Every friday I like to cook treats and put them in the hallway of my building. We live in a small three story walk up with 10 units. Everyone knows everyone and we all get along. It is lovely to live in a building where you know and get along with all your neighbours and where everyone likes to hang out and do BBQ’s and socialize.
So on Fridays I like to make a nice dinner for my partner and I and part of my friday cooking is also baking. One dessert for us that is a special dessert to go with our fancier than weekday average meal and a treat of some cookies/pie/cake or candy for the hallway. This week was Mocha Chip Meringues. This recipe comes from Martha Stewart and is a favourite I like to make. It is simple and tasty does not have a lot of ingredients and can be make in little time. It is also a great use of some spare egg whites you might have in your fridge.
A tip for using egg whites in meringues is to age your egg whites. This is done by simply putting your egg whites into a glass jar, putting some paper towel over it, and than securing the ring of the typical two part lid onto the canning jar. The point here is that you want to secure the paper towel on top of the jar so you can use elastic bands or string or whatever works. The paper towel will allow for air flow into the jar of egg whites but keep anything else out. Now leave it in your fridge for at least a day and up to 5 days. These are now “aged” egg whites and will beat up lighter and fluffier than other whites. Perfect for making macarons or Mocha Chip Meringues
Note, I added a teaspoon (5 ml) of rum extract just to give another dimension of flavour.
Mocha Chip Meringues:
Mocha Chip Meringues
Recipe Type: Cookies/Meringues
Author: Martha Stewart
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 148c or 300f, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch; set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium speed until frothy. Beating constantly, add sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time; beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 6 to 8 minutes total (scrape down the bowl halfway through). Add espresso powder and cocoa; beat until well blended. With a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chips.
Drop batter by level tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake until crisp, about 40 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Cool completely on sheets, about 20 minutes.
Here is one of my recipes I am most proud of. It is for the simple but always a BIG favourite, the chocolate chip cookie. Seriously, if you don’t like a great chocolate chip cookie you may be psychotic.
This cookie has a couple of great things going for it. Firstly it uses brown butter for a great caramel flavour. Secondly I add extra salt for a bit of a salty hit. And last but not least I use coconut sugar where others might use white sugar. Coconut sugar is much healthier for you (not the reason I use it here) but more to the point in this cookie it is less sweet and not overly refined also bringing more caramel notes.
This Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie always is a big hit and disappears when I present them to my neighbours!
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Serves: 40 cookies
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown clarified butter
1 cup sugar, preferable coconut sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups mix chocolate chips
1 cup toasted pecans finely chopped
First step is to brown and clarify the butter. On medium heat in a pot add about 1 1/3 cups butter. Stir and watch for it to brown. Scoop off any foam and strain through paper town or fine mesh. All the clarified brown butter to cool and re-solidify.
Preheat oven to 182c convection or 190c regular. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Whisk together flour, espresso powder, salt and baking soda.
With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter on medium for a minute. Add the sugars and beat for another few minutes until well blended and smooth.
Beat in the vanilla and add eggs one at a time beating for a minute between each addition of egg.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts with rubber spatula. At this stage the dough could be covered and refrigerated for upto three days or frozen. If freezing make into rounded tablespoons, this can then be baked as needed without defrosting just add another minute or so to the baking time.
Spoon dough in rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating have way through baking or until edges are brown and golden in the centre; they may still be soft in the middle, and that’s good. Pull sheets from the oven and allow cookies to rest for a minute then cool complete on racks.
You have to love WordPress! There is a plug in for everything! I have just installed the EasyRecipe plugin and it will allow me to post recipes to this blog and have them become easily accessible to you for downloading into your favourite cooking app or print directly from the page. I use Paprika Recipe Manager and I love it. It runs on my mac, ipad, & android phone with syncing between them all. So I can manage my 600+ and growing collection of recipes.
Below you will find my first recipe that I am posting. This recipe is one that I adapted from a basic vanilla panna cotta but here I make it vegetarian using agar agar to set it in place of nasty gelatin. I also like to make this into a tart with brown butter graham wafer crumb crust and it is completely delicious. Using this basic recipe you can adapt this panna cotta to suit many flavours. This weekend I am going to make a rhubarb panna cotta and I will post that recipe as I create it.
Vanilla Panna Cotta Tart, Vegetarian (with agar agar)
Recipe Type: Dessert
This is a simple vanilla panna cotta but it uses agar agar not gelatin so it is vegetarian. This recipe can be easily adapted for other flavours. The agar agar ratio in panna cotta is .5 grams agar agar to 100 grams liquid. Use this to adapt any panna cotta.
3 cups Graham Wafer Crumbs
3/4 cup Butter, browned this will end in 1/2 cup butter once skimmed
1/2 cup butter
600 grams Heavy Cream
400 grams Whole Milk
15 ml Vanilla Bean Paste or
1 whole Vanilla Bean
6 tablespoons Sugar
5 grams Agar Agar
) Preheat oven to 175c/350f
) Melt and brown butter. Skim off foam and measure 1/2 cup browned butter.
) Combine with the graham wafer crumbs and mix well.
) Press into a 9″ tart pan with removable bottom and bake for 10 minutes. Cool.
) Mix cream, milk, vanilla paste, and sugar. If you are using vanilla bean scrape out the seeds and add the seeds and pod to the milk. Remove the pod once cooking is done. bring to a boil, 80c/180f.
) Once cream/milk mixture is at temperature whisk in the agar agar and keep whisking for 8 minutes. Keep an eye on the temperature and do not let it go above 90c/194f. If it does hit 90c reduce temperature and keep it at the 80c mark.
) After 8 minutes of heating and whisking the cream/milk/agar agar remove from heat and let it cool so that it is warm. Poor into prepared tart shell and refrigerate. Agar Agar will set quickly once in the fridge so the panna cotta will be ready within a couple of hours.
) Once set you can serve with your selection of fresh fruit, fruit compote, whatever you would like that you think will work well. This is not an overly sweet panna cotta. My preference is to enjoy with cognac!
I have had Wind Mobile as my cell provider for the last 4 years. In that time I have come to learn that there are upsides and downsides to this services. But that could be said of all cell phone providers. On the upside I currently pay at least half if not less for monthly service than my friends with Bell/Telus/Rogers/Fido. Most of them are paying upwards of $50 just for internet on their phones. I find that way too high to pay for internet on a device like your phone. I pay just a little more than that for my 100 mbit cable line at home and there it is at least worth it and used appropriately.
All that said the big downside of Wind Mobile in Vancouver is the internet speed and coverage area. The speeds can differ dramatically depending where in Vancouver you are. Even at there best the are not nearly the same as the 4G LTE coverage offered by the other cell service providers. At best I am getting 5 mbit and on average I am getting between 1.2 & 2 mbit from Wind whereas my friends on 4G LTE are getting 50 mbit. 10 and mostly 25 times the difference! Here are the tests I am running on my Wind Mobile Vancouver internet service using my Samsung GS4: