Feb 14 2008
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
I’m not big on celebrating Valentine’s day, but since last year it’s a very special day. My son was born 1 hour and 8 minutes before Valentines day….so his birthday is on February 13th, but we can celebrate for two days
As luck would have it my little guy has the flu and isn’t really celebrating at all, hopefully he’s be better by the weekend when he can have cake for the first time..or any sweet for that matter other than fruit. I am still using fruit sugar though…
Ok, so, now to the petits fours…
Yeah…..just a few warnings…if you don’t have a whole day or 2 days to do this, a super super sharp serrated knife, and the patience of a saint walk away now! And, I really mean it. I spent 9 hours on these and I’m exhausted. Luckily my little guy was sleeping on and off for most of the day.
So, a few observations:
1: made these using mascarpone brownies which are very dense. I think petits fours need a more spongy cake to absorb the glaze.
2: Martha Stewart Recipes just don’t work for me – they look great, but never come out as they are supposed to. I tried a sugar glaze of hers that did not work out at all.
3: make sure the piece you cut are large enough to sit on your wire rack. I have a wider-gapped rack and could not hold all of them up…so, I couldn’t coat those.
*update (14.Feb 2008):
4: Now that I have had these in the refrigerator over night they are much easier to work with.Â I think next time, after the cake and frosting layers are together, I will refrigerate for 6 hours until it’s solid, and then cut into cubes.*
Mascarpone Brownies (original recipe here)
1 Cup Butter, softened
3 oz. Semi Sweet Chocolate (sugar-free with fructose), finely chopped
1 Cup of Fructose
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
3 Eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
Preheat oven to 165Â°C (325Â°F).
Place parchment paper at the bottom of 2 8-inch square cake pans and butter them. This is make it easier to lift out the brownies.
Place the chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, but don’t let it boil. Pour the melted butter over the chocolate in the bowl and stir until it is homogeneous – aka the chocolate is completely melted.
Sift the sugar and the cocoa powder into the large bowl the melted chocolate butter. Then, using a wooden spoon, beat in the mascarpone and then the eggs and then the vanilla until it’s smooth – should take about 5 minutes…the lumps with disappear and look like this:
Now, fold in the flour and salt.
Pour half of the batter into each prepared cake pan and spread evenly – you want it as cubical as possible.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the butter is no longer sitting on top and a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. The original recipe calls for it to bake for 45-50 minutes as regular brownies in 1 cake pan.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pans, but keep the parchment paper on the brownies. Let cool on rack until completely cool. Then, place one brownie sheet on top of another (with the parchment paper in between) and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours so that it will be easier to cut in half.
Strawberry Swiss Merengue Buttercream (original recipe here)
4 Egg Whites
1 1/4 Cups Fructose (or sugar)
1 Cup Butter, softened, cut into tablespoons
1/3 Cup sugar-free Strawberry Jam
Heat water in a double boiler (or 2 pots that fit into one another in a similar manner) and bring water to a simmer – NOT a rolling boil. Place egg whites and fructose in the top pot and whisk constantly until the fructose has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71Â°C (160Â°F) – I used a meat thermometer and it worked perfectly fine.
One the proper temperature has been reached, place the egg white mixture into an electric mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form – about 7 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment. Place the mixer on medium-low speed and add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time letting it beat well in between each addition. Increase the speed to medium-high until it has become a thick cream – about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the strawberry jam and continue to beat for 2 minutes. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
12 oz. sugar-free Semi-Sweet Chocolate, finely chopped
16 Tablespoons of Baking-Vegetable Shortening (smells and looks like unsalted margarine)
Place the chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Heat the shortening until melted, but not boiling. Once melted, pour over the chocolate and mix until fully melted and homogeneous. Use immediately. If it starts to thicken, sit the bowl in some warm water for a few seconds to loosen it up.
Strawberry Swiss Merengue Buttercream
Remove the brownie sheets from the freezer. Place on a cutting board in a single layer and remove the edges with a serrated knife. Then, while laying flat, cut each sheet in half so that you have 4 sheets of brownies. Remove all pieces from the cutting board.
Place a new piece of parchment paper on you cutting board. Place a sheet of brownie on the parchment paper – use your thickest piece if you happen to not cut them exactly in the middle so that you have a stable base.
Layer on a thin layer of the butter cream and then place another sheet of brownie on top. Using a cake spatula smear in some extra buttercream into an air pockets and scrape off any extra. Continue this until all brownie sheets are in place – don’t put any frosting on the top layer.
With a VERY VERY sharp serrated knife, cut the the large brownie sheet into 1 inch squares. Dip you knife into cold water in between cuts to keep buttercream from smearing everywhere.
Place the little cubes of layered cake on a wire rack with a plate underneath to catch the glaze drippings. Drizzle glaze over all the little cake squares – use a spoon to help it move along all sides. Once you have “run out” of chocolate glaze, scoop up what has drizzled onto the plate bellow, rewarm over warm water, and continue the process until all are coated. Let the chocolate glaze harden and keep cool until serving.
Makes about 50 petits fours.