I made this teatime treat this past weekend and four different guests asked for the recipe. I’m happy to share it.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
350 agrees F.
line a 9×13 baking pan with cooking parchment
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at aa time. Mix all of the dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture in parts, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Turn about half of the batter into the baking pan.
This Spring in Cape May there are so many things going on that the festivals overlap and you’ll be dizzy with the choices. Three Cape May organizations are presenting festivals – all running concurrently. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts puts on Spring Festival with dozens of tours and events. Among my favorites (and my guest’s’ favorites) is the
CHOCOLATE LOVER’S FEAST
It’s a bountiful feast for chocolate lovers! Enjoy seven plated courses of delicious chocolate desserts at the Blue Rose Inn, 653 Washington St., and hear how each was created from the chef who prepared it. This is a limited event so reserve early.
If food is your interest, check out Chef Poon’s presentation. He is a hoot and often stays with us at Leith Hall bed and breakfast.
Saturday, May 19
Slicing & Dicing:
Watermelons and More
with Master Chef Joseph Poon
Chef Poon will be presenting his fun, informative, high energy food demonstrations at the Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom, including information on healthy eating and carving and sculpture demonstrations. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Chef Poon has appeared on the Food Network along with local and national television shows including the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Ellen DeGeneres Show and PBS’ Christina Cooks.
For straight silliness, view the Edwardian naughtiness at Elaine’s
with The Salty Sirens as The Fleur de Fantaisie
Thursday, Friday & Saturday, May 17, 18 & 19: 8pm (cocktails at 6:30pm)
Elaine’s Cape May, 513 Lafayette St.
Enjoy a variety of entertainment when The Salty Sirens take on a French twist. Let yourself get swept away for a night of sensual delights and hysterical whimsy while we daydream of a Parisian enchanted forest at springtime. Flirt with nature in bloom… la nature en fleurs! You’ll have a fun-filled trip back in time to a period when entertainment was theatrical, sassy, and teased the imagination. Experience this modern take on classic burlesque, rooted in Victorian vaudeville. Food and beverages available for purchase.
Limited event; advance purchase recommended Purchase tickets online or at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth at Ocean Street
I think that it’s the Leith family motto – There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Chocolate. This year, it can be your motto too. The pastry chefs at one of Cape May’s finest restaurants, The Blue Rose, will prepare seven plated courses of chocolate desserts. Come visit us at Leith Hall bed and breakfast in Cape May and enjoy this special event, offered three times this Fall. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts is offering this feast in cooperation with The Blue Rose
This recipe is for Jiheon. We had cream puffs for teatime yesterday. I filled them with sweetened whipped cream and iced them with very strong bittersweet chocolate icing. This paté à choux recipe is the simplest one I’ve ever seen, and it works perfectly.
1 cup water 1 stick (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter 1 cup flour pinch salt 1 heaping Tbs. Sugar 4 eggs
Heat the water, butter, salt and sugar in a small saucepan until the butter melts. Don’t keep boiling the water as this will change the amount. Take the saucepan off the fire and dump in the flour. Mix vigorously with a whisk until the flour is incorporated. Put back on the fire and continue mixing for a minute. The dough will stick together a little and leave the sides of the pot. Take off the fire and dump into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Beat. Then beat in one egg. Then a second. Then a third. If the batter falls from the beaters when you lift them, you’re done. If it sticks, beat in the fourth egg.
Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Or, use a large spoon to make even size mounds. Preheated 425 F. oven. Bake for ten minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 F. and bake for twenty minutes more. The cream puffs should be brown rather than tan.
Hints- 1 -When you make the mounds of batter, don’t leave little points on top, as these will burn before the cream puffs are crisp. 2 – When you take the cream puffs out of the oven, pierce each one on the side to let the steam escape so they don’t get soggy. You can also return them to the turned-off oven for a few minutes to crisp them. 3 – You can make them without an electric mixer by beating in the eggs, one at a time, with a whisk.
For the whipped cream, I used a cup of heavy whipping cream and a quarter cup of confectioner’s powdered sugar. Confectioner’s sugar has a little bit of cornstarch in it which helps stabilize the whipped cream. When it is whipped, add a teaspoon of the best vanilla extract you can find. I use vanilla bean paste which has bits of vanilla seed in it. I fill them using a pastry bag fitted with a small pastry tube, but you can use a plastic zip-lock bag in a pinch, or even cut them and use a small teaspoon to fill them.
Cape May’s annual Spring Festival is next week – and this year there are lots of spectacular activities. There will be the Spring Festival Crafts and Collectibles show, as well as several tours like Cape May After Dark, Chocolate Tasting Tour, and Historic Haunts Combo Tour.
The Self-guided Winery and Brewery Tour and the Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery Tour, and the Winery Cellar Tour and Tasting may all sound like the same thing, but are really three very distinct experiences – at different wineries and with different presentations. You can link to the Mid-Atlantic Center’s website to get details and sign up for activities.
My favorite part of this year’s Spring Festival is an exhibit of paintings by Alice Steer Wilson, who was a great painter who lived in Cape May. Her watercolors were extraordinary and in the same league as Winslow Homer’s or John Singer Sargent’s.
This recipe is for Millie, She and her family had these cookies at teatime this past week. I make these chocolate chunk cookies or cookie bars all the time. Sometimes, I vary them by using just white chocolate, lemon extract, and perhaps some pignoli, or some pistachio nuts. The dough is endlessly versatile. If you add a few tablespoons of water to the dough, it will rise and be cakier. If you add butter and bake it a little darker, it will be crisper.
Ingredients: 2 1/’2 cups of all purpose flour 1 ¾ cups of sugar 1 Tablespoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup 72% chocolate, chopped ½ cup 60% chocolate, chopped ½ cup white chocolate, chopped (I don’t really measure the chocolate. I use Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% bars, Ghirardelli 60% cholcolate chips, and Ghirardelli white melting wafers
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the molasses and orange extract into the melted butter. Add the melted butter mixture and the egg to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until you form an even dough. If the mixture is too crumbly, add a pat or two of soft butter.
Fold in chopped chocolates until just mixed. If you fold too much the chocolate will melt. (Not a tragedy)
Scoop (with a small scoop) onto parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake at 4oo F. for 9 minutes. Cool on sheets for 10 minutes then on cookie racks. You can also bake these by pressing the dough into a parchment-lined jelly roll pan (mine is the insulated kind), then sprinkling the chopped chocolate on top and baking the same way. Then cut into cookie bars after it has cooled for 10 minutes.
You can decorate these cookies with random squiggles of chocolate by melting some 74% chocolate, and a little butter. Squeeze this out of a ziplock bag with the corner snipped.