Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jul 27, 2010: Daring Bakers Ice Cream Cake

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

The recipe for this month’s challenge has been adapted from this Swiss swirl ice cream cake from the Taste of Home website. Slices of Swiss roll are used to line a bowl and then filled with vanilla ice-cream, hot fudge ice cream topping and chocolate ice cream. The picture looked like so much fun that I have been waiting to make it for a while. What better timing than to make it along with fellow daring bakers to celebrate my three years with this amazing group. I have taken the basic idea from the above website and have developed the recipe. Hope you like it. The recipe does not require a lot of hands on time, but definitely requires a lot of cooling and freezing time between layers. Unlike the original recipe, we are going to make each layer from scratch. So, if you are planning to make it in one day, it might be a bit of a struggle.

Recipe source - Inspired by the Swiss swirl ice cream cake from the Taste of Home website

* You must make the Swiss rolls, a filling for them, two ice creams and a fudge sauce, from scratch.

* You must set the dessert in a bowl/pan etc in the order given in the recipe-Swiss roll, first ice-cream, the fudge topping and, finally, the second ice cream.

[Eat4Fun: This is my 2 year anniversary as a Daring Baker! I've made 23 of the 24 Challenges. It's hard to imagine the variety of recipes I've made as a Daring Baker. Fun Stuff!]

Swiss Roll Ice Cream Cake

[The ice creams were made first so they'd have a chance to set/harden in the freezer. Also, the ice cream recipes are very simple. For the vanilla, it's only cream, vanilla bean and sugar.

In honor of the warm summer we're having, I purchased an ice cream maker. :-) ]

Vanilla Ice Cream-
2 and ½ C / 625 ml / 20 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, minced or 1 tsp/ 5 ml/ .15 fl oz vanilla extract
½ C / 115gms/ 4 oz of granulated sugar


1. Grind together the sugar and vanilla in a food processor.

[I've never used vanilla straight like this before. I was expecting to steep the bean in the cream.]

In a mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla –sugar mixture and whisk lightly till everything is mixed together. If you are using the vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then and the sugar along with the vanilla extract to the cream.

[Blend all he ingredients and pour into the ice cream maker.]

[The ice cream/soft serve ready for a container to harden in the freezer.]

Chocolate Ice Cream-
[For some reason, the chocolate ice cream never hardened in the freezer. It remained like a slightly firmer version of soft serve.]

2C/ 500 ml whipping cream
1 C/230gms/8 oz caster sugar
3 tblsp/ 24 gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder


1. Grind together the sugar and the cocoa powder in a food processor .
2. In a saucepan, add all the ingredients and whisk lightly.
3. Place the pan over heat and keep stirring till it begins to bubble around the edges.
4. Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container till firm around the edges. If you are using an ice cream maker, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instruction, after the mixture has cooled completely.

The Swiss rolls-
[It's been about 18 years since I've made a jelly roll/Swiss roll. This is all new to me since I really dont' remember what I did back then. :-) ]

Sponge cake
6 medium sized eggs
1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp / 45gms/ a pinch over 1.5 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /a pinch under 1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans

1. Preheat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.

[Mixing the egg and sugar on high took about 10 to 15 minutes... a surprisingly long time.]

[The volume of the two ingredients pretty much doubled in volume. Amazing! I don't remember that happening 18 years ago.]

3. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.

[Folding in the flour/cocoa mixture created a nice striated pattern. I had to take a picture of that. :-) ]

4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.

5. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.

6. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.

7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.

[I used one pan - an 11" x 17" pan... Results look good, especially trimming off the edges.]

8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

[Wrapped in a linen bed sheet that I boiled and dried before using.]

For the filling
2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar

1. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.

2. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.

3. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).

[Cream was whipped to soft peaks and spread out as shown below.]

4. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

[Wrapped in plastic film for refrigeration.]

Hot Fudge Sauce

1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract

1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.
2. Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
3. Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

[Shot of the chocolate porridge... I mean chocolate sauce. :-) ]

[Assembly is pretty straightforward. The longest part is waiting for each layer to set before adding another layer.]

1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).

[Looking at the cross-section of the Swiss Roll.]

2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.

3. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).

[Layer Swiss Roll - Complete]

4. Soften the vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)

[Layer Vanilla - Complete]

5. Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)
[Adding the chocolate sauce layer... The sauce seemed a little loose, but I made it according to recipe. ]

6. Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set .

7. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.

8. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing, depending on how hot your region is. Slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water.

The Finished Product

[Pretty neat have a Swiss roll layer on my dome cake.]

[I don't know if the chocolate sauce was supposed to be a thick layer or a thin layer. I just spooned in some of the sauce for this layer.

Overall, both ice cream recipes turned out delicious and very chocolaty. The vanilla was good too!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14, 2010: Daring Cooks Nut Butters

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

Nutrition research suggests that nuts are good for your health. Nut butters, or pureed nuts, make it easy to use nuts in cooking. Although peanut butter is a staple in North America, most popular as the star ingredient in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and beloved in peanut butter cookies and other sweets, it's seldom used in preparing savory dishes. Nut butters -- including not only peanut butter but almond, cashew, and walnut butters -- are common ingredients in many Asian and African countries, used in a wide array of savory dishes. Nut butters add complex & interesting flavors to dishes, provide body & thickness to sauces, and can be used to replace the dairy fats or other oils in recipes.

What exactly is the July challenge?
The challenge is make a fresh nut butter and to use it in one savory recipe (i.e., not a sweet dessert). You choose the type of nut (e.g., peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, etc.). Then puree the nuts into a paste or butter. (Instructions for making nut butters are provided below.) Then use your fresh homemade nut butter in at least one savory recipe. The nut butter challenge was inspired by the article “Better with Nut Butter” by Kathy Baruffi in Cooking Light magazine.

What about dessert? We chose to focus on using nut butters in savory recipes, but we know nut butters make fabulous sweet treats. An extra but optional challenge this month is to use a homemade nut butter in a sweet recipe. The type of nut and the recipe is up to you. Can’t wait to see the results!

[Eat4Fun: Making nut butter sounds like a fun challenge. Due to time constraints, I stuck with the dip recipe provided for this challenge. For a full list of the challenge recipes see the host blogs above or go to The Daring Kitchen.]

Recipes Sources:
White Bean Dip with Rosemary & Sage adapted from Cooking Light, August 2007

* We had best results making nut butters in a food processor rather than a blender. My basic two-speed, household blender worked fine for soft nuts like pecans and walnuts, but was unable to blend harder nuts like almonds & macadamias. Unless you have one of those high-powered blenders guaranteed to puree almost anything, we recommend using a food processor.
* The four challenge recipes include instructions for making the appropriate amount of nut butter for the particular recipe. If you made the nut butter in advance, substitute the appropriate volume of nut butter for the nuts.
* The yield of nut butter is about half the original volume of nuts. If you start with 1 cup (240 ml) nuts, you’ll get about ½ cup (120 ml) nut butter.
* We have provided recipes for unsweetened nut butters since the challenge is to use the nut butter in a savory recipe. You may sweeten the nut butters as desired for use as a spread or in dessert recipes.
* Despite the name, there is no dairy butter in nut butters. They are essentially pureed nuts, also called nut pastes.
* To use nut butters in sauces as a substitute for heavy cream, first make a nut cream. Whisk the nut butter with about twice the volume of water, adding more water until you reach your desired consistency. For example, start with ¼ cup (60 ml) nut butter with ½ cup (120 ml) water; add more water as needed.

Simple Suggestions for Using Nut Butters:

* sauce for grilled meat or fish
* topping for pancakes or French toast
* dip with apples or celery
* spread for toast or sandwiches


* The process for making various types of nut butters is essentially the same. Pour nuts into bowl of food processor. Grind the nuts in the processor until they form a paste or butter. The nuts first turn into powdery or grainy bits, then start to clump and pull away from the side of the bowl, and finally form a paste or butter. The total time required depends on the fat and moisture content of the nuts; grinding time will vary from roughly 1 to 4 minutes (assuming a starting volume of 1 to 2 cups [240 to 480 ml] nuts). Processing times for a variety of nuts are described below.
* You may add oil as desired during grinding to make the nut butter smoother and creamier or to facilitate grinding. Add oil in small increments, by the teaspoon for oily nuts like cashews or by the tablespoon for dryer/harder nuts like almonds. You may use the corresponding nut oil or a neutral vegetable oil like canola.
* The inclusion of salt in the nut butters is optional and to taste. If you make nut butters from salted nuts, peanuts or cashews for example, you will not need additional salt. We recommend making unsalted nut butters for use in the challenge recipes (and other savory recipes) since the recipes call for salt or salty ingredients. You can then adjust the salt to taste. If you are making nut butter for use as a spread, you should add salt according to your preference.
* Roasting the nuts before making nut butters is optional according to your preference. To roast nuts in the oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4). Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until nuts are fragrant and a shade darker in color. Allow nuts to cool before grinding. Roasted nuts will make butter with darker color than raw nuts.
* It’s helpful to keep in mind that the yield of nut butter is about half the original volume of nuts. If you start with 1 cup nuts, you’ll get about ½ cup nut butter.
* The consistency of nut butters varies from thin & soft (almost pourable) to very thick and hard depending on the fat content of the nut. (See links below for nutrition info on variety of nuts.) Homemade nut butters will probably not be as smooth as commercial products.
* Homemade nut butters are more perishable than commercial products and should be stored in the refrigerator. The nut butters harden & thicken somewhat upon chilling.
* See links at bottom of post for additional information about making nut butters at home.

What variations are allowed:

* We tested the challenge recipes below with particular types of nut butters as indicated in the ingredient list. You are free to experiment with other types of nuts. For example, you may want to substitute walnut butter in the Chicken with Pecan Cream and Mushrooms. You may also substitute the chicken or shrimp in the challenge recipes with your protein of choice.

* If you are unable to eat nuts due to allergies or other dietary restrictions, we suggest you consider making a seed butter (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, etc) and use it in a savory recipe of your choice. Making seed butters is very similar to making nut butters. We have provided links at the bottom of this post with information on seed butters and recipes. You’re also welcome to use other alternates as discussed in next bullet point.
* If you are unable to eat nuts or seeds, you might consider making a fruit butter and then using it in a sweet or savory recipe. (Fruit butters are fruit cooked to form a paste, see links at bottom of post for recipes.) We are also open to other ideas for those with allergies or food restrictions. For example, pureed beans or pureed roasted vegetables could be used in a variety of savory soups, stews, or sauces.
* If you do not own a food processor or high-powered blender to make your own nut butter, you may complete the challenge with store-bought nut butter.
* Vegans, vegetarians, and those with food restrictions may substitute accordingly in the challenge recipes.

Approximate Processing Times in Food Processor for Nut Butters:
* Almonds: form a thick butter in about 2 to 3 minutes for slivered almonds, or 3 to 4 minutes for whole almonds; the skin of whole almonds will leave dark flecks in the butter
* Cashews: form a smooth, spreadable butter after about 2 minutes of processing
* Hazelnuts: form a firm, thick, and grainy butter in about 2 to 3 minutes; to remove the skin from whole hazelnuts, roast in a 400 degree F oven (200 degrees C/Gas Mark 6) for about 5 minutes or till skins loosen, then rub hazelnuts in a clean dishtowel to remove some of the skin; the remaining skin will leave dark flecks in the butter
* Macadamias: form a soft and smooth butter in about 2 minutes
* Peanuts: form a thick, grainy butter in about 2 or 3 minutes
* Pecans: form a very soft, oily, pourable butter in 1 or 2 minutes; the skins give pecan butter a slightly tannic and bitter flavor
* Walnuts: form a very soft, oily, pourable butter in 1 or 2 minutes; the skins give walnut butter a slightly tannic and bitter flavor
* Pistachios: According to the Nut Butter Primer from Cooking Light, pistachio butter is dry and crumbly with a tendency to clump during processing; they recommend combining it with softened cream cheese for easy spreading and report a processing time of 3.5 to 4 minutes. Please note, we did not test pistachio butter.

[The recipe calls for walnuts, but due to allergy concerns I substituted roasted & salted cashews. Also, used 2/3 t of dried rosemary which was rehydrated in the lemon juice for 20 minutes.]

Walnut White Bean Dip with Rosemary & Sage
Recipe notes: Canned beans tend to be salty, so you may not need additional salt. Taste the dip after blending and add salt as needed.


½ cup (120 ml) walnuts [Cashews]
1 (15.8 oz/448g) can Great Northern, Cannellini, or other white beans, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh rosemary, chopped [2/3 t Dried Rosemary]
2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh sage, chopped
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) lemon zest (optional)
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper salt to taste


1. Make walnut butter by grinding ½ cup (120 ml) walnuts in food processor for about a minute until it forms a nut butter or paste.

[Cashews ready for a little spin.]

[Hurray! I have cashew butter.]

2. Add beans, garlic, lemon juice, rosemary, sage, lemon zest (if using), and black pepper to the walnut butter in the food processor.

[Add the rest of the other ingredients and blend away!]

3. Process the mixture to a smooth consistency. Taste and add salt as desired.

Garnish dip with chopped walnuts and/or chopped fresh rosemary or sage, if desired. Serve dip with pita wedges, crostini, or assorted vegetables.

[The resulting dip was very thick like canned refried beans. I added an extra squeeze of lemon juice to add a little extra moisture.]

[Even though the dip was dense, there were some good flavors going on. The fresh garlic gave the dip a little spice, the lemon juice a little tart zing and the cashews a little nutty sweetness.

Overall, a very simple, delicious recipe. Also, making nut butter is very simple and a good way to experiment with different types of nuts.]