Saturday, March 27, 2010

Playing Catch Up

I've kept up with my one a week challenge, but not posting. SO! Let me run through my reactions.

Last week I made the Car Bomb Cupcakes. These were a bit of work. I was working in the kitchen non-stop for about two and half hours to make the batter, filling, and icing, and then putting them together. Let me tell you what, these smelled strong. I'm not a fan of Bailey's so I didn't try them. I could tell just from the scent that they would be too strong for me to be a fan. My husband thought they were fine, but said he would have preferred them without the filling. He thought that pushed them a bit over the top. They were really well received at work and by a few others that tried them though. It seems if you like Bailey's you will love these.

Before that I made my first batch of Triple Chocolate Biscotti using a recipe from my favorite Better Homes and Gardens cook book. This was a really easy recipe. My only issue was that the batter was so ridiculously sticky!! I tried just flouring my hands...not good enough. I ended up adding flour, though I don't remember how much because I did it just a bit at a time. The final cookie was great though. :)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white baking pieces
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Stir in white baking pieces and semisweet chocolate pieces.

2. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 9-inch-long roll. Place rolls on prepared cookie sheet; flatten each to about 2 inches wide.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

4. Transfer rolls to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut each roll diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the 325 degree F oven for 8 minutes. Turn slices over and bake for 7 to 9 minutes more or until dry and crisp (do not overbake). Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool. Makes 32 cookies.

Before that was the already mentioned Chocolate Caramel Espresso Chews. These were fantastic. Be careful not to overfill the cups or they will bloom into a muffin top which just loves to rip off the top...and they're so puffy they want to destroy themselves when you push in the rolo. The second set I filled less and they were perfect! I ate one or two warm, but they were sooo much better the next day when then became really chewy which I love!

I feel I'm forgetting a week, but can't think of what I made. Hmmmm. I'll go back through and see if I can't find what it was.

The PW chocolate cake is still our favorite, with the chews being a close second. I have a feeling I'll be making a repeat of the cake soon as graduation is coming up and we'll have people over. I think I might do cupcakes with it this time.

March Daring Bakers' Challenge

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

You can't even see the cookie in my picture and that was my favorite part. I grabbed the wrong size cutter when molding these and didn't realize it until I put the cookie on top so they were kind of overwhelmed by the whip. :) The whip actually looks quite nice in the finished product...I was worried when I pulled it out of the fridge because it was quite pocked, but it smoothed out quite nicely!

I was terribly disappointed that this was my first Daring Baker's Challenge. I don't like oranges...I love the smell...peel them for people whenever I get the chance...but hate the matter how hard I try, I just can't like them. I was going to do lemons, but I thought it would be lemon overload, and my husband prefers oranges.

The actual making of this dessert was not enjoyable in the slightest. None of the steps were particularly difficult, but the whole thing was just finicky. A lot of stirring and beating and careful work all for a dessert neither I nor my husband was very interested in eating. I was especially frustrated with making the marmalade. Spring may have officially hit, but it is still cold and the produce section of my markets is still pitiful. The oranges I could get were pitiful! These would have turned out better with store bought marmalade. I made some of them up with plain old cool whip rather than the homemade whipped cream with orange marmalade. I have a feeling the husband will prefer that.

Oh well! It is done! Haven't tried it yet as my husband is away on business. He'll eat it tomorrow...or try to. I hope next month is more fun! :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

I've been MIA

I know, I'm super lame. I have a hundred computer go a virus, I am WAY behind on my thesis and have been trying to catch up, my mother in law flew in from England, my camera batteries died and I packed away all my spares. All true, but still lame.

Despite this lameness, I am still on track baking something new every weekend. and I even have pictures ready to create posts with. But today is for thesis work only. I will start posting again throughout the week though.

To get ready for St. Patrick's Day (possibly my weekend baking trial) I think you should take a look at car bomb cupcakes over at Annie's Eats. What's more Irish than Guinness and Bailey's? I'm thinking a bit of green food coloring might really push these over the top.