12.19.2014

Profiteroles with Eggnog Ice Cream and Rum Sauce




What better way to end your Christmas dinner than with eggnog ice cream? And don't stop there, make some profiteroles and top it all off with a divine rum sauce. What a show-stopper!
I always make out a schedule when entertaining and try to use recipes I can make ahead. You want to spend time with family and friends and NOT in the kitchen. (Unless you've got the kind of family that loves gathering in the kitchen and they really help!) The good news is all the elements in this recipe can be made days before.
Have a Happy Christmas my friends!


Profiteroles with Eggnog Ice Cream and Rum Sauce
From :pastry studio


For the eggnog ice cream
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups milk 
4 egg yolks 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 1/2 cups heavy cream 
1 teaspoon rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
generous 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
slight pinch of cinnamon
even slighter pinch of ground cloves
salt, to taste

Method:

Bring milk to a simmer over moderate heat. 

Whisk the yolks and sugar together in a bowl until thickened and light yellow. Gradually add the hot milk, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook the custard over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Be very careful not to let the mixture heat too quickly or boil.


Immediately pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container and stir in the cream, rum, vanilla and the spices. Whisk thoroughly. Add salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until chilled thoroughly.

Freeze in an ice cream maker. Pour into a container, cover and put in the freezer.

For the profiteroles
Ingredients:

1/2 cup water
2 oz (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs

egg wash:

1 egg 
splash of water
small pinch of salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Bring the water, butter and salt to a boil. Reduce heat and add flour all at once. Cook and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth, pulls away from the sides of pan and leaves a noticeable film on the bottom of the pan. This will take a couple of minutes. 


Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with a paddle for a few minutes until there is no longer any steam rising from the dough. (I did it with a hand beater.) Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. The dough will go from looking lumpy to very smooth. Continue to add eggs one at a time and beat until you have the same results, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Make an egg wash combining an egg, a splash of water and a tiny pinch of salt. Set aside.


Line a baking sheet with  parchment. Place the pâte à choux into a pastry bag fitted with 1/2" plain tip. Pipe 1 1/2" mounds. (This will make about 1 dozen small profiteroles. I wanted a larger size so used an ice cream scoop. I got about five large.) Wet your index finger with cold water and smooth the tops of each piece of piped dough. Brush each piece lightly with egg wash.


Bake until golden brown and puffed, about 22 to 24 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.


Rum Sauce


Ingredients:

1 oz (2 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons rum
salt, to taste

Method:

Melt the butter over medium heat and combine with the brown sugar. Lower heat a bit and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the cream and continue cooking for another 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and rum. Add a pinch of salt, to taste. Cool.


To serve:
Gently slice the profiteroles in half crosswise and place on serving dish. Place a scoop of eggnog ice cream into each profiterole and replace the tops. Drizzle lightly with the Rum Sauce and serve immediately.

12.16.2014

One Last Cookie Before Christmas: Coconut Cranberry Chews


The cookie of the century? Really? That's quite a label to live up to. Sometimes I wonder how I miss popular recipes like this one. It seems it was the grand prize winner in Sunset magazine's cookie contest of 2001 and entered by Nancy Jamison. I did a little research and found out that:
"Nancy created this recipe over about a month's time, continually refining and testing before submitting it to Sunset's contest. Sunset awarded Nancy the grand prize winner, but she was surprised that Sunset adjusted the original recipe when they printed it in their December 2001 issue."
The differences? She originally included twice as much salt (1/2 t), the additions of baking soda (1 t) and orange oil (3/4 t), less orange zest (2 t), and additional fat in the form of Crisco shortening (1/2 cup). I can't imagine more fat, but the cookie is dry when you mix it and perhaps her addition alters that. Next time I make these, I might try Nancy's original recipe and see what happens. 
While these turned out beautifully (yes, they are very addictive) and I don't mean to discourage you from making them, but "cookie of the century" is a bit of a stretch. 
Have you made them? Let me know what you thought.

Coconut Cranberry Chews
From Sunset Magazine, December 2001




Ingredients:
 1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature (butter needs to be really soft)
2 cups sugar 
1 tablespoon grated orange peel 
2 teaspoons vanilla 
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries 
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked dried coconut 

Method:
In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 1 1/2 cups butter, sugar, orange peel, and vanilla until smooth.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, stir to mix, then beat on low speed until dough comes together, about 5 minutes. Mix in cranberries and coconut.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets. Note: I flattened the dough a little bit...they turned out better-shaped.


Bake in a 350° oven until cookie edges just begin to brown, 8 to 11 minutes (shorter baking time will yield a chewier cookie; longer baking time will yield a crispier cookie). Note: they took almost 15 minutes in my oven. If baking two sheets at once in one oven, switch their positions halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets. They are delicate at first and when I transferred them to a rack, a couple fell apart. I left the rest to cool on the baking sheet and all was well.






12.13.2014

More Cookies for Christmas: Coffee Walnut Cookies


These shortbread type cookies turned out more delicate than I expected. They are a slice and bake cookie which you know I love because you can keep the roll of dough in the freezer or fridge until you're ready to bake. I removed some of the first batch from the pan too soon (following instructions) and they fell apart. I had better luck letting them cool right on the parchment paper.
Because of the finely ground coffee plus the single bean in the center of each cookie, you'll find the coffee comes through strongly, giving this cookie an intense flavor and even a bit of a caffeine buzz. Interesting addition for your holiday cookie tray, but perhaps not for your kids. This time of year, children don't need any more of a buzz than they already have!

Coffee Walnut Cookies

From Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich via the LA Times




Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup walnuts
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh, finely ground medium-roast (not espresso-roast) coffee beans, plus about 
70 beans for garnish
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brandy
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method:


Combine the flour, walnuts, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the walnuts are finely ground. Add the ground coffee and pulse to mix. Add the butter (cut in several pieces if firm) and pulse until the mixture looks damp and crumbly. Drizzle in the brandy and vanilla extract and pulse until the dough begins to clump up around the blade. Remove the dough, press it into a ball and knead it by hand a few times to complete the mixing.

Form the dough into a 12-inch log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably, overnight, or up to 3 days. The dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a sharp knife to cut the cold dough log into one-fourth-inch-thick slices. (If the dough crumbles when you cut into it, let it soften for several minutes.) Place the cookies at least 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Press a coffee bean into the center of each cookie.
Bake the cookies until light golden brown at the edges, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking. Let the cookies firm up on the pans for about 1 minute (Note: not long enough...let them cool on the parchment until completely cool), then transfer them to a rack with an offset spatula. Cool completely. These cookies are delicious fresh but are even better the next day. They can be stored in an airtight container for at least a month. 


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