October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat

Run out of candy? How about chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin buttercream?
Happy Halloween!
Recipe found here and here.

October 27, 2009

Duncan Who?

Having recently realized the relative ease and super awesomeness of homemade brownies over boxed, I figured I had fancy brownies down pat. Then this week's Tuesdays with Dorie, Cherry-Fudge Brownie Torte, tapped me on the shoulder. Hello, what's this? Dense dark chocolate brownie, with chunks of chocolate, and tart dried cherries flambe-ed in booze, topped off with a silky mascarpone mousse...yeah I'd be lying if I said that little red box wasn't looking pretty good right about then. But hey, I've come too far to be afeared of a little hoity toity brownie recipe.
Admittedly, I did not flambe- don't think I'm ready for open flame just yet. I did cook down some tart cherries with Kirsch and cherry preserves, briskly yet gently fold dry ingredients into wet, and mixed up a darn smooth mousse. I even tried my hand at some chevrons.

My verdict on the Cherry Fudge Brownie Torte? Nailed it!
Sorry Mr. Hines, your services are no longer required.
Thanks April for this week's great pick. For more on this and other TWD fun, check out the blogroll.

October 13, 2009

Cup Size Matters

No, not that kind of cups, I'm talking muffin cups. Geez, get your minds out of the gutter. Gawd.
Anyway, there was a lot of talk on the P & Q this week about Allspice Crumb Muffins, specifically about streusel topping spillage. My solution: extra large muffin liners. I won't even go near a crumb topped recipe without them. I mean what's that point of all that buttery, sugary goodness sliding off your muffin onto the tin and surrounding oven surface? Or only filling the batter halfway and stunting what should be a beautiful muffin top?

Got spillage? Get bigger cups.

For more muffin information (and less innuendo), check out the Tuesdays With Dorie blogroll.

October 11, 2009


Halloween, it's not just for kids...or humans.

Photos and art direction by Ricki & Michael Finnan

October 9, 2009

Chip Which?

I never met a chocolate chip cookie I didn't like. No matter how many different cakes, pies and ice creams come out of my kitchen, nothing truly satisfies my sweet tooth like warm cookies and a glass of milk . Traditional, Oatmeal Milk Chocolate, or World Peace Cookies...which chip would you choose?

Seriously help me out here people, I'm stumped.

October 7, 2009

To Bisque Or Not To Bisque

It is finally starting to feel like fall around here, a season which brings out my inner soupaholic. Yeah that's right, I'm going to come right out and admit I'm addicted to soups, making it and eating it, and I have no intention of stopping. Of course my food magazine obsession is certainly an enabler here- last week it was Two Bean Soup With Kale from Cooking Light and this week, Fennel Apple Bisque.
Sunset had a huge section of irresistible looking soups but the bisque was at the top of the list. A few minor alterations to the original recipe resulted in a smooth, mildly sweet soup. I'm hooked.

Fennel Apple Bisque
adapted from Sunset, October '09
1 fennel bulb, chopped, fronds saved for garnish
1 large fuji apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp butter
freshly grated nutmeg, salt & pepper

Melt butter in a large saucepan and saute onions until tender. Add vegetable stock, apples and fennel and bring to a boil. Simmer until fennel is soft, about 15 minutes. Puree soup in a blender, thinning with more stock is necessary. Reheat soup in the pan and season to taste.

October 6, 2009

Picking Up The Slack

Last post September 15. Serious blog neglect? Guilty as charged.
It's not that I haven't been baking, it's that with 2 part time jobs I either haven't been baking at home or I haven't had the time to photograph it before it was consumed. Last week, I actually had a small sliver of time to make the Chocolate Crunched Caramel Tart for a friend's potluck. It came out great and went over like gangbusters but it's fabulousness went undocumented here. After reading about everyone's experiences at Blogher Food (sign me up for '10) , it's time for me to redirect my energies in the direction of this site which means less talk, more pudding. Specifically this week's TWD, Split Level Pudding.

With no actually baking involved, I felt I should at least try something new and made Milk Chocolate Caramel Pudding. Back in the days before I realized how easy and utterly awesome homemade pudding is, I used to buy those Jello pudding cups all the time. Never again.
To make the ganache I substituted good quality milk chocolate chips for the bittersweet chocolate and let it set up at room temperature. The caramel pudding is adapted from a recipe pulled from Food & Wine. My recipe binder is currently overflowing with a glut of torn magazine pages, some of them so old the ingredients are out of season!
Milk Chocolate Caramel Pudding was a great place to start.

Caramel Pudding
adapted from F&W, March '09
1 quart whole milk
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp corn starch
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch fleur de sel
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp water
1 tbsp butter, at room temperature

Whisk together 1/2 cup milk, corn starch, vanilla and salt and set aside. In a large saucepan combine sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Do not stir. Allow sugar to cook until it turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the remaining milk. Be careful as it may sputter and foam up quite a bit. Put back on the heat and whisk until the caramel dissolves into the milk. Reduce to a simmer until slightly thickened and darker in color. Remove from the heat to whisk in the cornstarch mixture then cook over medium heat until pudding is very thick- this takes about a minute. Strain pudding into a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the butter and pulse again until smooth. Pour into ramekins, cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.