Happy birthday, 2017 – let’s see those cakes!
Ice cream isn’t just for summertime. Posting date is December 4!
- 2½ cups (600 ml) heavy cream
- ¾ cup (180 ml) whole milk
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons natural peppermint extract (not mint or spearmint extract)
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Red or pink food dye or gel
- ¾ cup (115 g) crushed candy canes, plus more for garnish
- 4 ounces (115 g) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup (50 g) sifted confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup (110 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup (20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Valrhona
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup (180 ml) heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, ½ cup (100 g) of the sugar, and the salt.
- Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a slow, consistent simmer, just before boiling, then remove it from the heat.
- Put the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl. Add the remaining ½ cup (100 g) sugar and whisk the mixture until it’s pale and fully combined. While whisking constantly, slowly stream in half of the cream mixture. Then, whisking constantly, transfer the egg mixture back into the medium saucepan containing the other half of the cream mixture. Cook the custard over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (approximately 175°F/80°C), to 10 minutes; do not boil. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Whisk in the peppermint extract, add the vanilla, and add food dye to reach the color you desire. Continue to whisk vigorously for a minute or two to release excess heat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Alternatively, fill a large bowl with ice and a little bit of water, then pour the ice cream mixture into a smaller bowl and place that bowl directly on top of the ice; whisk the custard and turn the bowl until the mixture is completely cool.
- It is essential for the mixture to be completely chilled before adding it to the ice-cream maker.) Pour the chilled mixture into an ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions to process, adding the crushed candy canes about 2 to 3 minutes before the ice cream is finished churning. Freeze the ice cream in an airtight container for 3 to 4 hours to freeze completely.
- Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (double-boiler method, see page 19), and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted
- and combined. Do not boil or overheat the mixture; it should be lukewarm.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, corn syrup, and salt. Stir in the cream and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Let the mixture boil for 1 minute while whisking slowly but constantly. Remove it from the heat, add the butter mixture, and whisk to combine. Transfer the sauce to a glass measuring cup with a pour spout or a serving pitcher, stir it to release excess heat, and add the vanilla. Let the mixture cool until it is just warm (it will thicken as it cools).
- To serve, scoop ice cream into serving bowls and pour the hot fudge over it. Sprinkle with additional crushed candy canes, if you like.
Unanimous thumbs-up for this tart this showstopper tart this week. And one rogue baker, harking back to Baked Explorations with a different kind of tart!
Was this tart truly heavenly?
Let’s show off our decorating skills with these spicy Día de Muertos cookies. Posting date is November 6!
- 2 cups (255 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder, or ancho chile powder
- 6 ounces (1½ sticks/170 g) unsalted butter, cool but not cold
- 2 tablespoons cold (unflavored, nonhydrogenated) vegetable shortening
- 2⁄3 cup (130 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ounces (55 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), melted and cooled
- 3½ to 4 cups (395 to 450 g) confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 large egg whites, plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups (340 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Various food gels
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and chipotle. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until just combined. Add the sugar and cream together until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat until just combined. Add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat until uniform in color. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add half of the flour mixture, and beat for 15 seconds. Again, scrape down the bowl, then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Loosely shape the dough into two disks (it will be sticky, so work quickly and feel free to flour your hands first), wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Unwrap one disk of dough, leaving the other in the refrigerator while you are working, and place it on a lightly flour-dusted work surface. Dust your hands and rolling pin with a little flour. Roll the dough ¼ inch (6 mm) thick, flipping and lightly flouring the dough a few times, as needed, while you work. Using your favorite Day of the Dead cookie cutter (we use the easy-to-find skull), cut shapes in the dough, then transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space around each cookie. Dough scraps can be rerolled and recut, if desired. Continue the process with the remaining dough. Place the cut dough on the baking sheets in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
- Bake the cookies, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time, until the tops of the cookies look set and are just beginning to appear dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Place the baking sheets on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 3½ cups (395 g) confectioners’ sugar and the cream of tartar; turn the mixer to the lowest speed to mix them together and remove any possible lumps. Increase the speed to medium-low, add the egg whites and lemon juice, and mix until the icing is completely smooth. It should have the texture of a thick, shiny glaze, but be just thin enough to pour. If the mixture is too thick, add additional egg whites to thin it. If the mixture is too thin, add the additional sugar a tablespoon at a time. Scrape the icing into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (#3). First, outline each of the cookies with the icing and wait 15 minutes for the outlines to harden.
- After 15 minutes, return to the first cookie and flood the icing within the outline. If you feel confident and steady, you can flood each cookie just by using a pastry bag filled with the icing; I recommend using less icing in the flooding process than you imagine you will need, as it should spread to the outline and fill it in. If you are not quite confident using just the pastry bag, or if you want to be extra careful, squeeze a few dollops of the icing over the top of the cookie and use a dry paintbrush or the back of a spoon to gently spread it to the outline. (We don’t recommend pastry brushes; craft-store paintbrushes with synthetic bristles work best.) Let the frosting dry completely before adding the décor (royal icing), at least 8 hours or overnight.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the confectioners’ sugar with the egg whites and 1 teaspoon lemon juice and beat on low to medium-low speed until the icing is completely smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. When the paddle is lifted from the icing, a peak in the icing should be created, which should fall over just a bit; it’s slightly thicker than the filler icing. To reach the right consistency, add ½ teaspoon more egg white and/or lemon juice at a time to thin the icing, or 1 teaspoon more confectioners’ sugar at a time to thicken the icing.
- Divide this icing into five or six small prep bowls. Add pea-size amounts of food gel to all of the bowls save one, and mix, adding more gel as needed to achieve the colors you desire. Keep the last bowl plain (white). Place each color in a pastry bag fitted with a small tip (#1). (Alternatively, though we don’t wholly recommend this method, as you will get cleaner lines using pastry bags and tips, you can place the icing in zip-tight plastic bags, cut off just a tiny bottom corner of the bag—as small as possible—and use the bag to pipe.)
- Apply the royal icing to the outlined, filled, and completely dry cookies. Use the accompanying photo as a guide for traditional Day of the Dead décor or (obviously) decorate as you want. If you need to or want to overlap decorating colors, just make sure the bottom color is dry before applying the top color over it. Let the décor harden completely before serving, at least an hour or up to overnight.
Let’s see those brownies!
It’s officially Fall (at least, it is in the Northern Hemisphere), so we’re going to pumpkin-ize some brownies next. Posting date is October 9!
- 1 (8-ounce/226-g) package cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (75 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (170 g) solid pack pumpkin or pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (105 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces (225 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
- 6 ounces (1½ sticks/170 g) unsalted butter, cut into
- 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes, plus more for the pan
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (85 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy (it should almost look like frosting). Add the pumpkin, egg yolk, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger and whisk again until well blended. Cover and refrigerate while you make the brownie layer.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and position a rack in the center. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper with a 1-inch (2.5-cm) overhang on the long sides of the pan, and butter the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt.
- Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water (double-boiler method, see page 19), stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted, smooth, and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature. Add 2 eggs to the chocolate mixture and gently whisk until just combined. Add the remaining egg and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and whisk until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold them gently together until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
- Pour two-thirds of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Pour the pumpkin cheesecake mixture over the brownies and smooth into an even layer with the back of an offset spatula. Drop the remaining one-third of the brownie batter by heaping tablespoons here and there over the pumpkin layer. Use a knife to gently pull through the batters to create a swirl. (The brownie batter is thick, so you might need to pull several times before you start to create the swirl.)
- Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it, 30 to 40 minutes. Let the brownies cool almost completely.
- You can eat the brownies slightly warm or at room temperature, when they have a more pumpkin-y flavor. Or cover and refrigerate them for about 3 hours and enjoy them slightly chilled (this is our favorite). Either way, when you’re ready, release the brownies from the side of the pan with a small paring knife. Pull straight up on the parchment to remove them from the pan, place them on a cutting board, cut, and serve.
Mixed reviews on these cupcake/brownies, which were more cupcake-like than brownie-like. And we had a rogue baker going way back to the first Baked book this week as well!
Are brownies in cupcake form as good as they are in bar form? Post your links here!