Geek Chef

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Souffles to go May 31, 2010

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 5:22 pm
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This weekend I was invited to a birthday party. I asked the birthday girl what I should bring and she jokingly suggested a few souffles. Not wanting to disappoint, I decided to make mini souffles. One for each invitee, 18 total.

I was a little worried how I was going to pull it off, souffles start to deflate very quickly and are best served right away. Also, where am I going to find enough ramekins?! Well, solution one, I just got over it. I figured I’d just fill any sunken in bits with whipped cream. The second, was aluminum foil cupcake tins. I cut the tins into individual cups, rolling the sides in to prevent sharp edges. I placed the single tins in a uncut tin to prevent tipping over.

The following recipe is for 18 cupcake tins, 6 small ramekins or 1 large ramekin.

Larger version, very deflated but super yummy

Mocha Souffle

8 large egg whites, room temperature
3 large egg yolks
7 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus for preparing the molds
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
2 packets of Via instant coffee
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Brush cupcake tins or ramekins with melted butter, then dust with powdered sugar. Place in freezer to re-solidify the butter.

Set an oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Put the chocolate, instant coffee, vanilla and butter in a medium heatproof (pyrex or metal) bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over the water and stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.

Combine the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer or large bowl and beat until frothy. Very lightly fold the yolks into the chocolate mixture.

Remove prepared ramekins from freezer. Place egg whites and cream of tartar into a large metal bowl. Beat on medium until frothy; then gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and increase speed to high. Beat until the whites hold a stiff but not dry.

Working quickly, fold about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten; then fold in remaining whites until blended. Gently ladle or spoon the souffle mixture into the ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. (Level off the surface with a straight edge, scraping any excess mixture back into the bowl.)

Immediately bake until the souffle rises about 1 1/2 inches from the ramekins, and the tops are touched with brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with confectioners’ sugar, or a dollop of whipped cream and serve immediately.

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Cookie Overload December 28, 2009

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 4:25 pm
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Tis the season for sweets and goodies…Ok, well the holiday season is almost over and I am up to my ears in cookies and candies – but I still love them and I’m sure you do too. So this year, instead of trying to finish up the last of them before New Years so I can fulfill my resolution of losing the weight gained from holiday indulgences. I’m making a more productive resolution – perfecting my recipes and sharing them with my readers. To misquote ZeFrank, “indulging, so you don’t have to”, enjoy!

Today’s recipe was a cookie invention of necessity, sort of. I made crème brûlée (recipe coming soon) using several egg yolks, which left me with several unused egg whites.  Meringue seemed like the answer to my question “what do I do with all these fracking egg whites?!”

Once you have gotten the hang of beating egg whites these cookies are a snap to make. They do require a long time in the oven, so keep that in mind when making them.

Mocha Meringue Cookies

6 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar, baker’s sugar or fine grain works best
1 1/2 cup bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form
2 packets of Starbucks Via instant coffee or 4 tablespoons of instant coffee
pinch of cream of tartar

Preheat oven too its lowest setting, about 200 degrees. Mix sugar and instant coffee (I like Via for flavor and the fine crystals dissolve quickly) in a small bowl and keep handy. Whisk cold egg whites and cream of tartar in a large metal bowl until it starts to become white and frothy.

Continue to whisk eggs and slowly add sugar mixture, a little at a time. Meringue is done when you can make stiff peaks when you pull the whisk out, it should look like shiny chocolate mousse. The sign of a great meringue is if the meringue stays in the bowl when turned upside down. I don’t suggest you try that unless you are sure it’s going to stay put and even then, do it over the sink.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a non stick silicone baking mat and drop spoonfuls of meringue with minimal spacing, cookies will not spread much. For more attractive cookies, you can pipe them using a fun tip. The meringue will hold its shape when handled well, over handling will make it deflate and become watery.

Place cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven and let cook for about 20 minutes, more or less depending on the size of your cookies. They should be a nice golden color and dry to the touch, keep an eye on them to make sure they do not burn. Set aside to cool, while warm they are soft and can collapse with handling.

After the cookies have cooled for about 15 minutes, you can start melting the chocolate. Place chocolate pieces in a pot (preferably nonstick, it’s easier to clean) on a low temperature and slowly stir. Continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Turn off the heat but keep the pot on the burner and stir once in a while, scraping the sides, you want to keep the chocolate melted but you don’t want it to burn.

The cookies should be cool enough to handle and easily pop off the parchment. Carefully pull the cookies off one by one and dip the bottoms in the melted chocolate and place them back on the sheet. Once all the cookies have been dipped, place the entire cookie sheet in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate, about 5 minutes.

 

Just Damn Tasty September 18, 2007

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 4:51 pm
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This isn’t so much a recipe as much as a proclamation of love. I made myself a 1/2 chai 1/2 coffee latte – and I’m addicted.

I used the trader joe’s premade chai – presweetened and my regular coffee. Try it, let me know what you think.

I’ve also had a mocha with Mexican chocolate which was equally dreamy, the spicy addition was very welcome.