Sunday, March 25, 2012

Whiskey Caramels

Another whiskey recipe. 
I love caramel. I have been known to eat an entire pan/box/jar of caramel in one sitting. (If only there was a caramel eating contest.) These caramels were amazing. They were soft and chewy with out sticking in your teeth, and had just a hint of whiskey. (In the photo they look a little grainy, but they were actually silky smooth.)

Whiskey Caramels
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp Honey Whiskey
Sea salt

Butter a 8x8 inch pan.

In a large saucepan, combine corn syrup, condensed milk, milk, heavy cream, butter, sugar, and whiskey. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until mixture comes to a boil. If sugar crystals are present on the side of the pan, wash down with a wet pastry brush.

Stirring constantly, cook to 250 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tsp whiskey. Pour without scraping into the prepared pan. Let stand for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with sea salt. Cool at room temperature overnight.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tollhouse Pie

Hope everyone had a good St. Patrick's Day. I don't really have any Saint Patrick's recipes, but I do have a few good recipes for your leftover Irish Whiskey. 

I have been making Tollhouse Pie (A gooey chocolate chip cookie in pie form.) for years. This recipe from Baked is almost identical to my recipe, except with the addition of Whiskey. As a non-drinker I can say there is no taste of Whiskey in the pie, it just adds a little something extra to the overall flavor.  I love it served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but it's delicious straight out of the refrigerator the next day too.

Tollhouse Pie
From Baked

9" pie crust (recipe follows)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut in cubes
1 tbs whiskey
1/2 cup walnuts
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with a cookie sheet inside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour and sugars until combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on high until foamy, about 3 minutes. Remove whisk attachment and add the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low gradually add the flour mixture. Turn the mixer to high and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl and add the butter. Beat on high until the mixture is combined. Scrape the bowl, add the whiskey, and beat on high for 1 minute.

Fold in the walnuts and 3/4 cup chocolate chips into the filling.

Pour the filling into the pie shell, and spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on the top of the pie.

Bake for 25 minutes, then cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil and bake for another 25 minutes. 

Pie Crust
Martha Stewart

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling dough
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons ice water, plus 2 more, if needed
In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar several times to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces remaining, 10 pulses. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Do not overprocess. Turn dough out onto a work surface; form dough into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Before baking, unwrap dough; place on a large piece of floured waxed paper. Roll dough to a 14-inch round. Using paper, lift and wrap dough around rolling pin (discarding paper); carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and up sides of plate. Trim overhang to 1 inch; fold overhang under itself. Pinch between thumb and forefinger to make a uniform edge around the rim. Crimp edge; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour

Monday, February 13, 2012

Box Of Chocolate Cookies

Last year I made a box of chocolate cupcakes, this year it's cookies. I got the idea for these cookies from My Kitchen Addiction, after a googling Valentine's cookies. They are fairly easy to make, and so cute. A perfect Valentine's gift for a cookie lover.

Shortbread Cookie
From Claire Clark's Indulge
225g flour
75g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar. Add butter and vanilla. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients. When the mixture comes together form into a ball and flatten slightly.
Roll out to 1/2 inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes. Leave on baking sheet to cool.

Royal Icing
3 oz pasteurized egg whites
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla, plus extra for thinning icing

In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, and vanilla.
Turn the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes. 
Separate icing into small bowls for coloring. 
Add color to bowl and mix.
Once desired color is achieved, thin out icing with water and vanilla, a drop at a time. To test the consistency, drizzle a spoonful of icing over the bowl, the ribbon should melt into the rest of the icing in about 4-5 seconds. 
Once the right consistency is reached spoon into piping bags and cut a tiny hole in the tip. 
Cover bowls with plastic wrap when not using, to prevent hardening.
Outline the heart and fill in, letting the icing spread and smooth out. Let dry.
Once the first layer is dry, outline again and sprinkle carefully with red sprinkles. Let dry.
Outline and fill in one "chocolate" at a time. DO NOT decorate chocolates yet. Once all chocolates are in place, let dry.
Now decorate the chocolates with swirls and lines. Let dry.
Outline the chocolates with small dots, again one chocolate at a time. When one chocolate is outlined, carefully connect the dots by dragging a toothpick through each dot.
Let the cookie dry completely.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Blueberry Muffins

Valentine's Day is coming, so how about serving someone you love blueberry muffins in bed? I prefer my blueberry muffins more dense, but this recipe makes a lovely light and fluffy muffin, that is quite delicious. Topped with a pat of butter cutout with a heart shaped cookie cutter, and this regular muffin turns into a love muffin (:   (I know, supper cheesy.)

Blueberry Muffins
Slightly adapted from Amy's Bread
(I used ounces for my measurement)

3 1/4 cups flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1 2/3 cups blueberries

Line muffin pan with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl whisk together butter, eggs, milk, and orange zest.

Add wet ingredents to dry and fold until a few lumps of flour remain.

Gently mix blueberries in a small bowl with a tablespoon of flour, just to coat.

Add blueberries to the muffin batter. Gently fold them in, being careful not to smash any berries, resulting in dingy blue muffins.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

These bars are a more decadent version of the Rice Krispie Treats we grew up with. I made these for the super bowl (Yeah they are a little too fancy for guys watching football.), but they would be great for any holiday.
I think a few mini marshmallows mixed into the peanut butter layer would be a nice addition.

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
From Baked 

For The Crispy Crust
1 3/4 cups Rice Krispies

1/4 cup sugar

3 Tbs light corn syrup

3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted

For The Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer

5 oz milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter

For The Chocolate Icing
3 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp light corn syrup
4 Tbs unsalted butter

Make The Crispy Crust
Lightly spray a paper towel with nonstick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.

Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.

Pour ¼ cup water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, 235 degrees.

Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.

Make The Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer
In a large nonreactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter.

Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.

Make The Chocolate Icing
In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.

Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread into an even layer. Put the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until the topping hardens.

Cut into 9 squares, or use a cookie cutter warmed in hot water, and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Root Beer Bundt Cake

I love root beer, it's spicy flavor instantly takes me back to my childhood. So when I saw this recipe in my Baked cookbook I knew I had to try it.

Before I started the recipe I did a little snooping online, and found that most people couldn't even taste the root beer in the cake. Well, if I was going to make a Root Beer Cake, I wanted to taste the root beer. So not only did I followed Baked's suggestion of replacing a 1/2 cup of root beer with a 1/2 cup of root beer schnapps, I also added a root beer syrup that I found at Williams-Sonoma.

There was no denying that this was a root beer cake, and when it was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream it became a root beer float. Success!...except I hated it. The cake's texture was great and the frosting was nice and smooth, but the flavor made me gag. My son on the other hand loved it, along with all the people I work with. I guess this cake is for real root beer lovers, and apparently I don't love root beer as much as I thought.

I probably would have liked it more if I would have made the recipe as written, but if you can't taste the root beer why use it at all?  Next time I'm going to replace the root beer with hot chocolate, and make it a Hot Chocolate Bundt Cake.

Root Beer Bunt Cake
Adapted from Baked

For The Root Beer Bundt Cake:
1 1/2 cups root beer
3 tbs root beer syrup
1/2 cup root beer schnapps
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs

For The Root Beer Fudge Frosting:
2 oz dark chocolate (60% cacao), melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup root beer
1 tbs root beer syrup
2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Make The Root Beer Bundt Cake
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, root beer schnapps, root beer syrup, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy - do not over beat, as it could cause the cake to be tough.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a small sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack. Brush a few tablespoons of root beer syrup over the top of the cake before frosting with the Root Beer Fudge Frosting.

Make The Root Beer Fudge Frosting
Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and smooth.
Use a spatula to spread the fudge frosting over the crown of the bundt in a thick layer.

Monday, January 30, 2012

And The Winner Was....

I was having a hard time deciding what recipe to make next from my Baked: New Frontiers In Baking cookbook, so I wrote up a ballot and had my family vote for the dessert that sounded best to them.
They chose German Chocolate Cake, which surprising I love, even if the filling looks slimy and unappetizing.

Baked's recipe has to be the best German Chocolate Cake recipe I have used so far. The chocolate cake had a rich chocolate flavor and was very moist. The filling was thick, gooey and coconuty, so good you could eat it by spoonfuls. (I might have used a mixing spoon for my spoonful.) The only problem I had with the cake, which really wasn't Baked's fault, was the ganache frosting. Baked says "If you prefer to decorate your German Chocolate Cake with a milk chocolate frosting, let the filling set completely and use the milk chocolate frosting recipe on page 60.", so I did. The frosting was silky and rich, and would be fabulous on a chocolate cake, but it was just a little too much with the German Chocolate filling. To solve the frosting problem, I just ate the cake backwards, and it was divine.

German Chocolate Cake
From Baked

Cake Layers:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot coffee (I used Ghirardelli Mocha Hot Cocoa)
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs 
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled

1 1/3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup sugar 
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter 
1 cup evaporated milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3 large egg yolk
1 1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped coarsely

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the coffee and buttermilk.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat to incorporate. The mixture will look light and fluffy.
Add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee/buttermilk mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the melted chocolate.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack and remove the pans and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread half of the coconut evenly across the pan and place in the oven for 5 minutes or until the coconut begins to brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
In a large saucepan, stir together the sugar, butter, evaporated milk, vanilla, and egg yolks. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. After the mixture begins to boil and thicken, remove from the heat and stir in the toasted coconut, regular coconut, and pecans.
Place the pan over an ice bath (a large bowl filled with ice) and stir the mixture until cool.

Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface and evenly spread one third of the filling on top. Add the next layer, trim and frost with one third of the filling, then add the third layer. Trim the top, and frost with the remaining filling.

The cake will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 2 days.

Milk Chocolate Frosting:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tbs light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1 inch pieces

Place both chocolates in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil, then remove from the heat and immediately pour the mixture over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Starting in the center of the bowl and working your way out to the edges, whisk the chocolate mixture until completely smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

With the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on medium speed gradually add the butter pieces and mix until thoroughly incorporated. The frosting should be completely smooth and have a silky look.


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