Monday, December 16, 2013

Rum Cake

Ingredients for the cake: 1/2 cups walnuts, crushed 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened 3 T + 1/2 cup grapeseed or canola oil, separated 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour 1/4 cup cornstarch 4 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup vanilla instant pudding mix 4 large eggs 3/4 cup dark rum (recommended: Tortuga Rum) 1 T pure vanilla extract * * * * * * * Ingredients for the rum syrup: 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter 1/2 cup water 3/4 cup granulated white sugar 1 teaspoon Kosher salt 1/2 cup dark rum 10-15 cup Bundt pan Preparing the rum cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan, and drop crushed walnuts into the bottom of the pan. Set aside. In the base of a mixer, cream the 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and the 1/2 cup butter. Add the 3 tablespoons oil, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and kosher salt combining until evenly distributed. (Mixture will look like fine crumbs.) Mix in the pudding mix. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, rum, vanilla extract, and remaining vegetable oil. Add to the dry mixture and mix well until combined. The batter will be smooth, thin, and pour easily. Pour into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the cake comes up clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack. Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes. While the cake cools, prepare the rum syrup: In a large saucepan with high sides, combine the butter, water, granulated sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat until the butter completely melts and the sugar dissolves. Let reduce slightly, keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum (it will bubble). Wash and dry the bundt pan, then place over the cool cake and invert the cake back into the pan. Pour the hot rum syrup all over the cake and let soak for 8 hours (overnight). In morning, invert the cake back onto a serving platter. Keeps covered for 1 week at room temperature.


Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix

Ingredients: 3/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder 3/4 cup cornstarch 1 cup granulated white sugar 2 whole vanilla beans 1 teaspoon Kosher salt Preparing the mix: In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry milk, cornstarch, white sugar, and salt. Use a knife to slice down the center of the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the dry ingredients and whisk well until evenly distributed (you may need to use the back of a spoon or spatula to break up the little clumps of seeds). Cut the scraped-out vanilla beans in 2-3 pieces each, and drop into an air-tight jar or container (such as a mason jar). Pour the mixture in, seal, and shake a couple times to distribute the vanilla bean pieces. Store in a cool dry place. To make the pudding: Combine 1/2 cup of the mix with 2 cups of milk in a medium saucepan over high heat, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil (keep an eye on it because this happens quickly!), then reduce heat to a simmer and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and coats the whisk or spoon. (About 3-5 minutes). Pour in a container and let set for at least 5 minutes before serving. Can be served warm or cold.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Salt-Baked Potatoes

Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups plus 1/8 teaspoon salt 4 russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried 2 sprigs plus 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary 1 whole head garlic, outer papery skin removed and top quarter of head cut off and discarded 4 teaspoons olive oil 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened Preparing the potatoes: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Spread 21/2 cups salt in even layer in 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Gently nestle potatoes in salt, broad side down, leaving space between potatoes. Add rosemary sprigs and garlic, cut side up, to baking dish. Cover baking dish with foil and crimp edges to tightly seal. Bake 11/4 hours; remove pan from oven. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Carefully remove foil from baking dish. Remove garlic and set aside to cool. Brush exposed portion of each potato with 1 teaspoon oil. Return uncovered baking dish to oven and bake until potatoes are tender when pierced with tip of paring knife and skins are glossy, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, once garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze root end until cloves slip out of their skins. Using fork, mash garlic, butter, 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (or pinch table salt) and minced rosemary to smooth paste. Remove any clumped salt from potatoes (holding with kitchen towel if necessary), split lengthwise, top with portion of butter, and serve immediately. Serves 4


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Ingredients: 1 cup unsalted butter 1 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 12 ounce package of semisweet chocolate chips, divided in half Preparing the shortbread: Mix all ingredients except 6 ounces of the chocolate chips. Roll into a log onto plastic wrap and refrigerate for 60 minutes or until firm. Log can also be frozen and baked off at a later time. When ready to bake, slice the log into 1/4-inch coins and place on a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Melt the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips. Remove cookies from oven and while warm, sprinkle with powdered sugar and dip half into melted chocolate. Place cookies on wax paper to cool.


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