Saturday, June 30, 2012

White chocolate butterscotch cookies

White chocolate butterscotch cookies / Cookies de butterscotch e chocolate branco

I read the wonderful "Awards Daily" everyday and yesterday I saw the trailer for "The Sessions": you know that I adore John Hawkes and he's kicking some serious ass in that movie; before watching the trailer I thought the movie would go heavy on the drama but there's a comedy feel to it that I absolutely loved - William H. Macy looks great as the priest. There, another movie I cannot wait to watch - the list is never-ending, I guess. ;)

Another never-ending list of mine is the one with recipes I want to try, but to be honest these cookies were not on top of that list; I wanted to bake something with fruit but I did not have any around, so the bag of white chocolate chips inspired me to try Martha's recipe - and that was a delicious surprise: these cookies are easy to make and taste great.

White chocolate butterscotch cookies
slightly adapted from the wonderful Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

1 ¾ cups (245g) all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (198g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cups (220g) brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
225g (8oz) white chocolate, chopped into 6mm (¼in) chunks – I used white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
With the mixer on low speed add the flour in two batches and beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate.
Drop 2 tablespoons of dough at a time about 5cm (2in) apart onto prepared sheets.
Bake rotating the pans halfway though, until lightly golden around the edges, about 15 minutes.
Let cookies cool on the pans for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Cookies can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Makes 2 dozen cookies – I used 2 leveled tablespoons of dough per cookie and got 30

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gingered pear and raspberry pandowdy

Gingered pear and raspberry pandowdy / Pandowdy de pêra e framboesa com um toque de gengibre

Despite loving their first film collaboration, I’m not a fan of Burton or Depp (both together and separate). Burton’s just not the kind of director I admire, and I find Depp very limited as an actor – playing the weird doesn’t necessarily mean one is talented. To make things even worse, they butchered one of the most important movies of my childhood. Having said that, you must know that I loved "Dark Shadows" – I laughed so much I felt renovated after leaving the theater. I do not know if that was because after the awful “Alice in Wonderland” I had no expectations about Burton’s new movie but I thought the script was very witty and funny and that Depp was absolutely fantastic as Barnabas – his performance goes far beyond all that make up and one can tell he’s having a lot of fun playing the vampire. Eva Green, whom I would never have imagined had such great comedy timing, is magnificent, too. The only thing I did not like much in “Dark Shadows” was Chloe Moretz – she’s only 15 and tried too hard to be a femme fatale, all those languid looks and cascading hair and the pouting... Not good. Yet, the movie is worth watching – laughing that much on a Monday was certainly a good way to start off the week. :D

Crumbles are my favorite dessert and because of that all the variations of warm desserts involving fruit get my instant attention: after the apple pandowdy, it was about time I tried a different spin on that delicious dessert – the pears and raspberries were wonderful together and the biscuit topping, with lovely ginger kicks here and there, complimented the fruit beautifully.

Gingered pear and raspberry pandowdy
from the fabulous Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More

Fruit filling:
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
pinch of salt
4 large pears, peeled, cored, and sliced (1kg/2 pounds prepped)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
250g (2 cups/ 9oz) raspberries, fresh or frozen – I used frozen, unthawed
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Biscuit topping:
1 ¾ cups (245g) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon extra, for sprinkling
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (140g/5oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup chopped candied ginger
2/3 cup (160ml) cold buttermilk + 1 tablespoon extra, for brushing*

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Butter a 22cm (9in) cast-iron skillet or deep-dish pie pan.
Make the filling: rub the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl, then add the pears and lemon juice and toss until evenly coated. Gently fold in the raspberries, then transfer the fruit to the prepared pan. Dot the fruit with the butter.

Biscuit: whisk the flour, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
Add the butter and toss until evenly coated. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the size of large peas. Stir in the candied ginger, then pour in the 2⁄3 cup buttermilk and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened (my dough was too soft, so I added 1 tablespoon flour).
The dough will be crumbly, with large pieces of butter still visible. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently press the dough together, then press it into a 22cm (9in) circle.
Carefully place the dough atop the fruit. Brush the dough with the 1 tablespoon buttermilk, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
Bake in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C/350°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the juices are bubbly and thick.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving.

* homemade buttermilk: to make 1 cup buttermilk place 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a 240ml-capacity measuring cup and complete with whole milk (room temperature). Wait 10 minutes for it to thicken slightly, then use the whole mixture in your recipe

Serves 8

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Almond cake (Tarta de Santiago) + DDL

Almond cake (Tarta de Santiago) / Bolo de amêndoa (Torta de Santiago)

A long time ago I watched “Magnolia” – because lots of people had told me it was my kind of movie – and got really disappointed; despite the bunch of awards and great cast – including my beloved Julianne Moore – I did not think the movie was all that. A while later, I decided to give Paul Thomas Anderson another chance and watched “Boogie Nights”, which to me was a far superior movie (despite having been made before “Magnolia”). I liked it and added one more strong performance to the handful I have seen by Mark Wahlberg so far. Last week, I finally watched "There Will Be Blood" – because of my love for Daniel Day-Lewis – and wow, he’s fantastic beyond belief as Daniel Plainview. The movie is amazing as a whole, well directed with a beautiful cinematography, and Lewis’ performance is absolutely unforgettable (as are many of his performances), but I don’t think it was better than Viggo’s Nikolai – and that is the only thing I did not love about “There Will Be Blood”. :)

A month or so ago I baked the most delicious almond cake up until then – the recipe by Tamasin Day-Lewis (who happens to be DDL’s sister) became my favorite almond cake the minute I tasted the first bite. But Claudia Roden’s Tarta de Santiago, a cake from a book I want to buy as soon as possible and made with almond meal and almost nothing more, made me rush to the kitchen to try it – and now I love both cakes so much I no longer have one favorite almond cake: I have two. :D

Almond cake (Tarta de Santiago) / Bolo de amêndoa (Torta de Santiago)

Almond cake (Tarta de Santiago)
slightly adapted from Epicurious; the recipe comes from a book I cannot wait to buy

6 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
1 ¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Amaretto
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups (225g) almond meal (finely ground almonds)
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter and flour a 28cm (11in) springform pan*, preferably nonstick.
With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and the salt in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl and set aside. Wash and dry the used bowl and the whisk. Again with the electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the granulated sugar to a smooth pale cream. Beat in the zests, Amaretto and vanilla extract. Add the ground almonds and mix very well.
Fold the whites into the egg and almond mixture (the mixture is thick, so that you will need to turn it over quite a bit into the egg whites).
Pour into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Bake for 40 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool before turning out.
Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar. Or, if you like, cut a St. James cross out of paper. Place it in the middle of the cake, and dust the cake with confectioners' sugar, then remove the paper (I preferred to use a heart-shaped piece of paper).

* I made ¾ of the recipe above and used a 20cm (8in) round cake pan with a removable bottom (regular – not nonstick); I lined the bottom of the pan with a circle of baking paper and buttered and floured the paper as well.

Serves 10

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Orange nutmeg cookies

Orange nutmeg cookies / Biscoitinhos de laranja e noz-moscada

I’ve been using the Internet for ages now – 5 ½ years of blogging alone – but it still amazes me how much good, useful information I have at the tip of my fingers. And how wonderful it is to find people who share my opinions about several things, after spending years loving/hating those things alone. Therefore, it was sheer joy to find this video to find out there is someone out there who has pretty much the exact opinion I do about certain movies; I’d throw in three more nominations for “Hanna” – Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana – but other than that the list of “nominees” on the video is pretty much perfect. :)

And this very same useful Internet showed me, many years ago, the domestic goddess Martha Stewart shaping cookie dough with a ruler and my life making slice and bake cookies was never the same again. :D
These orange cookies are delicious and if you have a ruler at home they’ll be a breeze to make.

Orange nutmeg cookies
slightly adapted from the wonderful The Grand Central Baking Book

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar + a little extra for sprinkling the cookie logs
1 egg
finely grated zest of 2 oranges
1 egg, extra, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water (I used an egg yolk I had left from another recipe)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and orange zest until creamy. Add the egg and mix to combine.
In low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix only until incorporated. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into two equal parts. Place each on a piece of parchment paper; shape dough into logs. Fold parchment over dough; using a ruler, roll and press into a 3cm (1 ¼in) log – like Martha does here. Wrap in parchment. Chill in freezer until very firm.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F; line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
Unwrap one log at a time (keep the other in the freezer). Brush the log with the egg wash and sprinkle with the extra sugar. Cut into 6mm (¼in) thick rounds; space 2.5cm (1in) apart onto prepared sheets. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, then bake until just golden around the edges, 20-25 minutes. Cool in the sheet over a wire rack. Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough log.
Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Makes about 40 cookies

Friday, June 22, 2012

Peanut butter-yogurt Bundt cake with ganache glaze + my good mood anthem

Peanut butter-yogurt Bundt cake with ganache glaze / Bolo de iogurte e manteiga de amendoim com cobertura de ganache

I no longer complain about chaotic traffic here in Sao Paulo – I have accepted the fact that it is part of my city and that I have to face it on weekdays. Period. There’s no point in bitching about it – it is what it is. The key to survive it is to try and make those hours a little more pleasurable, and music is a very helpful tool. There is one song I absolutely love and that, for over 10 years now, has been a sort of instant mood enhancer: every time I feel sad or angry (or both), I listen to Phats & Small’s “This Time Around” and it immediately makes me feel better. My good mood anthem. :)

I also keep a small notebook at hand because it seems that traffic jams bring great recipes to my mind – it was on a very rainy and chaotic day that I remembered the peanut butter cake with chocolate glaze from this wonderful book, and now it is here so you can try it too – it is oh, so delicious.

Peanut butter-yogurt Bundt cake with ganache glaze
slightly adapted from the amazing Cake Keeper Cakes: 100 Simple Recipes for Extraordinary Bundt Cakes, Pound Cakes, Snacking Cakes and Other Good-To-The-Last-Crumb Treats

1 cup (260g) plain yogurt
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups (315g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick/113g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 ¼ cups (250g) demerara sugar

¼ cup (60ml) heavy cream
85g (3oz) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with flour. Whisk together the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla in a large glass measuring cup. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Combine the butter, peanut butter, and demerara sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.
On low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients in 3 additions with the yogurt mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl between additions.
Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 1 minute.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden and risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Glaze: heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and butter and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
Pour the warm glaze over the cake.

Serves 10-12

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Raspberry-swirl sweet rolls + a performance I love

Raspberry swirl sweet rolls / Pãezinhos de framboesa

I love Michael Mann – he’s one of my favorite directors; so when I saw that “The Insider” would be on cable a couple of weeks ago I knew I was going to watch it again. At the end my husband, who had never watched that movie before, told me: “wow, that is an excellent movie!”, and I instantly knew he’d really loved it, like I do.
Russell Crowe is really easy to love, I’m aware of that, but to me Jeffrey Wigand is his finest role so far, even greater than Maximus – I know many will disagree with me here, but think of how much more difficult it is to play a guy with lots of flaws than it is to play a hero, and yet Crowe gets the audience by his side. To top it all off, Crowe’s physical transformation is another thing of beauty and a sign of an actor extremely committed to his craft, and yet his performance is so much more than putting on dozens of pounds – it’s the whole thing, all the details connected, blessed by a talented director. It makes me of think Robert De Niro’s Jake La Motta which to me is the best performance ever delivered by an actor, so you get the idea.


I have been baking bread quite often lately but mostly savory ones – I decided to switch to sweet mode after seeing this recipe on a magazine that has been growing on me a lot lately; I am crazy for cinnamon rolls and found this raspberry twist so interesting I had to try it. And the rolls turned out delicious, very tender, irresistible. The dough, perfumed with lemon zest, is very soft, easy to work with and tastes wonderful – I bet that a number of different fillings would be used with great results.

Raspberry-swirl sweet rolls
from the delicious Food & Wine

1 cup (240ml) lukewarm whole milk
2/3 cup (133g) granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast
½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ¼ cups (595g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

One 10-ounce package IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) raspberries, not thawed
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (74g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

¾ cup (105g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ tablespoons heavy cream

Dough: pour the warm milk into the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook and stir in the sugar and yeast. Let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the softened butter, eggs, lemon zest and salt. Add the flour and beat at medium speed until a soft dough forms, about 3 minutes, then continue beating until the dough is soft and supple, about 10 minutes longer.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands 2 or 3 times. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly buttered bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.
Line the bottom of a 22x32cm (13x9in) baking pan* with parchment paper, allowing the paper to extend up the short sides. Butter the paper and sides of the pan. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll it into a 25x60cm (10x24in) rectangle.
In a medium bowl, toss the frozen raspberries with the sugar and cornstarch. Spread the raspberry filling evenly over the dough. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 60cm (24in) long log. Working quickly, cut the log into quarters. Cut each quarter into 4 slices and arrange them in the baking pan, cut sides up. Scrape any berries and juice from the work surface into the baking pan between the rolls. Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place until they are puffy and have filled the baking pan, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F**. Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes, until they are golden and the berries are bubbling. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar with the butter and heavy cream until the glaze is thick and spreadable.
Invert the rolls onto the rack and peel off the parchment paper. Invert the rolls onto a platter. Dollop glaze over each roll and spread with an offset spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* I made the exact recipe above using a 20x30cm (8x12in) baking pan

** the temperature worked out for me but apparently did not for other people, who had their rolls too dark; you might want to check the rolls earlier or bake them in a lower temperature

Makes 16

Monday, June 18, 2012

Nibby chocolate marble biscotti + my thoughts on a certain actor

Nibby chocolate marble biscotti / Biscotti marmorizado com semente de cacau

While watching “The Other Boleyn Girl” – again – a couple of days ago I felt absolutely sure about a “theory” I developed a month or so ago: to me, Eric Bana should be the one getting all the good parts that end up in Brad Pitt’s hands. Not only is the man insanely handsome and charming, he can act. He can really act. And he’s versatile. I started thinking of how wonderfully he would have played Mr. O’Brien, Lt. Aldo Raine or Benjamin Button, for that matter; how much subtlety he would have brought to those characters. It’s such a shame that star power apparently always wins over talent. That makes me sad.


Making these biscotti was not the walk in the park the previous biscotti had been – the marbling with melted chocolate was sort of a pain in the neck. But the final product was worth every second of swearing in my kitchen: the biscotti tasted delicious and looked beautiful, too. The original recipe called for 1 cup of walnuts, so feel free to use them instead if you prefer.

Nibby chocolate marble biscotti
slightly adapted from the wonderful Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets, inspired by the delicious Unforgettable Desserts

2 ¾ cups (385g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup (60g) cacao nibs
85g (3oz) dark chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar in a steady stream then beat for 2 minutes longer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat in the vanilla.
On low speed, mix in the sifted ingredients in two additions, mixing just until incorporated. With a spatula, stir in the cacao nibs.
Divide the dough in half and place half of it into a large bowl. Working one bowl at a time, drizzle spoonfuls of half the chocolate over the top of the dough, then cut through the dough with a spatula – do not overmix; you want the marble effect.
Transfer the batter to the prepared sheet, shaping it into a 30x5cm (12x2in) log. Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until logs are firm and their bottom is lightly browned. Remove from the oven, set over a wire rack to cool for 20-25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/300°F. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
With a serrated knife, slice the logs into 1.25cm (½in) slices. Place them onto prepared sheet then bake for 10 minutes each side or until golden. Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack.

Makes about 30

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Spaghetti with gorgonzola + a video worth watching

Spaghetti with gorgonzola / Espaguete com gorgonzola

I have brought you today an insanely quick pasta dish, that tastes great; I actually made it months ago just to use up some gorgonzola I had left from making this gorgeous salad and the recipe turned out to be a keeper - I did not expect less from the wonderful Stephanie Alexander.

And to make this post a little more interesting I will share a link to one of the most beautiful videos I have ever seen, which I "stole" from the always great Awards Daily.

Spaghetti with gorgonzola
slightly adapted from Stephanie Alexander's amazing cooking bible

125g gorgonzola cheese + a little extra for serving
½ cup (120ml) whole milk
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (60ml) heavy cream
400g spaghetti
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Combine the gorgonzola, milk, butter, salt and pepper in a heavy based frying pan over a gentle heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until thick and creamy. Add the cream, then raise the heat a little and cook, stirring, until sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. In the meantime, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain well and tip into the frying pan. Toss quickly, sprinkle with the parmesan and extra gorgonzola and serve.

Serves 4

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Amaretto-glazed chocolate cake

Amaretto glazed chocolate Bundt cake / Bolo de chocolate com calda de Amaretto

I love music and cannot live without it; months ago a friend of mine told me I should get Shazam on my phone – what a wonderful idea that was! Every time there was a new song I liked on the radio I’d go crazy trying to type of write down some of the lyrics to google it afterwards, but most of the time that did not work well because usually there is not enough time to do all that when you’re driving. :S

The app was how I got to this absolutely amazing song, which video blew me away: not only is it fantastic but it also reminds me of a movie I adore – I have been listening to the song nonstop for weeks now. :)


The minute I unmolded this cake onto the wire rack I thought it looked too plain, almost ordinary – perhaps I should have used a more beautifully shaped pan to bake it. But as soon as the glaze hit the cake things got a little more interesting, and the cake’s porous texture absorbed a lot of it, turning it into something special.

Amaretto-glazed chocolate cake
slightly adapted from the always marvelous Donna Hay Magazine

2/3 cup (150g) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (116g) brown sugar, packed
¾ cup sour cream*
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Amaretto
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (58g) almond meal
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (150g) all purpose flour, sifted
½ teaspoon baking powder, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking soda, sifted
pinch of salt
½ cup (45g) cocoa, sifted

Amaretto glaze:
¼ cup (23g) cocoa, sifted
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
½ cup (120ml) water
2 tablespoons Amaretto

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Generously butter an 8 cup-capacity Bundt or ring cake pan.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla.
Add to the butter mixture with the almond meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa and beat until just combined (do not over mix).
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in cake pan for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze: combine the cocoa, sugar, water and Amaretto in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then cook, stirring (mixture will bubble and might spill over) for 5 minutes or until thickened. Cool completely. Spoon the glaze over the cake (I served some on the side since it yielded more than enough to glaze the cake).

* homemade sour cream: to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until thicker (I usually leave mine on the counter overnight – except on very warm nights – and it turns out thick and silky in the following morning; refrigerate for a creamier texture)

Serves 6-8

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Beetroot risotto with goat's cheese - to celebrate Valentine's Day

Beetroot risotto with goat's cheese / Risoto de beterraba com queijo de cabra

Unlike most places in the world, Valentine’s Day is celebrated here in Brazil today, June 12th. And to celebrate it I bring you a delicious and nutritious risotto – my mom used to tell me all the time that “beets are good for you!” – easy to put together and very, very red: the color of passion. ;)

I know that goat’s cheese might sound a bit luxurious here and that not everyone likes it, but try to use it in this recipe if possible: I was blown away by how perfectly its tangy flavor compliments the sweetness of the beetroot.

Beetroot risotto with goat's cheese
from the oh, so beautiful Good Things to Eat (mine was bought here)

4 cups (960ml) vegetable stock
250g raw beetroot, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
180g Arborio rice
½ cup (120ml) dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
125g mild, soft, rindless goat’s cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Put the stock in a saucepan, bring to a simmer and add the beetroot. Keep it warm, just below simmering point.
In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic just until soft but not colored. Add the rice and stir to coat it with the oil. Add the wine and stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Now add 2 ladlefuls of stock, scooping some of the beetroot with it, and continue to cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and cook the same way. Season with salt and pepper and continue adding stock and stirring until rice is al dente. Stir in the butter and half the goats cheese, cover the pan and leave off the heat for 3 minutes. Spoon the risotto into the bowls or plates, top with the remaining goat’s cheese and a sprinkling of chives. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Super tender coconut cake with coconut icing

Super tender coconut cake with coconut icing / Bolo de coco super macio com cobertura de coco

Since you already know I'm addicted to Suzanne Collins' books you won't be surprised to know that it took me four days to read "Catching Fire" and that I've already started reading "Mockinjay", right? :)
Now I cannot wait to watch the movie, even though knowing that Francis Lawrence is going to direct it doesn't actually thrill me.

"Mockinjay" makes me feel a bit like "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" did: I want to devour the book but at the same time I wish I could slow down the reading rhythm a little because it's the last book of the trilogy.


The more I bake from Lisa Yockelson's girlie book the happier I get for having bought it: so far, each and every recipe I've tried turned out fantastic, like this coconut cake: it was so tender it was even hard to slice it. Just delicious.

Super tender coconut cake with coconut icing
slightly adapted from the beautiful and delicious Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes

2 ½ cups (300g) cake flour*
½ cup (70g) all purpose flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups + 3 tablespoons (445g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4 large eggs, separated
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup (120ml) coconut milk
½ cup (120ml) whole milk
1 ¼ cups (125g) sweetened flaked coconut
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

2 cups (280g) confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tablespoons coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter and flour a 22x32cm (13x9in) baking pan**.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter for 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the confectioners’ sugar in 3 additions, beating well after each addition, then beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, 2 at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Blend in the vanilla. On low speed, alternately add the sifted ingredients in 3 additions with the milks in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the sifted ingredients. Blend in the coconut.
In a clean, medium bowl whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until firm peaks form. Gradually fold the egg whites into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Bake until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack.
Make the icing: sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Gradually add the coconut milk, stirring, until desired consistency. Pour over the cooled cake and set aside until icing is set, about 30 minutes – since I used a pan with a removable bottom, I removed the sides of the pan before pouring the icing over the cake.

* homemade cake flour: 1 cup (140g) all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons corn starch

**I made the exact recipe above using a 20x30cm (8x12in) pan

Serves 18

Friday, June 8, 2012

Milk chocolate stracciatella ice cream

Milk chocolate stracciatella ice cream / Sorvete de chocolate ao leite e flocos

The day is cold, gray, cloudy, the rain comes and goes, and I plan to spend the afternoon under the blankets, with a bowl of popcorn and a good movie. Too bad this delicious ice cream is long gone - it was so amazing I would certainly have a bowl of it even on this chilly day. :)

Milk chocolate stracciatella ice cream
from the always amazing The Perfect Scoop

225g (8oz) milk chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups (360ml) heavy cream
1½ cups (360ml) whole milk
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
generous pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons Cognac
140g (5oz) dark chocolate, finely chopped

Combine the milk chocolate and cream in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from the saucepan and set a strainer on top.
Warm milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the hot mixture over the yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape the mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Pour the custard through the strainer onto the milk chocolate cream, add the Cognac and mix. Cool completely, stirring occasionally, over an ice bath.
Refrigerate, covered, at least 6 hours. Freeze custard in ice cream maker.
While ice cream is freezing, melt the dark chocolate in a clean metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring frequently, In the last minutes of churning, carefully pour the melted chocolate in a slow stream directly onto ice cream as it churns and continue to churn 30 seconds (chocolate will harden in streaks). Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Makes about 1 quart (950ml)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Olive oil bread + "The Hunger Games"

Olive oil bread / Pão de azeite

I asked for your thoughts on “The Hunger Games” trilogy a couple of months ago and today I want to tell you that I’m hooked on the books! By some of my readers’ suggestion I started with “The Hunger Games” even though I’d watched the movie and I really liked the book – my love for the movie got even bigger. Last night I started reading “Catching Fire” and the only reason I’ve put the book aside is because I have to work. :D Suzanne Collins has hypnotized me pretty much like Stieg Larsson did last year.

Great suggestions are always welcome and that is why I made this bread a couple of weeks ago: my dear friend Ana Elisa had told me that it was a very easy recipe that yielded delicious bread and after having a slice of it at her house I had to make it too; it was hard not to eat both loaves in a couple of hours, I’ll tell you that much. :)

Olive oil bread
from the beautiful Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes

5g dried yeast (or 14g fresh yeast)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup (240ml) lukewarm water
2 ½ cups (350g) all purpose flour, more if needed
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¾ cup chopped green olives

Put the yeast in a large bowl with the olive oil, sugar and water and mix together with a fork. Let sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy.
Add the flour and salt and mix until it comes together. Turn onto a clean surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic – I used the Kitchen Aid mixer for that.
Lightly oil the bowl and place the dough back in it, cover with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free warm place until dough doubles in volume, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Add the half the olives to each dough portion and then work the dough to form a baguette-like shaped loaf. Transfer the loaves to a large baking sheet lined with foil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F.
Bake the loaves for 30 minutes or so or until golden and the bottom of the loaves sounds hollow when you knock on it.

Makes 2 loaves

Related Posts with Thumbnails