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Chocolate Silk Pie

August 9, 2012

I finally conquered pies!  (Well, sort of.)  My early attempt to make my own crust ended in failure.  I ran out to the store and was  rescued by Pillsbury.  This chocolate silk pie is sooo creamy and smooth, and not too hard to make.  Patience is key!

What you’ll need:

1 Premade/baked pie crust

Filling:

  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (Use Baker’s chocolate squares)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and cut into 8 pieces

Make the whipped cream.  (Make sure bowl and tools are cold.  Put in the freezer for about 10 minutes.) Add cream to bowl and whip on medium high until stiff peaks form, transfer to small bowl and refrigerate.

Melt chocolate in microwave in 25 second increments, stirring every time.  Do not burn chocolate. Set aside to cool briefly. (Cut chocolate in small pieces for faster results.)

Combine the eggs, sugar and water in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water or double boiler.   With a hand mixer on medium speed, beat until the egg mixture is thickened and reads 160˚ F on an instant read thermometer, about 7-10 minutes.  (The mixture will be a very light yellow.)   Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to beat until the egg mixture is fluffy and cooled to room temperature, about 6-8 minutes.

Add the melted/cooled chocolate and the vanilla to the cooled egg mixture and beat until well blended.  (You might need to put the egg mixture in another bowl.)  Beat in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until well combined.  Using a spatula, gently fold in the chilled whipped cream until no streaks remain.  Transfer the filling to the baked pie shell.  Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours OR overnight.

Decorate with whipped cream (optional).

Thank you Annie’s Eats for the great recipe: http://annies-eats.com/2011/03/14/chocolate-silk-pie-for-pi-day/

“Chocolate Surprise” Cupcakes

July 6, 2012

Chocolate and cream cheese = yummy!  You really don’t need to experiment with this recipe, Hershey’s has it just right.    It’s moist, rich, and easy to whip up in less than 30 minutes, plus baking time.   Make the filling first!

FILLING

  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened/at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini chips OR 1/2 cup of regular chips

Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and salt in small bowl until smooth and creamy. (Use hand mixer.)  Stir in chocolate chips.  Set aside.

CAKE

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup HERSHEY’S unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Line muffin cups with pan.
  2. Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in large bowl.   Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 3 minutes. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Spoon 1 level tablespoon FILLING into center of each cupcake.  (I used a small cookie dropper for this.  It was a lot less messy.)
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake portion comes out clean. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. About 2-1/2 dozen cupcakes.

Don’t worry, the cream cheese will sink when baking.  

The finished product!  Chocolate and cream cheese deliciousness!

Original recipe: http://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=5373&name=Filled-Rich-Chocolate-Cupcakes

Strawberry Cupcakes

July 1, 2012

Happy summer!  I can’t believe over half of 2012 is over.  Even though it’s been busy, I’ve still been baking.  Just haven’t had time to actually blog about it.  Today, I share with great recipe from Real Mom Kitchen.

These are better than Sprinkles.  For me, Sprinkles lacks any discernible strawberry flavor.  It looks pretty, but the taste is “meh.”  The jello in this recipe really gives the cupcake a solid strawberry flavor and the buttercream frosting is sweet, but not too overpowering that you’re running to the fridge to grab a glass a milk.  I did change the order around just a bit.  For the batter, I added the strawberries last, because I wanted them to stay as solid as possible and not to get broken down by the mixer.  I tried piping the delicious frosting, but it didn’t work for me.  I probably didn’t have the right tip and/or lack technique.  Therefore, I got out my offset spatula and tried to frost them the Sprinkles way.

Cupcakes:

  • 1 white cake mix (Duncan Hines is my favorite)
  • 1 (3 oz) box of strawberry gelatin (Jello brand of course)
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of frozen sliced strawberries in syrup, thawed (Cut them in small pieces)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.
  2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cake mix, gelatin, oil, and water until combined. Then beat in the eggs 1 at a time until well incorporated.  Hand mix strawberries.
  3. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with batter, do not over fill.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 16 to 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool.

Frosting:

  • 2/3 cup frozen sliced strawberries in syrup, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  1. Place the 2/3 cup of strawberries into a blender or mini food processor and puree.
  2. Place the butter in a bowl and using a mixer beat until smooth.
  3. Add half the powdered sugar (3 cups) to the butter and beat until all combined and fluffy. Then beat in the strawberry puree until well blended.
  4. Beat in the remaining powdered sugar (3 cups) until combined and fluffy. Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

Real Mom Kitchen: http://realmomkitchen.com/6521/strawberry-cupcakes/

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies, by Jacques Torres

November 28, 2011


I was skeptical of this recipe because it called for several ingredients that I didn’t have and they were expensive! I didn’t even know what “feves” were until I googled it!

Just finding these ingredients was an adventure in itself. I found the Swans Down cake flour at Target, King Arthur bread flour at Wal Mart, and Dagoba chocolate drops (73% cacao content) at Whole Foods. CAUTION these three ingredients alone, cost over $14!  So, this recipe isn’t very friendly to the wallet, but it truly is a gourmet cookie!

Recipe (Adapted for my purposes):

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups golden brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 (oz) package of Dagoba chocodrops (Found at Whole Foods for $7.99)

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. (Make sure butter is room temperature!) Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and stir gently. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

4. Using a spoon, scoop dough into generous sized golf balls. Bake until golden brown for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. (The dough was very hard, so I couldn’t use my regular cookie scooper.  You’ll probably have to make the balls by hand, the old fashioned way.  I would suggest rolling as many balls as possible and sticking them on a plate in the refrigerator.  That was they are ready to go, once you have a free pan.)  ** Only put 6 cookies on a standard cookie sheet.  These will spread!  Cool for a few minutes then transfer cookies to wire rack.

"golf balls"
Don’t skimp on the flours! Bread and cake flours are an absolute must! (It might take some time to gather all these ingredients. I couldn’t find cake flour at Whole Foods, but found it at Target! Go figure!)

These cookies are soft and chewy, but durable enough to be packaged for gifts. My cookies came out to be 3.5” in diameter. They were bigger than your average cookie, but not ginormous! While baking I was concerned that they weren’t going to “spread” enough, but they actually did in the last 5 minutes of baking! So, don’t be alarmed if they don’t spread right away. Be patient!

I’m calling this my “gourmet” chocolate chip recipe, because they look and taste professional!

 

Original recipe found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes (Semi Homemade)

November 19, 2011

Oh Sandra Lee… you’re a genius for the concept of “Semi Homemade.”  Of course we’ve been cooking and baking the semi homemade way for decades, but it took Ms. Lee to officially coin it.  Brilliant!

Anyway, I just wanted to take the time and share a fantastic new cupcake recipe that I found on The Boogie Blog.  I’ve adjusted the recipe a little bit and make it even more semi homemade!  Hopefully I have done Sandra Lee justice!

Read more…

Singapore Airlines – You’re okay!

November 15, 2011

I can’t believe it’s already November!  I feel like I was just filling out my New Year’s resolutions a few months ago!  (I guess I will have to carry that “to do” list over to 2012.)  Anyway, I was in the writing mood and felt like sharing what my meal was like heading over to Japan.

I never expect GREAT meals on airlines, because of terrible past experiences.   I mean, I’ve seen and tried some pretty gnarly airplane food that I would rather not go into detail at the moment, but Singapore Airlines surprised me in terms of quality.   I’ll let the picture do the talking:

The veggies were just steamed and the fish (no idea what kind it was) was based in a white sauce.  It had decent flavor, but lacked something… maybe some spice? Ugh… the roll was SO bad.  I don’t even know why they bothered to serve it!  Many rolls were discarded.

I anticipated for months what kind of food Singapore might serve, but I couldn’t find much in terms of pictures.    So, if you’re planning a trip from LAX to Narita… you might get something like this for dinner.

oh hello there!

October 24, 2011

Just wanted to say, “Hi” and let you know that I’m still here.  I just got back from Japan!  Ahh, it was a great great foodie spectacle.  There are more things to eat there, than my little stomach could possibly handle. Stay tuned for food related posts dedicated to the land of sushi, wasabi, and other many yummy things!

Almost there!

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