Wednesday, November 20, 2013

World Food Championships 2013, Part 3

The night before I was leaving for the WFC, packing clothes, emptying out my kitchen, getting my ingredients in order, and stressing to the max, I got an email from Lori- my sous chef extraordinaire and fabulous daughter (living 3,000 miles away from me) who reminded me she had some suprises in store. I usually don't worry about Lori because she is very down to earth. But her email included this picture.One is me and of one is her. And this was going to be part of our banner for the competitor's parade and the competition booth. I love the way she thinks. Just seeing her email made me giddy and I couldn't wait to see what she was planning, I was game for anything. Just to fill you in, this is a picture of each of us, one taken in 1959 and one in 1986. Yes, we were about the same age posing as Miss America. Well, when you're in a cooking competition as stressfull as the WFC, it sure is like a beauty contest except the best food wins. And when your favorite Miss America is cooking with you, it's home cooking at its' best!
On to the event: The two former pretend beauty queens got down to cooking Thursday afternoon and made Raspberry Cloud Cakes, our signature dish. To me it's everything that a dessert should be- creamy, rich, white chocolatey and fruity. This is one of my favorite recipes that I created over a year ago and just prior to the competition, I made them once a week for about 4-6 weeks. I made them in my sleep too. Here's the recipe, I think you'll enjoy.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cloud Cakes
makes about 36 filled cakes
8 oz neufchatel cheese softened to room temp
1/2 cup butter softened
3 T confectioner's sugar
1 T Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for Baking
1/3 cup Polaner All Fruit Raspberry Preserves
3/4 cup butter softened
3/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
2 large eggs room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips finely chopped
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Fresh raspberries
mint leaves
Let's put this beautiful dessert together.
To make the filling: In medium size bowl combine all ingredients with hand mixer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare and make the dough.
To make the (dough): Pre heat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In medium size bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine and set aside.
In large bowl, with hand or stand mixer combine butter and brown sugar and mix until smooth and airy (2-3 minutes). We used a hand mixer at the show. Add eggs and vanilla and continue to mix. Add half the dry ingredients into the wet and mix on low. Add the rest of the dry ingredients until dough is smooth. Now add the crushed white chocolate and stir to combine. Use your clean hands if it's easier. The white chocolate is a fabulous addition to these little darlings. Who doesn't like a little white chocolate crunch with a cakey cookie?

Your dough will be very sticky so you'll want to refrigerate it for about 15-20 minutes. Up tp 30-40 minutes if you have the time. Form dough into small balls about 3/4 inch in diameter. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes and place on cooling rack to cool. After a few minutes you can place them on paper or kitchen towels to cool completely.

When mini cakes are cooled, the fun begins. Take a tablespoon of prepared raspberry cream and place on top of flat side of cake.

We're getting there. Now cover the filling with a second cookie cake to make a sandwich.

Keep going, you've got a lot more to make. When you cake sammies are assembled, sprinkle both sides of the cake with confectioner's sugar through a sieve. Add a dollop of the leftover raspberry cream to the top of these and garnish with a raspberry. Here is a picture that I took in my house before the contest. I was thrilled to be able to make these for the judges, with red wrappers, white plates and a sprinkling here and there of fresh mint (sorry no picture at the competition).

For those of you that want to give these a try, I have to warn you, they are growing raspberries bigger than you can imagine. Each garnish ended up being 1/3 of a raspberry. I cut the tops off, blotted them with paper towels to prevent bleeding and added them to the top raspberry swirl. Wish I had a picture of my final-hand in dish, but time was wasting and we were lucky to get these little cuties in on time.
And in case you were wondering, here is one of the two surprise signs Lori made. From what I could tell, we had the best "home cook" signs in the competition.
So the cook off is over and it's been over a week since I've been home. Will we do it next year? I'd like to think so and just hope we're invited back. To be able to do this for 2 years in a row and compete in a fierce competition like the WFC, I think our third time might be the charm. Fingers crossed!  


DeeDee2012 said...

Linda you are a winner in my book! Love you and your recipes!!

Kimberly H said...

Awesome! I loved reading about your experiences and Im looking forward to making those babies.. they look amazing!

Grandmereb Lovestobake said...

AWESOME Linda! Like Kim, I loved reading about your time at the WFC and loved this recipe and WILL be making it! I can't wait to make it for my son Steven. He is a huge raspberry fan and will be in heaven. These dream puffs turned out so wonderful I still don't know why they did not win! They are yummy sounding and looking! You are a winner in my book as well. <3

Linda said...

Aww, you gals are so sweet. I wish we could have won, but I knew when the cookies went slightly concave and didn't puff like they normally do, we were really fighting an uphill battle. Still proud of how well we placed considering. And they looked pretty fabulous too. Just not "perfect". Oh well, I'm over it and so happy to share the recipe.