Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lemon meringue cupcakes

Listening to this song while making these cupcakes.

For the cupcake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

For the lemon curd:

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 1/2 cup superfine sugar
4 eggs + 4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

For the meringue:

2 large egg white
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two cupcake pans with liners. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.

Divide batter evenly among pans, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22-25 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes, and then cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack.

While the cupcakes are cooking, make the lemon curd. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together all ingredients except butter. Place it over a small pot of simmering water, whisking constantly. When the mixture thickens to coat the back of a spoon, so that when you run your finger through it the finger stripe doesn’t disappear, take if off of the pot. Add the butter and whisk until it melts. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a clean glass jar, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

For the meringue, put the sugar, cream of tartar, and egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water (the bowl should not be touching the water) and allow the sugar to melt into the eggs. Once warmed, add the vanilla and beat the mixture until stiff peaks form, about 3 – 5 minutes, set aside.
Turn your oven on broil at 400 degrees. Cut a cone out of your cupcake with a small, sharp knife. Fill the opening with a spoonful of lemon curd. Either cut the very top off of the cone and cover the opening, or just leave it open- either will work. Once your cupcakes are filled, cover them with a generous heap of meringue. Use the back of a spoon to create stiff peaks in your meringue, and place the cupcakes on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven and watch very carefully until the tops are just golden brown, 2-4 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler. Don’t look away for a second! (If you have a torch, congrats on your courage, and feel free to use that instead of the oven method. It’s probably much, much easier.) Let the meringue tops cool before serving.

Recipe from Flour Child

Friday, December 23, 2011

Peppermint bark brownies


zomgwow. Rebe and I are dying over these brownies. It's definitely the peppermint layer, it's so light and airy and delicious. I cannot recommend these enough. So perfect for the holidays.

Apologies for being on a brownie kick, they're just SO AWESOME.

For the brownie bit:

8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 extra large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the peppermint layer:

2 cups confectioners' sugar
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate layer:

4 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 candy canes, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving overhang for easy removal; lightly spray with non-stick baking spray. In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate; set aside. In a medium bowl beat the eggs and sugar with a hand-held mixer until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the flour, extracts, espresso powder, and salt. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir just until blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat together the confectioners' sugar, butter, milk, and extracts until smooth and creamy using a hand-held mixer. Spread the mixture over the cooled brownies and chill in the refrigerator until set, about 1 hour.

One the peppermint layer and brownies are cooled, start with the chocolate layer. In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate; cool slightly. Pour the chocolate over the peppermint layer and sprinkle with the crushed candy canes. Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 1 hour. Cut into 20 squares. Serve the brownies chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Recipe from The Galley Gourmet

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gingerbread men

Louie and I were in class yesterday and he asked if I would make some holiday-inspired treats. I asked what kind he meant. He said, "I don't know, like... gingerbread men?" So I said, "Okay." "Really?!" he asked. I said sure, went home, and got to work. I found a recipe that is puffier than most gingerbread cookies, so it's more thick and cookie-like than your typical gingerbread man. Louie was really happy.

For the cookies:

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
2 large eggs
1/4 cup molasses
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Cream together the sugar and butter in an electric mixer. Add eggs & molasses until combined. Set aside

In a large bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture, little by little until combined. The dough will be pretty dry. If it's too dry, add in a splash of milk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour or overnight.

After time has elapsed, preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface, to about 1/8″ thick. Cut out with cutters. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on racks.

Meanwhile, mix the powdered sugar with milk. Use piping bags to decorate the cookies. If you don't have piping bags, pour the icing into a ziplock bag and cut a small slit in the corner. Squeeze the icing through the hole for a makeshift piper.

Recipe from Paula Dean via Cake Student

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Red velvet cheesecake brownies

As if cheesecake brownies weren't enough. Duh.

For the red velvet bit:

1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

For the cheesecake bit:

8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease. In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and red food coloring. Add in the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Batter should be red. If a brighter red is desired, add an additional 1/2 tsp food coloring. Add flour and salt into the bowl and stir until everything is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.

Next, prepare cheesecake mixture. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.

Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled. Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Recipe from Baking Bites