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RECIPE: Hazelnut Crunch Cake

June 1st National Hazelnut Cake Day (see all of the food holidays). We used to make one every year with a delicious, but alas discontinued, white chocolate hazelnut cake mix from The King’s Cupboard (which still makes some of the best chocolate and caramel sauces, including organic and sugar-free varieties).

So we had to search for a recipe, and found this stunner by Ashlae of Oh, Lady Cakes, which is dairy free and vegan.

Ashlae also does a great job with cookies and other desserts. Take a look at her Facebook photos and decide what you want to bake.

We are not handy with frosting, so we shy away from cakes that require the skill.

But while this cake is a beauty, it requires only a “naked cake” frosting—a slick of frosting we applied with a spatula.

You don’t have to make the hazelnut truffles on top of the cake, either: A sprinkle of hazelnuts will do. (Or, if it’s a party, assign the truffles to someone else.)

For the truffle recipe, and more delicious photos, see the original recipe.

As they say on The Great British Baking Show: Ready, set, bake!

RECIPE: HAZELNUT CRUNCH CAKE

Ingredients

For The Hazelnut Cake

  • 3 cups (395g) unbleached cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) roasted hazelnut oil
  • 1-1/2 cups (305g) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) hazelnut liqueur
  • 2 cups (420g) hazelnut creamer
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped (optional)
  •  
    Vanilla Bean Frosting Option 1

  • 3 cups (330g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  • 3/4 cup (150g) refined coconut oil, melted but not hot
  •  
    Vanilla Bean Frosting Option 2

  • 1 cup (180g) non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1-2 tablespoons (14-28g) unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 cups (330g) powdered can sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  •  
    Plus

  • 1/2 batch salted chocolate truffles (see notes above)
  • Toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of three round 6″ cake pans with parchment paper; then spray with oil and coat with sifted flour; set aside.

    2. SIFT together in a small mixing bowl the flour, baking powder and sea salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, sugar, and vanilla extract.

     

    Hazelnut Layer Cake Recipe

    Hazelnut Layer Cake

    Hazelnuts In Bowl

    Shelled Hazelnuts

    [1] and [2] A beautiful layer cake topped with chocolate hazelnut truffles, from Ashlae of Oh, Lady Cakes. [3] Hazelnuts in the shell (photo courtesy Loacker USA). [4] Shelled and ready to toast or eat (photo courtesy Better Herbal Health).

     
    Alternate between adding the creamer and the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mixing after each addition; add one third of the creamer followed by half of the flour and repeat the process ending with the creamer. Whisk batter just until combined (don’t whisk too much or else you’ll overwork the gluten and your cake will be rubbery); then fold in the toasted hazelnuts.

    3. POUR the batter into the prepared cake pans, level with the back of a spoon, then tap the pans on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles. Bake at 350°F for 36-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. While the cake layers are cooling…

    4. PREPARE the vanilla bean frosting. Ashlae prefers the coconut oil recipe but cautions that it does dry out pretty quickly and is somewhat unstable: It melts if the room temperature is higher than 80°F. Option #2, with shortening, stays soft for a while.

  • For the coconut oil frosting (option 1): Sift the powdered sugar and the vanilla bean powder into a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the coconut oil until smooth.
  • For the shortening frosting (option 2), add the shortening and almond milk to a large mixing bowl and, using a hand mixer on high speed, beat just until combined. Sift the powdered sugar and vanilla bean powder over top then beat until smooth and creamy.
  •  
    Alternatively, you can use vanilla buttercream.

    5. ASSEMBLE the cake: Level the layers, then place one layer on a cake stand or plate. Add a generous portion of frosting with a wide spatula. Repeat with remaining layers and frosting. Using an offset spatula, smooth the frosting around the cake. Garnish with the chopped hazelnuts and truffles. Serve, adding one of the remaining truffles to slices that didn’t get one of the garnish truffles..

    The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to three days. Ashlae cleverly uses a large pot topped off with a silicone lid.

      

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    RECIPE: Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

    May 31st is National Macaroon Day. Here, David Lebovitz, renowned pastry chef, blogger and author of cookbooks, shares his recipes for chewy, chocolaty macaroons.

    First, some macaroon history:

  • MAC-A-ROON is the English name for the Italian almond meringue cookies (maccarone, mah-cah-ROW-nay) first made by monks, possibly in the 13th century. They most resemble today’s amaretti cookies, with a crisp crust and a soft interior, developed at the court of Savoy in the mid-17th century. Since almond flour made them kosher for Passover, Italian Jews embraced the recipe.
  • COCONUT MACAROONS were developed in the Jewish community as a variation to the original recipe. They became a popular year-round cookie outside of the Jewish community as well.
  • MAC-A-RONS are the French version, delicate meringue cookie sandwiches filled with buttercream, ganache or jam. They were created at the beginning of the 20th century by Parisian baker Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée, had the idea to join two meringues and fill them with ganache.
  •  
    All three versions are gluten-free.

    Who first thought to dip coconut macaroons in chocolate? It isn’t known, but we thank them.

    Here’s a detailed history of macaroons and macarons.

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE-DIPPED COCONUT MACAROONS

  • Be sure to use unsweetened coconut (medium shredded coconut or coconut flakes), which is available at most natural-food shops and online.
  • You can prep the dough up to a week in advance, or freeze it for future use.
  • Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 25 minutes.
  •  
    Ingredients For About 30 Cookies

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar (10 oz./315 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2-1/2 cups (9 oz./280 g) unsweetened shredded dried coconut
  • 1/4 cup (1-1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces (60 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. STIR together the egg whites, sugar, salt, honey, coconut and flour in a large fry pan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom as you stir. When the mixture just begins to scorch at the bottom…

    2. REMOVE from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. At this point the mixture can be chilled for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 2 months. When ready to bake,

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a spoon and your fingers, form the dough into 1-1/2 inch (4 cm) mounds and arrange them evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

    4. LINE a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Melt the chocolate in a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Dip the bottom of each macaroon in the chocolate and set the cookies on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, 5 to 10 minutes.

     

    Coconut Macaroons Chocolate Dipped

    Macaroons On A Silpat

    Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

    Coconut Macaroons Chocolate Dipped

    [1] Dipping in chocolate. Who gets to lick the bowl? (photo courtesy David Liebovitz). [2] A Silpat baking sheet protects the macaroons from over-browning (photo courtesy Silpat). [3] Bet you can’t eat just one (photo courtesy Burdick Chocolate). [4] Dipping the tops in chocolate may cause drips, but there are no sticky fingers from holding a chocolate bottom (photo courtesy The Fosters Market Cookbook).

     
    Recipe originally posted on Williams-Sonoma.com.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Patriotic Ice Pops

    Red, White & Blue Ice Pops

    Blueberry Yogurt Pop

    Ice Pop Mold Substitute

    [1] Patriotic ice pops for July 4th (photo courtesy Zulka minimally processed sugars). [2] If you’re buying new molds, we prefer “groovy” ones like this style, from Tovolo. The pop is bluebery-yogurt; hence, a lighter color than the pure, puréed berries in photo #1. [3] No molds? Use a loaf plan and slice the pops! Here’s how from Lynne at And Then I Do The Dishes.

     

    If you have no plans this weekend, consider making something fun—like red, white and blue ice pops.

    The vivid colors in these pops (photo #1) come from berries, strawberries and coconut milk. The berry purées can be made using either fresh or frozen berries.

    Simply de-stem, wash and pat dry the fruits; then purée in the food processor [need we add, purée separately?).

    If you’re serving them to a sophisticated crowd, you can get creative with herbs and spices, e.g.:

  • Add cayenne or red chile flakes to the strawberry layer.
  • Add ginger to the white layer.
  • Adding basil or mint to the kiwi or blueberry layer.
  •  
    You don’t want a hodgepodge, so flavor only one layer. Our personal favorite: heat in the red layer.

    If you don’t want to use coconut milk, substitute plain or vanilla yogurt. If you use vanilla, don’t add additional sweetener.

    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE ICE POPS

    Ingredients For 10 Ice Pops

  • 1 cup strawberry purée, cold
  • 1 cup coconut milk, cold
  • 1 cup blueberry purée, cold
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  •  
    Plus

  • 10 compartment ice pop mold (or substitute)
  • 10 wood sticks (if molds don’t have individual handles)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the simple syrup: Bring water and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved and let cool.

    2. ADD 1 tablespoon of simple syrup to each of the purées and the coconut milk. Stir well. Fill molds 1/3 of the way with the strawberry purée. Place the lid on the mold and and the wood sticks, letting them protrude about 1/2 inch above the top. Let freeze 40-50 minutes or until somewhat firm.

    3. REMOVE the lid of the mold and fill compartments another third of the way with the coconut milk mixture. Replace the lid, making sure all of the sticks are in place; freeze another 40-50 minutes.

    4. REMOVE the lid and fill the compartments with the blueberry purée. Replace the lid and freeze completely, at least 8 hours or overnight. When ready to serve…

    5. RUN cool water over the sides of the mold and carefully loosen each pop by gently pulling on the handle or the stick. Remove all pops. If not serving immediately, wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag.

     
    WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE POPSICLE MOLDS?

    A friend saves small yogurt cups for this purpose; but if you haven’t planned ahead, you can use small paper or disposable plastic cups.

    You can also use a loaf pan (photo #3) and slice the pops.

    Don’t forget the wooden sticks!
     
     
    ICE POP VS. POPSICLE

    Popsicle® is a trademarked name owned by Unilever’s Good Humor Division (here’s the history of the Popsicle and the Creamsicle®).

    Everything else should be called by the generic term, “ice pop.”

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Iced Coffee, Drink Or Cocktail

    Black Iced Coffee

    Light Iced Coffee

    Iced Coffee

    Iced Coffee

    russian-iced-coffee-delonghi-230

    [1] Black iced coffee (photo courtesy Nescafe). [2] Iced coffee, light (photo courtesy Peets). [3] With half-and-half (photo courtesy Coffeemania). [4] Thai iced coffee (photo courrtesy Peets). [5] White Russian (photo courtesy DeLonghi).

     

    Many people can’t live without iced coffee. We see them walking around on the coldest winter days, sipping from jumbo cups of it.

    For more celebratory occasions, how about spiked iced coffee?

    It’s as simple as adding liqueur or a shot of your favorite spirit to a basic iced coffee.

    You can turn it into a party experience, too.

    PREPARATION TIPS

  • Keep the coffee in the fridge until you need to pour it. You’ll need fewer ice cubes, which dilute the drink. Or…
  • Make coffee ice cubes. We do this with whatever leftover coffee is in the pot; or you can make it from scratch. Just pour into an ice cube tray, freeze, and move the frozen cubes to a storage bag or container, freeing the ice cube for more cubes. Plan ahead and you’ll have enough for a party.
  •  
    If you’re having guests:

  • Make regular and decaf coffee. If you’re an uber*-host, make iced espresso as well.
  • Provide different sweeteners: non-caloric, superfine sugar and agave or simple syrup. Agave has a lower glycemic index, but as twice as sweet as sugar, so you use half the amount.
  • Have an assortment of milks, from fat-free to regular to half-and-half, plus a non-dairy milk.
  • Have cans of Reddi-Wip at hand so guests can have fun garnishing their own. Bonus points: provide both Original and Chocolate Reddi-Wip.
  •  
    Consider a DIY bar with different flavor additions.

  • Extracts: almond, anise, vanilla or other extract.
  • Flavored syrups: chocolate, hazelnut, vanilla.
  • Liquers: Bailey’s/Carolan’s Irish Cream, Magnum Scotch Cream Liqueur, Cointreau/Grand Marnier, Creme de Cacao/Godiva, Kahlúa, or other favorite. Note that liqueurs add sweetness. Taste first, then sweeten.
  • Spirits: Rum, tequila, vodka.
  • Spices: ground cayenne, chile, cinnamon, nutmeg.
  • ________________
    *For a millennia before it was a car service, it was an adjective. It still is.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: KAHLÚA ICED COFFEE

    Just add Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur to iced coffee, black or with milk.

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 part Kahlúa
  • 2 parts iced coffee
  • Ice
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream, rough-ground coffee beans
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL the glass (or pitcher) with ice and iced coffee.

    2. ADD the Kahlúa, stir, and garnish as desired.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: THAI ICED COFFEE

    Thai iced coffee uses strong, bitter coffee—such as espresso, French roast or Italian roast—which acts as a counterpoint to the rich cream and the sweetened condensed milk. This is a sweet drink: There are no sugar-free versions.

    You can even use leftover coffee. While coffee purists may shudder at the thought, the sweetened condensed milk masks any notes they might have detected. Similarly, you can use strong instant coffee.

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 8 ounces of strongly brewed coffee
  • 2-4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (the more you use, the sweeter the drink)
  • 1/4 cup cream, half and half or evaporated milk
  • Optional: dash of ground cardamom, cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR coffee into a mixing container (we use a repurposed glass orange juice bottle).

    2. ADD 4-6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk and optional spices; stir well until dissolved. Refrigerate for one hour or longer to chill.

    3. ADD a few ice cubes to two tall glasses and fill with the cold coffee mixture. Top off with the cream. As the cream sinks, it makes an attractive swirl.

    After you make the first batch, taste it and adjust the recipe. Add more sweetened condensed milk if you want a sweeter drink, or more cream if you want a richer drink or if the coffee is too strong.
     
    Dessert Variation

    Add a scoop of coffee or vanilla ice cream; garnish with whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes.

     
    RECIPE #3: WHITE RUSSIAN ICED COFFEE

    Iced coffee with a shot of vodka: Now there’s an idea for chillaxing on a summer day. If you want a serious cocktail, you can make an old-school Black Russian or a White Russian with these (recipes).

    You can make a White Mexican with tequila or a White Caribbean with rum.

    If you don’t normally sweeten your iced coffee, leave out the sugar. Adjust the ingredients proportions based on the size of the glass you are using.

    RECIPE: RUSSIAN ICED COFFEE

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • Chilled or room temperature espresso
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 shot of vodka
  • Light cream or half and half to taste
  • Crushed ice
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BREW the espresso coffee. Let cool. Add the sugar and the vodka.

    2. POUR into a glass and top with cream. Add crushed ice, stir and serve.

     

      

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    TIP FOR MEMORIAL DAY (OR JULY 4th) WEEKEND: Red, White & Blue Recipes

    Red, white and blue colors are not just for July 4th. Memorial Day is an equally patriotic holiday.

    Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

    Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War (1861 to 1865), which saw the largest loss of life of any American war. An estimated 620,000 soldiers died in the conflict—roughly 2% of the U.S. population, in addition to countless civilians.

    By the late 1860s, Americans in various communities had begun holding springtime tributes to the fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

    In 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. It first celebrated Memorial Day on May 5, 1866, and was selected because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

    Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971. Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of silent remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m., local time. [source]
     
     
    MEMORIAL DAY RECIPES

    Even if you’re spending a quiet weekend at home, you can celebrate Memorial Day with a patriotic bite or two. Here’s a group of recipes to bite into.

    Some are so easy that all you have to do is put the ingredients together: no cooking.

    You can use the same red, white and blue recipes for Independence Day and Labor Day, which honors the contributions that American workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country.
     
     
    MEMORIAL DAY BREAKFAST RECIPES

  • Red Velvet Pancakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blueberry Muffins (recipe)
  • Poached Eggs or Egg White Omelet With A Side Of Red & Blue Berries
  • Yogurt Parfait With Star-Shaped Toast (recipe)
  •  
    MEMORIAL DAY SIDE & MAIN DISH RECIPES

  • Apple Ginger Cole Slaw (recipe)
  • Blue Cheese & Red Vegetables (recipes)
  • Chilled Raspberry Soup With Blueberries(recipe)
  • Firecracker Macaroni & Cheese (recipe)
  • Patriotic Cheeseburger (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Potato Salad (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Star-Shaped Sandwich Skewers (recipe)
  • Tomato & Mozzarella Skewers (recipe)
  •  
     
    MEMORIAL DAY SNACK RECIPES

  • American Flag Crudité Plate (recipe)
  • American Flag Fruit Skewers (photo)
  • Bacon Flag Pizza (recipe)
  • Cheese American Flag (recipe)
  • Marshmallow Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Popcorn (recipe)
  • Stuffed Celery (recipe)
  •  

    Red, White & Blue Yogurt Parfait

    Red, White & Blue Fruit Skewers

    Patriotic Sangria

    Patriotic Drink

    COULDN’T BE EASIER: [1] Yogurt plus berries. For fun, cut star-shaped toast with cookie cutters (photo courtesy Smuckers). [2] American Flag fruit skewers (photo courtesy [the former] Stix Mediterranean Grill | NYC). [3] Layer white sangria or pink lemonade in a pitcher with berries. You can find the recipe on the Svedka website). [4] Cocktails or mocktails, from Cosmos and Pomtinis to pomegranate juice mocktails (photo courtesy The Clean Dish).

     

    Red, White & Blue Cupcakes

    Patriotic Dessert

    Patriotic Naked Cake

    WHO WANTS DESSERT? [5] Add a simple cupcake garnish (photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter). [6] Ice cream with sauces, berries, even a blue macaron serving as the top and bottom of an ice cream sandwich (photo courtesy Vandal | NYC). [7] Just bake the layers, and top with red, white and blue (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     

    MEMORIAL DAY BEVERAGE RECIPES & PRODUCTS

  • American Amber Ale
  • Chandon July 4th Limited Edition Sparkling Wine
  • Any sparkling wine with a splash of red liqueur, such as Alizé Red Passion or Remy Martin Red Berry Infusion (first the liqueur, then top with the wine).
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Cubes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layered Cocktail (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Sangria With Cocktail Option (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layered Shooter (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Lemonade & Hard Lemonade (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Limited Edition vodka bottles, like this one from Svedka.
  • Red, White & Blue Sorbet Float (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tequila Shooters (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Spicy Hot Lemonade
  •  
     
    MEMORIAL DAY DESSERT RECIPES

  • American Flag Cookies (recipe)
  • American Flag Brownie Ice Cream Cake (recipe)
  • American Flag Pie (recipe)
  • Blueberry Cherry Pie With Stars & Stripes Top (recipe)
  • Oreo Cookie Balls (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cheesecake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Frosted Layer Cake (recipe 1, recipe 2,
    recipe 3)
  • Pavlova (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Grilled Angel Food Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Parfaits (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tartlets (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies (recipe)
  • Starfruit
  • Triple Berry Biscuit Shortcake (recipe)
  • Stars & Stripes Toll House Cookies (recipe)
  • Strawberry & Blueberry Parfait (recipe)
  • Red Velvet, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  •  
     
    MORE MEMORIAL DAY RECIPE IDEAS

  • More Recipes 1
  • More recipes 2
  •  

      

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