Hooray! Spring is finally here and we can’t wait for fresh produce.

Farmers’ Markets will be starting up soon!

After a long, cold winter, we eagerly await the arrival of Spring. A time when everything in nature starts to renew and grow. The days get longer, and the temperatures get warmer. We welcome all the beautiful changes that we see all around us! Flowers begin to bloom, and we are excited about all fresh vegetables and fruit we will see at our grocers and food markets over the next several months.

This year why not check out your local farmers’ markets for farm-fresh goodness. We checked out the Farmers Markets Ontario website and it currently lists 184 member markets across Ontario! That’s awesome. They typically run from about May to October, but you will find that there are more and more farmers’ markets open year-round. Find and Ontario Farmers’ Market: http://farmersmarketsontario.com/

Ontario growers rely on greenhouses to help them get ahead of the season for many crops. With a short growing season, it’s critical for many crops to get seeded early so we can enjoy them sooner and for a longer period of time. We have provided several resources below which will help you find a market or local farm where you can buy amazing seasonal produce. What a great way for us to support our hard-working farmers! Visit a Farm; click here to find one near you: http://ontariofarmfresh.com/

Are you sick of potatoes and root vegetables?? Get ready for all the fresh produce that will be sprouting soon!! Here’s a quick rundown on what will be available over the next few months; use the Harvest Ontario “What’s in Season guide” for a full listing of fruits and veggies: https://www.harvestontario.com/whatinseason

In April:

  • asparagus
  • rhubarb

In May and June:

  • beans
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • cherries
  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • peas
  • radishes
  • strawberries

To Celebrate Spring, we thought you might like to try our mouth-watering recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!!

Summer Campers making pies!

Rooks to Cooks’ Signature Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Yield: 1 9-inch pie

Pie Dough Ingredients:

  • 375g all-purpose flour
  • 160g frozen unsalted butter
  • 125g vegetable shortening or pure lard
  • 100g COLD water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 15g brown sugar

Strawberry Rhubarb Ingredients:

  • 2  cups of red rhubarb
  • 2 ½ cup of strawberries (washed and cut)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp minute tapioca
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp of lemon juice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp butter, cubed small
  • 1 egg white beaten with 1 tsp water
  • Turbinado sugar

Crust Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the salt, sugar, flour, butter, shortening, mix together.
  2. Rub shortening into flour until reduced to pea sized crumbs. Once pea sized crumbs, grate cold butter into flour. Toss butter lightly using the salad tossing method.
  3. Add cold water little bits at a time, mixing in between additions. Mix just enough to incorporate, do not over mix!
  4. Transfer dough to floured table. Shape into a thick disc. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
  5. Divide dough in half.
  6. Roll out the first half and shape to pie plate and crimp the crust with a fork.
  7. Roll out the second half and cut into strips for lattice top.

Filling Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a bowl, mix  rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  3. Pour the mixture onto the chilled crust pie plate.
  4. Cover the filling with the lattice top.
  5. Seal the edges.
  6. Brush with egg wash and garnish with turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes at 400F, then reduce heat to 350F and bake for an additional 50 – 70 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and filling is soft.
  8. ENJOY!

Other Resources:
To Search Ontario’s directory of agritourism attractions, visit: https://www.harvestontario.com

Meatballs anyone? It’s National Meatball Day!

#NationalMeatball Day

FUN FACTS:

  • Meatballs can be found in many different cultures: Italian, Greek, Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese and many more …. A lot of countries have their own take on the meatball using different types of ground meat and spices.
  • Have you ever heard the song “On Top of Spaghetti” by Tom Glazer? It’s about a meatball that has a bit of a misadventure: “I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed …”. We thought you might like to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSbSjRJ9xz4
  • World’s Largest Meatball: In 2017, the Italian-American Club of Hilton Head Island, SC, set the record for largest meatball: it weighed 1,757 pounds! It took lots of planning and even special equipment was made to cook the meatball (Guinness World Records).

Today, we are thrilled to share our amazing Signature Meatball recipe. You’re gonna love them!

Rooks to Cooks’ Signature Meatballs

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cups stale Italian bread, crumbled
  • ¾ cups lukewarm water
  • ½ cup olive oil

Directions:

  • Combine ground beef in a large bowl.
  • Add garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Blend breadcrumbs into meat mixture.
  • Slowly add the water, 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture should be very moist but still hold its shape if rolled into meatballs (TIP: I usually use about 1 1/4 cups of water). Shape into meatballs.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Fry meatballs in batches. When the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp remove from the heat and drain on a paper towel. (TIP: If your mixture is too wet, cover the meatballs while they are cooking so that they hold their shape better).
  • For the Italian Meatball version, add your meatballs to the pan with your tomato sauce. Cover partly and simmer for 30 minutes. Be sure to turn the meatballs occasionally.
  • Cook your pasta of choice – we like spaghetti!
  • Pour the sauce and meatballs over your pasta to combine; then serve and enjoy.

Celebrate Women on International Women’s Day!

Chef Shai Mandel, founder and owner of Rooks to Cooks

#IWD2019 Happy International Women’s Day to all the talented, confident, strong, entrepreneurial, caring women in our lives. You are amazing and we admire and appreciate all of you just as you are!

On March 8th, women across the world come together to celebrate their accomplishments but there is still more to be achieved with regard to gender balance. This day is a call to action for businesses, government, media, employers and more … to truly make a difference to create a #BalanceforBetter!

At Rooks to Cooks, we applaud and appreciate all the hard-working women in the culinary field. Once predominantly a male career path, we see more and more female chefs in strong roles in the foodie world. So amazing to see women as chefs, restaurant owners, and educators across the country.

Chef Shai Mandel confidently and successfully chose to fulfill her goal of teaching cooking to the next generation of potential chefs by starting her own company, Rooks to Cooks. Shai is a chef and teacher and has been working in kitchens her whole life. Inspired by her passion for food and education, Shai’s goal is to teach today’s youth valuable cooking skills and life skills that they can use both in and out of the kitchen.

Let’s look at some other renowned female chefs that have made a mark in the culinary field. In Canada, we have our popular group of Food Network chefs: Lynn Crawford, Anna Olson, and Christine Cushing, to name a few. But we were also thrilled to see that the list of female chefs is steadily increasing at many of the top restaurants across the country.

Working together we can all make a positive difference and help build a gender-balanced world. Balance is an issue that’s important for our economy and for communities to succeed and prosper. #BalanceforBetter

Chefs in training!

National Sticky Bun Day – Yay!

Fun Facts:

  • Sticky buns and Cinnamon buns are similar when it comes to the dough (both are made with yeast dough); it is the glaze that sets them apart.
  • Sticky buns are made with a caramel glaze that goes in the baking pan before the buns are placed on top.
  • In the UK, sticky buns are called Chelsea Buns.
  • It is thought that the Ancient Egyptians were the first to add honey and nuts to their bread.

In honour of Sticky Bun Day, we are sharing our Signature Cinnamon Bun Recipe! It’s a sweet treat that we know you will enjoy 🙂

Rooks To Cooks’ Signature Cinnamon Bun Recipe

Yield: 12-14 buns

Ingredients:

  • For the Dough
    • ¾ Cup warm water
    • 2 ¼ tsp dry active yeast
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • ¼ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
    • 1 egg, room temperature
    • 1/3 cup canola oil
    • 4 ½ – 5 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • For the filling
    • ½ Cup melted butter
    • 1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
    • 2 ½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
    • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • For the frosting
    • ¼ cup softened margarine
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • ½ Tbsp corn syrup
    • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Making the Dough 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, pour in water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Stir and proof 5 minutes.
  • Once mixture looks bubbly and frothy, pour in remaining sugar and salt. Stir on low for 15-20 seconds.
  • In a small bowl, measure buttermilk, oil and egg. Whisk ingredients together until egg is incorporated to other two ingredients.
  • Pour contents into the water and yeast mixture. Stir another 20 seconds in the mixer.
  • Pour 2 cups of flour into mixer and stir on low until incorporated. Sprinkle flour in by 1/4 cup increments until dough cleans the sides and bottom of the bowl. Dough should be sticky but not sticky enough to stick to your hands when touched. Once it has reached this stage, turn mixer on and knead for 5 minutes.
  • Remove dough from bowl, grease and replace back into same mixing bowl {since it’s practically clean anyways}. Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Rise 1-2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.

2. Filling and Cutting Rolls

  • In a medium size bowl, stir brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch together until combined. Set aside. Punch down dough.
  • Flour a large clean table liberally with flour. Lightly flour dough as well. Roll dough out to be a 20×30 rectangle {or as close to that as possible} while moving dough around to ensure it’s not sticking to your work surface. If it’s a little short or uneven, feel free to cut off the edges to even it all out. {FYI-I cut off some dough on one side and filled in a spot that needed more dough on the other side to make a more even rectangle}.
  • Spread softened margarine over dough, being sure to go right to the edges leaving a 1-inch strip untouched on one of the longer sides of dough.
  • Dump brown sugar mixture onto the middle of the dough and spread with your hands, creating an even layer over top of the margarine, still leaving that 1-inch strip of dough untouched. If you have any filling that falls off the sides of the dough, use a bench scraper to replace.
  • Lightly press the sugar mixture into the margarine using a rolling pin. Roll the dough up into a tight log, finishing with the plain dough on the bottom to seal the entire thing together. Cut off the uneven ends to even out the log. Score log every 2 inches and then slice your rolls using those marks.
  • Place into parchment paper lined, margarine greased pans. 12 into a 9×13, 3 remaining into a loaf pan, or 8×8 with the small ends. Cover pans with plastic wrap and dish towels. Let rolls rise another 1-2 hours or until they are touching and have risen almost double.
  • Bake in a preheated 350 degree for 17 minutes, or until tops start to brown. Watch them carefully!

3. For the Frosting

  • While the rolls are baking, whip cream cheese and margarine together. Stir in vanilla, corn syrup and lemon juice. Scrape sides and mix again.
  • Pour in powdered sugar and stir slowly until it starts to incorporate. Then mix on high for 5 minutes or until frosting starts to lighten in color. Scrape sides and mix again briefly.
  • Once rolls have been removed from the oven, frost using half the amount made. Then after they have cooled a few more minutes, frost again with remaining frosting. The first frosting will melt down into the rolls and the second layer should stay put. Serve warm.

Top Topics from Canada’s Food Guide – Commentary by Karen Gilman

We are so happy to see Canada’s revamped food guide finally reflect relevant themes around healthy eating and lifestyle! Although nutrition is highly dependent on one’s lifestyle and we consider this a guide, not a rule book, we believe this a great start and a very welcome change. Rooks to Cooks had the pleasure of connecting with Karen Gilman, a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist, and we asked for her key take aways to share with our readers. We thank Karen for her valuable and helpful commentary and suggestions! Link to Canada’s Food Guide: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/

Karen Gilman: As a holistic nutritionist I have never paid much attention to food guides choosing instead to work with clients and provide them with custom meal plans based on their individual needs. However, the recent launch of the new Canada’s Food Guide has been getting lots of press, so I decided to take a look and see what all the noise was about.  I was pleased to see how well-rounded the new food guide is, and I am happy to share the TOP 4 things that really resonated with me:

1. Choose protein foods that come from plants more often.

As a holistic nutritionist with a special interest in vegetarian diets, I was pleasantly surprised with the addition of this recommendation. Yeah! I absolutely love this. Yes, as Michael Pollan said “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Photo by Karen Gilman

As someone who has been following a mostly vegetarian diet for about 30 years now, plant-based proteins have always been the hero on my plate. However, most people think of animal-based options when it comes to protein. As a mom with a vegetarian daughter, I am always asked how she gets her protein and I always tell people there are so many options, even for those who say they hate tofu.

Things like beans, lentils, chickpeas are all great plant-based options you can incorporate into your meal or build your meal around. Nuts and seeds and even vegetables have protein.  It really isn’t difficult to get enough protein following a plant-based diet but you don’t have to go plant-based all the way. Start with “Meatless Monday” and then add more plant-based meals as you become more comfortable and find options your family likes.  Trying adapting family favourites and make tofu stir fry instead of chicken or make black bean tacos instead of meat tacos.

2. Have plenty of vegetables and fruits.

It may come as a surprise to lots of people that half their plate should be made up of fruits and vegetables. I think a lot of people have been following the old “protein, carbohydrate and a side of veggies” mantra for preparing meals with the traditional meat, potatoes and a side of veggies. This veggie half of your plate can be anything from a single vegetable, a mix of vegetables or even a green salad. Or make soups and stews with lots of different vegetables. Believe it or not but you don’t need as much protein as you think and vegetables have protein too!

3. Be mindful of your eating habits.

This was a really insightful addition to the Canada Food Guide. Not only is it important what you eat, but how and when are also important.  Are we eating because we are hungry or are we eating because we are bored or even stressed or anxious? It is important to look for our internal cues, so we eat when we are hungry. And, of course, enjoy our food. Food should be savoured and not inhaled on the go. If we eat in a relaxed manner, our bodies will be able to digest our food properly and absorb all those amazing nutrients.   

4. Cook from scratch.

Now here’s an idea! Cooking from scratch. I think our culture has moved away from the notion of cooking from scratch. It seems everyone is too busy to cook these days which is so unfortunate. We need to get back in the kitchen, not just for ourselves but for our kids. How are they going to be able to feed themselves? We don’t want them to eat a diet full of fast or processed food. That’s not going to help the ever-increasing rate of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.  Just basic skills like learning how to make an omelet or even boiling pasta will go a long way in helping them be self-sufficient when they move out on their own.

Rooks to Cooks offers our kids just this chance. Forget about all those YouTube food videos! Hands-on cooking is where it’s at. At Rooks to Cooks kids will not only learn how to cook but to become more comfortable and confident in the kitchen.  Kids also gain the opportunity to expand their palate by trying new foods. How awesome is that?? Too many of our kids eat the same thing over and over again. At the Rooks to Cooks cooking classes, chef instructors take the time to explain about nutrition and how to safely navigate a kitchen. Kids will come away with a keen understanding on how important cooking really is and how easy and fun it can be.

About Karen Gilman: Karen is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist who is passionate about supporting families with vegetarian children. Even if you don’t have vegetarian children, but are looking to incorporate more plant-based proteins into your family’s diet, Karen can provide you with some guidance.

To get in touch, please email Karen at:  karen@nutrilicious.ca or sign up for her newsletter at: www.nutrilicious.ca and grab a copy of her e-book Vegetarian Teen Basics For Busy Parents.

Photo by Kailee Mandel

National Tortellini Day today!

#nationaltortelliniday

Making fresh pasta at Summer Camp

Fun Facts:

  • It is believed that the oldest tortellini recipe dates back to Italy around 1570.
  • This small ring-shaped pasta is commonly stuffed with meat or cheese.
  • Tortellini kind of looks like a belly button, so it is also known as “ombelico” pasta.
  • Tortellini is always made with an egg pasta with various fillings and it is traditionally served in a broth, although many people eat it with a creamy Alfredo sauce or tomato sauce.

How about making some fresh pasta? Even though we are celebrating tortellini today, we think that a stuffed ravioli is equally delicious!! Following is our amazing recipe for Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli – we think you will eat this one up big time!!

Rooks to Cooks’ Signature Pasta dough

Yield: 500g (4 Portions)

Ingredients:

  • 400g 00 flour
  • 4 whole eggs
  • Water as needed – approximately 3 Tbsp

Directions:

  1. Using the hook attachment, mix flour and eggs in a stand-up mixer until dough resembles semolina.
  2. Add water, as needed, until dough comes together. You want the dough to be hydrated enough that you can knead it together, but dry enough that it will be easy to work with.
  3. Once dough comes together, remove from mixer and knead by hand until a nice smooth ball forms.
  4. Wrap and let rest for 30 minutes before rolling. Refrigerate when not in use.

Fresh Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli

Yield: 12 jumbo raviolis

Ingredients:

  • 170g frozen spinach, thawed.
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 225g ricotta
  • 25g parmesan, grated
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix spinach, salt and pepper.
  2. In a food processor, blend ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg, lemon zest, spinach and pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  3. Fill a piping bag with the spinach mixture.
  4. Roll out the dough.
  5. On a sheet of dough, pipe spinach mixture into a 2.5 cm circles. Pipe spinach ricotta filling in the center.
  6. With a pastry brush, brush egg wash around filling. Press the dough together ensuring a strong seal. Be sure that there is no air inside the ravioli. Cut out ravioli.
  7. Cook ravioli in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Reserve ¼ cup of pasta water.
  8. In a small saucepan, melt 8 tbsp of butter until it foams. Add ¼ cup pasta water and cook for a minute.
  9. Drizzle the butter sauce onto each ravioli.

National Pizza Day – we have a recipe for that!

#NationalPizzaDay

FUN FACTS:

  • It is believed that the first commercial pizza originated in Italy in the 18th century.
  • The pizza Margherita owes its name to Italy’s Queen Margherita. Apparently, in 1889, she visited the Pizzeria Brandi in Naples and the pizza maker created a special pie for her. It consisted of three colours in the Italian flag: tomatoes (red), mozzarella (white), and basil (green).
  • The Hawaiian Pizza was invented in Canada; it is topped with tomato sauce, cheese, pineapple, and Canadian bacon or ham.
  • Pepperoni is the most popular pizza topping.
  • Saturday is the most popular night to eat pizza.

It’s National Pizza Day and we are sharing our scrumptious Signature recipes for Pizza Sauce AND Pizza Dough. Delizioso!

Rooks to Cooks’ Signature Pizza sauce

Yield: Approximately 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 -28 oz can whole unsalted tomatoes
  • 1/4 bunch of basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Strain tomatoes using a colander. Using your hands, puncture the tomatoes to release the juice contained.
  2. Meanwhile in a food processor, process garlic, basil and olive oil together. Add in strained tomatoes and continue to pulse until ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Rooks to Cooks’ Traditional Napoleon Style Pizza Dough  

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups 00 flour + some for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/4 c warm water

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven as high as it will go for at least 45 minutes to one hour.
  2. In the bowl of your KitchenAid use the paddle attachment to mix the flour, sea salt and dry active yeast on low speed until all is incorporated. Add the warm water.
  3. Switch to the dough hook and mix together on low speed for 8 to 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and sticky but should not stick to the sides of the bowl, only a little to the bottom.
  4. If the dough sticks to the sides sprinkle in a little more flour, if it is too dry then add a bit more water.
  5. After the 8 minutes have passed remove the dough from the KitchenAid and cut it into 6 pieces and form them into rounds. Place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and drizzle with 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature and rise for 1-2 hours.
  6. Sprinkle the counter with a little bit of flour, take one piece of dough and press down on it with your fingers until you have 1/2″ thick circle or oval. Using your fists and knuckles start stretching the dough until 10″ in diameter making sure not to tear it.
  7. Dust your pizza peel (or a piece of cardboard) very well with semolina flour or corn meal and set your pizza dough on it making sure it slides easily when moved. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of your pizza sauce in the centre and spread it around with the back of a spoon leaving 1 inch of space at the edges and making sure not to get any on the peel. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and add your favourite toppings.
  8. Gently slide the pie on the preheated pizza stone in a hot 525 degree F or more oven, and bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.
  9. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil and freshly grated parmigiano reggianno. Allow pizza to rest for a few minutes for the cheese to set.

Family Day Contest Details

Please note: Contest has ended and the winner has been notified. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Register BEFORE February 18TH and WIN an evening with CHEF SHAI!

In case you missed our Contest Newsletter, we have an amazing Family Day Contest to tell you about! Simply REGISTER for a summer camp session BEFORE the Family Day deadline, and you could win the following exciting Family PRIZE:

One (1) 3-hour In-home Private Family Cooking Lesson with Chef Shai herself! 

Based on your preferences and learning goals, Chef Shai will prepare a custom menu plan for you and your family. From there she will bring all the necessary ingredients and equipment to your home and conduct a hands-on interactive cooking lesson with your family. After the cooking is complete, everyone will sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour! This prize has a $600 value.


Chef Shai would love to join YOUR family and share some of her cooking tips and tricks with you. This is an amazing opportunity to cook together as a family and enjoy a delicious meal.
REGISTER SOON for your chance to WIN. Good Luck!

Here’s what you need to know!

  • To Register: Go online or call us to Register for a Rooks to Cooks Summer Camp Session. Each registration for a one week session is one entry so if you sign up for two weeks then you get two entries.
  • Deadline: to be entered into the contest you must register BEFORE 12:00 midnight on Monday, February 18, 2019 (Family Day). You will automatically be entered into the contest once your register.
  • If you have ALREADY registered, then you will also be entered into the contest.
  • Draw Date: Winner will be contacted and announced on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. Prize must be accepted as a described; no replacements or monetary exchange.

National Croissant Day! Oui, Oui!

Fun Facts:

  • Croissant means “crescent” in French; referring to its shape.
  • It is believed that the croissant actually originated in Austria, sometime in the 13th Century.
  • The main ingredient of puff pastry is butter – it gives it the delicious flavour and flakiness.
  • Croissants can be filled with numerous foods, such as, chocolate, ham and cheese, nuts, dried fruits.

Check out our Croissant Recipe – so buttery and delicious!

Croissants

Yield: 14 croissants

Ingredients:

  • 480g flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 58g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 353mL cup of cold milk
  • 340g cold butter for laminating, cold but pliable
  • Extra flour for dusting
  • 1 egg + a pinch of salt for egg wash

Dough directions:

  1. Using the standmixer with the dough hook attachment, mix the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and 58g of butter at a slow speed.
  2. Pour the milk gradually as the mixer is mixing on low. When all the milk has been poured, increase speed to medium.
  3. It is done mixing once the dough no longer clings to the side of the bowl.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Laminating directions:

  1. On a sheet of parchment paper, roll out 340g of butter into a square (20cm by 20cm).
  2. Refrigerate until you are ready to laminate.
  3. Roll the dough out to a square (25cm by 25cm).
  4. Rotate the dough so that it is a diamond. Place the square of butter into the diamond.
  5. Fold the dough corners into the middle .

6. Roll the dough into a rectangle (60cm by 20cm). Fold the dough like a book.

7. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

8. Roll the dough into a rectangle (50cm by 20cm).  Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Feel free to leave overnight.

Rolling directions for croissant:

  1. Roll the dough into a rectangle (75cm by 20cm). Cut into triangles.

Rolling directions for pain au chocolat:

  1. Roll the dough into a rectangle (75cm by 20cm). Put chocolat on one edge and roll the dough into a log. Cut into smaller pieces.

Baking directions:

2. Brush with egg wash and proof for 2 hours.

3. Egg wash one more time and bake at 375F for 10 minutes. Rotate croissants, then bake for 8 more minutes.

National Chocolate Cake Day today!!

#NationalChocolateCakeDay

Fun Facts:

  • Rudolf Lindt, the famed chocolatier, created a process called “conching” in 1879. This process produced a smoother, silkier chocolate that could be used for baking. This enabled bakers to transform white or yellow cakes to the yummy chocolate cakes that we know and love today.
  • There are SO many different types of chocolate cakes. We love the classic chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Also popular is German Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Mousse cake. Yum!
  • Chocolate contains cacao, which is thought to affect mood. A chemical in cacao stimulates the brain’s naturally-occurring endorphins and increases serotonin production. Serotonin is the chemical that makes us feel good! It is for this reason that chocolate consumption is encouraged; in moderation of course 🙂
  • Cocoa beans, the base for making chocolate, are seeds from the cacao tree. The beans are found inside the cacao pods; each pod contains 20 – 60 cocoa beans.

Our Signature Cake Recipe with Chocolate Buttercream are sure to be a big hit for those with a sweet tooth!! So rich and delicious.

Rooks to Cooks’ Signature Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe

Yield: 2 – 8 inch round pans

[Tip: If you want to make the chocolate POP and add a kick to your cake, add coffee instead of water to your mix]

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ¾ Cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water (or coffee)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder & soda, and salt.
  3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium for one minute.
  4. Stir in boiling water (Batter will be thin, don’t worry about it)
  5. Cover bottom of pan with parchment (cut into circle) and sides with parchment, cut rectangular strip.If you don’t want to cover pan with parchment, spray with cooking spray and powder with flour.
  6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Swiss Meringue Chocolate Buttercream

Yield: 1 pint

Ingredients:

  • 200g sugar
  • 150g egg whites
  • 225g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 225g Melted dark chocolate
  • 28g vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Cook sugar and egg whites over a double boiler until 60F.
  2. Beat the sugar and egg whites into hard peaks with whisk, and let it cool.
  3. Once cooled, add salt, chunks of soft butter, melted chocolate and vanilla, and mix with paddle attachment until smooth.