Monday, September 26, 2016

Cousin Connie's Chocolate Pie

A few months back, my bride's cousin Connie, from Tennessee, was visiting our area, and one night after dinner she asked if we wanted dessert. Well, who am I to turn down an offer like that? Exactly! The next thing I know, Cousin Connie is serving up her chocolate pie. It was pretty darned good! So, with Kudos to her, here is her chocolate pie recipe adapted with some of the ingredients from The Spice House.

Cousin Connie's Chocolate Pie
by Glenn Edwards

Here's what you're going to need:

1/4 cup of The Spice House Natural Processed Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup of self-rising flour
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of The Spice House Madagascar "Bourbon Islands" Pure Double Strength Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted
Refrigerated pie dough (or if you prefer, your favorite pie dough recipe or frozen pie shell)
9-inch glass pie plate

Start by sifting the flour and cocoa powder together, then add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and melted butter. You can use a whisk to mix all ingredients, although I've found that it's far easier to use and electric mixer with a whisk attachment.

Next, place your pie dough in the pie plate - you can crimp or not. Add pie mixture in the pie plate and bake at 300°F for 45 minutes.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sunny Paris Olive and Ham Cake

Have you ever had a tried and true recipe that you make over and over for gatherings? The French love to make savory cakes for outdoor gatherings, picnics and hikes. It's a perfectly portable and delicious treat. One that my family is fond of is an olive and ham cake. It's delicious on it's own, however, once I opened and smelled the Sunny Paris spice blend from The Spice House, I knew that it would take my recipe to a new level, and it did! The spices are so fragrant in the Sunny Paris blend, it will brighten up any dish. I can imagine adding it to vinaigrettes, soups, grilled veggies, fish, chicken, an old get the point! It's very versatile.

Sunny Paris Olive and Ham Cake
by Tonda
Adapted and Translated From Marmiton's Cake aux olives

4 eggs
250 grams bread flour - approximately 1 1/3 packed cups (I used King Arthur Bread Flour)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used an Anjou)
2/3 cup canola oil
1 packet (or 2 1/4 teaspoons) of yeast proofed in 1/4 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon The Spice House Sunny Paris Seasoning
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
1 1/2 cups honey ham, diced in 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup of whole manzanilla olives, sliced
Butter for the loaf pan

Heat oven to 355°F.

Mix the eggs and flour until just blended. Add the white wine and oil and mix until well blended.
Add the yeast and Sunny Paris spice blend, and continue to mix until the spice blend is evenly distributed. Add the cheese, ham and olives and mix until incorporated.

Butter a 9 x 5 loaf pan, then pour the mix into the pan. Bake at 355°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Test for doneness and bake longer, if needed. Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Maple Pecan Baklava

The word baklava means “many leaves”. I have always loved this Middle Eastern treat, but was hesitant to make it. A few weeks ago I did a review of a Middle Eastern cookbook and made the baklava rolo and ended up making a small pan of traditional baklava as well. It wasn’t very difficult and my family loved it.

At that point, I had decided that a pecan pie-like baklava might be a good idea and when this 37 Cooks challenge became available I jumped at a chance to be creative with The Spice House spices. In the past, I’ve ordered several times from this company and love their attention to detail and their fast service. In addition to the Maple Extract and Cake Spice mix, I ordered a few other items – I need to add that their Asian Flavors Gift Box spice collection is one of the most flavorful spice collections I have tried to date. I have used those spices a great deal in my savory cooking.

Now back to baking, I ended up making an 8 x 8 pan of the pecan baklava and used the remainder of the filling to make a baklava rolo. Photos of both of these treats are shown here and for directions for the baklava rolo, you can check out the recipe here.

Maple Pecan Baklava
by Jenny Blogging at The Cookbook Junkies

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon of The Spice House Maple Flavoring

3 cups of chopped pecans
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of The Spice House Cake Spice

1 pound (about 24 sheets) phyllo dough
About 1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter

1. To make the syrup: Stir the sugar, water, and maple flavoring in a small sauce pan over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium, and cook until the mixture is slightly syrupy, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

2. To make the filling: Combine all the filling ingredients in a food processor – and pulse roughly five times – until the mixture is finely chopped.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.

4. Place a sheet of phyllo in the prepared pan and lightly brush with butter. Repeat with 2 more sheets. Spread about a 1/4 cup of the mixture on top of the sheets. Repeat this step roughly 4 times until you have reached about a half inch from the top of the pan. The top should have two sheets of phyllo lightly brushed with butter. Trim any overhanging edges.

5. Using a sharp knife, cut 6 equal lengthwise strips (about 1 3/4 inches wide) through the top layer of pastry. Make 1 1/2-inch-wide diagonal cuts across the strips to form diamond shapes.

6. Just before baking, lightly sprinkle the top of the pastry with cold water. This inhibits the pastry from curling. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300°F and bake until golden brown, about 15 additional minutes.

7. Cut through the scored lines. Drizzle the cooled syrup slowly over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 4 hours. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 1 week. If the baklava dries out while being stored, drizzle with a little additional hot syrup.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Delicious Deep Dish Apple Pie

This is a recipe I have been developing for years. I think the crust definitely can make or break a pie just as much as the spices and apple variety used in it.

On this challenge, we are very lucky to be using spices from The Spice House. I've always enjoyed a little zing to my pie and decided to incorporate their crystallized ginger. Big yum! So if you like a little zip in your pie, this one is for you!


Delicious Deep Dish Apple Pie
by Holly K of Holly's Table and Holly's Table Facebook Group
Adapted from the following: 
Alton Brown's Super Apple Pie recipe
Martha Stewart's Pie Crust 
Deepest Dish Apple Pie from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

For the crust:
2 sticks, unsalted butter, chilled and cut in pieces, divided
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup ice water (the colder the better)

For the filling and topping:
8 large apples (a combination of Granny Smith, Braeburn, Gala and Golden Delicious are best), peeled, cored, cut into 8 slices and each slice cut into 1/4" chunks*
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 chunk The Spice House Crystallized Ginger, minced
1 teaspoon The Spice House Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon The Spice House Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
Juice of 1 small lime
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut-up
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

For the crust:
Freeze 1 1/2 sticks of cut-up butter on sheet trays, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate other 1/2 cut-up stick.

Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add the refrigerated butter, pulse 10 times.

Add the frozen butter, pulse until course pebble crumbs form.

Add the ice water, pulse 10 times. Test and pulse a few more times if need be. (It should just come together. Do not over process. You want it to stay cold.)

Press out the dough into 2 discs onto saran wrap. Roll into 1/2" circles. Seal tightly and refrigerate 45 minutes and up to 2 days. Can be frozen up to 1 month.

For the filling:
Place cut-up apples mixed with 1/4 cup sugar in a colander over a bowl. Let drain for 1 1/2 hours. Pour reserved juice into a saucepan with the minced ginger. Cook down until ginger dissolves and only a few Tablespoons remain. Discard any ginger that hasn't dissolved.

Heat oven to 425°F and place rack onto lowest level of oven.

In a bowl, combine the apples, remaining sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cornstarch, juices and ginger syrup.

Remove crusts from refrigerator. Roll out into discs. Place one disc into bottom of 9 1/2" glass deep dish pie plate. Pour in apple filling. Dot with butter pieces. Cover with remaining crust. I crimp mine in because no one seems to enjoy the extra crust in my house. Cut slits into top of pie. Brush with the cream.

Bake 45-50 minutes of until bubbling. Baking time depends on your oven, so keep a close watch on it the last 10 minutes or so as to not let burn.

Remove from oven and let cool a minimum of 4 hours.

*Cutting the apples smaller is recommended for deep dish pies since it will allow for more even cooking without burning the crust.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rustic Cayenne Spiced Cherry and Almond Tart

Rustic Cayenne Spiced Cherry and Almond Tart
by Tracy Hersh

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 sticks butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons The Spice House Madagascar Vanilla Powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 Tablespoons ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water , for egg wash
1 Tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling dough

4 cups sour cherries, pitted
2/3 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon The Spice House Cayenne Pepper (more if you like it hotter)
1 Teaspoon The Spice House China "Number One" Ginger Powder
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Lemon Peel Zest
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Vietnamese "Saigon" Cassia Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon The Spice House Almond Extract
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds, plus more for garnish

For the crust:
In a food processor, using the dough blade, pulse the flour, butter, salt, vanilla powder and sugar until combined and dough resembles course grains of sand. With the food processor running slowly add the ice water until dough forms a ball. Remove the dough from the processor and form into a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

For the filling:
In a large saucepan over medium heat combine the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, cayenne, ginger, lemon zest and cinnamon. Stir until the sugar is melted and mixture begins to simmer. Let simmer for about 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract. Cool to room temperature and stir in the almonds. Mixture should be thickened and not runny.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper and roll the dough into an approximately 14-inch round. Gently pour the filling into the center of the dough, leaving about 2 1/2-inch border. Fold the dough around the top of the cherries, pinching the sides so that all of the mixture is intact and does not leak out. Gently lift the parchment paper and tart onto a baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon sugar and garnish with sliced almonds. Bake 40-45 minutes until crust is golden brown and center is bubbly. Let cool and serve.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hickory Smoke Salt and Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies! When The Spice House Baking Challenge was announced, I knew I wanted to bake some, but I also knew I wanted to do something a little different. I started poking around online and I ran across a recipe that called for smoked salt and dark chocolate in chocolate chip cookies. Smoked salt AND dark chocolate together?? Hello!!! I was instantly intrigued! My husband was skeptical, but I had an inkling these cookies were going to be something really special. And they were! Who would have thought that smoked salt would ever go in a cookie? But it did, and these were insanely good!

The Spice House's Hickory Smoke Salt was the perfect addition to these cookies. The aroma of smoke when you open the jar is heavenly. I can't wait to try it in other recipes. I have been a huge fan of The Spice House's Vanilla Sugar ever since our first Spice House sponsored challenge. I use it in whipped cream, I've sprinkled it on oatmeal, on top of biscuits before baking, incorporated it into an apple cake and I've even used it in my coffee. I just knew it would be perfect in these cookies. I hope you love them as much as we did!

Hickory Smoke Salt and Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
by Susan W.
Adapted from The Baking Fairy’s Smoked Salt Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes approximately 32 cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Hickory Smoke Salt, plus more for sprinkling on top of cookies
3/4 cup unsalted browned butter, room temperature (see “Tips” below)
1/2 cup The Spice House Vanilla Sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature
2 cups (approximately 10 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped (I used a half and half mix of 78% and 85% dark)

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and smoked salt and whisk together. Set aside.

Using the paddle attachment that goes with your stand mixer, combine the browned butter, vanilla sugar and brown sugar. Beat until combined well.

Add the egg and egg yolk and beat well, until it's light and fluffy. Add in the dry ingredients, in thirds, and mix until combined. Fold in the chopped chocolate with a spatula.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Using a cookie scoop (or a regular teaspoon), drop uniform balls of dough onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Sprinkle a little more smoked salt on top (or a little more than a little more, like I did).

Bake until golden, about 10-13 minutes (depending on your oven). Let cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Now go pour yourself a big glass of ice cold milk and grab a few of these delicious cookies.

For a great how-to on browning butter, check out these directions on the Serious Eats website. And when the directions say watch closely after the butter starts to foam, they’re not kidding!

For 3/4 cup of browned butter, you will need two sticks.