Friday, January 25, 2013

Homemade Gnocchi

These days I'm interested in taking a more "homemade" approach to things.  I saw this post on's blog and decided this was something I had to try.   

Pronounced Nyoki, these fresh pillows of pasta are fun and easy to make.  These can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 2 months.

Prep Time:  1-1/2 hours
Cook Time:  5 minutes
Total Time:  About 2 hours
Servings: 4

Cut and rice the potatoes, making sure they don't pile up in one spot

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tsp water

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp white pepper

4 tbsp unsalted butter
8 fresh sage leaves
1 large pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (or to taste)

Sprinkle potatoes with a good amount of flour and aerate with a bench scraper
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the potatoes onto a sheet of foil, add the salt and water and wrap.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Peel the potatoes while they are still hot, cut and rice the potatoes, making sure they don't pile up in one spot.  Let the potatoes cool completely before proceeding.
Continue to cut and gently lift the dough
  • To make the dough, sprinkle the potatoes with a good amount of flour.  Aerate the potatoes with a bench scraper and then add the salt, nutmeg, and white pepper.
  • Break up the egg yolks and pour them over the potatoes.  Cover the surface again with more flour.  Continue to cut and gently lift the dough.
  • Test the dough by gently squeezing it in your hand.  It shouldn't stick.  Add a bit more flour, if needed.
Sprinkle with flour and let the dough rest for about 5 to 10 minutes
  • Once done, shape the dough into a rectangle and fold it a few times, using your fingertips to bring it together.  Flatten the dough out until it is about the thickness of your finger.  Sprinkle with flour and let the dough rest for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Cut strips of dough, about the width of your finger
  • Cut strips of dough, about the width of your finger, and sprinkle the strips with flour so they don't stick to each other.
Cut into 3/4" pieces and separate them slightly and flour them well
  • Roll out each strip and cut the ropes into 3/4" pieces.  Separate them slightly and flour them well so that they don't stick together.
Shape the dough with a gnocchi paddle
  • You can leave the gnocchi as is or you can shape them with a gnocchi paddle.  Shaping the dough makes them look better and also creates a little pocket to capture the sauce.
Shaped gnocchi
  • To cook the gnocchi, bring a pot of cold water to a simmer and add the salt.
  • Gently place the gnocchi into the simmering water, stirring now and again, to make sure nothing is sticking.  Gnocchi only takes a couple of minutes to cook, so as soon as they float to the top, lift them out.
  • Separately melt butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat.  Add sage leaves and salt.  Toss gnocchi with sage butter and plate.  Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.
Gnocchi with warm sage butter sauce
Recipe Links:

Here's a link to the must see full video recipe that this post was stolen from.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Holiday Cake Bites

photo: Joanne Rice
These festive cake bites are a fun and delicious finish to any culinary gathering.  The decorating and arrangement possibilities are endless.  I prepared these for the Christmas Holidays.  They were so well received, they were reprised for the New Year.  

I titled this post "Cake Bites" to stress the difference between this technique and that used for the traditional yet similar "Cake Pops".  

Cake pops are made with prepared cake which has been crumbled, mixed with frosting, chilled, and then and formed into balls.  In my opinion, this approach results in a product overly sweet, dense, and hard to the bite.  This is also a lot of work.

Baked directly into their spherical shapes, these cake bites present succulent bites of cake.  The perfect serving size and the perfect amount of sweetness.  These are frosted with a simple and traditional butter based cake frosting.

Prep Time:   15 minutes
Cook Time:  30 minutes
Total Time:   2-1/2 hours (includes decorating and wait time)
Servings:     about 24 cake bites

Special Equipment:  cake pops pan

Cake Bites Ingredients: 

3/4 cup (125 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (120 g) butter
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
3 tablespoons (20 g) cocoa
2 eggs
3/4 cup (90 g) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
24 lollipop sticks
1/4 cup light cocoa candy melts

cake frosting
assorted sprinkles


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease pan; set aside.
  • In medium saucepan, over low heat, melt chocolate chips and butter together; stir until smooth.
  • Remove from heat and pour into medium bowl.
  • Add sugar and cocoa; mix until blended.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Add flour and salt; stir until blended.
  • Spoon batter into bottom half of pan (without holes) filling each so that it mounds over the top of the pan.
  • Place top half of pan on top and secure with keys.
  • Bake for 16-18 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out almost clean.
  • Cool 5 minutes in pan, remove cake bites from pan to cool completely.

  • Cool 5 minutes in pan, remove cake bites from pan to cool completely.
  • Melt candy melts according to package directions.
  • Dip lollipop sticks into stick into candy melts and insert into cakes; repeat with all cakes.
  • Allow melts to cool to secure stick in place.

  • Once cooled, frost with your favorite frosting, and decorate with sprinkles.
  • Serve in any arrangement you choose.

Recipe Links:

Here is a Cake Pops Baking Pan video showing the entire baking and decorating process.

Grab them while the gettin's good!

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