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A straightforward and unpretentious creation that is so simple, so rich, so praised with a twist. Watch the video to learn the basic technique for making creme brulee. If you like to make traditional creme brulee, omit the grated lemon. | Video

3 cups whipping cream
5 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
6 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoon turbinado sugar such as Sugar in the Raw brand

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Arrange eight 3/4-cup custard cups or ramekins in 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan.

2. Combine cream and lemon peel in heavy small saucepan and bring to simmer. Whisk sugar and yolks in large bowl until thick, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in hot cream mixture, then vanilla and salt. Let stand 10 minutes. Strain custard, then divide among cups.

3. Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake custards until just set in center, about 55 minutes. Remove custards from water bath; chill uncovered until firm, at least 3 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

4. Set broiler rack so that custard tops will be 1-1/2 to 2 inches from heat and change oven setting to broil. Alternatively, have ready a blowtorch. Sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over the creme brulee and heat under broiler until sugar is melted and caramelized.

Posted on Jan 18, 2008


For best results, use Philadelphia-brand cream cheese. Bake the cheesecake at least one day and up to two days before serving. For a smooth cheesecake, scrape the bowl often while making the cheesecake batter and make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. You can crush with the food processor or by hand. Place the cookies in a heavy duty food storage bag and roll a rolling pin over the cookies a few times. The cheesecake without the toppings can be made 2 days ahead. Covered and keep refrigerated. (more…)

Posted on Jan 10, 2008


Try this light, fluffy, chocolate angel food cake tonight! It is easier to separate the egg whites while the eggs are cold, but let the egg white come to room temperature before whipping. The bowl needs to be completely grease-free because the tiniest amount of grease or egg yolk will prevent the egg whites from reaching full volume.

1-1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ounce (about 1/2 cup) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
12 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place oven rack in center. Sift 3/4 cup sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add grated chocolate and set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. With machine running, add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a slow steady stream, beating until fully incorporated, stiff glossy peaks form and the beaters leave ridges in the whites. Add vanilla and almond extracts; beat to combine.

3. Remove from mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, gently but thoroughly, folding into egg-white mixture until fully combined. Pour into an 10-inch angel food cake pan. Tap pan on counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until cake springs back when depressed with a finger, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool, inverted, 1 hour before removing pan. Serve with chocolate hazelnut anglaise.

Chocolate Amaretto Anglaise
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
Pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons Amaretto Liqueur

1. Prepare an ice bath, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar and egg yolks, set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar, heavy cream, milk, vanilla bean with scrapings, and salt. Bring just to a simmer.
2. Using a measuring cup or a ladle, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture. Whisking constantly, continue to add milk mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, until it has all been added. Pour mixture back into saucepan.
3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of a spoon, 1 to 5 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, set over ice bath. Whisk in Amaretto Liqueur; stir occasionally until cool. Cover, and transfer to refrigerator until completely chilled, at least one hour and up to overnight. Makes one 10-inch cake

Note: If you do not have cake flour, you can substitute 1 cup minus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour for 1 cup of cake flour. Cake flour is made with soft wheat, producing less gluten when mixed, so your cake will be more delicate, with a slightly crumbly texture.

Posted on Jan 9, 2008


These cookie jar classics are crispy but with a little chew, with a buttery blend of nutty toasted oats and sweet raisins . . . What more could you ask for? Take these Oatmeal Cookies on picnics and pack them in kids’ lunch boxes. The longer you bake these Oatmeal Cookies, the more crisp they will be. I prefer them baked the minimum time so they remain a little chewy. To personalize the recipe, instead of or in addition to the raisins, you can add 3/4 to 1 cup dried cranberries, dried cherries, cut-up dried apricots, chocolate-coated raisins, or chopped nuts.

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in a separate bowl.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla, and beat until well mixed, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time. Make sure to scrape the bowl down periodically to make sure all ingredients have been mixed thoroughly.

4. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter with the mixer on low speed. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the second half. Stir in the oats, orange zest, and chocolate chips.

5. Drop the dough, by the tablespoon, onto the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on a rack. Store at room temperature in a cookie jar or other airtight container.

Posted on Jan 9, 2008


Served with a thick, creamy caramel sauce poured directly inside, these chocolate souffles are sure to garner many applauses. Make the caramel anglaise before making the souffles because souffle won’t wait for you!

Chocolate Souffles
1/2 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
1-1/2 cups whole milk
6 large eggs, separated, plus 2 large egg whites, all at room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with the rack in lower third. Place eight 6-ounce ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush inside ramekins with butter. Dust with sugar, and tap out excess. Using kitchen twine, secure a strip of parchment paper around each ramekin so that parchment extends 3 inches above rim. Chill in freezer 15 minutes (up to overnight).

2. Bring milk almost to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; set aside.

3. Put 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until pale, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour. Add about one-third of the hot milk in a slow, steady stream, beating until just combined.
4. Pour yolk mixture back into pan with the remaining milk. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until thick, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in chocolate, vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. The souffle base can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered, until ready to bake the souffles.

5. Beat egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat until foamy. Add 1 tablespoon sugar, and beat until soft peaks form. Add remaining tablespoon sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.

6. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Gradually fold in remaining egg whites.

7. Carefully pour batter into prepared ramekins on baking sheet, filling to just below rims. Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F. Bake until set, about 8 minutes.
8. Remove parchment. Poke a hole in top of each, and pour in caramel creme anglaise. Serve immediately.

Caramel Anglaise
3 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1.Prepare an ice-water bath. Whisk together yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl.

2. Bring milk and 1/2 cup cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Pour one-third of the hot milk mixture into yolk mixture, whisking until combined.

3.Pour yolk mixture back into pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture coats the back of a spoon, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer pan to ice-water bath, and let the creme anglaise cool completely.

4.Put 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and the lemon juice into a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, without stirring, and cook until caramel turns dark amber. Remove from heat, and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup cream.

5.Whisk together creme anglaise and caramel in a medium bowl, and serve.

Posted on Jan 7, 2008

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