Sweet Carrot Pie

Sweet Carrot Pie Ingredients

You can be pretty much anywhere when inspiration whacks you in the face. I was in one of the classes at work when I was craving carrots, strange I know, but we were making pies.

We have Pumpkin Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, why not Carrot pie?

Into the kitchen we go! I based this recipe off The Gourmandise School’s Pumpkin Pie recipe and it came out super tasty.

I will say creating this recipe was a process. Pies get their flakey goodness from ice cold butter and a super hot oven. When the two meet each other a beautiful steam is produced from the water in the butter and wha-la, flakey layers of crust are the result. Continue reading

Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream (Gluten Free)

Before I moved to LA I lived in Chicago and managed an ice cream store called Bobtail. One of my favorite flavors that would make an occasional appearance was Coffee Oreo. In a fit of nostalgia and craving some peanut butter I decided Peanut Butter “Oreo” it is. Since gluten (the protein in wheat) can be a bit bothersome on some stomachs I figured might as well make this one more friendly (however you can totally use the real deal here).

There is something incredibly indulgent while maintaining an innocence about this flavor. It’s like being a kid in an adult way, because I don’t know about you, but I was more into eating ice cream as a kid rather than making it. That is until I was introduced to the ziploc technique in my high school science class.

Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oreo Ice Cream

Base (Adapted from Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams)

1 1/2 cups milk (full fat is best)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn/tapioca starch
1/8 tsp sea salt
5 egg yokes

1. Whisk the sugar and the egg yokes together. Set aside
2. Mix the starch in with the milk, one tbsp at a time. Heat the milk on medium heat until a rolling boil. Take off the heat and slowly add to the yokes.
3. Pour the yoke mixture back into the sauce pan on low heat, add salt, allow to thicken. Chill when the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Peanut Butter Sauce

1/4 cup Peanut Butter (make sure this is gluten free if you’re intolerant — I used Jiff)
5 oz heavy cream
3 tbsp butter
splash of vanilla
1/8 cup powdered sugar (more to taste)

Heat all ingredients in a sauce pot of over medium heat, whisking occasionally until combined. 

Ice Cream

Base
1/4 cup Peanut Sauce
1 1/2 tsp Peanut Oil
1/4 cup  Gluten Free Jo Jo’s from Trader Joe’s (Or Oreos) — You can also sub out the cookies for chocolate chips

Combine the Base, Peanut Sauce, and oil into an  Ice Cream Machine (I have a Cuisinart), Mix until done. Stir in toppings. Freeze until solid. Serve!

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Enjoy.

Gluten-Free Spice Cake with Almond Buttercream Frosting

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Mondays are usually the day that I’m doing everything in my power to pry myself from the covers  and wishing the weekend would last forever. This Monday was better, this Monday I’m a college graduate which means I’ve earned the right to sleep in, wear pj’s all day, and eat cake for breakfast. You know, adult things. While I know that this is only a temporary arrangement I wanted to take full advantage.

I woke up craving something sweet but spicy — first thought was carrot cake but since I didn’t have any carrots in the house, and leaving was not an option I opted to try my hand at a gluten free version of spice cake. A bit ago I’d picked up some gluten free all purpose flour from a company called Pure Pantry. This particular brand is also soy, nut and dairy free. So off I went and this beauty came out as a result. I’ve been trying to shake up my cooking routine lately and decided to use some unrefined sugar, Mascobado, in this recipe as well.

Gluten-Free Spice Cake with Almond Buttercream Frosting (cake adapted from: The Hungry Mouse, frosting adapted from Joy the Baker)

For the cake: 

1 1/3 cup Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour*
2/3 cup Mascobado Sugar**
1 pinch Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
1 Vanilla Bean (scraped)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup of milk
1 tbsp cardamon seeds
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 stick of butter (room temperature)

For the frosting:

2 sticks of butter (softened)
6 cups of powdered sugar (sifted)
2 tbsp of milk
1/2 tbsp almond extract
1 pinch of salt

Optional: Slice almonds to garnish

*I used The Pure Pantry brand for my GF flour but I tested it with Bob’s Red Mill and it came out well too.
**You can sub in regular brown sugar for this.

Cake:

1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees and line to 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.

2. Steep the Cardamom seeds in the milk, set aside.

3. Cream together the butter and sugar until it is light an fluffy.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time.

5. Sift together the dry ingredients and add them to the butter, egg, and sugar mixture.

6. Removed the seeds from the milk and slowly add the milk to the batter.

7. Pour the mixture evenly into the two pans and bake for 20 minutes (the cake will spring back when touched). Allow to cool completely.

Frosting:

1. In a stand mixer beat the butter until it is light and fluffy.

2. Scrape the sides and then add 5 cups of powdered sugar  (start slow, so the sugar doesn’t coat your kitchen and work your way up to a medium speed).

3. Add the milk and almond extract.

4. The frosting should be thick, if needed add the 6th cup of powdered sugar.

Frost the cake and garnish with sliced almonds along the sides.


Enjoy.

Cocoa Nib Palmiers

Growing up my mom would take me and my sister down to the Spanish bakery in our neighborhood. We would get a big silver tray and roam the isles filling it up with whatever caught our eye.

One of my favorites were the elephant ears or Palmiers.
They’re such a simple but rich dessert that is perfect paring to a coffee or a cup of tea.

When I was in Spain a couple of weeks ago you could buy a whole bag full for a Euro. It made such a great walking around snack.

I slightly adapted this recipe from The Novice Chef

Cocoa Nib Palmiers

1 Sheet of Puff Pastry (thawed per the directions on the package)
1 Cup of Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 cup Cocoa Nibs

1. Preheat the over to 425 degrees F

2. Combine the spices and then dust a flat surface such as cutting board.

3. Lay out the puff pastry onto the mixture, trying to coat as evenly as possible. Dust the top of the pastry as well.

4. Sprinkle the cocoa nibs, pressing them gently in.

5. Fold the dough into the middle.

6. Fold the folder halves over again.

7. One more time!

8. Cut the dough into aprox 1 1/2 inch pieces and place on a parchment paper line cookie sheet.

9. Bake for approximately 8 minutes (until edges are starting to caramelize) flip over, and cook for another 8 minutes.

10. Remove and let cook on a drying rack.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Funfetti

Monday’s to me have never really held too much value over the last couple years. It seems like I’ve either always had a job that I worked weekends for, or I just always had stuff on. That said I still get a mean case of “the mondays”.

To remedy todays I decided to experiment with a classic. Being in the mood for chocolate, I figured why not add it to some funfetti cupcakes. Now I know normally that this wouldn’t really work because chocolate baked goods tend to be dark brown, almost black. I thought I’d try anyway.

Chocolate Fun-Fetti Cupcakes
adapted from Ambrosia Baking

For the Cupcakes: 

1 cup milk
4 egg whites
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups pastry flour, sifted
1 tbps + 1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp butter, room temp
6 tbsp vegetable shortening
2/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

For the frosting:

2 1/2 cups confectioners suger
5 tbsp butter, room temp
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the over to 350 degrees

1. Combine the eggs & egg whites with the milk and vanilla bean. Set aside.

2. In a bowl with a mixer, combine all the dry ingredients. Add shortening and butter. Mix for about a minute then add in 3/4 cup of milk. Turn up to high and mix for another minute.

3. Slowly beat in the egg mixture.

4. Fold in the sprinkles and pour into wrappers and bake for 23 minutes.

5. While the cupcakes are baking mix the confectioners suger, butter, and 2 tbsp of milk together with the vanilla. Mix on high for about 5 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes then cover tightly and set aside.

6. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost and decorate with sprinkles.

Enjoy!

Baklava and beyond!

Hello again,

It’s funny how sometimes on certain holidays, you need a holiday from your holiday. You know the ones, where you’re excited to be there so you feel like you need to do and see so much that when you get back you’re exhausted, but in a good way. I always aim to be like a sponge on trips, just soaking up all my new adventure has to offer.

This trip was a mixture of beautiful and extremely hot. Having grown up in Chicago I feel that I’m always ill-equipped for warm holidays. I just simply can’t get a handle on heat, with you cold you add layers. When it’s hot, there’s only so much clothing you can remove before you’re dancing along the fine line of publicly nudity. Embraced the heat has its perks such as being able to see ruins up close and personal. I highly encourage it if you get the opportunity, especially in countries like Turkey because they tend not to regulate as we do in the united states so you can interact with history much more by going and touching, sitting, exploring.

One thing I wasn’t really expecting was the cuisine, at points it felt like I was on a kebab tour. Lunch, kebab. Dinner, kebab. I mean while I know a bit of that is my own fault but when ordering in a different language but seeing pictures of brains on the menu I found myself slightly weary of being too “adventurous”. That said they do make a mean cup of coffee. Turkish coffee is similar to espresso but it’s thicker and more meaty. It’s often served with sugar and garnished with a tasty piece of turkish delight.

My favorite bit of Turkish cuisine though is going to have to be the baklava. (Although I swear they put crack in the rice, it was SO addicting.) The perfect harmony of rich nutty flavors that in a creamy consistency like pecan pie filling, sandwiched by phyllo dough, served up with vanilla ice cream with a ground pistachio garnish makes my heart go pitter patter.

Baklava with Cinnamon Syrup
Adapted from: Beantown Baker & Honey and Butter

For the Syrup:
1 3/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cinnamon stick

For the Filling:
10oz Pistachios (shelled & toasted)
16oz Walnut (toasted)

phyllo dough
2 sticks of butter (melted)

I used store bought phyllo dough from the Fillo Factory.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and make the syrup. Add the sugars, lemon juice, water and cinnamon sticks to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then let cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. Until it’s about 2 cups. Set aside and let cool completely.

2. Grind the toasted nuts in a food processor. A few light pulses should do the job. You don’t want to overgrind and release the oils. Set them aside for now.

3. Start assembling. Lay a sheet of dough that covers the bottom of a 9x13in pan. Brush the sheet with the melted butter; repeat for 8 layers. Then add a thin covering of the ground walnuts and sprinkle the walnut layer with the ground pistachios. Add 8 more layers, brushing each with the butter in between. Add another nut layer. Finish with 8 more layers of dough. Sprinkle the top with some pistachios

4. Cut the uncooked baklava into 4-6 rows and then turn and cut again on the diagonal.

5. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Re-run a knife through the cuts. Pour the cooled syrup over it slowly, making sure to get a good coverage. Let it cool completely.

Enjoy!

Doughnuts with Joy the Baker

This summer has been a crazy one to say the least. I apologize for my sporadic posting.
Summer is funny in that it’s when everyone decides to everything because the weather is usually so accommodating. For me thus far, it’s meant lots of studying (hurrah for summer school!), fun birthday weekends, and wedding festivities. In between I’ve trying to make real the fun cooking and baking ideas that I have in my head, in what little time I have.

A little while had the please of meeting with Joy the Baker as she taught a class at The Gourmandise School. It was a fun couple of hours filled with doughnut making and sparkling wine drinking, curated by Whitney Adams.

Let me start off by saying I totally felt like a badass to be in a class with these two lovely ladies. The wealth of knowledge was both awe-inspiring and intimidating (in a good way). Additionally doughnuts are now on the list of can do, win!

I wanted to share this recipe with you guys, for those of who don’t read Joy’s blog and haven’t seen this yet.

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Pink Raised Doughnuts with Toasted Coconut
(From Joy the Baker)

makes 12-14 doughnuts
recipe adapted slightly from Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts

For the Doughnuts:

3 tablespoons (four ¼ ounce packages) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (about 105 degrees F)
½ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons iodized salt
4 to 4 ½ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting, rolling, and cutting
¼ cup vegetable shortening
3 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
canola oil for frying
toasted coconut for topping

For the Glaze:

4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 3 drops red or pink food coloring
scant 1/3 cup hot water, plus more if necessary

To Make the Doughnuts:

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, water, and 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Let stand for 5 minutes until mixture is foamy and frothy.  That’s how you know the yeast is alive and ready to doughnut!

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and 4 cups of bread flour.  Set aside.

Break up shortening and add to the yeast mixture.  Add the egg yolks, and vanilla extract and beat on low speed using the paddle attachment.  This will deflate the yeast bubbles and help break up the shortening.

With the mixture on low speed, add one third of the dry ingredients.  Blend until flour disappears.  Add another third of the dry ingredients.  Beat until flour disappears.  Switch to the dough hook and add the last amount of flour.  Mix on low speed until no flour bits remain.  Add a bit more flour if necessary.  The dough should clean the sides of the bowl, and not stick to the bottom in a pool.

Knead for 2 minutes.  The dough will be glossy, and just a bit sticky… but it shouldn’t stick to your hands.

Transfer the dough to a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with 1 tablespoon of flour.  Shake into a 6-inch circle and dust the top with flour.  Cover with a dishtowel and set in a warm place to double in size.

The Top Pot Cookbook has an awesome way to create your own proofing box!  Bring a large kettle of water to a boil.  Pour about 8 cups of water into a large baking dish.  Set it on the floor of your oven.  Place the sheet tray with covered dough on the middle rack above the steaming water, close the oven door and let rise for about 1 hour.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a roughly 12-inch circle, about ½ inch thick.  Cut into 12 doughnuts and 12 holes using a 2 ¾-inch and 1 ¼-inch round cutter.  Gently transfer the doughnuts and holes to two baking sheets that have been sprinkled with flour.  Set the doughnuts for their second rise about 2 inches apart.

Let rise in the oven for another 30-45 minutes, using another hot water proofing bath.

In a medium or large, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat canola oil that is 2-inches deep.  Use a candy thermometer to bring the oil to 350 degrees F.

When the doughnuts have doubled in size place a few doughnuts into the oil to fry.  Don’t overcrowd the pan.  Fry for 30 seconds on one side, flip and cook for another 30 seconds.  Doughnuts will darken slightly as they cool, so don’t cook them too dark.  Transfer to a few layers of paper towel to cool.  Bring the fry oil back to 350 degrees F before frying new batches of doughnuts.

Allow to cool completely before glazing.

To Make the Glaze:

Place the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Add the food coloring and hot water and use a whisk to incorporate.  Blend until entirely smooth.  If the mixture seems to thick to easily dip doughnuts, add more hot water 1 teaspoon at a time.

To ice the doughnuts, dip one side of the cooled doughnuts into the freshly made icing.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut.  Let dry and set for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.