Monday, October 6, 2008
Last weekend a co-worker, who I like a lot, got married on the sly. She went on vacation for a week then came in on Monday morning with the 'glow' and announced she was a married women. It was very 'no frills', just the way she wanted it.
While at my desk, she jokingly said she didn't have a wedding cake and peeked at me. I asked her what type of cake would she haven't wanted and she said "a chocolate cake with a not so sweet icing". Hmmmmm. Instantly my mind started a working. Now, I know she was joking but shoot she gave me a reason to bake!
I decided to make chocolate cake with vanilla SMBC and cover it in white fondant with a red ribbon border. I wanted to make some gum paste flowers.....and I did...but I didn't like them enough to put on the cake. I found this video and have the technique down, I just need the correct tools. Since the flower idea wasn't working I decided to make a little bow on the top of it.
I am VERY happy and proud of my cake. This is my second time working with fondant and loved the results. The first time wasn't bad I just didn't like how it turned out. I didn't put a good base of icing under the cake so it was a bit bumpy.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
It's that time of the month.
NO! Not THAT time but time for the the Daring Baker's challenge. This month's challenge was the group first vegan challenge. We were to make Lavish Crackers. We also make a vegan dip. I was a little apprehensive at first but quickly got over it. I had ideas for day but none stuck out, then I straight forgot that today was challenge post day and had to whip up some lavish real quick. Thanks to our hosts Natalie and Shel for one of the best challenges since I've been a member of Daring Bakers.
I made Tomato Basil Garlic Lavish with Sun-dried Tomato hummus
Cinnamon Sugar Lavish with Mexican Chocolate Dip
And since I had some dough left over I made some non-vegan crackers...
END VERDICT - 5 stars
These cracker were GRREEAT! My mom and daughter ate the cinnamon sugar lavish before they got ANTM on so I had to make another batch so I could take their picture. I will definitely make these again! Check out all the other daring baker here.
Until next time,
Sunday, August 31, 2008
So it's about that time when the Daring Bakers showcase that one special recipe. This month's hosts, Tony Tahhan and MeetaK, picked Chocolate Eclairs from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme by Dorie Greenspan.
I was excited because I have never had a real e'clair. The closest thing I have had to an e'clair was a Boston Cream donut (cream filled, chocolate topped baked good).
The rules for this was that the dought for the ecliars must be the pate a choux recipe given and that either the chocolate glaze recipe or the chocolate pastry cream recipe had to be used. I choose to use the chocolate glaze recipe and I filled my eclairs with strawberry pastry cream and vanilla pastry cream.
Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)
Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)
½ cup (125g) whole milk
½ cup (125g) water
1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1. In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil.
2. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.
3. Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your hand mixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough. You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
4. The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed below.
1. Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.
2. You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.
Cream Puff Dough (see above for recipe), fresh and still warm
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 4 1/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.
3. Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.
The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
from Williams Sonoma Cakes
1 1/2 cups milk (12 fl oz/375 ml)
1/2 cup sugar (4 oz/125 g)
4 large egg yolks
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, warm the milk until tiny bubbles form alone the pan edges. Remove from heat
2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until blended. Add the cornstarch whisk until blended.
3. Slowly pour the hot milk into the yolk mixture while whisking constantly.
4. Return the mixture to the saucepan, over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and just comes to a boil, 2-3 minutes.
5. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl. Add the butter and vanilla and stir slowly until the butter melts.
6. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface, poke a few holes in the plastic with a toothpick and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.
Chocolate Glaze Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)
1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature
1. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
2. Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.
1. If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.
2. It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)
4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 g) water
½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
1/3 cup (70 g) sugar
1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.
1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.
Assembling the éclairs:
Chocolate glaze (see above for recipe)
Vanilla pastry cream (see above for recipe)
1. Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
2. The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40 degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the bottoms with the pastry cream.
3. Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.
1. If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create bubbles.
2. The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.
END VERDICT - 3 3/4 Stars
Completely assembled these eclairs are yummy in the tummy. I found the cream puff dough to be a bit eggy by itself. I also was not satisfied with the strawberry pastry cream recipe I used so I didn't include it. It called for flour and I find that the pastry cream came together before the flour was cooked off leaving a nasty aftertaste. The vanilla pastry cream very yummy. So yummy that any leftovers was eaten like pudding.
Until next time,
Sunday, August 24, 2008
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tbsp grated lemon rind, divided
¾ cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup powdered sugar
8. Bake muffins for 17 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove muffins from the pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Vanilla Chocolate Chip to be exact.
I used a different chocolate cookie recipe then usual. I got this recipe from BlogChef.net
Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 40 cookies
7. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Take a small scoop of slightly defrosted ice cream and place in the center of your cookie.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Over the holiday weekend I went on a baking frenzy! I made a sweet potato danish braid, chocolate cookies, lemon curd and cupcakes! The cupcakes were a special request from my brother as a belated birthday present. Since I didn't give him anything but a hug and a "Happy Birthday" I obliged. He is not a fan of icing of any kind so he asked for plain vanilla cupcakes. I have made Chockylit's recipe and while I liked them, my taste tester found them extremely sweet. My go to vanilla cupcake recipe comes from Williams-Sonoma Cakes book.
While getting the ingredient together to make the cupcakes I just couldn't help thinking about what could go on top of them. I know my brother loves Tastykake Krumpets so I decided to translate them into a cupcake.
Adapted from Butter Cake recipe in Williams Sonoma Cakes book
makes 12 - 14 cupcakes
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tbsp cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
seeds from 1/2 of vanilla pod
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake papers into pans.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. Place the butter and sugar in your bowl and cream ingredients until light and airy, about 2 minutes.
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly before adding the next. Stop the mixer and scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds.
5. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Next add one-half of the milk and mix until incorporated. Continue adding the ingredients in the same order, ending with the last third of the dry ingredients
4. Scoop batter 2/3 full into cupcake cups and bake for 15-20 minutes or until tester comes out clean and the cupcakes are golden brown.
makes 3 cups
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1. Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar; bring to a boil over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
2. Stir in milk; bring to boil, stirring constantly. Pour mixture into standing mixer bowl and cool to lukewarm.
3. Gradually add powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency. Beat until thick enough to spread.
I dipped the tops of the cupcakes into the butterscotch icing and let them set for 15 minutes. Make sure the cupcakes are room temperature when you dip them or the icing will melt.
END VERDICT - 4 1/2 Stars
These cupcakes are FREAKING awesome. I think they taste as close to a Krumpet as possible. This is how good they are: My brother picked up his gift (8 cupcakes...My Stinkie and I had a couple and he ate a couple before leaving the house) Sunday night 9:00. By Monday noon I received a phone call from my mother telling me how greedy my brother is BECAUSE THEY WERE GONE. Tell you alot huh?
Until next time,
Sunday, June 29, 2008
This month's challenge was making a danish braid. I was very excited to make it because I have never worked with yeast before. I'm sorry for the short post put I was up until 2am proofing the dough because I waited until the last minute to make the danish braid. Now for the recipe and pictures.
Makes 2/12 pounds of dough
For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated (I omitted)
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (I omitted)
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1. Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed.
2. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well.
3. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated.
4. Place dough on floured surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky.
5. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.
For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Butter Block Directions
1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
1. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
2. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough.
3. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter.
4. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third.
5. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle.
7. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
8. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. 9. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight.
The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Cream Cheese Filling
3 8oz packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1. Place the cream cheese and sugar in a food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Add the vanilla, egg and vanilla bean seeds and blend until completely incorporated.
Sweet Potato Filling
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup milk
4 1/4 tbsp sugar
1. Individually wrap the sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 40 to 45 minutes.
2. Remove potatoes from oven and let cool for 15 minutes or until they are cool enough to handle.
3. Remove the pulp from the potatoes and smash slightly.
4. Add the cinnamon, milk and sugar.
5. Blend until smooth.
Dough kneaded and ready to go into the refrigerator
Sorry for the sucky pics. Here are the sweet potato filled danishes
END VERDICT - 4 1/2 stars
The danish dough is soooooo yummy. The cream cheese filling was little more runny than I wanted but it was still extremely delicious. I haven't tried the danishes with the sweet potato filling yet. I will post a pic and tell you how it tastes later tonight.
Until next time,
Sunday, June 15, 2008
My father requested a cake for father's day. A chocolate cake with white (that's what he said) icing. The chocolate cupcake recipe I use is from Chockylit. I have tried to make it into a cake and it didn't turn out that well so I had to find another recipe. I took to my fellow daring bakers and Amn8rchick suggested this recipe. I used it with some changes and it turned out yummy.
makes two 9 inch cake and 12 cupcakes
2 cups hot water
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee granules
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 1/4 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Pour 2 cup of milk in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Do not bring to a boil, just bring it until you see small bubbles around the outside of the pan.
3. Grease two 9 inch round cake pans.
4. In medium bowl, pour hot milk over cocoa and coffee granules, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool.
5. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
6. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
7. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla.
8. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture.
9. Spread batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
I know my lettering can be better but I'm working on it! The dots are made out of candy melt.
6 large egg whites
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperture
1 tbsp vanilla extract
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1. In the heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees).
2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes.
3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 2 to 4 minutes more.)
4. Beat in vanilla and vanilla seeds. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes.
END VERDICT - 4 and 1/2 stars
While I didn't have any of the cake, I did have....um....several cupcakes. The cupcakes are yummy and have a good chocolate flavor. I just wish they were a little sweeter. The next time I make these I will probably add an extra 1/4 cup of sugar.
Until next time,
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I actually bake each weekend, execpt of late....It has been hotter than a mug in Philly. I am going to post some pics of my yummy treats. Hopefully I will get to posting the recipes sometime soon.
Vanilla cupcakes with chocolate, chocolate-vanilla swirl and vanilla buttercream
Vanilla Cupcakes with Sunflower design from Hello, Cupcake!
Until next time,