Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

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Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

A very chocolate passover

Posted by osakaben41 on March 29, 2010

From the bottom up: Flourless Chocolate Cake, Matzo praline, espresso chocolate cheesecake, praline, flourless cake, ganache glaze, surrounded by chocolate mousse

Dad, am I a Jew?” says the little girl.  No honey, you’re just ‘jew-ish’. 

Such are the stale jokes of yet another mixed-faith couple.  Easter to me as a young boy meant pounds and pounds of chocolate, and gorging on enough jellybeans to swear me off the stuff for good.  Passover was when the lucky kids at school didn’t have to eat the ‘Sloppy Joes’ on soggy white bread.  What I’m saying is, we’re not that observant. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Cake, Chocolate, mousse | 2 Comments »

Chocolate Oeufs a la neige (Floating Islands)

Posted by osakaben41 on March 25, 2010

They say the 100 pleats in a chef’s toque represent the number of different ways to cook an egg.  If that’s true I’ve got at least another 70 to learn, but this at least was a step in that direction.  More commonly known State-side as “floating Islands” Oeufs a la neige (translated from French as “eggs in snow”) usually consists of poached meringue in a creme anglaise sauce. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, Sauce | Leave a Comment »

Hazelnut Tiramisu – DB’s September challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on February 27, 2010




Hazelnut Tiramisu with Cardamom-Caramel sauce and Kahlua Jelly


It’s that time again for another Daring Bakers entry.  This one holds a special place for me, as Tiramisu was the first dessert my wife and I made together (we were dating then).  You’re going to think this a made up story, but it was while spending a week in a Tuscan villa just south of Florence.  Lazy mornings reading the Herald Tribune while sipping cappuccinos in town.  spend half the day shopping for dinner, then back to the house to cook with family and friends.  Seems almost unfair to get a taste of retirement before even getting into a career, but I digress…

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.  (recipes as always, listed below)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, DB Challenge, Nuts, Recipes, Sauce | 8 Comments »

Cherry & Chocolate-Port Macs – MacAttack IV

Posted by osakaben41 on February 6, 2010

Happy to have the MacTweet crowd out there as a monthly reminder to keep sharp and practice practice practice on my macaron technique.  The beauty and joy of this exercise is that after some of the more involved projects, it’s refreshing to come back to a two-note treat. What two flavors go well together in a two-bite cookie?  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies, Macaron | 8 Comments »

Nanaimo Bombe – DB January Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on January 27, 2010

I missed the last two months of the DB’s for no better reason than just being too busy to catch up.  They put out some great Canolis in November and some stunning gingerbread houses in December.  I couldn’t stand to miss yet another challenge.

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

The general idea was to make gluten free Graham Crackers and then incorporate them into the cookie base of a Canadian Nanaimo Bar.  The bars themselves consist of a chocolate base, in this case with Walnuts, Graham Cracker pieces and Coconut, with a ‘custard’ (though some say it’s more like a buttercream) center, topped with melted chocolate, sliced and served cold, or at least they were in this case. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies, DB Challenge, mousse, Recipes | 4 Comments »

Chocolate Creme Chiboust Fail (and a giveaway)

Posted by osakaben41 on January 26, 2010

The pre-fail shot

There have been a few baking fails along the way, most of which I try to ignore and pretend they never happened.  Except of course when they’re really spectacular and noteworthy.  Under those standards have I got a whopper for you.

The idea was to recreate another Johnny Iuzzuni creation, which Aran did so beautifully some time ago  (how is it that every time I get inspired it turns out she’s already beat me to it?).  It’s a chocolate tart shell filled with a lemon custard and topped with a Chocolate Chiboust (Chocolate meringue stabilized with some gelatin, baked ever so briefly).  Having never had chocolate and lemon together I was initially skeptical, but there are some examples out there to look to. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, dough, Lemon, Tarts | Leave a Comment »

Elvis Macarons (Mac Attack III)

Posted by osakaben41 on January 10, 2010

I’m a sucker for a decent online challenge, so when I came across the new MacTweets site, I just had to put something together. The rules for this round are


A good part of the appeal was the excuse to keep practicing something that I’d ruined at least 8 or 9 times but have recently gotten marginally proficient at.  Beyond that, I’ve had the Macaron fever for some time now, imagining different flavors when perhaps I should spend more time working.  Some people go to bed haunted by visions of tetris blocks falling, I’ve been seeing new uses for Chamomile, Poppy Seeds, and yes Bacon. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies, Nuts | 5 Comments »

Chestnut Buche de Noel

Posted by osakaben41 on January 1, 2010

My apologies for going dark there for the last month or so.  The long story made short, a few weeks back I was commissioned to make cakes for a local company for a charity event serving over 300 people.  Awash with pride and excitement I killed myself for a week, staying up late each night, ruining our kitchen, and going through more than 50 eggs to make the deadline.  At the end of it all, the overall sense was that the cake was too dry.  And they were right, I didn’t use enough syrup on my genoise, and knew it at the time but charged ahead anyway.  After having a ball making little tarts and the occasional ice cream I tried to take it to the next level and was rightly smacked down for my hubris.  I’ll probably get back up on that horse sometime soon, if the opportunity presents itself again, but had to retreat temporarily and lick some wounds, if not just catch up on some sleep. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cake, Chocolate, mousse | Leave a Comment »

Cinnamon-Peach Ganache Tarts

Posted by osakaben41 on September 28, 2009

Cinnamon Peach Tarts1

This was a quick experiment in making flavor infused chocolate ganache.  As a technique, it’s fairly simple.  A standard ganache is just adding some warmed heavy cream to chopped pieces of chocolate until it’s all melted together.  Here we’re just adding something to the cream to add a little kick before straining it over the chocolate.  This works well with coffee, or lavender (with white chocolate).  The other day, while researching Macarons, I came across the idea of a Cinnamon-Peach Ganache, from Syrup & Tang. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, dough, Fruit, Peach, Tarts | 1 Comment »

Lemon/Lavender Macarons

Posted by osakaben41 on September 14, 2009

A study in the many ways to ruin a perfectly good cookie

A study in the many ways to ruin a perfectly good cookie

In honor of Lance Armstrong and the LIVESTRONG foundation, WinosandFoodies is hosting another Taste of Yellow challenge.  In short, those of us that are either biking fans, or just care about cancer research, bake something yellow in honor of the man and his cause.  It isn’t in itself a fundraiser so much as a reason to mark the day, and something you’ll come across often in the food blogging world.  If you enjoy seeing just how creative a dedicated army of home bakers can be, go and click through some of the past entries.  Humbling and inspiring work, that I was itching to be a part of.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies, Fruit, Lemon, Recipes | 3 Comments »