January 30, 2011
Cooking with a Culinary
This themed entry of
takes you to Reuben's kitchen where he helps you recreate a
fantastic (and sometimes not so fantastic) Disney recipe.
He could easily post the recipe and give feedback, but that's
no fun! With a background in Food Science and
Baking and Pastry Arts, Reuben is hoping his tips and lessons will
help in preparing the recipe for optimal results and help you become
a better chef.
It was a crisp, breezy morning by the waters at
Disney's BoardWalk Resort and though it's not the
salt waters of
the Atlantic Ocean, the "sea" air was making you hungry.
Before your brisk walk (or mad dash) to the International
Gateway to Epcot, why not fuel yourself with a delicious treat at
the Board Walk Bakery? After being lured in by
the fresh baked smells, you ogled at the counter display and decided
on a treat. After 5 minutes, you polished off a
slice of the buttery, moist, chocolate chip wonder that was the
BoardWalk Bakery's Chocolate Chip Crumbcake!
FLASHFORWARD TO REALITY-you're sitting at home, eating a bowl of
soggy cornflakes, wishing instead for a mere crumb of the warm and
You've wished upon the evening star and bibbidi-bobbidi-boo,
my friend-like-me, your wish has come true! Roll
up your sleeves, add lots of butter to your shopping list, and
prepare to learn how to make your dream vacation brunch a reality at
home. For this week's Sunday Brunch, I bring
Thanks to our friends, Mickey and the Disney
Chefs, the recipe for chocolate chip crumbcake is available right
here, right now, for your culinary pleasure. And
it's a mighty good thing this recipe was published because as of
summer 2010, the bakery ceased making this delicious treat.
So not only are you getting the recipe for a Disney treat,
we're digging it out of the vault! To start, go
shopping if you don't have the basics, but the ingredients for this
recipe should essentially already be in your pantry.
I adjusted the recipe to fit in a 4.5" x 8.5" loaf pan.
You can double the recipe for enough to fill 3" x 5"
mini loaf pans as suggested by the Disney chefs.
You will need:
- cup plus 1 tablespoon All-purpose flour,
cup Corn starch
- cup + 1 tablespoon (about 1 and 1/8 sticks)
Unsalted Butter (make sure to check or you'll end up with salty
- cup Sugar (white, granulated, pure cane-tomato, tomatoe, it's all the same)
- 2 Eggs
- teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract (imitation is
- Pure Lemon Extract (optional)
cup Chocolate Chips
measuring cups and spoons, Electric hand or stand mixer,
baking pan, rubber spatula, mesh strainer or flour sifter, fork
Later, you will need these items for the Sugar
crumb topping. Weigh these out and set it
1 tablespoon Butter
1/8 cup Sugar
3/8 teaspoon Vanilla
cup All-purpose flour
Let's begin! I've written
pages more than the recipe in the book, so if you just want the
directions and wish to ignore my blabber about ingredients,
molecules, and mixing methods, just look for the bold instructions.
Let's begin with getting everything in its
place or as Chef Louis would say: mis-en-place.
It's most efficient to weigh out all your ingredients
first rather than measuring as you go (unless it's something
small, like a teaspoon of vanilla).
Cookbooks like to assume you're looking at this
recipe hours or days before you're going to do it, but in real life,
people crack open the cookbook because they're hungry NOW.
So you're in a quick bind to get some softened butter, and
the last thing you want to do is nuke it in the microwave.
If your butter is fresh from your fridge, measure it out
first to let it soften to room temperature while you gather
everything else. To speed up this process,
slice up your butter in square slices or cubes.
The lesson is: increase the surface area!
By cutting up the stick of butter, you're exposing more of it to the
air, so multiple cubes of butter are warming up at the same time
rather than the warmth penetrating one giant stick.
When a recipe notes for sifted flour, you
shouldn't ignore it, and it's important to measure the flour
after you sift it. If you measure
non-sifted flour in your
you're altering the proportions of flour in the recipe since cups
measure by volume and not weight. Non-sifted
flour has settled, while sifted flour has air between the particles.
Think of it this way-imagine gathering a pound of Tootle's
marbles and a pound of Donald Duck's feathers. Being
tiny but a bit heavy, you could probably fit Tootle's marbles in a
small pouch. You'll probably need a large
shopping bag to gather a pound of Donald's feathers (you better run
too, I hear he has a short temper). I bring this
up because sifted flour (like the feathers) will have a different
volume than non-sifted flour (like the marbles), thus measuring by
volume (cups) will give you a different amount of flour.
Sifting airs out the flour particles. So
when the recipe calls for sifted flour, sift it, then measure it out
in your cup.
Thankfully, the other dry ingredients
(sugar, baking powder
and cornstarch) are not as finicky as flour, so measure them with
your measuring cups like usual. Gently blend the
baking powder and cornstarch with the flour and set it aside.
If you don't have a handy dandy flour sifter, you can use
a mesh strainer like the one above, it works on the same principle.
If you haven't done so already, have your
baking pan, greased and ready for the batter. You
could grease it by brushing on shortening with a
pastry brush on the bottom and sides of the pan, or spraying
with a light coating of cooking spray. Be sure to
get the corners! You could bake this recipe in
either 3 small loaf pans as suggested by Mickey and the Disney chefs
or in one standard
bread loaf pan as I have done here. If you
want to get really creative, try out other bake ware like regular
and mini cupcake pans, muffin pans, 9" round
cake pans, etc., though the volume of this recipe may not be
suitable for bake ware larger than the aforementioned.
Also, you'll have to really watch what you're baking b/c
different sizes will give you different baking times.
Essentially, the smaller the bake ware, the shorter the bake
Now that your mis-en-place is done, we can
finally start baking!
1. Before we start mixing, let's preheat the
oven to 350 F. A lot of people wonder why
their baking doesn't turn out right and chances are they simply
didn't pre-heat the oven. While it's good to be
energy efficient and wait until you're ready to bake to turn on the
oven, this could drastically alter the final outcome of your
product. Your oven should be at the recipe
temperature when you put your baking pan in and NOT be warming up to
that temperature while you're baking pan is sitting in the oven.
This starts to pre-bake the surface of your product at a slow
rate and at the wrong temperature, which could lead to that surface
burning while you wait for the inside to bake.
2. Now that everything's prepared, let's start
to put it together by creaming the cup + 1 T butter and cup
sugar. This means, you mix the grainy sugar
with the chunky butter (that you've softened) until together they
make a creamy, smooth, light yellow colored mixture.
You can either use an electric stand mixer with the paddle
attachment, an electric hand mixer, a heavy wooden spoon, a spatula,
or your own two hands.
3. Next, add the eggs one at a time.
After you add the first egg, blend it well and then scrape
the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the second
egg and the vanilla and lemon extract with it.
You don't want to add all the eggs at once; otherwise the
ingredients won't blend easily.
4. Start to slowly introduce the dry to the wet
by adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of the flour-cornstarch-baking powder
mixture. Continue to blend in the remainder of
the dry ingredients in stages. When you're on
your last few additions, take the batter off the mixer and fold in
the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula.
I generally add the dry ingredient blend in thirds, and
increase the fraction based on how much flour I have to add.
As with the eggs, it's best to do it in stages to evenly
blend the ingredients. With flour you have to be
extra careful because it is easy to over mix the batter.
When you mix flour with wet ingredients, you are hydrating
them and creating the structure of your final product.
On a molecular level, you are ripping and tearing up little
chains and clusters of protein molecules in the flour and the water
molecules bring them back together into a new cage-like structure
with greater volume to create a network. If you
add the flour all at once, part of it may have an over indulgence in
water while the other is still dry and it won't blend evenly.
When this happens, the first thought is to keep mixing it
until it's all even, but you end up working the flour and water too
much that it creates so much structure, your final product ends up
tough and too chewy. That's okay for bread to
some extent, but definitely not for a soft and tender cake.
5. As soon as all the dry has just been
incorporated with the wet ingredients, fold in the cup of
chocolate chips. As luck would have it, there
were no chocolate chips in my pantry, but I had the next best thing:
a chocolate bar.
If you're in the same predicament, chop up the
into the desired size of chip. Remember, the
finer the chop, the more chocolate you'll get in every bite.
It's the same idea, just not in the perfect dollop chip form.
While I have your attention, folding in ingredients is just
like it sounds. You gently fold over the dough or batter until the
ingredient is consumed. Remember Fauna in
Sleeping Beauty? Do what she did, but be gentler
and make sure to crack open your eggs. The
folding method is great because it mixes in your ingredients without
risking over mixing with a machine.
6. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and
sprinkle with the crumb topping. Oops, I forgot to tell
you how to make that, didn't I?
directions: It's super easy, all you have to do is cream the 1
tablespoon of butter and 1/8 cup sugar with a fork, add the 3/8
teaspoon of vanilla, and work in the cup of flour until it's
7. Sprinkle the top with chocolate so you
know it's chocolate chip. Also it adds a nice
contrast between the yellow-white sugar crumb topping and the dark
chocolate. In culinary school, if there is a
hidden ingredient (such as potential allergen) within a baked good,
you need to garnish the top with it so people know it's there.
This is most commonly done with nuts and oats.
8. Bake your chocolate chip
crumb cake loaf for 45-60 minutes. You can
check on its doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center and
seeing if it comes out dry. Don't be deceived if
you poke a chocolate chip! Pick a new spot, but
try to stay near the center. I used a large
loaf pan, so it took around 60 minutes, plus my oven is finicky.
For smaller pans, you'll need to decrease the time.
Hooray, you've recreated a delicious Disney
treat right in your own home! Mickey and the
Disney Chefs recommend serving a slice of crumb cake warm with a
vanilla ice cream or with a nice hot cup of coffee or tea.
Make sure you move down the table for a clean cup of tea, and
get ready to remember the magic of a Disney
at the BoardWalk Bakery!
Return to Sunday