Healing Food / Oatmeal Arugula Biscuits / Chocolate Chili Cake

March 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

 

Sometimes, a Biscuit Cures All.

These past few weeks have been brutal with the change of seasons, the yearning for warmth, and the congestion of faces.  All of these things have left me incapable of exerting any extra effort outside of my daily routine.  Luckily, my routine involves sifting flour, roasting garlic, and supremeing oranges.  Unfortunately, my energy levels have been so low that writing about any recent adventures would have been overkill.   So now that spring has sprung, the temperatures have risen, and everything surrounding my sinuses has cleared I can share what I have been eating.

Blood Oranges are good for the Immune System

Orange Zest

Before I got sick, my body knew I needed an extra boost of vitamin C.  Therefore my mind decided to make a blood orange olive oil cake which Deb from Smitten Kitchen just so happened to post around the same time.  It was fate.  I really wanted to make the flaky blood orange tart but had neither the 10 blood oranges accessible nor the energy to acquire them.

Even a Gorgeous Cake Could not Save Me.

But Four Cloves of Garlic Could.

In retrospect I should have gotten the additional oranges for the tart because the cake, even with though it was packed with 4 nourishing oranges, did not prevent my body from aching and my face from congesting.  When preventative baking doesn’t work, its time for a healing soup.  And I can not think of anything better to ward off illness than garlic.  So I concocted a roasted garlic, teff, and lentil soup.  Unfortunately I can not report back about the actual taste, but here I am finally healed, so something must have worked.

Warding off Vampires and Congestion.

Now that I have been able to breathe, smell, taste, and move without cringing I have been craving some thing really decadent to make up for all of the meals lost to lack of taste and/or appetite.  Namely, a chocolate chili cake.  I wanted to experience something rich, yet not too sweet, and bursting with flavor.  So after a good amount of chocolate cake research Scharffen Berger’s chocolate chili cake  won my heart.  Although I did make quite a few tweaks to suit my liking.

The Chili Powder is Tasty, not Scary.

Chili Paste Complements Chocolate Beautifully

Thankfully, I could taste this cake in all of its glory.  And it may just be my new favorite way to get my chocolate fix.  Once it is baked it is moist, and stays moist for a couple of days.  It has the texture of an airy fudge brownie thanks to the buttermilk and leaves a striking remnant of spice on your palate without needing a fire extinguisher.

Chocolate Chili Cake
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup +  2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/3 cups turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder +1 cup water
1 additional cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts- optional
2 tablespoons cocoa powder + 1/2 cup confectioners sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the dry ingredients into a stand mixer.
3. Make a chili paste by heating the chili and water just to a simmer.  Then remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
4. Add the softened butter to the dry ingredients and stir on a slow speed until it looks sandy.  Now raise the speed and add the additional water and buttermilk once the mixture is uniformly wet add the eggs one at a time.
5. Pour the batter into a thoroughly buttered cake pan and place in the center of the oven.  It will take about 50 minutes to bake through.  After 20 minutes sprinkle the walnuts onto the top of the cake- this will create a nice nutty layer.
6. When a toothpick or knife inserted in the center come out clean the cake is ready.
7. Let it cool for 15 minutes.  Remove the sides if you used a spring foam pan or simply turn the cake out onto a plate to allow to cool completely.
8. Dust with cocoa sugar.

Making up for Lost Meals

After an indulgence, one should do something healthy like adding extra greens onto the plate.  In my case these greens made their way into a tender biscuit founded by homemade oat flour mixed with a nutty white whole wheat flour.  I discovered how easy it is to make oat flour thanks to Heidi Swanson’s oat soda bread which, slathered with a generous coat of Baily’s butter, comforted me during the height of my illness.

DIY Oat Flour

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread: Grated Butter

The way to a Flaky Biscuit/ My Heart

 

 

Oatmeal Arugula Biscuits
Eat these when they come out of the oven.  Their succulence decreases with time.  I froze half of them after they were shaped and on the cookie sheet then threw them into a plastic bag for an easy warm breakfast in 12 minutes.

1 cup rolled oats or oat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled or frozen unsalted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey
1 packed cup arugula

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Add the rolled oats to a food processor and whirl them around for about 3 minutes until the oats look like flour, similarly, just get your oat flour out.
3. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
4. Chop the arugula by hand or in a food processor and incorporate into the dry mixture.
5. Use a cheese grater to grate the butter into the dry ingredients and gently stir.  If the butter is not frozen, chill the mixture for 10 minutes.
6. Stir together the honey and buttermilk and slowly add to the oat and butter mixture.
7.  Turn out onto a floured surface and gently knead a couple of times.  Using as much flour as necessary.
8.  Roll the dough into a 9 x 5 rectangle, which should be about 1/2 inch thick.
9.  Fold the short sides of the rectangle in thirds like a letter and re-roll the dough into another 9 x 5 rectangle.  Repeat this two more times.
10.  Roll or pat the dough into a 3/4 inch rectangle and use biscuit cutters to shape the biscuits.
11.  Place the biscuits on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is golden.
12. Consume with butter and honey.

 

Eat Happily.

My Cookie Counterpart: A Buckwheat, Quinoa, Fig, and Nut Delicacy

December 5, 2010 § 2 Comments

Sometimes I get carried away.  I mean, is it abnormal to buy 10 pounds of butter at once?  Typical or not, yesterday my rare visit to the supermarket in search of some unsalted baking butter left me in awe.  Two pounds of high quality butter was on sale for five dollars.  Now, I am not sure if you have noticed the price of the butter recently but it is not cheap.  Usually my go to butter for baked treats costs four dollars per pound alternatively my  bread slathering butter from lancaster costs seven dollars per pound.

Consequentially as I calculated the price of my Christmastime baking escapades my wallet cringed, belly smiled, and my pants tightened.  But now I have a refrigerator full of discounted butter, cabinets full of unconventional flours, and a computer full of bookmarked cookie recipes.  Let the Christmas giving begin.  

During my thorough recipe research to find the perfect cookie escort to Biz’s Cookie Swap next weekend I found what I hoped would be my baked soul mate.  Everyone has one.  Some people are a dense double chocolate.  Some are of the buttery and addictive persuasion.  While some are salty and crumby.  Think about it and I bet your favorite cookie will tell you more about yourself than you realize.  Maybe I have simply indulged in one too many personality tests for my own good.

Personally, I am sweetened with honey, figs, and brandy while still retaining my nutty foundation.  I like to surround myself with intriguing qualities like buttery buckwheat or  toasted quinoa doughs brightened with citrus and then douse myself with Gran Marinier icing.  Tell me about your cookie personality.

Buckwheat/Quinoa Italian Fig Cookies
The inspiration came from here, although the flour experimentation is thanks to Kim Boyce.    I made two exploratory batches; one substituting some buckwheat flour and one swapping quinoa flour in for the all purpose flour.  The buckwheat creates gorgeous blueberry color with a deep luxurious flavor and the quinoa bakes into a cookie which is nutty is appearance and flavor, it reminds me of peanut butter.  Also, I like to make half batches of dough because I make things so often, so I will give the measurements for both whole and half.  On the other hand I love fillings, so I doubled the ingredients, again both are listed.

For the fig, nut, and honey filling:

1 cup | 2 cups dried quartered figs (I used Kalamata, like the olives and Turkish but much prefer the Turkish as they are softer and sweeter.)
1/2 cup |1 cup raisins
1/4 cup | 1/2 cup dried chopped dates
1/2 cup | 1 cup honey
1/4 cup | 1/2 cup brandy
1 1/2 teaspoons | 3 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon | 2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon | 2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon | 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon | 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (really, it makes a difference.  Go get whole nutmeg)
1/2 cup | 1 cup toasted and chopped almonds
1 cup | 2 cups toasted and chopped walnuts
a dash or two of salt
*optional dark chocolate chocolate chips not added into the filling mixture but placed between the filling and the dough

Soak the figs in the brandy while you prepare everything else (i.e. toasting and chopping nuts, grating nutmeg, and measuring).  Now chop all of the dried fruit in a food processor until the pieces are uniform.  If you want more textured cookies (next time I do) stir all of the other ingredients in a large bowl with the diced dried fruit.  Or you can potentially break a vital piece of equipment and add everything to the food processor and whirl it around.  Let the flavors unify overnight or at least 8 hours in the refrigerator.

For the buckwheat and/or quinoa dough:

1 1/4 cups | 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups | 1 1/2 cups buckwheat or quinoa flour
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon | 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (I used Florida Crystals, an organic less refined sugar)
1/2 tablespoon | 1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon | 1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup, 1 stick | 1 cup, 2 sticks cold unsalted butter
1 egg | 2 eggs
1/3 cup | 2/3 cup whole milk
3/4 teaspoons | 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon | 1 teaspoon orange (or lemon) zest

I toasted my quinoa flour, which is hardly imperative but very aromatic, and I would guess adds a wonderful dimension to the dough.  To toast the flour mix the quinoa and all purpose flour together and the put the mixture into a large skillet on medium heat, stir the flours frequently to check the bottom for browning.  My flours took about seven minutes to begin to brown and emit a vivd nutty scent.  Or just skip this and jump to the next step.

Mix the flours together then sift into a big bowl with the rest of the dry ingredients (sugar, baking powder, salt).

Grate the butter into the dry ingredients (Kim Boyce’s idea) using a cheese grater.  This makes breaking up the butter into the mixture much simpler.  Now you can use your fingers pinching to incorporate the grated (or cut into 1/2 inch pieces) butter into the flours until they are pea sized bits.

Add the slight whisked egg(s), milk, vanilla, and citrus zest and give everything a nice stir.  The dough will be shaggy so at this point I use my hands and gather, almost kneading, the dough into a nice ball.  If you are making a whole recipe you now separate the dough into two disks and let them sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.  I left mine overnight. 

Can you spot the difference in the two photos above?  One is buckwheat and one is quinoa.

When the time comes to bake:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the dough on a heavily floured work surface and begin to roll (with a floured rolling pin) the disk into a large rectangle (13 x 15 inches to be exact) the thinner the better.  My rolling pin is 14 inches so I can easily estimate.  Trim the sides down to a 10 x 13 inch rectangle and save the scraps.  You want to cut the rectangle into four strips 10 inches long, so quarter the long 13 inch side.

Using your most valuable tools, you hands, place a stripe of filling about an inch wide down the center of each strand of dough (here is where you can add the optional chocolate chips under the fig filling).  Wrap the sides of the dough around the filling pinching the edges to secure everything as it may try and escape in the oven.  Now flip each log so the seam side is down and cut each long segment into squares or rectangles depending on your size preference.

Bake the cookies in the middle of the hot oven for 16-20 minutes.

Repeat with the scraps or another disk of dough.

Make the icing while the cookies bake:
1/2 cup confectioner sugar
1/2 tablespoon Grand Marnier Liquor (or as much as you need)
1 tablespoon orange juice (or as much as you need)

Mix everything together until it is a gloopy liquid, adjusting to your taste.

When the cookies are out of the oven, have been transfered to a cooling rack and have cooled for about 10 minutes, coat the goodies with a couple delicate brush strokes of the icing.  Everything is done.  Let the cookies cool before eating too many because you have been staring at and smelling their indecency all day.  

Eat Happily.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Honey category at PepperAttacks.