Chocolate it is…

Oh Saturday Desserts:

I have been MIA in regards to our Saturday family dinner desserts. Recently, I have gotten back in to baking and started with this black forest cake with cherry liqueur frosting. The frosting had to be given an additional beating prior to frosting the cakes due to it being slightly  runny. This particular week Grandma W was not there due to being ill.

So…

Of course we had to make them again so Grandma W could try it fresh ! Everyone loved having their own mini black forest cakes with cherry liqueur whipped frosting. Yum! I have to admit that I could only eat half of one, however thankfully my step father in law showed up and helped me out by eating the other half!

 

After all that chocolate we needed a break and this home made vanilla pudding was light and refreshing. These cute little glasses were perfect for having individual Nilla banana pudding desserts.It also made the just right amount for five people. Well okay so there was a ton of whip cream left over…

Valentines Day

Breakfast: Egg in the heart from the Pioneer Women’s Holidays cookbook.

This is the first time I have ever had eggs over easy… in my whole life ok in 29 years. I did not think I would enjoy this as much as I did. We ended up making these two times since Valentines day.

Some conversation hearts for Valentines day because well you know those chalk hearts are just plain disgusting!

For Julia who suddenly passed in February. I have cherished your friendship and conversations. I miss you more than words can say… I love you.

For Emily: a coworker who always makes me smile and whose hugs are calming.

Mexican it is..

Wow! Brian and I had a lot of troubles rolling these chicken taquitos. Every time we would try to roll them, and place them in to the hot oil as gently as possible the would open up. *headesk*. I tried using a toothpick to keep them together, placing them facing one way on the seam and then the opposite way to no avail. There were some that turned out great, and others that didn’t. Thank goodness they tasted amazing… it made up for the frustration of actually making them.

For my bosses going away party

These were a complete hit at the party! They were absolutely heavenly, with just the right amount of moist, and sweet chocolate flavor! I can not wait to make these again as an actual three layered cake!

Cook Book: Baking Illustrated

Devils Food Cake

Serves 8 to 10

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/4 C Dutch processed cocoa

1 1/4 C boiling water

3/4 C Unbleached AP Flour

3/4 C plain cake flour

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

16 T unsalted butter, softened but still cool

1 1/2 C packed dark brown sugar

3 Lg eggs

1/2 C sour cream

1 t vanilla extract

1 recipe Rich Vanilla buttercream frosting

OR

What I made was:

White Chocolate Butter Cream by Rosie Cake Diva

Ingredients:

250 g unsalted butter

500 g confectioners sugar

300 g white chocolate

Vanilla extract

A little bit of water

See her video for two tonned roses!

Two Tone Buttercream rose cupcake tutorial by Rosie Cake Diva

I absolutely love Rosie and highly recommend you check her out on You tube!

DIRECTIONS for cupcakes:

  1. Adjust oven racks to Upper and lower middle position, preheat 350 degrees. Meanwhile, grease three 8 inch cake pans and line with round of parchment  paper, or you could make a batch of cupcakes like I did, just remember to spray those paper liners!
    1. a Combine the chopped chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl; pour the boiling water over and whisk until smooth. Sift together the flours, baking soda,a dn salt onto a large sheet of parchment; set aside
  2. beat the butter in the bowl of mixer at med-high until creamy around 1 min. Add brown sugar and beat at high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Scrape bowl as needed. Wit h the mixer at medium high speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition. Reduce speed to medium; add sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined, 10 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape down bowl. With teh mixer on low, add about 1/3 of flour mix, followed by 1/2 of chocolate mixture; repeat and end with flour mixture; beat until just combined, about 15 seconds. DO NOT OVERBEAT!!!! Remove the bowl from mixer, scrape the bottom and sides with rubber spatula and stir gently to thoroughly combine.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among your cake or cupcake pans. If you are using cake pans smooth the batter with a spatula to the edges of the pan. Place 2 pans on the lower middle rack and 1 on the upper middle rack. Bake for 20-23 minutes or when a tooth pick is inserted in the middle it comes out clean. Cool the cakes for 15-20 minutes. Run a knife around each pan perimeter to loosen. Invert each cake onto a large plate; peel off the parchment and re-invert onto a rack. Cool completely.
  4. Assemble and frost the cake according tot he illustrations on page 144. Cut the cake into slices and serve. ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

PLEASE supervise your fur babies…

This post is going to be along the lines of a rant / soap box. If your family includes fur babies (dogs, cats) . Please make sure they do not get out of their fenced in area and roam!

I was driving home yesterday on the highway and a dog darted from the ditch, and I was boxed in. I couldn’t swerve to the left without hitting a car, and if I swerved to the right I would be in the ditch. I tried to slow down but I couldn’t stop despite being under the speed limit. I was luck to not have gotten into a wreck.

I am absolutely heart broken over running over the dog. I keep going over it in my head trying to think if I could have done anything differently, and even though I know I did everything I could in that moment to not hit the dog… it still hurts.

Please, if your dog likes to roam supervise them outside. I know its hard, but its better than them getting out and getting hit by a car.

Here are my fur babies; they were trying to comfort me the best they could while I cried myself to sleep.

Raspberry curd tart

I found this on Pinterest from Tutti Dolci, and was inspired to bake again this weekend. This dessert was a perfect balance of tart and sweet. I did make two additions to this recipe; home made whip cream, and chocolate curls.

However, I only had 6 ounces of raspberries. So I had make a quick pit stop at the store to buy more raspberries, and the cute rectangular tart/quiche pan. Seriously, how cute is this pan! I cant wait to try and make a quiche later this week.

This dessert was a definent hit at our weekly Saturday family dinner.

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This was the first time I have made chocolate curls. I saw it on Pioneer woman and decided to give it a  go. Some of them turned out well… and others were eaten 😉

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This tart crust wow! The smell of toasted almonds is heavely.

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Recipe from Laura: Tutti Dolci
Ingredients
Lemon peel curls
Lemon zest 1 tsp
lemon juice 2 Tbsp
raspberries 4 cups

egg yolks 2

cornstarch 2 2/3 tbsp
flour 1 1/4 c
salt 3/8 tsp
sugar 3/4 cups

almonds, toasted and finely ground  1/4 cup

butter , 8 Tbsp

water 2 tbsp

Instructions:
For the raspberry curd, combine raspberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil (about 5 minutes); reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Place in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids.
Wipe pan clean and return strained mixture to pan. Whisk together egg yolks and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth. Stir yolk mixture into raspberry mixture; bring to a boil over medium-low heat (about 5 minutes). Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat (the mixture should coat the back of a spoon). Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Place curd into a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Chill curd in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to 1 1/2 weeks.

For the crust, preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 14-inch rectangular removable-bottom tart pan with nonstick spray. Whisk together flour, ground almonds, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cook butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown, about 6 minutes. Add brown butter to flour mixture and stir until incorporated; press mixture in the bottom and up the sides of prepared tart pan. Bake for 24 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. If baking the crust a day ahead of assembling the tart, carefully cover with foil to store overnight.

To assemble tart, spoon raspberry curd into cooled tart shell and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula. Arrange raspberries over filling in a decorative pattern. Chill in the refrigerator 2 hours before serving.

Raspberry Baked French Toast

I have wanted an Ina garten Cook book forever. I cant remember when I bought this particular cook book,  but I was standing in the Barnes and Noble and a lady next to me stated she loved that particular one. However, she didnt like making a whole roasted chicken just to make chicken stock. I can agree with her because I would hate to waste a whole chicken just to create stock.

I bought the book and have made a few recipes from it. What I enjoy is that everything in the book can be made ahead. I like being able to enjoy get togethers without being tethtered to the kitchen.

I found this recipe and new I had to make it. I  went about making my list of needed items, and decided to find Challah bread at the store. I searched with my husband to only find 1 small package of Challah rolls…not the traditional Challah.
So, we left with only the ingredients and no bread. I came home and with out reservation set about to make Challah from scratch. I was determined to make this recipe. After two days of prep, a scraped knuckle from zesting oranges, and some very tired feet we have an entierly from scratch french toast sitting in the freezer. We will be baking this dish on Thursday and I can hardly wait to taste it!

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Recipe: Raspberry Baked French Toast
Book: ina garten make it ahead a bearfoot contessa cookbook
By: Ina Garten
Ingredients:
1 T butter room temperature
10 large eggs
2 3/4 C half and half
1/3 C plus 2 T granulated sugar
1/3 C light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 T vanilla extract
1 t grated orange zest , plus extra for serving
1/2 t koshar salt
10 cups 1 inch diced day old challah bread
12 oz fresh raspberries
confectioners sugar, for serving
pure maple syrup, for serving

Directions:
Grease 9×13 x 2 inch pan iwht butter and set aside. In large bowl, whisk eggs, half and half, 1/3 C sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, orange zest, and salt.

Spread half of bread in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle on the raspberries in one layer. Top with the rest of the bread and pour ont he egg mixture, pressing down lightly to moisten the bread. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 T of sugar, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Place dish on a sheet pan and bake 60 to 70 minutes, until custard is set and the top is puffed and browned. Check at 45 minutes ; if the top is getting too browned , cover lightly with aluminum foil. Cool for 10 minutes, sprinkle with confectioners sugar, dust with extra orange zest, and serve warm with maple syrup.

Bread: Challah
Book: Baking Illustrated

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Christmas 2015

I started planning for our Christmas treats around Novemeber. These treats have become easier with each year that I make them. This year we didnt start making the dough for many of the cookies till one week before Christmas. I have also figured out how much to make of each treat, so that we dont end up with an over abundence on every cookie. We even ended up with some of each treat for our own family which is nice.

ps. you can find recipes on this blog for any of the treats below 🙂

The Christmas Treat list:
~Raspberry Hot Chocolate Mix

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~Dog Treats

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~Chocolate Pistachio Trees

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~White Chocolate Cranberry Truffles

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~Almond Biscotti
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~Linzer Cookies

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~Polar Bear Sugar Cookies

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The only treats that were new this year included the Linzer cookies, and the White Chocolate Cranberry Truffles. I was amazed at how well the truffles came out this year. While they do not look like the perfect truffles from a candy store, they taste wonderful!

Have you ever made mashed potatoes? If so , have you ever looked at a pot of peeled potatoes and thought….well that doesnt look like a lot? Then you add a few more into the pot. After making my first batch of Linzer cookie dough, I stood there pathetically looking at this small disc of dough… so I decided to make another batch. By the time it came to make the Linzer cookies, they were everywhere. Needless to say I could have stuck with 1 batch and been fine. Thankfully these cookies are so good that I dont mind having a ton.

I have also been blessed with some great gifts this year. I was so excited to use my Ninja to make an avacoado smoothie, and my new cookbook holder. My wonderful husband got me some nifty Christmas cookie cutters.

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I have also been baking and preparing other things including stuffed meatballs and an apple crisp.

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Without further ado here are the recipes for the Linzer cookies and the truffles.

Linzer Cookies
Resource: Wilton
Ingredients:
2 C AP Flour
2/3 C ground almonds
1/4 C t ground cinnamon
1 C butter , softened
2/3 C granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 t clear vanilla extract
1/2 C seedless raspberry Jam
Confectioners sugar

Directions:
In small bowl, comgine flour, almonds, and cinnamon; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Add flour mixture only until incorporated. Divide dough into 2 pieces, press into small disks, about 1 inch thick. Cut half the dough using round cutter with chosen insert, cut equal number of rounds without insert for the bottom. Transfer to parchment paper and bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on cookie sheets, and once completely cooled , invert bottoms, spread a teaspoon of jam, and put a top on. Once all of the cookies are asembled dust with confectioners sugar.

White Chocolate Cranberry Truffles:
Cookbook: Truffles by Dede Wilson
Ingredients:
6 T heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 Lb white coverture chocolate, very finely chopped
1 1/2 T canned whole berry cranberry sauce (or homemade cranberry sauce)
3 T finely chopped sweetened dried craberries
confectioners sugar
flutted cups

Directions:
1. Place cream in a 2 quart wide saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and immediately sprinkle 9.5 ounces of chocolate into cream. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes; the heat should melt the chocolate. Stir very gently untnil smooth.
2. Whisk in cranberry suace and 2 T chopped cranberries. Pour mixture into shallow bowl, cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until firm enough to roll, preferablly overnight.
3. Coat hands iwht confectioners sugar, and roll ganache into 3/4 inch balls. Place in a single layer on a jelly roll plan and refrigerate until firm.
4. Temper the remaining chocolate. Line a jelly roll pan wiht alluminum, shiny side up, smoothing out any wrinkles. Dip truffles in the melted chocolate, or roll in chocolate between your palms, making as thin and even a coating as possible. Place truffles on t he prepared pan. Top each truffle with a piece of chopped cranberry while chocolate coating is still wet. Refrigerate until firm. Place in fluted paper cups and serve at room temperature.

The Baking Illustrated Challenge Raspberry Squares

I was itching to bake last month, however I had no idea what to make! So, I went to the list on my challenge page. My husband pokes fun and often states that if its not on the list, then it wont be made. While this isnt exactly true, he sure knows how to ruffle my feathers.

I found the Raspberry squares in baking illustrated, went over the ingredients and recipe. I could not have found an easier all in one dish that used up the raspberry preserves sitting in the fridge. I love when I am able to use up ingredients in my fridge. 

These are the perfect combonation between slightly sweet and crunchy.

Raspberry Squares
1 1/2 C AP flour
1 1/4 C quick cooking oats
1/3 C granualated sugar
1/3 C packed light brown sugar
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 C finely chopped pecans or almonds, or a combo
12 T butter softened but cool , cut into 12 pieces
1 cup raspberry preserves

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two pieces of foil or parchment paper lengthwise. Fit 1 sheet into the bottom of hte pan, and allowing for over hang. Fit the 2nd sheet perpendicular to the first sheet.

2. In  bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt and nuts at low speed until combined around 30 seconds. With the mixer running at low speed, add the butter pieces; ; continue to beat until mixture is well blended and resembles wet sand around 2 minutes.

3. Transfer two thirds of the oat mixture to the prepared panand use your handsto press the crumbs evenly into the bottom. Bake until the crust starts to brown, about 20 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, spread the preserves evenly over the hot bottom crust; sprinkle the reamining oat mixture evenly over hte preserves. Bake until the preserves bubble around the edge and thetop is golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotatingthe pan from front to back halfway through the baking time. Cool on a wife rack to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the squares from the pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.

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Long over due…

This post is long over due. I have been baking and cooking a lot more these days and I thought I would share some of the photos of what we have been eating.

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Home made chicken noodle soup :
I happened to end up with a respritory virus and I made a big pot of soup.

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The wonderful husband came up with this idea. However, once it was time to make it he looked at me and said that he wasnt the baker. This is a whisky pecan bundt cake. The whisky was provided by one of my husbands old Army brothers.

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This year for my birthday we did one of the big meals in the back of the cooking light.
Main: Roasted Chicken with lemons and thyme

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Side: green beans with bacon balsamic vinaigrette

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Dessert: Short cakes with fresh berries

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Salad: Romaine Salad with oranges
App: homemade baked mozzarella sticks

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My first attempt at apple turnovers from Baking Illustrated. I had to roll out the dough three times and in the end I had help from my mother in law 🙂

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Here is a dish that we did for Brenner (breakfast for dinner), it is baked blue berry pecan french toast.

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We made these Russian potatoes, BBq chicken, and I made these crostinis that were fabulous! I can not believe another year has gone by as we prepare for Thanksgiving.
~

Crochet..pies… and fall

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A fellow coworker has left to continue on as a travel PT. I crocheted her this headband as a goodbye gift. I will miss her very much. I got the idea to weave the ribbon in and out from my mother in law. She has integrated ribbon into croceted bookmarks.

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I have been working on my first crocheted sweater for many months. I never thought I would finish this, and thankfully it turnend out better than I could hope for. It is from the Custom Crochet Sweaters book. I am working through that book from beginning to end, and I have started the next sweater in the book.

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I have 7 motifs done and place markers connecting them. I plan on blocking each motif once I have finished them all.

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I made this tripple chocolate chunk pecan pie from the Baking Illustrated Cook Book. Honestly, you only need one small slice and you will be good for a month. It is very rich and decadant.

In other news the Twin Lake rooster continues to crow at night…quite possibly it either A. has a brain injury and or B. is calling all the hens back to the coop… either way it is annoying.  Sometimes, I think it really is calling all the hens back to the coop due to all the free range chickens in our area…as in they have free reign entierly. 

I have noticed lately that the colors of the maple trees are starting to turn which means summer is coming to an end again , and fall is just around the courner. I hope we can get some projects done before winter gets here.  

4th of July Cook out : Baking Illustrated Challenge Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

There were a few snafus with this cake. However, before we get into that I would like to meantion that the cook out for the Fourth of July was a hit! The apatizers turned out phenomenal, the ribs were to die for, and overall I think everyone had a great time. I even got my nephew to play with me a bit, though my back is killing me due to the pick up and toss on the couch game.

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Deviled Eggs
This is my first time making these and I am so Thankful to the wife of another Veteran who gave me advice on how to make them so that they do not crack as much. These were tangy, and were eaten like hot cakes. I think we only have 3 left.

Asparagrus Wraps (insert photo here)

These were amazing! I could snack on these Asparagus wraps all day long. Though they were difficult to tie up into bunddles, and eventually we gave up due to frustration. They were worth all the work that we put into them.

The day before I mixed the dry ingredinets for the cake, which was a life saver due to having to make the Asparagus wraps, set up for the party, and clean. The cake turned out well and was simple to make. I did end up taking a hunk of my knuckle out with the vegtetable peeler. I also have a few battle scars from all the prep work.

The only thing that I had issues with is the frosting. I should have taken the cream cheese and butter out while I was preparing the cake, and baking it. Then it would have been softened enough. Since, it wasnt softened enough I had lumps. I heated up the frosting in the microwave on 10 sec. intervals, mixing betweeen each warm up until it was smooth. Then I had another problem … it was runny *headesk*

*note I scraped the inside of a vanilla bean and added that to the frosting as well.

So, I tried adding more powdered sugar…and more, and more, well you get the picture. Then I added corn starch. It started to thicken a little. So, I kept adding more. Then I tasted it….wrinkled my nose…and went to the computer room. I searched for how to fix runny frosting. Voila! Meringue powder. The plus it doesnt add to the sweetness of the frosting which was the problem! I added 3 t of meringue powder and mixed. I tasted the batch and it was so much better. It was lighlty sweet, tangy from the sour cream, and you could taste the cream cheese. I left it in the fridge until I was ready to frost and serve the cake.

Overall, it was a good learning experience. 

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I forgot to take pictrues until I was serving the cake …ooops. 🙂

Baking Illustrated Challenge
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
For the cake:
2 1/2 c ap flour
1 1/4 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/8 t cloves
1/2 t salt
1 pound carrots, peeled
1 1 /2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
For the frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
5 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 T sour cream
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 c confectioners’ sugar

Directions
1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray parchment again.
2 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
3 Fit a food processor with the shredding disk, and shred the carrots into it. Dump the carrots into the bowl with the dry ingredients. ( I shreaded mine via a chef dini )
4. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachement place sugars, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla start on low and gradually go higher until blended throughly. With the stand mixer running on medium low, pour in the oil in a steady stream and blend.
5. Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet, do not completely mix dry ingredients. You do not want to over mix the cake. You just dont want to have lumps of dry ingredients in the cake. At this time fold in 4 ounces of Pecans or Walnuts.
5 Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake 35-45 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of cake.  Set pan on top of stove or wire rack and let it cool completely. Then invert on to a square platter take off parchment invert on to serving platter.

6 In mixing bowl cream the creamcheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla. Process until smooth, scraping as needed. Add confectioners sugar and process until smooth.

7 Frost cake, cut into squares and serve. Tightly cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Happy Independence Day!

Baking Illustrated : rich coffee cake with berry filling

I absolutely love this yeasted coffee cake! This version of the cake is amazing! I was able to do everything in advance the night before and then bake it the morning of our family dinners that we hold on Saturday. Everyone loved this delectible coffee cake. I did have difficulty twisting the dough for some reason, but in the end everything worked out.

Baking Illustrated Yeasted Coffee Cake

I chose to do the Blueberry filling, streussle, and icing.

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I also made the best French Onion Soup with a recipe from my best friend ! It took four hours, but it was worth it!

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I also was inspired to create the resses peanut butter cup cookies! These cookies were perfect! I took another cookie recipe and substituted different ingreadents.

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Happy Baking!

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