Monday, December 23, 2013

Cornflakes, Marshmallows and Chocolate? Oh my!

Momofuku's Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies
If you visit New York you must go to Momofuku Milk Bar in any of their convenient five locations. The desserts are so inventive and unique...not to mention addicting.  I mean who puts cornflakes in cookies?  Well, Christina Tosi, the pastry chef at Momofuku does.  Her brilliant combinations and outrageous ingredient choices are what keeps people coming back for more.  This cookie had me second guessing whether it would actually taste good.  Believe it or not, everyone who I have served it to has said this was the best cookie they had ever eaten.  The caramel notes from the melted marshmallows combined with the addictive crunch of cornflakes makes this cookie a joke to just eat one. I know it sounds wacky but give this recipe a try and you will not be sorry.  Well, maybe your waistline will.  My adaptations are adding coconut milk powder instead of regular milk powder adding another depth of flavor.

Therapeutic topic for the week:  Superfood for the brain?
There are some foods that may help give you that little boost in the day or help prevent age related cognitive decline.  These include but are not limited to walnuts, olive oil, berries, sardines, coffee, spinach, dark chocolate, avocado, water, wheat germ, beets and garlic.  I remember my parents telling me to have almonds every morning to improve cognitive functioning as well.  Have any of these or other foods helped give you a boost?  Comment below!  

Momofuku's Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie Recipe
Adapted from Christina Tosi

For the Cornflake Crunch:
5 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup coconut milk powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Cookies:
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups Cornflake Crunch
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows

To make the Cornflake Crunch: Preheat oven to 275°F. In a medium bowl, add the cornflakes (use your hands to crush them to about a quarter of their size), milk powder, sugar, and salt. Toss together. Pour the butter over the mixture and gently mix it together. Spread the mixture onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes. They will be toasted and smell wonderful when done. Remove from oven and let cool. Store extras in an airtight container.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside. In a small bowl, gently mix the egg and vanilla together. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes. Add the egg mixture, and continue to beat for about 6-7 minutes. Scraping down the bowl, as necessary.

Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Fold in the marshmallows, chocolate chips, and cornflake crunch using a rubber spatula.

Form into cookies using a 1/3 measuring cup. Flatten the tops a bit, with your fingers. Place on a large parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerate or freeze for at least one hour before baking. Place extras in a large plastic bag and leave in the freezer until ready to use. Do not thaw before baking.

When ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the chilled or frozen cookies at least 4 inches apart from each other (they spread quite a bit). Bake for about 18 minutes or until they are puffed and the edges are a deep golden brown. More or less time depending upon if using chilled or frozen dough. Be attentive! Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet before placing on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for a few days.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake

Pumpkin Maple Pecan Cheesecake
Instead of having pie over your holiday season try cheesecake!  It's super fluffy, velvety and luscious with that pumpkin spice flavor you just can't miss.  Not too sweet and topped with a maple glaze that will have you singing for the holidays.  Grab a slice or two and bring to share with friends and family.

Tip: this cheesecake is so fluffy that it must stay in the fridge overnight.  I only let it set for six hours and it was a little crumbly after slicing into it.  But it still tasted delicious! 

Pumpkin Maple Pecan Cheesecake Recipe
Adapted from Anne Thornton


10 cinnamon graham crackers, finely ground (1 1/3 cups crumbs)
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Maple Pecan Glaze:
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup pecan pieces


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

For the crust: Here's a super-easy no-fuss way to make this crust. Break the graham crackers into a food processor with the sugar. Pulse until the crumbs resemble fine meal. Pour the crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan. Pour the melted butter over the mixture, bring together with your fingers and press into the bottom of the pan.

For the cheesecake: In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until fluffy. Reduce the speed and, with the mixer running, add the eggs. Increase the speed to incorporate the eggs. Add in the pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk and maple syrup. Next, add in the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Beat the mixture for awhile; this will make the cheesecake light and fluffy. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared crust. Tap the pan lightly on the work surface to remove any air pockets.

Bake until the center appears nearly set, but jiggles a little when shaken, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool for 1 hour. Cover and chill overnight.

For the glaze: In a medium saucepan, combine the cream and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Boil until slightly thickened, 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the pecan pieces. Cover and chill. Stir together before serving.

To serve: Spoon the maple pecan glaze over the cheesecake.

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