9.30.2010

Baking Archives

Looking through my pictures I noticed that I have a good handful of pictures of items I created a while back and have not shared with you yet. So here are some different things that I have under my belt (literally!) and if you would like the recipe for any of them please just let me know! :)


Chocolate Pecan Pie

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese/Marscapone Frosting

Coffee filled Cream Puffs

Classic Butter Croissants

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Hard Candy with Caramel Filling

MmmMmmm :)







9.24.2010

BFF4L

One of my best friend's 24th birthday just recently passed and although all she talks about is how her joints are cracking and she is so incredibly old and has one foot in the grave - she is usually pretty normal and she is an amazing best friend. We met in middle school and have come a long way since fighting over who Chris Potter liked (haha embarrassing!). 




Its been about about 12 years (geez!) of fun and now that we are "adults" and stressed out about what we are going to do with our lives we turn to the only things have never let us down: cupcakes and wine. 


To celebrate her birthday I baked her some jumbo size oreo crusted red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and they were gorgeous! We had dinner at the Sundried Tomato Cafe in San Juan Capistrano - which is super yummy! Its always great when we get to spend time together, it seems to be a rare occasion these days.  Heres to my wonderful, sometimes funny, always there when you need her, aspiring chef and best friend Mandy - love you like a fat kid loves cake..or as much as we love cake (which might be more).


Start with baking the Oreo Crust...
Then bake the Red Velvet cake on top...
And decorate with the delicious frosting...


RECIPE:
1 1/2 cups crushed oreo cookies
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring (two bottles) 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners
Crush oreo cookies in small bowl. Gradually add the melted butter to the cookie crumbs and mix until combined (you may or may not need all the butter, the mixture should be incorporate, damp but not too wet)
Fill bottom of muffin tin with cookie mixture and press down into the bottom. Bake 7 minutes.
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside
In a large bowl, using a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add in vanilla, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go.
In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and food coloring.
On medium speed, add 1/3 of the flour to the butter mixture, then 1/2 of the buttermilk, continue with flour, then buttermilk, finishing with flour.
Pour batter on top of partially baked crusts. Bake 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
For frosting: beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Then add vanilla to combine.










9.22.2010

Provecho!


You would think that after 7 years of Spanish classes from middle school through high school, a summer in Spain and a home away from home in Mexico that I would be pretty darn good at Spanish...right? Wrong! Although, I do know that this word "provecho" or "bueno provecho" means "good eating" and is said before a meal in hopes that you enjoy it. I wish I was better, but even though I can't speak the language what I can do is fully indulge in Mexico's food, tequila, cervezas, coffee and pastries!  And trust me, I am excellent at it!

My family is fortunate enough to have made a second home in one of the world's most amazingly beautiful places - Punta Mita, Mexico. It is located about 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta and is; honest to God, the most captivating place in the world. We have been going there for a few years now and have made amazing friends and experienced some pretty awesome things. Here's a peak at what Mita is like...

Unbelievable Sunsets...


Warm ocean water...


Great restaurants...

 

Amazing friends...





   


Its a pretty incredible place to spend your time. But the point that I am trying to get at is that I love this bread they have. I make sure to buy more then necessary amounts of it as soon as we arrive. It is a simple pound cake that has a milk chocolate crust around it. MMM its sooo good! I can't describe how delicious it is at breakfast with a steaming cup of coffee and the warm mexico air (heavenly!)

I did my best to recreate it at home and don't get me wrong - it was tasty! But there must be something in the air down there that makes the chocolate pound cake experience even better.

This will have to do until the next time I have a chance to make it back to Mita. PROVECHO :)



RECIPE:
Nonstick cooking spray with flour
1 cup unsalted butter, cut in 2 tablespoon pieces
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
5 large eggs
3 cups spooned and leveled bleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup buttermilk or whole milk

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream

Arrange a shelf in the lower third of the oven, place a baking stone on it and preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 10 inch tube pan or 12 cup bundt pan
With a mixer on medium, beat the butter to soften. Add the shortening and beat until the mixture is light and pale in color (about 3 mins). Add sugar and continue to beat until very light, scraping down sides. Make sure the bowl remains cool, if not place in freezer for five minutes.
Beat in vanilla, almond and lemon extracts. On lowest speed, beat in the eggs one at a time
In a medium bowl, with a fork or hand mixer, beat together the flour, baking powder, and salt for at least 30 seconds.
On lowest speed, blend one-third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Alternate adding cream, and then flour, until all of both are incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl. Blend in the buttermilk just to incorporate.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Drop pan onto the counter from a height of about 10 inches to knock out the bubbled. Smooth batter with spatula
Place cake on baking stone and bake until cake springs back when lightly touched, a toothpick should come out clean but moist (about 1 hour).
Cake should not pull away from the sides until it has just come out of the oven. Place on cooling rack.
Melt chocolate chips and cream together. Drizzle over top of cake.






9.20.2010

Cinnamon and Sugar = the perfect couple

Growing up my mom would always make me toast with butter and covered it in cinnamon and sugar. It was my favorite and obviously very figure friendly (thank goodness for a fast metabolism!) I wanted to create a cupcake using that familiar combination of flavors and these cupcakes turned out to be one of my favorite creations yet! They are really sweet, simple and have a great contrast of textures.  Check them out, but don't blame me for ruining your calorie count today - these cupcakes are worth it!


Start by baking the graham cracker crust in the pan for 7 minutes....



Then pour the cinnamon cake batter over the partially baked crusts...



Bake, cool, frost and cover in the cinnamon/sugar mixture...



Or pipe them nice and pretty...


Indulge and Enjoy :)

RECIPE:

3 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large egg, separated into 5 yolks and reserving only 3 egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Mixture of 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in middle of oven
In medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix and set aside
In medium bowl, combine crushed graham crackers, brown side and melted butter until well incorporated (should look wet).
Place a spoonful of graham cracker mix in bottom of each cupcake pan and press into bottom of pan. Bake for 7 minutes.
In stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add one egg yolk at a time until incorporated (low speed).
Add the vanilla and cinnamon.
On low speed, mix in 1/3 flour mixture and 1/2 the milk, repeat alternating between the flour and milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until the flour is incorporated.
Whip the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.
Spoon batter on top of the graham cracker crust so the cup is 3/4 full. Bake 18-20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean (but should be moist).
For frosting: combine butter and shortening in stand mixer. Add the vanilla and cinnamon.
In three batches, incorporate the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. 
Fold in the whipped cream in batches
Either pipe onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture, or spread frosting on top and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture to cover.



9.16.2010

Blueberry Oat Bars

Waking up most mornings, I am SO grateful for Starbucks. Some days, that caffeinated sugar rush is what gets me through the day. I know you can probably relate to the internal struggle that happens while waiting in line at Starbucks, having all their deliciously tempting pastries, cookies and treats staring you down. Should I give into that moist blueberry muffin? How about that "reduced-fat" raspberry muffin?..it can't be that bad for you right? Its basically diet! Well, if you don't fight with those pastries on a regular basis, then congratulations - you have self control.

One of my friends, which whom I know has had a fight with himself over their Blueberry Oat Bars, asked me to try to recreate them. (I am pretty sure it was a challenge that he thought I couldn't master...little did he know...). So I messed around with a few different recipes and the here is the finished product:



And I quote, "these are better than Starbucks!"

YES! I love winning :)

RECIPE:
1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (not instant)'
1 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2’’ pieces
2 1/4 cups blueberries (fresh)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center
Place flour, oats brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer and mix in low until combined evenly (10 seconds). Add the cold butter pieces and mix on low for 3-5 minutes, until it looks wet and forms small clumps. 
Reserve 1/3 of the crumble mixture for later and press the rest of it into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, until slightly golden brown.
Combine blueberries, sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, simmer 2 minutes, uncovered and stirring occasionally. 
Combine remaining 1 tablespoon water, cornstarch, and orange juice, mix well. Gradually stir into the blueberry mixture, cook and stir about 1 minute until thickened.
Spread blueberry mixture over the partially baked base (leaving an open edge around the pan). Sprinkle the remainder of the crumble mixture on top and slightly press into the blueberries.
Bake 18-20 minutes until top is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.








9.14.2010

Welcome to my blog!

I have no idea how to blog so I am figuring this out as we go...Welcome to my novice blog! This is (hopefully) the small start to something great! I will be sharing my experiences with baking, food, people and life itself. Feel free to comment and be colorful - I can take it! I hope you get some enjoyment out of this and if nothing else, feel justified in eating dessert :)