Archive | April, 2012

Strawberry Basil Scones

23 Apr

This, my friends, is a post of celebrations.

First, thanks to all of you, this blog has reached 1,000 views! This seems like  a small milestone–but it truly feels awesome to share my love of all things baked with the world. So: thank you, thank you, thank you!

Secondly, I’m off on a baby vacation this week, which means finally (after 100+ days, ouch!) laying my eyes on the person I wish I could bake for every single day.

And lastly, for my birthday last week I got a new scone pan! (Thank you, Kathy!!) It’s amazing–I don’t feel like I have tons of crumbly scone waste like I have in the past. So, to christen my pan I decided to go for a combination that’s a little out of the box, but it totally works. Try it out, and please, keep reading!

Strawberry Basil Scones

Adapted from Happyolks

Printable Recipe

2 1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold butter, grated or cut into cubes

1 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons basil, minced

1/2 buttermilk

2 eggs

heavy cream

sugar

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in butter, until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Mix in the strawberries and basil. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs until well-combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and mix until thoroughly moistened.

Turn the dough out on to a parchment lined baking sheet and pat into a disk about 1″ in thickness. Cut into 8 wedges. Alternatively, divide the dough between the sections on your brand-new scone pan. Brush each wedge with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes, until just lightly golden brown.

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Mascarpone Creme Caramel

22 Apr

I think it must be impossible to have a dog and a job.  And it’s super impossible to have a dog, a job, and a blog.

I don’t really know how I fell into the dog-sitting business. But here I am, convinced I’m leaving these dogs with some kind of canine PTSD. On top of the psychological damage I may be inflicting by having a full-time job, being a substitute dog mom makes baking and, due to the lack of internet that still persists in parts of the world, maintaining a blog somewhat of a challenge.

But I’m back in my own digs now, and feeling grateful that the only living things I have relying on me are teenagers. It’s never a struggle to get them to eat.

All I’m saying is it’s about dang time.

Mascarpone Creme Caramel

Adapted from La Mia Dolce Vita

Printable Recipe

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

Stir together both ingredients in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil without stirring, until it turns a deep golden color. Divide the caramel between six ramekins.

1 2/3 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup mascarpone cheese

1 vanilla bean, cut in half with seeds scraped out

6 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

In a medium saucepan, stir together cream, cheese, and vanilla bean. Place over medium heat and cook until the mixture reaches a near boil. Remove from heat and cover. Allow to rest for 30-60 minutes to enhance the vanilla flavor.

Preheat oven to 325°. Bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the eggs and sugar until fluffy and light yellow. With the mixer running, pour in the vanilla cream mixture and beat until well-combined. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup (or other container with a pour-spout). Let the bubbles dissipate, and if there is any foam on top, skim it off. Divide the custard between the ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large roasting pan and carefully pour the simmering water into the pan so that it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the custard is set. Turn out on a place to serve slightly warm.

Lemon Crêpe Cake

7 Apr

There’s really no words for how much work this cake was.

I do not say this to discourage you, but to say that this is a special, special occasion cake. This is a cake you make when you are really feeling like making a cake. It is so worth it though, light and not too sweet–it’s an unexpected surprise for those you make it for–if you can bear to wait until dessert time to keep the secret!

By the way, how glad are we that I didn’t end up with this mess again?

Crêpes

Adapted from Heat Oven to 350

Printable Recipe

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 1/2 cups whole milk

9 eggs

6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Heat a 10 inch skillet or crêpe pan over low heat for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk togther the milk and eggs. Add half of the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, whisking as you pour to prevent any clumps. Add the butter and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in remaining milk.

Increase heat to medium and let skillet continue to preheat. Lightly grease the skillet if it is not non-stick.

Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, pour batter into the hot skillet, rotating the pan so the batter coats the entire surface. Set pan over heat and allow to cook for about one minute, until the crêpe begins to set. Using a rubber spatula or your fingers (be careful!) flip the crêpe and allow to cook for an additional 20-30 seconds. Set the finished crêpes on a wire rack to cool.

Lemon Curd

Adapted from Nourish Network

zest of 4 lemons

juice of 8 lemons

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

12 egg yolks

1/2 cup cold butter, cubed

Combine zest and juice in a small bowl and let stand 10 minutes. In the meantime, combine sugar, salt, and egg yolks in a large metal bowl or top of a double boiler. Whisk until the mixture is well combined. It should be light yellow and the consistency of mayonnaise. Add juice mixture and whisk until just combined. Put the mixture over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Transfer the curd to a clean bowl, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool.

Candied Lemon Peel

Adapted from Hungry Cravings

lemon peel

about 7 cups water, divided

1 cup sugar

Cut the bitter white pith off the lemon peel. Bring lemon peel and 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Drain. Repeat two more times. Finally, stir together 1 cup of water and sugar and add the peel. Let simmer about 20 minutes, until the peels have turned translucent and slightly curly. Remove from syrup and roll in granulated sugar. Arrange the peels in a single layer on parchment or Silpat to let cool.

Whipped Cream Frosting

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together all three ingredients until stiff peaks form.

Assembling the Cake

On a large plate or cake stand, begin by laying one crêpe down. Spread about 2 teaspoons of the lemon curd on the crêpe, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Put the next crêpe down on top, and repeat the process until all the crêpes are stacked. Make sure while you’re staking to keep the crêpes lined up to keep the cake from tipping. To frost, heap the frosting on the top of the cake and work it down over the sides using a knife or offset spatula. Garnish with candied lemon peels.

White Velvet Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

1 Apr

Sometimes, it’s hard to write about what I bake. There isn’t always a story, which makes me feel like a phoney-baloney when I try to force one out of them.

Other times, it’s hard to bake. There are times when I don’t feel inspired–when nothing is speaking to me, crying out for me to try it.

And then there are times when the powers combine and neither side of this blog gig is happening. I’m not writing or baking. It gets especially difficult when life looks a certain way and it’s all you can do to get out of bed on time. And that, dear readers, is where you are meeting me today.

This post did not just happen. It didn’t come to me–I had to come to it. This post was a conscious effort to get back on track. To say, yes, my life looks a little different than I thought it would, but maybe a little springtime cupcake could make it feel a little better.

White Velvet Cupcakes

Adapted from The Curvy Carrot

Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

4 ounces white chocolate, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 325°. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined. Mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, mixing until just combined. Divide batter into muffin tins, filling cups about 3/4 full. Bake about 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Raspberry Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

4 cups powdered sugar

Cream together butter and raspberry jam. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until combined. Transfer frosting to pastry bag and top cupcakes.