Posts tagged ‘baking’

December 3, 2011

Molto Elegante!

Well, ’tis the season for cookies!

What a wonderful wintry welcome to this mild December. It is as cool as a cucumber out there! However, though they are not required, it is the appropriate time to wear your over-sized knit sweaters and indulge in sumptuous sweets. Pairing this mind set with another indulgence, I allowed myself the expensive baking supply SILPAT, non-stick rubber mat-thing, and I made the rather fussy Florentine.

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It is very important to maintain a voluptuous figure during the later months because it is also very important to keep warm and you need a little extra butter and chocolate to fill in the gaps. Plus, how can a treat this lovingly luminous be so terrible?

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I think not my friends, have 6.

Anyhow, the Italian Florentine is a love child between a cookie and a candy so, it is particularly perfect for this time of year. It seems a tad bit daunting, but you will be a stronger person after the anxiety allows absolute appeasement. As per usual, it also seems like a very careless, yet carefully curated recipe after a Prosecco or two. It seemed only right to keep in the Italian family. Capishe?

Almond Floretines

2 Cups sliced, almonds (after chopping, about 6 oz. before)

3 Tbsp. AP flour

Zest of 1 medium sized orange

1/2 Tsp. table salt

3/4 Cup white sugar

2 Tbsp. heavy cream

2 Tbsp. light corn syrup

1/2 Stick unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (or almond if you are a devout lover)

Don’t worry about Pre-heating your oven, there’s a wait time!

First, chop, (or if you are a real person with appliances, pulse almonds in food processor until fine, be careful not to go too far, you are looking for particles not butter!).  In a medium sized bowl combine almonds, flour, zest, and salt. Create a little dip in the center.

In a small saucepan combine butter, sugar,corn syrup, and cream and set at medium heat. Let this mixture come to a boil and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. This is the daunting part because it seems as if at any second it will burn, but you will be just fine. Next, remove from heat and add the vanilla. Then, add this molten sugar to the center of your dry ingredients. Stir to combine and let set for 30 minutes while you drink another Prosecco and watch the Pomegranate seeds float around in there.

Now, Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

After you have waited this eternity, take half Tbsp. scoops, roll in your hands and set on PARCHMENT PAPER PREPARED BAKING SHEETS OR SILPAT. THIS RECIPE WILL DISAPPOINT AND BRUISE THE BAKER WITHIN. Bake for 11 minutes, rotating the pan at the 5 minute half point. Let rest about 2 minutes and then easily slip the beauts onto a cooling rack.

I made a simple chocolate sauce by melting some semi-sweet baking squares to splash on top. Then, some optional Florentine and chocolate sandwiches happened which were absurd, but mostly I just drizzled the sauce to add a little bit of a softer texture.

Buono Appetito!

The recipe is from Food Network, although I’ve made them a few times and made a few changes.

October 1, 2011

Tempestuous Temptations

It smells and feels like the turn of the equinox on this thunderous Thursday evening. That certain crisp current was swirling around all day today bringing along those familiar September showers. It’s one of my favorite seasonal sensations, you know that toasty feeling that fills your tummy with a little Fall Fire.

I took this ominous occasion to partake in a rather festive Autumnal beer. The rustic Ochre hue of this Oktoberfest select caught my eye amongst the usual six packs chilling in the fridge. In all honesty is was really the hilarious scarecrow on the bottle that sealed the deal.

So, after thinking over my options for an appropriate accompaniment, the copper colored carrot won out over the others.

 

Carrot Cupcakes

 

These mini Carrot cupcakes were comforting, spicy, and full of honest goodness. The cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg hints throughout the cakes really complimented the rich malted flavor of the beer. Plus, I tried a lighter, airier cream cheese frosting as sometimes it can be a tad overwhelming.

 

Carrot Cupcakes

 

I averaged about 3 mini cupcakes per Dundee, but that’s just me.

Mini Carrot Cupcakes

1 Stick unsalted butter (melted and cooled down a bit)

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (I tend to lean towards the dark brown)

2 Jumbo Eggs

1 1/4 Cups AP Flour

3/4 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

Dash of Ground Nutmeg

Pinch Ground Cloves

1 1/4 Cup Carrots (grated)

Zest of half a medium sized Orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare mini muffin tin with liners.

In a medium bowl combine the sugars. In a separate small sauce pan melt the butter and cool for about 2 minutes. Add the butter to the sugar and whisk together, then add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Set aside.

In another medium sized bowl combine the dry ingredients and toss in the grated carrots and zest. Combine this mixture with the wet ingredients in two batches, until the batter comes together. Scoop about 1 full tablespoon into each mini tin. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean out of the center. Let cool before adding frosting.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

8 Oz. Cream Cheese  (softened)

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/8 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 Whipping Cream (chilled)

While you are letting your cupcakes cool take a medium sized glass or metal bowl and put into your freezer (great trick to make whipping your cream a little faster). When it has been in there about 15 minutes beat the whipping cream on high until stiff peaks form, then place the bowl back in the freezer.

In a separate bowl beat together the cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth and you can feel no granulated sugar crystals (go ahead, give it a big taste). Set in fridge for about 10 minutes.

Next, fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

It is wonderful! Lighter than classic cream cheese frosting, but encompasses all of the flavor you want to go with your Carrot Cakes.

Lastly I just mixed up some chopped walnuts, brown sugar, and a pad of butter and toasted them together in the oven for a few minutes. Let this cool and sprinkle on top of your frosted cupcakes for an added texture.

Enjoy on a rather drab evening for your well-being!

June 2, 2011

Elegant Inebriation

June!

June is here which reminds me of home and the gardens my parents keep all over our yard. I am dreaming of vibrant green lawns covered in little bluets, vines overflowing with radiant rosebuds, and the steady hum in and around the bee balm and butterfly bushes.

After getting some berries from the market this morning, I remembered how wonderful breakfast was to make and eat in that lawn. I envisioned making delicious food with my friends, laying out some blankets, and arranging a few bottles of bright orange Brass Monkeys.

To ease the pain I felt from being stuck in Brooklyn, I made it anyway.

Brass Monkey Morning

The first recipe you need is for the Brass Monkey so you can get it started while you prepare the other things.

Brass Monkey

1 Forty Ounce Malt Liquor of your choice (bottled)

1 Quart of orange juice

Drink forty down to the top of the label. Slowly pour orange juice into bottle until it is filled up again. Be careful! It may bubble up a bit. Then continue drinking normally. As you can see I was not ready to get wasted too early, so I went with a smaller portion.

DON’T DRINK TOO FAST OR YOU WILL MESS THIS UP:

SHORTCAKE

The recipe I use for sweet biscuits is nice and simple, but they always come out just right.

Sweet Biscuits

2 Cups AP Flour

3 Tbsp. Sugar

3 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter

1 Jumbo Egg

1/2 cup heavy cream

Zest of half an orange (I usually use lemon, but the orange went so well with the Brass Monkey)

Demura sugar for sprinkling

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, zest, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Use a box cheese grater, my favorite trick, and grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients and toss around until the butter is coated in the flour mixture. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg and milk, then add to the dry mix. Form a workable dough, feel free to add more flour if too sticky! Turn out onto a floured surface, roll out so the dough is about an inch and a half thick. Cut into any shape you like, I made 6 triangles. Sprinkle with Demura sugar and bake for 10 minutes until golden.

Berries

Combine any type that look good to you that day, mix in medium size bowl and add 2 or 3 spoonfuls of sugar to release some of the liquids. Set aside until ready to assemble.

Whipped Cream

1 Pint heavy cream

3 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract

Using a hand mixer, mix the ingredients on high until stiff peaks form.

Now layer as you wish! Depending on how much Brass Monkey was consumed, you may begin thinking of yourself as a wonderfully creative architect. Just remember to eat it afterwards.

Enjoy!

May 9, 2011

Cuán agradable!

Last summer, I learned how to make empanadas at the fantastic restaurant I work at and since, have made them a bunch of times for a little snack. Recently, the chef started making these tantalizing pastries filled with goat cheese and guava for brunch. Boy Howdy! The combination of sweet guava and salty cheese all warmed up and bursting at the seams is a thing of pure beauty.

This week there were no left over empanadas for me, so I caved into the craving and made them at home. The best part is that you can make a big bowl of dough, fill them up with anything you like and bake them off  all week.

A perfect pocket pastry and a simple cerveza made for a relaxing afternoon treat.

Empanadas

It’s a great pair with cold beer if you are like me and can’t contain yourself, so you end up biting into the piping hot morsel, burning your mouth and start running around the kitchen for something to cool you down.

That Tecate was a real life saver.

Guava and Goat cheese

May 5, 2011

Jose and Me

Cinco De Mayo! Typically, I spend this day drinking a few Tecate Cervezas and enjoying a big bowl of guacamole. So, this year to spice things up, I took some help from some clever family members and… Voila!

Margarita cupcakes and Tequila Butter Cream frosting were born!

Cupcakes

White cakes always give me a little bit of a scare, but after making sure the Tequila was of the top most quality, I had full confidence in my abilities. I made a few changes to the recipe I found, and decided to use a traditional butter cream frosting and just add some lime zest and a splash or two of the tequila.

AND WOW! Not only was the cake moist, tangy, and fluffy, but the butter cream added a bitter element that balanced the whole cupcake out. A beautiful symphony of flavors.

Plus, this happened:

Tequila and Salt

Margarita Cupcakes
Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 jumbo eggs (they really make baking better)
3 limes
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
Tequila for brushing

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
In another the bowl, use an electric mixer and cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy
Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.Mix vanilla in lime zest and juice
With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk — starting and ending with flour.
Mix until just incorporated.Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean
When cupcakes are finished baking, brush the tequila onto the top of each cupcake.Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. ( really, just preoccupy yourself for 20 minutes, it makes a difference!)

Tipsy  Butter Cream

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 or 5 cups confectioners sugar
2-3 Tbsp. milk
Zest from 1 lime
1-2 Tbsp. tequila
Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer on medium speed.
Add powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar has been incorporated.
Increase mixer speed to medium and add 2 tablespoons of milk and beat.Add the zest and the tequila
At this point my frosting was a little runny so I wet ahead and added more confectioners sugar in 1/2 cup increments until it reached the stiffness I was looking for. Then, it was a little too stiff, so I just juiced the lime I used for the zest…perfection!!!!
More cupcakes
Honestly, I still need guacamole and maybe a taco or two on Cinco de Mayo, but  this was the perfect dessert.

Enjoy

March 20, 2011

Ultimate Comfort

Yesterday I decided to really indulge myself and combine two of my ultimate favorites in one wonderful evening of baking and beering. It is a little embarrassing to admit, but Olde English forties happens to be my drink of choice, what can I say? I’m still a kid. And what better confection to go with such a simple brew, chocolate chip cookies of course!

There is nothing like drinking a good malt liquor and tasting some cookie dough, you know just to be really sure they come out delicious. Plus, you have to wait a whole 12 minutes for the warm stuff, it seems so much quicker if I just pass the time drinking a little. Who can resist this?

 

Cookie Dough!

This was another experimental recipe in my search for the ultimate chocolate chip recipe. This one was pretty phenomenal, nice and soft but a surprisingly crisp texture on the outside.

It was the absolute perfect medley of sweet, chewy, and slightly cinnamony  to go with my smooth and familiar forty. I wish I could have this every night!

 

Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I really love using extra)
1 (12-ounce) bag of chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until well combined. Add eggs one a time and then the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, toss together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Slowly add to the butter mixture and mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet coated in butter and bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are done.

The recipe is adapted from one of my favorite food blogs
http://buddingbaketress.blogspot.com/2011/04/soft-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

March 1, 2011

Humble Beginnings

Budweiser and Apples are two things that have become very near and dear to me as a result of growing up in the woods of upstate New York. I really enjoy the idea of drinking All American beer and eating a local apple, and luckily those are very appropriate activities. So, the other day as I was wondering what I should bake I stumbled upon a six pack of mini Budweiser’s and the vision of mini pies danced in my head.

Pies are the very best dessert in the world and my life has changed a little bit since I purchased mini pie pans from my neighbors at http://www.thebrooklynkitchen.com. There are just so many different types of fillings to stuff into that little crust, and you really don’t have to feel terrible if you eat a whole one yourself.

Anyways, since I found such an mini American classic in beer form, it felt natural to pair it with such a mini American classic in dessert form. The result of the magical duo?

A delectable combination of sweet and tangy apples and crisp refreshing brew.

Mini Pies

The only down side was that I couldn’t pack up the rest of the beers, head out into the woods and build a bonfire. Alas, that would be illegal in Brooklyn. Instead, I just ate my petite treat and looked out the window.

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