Saturday, January 28, 2012

My first recipe from the CIA Baking and Pastry... Sugar Cookies

Wow...finally getting a chance to write up my review on the sugar cookie recipe in the book:)  This is my favorite recipe for sugar cookies.  They taste great (ie- not too sweet and a little chewy) and they are super easy to make.  I have no idea if I'm even allowed to include the recipe in here and I have to tell you, I do weigh my stuff so I may not always have the measurements in cups/tsps/etc.  AND, these recipes call for a lot more than my little mixer and kitchen can I am constantly halving or quartering the recipes.

My advice to you, if you really want to make these recipes, is to get a scale!!  Saves on dishes (every little bit helps)..

Creaming the butter and sugar- you need to make sure you cream it together until the dough becomes creamy and a pale yellow.  I do this every time I cream sugar and butter for EVERY recipe... Best thing I've learned since reading this book!!

You technically need to sift together the flour, baking soda, salt (the 'dry') ingredients.  BUT, I don't own a sifter so I started whisking my 'dry' ingredients and it seems to work well enough for now.  If I ever do get a sifter, I will let you know if there is a huge difference.. You could also put the dry ingredients in a fine mesh drainer and tap it through...done that before and it works well.

Another piece of advice... crack your eggs into a separate container.. this enables you to find any shells that might accidentally come with the egg and make sure the eggs are good.  Add the vanilla to the eggs (and in this case, the milk too).
Now, add the dry and the wet to the butter mixture alternately.  I always start with the flour stuff and end with it too.  This is what the dough should look like:
At this point, I divide into 2 and saran wrap each section tightly... put into the fridge and let it chill for a couple hours.

Flour is your friend when rolling it out... don't be afraid to use it as it will make life that much easier.  Flour the counter, your hands, the rolling pin, the dough... Go For It!!  Use cookie cutters to make your favorite shapes.  Or, if you don't want to go through this trouble, when you saran wrap it, make it into a log shape and you can just slice the cookies and sprinkle sugar on them before baking.

My rating of this recipe is excellent.  It is an easy one to make and they taste great!!  I highly recommend.

Here are some pics of finished products:

Use your imagination!!  Have fun:)  If you don't want to use Royal Icing, grab a container of white frosting and go for it (easier for the kiddies if you do it with them)

I will do the Royal Icing (recipes and how to's) in a separate entry:)  There is just too much information about Royal Icing to include in here!!

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe  (halved from the CIA Baking and Pastry Book)
1 pound of All-purpose flour
1/4 ounce (1 tsp) of Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) of unsalted butter  (I've used salted butter if I don't have any unsalted and it works well)
1/2 pound sugar (approx. 1 cup)
4 oz eggs (approx. 2 extra large eggs)
2 oz milk
1/4 oz vanilla
Course sugar if you are going to make a log and slice (sprinkle this on cookies before baking)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mudslide Cake Pops...

Remember the Mudslide Cupcakes from yesterday??  Check out what else you can do instead of just the cakes... Cake Pops!!  I LOVE cake pops.  It's a yummy, fantastically delish treat in a bite size portion on a stick.  How could you not love these things??

To get the recipes for the cake and buttercream frosting, refer back to here: Mudslide Cupcakes

Now... bake the mixture into cakes instead of cupcakes (if you don't need all of the cake at once, freeze it until you do)
Next, put the cake in a food processor and pulse into crumbs (forgot to take a pic of this but it should resemble crumby cake...)

Mix in a little bit of frosting at a time b/c you don't want to add too much.  Your balls won't stay firm and will fall off the stick and you'll just have lots of problems.  With this one cake, I used about 1/4 cup of frosting.  Mix it together using your hands... think like you're making meatballs and really get into it. You want the frosting spread evenly throughout the cake.  You should have what looks like this when you're done:
Wrap it up in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.  
Take out of fridge and make your balls... I use a small scoop to form uniform balls..

Place back in fridge for about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt your chocolate in a double boiler (or one of these handy dandy chocolate melters)

... if you don't have either, follow the directions on the package of chocolate melts for microwave.  This works just fine as I've done that too:)

Dip your sticks in the melted chocolate and plunge into the balls:
If you're not fast at this step, you may need to throw them back in the fridge... or start dipping.  If they get too soft, definitely throw them back in the fridge before dipping.  I've had several fall off the stick... that's the tell-tale sign they are too soft.  After dipping, plunge your sticks into styrofoam holder or that green crap the florists use to hold flowers (you can get these at the dollar store)
You can put sprinkle on them if you like but do it immediately before the chocolate hardens.  I had some leftover buttercream frosting, so I put it in a small back, snipped the corner and squeezed it on the top to make a pretty design.

Happy Cake Popping!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mudslide Cupcakes

Don't those look yummy??  Oh, yes... I will tell you they were!!  So, I know we are going to be doing recipes from the CIA cookbook and I have my first recipe picked out... I just need to purchase a few ingredients for that and I didn't want to keep you waiting for that entry... so... since I've been  wanting to try this flavor combination for awhile, I thought I'd go ahead and do it.

The cake is a coffee/khaluah flavored chocolate cake and the frosting/filling is a Bailey's buttercream.  Go on, you can drool...  I know I was while making them:)

Here's the cake recipe I used (it's a combination of a few different ones):

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coffee, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Kahlua 
  • 3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
These were my egg whites (prob. not as stiff as they wanted but I got tired of waiting)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Combine the coffee and Kahlua in a liquid measuring cup.

Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until foamy. With the mixer still running, gradually add the granulated sugar. Once incorporated, increase the mixer to medium-high speed and continue beating until stiff peaks form. The egg whites should be glossy, not dry.

Transfer the egg whites to another bowl and clean our the mixer bowl (or use a second bowl, or use a hand-held electric mixer). With the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time. With the mixer on low speed, alternatively add the flour and the coffee-Kahlua mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold in egg whites.

Divide batter evenly between cupcake pans, filling each about 2/3 - 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes then remove to rack to cool completely.

They came out kinda flat... but that's ok b/c they tasted Great!!

I made 12 cupcakes and 1 round cake (to be used for mudslide cake pops)

I made holes in the cupcakes once cooled and filled with the Bailey's Buttercream (recipe below).  I than dipped the tops in a soft chocolate ganache and topped with more Bailey's Buttercream.  Let's just say, you should keep drooling b/c they were really really GOOD!!

Basic Buttercream (I use the recipe from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook... substituted Bailey's for the milk)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 1 Tbs vanilla
Mix butter, 2 cups P Sugar, Bailey's and vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Slowly add the remaining sugar until spreadable consistency (you may need more or less sugar).

Chocolate Ganache
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 4 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate (I used Ghiradelli Choc. Chips)
Heat the heavy cream until just coming to a boil.  Pour over the Bittersweet chocolate and let sit for about 5 minutes.  Slowly stir until you get a smooth chocolate.  Wait about 5 minutes, stir again and begin dipping your cupcakes.

Tomorrow, I will show you how to take all this stuff and make cake pops with it!!

Hope you enjoy:)

Monday, January 9, 2012

This just in...

Hello Everyone,

This is my first entry on my new blog all about baking!!  The purpose of this blog is to share my 'war' stories in the baking world and help you NOT make the same mistakes I've made and/or make along the way:)

I will be attempting to bake at least 1 recipe a week from the CIA Baking and Pastry book.  I will also post some other stuff/recipes/tricks along the way.

I hope you enjoy it and pass it on to our fellow Lovers of Baking out there!!