Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NOT Cinnabon

I was afraid this recipe was going to fall short of my expectations due to the fact that no matter how hard I tried I couldn't help but compare it to Cinnabon, and Cinnabon it was not. Cinnabon causes me to have mouth orgasms this recipe thought it was good barely got a tingle out of me. Cinnabon you have ruined me. Damn you and your delicious ginormous fluffy rolls you are the devil! This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Pecan Honey Sticky Buns (I made them into cinnamon buns as well) chosen by Madam Chow of Madam Chow's Kitchen.

I embarked on this journey of yeast with much trepidation to say the least. I am yeast virgin, and much like an innocent new bride viewing her grooms anaconda for the first time on her wedding night I was VERY nervous. I had visions of dough rising uncontrollably out of my mixing bowl, and sucking in everything in its path. This was craziness! What was I doing?! I'm too novice a baker to attempt to make dough! Then my ego kicked in, and I was ready to take on the world. YOU WILL NOT DEFEAT ME EVIL, EVIL YEASTY DOUGH!

As I start to dissolve the yeast my nostrils are immediately assaulted by this gross yeast smell, and I begin to wonder if this is normal. Those of you who have done this before, is it normal for the yeast to smell like swamp ass? If not please leave me a comment and let me know what brand of yeast you used because the one I used is funky. I make sure it is sufficiently dissolved and toss in the rest of the ingredients and my stand mixer goes to work. After tediously tossing in a million pieces of butter this thing is shaking like a stripper on a Saturday night. I have to hold it down with both hands just so that it doesn't fly off of the counter. The dough is done after what seems like an eternity and I cover it and let it rise and slap it down a few times and refrigerate it overnight.

I remove my chilled dough from the fridge and begin to shape the buns. I had a bit of trouble with this part because I have no idea how I'm going to make my ball of dough into a 16" square, but I attempt to anyway. And after a fight with the rolling pin and a few words that I am too much of a lady to repeat I came out the winner. My dough was far from square, but it was what I had to work with. I also think the 16" measurement has to be off because my dough was super thin. Much more so than Cinnabon, so if you crazy people want to try this recipe one day I suggest you eyeball it, and roll until you achieve the thickness of dough you desire because the 16" was too thin for my tastes. Filling the dough and cutting the buns was a snap and it was the part I enjoyed the most because at this point they actually resembled cinnamon/ sticky buns.

Aren't they adorable! Can you believe I had to let them rise AGAIN for an hour and 45 minutes more?! Soooo annoying!

Here are the sticky buns (and some festive red, white and blue memorial day sprinkles) when they came out of the oven...

Here are the cinnamon buns...

I had several issues with this recipe. The main one being this was more trouble than it was worth. If I had died and gone to heaven at the first bite of this creation I would have given up Cinnabon for life, but truth be told I will not be boycotting Cinnabon anytime soon. Hell, even Pillsbury is better and much less work. Maybe my life is too busy to enjoy this recipe, but I was more annoyed than anything that I had to sacrifice so much time slapping this dough down and it letting rise and slapping it down again only for my taste buds to be greeted with just OK cinnamon buns. Will I try this recipe again. Meh. Probably not, but at least I can say I'm no longer a yeast virgin. My yeast cherry was popped, but it kinda sucked. Almost exactly like having sex the first time.

Make sure you check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll to see everyone else's treats.


Stay Sweet;)XOXO
Stay Sweet;)

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Makes 15 buns

For the Pecan Honey Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar; 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces; 1/4 cup honey; 1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)

For the Cinnamon bun frosting:
Source: Good Eats n' Sweet Treats (Awesome blog!)

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened; 1/4 cup butter, softened; 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar; 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar; 3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar; 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon; 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)
Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).

To make the pecan honey glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.

To make the cinnamon bun frosting: Beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt.

To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.
To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glaze recipe accordingly).

With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they're very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.
Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.

Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

(Obviously for cinnamon buns you wouldn't pour the glaze into the pan. You would just bake them, and frost them when they come out of the oven. Also I don't know if my oven runs hot or what, but 30 minutes was too long for me. Mine were done in about 15-20)

Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.

The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

Golden Brioche Dough (this recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it!):

2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons); 1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water; 1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk; 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour; 2 teaspoons salt; 3 large eggs, at room temperature; 1/4 cup sugar; 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

What You'll Need for the Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):
1 large egg; 1 tablespoon water

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.

Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.

Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.

Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dorie and I are having a love affair...

(From Dorie Greenspan's "Banking from my home to yours")

If I weren't already married I would propose to her. This woman's genius knows no bounds. I love you Dorie, and I put out!

Today is my boss's birthday and as a token of appreciation/extra special birthday gift I decided I would bake some of his favorite treats for him. Then I'd have some goodies to post for my weekly TWD update. This weeks TWD recipe (Madeleines) was choosen by Tara of Smells Like Home and I can't begin to tell you how amazing they are and everything else was just as awesome. The pound cake was to die for; the madeleines are out of this world and the chocolate chip cookies....O.M.G. I think I need a cold shower because I'm excited at the mere mention of them. I'm serious. The sounds of pleasure that were emanating from my mouth were loud enough to have the neighbors thinking that I was gettin' some in the kitchen. They were so good I felt like I needed a cigarette after them and I don't even smoke. If you haven't purchased this book yet then your life is just an empty shell of existence. You can't possible go on without experiencing the phenomenon that is Dorie Greenspan. Just thinking about your poor soul saddens me. I'm telling you this book is the first step to world peace. So do it for the children! And now let's give each of these stars their five minutes of fame...

Here she is in all of her regal elegance. The madeleine is a pastry with grace and confidence. You may underestimate her because at first glance she appears lackluster, but as soon as you sample this amazing cake like cookie you are running back for another. She needs no adornments for she is comfortable in her own skin. In fact I know several women who would do well to take the example of madeleine. She's light and fluffy and absolutely delicious. You must make these If only to learn to love yourself as she does;)

Aaaaahhh the pound cake. Absolutely amazing buttery delicious goodness. I made 4 mini loafs, and only packed two for my boss. After the first bite I couldn't part with the other two. It was everything a pound cake should be. Firm yet soft and exceptional in flavor. Its better than Sara Lee (and I would cut someone for Sara lee. She's my peeps)!

Where do I even begin with these cookies. They are truly extraordinary. The texture and flavor are perfect. The combination of the crunchy edges and chewy center is outstanding as far as cookies go. These are worth the 10lbs I probably gained from eating a dozen of them before I even had a chance to pack any for my boss. These will have you saying OMG like you just had some amazing sex. Once cooled they are fabulous, but straight out of the oven they are borderline illegal. Make these NOW. You haven't had it this good in a loooooooog time. Trust me;)

My boss's favorite cookie is a traditional NYC black and white so this cookie was a must for me to make for him. I found this recipe on Phe/MoM/enon's kick ass blog (she is the bomb). It is the beloved outcast of the night (meaning not by Dorie). Not that is wasn't great. In fact it was quite possibly one of the most delicious black and white cookies I've ever had (and that is saying a lot because I'm from NY. Home of the black and white cookie), but when compared to the amazing masterpieces from Dorie's book. It was waaay out of its league. Give it a try if you like black and whites. Its a really, really good black and white cookie.

Don't forget to see what all the other TWDer's have been up to this week!


Stay Sweet;)

Traditional Madeleines
By Dorie Greenspan

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon (you know i left this out)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Working in a mixer bowl, or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl. Working with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick, and light, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the better form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines.(For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the Madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pan.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, or up to 36 mini madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Or, if you have a nonstick pan, give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed. Place the pan(s) on a baking sheet. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don't worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven's heat will take care of that. Bake large Madeleines for 11-13 minutes, and minis for 8-10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and release the madeleines from the mods by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter.

Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature. If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch(Es), making certain that you cool, then properly prepare the pans before baking. Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioner's sugar.

Perfection Pound Cake
by: Dorie Greenspan

2 Cups all-purpose flour or 2 1/4 Cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 Cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9X5 inch loaf pan or an 8 1/2X4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater and reduce the mixer speed to medium. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1-2 minutes after each egg goes in. As you're working, scrape down the bowl and the beater often. Mix in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it is incorporated-don't over mix. In fact, you might want to fold in the last of the flour, or even all of it, by hand with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.

Put the cake into the oven to bake, and check on it after about 45 minutes. If it's browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. If you're using a 9X5 pan, you'll need to bake the cake for 70-75 minutes; the smaller pan needs about 90 minutes. The cake is properly baked when a thin knife inserted keep into the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven, transfer the pan to a rack and let rest for 30 minutes.
Run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and turn the cake out, then turn it right side up on the rack and cool to room temperature.

My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
By Dorie Greenspan

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts. (The dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen. If you'd like, rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, ready for baking. Freeze the mounds on a lined baking sheet, then bag them when they're solid. There's no need to defrost the dough before baking-just add another minute or two to the baking time.)

Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls. Bake the cookies- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10-12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that's just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

Black and White Cookies

For cookies:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg

For icings:

2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (i left out this part. why ruin a good thing with fruit flavor)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Make cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth. Spoon 1/4 cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet (or lined with parchment).Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and allow to cool completely.

Make icings while cookies cool:Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as white icing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

There is light at the end of the tunnel

(yes they are heart shaped. I made them for my husband *hands out barf bags*)

Cake decorating class homework assignment #2 - SUCCESS!

Ha! I am a baking diva! No funky, gooey, bleeding cake for me this week. Take that, stubborn pride! You're not the boss of me.

This week's assignment called for us to bring in frosted cupcakes. Immediately my ego took over contemplating all the different flavors and filling combinations I could create to bring into class, but being the obedient pupil that I am *dodges lightning bolts* I reigned it in and decided to keep it simple. There is absolutely no need for me to gamble with the lives of others imposing upon them my delusional creativity. Someone could get hurt, and that someone could be me (or other unsuspecting victims as my mind is still reeling from the near catastrophe of the last class). I asked my husband what his preference was and he suggested banana cupcakes. So banana cupcakes it was...with nuts...and chocolate chips because I'm a rebel at heart and I just cant help myself.

Since I had such luck with the PMS Who? cupcakes from cupcake project (props to you mami you rock!) she was my first stop for the banana cupcakes and I was not disappointed. Immediately upon entering her wonderful world of cupcakes I was directed to This recipe and I knew it was fate. Wow. These cupcakes are fluffy and moist and addictive! From the first tempting bite I was overwhelmed with a delicious banana aroma and a perfect cupcake texture. I was instantly hooked. This chick knows her stuff. My hat goes off to you (as well as various articles of clothing because I'm a true groupie and dessert slut). These fabulous cupcakes are a must try. I mean I changed some stuff of course because I'm crazy that way (you know you love it) but these are definitely a keeper. Look how pretty they were after they were frosted (please disregard the fact they were supposed to be frosted flat, I am an artist, and I cannot be held to the rules of laymen. I must follow my heart at all costs).

We learned some stuff in class that I wont bore you with (meaning I was terrible at and I wouldn't want to taint your opinion of me and my phenomenal baking skills because we all know I will be queen some day), but this was the star of the night...

Isn't my little prince adorable sitting there on his cupcake throne! I know what you are thinking. You are contemplating all the deliciously filthy things you want to do to him with your tongue, but this is a G rated blog so get your minds out of the gutter you perverts.

For the rest of the decent folk here is the recipe (as with most recipes my changes are in parenthesis):

The Banana Cupcake Recipe (Makes 18)
1 CUP SUGAR (i used 1/2 cup brown 1/2 cup regular)
1/2 CUP SOUR CREAM (I used Nestle table cream or Media crema instead and it made it sooooo moist. It can be found in your local goya aisle)
1 TSPN VANILLA (I added cinnamon too)
1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup nut ( I used pecans)





Stir in desired mix-ins by hand


Buttercream recipe

1/2 c. shortening

1/2 c. butter

1 tsp. vanilla

4 c. sifted powdered sugar

3-4 tbsp. milk (keep adding milk until you achieve the desired consistency)

1 tsp. light corn syrup

1 tbsp. Meringue Powder

pinch of salt to taste (it helps to make it less sweet)


Stay sweet;)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My First TWD (traumatizing) adventure

I'm sorry to say that my first Tuesdays with Dorie adventure was flop. I mean I knew it wasn't going to be my thing because it had key lime juice in it (and we all know how I loath fruit in my desserts), but I expected at least for my husband to like it. I decided that I would taste it (and nearly puked) just to give it a fair chance, and he agreed with me that it was REALLY REALLY gross. Dianne of Dianne's Dishes chose Florida pie (what is Florida pie you ask? the devil's diarrhea.) for this week's dessert adventure, and I have to say an "adventure" it truly was. I halved the recipe because I knew an entire pie would go to waste, and came up with 4 baby pies.

They were so cute that I was actually tempted to try them (boy was that a mistake). The pie came together pretty quickly, and it was relatively simple so if it agrees with your palette it would be a great quick summer treat. I knew I was in trouble when while beating the raw egg yolks (*puke*barf*) for the key lime layer I couldn't help but gag every few seconds when the thought of consuming raw egg yolks would come to mind. Even grosser is that after I added the condensed milk and the key lime juice to the yolks to make the key lime layer I could still actually SMELL the raw egg yolks so I literally had to breathe through my mouth because the smell was sooo potent (i know what you are thinking, but trust me this was 100x worse than rotting strawberries). After almost puking several times making the key lime layer I was going to throw in the towel, but my ego wouldn't let me. I was going to finish this pie if it killed me (literally). I bake my little demon pies and then freeze them for an hour and took them out to tackle my next challenge. Meringue. DUN DUN DUN!

This has got to be hands down the grossest thing ever. I don't know if I've ever eaten fresh egg white meringue on anything before, but this experience has traumatized me and in the words of the great Chris Tucker I will "NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER" eat fresh egg white meringue again. Its the powdered stuff all the way for me. First of all you have to heat the egg whites before you beat them which again gives off this gross raw egg stench and then after you beat them they still smell all gross and egg like and you have to put them on these gross raw egg yolk pies. When i finally taste it not only can you taste the raw eggyness (shut up i know that is not a word) but the key limes are such a dominant flavor that you cant even taste the coconut so it was sort of like an eggy super tart (damn those key limes) lime pie (puke*gag* barf*).

That's enough about this pie because I'm starting to feel ill, but if I can save one person from traumatising their taste buds with this pie then the world will be a better place, and I have done my part. I have posted the halved recipe for the folks who have an iron stomach. You can find the full recipe here Dianne's Dishes. Be sure to stop over at the Tuesdays with Dorie blog to see how everyone else's pie turned out. Also after every new adventure we are suppose to ask ourselves if we would make this again. My answer? Not even if I could never buy another pair of shoes again unless I did.

Disclaimer: This pie may not be as bad as I think it is (unless you have an aversion to raw egg products like I do then its probably right on), but this is my little blog world and my word is law;)

Stay Sweet;)

Florida pie or as I like to call it "The devil's diarrhea"

Mini pie crusts (I used 4)
2/3 cup Heavy cream
3/4 cup shredded coconut
2 eggs
7 ozs condensed milk
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat. Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the reaming juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling. Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.
To Finish the Pie with
Meringue: Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue. Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you've got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy (Belated) Mother's Day Everyone!

This Mother's day I thought it would be a wonderful touch to give something from the heart (in addition to their actual gifts of course. you shouldn't be a cheap ass on mother's day) so I made miniature individual cakes and apple martini cupcakes to give to some of the most important people in my life. They were a HUGE unexpected hit, and it made them all feel extra special and loved just to know that this thoughtful token of appreciation was made by me. On to the goodies...

How adorable is that?! Also I am super psyched because I discovered the most amazing yellow cake recipe in the world! Sound the trumpets! My take over of the world is imminent! This cake is super moist and flavorful and about as perfect as you can get in regard to a yellow cake. I torted it (that is what you call it when you split the layers. don't hate, I learned that in class last week) with my trusty cake leveler and to make it even more remarkable I filled it with vanilla pudding, and I swear I don't think I've ever been so pleasantly surprised in all my life as when I took that first bite (I secretly hated yellow cake because I'm all about the chocolate, but I am now reformed). I closed my eyes in bliss at the soft fluffy mounds of goodness floating over my tongue, and that says a lot considering I'm a chocoholic. You are going to thank your blessings and want to kiss my toes (and possibly suck them. not that I like that. that stuff is for freaks, and I'm all about wholesomeness here) due to the fact that you came upon this perfection on my fantabulous blog. I guarantee it will be your "go to" yellow cake from now on. I added some red food coloring to the buttercream to make it pink, practiced my borders on it, and added colored sugar and sprinkles and VOILA! Sweet pink perfection. My family was so impressed they must have told me a at least a dozen times they didn't even want to eat it because it was too perfect to cut! Now on to the dangerous desserts...

Here you have it, the star of the night. The apple martini cupcake! I stumbled upon them on Cuptails and I "heart" cupppycakes, and I knew I had to make them for Mother's day. I made some changes as always and sort of combined both recipes, but how absolutely awesome is it?! Never in all my life have I even seen so many gasps of shock and excitement as when I unveiled the apple martini cupcakes. Of course the first question out of every one's mouth was "do they have vodka in them?!" Ah family. They put the func in dysfunction and I love them for it. Of course! I exclaimed, and after all the excited screeching had calmed down. I pondered the mystery of how alcohol can turn a simple cupcake into a life altering goodie. I'm not kidding people were more excited about alcohol infused cupcakes than dinner! I don't know how they tasted because I'm not a drinker, but I heard that they were "good enough to sell your body for" so I'm taking that as a compliment. Make these. I wouldn't want to see you wondering the highway one night pulling over truck drivers trying to get your fix. Who would read my blog if you all did that?


Stay Sweet;)

Amazing yellow cake
Source: Foodnetwork.com

I'm going to list the original recipe which is a white cake along with the changes I made *shock* in parenthesis;)

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used cake flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup) (I used 3 large eggs)
3/4 cup milk (I used evaporated milk, and added a packet of instant vanilla pudding to the mix)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For filling:
One cup of jello vanilla pudding

2 (9-inch) diameter by 1 1/2-inch deep layer pans or 1 (13 by 9 by 2-inch) pan (I used 2 6" pans and had some batter left over, but I was too lazy to do anything with it so I just trashed it), buttered and bottoms lined with parchment or waxed paper.

Set a rack at the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt (and pudding). Set aside. Combine egg whites (or eggs), milk and vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to butter mixture then add half the milk mixture. Continue to alternate beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scrape bowl and beater often. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and smooth top with a metal spatula. Bake cake(s) about 25 to 30 minutes (I have no idea how long mine cooked for but definitely longer than 30 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean. Cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack, remove paper and let cool completely. Torte cake and fill with vanilla pudding.


For classic yellow cake substitute 3 large eggs and 1 egg yolk (I just used the 3 eggs because using yolks grosses me out) for all of the egg whites above.

Buttercream recipe

1/2 c. shortening

1/2 c. butter

1 tsp. vanilla

4 c. sifted powdered sugar

3-4 tbsp. milk (keep adding milk until you achieve the desired consistency)

1 tsp. light corn syrup

1 tbsp. Meringue Powder

pinch of salt to taste (it helps to make it less sweet)

3 drops of red food coloring

Apple "so good you'll sell your body for them" Martini cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of Apple Martini mix (I used Stirrings)
1/3 cup of Apple juice
3 drops of green food coloring gel

For frosting:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
A stick of room temperature butter
1 1/2 tablespoons of Apple Schnapps
1 tablespoon of apple martini mix
6 drops of green food coloring gel
Apple flavored glass rimming sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and give it a quick stir to combine. Place eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat on medium with an electric mixer until light and foamy. About 2 minutes. Melt butter (about 1min in microwave) and pour over eggs and sugar whilst beating. Add Apple Martini Mix to eggs, sugar and butter mixture then turn mixer to low. Add half the dry ingredients to the mixer. Add half of the apple juice. Add remaining dry ingredients and finish with remaining apple juice. Continue mixing until remaining dry ingredients are combined (no more than a minute) being careful not to over mix the batter. Immediately divide batter equally among the 12 cupcake liners. I like to use an ice cream scoop to do this. Helps keep each cupcake uniform size. Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean, with no crumbs. The apple-y scent is so delicious when you open the oven door! It’s so refreshing since a sweet apple scent doesn’t often flow through the kitchen. Turn onto a cooling rack to cool to room temperature. Frost cupcakes and either sprinkle them with the rimming sugar or roll them in it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Part 2 of the HW disaster-Thank God for small favors

All I can say is that I was thisclose to giving my entire class food poisoning, and possibly causing a law suit for my instructor, but don't panic all is well even though they narrowly escaped their deaths. Lets just say that I am not quiting my day job any time soon because a master baker I am not. On a more positive note I'm much more knowledgeable now, and I am sure not to poison anyone in the future. With that said there were both positive and negative aspects to my cake and everything is a learning experience;) Lets get on with the story shall we?

Well, though I tried relentlessly to sabotage my first class project I failed miserably. It seems that luck was on my side (somewhat) because I succeeded brilliantly in impressing both my peers as well as my instructor. The bright rainbow colors complimented the dark chocolate beautifully, and in fact looked much prettier on my dark chocolate cake than on the other plain Jane light blue cakes in class (that may be a slightly bias remark, but this is my little world, and in it I am the queen of perfection so get over it). Furthermore I was not the only willful student who did not bring in their light blue cake, but I was the only one who brought in a perfectly frosted, level, crumb free cake (now that part was not an exaggeration)! All hail the frosting queen!

( Because I know you are all dying to know; Julio is my husband, and the love of my life, and the most wonderful man in the world.)

Please note that It had been stated the previous week that we would taste each others cake in class, but since we had gotten so caught up in decorating by the time we knew it the clock read 9:00PM, and it was time to go (Thank you Jesus! Crisis averted). I received many Ooooohhhsss and AAaaaahhhss over my cake, and with my head swollen and my heart happy I skipped off (more like floated) to my car and drove home as quick as I could so that I could try this cake that J and I have been salivating over for the past 4 days. DUN DUN DUN!

*stunned silence*

Yes, that's right. No need to check your eyeballs to make sure you read that correctly. This cake has been in my fridge with sliced (not so) fresh strawberries in it for 4 days . You see, the thing is, my instructor stated in our previous class that buttercream acts as a preservative and you could refrigerate the cake for up to a week and it would still be fresh and delicious. Now keeping this new information in mind I made my cake on Sunday night because my weeknights are ridiculously busy, and assumed all would be well. Needless to say this "fresh" theory does not apply when it comes to certain fillers in the cake. Fillers that could go bad. Fillers such as fresh berries. *GASP*

My beautifully decorated cake makes it home, and I rush to the kitchen with J right behind me and I hurriedly slice a nice huge piece...

and a weird overpowering rotting fruit/strawberry smell assails my nostrils (and almost burned my nose hairs). I shrug it off to the weird strawberry goop that had been bleeding out of the cake and grab a fork. Wanting to savor every detail of this masterpiece I first taste the cake alone , and I prepare my taste buds for pure chocolate bliss. I envisioned myself dancing on chocolate clouds in a chocolate sky with strawberries and shredded coconut raining down upon me.

I'm twirling and singing and giggling and I shove a piece of cake in my mouth and I'm overwhelmed with....disappointment. The cake was not very impressive (the buttercream is another story it was AMAZING try it you'll want to bathe in it). It wasn't chocolaty enough and it wasn't moist enough and I didn't feel drowned in chocolate the way I should have felt eating "Devil's food cake". This recipe was a dud (damn you Ghirardelli and your deceiving delicious looking pictures!), and I began to kick myself for not using a recipe I had already tried.

Determined to make the best of the cake I take a hefty forkful of the yummy (read rotting) strawberry/coconut filling and I chew and gag and cough and run to the garbage pail and continue to gag. It was as if I had taken a bit out of a giant pile of rotting garbage. The strawberry was mushy and slimy and the juice was smelly and bitter and mixed with the coconut it was pretty close to a chick who hadn't showered in a week attempting to cover up the smell with perfume. J being just as anxious to try the cake thinks I'm being dramatic and takes a hefty forkful himself and immediately exclaimed "Babe its rotten!"

There you have it folks, fresh berries cannot be carried over for more than a day as they begin to break down and rot. Make no mistake though, I am still a baking diva;) These trials and errors are only preparing me to eventually take over the world with my mad baking skills.

Tune in next week for apple martini cupcakes (mother's day treats), my first TWD adventure, and banana, walnut chocolate chip cupcakes.

Stay Sweet;)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Crisco goes awry

Cake decorating homework assignment - Disaster #1

Don't let that deceiving exterior fool you. Much like its maker, there is trouble lurking within...

As some of you may already know I have signed up for a cake decorating class to feed my addiction, and to say that my first assignment did not go smoothly is an understatement. Not that I had trouble following the directions or that it was complicated. Simply that my constant inclination to improve on the perfect went amiss. Why, oh why, am I constantly plagued with delusions of grandeur regarding my baking skills? Clearly I'm a novice, and have no business imposing my self proclaimed creativity on unsuspecting class projects. This poor cake never stood a chance against my ego.

For starters when I went to the supermarket to buy Crisco for my buttercream, they were all out of regular Crisco and only had butter flavored so I excitedly picked up the butter flavor. In my head I had visions of my class cheering me on about how delicious and flavorful my buttercream was, and what did I use, and how did I think of using butter flavored Crisco. I would be celebrated as a genius! I would be the world renowned buttercream queen! I tell you the ego is tricky, tricky thing. Now keep in mind that for my first class project I had to bring in a layer cake frosted in light blue buttercream frosting, representing a pretty sky (we are going to add a rainbow to it in class), and note the color of my cake. Now onto my buttercream debacle.

I open the infamous butter flavored Crisco and much to my surprise it's yellow. Now a more experience baker would have known this, but being the novice baker that I am I had no idea that meant my pretty white buttercream would in turn be yellow as well. So I plop my shortening in with my butter and I begin adding my sugar and instead of pretty white fluffy buttercream, much to my dismay I start to get pretty yellow butter cream. Now alarm sets in as I realize if I add blue coloring to my yellow cake frosting it will turn green! What's a novice baker to do? I had no idea, so i added some cocoa and made chocolate buttercream. Fast forward to assembling my layer cake...

I began by making a dam to hold in the filling just like they showed us in class. As I start to frost my first layer I realize that my buttercream is unusually stiff, and hard to spread and it hits me that I forgot to add additional milk when I added the cocoa so it was the wrong consistency, and it pretty much ripped my cake layer to shreds when I tried to frost it. After much trial and error of removing crumbs and giant cake pieces and filling in holes my first layer was frosted. Just then my ego starts to take over, and I think to myself Wouldn't it be awesome if I added some fresh strawberries to the filling? It would be so impressive, the instructor and my classmates would say "Wow, you are so creative! You really shouldn't be in this beginner's course you are just too talented!".

Then because I can never leave well enough alone, and my inner baking diva cries to be heard i added coconut...

Now I have a HUGE 2" gap, and I'm clueless as to how to fill it and again panic sets in (aside from the cavernous gap note how level my layers are. Ha! I may be a novice, but I have the heart of pastry chef ).

How the hell am I going to fill in this monstrous gap with the unruly buttercream? Damn my stubborn pride. Also I am a bit nervous that I will not have enough to frost the entire cake. So after an hour and half of ripping the cake to shreds with the unforgiving buttercream I did it (as you can see by the initial picture posted above above), and because I deserved it, I ran a victory lap around my dining room table and cheered myself boisterously because I am a baking diva after all.

I wake up this morning and run to the fridge to check on my cake and what do I find? I find my masterpiece sitting in a pool of gooey strawberry juice mess. What kind of craziness is this? What in the world happened? Can you not refrigerate cake with fresh fruit in it? I have no idea what happened, but I'm taking it to class anyway (if it doesn't collapse first having been drowned in evil, evil strawberry goop) and I can only hope that even if my cake doesn't get the acclaimed accolade it deserves it at least survives the day.

Stay tuned for part two of this disaster when I take it to class and attempt to decorate it...


Stay sweet;)

Devil’s Food Cake (Literally)
Source: Ghirardelli.com

· 1 1/2 cup(s) Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa (I used Ghirardelli)
· 2 cup(s) flour
· 1 cup(s) granulated sugar
· 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
· 1/2 teaspoon(s) cream of tartar
· 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt (optional)
· 1 1/2 cup(s) buttermilk
· 1 cup butter, softened
· 4 eggs
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottoms of two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans, and line with waxed paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, ground chocolate, granulated sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add 1 cup of the buttermilk and 1 cup of butter. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of buttermilk, the eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the cake’s center. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cakes from the pans, discard the waxed paper, and transfer them to the wire rack to cool completely.

Unruly buttercream

1/2 c. shortening

1/2 c. butter

1 tsp. vanilla

4 c. sifted powdered sugar

3/4 c. sifted cocoa

3-4 tbsp. milk

1 Tsp. light corn syrup

1 Tbsp. Meringue Powder

Cream shortening, butter, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar, cocoa, and meringue powder on medium speed, scraping down bowl often. Add milk and corn syrup until light and fluffy.