Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chocolate Orange Crisps

I made these cookies for a jazz concert reception tomorrow. I have experimented with using orange, cinnamon and chocolate together before and had great results (check out this recipe). I hope you enjoy these crisp, flavorful treats.

Chocolate Orange Crisps
1 cup softened, unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs roughly grated orange peel (a cheese grater would work better than a fine grater for this)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
for the glaze:
the juice of one orange
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the butter and sugar with the zest in a mixing bowl until creamed. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly, until all ingredients are incorporated.
Roll the dough into ping-pong sized balls and press them onto a prepared pan with at least 3/4" of space inbetween each one. They will spread slightly. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy. Let cool on a drying rack and then glaze.
To prepare the glaze, fill a measuring cup most of the way with powdered sugar. Squeeze the orange into the powdered sugar. stirring until you have reached the desired consistency. A ratio with more powdered sugar will be thicker and will look more opaque on the cookie. A thin glaze will just leave the cookie looking glossy. Once the glaze looks right, I like to set my drying rack over a cookie sheet with parchment on it (the one I just baked with usually) and pour the glaze over the cookies. That way, the glaze will drip onto the parchment, which makes cleanup much more manageable.
Allow the glaze to set and enjoy.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rustic Rosemary Twist

Last night was our last baking club meeting for the semester. We had a lot of fun, I will miss baking with everybody this summer. I arrived early to prepare several batches of cornmeal pizza dough, which everyone then decorated and baked. Our pizzas turned out really delicious and I also ended up with extra dough!
Building off the dough recipe from Martha Stewart, I decided to make a cheesy, rosemary braid as an afternoon snack to share with my hall. The dough is rolled out into ropes which are in turn stuffed with cheese. The rolls are then braided together and sprinkled with crunchy salt. Although the dough recipe is not my own, I have provided it here for your convenience in making the rosemary twist.

Rustic Rosemary Twist

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
2/3 cups warm water
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup cornmeal, plus more for pizza peel or baking sheet
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
2 tbs dried rosemary
1 tsp coarse salt
Oil for the pan
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water. Let stand until yeast is dissolved and mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.Combine flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and add the yeast mixture and oil. Mix the ingredients just until the dough starts to come together. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 10 minutes. Place the dough in a shallow oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Knead the rosemary into your dough until incorporated. Cut the dough into three balls and roll each into a rope. Spread each rope flat onto the work surface and make a line of cheese down the center. Carefully pinch the sides up around the cheese filling and roll the rope out a little longer. 
Once all three ropes are prepared, braid them on your prepared pan, pinching the ends together. Sprinkle your twist with coarse salt and bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.
The twist turned out amazingly soft, with a crunchy exterior and cheesy center; I'm so glad I decided to try experimenting with it. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Some Cool Sites to Check Out! Sharing Inspiration.

The last few days, I have been pondering the importance of reading in writing. My major is creative writing and I have been taking notes on speeches given by successful authors and also thinking about books that I loved reading and what about them was so enjoyable. I know that these practices improve writing ability and awareness of your own voice. This inspired me to look around and find what I enjoy about other people's work with food, what inspires me and what I can share with others that might inspire them! So here are some links to photos, blogs, recipes and menus that I find interesting.

Canelle et Vanille is always gorgeous and full of incredible recipes. Her work is what inspired me to try blogging about food and to improve my photography skills:

The description of this dessert menu is phenomenal. The restaurant Trace in Austin is reviewed here on "epicuriosities".  Here is a picture of their coffee panna cotta:

I am so in awe of chefs who put this much detail into their presentation. To me, the most engaging presentation is not always something that is set before you looking beautiful, but can be something that undergoes transformation before your very eyes. Or even better, if you get to make that transformation happen on your own! (Fondue, anyone?) Check out this Hong Kong Restaurant and the blog, "bon vivant". The strawberry dessert in this post also looks incredible.

Cakespy is one of the most awesome things in existence. This woman posts the most amazing recipes and is honestly who inspired me to share with you some of my favorite blogs and menus, because she is constantly supporting other bloggers and chefs by showing their work on her site, as well as artists and authors. An incredibly cute recipe she recently shared is for these Cinco de Mayo pinata cookies:

But be sure to check out her website too!! Here's a link of hers that I really like for sushi cake truffles:

Alinea Restaurant in Chicago is a temple of molecular gastronomy and modern cuisine. (I emailed them a few months ago asking if they could accommodate a vegetarian menu and they said they could.) The head chef at this restaurant actually lost his sense of taste due to cancer and created this menu as his sense of taste slowly returned. Check out their gallery and you might find yourself booking a flight to Chicago! I can't wait to go there someday:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Oranges in Blossom Syrup

I have a presentation in French class tomorrow morning. My group is doing a 35 minute presentation about Morocco in French. Since I'll be talking about music, fashion and food, I offered to do a Moroccan recipe. Another girl in my group will be making an orangey cake, so I opted to make these oranges in blossom syrup to add to our sweet Moroccan breakfast.
I got the recipe from this gorgeous book that I bought a while back. It's called "Made in Morocco" by Julie Le Clerc, who I have since realized is a prolific food writer. The book not only has great recipes, but facts about different towns and regions and the foods and spices that each region is famous for. I increased the recipe slightly for my presentation and for future use since I have a large family!
I got the cute spoon in the picture a month ago at a cute shop in Berkeley, called Maison d'Etre.
Orange flower water often tastes very strong and perfume-y, but this delicate syrup only heightens the floral notes in the oranges.

Oranges in Blossom Syrup
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbs orange flower water
1 1/2 cups cold water
6 oranges, peeled and sliced

Place the sugar, honey, water, cinnamon and blossom water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer gently until reduced by half.
Place the orange slices in a bowl and pour over the hot syrup. Set aside to cool and infuse the oranges with flavor.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Giant Birthday Cookie!

This recipe has been moved to tiramipursuit's new website. Find it here.

Monday, April 9, 2012