Thursday, October 27, 2016

Savory Chile Bread Pudding

The Spice House offers an amazing selection of chile peppers. Dried, powdered, or in blends, you will find the highest quality chiles to perfect your recipes. Here, I have combined New Mexican chiles (both dried and ground), smoky Chipotle, spicy Ancho, and bright Aji Amarillo, accented by Aleppo and ground black pepper. This combination lends a robust flavor sensation to this savory bread pudding, which will be the perfect side dish to your next grilled or roasted main course. Top with fried eggs and fresh salsa for a zesty brunch dish!

Savory Chile Bread Pudding
by Gary Gee at My Cooking Blog
Adapted from Southwest Chile Cheese Bread Pudding
Serves 8

8 cups day-old bread or rolls, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 dried New Mexican chiles, rehydrated and coarsely chopped
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar, divided use
1/2 cup sliced green onion, plus additional for garnish, if desired
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish, if desired
6 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup melted butter, bacon fat, or chicken fat
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon Aji Amarillo chile powder
1 teaspoon New Mexican chile powder

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Toss bread cubes with chiles, half the cheese, the green onion, and cilantro. Place in 9 x 13-inch dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over bread cubes. Fold gently, ensuring all bread cubes are moistened. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. (Dish may be prepared to this point and refrigerated overnight).

Bake, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve. Garnish with additional green onion and/or cilantro, if desired.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Date Bars with Cardamom, Mace and Orange Flower Water

I recently discovered that I no longer fear Indian food. I have been experimenting with cardamom and other India-centric flavors and thought date bars would be a great vehicle for this new-found love. Fragrant and hearty, these treats go well with coffee, tea or as a dessert. Powdered sugar can be applied if desired, but it’s certainly not required.

Date Bars with Cardamom, Mace and Orange Flower Water
by Louise Chiffonade Brescia

1 1/2 pounds dates, roughly chopped
10 ounces orange juice
10 ounces water
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Orange Flower Water
2 Tablespoons orange zest shreds
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt

3 cups oats
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Cardamom
1/4 teaspoon The Spice House Mace
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1 cup roughly chopped pistachio meats (for top crust)

15 x 10 x 2 glass baking pan sprayed with vegetable spray. (For thicker bars, use a 13 x 9 x 2 pan.)

Prepare filling. In a small saucepan bring to a boil the filling ingredients. Lower to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, about 12-15 minutes, or until dates are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed. Pulse the date mixture in a food processor until spreadable consistency, but do not liquefy. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare crust. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, salt, baking soda, cardamom, mace, cinnamon and brown sugar. Rub in the butter with hands until mixture is crumbly. Press half of crust mixture into the bottom and about 1/2” up the sides of the prepared pan. Toss chopped pistachios with remaining crumbs and set aside.

Spread cooled filling evenly on crust. Distribute remaining crumb mixture over top of the date filling. Bake in the preheated 350°F oven 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Store any leftover bars in a single layer in a plastic container with a tight fitting seal.

Cutting Tip: A metal bench scraper is a very effective tool to use when cutting these bars. Score by pressing the bench scraper gently into the bars to mark the portions. Using the score marks as a guide, firmly press the bench scraper all the way until it touches the baking pan. The cuts will be clean and complete.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Old Town Spiced Chai Pound Cake

My kids have always preferred homemade birthday cakes, especially John. A few years ago, we were at our camp for his birthday. He asked for a pound cake or a coffee cake. He then explained that a coffee cake wasn't coffee flavored, but spicy and would be nice with a cup of coffee. I scrounged around and found a pound cake recipe online and it became our new favorite. I jotted down that recipe and headed to the nearest grocery store. When I decided to make a pound cake that was a little spicy and would be nice with a cup of coffee, I pulled out the old recipe card. After some online investigating, I found Paula Deen's Mama's Pound Cake. That was it!!! I do use unfiltered coconut oil instead of shortening and with a little help from The Spice House, a new favorite was whipped up.

Old Town Spiced Chai Pound Cake
by Melissa Cook
Adapted from Mama's Pound Cake by Paula Deen

2 sticks of room temperature butter
1/2 cup of unrefined coconut oil, plus extra to prepare bundt pan
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of The Spice House Chai
1/4 cup of The Spice House Chicago Old Town Premium Spiced Sugar
5 eggs
3 cups of all-purpose flour, plus extra to prepare bundt pan
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare your bundt pan with oil and flour.

Cream the butter and coconut oil. Mix the sugar, chai and spiced sugar together and slowly add it to the butter and coconut oil. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture to the mixture alternating with milk, making sure to start and end with the dry ingredients. Add vanilla extract.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a tester comes out clean.

I used two 4-cup bundt pans instead of one 8-cup. The cooking time was just under 1 hour.

As an afterthought, I whipped one pint of heavy cream with 1 teaspoon of the chai and 1 teaspoon of the Chicago Old Town Spiced Sugar. Not only is it good on the cake, it's good in a cup of coffee too!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Creamsicle Fudge

The Spice House is one seriously unique place. I cannot tell you how much I learn just by going on the website. They are not only informative...they have everything you need to cook. I would and do recommend this company to each and every one of my friends. I have been lucky enough to have gotten other ingredients from this company in the past and I am actually using two of these in this recipe. If you ever have the need for a specialized ingredient you only need to look to The Spice House.

Creamsicle Fudge
by Traci
Adapted from Baked Fudge by Ree Drummond

2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon The Spice House Madagascar Vanilla Powder
1 stick butter melted
3 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons The Spice House Orange Flower Water

Prepare a 8 x 10 pan by lightly buttering.

Beat eggs until light and foamy. Combine in sugar and vanilla powder and melted butter until mixed well. Add in flour and mix.

Separate 1/4 of the mixture and add the Orange flower water, Mix well.

Add main mixture to pan and level out. Add orange mixture and swirl throughout.

Place prepared pan into a baking pan bigger than this with water added to it. This needs a water bath.

Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes. You can make this a crunchy fudge, if  you want, by cooking it longer. I elected not to.

Please visit The Spice House for all your needs!!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cinnamon Toasted Pecan Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

Cheesecake has always been a favorite in our household and when I found out that 37 Cooks would be sponsored by The Spice House for our second challenge with them, I jumped at the chance to put a spin on this traditional dessert by spicing it up a little bit. I hope you enjoy the sweet and gently spicy combination of cinnamon, honey and toasted pecans, along with the smooth and creamy finished texture.

Cinnamon Toasted Pecan Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping
by Lori Churchill

1.5 cups honey graham crackers
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
A pinch of The Spice House Himalayan Pink Salt - coarse ground (I grind it with a mortar and pestle)

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (full fat)
1/2 cup local honey
1 cup sour cream
4 teaspoons The Spice House Chinaese "Tung Hung" Cassia Cinnamon
1 teaspoon The Spice House Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
A pinch of The Spice House Himalayan Pink Salt - coarse ground (grind with mortar and pestle)
3 medium eggs

Sour Cream Topping & Toasted Nuts:
1 cup toasted pecans (finely chopped)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons local honey (plus extra for drizzling)

6 x 3 inch round cheesecake pan with removable bottom

Instant Pot:
For pressure cooking your cheesecake - Instant Pot

Let the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs come to room temperature for about four hours. This step is very important to a finished cheesecake that has a smooth and creamy texture. I like to remove everything from the refrigerator when I’m enjoying my morning coffee, and then make my cheesecake after lunch on a leisurely Saturday.

Line the bottom and sides of your cheesecake pan with unbleached parchment paper, making sure to trim off any excess with a knife or scissors.

Be sure to line the sides all the way up, also cut a “round" of parchment paper that can be placed on top of the filling prior to cooking. This will easily be removed after cooking.

Prepare the crust by adding enough graham crackers to your food processor to equal 1.5 cups after it has been pulsed to the coarseness of your choice. Add melted butter, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt then mix until everything is moist and sticks together when gently pinched with two fingers.

Add crust mixture to the lined pan; I usually use all but approximately 1/4 cup of it. You can be the judge of how thick you prefer your crust. You can never have too much yummy crust with your cheesecake.

To prepare the filling, add cream cheese and honey to your stand mixer and beat until smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides down with a spatula two or three times during this process so that everything is nicely incorporated. Add sour cream, cinnamon, vanilla and salt to taste, then gently fold. Hand beat eggs in a bowl, then gently fold into cream cheese filling until just incorporated. Be careful no to over-mix!

Pour the filling into your neatly lined cheesecake pan and place the round of parchment paper on top. It should fit just inside the pan. Place the rack in the bottom of your Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Next, carefully place your cheesecake-filled pan inside the Instant Pot. Put the lid on and set it to “manual” for 30 minutes. Make sure that the pressure release valve is on “sealing”.
Once the timer is finished, let the Instant Pot release naturally. This means that you will leave the vent in the “sealing” position and the pressure will slowly release on its own. This takes about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the Instant Pot as soon it has naturally released and you are able to unlock the lid. Be sure that your cheesecake has cooled to room temperature before you place it in the fridge. This will prevent any cracking and will allow it to set nicely.

Toast pecans in a dry cast iron skillet until lightly brown, let cool then fine chop and set aside.

Once it has chilled in the fridge, prepare the topping in a small bowl by mixing together the sour cream, whipping cream and honey. Pour the sour cream topping on your cheesecake in a nice, thick layer, sprinkle liberally with pecans and drizzle with honey.

Slice, share and enjoy with your favorite people!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Orange Canelé de Bordeaux

Pastries in France vary from region to region. The canelé hails from Bordeaux. This smaller than cupcake sized treat has a crunchy and chewy outside with a custard-like inside. True to the region, canelés are made with *vanilla and rum. However, other flavors can be substituted. In this version of canelé, I used Cointreau and orange extract from The Spice House. The orange flavoring in this extract is spot on. It's fruity without being overly orange or bitter. Oh. My. Yum. I am already planning frosted sugar cookies using this extract.

This recipe is best made by weighing the ingredients. Otherwise, the dough gets temperamental and will either puff too much or deflate like a fallen soufflé. Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator a day or two before baking also helps remove the air to render a custard-like interior.

Typical canelés are baked in copper molds lined with a mixture of butter and beeswax. Being that this was my first attempt at making this pastry, I opted for a more cost effective solution using butter-lined silicone molds. While the silicone molds did not produce the dark colored exterior that one would find using the copper molds, they did create the carmelized outer texture that are unique to this pastry. My American friends did not care about the color of these treats. They gobbled up two batches within a day. Even my French husband was singing my praise on these.

Orange Canelé de Bordeaux
by Tonda
Adapted from a recipe given to me from a friend in France

50 cl (2.11 cups) whole milk
50 grams butter
125 grams pastry flour
250 grams powdered sugar, sifted
2 whole eggs, plus 1 yolk
1 Tablespoon Cointreau
1 Tablespoon The Spice House Orange Extract
Butter for the molds

Add the milk and butter to a saucepan and boil until the temperature reaches 183°F. Remove the pan from heat and allow the liquid to cool. Add the flour, powdered sugar, eggs, Cointreau, and orange extract to a large bowl. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add the cooled milk and butter and whisk again to blend the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Melt a couple of Tablespoons of butter to brush inside the molds. Then, fill the molds 2/3 full with the batter. Set the silicone molds on a baking sheet and bake at 450°F for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375°F, and bake and additional 40 minutes. This cook time is for the small molds. Immediately remove the canelés from the molds and allow to cool on a wire rack.

*To make the original recipe, slice open one Spice House Madagascar "Bourbon Islands" Vanilla Bean, and scrape out the beans into the milk and butter mixture. Add the sliced open bean to the milk before it boils to extract as much vanilla flavor as possible. Strain the cooled milk mixture through a fine sieve when adding it to the flour mixture.