Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Feb 24 Caramel Crunch Bars

These bars smelled incredible when baking. The base came together pretty quickly - I made sure to stir towards the end so I wouldn't overwork it. The base was definitely bubbly!

I struggled with the next step. I tried using mini chips instead of chopping chocolate, which may have been my problem, but I couldn't get the chocolate to spread. It kept lifting off the base. So I pulled it off, and then mixed in a tb of cream and about a tsp of butter, and tried spreading it again. It stayed on, though it's a lot thicker than it should be. Made correctly, I imagine these are impressive bars!

Thanks to Whitney of What’s left on the table? for choosing this recipe!

Monday, February 23, 2009

ICE: Coffee

For my Iron Cupcake Earth: Coffee entry I made an almond-coffee cupcake with vanilla buttercream and coffee toffee. They ended up being nice cupcakes, though I'd up the coffee next time.

I used Michael Chu's toffee recipe on Cooking for Engineers using brewed coffee for the water and only using half the vanilla. It was my first time making toffee, so I was a little hesitant. After reading all the reviews about it breaking, I made sure to stay on low heat til the butter was melted, and it was really a very quick and easy recipe! The coffee flavor is very, very....subtle. I think next time I'd make a paste with instant espresso powder and the same water instead for a stronger coffee flavor.

The cupcakes were Beranbaum's almond cupcakes with half the almond extract and half the vanilla and adding two tsp of instant espresso powder with the dry ingredients. I'd probably make it three or four next time. The buttercream was Rosenberg's again (vanilla) - very tasty!

Voting for ICE will start Sun., March 1 at 8 and run through Fri., March 6 at noon. Voting is at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, http://mkecupcakequeen.blogspot.com Visit http://ironcupcake.blogspot.com if you'd like to bake along!

Our February ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:
  • as well as a pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES
  • PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY, , who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice - sweet!
As an added bonus for February, SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY will be tossing in a variety of cupcaking supplies, .

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS,, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, , JESSIE STEELE APRONS ; TASTE OF HOME books, ; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM . Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I've been liking lemon lately (especially Emeril's lemon marshmallows), and one of my sometime goals is to learn to temper chocolate. Technicolor Kitchen's truffles looked lemony and I loved the idea of dipping them in a dark chocolate. I ended up quartering the recipe, but keeping all the zest, for:
113g white chocolate, finely chopped (4oz Ghiradelli)
grated zest of 1 lemon
1TB lemon juice
1 1/2TB heavy cream
Make the ganache, then add the zest and juice. Let chill overnight, roll into truffles.

I tried dipping half of them in Trader Joe's 72% Belgian chocolate. You can see my challenges with dipping! I tried doing the microwave method for tempering (with really no idea of what I'm doing). The chocolate on these bloomed, I think maybe because the truffles were straight from the fridge? (in addition to whatever else - need more practice!) The rest I rolled in Scharffen Berger natural cocoa. The cocoa was certainly a smoother process, but I really like the flavor of the dipped chocolate. The ganache is quite soft, so I think I'll need to adjust that for next time (extract for the juice?), or else try using molds instead.

With my leftover chocolate, I dipped some of Talanian's lemon marshmallows. They are very lemony- a bit too tart for me, so I thought the chocolate could be nice. They're ok, I just have never really liked the chocolate-marshmallow easter eggs, so I'm not sure why I thought I'd like these much. The chocolate didn't bloom, but it's not glossy like I think it should be. I need to try again when I can devote more attention to it!

The texture of these marshmallows though is amazing - velvety, pillowy. Talanian provides a sugar syrup recipe to use instead of corn syrup, which she says makes the difference. I'm hoping to try her coconut, margarita, amaretto and chocolate marshmallows, too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feb 17 Devils Food White Out Cake

I really like dark chocolate cakes. Even knowing of all the added chocolate, I was surprised how dense my cake was, almost brownie-like. The layers didn't need to be leveled at all, so it was easy to throw together.

I used a different frosting (I wasn't confident the eggs would be thoroughly cooked) and didn't torte it, so my end cake looks quite different. I used the Rosenberg buttercream (whipped cream, butter, powdered sugar), I think using a lighter frosting would be really nice next time.

Thanks to Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater who chose the recipe!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Marshmallows, Brownies & Cheesecake

This weekend I tried a few more gluten-free treats - lemon marshmallows, Gluten-free Girl's brownies, and Three Cities of Spain cheesecake (which turned out to not be gluten-free, since sour cream isn't - oops.).

The lemon marshmallows were Emeril's recipe again, this time with lemon, and they were fantastic! I beat them with the whisk attachment for 9 min, I could probably do 7 or 8 next time, but these are so good, and a good consistency. They almost taste like lemon sherbet.

The brownies were very rich, and I didn't notice the graininess from the brown rice flour. I used Gluten-free Girl's adaption of Alice Medrich's New Classic Brownies, except I used 4 oz unsweetened chocolate and 1 1/4 c sugar (like Medrich's recipe) instead of the bittersweet and 1 c. I missed getting a pic, but they were very thin and fudgy, similar to the Katharine Hepburn brownies I've had. I'd definitely make these again!

The cheesecake was a bust. Maybe without the sour cream topping, I'd like it better, I'm not too keen about the topping. It got lots of great reviews, though, and I'm not confident about cheesecakes yet. Still, I'll probably try a different recipe before doing this one again.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Feb 3 World Peace Cookies

I've made these a few times after reading the raves on egullet. I'd not had any for a few weeks, and I was amazed again at how good these cookies are. I tried to show some restraint, and froze half the batch of dough for later since I made some cupcakes the same day.

I wasn't quite sure what they were supposed to look like. I had some that looked like regular choc-choc chip cookies, and others that had a ridge. I was thinking the difference was in the chilling times, but an egullet discussion shared that it was more the thickness of the cookie that made the difference. They'd also posted a link to Pierre Hermé's. This batch looked much closer to the pic than others I've tried, though i have to say I don't mind practicing these!

Thanks to Jessica of cookbookhabit for selecting this recipe! Next week is Floating Islands selected by Shari of Whisk: a food blog.