Saturday, December 11, 2010

2nd Day of Baker's Dozen Day's of Christmas!

Oh! Us lazy blog hosts have to make it easy on ourselves sometimes!! A lot of cookie doughs are really versatile and you can make multiple types of cookies with them! Well, at Christmas time when you are making a ridiculous amount of cookies to share with loved ones, why not make it a little easier on yourself?

When I was thinking of the cookies I wanted to make for this project, I reached about 10 and started to draw a blank! Of course, my husband ever eager to throw out some input suggested M&M cookies with the Christmas colors instead of the traditional multi-colored. I thought it was a great idea! And would show how you can take one cookie dough and do two things with it!

So without futher ado, I present to you the 2nd day of Baker's Dozen Day's of Christmas! And uh, it's going to be really easy for you and me! It's the Snickdoodle Wheelie's dough!

The Cast:
Sheet pans
parchment paper
cooling rack
kitchen aid fitted with paddle or mixing bowl and beaters

The Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, room tempertature
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup candy coated chocolate candies, like M&M's

The Procedure:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment

Like any good baker, you know you should cream your fats and sugars first! Get those kitchen aids going! Cream together your butter, cream cheese and sugar. After they are nice and combined add your vanilla and eggs. Then add your baking powder and flour when half way incorporated add the M&M's.

Portion  your cookie dough with your scoop or into about walnut size pieces of dough. You are going to want to push them down significantly!

I baked them for about 10 minutes and they were perfect! 

You could easily double this recipe and make half snickerdoodle pinkwheelies and the other half M&M cookies! Enjoy!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Baker's Dozen Days of Christmas Cookies!

Everyone does the 12 days of Christmas in cookies, well I thought I would be different! Part of my challenge to myself is to come up with unique and different recipes, well why should that exclude original ideas! Sure, someone else thought of 12 days of Christmas cookies, but I thought of The Baker's Dozen Days of Christmas Cookies!

*sung to the tune of 12 days of Christmas* On the first day of Baker's Dozen, my pastry chef made for me, Snickerdoodle Pinwheelies! 

A new and unique twist on a favorite! I don't traditionally make Snickerdoodles at Christmas, however, I couldn't resist the new spin (HA GET IT!) on snickerdoodles!

The Cast:
Sheet pans
parchment paper
cooling rack
plastic wrap
kitchen aid fitted with paddle or mixing bowl and beaters

The Ingredients:
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, room tempertature
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
3 Tablespoons butter, melted

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter

Like any good baker, you know you should cream your fats and sugars first! Get those kitchen aids going! Cream together your butter, cream cheese and sugar. After they are nice and combined add your vanilla and eggs. Then add your baking powder and flour until combined.

From here you divide the dough in half and roll it out on a well floured surface to about a 12X8 rectangle. Then brush the dough with the melted butter, top with the cinnmon sugar mixture and roll like a cinnamon roll. This is how I roll yo! I start it off by rolling over about a 1/2 an inch into the middle and then from there I just put my hands on both ends of the dough and push forward! Easy, peasy, lemon, squeezy!

Repeat with the other half of the dough and then wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate the rolled up cookie dough for at least 4 hours. This is what I do! I make all the dough that needs to be refrigerated in one day, so that the next day I can just bake all the cookies at once! Makes sense no?

When it comes to baking, you want the oven at 350 degrees, use parchment lined sheet pans! Trust me, your elbows will thank me when you don't have to scrub off any of the sugar that leaks out of these cookies onto a bare sheet pan.

Slice the cookies with a knife to desired thickness, I went with about 1/2 an inch or so. They are a nice bite size. 

Since the dough will be cold you should allow a little extra time for baking, mine took about 15 minutes.

I hope Santa enjoys the Snickerdoodle Pinwheelies!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meyer Lemon Sugar cookies!

It's that time of year again when the meyer lemon's start to show up in your grocery store! I love the taste of them, but I am always left wondering what I should do with them? I've done the limoncello, I've even made lemonade in the bitter cold with meyer lemons! It's time for something new!!

When I was younger my mom use to buy the Krusteaz Lemon Bar mix and make them into delicious lemon sugar cookies. I always loved them, well I thought I would do the same thing with meyer lemons, only it would be homemade!

The Cast:
sheet pans
parchment paper
mixing bowl and mixer or kitchen aid with your beater blade
measuring cups (I always forget this on the cast, but maybe because it's a given?)
portion scoop
cooling rack

The Ingredients:
2 sticks (1 cup) of room temperature unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons juice from the meyer lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 meyer lemons, washed
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

extra sugar for dusting
extra meyer lemon juice for dusting sugar

The Procedure:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place parchment paper on your sheet pans.

Start by creaming your butter and sugar together. After they become lighter and fluffier, add the eggs, zest your lemons right on top of the bowl into the wet ingredients and then squeeze the juice from the lemon and add 2 Tablespoons. Mix the eggs, juice and lemon zest just until they are incorporated and then add your flour and salt until they are just incorporated.

Mix the extra sugar and a tablespoon of the left over meyer lemon juice in a seperate bowl. It will look clumpy, but try and get as many clumps out as possible. Portion the cookie dough with a scoop into the meyer lemon sugar. Place on your sheet pans an inch apart and press down on the top of the dough, you don't want it completely flat, but enough that they won't come out of the oven looking like dough balls.

Bake the cookies for 11 minutes and allow them to continue to bake on the cookie sheets for another 5 minutes until you can transfer them to a cooling rack.

I'm fairly happy with the results! Little cookies that melt in your mouth and have a great citrus flavor!! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fresh baked bread!

Is there anything better in the world than the smell of fresh baked bread? I can attest that there is not. It has been snowing here in Seattle all day long! This is very unusual for Seattle, but a great time to be inside baking some bread!!

This bread is an Italian bread and is similar to the "french" bread that they sell at most grocery stores. I am using it for my Thanksgiving day stuffing! I will cut it up into cubes and bake it in the oven until it is nice and dry! It seems like such a waste of a beautiful loaf of bread, but that the dressing will be just as good!

The Cast:
Mixing bowl or your kitchen aid with hook attachment
sheet pans
parchment paper
lame (if you have one)
plastic wrap
cooking spray 
thin kitchen towel
oven safe dish

The Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
3/4 teaspoon barley malt syrup
5 cups of bread flour
1 Tablespoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil

The Procedure:
 Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In your mixing bowl add the yeast and then pour in the lukewarm water and barley malt syrup. While this is blooming, measure out your flour and salt into a bowl. Allow the yeast, water and barley malt syrup to bloom until it is looking a little foaming on top and then add your flour, salt and olive oil.

Mix all the ingredients together and mix until the dough feels elastic. Another way to test this is to take a piece of dough and spread it with your fingers to see if the gluten is developed, if it is, it will stretch apart and not break.

After it is mixed and desired elastic consistency, spray your bowl with some cooking spray and put the dough in and wrap with plastic wrap. Let bulk ferment for at least an hour. My favorite place to let it bulk ferment is in my laundry room with the dryer running! It get's all warm and humid in the room, which is perfect for fermenting bread.

Once it has done it's magic in your laundry room, take it out of the bowl, expelling the gases and cut the dough in half. Roll the two pieces of dough into about 10"-11" loaves. Place on parchment lined sheet pans with the seam side down and cover with a thin kitchen towel and place back in your warm, cozy place. Again, it is going to take about 45 minutes to an hour for it to reach to desired "double in size".

Check on the bread at 45 minutes and then slash with your lame.

After slashing let them proof for another 10 minutes or so. Then remove the towel and place in 425 degree oven with your oven safe dish filled with about an inch of water. Bake for 25 minutes. The bread should be a nice golden brown on the outside and give a nice hollow sound when thumped. 

The end result will be two beautiful loaves of bread that you can proudly butter and eat! This bread is great for sandwiches, dinner bread and for just plain eating! Enjoy! 

Edited to add: If you brush the bread with a nice, thin layer of olive oil you get a nice chewy artisan like crust! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cranberry sauce with a new twist!

Thanksgiving has always and will always be my favorite holiday! Now that I have my own home and family (albeit small) it is time for my own Thanksgiving traditions. We have all the usual guests, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans with the onions and bacon, yeast rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. However, we do some things a little different in my house! Everything is as homemade as humanly possible! Pie crust, of course! What kind of pastry chef would I be if bought premade pie dough? Pumpkin pie filling, don't even think about bringing the stuff from a can into my house! Whip cream? Absolutely! Even my stuffing will be homemade, right down the bread cubes from my own bread!

Thanksgiving's in my home are homemade, no pre-made food, just raw, good ingredients turned into a tasty meal! There is another twist as well! I'm a locavore! Well as much as a locavore as I can be! In my home we try to eat as many locally grown and produced items as we can! It is a simple concept and really started for my family this summer. I had gone to Trader Joes after a workout and had forgotten my water bottle. While I was at Trader Joe's I bought a bottle of Fiji water. I was telling my husband about this and his remark was, "I wonder how much gas and oil they used shipping that water from Fiji to America?" Thus, our local food obsession was born. Not only is it better for your enivornment and sustainability to buy local, it's good for your local economy! I am thankful that I live in a part of the country that is so bountiful with many goods! It isn't always possible, but even one meal a week made with local meat and produce can make a huge impact.

Now, I am going to climb off my soap box and tackle the issue at hand! Cranberry sauce!! I dreamed this little baby up last week! I have never actually made cranberry sauce for my Thanksgivings! This is a first in our household! I wanted it to be simple, different, unique and something that I came up with from my own little brain. Of course it has to be homemade, again, nothing from a can in this house! I remember years of people opening that can and out would plop a can sized mass of cranberry gel, it makes me shutter. Yes, I am a food snob! And dang proud!

Back to the cranberry sauce! I took another seasonal favorite and added it to my cranberry sauce, pomegranate! I really enjoyed the results and I hope you guys will too, so without further ado......

The cast:
A knife
A spoon
A pot

The Ingredients:
8 ounces of fresh cranberries (lucky me! They grow cranberries on the Washington and Oregon coast!)
1 cup pomegrante juice
seeds from one pomegrante, plus any juice
2/3 cup sugar
1 piece of crystallized ginger
zest of one orange

The Procedure:

This is a pretty simple procedure, I never realized how easy cranberry sauce was to make! I put the cranberries, pomegranate juice and sugar in the pot and let it start to get warm and a medium-low setting. Let them start mingling, getting really thick and good. While it was working it's voodoo on the stove I took apart and seeded the pomegranate. I cut the pomegranate in half and then took the seeds out with a spoon, it can be a little tricky! Pomegranates have lots of little cavernous places of seeds! Try and do it over the pot of cranberries as much as possible so the juice from the seeds goes into the pot, but make sure to keep the pulpy membrane out, it doesn't taste real good!

Once you get the pomegrante seeded, cut up your crystallized ginger and add it to the pot! You could probably even add two pieces if you like to taste your ginger! Cut it really small, almost minced!

After that is all done, zest your orange directly over the pot! All those essential oils come out when you zest and orange and they add a lot of flavor as well as the zest itself.

From here you are just going to simmer the cranberries until they start to thicken, I believe it took me about 45 minutes to reach the consistency I want! After you refridgerate them, they get really thick and almost like a jam or preserve!

You can most definitely start this recipe today! It will still be good by Thanksgiving and will be one less thing to do this week!!

Stay tuned, more Thanksgiving goodness to come in the following days!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pan fried apples and pears

For those that have never been to a Cracker Barrel, you don't know the beauty that is fried apples, or maybe you do? However, Cracker Barrel has some pretty amazing fried apples. Last week I went a little crazy at the grocery store buying organic apples! it is the end of the season for the honeycrisps, which are my favorite! So after buying 2 pounds of Braeburns, I decided I need a pound of honeycrisp! As a result, my fruit bowl is over crowded and we aren't able to eat it fast enough as is!

Enter, pan fried apples and pears! I think my version is a little healthier than good 'ole Cracker Barrels, however, the results are still quite tasty!! Not to mention a fairly guilt free dessert to go with that dinner and pretty quick and easy to make! Pair it with a little granola crumble garnish and it's almost like an apple crisp without all the calories!!

The Cast:
frying pan
cutting board
stirring spoon
cookie sheet
parchment paper

The Ingredients:
4-6 apples and or pears depending on the size. If they are small, go with six, if they are giant, go with 4. You get the idea
1 teaspoon disaronno amaretto
1/4 cup apple butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Granola garnish:
1/2 cup oats
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon olive oil or canola oil
2 Tablespoon shredded coconut
pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make your granola first before you get to the apples. Add all the granola ingredients in a bowl and mix them together and spread them out on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until light golden brown, it will probably take about 10 minutes.

Clean your apples and the peel and core them. Slice the apples into wedges, I usually cut them in half and then cut the halves into fourths. 

Heat your olive oil in the frying pan at medium heat and add your apple butter. Let the apple butter warm up and then add your apples and pear with the disaronno amaretto and let cook for a minute. Sprinkle the apples and pears with the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Cover and let cook on low heat for 15 minutes until apples are tender and juicy. Stir the apples and pears occasionally to prevent scalding.

It sure does taste good and hit the spot on a cold fall night!! Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

S'more Cookies please!

I have been thinking about this recipe for quite some time now. When I was working at my last job I made a plethora of cookies for tweens and teens! Part of the job was trying to come up with new things the kids would enjoy and buy! Everyone loves s'mores, but the recipe didn't come to fruitation until about a month ago, long after I had left that job.

The s'more cookies are a Naulty Bits original! I love when I can say that I came up with the recipe all on my own, because the whole reason I started this blog was to challenge myself and come up with new unique ideas that aren't very common. I have no idea if there is a s'more cookie recipe floating around out there somewhere or not. I came up with this s'more cookie recipe all on my own and I am proud of the results!

The cookies are a drop cookie and are easy to make, good for lunches, care packages and everything in between. Not to mention they are a good go to when you can't get out and roast marshmallows over an open fire!! The rainy season has started here in Seattle, so I won't be roasting marshmallows anytime soon.

I hope you all enjoy and get a bit of summer that we all love while it is chilly and wet out!!

The Cast:
cookie sheets
mixing bowl with paddle attachment or hand mixer
ice cream scoops for portioning
parchment paper

The Ingredients: 
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups graham flour (I found in the natural food section of my grocery store, Bob's Red Mill makes the graham flour I used)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup small marshmallows

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get your cookie sheets all ready. I line mine with parchment paper.

Cream your butter and sugars until well combined, then add your egg and mix until combined. From here you are going to add the rest of the wet ingredients, which are the vanilla and the honey, and combine well. After the wet ingredients are all incorporated add your dry ingredients, the all purpose flour, graham flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there are trace amounts of flour and then add your marshmallows and chocolate chips and mix until the trace amounts of flour vanish.

Portion out the dough on your cookie sheets with an ice cream scoop or with your hands. I made mine about the size of ping pong balls. Portion control and uniformity is a lot easier with an ice cream scoop.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, let cool on the cookie sheets before transferring to a cooling rack.

Yield about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Now you can enjoy a camp favorite in the middle of winter!! Don't fear though, I have another version of this classic in the works that is a little more true to it's original form! And more gourmet! Stay tuned readers!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Cuppy cakes!

If you know me, you know that I love all things pumpkin! I could eat pumpkin anything all year round and it wouldn't bother me! Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because I can eat pumpkin pie! Which is by far my favorite pie of all time!

In recent years I have seen a lot of different pumpkin things popping up and it pleases me to no end! From pumkin scones, cookies, cake, doughnuts, custards, ice cream, milkshakes! It is endless!

One day I wanted something with pumpkin so I decided to take a pumpkin cake recipe and make some cupcakes! Then I frosted it with the browned butter icing from the dulce de leche apple bar recipe. The result was very tasty!!

The Cast:
cupcake pans
cupcake liners
mixing bowl with paddle attachment or hand mixer
small saucepan

The Ingredients:
For the cupcakes 
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
15 oz. of canned pumpkin puree or about 2 scant cups of your own pumpkin puree

For the icing
4 Tablespoons butter
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons heavy cream


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pans with the cupcake liners.

Cream your butter with your sugar and vanilla extract until well combined, then add your eggs 1 at a time beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin and mix well before adding the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until just after the last traces of flour dissapate.

Once the batter is all mixed, portion them out into the cupcake liners in the cupcake pan. I yielded about 12 cupcakes.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, if they get golden on top they have baked for too long! Use a toothpick or skewer to test the middle of them. There is a low fat content in these, so they will dry out if they bake to long.

While the cupcakes are baking take the opportunity to make the icing. To do this you are going to need a small sauce pan. Before you start heating the butter get your powdered sugar sifted into a bowl. You are going to heat the butter over medium until it begins to brown. Once it browns remove it and pour it directly onto the powdered sugar and then add the vanilla extract and heavy cream. Whisk this all together until it is combined.

Once the cupcakes are finished baking, let them cool down before icing them. I wouldn't recommend piping the icing, it probably won't hold up. Instead just spread it on the cupcakes smoothly and evenly!

Add whatever, garnish! I added some orange sugar on top since I couldn't pipe the icing. It is a pretty dense cake as you can see, but really springy and tasty!! I hope you give it a try and enjoy it! 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Roasting Pumpkins!

Hey there trusty blogging pals! Sorry for the absence (and the corny return). I've still been baking up a storm and just haven't been updating! Bad Chef. I figured with the holidays knock, knock, knockin' on our doors, it was time to get back into the swing of all food blogging things!!

Today, I decided roasting pumpkins was a good jumping off point! Why you may ask? Well, tis the season my dear bloggers, tis the season. When you roast your own pumpkins imagine all the possibilities! From the expected pumpkin pie, to the unexpected cookies, scones, pumpkin dog treats and everything in between!! Speaking of those furry friends, have you ever tried just putting some pumpkin puree mixed with your dogs dry food? My puppers, Layla and Triton, really enjoy it and they think they are being spoiled! Little do they know that it is a really good boost to their digestive track! And much better than the pumpkin muffins that Layla ate off our counter 2 years ago! That naulty dog. Get the pun? :)

So to start off with roasting pumpkins, you are going to need some pumpkins! Whoa, revolutationary I know! Now, don't go thinking you can take that jack o'lantern off your porch, roast and eat it! Them aren't for eating friends, strictly carving!! If you aren't sure what pumpkins are good for eating, just ask your produce clerk. The ones I am familiar with are cinderalla and sugar pumpkins, the ones you generally find at your grocery store with the squash are sugar pumpkins.

The Cast:
Roasting pan or casserole dish
roasting pan lid or aluminum foil
food processor/blender/good 'ole ingenuity
metal spoon
cutting board

The Ingredients:

This is really quite simple! Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and pour water into the bottom of your roasting pan or casserole dish. I add enough water until the bottom is just covered, you don't want them going for a swim.

After you fill your pan with water you are going to cut your pumpkins in halve, I had the easiest time cutting them horizontally. Once you are inside scoop out the fiberous strings and the pumpkin seeds with a metal spoon. You can save the seeds to roast, they make some good eating!

Now place your pumpkin flesh side down in the water, you want the skins sticking up out of the pan. You are going to bake the pumpkins for an hour and a half in your oven.

When you bring out the pumpkins be smart and open the door and move away! When you have water in the oven, it tends to get steamy in there! The worst burn you will ever have comes from steam and you are the least likely to know it has happened until it is too late! So be careful friends!

After you are finished roasting the pumpkin let it sit until you are able to pick it up. In other words, you are going to be handling the pumpkin so let it sit for probably at least an hour before attempting to handle it.

Once the pumpkin has cooled take a metal spoon and start scooping out, it will be really soft and it should be really easy to get the pumpkin out. If it isn't you may want to stick it back in the oven for a couple minutes.

After you hollow out the pumpkin, go ahead and puree it in your processor, blender or if you have neither it is really easy to just mash it like a potato. 
If you are so inclined, you can keep the hollowed out pumpkin skin and use it as a bowl for pumpkin soup or any other harvest dish! It gives a nice presentation and has a good wow factor!!

That's a whole lotta pumpkin goin' on!!! You can store in your freezer for later use if need be! I had pumpkin from my freezer from last year that was still perfectly tasty and made some good pumpkin cookies!

Stayed tuned for what to do with all your thrifty pumpkin puree!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Graham Crackers!

Dear Readers! I apologize for my absence and lack of posts lately! I have been enjoying the summer heat and since we don't generally have central air in our houses here in Seattle, baking is sometimes far from my mind!

I finally did the drawing for the July comments and the lucky winner is bubblebobble or as I know her, Aimee!! Congrats! Drop me a line at my email address and let me know what your mailing address is so I can get some baking goodies in the mail to you!

Now, on to the good stuff!! I went camping on the Oregon coast in July with my husband and two dogs! You have to make s'mores when you camp, it is a written rule somewhere! As a pastry chef, I wasn't happy with store bought graham crackers and cheap Hershey Bars. I could have gone all out with homemade marshmallows, but I wasn't feeling that ambitious! Instead, I settled for homemade graham crackers and we did Special Dark Hershey Bars, still cheap chocolate, but it was better than a regular old Hershey Bar at any rate. The graham crackers were quite delicious and my husband and I found ourselves snacking on them because they were so good! You could also use this recipe as a crust for a cheesecake, something I will cover on my next post!

Before the official close of summer on Labor Day weekend, make some graham crackers for that last camping trip of the season!! I should mention that I got this recipe from the one and only Martha Stewart, the woman we all love to hate.

The Cast:

Rolling pin
cookie sheets
mixing bowls
preferred method of mixing: hands, hand mixer, kitchen aid, etc.

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups graham flour (I found this in my health foods section at the grocery store, Bob's Red Mill makes it)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter at room temp
2/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If my faithful readers aren't familiar with the creaming method, I refer to it a lot! As a pastry chef, this is something you should know by heart!! The creaming method is when you beat your fats with your sugars, so at this point that would be your butter with the brown sugar and honey. Beat them until they are nice and fluffy! Add the dry ingredients and combine until they just come together.

Once the dough comes together turn out of the bowl onto a floured surface, rolling in a plus sign. Yes, a plus sign! First you do the vertical line of the plus and then the horizontal until you get the graham crackers the desired thickness. I like them thinner, but the thinner they are, the more delicate they become.

Now dear Martha says to cut them like you see them in the grocery store, I found the dough too delicate for that and I just took a really big circle cookie cutter! I liked the end result. Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes when they are a deep golden brown.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!! And happy trails to you.....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I am frequently asked for a good chocolate chip cookie recipe, in fact, I think it is what everyone asks from me the most! I think one could argue that it is an all American classic as well as a favorite.

Cookies are good any time of year for their versatility, they are good for picnics, camping, school lunches, etc. They are easy to make and easy to transport to practically anywhere as they require no refridgeration and require even less time to prepare! All you need is a good chocolate chip cookie recipe!

A year ago when I started my job, I disliked Martha Stewart and the dang Cookie cookbook she rode in on! It was the bain of my existance at my job and that woman needed to pay!! Today, while I'm still not the biggest fan of Martha, I will admit she has some pretty darn good recipes and I'm thankful for the chocolate chip cookie recipe! It is by far, the best one I've ever had! And that is the one I am sharing with you all today!!

The Cast:
Kitchen aid with the beater blade -or- a bowl with your hand mixer
a couple of sheet pans
ice cream scoop (to scoop cookies of course!)
parchment paper
cooling rack

The Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup granulated
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (pure makes the cookies taste sooo wonderful!)
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper

You are going to be using the creaming method, this means you are going to cream your fat (butter) with your sugars (granulated and brown) until combined.

After that you add your eggs and vanilla until combined.

Once all the wet ingredients are together you can start adding the dry; salt, baking soda, ap flour. Mix the dry ingredients to the wet until you can see traces of flour left and then add your chocolate chip cookies, mix just until the flour is fully incorporated.

I like to scoop the cookies with an ice cream scoop to get the same size cookie everytime, however you can do it however you prefer. It also makes it easy to portion and you don't get all sticky from the cookie dough! Make sure they are about 2 inches apart on the sheet!!

Put the cookies in the oven for about 10 minutes and then check on them! They took about 14 minutes in my oven to be perfect, but everyone's oven is going to be different. You want to edges to be brown and you want to center to still look a little light for the chewy chocolate chip cookies. That and the cookies will continue to bake on the cookie sheet even after you have pulled them out of the oven.

Enjoy!! These are great to dunk in a nice cold glass of milk!! They also make good ice cream sandwichs!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Straweberry, Berry This and a Berry, Berry WINNER!

The winner of the dog treats is (drumroll please) Sandi W! Congrats Sandi! Email me your address at and I'll send them right on over!

Don't forget to leave those comments, as many as you can for the big drawing on the 30th! (Comments taken until the 29th). I'm hitting the store tomorrow for the baking goodies that will be going in the box to be mailed to the winner!!

Moving right along!! Today's recipe is a summertime classic and a favorite of mine! Strawberry shortcake! I got my Cooking Light August 2010 magazine in the mail the other day and they had a Citrus Shortcake recipe that I just had to try. It is pretty rare for me to get a magazine and try a recipe within the next day! The Citrus flavor from the shortcake mixed with the strawberries was absolutely stunning! I really loved how the flavor's mingled together!! So without further ado......

The Cast:
9 inch square metal baking pan
couple of mixing bowls
whisk or whisk attachment for kitchen aid


Citrus Shortcake
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon grated orange rind (about the rind of one medium size orange)
1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
4.5 ounces all purpose flour (about 1 cup)
2 Tablespoons yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
Cooking spray

I prefer fresh strawberries and then I mascerate them with a little lemon juice and sugar to sweeten. However, for this recipe I ended up using pre-sweetened strawberries because I had a gallon leftover from work sitting in my freezer. They also work pretty well if you prefer to go that route.

Chantilly Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

First thing you are going to want to do is pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray your 9 inch square metal pan with a nice thin coating of cooking spray and set aside.

Slice your strawberries and mascerate them with the lemon juice and sugar. After that step let them sit in the refridgerator so they get good and juicy!

For the shortcake you are going to start by creaming your butter and sugar together until thoroughly mixed and a little fluffy. After that you are going to add the eggs one at a time until they are completely incorporated. Next step is to add the orange rind and juice and mix well.

In a seperate bowl you are going to measure out all your dry ingredients, the AP Flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. You are going to add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter alternating between the two and ending on flour. Also make sure you mix well after you incorporate both the flour and the buttermilk. Don't over mix! You just want to mix these until they are incorporated and there are no traces of flour! If you over mix it won't be delicate, it will be tough.

Once you are done mixing, scoop the batter into the prepared 9 inch metal pan and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The top will look a little golden and the edges will just start to come away from the pan, also when you push on the top it will have a little spring.

While the shortcake is baking this is a good time to make the Chantilly, pour the heavy whipping cream into a bowl, kitchen aid or otherwise and then whip it! Whip it good! It is a common misconception that you whip everything together at the same time. If you add the sugar and vanilla right before it becomes full on "whip cream" it makes for better flavor, better texture and not such a heavy "whip cream". So go ahead and add the vanilla and sugar right about when you see the cream is thickening up, I describe it as what whip cream would look like if you left it out for about 5 minutes. It's still a little runny, but sort of whip cream. After you add the vanilla and sugar just whip it until it comes right to that point of whip cream. Don't over whip it or you make as well make some butter and buttermilk out of that heavy whipping cream!

To serve let the shortcake cool and cut into 9 squares, I cut into thirds and then turned the pan and cut into thirds again. When you are ready to plate, you are going to take the square piece of cake, put it on its side and cut it in half so it will look kind of like a slice of bread. The shortcake is going to act like a hamburger bun of sorts. Put the bottom of the shortcake "bun" in the bowl/plate/what have you and then put strawberries on top of that and whip cream on top of the strawberries, top with the other half of the shortcake and presto! You have yourself a summery treat! '

I apologize for the quality of lighting in the picture, the sun was setting and it was hard to get a good picture.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pumpkin Dog Treats and All you ever wanted to know.

Recently, my friend Jen had one of those things they call a "meme" you know, answer these questions and I tag you, you and you! Or comment and I will ask you five questions! Almost all of the questions she had asked me were related to my chosen field! I thought what better place to answer the questions than here, where I can share it with loyal blog readers who have often wondered the very same questions she asked.

Asked by the beautiful Jen!
1. What is it about pastry that makes you so excited?

There are oh so many things that I love about it! With my 9-5 job (or in my case 7-2) I generally make a lot of cookies which gets redundant, but when I get to make something else I'm on cloud nine. The possibilities of what can be made/created are endless. When you let your creativity flow and are in an arena that allows you to follow it, it's wonderful! I rarely have the chance to get bored and I love that every day has a new challenge, no two days are usually the same. I also really love when a customer or someone near and dear to me takes a bite and says, "Wow, this is great" or they say, "This is the best ______ I've ever had!" It is rewarding! Food brings people together and it is generally something people are excited about!

2. If you could work at any one restaurant/bakery, where would it be and why?

Restaurant: Salish Lodge I actually interviewed there a year ago for a pastry cook position, but I wasn't available when they needed me. They had actually called me back last fall to offer me the position again, but I'm very happy where I am employed.  Chef Laurie seemed really down to earth and it seemed like a good environment to learn and grow as a pastry chef.

Bakery: Dahlia Bakery I also interviewed here and the staff seemed very down to earth and pleasant to be around. The Dahlia Bakery makes so many amazing things and I think I've already nailed the Triple Coconut Cream Pie, I make it ALL the time at home. They have a lot to offer!

3. What professional chef is your inspiration?

Honestly, this will sound a little cheese ball, but my instructor from Renton Technical College, Kim Smith. She has done so much with her career. Every time I make something I try and remember what she taught me and how she would do it. Her patience with her students is pretty amazing, because I know when I was there, we were a wily bunch and we had mouths that never ended!!

4. If you had to describe yourself as a dish (without words), what would it be and why?

I have the crunchy caramelized sugar top that is warm and crisp, but once you break through me, beneath is that small layer of warm custard and below that the cold crispness of the very same custard. I'm layered in so many ways, but have very simple ingredients. Can you guess what it is?

5. What music is the essence of who you are? (It can be a band or a song.)

I'm really into a band right now called Halestorm. I can really relate to a lot of the lyrics, they are rock, but they have the slower melodramatic side as well! And well the lead singer, Lzzy Hale, can wail!! I just really admire women that are successful in rock and are just as good if not better than their male counterparts. You know, Girl Power! RAAAWWR. 

Now for the Pumpkin Dog Treats! This is my own little recipe for dog treats, it is the first time I have made them and my dogs, Layla and Triton, gobbled them up! Actually, there was so much dog slobber coming out of Layla's mouth after she got it from me, I thought I was going to need some boots!!

For the recipe I used ingredients that I learned were good for dogs, like pumpkin and carrots and added some things to make them salivate, like beef bouillon granules.

The Cast:
A really big mixing bowl
Dog bone shape cookie cutter's (if you have them, if not a round will work just as good)
rolling pin
cookie sheets
Your hands, ready to get dirty again? 

The Ingredients:
5 cup whole wheat flour + more for rolling out the dough
3 Tablespoons +1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
2 cups pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 cup shredded carrot

To get started preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Get that giant bowl I was telling you about and measure out all your dry ingredients into the bowl, so the whole wheat flour and beef granules. Make a nice little well in the middle and add all your wet ingredients, eggs, pumpkin and water. Now start mixing it together with your hands. It will be a little wet, but don't worry, you will be getting more flour when you start rolling.

After the dough has come together put a nice layer of whole wheat flour down on the surface where you plan on rolling it out and get to rolling! You are going to want the dough to be 1/2-3/4 of an inch, they will puff slightly in the oven. When you have reached the desired thickness grab the cookie cutters and start to cut! You can rework the dough up to about 2 more times after the initial first cut, but after the 3rd one they start to get really tough.

Bake them on your cookie sheets for about 45 minutes, you want to dry the treats out as much as possible, like the ones you get at the pet store! If that isn't possible you'll only want to keep them around a couple weeks before they get rancid.  
But wait! Why do that when you can win some! Comment below with how many dogs you have and their size for a chance to win doggie treats for your pups! I'll take comments until July 15th at 11:59PM I'll draw a name and whoever wins will get some barktastic doggy treats in their mailbox for their pups!!

They sure do meet Layla and Triton's doggy standards! They inhaled them!

 They meet Triton's approval! he is about to inhale it!!

If you can't tell, Layla left her mark on this doggy treat!

Lastly, the treats themselves, I made two sizes, one that is about 3 inches and the other is about 6 inches! 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Two'fer Tuesday Part deux: Peach Melba

I don't know about anyone else, but I love used bookstores! I frequent Half Price Books almost as much at the grocery store! While in school we had to do notebooks and we had to come up with new ideas for desserts based on whatever station we happened to be at. For example, while on pies and tarts we had to submit 3 new ideas for pies and tarts in our notebook. The point of these new ideas was to keep an eye out for new trends, flavors, creativity, originality, etc.

Since leaving school I have become quite the recipe monger! Every time I go to Half Price Books I make a bee line straight to the cookbooks. I also get more food related magazine subscriptions in my mailbox than should be legally allowed, but that is a different story entirely!! One day I came across a book at Half Price called A Passion for Desserts by Emily Luchetti I flipped through the book and immediately had to have it!

This week I decided to do a Two'fer Tuesday, making both the peach cobbler and a peach melba from A Passion for Desserts. I knew that I wasn't going to be putting 12 peaches into my cobbler! So why not double the pleasure and double the fun?

 The Cast:
Either two 13 X 9 pyrex dish or one pyrex and a cookie sheet that has a lip
A big bowl that you will be able to fit 8 peach halves in plus liquid
Food Processor, blender or food mill
Small saucepan
The ability to make whipping cream, whether that's with a hand beater, kitchen aid or if you have the muscle and brawn in your arm you can do it with a whisk!! Good luck with that! :) 
Sifter, fine mesh sieve, whatever you have that is small enough to catch a raspberry seed

White Peach Melba
The Ingredients:

Raspberry Granita:
12 ounces frozen raspberries with no added sugar, defrosted
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt

Baked Peaches:
3/4 cup Moscato d'Atsi (if you can only find a white dessert wine that should work fine)
1/2 vanilla bean
4 Large, ripe white Peaches
1 Tablespoon sugar

Chantilly Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

First things first, the granita can take a couple hours, so you can either do it a day ahead or you can make it in the steps and play some solitaire! Or hey, read you favorite baking blog! But the peaches should be served immediately after baking, so whenever you start the peaches you have to finish!!

To make the granita puree the raspberries in your method of choice and pour through a sieve of some kind, I used a sifter. After straining add the sugar, water, lemon and salt and mix.

Once you have mixed the ingredients together either pour into the baking sheet with the lip or one of your pyrex dishes. It needs to be shallow enough that you can drag a fork across it after it has set up for an hour. After the first hour take it out and mix it with a fork, I just dragged it back and forth. After this you will check it after every 30 minutes repeating fork step until it is frozen.

Onward to the peaches! Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and gather your moscato and vanilla bean. Measure and pour the moscato into a bowl and them cut the vanilla bean in half horizontally and then cut that in half lengthwise and run the tip of the knife down the inside of the bean to gather all those nice little flecks of black! These are vanilla beans and you are going to put them straight into the bowl with the moscato. But save that pod they came in!  I let this sit while I cut the peaches in half. Same with the cobbler you want to cut them in half and kind of twist/pull, remove the put and peel off the skin! One more step though on the backside opposite the side where the pit was, you want to cut off a little bit of the peach so it sits perfectly still. Plus, it's a nice little treat for the baker.

After you are through with the peaches you are going to soak them in the moscato and vanilla bean mixture for ten minutes on each side. Then you will arrange them in your pyrex dish, sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar over the top and put them in the oven for 15 minutes if they are good and ripe, 20 minutes otherwise.

While the peaches are baking you are going to take the moscato and vanilla bean and put it in the small saucepan over medium high heat and let it reduce to about 1/3 of a cup. I took the pod from the vanilla bean and stuck it right in the syrup for more vanilla flavor. Keep an eye on this while you make the chantilly, it took me about 15 minutes for it to reduce the length of how long my peaches were in the oven.

To make the Chantilly, pour the heavy whipping cream into a bowl, kitchen aid or otherwise and then whip it! Whip it good! It is a common misconception that you whip everything together at the same time. If you add the sugar and vanilla right before it becomes full on "whip cream" it makes for better flavor, better texture and not such a heavy "whip cream". So go ahead and add the vanilla and sugar right about when you see the cream is thickening up, I describe it as what whip cream would look like if you left it out for about 5 minutes. It's still a little runny, but sort of whip cream. After you add the vanilla and sugar just whip it until it comes right to that point of whip cream. Don't over whip it or you make as well make some butter and buttermilk out of that heavy whipping cream!

After your syrup and peaches are done you want them to come to room tempature before you plate your final product! You don't want that warm peach and syrup to melt the granita and whip cream before you can get a pretty picture of it! Oh wait, that may just be me! :)

To plate this beauty of a dessert you are going to set the peach in a bowl/plate/whatever you want and spoon the raspberry granita right on top where the pit once was and then a dollop of whip cream on top of that! Drizzle some of the syrup around the bottom of the peaches and tada! You've got yourself a fancy looking dessert that isn't super hard to make and isn't a total blow to your calorie count!

That's it for two'fer Tuesday! Hope y'all stop by for Three'fer Thursday!

Two'fer Tuesday!! 1st up, peach cobbler!

The story goes that my Auntie M made the best cobbler in all the town, when she passed away in the 80's everyone was perplexed as to how she made it! For years and years my mom tried in vain to duplicate, but was never successful! That is until one fateful day when she was working at an assisted living! They had made cherry cobbler and it had tasted just like her sister Marla's!! My mom rushed home and made it for her nephew and it got a resounding, "That's it!"

I made this many times in my pre-Professional Baking days and it was often with a box cake mix!! When my friend Megan asked me if I could do the cobbler for my blog, I knew I couldn't put on here to use a cake mix! The atrocity! The horror! What is a professional to do? I'll tell you, we make up our own!!!

The Cast:
A few bowls
9 X 13inch Pyrex dish
The ability to get your hands a little dirty

The Ingredients:
8-10 medium-large peaches, get them a couple days before you plan on using them so they can get nice and ripe on your countertop! I used white flesh peaches, but you could use any type. I think the recipe would be even better with regular 'ole peaches!
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted

Getting down and dirty!!
First I thing is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

While the oven is heating you will want to spray the pyrex with pam or grease it with some butter. Then start slicing the peaches! I like to cut them in half and then kind of twist/pull the two apart! I like the peaches to be so ripe that I can just peel the fuzzy skin off without needing a knife! Then I just pull the pit out and slice them straight into the greased pyrex so that I can get all those nice juices in the dish! You could also put a little spice in here, perhaps some cinnamon or cardamom, but my husband and I like it peaches straight up!!

After you have sliced all the peaches sprinkle a little bit of sugar on them! The peaches should be fairly sweet on their own and they will get plenty of sweetening from the cobbler topping.

Moving on to the topping, this is really easy! Mix all your dry ingredients together in a bowl, so that is your cake flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk them all together to make sure they are combined! From here, it's going to get dirty! Make sure your hands are nice and clean first! The easiest way to add the melted butter, egg and vanilla is with your hands! It is a pretty thick batter, a lot thicker than a cake batter, but thinner than a cookie batter. After it is all combined I crumble it on top of the peaches! Just take little pebble size parts of the dough and sprinkle all over the top of the peach crumble.

Pop the whole thing into the oven and put your timer on for about 45 minutes and then check it! You want it the very tops of the crumble to be golden brown and the peaches to be bubbling up on the sides!!

You can serve warm with a little bit of ice cream, but I really prefer the cobble super cold!! The peaches don't seem to have as much flavor warm as they do cold.

I hope you all enjoy it!! Let me know how it is!! Up next is the White Peach Melba, but probably later tonight!

Don't forget to leave those comments for a chance to win some cool baking gadgets at the end of the month!! 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Are you feeling hot, hot, hot!!

I left Saturday, July 3rd for Las Vegas and it was 59 degrees in the Emerald City! We come back Tuesday, July 6th and it is over 80 degrees!! Imagine my surprise!! To quote one of my favorite movies, "I'm bakin' like a toasted cheese-it! It's so hot here!" As such, I probably won't be doing much baking the rest of the week, hot oven equals hot house!! And since no one in the greater Seattle area believes in air conditioning, I think I shall skip it until next week when we are suppose to be back down to the mid-70's!

So where did I go for 4th of July? Sin City of course!! I had a nice little list of places I wanted to go, but the only place I got to was  Payard Patisserie in Caesar's Palace! I got the lovely raspberry rhubarb napoleon! I couldn't believe how flaky the puff pastry layers were! It was almost as if they were phyllo dough! And the pastry cream inside was jam packed with vanilla bean which made it taste so delightful! You can even see the flecks of vanilla bean in the picture. It was simply one of the best things I've ever tasted! I give it a definate 5 star rating!

 I have a bit of enticing news! As of now I have a whole 6 followers! Oiy. I know not everyone I know has a blogger or wants to have one! So to show me that I have more follower's that may not necessarily have a blogger of their own, I'm going to have a commenting contest!! For however many comments you leave between now and July 29th I will enter each comment into a drawing and randomly pull one on July 30th! So if you leave a comment on each entry I have so far (this will be lucky number 3) I would enter you into the drawing 3 times, etc, etc. The prize will be something baking related obviously!! As requested by a friend of mine, I will be making my version of peach cobbler next week!! If you have any suggestions of recipes you'd like to see or tips that you would like to know, by all means!! Comment away!! Good luck and get to posting those comments!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dulce de Leche Apple Bars with Browned Butter Icing

While being a pastry chef is a job I love very much, sometimes at work I'm not able to do the same things I would like to do. I make things for teenagers and while those kids have some pretty mature palettes, sometimes its not as mature as I would like!!

Last fall I found this recipe on Recipe Girl that I was dying to try and didn't get the chance until about two weeks ago!! I was visiting my mom in Spokane, Washington and she had asked me to make something with apples in it for my grandfather for Father's Day! I obliged with the Dulce de Leche Bars and I left the day they were made.

Today I decided I was going to make them at home finally!! My husband works for a trucking company and they are very delighted when I decide to back! They are usually the ones that end up with the bulk of it as I try and keep it out of the house!

As I said before, I got this recipe from Recipe Girl, a girls got to give credit, when credit is due and let me tell you this one is noteworthy!  I think I could eat a bowl of the browned butter icing all by itself and I'm not really much of a frosting fan anymore! There are a few of my own adaptations, such as I use homemade dulce de leche and used more apples. These are super easy and have a big wow factor to the finished product! So make these if you are trying to impress your mother in law!!

Without further ado! I bring you Dulce de Leche Apple Bars with Browned Butter Icing!

The Cast:

9X9 inch square baking pan

A couple mixing bowls or your kitchen aid with bowl and beater blade


Small saucepan

Dulce de leche pre-made, if you can't find it in the ethic foods at your local grocer you may want to try the local hispanic grocery store, they will no doubt have it! If not, Alton Brown has a pretty good recipe for it.

Ingredients for the Bars:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1 cup pack light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium size apples, peeled and chopped.
1/2 cup dulce de leche (I used one gala and one golden delicious, but I think it would be good with any variety)


2 Tablespoons Butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  Tablespoons heavy cream

Homemade Dulce de Leche:


Let's get crackin!!

First things first, you are going to want to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease the 9X9 inch pan. I use the heavy glass pyrex, so if you have a metal one the final product may differ.

I always mis en place, remember that term from the first entry? I'll use it A LOT! So I clean, peel, core and chop my apples and then scale (oh! More vocabulary!!) my ingredients.

First off, I creamed the butter with the sugar, vanilla and eggs. You do this until they are light and fluffy! If you are brave like me and don't mind the risk of tapworm you can try a little bit and taste it. It will be really light!! Trust me, you'll know what I mean, because there is nothing light about butter! that is until you whip the crap out of it!

From here mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until they are just combined! Don't over do it! I like to leave them in the measuring cups until I add them, less bowls and dishes I've got to do!!

Next you will stir in the apples. Viola! Easy right?

Now pour about half the apple batter into the 9X9 pan and then spread the 1/2 cup of dulce de leche on top of that and top that with the rest of the apple batter. Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes. I found that mine took closer to 45-50 minutes and the top gets really brown! So make sure to keep your eye on it!

What better time to make the icing than when the cake is in the oven? Now, I waited to spread the icing on top of the cake until it was cool. It wasn't completely cool, it was still a little warm.

Get that handy dandy saucepan ready and put your 2 Tablespoons of butter in it over medium heat. While it gets up to temp mis en place (magic word!) your powdered sugar and have it ready in the bowl. You can also add the cream and vanilla, just don't incorporate them yet. The butter will brown up pretty quickly, so keep an eye on it. Let it get to a tan color and then pull it off the burner and add it to the powedered sugar mixture. Whisk it all together and viola!

After you spread the icing on the cooled cake you are going to want to put it in the refridgerator and let the icing set and until it is ready to serve!

Now that you know the beauty of Browned Butter Icing, maybe you have some new ideas of different things to spread it on! I know I sure do!!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blackberry and Marscapone Ice Cream

I feel like I should type something prolific about my blog, but I feel like I've explained everything in the, "About Sheena" section, so let's get to the food! That's what were here for right? 

My husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in April and while we were there I had some fantastic ice cream! I have thought about it since returning and haven't been able to find any flavor that is similar, at all! On the menu they called it blackberry and cheese! Mexico has many of its own variety of cheese's and when asking our waiter he was as clueless as me. Darn!!

This week I finally decided to use up my heavy cream that I got to bring home from work a couple week's ago and make my adaption of "Blackberry and Cheese" ice cream, only this time, I know the type of cheese!!! 

The Cast:
Ice Cream Maker

Mixer, Kitchen Aid or otherwise

2 pots
-One that you will be able to fit the heavy cream and milk into
-One that you will be able to fit a bowl on top of.

4 bowls
- One that sits on top of the pot without touching the water beneath and big enough to fit all the ingredients for the ice cream base.
-One bowl that is bigger than the above bowl so that you can make an ice bath 
- One for your blackberries if you are making the swirl yourself
- One to beat the marscapone in or your kitchen aid bowl if you have one

A heat safe spatula


Plastic wrap

Storage container for finished ice cream. The Glad plastic storage containers work well. 

For the ice cream base:
6 ounces of egg yolks (about 9 yolks)
1 3/4 cups of sugar
1 pint of whole milk
2 pints (or 1 quart) of heavy cream 
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract 
pinch of salt

For the "cheese":
8 ounces of marscapone 
3/4 cup of sugar (this is to mix with the marscapone)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

For the Blackberry swirl:
6 oz. of blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup of blackberry jam

Day 1:

First thing you will need to do is read your manufacturer's directions for your ice cream maker and follow those directions. If you have a kitchen aid ice cream attachment like me, that means you need to freeze the bowl for a minimum of a day. 

The first day you will be making the ice cream base and the blackberry swirl. These two need to sit overnight to develop the flavors! 

So let's start with the Ice Cream Base:

1. In the commercial kitchen we are big on mis en place, the literal translation is "putting in place". In the kitchen it means, getting your stuff together before you do it. This would be a good time to make sure you have all your ingredients measured out (or as we say "scaled out") and ready to go! That also means fully reading your directions before you start! :)

2. Get your pot that is going to have the bowl on top of it, this is a double boiler of sorts. You are going to fill the bottom with water, you don't want the water to touch the bottom of the bowl, the steam from the boiling water will heat up the bowl resting on top. Get this all ready and turn on the heat, you want a low boil.

3. Pour your heavy cream and milk into the pot,  you are going to scald the milk and cream. Scalding means bringing it up to the temperature right before it boils! You will be able to see the steam coming off the top of the milk and cream, this means it is done.

4. While scalding the milk and cream combine your egg yolks and sugar in the bowl that you are going to put all the ingredients for the ice cream base in. You are going to want to combine them until the egg yolks are light and the sugar is fully incorporated. 

5. Once the milk has reached the scalding point pour a little of it in with the egg yolk and sugar mixture and mix them together. This step is called tempering and this prevents your egg yolks from scrambling! At this point I would also get that bigger bowl that the bowl on the pot can fit into and put your ice in it for the ice bath! You will need it after the ice cream base is done on the double boiler.

6. After you have tempered your eggs add all of the heavy cream and milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture and rest the bowl on top of your pot. Add the vanilla and salt. 

7. From here on out you want to be constantly stirring the ice cream base. You want to stir it over the double boiler until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. You will be able to run your finger down the back of the spoon and it won't fill in with more of the ice cream base mixture. 

8. Once you have reached the desired consistancy you want to immediately put the bowl in the ice bath and allow it to sit and come down in temperature. I usually allow it to sit for about an hour before I wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refridgerator, I let it sit at least over night.

Blackberry swirl:

All you do is mash the blackberries and sugar together. You want the blackberries all broken and mashed up, so that it can create a nice swirl through your ice cream. You will also have this sit over night with the ice cream base mixture. If you are choosing to go the jam route, skip this step.
Day 2:


For this step you will want to mix the marscapone, sugar and lemon juice together until it becomes soft. 

Making it all come together!!!

At this point you will want to mix the ice cream base according to the ice cream maker manufacturer's directions, they all vary. Once you start churning the ice cream in your maker you will want to add the cheese mixture and finish the product according to the ice cream maker manufacturer's directions. DO NOT add the blackberry swil while it is in the ice cream maker. The Blackberry swirl is the last step!!

Adding the Blackberry Swirl:

After your ice cream is done churning you will want to pour your ice cream out into the container you are choosing to freeze it in.  At this point you will add your blackberry swirl, just pour it into the mixture and fold in. You don't want to stir it into the mix, you want it to have a hint of blackberry. 

Bon Appetit!