Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake with Chocolate Ganache

We were invited to a friends house for Kevin's sister's birthday dinner and I (of course!) offered to make dessert. What to make the birthday girl? She's a bit of a foodie and a great baker herself, so I wanted something other than your typical birthday cake. A search on all my favorite blogs ensued until the perfect recipe was found. Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake with Chocolate Ganache. Thank you, Smitten Kitchen. It was a hit!


5 ounces (about 1 heaping cup) hazelnuts, blanched to remove skins (or just pick the skinless ones out of the bag, like I did!)
1/2 pound unsalted butter (plus 1 Tbsp melted for greasing the pan)
1/2 vanilla bean (I used 1 tsp pure vanilla extract instead)
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
6 large egg whites
3 Tbsp granulated sugar

4ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast  12-15 minutes, until they are golden brown . Let them cool. While the nuts are toasting, cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 10-inch round cake pan. Brush the pan with a little melted butter and line the bottom with paper (which I buttered too, just to be sure there would be no sticking).

Place  the rest of the butter and vanilla in a medium saucepan and cook the butter until it browns and smells nutty,  about 6-8 minutes, frequently scraping the bottom of the pan. Set aside and let cool. (remove the vanilla pod if you used the bean and not extract)

Grind the hazelnuts with the confectioners sugar in a  food processor (I used my blender) until finely ground. Add the flour and pulse to combine.
Beat egg whites and granulated sugar on high speed 4-5 minutes, until very stiff peaks form. Alternate folding the dry ingredients and the brown butter into the egg whites, a third of each at a time. Scrape the bottom of the brown butter pan to get all the brown bits.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour (mine was done in 50). Cool on a rack for 30 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, make the Ganache. Melt the chocolate and heavy cream in the top of a double boiler over simmering water (two saucepans stacked will work!) until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of the cake. Enjoy a slice of heaven, even if it's not your birthday!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Beef Short Ribs with Stout Beer

In my preparation for the Boston Marathon, I gave up drinking alcohol for the 3 weeks leading up to the race. Since the eve of this fell on a Sunday, we decided to try a slow cooking meal... beef short ribs. We found this recipe, which called for 2 bottles of stout beer. Perfect.


(We doubled this recipe to have lots of leftovers!)
1 pound beef short ribs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp olive oil
1Tbsp butter
1 onion, sliced (we did not double this part)
1 clove garlic
1 bottle (12 oz) of good stout beer
1 cup beef stock


Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour. Shake off excess flour. (yes, that's the Brewers foot in the shot. I need to practice my photography skills in the kitchen, bear with me!)

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium - high heat. Cook ribs until browned on each side, about 5 minutes each side. Remove from the skillet and set aside. 
Add the onion and garlic to the pan; cook and stir until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

Return ribs to the pan and pour in the beer. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan, until all of the brown bits have mixed in with the liquid. Pour in the beef stock, cover and simmer over low heat until very tender, about 2 hours.

We served over homemade mashed red potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts (and a glass of red wine for me, the brewer had a stout beer).

Monday, April 9, 2012

Peanut Butter, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Pretzel Sandwich Cookies

In addition to baking, I am an avid runner (heading to the East Coast to run the Boston Marathon next week!) so peanut butter and oatmeal are staples in my diet. I adapted this recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod, adding some chocolate chips and bits of pretzels to the dough. These cookies were the perfect amount of sweet to curb my after dinner sweet tooth, and hearty enough to nibble on before heading out for a morning run ... yep, I did it, and ran out the door with a smile on my face!


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup pretzels, broke into pieces

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted (I used a little less)
3 tablespoons heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, mix butter, peanut butter, and both sugars with mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients, mixing until combined. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and pretzels.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the slightly golden brown and the edges are set. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, make the filling. Combine the butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar and beat with a mixer on low spead until light and fluffy.

Spread peanut butter filling onto the flat side of a cookie. Find a cookie the same size and sandwich the cookies together, pressing the filling to the edges.

If any readers are from the Boston area, leave a comment with any "must eats" while we're there!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Welcome to The Brewer and The Baker

Hi, there!  We are Kevin (the Brewer) and Lindsay (the Baker), a young couple enjoying all that San Francisco has to offer. Lindsay has been baking ever since she was a little girl. Recently, we began brewing beer, and even more recently, moved in together, sharing a studio apartment. These are the tales of all things brewed, baked, or otherwise made in our (almost full-size) kitchen.

Allow us to give you the grand tour!

Home Page: Where we'll post the brews and eats that we create.
Brewer's Sips: Beers we've recently enjoyed, and will perhaps inspire our next home brew.
Baker's Nibbles: Sweets and other treats that we've discovered on our adventures.

In the words of the wise, candy-creating Willy Wonka, "Come with me, and you'll be, in a land of  pure imagination."