Saturday, December 19, 2009
The recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/10/chocolate-truffles-with-sea-salt/), but I've changed some of the essentials.
8 oz bittersweet chocolate. Depending on what you like, you can use 60% cacao, but I bought 70% at the store because I'm not as much of a fan of 60%.
8 oz semi sweet chocolate.
Small can of Sweetened Condensed milk
Over a double boiler of simmering water, add the chocolate and the sweetened condensed milk. Keep mixing until totally melted. Put in the refrigerator for about 2 hours so it can become workable. After 2 hours, take chocolate out of the refrigerator and roll chocolate into small balls. This will become the middle of the truffle.
Once all the chocolate is rolled into small balls, it is time to temper the chocolate. Tempering means heating and cooling chocolate to dip or coat things. Tempering will also give chocolate a nice shine and won't melt in your fingers. Those truffles from Godiva and Lindt have a tempered chocolate coating. When you temper, it just means that you are distributing the crystals evenly in the chocolate. For tempering, you need a candy thermometer. Make sure it measures temperatures under 100 degrees as well as over.
While the process of tempering is easy, you have to remember that chocolate is very very picky.
Here is the method I use to temper chocolate as adapted from Ghirardelli's website:
Grate or chop the desired amount of chocolate. Place two-thirds of the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler. Heat over hot, not boiling, water, stirring constantly, until chocolate reaches 110°–115°F.
Place the top pan of the double boiler on a towel. Cool to 95°–100°F. Add the remaining chocolate to the top pan, stirring until melted. The chocolate is now ready to be used for molding candies, coating, or dipping.
When you take the chocolate off the stove and start dipping, it cools very quickly. Stay near the stove and warm the chocolate on the double boiler every so often so it does not harden as you dip. It is very hard to get the chocolate as perfect as the store bought truffles, but that's what makes these special. Let them sit out for awhile to harden. Immediately after dipping each truffle, you can add a topping to it, like toasted coconut or nuts or anything else. You might want a friend to help you with this part because like I said, properly tempered chocolate will harden quickly. So irresistible!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Are they not just the cutest, most scrumptious things you have ever seen? The recipe was so easy, and, I think, if you're going to go through the trouble of making homemade cupcakes then you might as well make your own frosting. This frosting is a basic buttercream. It's a little on the sweet side, but the cupcakes are not sweet at all due to the unsweetened cocoa, so the flavors balance out nicely. I used a large star tip to apply the icing.
I got the cupcake recipe from the Cupcake Bakeshop blog by Chockylit, who is just the queen of anything cupcakes. She can make cupcakes from absolutely any ingredients. Anyway here is the recipe:
Devil's Food Chocolate Cake
makes 24 cupcakes or over 50 mini/ 350 degree oven
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Measure out everything but the eggs directly into your mixer bowl.
2. Mix on low speed just until incorporated.
3. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
4. Add eggs, beat on high speed again for 2 minutes.
Measure out into cupcake pan lined with cupcake papers (or grease each cup if you're like me and don't like buying cupcake papers that will just be thrown away anyway). Bake for about 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan then transfer to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
As you saw in the picture above, I did mini cupcakes. The cooking time for these was about 15 minutes. If you decide to do mini cupcakes as well, fill each cup about 3/4 full.
Here's my Buttercream Frosting recipe:
This made a little less than I thought, so you may want to make a serving and a half of icing.
2 cups confectioners sugar
a little bit of vanilla
1 stick butter at room temp.
2 tablespoons milk
With electric mixer, cream the butter until creamy. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add in the vanilla once the butter is creamy. Add the confectioners sugar a little at a time, beating slowly after each addition. Once all the confectioners sugar is blended in, add in the milk and mix until it looks like it is spreadable.
Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before icing. To ice, you can either use a spatula or use a piping bag with a large star, which is what I did. Don't ice them too much!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Here's the recipe:
(recipe courtesy of green tea blog with some of my additions)
Oven at 425 degrees
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the drizzle:
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
some cinnamon and nutmeg- eyeball it
2 tablespoons milk
In one bigger bowl, mix all dry ingredients. With a fork, your hands, or a pastry blender mix the small pieces of butter in the dry ingredients until it looks like coarse meal.
In a separate smaller bowl, combine the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.
Put the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don't over mix or you'll end up with tough scones. Once combined, pat the dough into a circle until about 1/2 inch thick or so. Cut the dough in half and then cut triangular scones. Bake for 10-12 minutes and cool.
Mix all three ingredients together and stir to combine, but remember don't drizzle until the scones are cool!!
And I skipped the bourbon.
Oh, for the crust, I used the same recipe I posted with the pumpkin pie, so you can find that there. But you'll want to pre-bake it. So once you make the crust, stick something heavy on the bottom so it doesn't crack /or bubble, cover the crust in foil, bake at 400 degrees for 20 mins., remove the foil, reduce heat to 350 and bake 10 mins. or until golden.
Here's the recipe:
(recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 cups chopped toasted pecans
- 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
Monday, November 9, 2009
This recipe is courtesy of zoecuisine.com
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Graham Cracker Crust:
1.5 cups finely ground graham crackers
6 tbs butter- melted
1/3 cup sugar
Use a rolling pin to mash the graham crackers. Put them in a bowl and add the sugar. Finally add the butter to this mixture and blend with spoon until all the dry ingredients are coated with butter.
Press into a 9" pie plate.
Bake this at 375 degrees for 7 minutes.
(Recipe courtesy of sparkpeople.com username jkaplan86, but with my substitutions)
15 oz pumpkin (not pie filling)
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
Preheat oven to 425.
Mix all ingredients together. Place in the already baked crust.
Cover the crust with a thin strip of foil so it does not burn.
Bake at this temperature for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 35-40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
After about 30 minutes in the oven, remove the foil and add the streusal topping. Before doing this, however, stick a knife in the middle, it should look fairly clean. You don't want to take the foil off and put the topping on too early.
Enjoy with whipped cream /or vanilla ice cream!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Yesterday we did the quintessential fall activity...apple picking and pumpkin picking. I even got a mum. So of course I had to make an apple pie. I don't like apple pies with a top and bottom crust so instead I make apple crumble pies with a bottom crust and a streusal topping.
I'm not a master homemade crust maker at all, but I refuse to buy pre-made crusts. My crusts never come out looking pretty, but they always taste alright, so I suggest you try making your own crust because it really isn't that hard.
After much experimentation, this is my recipe for a single crust pie:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup shortening
enough water to form a ball
Combine the flour, salt, and shortening with a pastry blender or your hands:)
Put in a little water at a time while working to form the dough into a ball. Use as little water as possible to form the ball.
After forming the ball, it's a good idea to refrigerate it for a little bit because that makes it easier to roll out, but that's totally up to you.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and transfer to a 9" pie dish leaving a 1" overhang. Make a pretty edge with the overhang if you want.
Here's the pie recipe:
5 cups apples - peeled, cored and thinly sliced- add some lemon juice to prevent browning. Put in a bowl
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup white sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter
Here's an alternate topping recipe:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C.)
- Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over apples.
- Put this mixture in the pie dish
- Make the topping recipe of your choice. For both recipes, you will combine the dry ingredients and cut in the butter to make a crumbly topping.
- Spoon topping over apples. Be sure to cover all the apples.
- Cut a thin strip of foil. Cover the edges of the pie crust with the foil and bake like this for the first 30-35 mins. Take the foil off and bake for the remaining time (about 5-10 mins). The top should be browned and the apples soft to the touch.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1/4 c. milk- I used skim
2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Oil for deep frying
Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil, 5-6 at a time.
Fry doughnut drops 1-1 1/2 minutes on each side until brown.
Drain on paper towel.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; roll warm doughnuts in mixture.
Makes 30-36 doughnut drops.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The Great Book of Chocolate, David Lebovitz
Yield: 12 full-size or approximately 30 mini cupcakes
For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, regular or reduced fat, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the filling: Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.
Make the cupcakes:
1. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Butter, or use non-stick spray, a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper muffin cups. Or use a mini cupcake tray instead.
2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon a few tablespoons* of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely,** which is fine.
5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. These moist treats will keep well unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Tonight, or sometime this week because there are so many scones to eat, hopefully I will make some cupcakes or those Apple Cider donuts from Food Network Magazine I talked about.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I had a ton of buttermilk leftover from making the Apple Cider donuts last weekend, so I needed to find a recipe that used buttermilk. I never made scones before, so I decided to give this recipe from joyofbaking.com a try. They came out perfectly. I really like the flavor they have. I didn't have parchment paper home, so I used foil and I sprayed it with a very little bit of non-stick spray. They stuck ALOT, but I think using more non-stick spray would have worked well. I baked them for 15 minutes and left them in the broiler for a little more than a few seconds on each side of the pan (I rotated it once). But timing all depends on your oven/broiler.
(recipe courtesy of joyofbaking.com as adapted from Sara Foster's The Foster's Market Cookbook and Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
When the Fall rolls around, I love to make everything with apples in it...apple pie, apple cobber, etc...But yesterday I made apple cider donuts for the very first time using my deep fry/candy thermometer. Let me preface this by saying that my first attempt using a candy thermometer was a complete failure and I was a bit afraid to try again, but these donuts came out delicious. They were the perfect texture and moistness.
I started out by frying the donuts 2 minutes on each side, but noticed they were coming out a bit dark, so I changed to 1 minute on each side and...perfection! Also, the recipe says to use a "board" when patting down the dough. I used a regular cutting board and it worked well. Be sure to flour the surface with more flour than you think you need because the dough is VERY sticky. Also, I don't have a donut cutter, so I used a glass and then cut the holes out with a knife. I didn't think this method was much more work than if I had used a donut cutter. Remembering to put the donuts on paper towels after frying is of the utmost importance because nobody wants a greasy donut!
Given the success of this [easier] recipe, there is a recipe in the October 2009 issue of Food Network Magazine that I am just itching to try, but if you are a first timer like me, definitely give this recipe, which I got from Chowhound.com, a try.
(recipe courtesy of username random amblings on chowhound.com)
Vermont Apple Cider Doughnuts
1 cup Apple cider
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Solid vegetable shortening
2 large Eggs
1/2 cup Buttermilk
3 1/2 cup All-purpose flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp.Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
Vegetable oil or shortening -for frying
1 cup cinnamon-sugar mixed
Boil apple cider in small saucepan until it is reduced to 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes; cool. Beat sugar with shortening until smooth. Add eggs and mix well, then add buttermilk and reduced cider. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in another bowl. Add to liquid ingredients; mix just enough to combine. Transfer dough to lightly floured board and pat to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with 2 1/2- to 3-inch doughnut cutter; reserve doughnut holes and reroll and cut scraps. Add enough oil or shortening to fill a deep pan 3 inches; heat to 375'F. Fry several doughnuts at a time, turning once or twice, until browned and
cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove to paper towels with slotted spoon. While still warm, shake a few at a time in a paper bag containing cinnamon sugar. Cool on a rack