Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
That night, she celebrated at the Cheesecake Factory with both sets of grandparents and one of her uncles. Her favorite character now is Celia from Monsters Inc. (random? yes) so she got a Celia cake for that party. The cake is white with pistachio buttercream.
And finally, here are the birthday cake cookies I made for her preschool class.
Friday, December 26, 2008
I personally was disappointed in this. The hazelnut flavor was great, but like this cake, I didn't like just whipped cream for the filling. I would also add more chocolate to the cake as I couldn't taste it. I just used simple syrup instead of run syrup.
Chocolate Hazelnut Nutcracker Cake
Makes one 9inch triple layer cake
Ingredients – for the cake layers
1 cup skinned hazelnuts (about 4 ounces)
10 whole graham crackers (5½ ounces), broken into pieces
1¼ cups sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely grated
10 eggs, separated
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup all purpose flour
1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
Dark chocolate curls for decoration
Method – for the cake layers
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of 3 9inch cake tins. Line the base with parchment paper and dust the sides with flour, tap out any excess.
2. Spread the nuts onto a baking tray and toast for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Leave to cool completely. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
3. In a food processor, grind the graham crackers to crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the toasted nuts to the processor (no need to wash) and add ¼ cup of sugar. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground, but do not blitz too much or else it will form a paste. Add the nuts, graham cracker crumbs and grated chocolate together in the bowl and mix.
4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and ½ cup of sugar using an electric mixer until well blended. Add the oil and vanilla slowly, beating until ribbons begin to form on the surface of the mixture. Then, fold in the chocolate nut crumbs.
5. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat until thick and foamy. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup of sugar, continuing to beat until the whites form stiff peaks. Fold a third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture and mix well to slacken the mix. Sift over the flour, spice and baking powder and fold in. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until no streaks remain but do not over mix.
6. Divide the batter between the three pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire wrack to cool completely.
7. To assemble the cake, place a layer on a cake stand, flat side up. Sprinkle it with a third of the rum syrup and let it all soak in for 1-2 minutes. Spread ¾ cup of crème Chantilly over the top, right to the edge. Repeat with the remaining layers, letting the syrup soak in before adding the crème.
Use the rest of the crème to cover the sides of the cake. Decorate the top with dark chocolate curls.
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup dark rum
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Place over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the rum. Allow to cool before using.
2 cups heavy cream
3 tbsp confectioners sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla in a chilled bowl and whip until the cream is stiff but not too thick or buttery.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
And I made a mini cake present. I didn't have time to clean it up much, hence the powdered sugar dust on the decorations.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
But it's the Christmas season and you HAVE to have some sugar cookies, right? Well, Dorie's recipe is great because you can just roll and cut right in the plastic wrapped dough disks! I love it!! No floured countertops (and floors)! The dough is super soft, though. To save 2 hours of chilling time, I put mine in the freezer for about 45 minutes. Worked just fine. I kept trading off between the two dough disks- kept one in the freezer while I worked with the other. Here's my helper. I know I shouldn't let her lick the paddle, but you couldn't resist that face, either. In Christmas jammies, no less! I topped mine with a simple sugar/milk drizzle and some colored sugar sprinkles. I also drizzled a few with melted chocolate.
So, not as cutely (is that a word?) decorated as I would've liked if I had more time, but these cookies are really good. Buttery and crispy... I am of the opinion that they need icing, however. A naked sugar cookie is not for me!! Check out Ulrike's blog for the fantastic recipe!
Monday, December 1, 2008
I actually used finely ground unsalted cashews since that's the only nut I had in our pantry. I halved the recipe and also added 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder with the flour/nut mixture.
Let me just tell you, the smell from these was AMAZING! The tiny bit of cloves (not a fan, normally) and cinnamon, with a hint of chocolate filled the kitchen, making it smell like the holidays. WONDERFUL!!I made the ganache a little thin and left some of the chopped chocolate in tact so there's a little surprise in some of the bites.
These cookies are honestly some of the best I've tasted. I would highly recommend giving these a shot. They're fairly quick (chill time notwithstanding) and easy and are absolutely wonderful!! Check out the recipe here! Thanks, Noskos for the great pick!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I think I cooked this too long because once it cooled, it was so hard there was NO way it was going to "pour" into the batter. I think the spoon standing up is a bad thing.So I warmed it up and poured it in. It seized (even though the ingredients were at room temperature) and the batter looked pretty gross. I was afraid it was ruined, but I just kept beating it and it smoothed out wonderfully. I made the cake into cupcakes for my brother's birthday. I filled the cups 3/4 full, and it made about 16 cupcakes. They looked beautiful and I couldn't wait to try them.
My brother loves Van Gogh so I decided to use the cupcakes in the Starry Night project in "Hello, Cupcake!" Since I wasn't going to top the cupcakes with the caramelized butter frosting, I halved the frosting recipe and filled them.
I used Confetti Cakes cupcake icing instead of canned frosting used in the recipe. Unfortunately, we all thought the cupcakes were dense and heavy. My husband said they tasted like cornbread. Only three of the 15 were eaten. Sorry to my brother for the yucky cupcakes! :)
CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING
as published on Bay Area Bites
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350F
Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
Sift flour and baking powder.
Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients.
Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.
Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.
Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers.
CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrupKosher or sea salt to taste
Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.
Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light (recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This is what I'm most thankful for:
What about you?!!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This was a delicious, moist cake. It got rave reviews from our dinner guests, as well as my co-workers who got the leftovers! Below is my version, or check out the blog roll for the original!
Sweet Potato Cake
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman
2 medium or 1 large sweet potato (12 ounces)
3 cups of cake flour (I substituted 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour + 6T corn starch)
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
5 eggs, separated
2 and 1/4 cups of sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups of milk
1 cup toffee bits
Makes a 9-inch triple layer cake, serves 16-20 people
1. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Prick the sweet potatoes in 2-3 places, place on a small baking dish and bake for 1 hour or until the potatoes are very soft. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F degrees. Butter the bottoms and the sides of the pans and line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper also.
3. When the sweet potatoes are cool peel off the skin and remove any dark spots. Cut the potatoes into chunks and puree in a food processors. Puree until smooth. Measure out one cup of potato puree and set aside.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. Set aside.
5. In the bowl of electric mixer add the egg whites and attach whip attachment. Beat on medium speed until egg whites are frothy. Raise the speed to high and gradually beat in 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until the egg whites are moderately stiff.
6. In another large bowl with the paddle attachment, combine the sweet potato, butter, vanilla, and remaining sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl after each egg yolk is added. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and milk in alternately in 2-3 additions. making sure to begin and end with the dry ingredients.
7. With a large spatula, fold in one fourth of the egg whites into the batter to lighten. Then fold in the remaining egg whites until no streaks remain. Making sure to not over mix or this will deflate the batter. Divide the batter among of the three pans.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn out the cake layers onto a wire rack and cool completely at least 1 hour.
9. To assemble the cake, place one layer flat side up on to a cake stand. With a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and filled with chocolate cream cheese icing, pipe border around the edge of the cake. Fill the center with the almond cream filling smoothing it to the edge of the border. Sprinkle with toffee bits. Place the second layer on top and repeat the process. Place the third layer on top and use all the chocolate cream cheese frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
Chocolate Cream Frosting:
makes 3 cups
8 oz ounces cream cheese at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
16 ounces of powdered sugar; sifted
1 and 1/2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate melted and slightly cooled
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar to cream cheese butter mixture. Making sure to scrape down the sides the sides of the bowl. Then beat until light fluffy 2-3 minutes.
2. Measure out 1 cup of frosting and set aside.
3. Add the melted chocolate to the remaining icing in the bowl and beat until well combined.
Almond Cream Filling:
1 1/2 cup of reserved cream cheese icing from above.
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
1. Stir together all the ingredients until well mixed.
Monday, November 17, 2008
How about this? (Yes, those are raisins peeking out of there. Contrary to my tastes and desires, raisins were added. Only because my husband looked at it on the stove and said, "Are you putting raisins in it?" Since I was making this for him, I caved)
I wasn't sure, but it seemed "done" to me, so I took it out, poured it into a bowl, covered it and put it in the refrigerator. Six hours later, we had this for dessert:
Yes, that does look like paprika on top, but it's cinnamon. I did try it, but don't think I'll have any more. It was good, but, and perhaps it's my Asian genes, but milk and rice don't really do it for me. My husband assured me that he will have no problem finishing it off. So 5 stars from someone who likes rice pudding! Check out Isabelle's blog for the recipe!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Instead of chocolate glaze, which would have been amazing, we did simple cinnamon-sugar. Toss the donuts in a paper bag with cinnamon and sugar, shake away and enjoy! Crisp on the outside, tender and chewy on the inside...heaven! Make sure you wipe your counter after setting the paper bag on it- I spent 15 minutes wondering what the crusty, sandy stuff was glued to my counter!!
Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts
Gourmet, December 2006 makes 1 dozen doughnuts
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons warm water (105–115°F)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
About 10 cups vegetable oil for deep frying
Stir together yeast and warm water in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Mix together flour, milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture in mixer at low speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes more.
Scrape dough down side of bowl (all around) into center, then sprinkle lightly with flour (to keep a crust from forming). Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in bowl in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours.)
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round (1/2 inch thick). Cut out as many rounds as possible with 3-inch cutter, then cut a hole in center of each round with 1-inch cutter and transfer doughnuts to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Cover doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes (45 minutes if dough was cold when cutting out doughnuts). Do not reroll scraps.
Heat 2 1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350°F on thermometer. Fry doughnuts, 2 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 350°F between batches.)I got this one in the Santa hat
But not this one
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
adapted from the Ivory cookbook
2 lbs frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 16 oz. bottle BBQ sauce
Place frozen chicken breasts in slow cooker with BBQ sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Shread meat with forks. Serve on buns with desired condiments.
Oven Fries2 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed
Garlic salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat generously with cooking spray. Cut potatoes in half; cut each half lengthwise and crosswise so you have a steak-fry shape. Place potatoes on foil and season to taste, tossing to coat evenly. Spray the top of the potatoes with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and tender, turning once.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Thanks to Yolanda for the great pick! Check out the TWD blogroll for other results!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Tender vegetables and chicken in a smooth, creamy sauce, topped with a flaky, cripy crust... the perfect round-up to a cool(ish) Fall day. I added a tiny bit of curry powder to the sauce for a slightly different flavor, just enough to taste it in the background without overpowering the lightness of the dish. I also used frozen peas and corn because that's what my kids will eat, but you can use whatever veggies you like.
Chicken (Curry) Pot PIe
Pastry Topper (from BHG.com)
¾ cup sliced celery
½ cup chopped carrot
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon curry powder
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
2-1/2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
½ cup loose-pack frozen peas
½ cup frozen corn
1. Prepare Pastry Topper; set aside.
2. In a large saucepan cook celery, and carrot in oil over medium-high heat until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and curry powder. Add broth and milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in chicken, peas, and corn. Pour into a 13” x 9” baking dish.
3. Place pastry over chicken mixture in dish. Turn edges of pastry under and cut slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
4. Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Pastry Topper: In a medium bowl stir together 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in 1/3 cup shortening until dough pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Sprinkle an additional 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water over remaining flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until all dough is moistened. Form into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 13x9-inch rectangle.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I was actually planning on making these cupcakes for a Halloween party on Friday night, but I ran out of time/energy so I decided to make them for our missionary dinner guests tonight. These yummy diddies were chose by Clara (whose blog is so great, I might add). I love the pic in the book- so simple with silver dragees. I just topped mine with Heath bits. I was a little disppointed that my glaze wasn't as shiny as the books, but they were still delicious!Here's the recipe. And if you want to see some rugelach, go here!