If you bake it, spring will come – that’s how the saying goes, right? With a mix of spices and candied citron, and the classic unsweetened fondant frosting, these traditional hot cross buns are the perfect way to welcome spring.

hot cross buns

 

hot cross buns

Hot Cross Buns
Servings: makes two dozen rolls

Ingredients:

7 cups bread flour
¼ whole nutmeg, finely grated
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground allspice
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ sticks unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 ½ cups whole milk
¼ cup honey
2 envelopes (½ ounce) instant active yeast
4 large eggs, divided
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
½ cup (2 ounces) candied citron peel, finely minced
1 ½ cups raisins
Nonstick cooking spray
1 recipe cross paste (recipe follows)
1 recipe honey syrup glaze (recipe follows)

Preparation:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, spices, sugar and salt and mix on low speed for one minute. Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed until the mixture resembles grated Parmesan cheese and absolutely no lumps or pieces of butter remain, about eight minutes. Meanwhile, warm the milk to about 100° F. Add the yeast and honey and stir to combine.
  • Switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the milk and yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and butter mixture in the mixer bowl. Add three of the eggs to the mixer, one at a time. Add the orange zest. Once the dough has mixed into one solid piece, mix the dough on low speed for three minutes. Increase the mixer to medium speed for four minutes until the dough is smooth. Add the candied citron and raisins to the mixer and continue to mix on medium speed for two minutes to combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer, lightly cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 45 minutes to one hour.
  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 24 equal-sized pieces (about 2 ½ ounces each or a piece the size of a racquet ball). Roll each piece into a small ball, taking care to tuck in any raisins poking out of the dough (they can burn easily in the hot oven). Arrange the rolls of dough on the baking sheet in a 4 x 6 roll grid. Lightly spray the rolls with nonstick cooking spray and lightly cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise at room temperature until increased in size by about 75%, about 45 minutes.
  • Remove the plastic wrap. Lightly beat the remaining egg in a small bowl. Brush the entire surface area of the rolls with the beaten egg. Carefully pipe a line of the cross paste across the rows of rolls in one direction, then repeat in the opposite direction to create a cross pattern.
  • Bake the rolls until a deep golden brown, rotating the tray halfway through the baking, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and let cool on the tray placed on a cooling rack. Immediately brush the rolls evenly with the honey syrup glaze until no glaze remains. Let cool until just warm enough to handle and serve immediately, or cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to two days. To store longer, transfer the cooled rolls to a freezer bag and freeze for up to four weeks. Thaw at room temperature and microwave to warm up for a few seconds before serving.

Cross paste:

Ingredients:

1 cup bread flour
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preparation:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a small round piping bag and set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

Honey syrup glaze

Ingredients:

¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
¼ cup honey
2 pinches of salt

Preparation:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for three minutes and set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

Learn to bake buns (and more!) like a pro — click here for information on ICE’s career programs.

By ICE Staff

“Once you’ve tasted this Irish soda bread, you’ll never buy a loaf from the bakery again,” says Chef Sarah Chaminade. Members of the ICE team, who had the chance to sample the goods, would happily concur — that this is truly the best Irish soda bread recipe. But what exactly is soda bread? According to Chef Sarah, “Some say it resembles more of a scone than bread since it doesn’t contain any yeast. You can find hundreds of different recipes — some include caraway seeds and others even add eggs. If you ask true Irish lads or lasses, they’ll tell you soda bread must have only four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk.” Baked with caraway seeds, currants and even a shot of whiskey, Chef Sarah’s recipe departs from the original yet still captures the essence of this classic Irish goody. With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, there’s no better time to master Irish soda bread.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 cup dried currants
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, or combine 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice for every cup of milk
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
Flour for kneading

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed to combine. Raise the speed to medium low and add the butter, a piece or two at a time, until all of the butter has been incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. This will take 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the caraway seeds, honey, orange zest, currants and, finally, the buttermilk and whiskey. Mix until just combined.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times to smooth the mixture into a round loaf and transfer to a nonstick baking sheet. Make a cross hatch design (just breaking the skin of the dough) on top of the loaf with a knife and sprinkle with a bit of flour.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the loaf is set and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let the bread cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

Learn to bake like a pro with Chef Sarah — click here for information on ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.

 

When we think of margaritas and guacamole, the chill of February doesn’t exactly come to mind. But Chef Rick Bayless — a veritable authority on authentic Mexican cooking — enjoys the challenge of adapting these beloved classics year-round. Luckily, he gave us an inside look at his winter spin on these warm-weather dishes.

For colder months, Bayless warms the flavor of margaritas with the addition of ginger and tops things off with a bit of festive bubbly. When it comes to guacamole, he trades out tasteless winter tomatoes for apples, onion for roasted fennel, and cilantro for thyme. The result is a distinct deviation from these summertime favorites and might just inspire you to test out your own seasonal twists.

 

Chef Bayless’ expert tips:

Margaritas

  • Different tequilas for different margaritas. Since it takes 8-10 years for a tequila plant to mature, aging is less a question of quality than of taste. A blanco tequila works well for a classic 1:1:1 (tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur), but for something smoother, he’ll choose a reposado.
  • He often prefers “fresh” lime juice one day later. To mellow lime’s bite, squeeze one day ahead and refrigerate, tightly sealed.
  • Salt isn’t an offense to margarita “purists.” Like most food, margaritas reach their full flavor potential when a few flakes are allowed to mix into the drink.
  • Be careful in choosing your orange liqueur. There are two primary types: triple secs and orange-infused brandies. When it comes to triple sec, he tends towards Cointreau, but with the brandies, he often opts for Torres Orange, a lesser known, lighter cousin of the caramely Grand Marnier.
Guacamole
  • “Deflame” your onions. Bayless explained that chopping onions releases sulfurous compounds, which is why they burn our eyes. Rinse cut onions under cold water for thirty seconds, and voila — a milder, less aggressive onion.
  • Don’t buy a molcajete. Chef Bayless doesn’t appreciate table-side guacamole service, not only because few waiters are adept at preparing this dish, but also because the grinding of mortar and pestle leads to the aforementioned offensive onion flavor.
  • Try a potato masher instead. It may not be high-tech, but it helps achieve a perfectly chunky texture.
  • Keep the pit out of the bowl. The only thing that keeps guacamole from oxidizing is cold. For large events where guacamole risks to brown in the sun, Chef Bayless and his team use refrigerated terracotta flower pots to help keep guacamole cool.

Learn more about ICE’s recreational wine and beverage courses.

 

Who says you can’t have pie for dinner? One thing we’ve learned from over 40 years of culinary education: pie is never not a good idea — especially as a main course. The galette we serve to guests at our special events is essentially that: pie crust with a savory filling that works perfectly for a main course dish. Special Events Chef Philipp Hering fills us in on why: “I love making galettes because they combine the fundamentals of both the savory and the pastry kitchen — from the buttery, flaky pie crust to the salty, flavorful filling. Because it’s winter, I developed a hearty, satisfying recipe with potatoes, leeks and parmesan cheese. This recipe, however, can be repurposed for any season, with your choice of seasonal filling.”

leek & potato galette

Leek and Potato Galette with Fresh Herbs
Makes about 3-4 servings

For the dough

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
10 teaspoons cold butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
6 tablespoons ice water

Preparation:

  • Using a Kitchen Aid stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, cornmeal, salt and Parmesan cheese until completely combined.
  • Add the butter and mix until you get a crumbly texture with pea-sized pieces of butter. Continue mixing and slowly add the water.
  • Once you have a cohesive mixture, form the dough into a ball with your hands.
  • Form a disk, and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

For the filling

Ingredients:
3 potatoes, peeled, medium dice
1 red onion, medium dice
2 leeks, cleaned, medium slices
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • Place the potatoes in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with about an inch of water. Bring to a boil and strain. Set aside.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and melt the butter. Sauté the onions, leeks and potato until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Strain excess liquid and let cool.

leek & potato galette

Assembly

Ingredients:
1 egg, whisked
1 cup fresh herbs (such as parsley, dill, tarragon, thyme or rosemary)

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Roll out the dough using a rolling pin to about ¼-inch thick disk. Rotate the dough with every pass of the rolling pin to ensure an even circular form and prevent sticking.
  • Place the dough onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Place a large spoonful of the filling in the middle of the disk and spread it out to form a circle, leaving 1½-inch of dough at the edge. Fold the edge in towards the filling, leaving the middle exposed.
  • Brush the crust with the prepared egg wash and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs.

Learn more about hosting your next event at ICE.

Holiday dinner party hosts know: you can’t control everything. Sometimes the oven goes on strike just as your guests arrive; sometimes your soufflé has all the promise and none of the poof. Come kitchen calamities as they may, as long as you’ve got good friends and great spirits, your party will be a success. To help you with the spirits side, we’re sharing a step-by-step guide to three Champagne-based cocktails: the classic Champagne Cocktail, a French 75 and a Rosemary-Infused Pomegranate Sparkler. Watch below to learn from ICE’s Director of Beverage Studies Anthony Caporale how to prepare each one — then put a few bottles of bub on ice and watch your party go from festive to fantastic.

*Bubbly tips from ICE Beverage Director Anthony Caporale

  • Never shake a drink that contains Champagne or any carbonated beverage, as the mixing glass may explode out of the cocktail shaker.
  • Pour Champagne down the side of the glass to decrease the amount of head; pour it into the center of the glass to increase the amount of head.
  • Liquids lose carbonation as they warm up, so keep your Champagne bottle on ice after opening to help maintain the bubbles.

The Champagne Cocktail
Servings: Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

1 sugar cube
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Champagne
Strawberry or lemon

Preparation:

  1. Place a sugar cube into a Champagne coupe.
  2. Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters to the sugar cube.
  3. Fill glass with Champagne.
  4. Garnish with a sliced strawberry or lemon twist.

French 75
Servings: Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

Ice
1 ounce gin
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce lemon juice (or, juice of 1 lemon)
Champagne
Lemon twist

Preparation:

  1. Fill cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add gin, simple syrup and lemon juice, and shake.
  3. Pour mixture into a champagne flute.
  4. Top with Champagne.
  5. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Rosemary-Infused Pomegranate Sparkler

Servings: Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups boiling hot water
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 ounce pomegranate juice
Champagne
Pomegranate seeds

Preparation:

  1. Add sugar and water together in a pitcher.
  2. Add rosemary and stir; allow to infuse for one hour.
  3. To a glass, add pomegranate juice and 1 ounce of the rosemary-infused simple syrup.
  4. Top with Champagne.
  5. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

 Want to learn to mix cocktails like a pro? Check out ICE’s wine and beverage programs.

By Robert Ramsey — Chef Instructor, School of Culinary Arts

People often forget that citrus comes into season in the winter. This time of year, the fruit is at its sweetest, juiciest and most alluring. If you can’t find every variety used in this recipe, use any mix of citrus fruit you desire. Here, we top it with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, also a winter crop.

Veg_Valentine_3

Winter Citrus Salad
Servings: Makes about two servings

Ingredients:

1 navel orange
1 blood orange
1 ruby red grapefruit
2 tangerines
½ medium red onion
½ fennel bulb
½ bunch fresh mint
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
4 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons crushed pink peppercorns
Maldon salt for finishing

Veg_Valentine_1

Preparation:

  • Peel all citrus using a paring knife. Make sure all white pith is removed.
  • Cut citrus into various shapes — segments, wedges and slices add visual interest. Toss together in a mixing bowl and reserve at room temperature.
  • Slice red onion and fennel very thinly. I like to use a Japanese mandolin to ensure even cuts. Add the fennel and onion to the citrus mixture. Sprinkle a good pinch of Maldon salt (or any large flake salt) and the pink peppercorns. Toss well and allow salad to sit for 15-20 minutes.
  • While salad is sitting, rough chop or tear the mint, leaves only.
  • Finish the salad by tossing the mint, olive oil, pomegranate seeds and citrus mixture together.
  • Transfer to two plates, finish with a sprinkle of Maldon salt and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

Interested in studying culinary arts with Chef Robert? Click here for more information on ICE’s career programs. 

By Lauren Jessen — ICE Graduate + Blogger, A Dash of Cinema

I’ve never been a big pie person. I can appreciate a good homemade pie with a thick crust and multiple scoops of ice cream, but it’s not the Thanksgiving dessert that I look forward to most. If you fall into the same anti-pie category as me, try making these hazelnut and cardamom sticky buns instead. The cardamom and hazelnut form a delicious flavor duo, especially when paired with this soft, tender dough.

sticky buns

I remember the first time I made sticky buns in culinary school during module 4 of my culinary arts program at ICE. The entire class was excited —because how often do you get to make sticky buns, let alone eat them? We lined muffin pans with pecans and caramel and placed the bun dough on top. Those 30 minutes spent waiting for the buns to bake felt like an eternity.

Now that I’ve learned the proper way to make them, sticky buns are way less intimidating. Essentially, all you’re doing is making a cinnamon roll, but adding the “topping” to the bottom before baking. Then, when they’re finished baking, you flip the buns onto parchment paper. The end result is a gooey, sweet topping and filling with a delicious yeast dough that everyone at the dinner table will be thinking about well past Thanksgiving.

As if sweet, delicious gooiness wasn’t enough, sticky buns are also amazing because you can switch up the flavors with the seasons — you can substitute pecans, pistachios and walnuts for the hazelnuts, and cinnamon, lemon and pumpkin for cardamom. There’s a lot you can do with sticky buns, which makes it a great go-to dessert for any occasion.

 

sticky bunsHazelnut and Cardamom Sticky Buns

Dough

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ¾ teaspoons yeast
2 eggs
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
A pinch of cinnamon
3 ½ tablespoons sugar
½ cup butter, unsalted, room temperature

Preparation:

  • In a small saucepan, heat the milk until it reaches 110-115°F.
  • Add the sugar and yeast to the milk, and let the mixture sit for five minutes until the yeast becomes frothy.
  • Add the eggs to the milk mixture and whisk until smooth.
  • In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, mix the flour, salt, cinnamon, sugar and butter together using a dough hook.
  • Pour in the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  • Transfer the dough to a buttered bowl and allow to rise for one hour. After one hour of rising in a warm spot, transfer the dough to the fridge for one hour.
  • Roll out the dough to form a rectangle, about 10-12 inches wide.

Filling

Ingredients:

1 egg, whisked for egg wash
½ cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Preparation:

  • Combine the hazelnuts, cardamom, cinnamon and light brown sugar to create the filling mixture.
  • Cover the dough with egg wash, and then spread the filling mixture on top.
  • Roll the dough along the long side. Cut the log evenly into 12 equal pieces. These pieces will be placed on the topping in the prepared pans (see below).

Topping

Ingredients:

½ cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 ⅓ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cardamom

Preparation:

  • In a saucepan, over medium heat combine all the ingredients until just melted to create a caramel topping. Be careful not to overcook this mixture.

Making the sticky buns

  • Heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Prepare the sheet pans by spreading the chopped hazelnuts on the bottom and covering them with the caramel topping.
  • Place the buns in the baking pan on top of the caramel and hazelnuts, making sure to give space between each one, as they will double in size when baking.
  • Bake buns for 30 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, and then flip the sticky buns onto a parchment-lined sheet tray.

Master sticky buns and much more in ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts career program — learn more today.

 

By James Briscione, Director of Culinary Research

Your Thanksgiving turkey has a secret; and I’m here to tell it: that bird HATES being roasted in the oven. I know it, your turkey knows it and deep down, you know it, too: roasting a whole turkey in the oven just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It consumes a massive amount of time, space and energy, none of which I would be against if the results were impeccable. However, the sad truth is that roasting turkey in the oven is inefficient and the end product is imperfect.
sous vide turkey

I blame Norman Rockwell. Ever since he painted that famed portrait of an American family gazing lovingly at Mom as she places that large, bronzed bird on the table, the whole, roasted turkey has been the Thanksgiving gold standard. I can only imagine how dry the breast of Rockwell’s turkey must have been — he should have painted a 50-gallon drum of gravy in the background because I bet the family would have used every last drop of it.

Whole roasted birds have an inherent problem: for optimal flavor, tenderness and juiciness, the breast and legs need to be cooked at different temperatures for different lengths of time. At times like this, I like to channel Alain Senderens, one of my favorite rebel chefs and one of the fathers of Nouvelle Cuisine. Chef Senderens balked at the way that tradition trampled innovation in French cuisine. So this Thanksgiving, join me as I thumb my nose at tradition and invite innovation to my pumpkin-spice themed Friendsgiving.

Two words: sous vide. I have spent years extolling the tender, juicy and delicious virtues of cooking chicken sous vide. That led me to think, if sous vide makes the best chicken I’ve ever tasted, it will surely make the greatest turkey, too. All I had to do was figure out a way to cook turkey sous vide, yet make sure it still looked like a turkey when it arrived at the table, lest my family think I’m a total failure in annual fatherly duties (thanks for nothing, Rockwell). I decided to use a technique that I learned from Bryce Shuman at Betony, where they always cooked sous vide chicken breast with the bones in, so it would retain its natural shape. I applied the same method to the turkey breast, which I fit into a large, gallon-sized zip top bag. I zipped the legs and wings inside a separate bag and was on my way to a glorious Thanksgiving revolution: perfectly cooked legs and breasts with a classic presentation. This just may be the type of thing that makes everyone around the table happy this Thanksgiving. Check out the recipe below.

Sous Vide Thanksgiving Turkey

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons dry sage
2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 cup kosher salt
1 whole turkey, about 10-12 pounds
4 ounces melted butter

Preparation:

  • Start by making a dry brine — combine the sage, fennel seed, pepper, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly to combine.
  • Fabricate the turkey into a bone-in breast by removing the back-bone with a chef’s knife or kitchen shears. Separate the wings from the breast by cutting through the wing joint. Remove the legs from the body, cutting through the thigh joint and leaving the thigh and drumstick attached.
  • Use a Polyscience immersion circulator to heat a water bath to 66˚C (151˚F).
  • Generously season all of the pieces with the dry brine on both sides. Place one leg and one wing in each of two large, gallon-sized zip top bags. Add 1 ounce of melted butter to each of the bags. Place the seasoned breast in the refrigerator while the legs cook.
  • Fill a large pot or bowl with room temperature water and lower the open zip top bag into the water. The water pressure will push the excess air out of the bag. When the top of the bag reaches the level of the water, seal the bag. Transfer the sealed bags to the water bath and cook for six hours. Remove the bags and cool immediately in an ice bath. When chilled, transfer to the refrigerator and store for up to seven days before serving.
  • Reduce the water bath to 62˚C (143.5˚F). Place the turkey breast into a large, gallon-sized zip top bag and add the remaining 2 ounces of melted butter. Use the method above to remove the excess air from the bag and seal. Transfer the sealed bag to the water bath and cook for four hours. Add the chilled turkey legs to the bath and cook 40 minutes longer to reheat. Or, if not serving immediately, remove the bags and cool immediately in an ice bath. When chilled, transfer to the refrigerator and store for up to seven days before serving.
  • When ready to serve, heat a water bath to 62˚C and add the sealed bags of breast and leg to the bath and leave 40 minutes to reheat.
  • To serve, heat the oven to broil and arrange the turkey pieces on a baking pan and place on the middle rack under the broiler until golden brown.

You, too, can become an expert chef — learn more about our Culinary Arts career training program. 

By Jenny McCoy — Pastry & Baking Arts Chef Instructor

It’s hard to truly determine who ought to be credited for the first brownie. One version of history credits Bertha Palmer, a Chicago businesswoman and socialite, for inspiring the sweet that is about as American as apple pie. On a recent visit to Chicago, I took a walk down one of the brownie’s memory lanes.

Bertha was the wife of Potter Palmer, a wealthy businessman who was very much involved in the development of downtown Chicago. They were introduced by a mutual friend and Potter’s former business partner, Marshall Field (whose department store acquired and popularized Frango chocolate truffles, by the way). As a wedding gift to his bride, Potter gave Bertha an extraordinary gift — The Palmer House hotel. Under the couples’ ownership, largely directly by Bertha, The Palmer House became the epicenter for entertainment amongst socialites in Chicago and well-heeled travelers worldwide. In 1893, for the World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition, an event that would draw influential people from around the globe, Bertha entertained the notion of creating a small confection that has since become beloved all the world over.

Palmer House brownieStorytellers say that for the World’s Fair, Bertha asked The Palmer House pastry chef to create a small cake or confection that could be included in boxed lunches for ladies visiting the fair. The pastry chef developed a thick, dense, fudgy chocolate bar, covered in walnuts and a sweet apricot glaze. It was unlike any other confection and became incredibly popular. Though it still wasn’t called a “brownie,” as similar versions of the dessert later appeared in the Sears Roebuck catalog and in cookbooks by Fannie Farmer and others, its name was given. More than a century later, you can still enjoy a square of warm chocolate goodness topped with ice cream made with the same recipe used in 1893 at The Palmer House. Or, if you can’t make it to Chicago anytime soon, you can create a batch of brownies yourself using the recipe below, adapted from the original.

The Palmer House Brownie
Adapted from the original recipe found here

Ingredients:

14 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 pound unsalted butter
12 ounces granulated sugar
4 ounces all-purpose flour
8 whole eggs
12 ounces crushed walnuts
Vanilla extract
Apricot Glaze (recipe below)

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 300° F.
  • In a double boiler, melt chocolate with butter.
  • In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients except walnuts.
  • Pour chocolate into dry ingredients and mix with a spatula for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add eggs and vanilla to chocolate mixture and mix to combine. Pour into a 9”x 12” baking sheet, sprinkle walnuts on top and use your fingers to press walnuts down slightly into mixture.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. When finished baking, the brownies will have risen about ¼ inch and the edges should be a little crispy. Note: Even when properly baked, brownies will test “gooey” with a toothpick in the center due to the richness of the mixture. Remove brownies from oven and allow brownies to cool for about 30 minutes.
  • While brownies cool, work on your Apricot Glaze (recipe below). Once brownies cool, use a brush to spread a thin layer of the Apricot Glaze on top. Cut into squares and serve (highly recommended with a scoop of ice cream).

Pro Tip: The brownies are easier to cut if you place in the freezer for about 3-4 hours after glazing.

Palmer House brownies

For the Apricot Glaze

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 cup apricot preserves
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

Preparation:

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together water, preserves and unflavored gelatin.
  • Bring to a boil for two minutes. Use hot.

Want to master brownies and more with Chef Jenny? Click here to learn more about ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program. 

By Kelly Newsome — Student, School of Culinary Arts

cobb salad

An entire class on salad, seriously? That was the topic of conversation one Tuesday evening in the women’s locker room at ICE. We hemmed and hawed, convinced that there was nothing to learn about salads that we didn’t already know. Salads, at least in the American culinary tradition, have been relegated to the depths of diet food, a punishment rather than a pleasure. But, as I would soon learn, salads can be unabashedly delicious, and the classics are classics for a reason — when executed correctly, they are irresistible. My assignment that Tuesday night was Cobb salad — a classic American recipe that gave me a newfound respect for the humble art of salad creation.

I always thought that Cobb salad was named after the famous baseball player, Ty Cobb. Not true. The Cobb salad was born in the wee hours of a Hollywood, California, morning in 1937 at the Brown Derby restaurant. The owner, Bob Cobb, was ruffling through the kitchen’s refrigerator, pulling out various remnants including lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, tomatoes, chives and avocado. Smelling bacon being cooked nearby, he grabbed a few slices to add to his dish. Bob tossed the ingredients together and shared the outcome with his friend Sid Grauman (of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre fame). Mr. Grauman was so impressed that he asked for a “Cobb salad” at the restaurant the very next day, and a classic was born. The legend seems familiar to the story of the famous chicken wings of Buffalo. Perhaps the common thread is American ingenuity and resourcefulness on a plate?

cobb salad

A really great Cobb salad is not only a thing of beauty but an absolute pleasure to eat. Each bite brings a symphony of flavors and textures — the crispy bacon meets the creamy blue cheese, the crunchy and fresh salad greens mingle with pungent herbs and luscious chicken, the eggs provide a soft and satisfying backdrop, and the piquant vinaigrette delicately envelops each morsel and acts as an essential bridge that transforms the dish from many things to one. Each component, when perfectly cooked and assembled, offers a culinary experience that is far greater in combination than any one ingredient alone. This is the key to understanding the true beauty of a perfectly composed salad. Like any other dish, it’s all about the balance.

So how does one approach the Cobb salad? According Chef Charles Granquist, my instructor for salad night, “execute each ingredient perfectly, dress each component separately and arrange the salad organically — don’t overthink it.” When the night was through and the salads were delightfully devoured, visions of Cobb salad parties danced in my head: the classics I thought, can’t be beat.

cobb salad

Cobb Salad
Yield: makes about 10 servings

Ingredients:

5 chicken breasts, bone-in
Salt as needed
Ground black pepper as needed
20 slices bacon, cooked
1 pound, 4 ounces Romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into pieces
8 fluid ounces red wine vinaigrette (recipe below)
10 ounces tomatoes, medium-dice
10 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
3 avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into medium-dice
5 scallions, bias-cut (at a roughly 45-degree angle), thinly sliced

Preparation:

  • Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and roast until internal temperature is 165°F. Cool, remove the breasts from the bone, cut into ½” dice.
  • Cook the bacon slices until crisp. Drain on absorbent paper towels and keep warm.

To assemble the salad:

  • For each serving, toss two ounces romaine with two tablespoons of vinaigrette. Mound on a plate, and top with four ounces chicken, 1¼ ounce diced tomato, one ounce blue cheese, two ounces avocado, ¼ ounce green onions and two bacon strips, crumbled.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
Yield: 8 fluid ounces

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon shallots, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 fluid ounces red wine vinegar
6 fluid ounces canola oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • In a small bowl, combine the shallot, mustard and vinegar.
  • Add the canola oil gradually, whisking constantly.
  • Add additional flavorings and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust acid/oil balance.

A few tips from the chef in training:

  1. Make sure that your bacon is crispy! If it isn’t, you’ll lose that essential crunchy bite.
  2. Cook the chicken on the bone if possible — this delivers a more succulent and satisfying result.
  3. Make sure that you dress (don’t overdress) and season each component individually. This is the key to creating a cohesive and balanced dish.
  4. Use a long, oval platter rather than a bowl. This creates a more even spread for serving and presentation.

Ready to pursue your passion for culinary arts? Click here to learn about ICE’s culinary, pastry and hospitality programs. 

Subscribe to the ICE Blog


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notification of new posts via email.