Wednesday, April 27, 2016

TWD ~ BCM ~ Cocoa Crunch Meringue Cookies

Tuesdays with Dorie~BCM~Cocoa Crunch Meringue Cookies
For me, this week is about Wednesdays with Dorie! I'm trying to get myself back into the game, and it seems to be a little slower than I would like, but hey, I'm here! We had a choice to make either a Jammer Galette or Cocoa Crunch Meringue Cookies. It was a no-brainer!! Anything chocolate is always a winner! These were seriously delicious! I only wish the recipe made more than eight.

Seriously amazing
Meringues and I go way back. They have always been a favorite of my kids while they were growing up. I've been making them for years...however these were amazing due to the ground almonds, that were folded into the meringue batter. They gave the meringues a lovely crunch. The other thing that made them totally delectable was the addition of chocolate ganache. Two crunchy meringues sandwiched together with a velvety chocolate ganache. What could be better?

Only eight...oh no!!
I used a 2 inch round to draw circle guides on my parchment paper and piped the meringue onto each circle. I was able to get the sixteen that the recipe called for. The cookies take awhile to bake, so make sure you plan for the time. Ninty minutes in a 250º oven...turn off the heat and leave them in for another hour. Definitely worth the time.

This recipe participates with Tuesdays with Dorie. A blogger group, baking our way through Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, "Baking Chez Moi". To see what the other bloggers did this week, check it out here.  This recipe has been shared with BH&G by Dorie in the February 2013 issue. It is also on their website, where you will find it here. Or better yet, get yourself a copy of Dorie's cookbook. Happy Wednesday everyone!

Cocoa Crunch Meringue Sandwich
From Dorie Greenspan's BCM, published by BH&G

cup powdered sugar
tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
cup walnuts or blanched almonds, toasted
egg whites, at room temperature
tablespoons granulated sugar

pinch salt

cup whipping cream
tablespoon unsalted butter
ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For cookies, position oven racks to divide the oven into thirds; preheat to 250 degrees F. Using a pencil, draw twenty 1 1/2-inch-diameter circles on each of two sheets of parchment paper. Flip over the sheets of parchment and use them to line two baking sheets.
In a small bowl sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add chopped nuts; toss to coat.
In a large bowl beat together the egg whites and salt on medium speed until the whites just begin to turn opaque. Increase the speed and add sugar little by little, beating until the meringue holds stiff peaks.
Using a flexible spatula, gently fold half of the powdered sugar mixture into the egg white mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in remaining powdered sugar mixture.
Using the penciled-in-circles as a guide, spoon the meringue into 1 1/2-inch rounds on the prepared baking sheets. Use the back of the spoon to spread the meringue evenly. (Or, using a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, pipe the meringues into rounds on the baking sheets.)
Bake 1 1/2 hours. Turn oven off. Keeping the door closed, allow the cookies to remain in the oven for 1 hour more. Remove baking sheets from oven; cool to room temperature.
For filling, in a small saucepan bring cream and butter to boiling. In a heatproof bowl place the chopped chocolate. Pour hot cream mixture over the chocolate; let stand 5 minutes. Using a small spatula or whisk and starting in the center of the bowl, stir together the cream mixture and chocolate in gradually increasing concentric circles. Stir gently until filling is smooth and glossy. Let stand at room temperature about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. (The filling has to thicken before can use it to sandwich the cookies.)
To assemble, using a small offset spatula or a spoon, top half of the cookies with 2 tsp. filling. Spread the filling almost to the edges of the cookies; top with remaining cookies. Chill at least 3 minutes (or up to 1 day). Serve chilled.
From the Test Kitchen
To speed the thickening process, place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Keep stirring and do not walk away. The filling firms very quickly.
Unfilled cookies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days or in the freezer up to 3 months. Fill just before serving.

Ready to bake...
 Three hours later...Enjoy!


Friday, April 15, 2016

CtBF ~ Croque-Monsieur

CtBF ~ Croque-Monsieur

This week for CooktheBookFridays we are making a Croque-Monsieur. Literally a fried ham and cheese sandwich. But what a sandwich!

There is a very quaint restaurant about twenty minutes from my house called Hotel Fauchere. It's located in Milford, Pa. My husband takes me there every year for my birthday, and Mother's Day. The food is fabulous. They have a lovely little atrium, that overlooks their garden, where brunch is served. My favorite meal of the day. It was first established in 1852 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Why am I telling you this? Because this is the first place where I enjoyed a Croque-Madame. A Croque-Monsieur with an egg on top!

This room is bright and sunny...and overlooks the garden.

Start by making a béchamel sauce. Butter melted in a saucepan, then flour is added. Once it starts to bubble, cook for a minute, then add milk and whisk in until smooth. Once the béchamel is made, put it aside to cool and thicken. Then start your sandwich by using a nice rustic bread. Spread each slice of bread with the béchamel sauce. Then layer on the ham and cheese. I used Prosciutto and Gruyère. I used my panini maker to grill these, and then put them under the broiler to melt the additional grated cheese that gets sprinkled on top. This was a marvelous lunch. I served them with some cornichons, French gherkin pickles. This has just become my hubby's new favorite! Happy Friday everyone!

This post participates with CooktheBookFridays. We are a group of bloggers cooking through David Lebovitz's cookbook, "My Paris Kitchen". We don't post recipes from the book unless they have been previously posted. Here is a very similar version that was found on-line.

Spread the bread with Béchamel sauce, layer with ham and cheese then place on grill 
Once grilled sprinkle with additional cheese and place under the broiler

A terrific sandwich....
And a fantastic lunch

Friday, April 1, 2016

CtBF ~ Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil

CtBF ~ Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil

A new month, a new season and a wonderful new appetizer. It's time for CooktheBookFridays! I wish I checked this recipe out before Easter. It would have been a great new addition to our appetizer table.  I have been away for the past three weeks and although it was great to be away, it was also great to get home. The best part of being on Long Island was visiting with my children and grandkids. We saw school plays and concerts. We decorated Easter eggs. We had dinners together every night, and I received many hugs! Life is truly good!
Back home and getting things back to some sort of normal. The first thing to greet us was a leak from my master bathroom...bleeding through my living room ceiling. Yesterday was spent getting some of the plumbing fixed...and today they will be cutting through my ceiling to fix another part of the problem. Oh well!!

 My Tapenade was a bit chunky...just the way I like it!

On to the recipe. This week's pick was for Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil. To make the oil, I blanched parsley and rosemary. Dried them with a paper towel, and added them to olive oil that I had already heated. Puree and pour through a fine mesh strainer.  That's it! I adored the rosemary oil! It was easy to make and absolutely delectable! I'm very pleased to have some leftover. I'm thinking of how good it would be over some fresh tomatoes, or maybe drizzled over my eggs in the morning.  The Tapenade was also a hit for me. I used a combination of green and brown olives, that were in my fridge. I picked them up, from the Lebanese market, for Easter. There was still a bowlful. I followed the recipe using canned artichoke hearts, my green and brown olives, olive oil, capers, freshly squeezed lemon juice, chopped garlic and some cayenne pepper. I pureed all the ingredients in my food processor.  However, I did not puree this mixture into oblivion. I actually like my tapenade a bit chunky. This was definitely something I will make again. I think it would make a great starter for a barbecue. Can't wait until barbecue season!! Happy Friday everyone!!  

A keeper for sure!

This recipe participates with CooktheBookFridays. Check it out to see what my fellow bloggers thought of this recipe. Maybe you'd like to participate? Pick up a copy of David's book "My Paris Kitchen" and join us. This recipe for Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil has been published with Davids permission. Check it out.

Infuse the oil with the herbs.  
The very delicious Rosemary Oil
These were soooo good. A hit in my house.