark chocolate all over the top of it. Then I filled that chocolate covered crust with a lovingly simmered, velvety banana infused custard and topped it with swirls of fluffy whipped cream. Oh mercy!

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So homey yet so utterly indulgent! Actually, to tell you true, this dessert is totally not my thing. I like chocolate and peanut butter and am somewhat obsessed with cupcakes. Fruit desserts? Not so much. But I didn’t make this for me. I made it for my Valentine.

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And the Husband can pass by a table of chocolatey sweets without a second glance. But show him any type of crumble, fruit crisp or pie and he goes weak in the knees. So you see, my path was clear. And I’m very happy to say, he did indeed find this Banana Cream Pie “swoon worthy”!

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So if you know someone who you think you might want to get to know a little better, whip them up this classic comforting and oh so dreamy Banana Cream Pie. After the very first bite, I bet they’ll be your Valentine before you can even ask.

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Banana Cream Pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe from: Bon Appetit, Flaky Pie Crust slightly adapted from Inspired Taste

Ingredients:

For the flaky pie crust: (Or, if pressed for time, purchase a 9″ pie crust)

  • 2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 6 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water

For the Chocolate lining:

  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

For the Pie:

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 bananas, sliced

For the Whipped Topping:

  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • chocolate shavings for decoration, if desired

Directions:

For the flaky pie crust: (This makes enough for two 9″ pie crusts. You will only use one of them for this recipe. The other one can be frozen for up to three months, giving you a jump start on the next pie you make!)

Mix 6 tablespoons of vodka and 2 tablespoons of water. Put in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it) to chill.

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).

Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).

Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water/vodka over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water/vodka and continue to press until dough comes together.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).

Once you are ready to bake, remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. (If you’d like to see a great video on how to roll out pie dough, take a peek at this one from Inspired Taste.)

Lightly flour work surface, top of dough and rolling pin. Then use rolling pin to roll out dough to a 12-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick). Be sure to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below — add a small amount of flour when necessary.

Check for size by inverting pie dish over dough round. Look for a 1-inch edge around the pie dish.

To transfer dough to dish, starting at one end, roll dough around rolling pin then unroll over dish.

Gently press dough down into dish so that it lines the bottom and sides of the dish. (Be careful not to pull or stretch the dough). Then, use a knife or pair of kitchen scissors to trim dough to within 1/2-inch of the edge of the dish.

Fold edge of dough underneath itself so that it creates a thicker, 1/4-inch border that rests on the lip of the dish. Then, crimp edges by pressing the pointer finger of one hand against the edge of the dough from the inside of the dish while gently pressing with two knuckles of the other hand from the outside.

Heat the oven to 425º F. Place a baking sheet on a middle oven rack.

Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork (this prevent air pockets or bubbles from forming while baking). Line the crust with two sheets of aluminum foil. (Be sure to push foil against the edges of the crust). Then, fill foil with dried rice, dried beans or pie weights. Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

Place pie crust onto preheated baking sheet and reduce oven temperature to 400° F (200° C). Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Make an egg wash by whisking one egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of cream in a small bowl. Then, remove rice, beans or pie weights and foil from pie crust. Brush the bottom and sides of the crust with egg wash. Bake until egg wash is dry and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool crust completely.

If you are using a store-bought crust, prebake it and set it aside to cool completely.

Once your crust has cooled, melt 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and brush over a prebaked 9-inch pie crust; chill until set.

For the Banana Cream filling:

Meanwhile, whisk 3 large egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan, off heat, until smooth. Gradually whisk in 2 cups whole milk. Whisking constantly, bring to a full boil over medium heat and boil until the custard pulls away from the sides of the saucepan, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Fold in 3 sliced bananas and let cool slightly. Pour filling into prepared pie crust, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

For the whipped topping:

Beat 1 cup chilled heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until firm peaks form; spoon over pie and swirl decoratively. Decorate with chocolate shavings, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips or just serve it au natural, as you wish!

Enjoy!

Banana Cream Pie brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Banana Cream Pie:

Cuisinart Pro Classic 7 Cup Food Processor

Norpro Silicone Pastry Mat

Oxo Good Grips Silicone Basting & Pastry Brush

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Sauce Pan

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

 


Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies

February 5, 2016

 

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Hey all you Nutella fans out there! Take a look at what I got here…Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies! Yup…a rich chocolatey Nutella cookie which surrounds a silky truffle-like Nutella center and if that hasn’t got you drooling, just listen up. It is topped with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt. You know I’m a sucker for that sweet/salty taste sensation! And these cookies have it all going on. The outside cookie is soft and yet also chewy at the same time. And once you bite into it, assuming it is warm out of the oven, you get this molten, lava-like burst of melted Nutella. Pure Nutella nirvana I tell you!

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Now it is not by chance that I’m blogging a recipe which features Nutella today. Today February 5th is World Nutella Day. This celebration of all things Nutella was started in 2007 by Sara at Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle at Bleeding Espresso as a day to celebrate, get creative with and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.

World_Nutella_Day_Final_m-300x207 This year, the founders have transferred Nutella Day to Ferrero the company who owns that most beloved spread. Take a peek at their Facebook page and see how folks are celebrating the day! I love Nutella so I usually try to participate with a Nutella laden recipe every year. Last year I made cookies as well,  irresistible Salted Peanut Butter & Nutella Sandwich Cookies

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I was still all about the cookies and the salty / sweet thing two years ago when I blogged about  Salted & Malted Nutella Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies feature silky, decadent Nutella, creamy caramel, nostalgic malted goodness and rich chocolate chips, all rolled up together in a crunchy chewy salted cookie

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And then there was my  Nutella, Double Chocolate & Banana Tart which was quite stunning if I do say so myself.

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But back to today’s star, both decadent and addictive, Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies.

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These tempting little treats are pretty easy to make, especially if you plan ahead. You see, you need to freeze what will become the molten Nutella centers, for at least 3 hours before assembling the final cookie. Sure it can all be done on the same day, but I did it the day before baking day. Once I was ready to bake, these cookies came together in no time flat. They are truly magical warm from the oven what with that lava like flow of Nutella when you bite into them. But don’t fret if they’ve cooled down. The center will be more solid, like Nutella is straight out of the jar, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. However, if you love the Nutella lava effect, just reheat them for a short time in the microwave and you’ll have Mt. Nutella cookies, erupting again!

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I know these cookies look rather short on the list of ingredients front, but don’t be fooled, they pack quite a flavorful punch. The Husband, who doesn’t usually care for chocolatey desserts, has actually come back for seconds. He says they are like a Nutella filled brownie…with salt. YUM! Make up a batch today in celebration of all things Nutella. Or… you know… Valentine’s Day isn’t that far off. Bet any Nutella loving folks out there would be head over heels when gifted with these cookies on the big day. You know what they say…no better way to man’s heart and all…

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Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies

  • Servings: 12 -15 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 5 1/4 ounces / 149 grams Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread

For the dough:

  • 10 1/2 ounces / 298 grams Nutella Chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 4 ounces / 112 grams King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour or 4 1/4 ounces /120 grams of King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional

For the Topping:

  • Fleur del Sel coarse sea salt

Directions:

To make the filling: Scoop small balls of Nutella (chestnut-sized, about 1″ diameter) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. A teaspoon cookie scoop, filled level, is the perfect tool for this job. Scoop out 15 -18 balls of Nutella. You may end up with extras, but better that than coming up short.

Place the baking sheet into the freezer (uncovered is fine), and freeze until the balls are completely frozen, about 3 hours; or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

To make the dough: Mix together all of the dough ingredients; the mixture will be cohesive, fairly soft, but not sticky; think modeling clay. It will stick together better when you squeeze it.

Scoop out heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough; a slightly heaped Tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

Remove the frozen Nutella balls from the freezer once you have the dough ready to shape. Flatten a ball of dough. Place one of the frozen Nutella balls in the center. Wrap the dough around the Nutella like a dumpling, enclosing it completely. Roll the ball of dough between your palms to seal any cracks and round it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and frozen Nutella balls.

Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet; they won’t spread much, so should all fit on one sheet. Sprinkle very lightly with a bit of coarse sea salt.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes; when done, they will have lost much of their shine, and you may see a very faint lightening of color around the bottom third of each cookie.

Remove the cookies from the oven; serve warm, or at room temperature. For the full melting-center, lava-like effect, serve warm; if they’re at room temperature, the centers will be solid. Reheat very briefly in the microwave to liquefy the centers, if desired.

Enjoy!

Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools and Ingredients for Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

OXO Good Grips Small Cookie Scoop

OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop

King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (this link is for 2 – 5 lb. bags of flour)

Nutella

Maldon Sea Salt Flakes (Fleur de Sel)

I should also mention that King Arthur Flour has a wonderful shop full of kitchen essentials as well as their quality ingredients on their website. Definitely worth taking a peek!

 

 


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