Saturday, March 30, 2013

Time to bake a Cake!

Alright kids, today's dessert is one that I think gets overlooked because it is not milk chocolate. Which everyone knows and loves, buuuutttt... this is classy and also very tasty. Its White Chocolate Cake! White Chocolate is actually not even chocolate. I know, sounds weird, but its true. White chocolate originates from the cocoa plant, but is not considered chocolate. Even though this may be true, I still think its delicious. 
That being said I found this recipe: a layered white chocolate cake with white chocolate frosting. It turned out great! The only thing is, I substituted buttermilk for milk with a tablespoon of white vinegar (you can also do lemon juice), because I didnt have buttermilk. I also did a substituion for cake flour because I didnt have that either. I did 1 cup of all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons which is equal to 1 cup cake flour. But, my cakes didnt rise very well... so I would probably stick to actual cake flour. But it still tasted wonderful! It also didnt have an amount of time to cook the cake in the recipe  (weird right?) So I just did it until the cakes were golden brown and the toothpick came out clean, which was about 25 minutes (at 350). I had also never done a 3 layered cake before, so that was a fun experiment. I didnt have enough white chocolate for the frosting so I didnt half white chocolate and half semi sweet chocolate, just to mix it up and get a little milk chocolate  in there. It was killer frosting! So you can either go all white chocolate or do half and half like me. Just depends on what your taste buds prefer. Try this out and garnish it with whatever you want- strawberries, raspberries, edible flowers, powdered sugar, mint leaves, etc. Whatever your heart desires :) 

Have fun! xoxo









Ingredients

1/3 Cup white chocolate (cut in small pieces)
1/2 Cup hot water
1 Cup butter(no substitutes!)
1 1/2 Cup white granulated sugar
4 egg yolks, unbeaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 Cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Cup buttermilk
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Frosting:

1/2 Cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons evaporated milk
1/4 Cup butter
2 Cups white chocolate(cut in small pieces)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
white chocolate curls for garnish(optional)
toasted nuts for garnish(optional)


How to make it


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour 3 -9 inch layer pans.
Melt white chocolate in hot water; cool.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add egg yolks. Beat.
Add white chocolate and vanilla.
Sift flour and soda together, add alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture.
Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
Frosting:
Combine milk, sugar, and butter in saucepan. Bring to full, rolling boil and boil 1(one) minute. Remove from heat and add white chocolate and vanilla. Stir until candy is melted. Beat until spreading consistency. Frost 3-layer cake.
Spread slowly, cool if icing is too loose, heat if too stiff.
Garnish with the chocolate curls and/or nuts.
Use a serrated edge knife to cut cake.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

For my Peanut Butter Lovers

Like my title says, this is for those that LOVE peanut butter. This rich and creamy dessert is one of the best pies I have ever made or tasted. I know, sounds dramatic and like I'm exaggerating, but trust me, I'm not. I wanted to try making a pie, but don't like pies in the sense of fruit pies, like apple, cherry, etc. So I decided to try a flavor that I love dearly. I also love that it has a chocolate cookie crust, because I can't have the gluten that comes with a flour crust in fruit pies. Not only is this dessert full of that peanut butter goodness, but also chocolate. Everyone loves chocolate right? It also has a chocolate sauce that you dribble on top which just gives it that extra little something. It ties the two flavors together nicely for a wonderful explosive combination. This recipe is also fairly easy, like the other recipes I have done on here. So give it try, I promise you, your taste buds will thank you. xoxo


Chocolate Sauce:











Pie:












Ingredients

Hot Fudge Sauce:
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup  brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Peanut Butter Pie:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces shaved milk chocolate

Directions:

1 (9-inch) baked chocolate cookie pie crust

Sauce: Add the cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla extract to a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the chopped chocolate. Stir continuously until the chocolate is melted and the sauce has thickened, roughly 3 to 4 minutes. Let the sauce cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Pie: In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar and the peanut butter until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until thick and light. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Carefully fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Pour the batter into the pie shell, sprinkle with the shaved milk chocolate and freeze for 4 hours.

If desired, serve with the hot fudge sauce and whipped cream!






Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Chocolate Moussetache

So. I decided to make something unusual for me, and that I've never ever made before! Gotta take some risks sometimes ;) Chocolate Mousse! I found some recipes and a lot of them had rum in it, which sounds AMAZING and I totally would if I had it on hand, but since I didn't, I did a different one. It worked out well! I think the consistency could have been a little more fluffy, but I will definitely make it again. This is a great, basic, classic mousse recipe. Nothing super fancy, but a delicious, incredible dessert. I also love it, because it has such a perfect amount of coffee, subtle yet you can still definitely taste it. I also like that you can dish out the amount you want, so it can just be a little spoonful or a good dish of it if you are really craving something sweet. Timing and details is very important though. You have to be dedicated and focused on making this, cant be distracted otherwise things will burn and not blend well together. Alright without further ado, here it is! But first, some pics of how mine turned out. xoxo









INGREDIENTS

  • 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons espresso or very strong coffee 
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs, SEPERATED
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
(Optional) Extra whipped cream

METHOD

1 Whip the cream to soft peaks, then refrigerate.
2 Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not simmering, water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. If it is too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.
3 Once the melted chocolate has cooled slightly, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
4 When the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream.
5 Spoon or pipe the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes. If you wish, layer in fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. 
Serves 5-8, depending on the size of the servings.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Garlic Roast Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary

I wanted to make a simple yet delicious and quick dinner the other day and stumbled across this flavorful recipe. It hardly takes any work and is really good! Its Garlic Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary. You also get to add your favorite dry white wine to it, which is fun and gives it a special touch. The rosemary sprigs makes it more fresh and flavorful as well.

As a side dish, I did butternut squash cut into little squares, cooked on the stove top in a pot, and when it was done, added about 2 tablespoons of butter, and a few tablespoons of maple syrup. As a finishing touch I added a little brown sugar to sweeten it up a bit more on my plate. Squash has a lot of health benefits that no one thinks about which is awesome. It's rich in antioxidants, has an amble dose of dietary fiber, and has significant amounts of potassium. So, you get to satisfy your sweet tooth, AND it's good for you!

The last side dish I chose to pair with this meal, is smashed red potatoes. They too are extremely simple and a good starch to pair with the protein and veggies. Recipe is below!

Enjoy! xoxo









Garlic Roast Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, leaves stripped from stems
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of one lemon, divided
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend
  • 1/2 cupr dry white wine or chicken stock
Preparation

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Arrange the chicken in a 9 inch x 13 inch baking dish. Add the garlic, rosemary, olive oil, lemon zest and grill seasoning to the dish. Toss and coat the chicken with all the ingredients then place in the oven. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes. Add the wine or chicken stock and lemon juice to the dish and combine with the pan juices. Return to the oven and turn the oven off. Let stand for 5 minutes longer. Take the chicken out and serve with pan juices drizzled over chicken.

Smashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds small red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 chopped scallions
  • 3/4 cup milk

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Divine Dessert


I found this great recipe the other day for these decadent dark chocolate cupcakes. I took the recipe, modified it a bit, and made it gluten free! This delicious dessert is very very rich and not for the faint of heart ;) I only eat half at a time and it is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. Combining chocolate and raspberry is something that the cupcake genius' came up with and the flavor combo is melt-in-your-mouth wonderful. The butter cream frosting has real fresh pureed raspberries that gives it that extra special taste. Does not taste like artificial frosting out of a can at all. Just be sure that the butter for the frosting is softened. If it is too hard, it will make little tiny butter chunks that you will have to smooth out. Anyway, try this! It's simple and you wont be disappointed! xoxo




The finishing product ^ Turned out good!


(Gluten Free) Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Butter cream Frosting


Yield: 12 cupcakes
Dark chocolate cupcakes with a smooth and creamy raspberry butter cream frosting.

ingredients:

For the Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain  sour cream
For the Raspberry Butter cream Frosting:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Additional fresh raspberries, for garnish-if desired

directions:

1. To make the cupcakes: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
2. Place butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave in 30 second spurts on 50% power, stirring in between, until the butter and chocolate are melted and the mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, you could do this step in a double boiler.) Set the mixture aside to cool until it is warm to the touch.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl to combine, then add the sugar, vanilla and salt and continue whisking until fully incorporated. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the bowl and whisk to combine. Sift one-third of the flour mixture into the bowl and whisk gently to combine. Add the sour cream and whisk to combine. Finally, sift the the rest of the flour mixture into the bowl and whisk until everything is well combined. The cupcake batter will be thick.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes before removing them to the rack to cool completely.
5. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the raspberry butter cream frosting. In a food processor or blender, puree the raspberries. Pour raspberries through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids, to eliminate the seeds. Place butter, half of the powdered sugar, and raspberry puree into mixing bowl. Beat over low speed until well-blended. Add the other half of the sugar, increase speed to medium. Mix until light and fluffy.
6. Frost cooled cupcakes with the raspberry butter cream and top each cupcake with a fresh raspberry, if desired.

Bonjour!

Well hello blogger world! 
This is the first post of my first blog I have ever had. This is an exciting day. Having never done this before, please forgive me if I break any 'blog' rules or do something faux pas. I have never been a professional writer, but have always enjoyed it. But the main reason I started this blog was not for the writing, but for sharing the things that do not require any words. Photos. 
People say they are worth 1000 words, right? Well we shall see. I discovered my passion for photography a few years back and also have a love for cooking and baking. And I thought why not combine the two? So here I am. Therefore cooking, baking, photography and there you have my blog. 
Some think of drawing and painting as an art. Or writing a song makes you an artist. This is all true. But I believe looking through a lens, to capture just the perfect moment on camera, so that you can have that developed, hung on a wall, put in a frame or placed in your back pocket for a lifetime, is also art. And I want to share with you the beauty I find and capture in my life.
Because my friends, it is all around us. 
Life is art. Live yours in COLOR.

  Jouir!