Sunday, February 28, 2010

Quinoa Butter Biscuits

For some reason, I had a bag of quinoa flour in my cupboard.   I must have used the flour to bake something but I can't remember what or when.  Has that ever happened to you?  I'm constantly finding goodies in my kitchen that I must have purchased and used at some point but my mind is a complete blank when I try to remember the specifics.  So then I shove those items to the back of the shelf, where they sit neglected, until I stumble upon them again and try to figure out how they got there.  This is why I now have nearly full containers of potato starch, dulse (a sea vegetable that tastes like seaweed) and sorghum flour.  The potato starch, in particular, throws me for a loop because it's such a random ingredient to have on hand.  What the heck was that for?  It's a mystery to me.  

Not wanting the quinoa flour to go to waste, I mixed up a basic biscuit dough using half quinoa flour and half regular flour.  The resulting biscuits were exceptionally tender, flaky and slightly nutty in flavor.  Quinoa is high in protein and B vitamins so it really adds a nutritional boost to an otherwise indulgently buttery recipe.  


1 cup quinoa flour, sifted
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter
2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon cold milk (skim is fine)
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (Don't know what these are?  Read about them here.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix together the flours, baking powder and salt.

Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

Slowly add the 2/3 cup of milk, stirring with a fork, until the mixture just comes together as a soft dough.

Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead 10 times.

Pat out the dough into a 9" inch by 12" rectangle.  Cut into 12 equal pieces.  Looking at the dough, it should be four pieces wide and three pieces deep.  

Brush the top of the dough with the remaining tablespoon of milk.  Sprinkle with the nigella seeds.

Place biscuits on a baking sheet about an inch apart.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Makes 12 biscuits.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Almond Sweet Cream

This flourless chocolate cake tasted as good as it looked and baking the cake was almost as easy as eating it.  If you like chocolate then you will LURVE this cake because the chocolate flavor is really intense due to the inclusion of high quality bittersweet chocolate.  I used Ghirardelli 70% Cacao Extra Bittersweet Baking Bar, which boasts 70% cacao dark chocolate.  In case you don't know, 70% cacao equals an unmistakable, highly nuanced, deep, dark chocolate flavor that veers decidedly more toward the bitter than toward the sweet. True chocolate lovers, this is the chocolate you have been looking for to punch up your favorite chocolate recipes to even higher level of scrumptiousness.

This cake was the grand finale to a fun weekend supper that we shared with our neighbors.  Usually, I would garnish a cake like this with a few berries and a dusting of cocoa powder or confectioner's sugar but I didn't have any berries at the time.  I did have half a bag of sliced almonds so I whipped up a little sweet cream sauce flavored with almond to drizzle over the cake and topped it all of with a small handful of freshly toasted almonds.  The cool, nutty cream made an amazing combination with the dense, moist, bittersweet chocolate.  In fact, I think I prefer the cream sauce to the fruit that I always used before.

printable recipe

8 ounces best quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces (not the unsweetened kind)
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract AND 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
6 eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

8 ounces heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan with a buttered piece of wax paper or parchment paper, cut to fit.

Melt the chocolate and the butter in a double boiler over medium heat.  The water in the bottom of the double boiler should be barely simmering.  Stir the chocolate mixture frequently and slowly to encourage even melting.  Remove from the heat when the mixture is completely smooth.

Whisk in the sugar.

Add the vanilla extract and the 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract.

Whisk in the eggs, once at a time.

Sift over the cocoa powder and whisk until combined.

Pour batter into pan.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with little moist, dense crumbs on it.  Coll cake in the pan for 15 minutes.   Remove the springform collar and invert the cake onto a plate. The top of the cake should now be on the bottom.  Carefully peel off the buttered paper. Then, invert the plate onto a baking rack so that the top of the cake is facing up.  Cool cake completely.

Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl.  Beat on high with a hand mixer until the creams thickens a lot but is still liquid.  Beat in the confectioners sugar and remaining almond extract.

To serve, cut the cake into 12 wedges and place each piece on a plate.  Drizzle each piece of cake generously with the almond sweet cream and garnish with a spoonful of toasted, sliced almonds.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Read Up & Eat Up for February 14-20, 2010

Last week's best in recipes and foodie news on the web.

My mouth is watering just looking at these savory Little Bundles of Joy.  Crafting Aduki Bean Gyoza by hand looks like a delicious way to spend an afternoon. And then, of course, you get to eat them!

Get your best girlfriends together and start your own Ladies Supper Club.  

Homemade whole wheat bread warm from the oven and spread lavishly with huckleberry butter sounds like the perfect snack on a blustery February day. 

Heidi shows us how to make an incredible Roasted Delicata Squash Salad dressed with miso and harissa.

First Lady Michelle Obama Takes on Childhood Obesity in America

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not About Cooking But This Is My Blog And I Can Post Whatever I Want

Let's watch this fuzzy bunny eat some parsley.  Absolute cuteness!

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