Holiday Favorites from BlueStar All Stars: Chef Zoë François’ Ice Box Cake

Just in time for holiday gatherings, here is a favorite recipe of Chef Zoë François, a master baker whose motto is “Eat Dessert First” (we at BlueStar approve of this life philosophy!).  Zoë plays with sugar on her blog at www.zoebakes.com (check it out to see the most amazing step-by-step recipes such as the one below).  She is also the co-author of the best selling bread books: The NEW Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day and is a frequent contributor to Cooking Channel, Fine Cooking, Disney, Easy Eats, Mother Earth News and Cooking Club magazines.

We are going to be giving away Zoë’s new cookbook on our Facebook page – so be sure to Like the post to enter and win.

Name:  Zoë François

Favorite Holiday Recipe: Chocolate Caramel Ice Box Cake

Why this is a favorite holiday recipe: The cake is absolutely delicious and equally as stunning to present at a holiday party.

How your BlueStar range / oven helps make it perfect: You can cook the caramel quickly with a very hot flame.  Allowing the flame to heat the pan, even on the sides will help prevent it from crystallizing.

Recipe: Chocolate Caramel Icebox Cake (Makes: 12 servings)

Homemade Chocolate Wafer Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, well packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
  • 1/2 teapsoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk

Caramel Whip Cream:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream

To make the caramel whip cream:

  • In a large saucepan put the sugar in a mound in the center of the pan, be sure it doesn’t hit the sides.  Gently add the water and corn syrup, making sure the sugar doesn’t splash up on the sides of the pan.
  • If any sugar is not dissolved, very gently stir, but make sure none of the sugar hits the sides of the pan.  (All of this care to keep the sugar off the side of the pan will prevent your sugar from crystallizing while it cooks.)  Cook over high heat, without stirring.
  • When the sugar starts to color on the edges, gently stir the sugar.
  • Until it is quite dark, it will smoke a bit.  I like my caramel very dark, with an almost bitter edge.
  • Once the caramel is dark in color, reduce the heat and add half the cream.  The caramel will sputter and seize up, which is normal.  Gently whisk the caramel until the caramelized sugar dissolves.  Add the remaining cream and stir.
  • Strain the caramel cream into a shallow container.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least an hour.  Can be made the day ahead.

To make the chocolate wafer cookies:

  • Cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until light, about 2 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix just to combine.  Add the milk and mix just to combined.
  • Form the dough into two 1 1/2-inch-thick logs.  Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • To bake: Preheat oven to 350° F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.  Slice the log of cookie dough into 1/8-inch-thick coins.
  • Arrange on the cookie sheets with about 1 1/2 inches between the cookies.  Bake for 8 minutes and then rotate the trays back to front and switch from top to bottom racks.  Bake for another 2 minutes or until they are dry looking and firm.  Because the cookies are dark, you can’t go by color on these.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Line an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, set aside.
  • Using a whisk or stand mixer whip 2/3 of the chilled caramel cream until soft peaks.  Be sure not to whip the cream in a plastic bowl or it may not whip properly.  Reserve the remaining 1/3 of the cream for topping the cake.  The best way to whip cream is to do it on a lower speed for a longer time.  If you whip the cream on medium-high, instead of high, you will have a smaller air bubble and the cream will have more stability.  This will also prevent some over whipping.
  • Coat the bottom of the prepared pan with about a 1/4-inch-thick layer of the cream.  Line the outside of the pan with the cookies.
  • Spread a layer of the cream on each cookie and layer them together in the pan.

 

You should end up with about 3 rows of cookies and cream.  This may vary slightly depending on how large your cookies are.

Cover the top with more of the cream, so the cookies are completely covered.  Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours or overnight.

 

 

 

Invert the cake onto a serving platter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whip the remaining 1/3 of the cream and decorate the cake as you wish.

Bloggers Visit BlueStar Factory

On Tuesday, November 6th, a select group of bloggers were invited to the BlueStar and Prizer Hoods factories for the debut of the new Platinum Series range and a culinary experience they soon won’t forget.

The day began with a tour of our Reading, PA facility that has been continuously producing stoves and cooking equipment for over 130 years.  Our guests were able to see the meticulous work that goes into every one of our handcrafted products and the commitment by the staff at Prizer Painter Stove Works to produce a high-quality, customized product.

After the tour, the bloggers had a chance to experience the power of BlueStar for themselves in our interactive showroom.  Our 130 degree simmer burner gently melted chocolate for chocolate covered strawberries (without a double boiler) while the searing power of the new 25,000 BTU PrimaNova burner produced restaurant quality stir fry.  We finished by demonstrating the baking prowess of the new PowR oven featured on the Platinum Series range with our new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

The day was completed with a delicious lunch prepared by BlueStar All Star Chef Paul Marshall who prepared a menu of seasonal favorites from his Malvern, PA farm.  Grilled paillard chicken, a fresh arugula and fennel salad, a seasonal fall soup and of course our delicious strawberries and cookies completed the day and showcased the cooking expertise of the chef and our BlueStar cooking equipment.  We enjoyed sharing our factory and showroom with these special guests.

Holiday Favorites from BlueStar All Stars: Iron Chef Jose Garces

This week we are featuring a perfect dish for your Thanksgiving feast from Iron Chef Jose Garces.  Chef Garces is the owner and operator of more than a dozen restaurants in five cities.  He is the 2009 winner of the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” award and one of only a few chefs in the country to hold the coveted title of Iron Chef.  His newest cookbook, The Latin Road Home (Lake Isle Press, October 2012), a culinary and cultural tour of Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Cuba and Peru, can be yours – Like our post on Facebook for a chance to win one this holiday season!

Chef Garces is the proud owner of 2 BlueStar ranges – and he helped us launch our new Platinum Series at his private farm in Bucks County, PA.  Click here to watch him cook on live TV.

Name: Jose Garces

Favorite Holiday Recipe: Chorizo-Cornbread Stuffing

Why this is your favorite holiday recipe: Stuffing is always everyone’s favorite side at any holiday celebration – during the meal and for leftovers – so I always make sure to have extra on hand.  This version has a hint of spice from the chorizo, and stays super moist thanks to the cornbread.

How your BlueStar range / oven helps make it perfect:  The precise control available to me from my BlueStar oven ensures a perfect result every time, with an even temperature throughout the stuffing.  I don’t have to worry about overly crispy edges with an underdone middle.

Recipe: Chorizo-Cornbread Stuffing

  • 10 cups Cornbread, cut into 1″ cubes, lightly toasted (use your favorite recipe that will yield 10 corn muffins, or store bought is fine to use too – look for a version that’s plain, all-natural and low-sugar
  • 2 cups – Spanish Chorizo, finely diced (Use Chorizo Bilbao if available)
  • 2 Spanish onions, finely diced
  • 2 celery ribs, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled & finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 Tbsp – unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp – fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp – fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp – fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 cups – roasted chicken broth (dark: store-bought is fine to use – look for a low-sodium variety)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350° with the rack positioned in the center of the oven
  • Over medium-low heat, gently render the chorizo in a large saucepot until slightly crispy.  Add butter, onion, carrot and celery, and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes.
  • Add garlic, rosemary, thyme and sage, and cook until very fragrant, about 1 minute
  • Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.  Add cornbread and gently fold together.  Add chicken stock and eggs, and mix well.
  • Season to taste with salt and fresh black pepper
  • Transfer stuffing mixture to a buttered 9 x 13″ baking dish, and bake, uncovered, until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.