Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rocky Road Cake

Summer has arrived and that means, to most people, that it is ice cream season. But, to me, every season is cake season. I'm the type of person that has a craving for some ice cream, buys a carton, eats it once, and then sticks it in the freezer, only to be found months later, completely inedible and laden with freezer burn.

When I do eat ice cream, however, I LOVE rocky road. So, instead of wasting perfectly good rocky road ice cream, I made something that I knew would not be wasted: rocky road cake.

When planning for this recipe, only one frosting idea came to mind: swiss meringue. It has the exact flavor of marshmallows with out the weirdness of gelatin. It is pillowed atop a simple chocolate cake (I used a mix-get over it) and sprinkled with hearty bits of roasted almonds and dark chocolate. It's everything you've ever wanted rocky road to be . . . without the freezer burn!

Rocky Road Cake
Makes one 1-layer 9" cake

one 9" chocolate cake (I used Betty Crocker GF Cake Mix, or you can use 1/2 this recipe)
one recipe swiss meringue (recipe follows)
1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds
1/3 cup chopped/shaved dark chocolate

Swiss Meringue:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup liquid egg whites

Set a stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water (about an inch worth-make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water).

Pour the sugar and egg whites, into the bowl and whisk constantly. Check the temperature every few minutes, while whisking, until it reaches 160 degrees F.

Pour hot sugar-mixture into a bowl of a mixture fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form and the mixture is cool.

Spoon the meringue onto the cooled chocolate cake and use your spatula to make small peaks. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and chocolate.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Graham Crackers Don't Grow On Trees

"So, did you bake us anything?" The conversation began. 
"I just took the red eye into town this morning," I replied. "I did make homemade graham crackers, though." Long pause. 
"Hmm, I didn't really know you could make graham crackers. I always thought of them as more of an ingredient." 
"There aren't, like, graham cracker trees," I replied. 
"But, you don't make homemade crackers." 
"I do, actually." I blew the minds of a couple of my cousins with that conversation. And now, if you didn't already know, there are no such thing as graham cracker trees.

Last week I made my way home to New York to join my large family for the 20th annual Memorial Day camping trip--a trip I had yet to attend since my move to Utah 2 years ago. 

Because we were camping, I had to consider a gluten-free graham cracker option for the s'more situation. I could have easily picked some up at the store (or picked some off of a tree?) but homemade is SO much better! So, I got in to New York after a long red eye flight and began baking. The result was a delicious, crisp, perfectly sweet vegan graham cracker.

Cinnamon Graham Crackers
Adapted from Babycakes Covers the Classics
Makes about 30 (3"x3") crackers

4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup melted coconut oil, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cold water
cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

Line 2 standard baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

In a large bowl stir together flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Add 3/4 cup coconut oil and vanilla and stir until combined. Add the cold water and stir until dough comes together (if the dough is still too dry you can add a bit more water. 

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured (I used white rice flour) work surface and sprinkle a bit more flour on top. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out to desired size (mine were about 3"x3"). 

Carefully transferring graham crackers to the lined sheets by sliding a thin spatula underneath. Space them about an inch apart. Brush the tops with remaining 1/4 cup coconut oil and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar. Bake 10 minutes. Rotate pans. Bake 5-10 minutes more (this will vary depending on size), until crackers are crisp and golden brown.

Allow crackers to cool completely before removing from baking sheets. They are lovely on their own but are even lovelier used to sandwich a perfectly golden marshmallow and 2 pieces of chocolate while sitting around a campfire.

Camping with almost the entire family!

About Me

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Salt Lake City, Utah
As a pastry chef by trade and by hobby, being diagnosed with Celiac Disease has not been easy. But through some experimental baking and a whole lot of faith, I'm living a full(er) life.