Simple Cocoa Brownie

Hello there, welcome to my blog. today I wanted to post something I made the other night that  everyone should try to bake someday when they have time.

First things first to say is that I was never much of a brownie lover in my life till baking with this recipe.

Recipe can be found in the link right here  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/10549/best-brownies/ 

Now the steps on simple to follow for this recipe, way to easy that can create something so good, just by pretty much placing all the ingredients in 1 pot and mixing.

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Perfect for eating at anytime of day, a soft and moist brownie that takes less then an hour to make that can also serve many others by adjusting the recipe.

 

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Drinking Chocolate

In May of 2015 I took a short trip to Seattle with a friend, and got completely blown away by the rich food scene there. We fell in love with Pike Place Market, and went on 2 food tours – one being the chocolate indulgence tour. One of the stops was The Confectional, known for their cheesecakes. It wasn’t cheesecake that blew me away though, it was their Columbian Sipping Chocolate.

I adore dark chocolate, the darker the better in my books; this sipping chocolate was pure chocolate flavour in a one ounce cup. Super dark, and almost as viscous as molasses, I was pretty much in heaven. They served it with cayenne pepper (optional), which is a flavour enhancer for chocolate. I tried it without at first, but adding a small pinch of the cayenne really elevated the flavour to new heights.

sipping chocolate

The rich, indulgent drink I had in Seattle was definitely a modern take on drinking chocolate. Where the Aztecs would be drinking more of an unsweetened chocolate tea, North Americans have come up with a way to make it much more calorie dense. Adding dairy and sugar, a modern drinking chocolate recipe looks something like this, containing chocolate, cinnamon, milk, and sugar.

If you’re interested in more of a traditional way to make drinking chocolate, check out this video, which shows how they traditionally make it in Mexico.

Happy drinking!

~ Tierany

Chocolate Hazelnut Sourdough – Creating a Formula

I love all aspects of baking, however bread is definitely not my strong suit. But when I started thinking about competing in the Chef’s Hat competition, I knew I wanted to create something all on my own. It was a perfect opportunity to challenge my bread making ability and come up with a formula of my own, which I had never done before.

My inspiration for doing a chocolate bread came from this reddit post I saw a few months ago. I hadn’t even thought of chocolate in a bread dough before this! What a great, unique idea that contains one of my favourite ingredients – chocolate. The reddit user who posted their bread used this recipe, which contains dried fruit and walnuts.

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“Sourdough Noir,” from Emilie on “the clever carrot

Turns out chocolate sourdough hasn’t been done very often, because my internet surfing for recipes to compare with was pretty dry. Most recipes have chocolate chips and dried fruit as inclusions, but I wanted the impactful, deep dark coloured loaf like the “sourdough noir.” There was one recipe that seemed to be the front runner – Chocolate cherry loaf. Chef James Bartlett of Metropolitan bakery in Philadelphia specializes in this bread, and I managed to find a few  videos of his makeup process. My friend Halsey found me a recipe for a chocolate cherry bread just like it, so I had a good base to start creating my formula from.

Instead of cherries, I wanted to have one of my favourite flavour combinations – chocolate and hazelnuts. In our NAIT formula books there is a recipe for “Rustic Hazelnut Sourdough (#52),” so I took that one and compared it side by side to the chocolate cherry loaf formula. Here are my first set of notes comparing the 2:

Bread notes 1

I knew I had to play around with the yeast levels and hydration to get the right balance, so I started with 65% hydration and 1% yeast in addition to my sourdough starter. I also decided to cold brew espresso into my water for the bread overnight since espresso is a natural flavour enhancer to chocolate. As for procedure, I did an autolyse method and retarded the dough overnight. Here is the first formula and procedure:

Choc test 1

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Everything went as planned for the first go round…except I forgot to add the yeast. The levain alone did not do well overnight in the fridge, and the dough temperature was very low. The bread smelled amazing, however it was way too dense. I also got feedback that the amount of chocolate chips was a little high. A disappointing first attempt, but not a complete failure. Back to the books!

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I did two more tests, keeping everything constant except for the hydration, levain amount and chocolate chip amount. I reduced the chocolate chips by 10% for both loaves, and followed the same procedure. This time I actually added the yeast though, and did not retard overnight.

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Much better. The chocolate chip amount was just right, and yeast definitely helped a lot. I would have liked to retard overnight for that nice bubbly skin and better flavour development, but overall I was pleased. The formula I decided to go with was test #2, with 70% hydration and 65% levain. I ended up using that formula for our final practical assessment:

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They weren’t the prettiest loaves, but they did turn out pretty good. I did not retard them overnight, and in the interest of time I ended up doing a hot brewed espresso instead of a cold brew which actually made the bread quite sour compared to the previous attempts. The sourness balanced pretty well, but I found that it was less of a chocolate enhancer and more of a hazelnut suppressor.

I still have some tweaks to do until it’s perfect, but I like the flavour of it and overall I think I achieved my goal. This bread tastes and smells amazing when toasted with a bit of butter. The Chef’s Hat competition is soon, and I intend on using test #2 with cold brew espresso and retarding overnight. Ask me later how it turns out!

If you wanted to try it for yourself, here is the formula:

Chocolate Hazelnut Sourdough

4 loaves @ 650g each

Bread Flour 820g
Water 572g
Salt 20g
Malt Powder 8g
Levain 532g
Yeast 8g
Espresso 40g
Cocoa powder 80g
Hazelnuts 328g
Dark Chocolate Chips 252g
Levain:
Bread flour 220g
Water 240g
Sourdough starter 76g
Procedure:
  1. Cold brew espresso and water 12-24hrs before mixing. Toast hazelnuts beforehand.
  2. Prepare levain 12 hours before.
  3. Combine espresso water (drained), flour, and levain till hydrated, autolyse for 20 min.
  4. Add cocoa powder, yeast, malt powder and salt; mix for 4 min on 1st speed and 2-4 min on 2nd speed, until gluten formation.
  5. Add chocolate chips and crushed hazelnuts on speed 1 until incorporated.
  6. BFT for 90 min at room temp with 1 fold. (RDT 24C)
  7. Scale and divide, retard overnight.
  8. Proof in floured baneton for approx 1.5 hours at room temp.
  9. Bake between 425-450F for 30 min.

Thanks for reading! Happy baking,

~ Tierany

Teff: Modern Uses

After exploring the traditional way teff is used, I started to explore other ways I could incorporate this ancient grain. It’s very nutritious and loaded with fibre, iron and calcium and gluten free. I quickly found recipes that included the healthy benefits of teff and it’s unique flavour. Personally I have been trying to include more whole foods rich in essential vitamins and nutrients into my diet and when I found this recipe for Spicy Teff Chocolate Mousse, I thought I’d give it a go. Thinking this would be a perfect breakfast I could use to switch up my morning, I set out to try this simple yet interesting recipe.

Ingredients

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•1 C Brown or Ivory Teff Flour

•3 C Milk [Coconut or Almond is best]

•6 tablespoons Cocoa Powder

•dash of salt

•2 teaspoons Cinnamon

•¼ teaspoon Nutmeg

•½ teaspoon Cardamon

•1 teaspoon Vanilla or Vanilla Bean seeds

•½ cup sugar

Instructions

Combine the teff flour and milk together in a pot with a whisk.

Whisk in the cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla.

You will have to whisk well to get rid of any lumps.

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Place the pot over medium heat, continuing to use the whisk until all lumps are gone.

Let mixture cook and thicken, using a wooden spoon to keep from sticking to the pot.

Once it’s thickened, remove from heat and stir in the sugar til combined.

Cover for a few minutes while you get any garnishes ready and let the mousse cool.

Spoon into a bowl and enjoy!

My Review

17571688_1245131395536486_1827421608_oI genuinely enjoyed this recipe! The teff flour works well the spices and cocoa powder and the mixture fills you up completely. It is the perfect breakfast meal that leaves you satisfied and full. My family and I used to joke that you can’t eat too much Ethiopian food because the teff in the injera seems to expand in your stomach after eating. I think the same warning should be applied to this mousse! I was not hungry for a long time afterwards — which I think is a definite plus. It also provides some much needed nutrients, giving you energy throughout the day. Since I made this for breakfast, I added granola and strawberries and it was delicious.

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Notes on Cooking

This mix is quite thick and will continue to thicken. Any leftovers must be reconstituted with about 1/2 cup of milk and whisked over heat.

It was a little bit grainy but was solved by straining after adding the sugar.

This awesome recipe was found on Will Frolic For Food’s online blog, where she has a few more recipes that incorporate teff and other healthy recipes.

 

Sources

http://willfrolicforfood.com/2014/12/spiced-teff-chocolate-mousse-vegan-gluten-free.html

And a couple more resources for using teff:

https://teffco.com/recipes/

http://www.cheatsheet.com/life/7-tremendous-teff-recipes-to-try-today.html/?a=viewall

http://www.thedailymeal.com/best-recipes/teff

Chocolate “S” Cookies

These adorable little Italian cookies were a childhood favorite of mine, so I’m going to attempt to make some with a chocolatey twist, based on a recipe from this book:

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Cute, huh? Now, I’m not sure if this book is available in Canada, considering that this is a translated copy that I bought in Italy, so I’ll try to provide pictures along the way.

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1 1/4 cups (165 g) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (75 g) confectioners sugar

1/4 cup (25 g) cocoa powder

1/2 scant cup (100 g) unsalted butter

1 egg

Vanilla powder (pinch)

Salt (pinch)

So, what exactly is vanilla powder? When I first got this book, I had no idea, but it it’s used in almost every recipe. Because the book was originally written in Italian, I was a little worried that it wasn’t available in Canada. I asked my Nonna about it, and instead of just telling me, she went to the trouble of actually buying me some! Anyway, vanilla powder (front row, on the right), as you probably guessed, is a substitute for vanilla extract that is mixed in with the dry ingredients. It must only be used in small amounts, as the flavor is much stronger. I wish I knew the conversion rate, but unfortunately I haven’t experimented with it enough to know.

Step 1: Sift the flour, cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, salt, and vanilla powder together.

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Step 2: Add the softened butter and rub into the dry ingredients by hand until the mixture becomes darker, soft, and crumbly.

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Step 3: Add the egg and continue to mix until the crumbly mixture has become a smooth, slightly sticky dough.

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Step 4: Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Step 5: Take the cookie dough out of the bowl and roll it into a rope. Should be slightly wider than the width of a finger.

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Step 6: Cut the rope into equal pieces, about 6-7 cm long. You should get twelve of them.

Step 7: Place the dough pieces on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and form each one into an S shape.

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Step 8: Bake at 350 F for 11-13 minutes, and let cool.

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Step 9: Melt some dark chocolate over a double boiler (I used one bar of Bakers Dark Chocolate), transfer to a piping bag, and drizzle the chocolate over the cooled cookies.

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And there you have it! These cookies are a bit denser than the store-bought ones, and they aren’t quite as sweet either, but they still seemed to go over well with my family, and I enjoyed them too.