Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TWD - Double Apple Bundt Cake

This week, Lynne from Honey Muffin chose the Double Apple Bundt Cake from pages 184 and 185 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". I love everything about fall - the weather, the leaves, the pumpkins, and especially the apples! I picked up some crisp, tart apples from the farmers market to use in this cake. The cake was super easy to put together and tastes fantastic. Dorie recommends a glaze with confectioner's sugar and lemon but I had some reduced apple cider left over from another baking project so I used that instead of the lemon. Yum! Make that a Triple Apple Bundt Cake!

I'll be back with pictures ....

Please be sure to visit Lynne's blog and the rest of the TWD bakers to see how their cakes turned out.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cupcake Hero - Caffeine

Voting is now open! Please visit The Insomniac Baker's Blog to cast your vote. This month’s secret ingredient for the Cupcake Hero challenge is caffeine. Hooray! Since caffeine is an ingredient near and dear to my heart, I doubled up on the jitters and added caffeine in the form of chocolate and coffee. Until recently, I was skeptical about the cinnamon-chocolate combination but was hooked after I made a Cinnamon Chocolate Tart for the TWD group.

Cinnamon Mocha Cupcakes

adapted from Taste of Home's Cooking for 2 Fall 2005


1/4 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature

3 tablespoons buttermilk

Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Butter cream for frosting

chocolate covered espresso bean

cinnamon for dusting finished cupcake


In a small bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon; add to creamed mixture alternately with coffee and buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Butter Cream, top with a chocolate covered espresso bean, and dust with cinnamon.

Yield: 8 cupcakes

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

3 sticks of butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.

Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated about 6 minutes. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla and cinnamon and beat just until combined.

If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

TWD - Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

Jasmine of Jasmine Cuisine selected Peanut Butter Crisscrosses for this weeks TWD recipe. The recipe can be found on page 78 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". These cookies were fast, easy, and delicious! The only change I made was in the sizing department. Dorie says to scoop the dough by the tablespoon and I used a slightly larger #20 disher. The result was big, fat, chewy, peanut butter cookies! The next time around, I'll make the chocolate version as suggested in the "playing around" section. YUM!

Please visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see how they did with this recipe.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TWD - Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

This week, Natalie of Oven Love chose Oatmeal Breakfast Bread from page 44 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours." You can also find the recipe on Natalie's blog. This recipe was simple and delicious and best of all ... I had all the ingredients in my pantry! Perfect for last minute baking! I followed the recipe as written except that I made 4 muffins and 5 mini bread loaves. I doubled up on the topping since I'd have more surface area to cover and I didn't want to skimp on the crunchy top.

Please be sure to check out the rest of the TWD Bakers to see their versions of this bread.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Raspberry-Peach Cobbler Cupcakes - Cupcake Hero August

Raspberry-Peach Cobbler Cupcakes

I devised this recipe for the August edition of Cupcake Hero. Please visit the (Vegan) Cupcakes and Other Culinary Creations for details and voting (after August 18th). These are a buttermilk-cinnamon cake with raspberry peach compote filling, whipped cream frosting, and a crunchy streusel topping.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup honey
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk
½ tsp. vanilla
Peach and Raspberry Compote
Sweetened Whipped Cream Frosting
Streusel Crumbles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in honey, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scoop the batter into prepared cupcake pan.

Bake 17-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. All cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

When cool, core each cupcake and add about 1 teaspoon of peach and raspberry compote. Swirl on whipped cream frosting and top with streusel crumbles.

Peach and Raspberry Compote
¼ cup sugar
½ T. cornstarch
¼ tsp. cinnamon
3 peaches
¼ quart raspberries
1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in saucepan. Stir in peaches, raspberries, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Cool.

Sweetened Whipped Cream Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. powdered sugar (or to taste)

Chill mixing bowl and whisk attachment. Whip cream and sugar in chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Do not over mix!

Streusel Crumb Topping
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup chopped pecans
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
3 T. butter (not softened)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix with fingers until crumbly. Spread mixture on parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Stir mixture and return to oven for 5 minutes. Cool.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

TWD - Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream

Hooray! Ice Cream! The past few days have been scorching hot here so I was delighted that of Baking and Boys chose Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream for this weeks TWD recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog or on page 430 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". I make ice cream pretty often so and I thought I was fairly skilled in this particular area but my chocolate ganache didn't really freeze into what I consider "ice cream" - it was more like "frozen chocolate ganache". None the less it was decadent and will certainly not go to waste!

I've often wondered how ice cream ended up in a baking book but I just assumed that Dorie included it because ice cream and cake just go together. I happened to catch the Good Eats "Churn Baby Churn II" episode on Tuesday night and in this episode Alton Brown compares ice creams to baked goods. He states that the comparison makes sense because ice cream is essentially a foam (structurally) as are baked goods such as cakes and breads. Hmmmmm ..... interesting!

I wish I would have caught this show before I made my chocolate ganache ice cream because I think I could have vastly improved the outcome! and Please be sure to visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see how they did with their ice cream.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TWD - Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake

It’s my turn to pick the TWD recipe! Yeah me! I feel like I get to be princess for a day! Many of the bakers in our group wait until the last minute to carefully make their pick. Me? I’ve had my eye on this recipe for months! Each time a new round of picks was announced, I would cross my fingers and whisper “please, please, please no one pick the banana cake”. When I saw the email asking for my choice, I jumped on it in about two seconds. No joke. I’ve made this cake a bunch of times in lots of ways. I love this cake so much that I wanted to share it with everyone. I hope you love it as much as I do!
This weekend, I made the cake as written and frosted and filled the cake with brown sugar cream cheese frosting but more often, I’ve used this recipe to make cupcakes. I get about 36 regular sized cupcakes which are super moist and full of banana flavor.

I vary the basic recipe for the cake and some of my favorite toppings are Cashew and Coconut Frosting (German Chocolate Cake-like Frosting), Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting and a Banana Slice with a Caramel Drizzle, and Cream Cheese Icing and Toasted Coconut.

But my all-time favorite is this one…

Caramelized Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting and Toasted Coconut
I used some of the brown sugar and the rum from the recipe along with an extra tablespoon of butter to caramelize three and a half ripe bananas. I let them cool a bit and added them to the batter as the recipe directs. I made sure to scrape up some of the caramelized sugar from the skillet – you can see them in the batter …
This cupcake was banana-y and caramel-y and yummy. Over the top delicious. No joke. One of the great advantages of cooking the banana before had is that you can use ripe bananas! No need to wait around waiting for brown spots to appear on your prized fruit.

Here’s the recipe, which can also be found on pages 204-205 of Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”.

Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake

The inspiration to bake a banana cake always seems to strike when a bunch of bananas are mottling on the counter. But just because you’ve got the fruit doesn’t mean you have all the other stuff you need, which is why I created this amazingly flexible cake. No coconut? Skip it. No brown sugar? Use white. No coconut milk? Use milk, buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt. You can serve the cake as a single layer or a double (the recipe makes two layers, plain, frosted, filled or frosted and filled. Take a look at Playing Around for some ideas.

If you make the cake with the ingredients listed first below, you’ll get a consistency that isn’t heavy but not featherweight either. It has enough substance to chew on, but its light enough to entice you to go back for a second serving … or a third.
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum or Malibu coconut rum (optional)
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (you should have 1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups)
½ cup canned unsweetened coconut milk, regular (stir well before measuring) or “lite” (or whole milk, buttermilk, sour cream, or plain yogurt)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, preferably toasted (or an equal amount of moist, plump dried fruit, such as currants, raisings, chopped apricots, cranberries, blueberries, or halved cherries, or a combination of coconut and dried fruit)

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9x2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed for a couple of minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla and rum. You’ll have a beautiful satiny batter. Now lower the speed and add the bananas-the batter will curdle, but that’s fine; it will come together as you add the remaining ingredients. Still on low speed, add the dry and liquid ingredients alternately, adding the flour mixture in three portions and the coconut milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). Mix just until everything is incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently stir in the coconut. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cakes are a deep golden brown. They should start to pull away from the sides of the pans and a thin knife inserted into their centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold and invert onto another rack to cool to room temperature right side up.

Playing Around
To frost one layer or to fill and frost both layers, consider Sweetened whipped cream to which you’ve added vanilla, a splash of dark rum or Malibu coconut rum and toasted coconut, Marshmallow frosting (p. 247), Chocolate Whipped Cream (page 457) and just for fun, a crown of chocolate shavings (p. 471) or Bittersweet Ganache (p. 453).

Rum Syrup: If you like the flavor of rum, you can douse the cakes with rum syrup as soon as they come out of the oven (see page 226 for the syrup recipe-give these cakes the same treatment you’d give the Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes).

One-Layer Cake: Serve just one layer, lightly sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder, and accompany it with lightly whipped cream and/or ice cream (chocolate, coconut, vanilla, or coffee) and/or Hot Fudge Sauce (page 465).

Grand Banana Sundae: You can cut one cake into small cubes and make a sundae. Toss the pieces of cake with some cubes of fresh banana and a little rum and top with ice cream, hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. Why not go all the way and add some toasted coconut too?

Thank you for visiting my blog today (please come back soon) and be sure to visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see lots-of-versions of this fantastic cake!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

TWD - Brrrr-ownies

Karen of Welcome to our Crazy Blessed Life selected Brrrr-ownies on page 103 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours" for this week's baking assignment. Please visit her blog to find the recipe. I had some trouble with these guys! I think I underbaked them a bit and they stuck to the aluminum foil lining the pan like crazy. Eventually, I had to scrape them off the foil which resulted in a crumbly gooey minty mess, although I did manage to salvage a few for pictures! I stuffed the crumbly gooey minty mess into a ziploc bag and plan to make Crumbly Gooey Minty Mess Ice Cream in the next few days - watch for it!

Some of the pieces that I extracted from the pan vaguely resembled brownies and they tasted delicious.
A tall glass of milk would definitely make a complete package!

Please visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see how their brownies came out!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

TWD - Tarte Noir

This week, Dharmagirl of bliss: towards a delicious life chose Tarte Noire for our baking assignment. Please visit Dharmagirl's blog for the recipe and/or you can find it on page 351 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". I made a full recipe of the tart crust and the chocolate ganache but baked up mini tartes. The baby's a super smooth and delicious and very easy to make! I followed the recipe as written but after the fact I started second guessing myself and think I should have squeezed in a layer of peanut butter somewhere ... or perhaps a peanut butter shortbread crust? Mmmmm - next time!

My son had a friend visiting while I was baking and his friend was pretty insistent on trying a piece of "chocolate pie". I knew he wouldn't like the "grown up" chocolate (bittersweet) but finally relented and let him have the nearly empty ganache bowl. He disappeared into the living room thinking he was going to lick the bowl clean. Two seconds later he was back gagging like he had swallowed turpentine. Boys do not listen. Ever.

Please visit the rest of the TWD Bakers to see how they did. I'm SURE someone found a way to get peanut butter in the tarte!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TWD - Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes

Mmmmmm ..... rum .... This week's Tuesday's with Dorie assignment, Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes, comes from Wendy of Pink Stripes. You can get the recipe at Pink Stripes or you can find it on pages 226 and 227 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". This cake is super easy to make and comes together in a single bowl! I halved the recipe, also easy to do if you are mathmatically challenged as I am, and got six mini bundt cakes. The batter was smooth as silk and honestly, I would have been perfectly content to sit down with the bowl and eat it with a spoon!

I mentioned previously, that it's strawberry season in these parts so I have an overabundance of berries (22 pounds at one point)! Although the cakes were delicious on their own, I topped mine with strawberries and freshly whipped, lightly sweetened whipped cream. So good!

Please visit the rest of the TWD bakers and see how they did this week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blueberry Mojito Cupcake - Cupcake Hero

The ingredient for June's Cupcake Hero is blueberries and after much debate and research, I came up with a Blueberry Mojito Cupcake with Ginger-Lime Mascarpone Frosting. I knew I wanted to pair my blueberries with citrus but couldn't decide which one. I also wanted to incorporate ginger into the mix. I considered brushing the finished cupcakes with a ginger simple syrup and not knowing exactly what I was doing - I googled. What does google give me in the number 4 position ... a recipe by Tyler Florence for Blueberry Ginger Mojitos! Blueberries? Check. Citrus? Check. Ginger? Check. Perfect!

I started with the mojito cupcake recipe from Alpineberry which you can find on her blog. This cupcake is moist and delicious and the flavors of the mint and lime marry beautifully. Then I puree'd a pint of fresh blueberry and a few tablespoons of sugar. I found the mixture to be a bit thin, so I added a squeeze of lime and simmered it on the stovetop until I had a lovely blueberry jam. After portioning out the batter into the cupcake pan, I swirled about one tablespoon of jam into the batter and baked them. The Ginger-Lime Mascarpone Frosting was light and fluffy and the perfect topper for the cupcakes.

Dorothy of Kitchen Koala has generously agreed to host this months Cupcake Hero so please visit her blog to see what the other bakers have cooked up this month and to cast your vote for your favorite blueberry cupcake!

Mojito Cupcakes (from Alpineberry)
makes 18 regular cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
3/4 cup whole milk, hot
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
grated zest of 2 limes
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum (optional)

Preheat to 350F.

Add mint leaves to hot milk. Let steep for 10-15 minutes. Pour milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Press liquid from mint leaves. Discard leaves and allow milk to cool slightly.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in lime zest, vanilla and rum (if using).

On very low speed, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk and ending with flour, mixing until just incorporated.

Fill 18 standard muffin cups half full. Bake until cupcakes spring back when touched, 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely.

Ginger-Lime Mascarpone Frosting

8-ounce mascarpone cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tsp. grated fresh ginger (more or less depending on taste)
zest of 3 limes
juice from 2 limes
pinch of salt
1 cup whipping cream

Combine mascarpone cheese, sugar, ginger, lime zest, lime juice and salt and blend until smooth and creamy. Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whipping cream into mascarpone cheese mixture. Pipe onto cupcakes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TWD - Raisin Swirl Bread

This week, Susan of Food.Baby picked Raisin Swirl Bread for our baking pleasure. Yeast is not my friend so I'll admit to being pretty intimidated by this week's recipe. All was well in the beginning, I got a nice proof and a good rise. I let my dough rest overnight in the refrigerator and unfortunately, once my dough didn't rise well once it arrived in the bread pan. The bread tasted good but was much denser than I expected. Dorie suggests toasting it for maximum flavor and, as usual, she was spot on.

A cajoled my son, who doesn't eat anything I bake, into trying a piece of toasted raisin bread slathered with butter. His assessment ... he didn't spit it out which is high praise in our household! I'm looking forward to turning this bread into french toast this weekend!

Please visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see how they did with their bread this week.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

TWD - Tender Shortcakes

Cathy of The Tortefeasor chose Tender Shortcakes for this weeks Tuesdays with Dorie baking assignment. You can find the recipe on page 423 of Dorie Greenspans "Baking: From My Home to Yours" or on Cathy's blog. This recipe was super easy, wonderfully delicious, and a perfect dessert for spring/summer. The biscuits were huge! I baked 1/2 the recipe and had 6 enourmous biscuits. The dough contains sugar and is sweet enough but I gave my biscuits an additional sprinkle of turbinado sugar just before baking, which gave the tops on fantastic crunch.

Here in Michigan, strawberries are just coming in to season so I was able to use some fresh from the farm berries to top my dessert.

For the topping, I tossed sliced strawberries with some sugar and finely chopped fresh ginger and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The ginger added an unexpected (for me) kick to the berries and was it ever good! I topped the shortcakes with some sweetened whipped cream and I was ready to go. I intended to take just one bite to see how it tasted but I just couldn't stop! The shortcakes are excellent! Dorie says these shortcakes can also be made with poached mango and since Florida mangoes will come into season in about a month, I expect to make these again in July.

Thanks for stopping by and please visit some of the other TWD bloggers to see what they made with this week's recipe selection.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

TWD - Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie

This week, Spike of Spike Bakes chose Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie for our Tuesday baking task. You can find the recipe on Spike's website or on page 350 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking from My Home to Yours". I was skeptical about a couple things when I read through the recipe; the first was the mixture of chocolate and banana and the second was getting the frozen crust out of the pie pan. I don't really care for fruit mixing with chocolate so I pretty sure I wouldn't like the taste but I forged ahead with the recipe as written to give the good old college try! Even the addition of rum couldn't mitigate my aversion to chocolate and fruit co-mingling in a single pie. Of course, perhaps if I'd used 2 cups instead of 2 tablespoons of rum, I might have made it through! Bottomline - I loved the taste of the crust but not the pie. Additionally, I needed a jack hammer to extricate a slice from the pie plate!

Try as I might, I could not get good pictures for this go round! Here is what Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie V. 1.0 looked like.

On to the next. I like to call V. 1.2 "Deconstructed Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie". Yes, I watch way too much food TV. I took all the components of the pie (except the chocolate, of course) and reassembled them into a smaller single serving pie type creation. I used a small bowl lined with parchment paper to form a bowl with the crust ingredients. I piled vanilla ice cream into the coconut bowl and topped the whole thing with a banana rum sauce. It was fantastic!!

Dorie says that the crust will keep for a couple of months in the freezer if wrapped tightly so I plan on keeping a stash of small crusts/bowls in my freezer for dessert emergencies!

Please visit some of the other TWD Bakers to see how they did with this weeks challenge!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TWD - Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

For this weeks TWD baking project, Becky from Project Domestication chose Burnt Sugar Ice Cream from page 432 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". I was so excited to make this ice cream, that I accidently jumped ahead and made this last week when I was supposed to be making Chockablock cookies! I love homemade ice cream and this variation was no exception! I have discovered that freezing up a batch of ice cream requires a level of patience that I'm ill equipped to handle! First you have to cook your custard, slowly adding hot ingredients to the eggs so that they don't curdle. Then, cook and stir and cook and stir. Cool the custard, freeze the custard into ice cream and then freeze until scoopable. Playing the waiting game paid off though because this ice cream was fantastic! The flavor was so unique and the ice cream was super smooth and creamy.

The day before I made the ice cream, I baked some Double Chocolate Chunk cookies to reward my official taste tester for assembling a bunkbed for my son. He took all but two cookies home so I had two of these brownie like cookies staring me in the face. Rather than eat them, I mixed them into some of the burnt sugar ice cream. Holy cow - it was awesome! Chocolate-caramel is a flavor combination can only be surpassed by the chocolate peanut butter combo. Yum!

Please visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see how they mixed things up this week.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TWD - Sweet Cream Biscuits

This week Melissa of Love At First Bite chose Sweet Cream Biscuits from page 23 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". I was delighted to find the recipe for these biscuits because they use cream instead of buttermilk and I almost always have cream in the refrigerator but buttermilk ... not so much. I've made them several times and they are easy and delicious. This time around, I brushed the tops with a bit of butter and sprinkled them with turbinado sugar for strawberry shortcakes topped with brown sugar whipped cream.

Please check out the rest of the TWD group and see how they did with this week's recipe.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TWD - Mocha Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake

This weeks selection is from Erin of When in Doubt…Leave it at 350. She picked Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake which can be found on pages 180 and 181 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". This was another super easy bundt cake and it was delicious. Of course, my cake looks nothing like Dorie's cake does! The directions instruct you to combine "just less than half" of the plain batter with the chocolate mixture. Eyeballing measurements is simply not one of my many talents! So my cake has more and paler chocolate ... really, what's the problem?? Although Dorie recommends baking the cake for 65 to 70 minutes, mine was done at 50 minutes. I also added a bittersweet chocolate glaze to my bundt cake to jazz it up a bit

I brought this cake into the office in the wee hours of the morning (practically fresh from the oven!) so I don't have any pictures to share today. Thanks for visiting my blog and please check out the rest of the TWD bakers to see how they did this week.

Updated 4-7-10: I managed to get a pretty good ginkgo pattern!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

TWD - Coconut Tea Cake

This week, Carmen of Carmen Cooks picked Coconut Tea Cake. You can find the recipe when you visit her blog and/or on pages 194 and 195 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours." The cake was a snap to make but looked a little plain fresh out of the oven so I topped it with a glaze of coconut milk and powdered sugar and sprinkled some toasted coconut on top. I think I may have overbaked this one a tad since it seemed a little dry to me, but it still tasted delicious! I have my eye on the coconut-lime variation for next time around.

Please visit some other TWD Bakers and see how they did. Personally, I can't wait to see some of the wonderful variations that my fellow bakers will come up with!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Frog Cupcakes

Monday night my son's Cub Scout pack had a Cake Bake and cake walk. For the cake bake, the scouts baked a cake with his Akeela and the cake was displayed at our pack meeting. The cakes were then given away to some lucky winners. I'll post about his cake later!

My contribution to the cake walk was these adorable frog cupcakes that I found on the Hello, Cupcake Blog.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TWD - Dulce de Leche Duos

This weeks pick for Dulce de Leche Duos was made by Jodie of Beansy Loves Cake. You can find the recipe on her blog or on page 161 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". I was super excited to try this recipe because I've been wanting to try making my own dulce de leche and this recipe was the excuse I've been looking for! I put two cans of sweetened condensed milk in my slow cooker, covered them with water, and cooked on low for 9 hours. Waiting for the cans to cool was excruciatingly painful! I wanted to see what was inside and when I popped the top, I was delighted to find that I had a wonderful, sweet, caramel concoction.

The cookies were very sweet but tasted absolutely wonderful! I will definitely bake these again but next time I will try to make my cookies smaller. These would be perfect as one-bite cookies, which is probably how Dorie designed them, but I have a problem with portion control!

Just look at the caramelly goodness oozing from the sides.

I need to run to the store for a couple more cans of sweetened condensed milk because I now have a long list of dulce de leche recipes (including butter cream frosting and ice cream) that I must try. Immediately.

Please check out some of the blogs of the other TWD bakers to see how they did this week. I'll be visiting them just as soon as I come out of my caramel coma.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Snickers Cupcakes

This cupcake is my entry into this month's Cupcake Hero. Please visit the I Heart Cupcakes Blog and cast your vote for your favorite caramel creation!

This cupcake was inspired by the Snickers candy bar (my favorite!) My starting point was Peanut Cupcakes with Nougat-Chocolate Frosting from the Food Network website and I tweaked it from there. This cupcake is the best I've made and I think I can make it even better the next time around!

For the Cupcakes: (adapted from The Food Network: Peanut Cupcakes with Nougat-Chocolate Frosting)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup chopped salted roasted peanuts, plus more for garnish

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

In another bowl, beat the eggs and both sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the melted butter and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture, the milk and then the remaining flour. Fold in the peanuts but don't over mix.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups, filling each about halfway. Bake until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pans 10 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups, enough to frost 24 cupcakes
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter

In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Continue whisking until the mixture becomes too hot to touch comfortably, 7 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on, medium-high speed until the egg whites hold a stiff peak and the egg whites have cooled, about 8 minutes. Switch to a paddle attachment and add the butter, one or two pieces at a time, beating well after each addition. When all the butter has been incorporated, continue beating for another 8-10 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and peanut butter.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups, enough to frost 24 cupcakes

6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt chocolates in a double boiler. When chocolate has melted, transfer to bowl of stand mixer and add the confectioners' sugar, milk, butter, vanilla and salt and beat until smooth and creamy.

To assemble cupcake:

Frost each cupcake (I used a pastry bag to make things easy) with a layer of Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream, top with a layer of Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, sprinkle with chopped peanuts, and finish with a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

TWD - Thumbprints for Us Big Guys

For this week's baking, Mike of Ugly Food Dude, chose "Thumbprints for Us Big Guys". Please visit Mike's site (he's very funny!) for the recipe or check page 164 in Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". This was a super simple, tasty cookie and with endless variations, I think I will be making this one repeatedly. I baked this recipe pretty much as written with hazelnuts in the dough and a raspberry filling. The one exception was the portion size - Dorie instructs us to use a teaspoon of dough for each cookie. A teaspoon? For "Big Guy" cookies? I think my portion size was closer to a tablespoon! I gave these cookies to my mother to share with her co-workers and they gave the cookies a big thumbs up!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TWD - Toasted-Coconut Custard Tart

This week, Beryl of Cinemon Girl chose Toasted-Coconut Custard Tart for our baking pleasure. You can find the recipe on the Cinemon Girl blog or better yet, on pages 344 and 345 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours".
I've never tasted coconut cream pie so I really don't have a baseline for assessing the yumminess of the tart but I can say that I wasn't crazy about it. Although I followed the recipe carefully, my dark Jamaican rum completely overpowered the filling. I could scarcely taste the coconut. I brought this tart to my co-workers who, in general, gave it a thumbs up!

Please visit the rest of the TWD baking crew to see what they thought of this recipe.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

TWD - Honey Wheat Cookies

This week, Michelle from Flourchild, chose Honey Wheat Cookies from page 81 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". You can also get the recipe from Michelle's blog if you stop by for a visit. I was really excited to see that the description of these cookies included the words "soft" and "chewy"! Faaaaantastic - my favorite kind! I was never a big honey fan until spring of 2009 rolled around and I discovered Green Toe Gardens at my local farmers market. All their hives are local and the flavor is fantastic! I can now add "honey" to my list of snobberies. I used Wild Detroit Honey for Dorie's Honey Peach Ice Cream and for this recipe I used Eight Mile Road Honey.
These cookies are easy to make and are delicious! Dorie's recipe calls for the addition of lemon zest but I forgot to by lemons so I forged ahead with it and the cookies were still wonderful!
I did want to try one little experiment with the dough ... A couple weeks ago I wandered into Sur La Table and discovered cookie cutters on sale for 60 cents each. Seriously? Sixty cents? I picked up a bunch of cutters, including an extra large bee hive! This cookie dough is really soft but I refrigerated, rolled, refrigerated, cut, refrigerated and finally made these into a soft and chewy cut-out cookie. The next time around I may need to throw the freezer into the mix because it was very difficult to transfer the cut outs to the baking sheet.
Please visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see what they did with this weeks recipe selection.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TWD - My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

This week's selection is from Kait, from Kait's Plait, who chose "My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies". You can find the recipe on Kait's blog or on page 68 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours".

Right out of the gate the following words fill my heart with dread ... Thin. Crunchy. Cookie. In case you missed the memo. I do not like Thin. Crunchy. Cookies. My mission this week became three-fold. Part one - make something my son will like, part two - make a cookie that is neither thin nor crunchy and part three- make them Valentine's Day appropriate. Mission impossible?

My son recently became hooked on ice cream sandwiches made with chocolate chip cookies so I thought I would try to make ice cream sandwiches for him. With the first batch of cookies, I scooped the dough with a big disher and refrigerated them before baking in order to reduce spreading. That didn't work out ... I got Thin. Crunchy. Cookies. that were oddly shaped (as opposed to the perfectly round cookies I was shooting for!)

Next! I moved on to Valentine's Day appropriateness with a silicone heart-shaped muffin pan. I had some difficulty with the edges of the cookies climbing the sides of the pan and some sinking in the middle of the cookie but after a bit of playing around, I managed some good heart shaped cookies! These cookies were thick but still a little on the crunchy side.

With two-thirds of my mission complete, I decided to go back to part one - "kid friendly". I went with heart-shaped ice cream sandwiches using Dorie's recipe for vanilla ice cream and they turned out thick and delicious! I can see the appeal of these yummy treats!

Please check out the rest of the TWD bakers to see how their spins on these chocolate chip cookies.