Sunday, April 26, 2009

Friendly Post-Passover Reminder

Have leftover matzo meal? Don't know what matzo meal even is?

Just a friendly reminder about my favorite cookies, i.e., not your average Passover hockey pucks.

This year, with better pictures!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Passover/Easter: Flourless Chocolate Torte

Since Easter was during Passover this year, I helped my mom make a flourless chocolate torte for Easter dessert so that all in my multi-religioned family could enjoy it. ;) This chocolatey treat can be for any occasion though. It is super easy to throw together too—just be sure to serve it hot and with ice cream. :)

Flourless Chocolate Torte
from Southern Living

Unsweetened cocoa
Two 8-oz. packages semisweet chocolate squares, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. butter
5 eggs, separated
1 T. vanilla extract
1/4 c. sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and dust with unsweetened cocoa. Set aside.

Melt chopped chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan on low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.

Whisk together egg yolks and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Stir about a 1/4 cup of egg mixture into warm chocolate mixture to temper eggs. Gradually stir the chocolate mixture into the remaining egg mixture; whisk until well blended.

Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until sugar dissolves and stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of beaten egg white mixture into chocolate mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture just until blended. Spoon batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Bake for 25 minutes. Let stand in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes before running a knife around pan and removing sides of pan. Serve warm. (Don't be too concerned if craters form before your eyes... it happens.)



Passover: Macaroons Part II

Scratch last year's Martha macaroons. Throw those hockey pucks out! These, following, are my mom-in-law's and they are to die for. Chewy and crunchy at the same time. She uses matzo cake meal instead of matzo meal—good call!

And, shocker, I added chocolate chips. Happy Pesach!

Mom's Better Macaroons
1 1/3 c. shredded coconut
1/3 c. sugar
3 T. Manischewitz matzo cake meal
2 egg whites
1/2 t. vanilla extract
chocolate chips, to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine coconut, sugar, and cake meal in bowl. Stir egg whites and vanilla in a cup, add to coconut mixture, and combine completely. Add chocolate chips, to taste. Drop by cookie scoop on nonstick or lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 22–25 minutes until edges are golden brown. Remove from pan immediately or else they will stick.

I love Scouty's look of utter desperation...

inkpad Eats NYC

So I thought it would be fun to do a food review of my most recent trip to NYC. Since a very young age, I would write down EVERYTHING I ate while on vacation. This could include a stale bagel at the Holiday Inn, but if I ate it, it went on my list. Forget what I saw. It's always been about what I ate. But since this is a chocolate blog, it'll be about the sweets I ate.

After dropping off our bags at the hotel, we decided to grab lunch at the famous Lombardi's in Little Italy. Since there was a wait (even at 2:30), we hopped on across the street to Rice to Riches, one of those trendy shops that only NYC can pull off. Inside, you'll find any type of rice pudding imaginable. I don't think I even like true rice pudding, but this stuff tastes much more like the flavor it imitates rather than rice pudding, except of course for the texture. I sampled the "Sex, Drugs, and Rocky Road," but M and I decided on the "Fluent in French Toast" rice pudding. It was heavenly. And filling.

After eating too much pizza, we walked through SoHo and stopped at Vosges Haut-Chocolat for a sample. They are known for their odd chocolate pairings, like their famous Mo's Bacon Bar. What really attracted me though were their exotic caramels. Mmmmm. A little too pricey though.

Our next stop was the Chelsea Market, where I coveted a vat of Nutella. But, I was good. We still had Billy's...

The thing with Billy's is that, like my friend Annie complains of NYC cupcakeries, it's chocolate with vanilla, chocolate with chocolate, mix and match, and repeat. I also saw a red velvet and a lemon, but where's the variety in that? In any case, M and I each got a cupcake and I stood at the window with my nose pressed against the glass to learn their famous frosting technique. It's all in the wrist (and it was too sweet).

We then huffed it back to Midtown to change at the hotel and meet our friend Heather for dinner at Landmarc in Tribeca. Excellent steak and cute mini desserts, but you'll have to take my word for it... Heather hates looking like a tourist in her own city, so I didn't take pictures for fear of her throwing herself at my camera. But, she had the cotton candy ("It's not on the menu," Heather proudly stated), M had the mini chocolate mousse, I had the mini crème brûlée (crazy, I know!), and our check came with handmade caramels. Delicious and fun!

The next morning, we met my friend Annie for brunch at Norma's in Le Parker Meridien. Holy moly, kids. Come hungry!

Annie got the famous Waz-Za Waffle ("Fruit Inside, Fruit Outside, Crackly Brûlée Top"):

M got a standard Belgian waffle (what a chicken!), aka whipped cream with some waffle:

And I, my friends, got the PB&C Waffle 'Wich ("Chocolate Waffle with a Peanut Butter and Toffee Crunch Filling"). Um yeah, and I ate the whole thing:

I think I'm still on a sugar high. Norma's was full of tourists, but I think that's the point.

As if that weren't enough, my buddy ieatDC made me go to Levain Bakery (such hardship) and Annie was really excited to take us there. Um, yeah, the cookies are as big as that cookie on the opening screen on their website. Crunchy on the outside, doughy on the inside. This is my new must-go place in all of NYC. I got a chocolate chip walnut and M got the chocolate chocolate chip. (Yes, we really had a role reversal this trip... my chocolatey-ness is wearing off on him!) The funny thing about this shop is that they have a webcam that posts your pictures on their website. I found several with me in it and I'd post one, but it's mostly of my obscenely large forehead. Who wants that? Speaking of large...

THEN, it wouldn't be a trip to NYC to see Annie without a stop at Grom, gelato straight from Heaven (or Italy, whatever). It was a beautiful spring day, the glass doors were open and inviting, and the Italian man behind the counter told me what I was going to sample, and who am I to deny him? M and I split a cup of Extra Noir Chocolate and Crema di Grom (egg cream, "meliga" biscuits, and dark chocolate from Ecuador). It was the perfect end to our trip.

On the way to catch the bus home, we stopped in both Neuhaus and Jacques Torres Chocolate. The stupid Neuhaus people wouldn't stop talking about American Idol long enough to give us a sample, so we left. Jacques Torres was a lot of fun—chocolate covered Peeps, chocolate covered Cheerios that Annie says are surprisingly good, and lots of baked goods.

All in all, we had a great trip, and I'm just glad we walked 10 miles that first day or I would have been forced to buy two bus tickets on the way home!
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