Tuesday, September 29, 2009

TWD - Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

Woo-hoo! Look at me! I baked. I blogged. I did it in a timely manner! I finally feel like I'm getting my baking mojo back! This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe was selected by Carla of Chocolate Moosey, who chose Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart. The recipe can be found on Carla's blog or on pages 355-357 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours."

This recipe was pretty straight forward and simple yet came together beautifully! I used a 10-inch tart pan because that is what I have and everything still managed to work itself out. The tart is rich and decadent and would be great for a fancy schmancy get together. Personally, I used to bribe my official taste tester into assembling a bunk bed!

Please check out the rest of the TWD bakers to see how they did with this week's recipe!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Banana Chai Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

I've been in the funkiest funk for the last couple of months and I haven't been able to shake it. I've barely baked and I certainly haven't blogged! What I have been doing is reading blogs and taking notes. Lots of blogs and lots of notes! I got the ball rolling with some peach cupcakes posted by Deb over at Smitten Kitchen. I love, love, love her blog regularly stalk it looking for some goodies. I love cupcakes and hers were wonderful. The next thing to catch my eye was a post on I Heart Cuppycakes about the revival of Cupcake Hero. Cupcake Hero is monthly cupcake contest and I decided that a little competition would be just the jump start that I needed.

I borrowed Deb's Peach cupcake recipe and tweaked it into a Banana Chai Cupcake and I outright stole her brown sugar cream cheese frosting. :) It's a hella good frosting and intend to use it often! I often have a banana chai protein smoothie for breakfast and I always thought it would be a great cupcake flavor.

Banana Chai Cupcakes

3 cups cake flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. chai spice blend (I used McCormick's)

3/4 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. buttermilk

1 4-ounce jar banana baby food

3 small bananas, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 30 muffin cups with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chai spices and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition, and then add the vanilla. Gently mix in the buttermilk and baby food. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the chopped banana.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for five minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/4 c. light brown sugar

1/4 c. cornstarch

1/2 c. powdered sugar

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch and powdered sugar. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the sugar-cornstarch mixture and vanilla, beat until frosting is smooth and light. Chill the bowl in the refrigerator until it thickens back up a bit, about 30 minutes, then spread or dollop on cooled cupcakes.

I was afraid of losing some banana flavor since I was using chopped banana instead mashed banana so I used a small jar of baby food. I loved the little banana chunks scattered throughout the cupcake and they had an excellent banana flavor with a little kick from the chai spices.

Please check out the other Cupcake Hero entries and cast your vote for your favorite at I Heart Cupcakes. The voting poll is on the left hand side of the screen.

Here I was thinking that this overpriced Animal Kingdom monkey was a complete waste of money when in fact, she makes an excellent photo prop!