Showing posts with label Chocolate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chocolate. Show all posts

Monday, July 1, 2013

Lindt White Chocolate Strawberries and Cream Frosting

A few weeks ago Lindt Chocolate asked if I wanted to try some of their new Classic Recipe Strawberries and Creme bars. Perfect! Yes! I got to work thinking about what I should make with it and decided it would make delicious frosting.  I topped each cupcake with a little piece of the chocolate bar as a garnish. I found this cute little chalkboard bunting printable from Simpleklassichome.com (see the pin here) to fancy them up for my friend's birthday. I just printed it out, cut and glued onto some baker's twine. This is way fancy for me (and only took about 10 minutes).


I made a modified version of my favorite frosting and poured in the melted chocolate bar and gave it a quick mix before piping it out on devils food cupcakes.

I also brushed the tops of the cupcakes with a little raspberry Torani strawberry syrup to reinforce the berry flavor and keep them moist. They're great for making homemade Italian sodas or fancy lemonade. The salted caramel is yummy in hot chocolate too! They are cheap and so fun at Smart at Final locally or available on Amazon of course. This isn't a necessary step but it's quick and fun for Baby Strawberry to help with and adds a little more depth of flavor.

I loved how this chocolate had little pieces of strawberries in it that made the frosting really pretty with little bits of pink mixed in. It was delicious and a fun variant from my normal frosting I use for everything.


Lindt Strawberries and Creme White Chocolate Frosting
from Anne Strawberry
{printable recipe here}

4.2 ounces (one bar) of Lindt Strawberries and Creme Chocolate
1/2 C. butter, barely softened (one stick)
6 cups of powdered sugar (more or less to achieve desired consistency, this is a baseline. I usually use most of a standard two pound bag)
1 T. meringue powder
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
dash of salt

Chop up the chocolate and melt in the microwave on low for about 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until smooth.

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, blend the butter until light and fluffy. Add about two cups of powdered sugar, the meringue powder, and mix until combined. Add in the vanilla, sour cream, and salt and mix. After it's all smooth and combined, mix in the melted chocolate. Mix in powdered sugar on low speed until desired consistency is reached (I like thicker frosting for decorating, especially when it's so hot!)

The meringue powder will help set the frosting after it dries so it holds its shape. It's not necessary but makes for a much better final product. You can find it in the cake decorating section at Walmart, Michael's, JoAnn, or Hobby Lobby (or on Amazon!)

Pipe out onto your favorite chocolate cupcake and enjoy. I use an oversized pastry bag and tip like this to make them cute in a hurry.

Easy Devils Food Cupcakes
from Anne Strawberry

1 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 box Devils Food chocolate cake mix (I recommend Betty Crocker)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer and beat for two minutes until combined. Using a medium cookie/ ice cream scoop, scoop into 24 paper-cup lined muffin tins.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back slightly when touched and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on racks and frost once completely cooled.


disclosure: Lindt sent me a couple of chocolate bars but the opinions and info are my own.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homemade York Peppermint Patties

{printable recipe here}
I'm always fascinated when I make something at home that I previous thought you could only buy from the store. Some things will just never be worth the investment but it's really satisfying to make something with my own two hands, to see everything that goes into it and feel like I am blessing my family (even if my son whines that he has to eat fresh, homemade wheat bread- poor kid). These homemade peppermint patties were a revelation- yummy, easy, even fun to make. And you had better believe giving someone a homemade peppermint patty makes them feel like a million bucks (they will want more than one, though, I promise!)

Besides the satisfaction of making these yourself, you can customize the size, decorations and flavoring. Next time I make these I will make them itty bitty with my smallest cookie scoop. I finally bought a package of 'chocolate dipping tools' (only a couple dollars at Michael's but I think this nice set from Ateco should be in my kitchen soon) and I am confident that will make these even more fun to make. Give them a try for St. Patrick's Day and let me know what you think! You can see more process photos here.

PS Still need St. Patrick's Day ideas? Everyone's favorite chocolate mint brownies are simple and delicious (and you can freeze the extras for later!)


Homemade York Peppermint Patties
from Anne Strawberry
{printable recipe here}
recipe adapted from Sweet Savory Life



Makes 32 patties (note- I would make these half size next time, to yield about 60- use a tiny cookie scoop to get quick and uniform results)

Ingredients:

1 can of condensed milk
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (yes, I skipped that step)
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (milk or white chocolate would be great, too, but I liked the depth of the semisweet contrasting with the sweet filling inside)
3 tablespoons shortening
3-5 drops green food coloring (optional- but I added this for St. Patrick's Day)

Directions:

Add condensed milk, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and peppermint extract to a large mixing bowl. Mix everything on medium speed using the paddle attachment until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add more powdered sugar, a half cup at a time, until the dough is pliable like firm modeling clay.

Note-  at this point, I kneaded the dough by hand for a couple minutes to get it extra nice and well mixed.

Roll 3/4″ balls of dough between the palms of the hands (I used a small cookie scoop for this step with less than a tablespoon of dough- the smaller patties look neater and are better portions I think). Press each ball down slowly and set the flattened disk on a flat cutting board or plate. Transfer peppermint disks to the freezer for no longer than 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, temper the chocolate coating.

Place chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl. Melt the chocolate in 30 second increments, making sure to stir after each time until chocolate is smooth. Stir in shortening to thin the chocolate. Remove patties from the freezer.

Place a patty on the tongs of the fork and dip in the chocolate until completely covered. Allow excess chocolate to drip off the patty before setting each one on top of wax or parchment paper. Allow the chocolate coated peppermint patties to completely set up. This can be done quicker by placing the patties in the refrigerator. The peppermint patties are ready when they are dry to the touch. Enjoy!

Note- I melted some candy melts and drizzled them over the top for the finishing touch. After they set, package them up in cellophane bags, tie with a ribbon, and enjoy your easy, delicious, homemade treat!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thin Mint Blondies

First friends, I would like to apologize for leaving a picture of chips up on my blog for so long. Yummy chips, but chips still. I have actually made a million treats lately between pinewood derby, baby showers, blue and gold banquet (not to mention treats for the meetings to plan all that stuff, don't you think treats make meetings better?) Spring is here and it doesn't usually last too long, so we've spent more time at the park (Little Man broke his foot there jumping seven feet off a piece of playground equipment, working on projects in the garage, and at the doctor's office- see before mention park incident and spring air sharing germs and allergies left and right.

So my apologies again for the slow posts around here. But I have a good one today- courtesy of my original food blog crush, Peabody. If you haven't 'met' her before I'd encourage you to stop by. Her photography is stunning, her recipes are incredible and she's totally hilarious. When I read her blog I don't feel so bad about my baking habits and I also identify with her a lot because she has more than one KitchenAid (for the record, I don't, but I think that would be awesome! Maybe in my fantasy double oven kitchen someday?) These blondies are all kind of deliciousness mixed together- chocolate chip cookie dough, girl scout cookie thin mints, ghirardelli chocolate, mint chips!

If you haven't made blondies before, they are super straightforward- you start with a chocolate chip cookie dough batter, omit the baking soda, and stir in your favorite mix ins. Press into a pan, bake, top with more deliciousness, and enjoy. Thin mints are of course a welcome addition to any dessert and although I had to fight off many kitchen snitchers trying to eat all of mine, it was worth it. Peabody used Andes Chips but I didn't have any of those at my mom's so I chopped up some bittersweet chocolate and some Guittard mint chips. If you haven't tried those before, they are incredible. I used to find them at Maceys in Utah and they have them around the holidays at Safeway here. You can even buy them on Amazon for an arm and a leg, but if you are lucky to have the world's best friend she may randomly drop off two bags for you yesterday (it's like she heard my mixer whirling in the last of my stash into these blondies!)

To see the recipe, please stop by Peabody's. She is incredible and you won't regret it!

Do you have a favorite St. Patrick's Day mint recipe? Are you going to have corned beef next week? Do you have a great source for mint chips? Spill!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

 
With red as a favorite color (and pink a close second) I would be remiss if I didn't post anything for Valentine's. My blog reader has exploded with red velvet desserts- cakes, brownies, cookies, even pancakes, and while red velvet is a personal favorite over here (since I chose it for our wedding) I'm still not sure about all the varieties. I love a good red velvet cupcake and every time I make these I get the same comment- "I don't like red velvet cake because it's usually so bitter, but these are amazing!" I've posted my box recipe before and know some people don't like it but the fact of the matter is these cupcakes are delicious and easy and with sick kids and busy schedules, that's just about perfect for me. 

I made these cupcakes last Valentine's for a friend's wedding and I don't think I ever got to posting them. They turned out really cute and fun- I used a million different pink and red Valentine's cupcake wrappers from my collection (I always pick up a few packs on Valentine's clearance- red is a neutral around here and good for everything and I never regret buying these!)

I frost my cupcakes using a large plastic decorating bag (mine is from Ateco) and tip that I picked up at our local cake decorating store, ABC Cake Decorating in Phoenix. So far my biggest problem with them is that I want everything in their store (Edible glitter? Another decorating tip? A few more cookie cutters? Cupcake wrappers? More Americolor gel coloring? How did I just spend $50 and not even buy a cake pan?) They are awesome and I really recommend dropping by their store. You can also buy most of that stuff on Amazon and it's a bit of an initial investment but totally worth it. My $7 piping bag has literally frosted 1000's of cupcakes and it's so much faster than applying the frosting with a knife (not to mention the aesthetics!) Form meets function? Sign me up!

PS This kit looks like a good place to start if you are new to piping cupcakes- my bag is a little bigger but I think this could do a great job and would be easy to learn with.

 
What are you making for your Valentine this week? A tried a true recipe or something new? I've pinned a million recipes to try and am slowly getting there, one recipe at a time. I tried the homemade heart oreos floating around the internet last night and they didn't turn out quite as expected (I think my dough was a little soft for some reason?) Follow up post soon I hope. They were certainly delicious (I made mine chocolate) and need to be shipped out of my house asap.


Red Velvet Cupcakes
from Anne Strawberry
{printable recipe here}
1 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 ounce red food coloring (one small bottle- I buy mine in bulk at Smart and Final)
1 box German chocolate cake mix (I recommend Betty Crocker)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer and beat for two minutes until combined. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, scoop into 24 paper-cup lined muffin tins.

Bake for 21-24 minutes or until cupcakes spring back slightly when touched and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on racks and frost once completely cooled.

Cream Cheese Frosting

from Anne Strawberry
1 package of cream cheese, softened (I like to use Neufchatel, less fat and I don't notice much difference)
1/2 cup butter, softened (one stick)
2 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the seeds of one vanilla pod, scraped
dash of salt
6 cups of powdered sugar (more or less to achieve desired consistency, this is a baseline)
1 Tablespoon meringue powder

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the milk, vanilla, and salt, and blend.

Next, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder, cover the bowl of the mixer with a dish towel, and turn it on low until everything is combined. Then increase the speed for a minute or so until the frosting is light, fluffy, and delicious. The meringue powder will help set the frosting after it dries so it holds its shape.

Variation:
Add 1 T. Lemon or orange zest and substitute juice for the milk to make a tangy citrus frosting 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TWD- Apple Pie and Classic Brownies

 Oh I can't believe Tuesdays with Dorie is coming to an end! I've loved this event so much, meeting new people, trying new recipes, learning new skills and gaining the confidence to tackle any random recipe. This week's assignment was a rewind- trying out an old favorite or something you didn't get to previously. Like so many of you we are busy busy this time of year, with lots of opportunities to bake and limited time to photo and blog! This week my tall man needed a treat to take to work so I made Dorie's classic brownies. I frosted them with a simple chocolate frosting and sprinkled on silver sanding sugar. I cut them into individual portions and put them in cupcake liners- they looked festive and were easy to serve out (a win win!) Of course I don't have a picture so here is a previous version as well as a link to the recipe.

Sunday I made Dorie's All American All Delicious Apple Pie for a family birthday party. I didn't want to serve anything particularly Christmas-y since it seems like December birthdays get ripped off pretty often! I used some new pie crust cutters a friend gave me for my birthday to quick and easily decorate the pie top with flowers. They were simple to use and super cute (and the ones I found on Amazon have a strawberry, I might need those eventually!) The recipe itself is perfection. I've made this pie a million times and while I think there are a few Dorie inspired recipes that are more so my favorite, this pie must be one of the true favs from the sheer number of times it's been baked. Don't miss Dorie's buttery, delicious pie crust (my husband's favorite!) I always double the recipe and freeze a couple of disks of pie crust so I can pull them out and have a delicious, homemade dessert without the time or mess.

See more of this week's Dorie recipe's here and have a very Merry Christmas. We'll be eating ham, rolls, potatoes, green beans, and all of our favorite fixing on Christmas day. I haven't decided on a dessert yet but if you have a family favorite or traditional Christmas dessert please do share- I'd love some ideas!

Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
3/8 cup very cold (frozen is even better) Crisco (plain, not butter flavored), cut into 4 pieces
About 1/2 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don't overdo the mixing—what you're aiming for is to have pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley.

Pulsing the machine on and off, add 3 tablespoons of the water—add a little water and pulse once; add some more water and pulse again; and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn't look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. If you've got big pieces of butter, that's fine. The dough is ready and should be scraped out of the work bowl and on to a smooth work surface. (be careful not too add too much water- if the dough looks dry after adding most of the water, pinch it with your hands to check if it's coming together, and finish combining it by hand)

Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it. Refrigerate the dough at least 1 hour before rolling. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chex Mix Neighbor Gifts


Have you made your neighbor gifts yet? Growing up my mom always gave out boxes of white chocolate covered oreos but I haven't gotten into a groove of my own yet. We usually make cookies or something easy to do with the kids. I was really excited when MyBlogSpark contacted me about doing a Check Party Mix-Change as a fresh take on a cookie exchange. Our group made three kinds of Chex Mix from the recipes provided in the party kit and Chex.com (they have a crazy huge list!)
 
Chex Caramel Chocolate Drizzles- I added Chocolate Cheerios and Dried Cherries (yummy!)


Then we drizzled on a bunch of chocolate for added deliciousness (can you tell this one was my favorite?)

 My Tall Man's favorite- half of the Chex is covered in white chocolate, the other in peanut butter chips, tossed together with Reese's Pieces and Cashews (that I should have toasted- but remember, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful delicious and this went fast anyways!)


Last but now least- Muddy Buddies. I've never made this before but after I read the recipe I had a little Joey from Friends moment (remember with Rachel's Shepherd's Pie Trifle?) Chocolate? Good. Peanut butter? Good. Powdered Sugar? Good. No wonder I've always liked this stuff.

We loved making these different varieties of Chex Mix together and it was a fast, fun, and delicious activity- no stress, hardly any mess, and something for everyone. I have a gift pack to giveaway to one reader courtesy of MyBlogSpark. The winner will recieve a $20 giftcard to buy ingredients and decorations to go with the 2 boxes of Chex Mix cereal, recipes, and takeout containers to share your treats in. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment letting me know your favorite Christmas neighbor gift to give (or receive!) US Residents only and giveaway will be open until Saturday night.

"Disclosure: The Chex Party Mix-Change product, information, and giveaway have been provided by Chex through MyBlogSpark."Opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TWD- Bittersweet Brownies

Brownies are my favorite treat to bake. The batter (delicious!), the ease, the endless variations-  they're a bakers dream. Plus, who doesn't love a brownie (besides my non-chocolate eating husband, but he still loves the smell!) A few weeks ago I made Dorie's Bittersweet Brownies- using semi-sweet chocolate of course. This recipe, chosen by one of my favorite bloggers, Leslie, is the last brownie recipe in the book for Tuesdays with Dorie. I can't believe it! See the recipe on her blog here. Brownies make the perfect neighbor gift and there are a million types to choose from. Here are a few of my other favorites from Dorie and you can see a bunch more in my brownie category.

Come back tomorrow for another great neighbor gift idea (Chex Mix three ways) and a special giveaway from MyBlogSpark!

Classic Brownies (four ways)

Brownie Buttons

York Peppermint Brownies

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

French Chocolate Brownies

 Quintuple Chocolate Brownies

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Sweet Rolls

Ghirardelli Chocolate sent me some of their new Intense Dark chocolate to try and ever since my carefully wrapped package arrived I've been dreaming about the perfect recipe to use them for. The bars themselves are beautiful and gold wrapped- seriously tempting. They've got sexy names like "Evening Dream" and "Twilight Delight" to go along with the perfect packaging and high cacoa content. This was a big decision! I finally settled on my favorite ever Tuesdays with Dorie recipe- the Brioche Raisin Snails. Brioche is rich dough made with eggs and butter, rolled up with a homemade vanilla pudding and fancy raisins (or in my case, chocolate). I used my Bosch mixer but a KitchenAid or even a big bowl with a wooden spoon will work just fine.



I love that the recipe is made of several components- it's kind of therapeutic to assemble basic things into something extra special and each piece isn't too much work. The bread dough improves with a little stay in the fridge, so I made it the other night. Last night I made the pastry cream and let it chill until this morning. Each step only takes 15 minutes or so but this morning I whipped up a fabulous French pastry that takes me right back to Paris with each bite. The assembly is just like a regular cinnamon roll but uses different components- roll out the dough, spread the cream, sprinkle with chopped Ghirardelli chocolate (I used the Midnight Reverie 86% Cacao bar) and a little sugar. Roll it up, slice, and try to be patient while they rise. It's not that different than cinnamon rolls, really, but SO much better.


You could easily fake this recipe with a regular dough (or even thawed Rhodes rolls if your that terrified of yeast) and chocolate chips, but the Intense dark chocolate with it's luxurious texture and flavor and the silky pastry cream baked together with the rich brioche makes a treat that's extra special. You can even roll up the logs before you slice them and freeze them for a perfectly decadent treat anytime.


I absolutely loved this recipe before but now that I've had it all fancied up, I'm pretty sure a delicious cinnamon roll is going to pale in comparison. I'm going try my favorite brownies next with some more of the Ghirardelli Intense Dark and I'll be back later in the week to let you know how they turn out. Stop by their website and check out their line-up. Ghiradelli will donate $1 from each package up to $100000 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation when you enter the code found inside your bar. You can even print out a coupon here. Deliciousness and an important cause- this is a win win for me!

PS Don't tell but when my mom had a bite of these she totally moaned. They're that good. There are two left on my counter. Let's see if they make it until dinner time (with Baby Strawberry, sporting her dad's super metabolism and roving the house yelling "Chockit! Chockit!" it doesn't seem likely!)


Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Sweet Rolls
from Anne Strawberry

6 squares Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate (I used the 86% Cacao Midnight Revelrie), or 3/4 of a package, chopped finely
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 recipe for Golden Brioche Loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating overnight)

1/2 recipe Pastry Cream (see below)
Shiny Sugar Coating (see below)
Powdered Sugar Glaze (see below)

Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.


On a flour dusted surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches wide and 16 inches long, with a short end toward you. Spread the pastry cream across the dough, leaving 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Scatter the chopped chocolate over the pastry cream and sprinkle the cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Starting wit the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it up to 2 months.)

Cut the log into rounds a 1 inch thick using a chef's knife, bench cutter, or dental floss. Put the snails on the lined baking sheet(s), leaving some puff space between them (half of the brioche yielded 12 rolls for me so I put them in a 3 x 4 pattern on my baking sheet).

Lightly cover the snails with wax paper and set the baking sheet(s) in a warm place until the snails have doubles in volume--they'll be puffy and soft--about an hour or two depending on the temperature of the kitchen.

When the snails have almost fully risen, preheat the oven: depending on the number of baking sheets you have, either center a rack in the oven or position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove the wax paper, and bake the snails for about 25 minutes (rotate the sheets if you're using two, from top to bottom and front to back after 15 minutes), or until they are puffed and richly browned. After they've been out of the oven for a minute or two, brush them with the shiny sugar coating. Allow to cool for a couple minutes then drizzle with the optional glaze (recipe below).


Shiny Sugar Coating
Note- This is optional but only takes a minute or two and helps keep your rolls shiny and moist. Ever since I read about it on this wonderful blog I use it for all my cinnamon rolls. I don't think these would last long enough to need it but I wouldn't skip it! Check out her cinnamon twist post for gorgeous pictures on shaping and glazing sweet rolls.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil, take off heat and set aside to brush the bread when it comes out of the oven.




Powdered Sugar Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
About 1 teaspoon water
Drop of pure vanilla extract

Put the confectioners' sugar into a small bowl, and stir in a teaspoon of water. Keep adding water drop by drop until you have an icing that falls from the tip of a spoon. Add the vanilla extract, then drizzle the icing over the hot snails.

Golden Brioche Loaves
2 packets active dry yeast (or 5 teaspoons yeast)
2/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch 2% milk
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt (or 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm (cut into 1 Tablespoon pieces while cold and let sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften)

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.

Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces.

Anne Strawerry's Favorite "Slightly Lighted" Pastry Cream
adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

2 1/2 cups 2% milk
4 large egg yolks
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature


Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan (I usually multitask this step and warm it in my Pyrex liquid measuring cup in the microwave).

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and egg together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking to be sure the bottom doesn't burn, for 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly, put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

TWD- Classic Brownies

{printable recipe here}

Tuesdays with Dorie is one of my favorite parts of the blogosphere. I anticipate the monthly recipe selection and love pulling out my butter splattered copy of Baking, knowing that whatever I end up making will be delicious, as well as seeing everyone's creative take on these great recipes. I was thrilled to get a chance to host another week and happy to discover that there was still a brownie recipe available to choose. Brownies are one of my favorite treats to bake and eat (you can see lots more here) so I figured the 'Classic Brownies' were a perfect choice.

Since I can't leave well enough alone, I tripled the batch and after mixing it up, divided the batter into four smaller pans. Each recieved a different flavoring- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Swirl, Pecan, White Chocolate, and Oreo (I actually used Vanilla Bean Joe Joe's from Trader Joe's). The four dishes lined up perfectly on my cookie sheet.

After cooling, the brownies popped right out of the pan and my favorite knife made quick work of dividing them up. I plated them up on a huge platter and let people pick their favorites (oreo went fastest). Next time I'll give these the BYU Brownies treatment and put some mint frosting and chocolate ganache on top. I know the last thing these delicious little brownies need is more sugar, butter, and chocolate, but like Ina says, 'How bad can that be?'

 Sometimes it's hard being a food blogger's daughter! Poor baby strawberry was NOT happy to wait for these brownies but even after she downed one she was crying again, this time for more! Thanks for baking along with me (you can see the rest of the brownies here)- I hope you enjoyed this recipe and can't wait to see how everyone made these their own. And for friends close by- I have a nice little pile in the freezer. Stop by anytime (though I think my little man took the last peanut butter swirl!)

PS Did you know you can get $20 worth of groceries at Whole Foods for $10 today only from Living Social? Think of the baked goods you could make... yum!

Classic Brownies
from Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 88
{printable recipe here}

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (note- I used Semisweet but I think even milk would be good, whatever you have on hand!)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional, but really good)- note- I left this out and doubled the vanilla
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (according to taste- I used the full amount to bring out the chocolate flavor)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans- yum!)

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl, top with the chopped chocolates and stir occasionally until the ingredients are just melted - you don't want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.

With a whisk, stir in the sugar. Don't be concerned when your smooth mixture turns grainy. One by one, whisk in the eggs. Add the vanilla and give the ingredients a vigorous whisking before gently stirring the espresso, if you are using it, salt and flour; stir only until incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the chopped walnuts.

Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with the spatula.

Bake the brownies for 30 to 33 minutes, or until the top is dull and a thin knife inserted into the center come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the brownies to room temperature.
When the brownies are completely cool, turn out onto a rack, peel away the foil and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares, each a scant 2 inches on a side.

Serving: Like all great brownies, these are good eaten out of hang without a bit of embellishment or topped off with whipped or ice cream (coffee ice cream is really good with these), offered either way at room temperature or a bit chilled.

Storing recommendations: These are best served within 2 days of baking. If you're going to keep them at room temperature, just cut what you need and keep the remainder wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. To freeze for up to 2 months, wrap the brownies airtight.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday Want- Chocolate Cheerios

Today's Wednesday Want is an admittedly casual one. I loved this picture of Baby Strawberry rocking her first bowl and cereal and milk all on her own and felt, as it is her birthday coming up, I should let you in on a secret. Nestled between a million brightly colored boxes at our grocery store is one demure little stack of our favorite cereal. It seldom has a toy in the box, a sale, or any flashy characters grazing it- but Chocolate Cheerios are the real deal. My son has discovered their magical powers ('Try these sister, they turn the milk chocolate!') and I've started storing my limited supply in the farthest reaches of the pantry to avoid detection by the children. Oh sure I share, but I want to make sure these babies aren't subjected to any children's kitchen experiments. You know, the ones that end with cheerios all over the floor (that the dog won't eat any more from over-exposure!) And I fill most of their bowl with plain cheerios first- trust me, it still tastes great, these babies are magical!

Have you had Chocolate Cheerios before? Is there another cereal I'm missing out on? If only I could get oatmeal to taste as good as a nice bowl of cheerios and sliced strawberries...

PS I checked my favorite store and sure enough our favorite cereal is a suprisingly great deal on Amazon (especially with the subscribe and save option and free shipping right to your door). Who knew?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

TWD- Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Is there a better combination than chocolate and peanut butter? Just looking at these pictures has me drooling and wishing I had saved more of these cookies for our own cookie jar, although I know giving them away was the wiser choice. This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is really late but when I looked through my folder and realized I'd missed posting these in the crazy of summer, I knew it was time!

Dorie describes these as 'thin and plain' but they turned out much different for me- fluffy, flavorful, and almost cute. I used a small-ish metal cookie scoop to portion out the dough nicely and will use and even smaller one next time to make tiny little whoopie pies. I think you could really use any flavor filling to compliment the chocolate (mint, raspberry, orange, caramel?) but the second I tried one out of the oven of these I had Barefoot Contessa's peanut butter frosting on the brain. It was a delicious combo as long as you didn't think too much about how much rich, delicious stuff heads into that icing! Thanks Spike for getting me out of my comfort zone so I could discover another new favorite.

See this weeks real recipe here. I've included my recipe with the changes below as I omitted the spices, fruit, and worked with what I had. I'm sure any way you make them they would come out great (once again, butter, sugar, flour, chocolate, how bad can that be?)

Whoopie Pies with Peanut Butter Filling
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's wonderful Baking

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled (or bittersweet was fine for me- work with what you have!)
1 cup sour cream

Getting Ready: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until it is creamy and smooth.  Add the sugars and beat for two minutes or so, then add the eggs one by one.  Beat for another minute-the mixture should be smooth and satiny.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the vanilla and melted chocolate.  With the mixer still on low speed, add the dry ingredients and the sour cream alternatively, adding the dry ingredients in 3 batches and the sour cream in 2 (begin and end with the dry team). Do not overmix and be gentle!

Drop the batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets, making certain to leave at least an inch between the spoonfuls. Note- if this is difficult, try chilling the dough for a few minute in the fridge! Bake for 12-15 minutes- the cookies will puff, spread and round themselves out in baking.  They’re done when they are set on top but still springy to the touch.  Pull the sheets from the oven and let the cookies rest for 1 minute, then, using a wide metal spatula, carefully transfer them to a rack.  Cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remaining batter, making sure to cool the baking sheets between batches.

Storing: Because these are soft, they are best stored loosely stacked in a tin with wax paper between the layers.  They can be kept at room temperature for about 4 days or packed airtight and frozen for about 2 months.

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing
adapted from the lovely Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa)

1 cup powdered sugar (I added an additional 1/2 cup for a total 1 1/2)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Spread frosting between cooled cookies and enjoy (guess what- they are even better the next day, yay!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

TWD- Cocoa Almond Meringues


Are you having a lovely summer? We've been relaxing and doing all sorts of super important things like hanging out with our friends, going to swimming lessons, eating popsicles, going to the movies, and folding laundry (never a vacation from that!) It's ridiculously hot right now. So hot, I can count on one hand the number of times I've turned on the oven in the last month- that's a new record for me. I did a couple marathon Tuesdays with Dorie baking sessions at my mom's and, you know, with our busy schedule didn't even post them. Maybe later. Ahem.

 
These meringues take just a minute or two to whip up- nothing time intensive, no weird ingredients, no slaving over the stove. I ground the almonds in the food processor with some of the powdered sugar, pulsed in the cocoa powder, whipped the egg whites, folded in the dry team and the chocolate, and we were good to go. A little time on 300 then an hour on super low heat and we were eating these babies right out of the oven.

Before I fancied these guys up with some melted chocolate and chopped almonds, I tried to snap a quick picture. Two adorable blondies emerged from the sandbox and quickly attacked these 'chocolate cookies'. With their crunchy outside, sweet soft inside, and great flavor combo I couldn't blame them- Dorie wins again! These are even gluten free for my wheat-free friends (pretty awesome!)

Please come back tomorrow for the Wednesday Want and check out Mike's awesome and funny blog to see the recipe and the rest of the TWD crew here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TWD- Chocolate Chip Scones


Can you believe I actually made this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe on time? I had a marathon baking session at my mom's last week and got a lot accomplished after my mom kindly pointed out that I was a total slacker and asked if anyone was still reading my blog. Thanks for reading, by the way. Anyways, these scones were a cinch to throw together and to satisfy my best customers I added mini chocolate chips. I halved the recipe and these were eaten up in no time. Even my mom, who doesn't like scones, said, "These are actually good, well, for scones." Another simple and delicious success thanks to Dorie. See the recipe at Lynne's beautiful site. Thanks for the great choice!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chocolate Chip Muffins

What is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? I'm sure it's something to do with the mixing method and the ratio of ingredients, but when I ate one of these this morning I felt like I was eating chocolate cake without the frosting for breakfast. In fairness, I did up the chocolatey flavor by included extra chocolate chips throughout the batter and on top and by using half Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder along with the regular stuff.This week's Tuesdays with Dorie choice worked out perfectly. The only problem I had with the recipe was photographing these little guys (every time I left them alone I ended up with at least one less muffin!) I'm sure my kids didn't mind the chocolate for breakfast dilemma.

Since today is a Wednesday Want day, I thought I would show some of my favorite tools for making muffins and what I actually used to make these last night. It didn't take many dishes or any out of the ordinary ingredients (for me, that means sour cream... I'm always borrowing it from the neighbors!) You don't even need a beloved KitchenAid for muffins!

1}. Medium Mixing Bowl (mine is similar to this set from Trudeau, via Sam's Club a few years ago)

2}. Microwave Safe Bowl (to melt the chocolate and butter together- I used my basic Corelle)

3}. Liquid Measuring Cup- I have a 1, 2, and 4 cup and at least one is always in the dishwasher. For this recipe, I skipped the buttermilk and just soured some milk with a teaspoon or so of vinegar in my measuring cup. Then I mixed in the rest of the liquid ingredients and poured it right over the dry to save a separate dish.

4}. Measuring Spoons (mine are from Target but I prefer the long skinny ones from Williams Sonoma- they would fit in any spice jar)

5}. Measuring Cups

6}. Large Silicone Spatula to gently mix it all together- I used to be in love with the KitchenAid ones (they're really affordable at Target, Ross, or TJ Maxx and come in a million colors to match your mixer) but prefer this Le Creuset Super Spatula I got from CSN Stores.

7}. Cookie Scoop- perfectly portioned batter every time. And I never use these for ice cream, though I know they are intended for that...

8}. In classic "do as I say, not as I do" fashion, I'd recommend sifting any time a recipe calls for cocoas powder. The final product will be smoother and the cocoa will be much better distributed.

I guess it turns out to a decent list, but I think most of you have a lot of this stuff already. With these tools and a light hand, quick and delicious muffins are in anyone's grasp. See the recipe for Dorie's Chocolate Muffins on Bridget's Blog here- they look gorgeous with the white chocolate chunks and colored muffin liners!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

TWD- Chocolate Biscotti

Tuesdays with Dorie is such a great excuse to try new things. I'd never tried biscotti before but needed to catch up so I made this recipe anyways: I figured the coffee drinkers at my tall man's work would appreciate these crunchy cookies so I went ahead. As usual, I was pleasantly surpised and LOVED these cookies. I don't know about you, but I don't really need to expand my unhealthy-treats-I-love repoiretoire but what can you do? Baby Strawberry and I loved dunking these in a cold glass of milk.

See the recipe here from Jacque- and check out her beautiful process pictures if you need a little help visualizing the cookie shaping procedure like I did or on you can find the recipe on Peabody's. You can also see all the biscotti from the rest of the group or this week's Date Nut loaf. And as always, I recommend buying Dorie's awesome book. It never ceases to amaze me how many things I've learned to like by trying so many of her recipes (what's next, coconut? Running? I wouldn't put it past Dorie!)

Notes on the recipe: I omitted the espresso powder and added some Hershey's Special Dark cocoa in the same amount. I also used cashews and mini chocolate chips for the add ins. Last, I sprinkled a little bit of salt on top with the sugar and the salty kick was subtle and wonderful!

To shape the biscotti, I just divided the dough into two and made two logs on either side of the silpat lined cookie sheet (if this were art class I would say to divide the paper 'hot dog style') then when it's time to cut them, just lay them out the same way again but each cookie on their side. Much easier than I imagined!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Homemade York Peppermint Patties

{printable recipe here}
The minute I saw this recipe I knew they would be way to tempting, so I shut the window and tried to do something else. I thought about those babies all day and then mentally checked out my pantry to make sure I had the ingredients- then I woke up and made them the next day. If you like mint or chocolate or York Peppermint patties you really shouldn't make these, that is, unless you have more self control than I do. Really, they are SO good and easy to make. I felt like I was playing with Playdoh- a delicious, fragrant art project. I lied- you should make these, now. Just hide the extras in the back of the freezer behind the frozen veggies. And I wish you better luck than I had in actually taking decent pictures- these were hardly set before they started flying off the sheet. Stop by Savory Sweet Life to see some gorgeous photos and the original recipe.

I'm sure some of you are thinking, why would I MAKE peppermint patties when I can BUY peppermint patties? They taste even better than the originals, are actually really fun to make, are totally customizable (next up- white chocolate covered peppermint patties for my Tall Man! and orange chocolate patties! then maybe raspberry chocolate patties!) The best part? This is a fun treat to make that doesn't require turning on the oven. It's hot here suddenly and I really appreciate this refreshing, no bake treat. Plus, everyone will think you're Martha Stewart making your own peppermint patties when they're actually ridiculously easy. After they set, package them up in cellophane bags and you're good to go!

Just a tip- using a small cookie scoop to portion out the dough will make for pretty and uniform patties. I also kneaded my dough with a little powdered sugar on a silpat (so it wouldn't stick) and let them set on top of a silpat lined sheet as well. They came right off and clean up was a breeze (parchment would work great, too, but I never remember to buy it!)

Homemade York Peppermint Patties
from Anne Strawberry
{printable recipe here}
recipe adapted from Sweet Savory Life

Makes 32 patties (note- I would make these half size next time, to yield about 60- use a tiny cookie scoop to get quick and uniform results)

Ingredients:

1 can of condensed milk
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (yes, I skipped that step)
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (milk or white chocolate would be great, too, but I liked the depth of the semisweet contrasting with the sweet filling inside)
3 tablespoons shortening
3-5 drops green food coloring (optional- but I added this for St. Patrick's Day)

Directions:

Add condensed milk, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and peppermint extract to a large mixing bowl. Mix everything on medium speed using the paddle attachment until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add more powdered sugar, a half cup at a time, until the dough is pliable like firm modeling clay.

Note-  at this point, I kneaded the dough by hand for a couple minutes to get it extra nice and well mixed.

Roll 3/4″ balls of dough between the palms of the hands (I used a small cookie scoop for this step with less than a tablespoon of dough- the smaller patties look neater and are better portions I think). Press each ball down slowly and set the flattened disk on a flat cutting board or plate. Transfer peppermint disks to the freezer for no longer than 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, temper the chocolate coating.

Place chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl. Melt the chocolate in 30 second increments, making sure to stir after each time until chocolate is smooth. Stir in shortening to thin the chocolate. Remove patties from the freezer.

Place a patty on the tongs of the fork and dip in the chocolate until completely covered. Allow excess chocolate to drip off the patty before setting each one on top of wax or parchment paper. Allow the chocolate coated peppermint patties to completely set up. This can be done quicker by placing the patties in the refrigerator. The peppermint patties are ready when they are dry to the touch. Enjoy!

Note- I melted some candy melts and drizzled them over the top for the finishing touch. After they set, package them up in cellophane bags, tie with a ribbon, and enjoy your easy, delicious, homemade treat!