Friday, June 24, 2011

Espresso Macarons with Mocha Filling

So I have some exciting news to share with all of you...I am moving!

My husband and I are relocating to Denver, Colorado and we couldn't be more excited! We have lived in Houston for almost exactly 5 years and next week we will be packing a truck and driving the 18 hours to our new home in Denver!!

I know you all understand how busy moving can be and I haven't gotten much baking in lately, but the last thing we decided to pack up was the kitchen. How could I go without baking for that long!? Also, Wednesday was my birthday and for the first time (after many years of protest) I got to make my own cake! I will share this divine chocolate cake with you later, but today I will share the other item I had been itching to try again. Espresso Macarons!

My lovely sister-in-law bought me a huge bag of almond flour to make more macarons with so I aim to please :-) Before you begin please go read my tips from my first macaron post will help, I promise!

Espresso Macaroons with Mocha Filling

300 grams ground almonds or almond flour
300 grams confectioners' sugar, sifted
110 grams egg whites, room temperature
2 tablespoons instant espresso
15 grams water
300 grams granulated sugar
75 grams water
110 grams egg whites, room temperature

1 cup butter, softened
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons of milk 

To prepare cookies, preheat oven to 330 degrees F and line baking sheets with silicone baking mats, set aside. In a small dish combine 2 tablespoons instant espresso with 15 grams of water, set aside. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, confectioners sugar, first set of egg whites, and prepared instant espresso, set aside. In a separate mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment pour remaining egg whites, do not starting mixing yet. In a medium saucepan combine water and sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Using a candy thermometer, once the sugar-water mixture reaches 110 degrees C, begin whisking the egg whites at a high speed. Once the sugar-water mixture reaches 118 degrees C remove from heat and slowly pour into beating egg whites, do not stop the mixer to do this. Continue whisking till the volume has almost tripled in size and you have a shiny, smooth, white meringue. If you remove the whisk from the bowl you should have stiff peaks.

In small amounts fold the meringue into the almond flour mixture, blend only till all white streaks have disappeared. Be sure to scrape sides and bottom of bowl to incorporate all of the mixture, anything not incorporated may cause cracking. Fit a pastry bag with a 10mm tip and fill with macaron batter. Pour small (about 1-inch diameter), even circles of batter on prepared pans, make sure to leave room for spreading. Once each pan is filled with circles, give it a few taps on the counter and let rest for 15-30 minutes. Bake each pan for 13-17 minutes. Cookies will be done when you touch the top and it wiggles, if top breaks off it is not done and if bottom comes off the silicone sheet, it is overdone. Let cookies cool on sheet completely, then remove gently.

To prepare the filling, melt the unsweetened chocolate in a bowl over simmering water or the quick and easy way, microwave it, let cool slightly to room temperature. In a large bowl beat butter on high till light and fluffy, scraping sides as needed. Add in melted chocolate, coffee, and vanilla and mix till incorporated. Sift in confectioners' sugar one cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Once all the sugar has been incorporated add in milk and beat till light and fluffy.

Pair up your macaron cookies with a dollop of filling in the middle. Taste will appreciate after a few days.

If you hadn't noticed, I did not use any coloring in the cookie this time, I wanted to see the macaron au naturel!

Hope you enjoy, I am off to pack away my kitchen!

Happy Baking y'all!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chocolate Waffles

Chocolate for breakfast, YUM!

I woke up this morning at 5AM not able to fall back asleep, I decided to get up and make PW's famous Cinnamon Rolls....two hours later and still no cinnamon roll progress I knew it wasn't going to happen. I needed a quick breakfast kind of morning. The hubbie mentioned waffles and I was off, I had been eyeing this chocolate waffle recipe from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook for a few weeks.

At first you might think who can eat a chocolate waffle for breakfast, or like me you might think chocolate is OK anytime of the day! Well this recipe could be used for both a dessert waffle or a breakfast waffle! It uses unsweetened cocoa and only two tablespoons of sugar, so the sweetness really comes from whatever toppings you decide to use!

Chocolate Waffles

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat waffle iron according to directions on box, I heat mine to the highest setting. In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Whisk in the sugar and salt and set aside. In a medium bowl separate 4 egg yolks and whisk together with the milk and oil. Slowly add in the milk mixture to the flour mixture, mix only till combined, set aside. In a clean, dry, medium bowl beat the 4 egg whites till soft peaks have formed. Gently fold the egg whites into the flour and milk mixture. 

Once waffle iron is preheated, pour 1/3 cup of mixture into waffle iron and cook for the time suggested by your waffle iron directions. Note that the amount of mixture may vary based on the size of you waffle iron. Serve hot waffles immediately and enjoy!

I used the typical butter and syrup toppings for breakfast, but confectioners sugar, chocolate chips, chopped fruit, whipped cream or even ice cream are all good topping ideas!

This recipe makes about 8 medium sized waffles. I keep the waffles warm by placing on a pan in the oven set to 200 degrees.

Don't forget to enter my World of Cakes cookbook giveaway until Monday, May 30th HERE!

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Puerto Rican Chocolate Rum Cake and My First Giveaway!

Can you believe, it has been over a year since I started this blog and I have yet to do a giveaway?!

When I was asked if I would like to review and giveaway the new cookbook World of Cakes by non-other than Krystina Castella , you know her from the famous Booze Cakes cookbook, I was excited to accept!

My only problem was trying to decide which cake to make for y'all!

This book goes way beyond just recipes for yummy sounding cakes, Krystina shares all her knowledge of cakes from around the world and each cake recipe comes with a complete history. For those of us with a sweet tooth all year-around, she gives a list of every cake holiday throughout the year and from which country the cake or tradition originated.

In the spirit of the approaching summer and dreams of sipping a sweet rum punch on the beach, I decided to make a rum cake! And what is the only way to make a rum cake better?

Adding chocolate!

Puerto Rican Chocolate Rum Cake


1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon Puerto Rican rum
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Rum Sauce:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup Puerto Rican rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a bundt cake pan or five individual bundt pans, set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter till creamy, then add sugar and beat till fluffy. Add in sweetened condensed milk and rum, mix till incorporated scraping sides and bottom when needed. Slowly add in flour mixture, just until blended. Add in the eggs, one at a time and mixing after each addition. Add in chocolate chunks and mix with a spatula. Pour cake batter into prepared pan/s and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour for large pan or 35 to 45 minutes for small pans. Cake is done when a toothpick entered in center of cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and begin to cool.

To prepare rum sauce, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, while stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove sugar water from stove and let cool for a few minutes. Add in rum and use immediately.

The only thing I changed from her recipe, is my secret trick to rum cakes: pouring the rum sauce over the top of the cake while it is still hot in the bundt pan. Let the rum sauce soak slowly into the cake and by the time the cake is cooled, all the rum sauce is gone! If you prefer to stick to the original recipe, once the cake has cooled remove from pan and pour the rum sauce over the cake, let it sit for at least 6 hours before you serve it.

This cake did not disappoint! It contains all the moistness that you would expect from a rum soaked cake, but also nice richness from the cocoa and added chocolate chunks.

So for those interested in getting your hands on a copy of Krystina's World of Cakes...

  • leave a comment and don't forget to include your email!
To get receive additional entries you can do any of the following and leave a comment letting me know:
  • follow the blog 
  • follow me on twitter @squirrelbakes
  • tweet about the giveaway
Deadline to enter is Monday, May 30th at 11:59pm CDT. A winner will be chosen at random and has 48 hours to respond with a US shipping address.

UPDATE: Congrats to Kelly @ KraftedbyKelly

Good Luck and Happy Baking!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Peanut Butter Truffles

These are more like peanut butter and graham cracker balls covered in chocolate, but that was a bit long for a title!

(please ignore my drier than ever hands)

I found this recipe for Homemade Peanut Butter Easter Eggs right around everyone's favorite candy holiday, they were immediately put on the top of my to-make list. I love Kristan over at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, her recipes are always tempting and her pictures only make things look better than they sound!

Peanut Butter Truffles

18 sheets of graham crackers, very finely crushed
2 cups creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
chocolate candy melts or bark
sprinkles or decorations

Line a baking sheet with wax paper, place in freezer for later use. In a large bowl, combine graham crackers, peanut butter, butter, and confectioners sugar. Mix at medium speed till all ingredients are incorporated. I ended up using my hands to get everything combined. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Place baking sheet back in the freezer for 45 minutes or until peanut butter balls are firm.

In a small bowl melt chocolate candy melts or bark according to package. Using a spoon cover peanut butter balls with chocolate one at a time. Tap the spoon on the side of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate and place balls back on frozen baking sheet. Decorate with sprinkles, chocolate chips, or leftover graham cracker crumbles and refrigerate till chocolate is set. Devour.

I used my food processor to crush the graham crackers. I used spring colored sprinkles, but I was thinking white chocolate coating with red, white, and blue sprinkles would be super cute for the upcoming holidays. Let me know if anyone tries this, I would love to see pictures!

Happy Baking!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Online Bake Sale

If you haven't heard through the foodie blogosphere yet, today is Becky's bake sale at Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves!

This gives you a chance to bid on getting some goodies delivered to your home from your favorite bloggers! All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society, a charity close to Becky's heart and part of her fundraising for Relay for Life.

I will be making my favorite cookies, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip!

Good Luck!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Macarons and my French Baking Class

As I told y'all my husband and I went to Europe last month, while in Paris I talked him into taking a French Macaron Class. It was amazing, we went through the company La Cuisine, which is located right near Notre Dame and the classes are in French or English! Next time we are back in Paris, I absolutely plan to take another class here.

I had been wanting to make French macarons since I first spotted them on Tartelette, but was of course intimidated by the precise measurements and perfection that the little cookie called for. After taking this class, I feel like a pro already and my first batch at home came out amazing, all thanks to the wonderful tips from the class!

In the class we made chocolate and pistachio macarons, each have their own cookie recipe and garnish recipe. At home, I made a plain cookie with a chocolate ganache center.

So first off I want to share the recipe, then I'll go over all the tips needed throughout the recipe to make that perfect French macaron!

French Macarons

300 grams ground almonds or almond flour, sifted
300 grams confectioners' sugar, sifted
110 grams egg whites, few days old and room temperature
food coloring
300 grams granulated sugar
75 grams water
110 grams egg whites, few days old and room temperature

150 grams heavy whipping cream
150 grams bittersweet chocolate (64% cocoa), chopped
53 grams butter, cubed and at room temperature

Preheat oven to 330 degrees F (between 160 and 170 degrees C). Line a few baking sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the sifted ground almonds and confectioners sugar. Add in 110 grams of egg whites and food coloring, mixture will be paste-like, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, fitted with the whisk attachment pour the remaining 110 grams of egg whites, do not mix yet, but set aside. In a medium saucepan combine water and granulated sugar over medium heat. You will want to bring the sugar-water mixture to boiling, but when the mixture reaches 110 degrees C, start whisking the eggs whites you set aside earlier. Once the mixture reaches 118 degrees C slowly pour the mixture into the bowl of whisking egg whites, do not stop whisking during this time. Continue whisking the meringue till the mixture is no longer hot, about 50 degrees C, and forms a shiny white stiff peak. Begin folding a small amount of the meringue mixture into the almond-sugar mixture set aside previously. Blend only until all white streaks have disappeared. Pour the mixture into a large pastry bag fitted with a 10mm tip, I used a Wilton 1A tip.

Using the filled pastry bag, form 3 cm diameter circles ( a little larger than an inch) on the prepared pans. Do not make too large, as the mixture will spread. Once each pan is filled with cookies, let rest for at least 30 minutes prior to baking. Bake each tray for 12-15 minutes, rotating in the oven half way through if baking multiple trays at a time. The cookies will be done if you touch the top of the cookie and it gentles wiggles. Let cookies cool completely on sheet and remove, cookies will come off easily if they have been cooked long enough.

For the ganache, in a medium bowl pour chopped chocolate and set aside. Bring the whipping cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once whipping cream is boiling, in a small amount pour over chopped chocolate. After each addition, whisk the chocolate starting in the center of the bowl until completely incorporated. Once all whipping cream is incorporated into the mixture, add in the chopped butter and whisk till smooth. Let ganache cool and pour into pastry bag fitted with a 10mm tip. Set bag aside or chill until the ganache is workable.

Pair cookies based on size and squeeze a good amount of ganache onto one cookie. Gently press cookies together till ganache moves to the edge of the cookie, do not twist.

For the food coloring addition, you can use either dry or liquid. I used 10 drops of red liquid food coloring to obtain this pastel pink color. You do not want to use more than one tablespoon of coloring total.

An absolute must to make this cookie, is a food scale. There is no way around getting the precise measurements without it.

Sifting is key, you want to make sure and sift the confectioners' sugar AND the almond flour. Our instructor told us that some double or triple sift their sugar.

The egg whites can go either way, extremely fresh (like you live on a farm) or a few days old. As most of you probably don't live on a farm, crack your eggs a few days in advance and chill the egg whites together. When you are ready to make your macarons, bring the egg whites to room temperature before using. It is estimated that a large egg white is equal to 30 grams. So for 220 grams of egg whites, I separated eight eggs earlier in the week, which was a good estimate as I only had a little leftover after measuring. Think that's a lot of yolks to waste? Nope, I used the yolks to make a custard!

In this recipe you prepare what is called an Italian meringue, made by boiling sugar water and whipping it into egg whites. Although this cookie is french, the Italian meringue is preferred over the French version, simply whisking sugar into egg whites, as it can often leave a grainy sugar taste in the cookie.

If you live in a humid location, as I do in Houston, you can remove a small amount of water from the sugar water mixture. I removed one tablespoon prior to boiling.

For the ganache, you want to use a heavy cream that is at least 30% milk fat, the higher the better. When pouring the simmering heavy cream into chopped bittersweet chocolate, you want to use a fast whisking motion in the center of bowl. As you pour more heavy cream in, continue stirring in the center of the bowl, slowly working your way out and scrapping the sides of the bowl. This motion of stirring in the center of the bowl gives your ganache that beautiful shine.

Here is a picture of two cookies, the one of the right was baked on a silicone mat, while the left cookie was baked on parchment paper. The cookies taste the exact same, but if you want to make it easy to get the cookies off the pan and if you are a slight perfectionist... then use a silicone mat!

Also, if you haven't checked out Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves I will be participating in her online Bake Sale on May 2nd benefiting the American Cancer Society, so go make a bid!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Crab Cake Sliders

I know by now everyone is done with the fish is something to spruce up your next Friday night...or any night!

Crab cakes have been on my kitchen to-do list for quite some time and I finally made it happen and these were delicious! I paired them with a lemon-dill mayonnaise sauce and some sweet Hawaiian rolls and it was a delicious dinner.

Crab Cake Sliders

Crab Cakes:
1 pound crab meat, free of shells
2/3 cup crushed ritz crackers
3 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
flour for coating
extra-virgin olive oil for frying

Lemon-Dill Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp dill leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
Lettuce, Tomato, Onion...

To prepare the crab cakes, line a flat surface (baking sheet) with paper towels and set aside. in a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the crab meat, flour, and olive oil. Gently mix in the crab meat and form mixture into small patties. Place formed patties onto prepared surface and chill for one hour. In a large saucepan over medium heat, line the bottom of the pan with a thick layer of olive oil. Once patties have been chilled, coat both sides of patty with flour and place into hot oil. Cook crab cake for 4 minutes on each side or until slightly browned.

To prepare the sauce, combine all ingredients and chill for one hour or until serving. Sauce will thicken as it chills.

Cut Hawaiian sweet rolls and fill with warm crab cake, lemon-dill sauce, and any additional toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion).

This recipe was adapted from the queen of butter, Ms Paula Deen.

If you are wondering what type of crab meat to buy, I read this great article that explained the grades of crab meats. For crab cakes, it is recommended to buy Special or Super Lump, which is the white meat of the crab's body. Another helpful hint, always add you crab meat last in a recipe as it is rather fragile.

Just to share, my puppy was being extra cute during my photo can you resist those beautiful brown eyes?!

Happy Baking!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Boston Irish Cream Pie

Inspired by Bobby Flay's recent Boston Cream Pie Throwdown I decided to make a Boston "Irish Cream" Pie for my hubby's birthday this weekend.

He asked for the same thing that I made last year, Chocolate Stout and Irish Cream Cupcakes, but how could I do the SAME thing again?!

Now, if you are wondering why the cake is all lumpy...well the inspiration was from Bobby Flay's competitor, Eunice Feller of Bread and Chocolate in Boston, MA. Instead of layering her Boston Cream Pie, she carves out the center of the cake and fills it with pastry cream, then tops it with the squared pieces of the hollowed out portion of cake. Pic here.

So, this was my attempt and it was most successful until the ganache set too much and it didn't exactly flow over the cake pieces, but more globbed everywhere.

Well they can't all look perfect, but they sure can taste like it!

Boston "Irish Cream" Pie

1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp whole milk
2 tbsp butter, softened
5 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Pastry Cream:
1 and 1/4 cup half and half
3/4 cup irish cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp butter, cold and cut into pieces
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup irish cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

To prepare the cake,  preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8x3 inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper. In a small bowl sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the butter and milk. Stir occasionally till the butter is melted and set aside.  Separate three egg whites into a large mixing bowl and combine the three egg yolks with the remaining two eggs in a separate small bowl, set aside. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low until foamy. Increase the mixer speed to medium and add 6 tablespoons of sugar, one at a time. Continue mixing till shiny, soft peaks form. Move the egg white/sugar mixture to a new bowl. Now beat the egg yolks using the whisk attachment on medium speed adding the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar, one at a time. Beat until the egg yolk mixture is very thick and a pale yellow color, about five minutes.

Combine the beaten egg whites with the beaten egg yolks, gently fold in the flour mixture. Once flour is no longer visible, pour melted butter mixture down one side of the bowl. Gently mix the batter till all butter is incorporated. Pour batter into prepared 8x3 pan and bake till cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Immediately upon removing pan from oven, run a knife along the sides to loosen the cake. Let cool in pan for five minutes, then flip cake rounded side up onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.

To prepare the pastry cream, combine the half and half with the irish cream, 6 tablespoons of sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Over medium heat bring mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. In the mean time, combine egg yolks with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and whisk till sugar has dissolved, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the cornstarch, just until incorporated and mixture is a pale yellow, about 30 seconds. Return to cream mixture, once it has reached a simmer, slowly add to the prepared egg yolk mixture while whisking. Return entire mixture to saucepan over medium heat, while constantly whisking until it begins to simmer and mixture is thick and glossy. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve, pushing with a spatula moves it along faster, into a medium bowl. Cover pastry cream on surface and the bowl rim with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of three hours, preferable overnight.

To prepare the ganache, combine heavy cream, irish cream, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, stirring occasionally, bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour the cream mixture over a bowl of the chopped chocolate, whisking constantly until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the cream mixture. Let ganache cool slightly, stirring occasionally.

To prepare the cake, using a small knife, hollow out the top of the cake leaving a one-inch thick rim. Cut the trimmed cake into big chunks and set aside. Spoon the prepared pastry cream into the hollowed out cake and pile the chunked pieces on top. While the ganache is still warm, pour over the top of the cake and let pour down the sides. Let the cake rest for a few hours prior to serving.

As you can see, this cake is not a one day event. I split my preparations over three days not to overload myself and it worked out great. I was so excited when the pastry cream set properly! The first time I tried to make it, I wasn't watching the stove properly and my irish cream boiled over the top making a mess all over the kitchen. A trip to the liquor store later, I tried again following BrownEyedBaker's tutorial on how to make pastry cream and it worked!

I adapted the recipe from Annie's version of the Boston Creme Pie.

Also, I don't know how many urban adventure racers are out there, but for my hubbie's birthday we participated in the Great Urban Race in Houston and it was a total blast. The race goes to cities all across the US and offers some friendly family competition, so if you haven't heard about it yet, check it out! You can read all about it on my family blog:

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Where have I been?!

I feel like I need to completely re-introduce myself I have been gone so long!

So what's been keeping me so busy?

If you all remember the last Shuttle flight I told you about, well it is finally over and I got my real life back! It was such an amazing experience to be a lead planner for the flight, but I am so glad to move onto the next big project at work...and home.

I made some treats for my busy co-workers, including these super-cute mini Fluffernutter cupcakes...

I also made the hubbie some of Julia Child's famous Beef Bourguignon, he love love loved it!

After I got my life back from work, the hubby and I went to Europe for a few weeks on vacation! We had an amazing time eating and drinking all over Belgium, Germany, and France.

I also talked the hubbie into taking a macaron class with me in Paris, it was one of the best experiences on the entire trip and I cannot wait to share my real french pastry chef tips!

Right after I got back from Europe I headed home to St. Louis for a much needed visit with my mom and grandma!

While I was gone I missed my blog anniversary :-( We will just have to celebrate later! I also received a few awards from some of my favorite fellow bloggers. The Stylish Blogger Award from Becky at Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves who will be holding an online Bake Sale for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, go check her out! 

The One Lovely Blog Award and Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award from Toni at Boulder Locavore, who just posted on how to bake and assemble a real smoking volcano cake, go Toni!

Now I am back and in action. Lots of stuff going on at home this week...the Astros home opener AND my hubbie's birthday this weekend!

I also have my very first giveaway coming soon, something I cannot wait to share with you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolate Glazed Baked Doughnuts

I think I have been craving donuts since I saw the movie No Strings Attached, which was almost a month ago. If you haven't seen the movie there is a section where Natalie Portman eats a huge box of donut holes. This scene was not a dainty one-donut hole at a time kind of meal. I am talking about a down-in-the-dumps, eating by yourself, powdered sugar on your shirt kind of chow session. Now you want donuts too, don't you?

So this morning I decided to just do it, I figure if I bake donuts I will feel a little better about eating one...or two!

If your looking at this picture thinking its too much work for the early morning, its not. I promise its a quick prep, short bake time, and a great reward in the end.

Chocolate Glazed Baked Doughnuts

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp butter, chilled
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp whole milk
2 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease donut pan, if you don't have one use a muffin pan or mini-bundt pan. In a large bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar; whisk till completely mixed. Using a pastry cutter or two forks cut the butter into the dry mixture till a course texture is formed. In a small saucepan heat milk till simmering, set aside. In a medium bowl combine egg, yogurt (I used sour cream because I didn't have any plain yogurt), vanilla, and warmed milk; mix till incorporated. All at once add wet mixture into the dry ingredients and blend just until incorporated, do not over mix. Spoon mixture into donut pan and bake for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick entered in center of a donut comes out clean. Remove and let cool in pan for 5 minutes; flip pan over and let donuts cool completely on metal rack.

For the glaze, in a medium saucepan combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla. Heat over medium until butter is melted, remove and add chopped chocolate. Whisk mixture till chocolate has melted, if it starts to separate (it did for me) add the confectioners' sugar and keep on whisking! While glaze is still hot, dunk the tops of donuts into the glaze and let cool till dry to the touch. This recipe makes ~8-10 full-size donuts. Enjoy!

I adapted this recipe from the yummy JoytheBaker!

When I made the batter, I thought it looked a bit too thick and when the donuts baked I thought they looked all ugly and bumpy, so if yours looks like this, don't worry! In the end they were springy and moist, just like a good cake donut should taste like! The chocolate glaze was delicious and for lack of a better phrase, the true icing on the cake!

I am super excited about my next post, lets just say I was channeling my inner Julia Child for Valentine's Day!

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Waffles

I love Wordless Wednesdays, it is perfect timing because I am getting super busy at work with the upcoming launch (attempt) of my Shuttle mission. 

If you remember I talked about the Shuttle launch that was supposed to happen in October which got delayed to November...then December...and here we are in February. Launch of STS-133 is set for February 24, mark it in your calendars and tune in to NASA TV to watch one of the last Space Shuttle missions ever!

I made these waffles over the weekend and I can't recommend them enough! They have a wonderfully sweet cinnamon taste mixed with the addition of the salty peanut butter, this waffle is a winner! Check out Steph's Bite by Bite for the recipe.

Not so "wordless", sorry!

Happy Baking!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bacon and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Need a last minute recipe for the Big Game?

Well this cookie is perfect for the guys on game day with your classic chocolate chip cookie combined with everyone's favorite...BACON!

Bacon and Chocolate Chip Cookie

2 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
10 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat and set aside. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl beat butter on medium speed till creamy. Add in sugars and vanilla and beat till fully incorporated, scraping sides and bottom as necessary. Add in eggs one at a time just til incorporated in mixture. Slowly add in flour mixture to wet mixture, scraping sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Toss in chocolate chips and bacon, mix by hand with a spatula until batter is even.

To make large cookies, roll into 1.5 inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. This yields 3 dozen cookies. For small cookies, drop by tablespoon-full onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, this yields 5 dozen cookies. Cool cookies for 2 minutes on pan, then cool completely on metal rack.

I like my cookies on the larger size which gives a slightly crunchy outside, but gooey-chewy inside!

This recipe is an adaption of my favorite chocolate chip cookie, which has changed so much over time I can't tell you where it really started!

Happy Baking!
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