fat bottom

fat bottom

Friday, January 29, 2010

banana's, maple, cream, sugar, and deep fried goodness... the what you craving #3 results

well here we are on our third installment of my "what you craving" challenge... and i have to say that this one was lots of fun... everything went awesomely (with the minor exception that my house still smells of frying oil...) but anyways... for this one i went with a combo of lots of ideas that were thrown my way... i know, i know... not the original and intended plan, but you know what... i just couldn't decide... and i was going to make another dish (sticky toffee pudding but with "fun raisins" instead of dates), but i wasnt satisfied with my brandy-soaked raisins (they're not as plumply full of alcohol as i'd like... so it'll just have to wait until every drop of finger licking liquor is absorbed)... that's why i said "fun raisins"... haha!

so... a lot of people had mentioned "maple" and "maple walnut" and i got a "banana" or two thrown in there too... and then i got a request for a "custard or flan"... so with all these fabulous ideas i decided to go crazy and combine them all into a tiny smorgasbord of yumminess...

so i give you...

deep fried bananas and maple-walnut creme brulee... oh! and don't forget the side of cinnamon sugar funnel cake...

hang on a second while i loosen my belt...

some homemade raw vanilla sugar and all my brulee ingredients... yummmm...
for the creme brulee i followed a recipe from a cookbook i have used and over used many a time... my better homes and gardens new cookbook (the 14th edition)... it's just become a staple in this household... it just has lots of yummy and satisfying recipes... and you know what, i haven't been disappointed yet...

2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup pure maple syrup or maple-flavored syrup
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
*chopped walnuts
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees, and place cups or dishes in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside
2. in a heavy small saucepan, combine whipping cream and the 3 tablespoons sugar; heat over medium heat just until bubbly, stirring occasionally... then remove from heat and set aside
3. meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine egg yolks, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt... beat with a wire whisk just until combined
4. slowly whisk hot whipping cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture
5. place chopped walnuts into the bottom of each cup, and then divide custard mixture among prepared custard cups or souffle dishes covering the walnuts
6. place baking dish on oven rack and pour enough boiling water into the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the custard cups or souffle dishes
7. bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until custards appear set when lightly shaken, or when knife inserted into the center comes out clean
8. remove custard cups or souffle dishes from water; cool on a wire rack... then cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours

this was the first time i got to use my new butane torch... it was kinda weirdly satisfying to burn things to a crisp with a handheld torch... hope i don't sound too creepy there... haha!

now the deep fried banana's or banana fritters or banana bangin awesomeness came from an online recipe source... a blog called "kitchen unplugged"... and i have to say... these are so easy and so freakin tasty that i'm going to keep this recipe handy for just about any occasion... and the batter that i dipped that bananas in was what i used for the funnel cakes... i just put the leftover batter into a piping bag and went to town...

happy baking everyone!

Monday, January 25, 2010

so, what you craving?... week #3...

once again... time for what you craving?! i'm into the third week and it seems to be going pretty well so far... so for anyone reading this... let me know... what you craving?

Friday, January 22, 2010

it'c craving time!! here are yummies # 2...

well hello everybody... today is friday so you know what time it is... time for some sweets and treats... its craving time!
so for week # 2 i couldn't really decide what to make... i had a lot of great yummy things thrown my way and it was a real tough decision... you see, it's hard to make up my mind when there are so many good things that i would love to have lying about the kitchen to fatten my belly...so, what did i choose you ask... well, as a matter of fact i chose to make two sweets... one was something that i was craving... i know, how selfish of me... and the second was a combo of two cravings from two lovely ladies... one which were espresso chip muffins and the other which was devilishly moist chocolate cake...
so... where do i begin... well how about with the suggested cravings... so here you go...
deep dark coffee-chocolate-chip cake with milk chocolate and Kahlua buttercreams...
i'll give you a second to take it all in... so... are you ready...
alright so here we go...

ridiculously good chocolate cake:
dry ingredients:
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups a.p. flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (i use 1 cup cocoa powder, and 1/2 cup special dark cocoa powder)
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 coarse seasalt (i make my own vanilla seasalt, just for that added vanilla kick... i place the seasalt in a mason jar, along with a split vanilla bean and shake it up a bit... after a few days the salt has a subtle vanilla undertone... and it looks pretty all speckled with the vanilla)
*i added a cup of bittersweet chocolate chips to the batter (make sure you coat them in flour, this ensures these tasty morsels don't sink to the bottom of the batter)
wet/fat ingredients:
3 eggs
3/4 cup veg. oil
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
6 ozs. chopped good quality bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups strong brewed hot coffee

1. preheat oven to 325 and prep your cupcake tins with liners
2. chop the bittersweet chocolate, place it in a lrg. glass measuring cup, and pour the hot coffee on top. let sit for about 5 minutes, then stir to make sure it is all melted and smooth
3. sift together all of the dry ingredients in a lrg. mixing bowl
4. in stand mixer on medium, beat the eggs until slightly thickened and lemon colored, 3 minutes 5. add the buttermilk, the veg. oil and the vanilla to the egg and beat until combined
6. slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, and mix until combined
7. turn mixer down to low, and slowly add in the dry ingredients, scraping down the bowl as necessary, and mix until combined
8. add in the flour coated chocolate chips, stirring them in just slightly
9. fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean
i really had no plans on how to decorate... so on a whim i decided to get a little funky with it... what you see is a milk chocolate buttercream mingling a Kahlua buttercream... the combo of flavors just rocks my socks...

now onto my craving... i'll give you a little background info on why i wanted this tasty little bite... it's quite simple really... in this cold weather that just makes me want to curl into a ball and wear a snuggie ( i don't own one, but i hear they come in quite handy), i wanted something summery... something that not only looked bright and cheery but made me feel all bright and cheery too...

so i went with something to make my tastebuds dance and sing... little fruit tartlettes...

now i have no set recipe these tiny tarts for you, except for the homemade lemon curd... which i will always have ready in my fridge just in case the lemon curd fastball comes in my direction... but i'll get to that in a second...
for the tart crust i made my own little concoction of crushed vanilla wafers (about 1 1/2 cups), 5 tbsps of melted butter and 3 tsps of sugar... i mixed it all together and pressed it into slightly greased mini tart cups... and then i baked them for 12-15 minutes at 350... and then i let them cool completly...

i tried getting them out of the tart cups... but oh well, i should have more then slightly greased the cups... i'll remember that for next time... i then filled them with fresh lemon curd, topped with fresh raspberries and strawberries, and wait... theres a secret... a redwine and honey syrup was drizzled ontop... permission to drool granted...
lemon curd:
zest of 4 lemons
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
4 large eggs
1/8 tsp salt

1. put the zest and sugar in food processor and pulse until combined and zest is broken down, it will be awesomely fragrant
2. put the lemon-sugar and butter into mixer and cream together
3. add the eggs one at a time and mix until combined
4. add lemon juice and salt and mix a little while longer.
5. pour into a sauce pan and heat on low until mixture reaches 175 degrees, it will start to thicken around 170 degrees
6.when reach temp, remove from pan and let the lemon curd cool - cover the with plastic wrap (allow the plastic wrap to sit right on the curd) and refrigerate atleast 2 hours or until needed

i truly did enjoy each sweet summery bite... ahhh...

until next time... happy baking everyone!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

hey, what you craving? its challenge #2!

Hey... you know what time it is... it's what you craving time! So let me know people... what sweet treat are you dreaming of... what culinary concoction would you love to sink your teeth into? Tell me... tell me... tell me!

Friday, January 15, 2010

craving challenge #1... almonds, raspberries and chocolate...

well here we are ladies and gentlemen... the first of what i hope to many of my "what you craving" challenge... and i have to say... i like the way this is all starting out...
as you may have read in my previous post, i will be asking every monday for peoples "cravings" and i will randomly pick one and bake it up... i figured i needed something to push me a little, so i am leaving some of my baking up to you, my friends and my fellow bloggers...
well... back to the post at hand... for craving # 1 i went with the first craving i recieved by the lovely shanna, which involved something with chocolate, toffee, almonds and raspberries... hmmm... that gave me a lot to work with... now... what to make, what to bake...
first thing that came to mind would be some awesome, delicate and oh so tasty linzer cookies... but... then again... why not go a little more complex, you know...
so whilst racking my brain and thumbing through one of my many new baking books i got for christmas, which happened to be "i heart macarons" and constructing a macaron using those flavors would be easy peasy...
i mean, what is a macaron but a lovely combination of whipped and slightly sweetened egg whites, almonds (which is one of my craving flavors) and confectioners sugar...
so there you go... i had reached my decision... macarons, filled with a dark chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries... i was ready...

macron recipe taken from "i heart macarons"

ingredients: (makes about 2 dozen)

2/3 cup ground almonds

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3 lrg. egg whites

5 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract


1. place the powdered sugar and ground almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground, and then sift through a mesh sieve twice

2.in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue, do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry

3. add half of the flour mixture to the meringue and stir it with a spatula while scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl

4.add the rest of the flour and mix it lightly in a circular motion

5. when the batter becomes slightly firm and drips slowly from the spatula, the mixing is done

6. place batter in a piping bag and pipe onto parchment or silicon lined baking sheets

7. rap the baking sheet firmly against the counter top (this will help the macarons hold their rounded shape and help the little "pied" foot to form

8. dry the macarons at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes, or until the batter doesnt stick to your fingers when touched

9.place oven racks in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 and bake 15-18 minutes (rotating half way through for even baking)

i filled the centers with a yummy whipped dark chocolate ganache and some fresh ripe raspberries...

i made a mistake one mistake though... after i finished whipping the ganache i should have used it right away, but my littlest guy was getting a wee bit cranky... so i had to put it in the fridge while i took care of some mommy business... and when i took it out, it was more of a mousse then a ganache... still tasty but not the consistency i was going for...

if you notice the center of the macaron its a lovely pink color... i added some red food coloring to the batter, but as you can see it baked off and turned the top more of an apricot color... so for next time i'm going to double it up, or get some powdered food coloring...

all and all i was happy with the results... the macarons, although a little overcooked, still had a nice taste and texture... so that paired with the creamy dark chocolate and a semi-sweet and semi-tart raspberry was very enjoyable... until next time...

happy baking everyone!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

what you craving?

i decided that i have to do something to challenge myself when it comes to this baking addiction of mine...
i decided that if i really want to go forward with this as my career i need to start being a bit more proactive then just baking on a whim...
thats why i have decided to start a weekly challenge for myself...
every monday i am going to ask my facebook friends "what you craving?"... and i will randomly pick one of their cravings and bake it up... now it could be anything they want... sweet or savory... cake, pastry or cookie... chocolate, raspberry or green tea... anything... i want them to challenge me and get my creative juices flowing...
here's the challenge... they can give me any idea... they can simply say "something strawberry" and i can make anything using that ingredient... strawberry creamcheese breakfast muffins perhaps, or maybe strawberry and dark chocolate truffles, or a strawberry sorbet... or they can simply say "cheesecake" and i can go as simple or as complex as i want... or they can give me a specific idea like "smores cupcakes" or "creme brulee"...
i will ask this question every monday morning, pick a winning craving by tuesday night, bake it or make it by thursday and have it posted to this blog by friday (no later then 4p.m)...
i'm hoping this will work out, and that i have a good response... so far, i've had some good ideas thrown my way...
now, as for anyone reading this and would like to participate too, i will post a "what you craving?" every monday on this blog as well... so please feel free to challenge me and throw me a suggestion...
so... here we go...
for the "what you craving" challenge # 1
i decided to go with the first suggestion by the lovely shanna which was... "hmm i'm cravinggg at 11:30 monday morning...something with chocolate toffee almonds and raspberry..cake or cookie you decide!"
so... thats what i have to work with... a pretty good plethora of ideas... i thank you shanna... and stay tuned for the yummy results...
happy baking everyone!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

gimme gimme that sweet galette

well... here's another sweet treat... a yummy strawberry galette... such a delight
think of warm flaky buttery crust enveloping sweet and somewhat tart juicy strawberries... it was such a nice way to warm up when the weather has been a bit of a burrrrr!!
i used jula childs galette dough recipe that i used in 2 posts ago... but i added a bit more sugar to the dough this time... its perfect the original way, but i wanted to try it a bit sweeter this time since it was for something sweet not savory... so i upped the sugar to 2 tablespoons... and it created a subtle sweetness under all that yummy butter flavor...
now as for the strawberry filling...
i was originally going to coat them in a little lemon juice and honey... but then i was like hmm... lets try something different... now anyone who knows my dad knows how amazing his preserves and jams are... i dubbed him "patsy preserves"... he's such a martha when it comes to his jams... anyways, last time he visited he gave me a jar of his delicious 4-berry jam... a sweet combo of blackberry, raspberry, strawberry and blueberry and a jar of his strawberry peach preserves... holy crap are they awesome...
so i decided to take about 1/4 cup of the 4 berry jam, warm it up and then proceeded to coated the strawberries with it... oh man... and once inside the dough i drizzled the top of the strawberries with just a touch of honey and lightly sprinkled some homemade raw vanilla sugar on the outside of the crust... all in all a wonderful dish!

happy baking everyone!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

new years cheers

well i know its a bit late... but happy new years everybody!!
i hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is as excited for this new year as i am!
so... lets get down to business shall we...
this new years was a quiet yet very enjoyable one... it was just me, the hubs, my two little men and my brother and sister in law... it was very cozy...
we decided to dine on a smorgasbord of yummies... from delicious savory galettes, chunky and spicy fresh guacamole, sweet and spicy buffalo wings, spinach and goat cheese puff pastries, and amazing brushetta (you know the kind that julie makes up in the movie julie and julia...) simply mouthwatering...
well after sitting and enjoying those pickings along with bottle after bottle of champagne i broke out the big guns... dessert!
i wanted to do something a little french-i-fied... so i knew that macarons were in order, but i still needed one more dessert to top the night... so after some thought as to what it would be i opted for a dessert that caught my eye months ago when i first opened my copy of dorie greenspans "baking from my home to yours"... it was pierre hermes' lemon cream tart, or as titled by dorie "the most extraordinary french lemon cream tart"... and you know what... it was simply that... extraordinary!!
now a bit of a warning to anyone who might want to make this delectable dessert...
your eyes might pop out of your head like mine did when you read how much butter is in this sinful recipe... but hey it was new years, so i figured why not live it up a little!
for the tart crust i again went with dorie's sweet tart dough, and i actually overcooked it a bit... why you ask... i wanted a nice contrast in texture to the smooth velvety lemon cream... the tart shell was wonderfully sugar cookie-like and complimented the lemon cream perfectly...
and now for the lemon cream... smooth, lemony and oh so finger lickingly buttery... it was in one word... rich...

1 cup sugar
grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons butter (10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces, at room temperature. * i know... thats alot of the good stuff!*
1 9-inch tart shell made with Sweet Tart Dough fully baked and cooled
getting ready: have an instant read thermometer, a strainer and a blender at hand and bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan
1. put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. off the heat, rub the sugar and zest between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic
2. whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice
3. set the bowl over the pan and whisk until the cream reaches 180 degrees F. as it gets closer to reaching 180 it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. be patient, because getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.
4. remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the blender; discard the zest
5. let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.
6. turn the blender to high and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. keep the machine going for another 3 minutes.
7. pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
8. to assemble the tart, whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell.

now as for the macarons... i of course used a recipe by the fabulous "Tartelette"

this time i went with her coffee chicory macaron recipe but i altered it a bit, i know... how daring of me! but i've become a bit comfortable with these babies... so why not test the waters abit... and i have to say, they came out really nice... they baked up just right with cute little feet, and round tops...

for the shells:
90 gr egg whites (about 3)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
55 gr almonds and 55 gr hazelnuts
1 teaspoon espresso powder

1.in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue, do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry
2. place the powdered sugar, ground almonds and hazelnuts and espresso powder in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground
3.add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10
4.give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns
5. fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets
6. preheat the oven to 280F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size and let cool

i opted to fill them with a delcious vanilla bean marscapone frosting... i love marscapone... its so light and takes on flavors nicely...

happy baking everyone and again, a very happy new year to all!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

gimme that galette...

i know when you think about galette's you automatically think of beautifully plump blueberries and raspberries, baked until their little bodies are bursting, atop and surrounded by crisp-buttery-flaky-goodness...
hang on a sec while i wipe my drool...
alright... now... i had already filled my quota of new years desserts (delicious post to follow)... but i just had to bake a galette... thats when i stumbled upon this little beauty... for christmas my adoring husband bought me some awesome cookbooks and one was "Baking with Julia"... and low and behold... the cheese and tomato galette... PERFECT!
this was absolutely amazing... the gallete dough is such a mouthwatering combination of of flavors and textures... at first bite you immediately taste the butter, then the slight crunch from the cornmeal, and then just a hint of sweetness is tucked away into those tasty layers... take that and add some ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and just the lightest dusting of grated bellavitano cheese ( bellavitano cheese "combines the rich and creamy flavor of a young cheddar cheese with the savory, crystalline crunch of a premium aged parmesan.”) ... basically this cheese is addictive like crack cocaine :-)
it was the perfect little addition to our new years eve feast...

julia child's galette dough
3 tbs. sour cream (or yogurt or buttermilk)
1/3 cup ice water
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
7 tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into six to eight pieces
1. to make the dough in a food processor: stir the sour cream and 1/3 cup ice water together in a small bowl and set aside
2. put the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in the work bowl of a processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse to combine
3. drop the butter pieces into the bowl and pulse eight to ten times, or until the mixture is speckled with pieces of butter that vary in size from bread crumbs to peas
4. with the machine running, add the sour cream mixture and process just until the dough forms soft, moist curds (this will not take long; air on the side of underdoing it in the food processor and finishing by hand)
5. chill the dough, remove the dough from the processor, divide it in half, and press each half into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic and chill for at least two hours

happy baking everyone!!

oh and a warm thank you to my kitchen helpers... love you guys!