Happy New Year! We’re quickly approaching the 1-year anniversary of Love and Olive Oil (our first post was of our Valentine’s dinner last February!). We are still trying new things and have yet to run out of recipes… needless to say we’re not stopping any time soon!
Our holiday treat to ourselves were some delicious Cumin Rubbed steaks, served with Cracked Potatoes and a side of lightly sautÃ©ed broccolini. A tasty meal, but no match for what followed…
For dessert… oh wonderful dessert… we partook in the ultimate chocolate indulgence: Molten Chocolate Cakes. Or, Almost Molten chocolate cakes. Our first two cooked a bit too long, so no oozy goodness in the middle, but still heavenly nonetheless. Since the recipe makes 4 ramekins, we saved two of them to enjoy again tonight. I cooked tonight’s batch for 13 minutes instead of 15, and they came out oozy and delicious.
One must always proceed with caution when making such a rich dessert. One bite could send you into a chocolate-induced coma. It was in my desire to be able to finish my pot of molten love that I scoured the web for a berry sauce or syrup or glaze that might cut the chocolate a bit. Take a bit of one recipe, the instructions in another, add a dash of brandy, and tada! The result was a bright and tangy compote of fresh blackberries and frozen blueberries (black and blue = bruised, hence the “Bruised” Berry sauce) that turned out to be the perfect companion to the cakes.
Needless to say there wasn’t much leftover…
Molten Chocolate Cakes with “Bruised” Berry Sauce
Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.
5 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine
1 tablespoon brandy
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder
Large pinch of salt
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Bruised Berry Sauce:
1 pint fresh blackberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoons brandy (optional)
Generously butter four 3/4-cup soufflÃ© dishes or custard cups. Arrange on baking sheet. Stir chocolate and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in brandy. Cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using electric mixer, beat eggs, yolks, 4 tablespoons sugar, vanilla, 1 teaspoon espresso powder and salt in medium bowl until very thick ribbon falls when beaters are lifted, about 6 minutes. Sift flour over batter; fold in flour. Fold in chocolate mixture. Divide batter among dishes, filling completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely; refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.)
For berry sauce, combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves, breaking up berries as the mixture cooks. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 1 teaspoon cold water and stir well. Add to berry mixture. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until mixture barely begins to simmer. Remove from heat. Strain mixture if you don’t want the berry pulp (we like the chunks, so skipped this step). Mix in brandy. Set aside. Sauce can be made 1-2 days ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature (or rewarm) before serving.
Preheat oven to 400Â°F. Bake cakes until tops are puffed and dry and tester inserted into center comes out with moist batter still attached, about 15 minutes. Cool cakes 5 minutes. Turn out onto plate, drizzle with blackberry sauce, and serve immediately.
When most people get a sugar craving, they reach for the candy bar. Not me. When I get a sugar craving, I bake cookies.
These little gems are the ultimate cure for that craving. Chewey chocolately cookies with sweet vanilla frosting. Taylor thinks they are too sweet… (treason I say! no such thing!). But I might reduce the sugar in the cookies themselves a bit next time. Or not, it just means more for me!
I first saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and knew I had to make them… immediately! The cookbook this recipe comes from is called Retro Desserts – and might be one I need to get for myself!
Makes 25-30 sandwiches.
For the chocolate wafers:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 to 1½ cups sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
¼ cup (½ stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees.
In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. (No pastry bag? Just spoon it on). Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.
Bread pudding is one of those things I have never had. When it comes to dessert I want something that really sounds like dessert, like something rich and chocolatey. Bread for dessert never sounded appealing to me. Maybe this recipe caught my eye because of the chocolate chips, but I decided that for our unconventional dinner we needed an unconventional dessert. I was originally going to make a very yummy-sounding cranberry-ribbon apple pie, but decided it didn’t quite fit with the rest of our dinner. That and I didn’t want to battle with pie crust again. So I took on something completely new, and not only made and ate bread pudding for the first time in my life, I made my own bread too.
It was an all day endeavor, to say the least. But I knew our grocery store didn’t have any brioche or egg bread (we’ve looked), and didn’t want to settle for something ordinary for this dessert. I made my own egg bread, which I then cubed and doused with custard. A truly homemade dessert from start to finish. And well worth the effort… Taylor said it’s the best thing I’ve baked in a long time (keep in mind the things you’re competing with here). I gain approval from him not through compliments or material goods or other ways in which women gain approval from their men, no… I do it through baked goods. A mediocre pie, to me, is worse than a bad hair day any day of the week. So this… to be the best thing I’ve baked in a long time…. this was a huge success.
My only advice is to wait at least 90 minutes (if not more) after dinner before you even attempt to eat this. It’s filling, to say the least, and you want to be able to enjoy every last bit of it.
I searched high and low for an egg bread/brioche recipe to make for this pudding… After finding a myriad of recipes, all of them different, some taking days and requiring way too many complicated steps, I ended up going with one I knew had to work… Betty is a failsafe like that. The result was more of a rich white bread than a brioche, but it worked great for the pudding. And for my first foray into breadmaking, it turned out pretty darned good if I do say so myself!
Rich Egg Bread
Makes 1 loaf. Recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.
3 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour (not self-rising)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package regular or quick active dry yeast
1 cup very warm water (120Ëš to 130Ëš)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
melted butter or margarine (optional)
Mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Add warm water and oil. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Add egg, beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Place dough in large bowl greased with shortening, turning dough to grease all sides. (At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 24 hours). Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
Grease bottom and sides of an 8 1/2″ or 9″ loaf pan. Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Flatten dough with hands or rolling pin into 18×9-inch rectangle. Roll up tightly, beginning at 9-inch side. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Press each end with side of hand to seal; fold ends under loaf. Place loaf, seam side down, in pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with cooking spray and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Move oven rack to low position so that top of pan will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 375ËšF. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan to wire rack. Brush loaf with butter and cool.
You can easily halve this recipe and put it in an 8×8 pan, or if you don’t have one, it fits perfectly in a 9.5″ pie dish. You can assemble the pudding a day ahead, cover and refrigerate, then bake just before serving.
Easily make a dairy free version of this recipe (that even the milk aficionados would have a hard time telling the difference) by substituting soy creamer for half and half and dairy-free margarine for the butter.
Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Cinnamon-Rum Sauce
Makes 12 to 14 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.
1 1-pound loaf brioche or egg bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2/3 of the Betty Crocker loaf, weight it just to be sure)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dark rum (brandy works nicely too if you don’t have rum)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350Â°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Place bread in large bowl; pour 8 tablespoons melted butter over bread and toss to coat. Add chocolate chips and toss to combine. Transfer mixture to prepared dish.
Whisk half and half, 1 cup sugar, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt in large bowl to blend. Pour over bread cubes in dish. Let stand 30 minutes, occasionally pressing bread cubes into custard. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter over pudding; sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake bread pudding until puffed, brown, and set in center, about 1 hour.
For sauce, melt unsalted butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add dark brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and salt and whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbling and smooth, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in dark rum and vanilla extract. Drizzle over pudding. Serve warm.
Special occasions mean we get to treat ourselves to something normally out of our budget. This Christmas, that special something was a rack of baby back ribs. I have to say, I’ve never been a fan of pork, but this asian-inspired bourbon glaze would make anything taste delicious.
And compared to the all day endeavor that was thanksgiving, this seemed like a breeze. Really. You would think (or I would, at least) that cooking ribs is complicated. In reality, it’s easier than turkey (no temperature taking required).
Serve these ribs with the surprising wasabi mashed potatoes and some asparagus steamed and quickly seared in sesame oil, and you have yourself a delicious, albeit non-traditional, Christmas dinner. Now just wait until I post dessert…
We increased the cooking time on these to 90 minutes, with a slightly lower temperature than the original.
Bourbon-glazed Baby Back Ribs
Makes 6 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.
5 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon plum sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon hot chili paste or hot sauce (we used sriracha)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 2 1/4- to 2 1/2-pound racks baby back pork ribs
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
To make glaze, whisk first 11 ingredients in small bowl. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 300Â°F. Place long sheet of heavy-duty foil on each of 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Sprinkle rib racks on all sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 rib rack on each foil sheet. Fold up sides of each foil sheet around rib rack to form boat-like shape. Pour 1/2 cup pineapple juice over each rib rack. Fold up foil to seal packets. Bake until ribs are tender, about 90 minutes. Remove ribs from foil packets. Transfer to roasting pan; pour any juices from foil over and cool. These can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate.
Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Cut each rib rack in half. Grill until browned, brushing frequently with glaze and turning often, about 10 minutes. For the grill-less among us (ourselves included), broil the ribs for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden. Cut racks between bones into ribs.
Wasabi and Green Onion Mashed Potatoes
Makes 8 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.
3 pounds Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 tablespoons wasabi paste (horseradish paste)
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1 cup chopped green onions
Bring potatoes to boil in large pot of water. Reduce heat to medium; cook until tender, about 17 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, bring cream, butter, and wasabi paste to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Season with salt and pepper. Keep hot. Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat; add green onions and sautÃ© until wilted, about 3 minutes. Set aside. Using potato masher in same large pot or ricer, mash potatoes. Stir in hot cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in green onions. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in microwave, stirring occasionally.