Posts tagged ‘Snacks’

November 28, 2012

FrenchGiving : The Third Edition (Chocolate Croissant French Toast | Pain au chocolat pain perdu)

This past Thanksgiving marked my very third Thanksgiving spent in France.  The first Thanksgiving was spent in intimate company where I attempted to recreate my mom’s recipes with plastic cups as estimated cup measurements.  The second Thanksgiving was a bit larger: 12 guests, innovative recipes, classic recipes, a wild goose chase for fresh cranberries, the whole kit and caboodle.  The tradition of cooking for this holiday was something that fulfilled me and made me less sad about being so far away.  This is why I have not called this year’s day Thanksgiving.  Because it was not.  This year was a new idea.  Seeing that I knew I couldn’t give this holiday my whole heart (5 days of cooking, days spent biking back and forth to supermarkets across town, hours to do the dishes afterwards), I decided not to do it.  I hesitated.  I thought about making one infamous dish.  But then I decided that you can’t have Thanksgiving with just one dish. It doesn’t work like that.

So I put a moratorium on Thanksgiving for this year and this year alone.  I couldn’t bear to go at it half-heartedly.  But my roommates, now with a taste of Thanksgiving in their hearts after 2 years gone by, were desperate to celebrate somehow.  I did what any American parent knows will thrill their children and I said….”how about breakfast for dinner!?”  Worked like a charm.  They were happy to do something,  I was happy that it wasn’t a shoddy version of Thanksgiving, and everyone cooked a frenchicized version of an American breakfast dish, sending all of us into food induced Frenchgiving comas after our 10 pm dinner.

My contribution was thanks to my darling Schnooze : croissant “french toast” / pain perdu.  In French, french toast is translated by “lost bread” because it was initially made out of stale brioche in order to salvage the hardened treat.  I bought some pain au chocolat (chocolate ‘croissants’ for a lack of a better translation) and turned them into a French toast worth making over and over again.

Chocolate Croissant French Toast | Pain au chocolat perdu

What you’ll need:

  • 4 croissants | pain au chocolat
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla as desired

Now what?

  1. Cut the croissants in two length-wise
  2. Dip them, but not for too long, into the milk/egg/sugar/spices mixture.
  3. Cook them in a heated frying pan with a little bit of salted butter until they are crispy, crunchy and melty.

Et voilà.  Bon appétit.  It is as easy as that.

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November 21, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies | cookies au chocolat

My oh my.  This week is Thanksgiving week.  Normally, I would have been planning for this occasion since December of last year.  But given my hectic schedule and an inability to pee on certain days due to time constraints (true story), I decided to forgo my cooking madness this year.  I am feeling a little blue about it, since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all time.  There is no greater feeling than waking up to a home that smells like cooking, rushing down the stairs at 7 am to help my mom, especially for the stuffing, sneaking bits and pieces of the stuffing into my little mouth when no one was looking, being with family, eating so much that you cannot breathe, falling asleep on the couch with a pillow over your stomach.  Ah. My kind of holiday.  I am slightly soulagée, however, because this year my mom will be cooking for Christmas Eve and I will be home to celebrate and help.  It compensates, I suppose.
This week totally does not feel like Thanksgiving.  Since I will be sitting in class all day on Thursday (mentally protesting the fact that I am not at home doing all of the aforementioned Thanksgiving festivities), I promised my classmates that I would bring them a little taste of America (they don’t know it yet, but I will be implementing a mandatory ENGLISH LANGUAGE LUNCH ! mwahahaha) I just needed to melt some chocolate, stay in the kitchen until 11pm, and blast the Carpenters’ Christmas album for it to feel like it was actually Thanksgiving week.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

(adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready For Dessert)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound (450 g) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • ½ stick (115 g) butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups (200 g) chocolate chips

Now what?

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl in the microwave in intervals of 30 seconds as to not set fire to the mixture (been there, done that.) Mix fully until melted.
  2. With an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the eggs, sugar and vanilla at high speed until they form a well-defined ribbon when you lift the whisk.  Remove the whisk and attach the paddle to the mixer.  Turn the speed to low, and mix in the melted chocolate mixture.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder, then add them to the batter.  Add the chocolate chips.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until it is firm, at least 30 minutes.  I left mine in there overnight.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough with your hands into three 10-inch logs, 2 inches in diameter.  If the dough is too cold and firm, wait until it becomes easy to handle.
  5. To bake the cookies, position the oven racks in the center and upper part of the oven and preheat the oven to 350⁰F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Cut the logs into ½”-thick cookies, and place them on the baking sheet, evenly spaced.  Bake for about 7 minutes.  Rotate the baking sheets and switch racks midway through baking. Bake for a few more minutes or until they start to firm up around the edges.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool fully, otherwise they will fall apart when you move them.  Once they have cooled completely, store the cookies in an airtight container, or a beautiful box that was given to you on your birthday!

October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | cookies au potiron et pépites de chocolat

‘Tis the season. My favorite season of the year! Where the leaves start to come to life just before they are shed from the trees to let us know that winter is on its way.  It’s the time where we find ourselves getting reacquainted with scarves and boots and hot chocolate by the bowl and all sorts of warm things and that — my friends — is fine by me.  I love feeling cozy.  I love not sweating.  I love all things pumpkin-flavored.  This is my happy time.

This weekend I am going on a little “hike” (more like walk) in the mountains to celebrate birthdays.  In true French fashion, someone usually brings along a snack that is eaten as a reward for approximately every step taken (wish I were kidding.) Après l’effort, le rénconfort (after effort comes comfort) — am I right?

I decided that I would make myself responsible for the snack and decided to go along with the autumnal theme by making some pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.  The house smelled like autumn heaven and the taste felt like a giant October hug.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 3 dozen, adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/4 cups (160 g) flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (145 g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (130 g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup (240 ml) pumpkin purée
  • 3 cups (250 g) old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup (160 g) dark chocolate, chopped

Now what?

  1. Preheat oven to 375 f / 190 c.  Line two baking sheets with wax paper or slipmats.
  2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.
  3. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer or by hand, cream butter and sugars.  Stir in the egg and the vanilla.  Add the pumpkin purée.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring well.  Once combined, add the oats and the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough onto the baking sheets using a teaspoon measure (about 12 per sheet.)  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies look set.  Let cookies cool on the tray for 2 minutes before removing them (this will allow them to set even more.  Cool on a wire rack and resist all urge to dive in immediately.

URGENT QUESTION: If anyone knows why my cookies are never plump, feel free to let me know :-\

October 14, 2012

Crustless Leek Quiche | quiche aux poireaux sans pâte!

I feel like so much has happened in a month’s time.  I am slightly surprised by how time consuming working, going to classes, tutoring and trying to live my life has been.  I feel like I used to have impeccable time management skills in college and all of that went out the window when I got to France.  Maybe I am not used to balancing things.  Maybe this time period has been exceptionally hectic.  Maybe.  Maybe I should be working right now and I haven’t done squat just yet because cooking my lunch for the week seemed much more important.
Because how can I be expected to get things done if my lunch isn’t something that I look forward to greatly throughout the early morning hours of the day?

An amazing person gifted me with a bento box for my back to school days and I couldn’t be happier (and often, he fills it up for me with delicious home-cooked healthy lunches.)  So today I wanted to brainstorm a fairly easy contribution to the bento box in order to fill up his double decker delicious vessel.
And how about a quiche?  Nothing says miam miam like a single serving quiche.  Jam packed with egg protein, moderate cheese deliciousness and leeks.  Leeks were a vegetable I did not know about prior to coming to France.  Now it is something that my quiches must always have! Why crustless, you may be asking?  Well, it is a whole lot of butter and I didn’t have one on hand.  Consider this: quiche lite.  Consider this remorse cooking after eating not one but 2 birthday fondues last night (but my goodness weren’t they so good.)
Though I’d love to sit and chat, I must get back to my work.  But à l’aise fraise will be more attentive….I promise…

Crustless Leek Quiche | quiche aux poireaux sans pâte!

makes four single serving quiches

What you’ll need:

  • 2-3 medium leeks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 5 large eggs
  • 600 mls milk
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (maizena)
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded Gruyère

Now what?

1. Preheat your oven to 350 f / 180 c degrees.

2. Meanwhile, cut off the roots and green leaves of leek.  Cut each leek lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide slices.  Rinse in a bowl of water to get rid of dirt (be sure to swish the leeks around.)  Remove the leek by hand from the bowl of water and drain well.  Toss those babies into a preheated skill with olive oil.

3.  While the leeks are cooking (about 12-14 minutes), combine the eggs, milk, cream, cornstarch and half of the gruyère.  Season this well (I like to add a little cumin for absolutely no explainable reason.)  Whisk together until well mixed.

4.  Butter quiche dishes in order to ensure easy removal.  First, add the leeks equally to the dish or dishes to make sure that each quiche has a fair amount of leeks.  Finally, pour the egg mixture over the quiches and sprinkle with remaining gruyère to get that golden brown top often dreamt about.

5.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean and the tops are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before removing. Enjoy hot or room temperature! Put it in your bento box for a quick (originally wrote quichke) lunch!

September 15, 2012

Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am addicted to salted butter.  After 2 years in France, I find myself buttering baguettes with a far higher butter to bread ratio than I ever could have imagined.  There is something about the salted butter in this country that makes it go ‘crunch’ between your teeth and leaves you (endlessly) hankering for more.  In fact, if I could eat only baguette and salted butter for the rest of my days, I think I would be totally fine with it (and totally 3000 pounds.)

The other day, I started taking classes again.  They are in French and 7 hours long.  Hour 1 is fine, I’m perfectly attentive and learning…but by hour 6.5, I am planning what I am going to bake/cook in order to “change my ideas” and think about something else.  During our last in-class 15 minute break, while all of the other students were conversing about formation and adult education, I was on my phone googling David Lebovtiz’s chocolate chip cookies (a tried and true recipe) in order to know what ingredients I might need on the way home.  The first chocolate chip cookie recipe that popped up wasn’t the one I was looking for, but it seemed to tempt me even more.  A traditional cookie made with SALTED BUTTER.  Hallelujah, the angels were singing.

I stopped at the supermarket on the way home from school and splurged on the nicest, saltest butter that I could find.  I wanted it to “croque” (crunch) in my mouth. And crunch it shall.

This cookie is delicious. That is all I really have to say.  Make them and see for yourself.  In the US, salted butter really isn’t as salty as in France, so you might have to add some thicker salt (iodized salt just won’t do it) along the lines of fleur de sel or kosher salt…anything large and lumpy!

Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

(adapted from David Lebovtiz) my baking guru

(I got about 36 cookies)
What you’ll need:

  • 4 ounces (115g) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed (110g) dark or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup (180g) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups (200g) coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

Now what?

  1. Mix butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a stand mixer (or by hand) until creamy. Do not overmix! This leads to flat and crunchy cookies rather than large and fluffy ones.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla extract and flour and combine until smooth.
  3. Finally, add the baking soda, sea salt and chopped chocolate (and chocolate ‘dust’)
  4. Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour (ideally overnight).
  5. Once it is chilled, place spoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet evenly spaced out.  Be sure to press down on the top of the dough to flatten them.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through (for even baking!) After 10 minutes, flatten the tops of the cookies with a spatula and put back in the oven for about 2 more minutes.  Be careful not to over bake (if you do they will still be delicious, just crunchy.)
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

(coming home to cookies.)

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