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Wednesday
Dec112013

Recipe: Chocolate-Coconut Marshmallows

Chocolate-Coconut Marshmallows

Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

Yield: 36 marshmallows

Ingredients

1/3 c cold water, plus 6 Tbsp for the gelatin

2 envelopes of gelatin

1 c sugar

1/3 c light corn syrup

3 large egg white

Pinch of salt

6 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch -processed cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy

1 c unsweetened grated coconut

1/4 t vanilla extract

Instructions

Pour 6 Tbsp water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top

In a small, heavy-duty saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/3 c cold water and set over moderate heat. 

While the syrup is cooking, put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer with the whip attachment. When the sugar syrup reaches 225 degrees F, begin whipping the whites slowly with the salt.

As the temperature of the syrup climbs, beat the whites on medium-high speed until they're fluffy and begin to hold their shape.

When the syrup reaches 250 degrees F, remove from heat and scrape in the gelatin. Stir until it's completely dissolved, then whisk in cocoa.

Increase the mixer speed to high and pour the syrup into the egg whites in a slow but steady stream. Avoid pouring the syrup on the whip or it will fling and cling to the sides rather than go into the meringue.

While the syrup is whipping, spread half of the coconut evenly over the bottom of an 8 inch square pan, leaving no bare spots.

Stop the mixer briefly and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the vanilla and continue to whip the marshmallow until it's thick and the side of the bowl no longer feels warm. The mixture will still be a bit runny, like chocolate pudding, but will firm as it sits.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top as best as you can. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the top. Let cool at least 4 hours or overnight, uncovered.

To unmold, run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn the marshmallow square onto a large cutting board. Use scissors or a pizza cutter to cut into 36 squares. Toss the marshmallow with the excess coconut that fell off when you unmolded the large square, dredging the sides to coat them completely. Shake each marshmallow to remove excess coconut, then arrange on a serving plate.

Storage: The marshmallow can be stored in a container for up to 5 days at room temperature.

Wednesday
Dec112013

Recipe: Salted Caramel Candies

Salted Caramel Candies

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living December 2012

Yield: Approximately 120

Ingredients

Vegetable Oil, for baking sheet

2 c heavy cream

2 1/4 c sugar

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 1/4 c light corn syrup

1/2 t course salt

1/2 t pure vanilla

Instructions

Lightly brush bottom and sides of a 9-by-13 inch rimmed baking sheet with oil. Line with parchment, leaving a 2 inch overhang on long sides. Lightly brush parchment with oil.

Bring cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup to a boil in a large saucepan (fitted with a candy thermometer) over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until caramel reaches 248 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 30-40 minutes.

Immediately remove caramel from heat and stir in salt and vanilla. Pour caramel onto baking sheets, and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature at least 8 hours and up to one day.

Lift caramel out of pan, using parchment overhang. Transfer to a large cutting board. Cut into 3/4-by 1 1/4 inch pieces; wrap each piece in waxed paper or cellophane.

Saturday
Dec072013

Recipe: Cherry Pistachio Cookies

Cherry Pistachio Cookies

Adopted from bluejeangourmet.com

Yield: approximately 3 dozen

Ingredients

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c unsalted butter

1/4 c sugar

1 egg

1/2 c shelled and unsalted pistachios, chopped

1/2 c dried cherries

zest of one orange or lemon

1/4 t salt

course sugar 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and zest together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce the speed and add the egg, then the flour and salt until the mixture just comes together. Stir in the cherries and pistachios.

Divide the dough in half, rolling each section into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Roll in plastic wrap, then chill at least one hour before baking (or freeze for later use).

When ready to bake, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice dough into pieces about 1/2 inch thick, then roll the edges of each piece in a bowl of course sugar before placing on cookies sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cookies are golden brown around the edges. Transfer parchment to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Saturday
Dec072013

Recipe: Peppermint Bark Cookies

Peppermint Bark Cookies

Adopted (partly) from Martha Stewart Living

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

1 lb (good quality) white chocolate, coarsely chopped

8 large candy canes, crushed

Instructions

Prepare dark chocolate sugar cookies, as directed, using a 2 inch round cookie cutter.

Sift crushed candy, and separate larger pieces from dust, reserving both.

Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water. Remove from heat.

Dunk cookies into melted chocolate. Using a fork, turn to coat, let excess drip off, and gently scrape bottom against edge of bowl.

Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets, and sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of either candy pieces or dust on top, before chocolate starts to set. 

Refrigerate until set, up to 3 hours. Decorated cookies are best served the same day.  

Saturday
Dec072013

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Adapted from sweetapolita.com

Yield: approximately 30 cookies

Ingredients

6 c all purpose flour

1 1/4 dark cocoa powder

1 t salt

2 c (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 c light brown sugar

3 eggs, cold

2 t pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

In large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.

In a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined.

Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and mix in.

Shape dough into 2 disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Roll the cookie dough out on parchment paper to 1/4 inch thick, dusting with flour as necessary. Slide the parchment paper and dough onto a cookie sheet, and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.

Remove rolled dough from the refrigerator and cut into the shape(s) of your choice. Place the cookies in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.

Bake until cookie edges are just crisp, approximately 16 minutes.

Cool the cookies on the parchment for 10 minutes before removing the cookies.

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