Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie 16: Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate-Chocolate cupcakes? A fantastic choice of recipe by Clara of I Heart Food 4 Thought. I suppose you're thinking 'chocolate cupcakes? boring!', but it's such a perfect morsel to eat. I love a chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate frosting- no fancy mixes of flavours; just pure chocolatey goodness. I'm one of those people who never find a chocolate cake too rich- not that this cupcake was rich, it was actually quite light with a fine crumb. I didn't have very high expectations for this cupcake recipe as I had read a lot of bad reviews on it. Maybe it's got something to do with being on the other side of the world, but this recipe worked for me- in a big way. S was over the moon with the results. He has even gone as far as to say that this is the best cupcake he has ever eaten. While I'm not sure I agree with him, it is delicious.

This cupcake recipe called for a ganache style topping, which is something I don't really ever use. I am an Italian buttercream girl through and through (though I have been having trouble with it lately?). I do think that this topping (melted chocolate, butter and icing sugar) works well with the cupcake- nice and simple. Some people said their cupcakes turned out really dry, so I kept a close eye on my cupcakes while they were baking. I can't be certain, but I think I took them out about 5-8 minutes earlier than Dorie recommends. I suppose it depends on so many factors: oven temperature differences, how much you fill up the case, how much your flour absorbs liquids... I'm quite relieved mine turned out so well on the first go. The recipe made 12 cupcakes exactly and I froze 6 (with topping on), so I will be VERY interested to see how that goes. I am aprehensive, but Dorie said it was fine so I guess we will see. One thing I found is that the cupcake does dry out quite quickly- they are definitely best eaten on the day they are made (didn't stop S though did it?).

When I first started Tuesdays with Dorie, I could never wait until it was time to bake the next recipe. These days it's hard to find the time! I'm going on holidays soon so i'll be baking like mad in the next week or so, so that I can still post on Tuesdays while I'm away.

Don't forget to check out all the other Tuesdays with Dorie posts!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie 15: Pumpkin Muffins

Even though I love pumpkin scones, I was completely uninterested in this weeks recipe. I had it in my mind that they were going to be too 'healthy' tasting to be nice. How wrong I was! This is probably one of my favourite recipes yet from Baking: from my home to yours.

To me, the pecans took it to that next level. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much without them. Instead of golden raisins, I just used normal ones as that's all I had. In Australia, it doesn't seem we have canned pumpkin puree. I looked at both of our major supermarkets and found nothing. We pretty much have everything else under the sun canned, but not pumpkin! I was actually surprised at some of the things available. The only reason I went looking for the canned pumpkin, is that I liked to stick as close to the original recipe as possible. I know Dorie encourages us to 'play around' but I always like to make the original recipe first, then tweak it the next time. In the end, I just made my own pumpkin puree. I don't think it was as smooth as the kind you could get in a tin, but it really didn't make a difference. I expected my muffins to not have quite as orange a colour as those made with the tinned pumpkin variety, but mine came out so very yellow/orange.

I only made a half batch because since there is only two of us, the muffins would be stale before we got to eat them all. In hindesight, I think I could have made the whole batch because these muffins are so moist (from the addition of the pumpkin). I was really surprised at how moist they were- so I could see these muffins lasting a few days really. I'm not a big breakfast person, but I could happily eat one of these everyday for breakfast and be very happy. I think that because they are pumpkin muffins, I assume they are healthier... they are relatively healthy compared to other baked goods I guess. I would love it if the recipes had all the nutritional information and kilojoule content included.

Anyway, I will definitely be making these again- on a frequent basis actually! A really big thanks to Kelly of Sounding my Barbaric Gulp- I probably would never have baked these otherwise. Also check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie members too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie 14: Lenox Almond and Sweet Cherry Biscotti

Bischetti? Bruschetta? Biscerti? No one seemed to know what biscotti was. I thought it was a fairly common type of biscuit, but it appears not. I'm sure though, that after tasting this delicious biscuit, everybody would be wanting to get to know biscotti. I admit that I haven't really eaten much biscotti in my life- only the pre packaged type. Like Dorie, I now want to have this stocked up permanantely in my house. I love that it's so easy to make and that it lasts a relatively long time. Most crunchy biscuits go soggy the day after baking, but these stayed crisp until the very last one was eaten (1 week later). So a big thanks to Gretchen of Canela & Comino who chose this weeks recipe.

I ran into trouble with my first batch of biscotti- I didn't cook it long enough in the first bake. When I cut it into 'soldiers', the inside batter was still runny and flowed out, making for a rather stumpy looking biscotti (like the body of a lizard). The first batch was only a half batch but after tasting some of the discarded first batch, I promptly decided to make a full batch next. In addition to the almonds, I added in some dried sweet cherries which turned out so delicious. I spotted various types of dried berries while at the markets the other day and I just had to make something with them. I'll definitely be going back to try out the blueberries and raspberries (not to mention more sweet cherries). Instead of almond extract I added in vanilla- purely because I had no almond on hand. Next time we visit S's sister, we will be taking a batch of macadamia and sweet cherry biscotti for sure- yum!

The addition of the cornmeal made for a very interesting texture. At first I was unsure if I liked it, but by the end, I loved it! I'm really trying not to eat much of my baking as it's no good for the hips, so S happily devoured the majority of the biscotti. A full batch yielded quite a few biscotti (maybe 20 or so) and of that, I only ate one and gave 3 to my mum... I've learnt my lesson now and will only be making very small batches in future because S can't be trusted! He loved these so much that I had to resort to counting them before I left the house to make sure he wasn't eating too many per day!

As usual, I am sure all the Tuesdays with Dorie gang have come up with delicious and interesting variations for biscotti, so check them out!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Sweet One Hundred

I stumbled across this on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, which linked me to Cakespy. Basically it is a list of 100 sweet foods you should eat before you die! I haven't read through the list yet, but I'm sensing I may be seriously disadvantaged being Australian- I don't think I would have heard of quite a few things. Anyway, this is how it works:

1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!
2) Bold all of the sweets you’ve eaten!
3) Cross out any of them that you’d never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your “To Do” List.

1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torten (What is this??)
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar (Of course I have had apple pie, but not with cheddar!)
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
7. Black and white cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars) (Again, what is this!?)
9. Fried Fruit pie (sometimes called hand pies) (I sense my "To Do" list is going to be VERY big)
10. Kringle
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with clotted cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy (English please?)
14. Halvah
15. Macarons
16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers (Not a fan of banana desserts, but I won't cross this out)
17. Bubble tea (with tapioca “pearls”)
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
20. Alfajores
21. Blondies
22. Croquembouche (I've had profita rolls, but not in Croquembouche style)
23. Girl Scout cookies
24. Moon cake
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska (S is begging me to make him one... If only he hadn't seen Heston Blumenthal's)
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
28. Nanaimo bar
29. Baba au rhum
30. King Cake
31. Sachertorte
32. Pavlova
33. Tres Leches Cake
34. Trifle
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
39. Napoleon / mille-fueille
40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake
41. Anzac biscuits (So excited this is on the list! Such a famous biscuit in Australia- They were created especially for our troops in the Australia New Zealand Army Corps)
42. Pizzelle
43. Kolache
44. Buckeyes (As long as there are no actual eye's involved, I'll try it- whatever it is!)
45. Malasadas
46. Moon Pie
47. Dutch baby
48. Boston Cream Pie
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
50. Pralines
51. Gooey butter cake
52. Rusks
53. Daifuku
54. Green tea cake or cookies
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
56. Crème brûlée
57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
59. Jelly Roll
60. Pop Tarts
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An “upside down” dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a mold
65. Black forest cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
67. Kulfi
68. Linzer torte
69. Churro
70. Stollen
71. Angel Food Cake
72. Mincemeat pie
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
76. Pain au chocolat
77. A piece of Gingerbread House
78. Cassata
79. Cannoli
80. Rainbow cookies
81. Religieuse
82. Petits fours
83. Chocolate Souffle
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstashen
87. Homemade marshmallows
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
92. Gateau Basque
93. S’mores
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
96. Joe Froggers
97. Sables
98. Millionaire’s Shortbread
99. Animal crackers
100. Basbousa

Well... I better get to it! I had to Wiki most of it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie 13: Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

I have to say, that since starting Tuesdays with Dorie, I've noticed that Americans seem to love peanuts! Everything seems to have peanuts in it. It's not that I don't like peanuts- in fact I love roasted, salted peanuts, but I also think they have a time and a place! They are quite a flavoursome nut, so I find they often overpower other ingredients. Shoot me, but I'm also not a fan of chocolate and peanuts combined! I've never liked Snickers bars and the combination always reminds me of them. You can probably guess from the picture, but to me, this was basically a Snickers cake! As usual, I made up a few small cakes instead of one big cake- I only topped one with peanuts, for the sake of photos! I really liked this brownie cake by itself though. The caramel-peanut topping was alright but I found trying to eat it with the brownie cake really hard. My caramel was quite chewy, so the overall feel was very sticky and tacky. I think the caramel-peanut sauce would be really nice drizzled over vanilla ice cream though.

I've always been a bit aprehensive about freezing cakes, but this time I decided to give it a go since we couldn't eat all of the cakes by ourselves. I haven't been able to see the end result yet as it is still in the freezer. I'm hoping it works out well because it would be so convenient (don't worry, I didn't freeze the caramel-peanut topping on it!). If you'd like the recipe, check out Wee Treats by Tammy, where Tammy will have the recipe.