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Summer's here - how about some ice cream?

You adored it as a kid, but you’ve never outgrown it. Here are two words that make everyone’s eyes light up – ice cream!

“In the store-bought category there’s good, not so good and really bad,” said food writer and consultant Peggy Fallon, author of “The Best Ice Cream Maker Cookbook Ever” (HarperCollins) from her Northern California home. Ice cream maker? Do I need yet another unused appliance taking up space on my counter, I wondered.

Then I leafed through the book and I was smitten. Chocolate Pumpkin with Hazelnuts. Peaches ‘n’ Cream. Double Ginger. Utterly Peanut Butter with a whole cup of peanut butter in a quart of ice cream!  But with so many even gourmet ice creams available today, why would I want to make my own?

“I think the appeal of homemade ice cream, sorbets and frozen yogurts is that you control what goes into them,” Fallon noted. “There are so many odd ingredients in most supermarket ice cream. Just look at the labels. When you make your own, you use real cream, eggs, sugar and milk. If you’re concerned about what you put into your body, it’s better to eat real food.”

Sounds great, but I’m thinking, remember that bread machine you couldn’t live without and the havoc it played with your waistline?

Then I read on. A chapter called “On the Lighter Side” offers mouthwatering light ice creams, frozen yogurts, granitas and sorbets with alluring titles such as Maple Crunch Light Ice Cream, Tangy Orange Iced Buttermillk, Honey Vanilla Frozen Yogurt and Pear Sorbet with Zinfandel and Fresh Basil.  Read the whole story 

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Tue, 05/19/2009 - 6:51am.

Too good to call Passover cake bête noire

Too Good to Call Passover Cake Bête Noire
(Flourless Chocolate Cake)

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, very coarsely chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, very coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
5 extra-large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (not a springform), line it with a round of parchment paper, and butter the paper.

2. Place both chocolates in a food processor and process until chopped.

3. Combine the sugar and ½ cup water in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

4. With the processor on, add the boiling sugar syrup to the chocolate through the feed tube. Add the butter, piece by piece, followed by the eggs. Process only until very smooth.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Set the pan in a larger baking pan, and fill the larger pan with warm water to reach halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven, and bake on the center oven rack until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the cake pan from the larger pan and transfer it to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

6. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and invert it onto a baking sheet. Lift off the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Then invert a cake plate over the cake, and invert the plate and baking sheet together, so the cake is now right side up. Remove the plastic wrap.

7. Serve the cake warm, cold, or at room temperature. It will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Serves 12 or more

Fireworks! Parades! Barbecues! And Apple Pie

Fireworks! Parades! Barbecues! Flag-waving! It’s our nation’s birthday, and celebrating the Fourth of July with any of the above is as American as apple pie. But is our beloved classic dessert really American, I wonder?

There were no apples in the New World until the early European explorers brought the seeds
Read the whole story

Helou Hindi (Candied Coconut with Pistachios)

Source: “Aromas of Aleppo” by Poopa Dweck

2 pounds fresh coconut meat, shredded (about 2 to 3 coconuts), or store-bought unsweetened coarsely shredded coconut (see cook’s note)
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 cup pistachios, shelled, blanched, and peeled

Cook’s note: If you use store-bought unsweetened coconut, place it in a mixing bowl and add cold water. Gently fluff the coconut with your hands and let stand for 1 hour to plump and moisten the flakes. Drain before using.
1. In a medium saucepan, combine coconut meat, sugar, lemon juice, 1 cup water, and orange blossom water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally with a wooden spoon. While coconut mixture is still hot, stir in pistachios. Mix well, and cool before serving.
Yield: 40 servings (2 quarts)

Yemenite Haroset Truffles

Yemenite Haroset Truffles

1/3 cup (2 ounces) pitted dates
1/3 cup (2 ounces) dried figs
1/3 cup (2 ounces) raisins
1/3 cup (2 ounces) dried apricots
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup toasted coarsely chopped pecans
3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 1/2 tablespoons orange liqueur

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and finely ground

1. Combine the dried fruit, honey, and spices in a food processor
and pulse until smooth. Add the pecans, slivered almonds, and orange
liqueur, and process until well combined.
2. Form the mixture into balls 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll them
in the ground almonds, and place them in individual fluted foil or
paper candy cups. Refrigerate, covered, until firm, at least 3 hours.
These will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Makes 16 to 20

New Bittersweet Brownies

From “Pure Dessert” by Alice Medrich

8 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1.2 ounces) all-purpose flour

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350˚F.
Line bottom and sides of 8-inch square baking pan with foil.

2. Place chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl and set in wide skillet
of almost-simmering water. Stir frequently until mixture is melted,
smooth and quite warm. Remove from pan and set aside.

3. In medium bowl, beat eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla with hand-held
mixer on high speed until eggs are thick and light colored, about 2
minutes. Whisk in warm chocolate. Fold in flour.

4. Scrape batter into lined pan and spread evenly. Bake until toothpick
inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on

5. Invert brownies on rack and peel off foil. Turn right side up on cutting board and cut into sixteen 2-inch squares.

Sufganiyot (Hanukkah Jelly Doughnuts)

Adapted from “Cooking Jewish” by Judy Bart Kancigor

3 packages dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
Scant 1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cups oil
1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
6 to 8 cups all-purpose flour 
Canola or corn oil for frying
Jam (any flavor)
Powdered sugar

1. In a large (at least 6-quart) bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes until bubbly. Add scant cup warm water, salt, oil, sugar, and eggs. Add 3 cups of flour and mix. Knead in remaining flour gradually in the bowl until dough is spongy and elastic, but still feels a bit tacky (not stiff). Remove dough and oil sides of bowl (no need to wash it), coat dough with oil and return to bowl. Loosely cover with plastic wrap.

2. Preheat oven to 200°; turn oven off. Let dough rise in oven for 2 hours or until it nearly reaches top of bowl. Roll out on floured board to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with 3-inch biscuit cutter (or glass) into rounds. Let rounds rise on cookie sheet 30 minutes.

3. Heat oil in electric fry pan to 365°. Dip fingers in flour. Lift each round of dough, hold with two hands, and with two middle fingers stretch the middle of the round quite thin. This will be the depression for the jam. Quickly drop each round into hot oil, depression side down, and cover until golden brown (not dark). Quickly turn them, cover and fry until other side is golden brown. Drain doughnuts on both sides on paper towels. Fill holes with jam; dust with powdered sugar. Best if eaten warm. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen

Chocolate Pretzel Baskets

Source: Adapted from "Chocolate Holidays" by Alice Medrich
Yield: 1 large basket or 3 small baskets

3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
3 or more cups thin pretzel sticks, salted or unsalted

1.Line 2-quart bowl with plastic wrap. (Or lay out wax paper for small nests.) Heat water in bottom of double boiler to simmer.

2.Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water or in microwave on medium (50 percent) power. Cool to lukewarm. In medium bowl, pour most of chocolate over pretzels. Use rubber spatula to turn pretzels gently in chocolate until they are lightly coated, adding as much of chocolate as necessary. (It’s OK if some of pretzel shows through chocolate.)

3.For large basket or nest, scrape pretzels into prepared bowl. Arrange sticky pretzels against sides of container to resemble basket or nest. (Shape small nests on sheets of wax paper.)

4. Refrigerate to set chocolate. To unmold large basket, lift plastic liner from container and peel away from pretzels. Fill with Chocolate Latkes or chocolate Hanukkah gelt (coins).

Chocolate Latkes

Source: "Chocolate Holidays" by Alice Medrich
Yield: 2 dozen 2 1/4-inch cookies

4 large egg whites
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
3 1/2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil. Put some water in skillet and bring to low simmer.

2.Combine all ingredients in large heatproof mixing bowl, preferably stainless steel (ingredients heat up faster in stainless steel than in glass). Set bowl in skillet of barely simmering water and stir mixture, scraping bottom to prevent burning, until sticky and hot to touch.

3. Scoop rounded tablespoons of mixture about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly with fingers to resemble miniature potato pancakes.

4. Bake until cookies feel dry on surface and edges and protruding coconut shreds are dark golden brown (despite chocolate color) and interior still looks like melted chocolate, 13 to 15 minutes. Rotate sheets from front to bake and upper to lower about halfway through. Slide parchment paper onto cooling rack. Cool cookies completely before removing from parchment. The cookies are most delicious on day they are baked – the exterior is crisp and chewy and interior soft and moist. Cookies may be stored, airtight, 4 to 5 days.

Honey-Drizzled Chocolate Cheese Fritters

Source: “Chocolate Holidays" by Alice Medrich
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

For frying: Vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm honey

1. Mix ricotta and eggs with fork. Add flour and mix just until incorporated. Add butter, orange zest, salt and chocolate, and stir just until thoroughly combined. Batter may be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance.

2.In wide skillet, heat 1/2 inch oil over medium heat until few drops of batter sizzle vigorously when added to pan. Carefully add rounded tablespoonfuls of batter to hot oil. Do not crowd fritters; they need space to fry properly and to turn. Fry until brown on one side, then turn and fry other side until brown. Transfer fritters to warm platter with fork or tongs (see cook’s note). Repeat until all batter is fried. Serve drizzled with warm honey, or pass honey separately.

Note: Fry fritters up to 2 hours in advance of serving and serve at room temperature, or fry and serve hot or warm. Do not keep fritters in warm oven for long or they will dry and toughen. Just before serving time, or up to 2 hours before, place small ovenproof platter lined with several layers of paper towel or cloth napkin in 200-degree oven.

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