Mocha Ice Cream

I asked my aunt for some recipes and this was among the ones sent.  She said she found it when she had to make ice cream for someone with an egg allergy.   I have been looking for some ice cream and sorbet recipes that do not require an ice cream maker.  Given my kitchen counter space it is something we have to live without, and after trying this recipe it is now something I really don’t feel is needed.  Forget that over priced mixer, my 9″x13″ pan with lid is all I need.

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Chocolate Guinness Cake

A Chocolate Guinness Cake, with Bailey’s Swiss Buttercream Frosting, and a Jameson Ganache.

Happy birthday to my husband! I have been wanting to do this cake for some time now. A few months ago I asked him what he wanted for his birthday cake this year. He said car bomb cake, and immediately I knew my plan. I wanted to clean up the look and make it not only taste amazing but look amazing as well. Since it is just the two of us who get to consume this bad boy, I went with a very small 6″ cake in 3 layers.

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Mocha Almond Shortbread Bars

I love shortbread cookies, and with a cup of  tea it’s is so perfection. I ran across these at a local cafe and eatery in uptown(Gigi’s). They were so amazing! I ordered this huge bar of this coffee shortbread cookie with almond slivers and chocolate chips pressed in it was just crumbly buttery bliss, and just over halfway through I realized I was supposed to share with my husband.

A few months ago I sent a batch to my Aunt Maria, she said they were very good and was going to be sharing with my other aunts when they were stopping by the coming weekend, I never got the result but I hope it was good. I knew they were a success because my husband was trying to eat them as I was putting them in the tuperware to send. The recipe is basic, simple and quick. What else could you want in a cookie? Oh, chocolate? Yep! It has that too.

Mocha Almond Shortbread Bars

  • 1 c Unsalted Butter, room tempature
  • 2/3 c Frosting Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1 tbsp Espresso Powder
  • 1 tbsp Water, boiling hot
  • 1/8 cup Chocolate Chips, finely chopped
  • 2 c Unbleached Flour
  • 1/3 c Slivered Almonds, crushed
  • 1/3 c Chocolate Chips

In a 9×13 pan. Line with a 20″x9″ piece of wax paper so it forms a type of tray so you can lift the bars out of the pan when finished cooking.

In a stand mixer on medium cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.   In a small cup combine the vanilla and almond extract, espresso powder, and boiling water.  Stir until the powder has dissolved.  With the mixer on medium speed add to the butter mixture until well combined.

Turn mixer down to low and add in the flour until well combined. The dough will be soft and sticky similar to sugar cookie dough. Fold in the finely chopped chocolate chips into the moist dough. Turn it out into the prepared pan and press down pushing into the corners of the pan. When the dough is leveled sprinkle the almonds and other portion chocolate chips on to the dough and gently press down into the dough to secure.

Cover and place pan into the fridge for 1 hour.

When ready to bake preheat oven to 350°F

Bake for 18-20 min until edges are lightly browned and center is firm to the touch.

Cool for 30 min remove from pan by lifting the ends of the wax paper and place on a cutting board. Cut into 12 bars and store in air tight container for upto two weeks.

Adapted: Annie’s Eats

Macarons with Coffee Ganache

After weeks of wanting to get this just right for a personal challenge, and trying close to 10 different recipes, all failing in some way for me, I took it back to my inspiration.  Masterchef Australia, and season 2 one contestant made the most amazing looking macarons.  It worked!  I even got feet, however it was way too sweet and there was this air pocket between the chewy goodness and the crunchy shell.  So, after some minor alterations, and about two of my days off spent on researching egg whites and sugar structures I came to believe that the secret was/is ‘caster sugar or bakers sugar.’  When I switched sugars i started to get feet the texture was right, but too sweet, and it was a dead ringer for the ones Frank brought home from a bakery downtown.

I will stress this over and over…  important elements; sifting, room temperature egg whites “aged” for at least a day, and the “macaroning” which is the process in which you fold the egg whites into the almond and sugar mixture.

Macarons with Coffee Ganache

  • 200g Icing Sugar(Powdered Sugar)
  • 175g Almond Meal/Flour, fine ground
  • 105g Aged Egg Whites
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 50g Casters Sugar
  • 1 tsp powdered egg whites
  • Brown Gel Food Coloring

Turn oven on 245 degrees F.   Put racks on the 1st and 3rd positions.  Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter next to your scale place the bowl sifter on top of the parchment.  Measure out the almond flour in a second bowl on the scale, and pour into the bowl sifter,  gently sift onto the parchment do not force through the sifter.  Throw away any large pieces that do not go through.  Pour back into the bowl on the scale and check weight, add more almond flour to get back up to 175g.  Keep repeating this process until after you sift the weight comes out to 175g when placed back into the bowl.   Once you reach the desired weight place back into the bowl sifter and weigh out the icing sugar and pour into the bowl sifter and sift the flour and sugar together onto the paper.  Repeat the process of sifting both ingredients three(3) times, the last time leaving it on the parchment sifted out.

In a mixer, with a very clean wide bowl.  Add the egg whites and salt to the bowl and beat on med high speed, until it’s very foamy and doubles in size.  While the eggs are working sift the sugar and powdered egg white together and place on parchment ready to add to egg whites.    Turn the mixer on high speed and slowly add the casters sugar mix, once the sugar is all in add the food coloring until desired color is achieved.   Now, it’s critical time!  Do not over beat the eggs.  Once all the sugar and coloring is incorporated and you reached a soft peak stage stop and check every 30 seconds until medium peak stage, and you’re eggs are done! If you took them to stiff peak stage you overworked the eggs and need to start over.

Now the tricky part! Macaroning….  get a heavy silicon wide flat spatula to mix.  Add 1/3 of the dry mix to the egg whites, fold in till just incorporated.  Keep adding the dry mix to the egg mix 1/3 at a time until all incorporated.  Now the fun part!  You need to keep folding this mixture until the mixture is what is known as ‘lava stage’ What you’re looking for is when you lift the spatula above the bowl the mix very very slowly falls off and watch the mixture in the bowl.  You should after counting to 10 not see any ribbons or  lines in the batter where the batter falling off the silicone landed.  If it is incorporating too quickly you over mixed and you will end up with flat thin macarons, with no feet. Pour a small amount onto parchment about the size of a quarter.  it should not get any bigger then what you dropped it out to be, the batter should be glossy and smooth as well.  If it looks smooth, glossy, and doesn’t spread too thinly out then your done.  Pour into a 16″ or larger piping bag fitting with a large round tip, I used a Wilton #1A tip.  If the batter is running out of the bag too quickly then you over worked in the “Macaroning phase.”  It should want to slowly come out but not pour out.   Trick: if you’re working alone put the bag into a tall round container and fold the edges around glass lip over around 4+ inches not in the glass, I used my husbands pilsner glass.

On two(2) baking sheets lined with a silpat.  In a 5×8 pattern pipe out your mixture into 1″ or quarter size rounds.  The tip should be directly above the sheet and make a soft round takes about a 2-3 count with gentle pressure on each cookie before moving on to create the next.   Once you have completed piping lift and gently tap the bottoms of the baking sheets, this rounds out the cookies and also gets any air bubbles out.   Let them rest, this time varies by season, month, time of day, color of your hair… basically I cannot tell you how long to let them rest to form the shell, however!  When they are ready to bake you gently touch the top and sides and the batter does not stick to your finger, it’s not tacky.    Place both sheets in the oven, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR for at least 10 min, if you do not have an oven window (like me!)  Once you see feet takes about 10-12 min rotate the pans, bottom on top and front to back.  Let cook for another 5-8 min until the tops feel firm.  Remove from oven and place sheets on wire racks to cool do not attempt to remove the cookie from the sheet before the pan is completely cold to the touch.

While cooling time to make the ganache!

Coffee Ganache

  • 6oz Heavy Cream
  • 6oz Bitter-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 packet of Starbucks Via, Italian Roast instant coffee or 1 1/2 tbsp. Instant Espresso powder (1 tbsp espresso powder to 4 oz chocolate)

Put the chopped chocolate, butter, and coffee into a small bowl.  Bring the cream up to a soft boil via microwave or small sauce pan.  Pour into the bowl over the chocolate and leave for about two(2) minutes.   Mix until it is chocolaty smooth goodness, don’t forget!  Always taste to make any modifications before product is finished.  Refrigerate for 10 min, remove and stir.  Repeat this process until it is thick and pipe-able.  Pour into a small piping bag, I used 12″ disposable bag, with a Wilton #35 tip.

Your ganache should be cooling and your cookie sheets should be cold to the touch and your macarons should just pop right off the silpat when it is gently bent.  Match your cookies up with ones of similar size, and Place on a wire rack fitted with parchment paper.  Flip so all bottoms are facing up and you know which tops match to which bottoms.  Pipe your ganache onto one row of cookie bottoms, skip the next row, pipe on the next row until complete.  You shouldn’t use too much filling leave a space between the filling and edge of the cookie.  Sandwich the cookies together and keep in air tight container!

adapted from: Masterchef Australia; Contest: Callum Hann