Thursday, February 21, 2013

challah french toast. stuffed with ricotta

i want my baby back baby back baby back
i want my baby back baby back baby back

chiiiiliiis. baby back toast.

challah is a sweet eggy bread like brioche. it is braided so fine. it is meant for french toast, you know.

two slices challah are sandwiched with barely sweet ricotta cheese.
it is plunged into french toast custard dip...eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla.
it meets the hot griddle. it sizzles and oozes good morning smells.

maple syrup bath to follow.

Ricotta Stuffed Challah French Toast

2 slices challah
2 eggs
splash of milk, about 1/4 cup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup ricotta
1-2 tsp sugar

oil or butter for griddle
maple syrup

mix the sugar into the ricotta. spread onto one slice of challah and top with the other. whisk up the eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon in a wide bowl. let challah soak well in the custard on both sides while you head a griddle over medium heat and grease with oil or butter. when pan is hot add stuffed challah and cook undisturbed for a few minutes until golden. flip and cook on the other side til golden. serve immediately with maple syrup. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

orange carrot ginger

JOOS. what whaaat.
everyone's doing it.

they're doing it because it's awesome.

this is my most perfect drink in the morning. in the noontime. in the nighttime. i buy carrots in bulk and i pulverize them.

orange. carrot. ginger. it's a combination as beautiful as brad and angie.
um, universe, can i trade places with shiloh? i promise i'll make better decisions than she's bound to when she's 17.

Orange Carrot Ginger Juice
*this is about the ratio of ingredients i use, but this is juice here, so 
by all means, tamper to your liking. 

2 oranges*
2-3 large carrots
small thumb or two of ginger

assemble juicer. pulverize. drink juice. 

*citrus is awesome right now. mix it up with cara caras, honey tangerines, tangelos, blood oranges! or just.. don't. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

malt ball and peanut crunch semifreddo

days go by and i find myself waiting for thoughts, the kinds of thoughts i know were once there.
it feels so many times, as of late, they don't come.

i'll force myself to try, just to try starting anywhere. dear lord, let me have an original thought.

but eventually, i'll have a night like this. i lay in bed, my back feels in shock from yet another 12+ day, and my mind refuses to shut off and dream its usual creepster scenarios.

all i hear is the rain outside and the hollow clicking of my keyboard. i must say, this is beyond pleasant.
and holy yes look, i'm putting words into space. clearly nothing special. but nonetheless, words!

i should probably talk about the semifreddo. the semifreddo with malt balls and peanut crunch.
i made this with a purpose. it was meant to be eaten by some very cool important people.
the dinner ended up being cancelled leaving me with two hefty loaves of frozen cream.

things could be worse.

this isn't my first romp with semifreddo. there was this one with raspberry swirls and rainbow curls. that was a good time.

this one here is surely more addictive though, with the crunchy malt chunks and the salty peanut crunch.

top it with the simplest chocolate sauce, and IT's ON.

alright, i think it's time. i can walk away (fall asleep) from this writing onset situation content.
i should seriously go to bed.
i should seriously write a self-warning sign to not take forkfulls of semifreddo for breakfast.
bananas and cereal, bananas and cereal, bananas and cereal.

Malt Ball & Peanut Crunch Semifreddo
adapted from Baked Elements by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

*this base recipe is completely adaptable. layer it with whatever you like. if you don't want to go through the extra process of making the peanut crunch, then don't. i do love the crunchy salty element it adds, but it's still delicious without it. 

2 cups malted milk balls
peanut crunch (recipe below)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup malted milk powder
5 large eggs, separated
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

line two 9 inch loaf pans with plastic wrap and allow a generous overhand on all sides. spray a paper towel with nonstick spray and wipe the plastic wrap with it. 
in a food processor pulse the malt balls until they are just coarsely chopped (or chop up by hand). don't process until it turns into powder - we want decent sized chunks. sprinkle the bottom of each loaf pan with about a quarter of the chopped malt balls and about 1/4 cup peanut butter crunch. 
in a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp of the sugar, the malted milk powder, and the egg yolks fairly vigorously until the mixture turns pale, 1-2 minutes. 
in a chilled medium bowl, vigorously whisk the cream for 1 minute. sprinkle the remaining 3 tbsp of sugar and vanilla over the top of the cream, then continue beating until soft peaks form. fold the whipped cream into the yolk mixture. set aside. 

in the bowl of a standing mixture fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the salt just until stiff peaks form. do not whip past the stiff peak stage or the whites will become dry and unusable. 
fold one third of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk base. add half of the remaining egg whites and gently fold until almost incorporated. fold in the remaining egg whites. 
use a large spoon to fill each loaf pan halfway with the semifreddo and smooth surface with the back of the spoon. place in the freezer for 10 minutes. 
remove the loaf pans from the freezer and sprinkle the remaining chopped malted milk balls over the semifreddo in each pan, and another 1/4 cup peanut butter crunch. then cover with the remaining semifreddo. smooth out top. cover tighytly with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 6 hours. 

to serve, invert onto a platter and remove the plastic wrap. to slice, use a knife dipped in hot water then dried, and slice into 1 inch slices. drizzle with chocolate syrup. 

Peanut Crunch

1/3 recipe peanut brittle (method to follow)
3/4 cup skippy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups feuilletine
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

combine the peanut butter, brittle, feuilletine, confectioners' sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on medium low speed for 1 minute, until homogenous. the crunch can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

Peanut Brittle
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanuts

line a quarter sheet pan with a silpat (parchment won't work here)
mak a dry caramel: heat sugar in a  small heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. ass soon as the sugar starts to melt, use a heatproof spatula to move it constantly around the pan - you want it all to melt and caramelize evenly. cook and stir, cook and stir, until the caramel is a deep dark amber, 3-5 minutes. 

once the caramel has reached the target color, remove the pan from the heat, and with the heatproof spatula, stir in the nuts. make sure they are coated in caramel, then dump onto the prepared sheet pan. spread out as thin and evenly as possible. the caramel will set quickly. let cool completely. 
in a zip lock, break up the pieces as small as possible with a rolling pin or simply grind it down in the food processor to the size of short grain rice. store in an airtight container. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

almond poppy seed loaf

i didn't make any new years resolutions, i never seem to. 
february resolutions sound less intimidating
shall i february resolute? 

my february resolutions are for things like, eat at son of a gun, walk more, perfect some kind of carrot muffin, stop thinking so much about what other people are doing..

i just sang it's getting hot in here to my canine animal. he was not excited about it, he seemed almost ashamed.
and! i went on a walk around the neighborhood, so, boom. i'm already killing it in february resolutions.

onward to baking!
there are things i bake because they're fun to make.
there are things i bake because i want to try new things.
there are things i bake because it's my job and i have to.
and then there are the things i make because that's just all i want to eat.

the minute that i start thinking about almond poppyseed anything, i get unnatural food tunnel vision. it's all i want and all i need.
this issue directly relates to costco and my youth.
my mom was a fiend for costco and their muffins. the almond poppyseed was my everything.
i'd call dibs on the whole row. i'd scrape the muffin paper with my teeth.

little did my scrawny middle school self know that she would one day grow up to be a baker and spend a good chunk of life obsessing over making a breakfast bread as good as costco.
it needs to be perfectly moist and very speckly.
it must taste as good as almond extract smells, and live up to all my childhood flavor memories.
i think i did it.

Almond Poppy Seed Loaf

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp poppy seeds
1 1/8 cups vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

preheat the oven to 350. line two 8-9 inch loaf pans with parchment and grease (i used a long 16 inch loaf pan). combine the flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds. in another large bowl, combine the vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, extracts, and melted butter, mix well. add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined. scrape into prepared pan/pans and bake for about 50-60 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. 

for glaze:
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsalted butter

pour all ingredients into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves. pour glaze over warm bread. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013