July
19
Filed Under (Sweet Stuff) by Coco on 19-07-2009

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I’ve always wanted to try making cake balls.  The whole idea just looks like fun.  I’ve seen them on other sites and thought I would definitely have to give them a go some day.

Well hubby got promoted recently so why not use that as an excuse to make some for him to take into the office right?  Easy as can be.

The recipe below uses a boxed cake mix but if you can’t get your hands on one or would just prefer to make it your red velvet cake from scratch here is the recipe.

Red Velvet & Cream Cheese Cake Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 box red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines – cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
  • 1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
  • Parchment or wax paper.
Red Velvet & Cream Cheese Cake Balls

Red Velvet & Cream Cheese Cake Balls

Method:

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with the cream cheese frosting.  I used a wooden spoon to mix it around.
3. Using a melon baller or teaspoon roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet covered with parchment.   You can also use a mini ice-cream scoop but I’m a hands on kinda gal.
4. Chill for several hours. I froze mine for two hours.
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on parchment until firm.  (I dropped the balls into the chocolate, completely covered them and then scooped them up with a fork and tapped on the side of the bowl until most of the excess chocolate came off.)

I also only melt a few pieces of chocolate bark at a time because it starts to cool and thicken. It’s easier to work with when it’s hot.

I refrigerated mine again until ready to pack up and send to the office.

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July
17
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Coco on 17-07-2009

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My favourite drink is an Arnold Palmer – half iced tea, half lemonade. Paula Deen’s recipe for a cupcake by the same name didn’t receive very good reviews so I set out to make my own.  And yes, it uses a box cake mix… I know, culinary purists are mortified, but hey, cake mixes are perfected and a great time saver, so I say go ahead, there are no rules in your own kitchen!

Oh and don’t forget to pop on over to Kitchen Rap to see the Summer 2009 Cupcake Crawl! Vote for these cupcakes or my “You’ll go bananas” entry…

Yield: Approx 18 cupcakes
Prep time: 10 mins
Bake time: 17-20 mins

Ingredients:
1 Betty Crocker or similar super moist lemon box cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups milk
3 Large Eggs
4 White Tea Bags or loose leaf equivalent.

Lemon & White Tea Cupcakes

Lemon & White Tea Cupcakes

_______
Method:

Preheat oven to 350F. Either spray a cupcake pan or line with cupcake papers.

Heat milk to around 130F and steep tea bags or leaf for five minutes. Strain milk through fine sieve or strainer to remove any tea leaves. Allow milk to cool before adding to mixture so as not to cook the eggs.

In a mixing bowl, add cake mix, tea infused milk, oil and eggs. Beat on medium speed for two minutes. Scrape side and bottom of bowl to ensure no dry mix left.

Fill cupcake pan to three quarters full and bake for around 17-20 mins. Cupcakes should be golden and spring back on top when depressed slightly.

Cool completely before frosting with your favourite lemon buttercream. Finish off by zesting some fresh lemon rind across the top.

These are more lemon flavoured with just a hint of the tea. I will be trying out different tea types in future batches. Enjoy!

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July
17
Filed Under (Sweet Stuff) by Coco on 17-07-2009

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Some people collect stamps, others like me, collect recipe books.  But what’s the good of owning all these glorious tomes if I don’t actually pull them off the shelf and try out some of the recipes.  I’ve made lemon bars before but this time I’m going to be using Ina Garten’s recipe.  Nothing says summer more than lemon flavoured desserts.

Ina Garten’s Lemon Bars

Ingredients

Crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Ina Garten's Lemon Bars

Ina Garten's Lemon Bars

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt.  With the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed.   Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling.  Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into desired sized bars or triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.


Ok, so I like this recipe. My daughter thought they got a bit “rubbery” after being refrigerated overnight but when you are trying them at a 2am fridge raid, who knows what they taste like? I found that if I microwaved a lemon bar for around 20 seconds, they were returned to their “warm out of the oven” state and were still very tasty and enjoyable.

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July
05
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Coco on 05-07-2009

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Why is it that when you take your eyes off the fruit bowl for one day the bananas end up black and overripe?  I hate to see fruit go bad and luckily when it’s bananas you can still use them for yummy banana bread or in this case banana cupcakes!

Be sure to visit Kitchen Rap & Gourmet Girl’s 2009 Summer Cupcake Crawl to vote on the luscious cupcake entries.. of course a vote for me would be great too!

Banana Cupcakes

Banana Cupcakes


Ingredients

4oz (125g) butter
6oz (175g) sugar
2 eggs
2 large mashed ripe bananas (or 3 med sized)
1 tsp Baking soda
2 Tbsp boiling milk
1 tsp baking power
8oz (225g) flour

Method

  1. Cream butter & sugar for around 2 minutes preferably in your stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Or you can do it by hand if you’re up to it!
  2. Add eggs one at a time.
  3. Add mashed bananas.
  4. Add baking soda that has been dissolved in hot milk.
  5. Lastly mix in sifted flour & baking powder.

Spoon into cupcake papers and bake at 350 deg F for around 20 mins.  They should begin to get golden on top but don’t over bake.

Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk, (or you can use heavy cream for thicker glaze)
  • extract/flavoring – I used Banana and it was great!
  1. Melt 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter in a saucepan or microwave.
  2. Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a medium size bowl.
  3. Add the melted butter to the powdered sugar.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of milk.
  5. If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla for flavor.
  6. Beat until smooth and creamy, adding a little more milk if necessary.
  7. Drizzle over a cooled cake.

Tips:

  1. For a richer and creamier glaze, use heavy cream in place of the milk.
  2. Substitute citrus juice for the milk and add a little grated zest for a citrus glaze.


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July
05
Filed Under (Sweet Stuff) by Coco on 05-07-2009

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My husband eats most everything I make for him. However, he does have an absolute all time favourite – Chocolate Chip Cookies.

This recipe is the one from the book “Baking” by Dorie Greenspan.  It’s a fabulous recipe and one that I make often.  Nonetheless, we’ve all tried recipes out of books or from the internet that just haven’t worked out right?  Right!

Part of my adventures in baking lead me to try other cooks recipes.  Why not?  They have already put a lot of hard work into perfecting their recipes and part of my challenge is to see if I can reproduce the item in my own kitchen under my own circumstances.  Is it more humid where I live?  Have I measured my ingredients correctly?  How does my oven compare?  So many differences have to be factored in even when using a tried and true recipe.

This recipe turned out great even in a humid kitchen in Oklahoma, with an original 1960s oven.  They are disappearing quickly as I write this so they musn’t be too bad or the locals are just plain starving!

45 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips or 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional) or pecans (optional)
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Directions

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes inches Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts.
  4. Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
  5. Bake the cookies- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10-12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that’s just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.
  6. Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.
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