Sunday, December 14, 2014

Chocolate Covered Toffee

It's getting closer to the holidays, and I went out and bought an ugly sweater to wear just for kicks.
So, the Christmas season is all about cookies. However, sometimes people spend hours and hours making them. Trust me I have been in this position many times! So, that got me thinking, whats a great holiday substitute for cookies that don't take up an entire day or two? Toffee is for sure the answer. This recipe is super easy, and one batch makes about 30 servings!

Chocolate Covered Toffee

From with edits to: Allrecipes

For the Toffee:

2 cups butter, cut into 1 tbs cubes
2 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Line a cookie sheet with a Silipat mat. (You can use parchment, however, the toffee may stick).
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, (285 degrees F) (You really should go by color, not temperature. Do not burn the mixture). Stir occasionally.
As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. With an offset spatula spread the toffee out to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted.
Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

That's it! It's a super easy recipe, however be very careful not to burn the butter. It is better to take it off early than too late.
Also, while you are making this everyone will stop by the kitchen and comment on how good it smells!

Hope you all have a great holiday season!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Buche De Noel

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  I just quickly wanted to say how thankful I am for all the opportunities that this blog has given me! I also want to thank all my readers and those who give me great feedback from the recipes they have tried from this blog. Sunday has become a great highlight of my week as I get to explore so many new recipes and styles of baking.

To kick off the holiday spirit, I'm bringing you a buche de noel. It's a bit labor intensive-ish, but it is well worth it. The meringue mushrooms can be made a few days ahead, or left out entirely, to make the workload a bit less.

For the Icing:
12 oz. semisweet chocolate
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
2⁄3 cup heavy cream

Melt chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water over medium-low heat, whisking often. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in cream. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until icing thickens, about 4 hours. Don't refrigerate.

For the Meringue:
10 tbsp. sugar
2 large egg whites
2 pinches cream of tartar
Pinch salt
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup cocoa powder
1⁄2 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 200°. Combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling pan several times until sugar has dissolved, 1–2 minutes. Uncover pan and continue to boil until syrup reaches softball stage or 236° on a candy thermometer, about 4 minutes more. Put egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk and beat on medium speed until frothy, then add cream of tartar and salt. Gradually increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form, about 30 seconds. Slowly pour in sugar syrup while continuing to beat until whites cool to room temperature and become thick and shiny, about 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Use a rubber spatula to transfer meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4" plain pastry tip. To make meringue mushrooms, hold pastry tip perpendicular to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and pipe meringue into the shapes of mushroom caps and stems of various sizes, then set aside for 5 minutes. Lightly moisten a fingertip in cold water and smooth out any "tails" left behind on mushroom caps. Bake meringues for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven and allow meringues to rest in oven until dry and crisp, about 1 hour. Bore a small, shallow hole in center of underside of each mushroom cap with the tip of a paring knife. "Glue" stems to caps by dipping tips of stems into icing, then sticking into holes in caps. Sift a little cocoa powder on tops of caps. Meringues can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.

For the Roulade:
2 tbsp. softened butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
7 egg whites
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. dark rum

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a 16 1/2" × 12" heavy baking pan with buttered parchment paper, cut large enough to hang over sides of the pan by about 1". Put chocolate in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Bring cream just to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, then pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool. Beat egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk on medium speed until frothy; increase speed to medium-high and gradually add sugar, beating constantly, then increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 30-40 seconds more. (Don't overbeat.) Mix one-third of the whites into chocolate using a rubber spatula, then gently fold in remaining whites in two batches, taking care not to deflate batter. Spread in prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 10–12 minutes. Set aside to cool in the pan.

For the Filling:
4 oz. semisweet chocolate
6 tbsp. sugar
3 egg yolks
12 tbsp. unsalted butter

 Melt chocolate with 2 tbsp. water in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water over medium heat. Stir to combine, then set aside to cool. Combine sugar and 3 tbsp. water in a small heavy saucepan; cover and bring to a boil over medium heat, swirling pan several times until sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Uncover and continue to boil until syrup reaches the softball stage or 236° on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes more. Meanwhile, beat yolks in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk on high speed until thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and gradually pour in hot syrup. Beat constantly until mixture cools to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Allow butter to soften, then beat into egg mixture 1 tbsp. at a time, waiting until it's completely incorporated before adding more; continue beating until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes total. Stir in cooled chocolate and set aside.

Hope you enjoy this great recipe to kick off the holiday season! Until next week!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Irish Mint Brownies

Photography is a huge part of having a food blog, or any blog really. Beautiful images make for an attractive site, however, this can be extremely hard to achieve. I personally struggle with the photography aspect, but I'm definitely learning and developing the skill. Throughout my photography experiences, I've figured out a couple of key elements that help me achieve my best photographs. Using diffusers, reflectors, and composition ideas, I've really strengthen my images.
Working with both natural and artificial light, I've come to notice the pros and cons of each. I really like the look of natural light, but the creative power with artificial lighting is completely worth taking the extra time to set the lights up!

I came across this vintage pop this weekend, and I thought it would be really fun to photograph it, I got a couple different shots, but I really liked this one.

So, the recipe this week is perfect for winter. Its rich chocolate combined with light whipped cream makes for the perfect dessert. I highly recommended this for any holiday parties that are coming in about a month or two!


Irish Mint Brownies

Yields 2 1/2 dozen

For the Brownie:
1 cup butter, cubed
4 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a microwave, melt butter and bittersweet chocolate; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in chocolate mixture. Gradually add flour until blended. Spread into a greased 13 by 9 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

For the Filling:
4 oz white chocolate chips
1/4 cup refrigerated Irish creme coffee creamer
1 cup heavy whipping cream
15 mint Andes candies

In a microwave, melt white chocolate and creamer for 30 second intervals, stirring intermittently until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate for 30 to 40 minutes until chilled. In another small bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form; fold into white chocolate mixture. Beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Fold in chopped candies. Spread over brownies. Cover and refrigerate.

For the Icing:
12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp butter
Halved Andes mints (optional)

In a small saucepan heat cream to a simmer. Place chocolate in a small bowl. Slowly pour cream over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Stir in butter until melted. (You may have to return the chocolate mixture to the heat in order to fully melt the butter.) Cool to room temperature. Carefully spread over the filling. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour until icing is set. Cut into bars and garnish with additional candies. Store in the refrigerator.


Apple Maple Tart

There is this awkward moment when I wrote up an entire post last week, and didn't remember to press submit....
Considering it's a great recipe I still very much want to post it... so here it is.

It was a huge day last week here at The Sunday Pastry! It was the blogs two year anniversary, and I am so thrilled about everything this blog had taught me. This year, however, I know I didn't post as much as last year. I took a long hiatus in the summer, but I have still improved so much with my baking!

A bit of a story though before I get into this week's recipe:
At my high school I'm in a program called Pro-start. It's a great way to dive into the culinary field and my team competes at the state level every year. This weekend we cooked for a fundraiser to send the winning team to nationals. Each group of students was paired with a chef to create an entree or dessert. Our chocolate dessert was a huge success, and I really enjoyed being part of the experience.

Ok, on to this week's recipe:
Now in the transition from fall to winter, I never know what to make. Part of me wants to stick with apples and cinnamon, but there's a little voice in the back of my mind telling me to start posting Christmas cookie recipes. I swear, blogging is exactly like retail. You have to stay ahead, getting Christmas recipes out before people even begin to think what seasonal treat they might want to make.

So, I thought to myself, one last fall recipe to end the season... then I'll begin with the Christmas cookies and the huge thanksgiving desserts.

Apple Maple Tart

Adapted from: Green Kitchen Stories

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Finely crush graham crackers in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin. Stir graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Add melted butter and stir with a fork. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9” tart pan. Press hard to compact. Use a glass to press the bottom, but use your fingers to press the sides. Bake crust for 8 minutes, until it just starts to brown. Cool completely before filling.

 For the Filling:
3/4 cup applesauce

Place apple sauce directly into the center of the cooled crust. Spread to the edges with the back of a spoon.

For the Topping:

4 small red apples
½ lemon, juice
1 tbsp maple syrup or runny honey
1 tbsp cold pressed olive oil
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Prepare the apples by dividing them into quarters and removing the core. Slice the apples quarters into very thin wedges. Squeeze some lemon over the apple wedges to prevent them from turning brown.
Arrange the thin apple wedges in a circular shape on top working in a spiral towards the center. Use thick, large pieces on the ends and thin, flexible pieces in the middle. Brush with maple syrup and dust with cinnamon. Place the tart in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the apples are golden on top. Let cool slightly before serving.
Serve within 12 hours of making the tart (immediately is best) otherwise the crust will become soggy.

So there, my last fall recipe. I've been seeing some really cool things on Pinterest that have given me some great ideas for next week! Until then!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Braided Cardamom Bread

I figured I haven't made much bread here on The Sunday Pastry, and it is a very go-to thing to make on a Sunday morning. I think most people agree that freshly baked bread is a thousand times better than the stuff sitting out on your counter or in the supermarket isle. Nothing can beat fresh bread: bagels, brioche, you name it! So, I stumbled across a beautiful new blog this week called Slovakia For the Soul, which was full of beautiful photography, (and I have to say I pinned probably her whole website!). This recipe in particular intrigued me because of the cardamom layers. Cardamom is something I don't bake with it often, if at all, so the recipe had me digging into the back of the spice cabinet trying to find it!
I'm very pleased with my results, and this bread is great to kick back and relax with on a Sunday morning!

Braided Cardamom Bread

From, with edits to: Souvlaki For the Soul

For the Bread:
200ml milk
60g butter
1 x 7g sachet (packet) of yeast
400g plain flour
60g caster sugar
pinch sea salt

Combine the milk and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and allow the butter to melt and the mixture to come to a lukewarm temperature. (If it heats too much cool it down by pacing the saucepan in a sink with cold water).
In a separate bowl combine the yeast, flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center and pour the milk/butter mixture in. Mix thoroughly until you have a dough. (You may need to add a little more flour here to stop the dough from being sticky).
Turn the dough onto a clean surface add a little more flour and knead for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
Preheat your oven to 190 deg C and butter and flour a 22cm bundt cake tin and set aside.

For the filling:
100g butter softened
1 tsp ground cardamom
50g sugar

Prepare the filling by beating the softened butter, cardamom and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.

For the Assembly:
1 egg, lightly beaten
80g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped (salted is ok)
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional)

Remove the risen dough, punch it out with your fist and roll into a large rectangle measuring approx. 40cm x 30cm in size. Spread the cardamom/butter mixture over the dough, sprinkle 3/4 of the pistachios and drizzle the pomegranate molasses. With the long end facing you roll the dough into a long cylinder/sausage shape. Starting about 1 inch from the top with a very sharp knife, cut down the length of the center of the rolled dough to expose the layers and filling inside. Alternate the two long pieces of dough over each other and shape into a ring. Gently place into the greased baking tin, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle any remaining pistachios on top.
Bake for 25-30 mins until golden. Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes before gently removing. Allow to cool for a further half hour before slicing and serving.

I know pomegranate molasses can be hard to find, so I found a great recipe for it here. Its pretty easy to whip up. I left out the lemon juice though, and I highly suggest doing so.

Mmmm this bread makes the kitchen smell amazing, perfect for a weekend morning.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Red Velvet Cake

Last weekend, I was up at my cabin for a family friend's birthday. Of course, for pastry people like myself, that means it's time to whip out the turntable and create a cake.
I made this red velvet cake this summer, and didn't get around to posting it (like many other things recently... oops). So I decided to go back to it, as this was our family friend's favorite cake.

 Just a nice picture of the view from my cabin.

The original recipe calls for halved raspberries in filling between the layers of cake. So, I put a half pint of raspberries on the grocery list. To my frustrating dismay, every single one was a grey-ish red with some mold specks. I just then remembered that raspberries are not in season. This brings me to another point many people tent to forget: when developing and recipe with fresh ingredients, it's so important to know whats in season. So, setting the raspberries aside, I continued with a traditional red velvet cake. It was an instant favorite!

Red Velvet Cake

Adapted from: Bon Appetit

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbs red food coloring
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut a two 9 inch round of parchment to fit in the bottom of two 9-inch-diameter round cake pans. Butter and flour the bottom of each, then place the parchment paper at the bottom of both and butter and flour the parchment. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In another medium bowl whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla to combine. With a handheld electric mixer beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with buttermilk mixture. Divide batter between the two pans.

For the Frosting:
2 8oz packaged cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl. Beat in vanilla and sugar until smooth.

For the Assembly:
blueberries (optional)
powdered sugar (optional)

Place cake layer, bottom side down onto turntable (or work surface, but if you don't have a turntable I would suggest you should get one). Spread approximately 1 cup of frosting on this layer. Place the next cake layer top side down and spread remaining frosting on the top and sides of cake.

For help with frosting a cake here is a great video. (The frosting starts at 22:15) You can skip a crumb coat if you want, but I never do because a crumb coat makes the cake look cleaner. If you are worried about running out of frosting just make a double batch!

So, I hope you enjoy this late post! The cake is always a favorite and I highly recommend it for birthdays. I have another post coming your way this week, so stay tuned!