Habeas Brulee » Maple http://habeasbrulee.com Sun, 17 Mar 2013 03:04:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.21 Chewy Maple Cookies http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/03/18/chewy-maple-cookies/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/03/18/chewy-maple-cookies/#comments Sun, 18 Mar 2007 14:32:59 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/03/18/chewy-maple-cookies/

This recipe was invented by my partner, Dave. He was so delighted by the reduced maple syrup we had to create when making the maple crema that he wanted to use it as a cookie base as well. He threw in the rest of the ingredients by feel, figuring that the proportions should be something like Tollhouse cookie proportions.

The end result was an utterly mapley, chewy, almost candy-like batch of cookies. I find them deeply addictive, and hope to give some of them away soon to keep myself from eating them all. The only thing better than eating home-made treats is giving them away, after all.

In the end, it turned out that I like these more than Dave does. He usually has much greater tolerance for sweetness than I do, but somehow these are too sweet for him, but just right for me. I cannot explain this, but it is true.

These are basically maple candy in the guise of chewy cookies. Take from that what you will.

Chewy Maple Cookies
2 C maple syrup (ideally Grade B)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2 C flour
1 egg

Preheat your oven to 350º.

Boil the maple syrup until it is reduced to a third of the amount (2/3 C). Use a larger pot than you think you need, because it will bubble up and over tremendously. Don’t let it turn to caramel. Use a thermometer to keep it under about 250º. When you turn it off, let it cool to below 212º.

Stir in the butter until it melts and combines. Check the temperature and make sure it is below 120º; you don’t want to cook the eggs. Mix in the other ingredients, flour last, until combined. Chill for at least an hour, or until thick enough to form into solid-ish balls.

Place chestnut-sized balls of dough several inches apart (these cookies spread!) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until pale gold. They’ll be very soft when they come out, but don’t be afraid. Just transfer them carefully to a cooling rack and let them solidify as they cool before eating them.

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Maple Crema http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/02/26/maple-crema/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/02/26/maple-crema/#comments Mon, 26 Feb 2007 14:37:33 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/02/26/maple-crema/

This recipe was recently published in the NY Times, and as soon as I read it there, I knew I had to try it. This is basically pure maple sugar in luxurious creamy form.

Looks almost like a créme brûlée, doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled. Adding any more sugar atop this custard would be a huge mistake. In fact, we had to make massive quantities of unsweetened whipped cream to cut through the sweetness as is.

That said, with the sweetness so tempered, the flavor was marvelous. I feel absolutely drunk on maple, having eaten this crema, and on a sugar high that is almost enough to cut through the cold that is keeping me home sick today.

Maple Crema
(the NY Times’s adaptation from Gina DePalma of Babbo)
2 C maple syrup (ideally Grade B)
2 C heavy cream
1/2 C whole milk
6 large egg yolks
2 tsp granulated sugar
A pinch of kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 325º.

Bring the maple syrup to a boil in a very large saucepan. No, really, much larger than you think. You’ll be astonished by just how high the maple syrup froths up as it boils. Lower the heat and simmer until it is reduced to about 2/3 C.

Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the cream and milk. Return it to the heat and bring to low simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and salt in a large bowl. Remove the maple cream from the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes, then very slowly whisk it into the yolks. I like to pour in about 1/2 C to temper the yolks, whisking all the while, then, still whisking, slowly pour in the rest in a steady stream. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine-meshed sieve to remove any lumps of yolk.

Arrange 4-ounce ramekins about 3/4″ apart in a large flat-bottomed roasting pan. Evenly divide the custard among the ramekins, leaving about 1/4″ space at the top. Carefully add enough hot tap water to the roasting pan to come about 1/3-1/2 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the roasting pan lightly with foil, being careful to avoid letting the foil touch the tops of the ramekins.

Put the pan on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 35 minutes. Rotate the pan, then bake another 15 minutes or so. The custards are done when they seem basically set, and the centers jiggle only slightly.

Remove the pan from the oven, remove the foil, and let custards cool in water bath until you can safely pick them up (I adore using my silicon glove to remove them immediately from the boiling water without burning my hand). Let them cool to room temperature before refrigerating them for at least 4 hours, until thoroughly chilled.

Serve with plenty of unsweetened whipped cream. Believe me, you’ll need it to cut through the sweetness so that you can properly appreciate the flavor.

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Maple Cream Truffles http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/03/19/maple-cream-truffles/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/03/19/maple-cream-truffles/#comments Sun, 19 Mar 2006 05:41:53 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/03/19/maple-cream-truffles/

Josh, the elder of my younger brothers, took a bite out of a store-bought chocolate the other day, and declared, “This is amazing! What is this delicious taste that is filling my mouth? I know it, I know that I know it, but I can’t think of what it is!”

It was a maple cream.

I made him some maple creams a few days later, and he ate all but two immediately. Those two he named Felix and Oscar, and he left them out for our parents to find when they got home that night. This recipe is almost too simple to bother posting, but Felix and Oscar were just so friendly that I wanted everyone to get a chance to meet them.

Maple Cream Truffles
Maple syrup
Heavy cream (maybe)

As a rule, I prefer darker maple syrups for everything. Grade A Dark Amber is good, and Grade B is even better. If you don’t know the difference and you live in or around NYC, try stopping by the Farmer’s Market at Union Square sometime. There’s a table where they usually have the different grades of maple syrup out in little bowls with small pieces of waffle for people to dip in, so you can learn the difference.

However, lighter maple syrups tend to work better for making maple cream. It is a sad truth, but there it is. This is allegedly because darker maple syrup has too high a quantity of invert sugar for the creaming process to work. Whether or not that’s the reason, though, experience has upheld the result.

The first thing you want to do is prepare a large bowl filled with ice and ice-cold water. Next, fill the pot you will be using with water and boil it. Using a candy thermometer, note the temperature at which the water boils. Once you have that number, pour out the water and pour your maple syrup into the pot instead. Heat the maple syrup to about 22°-24° F above the boiling temperature of the water that you just noted.

Once the syrup reaches that point, immediately remove the pot from the heat and place it in the ice bath to stop the cooking process and lower it to room temperature. If the edges freeze, it is all right to put the pot back on very low heat to melt them a bit.

The maple cream is created by stirring the syrup as it cools down. This causes it to become thick and pale, with a creamy grainy texture. Depending on your maple syrup, it may help to add some heavy cream as you would when making caramel. The darker the maple syrup, the more likely adding heavy cream will seem necessary.

Temper your chocolate, and line your chocolate molds with a thin layer by filling them and then inverting them over a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow them to set, and then fill them with the maple cream. Cover the bottoms with more chocolate, and then allow them to set again. Impatient as I am, I always set my chocolates in the freezer. Once they are fully set, they will easily pop right out once you invert the mold and wobble it around a bit.

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Homebrew Vinegar http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/03/09/homebrew-vinegar/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/03/09/homebrew-vinegar/#comments Thu, 09 Mar 2006 05:02:07 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/03/09/homebrew-vinegar/

I checked in on my everywine vinegar tonight, and gave it its weekly libation of wine. I have begun to think of it as a monster to whom I must make sacrifices, a beast I must ply with wine in order to keep it drowsy and slightly less likely to kill.

I feed it from open bottles around the house every week or so, trying to pour the wine down the side so as not to sink the layer of mother of vinegar at the top. Sometimes this works partway, and half the mother sinks, and is overgrown in a few days, as in the photo above. Sometimes it fails completely, and I fish out the sunken mother to use for making new vinegars, or to give away. This week I sunk it with half a bottle of cabernet that had already begun to turn without my help.

Ideas in Food is one of my favorite food blogs to read for sheer inspiration. They rarely post recipes, but their ideas are incredible. (Still, I must confess, when I tried out their recipe for hot ice cream, it was a complete failure, and I have no idea what to do with all the leftover methocel food gum. (Anyone want to trade something random and fun for it?))

So, when they posted about making their own vinegar, I just had to try it myself. I am an acetic acid fanatic. I still remember first discovering the way vinegar can be used in savory sauces, in desserts, in so much more than just salad dressing. And now that I have a ton of homemade vinegar, I’ll be exploring that even further.

Vinegar is made by allowing a culture of acetobacter aceti to grow in your alcohol. These bacteria consume the alcohol and produce acetic acid, which is the essence of vinegar. It helps to have some mother of vinegar to start with, which is nothing more than a slab of acetobacter aceti. (I’d also be delighted to swap slabs of mother for random fun stuff.) If you can’t get some, go to your local gourmet market and pick up Braggs organic apple cider vinegar. (It hasn’t been pasteurized, and should still have some floating strands of live mother of vinegar in it.)

Mix equal parts wine and mother (or Braggs) in a large, wide-mouthed glass jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a double layer of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band around the rim. Leave it in a warm, dark place – sunlight and cold are both deadly to the necessary bacteria. As more of the alcohol is converted into vinegar, you can feed it more wine to keep the process going. This won’t work with hard liquor unless it is watered down with something else, as too high a concentration of alcohol will kill the bacteria.

Mother of vinegar forms a layer at the top of the vinegar in order to get air and to protect the vinegar underneath. If you wet it when feeding your vinegar, it is likely to sink. This is fine, because a new layer of mother will start growing across the top soon enough. Once your mother sinks, the best thing to do is to salvage it and mix it in with more wine or juice to start a new vinegar going, or pass it on to someone else who wants to do the same.

When I feed my colony, I pour the wine along a flat wooden stirrer in an attempt to have it hit only one side of the mother. Sometimes this works, and I end up with only a partially sunk mother. Sometimes it fails.

Every so often, I siphon off some of my vinegar into bottles to let it age further. I use a funnel lined with two coffee filters to filter out most of the mother. I don’t pasteurize my vinegars, so more mother sometimes begins to grow in them, particularly when my seal is faulty. This is not a problem – it is safe to eat mother, and skimming it off before using the vinegar isn’t much of a hassle.

I have a jar of maple vinegar going at the moment as well. Again, just trying out something mentioned in Ideas in Food, I mixed together maple syrup, rum, sauvignon blanc, and a few slabs of mother of vinegar that I’d grown in my everywine vinegar. It’s coming along nicely, and I taste it every so often to see how acidic it has become. It has a sweet sharpness to it already, and I’ll be bottling it soon. I can’t wait to experiment with it.

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Chocolate Maple Lace Cookies http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/03/05/chocolate-maple-lace-cookies/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/03/05/chocolate-maple-lace-cookies/#comments Sun, 05 Mar 2006 21:57:01 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/03/05/chocolate-maple-lace-cookies/

The lace pattern of these cookies is created by the bubbling of the very thin, caramel-based batter. When the cookies are removed from the oven, the bubbles collapse, creating the lace between them. When summer comes around, I intend to use the same technique to make honey lace cookies sandwiching homemade sour cherry jam.

Lace cookies are so delicious and yet so simple that they ended up being among the first cookies my 11-year-old brother ever made all by himself. A few days after I made the cookies which appear above, I had to talk him through baking a batch of his own. He had taken one of my cookies into school and broken it into small pieces to share with his friends, and he came home insisting that he needed more.

A small horde of 6th grade boys approved of these cookies, and I hope that the rest of you will enjoy them, too.

Chocolate Maple Lace Cookies

1/2 C unsalted butter
1/2 C Grade B or Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C all purpose flour
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 375°. Melt the butter, sugar, and maple syrup together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat once the butter is completely melted, and whisk in the flour and salt.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop about 1/2 tsp of batter per cookie, taking care to keep them several inches apart. They tend to melt and spread enormously. Bake for about 6 minutes, or until they’re sufficiently caramelized for your tastes. After they’re removed from the oven, wait a few minutes for them to solidify before transfering them from the baking sheet onto a wire rack to continue cooling. If you try to remove them too soon, you will simply end up with a spatula coated with goo.*

Once the cookies are cooled, lay out half of them on a baking sheet. Drop about 1 tsp of molten semisweet chocolate on each of those, and sandwich each with another cookie.

* If you remove them after they have ceased to be goo but before they have hardened completely, you can wrap the still-flexible cookies around a cannoli mold or the narrow neck of a wine bottle to create maple lace cannoli shells, which can then be filled with the cream of your choice.

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