Saturday, June 26, 2010

Crispy Parmesan Biscuits - My first of many Giada Recipes

I think it is time to let you guys know that I love Giada De Laurentiis. I watch her show religiously, but I have never made one of her recipes - until now. It definitely was a perfect recipe, just as I imagined.

I brought my boyfriend (his name is Joe, by the way) lunch, while he was at work. He loves smoked salmon (he is from Finland, by the way) so when I saw Giada make the Crispy Parmesan biscuits with smoked salmon, lemon butter, and baby arugula, I knew I had to make the recipe for him.


1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 cups Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon butter (recipe follows below)
3 cups baby arugula
10 ounces smoked salmon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the butter. Using fingertips or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles course meal.

Stir in the Parmesan and green onions. Add the buttermilk and olive oil. Stir until the mixture forms a dough. Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet in 12 equal-sized pieces.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden. Cool biscuits for ten minutes then transfer to rack to cool completely.

Slice each biscuit in half (I found this part to be the most challenging part of the recpe! Be gentle!) and spread bottom half with 1 teaspoon of lemon butter. Add some arugula leaves and place a small slice of smoked salmon on top. Add the top half of the biscuit and serve.

Yield: 12 Biscuits

Lemon Butter Recipe:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lemon, zested

In a small bowl, mash the butter and lemon zest together using a fork. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Yield: 1/2 cup

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Layer Cakes Galore

Over the past week, I made two layer cakes. Both, being the first two layer cakes I have ever made.

The first - a sponge layer cake with raspberry jam, whipped cream, and strawberries.

(There was another cake layer topped with powdered sugar, as well.)

For this cake you will need:

3/4 cup butter, softened
plus extra for greasing
1 and 1/4 cups self rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3 eggs
confectioners' sugar, sifted, for dusting
3 tbsp raspberry jam
1 and 1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
16 fresh strawberries, halved

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the bottom of two 8 inch round cake pans.

2. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the butter, sugar, and eggs. Mix together and beat well until smooth. Divide mixture between the pans evenly.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

4. Sandwich together with jam, cream, and strawberries halves.
I also added a little sugar to the cream to sweeten it up just a bit.

5. Dust with confectioners sugar and enjoy!

This recipe is from Frame by Frame Baking by Christine Last.

The second - I am very proud of. This is my most celebrated recipe of my blog so far. I made it for my boyfriend's sister on her birthday. She loves white chocolate so I wanted to make her a white chocolate cake. I evolved a recipe from a few different recipes and it couldn't have turned out better. It was a delicious, moist layer cake topped with white chocolate whipped cream with white and dark chocolate shavings. I dream about it every night.

For this wonderful recipe, you will need:

For the cake-
1 box of White cake mix
1/2 cup of sugar
1 box of vanilla instant pudding
1 cup (8 oz.) of Sour cream
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
4 eggs

For the white chocolate whipped cream-
1 and 1/4 cup heavy cream
5 and 1/2 oz of white chocolate, chopped
plus extra for shavings
3 oz dark chocolate

You will need to prepare the topping the night before:

1. Put the cream in a pan over low heat and bring to a boil, constantly stirring. Add the chocolate and stir until it is melted.

2. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill overnight.

The next day:

1. Mix cake mix, sugar, and instant pudding in a large bowl. Add sour cream, water, and oil. Mix well.

2. Add eggs one at a time, until well blended.

3. Pour into two 8 inch round cake pans and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 27-32 minutes.

4. Take out the whipped topping mixture from the fridge and beat it until it makes stiff peaks. You can add some heavy cream at this point to adjust the sweetness if you would like.

5. Allow the cake layers to cool for fifteen minutes or so. Sandwich the layer cakes with some of the whipped topping.

6. Add the rest of the whipped topping to the top of the cake.

7. Grate 1 oz of white chocolate as garnish.

8. Melt 3 oz. of dark chocolate and drizzle over the top for garnish, as well.

9. Enjoy!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can use any sort of box cake and instant pudding flavors. You can totally make it your own! Have Fun!

Whipped topping is adapted from the cookbook Delicious Suppers.