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BlogHer 10 Food-gaism and Alfajores (prounced al-fa-hor-es)

While I’d love to tell you that my time time at BlogHerFood 2010 #blogherfood was all about the sessions at the conference, that is not entirely true. In all honesty, it was also about the food and most importantly about the people. That is not in any way to minimize the quality sessions that I attended, I thought that the show organizers really put a lot of thought into making this event full of enrichment tracks and packed with speakers I couldn’t wait to hear. But at the end of the day, I know my experience was all the more satisfying because of what the people attending brought into the mix– the ‘social’ into ‘networking’; the element most often missed as we communicate on Twitter and FaceBook and LinkedIn.

For my second attendance at #blogherfood I wanted to bring something special to a few special people that I was fortunate enough to meet over the past few years. (The Ultimate Cappuccino Brownie was the treat I brought to BlogHer 09 Food – worth a try if you love the coffee and chocolate combo!) And I’d like to think these little colorful boxes, with home made treats inside, were coveted by those who received them and enjoyed by them as much as I enjoyed making them with my lovely friend Avanti Morocha.

Inside each box were four petite home baked alfajores. What is an alfajores you ask? Well it is something like a blond Oreo cookie stuffed with caramel sauce – the cookies are a soft butter cookie infused with orange zest, and drenched in powdered sugar, and well the rest is just yummy goodness.

While the word alfajor stems from the Arabic al-hasú, which means filled or stuffed, the history of this cookie can be traced to Andalusia Spain. Alfajores are popular in Argentina, Uruguay and Peru, although they can be found throughout South America in many different varieties.

Note: Immediately following the recipe post is my photo essay, which I hope reflects some of the great photo tips I learned from Todd Porter and and Diane Cu.

Avanti Morocha and Gina von

Avanti Morocha’s Soon-to-be-famous ALFAJORES

Ingredients

1¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup flour
2 tsps baking powder
3 TBS butter, room temperature
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp orange peel, zested
2 TBS milk (more if necessary)
1 cup manjar blanco (caramel), you can buy Nestle’s Dulce de Leche (13.5 oz) can

Directions

In a medium-size bowl, sift flour, cornstarch and baking powder. In a small-size bowl whip butter and sugar until well creamed. Add egg yolks, one at a time, while beating the butter mixture. Add sifted ingredients and orange peel.

Knead with hands, forming a ball. Cover with a cloth and set aside for 20 minutes. Often times, if the recipe is doubled, the mixture may seems too dry, and you will need to add additional milk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously flour a flat surface and roll dough approximately 1/8 inch thick. Using a small cookie cutter, about the size of nickle. Cut circles and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until edges begin to color. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

To assemble, the caramel cookie sandwich, take one cookie and generously spread with manjar blanco/dules de leche. Cover with another cookie. Generously sprinkle with sifted confectioner’s sugar.

Don’t hold back, gobble them up! They are worthy of the work involved to make them.

Yields: 54 cookies, plus some tasters

Note: If you want to make the manjar blanco recipe, read on:

Ingredients

10 cups of milk
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract or half of a stick of vanilla

Directions

In a medium-size sauce pan, lightly coated with water, boil the milk, stirring constantly. When the milk begins to boil, add the sugar and vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon being careful to not let it stick to the pan. When the mixture begins to stick to the spoon, and you start to see the bottom of the pan, move to a plate. The mixture should not be loose.

Continue to stir it, once it is removed from the heat so that the mixture softens slightly.
###

BlogHer Food 10 Begins!

The party at Orson’s kicked off the Scharffenberger and TootiFoodie Chocolate Adventure Contest complete with a fun blind taste test of some of their previous adventure ingredients, and chocolate recipe sampling. Thank you to Marcia Gagliardi/Tablehopper, Scharffenberger, TuttiFoodie and Orson, it was a great way to start the fun and get those taste buds flowing.

Tour of a few of the Ferry Building’s Culinary Offerings

Back on the conference show floor, Chef Elizabeth Falkner invites attendees to cup cake decorating party gourmet-style.

La Petite Soirée was an event to behold, the foodie theme was SF food carts and each one was better than the next – Girl From Empanada, Sataysfied, Local Flavor, Good Eats + more! I wish it had been possible to bring a second stomach to this event, as I was stuffed and wished I could eat seconds! Thank you to Stefania Pomponi Butler, Helen McSweeney Kristen Doyle, and Jane Maynard.

Back at the show, the cooking demonstrations continued and so did the prizes.


Closing Key note was an inspirational treat with Shauna James Ahern, Michael Ruhlman , Molly Wizenberg

And for the foodie event crescendo (AKA the closing party), at the California Culinary Academy, home of Le Cordon Bleu, Elise Bauer, Jaden Hair, and Ree Drummond hosted the first all gluten free party I’ve ever attended. It proved to me that everyone could eat gluten free and not feel deprived; it was delicious! I am still dreaming about at least 6 of the recipes served. I am inspired!

Thanks to BlogHer for such a great conference! It was mentally stimulating, socially engaging and totally foodgasmic!

To read additional recaps of the conference, there are a few links to reference (and if you’d like to have your post added to the list, just send me an email at bowllicker@gmail.com):

The Italian Dish: BlogHer Food 2010 in San Francisco

Panini Happy: Memorable Moments from BlogHer Food ’10

Bay Area Bites: BlogHer Food Conference, Day 2

Celiacs in the House: BlogHer Food 2010

Celiac Teen: BlogHer Food and Irish Soda Buns

Chef Druck: 9 Cheap Props Every Budding Food Blogger Needs

Dine and Dish: Defining Success (Recipe: Slice and Bake Sugar Cookies)

Eat the Love: Don’t Forget the Homos! Blogher Food 2010

Everyday Alice (of SavorySweetLife): BlogHer Food 10 – My Blog Conference Take Away

Food Blogga: Nine Things I Learned at BlogHer Food 10 Conference

Food Woolf: How to Go to a Food Blogging Conference

In Jennie’s Kitchen: Chestnut Orange Crisps

Picky Palate: BlogHer Food Extravaganza

Steamy Kitchen: Oinker

Use Real Butter: something about best intentions + blogher food 2010 recap

What’s Gaby Cooking BlogHer Food and San Fran

Will Write for Food: BlogHer Food, the Love Fest

White on Rice: Appreciation- Speaking at Blogher Food 2010

***And last of all, for those whom might enjoy reading my take-aways from BlogHer 09 Food: The Denied Inner Cook (the monster post unwrapped) you may just see a few familiar faces. Enjoy!

The Scharffen Berger Un-Winner: The Mole Cupcake Revealed

When the propeller on the skull cap starts spinning in the wind, things become crazy in the kitchen. It was the annual Scharffen Berger recipe contest, and despite not having secured a place on the leaderboard, I am proud to have participated. Last year’s submission to the contest was so well received I had to take another whack at it. The contest kicked off at the Second Annual BlogHer Food Conference in San Francisco. Long story short, I was drooling over Chef Elizabeth Falkner’s Scharffen Berger Chocolate Pub Cakes and just couldn’t sit this one out.

{If jotting down your grocery list, please note there are three separate ingredients lists.}

Molten Mole Cupcake Ingredients

8 oz Scharffen Berger semisweet chocolate baking chunks (62% cacao)

8 TBS (1 stick) butter, plus 1 TBS (melted)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 TBS Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp cumin

2 tsps chipotle sauce (no seeds)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar** plus extra 1/3 cup for dusting

3 large eggs

3 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 large marshmallows

Mexican Hot Chocolate Glaze Ingredients

1 cup half and half

2 TBS unsalted butter, cut into 1 TBS slices

3 TBS light corn syrup

9 oz Scharffen Berger semisweet chocolate baking chunks (62% cacao)

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp vanilla extract

Cilantro Pesto Ingredients

4 TBS cilantro, finely chopped

2 TBS granulated sugar

2 tsp pine nuts

Mole Cupcake Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 1 TBS butter and using a pastry brush, coat cupcake tins, then dust each tin with remaining 1/3 cup sugar.

Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler. Add the flour, cinnamon, cumin, chipotle and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Fill 6 cupcake cups halfway. Press a marshmallow into the center of the batter in each cup. Spoon remaining batter equally over marshmallows so that each one is completely covered with batter on all sides. Place in the center of oven and bake for 14-16 minutes, until tops are puffed and crackly. While cupcakes bake begin to make glaze and pesto.

Upon removing cupcakes from oven, gently run knife around the edges to loosen. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Remove from pan by slightly inverting and place each cupcake on dessert plate and cover with glaze and pesto.

Serve warm. Yields 6 cupcakes.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Glaze Directions

In a medium saucepan, on low temperature, heat the half and half, butter and corn syrup until cream is hot and the butter has melted. The mixture should start to bubble, and register at 175 degrees on a thermometer; do not let it come to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate and let it sit in the half and half for 30 seconds to soften. Add the chili powder, cinnamon and vanilla and whisk the sauce until it is smooth and all of the chocolate has melted.

Sauce can be used warm or left at room temperature until it reaches the desired thickness. To store additional sauce, pour cooled sauce into a covered bowl and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. To reheat, spoon sauce into a saucepan and heat over low heat.

Cilantro Pesto Directions

Mix all together in a food processor. Place dollop on top of each cupcake.

Congratulations to the 2010 Scharffen Berger Winners!

Recipe Index & More

BREAKFAST
Acai Bowl Bliss (AKA Stone Soup)
Blueberry Jam
Bountiful Fig Bowl (Raw)(GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)
Fudgiest Peanut Butter Smoothie (Raw)(DF)(RSF)(V)
Caramelized Leek, Goat’s Cheese and Spinach Tart
Challah Sultana French Toast
Coffee Cake Gingerbread Chocolate Protein Waffles
Dark Mission Fig Streusel Bars
Folded Brown Butter Peach Scones with Lavender Peach Curd
Fruity Breakfast Pizza
Grapefruit Smoothie (GF)(DF)(V)
Sunny Fruitified Granola
Green Eggs ‘n Ham – An Irish Breakfast
Hawaiian Tropical Fruit & Nut Scones with Coconut Glaze
Irish Sweet Potato and Cabbage Hash
Hawaiian SPAM Musubi
Sweet Po-ta-to Hash (GF)(DF)(V)
Overnight Fruity Oatmeal Parfait
Lower Saxony German Pancakes (AKA Pfannkuchen Fischkopf)
Matcha Ricotta Happiness Bowl(GF)(RSF)(V)
Mega Chocolate Ying Yang Granola

Pecan Tartlets
Tuscan Egg Stew
Vegan Cashew No-gurt (Raw)(GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)

APPETIZERS & BREADS
Bread & Butter Pickles
Chestnut Sage Pesto Bruschetta
Bruschetta in a Jar
Brown Lentil Dip with Cilantro Pesto
Buffalo Mozzarella & Eggplant Caprese Tower with Pea Mint Pesto
Cream Cheese Biscuits
Focaccia di Recco
Green Spider Deviled Eggs
Guacamole Grows Up
Pandebono (Mini Cheese Breads)
Norwegian Buns
Nut & Grain ‘Life Changing Bread
Savory Mushroom Sausage Strudel
Smokey Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Parmesan Chip Remodel
Pretzel Rolls
St. Lucia Saffron Buns
Spiced Bar Nuts
Sweet Potato Chips
Tomatillo Ranch Slaw
Tortellini Skewers
Stick Bread
Ricotta

COCKTAILS/BEVERAGES
Bloody Maria
Cremas
Creamy Golden Turmeric Tea (GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)
Gina Bina Bobeena
Green Lemonade
Kir Royale
Lemon-aid Blur
Mandarin Beastie
Persimmon Frappé
White Sangria
Spicy Ruby Red Grenadine
Twisted Shirley Temple
Vodka Fizz
Watermelon Basil Sweet Tea
Watermelon Refresher

SOUPS, SALADS & SANDWICHES
Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad
Brussels Sprouts Persimmon & Pomegranate Mustard Salad
Chilled Cantaloupe Soup
Carrot Salad With Dijon Dressing
Open Face Roasted Chicken, Avocado and Jarlsberg Sandwich
Crab Salad
Guinness Extra Stout Stew
Hawaiian-Style Macaroni Salad
Grapefruit & Greens Ya-Yas Salad
Insalata Caprese
Italian Pork Stew (Bourguignon)
Italian Wedding Soup
Lentil, Mint and Feta Salad
Mango Coconut Salad
Maremma Rice Salad
Mette’s Norwegian Ham & Cheese Horns
Pickled Eggs and Beets
Peruvian Minestrone
Spicy Smashed Chickpea Stew
Hearty Steak & Portobello Mushroom Stew
Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup (GF)(DF)(V)
Pasta Fazool
Salmon Avocado with a Petite Lentil Salad
Shredded Beet & Toasted Sesame Salad (Raw)(GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)
Smashed Avocado & Egg Salad Open-Faced Sandwich
Tuscan Avocado-melee Sandwich
Warm Spaghetti Squash Salad
Sugar Snap Pea Salad

VEGETARIAN DISHES
Apple Slaw
Asparagus with Mixed Mushrooms and Fresh Parmesan Cheese
Baked Beans
Barley Black Bean Burgers & Parsnip Fries
Black & Purple Sweet Potato Burgers with Whiskey Ketchup
Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad
Cactus Taco Filling (Nopales en Ensalada)
Cucumber Raita
Cumin Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Carrots
Eggplant Parmigiana
Fondue Pasta
Fritti Misti (and mixed fried veggies)
Broken Lasagna with Portobello Mushrooms and Chevre Creamed Baby Spinach
Orange and Sweet Potato Marshmallow Balls
Cheesy Pumpkin Kale Lasagna (Lasagne Con Zucca e Cavolo)
Preserved Lemons
Harvest Tacos with Lentil Pesto
Leek & Potato Fritters
Potato Frittata
Potato and Onion Au Gratin
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Pasta with oil and garlic)
Succotash Smuccotash – Warm & Corny Salad
Sweet Potato & Apple Bake
Tangy Stuffed Italian Artichokes (V)
Tomato Basil Compote
Ricotta Kale and Spinach Gnudi
Quinoa Banh Mi Sliders with Carrot Slaw
Summer Quinoa Pumpkin ‘Risotto’
Upside
Down Gruyère Tartes Tomate

Waffle-Oh (the potato waffle revealed)

MAIN DISHES WITH MEAT, FISH OR POULTRY
Bavarian Schnitzel
Cabbage and Tuna Salad
Cactus and Chicken Sopes (nopales)
Chicken Masala
Chicken Tinga
Crazy Pork Peanut Sauced Tacos with Tomatillo Ranch Slaw
Chicken & Bacon Beer & Cheddar Waffles with Apple Slaw
Figgy Piggy Sandwich
Hawaiian SPAM Stir Fry
Huli Huli Chicken
Kalua Pork Tacos & Grilled Pineapple Relish
Lomo Saltado
Pasta with Wild Boar Sauce
Orange Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Langostino “Lobster” Tail Bucattini
Lamb Chops
Moroccan Preserved Lemon Lamb Tagine with Dates and Almonds
Pasta Carbonara With Bacon & Peas
Lebanese Stuffed Artichokes
Linguini with Clams
Prawns & Corn Wheels
Roast Beast Classic
Savory Sausage Mushroom Strudel
Shrimp & Garden Vegetable Cannelloni
SICILIAN FISH
Spicy Shrimp, Veggie and Chorizo Kebabs
Spiced Chicken & Green Olive Skillet Dish
Sumac Drumettes
Turkey Meatloaf and Buttermilk Mashers
Turkey Panini al Fresco
Turkey Veggie Ziti

DESSERTS
Alfajores
Almond Milk Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate Crust
Almond Orange Chocolate Sticks & Chocolate Dipped Raspberry Lime Macaroons (Raw) (GF)(DF)(V)
Apple Galette with Caramel Sauce
Apple Turnovers
Blackberry Topped Strawberry & Fig Smoothie with Cardamom Chia Pudding (Raw)(RSF)(DF)(V)
Brownie Surprise
Candy Corn Cake
Caramel Corn
Deep Dark Gingerbread Persimmon Pear Cake
Chai Spiced Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
Cherry Clafoutis
Cutie Pie- A Clementine Dreamsicle
Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Kickin’ Apple Pie Enchiladas
Chocolate Chip Cookie – Bean Cake Cookies In Disguise (GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Chocolate Tart with Caramel Sauce and Candied Walnuts
Cocoa Fudge Cup Cakes topped with Classic Carmel Frosting
Dark Chocolate Raspberry ‘Nana’ Nicecream (AKA Banana Ice Cream)(Raw)(GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)
Dessert Sushi
Banana Boats (and Special Adult Dessert Modifications)
Feijoa Almond Coffee Cake
Fresh Pear Ginger-Spiced Cranberry Brown Sugar Streusel PIE
Frozen Hot Cocoa with Marshmallows & Hundreds of Thousands
Ginger, Chocolate Oatmeal & Pinenut Cookies
Kesari (Indian Semolina Pudding)
Key Lime Miniature Tarts
Macedonia (fruit salad)
Marshmallows
Marshmallows Chocolate Skewers
Mochi Brownies (GF)
Molten Mole Cupcake, Mexican Hot Chocolate Glaze & Cilantro Pesto
Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Peanut Butter Coconut Balls (Raw)(GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)
Peanut Butter Pie – Jennie Love Pie
Pomegranate Panna Cotta
Pumpkin Ginger Semi-Freddo Ice Cream
Pecan Tartlets
Snapping Ginger Pumpklin Ice Cream Pie
Rainbow Finger Jell-O
Red Velvet Cup Cakes & Creamy Cheese Frosting
Rhubarb Lemon Yogurt Mousse Tart
Rice Krispie Chocolate Cherry Treats
Raw Apple ‘Cookies’(Raw)(GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)
Raw Caramel Cookie Bars (Raw)(GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)
Raw Double Chocolate Nut Carmel Mousse Slice (Raw)(GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)
Raw Nut Fudge (Raw)(GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)
Roasted Banana Double Chocolate Blender Cakes (GF) (RSF)
Rugelach
Sassy Lemon Tea Cake
Spicy Chacon (Chocolate Bacon) Peanut Brittle
Stuffed Lychee Nuts
Sweet Tamales
Torte Piccolo Con Pomodoro
The Ultimate Cappuccino Brownie
Unreal Peanut Butter Bomb Cookies
Tropical Pecan Tortilla Sandies
Whipped Berry Bliss Ice Box Cake
Yellow Squash Citrus Grain Free Cupcakes with Coconut Butter Frosting (GF)(DF)(RSF)(V)

MENUS
Halloween DIY – Play With Your Food
The Ultimate Kids Go-To Guide On How To Host A Disney Shindig
St. Patrick’s Day Brunch & Dinner
Valentine’s Day Dinner
Thanksgiving Party Food Survival Plan

FOOD FOR SHOW
Decorative Sugar Easter Egg

NON-FOODIE POSTS (FEEDING THE MIND)
Hitting the Pause Button
Take A Leap, Bake A Difference
Hunger Does Not Discriminate
I’ve been compromised.Life of a pseudo-porn gal..
Jingoistic Belligerence
Lost in transition
Mi Pubelo
Spitting the Dummy
Take A Leap Bake A Difference
The Denied Inner Cook
The door knob moment
The Heart of a Foodie Unleashed
Give Thanks – Give Hope
Wordless Wednesday – North Carolina

Taste This!
TortillaLand
In the Hood
This Week For Dinner- Giving Away the Goods!

What Else Did She Write? The Gina-dex
Finding Unimaginable Answers to Unasked Questions
Yes, the cyber playground has bullies – Teach kids cyber safety
My Billboard In Time Square (Yes NYC!)
Mi Pueblo San Rafael’s Newest Latin Supermarket
Kiss and Make-up
The Valuable Things
The Cookie Episode
I’ll Never Learn How to Read: A Story-tale
I’m JUST Not Ready
In a world of germs should we also sterilize our children’s behavior?
What if you are ‘THAT Marin County Mom’ and they just don’t know it yet?
I’ve Resolved
It’s between me and Santa
German Christmas Traditions Alive in Marin County