Monday, November 29, 2010

Lemon Souffle

Two weeks ago in class, we made lemon souffle.  And I fell in love.   So I decided I need to make it at home just to be sure it wasn't just lust.  It's official.....I'm in lemon love.

Now to make souffle,  you need two things.  Organization and a mixer.  An electric mixer will work just fine.  But the big thing is the organization.  Souffles don't wait on anyone. 

What you will need:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon zest
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar; divided
a little over 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
6 egg whites
melted butter as needed
granulated sugar as needed
powdered sugar as needed

This makes about 4 medium sized souffles.

The first step will be to prepare the ramekins.  Rub the bottom and sides in melted butter.  Then coat with granulated sugar.  Set aside.  

Combine the fresh lemon juice and heavy cream in a stainless steel saucepan.  Add in the lemon zest, give it a little stir, and bring to a boil.  While the cream is heating up, whisk the egg yolks and half of the sugar in a bowl.  Once it is light and fluffy, add the cornstarch.  Now that the cream is boiling, you will need to temper the yolks with the hot cream.  To do this, add a little bit of the hot cream into the bowl with the egg yolks constantly whisking the mixture.  Add a little more hot cream.  And then a little more. Stir constantly as you do this.  You need to bring the egg yolks up to the temperature of the hot cream slowly or you will curdle the eggs.  Once the yolks are tempered, add the mix back into the stainless steel pan.  Whisk constantly over the heat until it starts to thicken.  Pull off the heat.  

Now whisk the egg whites. This is where the mixer comes in handy. Gradually add the remaining sugar while the whites start to thicken. You want to get the whites to a medium soft peak.  

The next step will be to fold the egg whites into the hot mixture.  If you need, transfer the hot mixture to a bigger bowl.  Add the egg whites to the mix in three additions. Slowly fold the whites in.  Fill the prepared ramekins almost to the top.  Bake immediately at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.  When done, shake a little powdered sugar on top for decoration.  Eat almost immediately because the souffle will fall rather quickly.  I didn't really have a problem completing that last step.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Peanut Butter French Toast

Thanksgiving breakfast is usually pretty simple around our house.  But when I can, I try to break out the griddle.  I introduced family to our favorite breakfast of peanut butter french toast this morning.   It's extremely "stick to the roof of your mouth" good.

The amount of batter depends on the amount of bread you are going to dip.  But I usually go for about 6 eggs, a little bit of milk (we used almond milk this morning), and a splash of vanilla.  If you can't find cinnamon swirl bread, then add a dash of ground cinnamon to your egg mixture.  Whisk all the ingredients together.  Then put a little bit of butter into a skillet or griddle to melt.  While the butter is melting, prepare the bread.  For the peanut butter, I try to use a natural peanut butter because it helps cut down on the sweetness.  Slather, yes I said slather, a layer of peanut butter between two slices of bread.  Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture and immediately put into the hot pan. Fry until the sides are golden brown. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!   Just try not to do anything too strenuous afterwards. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Top Chef Cookies

I know I am the only one at work that watches Top Chef, let alone Top Chef: Just Desserts.  But during the first season of Just Desserts, I caught myself drooling over one particular dessert made.  Out of all the sorbets and petit fours created I wanted to know how to make Eric's chocolate chip cookie.  You see, I will just about do anything for a good chocolate chip cookie.  Lucky for me and my dignity, Cookie Madness found the recipe.  Let's start off by saying these are not just your average ole chocolate chip cookies.  Do you see how much goodness we are dealing with here people??

Here is what you will need:

340 grams unsalted butter (12 oz) =3 sticks
200 grams granulated sugar (7 oz) = 1 cup
400 grams brown sugar (14 oz) 2 very, very tightly packed cups light brown sugar
21 ounces flour (4 2/3 cup)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon coarse type Kosher salt (or 1 3/4 teaspoons Morton kosher or table)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
21 ounces good quality chocolate chopped into chunks

You can actually cut back on the salt even more if you want.  I am going to try these again tonight using only 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt.  

The first step is to melt the butter.  I used really soft butter.  Mine came out a little flatter than what was shown on the show, but I didn't hear any complaints.  You are going to cream the butter and sugars using a mixer.  In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Make sure to stir really well so you don't end up with any salty spots.  

Add the eggs slowly to your butter sugar mixture and then add your dry ingredients slowly.  Add a few spoonfuls and scrape down the edges....then add more.  If you add all at once, you will find flour in every corner of your kitchen.  Once combined, stir in the chocolate chunks.  

I portioned out my cookies pretty big, but you can always make them smaller. But with bigger cookies, you will easily yield about 24 buttery, delicious, chocolatey, oops...where was I? Oh yeah, bake at 325.  The time depends on the size of the cookie, but around 15 minutes should be good.  Wait till the edges get a nice golden brown and pull them out of the oven.  Let cool on a rack.  Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Strawberry Oreo Truffles

So I posted a while ago about the super easy Oreo Truffles my mom taught me to make.  This week I decided to try something a little different with them. I used the strawberry Oreos I found in our grocery store.  

The recipe is the same for the Oreo part.  I just decided to use a heart  and square cookie cutter for the shape this time.

Once cut, chill them in the fridge for about an hour.  Top off with chocolate ganache and a touch of pink royal icing and ta-da!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tasty Carrot Cake

So there was a little confusion on exactly how "mini" my mini carrot cakes were that I posted about the other day.    I hope this picture helps.  

That cake is on a 6" cake board.  So I think that constitutes as a "mini" carrot cake. Right? Now on to the recipe!!

What you will need:
3 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
4 1/8 cups of cake flour
3 3/4 teaspoons of baking powder
It's really specific I know.  Let's continue
2 1/3 teaspoons of baking soda
2 1/3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
a little over 1 teaspoon of iodized (table) salt
3 1/8 cups of light olive oil
8 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract 
1 pound of shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts
Can this recipe end already?
1/2 cup chopped pineapple
1/2 cup shredded coconut

This recipe makes a lot.  I got it from my culinary On Baking book.  The original yield is 8 cakes, but I chopped the recipe in half.  4 cakes is still chop in half again if you need to.  But then you might get into some fractions that I last discussed in like 6th grade.  

The first step in this recipe is to blend the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and oil together.  Scratch that, the first step is to get a really BIG bowl.  Then put all those ingredients in the really BIG bowl.  Mix on a low speed for about a minute.  Increase the speed to medium and mix for another 4 minutes.  Reduce the speed and gradually add in the eggs and vanilla.  Once the eggs are incorporated, fold in the carrots, walnuts, pineapple, and coconut.  

Divide the batter into prepared cake pans and bake at 375 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.  If you are going to use the clean tomato cans, only fill about half way.  The cakes are done once you can pull a toothpick out clean from the center.  

Let cool completely and then you can frost with the cream cheese icing found here. If you have trouble frosting cakes, like me, then apply a thin layer of frosting over the carrot cake. Place the cake in the freezer for about 20 minutes.  This is called a crumb layer.  The crumbs should now be frozen in place so you can apply a clean layer of frosting on top.  Decorate and enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Today's word is...


I know. It's a big word.  But what do you get when you cross clean stewed tomato cans 

and chopped carrots?


Stay tuned for the recipe!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cinnamon Apple Bread

I got this recipe from Bake It Pretty.  But I made it with a little twist.   I made this with vegan butter.  I know it doesn't even sound right, and I had to go to a special health foods store, but it worked.  And it tastes pretty darn good too.

What you will need:
1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons softened butter (or vegan butter!)
2 eggs
3/4 cup apple cider
1 to 1 1/2 cups apple (chopped)

In one bowl, sift the flour, salt, spices, and baking powder together.  Set this bowl aside.  In a separate bowl, with either a stand mixer or electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.  When the two are light and fluffy, add the eggs in one at a time.  Once the mixture is well combined, add the apple cider.  The mix will become lumpy and soupy when you do this.  If you are using the vegan butter, the mixture will already be kinda lumpy when you add the cider. Don't worry, it comes together.

Once the cider is incorporated, stir the flour mixture in.  Only mix until the flour is wet.  You don't want to over mix this.  The batter should be lumpy.  As the Bake It Pretty website says, "embrace the lumpiness".  That's been my motto this weekend.  

Gently fold in the chopped apples.  Scoop batter into loaf pans or make into muffins.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes (15-20 minutes for muffins) until golden brown.