Desserts-a-Plenty at Barking Frog and Willows Lodge
Let’s face it, dear hedonists – From October through April, it’s all about desserts. Be it Hallowthankmus, V-Day, or Bunny Time, well over one-half of the calendar year celebrates the Sweet Tooth.
Chef Matt Kelley is no exception. For him, it’s a good thing.
For he’s a Pastry Chef at Willows Lodge and Barking Frog.
And he’s good at what he does.
Really, really good.
Last fall your Hedonista attended a multi-course media dessert tasting at Barking Frog. It was a three-course extravaganza complete with intermezzo and mignardise.
Each and every sweet-alicious course was, quite simply, divine.
To start, we had a noodles dish in which the noodles were made of white chocolate served on a bed of crumbled lemon pound cake, topped with orange flower gel and micro sorrel and plated with a port reduction and per pearls. It was so strange eating dessert with the texture of a savory meal (think Chinese food) and the look of jewelry … but it worked.
Next, we enjoyed jewel-steamed medjool date cake, served alongside apple-persimmon compote and whipped house made apple cider and plated with droplets of raisin purée and Pedro Jiménez Caramel. A perfect autumnal treat, in my opinion.
The intermezzo was served on an Asian soup spoon and consisted of yoghurt sherbet, re-hydrated sour cherries and a large graham cracker crumb. This offering was like enjoying an entire cheesecake in a single bite (so no guilt).
The third course consisted of a coffee ganache bar on a layer of Guinness gingerbread smear, served with cocoa crumble, birch macerated bananas, and Oatmeal stout ice cream.
This dessert dinner ended with “Pop” truffles – white chocolate balls filled with Pop Rocks candies – a literal party in one’s mouth.
Then there are the Boot Camps. In December I attended their Holiday Desserts Boot Camp on December 19th, 2012. There, Chef Matt Kelley shared a vegan chocolate cake recipe that is good for Christmas with peppermint and candy canes or Valentine’s Day without. Here’s the recipe, immediately below:
Vegan Chocolate Cake by Pastry Chef Matt Kelley, Willows Lodge and Barking Frog:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (use some high-end stuff)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla (again, use the good stuff)
2 cups cold water
Sift together the dry ingredients first (first five). Combine the liquids and add to the dry ingredients a little at a time. Pour into a half sheet pan sprayed and lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees F until the skewer test comes out clean (about 20 minutes). Cool.
While on the topic of Valentine’s Day, all through the month of February Willows Lodge is running its “Month of Love” promotions and the Barking Frog is once again offering up its annual Aphrodisiac Menu once again in 2013; this four-course menu costs $99 with wine pairings and $69 without.
The Boot Camp series is also continuing, now re-labelled “Cooking with Your Sweetheart” in anticipation of V-Day. Chef Bobby Moore and his Food & Beverage team along with their significant others – including Pastry Chef Matt Kelley and his wife Marcy on February 27th, 2013 – will host a series of cooking classes each Wednesday this month at 5:30 p.m.
As always, these cooking classes are free but but on a first come, first served basis, so space is limited.
The themes for the “Cooking with Your Sweetheart” series are as follows:
- February 6th – Chef Bobby Moore & wife Michelle – Breakfast in Bed – Sweet & Savory Crepes
- February 13th – Wine Director Matt Davis & wife Suzanne – Cooking with Woodinville Wines – Coq au Vin and Wine Poached Pears
- February 20th – Chief Mixologist Court Knoop & wife Kristine – Cooking with Woodinville Whiskey – Steak with Caramelized Onions and Woodinville Whiskey
- February 27th – Pastry Chef Matt Kelley & wife Marcy – Cooking with Chocolate
Like I said, dear hedonists … several months of sweet treats – enjoy!