37 cooks, baking, lock-n-load java, mocha cupcakes, ridiculous buttercream

‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ Cupcakes

I’m coming up for air this week, trying to rest my brain after a week of studying and an extremely wonderful cheese tasting class with the staff of Bar Lola.  Thank you all for the card and humoring me and my dozen and a half cheeses on your Monday evening. 

So, I’ll let my most recent post from 37 Cooks speak for itself.  And I would recommend getting some “Lock-N-Load” Kona Coffee when you can. Made a nice cuppa.

‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ Cupcakes with Macadamia Nuts
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker “Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream”


Cupcakes:

1-1/3 all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk
½ cup double strength brewed Lock-N-Load Java Charlie Don’t Surf Kona blend
1½ teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature

1. Mix the espresso powder into the brewed coffee until dissolved; set aside to cool to room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners.

3. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. Beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, brewed coffee mixture and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee mixture, ending with the flour mixture.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the liners. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.


Espresso Cream Cheese Frosting:

(Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes)

1/2 cup 1 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, brought to room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons espresso powder

1. Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.

2. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two. Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.

Standard
a reason to eat caramel, baking, baking while baked, brown eyed baker, candy bar pie, caramel anything

Take 5 Candy Bar Pie

It’s candy AND it’s pie?

GTFO.

Actually, it shouldn’t be much of a shock considering that Momofuku Milk Bar does it’s own naughy nougaty version of Candy Bar Pie (see the picture above from Serious Eats) and there are various recipes for pies out there naming themselves after popular candy bars. And, because I’ll make anything as an excuse to eat a pint of caramel, coming across a Brown Eyed Baker recipe for a Take 5 Candy Bar pie, was an easy temptation.

I didn’t even know what a Take 5 bar consisted of until I read the recipe and then found myself thinking, “Fuck. I need to stop doing this to myself.” But chocolate, pretzels, caramel, pecans and peanut butter all in one pie is pretty hard to resist.  So, I quickly ignored my inner thoughts and threw together the richest pie I do believe I have ever baked–or, rather, chilled. That’s right, we now have something to rival Crack Pie.

One change to the recipe is that I used toasted pecans instead of the peanuts that are called for in the recipe because I had them on hand.

For the Pretzel Crust:
4 ounces pretzel sticks, finely ground in a food processor or blender
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Caramel Sauce:
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

For the Pie:
½ cup creamy peanut butter, melted
1/3 cup prepared caramel sauce
¼ cup coarsely chopped peanuts
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

1. Make the Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the ground pretzels, melted butter, and sugar. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and chill in the refrigerator until firm, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, Make the Caramel Sauce. Whisk the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium-size heavy saucepan until well combined. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the sugar mixture, without stirring, until it becomes a rich caramel color, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream until the caramel sauce is smooth, using caution as the mixture may bubble up. (If the sauce seizes, stir it over low heat until the hardened caramel is melted.) Whisk in the butter and set aside.

3. Assemble the Pie: Smooth the warmed peanut butter evenly over the bottom of the pretzel crust. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Pour the caramel sauce over the peanut butter layer and gently spread with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the caramel layer. Refrigerate for another 10 minutes. Finish with a smooth layer of melted chocolate. Refrigerate the pie until the chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. Pie can then remain at room temperature until serving. If you have leftovers, cover with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator.


Standard
baking, baking while baked, getting to like foods, mallow cookies, mallows, marshmallows

Warming Up To Marshmallows

I was in the middle of making a batch of Mallow cookies when the realization kind of hit me.

I no longer loathe marshmallows.

For many, this wouldn’t be quite a significant moment. For me, it actually was.

Marshmallows and I had an understanding, you see. I would tolerate them enough to let them swim around in, and thicken up, my Swiss Miss but, otherwise, I didn’t want to see their weird cork shaped bodies. Peeps were given away, out of disgust, at Easter time and Fluffernutters were just not a part of my childhood. Rocky Road was never as appealing as Mint Chocolate Chip in the summer. I was so ambivalent about them that I would even wrinkle my nose at a perfectly toasted campfire marshmallow on a stick. My first S’mores, to my recollection, was had just a few years ago when my sister and nephews came to visit.

My aversion was always a combination of flavor (too sugary) and texture (too spongy). Outside of creating a sugar raft in my hot chocolate their only other purpose, I thought, was to bind together a batch of Rice Krispie treats. They were the bastard, underdeveloped cousin to my beloved nougat and I avoided them, or anything with them, whenever I could.

Then, sometime over the past 8 1/2 years of living in Maine, I stopped detesting them so much (That is not to say that I have openly accepted Peeps into my life, though, because I haven’t. That is one sugary confection I don’t quite get). I can’t quite say that I ever imagined that I would embrace them, let alone be standing in the kitchen pouring boiling, gelatinous simple syrup into a bowl of whipped egg whites. But, there’s something slightly satisfying when you realize that you’ve grown into liking foods that you had such a loathing of when you were younger.

So, here is to the marshmallow and our new understanding of one another.

Mallows (Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)

For the Cookies:
3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
3 eggs, whisked together

For the marshmallows:
1/4 cup (60ml) water
1/4 cup (60ml) light corn syrup
3/4 cup (170 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 egg whites, room temperature
1 whole vanilla bean, split open and seeded

For the chocolate glaze:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

Prepare the cookies:
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy. Add the eggs and mix until combine. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.

Prepare the marshmallows:
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites. Add the vanilla seeds and continue whipping until stiff. Transfer to a pastry bag.

Prepare the chocolate glaze:
Melt the chocolate and shortening together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

To assemble:
Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the warm chocolate glaze. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Standard
baking, baking while baked, holiday cookies, holidays, momofuku, momofuku milk bar recipes, sugar highs

Mother F**king Holiday Cookies

I’m in the thick of it now–holiday madness at work. On my days off this week I’ve baked approximately 15 dozen cookies to give to friends and coworkers. I’m burnt out and reeling from a pretty fucking big sugar crash. So, without breaking out the hyperbole… I’ll just give you some holiday cookie recipes.


(from the bottom, up)

Momofuku Marshmallow, Cornflake and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies (adding peppermint candy and chocolate chips to the mix)
Peanut Butter and Bacon Cookies

Pecan Caramel Cookies

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies



Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookies
(I used left over Cornflake Crunch from the Marshmallow cookie, cocoa nibs, pretzels, dark chocolate chips and marshmallows)

Standard
baking, brunch everyday, caiola's, homemade, homemade pop tarts

Homemade Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop Tarts


It is absolutely no secret that I love Caiola’s Pop Tart. I have since passed that love on to friends, my sister and my mother. Now, because of the wonder and joy that is Chow.com–and their Make Your Own Pop Tart project–I’m making these bitches at home instead of enjoying them every few months on a rare Sunday off from work.

They are a bit labor intensive but they are worth every speck of flour you clean off of your counters.

TIME/SERVINGS

Total: 1 hr 20 mins, plus dough chilling time and tart cooling time
Active:
Makes: 6 pop tarts


INGREDIENTS
“For the dough: “
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine salt
2 sticks 8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup milk not nonfat

“For the brown sugar–cinnamon filling:”
5 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
5 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

“To assemble the tarts:”
Flour, for rolling the dough
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

“For the glaze:”
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
4 teaspoons milk, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

For the dough:
1. Whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until combined. Add the butter and toss
with your fingers until well coated in the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or your fingers,
cut the butter into the dry ingredients until reduced to pea-size pieces.

2. Whisk the egg yolks and milk in a small bowl until combined. Add the egg-milk mixture to the flour
mixture and mix with your hands until large clumps form. Turn the mixture out onto a work surface
and knead briefly, smearing the butter into the dough with the heel of your palm until the dough
completely comes together, about 1 minute.

3. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and shape into 2 (6-by-5-inch) rectangles. Wrap each tightlyin plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the filling.

For the brown sugar–cinnamon filling:
1. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until evenly combined; set aside.

To assemble the tarts:
1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll 1 dough portion out into a rough 12-by-10-inch
rectangle, rotating the dough and reflouring the surface and rolling pin often to prevent the dough
from sticking. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, trim the dough to a 10-1/2-by-9-inch
rectangle. Cut that into 6 equal rectangles (each about 3 1/2 inches wide by 4 1/2 inches tall).
Using a flat spatula, transfer the rectangles to the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches
of space between each. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator.

3. Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl until evenly combined; set aside.

4. Roll out the second dough portion to the same dimensions as the first, trim, and cut into 6
rectangles. Using a fork, prick the dough all over.

5. Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and brush a thin coating of the egg wash over each dough rectangle. Divide the brown sugar–cinnamon filling among the rectangles. Spread the filling into an even layer, leaving a 3/4-inch border.

6. Place the pricked rectangles on top of the brown sugar–cinnamon-covered rectangles. Press on the
edges to adhere, and push down gently on the filling to slightly flatten. Using a fork dipped in
flour, crimp the edges of the tarts. Bake until golden brown, about 23 to 25 minutes. Transfer to
a wire rack and let cool completely before glazing.

For the glaze:
1. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until evenly combined. (You may need to add
more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon if the glaze is too thick.)

2. Set the wire rack with the tarts on it over a baking sheet. Using a spoon, drizzle about 1
tablespoon of the glaze over each tart. Let set before eating, about 15 minutes.

Standard
a reason to eat caramel, baking, caramel anything, homemade, homemade girl scout cookies, samoas

Why I Should Listen to the Missus


Naked Samoas

‘I want this
,’ is all her email said, followed by a link to a baking blog that had a homemade version of the Girl Scout Somoas Cookies–or, for those who are up on the name changes of GSA sold cookies, Caramel Delites.

I told her no and deleted the email. Truthfully, I’m not a huge fan of Girl Scout Cookies and never have been. Maybe it’s something residual because I wasn’t a Brownie or a Scout, though both of my sisters temporarily were(we have a problem with follow through in our family). Sure, there was always a box or two of Thin Mints hanging out in our freezer when I was growing up–the supply seemed to respawn itself whenever we were getting low–but I just wasn’t really smitten with them. Now, as an adult, I will only admit to having a wee bit of badge envy.

Aside from random cravings, I try not to bring preservative filled snacks into the house so we’ve been GSA Cookie free for the past 3-4 years. Every year I have to turn down a co-workers proposal that we just order ‘a box or two’ to help his daughter with sales. I work in sales, so don’t try the heartstrings tug on me because I’m pretty damn impervious to it(unless you’re trying to sell me a kitten or puppy and, for them, I will crumble). After two weeks of the sign up sheet being hung up out back, I resisted all temptation and made it through another year without buying over priced cookies. Hooray for me.

Then, Valentines Day came and the Missus bought me the most thoughtful and amazing present and I realized what a selfish ass I was for not getting her a box or two of her favorite(Samoa’s) and spent the better part of a week trying to find her original email to me, asking for some cookies. But, that email was long lost to the trash bin and a simple Google search retrieved this one, though I opted for the much easier to make bars.

Homemade Samoas Bars
Cookie Base:

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

First, make the crust.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

Topping
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

  1. Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.
  2. Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
  3. When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).
  4. Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.
  5. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 30 bar cookies.

Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.

I did opt to make my own caramel using this recipe and cutting the amounts in half, ignoring the set up for the pan for the caramel to set in and picked up the above topping recipe halfway through step #1 where you are asked to stir in the coconut.

1 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cups half-and-half cream, divided
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • (Line a 13-in. x 9-in. pan with foil; butter the foil. Set aside.) In a Dutch oven, combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1 cup cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Slowly stir in remaining cream. Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 250° (hard-ball stage), stirring frequently. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla until well mixed, about 5 minutes.
  • (Pour into prepared pan. Cool. Remove foil from pan; cut candy into 1-in. squares. Wrap individually in waxed paper; twist ends.) Yield: 1 pounds.

The caramel, because I opted to cut down the recipe, was barely deep enough to give a reading on my candy thermometer. And, because I didn’t want to repeat a bad caramel result, I used the old tried and true, though not very scientific, method of testing the caramel in a glass of cold water. If it held its shape, it was at the hard ball stage–if not, it was still on that side of too gooey. My caramel turned out a hair over the hard ball stage which made it hard to just bite into the bars without fear that a tooth would get cracked. However, the simple act of cutting the bars into quarters and storing them in a container, took away that fear.

But, in the end–for as self-critical as I am–the result brought a smile to the Missus’ face and that’s all that mattered.

Standard