Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Their arn't many times when I'll bake a classic cheesecake, five layer chocolate cake, or one of my favorites, red velvet with cream cheese frosting. The only times I do bake heavy duty classics are most likely when I'm baking it for someone else. If I were to bake it for my family, it would be very likely, too likely in fact, that I would eat a big slice everyday, which is why I always try baking lighter treats. But sometimes, after you've managed to squeeze in some long walks in the morning, you're in the mood for baking, you want something that will put a huge smile on your face, and not to mention you've got some red food coloring on hand...then it is time to bake some red velvet!!

I decided to go with red velvet cupcakes and found a recipe on allrecipes.com. The link to the recipe is http://allrecipes.com/Recipe-Tools/Print/Recipe.aspx?RecipeID=105768&servings=20.
The only changes I would make when baking these are putting only 1/4 cup of cocoa powder instead, because I found the fll 1/3 cup to be too much, and then putting half oil, instead of all butter, because I would have prefered the red velvet cupcakes to be a little moister.

I also used half white flour, and the other half whole wheat flour, which didn't make a dramatically noticably difference, except the color of the batter wasn't able to get as deep and rich of a red as I would have liked, but none the less, they were definatly still red.

When even amounts of the batter was all scooped into each cupcake tin, they went into the oven and then finally came back out

But I couldn't start scarfing them down just yet. Because a red velvet cupcake without cream cheese frosting, to me, is like an oreo without milk! So I had to wait for the cupcake to cool, and in the mean I made a cream cheese frosting to go with it.

I only had an 8 ounce cream cheese jar, which was 1/3 empty, so I mixed that with 1/4 cup of softened butter, then added a drop of vanilla and gradually added 1 1/2- 2 cups of powdered sugar (however much you need to make it as thick or thin as you like)

So finally the cupcakes had cooled and the cream cheese frosting was ready, so I dolloped a spoonful onto each cupcake and spread it out with the spoon itself, eagerly trying to get them finished so I could eat one asap!
I crumbed the smallest cupcake (because who wants to have to eat the smallest one?!) before I frosted it, onto all the other cupcakes after they had been frosted.

About 30 pictures of red velvet cupcakes later, I was finally able to reach for one of them for myself...

...and it was love at first bite!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Peanut Butter-Banana Stuffed French Toast

I was watching an episode of "The Best Thing Iv'e Ever Tasted," a show on Food Network and the main subject for that episode was 'breakfast.' The best thing Chef Bobby Flay had eaten for breakfast was "Stuffed French Toast." While he was explaining were they serve it at, I was too lost in the words of the french toast being stuffed with peanut butter and bananas to pay attention. So of course, the following morning, I was eager to make some Peanut Butter-Banana Stuffed French Toast (PBBSFT)! Just as I was about to grab the bananas, I realized I didn't have any bananas! Me, with a sad face, was stuck eating cereal that morning, instead of my hot 'PBBSFT.' However, the next morning after that, after I was sure to buy bananas, I was able to make my stuffed french toast.

I made a plain peanut butter-banana sandwhich on whole-wheat bread

After I had closed the sandwhich, I soaked it into a mixture of 2 eggs, 1/8 cup of milk, salt, vanilla and:

I let it soak for about 45 seconds on each side

Cooked it on a buttered pan until the it was nice and crisp on both sides:

Then sliced it in half, dusted some powdered sugar and cinamon on top...

...drizzled some maple syrup on top, and ate it with a glass of orange juice...

..and experienced a little taste of heaven for breakfast :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Lemon Wafers with Lemon Glaze

I love the concept of a light and very tasty cookie and was lucky enough to find a great recipe for (mini) vanilla wafers on http://bakingbites.com/2008/07/mini-vanilla-wafer-cookies/, which has turned out to be one of my favorite basic cookie recipes. If you add an extra 1/4 cup of flour to the batter, it keeps the shape and form of the cookie you pipe out, so you can use any shaped you like. I decided to change the vanilla cookies into lemon cookies instead, and all I did was add 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of the vanilla extract and used all white sugar. I zested the lemon earlier, and sprinkled the lemon zest on top of the cookies right before they went into the oven.
'Unwisely' I piped the batter into a bit more unique of a design than little rounds, and even though they looked nice going into the oven...

..the cookies didn't keep their shape and came out flat because of the low amount of flour put into them

To spice up their flat appearence, I mixed the extra lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon) with sifted powdered sugar (about 1/4-1/3 cup, depending on how thick you want your glaze) until they were fully combined togeher as a glaze. I just drizzled that glaze onto the cookies in rows of stripes, but be careful not to drizzle on too much, so that you don't overpower the cookies with it.

Once the glaze hardened, I had myself a batch of delicious petite lemon wafers with a lemony glaze :D

^^These cookies wern't photograghed with the most attractive looking "lemon zest stripes," but I tried

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Whole-Wheat Strawberry Shortcake

I was at my grandma's house, and my aunt brought a simple and very tasty dessert. Strawberry Shortcake. I decided to post about it, because shortcakes have only a couple of steps, can be put together as slopply as you like, and always taste good.
For the cake part, my aunt used the recipe she always uses, only this time, she used whole-wheat flour in replacement of white flour:

-6 eggs
-2 cup. Sugar
-3/4 cup. Oil
-3 cup. Flour
-3 Tsp. Baking Powder
-1/2 cup. Orange Juice

1. Mix the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla together.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder together
3. Alternate adding the flour and baking powder mixture and the orange juice to the wet ingredients, starting with the flour and ending with the flour
4. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

After the cakes are ready, start layering in a large serving bowl a layer of cream, sliced strawberries, cake, cream, sliced strawberries, etc. Do this until the whole bowl is filled to the top with a final layer of cream and decorate with strawberries if you like

There is really no better way to serve this, than to just dig in with a big spoon. Even if it gives of a sloppier appearence of the cake, that's just part of the fun of it, and your still going to be eating the same wonderful flavors from the strawberry shortcake.

Theirs the spoon that's been attacked ^^ with cream

Strawberry shortcake anyone? It's whole wheat..

Espresso Cookies with Chocolate Coating

I find myself baking a lot of cakes, and decided to go with cookies this week. I made up my own recipe, but it's just the ingredients for a basic cookie recipe, which i then added some ground coffee beans into it, for the extra flavor.

-1/2 cup butter (softened)
-1 egg
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1/4 cup light brown sugar
-1 1/2 cups all purpose white flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp fresh coffee/espresso
-1 tsp ground coffee/espresso beans
-1/4 cup chocolate for melting

1. Beat the butter and sugars together.
2. Once the butter and sugars are fully combined beat in the egg. Add the vanilla and fresh coffee/espresso
3. In a seperate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ground espresso/coffee beans. Pour the flour mixture into the butter mixture while mixing, until everything is combined 4. I put my batter into a ziplock bag, and snipped a whole at the bottom, to pipe out logs onto a greased baking sheet. I also tried cutting the edges of each cookie of, with a rigid/wavy edge cutter, to give the edges of each cookie a wavy design, but after they baked up, the design got to crips and didn't look to good
5. Bake at 325 F for 15-25 minutes or until the edges start to turn a golden brown color

Let the cookies completely cool before adding a layer of chocolate on them

Melt half of the chocolate in the microwave, and then stir in the other half of the (finely chopped)chocolate into the melted chocolate , until it's all melted in. (This is a trick I learned from Ina Garten, from food network, and this assures you to have shiny tempered melted chocolate)

Once your melted chocolate is ready, spread on an even layer of chocolate over all or half of each cookie. I used semi-sweet chocoolate, because that's what I had on hand, but you can use a more bitter/darker chocolate to go with the slightly bitter coffee/espreso flavor from the cookies.

Once the chocolate has hardened (in the fridge to make it go faster) on the cookies, sit down with a cup of milk, coffee or, of course, espresso while enjoying one of your freshly baked espresso cookies!