Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chocolate Covered Cornflakes

chocolate covered cornflakes
Cornflakes, they’re not just for breakfast anymore!

Steps from where I work, there’s a store called Jacques Torres. They sell all kinds of confectionaries and chocolates. Their kitchen faces the street, and you can stand there and marvel at what they’re making. When you walk in, all things chocolate exists…(although I went in once with Erin, and they didn’t know what dutch process cocoa was. They tried to sell me hot cocoa mix instead).

One of the delectable treats they make and sell are these chocolate covered cornflakes. These little crunchy flakes are amongst one of the favorite picks from the folks in the office.

I don’t recall how the conversation started, but my coworker or I said something about it. I told her I could make that…whenever I get around to it…! I then searched for the recipe, although I could have easily winged it. Surprisingly, Jacques actually had how to videos and recipes online in various locations. The video made it seem so simple, so I told everybody I was making it that weekend.

Before I looked at the recipe, I had the idea to use the dark chocolate I had on hand, our favorite baking and eating dark chocolate from Trader Joes: the pound plus. Although the recipe used bittersweet, I went with my gut and used the dark chocolate. When I poured out the corn flakes, they seemed really large. I almost went ahead with crushing the flakes slightly, but stopped myself. I’m glad I went with my gut in both instances, because people thought I could give Jacques a run for his money! The dark chocolate went well with the larger crunchy flakes.

chocolate covered cornflakes 2

Chocolate Covered Cornflakes
inspired by: Jacques Torres

 printable recipe

1 lb  dark chocolate
4 cups corn flakes

Chop up chocolate into small even pieces. Place in a large dry glass or metal bowl.

In a medium pot, bring about an inch of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low to simmer. Place bowl over the simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.

Continue to stir the chocolate until melted. Remove from heat. Set aside to allow to cool slightly.

Line 2 cookies sheets with parchment paper, or silicone mats.

Pour corn flakes into the bowl of melted chocolate. Using a spatula, fold in the cornflakes and mix well to evenly coat. It’s ok if the flakes break slightly.

Using a tablespoon, scoop about half a spoon (or more if you want them bigger). Using another tablespoon, transfer the mound from the spoon to the parchment.

Transfer baking sheet to refrigerator and let set for 10-15 minutes.

Store at room temperature ok, but if your house is on the warm side, I suggest storing in a covered container in the fridge.

Makes a few dozen, depending on how big you make them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

Happy birthday mom!

japanese strawberry shortcake

Over the weekend, we went over to my parents’ place for my mom’s birthday. I provided the cake. My family isn’t too fond of sweets. They love the cakes from the Chinese bakeries. Basically they’re sponge cakes with a mixed fruit filling. I haven’t tried making those types of cakes before, but when I saw this recipe, it looked like it would be something similar.

This recipe doesn’t call for too much sugar in the cake or frosting, which my family prefers. My mom requested a fruit filling cake, so I decided on this Japanese strawberry shortcake.

I love the way this turned out. The technique is a little different from what I’m used to (i.e. super easy). The cake was light and airy, and had a distinct egg taste. I followed the original directions almost exactly, but omitted brushing the simple syrup on the cake, since I though it would be a bit much for my family. I think it tasted great without it. I also made 2 layers of filling, but that was only because I had extra strawberries. I didn’t have quite enough frosting for the top and sides after doing that, so next time I will make a double batch of frosting if making 2 layers of filling. I baked it for less time than the recipe called for, 22 minutes, so I’ve adjusted the cook time accordingly.


Japanese Strawberry Shortcake
adapted from: La Fuji Mama

 printable recipe

4 large eggs, white and yolks separated
4.2 ounces (120 grams, 9.5 tablespoons) granulated sugar, sifted once
3 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4.2 ounces (120 grams, 14 tablespoons) cake flour, sifted 3 times
1.2 ounces (22 grams, 2.3 tablespoons) butter, melted

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
4 teaspoons cold water
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 container strawberries (1 lb)

Allow eggs and milk to come to room temperature. Melt butter and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350° F (170° to 180° C).  Grease and flour an 8-inch circular cake pan, set aside.

Using the wire whisk attachment to your mixer, gradually add the sugar to the egg whites, and beat the egg whites until they are stiff and glossy.

Add the egg yolks to the egg white mixture, and gently whisk until the yolks are incorporated.

Add the milk, vanilla extract, and gradually add flour (in that order) to the batter and gently fold them into the batter with a spatula.  Fold in the melted butter until it is well combined.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan, and get rid of any air bubbles in the batter by dropping the pan on a counter once or twice.  Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes (originally 25-30 mins, mine was done at 22).  The cake is done when it is golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly.  Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. Run a blade around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake, and remove.

To make the Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting:

Place mixing bowl in the fridge to cool down.

Put the cold water in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and let stand for 5 minutes (do not stir).  Place the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon just until the gelatin dissolves.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and cool to room temperature.

In a cold mixing bowl and using a the wire whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat until slightly thickened.  Reduce speed of mixer and gradually pour the gelatin into the whipped cream mixture.  Then whip the mixture at high speed until stiff.

To assemble the cake:

Reserve 7 to 1o  similar sized strawberries for decorating the cake.  Slice the remaining strawberries into thin slices.

Slice the sponge cake horizontally into 2 layers.

Place one sponge layer cut-side up on a cake board or serving plate.

Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the cake layer and arrange the strawberry slices over the surface. Spread an additional layer of whipped cream over the strawberries.

Place the other cake layer over the frosting.  Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.  Decorate as desired and garnish with the reserved strawberries. I cut 7 strawberries in half and arranged them on the edge of the cake. Sliced the remaining 3 and fanned them out in the center of the cake.