Monday, June 28, 2010

Yummy Chocolate Frosting

I feel like it is so hard to find a truly good chocolate frosting. This frosting recipe is a cross between my mom's recipe and my own. It is yummy and I use it for brownies, cakes and cupcakes. Also you can take this recipe and leave out the cocoa and add a 1/2 cup more confectioner's sugar and you have a yummy vanilla frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

1/3 - 1/2 cup butter, depending on how much butter you like, I like a lot
(at room temperature)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups confectioner's sugar

Using a stand mixer beat the butter (at room temperature) until smooth and fluffy. Then add the confectioner sugar one cup at a time, mixing until well incorporated. Then add the cocoa, mix well. Next add the milk, if the consistency is too dry, add a little more milk until it is the consistency you like (about 2-3 tablespoons). Lastly, add the vanilla. Once all ingredients are combined, turn mixer to medium and let mix for 5-6 minutes, stopping every few minutes to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Remember the longer you mix your frosting the smoother it will be and the fluffier the appearance.

You will not be disappointed with this recipe and will use it for most all your desserts. Mark my word.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tassie Cups with Whipped Lemon Curd Filling

I recently made some lemon curd and have so much left over that I have been trying to use it up and make fun concotions with it. What I love about lemon curd is that it will keep for up to three weeks, so it can be used for various desserts and recipes. So I did not want to let my lemon curd go to waste and was on a hunt to find a creative way to use it.

I came across a recipe for tassie cups, which is a butter cream cheese dough that makes little pie like crust cups, except the difference is these are a little thicker and a little richer due to the cream cheese. I thought I would use my lemon curd and some heavy whipping cream to creat a lighter mousse like taste and texture, topped off with whipped cream and a sliced strawberry for color. Thad being my tough and honest taste tester loved them and gave them a 10, so these are a must try. Another delicate dessert that is bite size that will melt in your mouth.

Tassie Cups
3 ounces of cream cheese (a cube is 8 ounces, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a food processor, combine the softened cream cheese, softened butter, flour and salt. Pulse and grind until the mixutre forms into a ball. Then get a strip of plastic wrap and place it on the counter. Place the dough onto the center of the plastic wrap and wrap tightly into a ball. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Once chilled divide dough into 24 little round half dollar size balls. Using a mini-cupcake pan place each ball in a cup (slightly greased). Pressing from the center out, press dough up the sides of the cup until the dough is evenly pressed up the cup. Then place them into the oven for 10-15 minutes until they are barely brown on the edges (mine took about 10 minutes).

Let the tassie cups cool completely, then remove them carefully from the pan and place on a cooling rack.

For the whipped curd take a half pint of heavy whipping cream and using a stand mixer, mix until the whip cream is pretty thick. Take out about a 1 1/2 cup whipping cream and set aside. Then using already made and cooled lemon curd, click for recipe here, mix 2 cups whipping cream and 1 cup lemon curd. Be careful that as you combine the two that you fold the curd into the whipping cream and not mix it. You want to keep the air in the mixture and stirring it will do the opposite.

Next take the 1 1/2 cups whipping cream and add a little drop of vanilla and a about 2 tablespoons powdered sugar to the mixture and stir.

Once the tassie cups are completely cooled, spoon in about a little over a tablespoon of whipped lemon curd into the cups (or fill until they are leveled with the tops of the cups). Then place a dabble of whip cream on top and for garnish and color, add a slice of strawberry.

This are light and delicious, a perfect summer treat!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lemon Curd Poppy Seed Mini Cupcakes

My mother-in-law Pat put me in charge of making something for a Tea she was hosting (A Tea is like a bridal shower in the West). Of course I was up for the challenge and love doing this sort of thing. I tossed and turned over what I was going to make and finally I decided to essentially make the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with lemon curd but alter the recipe to make mini cupcakes. I made 200 cupcakes, filled them with lemon curd and topped them with a whipping cream frosting. I even ordered pink cupcake holders to go with Emily's(the bride-to-be)colors. The process was a lot of fun, the finished product turned out fantastic and the cupcakes were like a little bit of heaven in your mouth.

So here is how I made these light and delicate treats.....

For this recipe I made the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake batter, click here for the recipe. I simply made the recipe and distributed the batter evenly in the mini-cupcake pan. I filled each cup a little under two-thirds full; baking at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (depending on your oven), making sure they did not over cook. One batch of the batter makes about 100 mini-cupcakes.

Next for the filling, I made lemon curd, click here for the recipe. Once the lemon curd is made let it cool, then place in the refrigerator until completely chilled.

Using a pear knife cut a small and thin round hole in each cupcake. You want to have the hole go down as far as possible without making a hold in the bottom of the cupcake, to prevent the filling from linking out the bottom of the cupcake.

After the holes are made, take an icing bag, fill it with chilled lemon curd and using a standard round tip, lightly and carefully fill each hole with the lemon curd until the curd is even with the top of the muffin.

Meanwhile, this is what Thad did all day Saturday while Pat and I were inside cooking.....which I can't really blame him for doing(We were at Pat and Ray's house)

Lastly, for the frosting, I used a Butter Cream Frosting that I found at Tidymom and loved the creamy texture of this frosting, especially with this lemony cupcake. See the recipe below. Make sure that before you pipe the frosting onto the cupcake you chill the frosting for at least 30 minutes. Also another tip my mother-in-law taught me was to not put too much frosting into the icing bag at one time because as you hold the bag your hand will warm the icing making it hard to work with.

Here are the cupcakes all ready to take to the Tea.

Butter Cream Frosting
1 cup real butter (not margarine) *room temperature
1 cup vegetable shortening
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/4 - 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer) thoroughly cream butter and shortening . Beat in the vanilla, mixing well. Add sugar, one cup at a time, stopping after each cup to scrape down the sides; mix until blended. When the sugar is completely beaten in and the sides of the bowl are scraped down, add the whipping cream, beating at the highest speed until super fluffy, for one to two minutes. Because of the whipping cream in this recipe it works best when chilled slightly but not too long. This is a great and light frosting, probably one of the best I have found.

So I hope you enjoy this great light dessert which is perfect for a bite size treat.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Another awesome cookbook..........

I came home from work to this cookbook sitting on the counter with a little note. I had told Thad I wanted this cookbook a while back and he ordered it for me. I was so so so excited, that I sat down in the arm chair in the living room and just looked through my new cookbook page by page, recipe by recipe.

Dorrie Greenspan is a food writer, cookbook author and a contributor for well known magazines like Parade mMgazine and Bon Appetit. She has "been the co-author on two cookbooks with Pierre Hermé, Paris's king of pastry, written the Café Boulud Cookbook with Daniel Boulud, the famous French chef in New York (and, lately, Palm Beach and Las Vegas), and had the great honor and terrific fun of writing Baking with Julia, the book that accompanied Julia Child's PBS Television Series". She also has a blog that is really fun to browse too. So thanks babe, so excited to experiment, try all these fabulous recipes and then share with you all the great recipes I find. Stay tuned......

Monday, June 7, 2010

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

I am always on the look out for yummy coconut desserts because my the hubs loves coconut and so do I. On Friday night we decided to have a relaxing evening at home which involved me cooking and the movie Avatar which we have been meaning to see for like the past forever. I had found a recipe for a cake called Coconut Tres Leches Cake. I read the ingredients and liked the sound of the recipe, so I decided I was going to make it. We went to the store and rented Avatar and got the ingredients.

When we got home I started on the recipe and Thad did a little chillaxin. It turned out delicious, moist and a perfect summer coconut cake. Thad also loved it, giving it a 10 on the Thad rating scale. It was even better on Saturday after sitting in the refrigerator for a day!

Coconut Tres Leches Cake

For the cake:
1 Box (18.25 Oz. Box) Yellow Cake Mix (or your favorite Yellow Cake Recipe)
For the Milk Syrup:
1 can (15 ounces) Cream of Coconut
1 can (12 ounces) Evaporated Milk
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

For Garnish:
Sweetened Whipping Cream
Toasted Coconut

Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the back of the cake box. Once mixed, pour entire batter into prepared baking dish. Bake according to box directions and watch carefully to make sure you do not over bake the cake. Once a butter knife or toothpick has been inserted into the cake and comes out clean, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack, letting it cool completely (about 1 hour).

While the cake is cooling, make the milk syrup; in a blender combine the cream of coconut,evaporated milk, cream and vanilla. Blend until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Once cake is cooled completely, with a fork or end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake. The more holes, the more the syrup will be able to soak into the cake, so poke a lot of holes, as many as possible. Then gently spoon milk syrup over the top of the cake with a large spoon or ladle until syrup is all gone. There may be some syrup sitting on top of the cake but don't worry it will take time to absorb.

Next cover the cake lightly with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator for 2 hours or more. I found that the longer it was in the refrigerator the better. This cake is very very very moist and because of that does not want to stay together completely, that is why the longer it has to set the better.

Next turn the oven to broil and set it for 400 degrees. Using about a half of a bag of sweetened coconut and place it on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 3-5 minutes watching it closely, since it can burn very easily. You just want the edges to be a light brown. Lastly whip up some whipping cream (adding a little vanilla and powdered sugar to taste).

Once all the other steps have been completed get ready to assembled the cake. Cut a piece of cake, place a small handful of coconut on the top of the cake, then a good heaping spoonful of whipping cream on top of the coconut, topped off with some more coconut.....yep pretty much divine. You won't be disappointed! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tortillas in no time....

Thad and I love Mexican and typically are almost always in the mood for it. When we give in to our mexican craving I almost always order cheese enchiladas with a side of flour tortiallas. I then proceed to place some of the enchilada in the flour tortilla and wrap it up and it eat it, Thad usually watches this process with a look of confusion and awe, like you are so odd. With my love of flour tortillas shared, I thought I would take on the task of making my own, not having any latin food credentials and being a gringa thought I would give making my own flour tortillas a go. I have mentioned in the past that I heart my subscriptions to my cooking magazines and always read them front to back. So in my June/July Taste of Home addition I found a recipe for homemade flour tortitllas. ......I was amazed and delighted by how easy and delicious these flour tortillas turned out to be. They have such a light and fresh taste and who does not like a fresh, warm flour tortilla?

Homemade Flour Tortillas
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil

To begin, clear a work surface where the dough will be worked, take about a 1/4 of a cup of flour and spread it onto the work surface. Using a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Stir together. Then add the water and oil. Stir the ingredients until they are just blended (be careful to not over stir). Turn dough out onto the already prepared work surface. Knead the dough about 5-6 times, the less it is handled the softer the tortillas will be, so be careful. Next divide the dough into 8 seperate balls (handling as little as possible).

With a rolling pin roll out each ball into 7 inch circles. I used a ruler to make sure each ball of dough was 7 inches, so that the tortillas have uniformed look.

Get out a small fry pan or skillet. Heat pan over medium heat for a few minutes befor using. Then spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Then place the 7 inch round into the pan over medium heat, cooking for a minute on each side, flipping with a flat spatula.

A little trick is to heat the oven to 200 degrees, placing a cookie sheet on the center rack. Place the cooked tortillas onto the cookie sheet, while cooking the rest of the dough. This recipe only makes 8, so if you are cooking for a larger party you can double or tripple this recipe.

So make these, you will be so impressed with yourself and feel so gourmet after making your own flour tortillas and honestly they are the highlight of any meal!

Adapted from Taste of Home