Swedish Gingerbread

While my memory serves me, and before winter expires, I’m chronicling some of the more memorable holiday baking I did. Hopefully this will make next year easier, unless I decide to reinvent the wheel, like usual.

We did a couple of things this Christmas to celebrate my family’s Swedish ancestry, including a family gathering that spotlighted Swedish Christmas food. I had clipped this recipe from a Saveur magazine years ago, but hadn’t yet made it, so it was finally time. There were a lot of desserts at the gathering (that’s how we celebrate!) so I was surprised to see that so many of these delightful cookies had been eaten. I worried that the amount of cloves would deter the kids, but quite the opposite: it made them distinctive and delightful. I can’t wait to make them again. A new Christmas favorite! Saveur reports getting this recipe from an 80-year-old bakery in Stockholm called Vete-Katten. Worth a visit!

swedish gingerbread saveur

Swedish Gingerbread Cookies

34 c. flour
3 t. ground cloves
12 t. ground cinnamon
12 t. ground ginger
14 t. baking soda
11 T. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
12 c. golden syrup or dark corn syrup
12 c. heavy cream
2 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1 egg white, lightly beaten

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and baking soda; set aside. In another large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and golden syrup using a handheld mixer set to medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, 1–2 minutes. Add the reserved spice mixture and the heavy cream in 3 alternating batches, beginning and ending with the spice mixture, until the dough just combines. Transfer dough to a work surface, divide in half, and shape each half into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour. (Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, and in fact, we still rolled some out 5 days later, and they were great.)
  2. Heat oven to 350°. Unwrap 1 disk of dough and place on a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 1⁄8″ thickness. Cut out cookies using the cookie cutters of your choice and place cookies 2″ apart on parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, rerolling scraps. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until browned and set, about 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
  3. To make an icing, if you like, whisk confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and egg white in a medium bowl until smooth. Transfer icing to a resealable plastic bag (or a pastry bag). Snip off a bottom corner of the bag and pipe icing onto cookies in a decorative pattern.
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Coconut & Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pistachio Chocolate ChipI picked up a cookbook recently called Sugar & Spice (by Sarah Seneviratne), thinking it would have ideas right up my alley, and though I haven’t found myself in it very often, I was so happy to try this amazing recipe. The author calls this her “go-to” chocolate chip, rather than selling it as a riff on the classic. When I tried it, I thought, “yeah, this could be a new ‘go-to’ but it also is so unique!” So, I’ve renamed them to reveal a little more of what they bring to the table. Even so, my name also doesn’t give them full disclosure, because it doesn’t incorporate how much the vanilla shines through and carries the flavors together. This might be my favorite part! 

In terms of the kid factors, everyone but my littlest (who is only vanilla, all the time) loved them. That is high marks, especially because pistachios aren’t really everyday around here. So, if you’re in the process of expanding your chocolate chip recipe repertoire, here’s yet another for your basket, and it really is a keeper. 

Coconut & Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 c. (4 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. melted virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70 percent cacao), chopped (about 1 c.)
  • 2 1/2 oz. (1/2 c.) shelled raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c. (3 oz.) shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional but I chose without)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until creamy. Stir in the vanilla and egg. Add the flour mixture to the coconut oil mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate, pistachios, and coconut.
  3. Scoop the dough in 2-tablespoon scoops and place on the prepared baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each cookie with a bit of sea salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the sheets on racks for about 5 minutes.

 

Lemon and Blueberry Teacakes

 

Lemon and Blueberry Teacakes

I was so excited to buy Ottolenghi’s new baking book, Sweet, in late fall, but have found myself so busy that I haven’t baked from it yet. Recently, though, when I was looking for a good springtime treat to share with friends, I came upon this recipe from that book. It looked terrific, and it tasted even better. I even got rave reviews from the piano movers who happened to be at our house when the cakes came out of the oven.  And since many of house in my house are lemon lovers, I’m sure I’ll use it frequently. (Note: I usually buy almond flour at Costco these days, if you are looking for an affordable and easy option.)

Lemon Blueberry Teacakes

Makes about 12 cupcakes

3/4 c. + 1 1/2 T. (190 g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1/4 c. + 1 T. (45g) all-purpose flour
2 c. (190g) ground almonds
3/4 c. +  3 1/2 T. (190g) sugar
4 eggs
1/4 c. (60 ml) lemon juice
finely grated zest of one lemon
1/4 t. salt (the original amount is 1/8)
1/4 t. baking powder
2/3 c. (100g) blueberries

Glaze:
a few squeezes of lemon juice
freshly grated lemon zest of one lemon (my addition)
1 1/3 c. (160g) icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180°). Grease all 12 molds of a regular muffin pan with butter and dust lightly but thoroughly with flour. Tap away any excess and set aside.

Place the butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on medium-high speed until light, then add the eggs and almond meal in three or four alternating batches. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, then add this to the mixer and turn the speed to low. Finally, add the lemon juice and eat until combined. Spoon the mixture into the molds and divide the 2/3 c. blueberries between the cakes: push them down slightly so that they sink into the batter. The reason we do this is to ensure that each cake gets an equal number of berries.

 

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes before tapping them out gently onto a cooling rack so that they are sitting upside down. Cool completely.

To make the icing: combine the confectioners’ sugar and zest and juice in a bowl and stir until it has a thick pouring consistency. Spoon the icing over the cakes and dot the remaining blueberries in the center (or strawberries!). Serve.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Brown Butter

If you’ve had a rice krispie treat that tastes different, and significantly better, than the ones that are typical, I bet that this is recipe that you’ve tried. This is the kind of rice krispie treat that gets accused of being laced with some other type of illegal substance, because it’s so addicting and so good. And since I’m already perhaps one of the biggest fans of these crazy simple, crazy good desserts, I’m an even bigger fan of these. So, for all my Texan cousins out there, here you go! I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. The recipe comes from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook, one of my favorite baking books out there. Also, when I’m making these for a large crowd, I double the recipe and put them in a half-sheet tray, which is 18″ by 13″.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 vanilla bean [watch for these at Costco during the holidays, or buy at Amazon]
  • 2 10-oz bags marshmallows
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 9 cups crispy rice cereal (I actually use a little more than this, maybe 1/2 to 1 cup more)

Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray [I line it with aluminum foil and then spray the aluminum foil so I don’t have to wash the pan and I can lift them out easier].

Add the butter to a large saucepan set over low heat [I set it at medium-low]. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan with the butter. The butter will melt then begin to bubble and foam [it will sound like people applauding for a little while, and then it will stop. Once the noise has stopped, swirl the pan and watch carefully]. Eventually it will start to turn brown and smell nutty – be patient and watch carefully, it can go from brown to burned quickly.

Once the butter is browned, add all of the marshmallows and the salt. Stir the mixture constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted. Turn off the heat under the pan and add the cereal. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to coat the cereal evenly with the buttery, marshmallow liquid. Spread the mixture in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Let cool for at least an hour before cutting and serving. You can store the treats in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.

Chocolate & Cream Yule Log

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The Christmas and New Year Season has died down, the kids and my husband and I are all back in school, and I’m finally getting a moment to record the fun baking we did at Christmas this year. My favorite part: the Buche de Noel. This Christmas cake is a tradition my dad brought home with him from France, and he’s usually the one who bakes it each year, but I was excited that he let me make it this year.

I found this recipe in one of the funnest baking books I own, called Baked. I will include their directions, though I changed them a bit. I’m not as big of a fan of malted milk balls as they are, so I substituted chestnut paste  (which is a more traditional French flavor) and I also made it into the more traditional log instead of a stump. Otherwise, I was super happy with how it turned out. Hope it goes this well again next year!

Chocolate & Cream Yule Log

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1/4 cup of hot water (I would cut this down to 1 T. next time. I thought it was the dominant flavor as is)
  • 1 dozen large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Malted Buttercream and Dark Chocolate Buttercream
  • Meringue mushrooms, candied cranberries and candied rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional; see Note)

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter two 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheets and line them with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all of the short sides. Butter the paper and dust with flour.

In a small bowl, whisk the 1 cup of flour with the cocoa and salt. In another small bowl, combine the chocolate and espresso. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, combine the egg yolks with 2/3 cup of the sugar. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk and beat at high speed until the yolks are pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate mixture along with the vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl.

Thoroughly wash and dry the mixer bowl and the whisk. Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar on moderately high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar and continue beating at high speed until the whites are glossy, about 2 minutes longer. Whisk one-fourth of the egg whites into the cake batter, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain.

In a small bowl, whisk the melted butter with 1/2 cup of the batter; fold this mixture into the batter. Working in 2 batches, sift the cocoa powder mixture over the batter and gently fold it in. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading it out to fill the pans. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the cake feels springy and dry; shift the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer the pans to racks to cool completely. Run the tip of a knife around the edges, cover with parchment paper and a baking sheet and invert; peel off the parchment on top.

Spread the Malted Buttercream over the cakes. Using a ruler, cut each cake precisely in half lengthwise, cutting through the paper; you should have four 6-by-17-inch strips of cake. Roll one strip into a tight coil, leaving the paper behind. Roll the 3 remaining cake strips around the coil in the same way to form a very wide, short jelly roll. Set the cake on a large plate, spiraled end up. Frost the outside of the cake with the Dark Chocolate Buttercream. Refrigerate until set, at least 8 hours. Decorate the cake with meringue mushrooms, cranberries and rosemary sprigs and serve, cutting the cake into wedges or horizontal slices.

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Chocolate & Malted Buttercream

  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup malt powder, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water
  • 12 malted milk balls, crushed (I used chestnut paste instead. Or, I think I would just use vanilla bean paste)

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are just warm to the touch. Return the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk. Add the vanilla and beat the egg whites at high speed until firm and glossy, about 5 minutes. With the machine on, whisk in the butter a few tablespoons at a time. If the mixture begins to look curdled, continue to beat until smooth before adding more butter. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the buttercream to a bowl and whisk in the melted chocolate. Beat the dissolved malt powder into the remaining buttercream, then beat in the milk balls.

 

Nibby Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nibby Chocolate Chips

Have I mentioned that I like to try new recipes? Even if I have four chocolate chip cookies that are my favorite? (If you’re interested in the lineup, this includes an old  ATKs, and Josey Baker’s, which is so amazing, and the 100% whole wheat from Good to the Grain, and King Arthur’s one with a little bit of oatmeal, making it awesomely chewy.) Well, since I got a new little baking book, Bake Good Things, I had to try it’s chocolate chip cookie, because it’s new. And, I like new, because it either reaffirms that I do indeed already have the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, or it adds something that the other recipes don’t quite have. This recipe, for example, is extremely loaded with chocolate, and it is much crisper than the other recipes I love. But I switched things a bit by   replacing some of the chips with cocoa nibs, to see if it changed the chocolate flavor in an interesting way, as well as give it a little crunch. Yes on both.  So, if you also want to try something new with your chocolate chip cookie, here’s a good one! 

Nibby Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (15 oz./470 g) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup cocoa nibs (can substitute for chocolate chips, or buy them quite easily on Amazon!)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix on low speed until blended. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the chocolate chips and nibs.

Using a small ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the dough mounds 2 inches (5 cm) apart. (For crisper cookies, drop by teaspoonful.)

Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned and the tops feel firm when lightly touched, 10-13 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 30 cookies.

NIbby Chocolate Chips 2

Summer Lime Cake

 

Zucchini and Lime Cake
This was such an unusual sounding cake, I had to try it. I expected a flavor totally different than what came out. Essentially, this cake is just a really moist cake with a terrific lime frosting on top. In fact, my father-in-law asked if it was a “key-lime cake,” and then had another slice, and my twelve-year-old (who was complaining that if I made a zucchini cake, no kids would it eat) ate four slices. So, I think if you’re not really into zucchini, you’re still likely to enjoy this cake! I’ve made it twice in the last week, which says a little bit about how well zucchini are growing around here. This recipe comes from Three Sisters Bake, an enchanting cookbook by these Scottish sisters that is a delight to read and look at. I’ve adjusted the measurements for US, but included the original ones as well. I’ve also adapted the baking powder for better results at high temperature (if you’re at sea level, you may want to take it down a teaspoon).

Summer Lime Cake
For the cake:

  • 1/2 c. (135ml) sunflower oil
  • 4/5 c. (200g) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 c. (300g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. (335g) zucchini, finely grated
  • grated zest of 2 limes

For the icing:

  • 3/4 c. (200g) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c. (100g) icing sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lime
  • juice from 2-3 limes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (160C, gas 2). Line the base and sides of an 8-in. springform cake pan with parchment paper.

Beat the oil, sugar and eggs together in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt and fold into the mixture. Fold in the grated zucchini and lime zest.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool a little in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack.

To make the icing, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together until smooth. Add the lime zest and juice and beat another 2-3 minutes on high to get really light and fluffy.

Once cool, top the cake with the icing by running a spatula or palate knife back and forth over the cake creating deep grooves to give a nice textural look.

Zucchini and Lime Cake 2

If you look closely, you can see my cream cheese wasn’t at room temperature for this one. Whoops!

 

 

Bright Triple Berry Pie

Triple Berry Pie

My daughter Lucy sat and read the whole pie section of America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook on Saturday in order to pick which pie we should make for fireworks that night (in addition to the already decided key lime pie), and we both settled on this one. I thought it sounded fine, good even, but when we sat to eat it, I was way more excited by the flavor than I thought I would be. This pie is better than all the parts, and a really nice alternative to all the cream pies, which I have a soft spot for, but can be a little too rich after a big grill. So, this is an easy, bright alternative that is a delicious pie, and actually flew off the table faster than the key lime. How did that happen?! Happy Fourth!

Bright Triple Berry Pie

Graham Cracker Crust
9 graham crackers, broken into rough pieces
2 T sugar
5 T unsalted butter, melted and warm

 

Berry Filling

2 c raspberries (about 9 ounces) (I used strawberries, which were great!)
2 c blackberries (about 11 ounces)
2 c blueberries (about 10 ounces)
1⁄2 c granulated sugar (3 ½ ounces)
3 T cornstarch
1⁄8 t salt
1 T lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 T red currant jelly

 

Whipped Cream

1 c cold heavy cream
1 T sugar
1 t vanilla extract

For the crust: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a food processor, process the graham crackers until evenly fine, about 30 seconds (you should have 1 cup crumbs). Add the sugar and pulse to combine. Continue to pulse while adding the warm melted butter in a steady stream; pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand and then transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch glass pie plate. Using a ½-cup dry measuring cup, press the crumb mixture into the plate.

Bake the crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 15 to 18 minutes; transfer to a wire rack and cool completely while making the filling.

For the filling: Combine the berries in a large colander and gently rinse (taking care not to bruise them); spread the berries on a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels and gently pat dry with additional paper towels.

In a food processor, puree 2 ½ cups mixed berries until smooth and fully pureed, about 1 minute. Strain the puree through a mesh strainer into a small nonreactive saucepan, scraping and pressing on the seeds to extract as much puree as possible (you should have 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups).

Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl to combine, then whisk the mixture into the puree. Bring the puree to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon; when the mixture reaches a boil and is thickened to the consistency of pudding, remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and set aside to cool slightly.

While the puree is cooling, place the remaining berries in a medium bowl.

Heat the jelly in a second small saucepan over low heat until fully melted.Drizzle the melted jelly over the berries and toss gently with a rubber spatula to coat. Pour the slightly cooled puree into the cooled pie shell and smooth the top with a spatula. Distribute the glazed berries evenly over the puree and gently press them into the puree.

Loosely cover the pie with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled and the puree has set, about 3 hours or up to 1 day.

For the whipped cream: Just before serving, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium; continue beating until the beaters leave a trail, about 30 seconds longer.

Increase the speed to high; continue beating until the cream is smooth, thick, nearly doubled in volume, and forms soft peaks, about 30 to 60 seconds.

Cut the pie into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

Triple Berry Pie 2

Buttery Blueberry Crumb Cake

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Smitten Kitchen is a wonderful blog, and although I’ve spent a little time exploring it, I’ve spent much more time looking at Deb Perelman’s cookbook of the same name, which has such terrific ideas and spins on tastes and flavors. Very inspirational. And of course, I’m right on board with her when it comes to baking. This is one of my favorite bakes from this cookbook. I made it last weekend for my sister’s baby blessing, and am happy to share the recipe here for those who were wanting it! Such a simple cake, but just delicious, and perfect for brunches or breakfast or dessert. Interestingly, this is not the same recipe that is on her blog! 

Buttery Blueberry Crumb Cake

Streusel
6 tablespoons (40 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold is fine
Pinch of salt

Cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries, clean and dry
1/3 cup sour cream

Heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 8-inch square baking pan (with at least 2″ sides) and dust it lightly with flour, or line it with a round of parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt until combined, and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Add eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and the zest and beat until combined. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture until just combined, followed by all of the sour cream; repeat with another 1/3 of the flour, mix, and then combine the blueberries with the remaining flour mixture and fold this blueberry-flour mixture gently into the batter.

Pour cake batter into prepared pan and smooth so that it is relatively flat. Prepare the streusel by mixing the flour, cornmeal, sugar, cinnamon and salt, then mash in the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle the cake with the prepared streusel. Bake in heated oven for 40(ish) minutes (mine has taken 50 minutes, but the original recipe suggested 35), or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out batter-free. You can let the cake cool completely in the pan on a rack, or just cool it in the pan for 20 minutes before flipping it out onto a cooling rack, removing the parchment paper lining, and flipping it back onto a plate. Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Sorbet & Pizzelles

Chocolate Sorbet 1

A couple of summers ago, my husband had business that took him to Lisbon, Portugal for about a month. I joined him for the last week of his travel, which put me there with the heat of summer. There weren’t many places with air conditioning, including the apartment we were staying in, and after walking up and down the hills of the city all day, we frequently stopped to get ice cream or cold drinks. Luckily, someone had recommended that we stop into a chocolate shop called Claudio Corallo (though I think the name has since changed). The first day we went in, we just ordered some of their handcrafted chocolate when the woman working there asked if we had had their chocolate sorbet. It wasn’t listed on the menu, so we of course didn’t know anything about it, but she brought us out two scoops.

It was made from their own cocoa (not available in the U.S. but sometimes a friend will bring us a bar–such kindness!) and had the most incredibly smooth texture, even though she told us it was just chocolate–no cream or dairy. Well, the other day I came across this recipe, and it seemed possible that it could be similar to the chocolate sorbet at Corallo’s. I’m sad to say it probably wouldn’t win a competition with Corallo, but I’m happy to say that with a little Caillebaut chocolate and dutch cocoa, I came pretty close. This recipe comes from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook.  I served it in a pizzelle, which I added orange zest to, as a compliment to the chocolate, and then I shaped it into a cup in a large muffin tin, rather than a cone. Aah, summer. Wish I was heading back to Lisbon soon!

Chocolate Sorbet 2

 

Bittersweet Chocolate Sorbet

1 cup (200 grams) sugar
3 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup (90 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
4 ounces (114 grams) bittersweet chocolate (60-70 % cacao), finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Put the sugar in the bottom of a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup (120 grams) of the water and gently swirl the pan to moisten the sugar. Place the pan over high heat and leave it undisturbed until the contents come to a rolling boil. Then continue to boil rapidly without moving the pan until the sugar syrup starts to caramelize. This will take 3-4 minutes: the sugar syrup will boil furiously, then as it thickens it will boil more languidly, and then you will see some of the syrup start to color and darken around the edge of the pan.

When you see color in the pan, gently swirl it in a circular motion so the sugar caramelizes evenly, and then keep swirling gently until the caramel is a medium golden brown. Turn down the heat to low and slowly and carefully add the remaining 3 cups (720 grams) water. Be careful, because it will sputter and spatter when it hits the caramel. The caramel will harden at the bottom of the pan; turn up the heat to high, bring the mixture back to a boil, and whisk for a few minutes until the caramel fully dissolves. Then whisk in the cocoa powder until fully dissolved.

Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the hot caramelized liquid over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute, then whisk gently until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a container, and whisk in the vanilla and salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until cold.

Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Sorbet can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week.

Chocolate Sorbet 3