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Sweet Crepes

From a Groupon class at Flip Crepes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 6 oz sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 brown eggs
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pint skim milk

Mix all solids with a whisk (I find that wire works best). Dig a well in the solids and add the eggs, butter, and vanilla. Add 2 cups of milk and begin mixing until the batter is smooth with no lumps. Add the rest of the milk and whisk well. Optional: let the batter rest for 2 hours.

Butter and heat the crepe pan. Ladle a few drops of batter into the pan if they begin to cook immediately, the pan is ready. Ladle the batter into the pan, swirling to coat the entire pan. Once the surface of the batter is no longer shiny, flip the crepe and cook until the down-side is slightly browned. Fill with your favorite filling. Repeat until all the batter is gone, being sure to butter the pan in between crepes.

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I learned how to make crepes!

For those of you who don’t know, I have 2 sisters, one of whom recently graduated from college. I’m a big fan of “activity” based gifts, so my gift to Carrie was a crepe-making class. Our grandmother loved all things French (one of the many things I inherited from her), but she especially loved making crepes. She would hand make sweet crepes every year for Christmas to serve with vanilla ice cream inside and my mother’s famous fudge sauce drizzled on top with some raspberries. I was actually lucky enough to inherit her crepe pan and recipe. But as crepes have always intimidated me, I was nervous to attempt crepes without a bit more guidance.

The crepe making class was a perfect fit for us both. Hosted by Flip Crepes, the class consisted of 12 students and 2 instructors. Over the course of 3 hours we learned how to make sweet crepe batter, actually cook crepes, as well as learn a very thorough history of crepes. It was such a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I am now exponentially more prepared to make crepes in future!

Below are Carrie’s thoughts on the crepe experience (a pseudo-guest post)

Annie and I had such a fun time learning how to make crepes. Our grandmother used to always make us crepes and it was nice to finally learn how and to make her proud. We had a rough time starting out with all the flipping. Annie seemed to get the hang of it sooner and was making perfect circles and flipping like a pro. I did not do so well with the flipping, but i think in the end they turned out alright 🙂 We were able to add different toppings and then made our own orange topping. It was so much fun to be in a little french crepe shop with french cooks as our teachers. It was a wonderful way to spend a sunday night!

Click here for our recipe

awkwardly attempting to flip the crepe

Loosening the crepe from the pan

 

Completed crepes and the topping selections

sisters 🙂

Batter in the pan

with the flaming crepes!

Our Crepes Suzette (with Grand Marnier sauce) yum

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Chocolate-Espresso Mousse Torte

Yet another Now We’re Cookin recipe…yum yum!

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Basic Ganache
  • 1 tablespoon Softened Unsalted Butter
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso granules
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter/grease a 9″ spring form pan, and wrap bottom and sides in heavy foil, sealing well. Ready a roasting pan to create a water bath.

With ganache in food processor, add eggs one at a time, processing 10 seconds each. Add the espresso, sugar, and flour, and process until well combined.

Pour the batter into the spring form pan. Set in the middle of the roasting pan and place on the oven rack. Pour water in roasting pan until it comes up about 1″ around the cake pan. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until cake starts to pull away from the pan (the center may be slightly soft).

Remove from oven and take cake out of water bath. Place on a rack and cool completely (at least 3 hours, or refrigerate) before removing from pan.

Just before serving, stir together the confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon. Unmold cake and sprinkle cinnamon mix over the top. Serve at room temperature.

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Basic Hot Fudge Sauce

This is another recipe that I got while at Now We’re Cookin’ while making chocolate truffles.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Recipe Basic Ganache
  • 1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, softened

Make Ganache. Add corn syrup, vanilla, and butter to the warm ganache still in the food processor. Process until smoth, about 10 seconds. Serve immediately over ice cream, or transfer to a container, cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 week. To reheat, pour into a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. Add hot water if the sauce needs to be thinned, stirring well.

(Makes about 6 servings)

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Basic Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

  • 2 heaping cups of chocolate (I used Baker’s Bittersweet Chocolate which is 64% cacao, but you can use semisweet if you are looking for something a little lighter.)
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping cream

Grind the chocolate in a food processor or chop it (with a serrated blade…trust me!) until it’s the consistency of coarse meal. Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. (Don’t scald). Add the cream to the chocolate in the food processor or a stainless steel metal bowl and mix until smooth and shiny. Let the ganache cool until room temperature, or a little cooler.

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Chocolate Truffles…easier than I thought

I recently purchased a Groupon for a Chocolate Truffle making class. I didn’t know anyone in the class, but had a wonderful time. The class was taught by Now We’re Cookin’, specifically by Chef Mary, the former pastry chef at Trio in Evanston, IL.

I’ve always loved chocolate truffles, but found them so intimidating because they seem so fancy. Surprisingly, the truffles were very easy to make (patience is most definitely required). Throughout the class, Chef Mary provided additional tips on making other chocolate dishes (specifically ganache). She even let us try some ice cream that she made with some fresh chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Truffles

  • 1 1/8 Cups Bittersweet Chocolate (7 oz. by weight)
  • 1 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1/2 Stick of Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Flavoring (see below for the options we used)
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa or Powdered sugar for finishing

Flavor Options

  • Sea Salt – I made these with 1 tsp of sea salt. I’d recommend closer to 3/4 tsp.
  • Vanilla – 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon – 1/2 tsp (and extremely delicious)
  • Citrus Oil/Extract – 1/2 tsp (think orange)
  • Peppermint Extract – 1/2 tsp
  • Other possibles: Hazelnut, Raspberry, the possibilities are endless

NOTE: If using whole spices, tea, citrus zest, or other flavorings, you will need to infuse them into the cream. To do this, stir the spice/flavor into the heated cream before you add it to the chocolate. Remove the pan from the heat to steep 10-15 minutes (infuses the flavor). When enough flavor has developed, reheat the cream to boiling, then strain and add to the chocolate. Stir well before chilling. If using liquid flavorings, add after chocolate has melted. Stir well before chilling. If using nuts, dried fruit, etc. stir in at the very end before chilling.

Instructions

Chop chocolate and butter into small pieces, place in stainless steel bowl and set aside.

In a small nonreactive saucepan, heat cream to a boil. Remove from heat, strain, and pour over chocolate. Let sit about 2 minutes, add flavoring, and then begin stirring. Continue stirring until the mixture becomes a smooth shiny mass. If the mixture still has lumps of chocolate, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir until the lumps disappear.

Chill about 30 minutes, until solidified enough to work. To form the truffles, pipe (with a pastry bag), scoop, or roll into balls by hand. We piped our truffles on to parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

NOTE: I opted to pipe with a pastry bag, which took a little bit of practice. It was easier to work with the ganache as it warmed in my hands while piping (so the end truffles came out nicer). You can also use a mini-scoop or melon-baller to create the truffles. If using one of those tools, have a cup of boiling water nearby to dip the tool in every or every other truffle so that the ganache is smooth on the baking sheet.

To finish, place the truffles in a zip lock bag with cocoa or powdered sugar and shake to coat. Store in the refrigerator.

Truffles will last a couple weeks in the fridge, or a couple months in the freezer.

Contact Info for Now We’re Cookin. (They offer sweet, savory, and skills classes)

1601 Payne St
Evanston, IL 60201-2232
847-570-4140
http://www.nwcookin.com

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