Sunday, September 23, 2012

Muesli Cookies- Something to muse about......

Oat meal cookies are always the healthiest cookies -so why not Muesli? While cleaning out my pantry I found an unopened packet of Muesli and knowing my kids, it was most likely that it would remain that way. The muesli was loaded with nuts, oatmeal, dried berries and raisins and I had that "Eureka" moment as soon as I laid eyes on it. Unfortunately it wasn't easy finding a good recipe and so I made one up. I started by toasting the muesli in the oven along with a handful of pecans which add great flavor  and crunch to these sticky cookies. The rest was easy as I glanced through an old oatmeal cookie recipe and  adapted it as I went along. This was a fruitful experiment ( pun intended ) and blog worthy. If you try this at home- let me know how it goes......

Recipe for toasted Pecan Muesli Cookies:

3/4 cup toasted pecans
3 cups toasted Muesli
2 sticks unsalted butter (1cup)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup AP flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
2. Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy scraping the bowl from time to time.
3. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each. Add in the vanilla.
4. Sift the dry ingredients together and mix in.combine well but do not over mix. Fold in the muesli and pecans last.
5. Using a large ice-cream scoop, scoop out the dough and set them at least an inch apart.
Flatten each ball with moistened fingers.
6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until light golden in color.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sixteen Candles

My son Raoul is sixteen today. Although he is not celebrating it with the same intensity as a girl would her Sweet Sixteenth and is happy to simply take his friends bowling and give them pizza, he still wants me to bake him a cake. For me it feels like he is on the threshhold of adulthood with driving permits, endless activities and planning for college, looming ahead. While all of this fogs up my brain I am well aware that his expectations are high. The cake can't be anything less than spectacular!

Chocolate is our family's preferred flavor when it comes to cake, dark chocolate with a hint of coffee being Raoul's all time favorite. The Giardelli cookbook has some of the best chocolate recipes although I cheat and use Nestle's bitter sweet chocolate bits instead of the recommended Giardelli chocolate. So I picked the Flourless Mocha Torte and decorated it with peanut butter bits. The results were exactly what I'd hoped for....

Recipe for Flourless Mocha Torte:
6 oz bitter sweet chocolate
1 tbsp instant coffee mixed into 3 tbsp boiling water
6 large eggs separated
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt

4 oz milk chocolate
1 tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water
2 cups heavy cream
Peanut butter chips for decorating (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2-  8" pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.
2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Add in the coffee and mix well. Cool to room temp.
3. Whip the egg whites till doubled in volume. Add in 1/3 of the sugar. Whip till it forms stiff peaks.
4. Whip the yolks in a separate bowl with the remaining sugar and the salt.
5. Add the chocolate/coffee mixture into the yolks.
6. Fold the egg whites slowly into this mixture well until it is evenly mixed through.
7. Pour into the tins and bake for 25 mins. Leave in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Cool the cakes and ice.

For the frosting:
1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and mix in the coffee. Cool completely.
2. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in the chcolate/coffee mixture and ice cake. Decorate with the peanut butter chips.

Note: I put sixteen candles on the cake; trick candles that keep ligting up. It was a laugh until the candles almost set fire to the cake!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pardon my French....

All streets in Paris invariably lead to a neighborhood creperie tucked away discreetly in some corner.  I find that the easiest way to find one is to follow your nose; the buttery smell of a freshly made crepe is unmistakable and often irresistable  These hole-in-the-wall Creperies usually tend to be family run enterprises and although the menus are limited, and there is barely enough elbow room between the cafe tables, one is free to choose from a list of savory and dessert crepes, each one worth at least one try. My kids tend to pig out on the Nutella and jam filled crepes leaving telltale drips all the way down their chins. I've worked my way down the menu over time but there're a couple that I favor. One of them happens to be the Crepes a l'oeuf  Fromage et Jambon or the ham and Cheese Crepe topped with an egg. Hearty and yet strangely delicate in appearance, this is one meal that 'll keep you happy for a few hours. 
Try it at home. You don't have to be in Paris to eat well......!

Recipe for Crepes :

1 1/2 cups Milk
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
 2 tbsp butter melted
Ham, Gruyere cheese and eggs for topping
 1. Combine all but the melted butter in a food processor and keep at room temperature for an hour before using. Add in the butter at this time. 
2. Heat a flat pan (9") over moderate heat and brush on a thin layer of butter. Pour on the batter with a ladle and spread evenly, pouring off any excess batter. Cook till golden and until the edges curl up slightly. Flip over and cook the other side. 
3. Place the  cheese, topped with the ham and cook the egg over this until the cheese is melted and the egg is cooked through. Serve immediately