dessert

All posts tagged dessert

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache and Coconut (or not)

Published May 23, 2013 by jenmatteson

Last Friday, my family celebrated Mother’s Day (late) and my dad’s birthday.  They are always so close, and it’s hard to get my family together with work and the little ones, that it’s easiest for us to celebrate these two events together.  We certainly cannot celebrate birthdays without a cake, and Mother’s Day without dessert?  Well that just doesn’t seem right!  Lucky for me, I had just seen this recipe in the latest Food and Wine, which I was dying to make.  Perfect!  Well, sort of.  My mom doesn’t like coconut (unless it’s in the rum in her Panty Ripper).  So I garnished half the cupcakes with the toasted coconut and the other half with shaved bittersweet chocolate.  Both were a hit!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

My honey is so precious when it comes to his food.  I think I’ve mentioned before he can be quite protective of his leftovers.  When we were heading to my parents house this weekend to pick up some plants, I grabbed some of the leftover cupcakes to give to them.  We still had 8 leftover from Friday, and while we certainly could eat that many cupcakes, we really don’t need to.  While I was putting the container in the backseat of the car, Nate asks adorably, “What are you doing with those?”  I tell him, ” I’m bringing them for my parents,” and he said like a stubborn child, “Well, how many?”  At this point, he was just too cute to take seriously.  I told him we didn’t need a dozen cupcakes (exaggerating slightly).  When he later went to get a cupcake, he asked where the rest were because I had told him we had a dozen.  So precious.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

He was certainly in his right mind questioning giving away these suckers.  They were so delicious.  The cake was moist and fluffy, and the ganache (basically a chocolate frosting – but look it up for a more distinct description) was so creamy and rich, with just a hint of the caramel.  I loved the coconut topping, but if you aren’t fan, skip it, or add shaved chocolate like I did.  I’m assuming my mom really enjoyed them, seeing as how when I brought them over, she got herself a plate and ate one right then and there.  Love love love sharing my food, especially when people really like it!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache and Coconut

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the frosting:
12 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream

For the cupcakes:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz unsweetened large-flaked coconut (spend the money to get the large flake stuff, not that other shredded crap)

Directions:

1. Make the Frosting.  In a large mixing bowl, combine both chocolates.  In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water and cook over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved.  Boil without stirring, scraping down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush occasionally, until a deep-amber color forms, about 8 to 10 minutes (mine only took 6 minutes before it started to get too dark, so keep a very close eye on it).  Reduce heat to low and carefully add the cream; it will bubble vigorously.  Whisk until smooth, then pour caramel over chocolate.  Let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until frosting is smooth.  Refrigerate until cool but spreadable, about 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, make the cupcakes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine buttermilk and water in a measuring cup.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low-speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, altering with the buttermilk.

 

Toasted Flaked Coconut

3. Spoon batter into paper liners, filling them 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, spread coconut out on rimmed baking sheet and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly golden.  Let cool.

5. Frost the cupcakes and top with toasted coconut.  Or don’t.  I don’t care.

 

 

 

 

 

Frosty Strawberry-and-Cream Milk Shake

Published April 29, 2013 by jenmatteson

If you know me at all, you know I’m a chocolate girl.  But, if dessert doesn’t have chocolate in it, the next best thing is ice cream!  I saw this recipe in the latest issue of Food and Wine and thought I had to try it right away!  On Saturday we were having dinner at Nate’s parents house with his aunt and uncle who were in town for the weekend.  My initial plan was to make these for dessert for this occasion, but then I decided to first try it out on our neighbors, since we had them over for dinner the night before.

Frosty Strawberry-and-Cream Milk Shake

It’s a good thing I tried it first.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I used my blender, but I can tell you its likely been at least 3 years.  I don’t have a lot of use for it since I use my food processor for almost everything.  I used to use it for soup, but then I got an immersion blender (which is fantastic!).  So it’s really just sat in my cupboard, next to all my old unused water bottles and our bubbas.  But finally, it got to see the light of day when I broke it out to make these milk shakes.  I barely had time to pre-make anything for dinner on Friday because I was so busy making grapefruit margaritas and buffalo wing hummus, so I had to whip these up on the spot.  I put all the ice cream in the blender, added the milk, and hit the puree button.  While the blender sure did make a lot of noise, nothing seemed to be happening.  The ice cream wasn’t even moving.  After struggling with it for a few minutes, I finally took the top off, while running, and had to manually press down the ice cream in order to get it blend continually.  I had the same embarrassing experience with the strawberries.

For Saturday, I decided to make the milk shakes beforehand.  I already had my food processor out from the night before, so I threw the strawberries in there for the puree.  After rinsing it out, I decided I’d give the ice cream a try in the food processor.  It worked so much better than the blender, though I had to make about three separate batches.  Oh well.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I need a new blender.  I have my eye on the ninja.  My parents have one and they absolutely love it.  I’ve used it several times at their house and it works like a charm.  Seeing as though I rarely use the blender though, I’m finding it hard to justify the price.  For now, I’ll just pack up the old blender and put it back in the back of the cupboard where it belongs.

Frosty Strawberry-and-Cream Milk Shake

Oh, you wanted to know how the milk shakes taste, not how difficult it was for me to make them?  I suppose that’s the purpose of the blog.  The milk shakes were so yummy.  The ice cream was smooth and silky, the exact consistency of how I like my milk shakes.  Had I had any straws, I would have used them instead of spoons for serving.  The fresh strawberry puree on top really made the shakes pop with flavor and color.  It was a refreshingly sweet treat after dinner!

Frosty Strawberry-and-Cream Milk Shake

Frosty Strawberry-and-Cream Milk Shake

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 pint vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Directions:

1. In a blender, puree the ice cream and milk until smooth.  Pour into 4 glasses evenly.  Rinse blender.  Add strawberries and lemon zest and puree.  Top with milk shakes with some of the strawberry puree and serve.

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

Published March 12, 2013 by jenmatteson

I have something to get off my chest.  A minor pet peeve of mine that too many people are guilty of.  St. Patrick’s Day is this Sunday and I certainly don’t want any of you looking foolish while touting your whereabouts or whatshappenings on Facebook or Twitter on this drunken Irish holiday.  If you are going to shorten St. Patrick’s Day to St. Paddy’s Day, it’s Paddy, not Patty.  Patty is a name for a girl (short for Patricia) or a burger.  Paddy is derived from the Irish, Pádraig, hence those mysterious double-Ds. Here is some other Irish info you might want to enlighten yourself on before indulging this weekend.

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Buttercream Frosting

Now, let’s talk about dessert!  I have saved this recipe for a year, just waiting to make it for this holiday.  I wouldn’t hang on to this recipe for another year before making it again!  You shouldn’t either.

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Buttercream Frosting

These little buggers turned out great!  The Guinness really brings out the cocoa but keeps the cupcakes super moist and airy, with a sinful chocolatey delight!  I was worried that the frosting might be too liquor-y tasting, but once it was paired with the cupcake, they complimented each other perfectly.  The frosting is light, fluffy and perfectly sweet.  I am looking forward to serving these at our pre-St. Paddy’s Day celebration on Saturday!

**UPDATE: 3/19/2013 – Everyone loved these cupcakes.  I brought leftovers to work and one of my co-workers said it was the best cupcake she’d ever eaten. What a compliment!  I had several other nice compliments from everyone who tried them.  What a hit!

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Buttercream Frosting

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

Source: Adapted from Tide and Thyme
Servings: 22 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 bottle Guinness
2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
2/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt (sour cream will work too)

For the frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter
3 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp Bailey’s Irish cream
1 tbsp heavy cream

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

2. In a saucepan, bring Guinness and butter to a simmer over medium heat.  Once butter has completely melted, whisk in cocoa powder until smooth.  Remove from heat to cool slightly.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs and yogurt until blended.  Add Guinness and butter mixture and mix until just combined.  Slowly add in flour mixture and beat until mixture is well combined.

4. Line cupcake pan with liners, and fill liners 2/3 – 3/4 of the way full.  Bake until cakes are just cooked through and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 17 minutes.  Cool slightly, remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

5. For the frosting, place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until creamy.  Gradually add the sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well in between additions.  Add sugar until the frosting is desired consistency (making it just slightly thicker is ideal because the Bailey’s and cream will loosen it up a bit).  Add Bailey’s and cream and whip until combined.  Add additional sugar if necessary.  Frost cupcakes once they’ve cooled completely.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Published February 10, 2013 by jenmatteson

Let me start by saying Nate doesn’t like carrot cake.  There aren’t many things he doesn’t like, but unless I see him eat it and then he says he doesn’t like, I don’t believe him.  Knowing that he doesn’t like carrot cake, I wasn’t really planning on making it, however, I had some cream cheese frosting left over from my red velvet cupcakes that I wanted to use up.  I decided that I’d make carrot cake, and seeing as though Nate “doesn’t like” carrot cake, I’d make cupcakes, so they are easy to bring into work, rather than a whole giant cake.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I didn’t have a recipe in mind before I started, so I headed over to Prevention RD, on of my faves, to see if Nicole had any recipes.  What do you know?  She did!  Even better, she had a lightened up version of the cake.  Score!  I’ve had this huge tub of fat-free plain yogurt in my fridge for a few weeks, which I bought on accident.  I was meaning to buy plain yogurt, which I almost never buy non-Greek style, for perfectly flakey buttery pie crust.  I didn’t want to use the fat-free for the pie crust, as it was for an event I was doing, and didn’t want to take any risks.  I decided to cut the butter in the recipe with the yogurt.  There isn’t a lot of butter, but at least it’s a start on making a dent in that vat of yogurt!  When you are substituting yogurt for butter in baking, you need to use half the original amount of butter, and half the amount of yogurt as butter.  So for example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup butter, you would use 1/2 cup butter, and 1/4 cup yogurt.  Nicole’s recipe called for 6 tbsp butter, so I used 3 tbsp butter, and 1 1/2 tbsp yogurt.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

The result was great!  The cakes were moist and fluffy, with a rich sinful flavor.  The frosting was really unnecessary, but I used what I had left anyway, because although frosting isn’t “necessary”, it’s still delicious!  Even better, Nate said they were “really good”.  This is why I never believe him when he says he doesn’t like something…what does he know?

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Source: Adapted from Prevention RD
Servings: 52 mini cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups grated carrots (about 5 carrots)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp fat-free plain yogurt*
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
*you can substitute the yogurt for 3 more tbsp of butter

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add grated carrots to flour mixture, and toss to combine.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugars, butter and yogurt.  Beat at medium speed until well combined.  Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla extract.  Add flour and buttermilk while mixing, alternating between the two, starting and ending with flour.   mixture.  Continue to mix until all ingredients are well combined.

3. Prepare a mini cupcake tin with cooking spray (or cupcake wrappers).  Spoon 1 tbsp batter into each cup.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool.

4. Top with cream cheese frosting, if desired.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Published January 27, 2013 by jenmatteson

From some reason, Nate thinks that red velvet is my favorite cake ever.  Guess what?  It isn’t.  I think it might be his.  It’s quite funny whenever we see it somewhere or on a menu, he says, “Red velvet cake, honey!  You love that!  Do you want to get some?”  To be fair, I think he thinks this because of a date we had a few years ago, which happened to be Cinco de Mayo.  We didn’t really plan for it, but since it was, we went to a little Mexican place in St. Paul that I like.  It’s somewhat close to actual Mexican food, not super Americanized Mexican food.  We got free tequilla shots for each drink we ordered!  I guess that’s not such a positive thing, seeing as though I’m not really a tequilla fan, but hey, free shots?  Okay.  Anyway, after dinner, we went to a nearby restaurant to have dessert and a bottle of wine.  Both were amazing, but the red velvet cake?  Wow.  It was so good.  I couldn’t stop talking about how I was having a love affair with it!  So, again, to his credit, he continues to think it’s my favorite.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Anyway, red velvet is on my 30 Before 30 list, and I really need to get crackin’ on that list if I want to finish it up before my birthday (July).  Lots of seafood left after this – I’m surly not complaining!  I decided to make mini cupcakes for a ladies night at my house.

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work, got everything on my list and headed home.  After getting in some comfy clothes, I went to work.  When I took out my mini muffin pan, I quickly realized that I forgot to get cupcake wrappers.  UGH.  I was already in my pjs, made myself a cocktail and was not about to go out in the below zero cold again just to get them.  So I went without.  Not like it’s that big of a deal, but I feel like the outside would have been a bit more soft had I used them.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

When looking for recipes, I first consulted my friends on my What’s Cooking board. I was directed to The Way the Cookie Crumbles for a red velvet cake comparison.  My goodness, this was quite an extensive comparison.  I can’t imagine how many cupcakes she must have had in her house after trying them all!  After reading through, I settled on her adapted recipe from her favorite.  I did half the entire recipe, and I have to remind you that I’m not a baker, therefore, not a very good decorator.  I must say, the recipe was not disappointing in the least!  The cake was light and fluffy, with a slight hint of the cocoa powder, and the frosting was tangy and creamy, though not super rich.  Fantastic!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Source: Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Servings: Makes 36 mini cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cake:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp red food coloring
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:
6 oz cream cheese, softened
6 oz butter, softened
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar until well combined.  Slowly add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

3. Prepare muffin tin with a light spray of olive oil, or use muffin wrappers.  Fill tins with about 1 tbsp of batter.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until just cooked through.  Be carefull not to over cook as the cake will lose its moisture and fluffiness.  Turn out onto a wire rake to cool.

4. In bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until well combined.  Add vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.

5. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake.  Refrigerate for 2 hours to set frosting.

Chocolate Mousse

Published January 6, 2013 by jenmatteson

I’ve had this recipe for over a year, and I’ve been wanting to make it ever since.  Mousse is one of those things that you can easily mess up and have to start all over, so I was quite hesitant to try it.  It’s on my 30 Before 30 list, so I knew I had to try it soon, so I thought New Year’s Eve with our good friends would be a perfect opportunity.

Chocolate Mousse

Everything was going smoothly (though my arm was getting tired from holding the hand mixer for so long, especially after my morning workout) until I added the chocolate to the eggs.  It was nice and melted and cooled before I added it, but it started to seize up when I added it to the eggs.  This made for a much longer incorporating process.  After the mousse was fully combined, I added it to a baggie with the tip snipped, and piped it into martini glasses for a nice presentation.  This might have condensed the mousse a little more than necessary, but I wanted them to look pretty!

The end result was wonderful!  Even though the chocolate seized a bit, my friends seemed to actually like the small pieces in the mousse.  The mousse itself was light and fluffy, but had a very deep, rich chocolatey taste, thanks to the espresso powder.  A perfect chocolate fix!

Chocloate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Source: Food Network
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate or a mixture of both (I used all bittersweet), finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

1. Begin melting chocolate in a double boiler.  If you don’t have one, place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Place chocolate in the heatproof bowl.  Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Whip the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer until it holds soft peaks.  Careful not to over whip the cream or the mousse will be dense.  Cover and refrigerate.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the water and espresso powder together.  Set aside.

4. In a medium heatproof bowl that also fits over the double boiler, add egg, yolks, salt and sugar.  With an electric hand mixer, beat mixture until light and foamy, about 30 seconds.  Place bowl over double boiler and beat eggs until fluffy and hot to the touch, moving hand mixer in a circular motion, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and continue mixing at a high-speed until thick ribbons fall from the beater when lifted out of the bowl, about 5 minutes.  Fold in espresso.

5. Fold in about a quarter of the eggs into the chocolate to lighten it, then fold in the remaining eggs.  Once combined, fold in the whipped cream to make a light, smooth mousse.  Spoon mousse into serving dishes.  Cover and refrigerate until set, at least one hour.

Deep Dish Cookie Pies

Published December 22, 2012 by jenmatteson

Who doesn’t love a warm chocolate chip cookie?  I saw this recipe and knew I had to try it out.  These deep dish cookies taste like they came out of a fancy restaurant for someone’s birthday.  The inside is slightly undercooked, the top is crisp, and the entire thing is sinfully delightful.  Add a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you’ll be in heaven.  The fun thing about these is that they are in individual servings, although, I would definitely opt to share mine with someone else!  The recipe makes 12 deep dish cookies, so I made four, and froze the rest of the dough in two separate zip-top baggies for future use.  I’m not sure how long they will last in the freezer though… 😉

Impress your family with this dessert this holiday season!  You can thank me later.

Deep Dish Cookie Pie

Deep Dish Cookie Pies

Source: Dainty Chef
Servings: 12 cookie pies

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, cool and cubed in 1/4-inch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips)
vanilla ice cream for serving

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Continue mixing and add eggs and vanilla.  Mix until well combined.  Slowly add in dry ingredients until well incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Fill ramekins about 3/4 full with raw, room temperature dough.  Place on baking sheet and bake 18-20 minutes, until top becomes slightly golden brown.  The inside will be slightly under-baked.  Top with vanilla ice cream and serve.

Girl Scouts ain’t got nothing on my Thick Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches

Published December 9, 2012 by jenmatteson

Remember when there used to be only two or three kinds of Girl Scout cookies?  At least I feel like there were.  There are so many different kinds these days, it’s hard to decide.  Maybe that’s how those girls get you to buy more boxes – more options.  Sneaky!  Regardless of how many choices we have, the most popular Girl Scout cookie are the thin mints (followed by Samoas – my personal favorite).  Admit it, even if you don’t buy them, you love them!  Someone at work bought them and shared them (who knows why), you stopped over at a friends’ and they happened to have them, or better yet, you’re house sitting someone’s house and you find some in their freezer and sneak a few.  Admit it, you snoop through their fridge and freezer 😉  But, no longer do you have to sneak your favorite Girl Scout cookie because these ice cream sandwiches are your perfect fix!

Thick Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches

As a dessert for my aunt’s cookie exchange, she originally suggested doing an ice cream sandwich.  Then, she sent me a cookie sandwich recipe with a peppermint frosting filling.  I was about to go with that, but decided we should do the ice cream sandwich, and use the chocolate cookie recipe she suggested, but fill it with mint chocolate chip ice cream.  What a fantastic idea!  Before serving them, I warmed the cookies (since they were already baked before the event), then scooped some ice cream over one cookie and topped with another, and BAM!

Thick Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches

These were so amazingly good.  They tasted like a SUPER thin mint, but of course, even better!  The warm chocolate cookie with the melty ice cream in the middle was a match made in heaven.  You need to make these for your next party…or just because!

Thick Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches

Source: Adapted from my Aunt Kay’s Recipe
Servings:

Ingredients:

6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tbsp water
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
mint chocolate chip ice cream

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, water and chocolate chips.  Melt together over a low heat, stirring constantly.  Once melted, remove from stove top and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Let cool slightly.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.

2. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Slowly add flour mixture to chocolate mixture while beating.  Mix until well combined.  Using your hands, roll 2-inch balls of dough and drop onto a prepared baking sheet.  Leave plenty of room between the cookies (I only put 6 on a sheet) as they spread nicely.  Bake until just cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Remove and let rest for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

3. Taking one cookie, top side down on a plate, scoop two small scoops of ice cream and top with another cookie.  Repeat for remaining cookies.  Serve immediately, or wrap each tightly in foil and store in freezer in a zip-top bag.

Perfect. Flaky. Buttery. A Pie Dough for the Holidays.

Published November 25, 2012 by jenmatteson

Pies scare me.  I’ve successfully made a few pie crusts in the past, and I really didn’t have any major issues, but they still terrify me.  I really enjoyed the pie crust I used for my French silk and fresh strawberry pie, but I came across this recipe in, you guessed it, Food and Wine, and decided I must try it!  I mean, “Perfectly Flaky Yogurt-Butter Pie Dough”?  Tell me how many words you don’t like in that title?  None?  Okay, me too.

I used this crust for my bourbon apple pie, and it really lives up to its name.  Perfect. Flaky. Buttery.  While I could taste the tang of the yogurt (which was delicious), it wasn’t one of the three words flashing in my head.  Perfect. Flaky. Buttery. 

Three problems with this recipe:

1. It doesn’t tell you how long or at what temperature to bake it.  I guessed.  I guessed right!

2. While the article said that the dough should just barely hold together, it wasn’t even workable after refrigerating it overnight.  I had to add more yogurt to be able to roll it out into a crust.

3. This isn’t a terrible problem, but it was DELICIOUS!

The result truly was perfectly flaky and buttery.  Not only was I proud of myself for nailing a crust – that seemed disastrous at first, but I also checked one more thing off my 30 Before 30 list, and made a lattice top.  BAM!  I haven’t perfected it yet, so I’m not quite ready to tell you how to do it (I’m still not sure how I did it!).  Soon enough.  Anyway, back to the crust.  Perfect. Flaky. Buttery.  The key is to keep all the ingredients cold while you are preparing the dough.  PERFECT. FLAKY. BUTTERY. 

Perfectly Flaky Yogurt-Butter Pie Dough

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 1 pie crust (double for lattice top)

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter, cold, 5 tbsp cut into 1/4-inch dice, the rest left whole
1/3 cup plain whole yogurt (not Greek-style)
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Measure flour into a glass or ceramic bowl and freeze for 15 minutes.  Freeze the 3 tbsp-size chunk of butter for 15 minutes.  Place 5 tbsp of diced butter on a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.  In a glass bowl, combine yogurt with salt and 1 tbsp cold water and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, add flour and 5 tbsp of diced butter.  Pulse until mixture resembles fine oat flakes.  Using a sharp knife or cheese plane, very thinly slice remaining 3 tbsp of butter and freeze slices for 5 minutes.

3. Add butter slices to bowl.  Toss gently to separate slices.  Slices should remain cold and intact.  Drizzle the cold yogurt into the bowl, using a rubber spatula to toss as you drizzle.  Continue tossing and scraping down the sides of bowl until crumbly and evenly moistened.  Press dough into 6-inch disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or overnight, freeze for up to 1 month.

4.  Using a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 13-inch round.  Carefully transfer dough into pie plate.  Cut overhang and roll edges under. Flute crust as desired.  Fill pie with desired filling.  Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes.

Apple Crisp

Published October 14, 2012 by jenmatteson

It’s apple season!  I feel like I am learning about new apple varieties every fall.  Apples I’ve never heard of before: Sweetango, Lady Slipper, Jazz.  There are over 7,500 different kind of apples out there; I doubt I’ll even try .5% of them.  I’m very particular about the type of apple I will eat raw, but baking and cooking with apples is a different story.

I’m pretty versatile when it comes to using apples in recipes, but apparently, there are some that are really good for baking, and some that are the worst.  According to Eating Well, McIntosh and Granny Smith are the best for baking.  A combination of the two makes the “perfect” apple pie.  Red Delicious on the other hand are the worst for baking.  They say it’s the worst for eating too, so what are they good for?  To finish up, Honeycrip is the best apple for eating.  I do not agree – which is why I find it hard to believe that one apple can be better for eating or baking over another.  Isn’t just personal preference?

Regardless of what is “best”, I tend to use what I have on hand or what is on sale for baking.  For Hezzi-D’s apple crisp I used Haralson apples, and I thought they were perfect!  Even my neighbor, who proclaimed he doesn’t like apple crisp, said that this was awesome.  I’m really getting the hang of this baking thing!  I doubled the topping because after making a single portion, I didn’t think it was enough and I’m pretty sure the “crisp” is the best part of the apple crisp – at least in my opinion.  Serve this warm with some vanilla ice cream and you’ll be in heaven.  Promise.

Apple Crisp

Source: Adapted from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Servings: 10-12

Ingredients:

For the filling:
8-10 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin (about 1/8-inch)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp butter, melted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and water, then pour over apple mixture.  Stir to ensure all apples are coated.  Transfer to a greased 8×8 baking dish.

2. In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and melted butter.  Using the back of a spoon, incorporate well until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle over the top of the apples.

3. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until apple filling is bubbly and top is golden brown and crisp.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

%d bloggers like this: