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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Cookies/Cake/Pastry

VALENTINE RECIPE: Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake

choc-rasp-bundt-cake-annalise-goboldwithbutter-230

Chocolate and raspberries are a match made
in heaven. Photo courtesy Annalise | Completely Celicious.

 

Here’s another delicious Valentine recipe from Annalise of Completely Delicious, sent to us via GoBoldWithButter.com.

Everyone thinks they’re getting a conventional chocolate cake, until slicing it reveals the raspberry surprise. This combination of chocolate and fresh raspberries in a buttery Bundt cake is a match made in heaven (just like you and your Valentine?).

The raspberries blend into the cake as it bakes, creating little bursts of bright flavor to contrast with the rich chocolate.

RECIPE: CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients For A 9-Inch Cake

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • Garnish: powdered sugar
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream*
  • Optional garnish: fresh raspberries
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch bundt pan.

    2. COMBINE the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda in medium bowl. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing after each, and stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, scraping down bowl as needed.

    3. SPOON the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the raspberries on top (they will sink as the cake bakes). Bake 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs.

    4. LET the cake cool completely in the pan, then turn out onto a plate or cake stand. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with whipped cream and additional raspberries.

     
    *For more raspberry flavor, add a tablespoon of Chambord or other raspberry liqueur into the whipped cream.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Beet Tarte Tatin

    beet-tarte-tatin-taste.com.au-230r

    Beet Tarte Tatin. Photo and recipe courtesy
    Taste.com.au.

     

    If you love the combination of beets and goat cheese, try this recipe for Beet Tarte Tatin. We adapted it from one by Katrina Woodman, originally published in the October 2012 of Australian Good Taste.

    The Tatin sisters, Caroline and Stéphanie, ran the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, southwest of Paris in the Loire Valley, not far from the town of Chambord. Tarte Tatin is a one-crust fruit pie invented by accident in France in the early 1880s. It is served upside-down; the fruit (initially, it was apples) are on the bottom with the crust on top.

    As the story goes, Stéphanie, preparing an apple tart, erroneously put the apples in the pan without the crust underneath. The apples caramelized, the customers loved it and the Tarte Tatin was born.

    It can be made with sweet vegetables as well: beets and carrots are delicious prospects.

    This vegetable Tatin, cooked in a skillet, serves four as an appetizer or as part of a light lunch, with a salad.

     
    RECIPE: BEET TARTE TATIN

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 small beets, peeled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (removed from stalks)
  • 1 sheet frozen butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • Optional garnish: fresh thyme sprigs
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 390°F.

    2. MELT the butter in a ovenproof non-stick 7″ or 8″ frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the beets and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar and thyme. Season. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until mixture thickens.

    3. COVER with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until the beetroot is just tender. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool. Increase oven heat to 430°F.

    4. TRIM the pastry into a 9″ to 10″ disc, depending on size of pan. Arrange the beets evenly over the base of the pan. Top with pastry. Fold in excess. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

    5. PLACE a plate turned upside down over the frying pan (it should be bigger than the pan). Holding the two together, flip the entire pastry over. Top with goat cheese and herbs and serve warm.

     

    ebkids two types of roots jangios167j4 23rd of February, 2006 cmmccabe

    A taproot system versus conventional fibrous roots. Here’s more about it from Britannica.com.

    BEET VS. BEETROOT

    Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) evolved from the wild seabeet, a leafy plant that grows at coastlines around the world. It was first domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, although it was only the leaves that were eaten back then. (The wild seabeet is also the common ancestor of spinach and chard.)

    The Romans began to cultivate beets in earnest, cooking them with honey and wine. Recipes in oldest surviving cookbook De Re Coquinaria by Apicius’s, included beetroot in broths and salads, the latter with a very modern-sounding vinaigrette of mustard, oil and vinegar.

    The beet is a plant with a taproot system. The taproot is a large, central, dominant root, typically straight and very thick, tapering downward (see image above). For most of its life, beetroot was long and thin like a carrot or parsnip—both taproots, along with burdock, radish and turnip, among others. The familiar round shape was developed in the 16th century.

    Beetroot continued to grow in popularity in Victorian times, favored for its dramatic color in salads and soups. It was also used as a sweet ingredient in cakes and puddings. Beet sugar, used more widely around the world than cane sugar, was made by boiling all the sugar out of the beets, then cooking down that sugary water into dry crystals.

    Today, as a result of mutation and selective breeding, beets are available in numerous shapes and sizes, including orange, yellow, white and candy-striped (with red and white concentric circles).

     
    BEET VS. BEETROOT VS. SUGAR BEET

    The term beetroot is used in the U.K., France and elsewhere. It is known by its shorter name, beet, in North America.

  • The table beet is a vegetable grown for human consumption.
  • The sugar beet has been bred for higher sugar content, from which granulated sugar and molasses can be made.
  •  
    You can eat a sugar beet as a vegetable, but can’t make sugar and molasses from a table beet.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Strawberry Cake With Strawberry Heart-Shaped Macarons

    Steph, a blogger in Sydney, Australia, created this masterpiece: a fluffy vanilla cake layered with strawberry and balsamic vinegar icing, topped with heart-shaped macarons filled with the same icing strawberry-balsamic icing.

    The recipe is on her website, RaspberriCupcakes.com.

    In Italy, fresh strawberries with a few drops of fine aged balsamic vinegar are a popular dessert. Steph loves the combination, and it was a short leap to adding caramelized balsamic vinegar to strawberry buttercream icing.

    “All I did was purée the fruit and mix it into my regular buttercream icing, along with that amazing caramelised balsamic vinegar,” says Steph. “It has a gorgeous depth of flavour and a bit of tang from the balsamic. It helped that I [already] had that beautiful sweet and thick balsamic vinegar, which seemed perfect to use in desserts; but you could use any balsamic and adjust the amount you add to the icing until it tastes just right.”

    In terms of going the extra mile to make heart-shaped macarons: Steph, we take our hat off to you.

     

    balsamic-raspberry-butter-cake-raspberricupcakes.com-230

    A Valentine cake that will turn heads. Photo courtesy Raspberri Cupcakes.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Molasses Bar Day

    It’s National Molasses Bar Day, so consider whipping up a batch of chewy molasses bar cookies.

    This recipe, from Grandma’s Molasses, ups the chewiness and nutrition by adding nuts and dried dates. Walnuts are popular, and pistachios and dates are a classic Middle East combination; but you can use any nut you favor.

    For a special dessert tonight, top a bar with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    RECIPE: DATE NUT MOLASSES BARS

    Ingredients For 32 Bars

  • 1 cup enriched flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup shortening, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup nuts, chopped
  • 1 package/7 ounces pitted dates, finely chopped
  •    

    molasses-date-bars-grandmasmolasses-230

    Date, nut and molasses bars. Photo courtesy Grandma’s Molasses.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. SIFT together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

    3. COMBINE the egg, sugar, molasses, shortening and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture, nuts and dates.

    4. LINE a 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan with wax paper, greased and lightly floured. Pour in the batter and bake 40 minutes or until done.

    5. TURN out onto cooling rack; remove the wax paper. When cool, cut into 32 bars. Store in an airtight container.

     

    michigansugar.com

    Dark molasses. Photo courtesy Michigan Sugar Co.

     

    WHAT IS MOLASSES?

    Molasses is thick syrup produced as a by-product during the refining of sugar cane. Molasses is the residue that is left after the sugar crystals are extracted (i.e., molasses is produced when no more sugar may be economically crystallized by conventional means).

    Molasses is predominantly sucrose, with some glucose and fructose. It is 65% as sweet as sugar. The better grades of molasses, such as New Orleans drip molasses and Barbados molasses, are unreprocessed and contain more sucrose, making them lighter in color. They are used in cooking and confectionery and in the production of rum.

  • Light molasses comes from the first boiling of the cane. It is also called sweet molasses and is used as pancake syrup or a sweetener.
  • Dark molasses comes from the second boiling. It is more flavorful and less sweet than light molasses, and often used for gingerbread and spice cookies.
  • Treacle is the British term for dark molasses; light molasses is called golden syrup.
  • Blackstrap molasses, the lowest grade, comes from the third boiling; it is strong and bitter, and mainly used in mixed cattle feed and in the manufacture of industrial alcohol.
  • Sulfured molasses has had sulfur dioxide added as a preservative (or, the sulfur in the manufacturing process is retained in the molasses).
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: World Nutella Day

    nutella-parfait-pops-bakingamoment.com-230

    Nutella and Yogurt Breakfast Parfait Pops. Photo courtesy BakingAMoment.com. Here’s the recipe.

     

    In 2011, two bloggerd declared February 5th to be World Nutella Day.

    Typically, holidays are official proclamations by a city, state or the federal government (here’s how it works). But in the wild frontier of the Internet, World Nutella Day became a viral hit.

    Nutella hazelnut spread, in its earliest form, was created in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of Ferrero SpA, an Italian confectionery and chocolate company.

    At the time, there was very little chocolate because cocoa was in short supply due to World War II (1939-1945) rationing. To extend the chocolate supply, Mr. Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, where the company was located.

    The spread is a combination of roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and a touch of cocoa. It is an all-natural product: no artificial colors or preservatives.

    Nutella was first imported to the U.S. more 25 years ago by Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. Its popularity has grown steadily.

     

    HOW WILL YOU ENJOY NUTELLA TODAY?

    So enjoy a Nutella sandwich, put Nutella on a pancake or waffle, roll it in a crepe, eat it from the jar with a spoon. Add it to your favorite cookie, cake or brownie recipe. Fill “jelly” donuts with Nutella. Make a Nutella milkshake.

    Add it to coffee or hot chocolate.

    Or, try these less conventional approaches:

  • Nutella-covered bacon (recipe—or a bacon and Nutella sandwich, instead of peanut butter)
  • Nutella granola (recipe)
  • Nutella ravioli for dessert (try this recipe, substituting Nutella for the PB&J)
  • Nutella and Yogurt Breakfast Parfait Pops (shown in the photo—recipe)
  •  
    Perhaps the best excuse to eat Nutella today: these no-bake Nutella energy bites. After all, most of could use a bit more energy!
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Citrus As A Cake Garnish Or Base

    With a limited offering of sweet fresh fruit during the winter, turn to seasonal citrus to dress your desserts.

    Angel cake, cheesecake, olive oil cake, pound cake, sponge cake: all are highly receptive to a garnish of citrus segments (or, depending on how you look at it, a citrus fruit salad).

    In addition to cheery color, if you use the citrus as a base you can place a smaller piece of cake atop a larger amount of fruit.

    Go for a blend of color—rosy blood oranges, pink cara cara oranges, conventional oranges, pink or red grapefruits (with perhaps some white grapefruit for contrast). You can also add some kumquats and something from the Mandarin group: clementines, satsumas, tangelos and tangerines.

    Cut some of the fruits into disks, and supreme others into segments. “Supreme” is the term that refers to removing the skin, pith, membranes and seeds of a citrus fruit and separating it into segments (wedges). Here’s a YouTube video showing you how to do it.

    One note: You may not want your cake sitting in the citrus juices. If so, be sure to drain the citrus well—but save those delicious juices and drink them or add them to a vinaigrette.

       

    olive-oil-cake-citrus-garnish-froghollowfarm-230r

    Create a colorful citrus garnish for plain cakes. Photo of olive oil cake courtesy Frog
    Hollow Farm.

     

    mandarin-peeled-noblejuice-230

    I am not an orange: I’m a mandarin! Photo courtesy Noble Juice.

     

    FOOD 101: THE MANDARIN IS NOT AN ORANGE

    A mandarin is erroneously called “mandarin orange”, but the two are separate species. Even Produce Pete calls clementines and mandarins “oranges,” so do what you can to spread the truth.

    There are three basic citrus types—citron, mandarin and pummelo—from which all modern citrus derives via hybrids or backcrosses.

    While they look like small oranges and are often called “mandarin oranges,” mandarins are a separate species that includes the clementine, mineola (red tangelo), murcott (also called honey tangerine), tangelo, temple and satsuma, among others.

  • Oranges are from the order Sapindales, family Rutaceae, genus Citrus and species C. × sinensis. They are believed to have originated in southern China and northeastern India. They were first cultivated in China around 2500 B.C.E.
  • Mandarins are from the order Sapindales, family Rutaceae and genus Citrus but differentiate at the species level: C. reticulata. Reticulata, Latin for reticulated, refers to the pattern of interlacing lines of the pith. Mandarins, which originated in Southeast Asia, are also identifiable by their loose skin.
  •  
    According to the horticulture experts at U.C. Davis, the mandarin reached the Mediterranean basin in the early 1800s, and arrived in Florida about 1825.You can read more here.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Super Bowl Team Colors In Frosting

    If you’re making cake cupcakes for Super Bowl feasting, you can ice them with your team colors. McCormick has the recipes for all the NFL team colors.

    McCormick suggests adding the color to a 16-ounce can of white frosting, but if you have a picky palate, you might prefer to make your own buttercream or cream cheese frosting (here are the recipes).

    Both sets of team colors require regular food colors and a box of McCormick NEON! food colors. The New England Patriots red also requires a bottle of black food color.

    So get mixing and surprise your family and guests with something sweet, with our hopes that the day will be even sweeter when your team wins.
     
    FROSTING TIPS

    While it’s easy to frost a cake with half of each frosting color, McCormick offers these tips for cupcakes:

     

    food-colors-230

    Mix your team colors. The asterisks * indicate neon colors.Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

  • Spoon and Swirl Formation: Place one tablespoon of each color frosting on a cupcake, then spread and swirl the frosting with a small knife or spatula.
  • Pastry Bag Conversion: Place both colored frostings side-by-side in a pastry bag and squeeze them out together.
  •  
    FROSTING VS. ICING: THE DIFFERENCE

    The difference between frosting and icing is that icing is made with confectioners sugar’ (also called icing sugar and 10x sugar). But the two words are used interchangeably by those not aware of this nuance.

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE GIFT: Mini Cupcakes From Baked By Melissa

    These itty bitty cupcakes (about half the size of the photo) will delight kids and adults equally.

    The Valentine Collection from Baked By Melissa—a pioneer in tiny cupcakes—includes three varieties. Packaged in a gift box with a pink ribbon, the Valentine Collection includes:

  • White Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes: white vanilla cake, Bavarian cream stuffing, vanilla icing, white chocolate covered pretzel and chocolate drizzle topping.
  • Red Velvet Pretzel Cupcakes: Red velvet cake, cream cheese icing, milk chocolate covered pretzel and chocolate drizzle topping.
  • Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcakes: chocolate cake, peanut butter stuffing, chocolate icing, dark chocolate pretzel and chocolate drizzle topping.
  •  
    The round ball at the top is a chocolate-covered pretzel, adding crunch and a hint of salt to the sweet cupcakes. The cupcakes are bite-size: slightly larger than the diameter of a quarter, one or two bites.

    In the words of Melissa, a little cupcake equals a lot of love.

    The cupcakes, which are kosher-certified by OK, can be shipped nationwide and can be pre-ordered starting today. A 25-piece gift box is $25, plus shipping.

       

    peanut_butter_pretzel-230

    Shown here about twice the actual size, the cupcakes have the diameter of a quarter. Photo courtesy Baked By Melissa.

     
    To place an order, head to BakeByMelissa.com. For Valentine’s Day delivery, shipping orders must be placed by 3 p.m. on Friday, February 13th.

     

    vday2015_giftbox-230

    The Valentine gift box, tied with a pink ribbon. Photo courtesy Baked By Melissa.

     

    CUPCAKE HISTORY

    Before the advent of muffin tins, cupcakes were baked in individual tea cups or ramekins. The first reference to the miniature cakes dates to 1796, when a recipe for “cake to be baked in small cups” appeared in the cookbook, “American Cookery.” The earliest documentation of the term “cupcake” was in “Eliza Leslie’s Receipts cookbook” in 1828. [Source]

    Cupcakes were convenient because they cooked much faster than larger cakes. It took a long time to bake a cake in a hearth oven; cupcakes baked in a fraction of the time.

    Muffin tins became widely available around the turn of the 20th century, and offered new convenience to bakers. Paper and foil liners were created for easier removal of the cupcakes from the pan.

     

    They evolved into children’s party fare, but in the last decade have taken a more sophisticated turn. First, some younger couples began to choose “cupcake trees” instead of conventional wedding cakes. This prompted a flurry of cupcake articles and recipes, and ultimately the opening of boutique cupcake bakeries nationwide, offering everyday treats.

    Each Baked By Melissa cupcake has 70-90 calories, but that’s a workable daily treat. An average-size cupcake from Crumbs, Magnolia, Sprinkles and the like will run you 450 calories or so (here’s a calorie comparison).

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE’S DAY: Send A Cake To Your Valentine & To A Veteran

    bake-me-a-wish-cake-230

    Send a gift to a loved one and a veteran. Photo courtesy Bake Me A Wish.

     

    BakeMeAWish.com’s Valentine’s Day Freedom Cake is a Valentine gift with real meaning. When you send a cake to a loved one, Bake Me A Wish will also send a cake to a veteran in a VA Hospital in the U.S.

    It’s $75 for both cakes; the cake is normally $39.95 plus $15 shipping.

    If you’d rather buy something else: When you spend $25 or more at BakeMeAWish.com, use the code VETERAN. Bake Me A Wish will automatically donate 20% of the purchase price toward sending a cake to a veteran in a VA Hospital.

    The initiative is in partnership with, Soldiers’ Angels, whose motto is “May no soldier go unloved.” The non-profit organization provides assistance to families of enlisted soldiers.

    BakeMeAWish.com sends gift-boxed cakes nationwide, and includes a personalized card. If you’ve forgotten a special occasion, the cake can be delivered overnight.

     

    To order your Freedom Cake or other cake gift, visit BakeMeAWish.com.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Heart Shaped Valentine Desserts

    You’ve got time to plan a special heart-shaped Valentine dessert. We cruised through Amazon.com and found these heart-shaped pans and molds for inspiration:

  • Heart-shaped bundt pan
  • Heart-shaped cakelet pan, three-tiered individual cakes and more
  • Heart-shaped 9″ cake pan
  • Heart-shaped 10″ cake pan
  • Heart-shaped donut pan
  • Heart-shaped foil baking cups for cupcakes or custard
  • Heart-shaped giant cookie pan
  • Heart-shaped mini muffin pan
  • Heart-shaped springform pan for cheesecake
  • Heart-shaped tube pan for angel food or sponge cakes
  • Heart-shaped whoopie pie pan
  •  
    HEART SHAPES FOR BREAKFAST

  • Heart-shaped egg poacher
  • Heart-shaped rings for fried eggs
  • Heart-shaped pancake pan
  •    

    heart-bundt-nordicware-230

    It’s easy to make this elaborately-shaped Valentine bundt cake: No decorating required! Photo courtesy Nordicware.

     

    heart-whoopie-pan-wilton-230

    Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make Valentine shortbread, or get a whoopie pie mold to create something even more special. Photo courtesy Wilton.

     

    Of course, you could simply grab the heart-shaped cookie cutter you already have, roll out cookie dough, and bake them plain. You could dip them in melted chocolate or add Valentine confetti or sprinkles.

    Or, you could yield to the temptation of whoopie pies, pick up this heart-shaped whoopie pie pan, and create memories.

    If you’re steering clear of desserts, even on Valentine’s Day, how about some heart-shaped ice cubes for your cocktail or glass of water? You can add some red food color to tint them pink.

     

      

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