Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm Back!

Well that was a bit of hiatus wasn't it? I have no excuses besides laziness. But I've been approached to do cupcakes again for my favorite little coffee shop so I'm excited about baking again and getting back into it full force! To start I ran right out and bought a 5 lb bag of flour and a 10 lb bag of sugar! Ooh baby, that's a good start! I wasn't planning on starting until Thursday to get some good weekend sales in on the cupcakes but Chuck had a long, pretty ugly day at work. He determined that the only thing to cheer him up would be some molten lava cakes. I'm not one to argue against the healing powers of chocolate so I was up for the task!

I found a very simple recipe at Tasty Kitchen. Seriously, it's 5 ingredients and one bowl! You can get much easier than that folks. So thanks to the lovely Brandielle, I had my task set!
I did not have any baker's chocolate but I did have:
When I bought this, my incredibly intelligent 6 year old who reads EVERYTHING asked "why is it called 'Special'" and my only answer was, "because it is!"

So I took my "Special" chocolate, melted it with some butter, added some sugar, eggs, and flour, and viola!
The recipe calls for this being baked in 4 custard cups but since my husband bought me this pan, he insisted I use it! And again, I don't argue when it comes to chocolate so I did! So it only made 2 cakes. Since the girls were already in bed, that was ok with us. We don't share chocolate in our house.
Now, since I was making much larger cakes, I probably should have increased the time by more than the 2 minutes that I did. So I would recommend 18-20 minutes of baking. But Chuck prefers raw batter so it worked out for the best. I did not have any cream in the house so we omitted the fresh whipped cream but I am sure that it would have been fabulous! And as a tip - I always add a splash of vanilla when I make homemade whipped cream. Try it once, you'll thank me!
This is how I wanted it to look:This is how it really looked:But it tasted fabulous!! Warm and melty chocolate will fix the worst of days! I promise!

Molten Lava Cakes:
4 pieces (squares) Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate (or 1/2 cup Special Dark chips)
½ cups Butter
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 whole Egg Yolks
6 Tablespoons Flour
2 cups Real Whipping Cream
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla (trust me!)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray 4 custard cups (or 2 ginormous muffin cups) with Pam and place on cookie sheet.
Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on high for about 1 minute, until butter is melted. whisk until chocolate is also melted.
Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.
Divide between cups.
Bake 13-14 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft. (or 18-20 if you're making the big daddies) Let stand 1 minute.
Combine sugar, heavy cream and vanilla and whip until stiff.
Invert cakes on dishes and top with whipped cream. It's best to serve these immediately. Cold lava becomes pretty darn hard, doesn't it? I'm just sayin'.
Because I've been away for so long, I'm going to leave you with a bonus recipe. You see, this cake calls for 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks. That leaves 2 egg whites all by their lonesome and I just can't have that! So I saved them for the morning.

Have you heard of Hungry Girl? She is the guru of eating the good stuff but in lighter forms. I took my little lonely egg whites and transformed them into one fabulous Egg Mug!
Here's how:
2 egg whites + one whole egg (I had just one left in the fridge and I am very opposed to lonely eggs)
1 wedge Laughing Cow swiss cheese
1 slice deli ham
I scrambled those eggs in my favorite mug that I got in Berlin, added the cheese, ham, and some salt & pepper, microwaved it for 1 min, stirred and then nuked it for 30 more seconds and got this:
Are you hungry yet?? Look at that yummy, creamy mug of deliciousness!
Happy Baking!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The domestic goddess

I've been looking at these for ages. They have tempted me and intrigued me and I knew I just had to try them. What are they? Cupcake pops! Yes, candy covered cake truffles that are to die for! I found them on Bakerella who is the queen of these little beauties and has even been featured on Martha Stewart for them. Click here for her tutorial on how to make them and enjoy my attempt. I used a box mix for the red velvet and canned frosting which I usually hate but I was pressed for time since I was doing these for my daughter's class party the next day. This is a time consuming project but worth every minute!

Big bowl of red mush - red velvet cake crumbled with a can of cream cheese frosting! I could have sat there and eaten the entire bowl but I had a job to do!
Best thing to come out of my daughter's Easy Bake Oven - perfect sized heart cookie cutter

I got lazy after doing enough for her class and just rolled balls with the rest of the dough. One batch makes about 50 or so truffles! I stuck them in the freezer for about 30 minutes before dipping. You may want to wear gloves while doing this. I ended up with pink hands.

Dipped in white Wilton's Candy Melts and covered in sprinkles! I just melted the candy in the microwave in 30 second increments. Dipped the pops and then put them in the fridge to cool.

Wrapped in a small treat bag & tied with a bow! Happy Valentine's Day!

These are delicious! Very moist cake center coupled with the crunchy candy coating. Perfection! The supplies are super easy to find too. I found all the ingredients, lolly-pop sticks, candy coating - everything at Walmart! They have an entire Wilton's section! Who knew?!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Because Loretta Lynn's daughter said so

Oh my poor baking blog, how I have neglected thee. It's not for lack of baking, just lack of posting motivation. I have no excuses so I won't offer any, I'll just say sorry and jump back on the bandwagon.
Over the holidays I was commissioned to bake three cakes for my husband's boss. Since I'm really more of a cupcake kind of gal, this task was pretty daunting. The first cake was a red velvet and it came out tasty but short and my icing skills were less than novice so it looked very sad. I was embarrassed but due to time constraints, was unable to start over. To my surprise, we got a text message the next day - "Loretta Lynn's daughter thinks you should open a bakery". OMG - Loretta Lynn's daughter was at the party where the saddest looking cake ever was served?! And she liked it?! I replied that if she would like to donate the start up, I would happily name it the Loretta Lynn Bakery. Alas, they did not agree. The next cake I made was a coconut version of a Tres Leche which again, delish! But it's a basic sheet cake and not much to look at. By my third cake, I had better tools and more practice. I made a German Chocolate cake that I have been craving ever since. I decorated it, not perfectly, but pretty darn good for a beginner. I was so proud, I even did a littl "Ta Da!" move to my hubby when completed.

I then began to delve into the world of fondant. I was a bit intimidated but after reading other sites and instructions, it didn't look that bad so I made a cake for a friend's baby shower:
and some fetus cookies (blame Cakewrecks)

This past weekend, while nursing a post-surgical kidney (yes, I am a glutton for punishment) I baked a cake for the Super Bowl:
It's not perfect but it was fun to make! And totally worth the $11.99 football shaped pan.

So I have been baking, just being lazy about sharing. I promise it won't happen again soon. Tomorrow is my brother's birthday and I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve. ;)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TWD: Pumpkin Muffins

Once again, Dorie has blown me away. These muffins were easy and delicious! I substituted mini chocolate chips for the raisins and a pecan pie glazed pecan for the topper. Those pecans are a one for you/one for me kind of treat. Yummo!
The recipe says it makes 12 but I got 19 muffins which is good since I made them for my daughter's Daisy Scout troup and I would be sad if there weren't extras for, um, tasting. Yeah, I have to taste them to make sure they're edible! You can find the recipe on Kelly's site. It says bake at 400 for 25 minutes but luckily I read the message boards and saw that most were done in 17 minutes. My glazed pecans still got a bit burnt but the flavor was still good and it gives the muffins a sweet, crunchy bite. I omitted the ginger and allspice since I didn't have any. I'm actually sitting here, eating one as I type and wow. Rush out and make some today! I just might make another batch tonight, just for us.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Lovely Husband Cooks!

Chuck makes so much fun of me taking pictures of just about everything. I've whipped my camera out in restaurants for a pretty plate and he about dies of embarrassment. So this weekend when he made some pretty amazing stir fry, he called up to me, "Aren't you going to take a picture of this?!" And so I did!
Ladies, there is nothing sexier than a man who can cook! These shrimp were to die for! And the meal is pretty simple. We love the Sesame Garlic marinade by Iron Chef and do almost all our stir fry with it. Chuck also sauteed up some onions and chopped portobello mushrooms. Then he threw the cooked rice in to fry in some sesame oil and soy sauce. Our house smelled like Chinese food for 2 days and I did not care!
Note how he plated it so nicely, placing the shrimp delicately on top of the bed of rice? That comes from watching all those Top Chef episodes with me that he claims to not like and yet it's the one reality show where he does not make me change the channel.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TWD: Lenox Almond Biscotti - I mean brownies :(

Um, I'm an idiot and forgot this week. Totally forgot! I was planning on spending Sunday afternoon making these but then got invited to my father-in-law's for dinner and completely forgot about the biscotti until....oh, about 9pm last night! Oops. For what the other bakers did, please click here.
Otherwise, enjoy this photo of the amazing Lady's Brownies I made. Recipe from Paula Deen's Lady & Sons cookbook. It is so simple, no mixers and just one bowl! I added about a cup of toffee chips just for fun!
2cup sugar
1 cup veg. oil.
4 eggs
6 tbs cocoa
1tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup self rising flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans ( I omitted, nuts take up valuable chocolate space in our mouths) ;)

Preheat oven to 325, blend together sugar, oil, eggs, cocoa, and vanilla. Add flour; mix. add nuts (or in my case, toffee chips); spread into greased 13x9 baking dish, bake 25-30. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Chuck said they were the best brownies he has ever had! I must say, I baked them for the full 30 minutes and they were incredibly soft and gooey: a perfect brownie texture, if you're of the people who prefer gooey over cakey brownies, which we are.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Caramel (half)Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

You know how some recipe are dubbed "One Bowl whatever"? This cake is "Four Bowl Cake". Four. Bowls. And one pan. As someone who loathes doing dishes, this was not ideal. Although I was happy that I didn't have to lug my big heavy KitchenAid from under the counter. This cake was very simple to put together. See the recipe on Tammy's site since she is the master mind behind choosing this fantastic recipe!

The caramel topping was time consuming but again, not difficult at all. I think I overcooked it a bit but it still tasted amazing. I have the world's pickiest husband who did not want peanuts on his so I did just half with peanuts. That was tricky since the cake fell so much in the middle. I think I may have undercooked it but when my timer beeped, the oven turned itself off so I couldn't add more time because the temperature had gotten too low. It certainly didn't affect the taste though. The cake was moist and delicious and the caramel was rich and creamy and the peanuts gave it a little saltyness and crunch. A perfect combination. Tastes best with a glass of cold milk!