Showing posts with label Coffee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coffee. Show all posts

Friday, August 10, 2012

SEA ISLAND COFFEE - A REVIEW

Sea Island Coffee 2 bis
The smell of coffee cooking was a reason for growing up, because children were never allowed to have it and nothing haunted the nostrils all the way out to the barn as did the aroma of boiling coffee.
- Edna Lewis


I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
- T.S. Eliot
I have been enjoying coffee most of my life. My fondness for the brew started when I was a child. Already then, I found its amazing frangrance enticing and I was a sucker for desserts that were perfumed with it. Of course, at this time, I wasn't granted the access to this magic potion reserved for adults, so I contented myself with a substitute. It may not have been the real thing, but this kid-friendly ersatz sure tasted very close coffee and it dispensed a lot of happiness too. Those characteristics were suffucient for me and, in my defense, I must point out that my Mémé (Swiss grandma from Vaud) was the queen of coffeeweed. Her legendary chicory au lait was remarkably delicious and comforting. Heaven in a mug!

Not long after, around the age of 14, I finally ingested my first sips of that much coveted coffeinated drink. At the beginning though, this dark brew's main purpose was not really to provide me with gustative indulgence. Instead, I employed it to give myself energy, increase my confidence, boost my intellectual faculties and calm my nerves during exam periods as tests traumatized me to the highest point. But, as I grew a little older it became a symbol of maturity, a way of showing people that I had grown up and wasn't a baby anymore. In my late twenties, I discovered that it wasn't just a pleasant beverage you drank on café terraces with friend while philosophizing, but that it actually had terroir, a soul of its own and could be savored just like a wine. That's when I began to search for gourmet blends and stopped being satisfied by the astringent "piss" that restaurants and tearooms frequently served. Nowadays, I choose my coffee carefully and since I have a considerably more selective palate than before, I've moved from rot gut to refined.

At home my mother prepared coffee with an aluminium moka machine that dated back to the 70's and ground her whole beans directly at the supermarket. The year I moved in with my partner P., his parents gifted him an espresso machine (no capsules). Sadly, it broke down rapidly despite its significant initial cost and promising brand name. So, the day we moved into our second lovenest, we opted for a classic Italian stovetop pot from IKEA. Uncomplicated and low-maintainance. Each method we tested was good and gave gratifying results, yet none was particularly exceptional. However, I felt that there must be another manner of producing coffee which is not acutely bitter or acid, and which is round as well as fragrant. It still had to come across the right one, though...

No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness.
- Sheik Abd-al-Kadir

Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.
- Turkish Proverb
Until 2010, I was a frustrated "battery acid" addict who had not yet unearthed the coffee Grail and was accustomed to mediocrity for lack of finding better. I had a love-hate relationship with this decoction. Luckily, my big revelation came one April evening, two years ago, thanks to a lovely blogger called Zarpandit (check out her site "Cikolata Kavanozum") who sent me a heartwarming package containing a pretty card portraying the Topkapi Palace, a miniature copper cevze, a set of two adorable espresso cups and saucers, a packet of Turkish coffee and a box of exquisite lokums. An extremely kind and generous gesture which made me gleeful and uplifted my mood (at this period, my job was negatively challenging and awfully stressful).

A few hours later, my "kavhe" virginity was forever lost. That dinky ibrik
was so cute - a foodie toy par excellence! - and the fine-ground coffee looked terribly tempting in it's somewhat exotic and retro packaging that I had to play with them IMME-DIA-TELY!

After surfing the internet for information on those unfamiliar items, I entered the kitchen like an pioneer on a mission, brimming with curiosity, and shyly poured water in the pot. With a trembling hand I added a few teaspoons of the precious bean powder and a little sugar into my minuscule brass pot, then stirred well and with great anticipation, I slowly heated the mixture (see my recipe & check out this article). Once the surface started to foam I excitedly poured the opaque liquid into my tiny cups.

Needless to say that I immediately enamored myself with this strong beverage's exhalirating aromas, pungent richness as well as intense, luscious, fresh, full-bodied and divine flavor. Quite mind-blowing and totally irresistible! And to top that fabulous experience, the whole preparation process enraptured me - it can be compared to meditation as it requires patience, relaxes you, builds up your craving and puts you in the right mindset for reaching "kaffa" nirvana. The Turks really understand how the mechanisms of gustatory pleasure work...

I cannot imagine living without this marvelous fluid as it is vital for my overall well-being and dear to the sensual gourmet I am, hence I solely purchase quality coffee and steer clear from bad products. Therefore, when I was approached by Sea Island Coffee my foodie geekness was awakened. How could I refuse the opportunity to try two of their luxurious samples? There was no way I was going to decline their enticing offer.*


For those who are not familiar with this small enterpriseSea Island Coffee is based in Knightsbridge, London (UK) and is one of Europe’s leading importers of specialist coffees from around the world. Their aim is to supply rare, exclusive, exotic, intriguing and top-notch coffees which deliver a wonderful and exceptional combination of taste, body and provenance.

Generally, I am always careful when people promise us the moon and never buy into any company's advertisement propaganda as generally their words are just empty/hollow and their affirmations are pure commercial ramblings, so I circumspectly read through Sea Island Coffee's leaflet and tried to not let my tasting session get influenced by their pamphlet. You see, I believe that neutrality is crucial when you are writing a serious and unbiased review.

Anyway, both the coffees I was given to judge were so impressive and tantalizing that I got blown away by their
overwhelmingly distinctive personality, sheer uniqueness and top-class sublimity. Definitely nothing meanstream or cheap here, trust me. As a matter of fact, pure mouth-orgasm is guaranteed with every swig!

Sea Island Coffee 5 1 bis
Geisha - Costa Rica
This ancient and very rare Ethiopian wild coffee variety is grown on the Coffea Diversa plantation in Costa Rica (
close to the Panamean border) which has pioneered the botanical garden approach to coffee cultivation. Aromatically complex, yet mild, this stunning coffee delivers notes of lavender, cocoa and hints of molasses.

Jamaica Blue Mountain - Jamaica
Cultivated on Clifton Mount, one of the oldest functioning coffee estates in Jamaica, this world-reknown coffee is considered by many connoisseurs to be one of the best on the market. It is exquisitely well-balanced (aroma, body and acidity in equal parts), incredibly smooth, spectacularly pungent and has a creamy aftertaste as well as hints of chocolate with floral, caramel and vanilla undertones.

* Please note that I only promote things that stay true to my tastes, convictions and interests. The opinions expressed on Rosa's Yummy Yums are purely my own and based upon my personal experiences with SEA ISLAND COFFEE. I was not paid nor asked to publish a positive review.

Coffee-Flavored Recipes:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

PANNA COTTA WITH OATMEAL FLORENTINES - DARING BAKERS

dk-group-1
When the Daring Bakers deadline approaches I always tend to reflect on how weeks pass incredibly fast and it never fails to surprise me to see that it is impossible to have a grip on it. For fun I decided to count the number of challenges I have accomplished since I joined this group at the end of 2007 (first DB post). It was with much pride that I discovered I have been a faithfull member of the Daring Bakers since 3 years and 5 monthes. Until now I have made 42 treats under high-pressure, spent countless hours in the kitchen sweating and cursing, never skipped one event and as I'm the queen of last-minute baking sprees I was never able to get started before the last moment, thus increasing my overall stess like crazy....

Although it is an activity I enjoy it is sometimes difficult to find the time to bake for the Daring Bakers
as the recipes are time-consuming and the weeks go by at light speed. Not forgetting that the post-baking process (taking pictures and writing my posts) cannot be done hastily and demands efforts, at least not in my case. This hobby is quite exhausting and the work we have to provide is generally arduous. One has to be creative, concentrated and well-organize, plan things in advance and have a clear mind in order to succeed. You really have to be a passionate baker to carry out the tasks as it requires skills and lots of determination.

Florentines & Panna Cotta Picnik collage 4 bis
The February 2011 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Mallory from "A Sofa in the Kitchen" who chose to challenge everyone to make "Panna Cotta" from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestlé "Florentine Cookies". As you can see, this month's trial was thankfully not intimidating at all and the recipes were no backbreakers. Although it was the first time that I prepared both specialities I was unusually laidback and enjoyed baking casually without breaking into a cold sweat. A first for me!

"Panna Cotta" and "Florentine Cookies" are two Italian delicacies which are very popular with foodies all around the world. The first dessert item hails from Piemont (northern part of the country), but can be found everywhere in Italy. "Panna Cotta" means "cooked cream". It's origin is unclear yet there are theories that suggest that in the mountainous regions unsweetened cream (to which was incorporated fish gelatine made with the bones) was eaten with plain, fresh fruits or hazelnuts (sugar was added to the preparation only lately). Similar versions can be found in Greece/Turkey (Kazan Dibi), Finland (Hedelmärahka) and France (Blanc-Manger). The second goodie is accredited to Austrian bakers, but it owe's it's origin from Florence in Tuscany. Those wonderful round lace biscuits are traditionally confectioned with nuts (generally sliced almonds), candied fruits (orange, cherries, lemon etc...), caramel and chocolate.

I must admit that I was a little skeptical and not really thrilled at the idea of using a Nestlé recipe because I am really not a big fan of this big multinational corporation considering the fact that their methods are far from being the most sustainable (deforestation/palm oil) or humane (baby milk), that what they produce is far too industrial for my taste (junk/plastic/additive-ladden food - yuck!) and not healthy, and that they literally "eat" other enterprises, destroy their soul (what made them unique) and the quality of the original products (for example Cailler Chocolates, Cereal Partner's Shredded Wheats & Rowntrees' After Eights are really less good than when they were not made by Nestlé - and the list goes on unfortunately). I thought that we would rather be making a more artisinal and traditional recipe created by a professinal pâtissier (I mean, aside from being the "guru" of processed food, Nestlé is surely not an authority in the "real" food domain - nothing Slow-Foodish about them).

Anyway, despite a few hiccups when it came to the wetness of the dough (I had to add more flour in order for them to not spread out too much - maybe it had to do with the fact that I didn't use corn syrup), the "Florentine Cookies" turned out pretty well and I have to confess that they were deliciously crunchy, addictively chewy as well as oaty. Giada De Laurentiis' "Honey Panna Cotta" were just flawless, creamy, silky, voluptuous, refreshing, delicately flavored, subtly sweet as well as luscious. The Gourmet Magazine "Coffee Jelly" layer at the bottom of each verrine added a delightfully bitter and seductive toasty note to the "Panna Cotta". A perfect contrast which makes this dreamlike pudding more adult and uplifts it's somewhat faint aromas by bringing character and punch to the whole.

"Panna Cotta" will definitely grace my table again as it is very versatile, refined, yet extremely easy to put together. Even my personal tester (boyfriend) who is not in very good terms with jelly thought that it was terrific. And as we are big oatmeal lovers the "Florentine Cookies" had a short life span. The ultimate dessert combination!


Florentines & Panna Cotta Picnik collage 1 bis
~ Florentine Cookies & Vanilla Coffee Panna Cotta ~

Preparation time:
• 20-25 minutes to prepare the Panna Cotta - at least 6 hours to chill
• 20-25 minutes to prepare the cookies 6-8 minutes to bake

Equipment required:
• Small mixing bowl

• Two medium sized heavy bottom pot or saucepan
• Wooden spoon and/or whisk
• Glasses or ramekins - something to pour and serve your Panna Cotta in
• Measuring cups
• Measuring spoons
• Silpat or wax paper or parchment paper
• Baking sheet
• Small bowl

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Florentines & Panna Cotta Picnik collage 3 bis
Giada's Panna Cotta

Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.

Ingredients:
1 Cup (240ml) Whole milk
1 Tbs (one packet/15ml/7g/¼oz) Unflavored powdered gelatin
3 Cups (720 ml) Whipping cream (35% butterfat)

1/3 Cup (80ml) Honey (strongly flavored - pine tree for example)
1 1/2 Pure vanilla extract
1 Tbs (15ml/15g/½oz) Granulated sugar

A pinch of salt

Method:
1. Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta).
2. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
3. Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and p
lace over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes (I whisk it a few times at th is stage).
4. Next, add the cream, honey, vanilla, sugar, and pinch of salt.

5. Making sure the mixture doesn't boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
6. Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
7. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
8. Add garnishes and serve.

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Florentines & Panna Cotta Picnik collage 5 bis
Coffee Gelée For The Panna Cotta

Adapted from this recipe in Gourmet Magazine

Ingredients:
2 Cups (480ml) Good quality brewed coffee

1/4 Cup (60 ml) Hot water + 2 Tbs (30ml) Cold water
1/2 Cup (120ml/115g/4oz) Granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tsps (7½ml/3½g/1/8oz) Unflavored powdered gelatin
2 Tsps (10ml) Pure vanilla extract

Method:
1. Place granulated sugar and 1/4 c. hot water in a small saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, stir until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Sprinkle gelatin over 2 Tablespoons cold water and let it soften 2 minutes or so.
4. Stir the coffee, sugar, hot water, and vanilla into a small metal bowl, add gelatin mixture and stir well until gelatin has dissolved.
5. Pour into a glass (bottom) or over the panna cotta.

Note:

If pouring over Panna Cotta, be sure that this mixture is no longer hot, it will melt
Panna Cotta if it is, let it come to room temperature.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Florentines & Panna Cotta Picnik collage 2 bis
Nestle Florentine Cookies

Recipe from the cookbook “Nestlé Classic Recipes”, and their website.

Makes about 2 1/2 - 3 dozen sandwhiched Florentine cookies.

Ingredients:

2/3 Cup (160ml/150g/5.3oz) Unsalted butter
2 Cups (480ml/160g/5 2/3oz) Quick oats

1 Cup (240ml/230g/8oz) Granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160ml/95g/3⅓oz) Plain (all purp
ose) flour
1/4 Cup (60ml) Dark corn syrup
1/4 Cup (60ml) Whole milk
1 Tsp (5 ml) Pure vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
1 1/2 Cups (360ml/250g/9oz) Dark or milk chocolate


Method:
1. Preheat oven to moderately hot 190° C (375° F).
2. Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
4. To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.
5. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet.
6. Flatten slightly with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.

7. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown.
8. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
9. While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water (make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl).
10. Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean).
11. Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandw
iching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate.

Remarks:
You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with c
hocolate (over your wax paper).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Etant donné que je suis en vacance et que je n'ai pas beaucoup de temps pour bloguer, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteurs et blogueurs francophones!

C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur le blog mentionné ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française.

Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)

Florentines & Panna Cotta Picnik collage 6 bis

Friday, February 18, 2011

PEANUT BUTTER, CHOCOLATE & COFFEE COOKIES BARS

pB Cookie Picnik collage 2 bis
Some people adore peanut butter, others are not too enthusiastic about it and another category of people dislike it totally. If you know me well it is no mystery to you that I am one of those foodies who is gaga about this devilishly luscious, creamy, slightly sweet and rich condiment. As a matter of fact I am bananas about peanuts in general...

One can make so many yummy things and be very creative with peanut butter. From desserts, pastries, sauces to savory dishes you have the choice. There are no
limits when it comes to baking or cooking with it. Just have a look on the net and you'll see that there is an incredible quantity of peanut butter-based recipes on offer. It is impossible not to find one that suits you.

As a child I did my first experiments with peanut butter in England while on holidays at my grandparents. They always had a jar of that gloppy stuff in their pantry. We ate it generally in the morning with "plastic bread" toasts. My grandmother who loves overripe bananas (eeewww, nasty and so sickly!) made sandwiches with peanut butter and slices of that disgustingly blackened fruit. Apart from salted butter it was the only spread I liked to use as ultra-bitter store bought marmalade (no matter it's quality) was never my thing - the homemade version is much better and more refined as well as flavorful.

At home peanut butter was something we bought very seldom and once again it was solely used to accompany bread or crackers. We never ate baked goods made with it, what a pity! Anyway, in opposition to the vast majority of American kids who are fed on PB & Jam sandwiches and adore this snack I have to say that this combination was never my favorite. As a matter of fact I find it really icky. It repulses me quite violently and gives me the shivers, brrrr! On the contrary, I personally find that the association between peanut butter and honey (especially white honey) or peanut butter and Nutella is heavenly and so harmonious as if they were meant to mingle together (that implies only me, of course)!

Peanut butter far from being a contemporary staple. Although we might think that Americ
ans are at the origin of it considering the fact that they consume tons of this goody and since it is impossible to imagine this nation without it, they are just the ones who started commercialising this precious ingredient before anybody else.

Already in 950 B.C. the ancient Incas used peanuts (which originate from South America) to make a paste-like mixture. Early explorers brought plants to Africa, peanuts to Spain (trade) and finally imported them into the American Colonies where they were exchanged against other merchandise. As you can see the USA was not the first country to benefit from that fabulous legume (yes, it's not a nut!). The first commercial peanut crop was grown in North carolina around 1818 and in the early 1840's in Virginia.

It is only in 1890 that an unknown doctor "invented" peanut butter for health benefits and in 1903 that Dr. Ambrose Staub of Saint-Louis (Missouri) patented a peanut butter making machine. By 1914, many companies were producing that speciality, but it became a far more refined produce when in 1928, Joseph L. Rosenfield (the father of Skippy PB) created a churning process that made peanut butter even smoother.

The only time I am thankful for the "discovery" (very debatable though) of the Americas is in a foodie-oriented way. Had the "white bearded men" not set their foot on North or South American soil we might never have been able to develop so many wonderful desserts or dishes made with chocolate (xocolātl), peanuts (cacahuatl) in our treats, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, pumpkins, corn, passionfruits, avocados, pecans, cashews, mango, etc. I can't imagine a life without all these glorious and healthy fruits and vegetables.

Coming back to our much venerated peanut butter I have to admit that I am so obssessed by it and addicted to it's smoothiness as well as gorgeously nutty flavor that I had to eradicate it from my cupboards in order to come clean with my dependence. I ate far too much peanut butter and even gobbled it out of the pot. Now, although my passion for it has not died I can have an open jar next to me and not even reach for it or be tempted by it's contents...

So when I bought my first pot of this delightful substance after a few months of abstinence I knew that I was going to celebrate this event by baking something decadent with it. After flipping through my newly received "The King Arthur Flour's Cookie Companion" cookbook I found what I was looking for: "Peanut Butter Smoothies". As the original recipe was not immoral enough for me I decided to top each slice with additional coffee frosting.

Needless to point out that those infamous blondie-like cookie bars were incredibly soft, visciously gooey and dangerously calorific (the sweetness alone could kill a horse or make an elephant sleep/weak). My "Peanut Butter Chocolate Chips Cookie Bars With Coffee Frosting" are down-right delectable and guaranteed to send you to the heaven's above with a sugar coma and an overdose of pleasure!

PB Cookie Picnik collage 3 bis
~ Peanut Butter Chocolate Chips Cookie Bars With Coffee Frosting ~
Recipe adapted from "The King Arthur Flour's Cookie Companion" cookbook.

Makes 12 slices.

Ingredients For The "Bars":
6 Tbs (90g) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 Cup (143g) Natural smooth peanut butter
1 Cup (210g) Crystallized sugar

1/4 Cup (60g) Light brown sugar, packed
2 Big eggs

1 Tsp Natural vanilla extract
1 Cup (128g) Unbleached white flour
1/3 Tsp Sea salt
1 Tsp Baking powder
1 Cup (180g) Chocolate chips (bittersweet)

Ingredients For The "Coffee Frosting":
1 Tbs Instant coffee powder
1 Tbs Hot water
3/4 Cup (90g) Powder sugar, sieved
2-4 Tbs Double cream (35% fat)


Method For The "Bars":
1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F).
2. Butter a 20 x 20cm (8 x 8 inches) brownie pan.
3. Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter together until smooth and
homogenous.

PB Cookie 3 bis
5. Whisk in the sugars until the mixture is light and smooth.
6. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisk well and scrape down the bowl after each addition.
7. Stir in the vanilla.
8. Add the the flour mixture and stir well until combined.
9. Incorporate the chocolate chips.
10. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
11. Bake for about 30-32 minutes until the edges pull away slightly from the pan.
12. Cool completely before cutting and frosting.

Method
For The "Coffee Frosting":
13. Meanwhile, in a small bowl dissolve the coffee in the hot water.
14. Add the powder sugar and enough cream (in order to get a spreadable mixture). Mix well.

Remarks:
You can replace the bitterwseet chocolate chips by dark, semi-sweet chocolate chips or peanut butter chips.
You can ommit the frosting if you find that those bars are rich enough without it.

Serving suggestions:
Serve for afternoon tea or as an in-between sweet treat with some whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a cup of tea or coffee.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PB Cookie Picnik collage 5 bis
~ Barres Au Beurre De Cacahuète, Chocolat Et Glaçage Au Café ~
Recette adaptée du livre "The King Arthur Flour's Cookie Companion".

Pour 12 tranches.

Ingrédients Pour Les "Barres":
90g de Beurre non-salé, à température ambiante
143g de Beurre de cacahuète (sans morceaux)
210g de Sucre cristallisé
60g de Sucre brun clair
2 Gros Oeufs

1 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure
128g de Farine blanche
1/3 CC de Sel de mer fin
1 CC de Poudre à lever
180g de Pépites de chocolat (à 60% de cacao)
Ingrédients Pour le "Glaçage Au Café":
1 CS de Café instantané
1 CS d'Eau chaude

90g de Sucre en poudre, tamisé
2-4 CS de Crème double (35% de mat. grasses)

Méthode Pour Les "Barres":
1. Préchauffer le four à 180° C.
2. Beurrer un moule à brownie de 20 x 20cm.
3. Mélanger ensemble la farine, le sel et la poudre à lever. Mettre de côté.

PB Cookie Picnik collage 4 bis
4. Dans un bol moyen, battre le beurre et le beurre de cacahuète en pommade (le mélange doit être homogène).
5. Ajouter les sucres et battre jusqu'à ce que le mélange soit léger.
6. Ajouter les oeufs, un à un et bien mélanger (nettoyer les bords à l'aide d'une langue de chat après chaque ajout).
7. Incorporer la vanille.
8. Puis incorporer le mélange farine/sel/poudre afin d'obtenir une pâte homogène.
9. Ajouter les pépites de chocolat et bien mélanger.
10. Etaler la pâte dans le moule.
11. Cuire pendant 30-32 minutes, jusqu'à ce que les bords se détachent légèrement du moule.
12. Laisser refroidir complètement avant d'étaler le glaçage.

Méthode Pour le "Glaçage Au Café":
13. Pendant ce temps, dans un petit bol, dissoudre le café instantané dans l'eau chaude.
14. Ajouter le sucre, assez de crème (afin d'obtenir un glaçage étalable) et mélanger.


Remarques:
Vous pouvez remplacer les pépites de chocolat à 60% par des pépites au chocolat au lait ou des pépites de beurre de cacahuète.
Si vous pensez que ces barres sont assez assez riches comme ça, alors il vous est possible d'omettre le glaçage.

Idées de présentation:
Servir pour votre quatre heures ou comme snack et accompagner avec de la crème fouettée, une boule de glace vanille ainsi qu'avec du thé ou du café.

PB Cookie Picnik collage 1 bis

Friday, September 17, 2010

WICKED BACON & COFFEE BROWNIES

Bacon Brownies Picnik collage 4 bis
I've always been a sucker for rich and highly flavorful noshes such as brownies or smoked bacon. I like my food to be tasty, comforting and naughty, so there is no wonder that those two items occupy the top of my list when it comes to my favorite grubs...

As much as I care about my health and diet I cannot resist a viscious treat especially if it's good. I believe that we aren't meant to go through our existence without having a little indulgence here and there. It would not be worth going through life's pitfalls if we were only meant to suffer. As a matter of fact if it were not for the very gratifying and comforting pleasures of life we would surely not stay on the boat for so long. It would be a pretty tough ride otherwise. Everybody needs an encouraging reward now and then. And if I go to Hell for thinking or behaving hedonistically, I don't mind as I'm 100% sure it is full of epicureans as all the sad and bitter people end up in Heaven!!!
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
- English Proverb -
Anyway, now that the weather and Nature's look are autmnal I am really starting to crave chocolaty desserts and "dirty" baked goods. So, the other day I got the idea to make brownies that would be original and diabolically droolworthy. For that I inspired myself from Alice Medrich's "Bittersweet Brownies" (this recipe can be found in her "Pure Desserts" cookbook) and created a totally new recipe that came out of my airy-fairy imagination.

As I had been meaning to try confectioning a sweet goodie with bacon since quite a while I thought that it would be awesome if I added that visciously delicious and crispy charcuterie to my brownies. In order to counter balance the round and exhalirating aromas of smoked bacon I also used 72% dark chocolate, Turkish coffee (not the brewed version but the fine coffee powder), pure vanilla bean paste from Australia and pink salt from Himalaya.

In my opinion, real Brownies that make make you drool incontrolably and have that oomph quality to them have to be super fudgy, moist, chewy, sludgy, dense, full of character, ever so slightly "cakey", intensely flavorful and mindblowingly calorific. If they are not in this way, then there's no fun and they are then granny chocolate cakes (I don't mean to insult grannies, though) and that's all.

Thankfully, those "Wicked Bacon, Turkish Coffee & Dark Chocolate" carry their name very well as they are indeed pornographically gorgeous and simply to die for. Those are Brownies with balls. They are soooooo bad!

Bacon Brownies Picnik collage 5 bis
~Wicked Bacon, Turkish Coffee & Dark Chocolate Brownies ~
Recipe by Rosa @Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010.


Ingredients:
240g (8oz) 72% Bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 Tbs (90g) Unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
3 Large eggs (63g)
1 Cup (210g) Castor sugar
1/2 Tsp Himalayan salt
1 Tsp Pure vanilla bean paste
1/3 Cup + 1/4 Tbs (46g) All-purpose flour
3/4 Tbs Turkish coffee (fine ground coffee from Turkey)
2.5oz (75g) Smoked bacon

Method:

1. Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels, and cool completely. Cut in small pieces.
2. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350˚F) and position a rack in the lower third of it.
3. Butter a 20 x 20cm (8inch) square baking pan and cover the bottom with parchement paper. 4. Place the chocolate and the butter in bain-marie bowl and place it in a pan of almost-simmering water.
5. Stir constantly until mixture is melted, smooth and warmish. Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside.

Bacon Brownies Picnik collage 1 bis
6. With a mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla together on high speed until the mixture is thick and pale in color, about 2 minutes.
7. Whisk in the warm chocolate, then fold in the flour and the coffee. Whisk energetically in order to get a shiny, viscous and homogenous batter. Then mix in the bacon.
8. Scrape the batter into the greased and paper lined pan and spread the batter evenly.
9. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.
10. Cool in the pan on a rack.
11. Once the brownies are cold, invert them on rack and peel off the paper.
12. Turn right side up on cutting board and cut into sixteen 5cm (2inch) squares.

Remarks:
The original recipe didn't contain as much salt nor did it comprise bacon and coffee. You can make those brownies without those ingredients and with less salt (1/4 tsp), but don't forget to replace the coffee by the same amount of flour (1/3 Cup + 1Tbs).

Serving suggestions:
Eat those brownies whenever you need a chocolate fix and accompany them with a glass of very cold milk.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bacon Brownies Picnik collage 6 bis
~ Irrésistibles Brownies Au Bacon, Café Turc Et Au Chocolat Noir ~
Recette par Rosa @Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010.

Ingrédients:

240g de Chocolat noir à 72%, haché grossièrement
90g de Beurre non-salé, coupé en morceaux

3 Gros oeufs (63g)
210g de Sucre cristallisé

1/2 CC de Sel de l'Himalaya
1 CC de Pâte de vanille naturelle
46g de Farine blanche
3/4 CS de Café turc (poudre ultra fine)
75g de Bacon fumé, cru

Méthode:
1. Faire frire le bacon à température moyenne jusqu'à ce qu'il soit croquant. Le retirer de la poêle et le faire égoutter le bacon sur du papier ménage et le faire refroidir complètement avant de la couper en petits morceaux.
2. Placer la grille au tiers inférieur du four et le préchauffer à 180° C (350˚F).
3. Beurrer un moule carré à brownies de 20 x 20cm et recouvrir le fond de papier sulfurisé.
4. Mettre le chocolat dans un bain-marie et le placer au-dessus d'eau à peine frémissante.
5. Bien mélanger de manière constante jusqu'à ce que le tout soit fondu, lisse et chaud (pas trop tout de même).

Bacon Brownies Picnik collage 3 bis
6. Battre ensemble les oeufs, le sucre, le sel et la vanille avec un mixer pendant 2 minutes, jusqu'à ce que le mélange soit pâle et mousseux.
7. Incorporer le chocolat chaud au mélange oeufs/sucre et bien battre avec un fouet afin d'obtenir un mélange homogène. Ajouter la farine et le café. Bien battre afin que la pâte soit visqueuse, lisse et brillante. Ajouter le bacon et bien incorporer.
8. Verser la pâte dans le moule et bien lisser.
9. Cuire pendant 25 à 30 minutes, jusqu'à ce que le pointe d'un couteau inséré au milieu du brownie en resorte propre.
10. Faire refroidir sur une grille.
11. Une fois les brownies froids, les retourner sur une planche et enlever le papier sulfurisé.
12. Les retourner du bon côter et les couper en cubes de 5cm.

Remarques:

La recette originale ne contient pas autant de sel, et ne contient pas de café ou de bacon. Vous pouvez confectionner ces brownies en utilisant moins de sel (1/4 CC) et n'oubliez surtout pas de remplacer le café par la même quantité de farine.

Idées De Présentation:
Manger ces brownies à n'importe quelle heure de la journée ou de la nuit et consommer avec un bon vert de lait très froid.

Bacon Brownies Picnik collage 2 bis

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CHOCOLATE CINNAMON BUNDT CAKE

When I received my issue of Bon Appétit back in September, I immediately saw the Bundt Cake recipe which was featured in their "Fast Easy Fresh" pages and thought "Oh boy, I'll have to try that out!"...

Since the very first day I lay my eyes on a picture of a Bundt cake I was mesmerized. The beautiful and perfect shape of that baked good has always fascinated me and I can't tell you how many times I wished to be the lucky owner of a Bundt pan.

Here, in Europe, that kind of cake doesn't really exist and the only pans that are similar in shape are the Kugelhopf ones. So, when one of my American friend proposed to bring one back from here trip to the States, I could not refuse her offer and felt overwhelmed with joy!

Now, my only obssession is to find as many recipes as possible in order to make that yummy speciality which is very much appreciated at my place.

Coming back to Bon Appétit's recipe, what attracted me to it was the wonderful combination of chocolate, cinnamon and coffee. I cannot resist anything that contains either of them. It seemed so promising that I could not resist the urge to bake it.

This recipe is very simple and takes no time at all to make. I whipped up this cake in a matter of minutes on a Saturday afternoon after lunch and we already could work our way through it during the course of the afternoon.

Flavor-wise, I wasn't disappointed at all. The cake has a distinct aroma of chocolate with warm notes of coffee as well as fragrant and spicy hints of cinnamon. Magical! Texture-wise, it is very moist and soft. The chocolate chips add a pleasant crunch and the icing brings extra delight.

Not to forget that this "Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake" ages very well (can be kept up to 5 days if well-wrapped in plastic wrapper and placed in the refrigerator) and tastes even better the following days.

That recipe is definitely a keeper!!!

~ Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake ~
From Bon Appetit, September 2009.

Makes 1 Bundt cake.

Ingredients:
1 Cup (240ml) Boiling water

1/2 Cup (105g) Natural unsweetened cocoa powder

4 Tsps Instant espresso powder, divided
2 Cups (255g) Unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tsps Baking powder
2 Tsps Ground cinnamon
1 Tsp Sea salt

2 1/2 Cups (600g) Golden brown sugar (packed), divided

1 Cup (210g) Vegetable oil

1 Tbs Pure vanilla extract
2 Large eggs
1 1/4 Cups (225g) Mini semisweet chocolate chips (60%), divided
1/4 Cup (1/2 stick/60g) Unsalted butter, room temperature

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F).

2. Generously brush 12- to 15-cup nonstick Bundt pan with oil.
3. Whisk the boiling water, cocoa powder, and 2 teaspoons espresso powder in 2-cup glass measure.
4. Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl.
5. Using electric mixer, beat 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla in a large bowl to blend.
6. Add eggs and beat to blend.
7. Beat mixture until smooth, about 30 seconds longer.
8. Beat in half of flour mixture, then cocoa mixture.
9. Add remaining flour mixture; beat to blend.
10. Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips and transfer batter to prepared Bundt pan.
11. Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

12. Cool the cake for 10 minutes and then invert cake onto rack to cool for another 15 minutes.
13. Meanwhile, stir remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons espresso powder, and 2 tablespoons water in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar melts.
14. Remove from heat. Add butter and remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips; stir until butter and chocolate melt.
15. Cool slightly. Using spoon, drizzle icing over cake.
16. Cool cake completely, slice, and serve.

Remarks:
I used peanut oil.
You'd better use neutral tasting oil for that recipe.

Serving suggestions:
Serve this cake with whipped cream, vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream.

****************

~ Bundt Cake Au Chocolat, A La Cannelle ~
Recette tirée du magazine Bon Appetit, Septembre 2009.

Pour 1 Bundt cake.

Ingrédients:
240ml/g d'Eau bouillante
105g de Cacao non-sucré
4 CC de Poudre d'expresso, divisées
255g de Farine Blanche
2 CC de Poudre à lever
2 CC de Cannelle en poudre
1 CC de Sel de mer
600g (480g+120g) de Sucre brun clair, divisés
210g d'huile végétale
1 CS d'Extrait de vanille pure
2 Gros oeufs
225g (180g+45g) de Pépites de chocolat (60%), divisés
60g de Beurre non-salé à température ambiante

Méthode:
1. Préchauffer le four à 180° C.
2. Généreusement enduire le moule avec de l'huile.
3. Bien mélanger l'eau chaude avec le cacao et 2 CC de poudre d'expresso.
4. Dans un bol moyen, mélanger la farine avec le poudre à lever, la cannelle et le sel.
5. Battre (au mixer) 480g de sucre avec l'huile et la vanille afin d'obtenir un mélange homogène.

6. Ajouter les oeufs et battre afin de bien les incorporer.
7. Battre pendant environ 30 secondes.
8. Incorporer la moité de la farine et le mélange au cacao, puit battre.
9. Ajouter le restant de la farine et battre.
10. Incorporer 1 cup de chocolat et verser la pâte dans le moule.
11. Cuire pendant 50 minutes, jusqu'à ce qu'un couteau inséré à l'intérieur du cake en resorte propre.
12. Faire refroidir le cake pendant 10 minutes puis le démouler et le faire refroidir pendant encore 15 minutes supplémentaires.
13. Pendant ce temps, mélanger les 120g de sucre brun restants, 2 CC de poudre d'espresso et 2 CS d'eau dans une casserole moyenne et faire fondre à feu doux.
14. Retirer du feu. Ajouter le beurre et les g restants de chocolat, puis bien mélanger jusqu'à ce que le beurre et le chocolat aient fondu.
15. Laisser refroidir quelques instants et verser sur le cake.
16. Laisser le cake refroidir complètement et servir.

Remarques:
J'ai utilisé de l'huile d'arachide.
C'est préférable de choisir une huile au goût neutre.
J'ai utilisé un moule à Bundt Cake, mais vous pouvez aussi utiliser une moule à kougelhopf.

Idées de présentation:
Servir avec de la crème chantilly, de la sauce vanille ou une boule de glace vanille.