Sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a medium bowl, and stir with a whisk. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter at low speed for about 2 min- utes, or until it is soft and fluffy. Slowly beat in the sugar. Add the egg and mix on low. Turn off the mixer and slowly add half of the dry ingredients, and continue mixing on low until incorporated. Add the other half, then the rum, coffee, and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Remove the dough and form it into a disk, then cover it with plastic wrap or put it in a sealable plastic bag. Chill it for at least 30 minutes.
With a rolling pin, flatten the dough between two layers of parchment paper. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour if it is sticking to the parchment paper. Roll it into a disk about 1/2 inch thick and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at low speed until it is soft. Switch to the whisk attachment and slowly add the sugar while continuing to beat. Add the egg yolks, cream, vanilla, and salt and mix on low until smooth. Stop the mixer and add half of the flour. Mix on low until smooth, then add the rest of the flour. Mix until smooth. Remove from the mixer bowl, flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes until ready to use.
Roll out thin (1/4" - 1/2") and use cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes. Bake about 10-15 minutes at 350.
sugar islands chocolate buttercream
Makes 31/2 cups icing
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attach- ment, whip the egg yolks at medium speed for about a minute to add volume to them.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Remove any sugar crystals from the inner sides of the pan with a wet paper towel. Place the saucepan over medium heat and don’t stir anymore. Allow the mixture to boil for 2 to 3 minutes, until it reaches the soft-ball stage, or 235°F on a digital (or candy) thermometer.
Stop the mixer, take off the wire whip and do the next step by hand. Carefully add a small splash of the hot sugar mixture into the egg yolks and briskly stir with the wire whisk. Once it is fully mixed, pour in a little more hot sugar and repeat . . . slowly . . . until all of the sugar mixture is incorpo- rated into the yolks. Place the whip and the bowl back on the mixer and whip at medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until it becomes light and fluffy. Add pieces of butter, one at a time, while continuing to whip the buttercream. Stop the mixer and add the chocolate, vanilla, rum, cream, and salt. Allow the mixture to whip for another minute and taste your creation. Adjust the flavors, then chill and rewhip a little before using.
6 large egg yolks 3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
11/4 cups (21/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
12 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum, preferably Meyers’s (optional)
Splash of heavy cream 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Scandinavian Salt & Pepper Cookies
Scandinavian Salt & Pepper Cookies
Traditional ginger cookies of Scandinavia, Pepparkakor, blend several spices for a mild, crunchy, aromatic cookie. Common in all the Nordic countries as gingerbread people on the holidays, they are lighter than traditional German gingerbreads we know in the states. In this version, pepper is the predominant spice, with ginger and cardamom in the background, and the sweet icing is topped with sea salt. to make and easy to roll & shape, these cookies make a fine project for children (or inner children).
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces butter
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
Flour (for dusting work surface)
Sift the flour, baking soda, pepper, ginger, cardamom, and salt together into a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, put the butter, mollasses, corn syrup, sugar and eggs and heat over medium flame until all the ingredients are melted and blended. Pour the hot sugar mixture into the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or transfer the dough into a zip-top plastic bag) and allow to rest in the fridge overnight (or at least 2 hours). Once chilled, place the dough on a work surface dusted with flour and roll thin (about 1/4"). Use cookie cutters to punch out shapes, then place each cookie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 until the cookies are firm (about 7 - 10 minutes)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup cream (of more for thinner consistency)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon sea salt, such as Maldon
Combine all the ingredints and spread over cooled cookies with a spoon or off set spatula.
RED VELVET RENAISSANCE
Daring in its contrast between ruby red chocolate cake crumb and tangy white cream cheese icing, the red velvet cake is here to stay.This storied cake was a staple of bakeries in the American south before its renaissance as a staple of American cupcake shops from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles.Today, the red color comes mostly from food coloring (many recipes call for a whole bottle!), but natural cocoa powder and a chemical reaction between vinegar, buttermilk and baking soda are also involved in the cake’s ruddy color.Before red food coloring was invented, and long before cupcakes commanded their own storefronts, chocolate cakes were made red by another means in another place:beets and rural Russia.
Russians take pride in preserving the prizes of their summer harvests in jams, preserves and pickles.Their root vegetables, like beets, help get them through many long winters.Preserves and sweetening agents are often included in foods when fruits are scarce, and the naturally sweet, colorful beet found its way into peasant cakes throughout Russia in the 1800’s.The beets are boiled or baked, then mashed into the cake batter.
The popularity of Red Velvet Cake in the American south traces back to an apocryphal story of a southern gourmet’s trip to the Waldorf Hotel in New York City in the 1920’s.She was able to pry the recipe from the head chef and was in turn sent a large bill.Miffed, she took it back to her home in Georgia where she popularized it amongst her many friends.Yet when the current chef of the restaurant of the Waldorf checked the archives, no record could be found of a Red Velvet Cake recipe, nor of the mysterious chef who may have created it.Despite its many irresolute origins, this cake remains larger and more enduring than the sum of its stories.
BEET RED VELVETCAKE
Like borscht, the color comes from boiled ruby red beets.Yet its flavor is light, exquisite chocolate.The beets make the cake especially moist.
1 ½ stick (6 oz.) butter (at room temperature)
1 ½ cups sugar
4 oz. melted bittersweet chocolate
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. cocoa powder (preferably “natural” or non-alkalised)
½ cup beets (boiled, peeled and pureed*)
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup sour cream
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 Tbs. vanilla
A few drops of red food coloring (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.Prepare 2 cake pans by lining them with parchment paper.
Combine flour, cocoa powder, salt & baking soda & set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together until it becomes light and fluffy.Add eggs one at a time.Add the pureed beets and vanilla to the batter.In a separate medium bowl, blend the sour cream and buttermilk together.Then, starting with the four mixture, alternate flour mixture and the buttermilk/sour cream mixture in thirds until both are mixed into the batter.Finally, place the baking soda in a separate small bowl and add the vinegar to it.It will foam up.Fold the soda & vinegar mixture into the cake batter.
Pour the batter into prepared prepared pans and bake for about 35 minutes, until cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with just a few crumbs, not wet batter.Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature, the unmold them and assemble them with cream cheese icing or white icing or your choice.
WHITE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE ICING
3 8oz. packages of cream cheese
4 oz. melted white chocolate
1 Tbs. vanilla
½ cup milk
½ cup cream
½ cup sifted powdered sugar
1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
Unwrap the packages of cream cheese and place them in the bowl of an electric mixer.Allow them to come to room temperature.Use the paddle attachment and mix the cream cheese on low until it is completely soft and smooth.Stop the mixer and add all the other ingredients.Mix on medium until the icing is smooth.Adjust to taste.Allow the icing to chill for about ½ hour before applying it to the cake.
*To puree fresh beets, cut off their stems and boil them for 15 minutes.Let them cool enough to handle, then peel off their skins with a vegetable peeler and puree them in a fod processor, blender or by hand with a potato masher.