Tag Archives: Chocolate

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Madelines

Yesterday was Saturday and around our house, we love Saturdays!  It’s typically the one day in the week when we put our chores and daily responsibilities aside and enjoy filling up the day with fun activities and experiences with The Redhead.  Sometimes, we’ll visit the park, go to a festival, go swimming or have friends over – yesterday, though, The Redhead was very excited that we were going to do two things: paint and make her favorite cookies! 

We set up a painting party out on the porch with a giant tarp, a canvas and about a million brushes and let her go to town! 

  

In the meantime, I made these simple cookies as a treat after all her hard work!  The ingredients for Madelines are really simple – not a lot of fuss or special trips to the store needed if you have eggs, sugar and flour around. 

 

 I use a Madeline pan that I bought very inexpensively at Home Goods a year or so ago – it’s a special pan that holds the dough, which is actually the consistency of thick cake batter, and forms the dough into a classic Madeline shape – kind of  seashell looking mold. 

 

 Madelines are a light, kind of spongy cookie that isn’t too sugary – it’s a great base for getting creative with flavors and additions because the flavor of the madeline, itself, is so mild.  I’ve made these in an orange and a lemon version, using a little juice and zest, so today when I opened the pantry I just grabbed and used what I had a lot of – coconut – and threw some in! 

 

 

Madelines are simply delicious in their plain state, but I like to make them a little extra-special by dipping the tips in chocolate.  I use my own half and half mix of milk chocolate and a bittersweet, dark chocolate but really any type of chocolate that you enjoy will work fantastically! 

 

The Redhead loves getting in on the blog photo-action…especially when cookies are involved, so of course, I had to let her give them the final taste test and critique (and by the expression and the chocolate on her cheek, I’m guessing she like them!): 

Thumbs Up for Madelines!

– tcfoodie 

Here’s the Recipe! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter, to grease the pans, plus 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • Confectioners’ sugar, optional

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Thoroughly butter and flour the madeleine pans. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light yellow and fluffy. Add 1/4 pound of butter and mix. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, and stir into the batter with a rubber spatula. Stir in the coconut. 

With a soup spoon, drop the batter into the pans, filling each shell almost full. Bake the madeleines for 10 to 12 minutes, until they spring back when pressed. Tap the madeleines out onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper and allow to cool. 

For chocolate tips, melt 1 cup of your favorite chocolate over a double-boiler.  Remove chocolate from heat and dip the tip of each cookie in the warm chocolate.  Set cookie on parchment until chocolate cools and hardens – approximately 1 hour.

 


French chef Jean Christophe Novelli taught me two thing in Bravo’s 2009 reality cooking show I hated to love watching, Chef Academy: #1.Wearing lipstick in the kitchen throws off your tasting ability, and #2. Shoe Paste is awesome. After I watched contestants create drama-filled pastries of all kinds, I knew I’d have to try some of my own (sans the drama, hopefully). 

Pâte à Chou (pronounced “pat ah shoe”), called Shoe Paste in my house, was even easier to make successfully than I thought it would be and made me feel more like a  French pastry chef in a cafe in Provence rather than a first-timer in a tiny apartment kitchen. 

The trick to making Shoe Paste is to add just enough eggs to make the paste the right consistency.  It needs to be glossy and hold together, but not too stiffly – it should create soft peaks with your spatula.  It took five eggs, total, for me to get the dough to this consistency – you’ll just need to add your eggs slowly, one at a time, and check the batter after each addition.

After it’s made, grab a piping bag and a large circle tip and go to town piping the Shoe Paste onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet!   I wanted mini-eclairs, so I piped the dough into 1 1/2 inch lines.  The awesome thing about this paste is as it bakes it rises up, not out, so you can pipe close together and fit lots onto one baking sheet.

In about 20 minutes, each unimpressive little globby line of Shoe Paste transforms into tall, flaky, lighter-than-air pastries before your eyes in the oven! 

Some helpful tips when baking your eclairs:

  • Don’t open the oven door or touch your baking Shoe Paste if at all possible, no matter how much you might want to – these pastries are really delicate and just need to be left alone to bake properly
  • Let ’em get a little browner than you think they should be – doing the toothpick doneness test won’t work with these, so color is the only thing you have to go on.  If they’re too light when you pull the out, they’ll be too wet and eggy in the middle
  • Don’t bake them on a non-stick mat – stick with a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  A nonstick mat will keep the bottoms of the eclairs from getting done enough and they’ll be a little mooshey.

For these eclairs, I melted a 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler then dipped the very tops of each baked eclair and let cool on the baking pan until the chocolate hardened. 

Then comes the lemon curd filling….

Lemon curd filling was the most time-consuming part of this recipe but was an amazing tart, refreshing surprise in this desert – definitely worth the time.  The recipe also made some additional lemon curd that I could put in my fridge to eat later with scones, so that was a bonus.

Once you’ve made the lemon curd filling, simply put it in a piping back with a small circle tip and fill each eclair – dust with powdered sugar and viola!

Such a perfect dessert – If I had to choose between these eclairs and Jimmy Choos, Shoe Paste would win every time (but I wouldn’t mind having a pair of each…!)

tcfoodie

Here’s the Recipe:

Pâte à Chou

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 4 to 6 large eggs
  • Directions:
    In a heavy saucepan bring water to a boil with butter and salt over high heat. Reduce heat to moderate. Add flour all at once and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of pan, forming a dough.

    Transfer dough to bowl of a standing electric mixer and beat in 4 eggs, 1 at a time, on high speed, beating well after each addition. Batter should be stiff enough to just hold soft peaks and fall softly from a spoon. If batter is too stiff, in a small bowl beat remaining 2 eggs lightly, 1 at a time, and add to batter, a little at a time, beating on high speed, until batter is desired consistency.

    Lemon Curd Filling

    Ingredients:

    • 3 large eggs
    • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 3-4 lemons (do not use bottled lemon juice))
    • 1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon zest
    • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

    Directions:

    In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (like sour cream or a hollandaise sauce) (160 degrees F or 71 degrees C). This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately (so a skin doesn’t form) and refrigerate for up to a week.  Carefully stir in 1/2 cup homemade whipped cream to 1 cup lemon curd to make a lighter filling, if desired.


    My very, very favorite cookie is, by far, the classic Oreo cookie.  I’ve tried lots of really yummy cookies in my day, but it all comes back to that amazing, fun, simply deee-licious chocolate sandwich cookie!

    And if they’re good in a plastic package, how much better would they be right out of the oven?  I almost found out with this recipe!  Almost, because this recipe isn’t quite as good as the Nabisco option, but it comes darn close.

    The cookie itself was so crispy and crunchy and had such a deep chocolate flavor, it was irresistable all by itself!  In fact, we thought of a lot of other uses for just the chocolate cookies – crumbled on ice cream, baked super thin and stacked in a fruit and whipped cream Napoleon, topped with crushed peppermint before baking…man, I’m craving one right now!

    I figured out an easy trick to flattening out the scoops of cookie dough on the pan before baking – I wrapped the flat bottom of a wine glass with a piece of plastic wrap, making sure to keep the plastic wrap wrinkle free, and then just pressed each cookie to roughly the same size.  It worked great – no sticking!

    Then comes the icing on the cake cookie!

    I used Martha Stewart’s caramel sauce recipe and added some ingredients to make it into an icing for a delicious, filling that tasted like homemade, buttery caramel instead of the vanilla icing in my original recipe, which wound up tasting really sugary and lardy (not great!).

    The caramel icing was far easier to make than I had anticipated and made double the amount of caramel than was called for in the icing recipe, so I have some extra tasty caramel in the refrigerator to use in/on something else!

    After all of the cookies had been baked, I sorted them according to size, iced one and topped it with another – then promptly helped The Redhead host a tea party with her best pal, Elephant (I love a good tea party!).  Oh, and notice how she’s snazzed up her “furniture” with original artwork…

    These cookies keep well in the refrigerator – it keeps the cookies crunchy.

    Here’s the Recipe:

    Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

    Ingredients 

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (recommended: Dutch-processed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • Directions

    Set 2 racks in the middle and upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

    In a food processor or the bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar.

    While pulsing or on low speed, add the butter, then the egg. Process or beat until the dough is thoroughly blended and massed together.

    Drop rounded teaspoons of batter onto nonstick or parchment-lined cookie sheets at 2-inch intervals. With moistened fingers, round out the cookies and flatten them a little.

    Bake for 9 minutes, turning the pans once for even baking, until the cookies are set. Set the cookie sheets on a rack to cool.

    Caramel Icing

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature)…I know, I know, it’s a lot of butter – you can work out after you make these cookies if you want, but it’s totally worth it!
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • Directions

    In a medium saucepan, heat sugar over medium-high until melted and brown at edges, 3 minutes. With a heat-resistant spatula, pull melted sugar toward center until all sugar is melted and caramel is deep amber in color, 3 minutes more

    Immediately whisk in butter, coarse salt, and pure vanilla extract (take care as mixture is extremely hot and will bubble).

    Whisk in heavy cream

    Pour into a heatproof container and let cool. Make frosting: In a bowl, beat together caramel and butter with a wooden spoon until smooth; gradually beat in confectioners sugar until smooth. Spread frosting on flat sides of half the cookies and top with remaining cookies.

    To store, refrigerate, up to 3 weeks.

    Enjoy!

    – tcfoodie


    Is there anything more joy-producing than the taste of a perfectly ripe, perfectly delicious strawberry?!   It’s like Mother Nature’s promise to your tastebuds that summer is almost here.   Although in the buff is my favorite way of enjoying home-grown strawberries (the strawberries in the buff – not me…although….), I bought so many at the Farmer’s Market yesterday morning that I had to try out a recipe that I had seen on one of my very favorite food blogs.  The ingredients this recipe calls for are ones I had already, which was great for outbursts of spontaneous cooking!  I made some little adjustments to a couple of the directions to make up for some possible probable mistakes on my part, so I’ll let you know what I did, just in case you are directions-challenged, like me.

    Here’s the Recipe:

    Ingredients:
    1 cup pureed strawberries (I pulsed 8-10 thawed frozen whole strawberries in the food processor)
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 cup flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
    1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1/3 cup white chocolate chips
    Several drops of pink gel food coloring

    Directions:
    Place strawberry puree, sugar, and butter in a small nonstick pan over medium low heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Mix reduced liquid with flour and salt in a small bowl. Chill truffle filling for 1 hour in the fridge or until cold.

    Carefully roll chilled strawberry filling into 12 round truffles and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or until cold.

    Melt semisweet chocolate chips in a shallow bowl on High 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds; stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, microwaving an additional 10 seconds as needed. Mix in 1 tablespoon oil. Using 2 forks, dip strawberry centers into melted chocolate and cover evenly. Place on waxed paper and smooth tops with the back of a spoon, if needed. Cool in the fridge until chocolate is set, about an hour.

    Melt white chocolate chips in a shallow bowl on High 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds; stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth Mix in remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and pink gel food coloring and place chocolate in a pastry bag with a number 4 tip. Drizzle chocolate over truffles. Makes 12 truffles.

    Nutrition: 106 calories, 4.1g fat, 0.8g fiber, 0.9g protein per truffle
    Cost: $0.34 per truffle

    The recipe calls for ten to twelve strawberries, but if you are using locally grown berries, you’ll probably have to set aside about eighteen to twenty to make one cup of puree, since the home-grown variety are usually quite a bit smaller than the kind you’ll find in a grocery store plastic clamshell container.  (They taste so much better, too!)

    6.13.10 Strawberry Truffles

    I think that my first mistake was not reducing the strawberry puree enough – the recipe instructs a 15-20 minute simmer over low to medium heat, but mine did not reduce enough in that time period.  I cranked up the heat to a higher medium, but I think I would have produced a thicker reduction if I had left it on the heat for at least 30 minutes.  As it was, my puree did not set as firmly as it should have….it was still beautiful and delicious, though! (You’ll see the result of a runnier puree here in a minute.)

    6.13.10 Strawberry Truffles

    There are two things I changed about the chocolate ganache: 1. The recipe calls for semi-sweet, but I enjoy a richer cocoa taste to balance out the sweetness of the filling and chose to use a 60% bittersweet, and 2. Instead of the oil, I used unsalted butter.  I actually had two goes at melting the chocolate because I messed the first batch up pretty badly…I melted the chocolate with the cold tablespoon of butter and the chocolate immediately seized up as it melted.  Oh, well – lesson learned!  Redo: I melted the chocolate first and then added a tablespoon of melted butter and it worked beautifully (and tasted better in the chocolate than oil). 

    Because my puree didn’t set as firmly as it should have, this is what my first three, chilled truffles did after dipping them in hot, melty chocolate (not pretty!):

    6.13.10 Strawberry Truffles

    So I let the chocolate cool a little and  put the truffle insides into the freezer for a bit and then they worked beautifully! 

    6.13.10 Strawberry Truffles

    6.13.10 Strawberry Truffles

    I’m definitely going to have to remember this recipe for a made-with-love Valentine’s or Hostess Gift in the future – thanks, Kerstin from Cake, Batter and Bowl!

    tcfoodie