Category Archives: Recipes

Thick Chocolate Love

“She loves Nutella.” Google: Nutella cake. Nigella Lawson recipe. Done.

Nutella is like the magic spread. It’s good on Wonder bread. It’s better on a baguette. And it’s the best baked into a cake with chocolate and ground hazelnuts, topped with chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. I wanted to celebrate the engagement of my friend Nikki with a cake that celebrates all that is gooey and decadent and chocolate-hazelnut-spread.

I found this recipe on one of my absolute favorite kitchen blogs, TheKitchn. This is not your mom’s Betty Crocker box cake. It is flourless, it has six eggs, and it’s laden with melted chocolate and nuts. Melted chocolate + 6 eggs – flour = dense brownie like mass of deliciousness personified. I was never good at calculus, but that’s math I can do.

On the menu: Nutella Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache
Adapted from Nigella Lawson, very slightly adapted from The Painted Peach

Cake:
6 large eggs, separated
pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 13-ounce container Nutellla
1 tablespoon rum
1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Ganache:
4 ounces whole hazelnuts
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup Nutella

Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter a 9-inch springform pan. In a large bowl (preferably metal), whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff. In another bowl, cream the butter and Nutella, then add the rum, egg yolks, and ground hazelnuts. Fold in melted chocolate.

Add a blob of beaten egg whites to the chocolate batter, and mix gently until well-combined. Fold in the remaining whites, one-third at a time, very gently but thoroughly. Pour into springform and bake for 40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting toothpick, which should come out mostly clean; lightly pressing finger into top to check for a slight bouncing-back; and observing edges beginning to separate from pan. Let cool completely, in pan, on a rack.

Ganache:
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet shaking them around frequently. Do it for about 4 minutes, or until they are lightly browned, then let cool completely.

Chop chocolate and put in a heat-proof bowl. Heat cream over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edge. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for one minute. Add Nutella and stir until combined. Let cool. Remove the rim of the cake pan and pour the ganache over the cake. Spread for a glossy finish, letting the ganache drip over the edges of the cake. Sprinkle toasted hazelnuts over the top.

And then proceed to eat your face off.

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The Only Pancake Recipe You Will Ever Need

Pancakes are my favorite food. Ever. Potato pancakes, flapjacks, scallion pancakes, crepes, Dutch baby… you name it. I love it. But truth be told, I very rarely order plain old pancakes out at a restaurant because they’re usual chewy and giant and gross. They do not compare to The Adirondack Cookbook’s pancake recipe.

Trust me, kids. This is the only pancake recipe you will ever need.

On the menu: Adirondack banana pancakes with caramelized banana topping

Makes 5 skillet-sized pancakes
*Note: you don’t have to add banana to the pancake batter itself. This is my go-to recipe for pancakes with or without the fruit.

Pancakes
1 1/3 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp melted butter*
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 Tbsp butter

Mix dry ingredients. Blend together milk, butter, and egg. Add liquids to dry mixture. Add banana and mix well. Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in a non-stick skillet, coat the pan. Pour batter in skillet 1/2 cup at a time. When the pancake bubbles, flip and cook for approximately 2 minutes on the other side.
*Let the butter sit for a few minutes after you melt it, otherwise when you add it to the cold milk it will harden. When you do add the warm butter, temper it (i.e. add a tiny bit at a time to the cold milk, constantly stirring). Don’t worry if the butter hardens – it’ll melt inside the pancake anyway, forming delicious little butter pockets. Mmm butter pockets…

Caramelized Banana Topping
3 bananas, sliced
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Saute bananas with sugar over low heat and stir for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until a syrup has formed. Add cinnamon and saute for 2 minutes.

Note: the caramelized topping works with tons of different fruits. I’ve done this with pear, apple, banana. It would work with raspberries (just add a little orange juice to cut the sweetness a bit), blueberries, strawberries… bacon. You heard me. Caramelized bacon. Mmm bacon…

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What’s good, Cupcake?

A brilliant thing has been happening to me. I’ve been getting paid to bake. You heard me. PAID. To BAKE. It’s unheard of and I am loving it. This past weekend I baked a batch of cupcakes for the cast of the show that my good friend Becca is working on. She told me I could go nuts – so I thoughts nuts. Peanuts.

On the menu: Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate peanut butter ganache frosting
(this recipe is c/o Cupcakeblog.com – I just added the peanut butter)

Makes 24 cupcakes

5.4 ounces dark chocolate (I used 50% cocoa Lindt bars)
22 tablespoons butter
1 and 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
4 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350. Melt chocolate and butter over a water bath. Add sugar and stir, let mixture cool for 10 minutes. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and mix until blended. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
5 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tbsp butter (room temperature)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter

Chop chocolates and transfer into a heat proof bowl. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined. Add butter and vanilla and stir until combined. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and let cool for 10 minutes. Sift powdered sugar into the mixture and beat until combined. Continue to beat with an electric mixer until lighter in color and slightly stiffened. Beat in peanut butter until combined.

I can not say enough about how amazing Cupcakeblog.com is. I aspire to be this woman.

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Mangia!

I had a few requests for the recipe for the vodka sauce. The problem? I have no recipe for the vodka sauce. And including phrases like, “Simmer until you can’t taste vodka” or “saute until you think it’s done” just seemed wrong. I conferred with my co-chef (BTB Celeste) and this is what we came up with.

Luxirare-Inspired Penne alla Vodka*

Yields servings for 12

2 large cans of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
12 oz. of half and half
1 small can of tomato paste (approx. 4 oz.)
Half of a large Spanish onion
enough olive oil to coat the pan and cover onions
2/3 of a head of garlic
red pepper flakes to taste
2/3 cup braseola, cut in lardons (cut about a half inch thick; can substitute prosciutto)
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (plus 1/4 cup to sprinkle before serving)
1/2 cup of vodka
1/4 cup basil, chopped (plus 1/8 cup chiffonade for garnish)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot. Add onions and saute until soft. Add Braseole and garlic, cook for 10 minutes (be careful not to let the garlic burn). Turn up heat and add tomatoes, salt, red pepper flakes, chopped basil, and tomato paste until the mixture simmers. Return to medium heat and add cheese, half and half, and vodka. Turn heat way down and let simmer until the alcohol has cooked off, about 35 minutes. Salt to taste.

*Dear friends, please keep in mind that this is my rough estimate of the recipe. If the sauce is way too tomato-ey for your taste, add more cream. If it’s way too thick, add a little more liquid. If you’re drunk after one sip, maybe let it cook down longer than I suggested. This is kind of what I love about cooking. Yours won’t be anything like mine. But it’ll be delicious anyway.

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Cold Weather Comfort

Today was Snowapalooza or Snowmageddon or Snowtastrophe or whatever. I was sent home from work at 11AM and immediately hurried home and into the coziest sweater I have. Dinner was whatever I had in the pantry and you can’t go wrong with cheesy pasta on a cold day.

On the menu:
Snowmageddon Penne
Serves 2 (or if you’re a large man, haven’t eaten all day, or… me… it serves 1)

You’ll Need:
3 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sweet onions, chopped (I love onions, but you can use less if you so choose)
2/3 cup half and half
1/4 cup parmesan, finely grated (don’t even think of reaching for the Kraft)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups penne pasta

Cook penne according to the directions on the package. In the meantime, melt the butter over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute until the onions are slightly carmelized but watch the garlic closely so it doesn’t burn. As soon as the onions are carmelized, add the half and half, parmesan, and basil. Reduce heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes. When the sauce has thickened enough to coat a wooden spoon, add salt and pepper to taste.

Ingest. Enjoy.

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