Tag Archives: almonds

Granola

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

granola.jpegGranola!  What could be better first thing in the morning than oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, raisins, dates and sesame seed all bound together in a honey glaze? It’s ridiculously simple and, as an added bonus, it’s good for you!! Easy and good for you, what more could you want? Any dried fruit can be substituted for the apricots and cherries. Raisins and dates work well or any of your favorites.  Don’t like almonds?  Use another nut. Macadamias come to mind.

You can see this on Thursday, April 7 on Great Day St. Louis, Channel 4 in St. Louis at 9:00. Continue reading

Boston Cream Pie – A Parts Cake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Boston Cream PieThis Boston Cream Pie is a perfect example of the use of component parts in one recipe. When I started baking for my family and friends, I didn’t care how many recipes I collected and used. However, when I went into baking professionally, making each cake from a different recipe was impractical.  How many yellow cakes, chocolate cakes, or white cake recipes did we need? How many buttercream and  ganache recipes could we use –  each with a subtle difference?

It quickly became apparent that base recipes that could be tweaked and varied were what was needed.  Every recipe used in this Boston Cream Pie has already been blogged by me with the how to photos, which is why I refer to it as a parts cake. Continue reading

TJ’s Cowboy Bark

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

TJ's Cowboy Bark for TJj's Cowbow BarkTJ’s Cowboy Bark is a perfect segment for TV.  Easy, quick and absolutely delicious.  Somebody first told me about Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark and I knew I had to try it. A bark is melted chocolate, spread out and almost anything you wish can be sprinkled on top. The nine ounce package of Cowboy Bark costs about $3.69. You get about 4 times that with this version. The thing that is so interesting about this bark is the add ons. How can you go wrong with oreos, peanuts, almonds, toffee bits and pretzels. Sweet and salty all at once.

Research showed that there are quite a few copycat recipes out there. I picked the one from Averie Cooks at www.averiecooks.com as my starting point. When I read comments about the Cowboy Bark on the web, the most prevalent criticism is the use of semisweet chocolate for the base. It seems people thought it overcame any of the other flavors.

I also thought the chocolate base was really thick. So in I chose instead to use half semisweet chocolate and half milk chocolate to allow all the other add ons to shine. I will say that this combination does make for a softer chocolate base – but really good.

Because all the add ons for the Cowboy Bark need to stick to the chocolate, make sure everything is prepared before you melt the chocolate. Then add them in the order of the recipe to make sure you go from large to small so they all stick to the chocolate. I added another step to insure that everything sticks.

One other suggestion is to use single stuffed oreos. I used double stuffed and they had a tendency to separate when the Cowboy bark was broken into pieces.

Cowboy BarkIngredients for TJ's Cowboy Bark1 pound chocolate, all semisweet or a combination of semisweet and milk chocolate, melted
About 1 to 1 1/4 cups salted mini pretzels
7 to 8 oreo cookies cut into quarters (Trader Joe’s Chocolate Jo-Jo’s may be used also)
1/4 to 1/3 cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup roasted slivered almonds
1/4 to 1/3 cup toffee bits (Heath makes these)

Line a half sheet pan with parchment. Draw a 10×15 inch rectangle on the paper for a thin base or a 10×13 for a little thicker base. Turn the paper over and line the pan. Set aside. Have all other ingredients prepared.

Combine the chocolates if using more than one.  Two chocolates in a bowl for TJ's Cowboy BarkMelt the chocolate or chocolates over a double boiler or at half power in a microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Start with the shortest amount of time. Stir the chocolate until completely melted.  Spread the chocolate within the rectangle on the parchment paper.Melted chocolate poured into a sheet pan for TJ's Cowboy Bark

Chocolate being spread for TJ's Cowboy BarkChocolate spread for TJ's Cowboy BarkPlace the oreos on top of the chocolate,Oreos on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy Bark then the pretzels. Pretzels on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy BarkSprinkle the almonds, Almonds on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy Barkpeanuts Peanuts on chocolate for TJ's Cowboy Barkand lastly,  toffee over the chocolate in that order.Brickle on for TJ's Cowboy Bark

Place a piece of waxed paper on top andWaxed paper on top of TJ's Cowboy Bark lightly press all the ingredients into the chocolate.Pressing the waxed paper down on TJ's Cowboy Bark Remove the paper and refrigerate briefly to set the chocolate up

When firm, break into pieces.

Enjoy your very own Cowboy Bark (and try to share some with others)

Close up of bark for TJ's Cowboy Bark

Marjolaine – A Classic Flourless Pastry

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished Photo (1 of 1)Ahhh, Marjolaine (pronounced  mar zjoh lenn).  Fernand Point, was a French restaurateur and is considered to be the father of modern French cuisine according to Wikipedia and other sources.  At his three Michelin star restaurant, La Pyramide, he trained many of Frances most influential chefs including Paul Bocuse, Alain Chapel, Louis Outhier, Georges Perrier and Jean and Pierre, the Brothers Troisgros.

One of his signature dishes was the Marjolaine and it seems it took him years to perfect.  A combination of nutted meringues, pastry cream, and a hint of chocolate.  As with any classic, there are a number of variations some of which include cake layers and German Buttercream.  I used a lightened version of pastry cream and a sour cream ganache instead of making creme fraiche.  While the original recipe added the almond praline to one of the pastry creams, I used it to finish off the top where it adds a pleasant crunch and doesn’t get lost. Continue reading