29 August 2008

Three Food Blog Trends

No, wait! Before you think you're about to read about three trends that are going to hit the food blogosphere, I have to stop you. What this is about are three previous trends that spread like fire that I either made but didn't blog about, or didn't make at all.

Now this I actually did blog about, albeit very briefly. As you know, this bread rose from Sullivan Bakery in Manhattan by Jim Lahey. With a little yeast and a lot of time, you'll be able to make an artisan-like bread with a crispy crust, large and moist crumb, and a delicious bread for dinner that's quite different than the typical roll. It's excellent toasted and spread with a little butter for breakfast, and probably would make a great panino.

I will be blogging about this again for an in-depth post.

  • The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • From a New York Times article (yet again) comes 'the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie', which sounds like the foodie version of an Indiana Jones movie. Their definition of a perfect cookie is crisp edges that give way to a chewy center, the dough part a deep blend of caramel and toffee that plays off the salt sprinkled on the tops of the cookies. The real highlight of their recipe is that the dough is given an aging (they said resting, actually, but calling it an 'aged cookie' sounds funnier to me) time of 36 hours, which helps bring out the caramel and toffee undertones, while maintaining the buttery flavor and crispy-chewiness we all know and love. The recipe, mainly from Jacques Torres, suggests using 'chocolate couverture', chocolate disks used for coating truffles and the like, instead of chocolate chips because it melts to innards of chocolate lines instead of chocolate chunks. My theory on that is since objective is to create a perfect symmetry, the 'lines' of chocolate would meld better with the crumb and flavors than a chunk of chocolate would. It is something I have noticed, especially in peanut butter cookies when the chocolate would overpower the overall taste.

    When I try these, I'll make it side-by-side my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe to see how it compares.

  • Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread with Sugar Crust

  • I will go ahead and say that this was Starbucks' attempt at rectifying their horrible line of pastries. Chef Marcus Samuelsson came up with this recipe as part of a cookbook being made for Starbucks. I figured that if I made this myself it would have to be better than buying it at Starbucks, and seeing the overall raves around the blogosphere sealed the deal, I just hadn't made it. Until now.

The batter tasted really good, light, a deep cocoa taste that the cinnamon played off of well, and just sweet enough without being overkill.

The sugar crust is a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and a pinch of cloves (I substituted allspice). I read another blog that said the amount of the sugar mixture was too much, resulting in quite a bit of it falling off the top when you turn the loaf out, but I forgot that course sugar would make for a better look so I kept sprinkling it on.

The loaf rose beautifully and smelled wonderfully, but cocoa is like coffee when you have a headache -- not cool. Besides that, the aroma wafting through the kitchen was really nice and warrants making this again, just for that.

Most of the sugar topping did fall off, but what was left was a crispy, crackling crust that really heightened the flavor of the bread.

I turned the loaf out on a cooling rack on a baking sheet because I knew the sugar was going to fall off. But instead of throwing it out, pick the crumbs out and put it in a container for cinnamon toast or any other way you'd use cinnamon sugar.

I was expecting more of a fudgy center, but what I got was a moist, tender loaf that held up fairly well, but you had to be careful with. My initial reaction to the taste was that it seemed like the quick bread version of the cocoa buns I made about a week ago, except not quite as deep, but cocoa and cinnamon really work well together. At first I didn't think this was anything special. Sure, it tasted good, it didn't repulse me, but other than that I wasn't thrilled. Then, after the second bite, it started to grow on me, the crackly sugar crust heightening the tender chocolate bread.

If you make this, definitely use half the amount of sugar for the crust, maybe substituting half of the half portion with course sugar if you prefer. It's fairly tender at first, so be careful when you turn it out of the loaf pan.

There you go, two trends left to blog about!


  1. I'm definitely going to make no knead bread soon!

  2. I've made the no knead bread before, it was really good.
    I might just make that Starbucks chocolate bread tomorrow, I love the crackled crust on yours!

  3. I've never had a Starbucks pastry before, because, ya know they look store-ish...

    but now that cake is something else. The sugar cracked crust looks awesome, it's like an earthquake broken land of chocolate :)

  4. I never go to starbucks, but that chocolate loaf looks delicious!

  5. Hi Cristina! All your pic look stunning! I'm looking to buy a new camera and was wondering which one you have. I've got to make this bread by the way!
    Have a lovely weekend! d

  6. I liked the chocolate loaf. I might make it again. Thanks for the reminder! It looks great.

    I want to try the NYT cookie too.


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