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Black Forest Cakes

Prep: 45 min.
Bake: 20 min.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup snipped dried cherries
  • 3 tablespoons cherry-flavored brandy (kirsch) or cherry juice
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chocolate-flavored syrup
  • Truffle Frosting
  • Powdered Sugar Icing (optional)
  • Powdered sugar and/or cocoa powder
  • Fresh Bing cherries with stems (optional)

Directions

1. In a small bowl, combine dried cherries and brandy or cherry juice. Let stand for 30 minutes. Generously grease and flour six popover pans;* set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In another small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat just until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Stir in chocolate-flavored syrup. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in brandy-soaked cherries and any liquid.

3. Spoon batter into prepared popover pans, filling each half full (a scant 1/2 cup each). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean (centers may dip slightly). Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from popover pans and cool completely on wire rack. If necessary, trim cake top edges so they are even with the sides.

4. Place one cake (smallest end up) on a large slotted spoon. Hold the spoon over the bowl of Truffle Frosting. Spoon frosting over the cake, letting it drip down the sides, until the cake is coated. Let cake stand on rack over waxed paper until frosting is set. Repeat with remaining cakes. If desired, place Powdered Sugar Icing in a sturdy resealable plastic bag. Snip off a tiny portion of one corner. Pipe small dots of icing on cake tops.

5. Sift powdered sugar and/or cocoa powder over dessert plates. Place cakes on plates. If desired, garnish each one with a Bing cherry.

6. Makes 6 servings

7. *Test Kitchen Tips: Nonstick cooking spray for baking really helps these cakes unmold easily. This product is designed to grease and flour baking pans in one step. Look for it with other nonstick cooking sprays in your supermarket.

You can use six 6-ounce straight-sided ramekins instead of the popover pans. Grease and flour the ramekins. Cut three 15×12-inch pieces of foil; cut each piece in half lengthwise to make a 15×6-inch piece. Fold each into thirds lengthwise and place around top of a ramekin; secure with tape. Set aside. If you use ramekins, increase the baking time to about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean.

8. Powdered Sugar Icing: In a small bowl, combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches piping consistency.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 697,
  • Total Fat (g) 36,
  • Saturated Fat (g) 22,
  • Cholesterol (mg) 146,
  • Sodium (mg) 215,
  • Carbohydrate (g) 88,
  • Fiber (g) 4,
  • Protein (g) 7,
  • Vitamin C (DV%) 1,
  • Calcium (DV%) 7,
  • Iron (DV%) 18,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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Sugar Cookie Recipe

October 10th, 2007 by RG in Dessert Recipes, Ask A Chef

How to Make Perfect Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookie Recipe

I received an email from Kathy about preparing the “perfect” sugar cookie. She told me she made two batches of sugar cookie dough using the same recipe and one batch turned out perfect while the other “was puffy and lost shape.”

Kathy wanted to know why this happened so I contacted my friend Chef Jennifer Field, a graduate from the Orlando Culinary Academy, for some help since I’m not much of a baker. Jennifer had a bunch of questions that were answered in Kathy’s next email. Here is what she said,

“The batches were made and cooked on different days. The second batch was refrigerated for a couple days (at least). The recipe was the same, however, I may have beat my shortening, sugar and egg mixture longer the second time. Temp the same.”

Kathy’s Definition of the Perfect Sugar Cookie

“My definition of a perfect sugar cookie is one that is light and a little crisp with the buttery icing softening it just slightly. I’m not into a fluffy cakey sugar cookie. I definitely want one that will hold the shape and design of my cutter. I want to make snowflake shaped cookies at Christmas and my cutter has little cut outs you can add for more detail.

This is the recipe I used:

1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cup flour

I’m not sure exactly if my mixing was different either time usually I mix in this order: sugar and fats together till creamy, add eggs till fluffy, add dry ingredients that have been combined beforehand, and end with vanilla.
Bake at 325 degrees in a convection oven.

I’m anxious to hear from you and what your suggestions will be for my success.
Thanks again – Kathy”

Chef Jennifer Field’s Recommendations

With these facts in hand, Chef Jennifer was able to point out why the second batch did not turn out “perfect” plus offer some changes to Kathy’s recipe for future cookies.  Here is what she said,

“What immediately jumps out at me is the refrigeration time for the second batch of cookies.  I see that your leavener was baking soda.  Baking soda in a baked good only has one chemical reaction:  it fizzes and bubbles when it gets wet.This, of course, happened when you first mixed your ingredients together.  Since you baked your first batch immediately, the soda did its job correctly.

As your dough for the second batch chilled in the fridge, the chemical reaction ceased. Your rise was probably uneven because you beat more air into the dough (you said your mixing time was longer the second time) so, even though the soda had fizzled by the time you baked, you still had lots of little air bubbles that were probably not evenly distributed in your dough, causing a wonky rise.

I see that the recipe called for 1 teaspoon each of soda and cream of tartar.  It sounds like an old recipe.  Try substituting double acting baking powder next time.  Double acting powder has two chemical reactions:  one when it gets wet and a second one when it gets hot.  So, even if you let your dough hang out in the fridge and lose the first reaction over time, you’ll still get a fairly even second boost of leavening when you put your dough in the oven.

Since you’re also interested in your cookie holding a fairly detailed shape after baking, I’d also consider using shortening in place of the oil.  Since oil is liquid at room temperature and when heated, cookies will tend to spread a bit.  Shortening, being a solid at room temperature and a fairly slow melter, will yield a cookie with less spread.

I hope this helped!  Good luck with your baking.

Chef Jenni Field
Pastry Sous Chef
The Ravenous Pig

P.S.  Your idea of a perfect sugar cookie made me drool.  Just a little:-)”
Me too! – RG

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BOBAL’KI Recipe

Traditional Recipes for Holy Supper

[In case you haven’t noticed, I pay attention to the searches that lead you to this blog and try to find the information you want to include here so you have one resource where you can find all this Christmas related info. I always link to the original source, that way it’s easier for you to expand your quest for relevant info. That said, I haven’t tried these recipes and have never eaten BOBAL’KI. (Although it does sound pretty yummy!) If you have a better family recipe, tried and true, that you’d like to share, please feel welcome to leave it in any comments you wish to write!]

BREAD FOR CHRISTMAS EVE
1 pkg dry yeast
1/2 c. lukewarm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
6 c. flour
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. salad oil

Dissolve yeast in warm water with 1/8 tsp. salt & 1 Tbsp. sugar. Set in warm place to rise. Sift 6 c. flour in deep bowl, add 2 c. warm water, 4 Tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. salt & 4 Tbsp. salad oil. Knead well & set aside to rise. When volume has doubled, punch down & let rise second time until it doubles again. Punch down. Divide dough in two equal parts. Shape one part into round bread, cover & let st& 20 minutes. Punch down & reshape. Place in greased pan. Allow to rise until double in volume. Bake at 350 for one (1) hour.
Note: The second part of this dough will be used for Christmas Eve Bobal’ki.

CHRISTMAS EVE BOBAL’KI
Use the other half of the above dough for bobal’ki. Knead & roll on floured board into rope. Cut & roll into balls about one (1) inch in diameter. Place on floured pan & let rise for about 15 minutes. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until just slightly brown, then remove & let cool. Place in vigorously boiling water for up to two minutes until they just start to soften. Drain in col&er & add oil/onion or honey/poppy seed mixture (heat honey with a little water, 1/2 c. ground poppy seed & 1/4 c. sugar. Pour over bobal’ki) before placing in a serving dish.While our family always serves these hot, others prefer to let the bobal’ki st& several hours in cool place (or refrigerator) before serving.
Note: Some bobal’ki are served with sweet cabbage or sauerkraut. Sauté cabbage or sauerkraut with onion in salad oil, then mix with bobal’ki.

CHRISTMAS EVE BOBAL’KI
1 pkg. yeast
6 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 c. water (approximately)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. sugar
* c. lukewarm water
* c. oil

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water; add salt & 1 tablespoon sugar. Let it set about 10 minutes. Sift flour & sugar. Add yeast mixture & rest of ingredients. Knead well. Let rise until doubled. Punch down. Cut off portions of dough about the size of an egg. Roll out on floured board by h& to make roll about 1 inch in diameter. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise about 20 minutes.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool & separate. Place in col&er. Pour boiling water over Bobal’ki. Drain quickly to prevent sogginess.
Any of the following mixtures may be used on the Bobal’ki:

1. Sauté 1 small onion in 2 tablespoons oil. Add 1 pound sauerkraut (drained); cook about 15 minutes. Add mixture to half of Bobal’ki.
2. Combine 1 c. ground poppy seed, 2 Tbsp. honey & 4 tablespoons water. Add to remaining Bobal’ki. Mix well.
3. Melt 1 stick margarine. Combine with 2 tablespoons honey & 1/2 c. strawberry preserves.

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CUTE!! EGGNOG CAKE Recipe!

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Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005
Show: Good Eats
Episode: School of Hard Nogs

[I love Alton Brown! We no longer get cable and I miss watching ‘Good Eats’.

I haven’t tried this yet, I’ve been meaning to, it’s just so much darn easier running to the supermarket!!]

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites*

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

Cook’s Note: For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.
*RAW EGG WARNING
Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

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[These are probably my all time favorite cookies. The trick to these tasting scrumptious is to use REAL butter and good quality vanilla]

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

ingredients

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
Powdered sugar

preparation

Sift flour and salt together. Using electric mixer, cream butter in large bowl until light. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients in 3 batches. Mix in nuts. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.Preheat oven to 400°F. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Space 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until just firm to touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool slightly. Roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Roll cookies in powdered sugar again. Store in airtight container.

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How to Make Gingerbread CookiesHow to Make Gingerbread Cookies

Introduction

Gingerbread has become synonymous with Christmas. This year, try baking your own gingerbread cookies.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Steps

Step One

Gather ingredients. You will need 5 c. sifted all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp. each ground ginger and ground cloves, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1 tsp. salt, 2 sticks unsalted butter, 1 c. sugar, 2 eggs, 1 c. molasses, and 2 tbsp. water.

Step Two

Mix butter and sugar until creamy.

Step Three

Add eggs, molasses and water. Mix well.

Step Four

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Step Five

Blend the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.

Step Six

Chill for at least three hours or overnight.

Step Seven

Roll out dough onto lightly floured cookie sheet.

Step Eight

Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes.

Step Nine

Place cookies about an inch apart on the cookie sheet and bake for five minutes at 375 degrees.

Step Ten

Cool on rack and then decorate cookies.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are many variations on the gingerbread recipe. This one is a basic way to get started. Add more ginger and cinnamon for spicier cookies, more sugar for sweeter cookies, or more butter or shortening for moister cookies.

Overall Things You’ll Need

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