I was supposed to be in Portugal this month, but a worldwide pandemic changed the plan. I figured I’d make myself some pastéis de nata, the delectable egg custard tarts from Lisbon, but instead I was drawn to a recipe for Lisbon Chocolate Cake by Dorie Greenspan in the New York Times. (Do you subscribe to NYT Cooking? I recommend it, if you don’t already. It’s a great resource.)Continue reading
My family has been making a classic five-minute fudge with marshmallows (no marshmallow creme for us…) for a few decades. The recipe likely was on a can of evaporated milk or on the bag of marshmallows originally but it’s been firmly in the family repertoire, on a beat-up recipe card or two, since at least the mid-1960s. Funny thing about the recipe though – in recent years we’ve had more and more trouble getting it to set properly. Why?
I recently picked up a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets: Great Desserts from the City’s Best Pastry Shops, and decided to start working my way through it. Her Sablés Korova – a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie with sea salt – is the second recipe, and as she warned might happen, I keep coming back to it. It’s easy to make and the dough keeps well in the freezer, nice to be able to pop them in the oven for spontaneous get-togethers.
Back in December I mentioned in a post the incredible ice cream I had at the Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn, NY, in particular “It Came From Gowanus”, a dark, salty chocolate ice cream laced with “crack cookies”. We had a weird warm spell in February which got me to thinking about making ice cream again.
I thought it was bad enough that I discovered it was fun making chocolates, copycat recipes of some of my favorites from See’s Candies. (Not necessarily cheaper, I might add, when you start buying Valrhona dark chocolate for the coating.) I’d already made the butterscotch squares (yum) and found a great recipe for the butterscotch-cream bordeaux. Then recently, while contemplating that I needed some marzipan for a fig tart I wanted to bring to a coffee-and-sweets gathering, I googled how to make it. I am in all sorts of trouble now.
At Christmas I was happily in chocolate-making mode, having found a copycat recipe online for making butterscotch squares à la See’s Candies. I do love those butterscotch squares but the filling is a bit fragile, so while mine tasted great, they weren’t always “squares”. More like butterscotch random shapes. The “bordeaux” candies (sorry, not wine) are a smoother, butterscotch cream with a hint of coffee. Put some chocolate sprinkles on top and they almost look like the “real” thing. Continue reading
There’s a lot of ice cream in the world, but only so many truly great ice cream shops … Vivoli’s in Florence comes to mind for gelato. Brooklyn’s Ample Hills Creamery should be at the top of anybody’s list. I went there with native Brooklynites (Brooklyners?) Mark and Joanne not long ago. I was tempted by the salted caramel, but went instead with an inky dark chocolate called It Came from Gowanus (referencing a nearby formerly rather icky canal). Both featured chunks of “salted crack cookies” – saltine crackers smothered in butter and sugar and topped with melted chocolate. Continue reading
Growing up in California, one of my favorite things at Christmas was getting a box of See’s Candies. Sure you could get the candy year-round but we seemed to get it only for Christmas and Easter. My absolute favorite was the butterscotch square. We’ve eaten a lot of chocolate over the years, and truly love Belgian chocolates and anything with hazelnuts (which Americans still don’t seem to appreciate, which I blame on calling them “filberts”), but Los Angeles-based See’s still tops my list.
A few years ago we visited Bruges, Belgium, and a highlight of that visit was a stop at the Chocolate Museum. The museum was great but even better was the demo of making chocolates at the end (and yes, I went through the line twice to get another free sample :-). I have toyed with the idea of making chocolates ever since.