Archive for August, 2008

02
Aug
08

s’more cupcakes

This was the third and final dessert for our dinner party 2 weeks ago. This was served as the first dessert while H and I “secretly” dealt with the peach cobbler fiasco in the kitchen. These cupcakes are very time consuming, but well worth it in the end.

chopped bittersweet chocolate
chopped bittersweet chocolate
chocolate graham cracker crust
chocolate graham cracker crust
chocolate graham cracker topping
chocolate graham cracker topping
fresh out of the oven
fresh out of the oven
mmm…marshmallow
mmm...marshmallow
ready…set…pipe!
ready...set...pipe!
waiting for the final touches
almost done...
kissed with fire
kissed with fire
the finished product
beautiful...

The first time I made these, I attempted the frosting 3 times, each time with a new batch of meringue that would just melt and goop down the sides of the cupcake. It was probably too humid that day. They were delicious nonetheless and looked more like campfire s’mores with all the goop, but I have to admit that I was overjoyed about the meringue swirls staying in tact this time.

02
Aug
08

peach cobbler – a lesson learned

I made peach cobbler to go along with the vanilla ice cream I made. H and I went to farmer’s market the morning of our dinner party to buy some fresh peaches. We were disappointed because all of the peaches we tasted were flavorless. It must’ve been too early in the season. We resorted to buying the peaches at the grocery store where they were less than half the cost; if I had to buy peaches that weren’t great, I was going to get the cheapest ones.

These looked good – but they weren’t ripe. The peaches were really firm. H and I both figured they’d soften as they baked. I assembled the cobbler and baked it off as soon as our guests arrived. I checked it 45 minutes later when it was supposed to be done and was horrified. There was no thick peachy liquid at the bottom of the pan; it was completely dry and the peaches were covered with the dry cornstarch, cinnamon, and sugar mixture that I had tossed them in. Duh – I didn’t take into account that firm peaches weren’t going to be very juicy. I should have added some liquid to the mixture and baked it without the biscuit topping until they softened. H added some water and I checked about half an hour later. It was just liquid and only slightly softened peaches. We added more water and more sugar. After checking on it for a third time, H pulled it out of the oven and mashed up half of the cobbler topping so he could mix everything up. We stuck it back in the oven and didn’t even set a timer; who knew how long it would take for the peaches to boil in the liquid and finally soften? It was probably over 2 hours after the original “done” time when I took it out of the oven for good. Apart from the mashed up biscuits in half the dish, it finally looked like peach cobbler.

Surprisingly, the “boiled” peach cobbler and icy vanilla milk ice cream wasn’t half bad. The only thing that mattered was that our guests enjoyed it and most of them didn’t even know about the whole fiasco. Simple lesson learned the hard way – when a recipe calls for ripe fruit, use ripe fruit.


02
Aug
08

vanilla ice cream

Vanilla Beans

I love having people over because I can make not-so-portable desserts. Whenever I bake during the week to bring to work or someone else’s house, I have to make something portable – cupcakes, cookies, smaller desserts that don’t need to be refrigerated. Although I love making these types of desserts, I also enjoy making other types of desserts such as ice cream, pies, and those other things that aren’t always so easily transported.

H and I had a dinner party 2 weekends ago and I had planned on making some type of pie or cobbler. What goes well with pies and cobblers? Ice cream! With it being summer and the fact that I stocked up on vanilla beans from Costco, I wanted to make some homemade vanilla ice cream. I found a recipe for a vanilla ice cream without egg yolks. I decided to give this one a try because I figured it wouldn’t be too rich – I’ll take Breyers over Dreyers any day. I prefer the not-overly-creamy texture of Breyers and I thought this would be similar.

The recipe called for heavy cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla beans. How simple!

Mis en place

Too bad I had missed the part about using “thick” heavy whipping cream when I made my shopping list. I’ve accidentally bought this “thick” type of heavy whipping cream before – you know, the kind you almost have to scoop out of the bottle. The thicker type of cream is required to get the right consistency since there are no egg yolks. Unfortunately, I bought the regular type of heavy whipping cream that pours right out of the container. Needless to say, after 30 minutes of churning my ice cream was icy liquid instead of soft serve.

I poured the liquid into a container, crossed my fingers, and let it freeze for 5 hours. The result was a very icy vanilla milk that melted almost immediately after it was removed from the freezer…but the flavor was delicious. I was surprised at how much those tiny vanilla specks flavored the cream and milk mixture. I’ll be making this one again and look forward to seeing how it turns out with the right ingredients.

01
Aug
08

brownies

I made these brownies 2 weeks ago – that’s how far behind I am on my posts. I was craving something chocolatey one night and whenever I get chocolate cravings I usually make brownies.

These brownies were moist, chewy, and bitter from the espresso powder I added. There were a couple leftover 3 days later and to my surprise they were still chewy, not powdery and dry. H didn’t like them very much b/c he thinks brownies should taste more like milk chocolate and not taste so bitter. Nevertheless, I’ll probably make them again and just cut down on the espresso powder, or perhaps just leave it out completely.