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Preview: The Official Daring Baker Non-Blogging Member Blog! 

The Official Daring Baker Non-Blogging Member Blog! 



This special Daring Baker blog chronicles all of our non-blogging member challenges. :)



Updated: 2015-09-17T02:18:55.393-04:00

 



Cheesecake!

2009-04-29T10:32:36.464-04:00

That was a really fun challenge for me. My mom was in town and we decided on making peanut butter cheescake with a chocolate swirl. Our favorite! This was a great recipe, though I suspect I overbaked them a little. They still tasted wonderful and I will certainly make this again...i'm thinking lemon next time. We made them for easter dessert, and they were a hit! We used 1/3 less fat cream cheese and i don't think it made a difference in the final product, especially since we added the peanut butter.


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(image) (image) (image) Thanks daring bakers! I'm looking forward to May :)
















FRESH SPINACH LASAGNE

2009-03-29T12:00:40.413-04:00

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.
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I was so excited to see this challenge at the beginning of the month. I am a HUGE fan of The Splendid Table and all things NPR. Also, I’ve heard only good things about the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna.
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I’ve always had making fresh pasta on a to do list in the back of my mind. I imagined rolling and cutting fresh sheets of dough and stuffing ravioli bellies with seasonal fare like pumpkin or fresh herbed goat cheese. With the time involved in the preparation, it would only be for a special occasion for certain.
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This challenge involved making a vivid spinach dough, a béchamel sauce, and a ragu. Simple ingredients layered together with parmesean cheese to form pure indulgence. Rolling and stretching the dough was not as difficult as one would imagine. (Even without a machine!). It’s very forgiving.
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I got a little creative with the drying process. I love my dish towels. It made me smile to see them slung around the dining chairs draped with the verdant lasagne sheets.
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The texture of the pasta in the finished dish was velvety smooth. Nothing compares to fresh pasta and now homemade is within my grasp. Thank you Mary, Melinda, Enza, and Lynn!

- Olivia



1 Comments

2009-03-29T00:00:20.919-04:00

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

I made some modifications in this challenge. First of all, my husband cannot eat spinach so I used butternut squash instead. I pureed the squash and added about 6 ounces to the pasta in lieu of the spinach. The color was a rich golden color, probably slightly darker than if I had added nothing at all. Fortunately, I have my old Atlas pasta machine, so the pasta rolling process was much easier than if I had rolled it out.

I made a sauce from a combination of pork and beef, since I thought the pork flavor would go especially well with the butternut pasta. This is the recipe, modified to include the pork:

Dice one large onion, 2 large carrots and 3 celery ribs. Throw into a food processor along with 4 cloves of garlic. Puree into a coarse paste. Coat a large pan with oil and heat. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Cook until the liquid in the veggies has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently.

Add about a pound and a half of ground beef and another pound or pound and a half of ground pork. Season again with lots of salt. Brown the meat (this took me about 15-20 minutes). Add 2 cups of tomato paste and brown again, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of a hearty red wine and cook until it has reduced by half.

Add water to the pan to cover the meat by about an inch. Toss in 3 bay leaves and a bundle of fresh thyme and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. As the water evaporates, add more, 2-3 cups at a time. Don’t dump in several cups of water all at once. Reduce and then add more. Stir and taste frequently and add more salt as needed. Simmer for 3 ½ to 4 hours. At the end of this time, the sauce will be meaty and not too watery. This recipe makes a lot – I froze the leftovers. (This recipe is a modification of a recipe from Anne Burrell, who has a cooking show on The Food Network).

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I made the béchamel from the challenge recipe and assembled the lasagne after the pasta had dried and cooked and cooled. It was a much more refined dish than the lasagne with which I am more familiar – the kind overloaded with ricotta and mozzarella. I think the meat sauce could have used a little more spice or heat. If I were to do it again, I’d add some red pepper flakes. Probably not traditional, but we are fans of spicy flavors!

- Bunnee



Italy~how I love thee?

2009-03-27T03:11:48.805-04:00

Let me eat the ways. I don’t know about everyone else but I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Italy this month. I hadn’t planned on taking any trips, but am thoroughly glad one came my way. The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.This was not my first time making pasta and I was very excited about using some spinach and making some beautiful noodles. My first big hurdle was the dough. (nice how I start out with a hurdle and don’t even get a chance to sprint ahead a few meters so I can leap effortless over the hurdle eh?) My dough was dry…bone dry. I had no idea how to rectify it, so I added another egg. That didn’t work…so I added….water. I know…I’m a sinner, but I had to get a dough that was kneadable not breakable. After a drizzle or two…possibly three, maybe more I had a dough that was somewhat workable. One of the things that I should have done was chop my spinach a lot finer. As I was rolling the pasta it was tearing where there were pieces of spinach a bit larger than they should have been. They were absolutely beautiful though once I got them rolled out. The Ragu was amazing! I loved the flavors but I admit I did alter the recipe. There was no veal in my Ragu as I have a personal veal policy. (yes…I am one of those) I did find it interesting that when I added the milk to the Ragu it curdled a smidge. It worked its way out after all the cooking though. I made the Bechamel right before I layered the lasagne and it was a basic but good recipe and was the easiest part of the challenge. It did make a lot and I was able to make this really great pasta bake with portabellos and chicken with it. Anyway….this dish was so beautiful~ to the eye and to the palate. My parents happened to be visiting so I had taste testers that would not feel bad about telling me the truth. After I tasted it myself I didn’t really care if they liked it or not because that would mean more for me if they didn’t. But really…how could they not like it?! It was eaten and enjoyed. - Amber[...]



Therapeutic and Delicious :)

2009-03-27T03:05:32.929-04:00

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Well, homemade lasagne, including pasta, I thought was really challanging. I'd made quick 'cheats' semolina gnochi before, but I'd been fantisising about making pasta for a while, but was not too keen without a pasta roller. I think I like the idea of making things like breads and pastas from scratch because of the drawn out process, there's a lovely piece and quiet that comes from kneeding, and rolling, and resting the dough, lovely routine, and then the visual and textural change of the dough beneath the work of your hands. Such a wonderful experience.

So, I though it would be a bit of a challange to roll out, but a great kick in the bum for me to get on and make it. I encountered a problem in the dough, as I used 2.5 50g eggs. I thought this would give me as much as the 2x60g eggs mentioned in the recipie, but I neede another egg on top of that to get the dough to bind, otherwise there would have been tones of flour left over. I am sure I had the right amount in spinach, although it was still semi frozen, so I don't know if that made the difference in consistency?
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Kneeding and rolling went well. I rolled it in a few different pieces, and got it lovely and thin and even just with the rolling pin. But when the pasta was dried, it cracked horribly. Maybe I rolled it too thin, or the extra egg made it crack? Whichever reason, when it came time to cook the dried pasta for lasagne assembly, it all fell into small pieces, meaning it was more a pasta bake than a lasagna with whole sheets. But I poured out the pasta pieces in layers with the other components anyway, and the finished product looked and tasted lovely. I'm not a big meat eater, but I wanted to go by the recipies stated, which my family liked, but my mum and I think making the dish with our usual vege layers would be nice. The layering of the bechemel on every layer, and parmesan I thought made a difference in the taste, so I'd use the layering technique again. I'll also be making the pasta again, rolling by hand sadly, on an errand free weekend soon I hope. This time I'll try making ravioli, or just straight pieces of pasta and cooking them fresh just with a sauce on top. I know it will taste so fresh and lovely.
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Thank you so much everyone for the challenge :)

- Monique



With Just a Little Spice...

2009-03-27T02:58:29.914-04:00

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

I made some modifications in this challenge. First of all, my husband cannot eat spinach so I used butternut squash instead. I pureed the squash and added about 6 ounces to the pasta in lieu of the spinach. The color was a rich golden color, probably slightly darker than if I had added nothing at all. Fortunately, I have my old Atlas pasta machine, so the pasta rolling process was much easier than if I had rolled it out.
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I made a sauce from a combination of pork and beef, since I thought the pork flavor would go especially well with the butternut pasta. This is the recipe, modified to include the pork:

Dice one large onion, 2 large carrots and 3 celery ribs. Throw into a food processor along with 4 cloves of garlic. Puree into a coarse paste. Coat a large pan with oil and heat. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Cook until the liquid in the veggies has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently.

Add about a pound and a half of ground beef and another pound or pound and a half of ground pork. Season again with lots of salt. Brown the meat (this took me about 15-20 minutes). Add 2 cups of tomato paste and brown again, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of a hearty red wine and cook until it has reduced by half.

Add water to the pan to cover the meat by about an inch. Toss in 3 bay leaves and a bundle of fresh thyme and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. As the water evaporates, add more, 2-3 cups at a time. Don’t dump in several cups of water all at once. Reduce and then add more. Stir and taste frequently and add more salt as needed. Simmer for 3 ½ to 4 hours. At the end of this time, the sauce will be meaty and not too watery. This recipe makes a lot – I froze the leftovers. (This recipe is a modification of a recipe from Anne Burrell, who has a cooking show on The Food Network).

I made the béchamel from the challenge recipe and assembled the lasagne after the pasta had dried and cooked and cooled. It was a much more refined dish than the lasagne with which I am more familiar – the kind overloaded with ricotta and mozzarella. I think the meat sauce could have used a little more spice or heat. If I were to do it again, I’d add some red pepper flakes. Probably not traditional, but we are fans of spicy flavors!

- Bunnee



Daring Baker's Lasagna

2009-03-27T02:55:42.001-04:00

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I don’t know what went wrong?! I purchased very nice products for the various parts and I followed the instructions precisely. I spent hours on this lasagna! The night before I made the lasagna pasta and let it dry for an hour or so before packing it in for the night. I have made pasta before and have a terrific manual pasta “machine” – I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to try to roll it out by hand to the desired “thinness”. The next day I spent a lot of time laboriously adding items to the meat sauce and letting it cook and reduce for the maximum time. In the end it looked good but tasted bland and had a gluey texture. What a disappointment after all that work! I even thought that perhaps it might be better the next day for leftovers. My daughter bravely ate a helping for lunch, but I couldn’t stomach it. I ended up being a “lasagna tosser” which is quite unusual because I often end up eating leftovers that no one else will so as not “to waste perfectly good food”. In the future I think I’ll stick with my tried and true lasagna that I can throw together in under an hour and tastes delicious.

- Robin



Flourless in NJ

2009-03-04T00:03:30.331-05:00

When I first saw a flourless chocolate cake I was watching the beautiful Curtis Stone on Take Home Chef. It looked delicious but I doubted that I could make it as well as he did. Well, I can! And I can't...I'll explain.
I had no problems with the recipe. Everything came together seamlessly (someone told me never to say that. Carol, are you reading this?). O.K. I take the cake out of the oven. No jigglyness in the middle, it's not burnt, it looks great. So I set it on the rack to cool. But did I wait long enough before I removed it from the pan? I'm ashamed to say "no".

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I knew better. I was treating it like a normal cake and it was fine until I flipped it over and then it fell to pieces. I should be grateful that it happened on the counter and mostly on a plate instead of on the floor.

So what do I do with these pieces? I thought and thought and thought and then it hit me - Ice Cream Cake! I ran the idea by my *genius* cooking buddy, Jessie, and she loved it too. She even suggested that I get the little crunchies to go with it (it's on my shopping list). So I broke out the largest heart-shaped cookie cutter I own and this is what I got:


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Then another idea: why not fill some heart ramekins with the same cake/ice cream formula and make single servings of ice cream cake? Done! The ice cream was a big hit (I used the second recipe) but I got mixed reactions from the cake. I think the chocolate may have been a little too intense - it was a little bitter, but I think the ice cream takes a away most of the bitterness and leaves you with a delicious dessert that looks special. The ice cream was so simple to make. I didn't use an ice cream machine, just a hand-held mixer. I whipped the ice cream every 20-30 minutes for about 3 hours and left it overnight.



(image) This has been a great challenge. Thanks, Daring Bakers!

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.




I Prefer to Think of This as an Ice Cream Challenge! :D

2009-03-02T06:55:18.283-05:00

Here we are…another month down…and another challenge done. The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge. It’s interesting to note that I have made a Danish braid, a French yule log, and some cheesecake pops. I have to admit that I was feeling pretty prideful as these recipes and challenges were not easy and yet I had succeeded. Apparently it was time to be knocked down … dragged through the mud….and then tossed over the edge of the cliff in order for me to come back down to earth. Of course my failure would have to be the recipe that has only 3 ingredients. Chocolate, butter and eggs….a.k.a. flourless chocolate cake. What could be easier or better? We were also allowed to make something to accompany the cake and of course I chose ice cream. Can you guess what flavor I made? The first five don’t count. If you guessed cinnamon ice cream…then you were right. I just can’t give it up….plus it gave my dessert a whole Mexican chocolate vibe. Nice huh? I made the ice cream first and it was amazing…maybe it was because I was up at midnight making it….I don’t know, but it was spot on! (I even went crazy and used some cinnamon vanilla coffee mate in the ice cream and it totally worked.) I decided to make the cake the next day when I would not be distracted by Mr. Sandman and his sleeping powder. So the next morning I got up and melted my chocolate…Then I beat my whites…….Then I combined the two with the yolks and stuck it in the oven and set the timer. When I took it out of the oven I had a cake that was cooked on the outside and totally not cooked on the inside. I’m talking liquid goop. It was horrible. I mean HORRIBLE. It only cooked enough at one edge to get a tiny heart cut out of it. The rest went into the trash. I was at least grateful I got the little bit out so that I could enjoy it. Then I tasted it. I think I’m the only person in the forum who hated it. It was terrible. I’m not sure what I did wrong. I had my oven calibrated recently so I can’t blame the oven. DANGIT! I can only say one more thing ~From this point forward I vow to respect all recipes no matter their content or their technique so as to gain it’s respect in return. I LOVE Daring Bakers- Amber[...]



Mmmmmm Chocolate Goodness!

2009-03-01T08:13:50.700-05:00

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The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad - Baker & Chef.

We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge

I truly enjoyed this challenge. I love anything chocolate! This was a pretty simple recipe and I was glad that my attempt at it was a success. I decided to make it for our family valentines dinner and I'm glad that I did not disappoint them.

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I decided to use Valhrona semi-sweet chocolate and the cake's chocolate intensity was perfect. Texture was good too, dense but not too dense that you end up eating just a small bite because of it's richness. I also made a raspberry coulis to complement the chocolate and the vanilla ice cream.

This recipe is a keeper for me!

- aleli



The Chocolate Continuum, or, Smells Like Chocolate Spirit

2009-03-01T01:00:44.493-05:00

Like hemlines and pop stars, chocolate has its trends. Back in the swingin’ Seventies, every fondue restaurant worth its shag carpeting served chocolate mousse for dessert. The glitzy Eighties brought us giant chocolate tortes adorned with chocolate curls, enough sugar to fuel a New Wave all-nighter. Suddenly, everyone wanted to commit suicide with chocolate as the weapon of choice. Death by chocolate desserts popped up in a desire to combine dessert and nihilism. In the Nineties, we wore flannels, discovered these strange little metal disks that held music and stopped putting flour in our chocolate cakes. The Aughts saw us scuffing around in Uggs and Juicy Sweats, gluing ourselves to the Internet and preferring our chocolate cake molten, i.e. underbaked. Where will chocolate go next? Only the gods of cocoa know for certain. But chocolate, whatever permutation it takes on the dessert menu, is forever.

The De Beers cartel would have us believe a diamond is forever, but I’d rather have chocolate. I’d look more favorably on Z. if he presented me with a box of See’s rather than some valueless rock pried from the ground to gleam uselessly on my finger. Have you ever had a See’s Candy Bordeaux crème? If you did, you’d know why a diamond is just carbon in comparison.

February means romance on demand, and that means chocolate. This month’s DB challenge had us all strap on our Timberland hiking boots, turn up the Pearl Jam and go back in time. Our Valentines would be gifted with flourless chocolate cake, plus we had to make some creamy accompaniment, preferably of the ice cream variety. To be frank, flourless chocolate cake never ranked high on my dessert dance hits. It can be dense and monodimensional. I like a little textural play in my desserts, and, often, FCC is just a wedge of gritty, unrelenting chocolate without much sense of humor. We all have relatives like that, and they usually corner us at family gatherings to grill us about tax preparation.

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But, being a DBer means setting aside my biases for the greater baking good. So I made the FCC and found it easy and, shockingly, pretty damned tasty. I added a hit of cinnamon for a tip of the hat to chocolate’s pre-Columbian beginnings, and reduced the size of the recipe so it yielded one cute little cake, perfect for Z. and I. My accompaniment was orange and cream ice cream, its flavor reminiscent of an orange and cream popsicle, but with a much more sophisticated flavor profile.

I’m not a FCC convert, just as I don’t miss my sartorial and dating choices from the Nineties. But I can still look back on all of that with some nostalgia while eating the dessert of yesteryear with my now and forever sweetheart. I’m looking forward to see what the future brings.

I remain,
Your servant, &c.
Ami



The Valentino is a Winner!

2009-03-01T00:58:49.528-05:00

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This was like eating a truffle with a fork! The recipe for the Valentino was simple and easy to prepare. Loved the consistency and deep, deep chocolate flavor. The homemade ice cream was hard as a rock, so in the future, I'll let it thaw out a bit before serving.

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Served Valentino and ice cream on white plates with powered cocoa sprinkled on the plates as an embelleshment.

This dessert was restaurant quality and worthy of my favorite house guests!

- Jan



Daring Baker February Challenge

2009-02-28T09:53:25.999-05:00

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.I was excited when I found out that this month's challenge would include none other than my very favorite ingredient in the world: CHOCOLATE!!!I had never made a flourless cake before, so I was a bit nervous, but it turns out that there was nothing at all to be nervous about. I took the advice of the hosts and bought high quality chocolate - 2 bars of bittersweet and 2 bars of semisweet. The ingredients mixed beautifully, the cake baked up and turned out fantastic - aside from being a bit dry the day after being baked. This was definitely an easy cake to make and very satisfying to see such an elegant cake coming out of my oven. I probably made it in too large of a pan as it was a little on the thin side - next time I will try and bake it in a pan with a smaller diameter so that the final product will be thicker, fudgier slices.I was super excited about making my own ice cream, so much so that I went ahead and bought a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker from Amazon. I made a batch of Vanilla Ice Cream and a batch of Cheesecake Ice Cream (both from Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz) to go with my Valentino cake. The vanilla ice cream was the best ice cream I think I've ever had! I vaguely remember making our own ice cream as kids in our old manual ice cream maker with the crank handle that we had to take turns cranking. However, I don't remember it being this delcious - definitely worth all the cranking, but even better since my new ice cream maker is automatic! I am now thrilled with the endless possibilities of the ice creams I can make myself at home, and I doubt that I'll be buying store-bought ice cream anytime soon - too many artificial ingredients and only mediocre compared to homemade.I shared the Valentino cake and homemade ice creams with my family, all of whom enjoyed it very much. It was a little on the bitter side (I used 8 oz. bittersweet and 8 oz. semisweet), so I may try making this again sometime and playing with the proportions of chocolates to try and get a more sweet but still intense cake. I might also try cooking it a little less since it did end up drying out the day after it was baked.Overall, I greatly enjoyed this challenge and will definitely make the cake again! Thanks for the challenge, Wendy & Dharm!-Tricia[...]



Daring Bakers Challenge - February 2009: Chocolate Valentino

2009-03-01T22:18:50.432-05:00

So, this being my first Daring Baker’s Challenge I anxiously awaited the recipe and was super excited when it was posted. The recipe was not for something I’d made before, but looked fairly simple. The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.February’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan.So, I chose to use Lindt Milk Chocolate for the chocolate. They had said that the cake would come out tasting pretty much exactly like the chocolate you used, and since I like my treats sweet I thought this would be a good choice. (Not to mention I asked for some suggestions from a chef...is that cheating?) First step: Melt the chocolate with the butter. I’m always a bit nervous when working with chocolate. I have a tendency to have it seize up on me or just become wrong. Luckily, it worked out great this time. Maybe my friend “butter” helped me along this time.Before AfterSecond step: Add the egg yolks. Other than a minor mishap when separating the eggs, this part was fairly simple. Third step: Whip the egg whites, fold into mixture. So this is the step that had me the most worried (once my chocolate was done!). I’m not super confident that I knew what stiff peaks really meant. We got a warning that if we over did the eggs that the cake would be dry….certainly didn’t want that! I think I did ok with this step, my cake was anything but dry…maybe even too moist, so I maybe should have gone a bit further with the eggs. Folding the egg whites in I accidentally didn’t fold, but beat in the first third…this could have also compromised the finished product a bit (ahh, the joy of learning new things!). Ready to Mix! FoldedFourth step: Bake! This is the easy part, letting the oven do its thing. The cake did fall a bit after it cooled. But I trudged on into the ice cream portion of the challenge. BeforeAfterNow, those that know me, know that I’m not afraid of making ice cream. My vanilla and chocolate have been requested treats during the summer months. So, I wanted to actually challenge myself a bit and try a new ice cream recipe. I love the flavor combinations of peanut butter with chocolate and chocolate with mint…so I couldn’t decide what to make. I ended up making both: Thin Mint Ice Cream and Peanut Butter Ice Cream. I realize now that I’m a fan of custard based ice creams versus these milk based (Philly-style?) ice creams. Challenge was a success…I learned something! To plate the finished products I broke out my fine china and used a cookie cutter to cut the cake. You can see in the photo that the cake was still a bit ooey-gooey. It tasted wonderful. Since I have to be careful with my sugars I didn’t eat too much, but it got raves at the office the next day…and I didn’t bring any home. Overall, I loved this recipe, had a great time with the challenge and am anxiously awaiting the March challenge! Below are the finished products and recipes:Chocolate Valentino with Peanut Butter Ice CreamChocolate Valentino with Thin Mint Ice CreamRecipes:Chocolate ValentinoPreparation Time: 20 minutes16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter5 large eggs separated1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.2. W[...]



Fun with My Niece and the Chocolate Valentino!

2009-02-28T08:01:13.498-05:00

The recipe was quite easy to make. Of course my niece was impatient as any 15 year would be. She wanted to eat it right out of the oven. I baked the cake for 18 minutes in a 9" springform pan. I had frozen strawberries in the freezer. I asked her if she wanted a sauce to top the cake, but she said no. Since I didn't plan on eating the cake, I didn't make a sauce. This was a great bonding experience. I taught my niece how to melt chocolate over a water bath and how to bring egg whites to a stiff peak. I made her separate the eggs...This was fun but it really grossed her out. We separated them cold so her hands were covered in super cold slime. I am hoping to have her help me every month. The cake felt jiggly coming out of the oven. I could find my instant read thermometer, so I used my candy thermometer. The temperature registered somewhere between 135-145F. The candy thermometer doesn't give a good gauge on lower temperatures. The cake eventually settled. I wish the cake was a little firmer in the center. It did fall a little. The outer crust looked quite nice. I almost forgot to mention that I used Guittard 61% semi sweet chocolate. The plan was to not eat any cake. Then I decided to use the "Three bite rule". Well the three bites turned into six+ bites. So here are my thoughts based on the bites that I did have. I think that I should have mixed the semi-sweet with some darker chocolate... For me, the taste was quite weak. After the fact, DH and my niece both told me that the cake definitely needed a fruit sauce (raspberry or strawberry), ie. something tart. I agree. We all agree that ice cream would have been overkill.I served DH's and my niece's pieces (plus my sliver) right out of the springform so you can see the fallen cake. I eventually flipped the cake over so that I could add powdered sugar and cinnamon to the top. I think that I overdid it with the powdered sugar (see photo). I took the rest of the cake to my grandmother's house since she will have guests tomorrow. I made it very clear to my diabetic grandparents not eat the cake because of the amount of sugar in it. I don't think that I would make this cake again. I have made other flourless cakes that I have liked better. I think that my taste buds are really changing so I don't know if I am giving this cake a fair shake. Until today, I have not had any "bad" carbs (fruit, more than 100 calories a day of "good" natural sweetners, bread, etc) in over a month. I thought that the cake had a weird aftertaste. This is common for South Beach Diet. The last time that I was on it, orange juice really grossed me out. I asked DH and my niece about the aftertaste and they thought that I was crazy. Oh well, I know that I used good quality products so the issue must be me. In the future, I hope that I have the will power to not eat as much as I did this month. I am working with my primary care physician and endocronologist to bring down my insulin. As always, thank you for the opportunity to participate in another wonderful challenge. Cheers, - Angelique[...]



February 2009 Daring Baker Challenge – Flourless Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream

2009-02-28T07:56:20.122-05:00

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

I made the cake with 70% bittersweet chocolate, following the recipe but adding just a little Grand Marnier for additional flavor. I used a heart-shaped cake pan.

The cake turned out fine, although I’m not sure this is a recipe I would use again. It seemed to be a bit crumbly and was difficult to cut. Perhaps I baked it a little too long? It was in the oven fewer than 25 minutes but the instant thermometer read somewhat over 140 degrees.

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The ice cream was a basic vanilla custard with lots of vanilla bean flavor. It was not too sweet (only ½ cup sugar for 2 ½ cups of milk and cream and four egg yolks), which is fine with me, and was a good complement to the chocolate cake, cutting some of the richness of the bittersweet chocolate.

I decorated the cake with several scoops of ice cream and some mandarin orange sections which I poached in butter and caramel and Grand Marnier. Tactical error – the oranges were warm when I placed them on the scoops of ice cream, so there was some melting going on while we were taking the pictures!

We served the cake and ice cream to guests and the plates were scraped clean, so I think the combination was a success.

- Bunnee



Chocolate Valentino and Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

2009-02-28T07:54:00.065-05:00

One word – YUM!

The chocolate valentino and homemade ice cream was just the ticket for this months challenge. It has been a busy and demanding month for me as I have returned to school full-time and so this challenge was very satisfying in that it was delicious AND simple.

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I made the chocolate valentino with Trader Joe’s unsalted butter and a mixture of their fair-trade swiss (3/4) and bittersweet chocolate (1/4). I tried to tone down the bittersweet chocolate as I have sometimes been accused of making my chocolate treats too “chocolaty” (I don’t understand what that is?). It was very good and turned out perfectly – however, I still could have been very happy with a higher ratio of bittersweet chocolate!

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The kids and I pulled out our 1970’s era electric ice cream maker and found out that it still works – very well thank you. We made the simpler of the two ice cream recipes and have all deemed it worthy of being made again. All of the chocolate valentino was gone within 24 hours – delicious!

- Rachel V



Happy With My First Chocolate Valentino!

2009-02-28T07:49:59.833-05:00

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This is my first challenge as a DB. Although the pictures are not very good, I'm really happy with the outcome of my challenge.
For the Valentino cake, I used 60% bitter chocolate and 40% milk chocolate for fear that it was too bitter. The result was surprising, and went well with the Philadelphia style ice cream that I made my way, and whipped cream with a pinch of sugar.

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I look forward to the next challenge, and do not discard doing the past ones.
Thanks to Wendy and Dharma for the excellent recipes.

XOXO
- Rosa



A Fun and Filling First Challenge!

2009-02-28T07:47:26.457-05:00

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This challenge was a lot of fun (Yay my first one!!!) for the cake I used Lindt half dark and half milk chocolate and loved the idea of making your own ice cream by hand it came out creamy and wonderful with a bit of babysitting of course ;)

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I used David Lebovitz method and his Vanilla ice cream recipe. When my ice cream was almost frozen I put it into a cookie cutter and when it was time I took it out and ran my finger on the edge to warm it out and it popped out beautifully.

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I just pureed strawberries for on top but oddly it photographed sort of like Ketchup hmmm. I think this cake has filled my chocometer and that is not easy!

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- Andrea



Awww Sweet Revenge, December Yule Log! :D

2009-02-28T07:40:27.363-05:00

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This was a really fun one- boy, have I always wanted to make my own ice cream- and the flourless chocolate cake was lovely. What a perfect dessert for Valentine's day- everyone loved it.

It redeemed the experience SUFFERED in December with the Yulelog...

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- Katie L



A Heart For Her Sweetheart :)

2009-02-28T07:37:14.300-05:00

A Valentine for the boyfriend who is currently working 800km away. So the ice cream part would be a bit tricky.

I decided to make 1/3 more of the batter, send a heart shaped cake to the boyfriend and bake some small rose shaped muffins for us to go with the ice cream. For the batter I used 33% milk chocolate and 85% dark cocolate. As for the ice cream, I made some banana ice cream. The recipe came with the ice cream maker.

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The rose shaped muffins did bake quite a bit shorter. And we ate them with the banana ice cream as soon as they cooled down. They tasted great, just like fluffy chocolate and went well with the creamy ice cream.

They were so great that I forgot to take some pictures till it was too late and all little choclate roses and banana ice cream were gone. So there are only pictures from the heart shaped cake I sent to my boyfriend.

- bana



Chocolate Valentino and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sandwich

2009-02-28T07:35:16.940-05:00

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

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This flourless chocolate cake went together like a breeze. I selected a newly available chocolate, El Rey Apamate, from my favorite local wine and cheese shop. It’s an unrefined bar made on the coast of central Venezuela (an area prized for its cacao quality) that boasts a 73.5% cacao content. YUM! Extra bitter, rich and intense—the flavor really came through in the cake.

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My flavor choice for ice cream, dulce de leche, was inspired by a certain loved one with an intense passion for caramel. I like to make heart-shaped ice cream sandwiches for dessert around this time of year. It was a natural progression to pair the two challenge components into a decadent and festive frozen treat.

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Here’s the ice cream recipe…it’s too good not to share.

Enjoy!

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

ADAPTED FROM MARIANA CRESPO TIENDA DEL ENCUENTRO, BUENOS AIRES

• 2 cups whole milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 lb dulce de leche (about 1 2/3 cups; preferably La Salamandra brand)
• 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup chopped pecans (2 1/2 to 3 oz), toasted

Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then remove from heat and whisk in dulce de leche until dissolved. Whisk in vanilla and transfer to a metal bowl. Quick-chill by putting bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stirring occasionally until cold, 15 to 20 minutes.

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker until almost firm, then fold in pecans.

Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 1 hour.

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

- Olivia



Chocolate and Flax.. A Winning Combination!

2009-02-28T07:30:37.360-05:00

I decided to take the vegan recipe for flourless cake and alter it slightly. I used flax seed as an egg replacer which gave the cake a more nutty texture but really helped hold it together in the absence of any other binders. I also had to make the recipe sweeter to counteract the strong taste from the flax. This took a few attempts!!

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For the ice cream, again, I used flax and it really gave it that smooth texture. Rather than being all icy. I made a black cherry jam flavour. It complimented the chocolate VERY well. This challenege has also caused the explosion of a few experiments with other flourless things with flax and other binders. Really enjoyed this one.

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Woo!

- Rachel C



It ain't pretty...

2009-02-04T00:46:02.532-05:00

But it does taste good:-)

When I first saw the challenge I had the brilliant idea of making tuile butterflies that I would use to decorate cupcakes...but that didn't happen. I still think it was a great idea but I decided to go the easy route this time. I just freeformed the tuiles and let them harden (well, it was still kind of warm when I ate one) over some glasses to make an edible ice cream bowl - VOILA! It turned out wonderfully, even if all of them aren't as pretty as I would have hoped.

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As you can see they are a little brown. I didn't burn them...I just didn't read the recipe correctly and thought that I was supposed to add the cocoa powder into the batter. No harm done. It's delicious with cherry vanilla ice cream.(image)

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.




January Challenge - Tuiles

2009-01-31T06:45:01.249-05:00

I made the original sweet Tulies, luckily I had been given some vanilla sugar over xmas, so I could even add that. It was all pretty straight forward, and I loved the way they browned on the outside, and were so lovely, crisp and caramelized. Although I didn't think this was right at first, and had a few that were underdone, and a bit floppy and rubbery.

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I had trouble keeping my family away from them long enough to make something to accompany them. I got round to making some fruit moose, the same recipie from the Yule log last month, using some squish looking nectarines and the frozen egg whites we always seem to keep in supply in the freezer. It was a great way to avoid wasting the egg yolks from the recipie as well. My family loved the Tulies and the moose, and were definately harping on at me for the recipie of the Tulies to make more, which I have to say I liked and will do, when I can find the time to roll them up all pretty in shape :)

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Thanks for the recipie, can't wait for the next.

- Moni-Q