Saturday, January 25, 2014

Zingerman's Brownies

Years ago, I got the recipe for Zingerman's Magic Brownies from a magazine called Midwest it is as it was written, and over time, it's evolved for me. The original recipe was too complicated, so I simplified it.  A friend of a friend took their brownie making class and shared with me how to make the Buenos Aires version.   If you've got a spare $125 kicking around you can take the class, and learn how to bake them yourself.    Or, try making them how I make them....Zingerman's calls the brownie without nuts "Black Magic Brownies" .  

Zingerman's Magic Brownies (a la Mothers Kitchen)
Click here for a printer friendly version

1.5 sticks butter
1.5 (4 oz) bars 60% cacao chocolate bars
1.5 c purpose flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
4 eggs
2 c sugar
1 T vanilla
1 1/4 c coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted (optional)

Grease a 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 325 F. In the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate, set aside to cool. In the mixer bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Add eggs, sugar, cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined, scraping down sides as needed. Spread batter in pan. Bake 30 minutes or until brownies appear set. Cool in pan on wire rack; cut into bars.

Zingerman's calls the brownie without nuts "Black Magic Brownies".  To make their Buenos Aires brownies, add a layer of dulce de leche - either storebought or make your own.  Spread half the batter in the pan, then add 3/4 cup dulce de leche, and then top with the remaining batter.   These will take 10 minutes longer to  bake.  

Kitchen tip - if you use a plastic knife, it will cut the brownies neatly.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Angelo's Restaurant Raisin Bread

Angelo's Raisin Toast

In Ann Arbor, we have plenty of iconic restaurants, but the only one I know that had a song written about it is Angelo's over by the U of M Hospital.   Dick Siegel,  Ann Arbor's legendary troubador, even wrote a song about the place.  

Given that I just ran into Dick Siegel when I was running errands earlier today, I figure it is time that I shared the recipe for Angelo's most famous offering - the raisin bread.  The recipe was included in both editions of
Ann Arbor's Cookin', a fundraising cookbook for the Ronald McDonald House at U of M Hospital.   The recipe made a huge quantity (4 loaves of bread) and cake yeast, which is difficult to find, so I fixed it.   To make it even easier, I kneaded it in a food processor.  The original recipe called for hand kneading for 20 minutes, and rising 20 minutes for each rise, and baking it for 5 20 minute increments.   None of that made much sense to me.  Also, it didn't say to use a bread pan, but the toast at the restaurant is square so I put the dough in a bread pan. Here's how I made it and it is just as good as the original, if not better!

Angelo's Raisin Bread

1 1/2 lb all purpose flour
1 egg
1 T Crisco
1 T salt
2 T instant yeast
4 T sugar
1 1/2 c cool water
3 c raisins

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add flour, egg, shortening salt, yeast and sugar and pulse a few times to mix up the ingredients.   With the processor running, add the water in the feed tube and process for 60 seconds or until the dough forms a cohesive ball.    Remove the dough and knead in the raisins by hand until evenly distributed.   Form the dough into a ball and put in a bowl that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray, and cover with a non stick cooking spray coated piece of plastic wrap.

Heat a mug of water in the microwave for 2 minutes, and push the mug to the back of the microwave.  Put the bowl in the microwave (shut off) and shut the door and let the dough rise until double, about 2 hours.  Turn the dough out onto a flour covered countertop, and punch the dough down.   Cut the dough in half and form 2 loaves and put them into 2 bread pans coated in non stick spray.  Cover with the plastic wrap.  Heat up the water mug again and put the pans in the shut off microwave to rise again, until the dough is about an inch taller than the top of the pan.  (another couple of hours)

Preheat oven to 350F, and bake bread 40 minutes until the top is brown.  Rotate halfway through the bake time.    Makes excellent french toast!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Book Report: Apples: From Harvest to Table

One of the best things about being a food blogger is occasionally, book publishers send me cookbooks to review.  Other times, I hear about new cookbooks and I check them out of the library.   If they look good, I will get them.   Here's an update one of the latest....

First up is Apples: From Harvest to Table by Amy Pennington.   I have enjoyed other books she has written, such as Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen, and living in Michigan, which is a huge apple producer.  I had to check it out, specifically for its jams jellies and relishes chapter.  Anyone that gets into jam and jelly making big time eventually finds themselves worshipping at the altar of Christine Ferber, the jam and jelly maven of France.   You may find yourself getting her famous cookbook   Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber, which is fun to look at but very, very difficult to actually use because the recipes never turn out right.   It's a good read for inspiration, however.   The best idea in Mes Confitures is her method of making green apple pectin;  I am a big fan of making my own pectin from apples and lemons.  Ferber's recipe doesn't really work out right, but Amy Pennington's recipe simplifies it....

Green Apple Pectin

Green apple pectin is made from any undeveloped green apple picked from the tree before ripening.

3 lbs green apples (Amy suggests that early July is a great time to pick)
6 cups water
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Juice of 1 small lemon

Remove stems and cut apples into quarters. Toss in pot and cover them with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain this apple mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pressing lightly on the back of the fruit. Compost solids. Filter apple juice again through a cheesecloth so you have a nice clear( liquid. - Wet and wring out your cheesecloth first.  Measure 4 1/4 cups apple liquid and add to a saucepan with the lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a boil, skim the foam and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes. Check set. You want a thick syrup or jam-y set.  Jar and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.  

I'd only use this style of homemade pectin for a jelly, because it's clear and it would be a challenging  experiment to see how much of this style of pectin you'd need for a jelly.   If you are making jam, use my method instead, it will always work.   I like her use of it instead of the typical "Clear Jel" in her apple pie filling.   Her recipe is similar to this one...just substitute 1/3 - 1/2 cup apple pectin for the Clear Jel in the recipe.  

The rest of the book features lots of other apple recipes for main dishes, side dishes and desserts.   I already have a Dexter Cider Mill Apple Cookbook on my bookshelf - if I needed another, it certainly would be this book.   Check it out!