Shamleless Plug

I'm embarking on a new part of my life that is happier and going in a direction! It's really refreshing.

I was married May 19th, 2012 to a great guy I met at the C.I.A and we're go excited to embark on a life together. He has as culinary degree to match my baking and pastry degree. It's going to be a Good life.

I hope you enjoy my thoughts on food and cooking. I am but a humble baker, who happens to love cooking and embraces the joy of food.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Marshmallows!!

So, my friends, I haven't posted in a very, very long time. This recipe request comes from a few sources. One was when I sent marshmallows to those who donated to my sister's CTF NYC Marathon. One: If you don't know what Neurofibromatosis is, please check it out on this page.
Two was when I made a comment on Reader's Digest Facebook page about how their marshmallow recipe....wasn't great. So here's the recipe! Please do not be intimidated. Have confidence! Give the marshmallows love and they will love you!
Also! Before y'all get all over me about Corn Syrup, allow me to please explain. Corn Syrup in moderation really isn't too terrible. In candy recipes such as this one, it is CRUCIAL and irreplaceable. It works on a molecular level to create the happy candy I hope you will enjoy.  It's a little difficult to explain how corn syrup works, but knowing it works on such a tiny level may make you less adverse to use it. I promise if there was a way around it, I'd tell you! :) 
I really hope you enjoy these marshmallows. I made 6 pounds of it for my sister's fundraising and while it was exhausting, it was fun and easy and I'd do it again and again! Once you make it once, feel free to play with flavors! I did coffee flavored as well as maple flavored and can't wait to play with other kinds! 
Enjoy and ALLONS-Y! 
Ingredients

3 Envelopes Knox Unflavored Gelatin 
4 oz (half cup) cold water
In a heat proof bowl sprinkle gelatin evenly over cold water. Set aside
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12 oz (1 1/2 cups) white sugar
9 oz (3/4 cup) light corn syrup
3 oz (1/4 cup) honey
4 oz (1/2 cup) water
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1 tablespoon vanilla extract
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1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Sift together and set aside

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For less of a mess, cover counter/work area with newspapers. Oil a 9x9 inch square baking dish. For thinner marshmallows, use a standard size cookie sheet. Line with wax paper and oil again. Be sure to oil well. 
Set up a stand mixer with a whip attachment. 
Combine sugar, corn syrup, honey and water in a 2-quart sauce pan. Mix well. 


Set over medium-high heat. You may stir until the mixture begins to boil. Wash down sides as needed with a wet pastry brush


When it begins to boil, use a candy or probe thermometer to cook to 250 degrees.  Do not keep stirring or you will cause your sugar mixture to crystalize. 


Pour hot syrup into a 5 qt mixer bowl. Allow to cool until a thermometer in the syrup reaches 210.
While the mixture is cooling, melt the gelatin over a hot water bath. 


When the syrup reaches 210,  add the melted gelatin and whip on highest speed for about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and whip until combined


Working quickly, remove the whip attachment and using an oiled spatula pour into well oiled baking dish. 
Allow marshmallows to rest 3 hours, but preferably overnight. 


Before cutting your marshmallows, dust both sides with the marshmallow powder
You can use very small cookie cutters for shapes, or using a pizza cutter, slice into stripes and then again into squares. 
Dredge marshmallows in the cornstarch mixture and shake excess through a sifter. 

For chocolate marshmallows, add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder in before adding vanilla.  


This great recipe is from Chocolates and Confections:At Home with the Culinary Institute of America by Chef Peter Greweling. He was truly one of my favorite chefs at school. He is so brilliant. In his book you will understand why you must use certain ingredients and why you must do certain things. You don't read a recipe, you learn WHY.  If you enjoy making candy or want to learn how, this book is an amazing way to start. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Best Pizza Dough Recipe

Yeast rasied dough can be a very daunting task for a causal or unconfident cook. What with all the rising, punching, kneading..is it worth an hour or more for fresh baked bread? The short answer is YES, but the long answer is in this post.

I came across this recipe online looking for a basic, quick pizza dough recipe. While many recipes for dough take an hour or more to prepare, this one is ready to bake in 30 minutes.
I've swapped out ingridents to turn this pizza dough into sticky buns and dinner rolls.

The base recipe is this
1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast

Combine water and yeast with a tsp sugar and let sit for ten minutes until the yeast is foamy

2.5 cups flour 
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt.
Pour yeast mixture into bowl with flour and salt, add oil and knead well, until dough is no longer sticky and easily forms into a ball. 
Let sit for 20-30 minutes, and your dough is ready. Roll into a nice pizza shape, add your toppings and bake at 425 until golden brown and delicious. To assure bottom gets well baked, I recommend putting your oven rack on the lowest rack. 
You simply cannot omit salt in yeast recipes. It has to be said it is vital in yeast raised recipes for flavor and color. I like to add garlic powder and onion powder to give the dough a little zing.

Now, if you want to make a kick ass, tender, pillowy sticky bun recipe, you omit the olive oil.

Here's what you need to add
Four tablespoons soft butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup white sugar, mixed in with the flour

Take soft butter and with your hands, mix it into the flour until it makes pea-sized crumbs.
Add the yeast mixture, then the beaten eggs and mix well. Let sit 30 minutes.  Roll into rectangle shape.
From here you can use any filling recipe you like. You can use jam, a shmear recipe, or use my favorite shmear below.

half stick soft butter
pinch cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Beat all ingridents well.

You only need a thin layer spread all across the rectangle. Roll longways, slice, and put in a cake pan that has been spread with butter. To make sticky buns, sprinkle bottom of pan with brown sugar and you can add nuts, if you like.

Bake at 375 until golden brown and perfect. 

This base dough is great. You can play with it and have generally great results. Never be afraid to experiment with dough recipes. You can make really great discoveries.