Friday, September 12, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes


Back after an incredibly long hiatus and yet, without a whole lot to say.

Here's what I WILL say: Seconda loves chocolate chip cookie dough, so this recipe seemed like just the thing for her birthday party.

It worked like *MAGIC*--frozen balls of cookie dough plopped on top of uncooked batter:


During their time in the oven, the dough sinks down to the bottom and the cake batter rises up around it:


Truly astounding feats of culinary trickery! (What else can I make into little frozen bits and cook into cupcakes like this?!) That bit of uncooked dough at the bottom of the cupcake makes the whole thing rich and surprising.

And the Cookie Dough Buttercream Frosting? Wow. Wowee wow wow. I'm working on finding other ways to use it (I mean other than just eating it out of the bowl with a spoon). It was so rich and delicious, had so many of the qualities of cookie dough--especially the granular texture, which I love.



TGIP Rating--Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes--KEEPER. So so good.

Next up: Rhubarb season came and went and although I got *pretty* close, I did not quite achieve rhubarb pie perfection. Good thing that stuff grows again next year. In the meantime, we're ready for Autumn at our house. And that means pumpkin spice everything. It's one of the things I love about the change of seasons, the change in what flavors we want to eat. Also, I need cookies. Found this recipe today and instantly wanted to bake them.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes


First off, you should know that Cherry Limeade is probably my favorite thing in the world. Okay. ONE OF my favorite things. So, this cupcake recipe was sort of a "OF COURSE I want to make that and why didn't I think of it myself" proposition. 

Positives first: I've never used a recipe that so precisely yielded exactly what it promised. I tripled the recipe. Enough batter for EXACTLY 36 cupcakes and the perfect amount of frosting to frost those 36 cupcakes. Brilliant. Turns out, I made a dozen more than I should have and they ended up here 3 days later:


But that's on me. I should have sent the extras home with this one. He looks like he could use an extra cupcake or 12, doesn't he?


The cake itself was lovely, not too sweet, nice level of lime-y-ness. Also, they're pretty to look at (even if I didn't do all the garnishing I could have and even though my cherries didn't have stems) (which, why didn't they?!):


Now, for the negatives. Which, there's only one and it's a niggling little thing: I need more cherry in my cherry frosting. And maybe less generalized sweetness. 

Fortunately, these were very quick and easy to whip together, so I can try again. I might try a little cherry extract along with the maraschino cherry juice. And I might see if I can reduce the powdered sugar and still get the right texture. Because the idea is perfection. I think I just need to tweak it for my personal tastes.


TGIP Rating--Cherry Limeade Cupcakes--Almost there. Almost. I'll take another crack and see if I can't make them perfect FOR ME. As the recipe stands right now, they are probably perfect for somebody else. Maybe even you.

Next up: A beloved and generous friend has gifted me with pounds and pounds of rhubarb this summer. I'm a relative newcomer to it, so I'm improvising much of the time, but I'm doing my best to solve the mystery that is "pie plant" (I kind of love that that's what rhubarb is called in some circles). I'm guinea-pigging my friends and loved ones and working toward the perfect rhubarb pie recipe. And then you'll have it too!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars


Seriously? Yes, seriously. This is the only picture I took. Because I wasn't planning on blogging about these cookies. But they are my everything. As much as I love chocolate, nothing hits my sweet spot like a good, crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside frosted sugar cookie. Nothing. It makes me feel like I'm 5 years old and don't have a care in the world and can just be in the moment of eating that cookie. But, as I've said before I hate the refrigerating, rolling, cutting aspect of making sugar cookies. Remember when I said I'd never use another sugar cookie recipe ever, when I made these? Yeah, I lied. THIS is the recipe I'll never cheat on. I want to make and eat these bars every day. For every holiday. Independence Day coming up? Yeah, Imma make them and sprinkle them with red, white, and blue sprinkles. Halloween? Orange and black sprinkles. Or maybe I'll use those teeny tiny bones and googly eyes sprinkles I have in my pantry. Christmas? Red and green. You see where I'm going. I can't think of a holiday (or a day of the week that ends with Y) when I wouldn't want to eat these. In fact, Monday is Memorial Day. What sprinkles should I use? Because I'm making them. And so should you. You're welcome.


TGIP Rating--Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars--KEEPER.

Next up: I'm just about finished with the first phase of my super secret project. And school's almost out. And maybe we need cupcakes up in here. Like these ones.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sweet & Salty Millionaire's Layer Cake



This guy (AKA mr.) had a birthday last week. And graduated from the University of Utah on the same day. AND he didn't just graduate, he graduated Magna Cum Laude, which for this school means he was in the top 3.5% of graduating seniors. I almost burst with happiness for him. Seriously. My happiness leaked out my eyes all day.

So, he deserved a cake meant for a millionaire. And this was exactly right. There are a lot of steps on that recipe and it looks like it's going to be super difficult. But it wasn't. Okay, maybe I cheated a little because I'm not so good at making caramel. I bought some of this for the caramel layer (buying stuff is super easy):



I consider it a smart concession to my known lack of talent in a particular area.

Then I made the shortbread crumble (super easy):


Then I made the cake layers (super easy), the buttercream (super easy), and the ganache (super easy). (No, seriously). Then I gathered it all together for assembly.


I'm going to be honest here and admit that I should have let the ganache cool more, but I'm impatient. Also a known lack. But look how amazing the buttercream/caramel/shortbread crumble filling looks:


And then I sprinkled regular and red sea salt around the top and more shortbread crumbles around the bottom (what is it about the bottom edge of a cake that bugs me so much I always have to cover it up?).


And then we ate it. So rich. So delicious. Perfectly moist cake. Perfect ganache. The surprise of the crunch of cookies in the filling was just delightful. A complete success and just the thing for my amazing husband's birthday/graduation celebration weekend.



TGIP Rating--Sweet & Salty Millionaire's Cake--KEEPER. Reminder to myself: next time make the ganache before the buttercream. Let it cool while making the buttercream. Then both will be at perfect assembly consistency at the same time.

Next up: More work on my top secret project that I probably still can't talk about for a few months. AND...the sugar cookie that is my new everything.

Friday, April 11, 2014

(New and Improved) Salt Lake Bomb Pie

There's no recipe for this. So sorry. Because it's the easiest pie in the world.

Here's how you do it:

Make pie dough. This is a good recipe. I know because it's mine.

Buy 3 Kouing Aman from this place. You'll probably want to buy more than 3 because they're the most delicious things in the world and this little Salt Lake bakery is kind of famous for them. You can have them shipped anywhere in the US. Cut your Kouing Aman up into cubes like so.


Find a Chess Pie recipe and follow the instructions. Here's a good one (it's on my blog, but it's from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook). I used only 3/4 cup of sugar because there's a good bit of sweetness to the Kouing Aman. Especially pay attention to the instructions re: prebaking the crust. After prebaking, place your cubed Kouing Aman in the crust and pour in the Chess Pie filling. Follow the instructions in your Chess Pie recipe for baking. Take out of your oven the most beautiful pie you'll ever see.


Serve it to friends and family with a dollop of whipped cream or some vanilla ice cream. Watch how amazed they are at your culinary skills. Don't tell them that this pie required no skills. Aside from knowing where to buy good pastries.


Honestly, it's ridiculous how good this is. It's like caramel bread pudding pie. With kind of a crunchy top and softy sweet eggy insides. But not too soft. Or too eggy. Or too sweet. I've mentioned before that we often have a surplus of baked goods at our house and they sometimes end up in the trash (shame). This pie disappeared faster than anything I've made in quite some time. And Seconda said, "This is what they sell at pie shops in heaven." Success.


TGIP Rating--Salt Lake Bomb Pie, Kouing Aman Chess Pie, whatever you want to call it--such a KEEPER.

Next up: I'm about to embark on a food-related project that is top secret for now. It will use up a good portion of my cooking/baking free time at least until the end of May. I will probably bake treats here and there and blog about them, but with less frequency than I have been. At any rate, stay tuned!

P.S. I finally did get some cake that scratched my itch. It was not homemade. It was from Mrs. Backer's Pastry Shop, another beloved bakery here in Salt Lake (maybe all bakeries should be pink). I'm pretty sure their buttercream isn't all butter, but I also know that it's strangely comforting. And sometimes that's just what a girl needs to hit the spot.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lazy Cake AKA Aunt Naomi's Chocolate Fudge Cake


Let's get one thing straight right now: this is not a chocolate cake. I know. It says it is in the title. It even has a brownish tinge to it like a chocolate cake would (see below). But it's not. And it CERTAINLY doesn't deserve the word "fudge" anywhere near it.


Now, DON'T GET ME WRONG. This is a good cake. Delicious. In fact, there were a couple of people (namely, Seconda, who wants this as her birthday cake) who thought it was one of the best cakes they've ever had. It's tender and moist and the frosting is really tart and sweet and creamy and cream-cheesy and lovely. AND it does deserve the "lazy" part of the title. No, it's not exactly a one-bowl cake, but it's so easy to mix up batter and not fuss with layers, just pour it all into one pan and slather that thing with a thick layer of frosting. Exactly what I wanted. BUT I wanted CHOCOLATE. Hence, my cake itch is still not scratched. I'm starting to worry that it may never be.

I know you have a family recipe out there (that doesn't come from a box) for a good, old-fashioned, chocolate lazy Sunday cake. Send it to me. Like, now.

In the meantime...

TGIP Rating--Lazy Cake--KEEPER. Like I said, Seconda wants it for her birthday. And it's really a lovely cake. It just won't scratch your chocolate itch.

Next up: A while back I tried to do a riff on the Baltimore Bomb Pie, I called it a Salt Lake Bomb Pie. I think it needs improvement. Namely, it needs to contain the thing that my favorite Salt Lake bakery is really famous for: Kouing Aman. If you live in Salt Lake (or nearby) and you haven't been to this bakery or tried this pastry...mend your ways. 



Friday, March 14, 2014

Coconut Curry Chicken Pot Pie


HAPPY PI DAY!


I rarely make savory pies and every time I do make one I wonder why I don't do it more often. I guess there's a lot of chopping involved. And usually you have to get the sauce to just the right level of thickness so the pie isn't runny when you cut into it. And that's intimidating. But, honestly, I make some pretty complicated desserts, so I need to just get over my savory pie aversion. Especially because they always end up YUMMY. This was no exception. I was initially concerned about the coconut part of the recipe because mr. is not much of a fan. But it is really subtle and just lends a richness to the flavor without making it heavy like cream would. The sauce is spiced nicely and has just the right amount of thickness. The vegetables are perfectly cooked, not underdone but not mushy. All around, completely delicious. Go here for the recipe.


I used my own crust recipe, but used a different method of making it. A method named Food Processor. That was a mistake. When you have a method that works, don't mess with it. The crust still tasted fine, of course, but was impossible to deal with, both cooked and uncooked (you can see my shoddy patching job above). It was just SO fragile. And when it was cooked, it looked okay, the patching job isn't very evident (see below), but it SHATTERED when I cut into it. So, even with a good thickness to the sauce, due to my own error in judgment the pie was virtually impossible to serve in any sort of pie-like shape. Everybody essentially got a pile of filling and crust on their plate. Not pretty.


TGIP Rating--Coconut Curry Chicken Pot Pie--KEEPER. I'll definitely try this again, and do the crust the right way. I have no doubt that it will be delightful.

Next up: Lazy Cake AKA Aunt Naomi's Chocolate Fudge Cake. I've still got that cake itch that needs to be scratched. But I need a lazy Sunday project.