Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Charming Couple

…Better late than never? The July Daring Bakers’ Challenge was due to post… Oh three days ago. But that’s ok because the cookies are here and ready to go! First off:

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.
Secondly… I call these charming cookies because… Well they’re just that. Charming. I wouldn’t call them gorgeous – they aren’t the sort of showstopper cookies you’d want to serve at a party. But they are tasty, and they have that sort of homeliness that would be very comforting and lovely on a bake sale table. Or in my stomach.This Daring Bakers’ Month I decided to do something different by trying to follow the recipe exactly, without trying anything fancy or messing up. That way if people don’t like it they can’t blame me I can easily go back to the recipe and try to figure out what went wrong. And things went wrong with this. Not huge things, just little things I wasn’t expecting. The Milano cookies were tasty except I felt that there was way too much lemon extract in the actual cookies and then the added orange zest I felt was overkill on the citrus. And I love citrus as much as I love sugar and blue skies. If I were going to try this recipe again, I would probably lesson both the vanilla and the lemon extract because the batter was super alcoholic… As a college student I’m usually all for that but personally it just didn’t work for me in these cookies. That being said, they are much tastier on Day 2, perhaps because the flavors have melded a little better, or perhaps because I like them better frozen. Either way they’ll be eaten pretty quickly.
The mallow recipe itself left a lot to be desired for me. The cookie recipe was fine, the cookies are tasty and biscuit-y, though perhaps a little more crunch would be nicer. The marshmallow recipe, although fun to make in that reminiscent s’mores flavor sort of way, didn’t make nearly enough marshmallow to top the cookies – as you can see from the pictures, there’s a little squirt of marshmallow on my cookies in an attempt to spread it around as much as possible, but it didn’t work. I have plain chocolate covered biscuit cookies. It was a little disappointing.My biggest bone to pick is with the chocolate covering – I don’t know about other Daring Bakers out there, but I used the vegetable oil as suggested in the recipe and the chocolate absolutely refuses to harden or even solidify so these cookies are like the stink bombs of cookies – they get chocolate everywhere and it takes way too much time and energy to try to get all the sticky chocolate off of every surface in the kitchen. Or your hands. Or your clothes. Or your hair. It’s out of control. I froze them for 3 hours to no avail so I’m guessing there’s something up with the vegetable oil. Next time I would try melting wax with the chocolate to give it that chocolate-covered candy feel. The chocolate recipe also didn’t make enough chocolate – I almost had to triple the original chocolate recipe to adequately cover all of my cookies. Frustrating, but all in all still tasty as long as you’re wearing clothes you don’t care about.It was a fun challenge regardless of all the “hardships” encountered – and since I followed the recipe basically to a T, feel free to try it out by following the Daring Bakers link here.

Ps. Please vote for my cupcake at IronCupcake:Earth! Thanks!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

IronCupcake:Earth - Herb Cupcakes

Surprise! I’m now officially an IronCupcake:Earth Challenger, so in addition to the monthly installments of Daring Bakers, I get to indulge in my cupcake-love once a month too. I like to call it my “Cupcake of the Month Club.” You might not know this, but it’s also sort of a Miss International Cupcake popularity contest, complete with prizes (click read more to see how super cute they are) – isn’t this fun already? So if you happen to wander past here and say golly, that cupcake looks like a purebred winner to me, then feel free to gleefully click your way to IronCupcake:Earth and vote for me in the right hand column. Yay!

But enough about flashy prizes and winning stuff and voting. What I really want to talk about is my hybrid cupcake creation that I whipped up the other night on a dazed whim – the awkwardly named “Chocolate Orange Rosemary Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream” (CORCCB for short?). When presented with the challenge to include herbs in my cupcakes I thought about the daring bakers spinach monstrosity and cried a little on the inside I was a little wary. As much as I like spice and pizazz in my lunches and dinners, cupcakes are my little sugar fix that I could always count on as being deliciously different than whatever main course I just ate. In some ways this still is the case. In other ways… Not so much.

I initially thought lavender because I liked the idea of purple in a cupcake – very cute. But then again lavender is a bit reminiscent of pepper and of the lavender recipes I saw, they either didn’t really interest me or they used some lavender-infused sugar. I wasn’t interested in that sort of time commitment. While googling as many herb combinations as I could find, I stumbled on to a few sites that mentioned that rosemary just plain jives with citrus. Well I jive with citrus too. Like oranges, for example. Do you know what else jives with citrus? Chocolate. Oh yes.

My theme was decided. When you look at the cupcake pictures, think orange-chocolate truffles. Only with little bits of rosemary chopped in. That is the essence of my cupcake creation. The rosemary, I found, didn’t add a different flavor like I was expecting – it was more of an added “tonal quality” to the little symphony of cupcake batter I was whipping up. It didn’t compete with the orange but rather added a bit of mellow, natural texture to it and enhanced the orange in a lovely way. So far so good.

The only issue was that after I got the cupcakes baked I A) oops - dropped a pan of them on the floor and b) they were super-orangey. Almost out of control in their orange flavor. My original plan for this recipe included an orange chocolate frosting to really make the flavor combinations pop, but the orange flavor was already exploding from every pore of the cupcake so I decided to go with a simple chocolate buttercream to temper the orange flavor just a tad. It worked, but I wish I had more frosting because the orange flavor can still be a bit overpowering when you don’t get enough frosting in a bite. I would have liked to cut down on the orange zest and extract just a tad to let the chocolate and rosemary shine through more, but I really think that these cupcakes would make excellent miniature cupcakes. That way the orange flavor would be controlled by small portions and a heftier dollop of frosting.
All in all not my favorite cupcake concoction but not one that I’d scrap entirely. I think it just needs a bit more finagling to get it just right. My family is certainly eating them without a problem. Maybe you will too 

Chocolate Orange Rosemary Cupcakes w/ Chocolate Buttercream
Print Me!
**Note: My first printable recipe! More to follow, so get excited!

Chocolate Cupcakes
Modified from Cupcake Bakeshop
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup of 61% cocao
3 sticks butter
2-1/4 cups sugar
8 eggs
1-1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 tsp finely chopped rosemary
2 tbsp orange zest (I suggest reducing this to 1 tbsp)
½ tsp orange extract (I suggest reducing this to ¼ tsp)

1.chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2.add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.
3.remove from heat and stir in sugar. let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4.beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
5.add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each
6.sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and mix until blended.
7.scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


enough to lightly frost 24 cupcakes

1 stick butter
1/2 cup cocoa
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
~1/4 cup milk (The original recipe called for ¼ c., I used probably close to ½ c. to get the taste/texture I wanted – Play around on this one)
2 tsp vanilla

1.Beat butter on high for about 30 seconds until soft.
2.Add cocoa and 1 cup of sugar and beat until incorporated
3.Add half of the milk, vanilla, and the remainder of sugar and beat until incorporated.
4.Continue to add milk until you get to the consistency you want.

Our ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:
Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery

Our corporate prize providers include:
- HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
- Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers


Monday, July 6, 2009

Confessions of a LEED AP... And Snickerdoodle Cupcakes!

Snickerdoodles on Foodista
Thanks for everyone’s words of encouragement on the DB challenge post with the LEED AP test – apparently I passed (although during the test I would have told you that I was going to fail for sure) so now and forever I’m a LEED Accredited Professional. Ooh, it makes me want to make business cards or change my email signature or something. :)

So yes. I’ve had a few days of blissful freedom, and though I wish the Chicago weather would cooperate and just be sunny for once this summer, life is good and my summer has officially begun. Officially officially this time. And what that means is another fun recipe/post for all of you to read, yay!
To be honest, I made these cupcakes a while ago when the bf and I had a random cupcake craving. Okay, so I had a cupcake craving and he just smiled and went with it. It’s nice to know that he’s used to my little oddities now, haha. While I wanted to try out Martha’s gorgeous lemon curd cupcake recipe (it’s like her cupcake poster child all over the cupcake portion of her website, check it out and drool!), we were both pretty tired so we tried to find a simplistic recipe and found a snickerdoodle cupcake recipe… I was intrigued. While they turned out tasty, they weren’t what I was looking for in a snickerdoodle cupcake… I personally felt like the cupcake itself wasn’t moist enough (I’m a big fan of moist and flavorful over light and airy cupcakes myself), and the frosting was ok with this cupcake… I might have liked it more if it was more of a filling inside of the cupcake instead of slathered on top. But then again I was very heavy handed with the frosting so that could have affected the outcome… I’m obsessed with a high frosting to cupcake ratio. So obsessed that I’ve been known to rip off the bottom half of the cupcake so the frosting ratio is 50/50… Don’t worry I’ve already been told by countless others that this habit of mine is pretty special. Yeah.

Anyway here is the recipe (from Martha’s new Cupcake book/website), feel free to try it out and let me know what you think – should cupcakes be considered snickerdoodle-flavored just on account of having cinnamon sugar involved? Do you think my frosting to cupcake ratio was overboard and overwhelmed the delicate cupcakes?
And get excited for more blogging, hooray!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, Martha Stewart Cupcakes

Makes ~ 28
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
• 4 large eggs, room temperature
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 1/4 cups milk
• Seven-Minute Frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
4. To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco No. 809 or Wilton No. 1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake: Hold bag over cupcake with tip just above top, and squeeze to create a dome of frosting, then release pressure and pull up to form a peak. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Seven-Minute Frosting
"Martha Stewart's Cupcakes."
•1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
•2/3 cup water
•2 tablespoons light corn syrup
•6 large egg whites, room temperature

1.Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.
2.Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
3.As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

Note - this was an interesting/fun way to make 7-minute frosting, mostly because I kind of guesstimated the temperature/did whatever I wanted. Don't throw the extra frosting in the oven and try to make meringue-y stuff... It doesn't work. Just trust me on that.


  © Blogger template Spain by 2008

Back to TOP