Recently Baked: The First

2 Sep

coffee ice cream & ridiculously decadent brownie chunks

So I spend a lot of my time thinking about food. Sampling food. Photographing food. Excitedly describing food to my boyfriend while he tries to focus on whatever game he’s playing on his 3DS. Turning a dress-shopping excursion with a friend into a lengthy monologue about the difficulties involved in finding good European salted butter in my town (elitist much? I know…).  Showing photographs of food to my boyfriend while he patiently pauses whatever game he’s playing on his 3DS. Explaining the intricacies of an ice cream custard base to academic acquaintances I bump into while shopping.

buttered apricot ale bread

My point is, I’m not always able to keep up to date with what I’ve been making and eating when it comes to posting recipes. So I’m creating a new category, Recently Baked, where I can post photographs or descriptions of what I’ve been up to, even when I don’t have time to write up an elaborate post of the recipe and associated photographs. This post will be something of a trial run, and if there’s any interest I’ll keep it up. Frankly I’ll probably keep it up anyways – if nothing else I love me some food photography.

decadent chocolate peanut butter cake from days of yore

I’ll try to reference the origin of the recipe whenever possible, so that it’s easy to seek them out on your own if suitably inspired by my low-quality but enticingly macro photography. Plus, if anyone is desperately interested in how I’ve tweaked a particular recipe (here’s a hint: add more cinnamon), I can always turn it into a future post! Without further ado, three things that I’ve made recently that haven’t made it onto the blog:

1. Prosciutto and arugula pizza

prosciutto + arugula + mozzarella

When I asked the voting public what they wanted on the pizza, they requested prosciutto and arugula. My initial gut reaction was this was a kind of Whole Foods yuppie, Hamilton & Meg Shaw combination, but after consuming many, many slices of the pizza I fully admit that I sit corrected on this one. I used  Smitten Kitchen’s updated pizza recipe for the crust and the tomato sauce (for what is possibly the tenth time in a row – I’ve never felt the need to try a different recipe), and the whole concoction just seeped gustatory awesomeness. I would have eaten some for lunch the next day, only there wasn’t really enough left – always the sign of good pizza.

2. Coffee Ice Cream with Peanut Butter and Salted Caramel Brownies

coffee + caramel + brownies + peanut butter

'too much of a good thing' does not apply here

I have wanted to try my hand at Elise’s coffee ice cream recipe (adapted from Lebovitz’s Perfect Scoop) for over a year now. Needing a thank you gift for a couple of friends who watched my ridiculous cat all summer was the perfect excuse. Form V Artisan’s peanut butter salted caramel brownies are my current favourite brownie recipe, and their decadent addition to an already deadly ice cream reflects the level of apologetic gratitude I felt was necessary given the utterly absurd behaviour of my cat any time she is awake (which appears to be only about four hours a day, thankfully). Needless to say, I sampled this once it was done, and the opulence can barely be put into words. Thank God this isn’t staying in my house, because it wouldn’t last the night.

I hope they like it. But if they don’t, clearly I have no understanding of humanity, and there are larger ontological problems at hand here.

3. Bittersweet Espresso Hot Fudge 

'bittersweet' was, unfortunately, all too apt a title...

I have made this hot fudge sauce two or three times before with no issues. Its most recent incarnation paired semi-sweet chocolate with a splash of bourbon when I was down in Appalachia, and it was well received by all and sundry. However, TWICE in the last two days I have tried to make it in a new apartment, on a new stove, and it has given me no end of trouble. As soon as I added the melted unsweetened chocolate and butter to the boiling water, the chocolate mixture began to burn, and with the first batch the butter separated out and congealed (mmmm….) when I refrigerated the mess. The only change that I’ve made that I can think of (besides the stove in the new apartment, which may run hot, a novelty for one used to cooking on crappy student-apartment mini-stoves) is that in my two most recent attempts I used the unsweetened chocolate the recipe calls for, rather than semi-sweet chocolate chips, which is what I customarily have on hand.

When the same issues popped up the second time around, I took commenter Amanda’s advice and added an additional 3 tbsp granulated sugar and 2 tbsp water to the cooling mixture, reheated the concoction to boiling point, and then folded in the additional ingredients. It worked like a charm, and the resulting hot fudge hasn’t separated even after refrigeration. I later added 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder to the cooled mixture, to keep with the recurring ‘coffee’ motif of desserts of late. I’d be interested to try this again using actual bittersweet chocolate rather than unsweetened to see whether or not it makes a difference. If anyone has any tips on ensuring that the melted butter and chocolate mixture doesn’t burn, I’d be grateful for them!

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