Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Baking

Food for the Gods
Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Christmas baking is a new concept for me. I started doing this a few years ago out of necessity. I basically cook round the clock when I stay at my cousins and if I spend Christmas alone, I feel the urge to bake and ship my baked goodies to select friends. I have a few favorites and that includes the perennial Food for the Gods, Butterscotch bars (Blondies) and for this year, I chose to try two new recipes from Dave Labovitz blog, the Gluten-Free Brownies and the Very Chocolate Cookies that he adapted from Clotilde Dusoulier, a French pastry chef.

Butterscotch Bars
Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The first two recipes are trade secrets and I am not at liberty to share them in my blog. The latter two however are posted in Dave Lebovitz's blog but I'll post them here in my blog anyway. I hope you give these two recipes a try to spread some merry cheer to your friends over the holidays.

Very Chocolate Cookies - Adapted*

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
½ cup flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
5 oz bittersweet or 

  semisweet chocolate, 
¼ cup dark chocolate 

  coffee beans or cocoa 
½ cup, plus 1 tbsp 

  unsalted butter, softened
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
cinnamon salt or fleur de sel (
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper 
    or silicone baking mat.

2. In a small bowl, sift both flours, cocoa powder and baking soda.

3. In another clean dry bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt half of 

    the chocolate and let cool to room temperature. Mix the other half of the 
    chocolate chunks in a bowl with the cocoa nibs or coffee beans.

4. Beat the butter with a standing electric mixer, or by hand, just until 

    smooth. Beat in the sugar, salt and vanilla or chocolate extract.

5. By hand, stir in the melted chocolate, then the flour-cocoa mixture. 

    Finally, add the chocolate chunks and nibs or morsels.

Dark Chocolate Coffee Beans
Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
6. Scoop the dough into 
    rounded tablespoons 
    and place evenly 
    spaced on the 
    prepared baking 
    sheet. Sprinkle with 
    cinnamon salt or 
    fleur de sel, if 
    desired, then bake 
    for 20 minutes or until 
    the cookies take on a 
    slightly dry sheen to 
    the top. 

The cookies may feel soft coming out of the oven so cool them in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. The cookies firm up just fine when cool.

Gluten-free Brownies - Adapted*

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
6 tbsp salted butter
8 oz bittersweet or 

  semisweet chocolate,    
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room 

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa 

3 tbsp corn starch
1 cup nuts, toasted and 

  coarsely chopped 

Preheat the oven to 
    350ºF. Line the inside 
    of an 8-inch square pan with foil so that it goes up the sides to the rim. 
    Lightly grease the foil with butter or non-stick cooking spray.  

2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan over very low heat 

    on the stove top, stirring constantly until smooth.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time.

4. Sift together the cocoa powder and corn starch in a small bowl then stir 

    them into the chocolate mixture. Beat the batter vigorously for at least 
    one minute, until the batter is no longer grainy and smooth. It will pull 
    away from the sides of the pan a bit.

5. Add the nuts, if using, then scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

6. Bake for thirty minutes, or until the brownies feel just set in the center. 

    Do not overbake. Remove from oven and let cool completely before 
    removing from the pan and slicing.

Storage: The brownies can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 days, or frozen for at least 1 month.

* Dave Lebovitz's My Life in Paris blog

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