Finally, I put some mango mousse in cup, topped it with a smidge of coulis, a dollop of whipped cream, and used a flower-shaped tuile as a garnish (and an edible spoon)!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Now, before we delve into TWD business let's see a show of hands - who here watches Top Chef? If you don't, I recommend you do, and if you do you'll recall that last week's episode was the infamous "restaurant wars". In this particular episode, Stefan, makes a wonderful little treat which is not really talked about and is only shown for a few seconds - Mango Lollipops. How are chocolate dipped mangoes related to gingerbread you ask? Patience, grasshopper, patience ... I'm getting there. When I saw the little chocolate/mango squares, I knew I would make gingerbread lollipops. I have been eyeballing a silicone brownie bites pan and this weeks recipe gave me just the excuse I was looking for to buy it! Of course, I really think I need another one because I had to fill that bad boy up 4 or 5 times to use up all of the gingerbread batter! So now do you see my plan coming together? Do you?
I also added a little dollop to be scooped up on my lollipop. Wow. Just wow.
Each gingerbread bite was about one inch square and 1/2 inch tall. I double the icing recipe but still didn't make enough to frost each and every square. I will definitely be making the chocolate gingerbread again! Yum! Please check out the rest of TWD group to see how they handled this weeks challenge.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I love how these turned out! They taste fabulous and my mind is spinning with possibilities. How great would these be filled with ice cream at a kid's birthday party? Have I mentioned they're portable? And adorable. Check it out ...
Please check out the rest of TWD group to see how they handled this weeks challenge.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
First up is carrot cake. Since Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours" has been such a great resource, I turned to the recipe for Bill's Big Carrot Cake on pages 254-255. When I pulled the cakes out of oven I was a little worried because they didn't rise very much. I was even more alarmed when I tried to remove them from the pans and they stuck like crazy! Two of the layers came out in pieces and I contemplated starting over and making a sheet cake but since it was late Sunday afternoon, I decided to try and salvage what I had. I used the cream cheese frosting to stick everything together in a shape that resembled round and called it good. The cake was tasty but didn't live up to my perfectionist standards so I will be trying this one again and hoping for better results.
Next up was a "baker's choice." I love when I get to choose the flavors because it gives me the opportunity to try something new. I recently found some Meyer lemons at the grocery store and since everyone raves about them and I'm such a follower, I grabbed them. They probably set me back $10 bucks (I averted my eyes when the cashier rang them up) but I really really wanted to try them! I made Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. The cupcakes had a pretty mild lemon flavor (I was hoping for something tangier) but were moist and delicious.
On Thursday, I got an unexpected reprieve. The birthday boy requested an angel food cake but I don't have a tube pan. I had intended to forge ahead and try to make some cupcakes but when a coworker offered up the baking talents (and tube pan) of her significant other, I reluctantly agreed to take the night off! ;)
For the last cake of the week the birthday girl chose my most requested recipe - German Chocolate Cake. I think nearly everyone in the office would pick this cake but most change their minds when they see my brow start furrowing in consternation. Yeah yeah, I know it's not all about me, but really people, change is good! I just use the recipe on the back of the German's Sweet Chocolate box but I have made this cake so many times, I have tweaked it to perfection and it turns out wonderfully. One coworker remarked that this was the best version yet! This time around, I got smart and made the frosting FIRST so that it would have plenty of time to cool and I could go to bed sometime before 2am. Unfortunately, this cake doesn't photograph very well ...
But wait, there's more! In addition to the craziness at work, my mother's birthday also falls during this same week! She really loves the recipe on the back of the Hershey's Cocoa container, so I went that route for her and the results were an epic fail! Every single cupcake collapsed on me no matter what I did. I tossed them all in the garbage and started over. Mom is a huge fan of peanut butter cups so I decided to try a chocolate/peanut butter cupcake. A google search lead me to Food and Wine Magazine's Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling. Oh. My. Word. These cupcakes were so rich and decadent I could hardly restrain myself from eating them all. Each and every one of you MUST make these treats immediately! Serve them up with a talk glass of milk. Seriously, the calories are worth it.
So there you have it ... a weeks worth of crazy cake baking! Now it's time for ME to get busy. Not with baby making but with this week's TWD recipe. Can you guess what it is? Surprise! It's cake. That's right, cake. Berry Surprise Cake. I'm off to make another cake.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I've never baked a tart and I'm pretty sure that I've never even eaten a tart so I was a little intimidated by this assignment. After reading through the recipe I realized that this recipe was relatively easy and that, once AGAIN, I have the wrong size pan! I think this is the third recipe, that did not involve a cookie sheet, in a row! Although I own a new 10-inch tart pan and the recipe called for a 9-inch tart pan, I relaxed about the pan size after pre-baking the crust. The crust fit the pan well!
I whipped up the almond cream, filled the tart shell, and got started on slicing the pears. I bought 4 fresh pears (the recipe called for only 3) and I pealed and sliced all 4 of them. For some reason, I was thinking that the pears should cover the entire top of the tart so ended up using all of my pears!
I really love how this dessert turned out! The crust tasted like shortbread, the almond cream was smooth and delicious, and the pears had just the right firmness. I will definitely be making this one again!
When I do it again, however, I will make more almond cream because I think my slices (yeah, I ate 3 of them) were a little slim.
The recipe called for brushing the tart with apple jelly or sprinkling with powdered sugar. I did neither. I like my tart naked. Please go to the TWD Blogroll to see how the rest of the bakers did.