The Instant Pot might have been one of the popular holiday kitchen gifts last season, but the Dash Mini Waffle Maker has consistently been a best seller this year. The pint-size waffle maker is just a bit bigger than the palm of your hand and produce 4-inch waffles that are almost too cute to eat. It comes in a variety of colors and has a price tag right around $10 – making it a perfect impulse purchase, whether you’re shopping online or see it in the store. As a waffle fan with a Belgian-style waffle iron that I really like, I wondered how the Dash stacked up to its full size competitors and ordered one so I could give it a try.
The waffle iron is so small and lightweight that it almost looks like a toy at first glance, but the waffle iron has a surprisingly heavy duty nonstick iron inside once you open it up. It has an indicator light on the top that lights up when you plug in the machine, then clicks off when the iron is hot. It does not have a on-off switch or any audible indicator, but that is true of some larger machines and not something I mind much. It does, however, mean that you need to plug it in to preheat about 2 minutes before you’re ready to use it and that you must remember to unplug the machine when you’re done.
The Dash heats up quickly and the nonstick surface works very well. I found my waffles released easily from the iron both when I greased the iron and when I did not. It heated evenly and produced waffles that were uniformly brown, though the batter didn’t quite always make it to the outer edges (I chronically underfill my waffle makers, apparently) and the coloration was a touch lighter there.
It took about 4 minutes to cook my waffles until they were crisp on the outside and completely cooked inside. The waffles were completely cooked at about 3 minutes, but the exterior remained soft unless they got a little extra time on the iron. I felt it was worth a little extra patience to get that perfectly crisp outside, however if you are planning to pop your waffles in the toaster to crisp them up before serving (a handy trick for small waffles), letting them be a little less cooked might be better. Since there is no audible alert, I used a kitchen timer while I cooked.
All in all, the waffle iron performed extremely well and really exceeded my expectations. It produced evenly cooked waffles with a nice crispy surface and a moist interior. The 4-inch waffles were a great size for stacking, sandwiching or snacking. It does not save a lot of time over using a full sized waffle iron, however this gadget takes up almost no space in the kitchen, so everyone will be able to find room for it. You can use any traditional waffle recipe (the instruction booklet includes both sweet and savory recipes), but I would recommend cutting them in half because a little batter will go a long way here. For the price, you can’t go wrong – even if you already have a full size waffle iron in your kitchen.
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This is Guba-style baklava, one of several baklava varieties known in Azerbaijan. Photo is courtesy of Pierre Cabanettes who traveled to Azerbaijan a few years ago and took beautiful pictures. He kindly let me use this one in my cookbook, “Pomegranates & Saffron: A Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan.” In my Cuisine and Culture Tour to Azerbaijan and Georgia, we are going to have exclusive access to a pastry shop in Guba region and witness firsthand how this unique baklava is made.
The post AZCookbook is 10 + Cuisine and Culture Tour Update appeared first on AZ Cookbook.
TWG Tea‘s matcha financiers are by far my favourite–not because I’ve spent many years working with the brand, but because I adore both matcha and financiers, and have tasted innumerable iterations before returning to TWG Tea’s. I probably first took this recipe for a spin nearly a decade ago, when the luxury tea brand first launched in Singapore. Even back then, their executive pastry chef, Philippe Langlois, had already long established himself as a master of tea gastronomy. I’ve hoarded the Frenchman’s recipe all this while, knowing that whenever I decided to make financiers, this would be my go-to choice.
While Philippe’s matcha financiers recipe is incredibly easy, there must be something in his touch, in the scale of his ingredients, that makes these so darn irresistible. I love how moist they remain even when they’ve sat on the kitchen counter for a couple of days. And the deep, grassy bitterness of matcha is matched with just the right measure of sweetness so that these financiers showcase–rather than mask–the charms of a good powdered green tea. My three-year-old eats two at a go! Frankly, it was her newly-discovered love for green tea that prompted me to revisit this financier recipe.
To be honest, TWG Tea’s matcha is so precious that I usually prefer to drink it with my financiers rather than bake with it (I opt for the best matcha I can afford to bake with). However, if your pocket book allows for it, go for it!
Having attempted a wide range of financier recipes over the years, I must point out a few things.
I’ve also tweaked the recipe below to yield plain financiers, because my son loves their buttery simplicity (it also helps that CH has given them his thumbs-up, too). What I’m dying to do next is attempt a houjicha version! I hope you enjoy this recipe.
N.B. As I usually make two batches of financiers each time (matcha for the daughter, plain for the son), I always end up with 8 egg yolks. I use these in my homemade ice cream bases.
By adding pureed fruit (raspberry or strawberry) to the vanilla ice cream before it’s churned, you’ll get a fruit flavoured ice cream. And I have been refining a chocolate ice cream recipe for my little girl who is a chocoholic.
Again, I prepare a full portion of ice cream base, but will often just churn half, storing the remainder in a vacuum-sealed bag in the freezer for when we next need to churn another batch.
Pantry Basics: Financiers
Makes 20-22 barquettes
Adapted from a recipe shared by TWG Tea’s executive pastry chef, Philippe Langlois. Reproduced with permission from TWG Tea.
140g unsalted butter
50g finely ground almonds
150g caster sugar
4 egg whites (from 62g eggs)
50g all-purpose flour
For Matcha financiers
2.5 teaspoons matcha (finely ground green tea leaves)
For plain financiers
1 tsp pure vanilla extract or 2 vanilla pods, seeds scraped
Warm the butter in a pan over a low fire until it turns nut brown (it should smell like hazelnuts). Pass the melted butter through a sieve. Butter financier moulds with some of the browned butter if using metal moulds. Dust with flour and refrigerate. Set remaining butter aside.
Combine the ground almonds, caster sugar and 1/3 of the egg whites in a bowl. Whisk to create an even batter. Whisk in the remaining egg whites in two additions (it will start off looking thick and compact, but will gradually thin out with the addition of egg whites).
Whisk the all-purpose flour and matcha (if using) in a bowl. Overturn the mixture into the almond batter taking care not to create any lumps. Add vanilla (if using). Whisk the ingredients until they are evenly combined. Incorporate browned butter.
At this point, I divide the batter between 2 (or more, depending on the number of financiers you intend to bake each time) disposable piping bags and seal them. Set the batter aside to rest for 24 hours in the fridge. I then freeze the batter if I don’t intend to use it immediately. Simply thaw in the refrigerator before use.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 165 degrees Celsius on convection setting. Fill 2/3 of each financier mould with batter (half the batter yields between 10 to 12 barquettes). Bake for 15 minutes and remove them from the oven. If you are using metal moulds, remove the financiers from the pans immediately. If you are using silicone moulds, let them cool before you unmould them.
Financers can be served lightly warmed or cold.
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Dark clouds threatening to ruin your backyard barbecue? Don’t worry – just move the party inside and cook up your hamburgers, hot dogs, and more with the Hamilton Beach Searing Grill. This countertop grill is perfect for all types of meat, vegetables, and more. The non-stick cooking grid quickly gets rocket hot for searing and is removable for easy cleaning. Different heat settings let you tailor the piece to more tender meats, such as tuna. For moist, delicious meals, there’s no better tool than this searing grill. Temperature controlled electric grill. Non-stick surface. Power and pre-heated indicator lights. High temperature sear for locking in flavors. Drip tray included. dishwasher-safe. Dimensions: 16.73W x 12.4D x 6.81H in..
Chocolate and cherries is a classic combination, but I’m giving it a twist in this Chocolate Chip Cherry Cobbler. Fruit cobblers don’t typically include chocolate, which ensures that the fruit is the star of the show. Here, chocolate is added to the filling and the cobbler topping to create a dessert that delivers just the right amount of chocolate with its cherries.
Every cobbler starts with a good fruit filling. This one is extremely simple and is made with lots of cherries, some sugar and a bit of cornstarch that helps the fruit juices thicken nicely while the cobbler bakes. I added a splash of kirsch, a cherry liqueur, to the filling to amp up the cherry flavor. I recommend picking up a mini-sized bottle for recipes like this one (and other baked goods!) because a little goes a long way and you won’t use it that often unless you bake a lot of black forest cakes. I recommend using jarred (and drained) or frozen cherries because they’re easy to work with, but fresh cherries can be used if they are in season and you don’t mind pitting them before you start.
The topping is a buttery biscuit-like dough that is studded with chocolate chips. Butter is cut into the dry ingredients, then buttermilk and vanilla are added before bringing the dough together. Once you’ve made the dough, it should be broken up into little chunks and dropped onto the filling, giving the dessert a “cobbled together” look that fits its name. You want to cover most of the filling, but should be able to see some of the cherries and juice between the cracks.
The cobbler topping isn’t overly sweet on its own, but it’s perfect when combined with the cherries and chocolate. Serve this dessert warm and pair it with ice cream or whipped cream for a dessert that is even more decadent.
Chocolate Chip Cherry Cobbler
36-40-oz cherries (jarred, frozen or fresh)
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp kirsch, optional
2-3 tbsp chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into 4-5 pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 375F. Take out an 8×8-inch square baking dish.
Make the Filling: In a large bowl, stir together all filling ingredients except the chocolate chips. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes, then pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Set aside while you make the topping.
Make the Topping: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add in butter and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or your fingertips, making sure no piece of butter is larger than a big pea.
Combine buttermilk and vanilla in a measuring cup and pour into dry ingredients. Add in chocolate chips. Bring dough together using a spatula, folding gently to ensure that dough is uniform and no clumps of dry ingredients remain.
Break dough into 1 or 2-inch pieces and arrange over the top of the filling, covering most of the cherries. Sprinkle topping with coarse sugar.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until cherry filling is bubbling thickly and topping is golden brown. Allow cobbler to cool slightly before serving.
Ramen Heads is a documentary about ramen in Japan. As the name implies, it’s about the obsession of both ramen makers and ramen eaters and dives deep into more bowls in more styles than you can possibly imagine. The film focuses on Japan’s number-one ramen master Osamu Tomita, who has won the highest ramen honors 4 years in a row. Unlike other ramen masters, Tomita is happy to expose every part of his process. He reveals the highest-quality ingredients and his constantly evolving approach to cooking the perfect bowl with equal attention to both noodles and broth. Surrounded by apprentices there is still much he insists on doing himself. His shop is so popular he sells tickets ahead of time to decrease the long wait for seats.