Here is the link to the Red Cross if you want to donate to the plight of the Tsunami victims in Japan. My prayers are with all of my Japanese blogger friends, especially OCHI, who Thank God is okay & all of the Japanese during this tumultuous and difficult time!
How to make desserts soar!
On the agenda today: Digestive biscuits ( regular and chocolate); Vanilla bean whipped cream pumpkin pie and foxes!….. Need there be more?
This digestive biscuit post is my contribution to a garnishing event held by Food Fanatic
The gift of the Digestive biscuit, (cookie), was given to us by our friends from across the pond, namely the English! This is my version of this irresistibly, delicious snack. I can still recollect the days when my Mom and I used to share the chocolate Digestives in the purple package in Cape Town, South Africa! My Mom rocked! “Dit is nou vir jou n’ lekker koekie!”
Well, my quest here was to develop a recipe that would be a wholesome snack for skiing and a little chocolaty for high tea or in my case, milk! Somehow, I do not think that the British would go for the milk! Nevertheless, I often serve this biscuit at high tea as well & do the unthinkable…..I dunk!!!
It seems to me that this biscuit has somewhat of a conflicting nature……should I be savory or should I be sweet this time? You know, just like when those crazy voices in your head are at loggerheads with each other! LOL!
For the savory factor, just garnish a cheeseboard by cutting out whimsical shapes from the cheese of your choice with cookie cutters & stack for further interest. The digestive biscuits are perfect mates for sharp cheddar cheese / Swiss & maybe a dollop of spicy cranberry chutney on top of the cheese!
Mmmm, to be chocolaty or to be cheesy that is the question?
For the sweet factor, adorn the Digestive biscuits with dark chocolate ganache! Boil your cream, pour over dark chocolate with a small pat of unsalted butter and incorporate & slather over the crispy biscuit. To make the wavy pattern, use a cake comb and please do wait until the chocolate sets!
I ” love” this biscuit so much, I even put it in writing! For the garnish, “LOVE”, just pour the dark melted chocolate into a paper cone made of parchment & write the word,”Love” onto parchment & let it harden.
I made 10 of these gift boxes, covered in cellophane for my neighborhood bake sale for the Strength.Org charity event. They flew off the table like hotcakes! I love doing charities like Strength.Org because this is where I can really flaunt my baking expertise!
This biscuit had a “malty” overtone with a slight crisp & shortbread-like taste! Absolutely yum! A Nazarina special!
A wildlife intervention
These are my new pets! Just kidding, I vow never to keep the wild in confinement! “Foxy” (female) came to me limping (really badly) from the nearby Rocky mountain during September of last year. I felt an immediate pang of sorrow for Foxy because of this limp so in my regular “Nazarina-like-fashion”, I coaxed her with some food & nursed her leg! She came almost hypnotized by my soft spoken voice & it was almost as if she knew instinctively that I meant her no harm but only to help. There are lots of these foxes in my area. I love foxes, white wolves & polar bears! Gosh, I love all animals!
My 22lb cat, Oscar, stealthily went after her, trying to chase her off his domain. I intervened & stopped the confrontation in the nick of time! Cats, I tell ya are so territorial! LOL! I am sure you are most probably thinking that I am being terribly facetious, especially taken into account that I am dealing with foxes here!
Well Foxy came back this January and brought her mate,” Moxie” (male) along with her. Aren’t they cute! Moxie follows Foxy everywhere and my sweetie shared a piece of fox trivia with me saying that once they find their mate, they stay together forever! BTW, this is just a light dusting of snow compared to the norm.
They love to run and hide underneath my studio (now as you can see just ravaged by the continuous snowfalls and arctic-like cold air)! This is where I make my soap & other crafts. This picture is a bit blurry because I was running after them, trying to take their picture! Anyway, I have not seen them for a couple of days now, maybe they went back to the nearby mountain! Funny thing though, just when we forget about them, they reappear in my backyard! Do you think that they bonded with me?
Finally, remember this post (Streusel topped pumpkin pie).……… that I wrote about a year ago?
……..I revamped my pumpkin pie yet again! This time, I still kept the streusel, but piped a swirl of mousse y vanilla bean whipped double cream on top & abstractly “Jackson Pollocked” the melted dark chocolate all over the pie! My friend, Vanessa, was having a bad day & quit her job over the phone, so I made her this pumpkin mousse pie & named it “Vanessa is out livin her life, so shove your job where the sun don’t shine! pie” She liked the message so much and left it on voice mail & that was exactly what her Employer heard when they eventually called her back!
Stop me please!!! how many more times am I going to change this gift that just keeps on giving? I use Dr. Oetker French vanilla ( all the time see my old blog), ….a friend of mine, Zoe, went to Canada from Miami & brought back 20 packages, all just for me. I just got tired of asking Cost Plus to get the French Vanilla! I did add the double cream to the mousse as well though to make it extra light & fluffy! “Zoe, many, many, thanks you are the bomb! You are a great gourmet cook in your own right! Delicious breyanis and heavenly cakes are amongst her specialties!”
Oh! BTW, this time I made the crust & streusel with organic coconut flour (Bob’s Red Mill ), almond flour etc…… . It came out better than a French sable’ type of dough!
Recipes: As usual, please use organic ingredients when possible!
Digestive biscuits: Makes about 13 biscuits or more if you use a smaller cookie cutter than the one described in my “method.”
(This is my version)
- 1/2 c organic wheat bran
- 2 T extra fine Dessicated coconut ( Buy this at an Indian Grocer)
- 5oz unsalted softened butter
- 1/3 c brown sugar minus 1 T
- 1 T Barley Malt syrup
- 2 t pure vanilla extract ( I use the one from Santo Domingo)
- 1 egg yolk (I love baking with just the yolk, because the end result is always rich!)
- 1-2 t ground ginger (optional but not for me!)
- 1 t finely grounded (super-fine) cardamom (optional but not for me!)
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/2 c whole wheat flour
- 1 t baking powder
Toast the wheat bran & the coconut together in the oven 350 degrees for about 10-15 mins; just until you can smell the toasted coconut aroma & the wheat is slightly colored. Remove & cool
Cream the butter, brown sugar, malt & vanilla together with an electric beater until light & fluffy. Add the egg yolk, ginger & cardamom & incorporate. Sift cake flour, wheat flour & baking powder & then whisk in the toasted wheat bran & coconut. Gingerly fold in this dry ingredient mixture in 3 batches with a spatula. If the dough seems a bit wet, lightly dust hands with extra cake flour & then knead lightly and finally refrigerate 30mins-1 hour.
Roll out the dough to a little less than a quarter inch and cut out rounds with a 2 & half inch cookie cutter, ( or to whatever size you prefer), & dock with a fork. I also love to roll the dough out thinner than this this on baking paper (tape the ends down on work surface or plastic wrap!), & then place on baking sheet, but you really have to watch the browning…..this makes for some of the biscuits, a lot more crispier! Refrigerate again for about 10 minutes & then bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 16 mins. or until slightly brown along the edges. Cool on the baking sheet and then garnish with the chocolate ganache or just eat them plain with cheese.
That’s it folks, I am signing off.