Results tagged recipe from David Lebovitz

A Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, with Two Secrets

chocolatechipcookies1blog

I’ve had a hankering to try Heidi‘s recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies with her secret ingredient—mesquite flour—for the longest time. But although the mesquite flour I eventually found encompasses several continents, like I do, it’s not available in the one I live in. So when I went to Texas, which I figured would be the epicenter of mesquite last June, I wandered the well-stocked aisles at Central Market in search of it. And lo and behold, there is was.

Looking at the label, I was surprised to find that it was imported…from Argentina. By a California company. And there I was, in a supermarket in Texas, buying it. Which I then brought back to France.

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Banana Bread – Banana Cake

Banana Bread/Banana Cake

Can someone could explain to me what the difference between Banana Bread and Banana Cake is? I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with an explanation, any explanation…and I just can’t think of one. If you presume that because Banana ‘Bread’ is made in a loaf pan, whereas a cake is usually baked in a round pan—by that same logic, Pound Cake would be Pound Bread, which doesn’t sound quite as inviting. So you’re going to have to try harder.

Take muffins, for example. It’s funny when people eat a muffin thinking they’re being so ‘healthy’. The word ‘muffin’ is just the Latin derivative of ‘deceptive baked-good’. (Go ahead…look it up.) Swapping oil for butter, which often happens in muffins is fine, but you’re not fooling anyone, folks.

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Clotilde’s Very Chocolate Cookie Recipe

Triple Chocolate Cookies

I’m glad I’m not the only one around here who experiences what I call “Only in France” moments.

Recently I met up with Clotilde, who writes the popular Chocolate & Zucchini blog, for a drink one afternoon. I ordered a glass of wine and she, a mineral water. Although there was a large, unopened bottle of Badoit sparkling water standing prominently behind the bar, ripe for the taking, the serveuse told us they didn’t have any bottled water.

Of course, neither one of us questioned that. But when she left to fetch our drinks, we both looked at each other, wrinkled up our perplexed faces, then shrugged it off. It’s nice to know the locals find things as curious around here as I do.

Speaking of curious French things, if you’re a regular reader of Chocolate & Zucchini, you’re privy to her charming stories about her life in Paris accompanied by recipes. And you unless you’ve been hiding like a bottle of Badoit behind the bar, you’ve likely heard of her new book: Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen.

Scoop of Chocolate Cookie Dough

Turning the pages and reading about her life in Montmarte is like spending the day with une vraie Parisienne, which seem to be an endless quest of finding the best markets and sourcing ingredients then taking them home and making them into fabulous dinners to share with friends and her lucky neighbors.

Before I met Clotilde, I was certain she was some burly truck-driver from Wisconsin pulling a fast one over on us all.

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Recipes To Use Up Leftover Egg Whites

Italian Almond Cookies

Often bakers and ice cream-lovers will find themselves with a few too many egg whites leftover. So what to do with all of them? It seems I, too, always have a few in a container in the refrigerator. Liquid egg whites can be frozen just as they are. I usually do it in a specific quantity, and label it as such, since there’s nothing more infuriating than needing 1 cup of egg whites and trying to chip that away from a frozen-solid block in the freezer. Some folks devote an ice cube tray to egg whites, slipping one in each indentation so they know exactly how many they have. Just so you know, one large egg white is about 2 tablespoons and weighs 25 grams. I often freeze the whites in plastic containers, then slip them out of the containers, once frozen, then wrap them in plastic and secure them in zip-top freezer bags – with the quantity and date written on the outside.

Here are some favorite recipes of mine, and some from others, that are great ways to use up leftover egg whites:

  • Parisian Chocolate macarons

  • Angel Food Cake

  • Homemade Marshmallows

  • Italian Almond Cookies

  • Financiers (Eggbeater)

  • Egg White Cake (Nami-Nami)

  • Chocolate-Coconut Macaroons

  • Pecan Meringue Cookies (Simply Recipes)

  • Chocolate Angel Food Cake (Serious Eats)

    angel food cake

  • Seven-Minute Frosting (Smitten Kitchen)

  • Crème Brûlée-Pistachio Macarons (Tartlette)

  • Dacquoise (Bay Area Bites)

  • Pavlova (Simply Recipes) and Mixed Berry Pavlova (Smitten Kitten)

  • Kumquat & Chocolate Financier Teacakes (Cannelle-Vanille)

  • Chocolate Angel Food Cake (Epicurious)


    Or…you can make an ice cream ‘volcano’….like I did!

    volcano

    To Start Your Own Volcano: Line a deep bowl with plastic wrap, then fill with layers of ice cream or sorbet. You can either use homemade or store-bought. Either way, the ice cream should be slightly-softened so it’s spreadable.

    It’s best to create layers that are roughly equivalent in size. Add one layer, smooth the top and let it freeze for about an hour. Then add the next and let that freeze as well. You can add as many layers as you want, but three’s my limit and I fancy alternating ice cream and sherbet or sorbet layers.

    Once you’re done with all the layers, trim and line the bottom (the exposed end) with a layer of spongecake, saturating both sides with sugar syrup. Use a favorite spongecake recipe, but the piece should be about 1-inch (3 cm) thick. Make a small amount of sugar syrup by boiling about 1/4 cup (60 ml) water with 2 tablespoons sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool completely, then add a good pour of your favorite liquor. The syrup’s necessary to keep the cake from freezing too firm, but the alcohol can be omitted if you want.

    Now freeze the entire cake really well (which is especially true if, like me, you have to drive 2 hours en route to the party you’re going to and you get stuck in a traffic jam at le péage, the toll plaza, because some knucklehead in front of you didn’t have money or something and traffic’s backed up to lord-knows-where. I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest. Me was freakin’.)

    To Meringue the Volcano: Add some room temperature egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer. The amount of egg whites it will take depends on the size of your cake so it’s hard to say, but leftover whipped and sweetened meringue can be baked as cookies. (You can read detailed meringue instructions here.)

    Beat slowly, then increase the speed, adding a pinch of salt, until the egg whites start to hold their shape. Gradually add an equal quantity of sugar while whipping at high speed until thick, glossy and firm. You can add a few drops of vanilla extract if you’d like.

    Remove the cake from the freezer and unmold it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you to remove the plastic wrap, but I’m going to tell you anyways. Spread the meringue all over the top and sides. Bury a half an egg shell in the top, open side facing outwards and smooth the meringue up and around it.

    At this point, you can refreeze the cake until ready to brulée—or torch that sucker right away.

    To Serve: Brown the volcano in an oven that’s been pre-heated to a very high temperature, around 500F (260 C). It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two to ‘cook’. I like to finish it with a blowtorch since it looks more dramatic with slightly-burnt edges.

    Fill the egg shell with liquor that’s at least 40% alcohol. Turn off the lights, ignite the liquor*, and let that Krakatoa glow!

    Cut the cake with a narrow, long knife dipped in very hot water.

    *Of course, always take precautions when lighting anything: Make sure nothing is flammable nearby including your sleeves. Avert your face when lighting the flame and keep kids away.

  • Pistachio Gelato Recipe

    pistachiogelatoblog.jpg

    Although each year it’s getting harder and harder to remember that far back, I still recall when I was younger, during the summer in New England, we’d head to the dairy store for ice cream. Often I’d order pistachio; the vivid green color and the crunchy bits of pistachio were somewhat exotic to a timid little David growing up in pre-Martha Connecticut.

    As I grew up, I learned the truth about pistachio ice cream (amongst other things). Mainly that it was usually made with artificial colors and flavors—not the real thing. So when I wrote Le Perfect Scoop, I thought long and hard about including a pistachio ice cream recipe. But I couldn’t in good conscience include a recipe that costs 20 bucks to make, which is similar to what I call the ‘Quarter-Cup of Squab Stock Syndrome’.

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    Spreadable Tuna Mousse Recipe

    In spite of my reputation for serving guests only the finest cuisine I can muster up, I invited a friend for lunch yesterday and thought I could foist my can of salade Niçoise off on her, and I would be efficient and multitask with trying a recipe from a book I just finished.

    Her visit, and my can of…um…salad?….presented me the opportunity to try The Spreadable Tuna Mousse from Mediterranean Summer by David Shalleck.

    bleeech!

    But then I opened the tin, took a look inside, and…”bleech!

    Ever the optimist, I dumped my fancy feast in my mortar and pestle anyways.

    But the bottom looked even worse than the top—which you’ll just have to trust me on since I felt uneasy subjecting you to photos of both. It was a real Mediterranean bummer and certainly not Nice…or even niçoise-ian by any definition (unless Nice is full of stinky fish sludge, with chunks of greasy vegetables mixed in.)

    Continue Reading Spreadable Tuna Mousse Recipe…

    Marinated Feta Recipe

    There’s lots of feta-like cheese out there, but only cheese made in Greece is considered true feta nowadays and you can’t call it feta anymore unless it was produced there. Like Champagne, which has to be made in Champagne or Brie de Meaux which has to be made is Meaux, it isn’t feta unless it’s made where it’s supposed to be made—in Greece.

    Although I’m not much of a font of knowledge about a lot of things, if it’s food-related, I’ll do in a pinch. If you want to make something that’s impressive and incredibly simple to put together, maybe I can help you out there as well. This is a favorite around here and once you make it, you’ll be rewarded in the days following with salty chunks of cheese infused in a sublime bath of fruity olive oil scented with summery herbs.

    Feta

    Start with a clean jar of any size and add chunks of feta. I like to keep them large, around 2-inches (6cm) max is good. You can also use rounds of semi-firm chèvre too, and I bought a big chunk of sheep’s milk cheese today at my favorite Arab grocer that may or may not have been true feta, but was not-too-dry and I knew would be just perfect.

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    Agave-Sweetened Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

    Scoop of Chocolate Ice Cream

    As a cookbook author, whenever you do a cooking demonstration, there’s always ‘The Question’. It’s the one that’s the most frequently asked when you’re doing classes on a book tour. For me it’s often “Can that be frozen?”

    Since my freezer is usually so crammed with stuff I can’t imagine wedging in a multi-layer cake amongst all the rock-hard frozen madness that I call “my freezer”…except for now, because I came home from the country last weekend and found my freezer door had nudged itself open, or more likely I accidentally left it ajar in my haste to get outta town, and when I came home, my freezer looked like an Antarctic blizzard had happened in there and had to be completely cleaned out…so now there’s plenty of room and I can start jamming it full all over again.

    Anyhow, when you write a book completely devoted to frozen desserts and ice cream you can smugly think to yourself, “Ha! I’ve nipped that one in the bud.” Of course, all ice cream can be frozen. But little did I realize something insidious had taken ahold of my fellow Americans. “Can I use Splenda?” was The Question I was getting.

    I don’t use artificial sweeteners in my cooking and don’t know how they behave so I’m not going to dole out advice on how to use them. But some people can’t have highly-refined or white sugar for health reasons, so I told those folks I’d “get back to them on that” – which I’m doing here and now. I wanted to come up with a recipe for ice cream-lovers who are looking for a sugar-free option that tastes every bit as good as regular ice cream. And this is it.

    Chocolate Ice Cream

    After my last book tour ended, I jettisoned home and decided to come up with a top-drawer recipe for Sugar-Free Chocolate Ice Cream that used no artificial ingredients. I made a trip to my local health food store in Paris, picked up a jar of agave nectar, and got churning.

    I decided to create sugar-free chocolate ice cream, since the luscious, silky-smooth taste of dark chocolate was probably something that most folks on sugar-restricted diets were craving. But I didn’t want to make something that tasted like just an acceptable substitute for chocolate ice cream: I wanted it to be the real thing, smooth and creamy, with the luxurious flavor of rich, dark chocolate.

    If you live outside the United States, you can often find tablets of unsweetened chocolate at some chocolate shops and specialty stores. In France it’s usually labeled, 100% pâte de cacao—100% chocolate paste.

    Chocolate Ice Cream Bowl

    Agave-Sweetened Chocolate Ice Cream
    About 1 quart (1 liter)

    Since the custard is made without sugar, keep an eye on things as it will cook rather quickly. You can either use a flame-tamer or cook the custard in bain-marie, a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, to avoid overcooking if you’ve never made a custard before. And because I don’t like washing dishes, I use the same saucepan for cooking the custard that I used for dissolving and blooming the cocoa powder, I simply scrape it as clean as possible and use it again for making the custard.

    If you would like to reduce the quantity of agave nectar here, you can cut the amount to ½ cup (120 ml) if you wish.

    • 10 tablespoons (155 ml) agave nectar
    • 2 ounces (55 g) unsweetened chocolate, very finely chopped
    • 1/3 cup (35 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
    • 3 cups (750 ml) half-and-half*, divided
    • 5 large egg yolks
    • pinch of salt

    1. In a small saucepan, warm the agave syrup with the unsweetened chocolate over the lowest heat possible, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and transfer mixtures to a large bowl. Set aside.

    2. In a medium saucepan, add 1½ cups (375 ml) of the half-and-half and whisk in the cocoa powder. Cook over moderate heat until the mixture begins to bubble, then simmer for 30 seconds, whisking frequently, making sure to break up any clumps of cocoa powder.

    3. Remove from heat and scrape the mixture into the bowl with the chocolate-agave mixture. Stir them together, then set a mesh strainer over the top.

    4. Add the remaining half-and-half to the saucepan with a pinch of salt, turn on the heat, and when warm, slowly pour the warm half-and-half into the yolks whisking constantly, then pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

    5. Cook, stirring constantly over moderate heat, until the mixture becomes steamy and thickens. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read about 170F degrees. (76C).

    6. Pour the mixture through the strainer into the chocolate mixture.

    7. Stir, then let cool a few minutes until tepid. Once it’s not super hot, whiz the mixture in a blender for ten seconds until it’s smooth and velvety. (Never blend very hot liquids in a blender since it creates a hot vortex and can cause the liquid to blast out of the top.)

    8. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    perfectscoop.jpg



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