Happy Birthday Dad!


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , | Posted on 12:42 PM

In honor of my dad's bday I decided to make his favorite- milk chocolate chip cookies with walnuts! No one makes MILK chocolate chip cookies anymore AND with walnuts, so I treated him :) He was very happy. And to top it off, I was too! I used to nestle recipe and it's super easy! Thank you Nestle for providing this delicious recipe for us!!!

scone update


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in | Posted on 9:52 AM

Now that they have cooled, they are more like a cookie. They are denser than a traditional scone. Not to say they are bad, but don't over cook so they don't get too hard! Like I said before, butter is a good choice for this to offset the sweetness! Otherwise eating them plain is fine. I would opt to eat these warm! However, they made my place smell amazing!!!

Rosemary cornmeal scone


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , | Posted on 7:55 AM

I decided to go a little on the savory side today, but not completely. This recipe has ingredients that compliment both the sweet and savory side! I bet this would be great just simple with some melted butter and eaten warm. They are making my apt smell delicious :)

1 1/2 cups cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour 1 3/4 cups cornmeal (I used medium grind- i'd suggest to use fine grind!)
2 tablespoons stemmed and finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus additional small sprigs for garnish
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons half and half
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)

Chop the cold butter into small squares and put it in the freezer while you gather and measure out the rest of the ingredients

Preheat the oven to 400°F

Combine the flours, cornmeal, chopped rosemary, and brown sugar in the bowl and mix. (i used my kitchen aid) Add the chopped, frozen butter and process it into the dry ingredients in short pulses until the butter is just incorporated into the flour, so it looks crumbly like sand.

Mix egg and yolk, honey, and cream in a bowl. Then incorporate into the dough just until combined. At this point your dough is ready to be put on the baking sheet. I like mine to look rustic so I just made it with my hand into circles. You can also roll out and cut with a cookie cutter.

Brush the tops of the scones with the melted butter, sprinkle them with turbinado sugar, and gently press a rosemary sprig into each one.

Bake until golden brown and the bottoms are slightly colored. All depends on size!

Ahh Sweet Madeleine.


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , | Posted on 11:52 AM

The madeleine is a traditional "small cake" from France. It is basically a sponge cake into a special shell like mold- pictured below.

Madeleines come in various sizes and flavors. The choice I made today was honey rose!

1 stick (112 g) butter, softened or melted
1/3 cup honey
2-4 (depending on ur taste) tsp rose water (can replace with any kind of flavoring agent)
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour (200 grams)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 yolk

Preheat oven to 375*. melt some butter and brush the inside of madeleine pan. Sprinkle with flour to coat. Shake off excess flour. It should be a very thin layer. (my apologies I didn't take a picture!)

Using a mixer, (paddle) mix the eggs, yolk and sugar until pale and fluffly- about 5 min. (see below)

Mix together flour and salt. Melt butter (or use softened butter) and mix in honey and rose water. Set aside til cool. This is why I prefer to use softened instead of melted.

Fold in flour to egg mixture. Fold means to use a spatula and gently mix in to the eggs. You will notice the mixture looks like it's breaking down. Do not over-mix or you will have a very dense product. Then proceed to fold in butter mixture. Then you can pipe in, using a piping bag or a ziploc bag, or you can spoon in the batter into the prepared pan. Then tap the pan lightly on the counter to prevent bubbles.

The pan goes into the oven until golden brown. I'd give you a time...but as they say in baking "it's ready when it's ready!" (approx 8-10 min)

When it comes out of the oven, the madeleines should just pop right out. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve! Best when eaten with ice cream :)

Pardon me!


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , | Posted on 11:54 AM

So I already have questions from my readers :) I guess I need to take more time to spell out a few things since not everyone who reads this will understand it. So I will try and be more simple on my next posts.

So- to cook squash. Cut it into small pieces like a potato. The smaller you cut it, the quicker it cooks. Boil it in water til tender or it crushes between your fingers. You can then mash it, by itself, with a spoon, fork, your hands (but don't burn them!) or what I used was an immersion blender. I'm sure you could even put it in a kitchen aid or cuisinart as well.

The reason you wrap it in a towel is not to "wrap it in a towel" but just to guide you as you roll. I rolled it by myself, but that is because I wasn't scared of it :) However, the powdered sugar prevents it from sticking to the surface ie; the towel. Also, you pre-roll it before it's cool in order for the cake to take its shape. If it cools in the flat position it will be harder to roll and will probably break. That may be the reason mine cracked, was because I waited too long to roll it. Once cool, you can unroll it, fill it and when you re-roll it it will be easier.

Please feel free to ask questions! Hope this helps.

Butternut Squash Ricotta Roll


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , | Posted on 11:10 AM

For my first post I tried to find something to make with leftover food I had in the house. The ingredients happened to be Butternut Squash and Ricotta Cheese. This was a fairly easy recipe and I tweaked it using some more spices to kick it up a notch! I hope you enjoy this.

For the Cake Roll:
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup mashed cooked butternut sqaush
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp all spice (cloves, nutmeg, whatever you chose)
pinch salt
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

8 oz ricotta cheese (fresh and whole milk!)
2 tbsp soft butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar for those who aren't familiar with that term)
3/4 tsp vanilla

preheat oven to 375*. Use a jelly roll pan (approx 15x10- i used a smaller one) lined with waxed paper and butter and flour the paper.

Beat eggs for 3 min. Add sugar and beat til thick and light in color (about 2-3 min). Stir in squash. Combine flour and spices. Fold into egg mixture. Spread out batter evening. Sprinkle on nuts. Bake for about 15 min or until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then transfer cake to a dish towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove the wax paper. Starting with the short end, roll the cake up in the towel. At the point- mine cracked. I think it looks rustic! Let COMPLETELY cool on rack.

Once cooled, unroll and evenly spread out filling. Re-roll. I cut the edges off to make them pretty. Cover and refrigerate for at least and hr before serving. Dust with powdered sugar if you want before you serve. Voila!



Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in | Posted on 11:01 AM

Hello to all of my friends! A quick intro about my newest blog. I just graduated with yet another degree from The Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago. I now have a Bachelors Degree in Culinary Management. While I plan to look for a job, am looking for a job (anyone have any leads?!), I wanted to do something with my time that would keep me busy. This is where my blog comes in. I thought since everyone loved my france blog (www.pennyshack.blogspot.com) I would blog daily of food I cook/bake with pictures and recipes. Follow along if you chose and feel free to ask for requests! I look forward to creating a masterpiece for you.

At the same time, all of the pastries I bake will be for sale the following day. If you live in Chicago and would like to pick it up, I'll give you a price and it can be in your hands :) I also will bake custom products for you and your loved ones. Tell me what you need and I'll do it...for a fee of course.

Thanks for reading and enjoy!