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.

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.

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.

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.