Monday, July 28, 2008

TWD: Summer Fruit Galette

This weeks TWD couldn't be more perfect for summer.
I've never made a fruit galette before, and from the picture of Dories other Galette, the dough looked pretty hard to do...but I was determined to do it!

Thank you SO much Michelle from Michelle in Colorado , this was such a great pick!
In the recipe, Dorie says you can add any assortment of fruit to this, and since it's summer, there are sooo many great fruits in season, so choosing some was not hard at all.

I chose an assortment of peaches, plums, pears, apricots and blueberries.
All those different flavors turned out great!
We had all my grandparents, plus a bunch of family friends over for dinner, so I was happy I had another excuse to bake this!

What I served this with was a no brainer...VANILLA ICE CREAM!
If you make this, I HIGHLY suggest serving it with ice really does make it 100 times better!
And now, for the after picture...

...can you guess if they liked it or not?

There was a fight for the last little sliver... ;D
Be sure to head over to the Tuesdays With Dorie site to check out more Galettes!

First Cupcake Hero Entry!

Sooo this is my very first Cupcake Hero Entry!
I was verrry excited to join just cause I love cupcakes...DUH! 
Who doesnt?..Any one who doesn't like cupcakes, is absolutely insane, if you ask me.

When I saw this months "theme" was anything including Red,White, and Blue, I got a little scared. There were SOO many ideas flying through my head..I didnt know what to chose from?!

So I finally decided on a Raspberry Swirl cake, for the base, then topped it off with a little white "fluffy" frosting, and finished it with a blue heart, made out of fondant. 

I got the recipes from this book called Cupcakes by Pamela Clark, and tweaked them a bit.
They came out sooo good!...that raspberry swirl added such a great flavor to the cake, and the fluffy frosting tasted EXACTLY like plain, old marshmellow fluff!

I'm going to call these "Sweetheart Cupcakes"...
adapted from "Cupcakes" by Pamela Clark

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup self-rising flour
1/3 cup milk
pink food coloring (i used red)
3 tblsp. raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350F Degrees. Line 6-hole oversize or 12-hole standard muffin pan with paper baking cups.
Beat butter, vanilla, sugar, and eggs in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in sifted flour and milk in 2 batches.
Divide mixture evenly between 2 bowls. Tint one mixture pink(red); leave other mixture plain. Drop alternate spoonfuls of the 2 mixtures into baking cups.
Divide jam among cakes, pull skewer backwards and forwards through mixtures for a swirling effect; smooth surface.
Bake large cakes about 30 minutes, small cakes about 20 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.

"Fluffy Frosting":
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites

Combine sugar and water in a small pot; stir over medium heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring about 5 minutes or until syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Syrup should be thick but not colored. Remove from heat, allow bubbles to subside. Beat egg whites in a small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. While mixer is running, add hot syrup in thin stream; beat on high speed about 10 minutes or until mixture is thick and cool.
Spread cakes with frosting, top with fondant heart!

Hope I did it right!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Just the name screamsssss SIN...well, that's what that wonderful baker over at Genesis of a Cook says.

When I first saw this recipe, I knew I just HAD to make it...I mean, come on, it's a BROWNIE, then on top of that, a nice, thick, chewy layer of a chocolate chip cookie! YUM!!

So far, i've made this recipe I think more than 3 times in one month...i'm constantly bringing them over for pot-lucks, parties, etc. And no matter where I bring them, I have not once got a bad review! These are really the ultimate brownie/cookie delight!

Ohhh, a little tip, these can be verrrrrry rich, so I suggest cutting them into smaller squares.
The recipe also makes a lot, so these are GREAT to bring for parties and what not.
PLEASSSE make these...they are absolutely amazing!

Monday, July 21, 2008

TWD: Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

This weeks TWD was picked by Amanda of Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake.
I absolutely LOVE cobblers, that yummmy, delicious fruit filling hidden underneath the ever so flakey topping. Everything about them just screams "YUMMMMMM!"
I've never had rhubarb before, but i've been meaning to taste one, so this gave me an excuse to try some.

In the recipe, it said after you lay out the biscuit dough, to separate it into 20 individual "puffs", and to make 4 rows of 5, of the circles. Now, I must have done something wrong cause as you can see, the circles didn't really spread, and or cover the fruit filling...? That kind of stumped me as I was pulling the cobbler out of the oven...SOOO, there was obviously a mistake there.
Regardless of that minor error, the cobbler turned out verrrrrry good!
Although, I think the ginger in the biscuits gave them sort of a weird-ish flavor...I could definitely taste that spice in it...I was thinking of adding a different type of spice to the dough like cinnamon, or nutmeg, but decided to let it go...Maybe next time i'll change that.

I of course served it with some vanilla ice cream, which personally, is the BEST topping for ANY dessert in my book. And it added that extra deliciousness!
Putting those little set-backs aside, this was a greatt dessert!

(I need to learn how to take better pictures, I think...I have the Nikon D40, which I think is a pretty good camera, but i've got to learn how to do all that confusing lighting stuff and all those "professional" camera's a work in progress I guess.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Giving Krispy Kream a run for their Money

Sadly, I no longer can drive those quick 5 minutes over to Krispy Kream after dinner, on any random weeknight, and pick up a fresh,piping hot, original doughnut...=/ Mostly cause ALL the krispy kreams near me had to close down, and move ALL the way over to the East Coast!
They freaking have EVERYTHING up there!
Anyway, I havn't had a doughnut in a very long time, I mostly think of doughnuts as an every once in a while decadent treat, that I get to reward myself with sometimes. So you could imagine, when I get a doughnut, it's got to be a pretty good one.

I've been wanting to make my own homemade doughnuts ever since I started to see other bloggers make them...but I was always very skeptical on if I wanted to go through all that trouble frying them.
Then I saw this recipe over at The Sweet Pea Patisserie, for "Baked" doughnuts, and knew I HAD to try it. And let me tell you, I was really surprised at how easy these were to make!
Sure, they do take some time for all that dough to rise(they have active dry yeast) but it is SO extremely worth it at the end. She did 3 different toppings; cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, and chocolate ganche...but since my FAVORITE type of doughnuts are just the plain, regular glazed, I found a recipe on the Food Network website for a simple glaze. I also did cinnamon sugar ones as well.

Also, make sure you eat these RIGHT out of the oven, after you glaze them of course! They really need to be HOT to get that right, doughnut taste!

Delicious Baked Doughnuts
Adapted from The Sweet Pea Patisserie 

1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95-105 degrees
1 packet active dry yeast(2 1/4 tsp.)
2 tblsp. butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 cups all purpose flour
A pinch or 2 of nutmeg, freshly grated( I used a few shakes of pumpkin pie spice)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tblsp. cinnamon

Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and set aside for 5 min. or so. Be sure your milk isn't too hot or it will kill the yeast. Stir the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the milk mixture. With a fork, stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt-just until the flour is incorporated. With the dough hook attachment of your mixer beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. This is where you are going to need to make adjustments- if your dough is overly sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add more milk a bit at a time. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth.
Turn it out onto a floured counter top, knead for a few times(the dough should be barely sticky), and shape into a ball.

Transfer the dough to a buttered(or oiled) bowl, cover, put in a warm place, and let rise for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2 inch thick on your floured countertop. Most people(like me) dont have a doughnut cutter, instead I used a 2-3 inch cookie cutter to stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. If you cut the inner holes out any earlier, they become distorted when you attempt to move them. Cover with a clean cloth, and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8-10 minutes- start checking around 8. While the doughnuts are baking, place the butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.( I had pre-made cinnamon sugar, so I used that)

Remove doughnuts from the oven and let cool for literally 1 minute. Dip each one in the melted butter, and a quick toss in the sugar bowl. (Or dip in the glaze)

Doughnut glaze
from Alton Brown, The Food Network Website, 2004
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar

Combine milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until warm. Sift confectioners sugar into milk mixture. Whisk slowly, until well combined. Remove the glaze from the heat and set over a bowl of warm water. Dip doughnuts into the glaze, 1 at a time, and set on a draining rack placed in a half sheet pan.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

TWD: Black and White Banana Loaf

"This sh*t is bananas...B-A-N-A-N-A-S!!"

Come on, it's not like you don't use that song to help you remember how to spell the word "BANANA"...or maybe that's just me...
Kay, onto the food.

One of my top 5 FAVORITE quick breads to eat, and bake is banana bread. I think it's also cause i'm a big banana freak. ANYTHING with banana in it, i'll eat. I grew up eating banana breads, mostly cause my grandma had a great banana bread recipe that she gave to my mom, and my mom gave to me...buttt today's recipe isn't from my grandma. It's from, of course, Dorie. This weeks tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Ashlee from A Year in the Kitchen.

I loved how it included both the chocolate and banana flavors together. Such a great pairing if you ask me. Annnnd, it has just a little bit of rum added to the bananas, that just gives it that nice touch.

Black and White Banana Loaf
from Baking from my home to yours

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 ripe bananas, peeled
squirt of fresh lemon juice
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tblsp. dark rum
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 tblsp. unsalted butter, room temp.(10 tblsp.)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.
Butter an 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-x-2 1/2-inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on 2 regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice and zest, then stir in the rum.
 Melt the chocolate and 2 tblsp. of the butter in a microwave oven, or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water.
Working with a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining stick of butter(8 tblsp.) at medium speed until creamy, about 3 min. Add the sugars and beat for another 2-3 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add the ingredients. Reduce the mixer to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk, and when it is blended, add the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas. The batter will look even lumpier.
Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into the prepared pan, then, using a table knife, swirl the batters together, taking care not to over do it.
Bake for 1 hour and 20-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes and if the cake starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for about 15 min. before unmolding, then cool the cake to room temp. right side up on the rack.

MAKE WON'T be disappointed at all.

Monday, July 14, 2008

No TWD this week =/...

I'm soooo bummed...sadly, I could not do this week's TWD recipe =/
I've been on a short, little vacation in Santa Barbara with my family, coming back on thursday.
But i'll definitely be back in time for next weeks post!

Until then, i'll see ya'll lataa!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I kid you not, these may have been one of the BEST muffins i've ever made breakfast wise.
And i've made A LOT of muffins.
This is of course, another Dorie recipe, and I just have to say, that not ONE of those recipes in that book has failed me. Literally everything in there has just been absolutely amazing.

Anyways, I was in the mood to bake something, and i've seen other blogs making these, and they seemed to be getting great reviews. And I LOVE lemon poppy seed muffins, so I was excited to see how these turned out. 
Like I said, absolutely delicious! They were perfectly light, and fluffy, and would be a great little snack, but even better for breakfast with some jam.

In the book, it includes icing, I however, happened to have no confectioners sugar on hand today, so I had to skip the icing =/...but i'm sure the icing would've been really tasty. 

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking from my home to yours"

For the muffins-
2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 stick(8 tblsp.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tblsp. poppy seeds

For the icing-
1 cup confectioners  sugar, sifted
2-3 tblsp. fresh lemon juice

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of lemon strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don't worry about being thorough- a few lumps a better than overmixing the batter. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a think knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. Cool the muffins completely on the rack before icing them.
To make the icing: Put the confectioners sugar in a small bowl and add about 1 1/2 tblsp. of the lemon juice. Stir with a spoon to moisten the sugar, then add enough additional lemon juice, a dribble at a time, to get an icing that is thin enough to drizzle from the tip of the spoon. You can then drizzle lines of icing over the tops of the muffins or coat the tops entirely, the better to get an extra zap of lemon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcake Bites

I think just the name of these just makes your mouth want to waterrrr. ANYTHING involving peanut butter and chocolate HAS to be good, in my book.

Anyway, it is one of my very good friends birthday today, and we are all going out to dinner tonight, but knowing that her FAVORITE thing in the world was chocolate and peanut butter together, AND that I was totally in the mood to bake something, I decided to whip up these little devils, and give them to her as sort of a PRE-happy birthday treat...(along with the nice big cake we're going to have for dessert tonight) I know, i'm such a great friend!

I got this recipe from the Life in a Peanut Shell blog, and SHE got it from the lovely Bakerella blog, and they seemed like the perfect, quick treat for me to bake for my PB obsessed friend, Jordan.

Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcake Bites:
1 box Duncan hines chocolate fudge brownie mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
30 mini reeses cups
1 box mini muffin liners

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees 
2. please liners in mini muffin tins
3. mix brownie mix, eggs, water, and oil
4. stir until well blended 
5. fill each liner with 2 tbls. of batter
6. bake at 350 for 10 minutes and remove from oven
7. gently push 1 reeses cup into center of each brownie bite until it is even with the surface of the batter
8. put back in the oven for another 5-7 minutes longer
9. cool 5-10 minutes in pan, then move to cooling rack to cool completely.

YUM...these turned out great! I'll definitely be making this again.

Monday, July 7, 2008

TWD: Double Crusted Blueberry Pie


So this weeks TWD recipe was for the Double Crusted Blueberry Pie.
I was really excited when I saw this is what had been picked cause i've never made a big pie like this before, so I was anxious to get started.
When I told my mom I was going to be baking a blueberry pie, she got verrrry excited. And said that blueberry pie was her 2nd favorite pie, next to apple to eat. So I got started right away.

The dough was actually not hard at all to put together, and when rolled out, wasn't difficult to handle. I tasted the filling before I put it into the crust, like Dorie said to do in the recipe, and even the filling tasted amazing! I had no doubts this was going to be a pretty good pie.
Here's how it turned out!: turned out great! It wasn't too gooey, or runny...just perfect! And the crust turned out grrrreat as well...I served it with some vanilla ice cream. A GREAT way to finish a pretty hectic day!

mmmm...MY PIECE.
Now excuse me while I devour this lovely slice of blueberry heaven. =]

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Quick Classic Berry Tart

Last night we had my mom's sisters family (my aunt, uncle, and cousins), my moms parents, and my dads father over for dinner. My grandparents brought over Pattys Pizza from Santa Monica. It's basically a take and bake type of thing, but you can eat there as well. Probably the BEST pizza you will ever have, if you ask me. It's great.

Anyways, my mom's been on my case for a VERY long time, to make some type of tart, she LOVESSS tarts, so I decided i'd bake one for dessert that night. I've never made a berry tart before, and I thought, well since it's summer, and there's SO many fresh  fruits and berries in season, I should try one!

So I did what any baker would probably do, and went to my trusted Dorie Greenspan book. It never fails.
I flipped through the fruit pies, and tarts section, and stumbled upon her recipe called "Quick Classic Berry Tart".
PERFECT!! I thought, I mean it had the word "QUICK" in it, so it's got to be pretty simple, right?
Well I wasnt 100% right about it being simple. But it wasn't hard. The only trouble I had was with the tart shell. It just seemed too crumbly when I was patting it into my tart pan. But after I froze the dough for a half hour, it became less crumbly, and loose. 
The recipe also said to make her pastry cream as well. I've also never made a pastry cream like that before, so I was a little worried about the whole boiling on the stove and all that stuff. But I didnt let that stop me! All in all, I didn't have many problems with the cream, all the ingredients were simple, and the only part that took a little time was just chilling and cooling it off. After it was completely cool, I tasted it, and had my mom taste it, and it was AMAZING. Such a great creamy, texture, and exactly how I'd picture it.
I'm not going to post the recipe for the pastry cream, and tart dough, but I will post the recipe for the overall tart.

This turned out SO wonderful! Everything I thought it'd be! And when I told my family it was the first time i'd made a tart, they were in awe. They ALL said it was a winner, and want me to make it again in the future. Even my dad, who doesn't eat desserts a lot, had more than 1 helping! It really was so extremely tasty, I loved it.

I'd for sure recomend making this!

Quick Classic Berry Tart-
1 1/2 cups pastry cream, cooled and chilled
1 9-inch tart shell made with Sweet Tart Dough, fully baked, and cooled
2 pints fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, or an assortment of berries
1/3 cup red currant jelly mixed with 1 tsp. water, for glazing.

Smooth the pastry cream by giving it a couple of strong turns with a whisk. Spoon enough of the pastry cream into the tart crust to come almost to the rim, then even the surface with a rubber spatula. Carefully lay the berries on the cream, arranging them in any pattern that pleases you. If you are using strawberries, either half them from top to bottom or slice them, depending on the size of the berries and your whim.
Bring jelly and the water to a boil in a microwave oven or stovetop. Working with a pastry brush or pastry feather, dab each berry with a spot of jelly. Or, if you like, you can glaze the entire surface of the tart, including the bit of pastry cream that peeks through the berries.

I just served it as is, and it turned out fine. But the recipe serving suggestion says you can serve it with some tea or an espresso. Whatever your guests, or you, prefer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My First Tuesdays with Dorie!...

TWD: Apple Chedder Scones
(fresh out of the oven)

This is my first tuesdays with dorie challenge, and to be completely honest, when I saw what the recipe was, I was a little nervous, to say the least.

I've made scones in the past before, but they were always either plain, or had some type of currant, or raisin in them( cause my dad's not the biggest fan of sweets, when it comes to scones)...but nevertheless, I was still very intrigued to see what putting dried apples, and chedder cheese in a breakfast scone. Pretty savory if you ask me!

...But come on, anything Dorie's got in that little amazing book of hers has to be great anyways.

So starts my great adventure of these Apple Chedder Scones.

These weren't all that hard to bake, surprisingly, although, I do really need to work on my "scone shape",(says my mom)...the recipe said to pat the dough out into a 1/2 inch rectangle shape, and you should get 12 equal parts. Well, I guess I shaped it wrong, cause I got 10 scones, which I just cut in half, and made them a little smaller.

With the shapes being totally off, these really did come out great, I served them with some butter, and apricot jam, and they were GRRRRREAT!

They were soft, light, and chewy, without being TOO dry and crumbly like a regular scone could be. My parents, who LOVE scones for breakfast completely ate these up! And said they really really loved these.

My dad also commented that he'd be taking the rest of them to work with him the next morning for breakfast.

I love when my family enjoys what I bake, it makes me feel a sense of accomplishment, and that's truly a great feeling.

I highly suggest making these. You will not be disappointed I guarantee!

By the way, thanks TWD for letting me be apart of this whole thing!

I really appreciate it!! =]]