Archive for March, 2010

13
Mar
10

cupcakes and mini bundt cakes

Here are some photos of recent cupcakes and mini bundt cakes.

These are some cupcakes that H and I got at Joan’s on Third in LA.  I think the one up front is the snickers cupcake and the one in the back is the cream filled chocolate cupcake.  I didn’t get to try the snickers cupcake; H probably finished it off in 3 or less bites.  The cream filled cupcake was ok; the filling was very sweet.

Joan’s on Third cupcakes

I brought red velvet cupcakes to work the week before Valentine’s Day.   They had cream cheese frosting and were sprinkled with lip-shaped sprinkles.

red velvet with lips sprinkles

The banana bundt cake I posted before has become one of my favorites.   I’m one of those people who will only eat bananas with very few or no spots.  Once they become spotty, I just leave them alone on the counter and let them get uglier and more rotten looking.  Ugly bananas don’t go to waste in this house.  The uglier they get, the more I look forward to baking something with them.  H knows that I will only eat bananas with very few spots, so when he sees me buying a big bunch of bananas, he knows that I have an ulterior motive.

I finally decided to try out my mini bundt pan that I received as a wedding gift (almost 4 years ago!).  I registered for the pan, but never knew what I should make in it.  Go figure.  I wasn’t sure how much batter to put in each mini bundt and ended up slightly overfilling each one.  I was shocked when I checked on them at the halfway point and saw cupcakes!

they look like cupcakes…

…but they’re not!

Fortunately, their little bottoms weren’t so puffed out that they couldn’t stand on their own.  A nice thing about overfilling them slightly was that instead of having a hole in the middle of each bundt for the lemon icing to run through, there was a small cavity to hold it all in.

drizzled with lemon icing

I recently made chocolate cupcakes for a friend’s birthday.  I made a last minute decision to make the caramel ganache frosting from the book Baked.  I really liked the caramel ganache and it was so easy to make!  I also got to use the Valrhona chocolate pearls that I recently bought at a restaurant supply store in LA.  I was having trouble piping nice round swirls and was too lazy to squeeze out all my frosting just to change tips so I ended up just piping out small mounds of frosting.  It’s not the prettiest because the frosting wasn’t smooth enough; next time I’ll use a star tip.

chocolate cupcakes w/ caramel ganache frosting and crunchy chocolate pearls

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12
Mar
10

two-bite chocolate cream pies

A few weeks ago, H and I had dinner with some friends – a finger food potluck.  H loves to create appetizers and I love making mini desserts so we were both looking forward to what we were going to make.  I scoured through my cookbooks and magazines trying to find something that jumped out at me when I remembered seeing these mini chocolate cream pies in the February issue of Sunset magazine (one of my favorites). Not only did these look yummy, but the recipe looked pretty straightforward too.

My only advice is don’t over press the cookie crumbs and don’t over bake the crusts.  I was intent on making sure the crusts didn’t fall apart so I did both.  The result was VERY hard crusts that were almost impossible to bite into. I didn’t really think about the fact that egg white would probably provide a much stronger bind than melted butter. Well, they were still delicious even though everyone had a hard time biting into them.

Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers

cookies, sugar, salt, egg white whirled to make the crust

10 lb. slab of chocolate

breaking into the slab

melted chocolate and butter

sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and milk

cook over medium heat

add melted chocolate and butter

ready to bite into

Two-bite Chocolate Cream Pies

From Sunset magazine, February 2010

Makes 24

  • Cooking oil spray
  • About 30 chocolate cookies, such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. course salt
  • 2 large eggs (1 separated)
  • 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 5 tsp. Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 2 mini-muffin trays (12 muffin cups each) with cooking spray.  In a food processor, whirl cookies into fine crumbs.  Measure; return 1 1/2 cups crumbs to food processor, along with 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar, the salt, and 1 egg white.  Pulse to blend evenly.

Spoon 1 tbsp. crumb mixture into each muffin cup. Press crumbs over bottom and up sides of cups. (Don’t press too hard.) Bake until set, 15 minutes. (Don’t over bake.)

Put chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe container and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring often, until melted.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, the cornstarch, and 4 tsp. cocoa. Pour in a few tbsp. of the milk and whisk into a smooth paste; whisk in remaining milk.  Transfer to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened and large bubbles appear, about 3 minutes.

Put reserved yolk and remaining egg into a medium bowl.  Whisk in about 1/2 cup hot milk mixture.  Scrape egg-milk mixture into milk mixture in pan and cook, whisking, until just starting to boil, about 30 seconds.  Whisk in melted chocolate and butter.

Spoon hot filling into chocolate shells.  Press plastic wrap over surface of mini pies to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until set, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Remove pies from trays. Whisk cream with remaining 2 tbsp. sugar into soft peaks. Spoon a dollop of cream onto each mini pie. Dust pies with remaining cocoa.