Monday, June 28, 2010

Homemade vanilla ice cream with mock reese peanut butter cups.

Homemade vanilla ice cream with mock reese peanut butter cups.  Heaven.
My birthday gift to myself was an ice cream maker attachment for my beloved KitchenAid stand mixer.  I have vague memories of making ice cream when I was little, and have always heard homemade is incredible, but I really didn't know what I was in for.  The first ice cream I made was peanut butter chocolate chip, and although it was awesome, it sadly went undocumented because I took it out of the freezer to photograph, then forgot about it and it all melted away.  Sad.
The end of last week had me bemoaning being sick with a sinus infection.  I was in some sort of illness purgatory -- too sick to read textbooks or write papers, but not quite sick enough not to drag my ass into the kitchen and bake something.  I was unsure what to make, flipping through bookmarks to find some sort of inspiration.  Then I remembered my ice cream bowl was ready and frozen in the freezer.  And then I remembered I had all the ingredients to make some mock Reese Peanut Butter Cup bars.  I practically had a stroke from the joy of what I was about to create.  I think I called about 5 people to shout incoherently about peanut butter and frozen mixer attachments.
This ice cream creation really lived up to my dreams.  The Reese bars taste just like the real thing.  The vanilla ice cream so incredibly creamy, smooth, and rich.  It makes store bought taste like plastic.  

This ice cream maker is going to be working hard this summer.  What are some of your favourite ice cream recipes?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

Hands down the best blueberry muffins I've ever had.

I really wish I had doubled the recipe for these Blueberry Crumb muffins.  They went faster than my Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (if only because there weren't as many).  They're so tasty-- incredibly moist and tender, and the crumb topping adds the perfect sweetness.  

I used whole wheat flour, and threw in an extra few raspberries, and they were still delicious.  I find sometimes recipes don't hold up the same taste-wise with WW, but not these babies.  They were so good, I'm tempted to make an extra batch of them today.

They want you to eat them, okay?

** recipe and photos have been updated

Thursday, June 24, 2010

White Velvet Cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache

Rose Levy Beranbaum's White Velvet Cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache is the perfect blend of two classics.

The perfect vanilla cake is an elusive thing, non?  More often than not it's too crumbly, too bland, too heavy, too never-as-good-as-chocolate.  I know a lot of people resort to box mixes for vanilla cakes (a controversial topic, no doubt), but I have kept searching.  And alas, all the hard work (that should probably now be transfered to the gym) has paid off.  Because this cake is it: the absolute perfect vanilla cake.

But the credit for this masterpiece goes to my mom.  I gave her my copy of RLB's Heavenly Cakes, with several of my must-try recipes tagged, and let her choose one to make for my birthday.  She chose wisely.  Thanks, Mom!

If you haven't picked up a copy of RLB's Heavenly Cakes, please do.  It's so amazing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Big (and Best) Chocolate Chip Cookies

My new favourite chocolate chip cookies:

I thought I had already found the perfect chocolate chip cookies, but I was wrong.  So, so wrong.

These new ones, made for my birthday in addition to the copycat Momofuku cookies, blew the others away.  They bake up perfectly, and they're the ideal texture-- not quite cakey, and not too chewy.  The dough isn't too sweet and the semi-sweet chocolate complements it perfectly.  I cannot envision a better cookie.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Copycat Momofuku Cornflake Marshmallow cookies

It was my 25th (!!!) birthday yesterday, and I celebrated with good friends and good cookies.

Not good looking cookies, but good tasting cookies.  

The first to be featured are these Copycat Momofuku Cornflake Marshmallow cookies. I hear a lot about Momofuku; apparently they produce some quality goods that people go batshit over.  These mock cookies have a little bit of everything in them-- a salty-sweet combo of oats, cornflakes, chocolate, and sprinkled with kosher salt.  They were good, but they weren't spectacular.  I know they went over well with my friends, so I'm thinking that either my expectations were too high, or my tastebuds were marred by the other cookies I made. (Their time will come, don't you worry).  But these are pretty easy to whip up, and I'm sure they could be fun to experiment putting different things into the mix.

See?  A bit homely.

There were also some delicious pretzel dogs, but unfortunatly no flattering pictures of those were taken.  Just this:

There will be a pretzel dog do-over.  They were magical, and I want to be able to properly share the love with you all.

PS.  Join me on facebook and twitter!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Batman Cake

Behold the cake of (in)arguably the best superhero of all time, Batman.
This cake was made for a girlfriend from school, whose husband has the best birthdate ever (June 19th!).  The cake is chocolate with a rich buttercream, and the buildings and batman logo are pre-made black fondant-- super easy to apply!  I'm really happy with how it turned out, and I hope they enjoy it.

Happy Birthday, Trevor!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Midnight Ganache Cake

Meet perfection:

Yesterday I made a cake.  A cake that tastes so incredible your eyes water once the first bite sets in, and you try to hold back the tears. A cake so beautiful it's like staring into the face of baby jesus himself.

This cake was ordered for the birthday of a girl who wanted a chocolate ganache cake and strawberries.  I hope she enjoyed it.  I was a little jealous, but I managed to sneak a mini cupcake out of the batter for myself to try.  How could I not?

It's a Midnight Chocolate Ganache Cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Heavenly Cakes.  I've baked a few of her cakes (Woody's Lemon Luxury Layer Cake included) and each one is so amazing.  This one did not disappoint.  The cake is made with extremely dark (85-99%) chocolate, and has a really clean chocolate taste-- rich, but not at all sickly sweet.  It's just really good.  And the ganache.  Oh my god, the ganache.  It's made by adding homemade caramel sauce to really dark chocolate, and when ready is the texture of softened butter.  I cannot even describe the wonder.  Can you see how this ganache glistens?  The texture like soft, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate fudge.

Rose Levy Beranbaum is my now my everything. 

Praise to RLB.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Soft Pretzels

I love pretzels.  So much.  They can satisfy nearly any food craving, easily covering carb and salt frenzies.  And if you want something sweet you can dip them in chocolate. Chocolate!  What more could you want?

But earlier this week my stomach did not want.  It did not want anything at all, in fact.  I thought that maybe it was on overload, from all the baking, and also stress from the ridiculous semester I'm attempting.  Now I'm thinking it was just bored, because yesterday I bought myself an early birthday present (it will be featured in many posts to come, don't worry), one so exciting it seems to have jolted my poor tummy back to normal. So today was a good day, because today I wanted pretzels.

Although they look complicated-- what with all the twisting, and the kneading, and the yeasting-- pretzels are quite simple and basic to make.  I love all the downtime, as it allows lots of time to do homework (and also absolutely nothing productive!).  But a word of caution: do not spend all morning before you bake meticulously scrubbing your kitchen, because boiling the pretzels in the baking soda water will fuck that shit up.  

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

How adorable are these?

My boyfriend gave me these cute-as-hell polka dot cupcake liners the other day, and I just knew they'd be perfect for some retro-classic cupcakes.  After much debate, I decided on chocolate chip cupcakes, vanilla buttercream, and sprinkles.  Simple and cute.  

The cupcake recipe is from Martha Stewart, and is interesting because it only uses egg whites. The result is a light, moist vanilla cupcake with the perfect amount of chocolate.  

Chocolate chip cupcakes sometimes make me a bit leery, because it feels like they teeter on the brink of cupcake/muffin (a line that doesn't even really exist-- as I inquired about on my facebook).  These, however, are sweet and delicate, and most definitely cupcake.

But alas, they were not for me.  They went off to be sold at my aunt's store, Hal & June's Meats and Deli.  If you're in Tsawwassen BC, please stop by and pick up some of my goodies on the weekends!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I love muffins.  I love how easy they are to make, how many varieties there are, and how convenient they are for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  Needless to say, I'm always looking for new recipes.  So I was pretty happy when I came across this one that claimed to be some of the best muffins ever.  Well, they were right.

I don't think you can go wrong with a peanut butter/banana/chocolate combo.  These muffins are divine.  Normally I like to freeze some, for a handy breakfast or snack in the future, but these didn't make it that far.  Two days later and they're gone!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Black & White Cookie

Look to the cookie, Elaine.  Look to the cookie.

Ever since that episode of Seinfeld, I've been intrigued by the black and white cookie.  (And chocolate babka, but that's for another time).  Much like snickerdoodles, black and white cookies lack popularity here.  I've never seen one in a bakery, and I had never had one either.  This week it was time to put a stop to that nonsense.

The black and white cookie does not disappoint.  I was surprised by how completely different they are from what I imagined.  I had always pictured them as sort of a glorified sugar cookie, but they're closer to a whoopie pie in consistency.  The cookie is soft and cake-like, with a wonderful vanilla flavour.  The glaze is light with a hint of lemon, which combines perfectly with the cocoa.  They're heaven.

So please, look to the cookie.  The cookie has it right.


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