Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Torte




Chocolate, sweet chocolate, how I’ve missed thee.  I think chocolate was one of the hardest foods to give up. I still can only have a small amount or it will trigger headaches, but a little is better than none. And if you can only have a little, then I highly recommend this chocolate torte. It’s like chocolate mousse in cake form. A little bit of heaven. Make this for your family and friends and they will NEVER believe that it is dairy free!


Ingredients

Cooking spray
12.5 squares (5oz) Dark Chocolate Dream chocolate
¾ cup + 2T sugar
½ cup rice milk
3large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp Kahlua or coffee extract
¼ tsp salt
3 large egg whites at room temperature
2 tbsp all-purpose flour

·      Heat oven to 350F
·      Line the bottom of an 8” springform pan with wax paper and lightly spray the bottom and sides with the vegetable spray.
·      Wrap bottom of pan with foil (and up the sides by 2 inches).
·      Place the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl.
·      Microwave on high for 1.5-2 minutes to melt until smooth.
·      In a small sauce pan, combine ¾ cup sugar and rice milk. Whisk together and ook for 2 minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly until smooth.
·      Whisk the milk/sugar mixture into the melted chocolate until smooth.
·      Stir in egg yolks, vanilla, Kahlua (or coffee extract) and salt.
·      Beat egg whites in a large mixing bowl at medium speed until foamy. You want the egg whites to form stiff, shiny peaks. 
·      Gradually beat in the remaining ¼ cup sugar; increase speed to high and beat just until stiff, but not dry. Be careful not to over mix to point of being dry.
·      With a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture, at a time.
·      Fold in flour
·      Spread in prepared pan.
·      Place springform pan in a roasting pan.
·      Pour enough water to reach 1” up the side of the pan.
·      Bake for 30 minutes.
·      Remove pan from water.
·      Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack
·      Discard foil. Remove sides of the pan and cool cake completely.

Chocolate Glaze

5 squares (2oz) semisweet Dark Chocolate Dream chocolate
2 tbsp rice milk
1 tsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp brandy, Kahlua or coffee extract

·      Microwave chocolate on high in a medium bowl 1.5-2 minutes.
·      Stir until smooth
·      Stir in evaporate skim milk and corn syrup, until well blended.
·      Add brandy, Kahlua (liquors) if desired
·      Pour glaze over the top of the cake, spreading over the top and the sides.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Almond Sugar Cookies

One holiday tradition that I always eagerly looked forward to as a child was baking sugar cookies with Mom. It wasn’t Christmas until the house was filled with the scent of almond. They are an almond flavored, creamy, delicate concoction covered with a powdered sugar frosting that almost melts in your mouth. We always had fun with sugar sprinkles that added a delightful crunch.




Ingredients

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar (sifted)
1 cup (2) Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp pure almond extract (adjust to your own preference)*
Frosting
Sugar sprinkles

·      In a medium bowl, combine and whisk the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
·      Beat the margarine and sugar in a mixing bowl. Start slowly or you’ll end up wearing the powdered sugar.
·      Add the egg and the vanilla and almond extracts. Mix until combined.
·      Slowly add the flour mixture.
·      Refrigerate the dough for 2-3 hours.

·      Preheat the oven to 375°.
·      Divide the dough in half and leave one half in the fridge.
·      On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8’ thick.
·      Cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters.
·      Place on a cookie sheet (I prefer to line mine with parchment paper or a silpat liner).
·      Bake the cookies for 7-8 minutes or until very lightly golden.
·      Cool completely on a wire rack.
·      Frost and decorate.

*If you are allergic to almond or do not like almond extract, omit the almond extract and use 2 tsp vanilla extract instead. You can do the same with the frosting.

Frosting

3 cups confectioners’ sugar (sifted)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp almond extract
pinch of Kosher salt
4-5 tbsp rice milk

·      Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
·      Dip the top of the cookie in the frosting and place on wax/parchment paper.
·      Sprinkle with colored sugar (or sparkles as my daughter calls them).
·      Let the frosting dry.

Note: Unfrosted cookies will last for several weeks in a sealed bag/container in the freezer.






Monday, November 19, 2012

Chocolate Chunk Cookies



When I think back to the cookies of my childhood, there are several cookies that come to mind, but there is one cookie that I had the most fun eating while making them: chocolate chip cookies. I haven’t had chocolate chip cookies or chocolate in a decade, so when I found Dark Chocolate Dream 100% dairy free chocolate at a local grocery store I was very excited to give it a try. Now, it’s not top-notch gourmet chocolate (though when I took my first bite in 10 years it might as well have been gourmet), but it’s good dark chocolate and it works great in brownies and chocolate chunk cookies.  That’s all I’ve made so far, but I look forward to having fun with chocolate again. Just so you know, this chocolate is completely dairy free and is made on equipment that is clean of all dairy. YEA!!!

Making these cookies brought me back to my childhood. Memories of making chocolate chip cookies with my mom and the gooey chocolaty goodness of the warm, fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookies. These cookies take a bit more work because you have to cut up the chocolate, but they are soooo worth it!


Ingredients

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 oz. (4 3 oz. bars) Dark Chocolate Dream

·      Preheat oven to 375 F
·      Break up the chocolate bars into their scored pieces and then cut each triangle into 3-4 pieces depending on the size you want.
·      Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to thoroughly mix.
·      In a large bowl, beat margarine, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until creamy.
·      Add the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla extract.
·      Gradually add in the flour mixture. Scrape the sides as needed.
·      Stir in the chocolate pieces.
·      Bake for 9-11 minutes. They should be golden brown.
·      Cool on a wire rack. (If you can wait that long)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Salted Caramel Cake




When I tell a person that I’m allergic to milk/dairy, I can almost always guarantee the reaction. They usually get this blank look of,  “Oooookaaayyy” and they are having not very nice thoughts of dairy free food on the inside.  It is automatically assumed that if you can’t have milk, butter, cheese, etc. that you your diet is bland and boring. Whatever you make will not be very tasty. I love proving them wrong. Most people can NOT believe that what I cook or bake is diary free. Most of this is topic for another post, but this is leading up to the recipe that I’m posting today.

I was playing around with making macarons and reading about the various flavors and flavor combinations when I stumbled across a recipe for Triple Salted Caramel Cupcakes. “But caramel has milk or cream in it,” you say. Well, I say, “Ha! I’ll prove you wrong!”  I first made this recipe in the form of a cupcake and it works and it’s awesome.  For my brother’s and his wife’s birthdays, I decided to convert this to a cake. It translates well to cake form.

This is not a cake for the faint of heart.  It’s rich, luscious, and decadent. It’s almost overwhelming. The flavor lingers on your palate like a first kiss. A word to the wise, cut very small slices.

            (This recipe has been adapted and altered from the Triple Salted Caramel Cupcake recipe by SprinkleBakes. Her treats are real pieces of art.)   


Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½  tsp sea salt
2 sticks Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks
2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs + 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups rice milk (soured*)


·      Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
·      In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt., whisk to incorporate.
·      Cream margarine and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
·      Add eggs and yolks one at a time. (If more than one slips by you, don’t worry it happens).
·      Add vanilla
·      Add the flour mixture alternating with the soured rice milk, beginning and ending with the flour.
·      Don’t forget to occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl.
·      Pour half of the batter into each cake pan.
·      Bake for 30 minutes.
·      Remove from the oven and cool for ten minutes on a wire rack.
·      Remove the cakes from the pans and completely cool them on the wire racks.

*Soured Rice Milk: Place 1 tbsp of lemon juice in a measuring cup and then add rice milk to the 1 cup mark. This works as a replacement for buttermilk.
For this recipe: Place 1 tbsp + ¾ tsp lemon juice in the measuring cup and then add the rice milk to the 1 ¼ cup mark.

Frosting

½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup rice milk
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 sticks Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks
1 tsp  flaked Kosher salt or sea salt (optional)
6-6 ½  cups of powdered sugar

·      Combine  and stir together the sugar and water in a small saucepan.
·      Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
·      Without stirring, cook until it reaches a dark amber color.
·      Remove from heat.
·      Slowly stir in the rice milk and vanilla until smooth.
·      Cool for 20 minutes.
·      It should still be warm and pourable.

·      Place the margarine in a medium mixing bowl.
·      Add salt.
·      Slowing add the powdered sugar. Start at low speed or you’ll have powdered sugar everywhere.
·      Add vanilla.
·      Slowly add the caramel to the frosting.
·      Scrap down sides as needed.
·      Beat at high speed until combined.

Caramel Sauce


½ cup sugar
3 tbsp Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks
3 tbsp rice milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
tsp kosher salt

·      In a pot, over medium-high heat, whisk the sugar until it melts and turns a dark amber color.
·      Add the margarine and stir until it’s completely incorporated into the sugar.
·      Slowly stir in the rice milk until smooth.
·      Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
·      Let cool until it’s barely warm, but you’re still able to drizzle the sauce.


Assembling the Cake


·      Place one layer on large plate or cake platter
·      Slip three 4 inch pieces of parchment paper under the cake to make cleaning up after frosting and applying the pecans easier.
·      Frost the top of the first cake.
·      Place the 2nd layer on top of the frosted first layer.
·      Frost the top and sides of the cake.
·      Before the frosting sets, gently press pecans into the side of the cake.
·      Drizzle the top with the caramel sauce. (You may have to slightly warm up the sauce in the microwave 5-10 seconds at a time. Just until it drizzles, but is not too runny).
·      Sprinkle with the flaked Kosher salt, if desired.
·      Carefully, pull out the parchment papers and toss.
·      Enjoy!


You will have sauce left over. You can serve it on the side for anyone who would like more drizzled on top of each individual piece or you can drizzle it over non-dairy ice cream or freeze it and save it for the next time you make the cake.

 
Gluten Free

Substitute rice flour for the all-purpose flour.
Add 3 tsp xanthan gum.


Egg Free – Adapted from the Crazy Cake recipe on Allrecipes.com

3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
¾ cup vegetable oil (I use regular olive oil, not extra virgin)
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups cold water


·      Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into a large mixing bowl. Make three wells. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour cold water over all, and stir well with fork.
·      Pour batter into two greased and floured 9 inch round cake pans.
·      Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.





 
                       



           

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crab Cakes with Avocado and Mango Salsa

 
If you do a search for crab cake recipes, you will end up with a surplus of choices. It can be difficult to make up your mind on which one to make.  So, when indecision hits…make up your own recipe. The road to this particular recipe began a few years ago on a trip to Napa Valley. Mike and I stayed at this nice little B&B in downtown Napa that was very accommodating when it came to my dairy allergy. One morning their chef made me crab cakes with spicy aioli on an heirloom tomato. Never had a crab cake that way before. Love it!!! So, I started doing that at home. After a while I started to play with what I served the crab cakes with: tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados. Recently I had some thoughts rolling about in my head on what I could do take my crab cakes to the next level. I bought The Flavor Bible about a month ago and after perusing it’s pages those thoughts rolling around in my head started to form a cohesive idea: Crab Cakes with Avocado and Mango Salsa. It was a huge hit!

I typically like to keep my crab cake recipes relatively simple and allow the crab to sing through. Crabmeat is luscious, rich, and yet quite delicate. You have to be careful with what you prepare as an accompaniment. You want something that has enough acidity to cut through the richness, but not overpower the delicacy of the crab. I love how the salsa does this beautifully. The mango gives a light sweetness that when mixed with the other ingredients isn’t too cloying, the tomatoes and lemon juice furnish the acid, the cucumber provides you with a cool contrast to the heat and bite of the Serrano chili and shallot, and the avocado presents a creamy texture that balances the crunch of the vegetables.



Avocado and Mango Salsa

1 mango, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 small cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
¼ - ½ shallot, minced
½ - 1 Serrano chili, minced (optional)
½ tsp salt
1 ½  tsp lemon juice

·      Combine in all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.


Crab Cakes

½ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp dried parsley (2 tsp chopped fresh parsley)
½ tsp dried thyme (1 tsp chopped fresh thyme)
1 tsp minced garlic
½ cup dried cornflake crumbs (or panko)
1 egg
3 cans lump crabmeat, drained
1 can fancy crabmeat, drained
½ cup cornflake crumbs/panko


·      Preheat the oven to 350 F.
·      Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
·      In a bowl, combine and whisk the first 8 ingredients.
·      Gently fold the crabmeat into the mayonnaise mixture.
·      Fill muffin cups ¾ full with the crab mixture.
·      Gently press the crab mixture down.
·      Sprinkle the remaining cornflake crumbs over the crab cakes.
·      Bake for 15 minutes.
·      Crack open the oven door and broil for a few minutes, until lightly browned and crispy on top.
·      Let the crab cakes cool for 5 minutes.
·      Remove the cakes from the muffin pan and top with the Avocado and Mango Salsa.