Wednesday, June 20, 2012
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
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
"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.
Later that day I arrived at the park, tupperware full of graham crackers in tow, and joyfully greeted my family. Within the first 24 hours I must have been asked half a dozen times if I'd baked anything. Everyone tried the graham crackers and loved them but they wanted a "real" dessert, and wouldn't take my lack of sleep, time, or, you know, being out in the middle of nowhere without proper supplies as an answer. So, I accepted the challenge and went around to each family member's cabin, collecting whatever I could find to make a camping cake.
The result was a salty-sweet chocolate cashew cake (gluten-free, too!) with hazelnut frosting, which turned out pretty darn good considering the circumstances (though I'm still floored by the complete ridiculousness of using hot cocoa mix and coffee creamer to make a cake). You may never be in this situation, but if you ever are, here is a basic cake recipe to which you can add whatever you like. And even if you don't want to make the cake, I strongly recommend these graham crackers for the best s'more you've ever had. Happy camping :)
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.
|Conor insisted that this made the blog|
Makes One 9"x13" cake
3 Hershey's Chocolate Bars
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
1 cup hot cocoa mix
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cashews (or any nuts you have, or really anything you feel like throwing in there)
hazelnut-chocolate frosting (recipe follows)
Preheat an oven (yes, we camp in cabins that have ovens) to 350 degrees F. Use the stick of butter to rub down the pan you're using.
Melt together chocolate bars and butter. Set aside. Stir together hot cocoa mix, salt, and cornstarch. Stir in the eggs. Stir in the chocolate mixture until well-combined. Stir in whatever nuts or whatever else you're using. Pour mixture into prepare pan and bake about 25-30 minutes until it's set. Cool completely.
Make the frosting: In a saucepan over the stove or a fire, stir together 1 more chocolate bar, 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup of coffee creamer (I used hazelnut) or heavy cream (if you use heavy cream you'll probably need to throw something else sweet in there). Stir until melted. Cool slightly before pouring over the cake. Allow the frosting to set before cutting the cake.
|Camping with almost the entire family!|