We Have A Winner !

April 30, 2007

Well, it was another close call but all the votes for this Mousse round of Hay Hay it's Donna Day have been added and double checked and I have the pleasure of announcing the winner:
Katie from Other People's Food with her Le Kit Cat Mousse . Congratulations Katie! By winning Katie will receive this book by Trish Deseine and she will be hosting the next round of HHDD, so keep checking her blog!

It was a great pleasure to host this round and ya'll made my blog look moussy good. Thanks again for the pleasure of having me as host!

Darkest Chocolate Crepe Cake

April 29, 2007

Don’t be fooled by how cute these look…I am almost 100% convinced I will not make them again…at least not like this…

These three chocolate crepe cakes were actually part of a bigger group of 10, and shamelessly served to my dinner guests so I could complete my April Daring Baker challenge and tell you all about it. Remember the croissants or red velvet cakes? Yep, it is that time of the month again and our group grew even bigger this time so if you see 29 other Chocolate Crepe Cakes in various sizes and flavors, do not reset your computer. We decided to go big, go high…except with my never ending love of individual desserts I went small but high. But fear not, from all our discussions it appears that all of us have had very different experiences with the same recipe, so I urge you to read all the other Daring Bakers’ posts to have a idea and in some cases a good laugh.

Don’t get me wrong, the guests were delighted with the presentation, all those caramel dipped hazelnuts and mini caramel corkscrews. Yes, I could have gone another road and make it exactly asand I love crepes. For crying out loud, I come from the country of crepes, I make them every February for the Chandeleur, I even once made over 100 for our Girl Scout troups meeting! Yet, I hated these!

I had no major trouble making the crepes, except that the batter was thicker than what I like to work with and the chocolate flavor did not really come through despite the 70% Lindt chocolate that I used. I like crepes on the lighter side, the ones I can swirl easily in a hot sauté pan with a slight and graceful wrist movement (or so I like to think!); the ones that have tiny microscopic holes in them once cooled thanks to a little added beer to bring some air into them. In my case, Martha’s crepes were on the heavy side, kind of gummy, took longer to cook and required much patience while being flipped and handled. I ended up with about 30 crepes. To make the mini cakes, I took out 3 inch metal rings, cut out rounds in the crepes and began alternating filling and crepes until I had used all the crepes.

The icing was the part that I liked the least. It was a thin ganache, which made it easy to spoon on top of the cakes but it slid down the sides way too fast to cover them nicely. Looking at Martha’s picture I understand that it was to show the essence of the cake, kind of like “rustic ingredient (crepe) goes to the ball (caramel work)”, but that did not do it for me…I like smooth when it comes to chocolate icing….

Now the filling was another story! “Awesome” pretty much describes it. When Brilynn chose the recipe (Martha Stewart’s) this month, she was kind enough to let us play with the original and some of us decided t go another route. I originally made a blood orange cream, inspired by a lemon one from Pierre Herme , but it was so good we ended up spooning it on toasts, brioches, scones, anything but the crepes…shame on us, but that cream is so good it deserves its own post, so I went for the filling given in the recipe but made my own hazelnut paste (see end of post) because unlike Martha I did not find any “hazelnut cream” anywhere…that was too vague for my taste. I could eat this filling simply with a spoon and it would be fantastic in a macaron or sandwiched in 2 thin shortbread cookies.

The final component of the cake was the caramel….and this is when I usually do a happy dance. I absolutely love working with caramel, but was not always the case but I had a great teacher in Old Chef and I am continuously learning from him. He is the same one who made me handle boiling hot sugar with my bare hands (burning them) almost 8 years ago so I “would get used to it”…(crazy old French man!) and yet I love him and love working with him. I disgress... To me caramel is as confusing, fun, tantrum-prone, and alive as yeast. There is always room for improvement and always thousands of way to handle it. At home, I use all kinds of weird contraptions to play with hot sugar. I duct tape 2 wooden spoon to my countertop above the dishwasher, open the door and spun my sugar in between the spoons. Once I am done, close the dishwasher door and turn it on…and voila…clean up done.

I thought about doing it nice little nest of spun sugar but I had already done that for the Chocolate Intensity challenge and I feared the mini cakes would get drowned under them, so I kept it pretty simple and clean. (Very Martha said B.) For the caramel hazelnuts I attached them to long skewers dipped them into the caramel, stuck the skewers into an apple and balanced the apple above the dishwasher. For the corkscrews, I lightly oiled a metal skewer and twirled the caramel around it. Let it dry a minute and let it slide off onto a lightly oiled parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make sure the caramel is thick enough to play with. One easy cooling method is to put your pan into a larger one filled with ice as soon as your caramel has taken on the right color on the stove. If it gets too thick, simply reheat on low for a minute. Oh, and have scissors near by in case those caramel strands start taking on a life of their own!

To sum up: it was kind of a mixed bag of feelings for me this month. Too much fuss for an okay cake. I can’t talk for the other gals just yet but I suspect that there were as many different experiences and opinion as they were Daring Bakers involved. The techniques employed are not difficult to master even for a novice ( ok-ok- I am the weirdo that thinks that practicing flipping crepe should be a Sunday activity!), but the batter consistency makes it a pain. Texture wise, I am guessing that unless you use good quality chocolate you won’t taste it much in the final product. Taste wise, it is a shame to say but the filling makes the cake.

To see what my fellow Daring Bakers have done, check out the drop down menu on the right side of this blog.

Hazelnut Paste, from Cook's Thesaurus
Coarsely chop one pound roasted hazelnuts. In a food processor or blender, finely grind about 1/3 of the nuts at a time, until mealy. Add egg whites from 3 large eggs, 2 cups powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons hazelnut liqueur. Blend until paste forms. Wrap and store in a covered container, up to 2 weeks. Makes 2-3 cups

Update: per Lisa's request here is my unprofessional technique to let my caramel dry...:


Remember to Vote

April 28, 2007

Chef Louis here is keeping track of your votes on my chalkboard pantry door and he is not very busy at the moment.
Remember to vote for your favorite mousse to complete this round of HHDD. Voting ends tomorrow at midnight. Drop me an email at marinette1ATcomcastDOTnet with your favorite number!

Outrageous Brownies Revisited

April 26, 2007

It 's not like I need a reason to make brownies, but Myriam's invitation to her Browniebabe of the Month event, prompted me to try my hand at a very much lusted after recipe: Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies.
The thing is that I make brownies every other day or so, if not they are definitely in th menu on sundays...why? They are easy to keep around of a friend stops by, if the neighbors' kids are outside playing , see me and run toward my shopping bags asking "are you baking us something?", and let's be honest because B. and I have a huge sweet tooth when it comes to brownies.
After many years of brownie baking I have adapted and combined many different recipes to come up with one that turns plain chocolate into a square of deep dark fudge, and allows me to play with additions if flavors, liqueurs, nuts, dried fruits, etc....but to me the recipe is not original anymore as I make it so often. I will write it here someday but for the event I started dreaming about Ina's brownies (allright, Lisa, get your mind out of the gutter...).

Why "revisited"? Well, for starters there was no way I was going to use 1 pound of butter! Why? There are ways to have outrageously good brownie without an artery blockage. But I still wanted an "outrageous" factor so I decided use diced salted butter chocolate caramels as an add-in and cut the recipe in half. If you don't want to go through the troubles of making the caramels, you could use diced soft caramels or crushed hard ones.

Outrageous brownies with Salted Butter Caramels, adapted from Ina Garten:

Servings: depends on your gluttony

1/2 pound unsalted butter (8 oz)
8 oz plus 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips, divided
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs
1 tablespoons instant coffee powder
1 tablespoons real vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour, divided (1/2 cup for batter and 2 in the chips)
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups diced salted butter caramels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x13 baking pan.
Melt together the butter, 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Cool slightly.
Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
Stir together 1/2 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the caramles and 6 ounces of chocolate chips with 2 Tbs. flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

Want to know the truth? They are so good, they made me wish I had made the entire recipe...!
Fudgey, fudgey and again fudgey and they disappear faster then the neighbors' kids can "what did you bake today?"
So if you were ever tempted to make them , run to your kitchen and make a full batch! You won't regret it.

Hay Hay ! Mousse Round Up

Update 4/26: Let's try this one more time: I figured that the picture file was too big so I had to downsize the pictures, not as pretty but more colorful!

As a host I want to thank you all for making my blog look so good...just look at this: 54 gorgeous entries! I can't begin to tell you how thrilling it was to host such an event. Thank you all for trusting me with your precious entries.
I realized that a lot of people had never made mousse before or had very rich experiences. It was great to see all go beyond the norm or/and reveal a bit about themselves.
I have read every one of your great posts and forgive me if I have forgotten to comment. My head was starting to spin, and if you have received more than one round up notification email, that's because I was on a sugar high...!
So without further introduction, here is the round up with entries appearing in the order they were went to me.

Voting begins April 24th and runs until sunday April 29th midnight. A winner will be announced May 1st. Anybody can vote just email me your vote at marinette1ATcomcastDOTnet. Good luck!

Entry # 1

Paul from Eatnz starts us off with a delicate and sophisticated Belgian Chocolate Mousse Mille Feuilles. Deep dark scoops of chocolate mousse layered with golden puff pastry and cognac flambéed orange segments.

Entry # 2
Barbara, from Winos and Foodies, mastermind and creator of HHDD, adds a dash of humor and pizaz while presenting her Dark Chocolate With Banana And Macadamia Nut Mousse.

Entry # 3
Arfi from Homemades tries her hand at a deep dark Chocolate Mousse for the first time. The results could almost make your sugar count run over!

Entry # 4Kieran, from Ice Cream Ireland is definitely an innovator with his intriguing Warm Lime Meringue Mousse.

Entry # 5Clare at Rainy Days And Sundays, tempts our tastebuds with a lovely Pistachio Mousse on Shortbread Stack in an attempt to recreate the flavors of her childhood.

Entry # 6Australia based Karen from Cherry Leader puts on the glitz and serves up White Chocolate Mousse Cake with Little Red Gems…now I would not mind wear all of it!

Entry # 7
Brilynn from Jumbo Empanadas made a lovely combinations of two mousses and shares them with her family and us instead of her dinner guests (eat cake!) Check out her Chocolate and Lemon Mousse.

Entry # 8Bea at La Tartine Gourmande revisits an old French classic, Fraisier, with a deliciously bright and colorful Rhubarb Mousse and Strawberry Cake.

Entry # 9Deborah, from the relatively new kid on the block Taste and Tell serves up a grown up Strawberry Mousse with Strawberry Daiquiri Sauce. Makes you want to have it as a pre and after dinner drink!

Entry # 10
Valentina from Trembon In English tries a few different mousse recipes before settling on this Chocolate and Chesnut version…a feast for the eyes.

Entry # 11

Hong Kong based Canadian, Heather, at The Culinary Chase puts a savory spin on the theme with a healthy Smoked Salmon Mousse.

Entry # 12Cheryl from Gruel Omelet, prompted by her husband to divide and conquer serves up a velvety Neapolitan Mousse.
Entry # 13Jenny from All Things Edible makes mousse for the first time and comes up with a dessert fit to please her entire family with this Lime Curd Mousse Cake.

Entry # 14Brazilian Patricia at Technicolor Kitchen sends us these lovely Individual Passion Fruit Mousse in tiny chocolate cups, after thinking about 100 recipes she wanted to make. Aren’t we glad she settled on this one?!

Entry # 15
Rose from 64 sq ft Kitchen challenges her dislike for honey and comes up with this lovely and mouth Honey and Orange Frozen Mousse

Entry # 16
Eunice from Lemon Almond makes 2 types of White Chocolate Mousse with a lovely Chai spice mix just to make sure she does not pass on “the” one…glad she found her happiness as we have more to try!

Entry # 17
Morven from Food Art And Random Thoughts tries her hardest to find an egg and gelatin free mousse and finds her happiness (and ours) with satisfying Easiest Lemon Mousse You’ll Ever Make…don’t take my word for it go check it out!

Entry # 18
Seattle based Culinary Concotions by Peabody, will make you drool over your computer with 2 gorgeous mousses: Kahlua Chocolate Mousse and Vanilla Honey Mascarpone Mousse "because 2 is better than one"!

Entry # 19
Another mousse novice, Ellie from Kitchen Wench picks up an inventive cooking technique and come up with a Triple Chocolate Mousse adorned with the cutest sugar work.

Entry # 20Brigitte in Singapore, combats humidity to serve up her fresh lemon Ginger Mousse with Pistachio Tuiles. Thanks for braving the elements!

Entry # 21Anna from Morsels & Musings presents a jewel studded Muhallabiah Mousse with Pomegranate & Orange Blossom Syrup, for her second HHDD participation. Hope there will be many more!

Entry # 22Another new kid on the food blogging block is Brooke from bear necessities enters her first blog event with this scrumptious take on a pie favorite: "Key Lime Mousse".

Entry # 23Y from Lemonpi serves up a classy deep dark and velvety Chocolate Mousse, which also happens to be dairy free, and finds out that traditional is never boring when it comes to chocolate.

Entry # 24Melody from Fruittart uses a Donna Hay mousse base to give her limes a friend in this Mango Lime Mousse.

Entry # 25

Freya from the England based Writing At The Kitchen Table makes a healthy, diabetic and vegan friendly tofu mousse and kicks it up a notch with chocolate liqueur soaked fruit. Necessity is the creative factor in this Chocolate Tofu Mousse with Liqueur Soaked Figs.

Entry # 26Ales from Preserveless at thinks about the approaching summer days and makes a bikini friendly Yogurt Mousse & Raspberry Sauce Tiramisu. Look at those colors! I have my spoon ready!

Entry # 27Minko at Couture Cupcakes in Australia goes savory on us and offers Lemon Mousse Sauce. She uses shrimp as the dipper but I can see raw vegetables or other seafood too. The possibilities are endless with this recipe.

Entry # 28Vero from the delicious Swiss blog delimOOn helps fellow French readers to discover Donna Hay and the event with a versatile Grand Marnier flavored white chocolate mousse in her white chOcolate mOusse, sO simple.

Entry # 29Gilly at Humble Pie is inspired by a weekend trip to a local sugarbush and maple syrup harvesting to make the snow white and velvety Maple Mousse with Salted Butter.

Entry # 30
Anne from A Foodie Froggy in Paris, gives us these gorgeous Little Eggplant and Basil Mousses, in her attempt to reconcile anybody reluctant to try eggplants.

Entry # 31
Mia from Cloudberry Quark has a hard time remembering how many times hse has made mousse in the past but gives us one sure to be remembered: Earl Grey Mousse with Dried Pear Slices and Raspberries.

Entry # 32

Katie, another new blogger at Other People's Food serves up an interpretation of a well loved candy bar in this Le Kit Cat mousse bar.

Entry # 33
Chris at Mele Cotte looked over many sweet mousse recipes before changing course in this lovely Mousse au Chevre. Glad you did!

Entry # 34Mallow from the newly created two handed blog Sweet and Savory, offers us a portable and refreshing Frozen Cherry Mousse and Chocolate Malt Sandwiches.

Entry # 35Ashley, a first timer to HHDD and author of the blog Big Cook, Tiny Kitchen almost changed her mind before making a lovely Mango Kiwi Mousse.

Entry # 36Shawnda from Confections of a Foodie Bride goes Texas bold with a Dark Chocolate and Chambord Mousse. Hay, yall! It's Mousse!

Entry # 37Myriam at Once Upon A Tart whips up healthy and creamy Fresh Avocado Mousse. Right on time for Spring!

Entry # 38Big Donna Hay fan, Chichajo from 80 Breakfasts, tries mousse for the first time and delivers this absolutely gorgeous Nutella Mousse.

Entry # 39
Dolores from Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity serves a dose of humor and fabulous spicy take on this month theme with a Chipotle Chocolate Velvet Mousse.

Entry # 40Kelly from Sass & Veracity gets her inspiration from a well known ice cream dish and serves up an over the top Chocolate Mousse - Banana Split Style

Entry # 41Australia based JenJen from Milk and Cookies tried her hand at mousse for the first time and puts her spin on a restaurant inspired multi layered dessert with these delectable Chocolate Delights.

Entry # 42
Inspired from a recent trip to Thailand Mia from Nosh creates a very spring refreshing Ginger and Grapefruit Mousse, adorned with fresh mint, more grapefruit and fresh flowers.

Entry # 43

In her own words Bron from Bron Marshall, Classic and Creative Cuisine is “fashionably late” to the event because of one delicate ingredient that almost did not make it into her mousse. One look at the recipe and the pictures for her Honey and Saffron, White Chocolate ‘Mousse’ Pot with Pears will make anybody forgive her.

Entry # 44Ulrike from Küchenlatein also thinks about the upcoming beach days and helps us not expand our waistlines with this lovely Lemon Yogurt Mousse With Rhubarb Compote.

Entry # 45Puu from puu’s cookbook got sinfully creative when missing one kind of chocolate and came up with a Chocolate Mousse Duo.

Entry # 46Talida author of Talida Bakes gets her inspiration from one of her favorite drinks, taro bubble tea, and offers as a first time making mousse this lovely Taro Mousse.

Entry # 47In Germany, Meeta from What's For Lunch, Honey? puts some French pizzaz into her mousse and serves a healthy serving of Mousse de Truite…smoked trout? Mousse?...intrigued? read more about it here.

Entry # 48
In sunny California, Anita from Dessert First gives the perfect description of mousse and a show stopper illustration of her idea in this Maple-Star Anise Mousse.

Entry # 49Lolotte , a French expat based in Virginia enters her first HHDD with a scrumptious Creamy Cherry Chip Chocolate Mousse with...read the rest of her entry to find out!

Entry # 50Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms, avoided near disaster with her first attempt but quickly recovered and made a delicious, light and smooth Apricot Mousse with a touch of brandy.

Entry # 51Kate from Applemint in Hong Kong, prepares this stunning a Green Apple and Passion Fruit Mousse Cake for a Monopoly night that never took place… wouldn’t we be at her place in a heartbeat if we could?

Entry # 52
Lisa, from La Mia Cucina makes it to the finish line with her much awaited creation: Deep Dark Chocolate Covered Caramelized Banana Mousse. Definitely worth waiting for!

Entry # 53
Mary at Alpine Berry chose a Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse Cake to take to her nephew’s birthday party. It is sure to appeal to both adults and children…who can resist such a combination…

Entry # 54

Laura, author of Eat Drink Live in Limerick, Ireland, also revisits a famous candy bar in a lovely dark Mars Attack Mousse


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