1/2 lb. good bittersweet chocolate (I like Ghirardelli or Valrhona, 60%)
1/2 lb. good semisweet chocolate (Ghirardelli or Nestles chocolate chips are fine)
1 C. heavy cream
1 Tbsp. prepared decaf espresso (or leaded, if for adults)
1 Tsp. vanilla extract
Dark cocoa powder (I like Valrhona, available at Surfas and other gourmet food stores)
Chop the chocolate roughly (you don’t have to chop the chips). Place in a stainless steel mixing bowl.
Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just boils. Turn off the heat and allow the cream to sit for 20 seconds, and then pour into the bowl with chocolate.
Whisk cream and chocolate together until it is melted (ganache). Whisk in the vanilla and coffee. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour OR chill the bowl in the fridge until the chocolate is firm again.
With melon scooper (get one at the dollar store if you don’t have one!), spoon small round balls of ganache onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll each ball of chocolate in your hands to roughly make it round.
Chill again until firm.
Roll in dark cocoa powder. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.
FRENCH CHOCOLATE MACARONS
I believe this recipe originally came from (or was inspired by) David Lebovitz, the brilliant cookbook author/blogger/pastry chef.
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
To make the macaroons: Pulse the almonds with 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add the cocoa powder and the remaining 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and pulse until well blended.
Beat the egg whites with the salt with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl just until the whites form soft peaks when the beaters are lifted. Add the granulated sugar and beat just until the whites form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. With a whisk or a rubber spatula, gently fold in the almond mixture.
Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe out 1-inch-diameter mounds about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the tops are cracked and appear dry but the macaroons are still slightly soft to the touch.
Transfer the cookies, still on the parchment paper, to barely dampened kitchen towels and let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully peel the paper off the macaroons and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. (The macaroons can be made 1 day in advance and stored in layers separated by wax paper in an airtight container.)
To make the filling: Bring the cream to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Add the chocolate and butter and whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes, or until the filling is firm enough to hold its shape when spread.
If desired, transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe the filling, or spread it with a table knife, generously on the flat side of half of the macaroons. Top with the remaining macaroons, flat-side down, pressing together gently to form sandwiches. (The cookies can be stored in layers separated by wax paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
INDIVIDUAL TOMATO TARTE TATINS
We made these savory mini tartes with frozen puff pastry and freshly picked, ripe tomatoes. I admit, this recipe is a little more time consuming than most on this site, but get your parents to help and be patient. Trust me (and my students) – it’s worth it! They are delicious!
4 tablespoon(s) sugar
1 tablespoon(s) water
1/4 teaspoon(s) sherry vinegar
4 clove(s) roasted garlic (see recipe below)
12 Niçoise olives, pitted
4 roasted tomato halves (see recipe below)
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup(s) (up to 1 1/2) Onion Confit (see recipe below)
8 ounce(s) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
Goat cheese, optional
Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic:
20 ripe tomatoes, stems and cores removed
2 large heads garlic, divided into unpeeled cloves
1/2 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
8 sprig(s) fresh thyme
2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
6 onions, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
Freshly ground black pepper
cup(s) chicken stock
2 tablespoon(s) white wine vinegar
2 tablespoon(s) fresh thyme leaves
For the roasted tomatoes and garlic: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise (through the equator), and then place the tomatoes, garlic, and oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and mix gently.
Line 2 large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the tomato halves on the baking sheets, cut side down, and then pour any oil left in the bowl over them. Divide the garlic and thyme sprigs between the baking sheets, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tomato skins loosen.
Remove and discard the tomato skins. Pour any juices that have accumulated into a bowl and reserve. Return the tomatoes and garlic to the oven and reduce the temperature to 275 degrees F. Continue roasting, periodically pouring off and reserving the juices, for 3 to 4 hours more, or until the tomatoes are slightly shrunken and appear cooked and concentrated but not yet dry.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheets. Discard the thyme, and transfer the tomatoes and garlic to separate containers. Store the tomatoes, garlic, and reserved tomato juices (also in a separate container) in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
For the onion confit: In a large deep skillet set over medium heat, heat the oil until it slides easily across the pan. Add the onions, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until the onions are very soft but not brown.
Add the stock and vinegar and simmer, continuing to stir occasionally, until the pan is dry and the onions are golden, about 30 minutes more.
Add the thyme leaves and anchovies, if using, and mix well. Serve warm or at room temperature. The confit should be refrigerated and will last at least a week.
For the tarts: Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with the water, and heat over medium heat, swirling the pan until the sugar has completely dissolved. Then let the mixture boil, swirling occasionally, until the resulting caramel is nut-brown. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the vinegar to the caramel, swirling the pan until thoroughly combined.
Pour the caramel into four 4-ounce ramekins. Allow the caramel to cool for 1 minute or so. Then place 1 garlic clove, 3 olives, and a tomato half into each of 4 ramekins. Add salt and pepper to taste, and top with the goat cheese, if using, and the onion confit.
Cut the pastry into rounds that are slightly larger than the opening of the ramekins (these will become the tart crusts). Place the pastry rounds over the Onion Confit (I like to tuck in edges to make it easy to release sides). Then transfer the ramekins to a baking sheet and bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Allow the tarts to cool for 1 to 2 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto plates. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This sweet, fluffy dessert originated at Eton College in England, and takes just a few minutes to whip up (literally). What are you waiting for??
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. sugar
1 pt raspberries (or more)
fresh mint (6 or more sprigs)
vanilla meringue cookies (pre-made, or purchased at the store)
Whip cream, sugar and vanilla until it is stiff. Chill.
Crumble meringue cookies and set aside. They should be in bite sized pieces… have fun!
Just before you want to serve, fold berries and meringue pieces into the whipped cream. Spoon into pretty glasses and top with a sprig of mint.
WHITE ASPARAGUS WITH BEURRE BLANC
My cooking students, ages 6-11, love this asparagus. We made it just last week and every single one of them begged for more. it was all I could do to save a few spears for the parents to taste at pick up. No worries — here is the recipe so that you can all make it at home!
White asparagus is tough on the outside, so the outer skin should be peeled. Put the asparagus spear on a level surface to do this so that it doesn’t snap in half. Now poach or steam your asparagus in bundles until crisp tender.
Bring salted water to a boil.
Tie spears into a bundle and lower into water. Cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife (check it after a few minutes – it goes quickly). Lift bundles from simmering water with kitchen tongs and drain on paper towels.
The secret to making beurre blanc is to preserve its makeup by allowing each addition of butter to melt smoothly into the sauce, as you whisk it, before adding the next piece of butter. Also, never let the sauce come to a boil once the butter is added; that will cause it to separate. Some restaurant cooks add a little heavy cream to the wine reduction before whisking in the butter, to ensure a smooth and stable sauce.
This recipe is based on one in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck (Knopf, 1977).
3 sticks cold unsalted butter (24 tbsp.), cut into chunks
1⁄4 cup dry white wine
1⁄4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. minced shallots
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
Pinch of white pepper
1⁄2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1. Have butter ready. Bring wine and vinegar to a boil in a saucepan; add shallots, salt, and pepper. Lower heat to a simmer; cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. (There should be about 1 1⁄2 tbsp. liquid left. If reduced too far, add 1 tbsp. water to remoisten.)
2. Remove pan from heat; whisk 2 pieces of butter into the reduction. Set pan over low heat and continue whisking butter into sauce a chunk at a time, allowing each piece to melt into sauce before adding more.
3. Remove sauce from heat; whisk in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning, then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Serve with fish, poultry, or vegetables.
(ADAPTED FROM GOURMET MAGAZINE)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla
Optional: food coloring for tinting
Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.
In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water, and let stand to soften.
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. (Some reviewers felt this took even longer with a hand mixer, but still eventually whipped up nicely.)
In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out (learning from my mess of a first round). Sift ¼ cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.
Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.
MAKES ABOUT 3 DOZEN MARSHMALLOWS!
MINI-STICKY TOFFEE PUDDINGS WITH CARAMEL SAUCE
This type of dish is common in England, where all desserts are called puddings.
4 cups whipping cream
2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups chopped pitted dates
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Bring cream, brown sugar and butter to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer sauce until reduced to 3 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Set aside. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, before using.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 12-cup Bundt pan (or line a cupcake pan). Whisk flour and baking powder in medium bowl to blend; set aside. Combine 1 1/2 cups water, dates and baking soda in another heavy medium saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat; cool completely.
Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in vanilla and half of flour mixture, then date mixture. Blend in remaining flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake until cake rises and is golden on top, about 45 minutes (less for cupcakes, about 20 min). Pour 3/4 cup caramel sauce over cake; continue baking until tester inserted near center of cake comes out with no crumbs (only caramel sauce) attached, about 15 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert cake onto platter. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool completely.
Wrap cake airtight and store at room temperature. Cover remaining caramel sauce and refrigerate. Rewarm sauce over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, before using.)
Cut cake into slices (or take cupcakes out of pain); drizzle caramel sauce over each slice.
Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
GRAMPY’S FAVORITE ROASTED VEGGIE LASAGNA
2 cans Italian chopped tomatoes
1 jar pasta sauce of your choice
pinch of sugar
red pepper flakes
pkg of lasagna noodles
veggies: (of your choice, but I use mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper)
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans chopped Italian tomatoes
half jar (or more) pasta sauce of your choice
pinch of sugar
fennel seeds (big pinch, or more to taste)
salt, pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes
Saute onion in olive oil for a few minutes, then add garlic. Don’t let the garlic burn! Add tomatoes, sauce, basil, sugar and seasonings. Simmer over low. You can give this a quick blend with an immersion blender if you want.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2 handfuls mushrooms, halved
3 zuchini, cut into chunks
1 yellow squash, cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
Put veggies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until tender, maybe 20 minutes. Add to sauce.
Lower oven to 350 degrees.
Cook lasagna noodles until al dente per directions; let cool. (I usually drizzle a bit of olive oil on the noodles to keep them from sticking together at this point)
In a rectangle baking dish, spread some of the veggie/sauce mixture, then put a layer of lasagna noodles down, overlapping slightly.
Spoon some ricotta cheese down the middle of each noodle. Spoon sauce over. Repeat. The top layer should be a layer of noodles with sauce. Top with plenty of mozzarella cheese and then sprinkle a few leaves of basil on top.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer or until edges are bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
Ile Flottant With Or Without Caramel Sauce & Toasted Almonds
This classic French dessert is so delicious – you are going to LOVE IT! Make sure you have an adult supervising you in the kitchen!
4 eggs, separated
pinch Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 3/4 cup milk (or more)
sugar (1 cup, total)
1 tsp. cornstarch
vanilla (2 tsp, total)
caramel sauce (store bought is fine) – optional
sea salt – optional
First: Separate eggs – put yolks in one bowl and whites in another. Make sure whites are in a clean, dry bowl with not a TRACE of oil. Let whites come to room temperature before you beat them.
Beat 4 egg whites, Kosher salt, and cream of tartar until frothy. Turn mixer on high and add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla. Beat until stiff and glossy.
Poach Meringue: In a saucepan, heat milk to simmer, BE CAREFUL NOT TO BOIL.
Plop dollops of meringue into milk (have mom help so you don’t get burned). You are going to let them cook or “poach” in the liquid. You can do 2 at a time, and you should have enough for 6 total.
Poach each meringue (“island”) for one minute, then turn over with a spoon and poach again, for another minute. Remove and put on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Place meringue “islands” into a warm oven or warming drawer at about 200°. Make the Creme Anglaise now.
First: Strain any eggy bits out of the warm milk.
In a clean bowl, beat the 4 egg yolks and another 1/2 cup of sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add cornstarch, then gently add warm milk from poaching (measure it to make sure you have 1 3/4 cups, and if not, add a bit). Pour this mixture into a clean saucepan and cook over low heat. This will be your “custard.”
Stir with a long wooden spoon until thickened. BE REALLY CAREFUL AND KEEP THE HEAT ON LOW OR YOU WILL “SCRAMBLE” THE EGGS! When it’s ready, the mixture, or “custard” will coat the back of a spoon. Add vanilla, stir, then strain again into a bowl (just in case there are eggy bits). Chill if you are using later. You can also put the “islands” into the fridge if you are serving them later.
Put an “island” (meringue) into a pretty bowl or glass. Pour creme anglaise over the top. If you are using caramel sauce, drizzle a bit over the top and sprinkle with sea salt (optional). You could also put a sprinkling of chopped toasted almonds on top if you like.
Makes 6 ile flottants (floating islands).
Tarragon Chicken Stew For You
You can make a stew from almost anything, but this is what I have been in the mood for lately. It’s kind of like chicken fricassee with tarragon (I love the flavors of tarragon and chicken). If you want something even MORE delicious, put some of this stew into souffle dishes, top with little rounds of puff pastry (you can buy it in the frozen food section in sheets), and bake until golden – presto – you have adorable little chicken pot pies!
1 chicken, cut into pieces (you can buy it like this)
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp. flour
2-3 tbsp. flour
fresh tarragon, snipped or chopped (about 1 tbsp., or more, to taste)
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth or bouillon
1/2 cup cream (or half and half)
Young children: portion butter and put in dutch oven (or heavy sauce pan). Measure flour and other ingredients. Snip tarragon. Peel carrot.
Older children or adult: chop onion. Chop celery and carrot.
With mom or dad’s supervision, older kids can brown chicken pieces in butter until just golden. Season with salt and pepper. Add chopped onion, carrot and celery to pan and cook over low to medium heat, covered, for about 10 minutes. Uncover pan.
Younger kids can sprinkle the flour over the top as mom or dad turns the chicken as flour is absorbed. Older kids can pour in wine or broth and stir gently (add wine first, then enough stock to cover chicken).
Cover pan and simmer slowly about 30-40 minutes on low-medium heat. Take out chicken pieces that are already cooked and continue cooking onions and sauce for another ten minutes. Lower heat and add cream and tarragon.
Serve with potatoes or noodles and a veggie of your choice.
I got this idea from the brilliant Dorie Greenspan, but I have added some seasoning to make it even more delicious. You know how I feel about kid-food, so I KNOW you aren’t surprised to find this recipe here. Um, if you were looking for a recipe for plain, “kid-friendly” noodles, you had better move along…
Dinosaur Kale or Tuscan Kale, washed and dried (cut out the thick ribs, we will only use the leaves)
olive oil spray (I use a refillable one)
sea salt (1 tsp, approximately)
garlic powder (1 tsp)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat sheet. With kitchen shears, cut kale leaves into square, triangles, or whatever you feel like. Lay them on the lined sheet and spray with olive oil. Mix garlic powder and salt together. Sprinkle over the kale pieces and bake for 10-12 minutes, until really crispy. Make sure you have adult supervision, as the oven will be very hot! Take the kale chips out and let cool. Serve as an after-school snack or an appetizer. What a delicious, fun way to get your dark leafy greens!
Boo! Wait, just kidding! There is nothing scary about this salad, I promise. It’s called Halloween Salad because I first made it on Halloween three years ago with a big crock of pumpkin soup, and my friends and their children scarfed everything up. You can use pumpkin seeds from your jack o’lantern if you want; just make sure to clean, roast and salt them before using in this recipe… don’t forget to ask mom if you are using the oven!!
Mixed greens, washed and dried
toasted pumpkin seeds (you can buy them in some markets), about 1/4 cup
goat cheese, 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup, to taste
dried cranberries, to taste
Balsamic vinaigrette (I make a fig balsamic vinaigrette homemade, but you can purchase one in the store if you like)
freshly ground pepper, to taste (you probably won’t need salt as the pumpkin seeds are salty, but taste it to make sure)
Put greens, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and dried cranberries in a big salad bowl. Prepare your dressing. Do not toss until you are ready to eat! (otherwise, the salad will get soggy). When you are ready, drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad, toss and eat. Happy Halloween!
Chicken En Papillote with Zucchini, Peas, Leeks and Lemon Butter
4 skinless boneless chicken filets, cut in half
Parchment paper or tin foil
Butter (2 tbsp.)
Lemon (1/2 to a whole, according to taste)
Garlic (1 clove, chopped)
1 zucchini, peeled into ribbons (use a veggie peeler)
1 cup freshly shelled English peas
1 leek, cleaned thoroughly and sliced thinly
Salt, pepper (to taste)
(In lieu of the lemon butter, you can use pesto if you like)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut parchment paper into squares, then into hearts. You need 8 pieces.
Melt butter, lemon and chopped garlic together in microwave safe bowl.
Spread a little lemon butter mixture onto parchment paper heart and top with a few ribbons of zucchini, some peas and leeks. Season chicken piece with salt and pepper, and then put on top of veggie mixture. Fold parchment paper over and roll edges to seal all around. Repeat until you have wrapped all chicken pieces (if you are using pesto, spread it onto parchment paper before placing veggies and chicken).
Place chicken filled packets on baking sheet and into the oven for about 18-20 minutes.
Have mom put the parchment packages onto plates and serve to guests with sides of rice and green salad. Allow guests to open their own packets carefully. Bon Appetit!