Archive | March, 2012

Blood Orange Bars

20 Mar

Here we are, in the middle of March, and it’s nearly 80 degrees. I’m not complaining–I like skirts with no tights as much as the next girl. And let’s not forget how much time I spent hating on winter this year.

Obviously I love the sunshine and driving with the windows down, and even every student asking if we can have class outside today. (In case you’re wondering: the answer is a firm no. I will run far, far away from them.)

But while me and my shades and my bare legs love the weather, I can’t help but think that it can’t last forever. It’s only March for crying out loud–we have to get back to March weather sometime, right?

In the end, I’ve resolved to not think too much about it. We can’t spend our beautiful days worrying about the 40 degree days of our futures. So here is a recipe that’s sure to take your mind off the even the gloomiest of future forecasts.

Blood Orange Bars

Adapted from Eating Out Loud

Printable Recipe

Crust

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 cup flour

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350°. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Press dough into the bottom of a 9″ x 9″ baking pan and bake 20-25 minutes, until it’s golden brown. Let cool.

Filling

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup flour

zest and juice of 2 limes

zest and juice of 1 blood orange

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar, until the mixture turns light yellow. Add flour, zest, and juice and mix until everything is incorporated. Pour filling over cooled crust and bake (still at 350€°) for 30-35 minutes. Let cool and top with powdered sugar.

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Green Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

17 Mar

As I have wondered before: what exactly is the point of red velvet? And what could be the point of St. Patrick’s Day? I’m talking about for the average person–the person who believes that beer should be brown no matter the day. And yet, I participate in these things, both of which are mysterious to me.

But, after my baking experiment, I think that I can safely say that the purpose of both is to 1) happily marry, and 2) create these little babies. They came together in the most delicious and pretty way, and, cut into little shamrocks, wrap up the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day in a little two-bite package.

Green Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

Printable Recipe

Cream Cheese Swirl

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon flour

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and mix until combined. Add the egg and flour and mix until incorporated. Set aside.

Green Velvet Brownies

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

3/4 cup unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

1 ounce green food coloring

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9″ x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring occasionally. As soon as the mixture is smooth, remove from heat and whisk in the sugar. After the sugar is dissolved, whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour, food coloring, baking powder, vanilla, and salt until the flour is just combined–no more than 50 strokes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon small dollops of the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter and drag a butter knife through the batter to swirl the two. Bake about 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool before cutting.

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting

10 Mar

Usually, St. Patrick’s Day is not a huge deal for me. I mean, sure, I love a good corned beef roast and I never say no to potatoes, but it’s not a holiday I generally view with much anticipation. I must be feeling quite sentimental this year since all the little holidays are speaking to me (read also: Valentine’s Day). I was disappointed to find out that this year it falls on a Saturday–I wanted to be a be-shamrocked señorita. Thanks for nothing, Leap Day.

Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty Irish lately. And what better way celebrate this national pride than with a little Guinness and Bailey’s? The Guinness lends a subtle flavor to the cupcakes, which are moist and tender, and the Bailey’s is the perfect creamy finish to each bite.

Guinness Cupcakes

Adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Printable Recipe

1 cup Guinness stout

2 sticks unsalted butter

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/1 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2/3 sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt together butter and Guinness. Whisk cocoa powder into the mixture until well-combined. Set aside to cool while you complete the next steps.

In a large mixing bow, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together eggs and sour cream until the mixture turns light yellow. Add the chocolate Guinness mixture and continue beating until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.

Transfer the batter to the tins, filling each about 2/3 of the way full. Bake about 15 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

Bailey’s Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

5 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar. Add the Bailey’s and beat until the frosting comes together. You may need to adjust the amount of Bailey’s by 1 or 2 tablespoons to obtain the right consistency for your frosting. Pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.

On Try, Trying Again

2 Mar

Sadly, there is no recipe to share today. Im fact, I’ve been having a disastrous time in the kitchen lately. Like knock ’em down, drag ’em out disasters. It’s enough to bring a grown baker to tears.

There was the attempt to make homemade ladyfingers:

The mountain pile of half-done crêpes I failed to flip:

And these seemingly easy coconut palmiers that I overstuffed:

Granted, there were all yummy even though they were not beautiful or functional. They made for good snacking even if they weren’t useful in any way but snacking.

It’s all a little much, really. I mean, what gives? Did I dream too big? Did I admire one too many tart pans in the kitchen store? Never in my baking life have I had so many things go wrong so often. I can’t say I’m enjoying my slice of humble pie (and humble lady fingers, and humble crêpes, and humble palmiers), but there they are.

Needless to say, I’m a little wary to get back on the baking horse. The coconut palmiers recipe seemed simple enough: frozen puff pastry, shredded coconut, some sugar, a hot oven. It bothered me to use the frozen puff pastry, but sometimes a person just feels too crazy to ride the Totally From Scratch train. And even that didn’t work!

So what’s a baking girl to do? Throw in the kitchen towel? I mean, we just got that new mixer–seems a shame to only make one thing with her before being brought to my knees by unruly recipes.

But you know, I don’t really have a choice. It’s not like I’d be down with giving up something I love so much just because a few afternoon’s worth of work didn’t go my way. I don’t know what’s different now, but it’s just something I’m going to have to power through, hopefully learning a little patience and grace along the way. Because sometimes, if everything goes according to recipe, you end up with something delicious. And that makes it all worth it.

(I can’t stick to my claim of no recipe, so…here you go!)

Coconut Palmiers

frozen puff pastry, thawed

granulated sugar

shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 425°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Unfold puff pastry on a piece of parchment paper, and lightly coat with sugar. Sprinkle a thin layer of coconut over the sugar, and, using the parchment paper to help, roll the pastry up into a pinwheel. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 1/4″ slices. Bake 5 minutes, flip the cookies, and return to oven to bake for another 5 minutes.

In the end, I did get these to work, I just needed to remember that more isn’t always better. Sometimes that can be a hard lesson to learn.