Parmesan Savory Scones

/ Sunday, May 3, 2015

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This weekend my friends hosted a great brunch party in order for us to study for finals. Everyone had to contribute, and many people were making sweet things such as lemon blueberry french toast and smoothies. I realized I should go for something savory that can be still eaten for breakfast. I originally had a recipe, but it was the night before the party and, let's face it, I was too lazy to drive to the grocery store.

So, scone recipe aside I dug through my refrigerator and discovered that my family doesn't do that often enough. Between too far gone cucumbers and rosemary sprigs, I didn't find much to go on. (Maybe I shouldn't be so lazy about going to the grocery store.)

However, I found a nice fresh onion from the pantry, and some brand new parmesan cheese that seemed to do the trick.

The great think about the onion, is it gives it tenderness without bad after breath, making the scone perfect for breakfast. 

Parmesan Savory Scones

Makes 8 scones

For the Scones:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup skim milk)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley minced

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until coarse clumps form. (There will feel as if there are too many dry ingredients in the bowl.)
Add eggs, milk, and lemon juice. Mix until well combined. Stir in cheese, onion, and parsley.
Remove from bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead with hands for 1-2 minutes until cheese and onions are well integrated into dough. (The dough will be very sticky, so don't be afraid to use more than a little flour.) Shape dough into circle that is about 1 inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or a knife, divide in half. Cut each half into 4 triangles. At this point, you can freeze the scones. (This is what I did so they could be freshly baked the next day.)
To bake, place scones in a 400 degree F oven on a parchment lined baking dish. Bake for 20 min.

A great idea is to keep them frozen and then bake a few everyday to continuously have fresh scones for breakfast!
They are best served fresh with butter or, if you want them for lunch, with soup.

Coconut Rum Chocolate Mousse Crepe Cake

/ Sunday, April 19, 2015

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It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, I've been extremely busy, but this week I was very excited to try something I've been wanting to attempt for a while: a crepe cake. If you want something that looks very impressive, and tastes amazing this is perfect.

When the cake is topped with candied rum pecans and toasted coconut, basically nothing can go wrong. So even though the recipe list is long and the instructions longer, don't get daunted. It's completely worth it. Kind of reminds me of when I went to Chicago a few weeks ago and stood in line for 45 min to stand on the glass ledges on top of the Willis Tower. It was aggravating and tedious, but well worth it.

Coconut Rum Chocolate Mousse Crepe Cake

From (with edits to): Half Baked Harvest

For the Chocolate Mousse:
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 egg yolks
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum

To make the mousse. In a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate. Microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Stir in the melted butter, it will thicken. Set aside to cool. In a small saucepan whisk together the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons water and sugar. Place on the stove over medium heat and stir constantly until the sauce thickens slightly and just coats the back of a spoon, about 2-3 minutes. Make sure to remove the eggs from the stove the minute they begin to curdle and thicken. Stir the melted chocolate into the egg mixture until completely smooth. Place in the fridge while you whip the cream. Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl using a hand mixer) and whip cream until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and coconut rum (if using) and whip until combined. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like. Now add half the whipped cream with cooled chocolate mixture. Gently fold the cream into the chocolate until no more streaks remain. Add the remaining cream and gently fold into the mousse. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for two hours or overnight.

For Coconut Rum Cream:
1 can coconut milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons rum
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

In a medium saucepan combine the coconut milk and cornstarch. Whisk until the cornstarch is completely dissolved and there are no lumps. Add the sugar, eggs and salt, whisk until smooth. Place the pan on the stove and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Simmer until the cream thickens and is smooth like pudding, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, rum and shredded coconut. Transfer the cream to a bowl, cover and chill two hours or overnight.

For the Crepes:
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup water + an extra 1/4 cup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add butter to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Swirl gently until brown bits appear on the bottom, about 5-6 minutes, then immediately remove from heat and set aside. Combine the eggs, milk, flour, the melted + browned butter, salt, 1 cup water and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds or until well combined. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours. Remove the batter from the fridge and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup water. Heat a 10 inch non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add cooking spray to coat. In a circular motion pour 1/4 cup of batter (I measure it out for every single crepe) into the skillet. Quickly pick the skillet up (using an oven mitt, especially if using a cast iron skillet!) and swirl in a circular motion to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to a cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool on a piece of parchment paper. After 5 minutes or so I like to flip the crepes to make sure they are not sticking to the parchment. Continue until all batter is gone. Makes 20 crepes.

For assembly:1 can very cold coconut milk (chilled in the fridge overnight)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
toasted coconut, for topping
toasted coconut rum pecans, for topping (optional) (coconut rum + brown sugar + pecans)

Place the bowl of a stand mixer and your whisk attachment in the freezer. Lay all 20 crepes out on a large clean counter. Remove the chocolate mouse and coconut cream from the fridge and evenly divide both the mouse and coconut cream among all 20 crepes (10 with chocolate mousse, 10 with coconut cream) and spread in an even, thin layer. Now place one crepe in the center of your serving plate and layer on the rest alternating between the chocolate mousse and coconut cream (one coconut cream layer, one chocolate mouse layer and so on). Do your best to try and keep the stack straight. Once you have used all the crepes and the cake is assembled place it in the fridge while you whip the coconut cream.

Flip your cold can of coconut milk upside down and open it. There should be around 1/2 cup of coconut water at the top. Pour this into a container and save for another use. Scoop out the coconut cream and place in a bowl. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. It will not be stiff like regular whipped cream. Beat in the powdered sugar. Remove the cake from the fridge and top with your desired amount of coconut whipped cream. Place back in the fridge for 30 minutes or until ready to serve. When ready to serve, top the cake with toasted coconut and rum toasted pecans.

So that's it! It can be a little daunting just going through all the parts to this cake, but its really not that bad and the product is well worth it!
Until next week!

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake

/ Sunday, March 29, 2015

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It has been a while hasn't it. Well, last weekend I attempted to make ice cream mochi after being inspired by my trip to United Noodles, the largest Asian Grocery Store in the Mid-West. I bought the special rice flour and everything and was super excited to post about it. Then I actually tried to make it...

Everything started out fine, I got the mochi cut in circles and the ice cream in perfect spheres. However then I actually tried to encase the ice cream in the mochi, and that's when the whole thing became a very literal mess. So I ended with some kind of chocolate soup spilled all over the floor and ended up just eating the sweet rice paste.

Well this weekend I made a cake for my church's bake sale, so after my failure last week I thought I would go with something easier that I have made plenty of times: chocolate cake.

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake

From: Raspberri Cupcakes

For the cake:
 8 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup milk
Grease and line the base of a three two 9 inch cake tins and preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) (lower by 10°C for fan-forced). Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, salt, bicarb soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Using an electric mixer with a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar on high about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated.Mix together the water and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the milk mixture. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients until smooth. Split batter mixture between the prepared tins. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in tin about 5 mins, then place on a wire rack and cool completely before icing. Cake can be baked the night before and stored in an airtight container overnight before assembly.
For the raspberry ganache:
250g good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
150ml heavy cream
125g fresh raspberries, pureed and strained
 Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Heat cream over low-medium heat in saucepan until just boiling, pour over cream and set aside for 5 minutes. Use a whisk to combine mixture until smooth, then gradually add raspberry puree to taste. Chill until it thickens but is still pourable (take care not to leave too long or it will make it hard to spread). This mixture is prone to splitting as it cools, if this happens just reheat the bowl over a simmering saucepan of water and add a bit more cream. Place one layer of chocolate cake on your cake stand and cover with ganache. Sandwich second layer on top and repeat.
For the chocolate ganache:
400g dark chocolate, finely chopped
300ml heavy cream
Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Heat cream over low-medium heat in saucepan until just boiling, pour over cream and set aside for 5 minutes. Use a whisk to combine mixture until smooth. Chill until it thickens and just holds its shape but is still pourable. Use a spatula to spread over the outside of your cake. I used an offset spatula to smooth the surface. Place macarons around the border of the top of the cake. Decorate center of the cake with raspberries. Chill cake until ready to serve, remove from fridge at least 30 mins before serving.
 Until Next Week!

ProStart Culinary State Competition

/ Sunday, March 8, 2015

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Last week I participated in the state ProStart Culinary Invitational. The experience was amazing and I had such a great time!

So, the competition was between 10 teams. We had to cook a three course meal in one hour. But get this, we didn't have electricity. We only had two gas burners (essentially two stove tops). Everything else had to be done by hand in one hour. It was not only stressful, but seemingly impossible. However, my team of four pulled through and we made some amazing dishes.

My team and I prepping our station... as you can tell we are not very organized cooks :)

So I was in charge of the dessert, two people were in charge of the appetizer, and one person was in charge of the entree. (Shown below)

Our appetizer was a salmon cake with apple fennel slaw and harissa aioli (bottom left), our entree was a maple lamb shank with butternut squash, kale, and fragola saute (top), and our dessert was a chocolate panna cotta with rosemary salted caramel sauce, raspberry coulis, bruleed chocolate filled raspberry, candied hazelnuts, and a sugar spike garnish (bottom right).

To pull all that off we had to co-ordinate our every move and every ingredient. It was a crazy experience actually cooking it at the competition as well. While cooking our entree, the wine cork broke and we had to find something to use to push it into the bottle, I also had to gather all my extra sugar after I forgot to reserve some from the sauce for the sugar spike.

In the end, we didn't place, but our food got a ton of attention from cooking a lamb shank in one hour.

My dessert was highly praised and the chef told me he had tasted Sous Chef try-outs that didn't taste as good as what I had done! That of course was amazing to hear and made the experience all the more worthwhile.

Interested in knowing more? Check out the ProStart website!

Also, I made fortune cookies this week, but I'm not sure if I have time for pictures so I hope I can get those up sometime soon!

Apple Coffee Cake

/ Monday, February 16, 2015

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It has been a few week's since the last post because I've been working on creating a dessert for the ProStart competition I've been talking about! The competition is in two weeks and our menu is really coming together. I will be sure to post pictures of our final projects after we compete!

I also went to a great restaurant in Minneapolis last night called Victory 44 and tried their chocolate textures dessert. It had your standard chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream, chocolate shavings, ect. But then, it incorporated caramelized white chocolate powder, which was an amazing concept I had never seen before.

I also drove over to the University of Minnesota to visit my sister, and she took me to an Asian grocery store called United Noodle. However, it was quite a walk from her dorm, made even longer by the 4 degree weather. Not to mention my calves cramped up and I was slipping on ice left and right making a downright fool of myself. But it was well worth it because I now have ice cream mochi in my freezer and am drinking a home-made bubble tea while writing this post.

So for the dessert this week I wanted something I could make last night and eat for breakfast this morning because it's President's Day and I didn't have school. So, I found a very interesting cake recipe that would make a perfect breakfast!

**This cake batter is more like a dough. It also doesn't rise so fill the springform pan all the way to the top!

Apple Coffee Cake

For the cake:3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
6 oz butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large apples (your favorite kind, I used honey crisp)
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
Grease and flour a 9" round springform pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough to allow room for the apples to be folded in. Cut the butter into the flour using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the sugar to the flour mixture and mix in. Peel the apples and slice them into large uniform pieces. Toss the apples into the flour mixture and combine them thoroughly. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Add to the apples and flour and mix in with a large spatula until just combined. Batter will be thick and dough-like. Transfer the dough into the prepared cake pan and flatten the top surface using the back of your spatula. Generously sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cake. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Test the center for doneness. The top of the cake should be golden brown.

That's it! It's a great recipe and I hope you enjoy!
Until next week!

Tea Panna Cotta

/ Monday, January 26, 2015

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So how have I been? Very busy, being the short answer. At my school, I'm on the Prostart Culinary Team. Prostart is a program for high school students, and they host a cooking competition every year. So everyday after school, I've been working on our menu and trying out new cooking techniques. I am in charge of creating the dessert... shockingly.
 The hard part is, we don't have access to electricity, just propane burners and metal campfire ovens. That and a one hour time limit put up many roadblocks to what can be made. But we are still working on it, and the competition is in about a month so we have plenty of time!

For people that have been reading this blog, you may know one of my favorite desserts in panna cotta. I made a salted caramel panna cotta a while back that was amazing! Panna cotta can be flavored in so many ways, so I decided that a would use all the extra tea I had stockpiled in my cupboards to taste test some tea flavored panna cotta.

I tried four different kinds of tea using the same panna cotta recipe. I found the best two (in my opinion of course) was the chai and the jasmine. They both had great flavor and were not too strong.

Tea Panna Cotta

Adapted from: Hummingbird High

4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup loose leaf tea or 2 tea bags (I recommend Chai or Jasmine)
2 teaspoons powdered, unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Infuse the cream by combining 4 cups heavy whipping cream and tea in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Once the mixture has simmered, turn off the heat and cover the pan with aluminum foil, poking a few holes into the top to allow steam to release. Let steep for 1 hour.
When the cream has finished steeping for an hour, bloom the gelatin. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin into the surface of a small cup or ramekin filled with 3 tablespoons cold water. Let sit for 5 minutes, until the gelatin softens.
As the gelatin is blooming, strain the infused cream through a cheese cloth into a bowl, pressing on the tea leaves/tea bag with the back of a spoon to release all the liquid. Discard the tea leaves/bags. Transfer the cream beck into the saucepan and add 3/4 cup granulated sugar and the bloomed gelatin, stirring over medium-low heat until the sugar and gelatin is melted. DO NOT boil the mixture.

Once the sugar and gelatin are fully integrated into the cream, divide the cream amongst eight 4-ounce ramekins. Chill overnight. Once set, the panna cotta can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

So that's it! It doesn't take that long to put together, and its a really fun time finding different flavors of tea to use.

 Until next week!
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