Appearances can be deceiving.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Appearances can be deceiving.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
This week's recipe for Craving Ellie in My Belly is Nutty Granola. Amazingly, I had everything I needed in my pantry for this one. This is all you need...
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The Tuesdays with Dorie bakers are making the Cover Cake!
We've been lusting after this cake for months, with its billowy white frosting and dusting of devil's food crumbs. Fortunately for us, Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater selected it for this week's recipe.
The timing of this created somewhat of a dilemma for me. My boss, whom I adore, has a birthday Weds. I wanted to make it for her birthday but that wouldn't enable me to post on time. I missed the floating islands so I was determined to make this cake. Suddenly, it hit me...
Cupcakes. Devil's food white-out cupcakes. No layer splitting. No trying to sneak a cake into work and having people think I was wrecking their diets. No leftovers. Perfect.
I made a half recipe of both the cake and the frosting. I used mini chocolate chips and 2% milk (at 6 PM Sunday, Safeway had either a quart of whole milk or a half gallon of buttermilk, and I only needed 1/4 cup for half a recipe) so I went for the pint of 2% milk. The cake batter was easy peasy (and yummy, too). The cupcakes baked for about 20 minutes until they tested done. I made the frosting in the morning before going to work. The P&Q had me prepared to hover over the thermometer and be ready for it to shoot up to 242 degrees after taking forever to get to 235. This indeed happened, but I had no trouble at all incorporating the sugar syrup into the beaten egg whites. I whipped it like crazy for about 3 minutes until it cooled to room temperature. It was glossy, puffy and magical looking. It tasted...OK. I crumbled one of the muffins for the crumb topping and applied a liberal dollop of frosting on the remaining 11 cupcakes. The crumb topping meant no need to make the frosting look good, but I made it kind of snow capped mountain-esque in honor of all of the snow the Sierra has gotten in the last three days.
In the interest of being able to tell all of you how they were, I ate one, like, immediately. So it was only 7:15 AM, so what? I was willing to sacrifice so you would know the outcome. You're welcome.
The verdict? These are insanely good cupcakes. You know how chocolate cupcakes can sometimes be dry? How the frosting can be too sweet, and maybe they're decorated beautifully, but the frosting flavor disappoints? Not these babies. They are so much fun to eat with the billowy meringue frosting and deep chocolate flavor. You turn them every which way to take a bite, and still have a small cloud of frosting left at the end. Not too sweet, not too firm. Just right.
I will definitely make these again. Amy Ruth suggested using peanut butter in the filling. I saw another TWDer suggested making the frosting with some coffee. Both sound amazing. I wouldn't use the mini chips again (I don't really like the flavor), so I would chop a good quality semi-sweet chocolate in their place.
You must try this! If you're a chocolate lover or have one in your life, this is the cake for you. Thanks for picking it for us, Stephanie! If you'd like the recipe, you'll find it at Stephanie's blog. Or buy yourself the book Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. It's an amazing book with so many irresistible recipes that there are approximately 400 of us cooking our way through it and blogging about our experiences.
Please stop by next week when we make the Caramel Crunch Bars. They promise to be easy and delicious!
Friday, February 13, 2009
Bake at 350 for about 45-50 minutes (I made three to take to a luncheon)...
Let it cool on a wire rack. Serve while still warm. It's harder to slice, but oh so worth it. You can thank me later.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
So, it occurred to me around 4:30 Weds. night that I really needed to get my act together and make this recipe. I mean, I needed something to break up the chocolate truffle blockade, and some light and tasty chicken is just the ticket.
I'm so excited. This is only my second time cooking along with the Barefoot Bloggers, so you would think I'd throw myself into it and follow every nuance of the recipe.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
When the weather turns cold and rainy, truffle season starts in my kitchen. I'm never on top of things enough to get photos before they go off to friends and co-workers, but this time I had a few left over from a marathon truffle session this weekend.
The recipe (from the New York Times):
7/8 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Unsweetened cocoa powder as needed.
1. Heat cream in a pot until it steams. Put chocolate in a bowl, pour hot cream on top, and stir until chocolate is melted and incorporated into cream.
2. Chill until solid all the way through, 1 to 2 hours. Using a chilled melon baller (I use a disher) or latex gloves to prevent the ganache from melting or sticking to your hands, scoop out about a tablespoonful and quickly roll it into a ball. Repeat, lining truffles on a plate or a baking sheet.
3. If truffles become too soft to handle, place them in refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes. Roll them in cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar or a mixture of sugar and ground cinnamon. Serve immediately or store, wrapped in plastic, in refrigerator for up to four days. (Note: I like to roll them in cocoa right before serving, if possible, because after a day or two in the refrigerator, the cocoa gets wet spots).
Yield: About 1 1/2 cups ganache, or 24 truffles.
Potential flavors? Endless. This weekend, we experimented with adding Ancho chili powder to the cream, and we made another batch with a liberal dose (I'd say about 3/4 cup) of Nutella. See, I was crushed that I had missed World Nutella Day, so I wanted to include it in my truffle making. We just mixed it into the ganache before chilling. I've been wanting to make chai truffles, cinnamon, espresso, smoked paprika, Meyer lemon, you name it.
Please try this. It's a wonderful gift for that special someone, especially when that someone is you!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Who doesn't love spinach and artichoke dip? It's frequently the first thing to be demolished at a potluck, and it seems like it's so healthy (spinach! artichokes!) But this tasty dip is treacherous for your waistline. Made with full-fat products, a 1/4 cup serving can have more than 200 calories.