Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Apple Praline Bread

Ok, I lied. I could not make it until Friday with making something. I have to bake at least every other day or every other two days. It's a compulsion. This brought me to the following quick bread.
I found this recipe in a magazine and apples are in season, so I naturally had to make it. Get it, had to!

Land O Lakes Recipe Collection "Harvest Baking" Magazine, page 48
Apple Praline Bread
(my slightly tweaked/lighter version of the original)
1 cup firmly packed Splenda Brown Sugar Baking Blend (or use regular brown sugar)
1/2 cup margarine/butter
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt or kosher salt
2 medium (2 cups) apples, peeled, grated
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine/butter
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 3 mini (5 3/4x3-inch) loaf pans as the recipe calls for, or 6 extra mini (5x2-inch) loaf pans as I did.
In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter until well combined, should be creamy. Add sour cream, eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add all remaining ingredients and until well combined. Then stir in shredded apples. Pour evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes for the smaller loaf pans as I did, or 38-45 minutes for the larger pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for about 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. I was impatient, so I didn't wait until they were cooled all the way.
Meanwhile; for the topping, mix brown sugar and butter in a 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil (3-4 minutes). Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until well mixed and smooth (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in pecans. Pour evenly over bread. I ate them while it was still warm. Yum! The topping was awesome!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Brrr. Not winter, nope, I refuse!

It was almost cold enough to turn on the heat last night. Yuck. It's not even quite October yet. And I haven't even baked anything since Apple cake, which, shame shame on me, I haven't posted. That's just because the topping was not to my liking, so I am having a really hard time posting something on here that was not the best. It was a two part cake. The bottom cake layer, and topped with apples and cream with cinnamon&sugar on top. The cake was awesome! But the apple layer, hmmm...not so much. I will experiment and hopefully get back to this one again. Maybe blueberries. Oh how I love the yummy goodness of blueberries. Not on their own, no, but in dessert, oh man I am in love! The next time I make Melt-In-Your-Mouth Blueberry Cake, I am going to have to restrain myself. It is not going to last long in my house.
On a another note, I am making something, not sure what, for Girls' Night In, this Friday, and also a Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake for Saturday, which I am taking to a buddy o' mine. Update to come...Are you ready???

Monday, September 28, 2009

Puff Pastry Challenge (Vols-au-Vent)

(baking before the “jump” or “cut”) I could put this anywhere in the post, but you know what, i'm putting it here, just because I can. (For recognization of The Daring Baker's Challenge)

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' Challenge has been chosen by Steph of a whisk and a spoon. Steph chose Vols-au-Vent.

Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Dough

From: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 2-1/2 pounds dough

2-1/2 cups (12.2 oz/ 354 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups (5.0 oz/ 142 g) cake flour
1 tbsp. salt (you can cut this by half for a less salty dough or for sweet preparations)
1-1/4 cups (10 fl oz/ 300 ml) ice water
1 pound (16 oz/ 454 g) very cold unsalted butter

In a large bowl; mix both flours and salt together. Pour water in all at once at mix with wooden spoon as well as possible. Then use hands to mix the dough until you can form it into a ball. (the recipe used a food processor, but I don't have one, so...) Slash the top of the dough with a sharp knife in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Wrap the dough in a damp towel and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the butter blocks side by side, lengthwise,  between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that's about 1" thick. Mine ended up being more of a rectangle, but it worked. If the butter starts soften or become oily, chill it before continuing.
For the next part you'll need at a least a 2 ft. long work surface. I used my kitchen table, lightly flour. Take out the refrigerated dough and place it on your work surface, which has been dusted with all-purpose flour. Use a french style rolling pin (no handles=awesome!), press on the dough to flatten it by rolling to form four corners or a square, making sure to leave bit of a dome in the center of the square. Roll it into a 10" square. Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floured to prevent sticking. The effect should be a thick center with flaps.
Place the chilled butter in the middle of the dough and fold the ears over the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely. (If you have to stretch the dough, stretch it from all over; don't just pull the ends). In theory it was supposed to be a 8" square, mine was more rectangular.
If you are in a cool room, it will work better for puff pastry. I chilled 1 hour between every 2 turns of the dough. If the butter starts to ooze out of the pastry at any time, cover the dough with damp cloth and refrigerate it . It doesn't matter what point in the process you are, you can take a break to do this.
Making the Turns:
Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom edges of the square (this will help keep it square). Then, keeping the work surface and the top of the dough well floured to prevent sticking, roll the dough into a rectangle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 24" (don't be anal about it, trust me it's not a perfect process). With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the length and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along well, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary.
With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the dough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.
Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 24" and then folding it in thirds. This is the second turn.
Chilling the Dough:
If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now. If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of turns you've completed by indenting the dough with your fingertips. It is best to refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.
The total number of turns needed is six.  Plan to chill the dough for at least an hour before cutting or shaping it.

Ta-da! my finished dough. It was a lot of work, but who cares, puff pastry rules!

Forming and Baking the Vols-au-Vent

Yield: 1/3 of the puff pastry recipe below will yield about 8-10 1.5” vols-au-vent or 4 4” vols-au-vent
Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Divide your dough into 3 portions, using a very sharp knife. Work with one piece of the dough, and leave the rest wrapped and chilled. You can freeze any unused portions of the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap, and double wrap in foil.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the piece of dough into a rectangle about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. Transfer it to the baking sheet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the cutting.
Use a round cutter, or shaped if you prefer to cut out 8-10 circles. Make clean, sharp cuts and try not to twist your cutters back and forth. Half of these rounds will be for the bases, and the other half will be for the sides. (Save any scrap by stacking—not wadding up—the pieces…they can be re-rolled and used if you need extra dough. If you do need to re-roll scrap to get enough disks, be sure to use any rounds cut from it for the bases, not the ring-shaped sides.)
Whatever cutter you decide to use, cut centers from half of the rounds to make rings. These rings will become the sides of the vols-au-vent, while the solid disks will be the bottoms. You can either save the center cut-outs to bake off as little “caps” for you vols-au-vent, or put them in the scrap pile.
Dock the solid bottom rounds with a fork (prick them lightly, making sure not to go all the way through the pastry) and lightly brush them with egg wash. Do not get any egg wash on sides of pastry dough. Place the rings directly on top of the bottom rounds and very lightly press them to adhere. If you are using the little “caps,” dock and egg wash them as well.
Place the finished vols-au-vent on the lined baking sheet and refrigerate. Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.
Once the oven is heated, remove the sheet from the refrigerator and place a piece of parchment paper over top of the shells. This is going to help them from baking unevenly. Bake the shells until they have risen and begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF , and remove the parchment sheet from the top of the vols-au-vent. If the centers have risen up inside the vols-au-vent, you can gently press them down. Continue baking (without the sheet on top) until the layers are golden, about 15-20 minutes more. (If you are baking the center “caps” they will likely be finished well ahead of the shells, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when browned.)
Remove to a rack to cool. Cool to room temperature for cold fillings or to warm for hot fillings.
Fill and serve.
*Although they are at their best filled and eaten soon after baking, baked vols-au-vent shells can be stored airtight for a day.
*Shaped, unbaked vols-au-vent can be wrapped and frozen for up to a month (bake from frozen, egg-washing them first).
I did the requisite round shaped cutters, but also added some Autumn leaf and acorn shapes. I was in the Autumn mood.

Savory: I did a garlic roasted vegetable mix with the pumpkin shaped puff.

Acorn with Cranberry Sauce and Autumn Leaf with Lemon Curd. I made both of these fillings for the worthy occasion.
Yummy goodness. Cranberry sauce and whipped cream.

Officially a 'Daring Baker'

I joined the Daring Baker's website last month. Each month we are given a challenge to complete by the 1st of the following month and post on our blog, if we have them. This month was Puff Pastry. To tell you the truth, I was rather aprehensive, considering that I have never made the stuff, nor had the extra 'push' to do so. I was surprised at how worth it it was to make. I am going to be doing a separate post for this process.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mini Creamy Chocolate Cupcakes

I decided to make cupcakes for my mother's b-day. Easy right? Not so much. I started with a 12 cup regular size muffin tin. And they turned out great, until I went to dump them out. Completely broken in half. So I was about to give up, when it dawned on make something up and hope for the best. For once, it worked.
From this:

To This:

Here is how I did it...
One "Incredibly Moist Chocolate Cupcake" recipe adapted from Nick Malgieri's cookbook "The Modern Baker"
Incredibly Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate,cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup boiling water
(I did 3/4 cup boiling water, mixed with 1/4 cup of very strongly brewed coffee)
Coffee brings out the flavor in chocolate, trust me.
1 stick (8Tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you are going to go the easy route, please line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners, otherwise try greasing and flouring the cups. In a medium bowl; stir together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Put all of the cut-up chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate and cover with a dish towel. Let stand for 2 minutes, then gently whisk until batter is smooth. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla flavoring and finally the sour cream.
Whisk in the flour mixture in 3 separate additions. Make sure to mix well after each addition.
Divide the batter among the muffin cups. And yes the batter will reach to almost the top of the cups. Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, or until they are firm to the touch. Another testing method is to insert a toothpick into the center of 1 or 2 cupcakes, and it comes clean. Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then invert the pan and unmold the cupcakes. Turn them right side up again and let them cool completely.
I at least should have floured the pans. But oh well, live and learn. At least it led me to a new creative  recipe.
Even when all hope seemed lost. Ding ding, the light bulb went off. I took out a block of cream cheese to soften to room temperature. And after the broken cupcakes cooled, I crumbled them all up in a large bowl. Then I mixed in the cream cheese until well incorporated. Next came the mini muffin tin. A 24 cupper. I sprayed the cups with cooking spray, pressed the cake mixture into each until level with the top of the pan and baked at 350 degrees for another 8 minutes. I immediately took it out and and inverted the muffin tin. I had no patience at this point. It makes 36 mini muffins, so, I had to do the same thing again using half the pan. Let the cupcakes cool completely on the wire rack.

And from my new favorite book, I adapted a recipe for ganache by cutting it in half.
Cindy Mushet "The Art&Soul of Baking"
Milk Chocolate Ganache
6 ounces milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it just comes to a boil. Make sure to constantly stir the cream, so it doesn't scald. Immediately pour over chocolate and let stand 1 minute, covered with a dish towel, or uncovered. Gently whisk until the ganache is smooth and all of the chocolate is melted. Let the ganache sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Dip the top of the mini cupcakes into the ganache and place bottom side down back on the cooling rack to set up. If you really want to make them cute, put a chocolate chip onto the center of each cupcake. I love mistakes sometimes!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cran-Apple Crisp

I made this sometime last week, but am just now getting around to posting. I needed to use an apple before it went bad, and the rest of the ingredients last forever, so...I used 'em.
1 serving (can easily be multiplied)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1 medium-large Apple, sliced thin
1 Tbsp. each dried cherries, cranberries, and raisins
3 packets Splenda
dash of ground nutmeg, or freshly grated
2 dashes of ground cinnamon, or to your liking
Mix fruit, sugar, and spices in a small bowl. Pour into a small ramekin.
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. quick cooking oats
Use a fork to cut butter into ingredients and mix until crumbly, pea size mixture. Sprinkle over fruit. I lightly sprinkled cinnamon on top (optional)
Place ramekin on cookie sheet and bake 30-40 minutes, or until top is lightly browned, and no longer gooey.

Maple Leaf Cookies

2nd cookie of the weekend. I love fall, and these look just like the best fall cookie ever.
(The Ultimate Cookie Book; Tormont Publications)
Yield 4 dozen
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup maple syrup (I used Pure Maple Syrup)
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. maple extract (or 1 1/2 tsp. Pure Maple Syrup)
3-4 Tbsp. heavy cream
Cream butter until fluffy. Gradually blend in maple syrup and egg. Fold in flour gently. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking pans.

Roll dough out on well-floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. This is tricky. Keep your rolling pin floured. Cut out maple leaf shapes with a cookie cutter and bake 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around edges. Cool on wire rack.
Icing; cream butter and sugar. Add maple flavoring, then cream, 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach desired spreading consistency.
Spread icing on 24 of the cookies, then cover with the other 24 cookies to make sandwiches.

Maple Leaf Cookies and Buttermilk Spice Crisps

Buttermilk Spice Crisps

Ok, so it was an ambitous weekend. As to why I say this, well...I can't tell you yet. To be announced 5 days from now. I recently joined the Daring Bakers group and just completed my first challenge. But, shhh! it's a secret for the aforementioned time. I hope your excited, because it's awesome! In the meantime I also made 2 types of cookies this weekend. The following crisps being one of them.

Buttermilk Spice Crisps (Taste of Home; Best Loved Cookies & Bars)
Yield 6 dozen
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar (yes I did sub again,  using Splenda Sugar Blend)
1/3 cup buttermilk
4 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
In a large mixing bowl (note the amount of flour, it's going to get messy, so yes a large bowl); cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and buttermilk. In a second bowl; combine flour, baking soda, and the last 4 ingredients. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Shape into 2 9-inch rolls; wrap each in plastic wrap (I used wax paper and then plastic wrap). Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap one cookie log and cut into 1/4-inch slices (should be able to get 36 cookies from each roll; I cut the log in half, and each half cut in half. Divide each 1/4 of dough into 3rds and then 3rds again.) Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Raspberry Bars

Beware! If you make these bars, you may want to hide them from your family and friends. They are so good, it's hard to eat just one. I speak from personal experience.

1st and 3rd layer:
2 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks real butter, softened and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or salted, might want to withdraw extra salt then)
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
13x9x2 pan, line with doubled foil, along bottom and up sides. Spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl: mix flour, granulated sugar, and salt (if using unsalted butter). Using an electric mixer, beat in butter 3-4 pieces at a time. Mix until well combined and batter looks like wet sand. Take 1 1/4 cups of the flour mixture and place in a medium bowl. Set bowl aside.

Evenly press remaining flour mixture into bottom of the prepared pan. Press down with the bottom of a measuring cup or use your hands. Bake about 20 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges.
While the bottom crust bakes, take reserved flour mixture and mix in the oats and brown sugar. Add the 2 Tbsp. butter, and using your fingers, or a fork, work the mixture until it is combined and starts to stick together, set aside.
2nd layer:
3/4 cup red raspberry preserves
3/4 cup fresh raspberries (or frozen berries, thaw and make sure to drain, make sure equals 3/4 cup)
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice (or bottled)
In a small bowl, combine raspberry preserves, berries, and lemon juice. Mash lightly with a fork as you mix. Spread the mixture over the hot crust. Ok, you caught me. I sprinkled just a bit more fresh raspberries over the preserves too. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture. Make sure to not press oat mixture into berries. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until top is golden brown and the filling is bubby.

Remove pan to wire rack. Once bars are completely cool, remove from pan, by pulling on foil at opposite ends and lifting up, place on wire rack. Peel the foil away from the bars, be very careful, you may have to use a knife to help it along. Cut into 20-24 pieces and enjoy! Store in closed container at room temperature.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Skinny Blondies

(9-12 Servings)
1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
1 cup tightly packed Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup flour
1/3 cup butterscotch chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 8x8 pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and butterscotch chips. Pour all at once into the yogurt mixture and stir together until well blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted off-center comes out clean. Remove pan to wire rack and cool completely. Cut bars and serve.
Even though these have about half the fat and calories, they are still delicious!

I lightened up a recipe from
If you would like to use the original go to the above website.

Mixed Berry Crostata

This was soooooooooo good. I would describe it as a cross between a pie and a tart. It may be time consuming to make, but who cares. It is so worth it!

recipe by ina garten, from her cookbook "barefoot contessa at home"
Mixed Berry Crostata
2 cups flour
1/4 granulated sugar or superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter (if using salted butter, cut out the salt)
6 Tbsp. (3 ounces ice cold water)
Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor (I used my blender). Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and toss with your fingers or a spoon (much safer) to coat each cube of butter with the flour. Pulse 12 to 15 times, or at least until the butter is the size of peas. Leave the processor/blender motor on, and add the ice water through the feed tube all at once. Hit the pulse button to combine, but stop the processor/
blender just before the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, cut dough in half, and form into 2 flat disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour. If you only need one dough, freeze the second disk.
The Filling (for one Crostata)
1 pound firm, ripe peaches, peeled
1/2 pound firm, ripe black plums, unpeeled
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup granulate sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced (if salted, don't use kosher salt)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll the pastry dough into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. (I had to lightly flour the dough too, it stuck to my rolling pin.)Transfer it to the pan.
For the Streusel: Combine 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, add the salt if using unsalted butter. You can use a food processor to pulse the mixture until mixed. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly, then mix the rest by hand by rolling the dough between your fingers until it starts to hold together. You can also do this by hand, like I did, instead of using a food processor. Set aside.
For the filling: cut the peaches and plums into wedges and stir in with the blueberries. I used frozen mixed berries, thawed. Make sure if there are strawberries, to slice into 3-4 pieces first. Toss the fruit with 1 tablespoon of the flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the orange zest, and the orange juice. Place the mixed fruit on the dough circle, leaving about a 1 1/2-2 inch border.
Sprinkle the Streusel  evenly over the fruit. Gently fold the border of the pastry over the fruit, and pleat it to make an edge. I lightly brushed the dough edges with orange juice, I had som leftover juice from the orange I used.
Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and filling is bubbly and tender. Let the crostata cool for 5 minutes, then use 2 large spatulas to transfer it to a wire rack. This can be eaten warm, at room temperature or reheated. I stored mine in the refrigerator.

(Ok, fine, I posted this several days late. I actually made it on Monday. You caught me. I've been so busy this week.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Orange vs. Rum Butter Cakes

This cake was so good and makes a nice gift to give to your friends. It may be too good to do that though. To share or not to share? Hmm...
Makes 4 Small Bundt Cakes (can double the recipe to bake in a large Bundt pan=approximately double each ingredient)
Grease and flour pans before making the cake. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar (can substitute with Splenda Brown Sugar Baking Blend), I did both ways
2 large eggs
Cream butter and sugar with stand or hand mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Set bowl aside.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and soda together. I sifted my ingredients into the bowl. Sifting is optional.
1/2 cup butter milk, or 1/2 cup sour milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, mix the milk and vanilla together.
Alternate mixing dry and wet ingredients into butter mixture, 1/3 dry ingredients, 1/2 wet, 1/3 dry, 1/2 wet, 1/3 dry, mixing well after each addition. Pour evenly into prepared pan(s) and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted off center comes out clean. If using a large Bundt pan, bake 50-60 minutes, but keep an eye on it. All oven temperatures vary, so bake just until cake tester inserted off center comes out clean.
Right away, while cake is still hot, prepare syrup.
Orange Liqueur Syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. orange liqueur (yes, you can use rum if you like)
Over medium heat, bring sugar, water, and butter to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur. Poke holes in the cakes with a wooden skewer, or a chopstick will work. If cakes are not flat on top, use a serrated knife and trim tops. Immediately pour syrup over each cake. Let cakes sit in pans until completely cool. Invert pan over a cookie sheet, or larger plate and let cakes fall out. May be necessary to gently separate cake from edges with a knife. And proceed as above. Cakes will keep at room temperature for about a week, otherwise you can freeze them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Twice The Spice Truffles

I've got it! I was inspired last night and just had to come up with a recipe before I could get any sleep. Believe it or not, chocolate is delicious infused with some spicy elements. I came up with this after deciding I love love love spicy chocolate bars, so why not make it into a truffle, which I also love. There are several versions of spicy truffles out there, but this one only leaves a hint of spice after the truffle has been devoured. And trust me, it's easy to devour these. Now, as far as the brand of chocolate goes, it's your choice. I used a cheaper chocolate this time (next time, now that i've come up with a yummy recipe, i'm going to splurge on some quality chocolate). Just so it's known, you can totally make this on a budget.

Makes 16 Truffles
3 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp. Evaporated Milk
1/2 tsp. Louisiana Hot Sauce (or some other brand you like, spicier usually means using less)
1 Tbsp. Real Butter
1/2 tsp. Imitation Vanilla
1 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate (Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate 100% Cacao)
3 oz. Semi-sweet (Baker's Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate 56% Cacao)
4 Tbsp. Hershey's Cocoa Powder
1 Tbsp. Powdered Sugar
1/4 tsp. ground Cayenne Red Pepper
Finely chop the chocolate and put into a glass bowl, set aside.
In a small saucepan, pour in the cream, milk, hot sauce, butter, and vanilla and mix with a spatula. Over about medium heat, bring mixture to just a boil. Caution: constantly stir, making sure to not scorch the cream. Once it comes to just a slight boil, keep at this level of heat for just about a minute, continuing to quickly stir the mixture. Once your minute is up, remove from heat and immediately pour over chopped chocolate. Cover with a lid or plate and let sit for 1 minute. Use a wire whisk to stir, starting from center, make a small circle, gradually making larger circles until the whisk reaches the outer edge of the bowl, and repeat this process until the chocolate is fully incorporated. It will have a slight sheen to it. Do not over mix, or mix too fast. After this part, put the glass bowl into the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, until the mixture is firm enough to form into balls.
When you are able to handle the chocolate, use a small scoop, or a teaspoon to scoop enough chocolate to form a 1-inch ball, by lightly rolling in your hands. (Yes, this is going to be messy, but that's part of the fun and it's so worth it.) Place balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Should make about 16 truffles. If the chocolate is still to soft, put back in refrigerator and later finish rolling chocolate. Once this is done, put cookie sheet back in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes more.
Note: They do not have to look perfect, the more they look like the real earthy Truffle, the better.
While the chocolate is chilling:
In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and cayenne pepper. Use a small fine meshed sieve and place sieve over another bowl. Pour cocoa mixture into the sieve and shake as much through it as you can. You may need to use a spoon to push more through. Set aside until chocolate ganache is done chillin'.
Roll the chocolate balls in cocoa powder to coat each truffle, and put them onto another tray. Chill again for about 10 minutes and repeat the cocoa coating process. And there you have it. I'm not sure mine will last next time I better make more.
If you want more, you can certainly try doubling the recipe.

Spice Smacked Sour Cream Biscuits

I decided to be original on this one, ok fine, mostly original. The sour cream biscuit has been done before, but I decided to change it and add one of my favorite spices: CINNAMON!!!
Makes 12 servings
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp. milk (plus more if needed)
Mixture of Cinnamon and Sugar
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in sour cream incorporating as much as you can. Then add the milk, add enough until the dough sticks to together and is slightly sticky to the touch. Divide dough into 12 balls. Flatten balls a little and roll in cinnamon sugar mix to coat, put on 2 lightly sprayed cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown on bottoms.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Help! Truffles, need truffles.

I am in search of the perfect chocolate truffle recipe. I totally want to try something with a little bit of a spicy kick to it. I'm in the process of getting some ideas. I made some a few days ago, but used too much unsweetened chocolate and not enough of the sweet stuff. So I improvized a bit, and added toffee candy bits, mixing in each truffle ball and rolled in powdered sugar. This is just a first effort. Any suggestions?

Lemony Berry Goodness

And the results are...

It was soooooooooo............. good. Sorry you missed it :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Frozen Lemon Whip with Blueberries

I have found a nice light summer recipe. Too bad we didn't have much of a summer. Much cooler than normal. This must be some other state i'm living in right now. But...still, this dessert makes me think summer. I was watching food network, yet again (my fave tv show). Claire Robinson made it look so easy, I had to try it. And I absolutely love love love lemon and blueberries. So why hesitate. I'll keep you in anticipation to the outcome until tomorrow, because it unfortunately has to freeze for at least 4 hours. I did taste the mixture though, and one word "delicious".
If  you want this recipe just search the title above on If it wasn't already there I would totally post it. I did change the recipe slightly and used a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. YUM! Until tomorrow, these pictures will hopefully give you an idea.

The Lemon Curd

Mixed Berries

Whipping Cream and Lemon Curd

Mixed Cream and Lemon Curd

Finished Whips and into the freezer they go