Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - Tea infused Creme Brulee!

OMG, this was sooooooo good. I stressed myself out a bit about it was it was completely worth it for the end result. Thanks to Mari (you can find the recipe on her site) for chosing this week's recipe. It was a lot of fun to make and gave a surprising amount of room for creativity. I infused mine with some Mate Vana tea my sister Erin gave me for Christmas. It gave it a wonderful flavor. Both Chuck and I had a blast (literally!) with the blow torch. I did the first one for my daughter who was home sick and she thought it was the coolest thing ever! Dorie gives several ways to spice this dessert up and I can't wait to try them all!

Tea leaves seeping in milk. The recipe said to line a strainer with cheesecloth which I did not have so I used a coffee filter to strain the milk. Worked perfect.

Frothy custard. Dorie instructs you to "rap the bowl on the counter" to settle the bubbles but no amount of rapping could eliminate the bubbles for me. I guess I whisked too quickly?

Fire! I lucked out and found a Creme Brulee set at Linen's & Things for $15, blow torch and all. Hooray for businesses going down the crapper and having awesome sales.

Yummy, crunchy, creamy creme brulee!
Layla approved!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Chocolate Cupcakes 2 Ways

A few weeks ago I made some toffee topped chocolate cupcakes for Get Coffee. Apparenlty they did pretty well so they requested more. I decided to do half the batch of chocolate cakes with the toffee chips and half with a little minty surprise inside. I put a Three Musketeers Mint Mini in each one. Wow! Baking the candy made them kind of chewy which made for a delicious little treat. I topped the toffee cakes with "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting recipe from the back of the Hershey's Cocoa Powder box. The minty cakes I topped with some Mint Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I can't wait to see how these sell because I loved them both.

For the cupcakes I used the Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcake recipe from Dorie Greenspan's
Baking: From My Home to Yours: (this is the original recipe, I doubled it to be able to make a pan of mini cupcakes also)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa pwdr
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted & cooled

Preheat oven to 350F.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking pwdr, baking soda, and salt.
Use the paddle attachment on your mixer and beat the butter at med. speed until soft & creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until is is bledned into the butter. Add the egg, then the yolk, beating for 1 min after each addition. Beat in vanilla, then reduce mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear. Add the buttermilk, mixing until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Add the melted chocolate and mix it in with a rubber spatula. Bake cupcakes for 22-25 minutes.

"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting:

1 stick butter
2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa pwdr
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency. Add more milk if needed. Stir in vanilla.

Mint Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla flavor
1/4 tsp pepermint flavor (more if you like it strong, do 1/4 tsp. at a time b/c peppermint is sta-rong!)
Put egg whites and sugar in a double boiler over simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (easiest way is to get some on your finger and see if you can still feel the sugar granules. Pour heated egg mixture into a clean bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes (It's very important to beat it for the whole 6 minutes). Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears soupy or separated after all butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in extracts. Reduce speed to low; beat 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Dimply Plum Cake

I wasn't feeling the plums while shopping. I regret that. I chose white peaches instead and they were not nearly as soft and juicy as I had hoped. I don't know if that was the choice of peaches or if they weren't completely ripe yet. Chuck thought they weren't ripe enough but since I've never had white peaches, I had no way of knowing. It still turned out well enough, just not fabulous. I prefer fabulous when it comes to baking. I do love how the fruit gives the cake a very moist texture around each piece.

I substituted nutmeg for the cardamon to get a more cobbler taste. That was a good decision and it was a very nice, spicy cake. Next time I'm using yellow peaches. Chuck suggested cherries also. Since I made this at night, we topped it with some vanilla ice cream & caramel sauce. Yummo!

Thanks to Michelle for chosing this week's recipe. It's definitely one to play around with, I may even brave the plums one day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - Chocolate Chunkers

There is no better title for these babies. With only 1/3 cup of flour, they are almost entirely chocolate. The batter is melted chocolate and cocoa powder and there two different types of chocolate chunks throughout the cookie. The recipe called for raisins but when I discussed this with my husband he said "why don't you just put some a** in it too." With all the comments from other bakers of the turd-like appearance of the cookies, he wasn't very far off. We also left out the nuts, mostly because we just weren't in the mood for nuts. So we have chocolate chocolate chocolate chocolate cookies and they are good! It doesn't hurt that I'm a total chocoholic! They are better the 2nd day, after refrigeration. Very rich and chewy. Delish!

This week's recipe was chosen by Claudia. As much as I enjoyed these cookies and the Whopper ones, and the granola ones from several weeks ago (which I did make but did not post for some reason), I am ready to move on to a different type of baked good. I'm looking forward to next week's Dimply Plum Cake.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Coconut Key Lime Cupcakes

These were fantastic! I didn't want to sell them but my Avon deadline is quickly approaching so I've gotta bake bake bake to get that money in! I adapted this recipe from Cupcakes! By the Cupcake Doctor. She uses cake mixes in her recipes and I prefer from scratch so for the cupcake, I used Amy Sedaris' vanilla cupcake recipe:

Amy Sedaris' Vanilla Cupcakes
1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
1 ¾ cups of sugar
Beat well, then add:
Add 2 large eggs
2 Teaspoons of pure vanilla (I used 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp coconut flavoring)
½ teaspoon of salt
2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
2 ½ cups of flour
1 ¼ cups of milk
I also added in the zest and juice of one lime to the batter, next time I will do two limes for more flavor.
Beat well, fill cups, and bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes. You should get 24. I made 12 regular and 24 mini cupcakes.

For the filling, I mixed one can of sweetened condensed milk with 3/4 cup key lime juice, 2 drops of green and one drop of yellow food coloring. Once the cupcakes were cooled, I used a piping bag to fill each one with the key lime filling.
For the icing, I made coconut swiss meringue buttercream:
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
2 teaspoons coconut flavor

Put egg whites and sugar into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees). Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add coconut flavor and continue beating 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles.

After icing, I topped them with more lime zest! Sublime on a hot day!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Whopper Malted Drops

Yes, I'm well aware that it's Friday. I'm off to an inauspicious beginning here with this project. I actually baked these on Sunday but then my camera died and I have a whole series of excuses to go with that but I won't bore you with them.
This week's recipe was Chocolate Whopper Malted Drops or Chocolate cookies loaded with more chocolate and candy! In Dorie's cookbook she describes these cookies as something Willy Wonka would make. I have to agree. They were sweet and gooey and much better on day 2. Fresh out of the oven, they were a little cakey.

I had some toffee chips left over from a batch of cupcakes so I did half of the batter with the Whopper candy and half with the Heath Bar chips. I have to say, the toffee chips faired better. When baking chopped up Whoppers, the candy melts and then becomes very chewy and a bit tough.
Also, we had some Breyer's Heath Bar ice cream and intended to make some delectable sundaes with the cookies but they didn't last that long. It wasn't my favorite cookie recipe but you'd never know it by how fast they were gone!

Thanks to Rachel who chose this week's challenge. The recipe is posted on her blog here.