Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chocolate Spongecake

I decided to make a chocolate spongecake, instead of ladyfingers, this week for a tiramisu.  But the mascarpone mousse didn't come out all that well and I forgot that gelatin smells like feet when it gets warmed up.  But the spongecake was good!

What you will need:
3 whole eggs
and then
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites 
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons of vanilla
1/3 cup of cake flour
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/4 cup of powdered sugar

The first step is to sift your cake flour and cocoa powder together.

Next, combine your eggs, yolks, granulated sugar, and vanilla in a bowl.  With either a stand or hand mixer, whisk the ingredients together until thick ribbons form.  This means the mix has turned pale yellow and thick.  Fold in the flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites and powdered sugar to medium soft peaks.  Take a third of the egg white mixture and add it to the flour mixture.  This is done to help lighten the mix first.  If you try to add all the egg whites at once, you have a greater risk of deflating your cake mix.

Once that is mixed in thoroughly, fold in your remaining egg whites.  

Pour the batter into a greased cake pan.  Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  You know it is done when a knife or toothpick comes out clean when you stick it in the middle.  Let cool completely before serving.  Try it with a little bit of vanilla ice cream and some chocolate fudge sauce for dessert.  Or maybe some fresh cream and berries.  Or maybe...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Festival of Chocolate

Mr. Baking Pixie and I got to go the Festival of Chocolate in Tampa this weekend.  We spent way too much money and ate way too much chocolate.

We got to see some beautiful cakes done by Cakes Plus.

I think we were already eating chocolate covered marshmallows on a stick by this point.  Shortly after that, we stopped for mocha gelato at another booth and grabbed a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream from Pure Magic Ice Cream out of Kissimmee.  They make your ice cream right in front of you using liquid nitrogen.  

Our next stop was a demonstration on chocolate center pieces performed by the uber hilarious and world famous pastry chef, Ewald Notter.

Here is his finished piece.  He made the textured piece on the side of the heart by spreading chocolate over the plastic cover of a light fixture.  

After the demonstration, we toured the booths again and purchased goodies to bring home.  After we made the 2 mile trek back to our car (at least it seemed that far) we rewarded ourselves by eating a peanut butter cookie cup filled with chocolate buttercream from Kookie Krums.

We also got an espresso brownie from Mikey's Cafe and Bakery.

And to finish off the trip we purchased chocolate bark, hazelnut and Oreo crunch, from the Notter School of Pastry Arts in Orlando.

For the first time in my life I can say.... I am sick of chocolate.   

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Frosting

I know.  It's peanut butter.  I have already admitted I have a problem.  Let's continue. 

I got this recipe from the What's New, Cupcake? book.  The cupcakes are adorable.  But what I really like about the book is that they give you super simple recipes in the back using only a few ingredients.  I like their version of "almost homemade buttercream" because I am not a HUGE buttercream fan.  And who can argue against the use of marshmallow fluff?

For the basic buttercream, you will need:

3 sticks of unsalted butter cut into pieces to soften
1 16 ounce tub of Marshmallow Fluff
1/2 cup or more of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla

With a mixer, beat the softened butter until it is smooth and creamy.  Add in the marshmallow fluff and mix till combined.  You will have to scrape down the bowl a few times.  Marshmallow fluff gets everywhere.  Add in 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and your vanilla extract.

For the peanut butter frosting, add in 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter at this time.  Taste your frosting.  Add more powdered sugar if you want it sweeter.  But don't add too much because it can become gritty.

If the frosting is a little too soft to use, throw it in the fridge for a few minutes.  Pipe the frosting onto some chocolate cupcakes and savor all the praises coming your way!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Turtle Sundae Cookies

My mom introduced me to these cookies.  She informed me that it was a matter of life and death that I make these cookies.  Okay.  So it wasn't that serious.  But they were some REALLY good cookies. The version that my mom gave me came from Martha White.  You know Martha White. It's those little packages of muffin and corn bread mixes that use just milk. This recipe uses their Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix.

However, I had to improvise just a little.  Either everyone in Florida bought the muffin mix I needed or they simply don't carry in the store I go to.  I used the Betty Crocker double chocolate muffin mix instead.

For the version I made, you will need:
1 box of double chocolate muffin mix (you only need about 3/4 of the mix)
1/2 stick butter
5 ounces unsweetened baker's chocolate
1 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed mix
2/3 cup of chopped pecans
foiled wrapped chocolate caramel candies

I used Hershey's caramel kisses.  My mom had success with Rolos.  I love Rolos.  

Chop up your pecans into small pieces and unwrap your candies.  

Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter together.  Stir until smooth.   Now add your sweetened condensed milk and stir.

Next, add in your muffin mix.  The batter will become really thick and sticky.

Once you have your batter mixed, scoop out a spoonful and roll it into a ball.  Cover one side with pecans.

Flip the ball around and place it on a well greased cookie sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, place a caramel candy in the center of the cookie.

Wait a few minutes for the candies to melt and smooth it out with a knife.  Or you can always try to put the candy inside the cookie before you bake it.  Use the same method that I used for the Hockey Puck Cookies.  Just make sure you wrap up the candy really well with the cookie dough or it will leak out when you bake it.  Hope you enjoy them.  I sure did!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Beer Biscuits

It was like I was sleep-baking.  I had beer in one hand and my trusty box of Bisquick in the other. What is going on here?  I guess this is what I get for eating nachos followed by a pack of Double Stuffed Oreos.  I guess this is what I get for reading Paula Deen's cookbook three times now.  I was dreaming about Beer Biscuits.

But wait!  

They're real!!  I'm not dreaming.  Woo hoo!

What you will need:
 4 cups of Bisquick
1 12 ounce can of beer
2 Tablespoons of melted butter
1/4 -1/2 cup of sugar  (depends on how sweet you want them)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Spoon the batter into a well greased muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees.  The recipe will make 12 biscuits.  They take about 12 to 15 minutes to get a slight golden brown color.  Serve them with honey butter and you have yourself one amazing little beer biscuit on your hand.  

Beer Biscuits - Print Recipe

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sour Cream Crumb Cake

Can't you just smell that brown sugar cinnamony goodness in there?   Hold on a second.  Let me wipe that drool off the computer screen.

What you will need:

1 1/2 Tablespoons of All Purpose flour
1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup of pecans, chopped
2 Tablespoons of butter, melted

1 stick of unsalted butter, soft
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

The first step is to make the filling.  Super easy.  Combine everything together in a bowl.  That's it.  

Set the bowl aside for a few minutes.  The next step is to sift the cake flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Cream the softened butter and granulated sugar till it is thoroughly mixed.  Add the eggs in one at a time.   Now add the sour cream and mix until smooth. Take the sifted flour and add to the batter. Once the flour is incorporated, add in the vanilla.  

Take half of the batter and pour into a greased bundt pan.  Sprinkle half of the brown sugar filling on top.  

Pour in the remaining batter and top with the other half of the filling.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.  You know it is done when you can insert a knife or toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.  Let cool completely before serving.  Enjoy!!

Sour Cream Crumb Cake - Print Recipe

Monday, January 3, 2011

Paula Deen's Famous Cheese Biscuits

For dinner the other night, I made these cheese biscuits.  I have heard that if you make reservations at Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah, they bring you these biscuits while you are waiting for your table.  

What you will need:
2 cups of self rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup Crisco shortening
3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup buttermilk

Her recipe book says this will yield 8 large biscuits.  I cut the recipe in half and still came out with 8 biscuits.  I can't imagine how big these suckers are in person.

If you don't have buttermilk, then there are a couple of things you can use as a substitute.  Take a cup of fresh whole milk and mix in either a teaspoon of white vinegar or a teaspoon of lemon juice.  The mix can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to sour.  Just stir really well before using.  Or you can take 1/4 cup of fresh whole milk and 3/4 cup of plain yogurt and mix.

Now on to the biscuits!  In one bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and sugar together.  Next, you are going to cut in the shortening.  Some people use a pastry cutter, but I was taught to use my hands. Just pick up a handful of the flour and shortening and rub your hands together.  The result should be a mix that resembles lumpy cornmeal.  

Add in your cheese and pour in your buttermilk.  Stir in the buttermilk until it is JUST blended.  The mix should be lumpy.  

Drop the biscuit dough onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.  

This picture doesn't do them justice.  But before I could get the camera to retake some photos, they had all mysteriously disappeared.  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Everyone has their New Years resolutions ready.  Want to hear mine?  Sure you do.  I need to eat more vegetables this year.  I need to eat more coffee gelato from Paciugo's. I know it cancels out the vegetable promise, but I need to maintain my fluffy exterior. And I want to grow my hair out.   

One more thing....I need to make more of these cookies. They are kinda like brownies. They are soft and chewy and really good.  And really easy to make.

What you will need:
4 1/4 cups of powdered sugar
2 cups of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
6 egg whites
chopped walnuts and/or dark chocolate chunks

With a mixer, you are going to combine the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and egg whites.  See, I told you it was easy to make.  You might want to put a towel over the bowl for the first few seconds you mix.  If you don't, you will have a fine mist of powdered sugar and cocoa in the air.

Mix on a medium speed for about 2 minutes.  The batter will get really sticky because of the egg whites.  

Once you are done mixing, fold in the walnuts or chocolate chunks.  I liked the walnuts better because it helped cut down on the sweetness of the cookie just a bit.  Drop the batter onto a greased cookie sheet or one lined with parchment paper.  Bake in the center of the oven at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes.  If the rack is too low in the oven, the bottom will burn rather quickly.  

Let them cool on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container.  Good luck on the New Years resolutions everyone!

Flourless Chocolate Cookies - Print Recipe