Monday, February 1, 2016

DEPRESSION ERA CHOCOLATE CRAZY CAKE: the original vegan treat



Here are a few things that were almost impossible to find (or afford) during the Great Depression:  butter, eggs and milk. You know what you could find?  A great chocolate cake.  You just couldn't have a cold glass of milk with it. 

While I'm pretty certain that the 1940s baker who served the cake was proud as punch at how delicious it was, I'm equally certain that  none of them  were bragging that the scrumptious and moist cake was vegan.  But it was and it still is.


A few modern twists make this cake as good as any chocolate cake around:  high quality cocoa powder and coffee.  And while the traditional method is to prepare the cake batter in a 9" x 13" baking dish conveniently leaves you with only the one dirty dish,  you can make the batter and divide it evenly among two 9" cake rounds to build a more traditional cake.  Either way, I guarantee that vegans and non-vegans alike will fall in love with this cake.  

Sunday, January 31, 2016

MAC and CHEESE a la Gesine Confectionary



Sunday at the shop in Montpelier was always one of my happiest days.  We'd open a little later than the rest of the week, giving me an extra hour of sleep and an extra solitary hour in the pastry kitchen. Customers would amble in, unhurried and bed headed.  I'd take the benefits of that extra hour of sleep to fuel my creative culinary juices, testing new recipes on whomever was on front of the house duty.  To temper the effects of so much sugar, I'd make a big Sunday lunch for the crew.  Some days I'd make a cold soba noodle salad.  Other times I'd make sandwiches.  But mostly, it was mac and cheese.  It was everyone's favorite.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

WEEKEND BAKE

If you're like me, weekends are made for baking projects.  Even if I'm baking and testing all week, I keep the weekend for personal projects.  This weekend, it was a chocolate and raspberry mousse with a chocolate soufflé sponge surround that was coated with ganache and then a mirror glaze.  I dipped into a few recipes from my book Bake It Like You Mean It to make this celebratory cake.  It just happened to be gluten free, which makes it that much sweeter.



What did you create this weekend?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

PLAY WITH YOUR PASTRY

Puff, choux and pastry cream.  Three elements made modern.  
My favorite thing about pastry is sharing my love of its inherent magic.  Baking is alchemy.  When you cook, you take a piece of meat, potatoes and perhaps some veg. You roast, sauté and cook your ingredients to perfection.  When you serve them, there they are on the plate:  meat, potato and veg.  All elements clearly identifiable as being exactly what they are:  meat, potato and veg.

My Gateaux St. Swanaré from my book Let Them Eat Cake (photo by Tina Rupp).  The elements:  puff pastry, choux puffs and pastry cream.  You can learn to make this, step by step, in my Craftsy Choux class.

In baking, you take butter, flour and water and from them you can make puff pastry and choux paste.  You don't look at your plate and say, "Hey!  There's a stick of butter!" because that butter has been transformed.  That's the magic.


The other thing I love about baking is that you can take those exact same elements, the puffs and the choux, and create entirely different looking creation.

video

This, my sweet friends, is why I teach.  I love sharing the magic.   It's the next best thing to being Professor McGonagall at Hogwarts.

Join me in learning some magic at Craftsy, online classes you own for life and can enjoy from the comfort of your own home (and pajamas!).  Take my Perfect Puff Pastry Class and my Choux (cream puff and eclairs!) Class to share in the beauty of pastry with me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

50% OFF! Learn to make Perfect Puff Pastry with my new King Arthur/Craftsy online class!


I'm so pleased to announce the launch of my newest Craftsy/King Arthur Flour online class:  PERFECT PUFF PASTRY!  Puff pastry is one of my favorite things on the planet.  When the pastry curious ask, "What's your favorite thing to bake?" my answer is always PUFF PASTRY.

Chocolate puff?  Yes please!
My delight isn't only in the eating, it's in the making and the teaching.  It's truly magical in all ways baking should be magical.  And now, you can take my new class at 50% off without having to travel to Vermont to learn all my tips and tricks.  Click THIS LINK and you'll enjoy all the flaky goodness in no time.
Puff pastry is perfect for things sweet AND savory.  Just look at this fresh veggie tart for a small example of the delicious paths you can go down using puff pastry.
But wait, there's more!  To top it all off, learn to make a show stopping, centerpiece worthy puff pastry masterpiece with the addition of joconde decor sides!

Banana Caramel Cream Pie transformed into a show stopping, centerpiece worthy dessert?  Yes, indeed!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

VANILLEKIPFERL with a maple twist


Vanillekipferl are up there among my all time favorite Christmas cookies.  Literally translated:  Vanilla Crescent.  Literally delicious, that is.


They are buttery, of course, because what German Christmas cookie isn't buttery?  They're also zippy as all get out. You'll be in and out of the kitchen in under an hour.  I had some extra maple sugar lying around so I used it in lieu of granulated for an absolutely glorious flavor.  But if all you've got is plain ol' sugar?  That's perfectly fine...and delicious.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

THIS is how you make a truffle: ROCKY ROAD & TOFFEE TRUFFLE


Homemade truffles are the tastiest, most decadent and the EASIEST holiday gift but I've got a problem with them.  They usually look like dusty antelope turds. There's a better way.  Truffle logs.  OK.  That doesn't sound any better, does it.  But it looks better.  Professional, in fact.  


I use a fancy pastry mold but you can find something clever at home.  I know you can.  You can cut a Triscuit box into mini molds (see pic below).  Line them with parchment.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray and you just got fancy without spending any money.