Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lemon goodies for my mom's retirement party!

Filled this cake from smittenkitchen (made lemon with some lemon extract and lemon zest) with lemon curd made using this recipe for lemon curd and this method from Joy of Baking. I made some as mini cupcakes filled with the lemon curd and topped with Ina Garten's cream cheese frosting from her amazing Pineapple and Carrot Cake mixed with seedless raspberry preserves.

I also made some in a 9 in spring form pan, sliced in two layers, with the lemon curd mixed with the seedless raspberry preserves in between the two layers, topped with a simple buttercream.

The layer cake version was best, but honestly for the cake part, a yellow cake mix with the lemon adaptation would beat my implementation of the smittenkitchen recipe. Don't know what I did wrong.

However, my mom's good old lemon bars topped all of this.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Brownie Stuffed Cookies

This idea is AMAZING inside the peanut butter dough from my mom's kiss cookies (with any varieties of mix ins). Actually the idea makes any cookie that pairs well with chocolate incredibly moist.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Texas Cake Batter Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cupcake

To spare the readers of The Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious who are hosting the online ice cream cupcake contest, I relegated my very long winded explanation of the development of these cupcakes into a separate post. Here, I will just post the mouth watering photos and recipes.

I say recipes, because this dessert is really several desserts in one:

1) Make an edible chocolate wrapper

2) Make Texas sheet cake and its accompanying frosting, and put an appropriately sized circle of this miracle cake into the bottom of the chocolate shell/wrapper

3) Make edible macadamia nut butterscotch cookie dough (my favorite cookie flavor combination), and flatten into an appropriately sized circle and place this on top of the cake

4) Smush the cookie dough down onto the cake a bit because you want more ice cream to fit in your chocolate wrapper!

I cannot even tell where the frosting ends and the cookie dough begins...

5) Make cake batter sprinkle ice cream. This is the easiest and arguably the best part! Place a scoop of cake batter sprinkle ice cream on top of the dough. This picture was a couple of days after I made the cupcakes, because the ice cream needed to recover from my 100 degree kitchen!

Be thankful if your house is less than 100 degrees and the ice cream is not melted by the time you can stick a spoon in it:

6) Make hot fudge sauce and sticky chocolate icing. Mix equal parts to create a chocolate sauce that is a bit less dark than the hot fudge sauce.

7) Drizzle (ahem pour!) this on top of the ice cream!

8) Enjoy! But, to spare yourself a food coma, enjoy with a friend.

Also, these are best eaten when they are first made. Then the cake is warm and gooey and so is the chocolate sauce, to perfectly offset the cool ice cream.


Edible Chocolate Wrapper
I got the idea for this from Made with Pink's ice cream cupcake post.
However, lacking candy melts and silicone baking cups, I could not follow that recipe so well. I looked up recipes for homemade magic shell. These used chocolate chips and some form of butter, oil or shortening, so I ran with that idea. I used jumbo aluminum foil cupcake wrappers instead of the silicone baking cups, and these actually worked quite well.

1 bag's worth of chocolate chips (I used half milk and half semi-sweet)
1 tbsp of butter
About 1 tbsp. canola oil

Combine ingredients in a double boiler and stir until melted. Use a spoon to spread the melted chocolate thickly all over the inside of the cupcake wrapper. Place in refrigerator until well chilled and hardened before unwrapping.

It works best to leave the wrapper on while you fill the edible chocolate wrapper, to prevent your fingers from melting the chocolate:

Oh no! I had wanted to unwrap these with my mouth!!!

Texas Sheet Cake and Frosting
Texas Sheet Cake

Macadamia Nut Butterscotch Safe to Eat Raw Cookie Dough

As the dough base, I used the dough from the Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Cookie, substituting for the egg and egg yolk with:
3 tbls milk, 1.5 tbsp melted butter, and 1.5 tsp baking powder
You may need to add a bit extra milk at the end.
I don't know exactly the ratio of macadiama nuts to butterscotch chips to dough that I used. You can adjust this to taste, and since the dough is safe, taste to your heart's desire!

Cake Batter Sprinkle Ice Cream

Coldstone's cake batter ice cream is my favorite ice cream. Thus, it was obvious my submission required cake batter ice cream. Unfortunately this is not very common in grocery stores, and I have no Coldstone ANYWHERE near me. I also lack an ice cream maker, so I had to improvise.


2 quarts vanilla ice cream (I used 1.5 Quarts of Dean's and a pint of vanilla from my local ice cream shop)
1 yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Yellow Cake Mix)
Rainbow Sprinkles to taste

Mix together. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer until the cake mix was distributed throughout the ice cream (no lumps). Using the full box of cake mix provides a VERY strong cake batter flavor. Just like eating yellow cake batter with a creamy ice cream texture. And since I am not afraid of salmonella (perhaps irrationally), I have plenty of experience with yellow cake batter.

However, you can add the cake mix slowly and have some tastes here and there to get the flavor YOU like most! This is actually what I did.

I also just added sprinkles until I reached a distribution that looked appealing. Enough sprinkles to notice, not enough to mess with the cake batter flavor.

Finally, because there just wasn't enough chocolate on the top half of this ice cream cupcake:

Chocolate Sauce

I set out to make Smitten Kitchen's Hot Fudge Sauce.
I have made this before and really liked it. My husband, a dark chocolate lover, loved it this time too. However, I thought it was a bit too dark to go well with the other parts of the cupcake. Because I also had some extra cupcakes from my experimenting while deciding on the final recipe, I decided to also make an amended version of Pioneer Woman's Sticky Chocolate Icing. I mixed equal parts of both for the final sauce.

This one is too cold -- right out of the fridge

Oh yea, that's better:

Smitten Kitchen's Hot Fudge Sauce
I used 1/2 tbsp. vanilla rather than the suggested tablespoon of rum.

Pioneer Woman's Sticky Chocolate Icing
This time, I used the whole can of sweetened condensed milk, some butterscotch chips (a handful), and about 10-12 oz. semi-sweet chips, as well as the original 2 tbsp. of butter.

And finally, if you choose to make these when it is 96 degrees outside with no air conditioning, be ready for a puddle:

Best puddle I've ever tasted!

Melted Ice Cream Cupcake Contest -- the extended version

In one of my many recipe-related quests through several of my favorite recipe blogs, I stumbled upon an ice cream cupcake contest, posted on The Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious.

The contest requires submitting a recipe and photo of an original ice cream cupcake. This contest had the potential to involve so many of my favorite things AND did not require going anywhere to submit it! This was enough to inspire me to both spend a full night in the kitchen experimenting to find the perfect concoction for my entry. I also decided to finally make my blog public so that I can submit a full blog post detailing the endeavor, rather than just a final photo and recipe.

As has been the case with many of my recent baking nights, I went a bit overboard. I won't beleaguer you with all of the details, but just to give you an idea, chocolate cupcakes from a mix, peanut butter safe-to-eat-raw cookie dough, chocolate cake batter ice cream, and various mix ins for the cookie dough were all "cut" from my final cupcake.

Unfortunately, all of this tasting left me and my taste tester/photographer/husband too full to finish one of the final products on the night I made them. Actually, these cupcakes are so full of all of my favorite dessert items that even on an empty stomach I would recommend sharing (it is really about 3 servings of dessert jammed into one).

Another unfortunate mishap is that work obligations meant that I only had free time for a baking frenzy on a 96 degree day! We only have one window AC in our 2 bedroom apartment at this point. It is in the dog's room (where we leave him when we go to work--talk about spoiled), not the kitchen. 96 degrees + no AC + baking at 350 degrees makes ice cream photos a near impossibility. So the final submission photo is actually from a few days later, once the ice cream had time to fully harden in the freezer, and my kitchen cooled off.

I love all things uncooked-give me a taste of any dough or batter and I am in heaven. I am not afraid of raw eggs, but for the sake of food safety nuts who might want to try this recipe, the only component of this recipe with eggs is the fully cooked Texas Sheet Cake at the bottom. Now, to spare the readers of The Cupcake Project who just want to see the cupcake photos and recipe, I posted the recipes, most of the photos, and my official entry in a separate post.

However, to get you to click onto this next post, here is a glimpse of what's in store:

On top of the Texas sheet cake and accompanying frosting is a layer of macadamia nut-butterscotch cookie dough. This is topped with cake batter rainbow sprinkle ice cream, and finished off with a home made chocolate sauce. Oh, and last but not least, this was all contained in an edible chocolate wrapper that was also quite problematic in the sauna that was my kitchen.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

recent endeavors

At first I thought this was not as good as mom's tried and true. But a day in the fridge allowed the flavors to blend and it got so unbelievable moist. I used nearly 4 bananas. Mine could have used a day or so to get even riper though (were as speckled as the ones in the picture).

Greek Yogurt Frosting:

Had to add some butter and powdered sugar. Eventually got it right, but if you are going for frosting, just do cream cheese (Ina Garten's from Carrot and Pineapple Cake is awesome).

Also, that is the best carrot cake recipe. Tried to use the 101cookbooks recipe, but let's be honest, cake without sugar is just not worth it. Had to add sugar, oil and carrots till the batter achieved near Ina quality.

2-3 tbls milk, 1 tsp oil, and 1 tsp baking powder in the kiss cookie dough recipe to make it safe. Excellent taste but cookies just the teeniest bit flat.

2-3 tbls milk, 1 tbls butter, 2 tsp just whites in the toll house choc. chip cookie dough batter. Excellent taste but cookies just the teeniest bit flat.

Cake balls are not worth it unless you had a failure (if your cupcakes or brownies are not moist enough).

Cookie dough cupcakes I thought at first were bad (when straight out of the oven) but turns out once cooled in the fridge so the cookie dough achieves cookie dough texture, it is quite a neat surprise (I did the PB dough in a yellow cupcake).

Tasty Kitchen's "that's the best frosting you'd ever had" is SO not. Too much like whipped cream consistency.

Pioneer Woman's brownies from the salted caramel brownie are not as good as a box mix (I've switched to Ghiradelli because no partially hydrogenated oil, but honestly these are not as good as betty crocker's triple chocolate chunk brownies).

Nutella brownies were easy but not great.

German chocolate frosting
is amazing.

Cake batter mixed with ice cream == heaven.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

recent endeavors to remember

Recent: too much cooking as usual.

Do not make roasted chicken ever again.

This dressing was very good:

Majorly changed the main bit of the recipe, basically ended up as my barley toasted with roasted zucchini and eggplant, tomatoes, onion and tons of basil. Very good though.

best meatballs:

fresh spinach (not baby) can taste good in a salad. rub with lemon or lime juice, bit of salt and olive oil to soften texture and super green taste.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I amended this drink mixer recipe for Sangria.

With amendments:
1 jug of sangria
About 250 ml diet sprite.
200 ml lemonade
orange juice to taste
2 tbsp. sugar
cut in cubes melons
canned crushed pineapple with juice
slices of oranges, limes, lemon
diced apples
cut in cubes strawberries

It doesn't need the ice if served cold -- just gets watery!!!

Cranberry Berry Apple Pie

I used Pioneer Woman's Pie Crust with 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour since I ran out of flour. It turned out very good. However, when divided in 3, the recipe barely makes enough for the pie plate -- don't expect high edges or a thick crust.

I thought cranberries would be only as tart as rhubarb but I was wrong. For the filling I used 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice, 3/4 c. sugar, 3 tbsp. flour, along with 6 c of the fruits. A little less than 1 c. of this was chopped cranberries.

The crumb topping was an amendment to the crumb topping under the Betty Crocker recipe for Rhubarb Pie. I used 3/4 c. sugar, 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, some chopped walnuts, a little less than 1/2 c. quick oats, and 5 tbsp of butter. This was quite good.

25 min with foil around the edges, 25 min with foil removed. Was a couple minutes too long---top got a little brown.

Pioneer Woman Big Steak Salad Review

This was probably the only recipe of Pioneer Woman's I would not make again.

The marinade for the steaks was not very strong once cooked. The taste of the dressing/marinade was delicious, but you definitely need to drizzle more on the steak after it is cooked.

We used ribeye. This is not my favorite type of steak. I think I would rather have the cheap sirloin kind.

While the dressing was delicious, it didn't really go with the toppings on the salad. It was more of an Asian style dressing -- the candied pecans (I used walnuts) were especially out of place. I also reaffirmed I do not like bleu cheese. I had to use just the white bit without any blue streaks.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicken Marsala

Combo of these two recipes is amazing. Used 14 c. baby portabella relative to less than 3 lbs chicken breasts (weighed uncooked). Still wanted more mushrooms/sauce relative to chicken. Used about 2/3 of the required chicken broth, and used a bit of cooking sherry as in the Allrecipes version.