Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

Wow, what a challenge!  It took me 3 days total to complete the different components of the recipe (Swiss roll, vanilla ice cream, fudge, chocolate Bailey's ice cream, and regular chocolate ice cream) and then I had to assemble the final product.  It was well worth the wait.  I began by making the vanilla and chocolate ice creams.  Then I moved to the swiss roll.  Next came the fudge and then I realized the Bailey's ice cream wasn't completely frozen, so I made another chocolate ice cream for the bottom layer.

I had a bit of trouble rolling the Swiss rolls, but it all worked out in the end.  Next time I make them I will put a piece of parchment paper in between the cake and the kitchen towel before rolling.  I've always been a plain vanilla ice cream fan, so I will definitely make this ice cream again.  I bought actual vanilla beans for this recipe and thought it really made a difference.  It was also fun to see the little vanilla beans throughout the ice cream and the cream for the Swiss rolls.      


For the Swiss rolls:

6 medium sized eggs
1 cup caster sugar plus extra for rolling
6 Tbsp flour
5 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp boiling water

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray the baking pans (11 x 9 inches) with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until very thick- when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.

Add the flour mixture in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.

Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly into the corners of the pans.

Place the pans in the center of the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the center is springy to the touch.

Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle caster sugar over it.

Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.

Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

Repeat the same for the next cake.

For the filling:

2 cups whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 Tbsp caster sugar

Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer until mixed together.  In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat until very thick.  If you are using vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.

To assemble the Swiss rolls:

Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture over the cakes, making sure to leave a border of ½ an inch.

Roll the cakes up again without the towel.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until needed, seam side down.

For the Vanilla ice cream:

2 and ½ cups whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, minced or 1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar

Grind together the sugar and vanilla in a food processor. In a mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla/sugar mixture and whisk lightly until everything is mixed together.  If you are using the vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar along with the vanilla extract to the cream.

Pour into a freezer friendly container (I used a 9 x 9 inch baking pan) and freeze until firm around the edges (about 30 minutes).  Remove from the freezer, beat until smooth and return to the freezer.  Do this 3-4 times every 30 minutes until set completely.

For the Bailey’s ice cream:

I used David Lebovitz’s chocolate ice cream recipe and completed it without an ice cream make (same method as the other ice creams).

For the regular chocolate ice cream:

2 cups whipping cream
1 cup caster sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa powder

Grind together the sugar and the cocoa powder in a food processor.  In a saucepan, add all of the ingredients and whisk lightly.  Place the pan over medium heat and keep stirring until it begins to bubble around the edges.

Remove from the heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container until firm around the edges (about 30 minutes).  Remove from the freezer, beat until smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times until set completely.

For the hot fudge sauce:

1 cup caster sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 and ½ cups water
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and water.  Place the pan over medium heat and stir constantly until it begins to thicken and is smooth (about 2 minutes).

Remove from the heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Put aside to cool.

To assemble:

Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices (approximately 2 centimeters).

Cover the bottom and sides of a medium sized bowl with plastic wrap.

Arrange two slices of Swiss rolls at the bottom of the bowl, with their seam sides facing each other.  Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze until the slices are firm (about an hour).

Soften the vanilla ice cream.  Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze until firm (at least 1 hour).

Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream.  Cover the bowl and freeze until firm (at least an hour).

Soften the Bailey’s chocolate ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm (at least an hour).

Soften the regular chocolate ice cream and spread it over the Bailey’s chocolate ice cream.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 4-5 hours until completely set.

Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl.  Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining.  If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water.  

Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 5 minutes before slicing.  Slice with a sharp knife.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie brings back memories of growing up in South Florida.  Almost every Sunday my brother, parents, and I would have dinner with our grandparents and on almost every ride home my brother and I would somehow manage to have our allowance rescinded for the week.  I used to order Key Lime Pie for dessert whenever I had the chance, so even if my allowance was taken away I would still go to bed happy as long as I had my pie beforehand.     

I haven't had Key Lime Pie much since I left Florida, so when my friend decided to host a Tropical themed shabbat dinner I knew this would be my chance to cool us down during the hot summer season.  I had trouble finding key limes in the D.C. area so thankfully my mother had visited from Florida the week before and brought me a bag.  I juiced the key limes when they arrived and froze the juice until I needed it. 

I was inspired by a few different recipes when I created this pie.  The ginger snaps came from my friend back home who makes a fantastic Mango-Key Lime Pie which I will have to make at some point; but the ginger snaps and coconut really make the crust special.  They add a little extra bite that will keep your guests guessing.  The filling came from the recipe used at the Mar-a-Lago country club run by Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida.  Although I've never had the Key Lime Pie at Mar-a-Lago, Oprah said it's the most requested dessert on their menu; so I figured I'd trust her on this one.  Thanks Oprah, the filling was indeed delicious!

Key Lime Pie
adapted from Mar-a-Lago, Bunky Cooks, and Nick Spinelli

For the Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (almost 1 package of crackers if you're crushing you're own)
1/4 cup ginger snap crumbs (about 5-6 cookies if you're crushing you're own)
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
6 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9-inch tart pan with non-stick spray.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, ginger snap crumbs, coconut, and butter until well combined.  Press the mixture evenly into the tart pan and make sure to cover the bottom and sides.  Bake for 10 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool.

For the Filling:

4 egg yolks
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh key lime juice 
zest of 1 lime

I made the filling while the crust was cooling.  With an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until fluffy.  This took me about 4-5 minutes.  Slowly add in the sweetened condensed milk and continue to whip for about 3-4 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.  Lower the mixer speed, add in the key lime juice, and mix until just incorporated.  Once the crust has cooled, pour the filling into the crust and bake for 15 minutes (with the oven still at 350 degrees F).

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes then refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

For the Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Whip the cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar until nearly stiff.  I chose to pipe the cream around the edges of the pie and served immediately, but if you'd like to you can spread the whipped cream over the top of the pie and place in the freezer for 20 minutes prior to serving.

Mmm.  Perfectly smooth and untouched Key Lime Pie.

Cutting the first slice.

Now you can sit back, relax, and think about being on the beach while you enjoy your slice of Key Lime Pie!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Millionaire's Shortbread


Millionaire's Shortbread, aka Caramel Shortbread, Caramel Shortcake, or Caramel Slice, is a traditional Scottish recipe with no shortage of names.  The name Millionaire's Shortbread may have come from the richness of this dessert; regardless of the name, the decadent treat is truly magnificent and fit for anyone with a gigantic sweet tooth.  A layer of shortbread is followed by caramel or dulce de leche and then topped off with chocolate.  The combination of flavors melds together to create the perfect bite.

Millionaire's Shortbread

For the crust: 

1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Grease a 9 x 9 inch baking pan and set the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the vanilla extract and beat again.  Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together.  Knead the dough lightly and form a disk.  Press lightly onto the bottom of your greased pan and bake for about 22 minutes or until pale golden in color. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack, and cool completely.

For the dulce de leche layer (easiest recipe you'll ever find):

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Remove the paper and any glue remnants from the can of sweetened condensed milk.  Place in a crockpot and fill the pot with water so the can is completely covered.  Set the crockpot on low for 8 hours and when your 8 hours is up remove the lid and use tongs to take out the can.  Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes and then open the can with a can opener and watch with amazement as your can of sweetened condensed milk has transformed into homemade dulce de leche!  I then put the can in the fridge for another 15 minutes or so to cool before I spread it over the shortbread.  After spreading I placed the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes.

For the chocolate layer:

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips 
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vegetable oil

While the dulce de leche/shortbread was in the freezer I put the chocolate chips and oil in a heatproof bowl and placed in the microwave for 25 second intervals, stirring in between.  The number of intervals depends on the microwave, but mine took about three.  

You then spread the chocolate mixture evenly on top of the dulce de leche, return to the fridge for a little while longer, and then slice with a very sharp knife.  You may want to slice the bars while still in the pan to prevent the dulce de leche from leaking out. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

S'mores Whoopie Pies

Have you ever thought to yourself while eating a s'more with the graham cracker, roasted marshmallow, and chunk of chocolate that there has to be some other way to create this delicious treat without the mess?  I find it very difficult to get the perfect bite of all three ingredients without the chocolate slipping out or the marshmallow getting all over my fingers.  Well, look no further because I have the most amazing s'more recipe for you and I guarantee the perfect bite every time!

S'mores whoopie pies not only look beautiful but they taste amazing, just like the original, and are super fun to make!  The process takes a good amount of time, but it is well worth it in the end.  The cakes really do taste like a graham cracker and with the combination of the marshmallow cream and ganache truly makes the perfect little pie.  They are easy to transport and will keep well in the fridge for a few days.

S'mores Whoopie Pies
adapted from K Bakes
For the Cakes
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature 
4 Tbsp vegetable shortening 
1 cup packed dark brown sugar 
2 large eggs 
1/2 cup buttermilk 
2 Tbsp milk 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp white vinegar 
1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and brown sugar until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla and beat until combined. 

In a measuring cup, combine the milk, baking soda, and vinegar.  Add this mixture slowly to the batter along with the flour mixture and beat on low speed until completely combined. 

Put the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (or a ziplock with the tip cut off) and drop about 1 Tbsp of batter onto the baking sheet- repeat spacing them at least 2 inches apart. 

Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the cakes begin to brown.   Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 min before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. They are likely to break if you try and move them when they are too warm.

For the Marshmallow Cream
1 jar of marshmallow fluff (7.5 oz.)
1 1/4 cup vegetable shortening 
1 cup powdered sugar 
1 Tbsp vanilla extract 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together the marshmallow fluff and shortening, starting on low and increasing to medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy.

For the Chocolate Ganache
12 oz milk chocolate chips 
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream 

Place the chocolate in a large, heat proof bowl.  Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat just until it bubbles.  Pour the heated cream over the chocolate in the bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate is just melted. Stir with a whisk until smooth. 

Allow the mixture to rest at room temperature until firm enough to spread, about 2 hours.  You can also speed up the process by refrigerating for about 30 minutes until it is firm enough to spread. 

To Assemble the Whoopie Pies

Pair up your cakes with those of similar size and turn them over.  Pipe the marshmallow cream onto one cake and the chocolate ganache on the other and repeat until all paired cakes are covered.  If you aren't able to pipe the cream and ganache you can spread them with a knife onto the cakes.  

The recipe makes about 20 assembled whoopie pies. 

Aren't they pretty?!