Friday, August 28, 2009

Banana Bread

I needed something sweet but I did not have a lot of time due to kickboxing class. This recipe is so basic I decided to add my own little extras. Whisked flour, baking soda, and salt. Then, beat eggs, sugar, and vegetable oil. Continued to add ingredients I already have in the pantry and fridge-vanilla, banana, walnuts, and buttermilk. I love it when I don't have to make a special trip to the grocery store to buy that one ingredient I'll never use again. The addition of coconut and semi sweet chocolate chips made it extra special.
Instead of two loaves the recipe is supposed to yield, I produced three loaves-one to eat, one to give, and one to share.
Baked for 30 minutes at 350 for 30 minutes, rotated, then baked for 20 more. Easy clean up, didn't wait for it to even cool before I sliced a piece and made it in time for kickboxing class.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Triple-Citrus Cupcake

It amazes why more people who like sweets don't bake. All you need is time and love. My father is one of the best cooks I know and he creates the most delicious dishes because he puts love into the food that will feed his family.

Anna took the reigns on this cupcake; it was that simple. Whisk flour and salt, cream 4 sticks of butter and sugar, add the zests of lemons, limes and oranges with the vanilla, and lastly, 9, count them 9 eggs are beat into the batter. Baked for 10 minutes, rotated, then baked for 7 more.
Citrus Glaze:
Loved the simplicity of this glaze! Confectioners' suagar, grated citrus zest, and citrus juice are all you need to create the tart, sweet topping to complement the perfect cupcake.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mint-Filled Brownie Cupcake good can a brownie cupcake filled with a chocolate covered peppermint patty be? Actually, delightfully good. The cake had a dense, chewy, and fudgy texture and the candy gave it a punch. Well..not a punch to disarm you and piss you off, but more like a sweet nudge.

Recipe was so simple that I recommend doing this with little children. They would enjoy unwrapping the candy and plopping it into 1 T. of batter then topping it with 2 more. The step that took the longest was melting the chocolate and butter in a heatfproof bowl over simmering water, but it was pure pleasure watching 8 oz. of good quality bittersweet chocolate dissolve.

New York-Style Cheesecake

My dear friends Jon and Pauline are visiting from San Francisco and I thought no cupcake would do. It would have to be special and over the top and Martha's Baking Handbook had just the dessert! This cheesecake is simply decadent and fabulous and I don't even like cheesecake but I found myself slowing down and actually appreciating every bite.
The recipe calls for half of the Chocolate Wafer Sandwich Cookie dough recipe for the crust but I always thought cheesecake crusts were too thin. So, what the hell, I did the whole recipe and I wouldn't change a thing! You need a lot of time for this cake and cream cheese. Prepare to use seven 8oz. packages of cream cheese, yes...I said seven. Set aside at least half the day to prepare this dish and you will not be disappointed. It is worth every hour you clock in, money that you spend on the best ingredients and the manpower you will need to heft the roasting pan holding the 10 inch springform pan with the cheesecake and at least 12 cups of boiling water into the oven.

Lemon-Yogurt Cupcake with Strawberry Preserves

Cute, cheerful, and delightful are all what describe this cupcake! A lot of steps but worth the effort. This treat would definitely complement a cup of tea, sweet from the preserves and powdered sugar and tangy from the yogurt, lemon juice, zest infused cake.
No need for frosting is what sold me on this cupcake, just a dusting of confectioners' sugar. Scott even exclaimed, "Why even spoil it with the preserves and powdered sugar?" I agreed, I actually preferred the cupcake without all the adornments. It's that good!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Chocolate Scone

It was a rough first week at my new job teaching Freshmen English and I needed some cheering up. I thought, "I need chocolate!" I watched the new Julie, Julia movie and was even more inspired to get in the kitchen. Julie baked a chocolate cake and I am now on a quest to find the recipe. Not only did the scones from Martha's Baking Handbook cheer me up but I'm already looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.
Much better than Barefoot's scone recipe. It was rich and dense, just the way I like my desserts. Whisked all dry ingredients-flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut the butter with pastry blender and folded in the chocolate. The use of good quality semisweet chocolate, Ghiradelli to be exact is a must. use of fancy gadgets, even better! Could not form dough into a rectangle, looked more like a sloppy circle but used my cookie cutter to form cute, simple squares. Baked at 375 for 15 minutes, rotated, and baked for 10 more.

Apple Turnover

I craved something sweet and was too lazy to bake. Anna and I had a date since dad was out surfing. We ordered a plate lunch and went to Napoleon's Bakery for dessert. She ordered a chocolate donut and I got an apple turnover. It satisfied my sweet tooth but I realized I could make one just as good. I turned to the Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics cookbook.
Frozen puff pastry from the grocery store is expensive ($7.19 a box for 2 sheets of pastry) but you can whip up a simple, elegant dessert in no time! Be sure to keep pastry sheets chilled to facilitate the rolling , folding, and crimping process. Toss apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and place about 1/3 cup of mixture into a cut out pastry square. Fold pastry diagonally, seal and press edges of pastry with the fork tine. After completing one, I had to step back and admire its beauty. When it was done baking it looked even more gorgeous-puffed up, golden brown from the egg wash, and just simply elegant.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcake

I had the pleasure of my smart, sexy, and vivacious neice Kristen taking over the reign for this easy, not too sweet, one bowl recipe! We kept referring back to the book to make sure we didn't have to sift, nor cream before adding everything into one bowl, but everything literally wento into one container. I recommend making this cupcake with children due to its simplicity and what kid does not like chocolate?! A ladle was essential to fill cupcake liners 2/3 full because batter was runny. Baked for 10 minutes, rotated, and baked for 6 more. Cupcake was ok..not as moist as I thought it would be.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
I LOVE this frosting, next to cream cheese. Not too sweet and looks gorgeous when piped.

I enjoyed spending the day with Kristen. I hope to pass on a passion for baking and the realizaion that it can bring family and friends together. We talked, we laughed, smoked cigarettes (just joking, neither of us even smoke)and just had a good time catching up. Thank you sweetie!