Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Top 100 (Update #1)

Well I am two months into this personal challenge of mine and I wanted to take this time to update my list.

I started out strong in September and completed many things off of my list, however in October I did not accomplish nearly as much… Or anything at all. October was a busy month with visiting and catching up with friends. So, with the Holidays and a few birthdays right around the corner, I plan to tackle some great holiday inspired dishes, special cakes, and inspired cupcakes in the very near future.

I also added some other things to my list and now I believe I have over 100 items on the list to complete, but it is always ever evolving.

Cakes, Cupcakes, and Mini-cakes
Moist Yellow Cake
Red Velvet Cake (New Recipe)
Carrot Cake (New Recipe)
Rum Cake
Petit Fours
Confetti Cake
Crumb Cake
German Chocolate Cake
Jelly Roll
Multi-Tired and Decorated Cake
Boston Cream Pie
Marble Cake
Yule Log
A Birthday cake for Mommy
Cake by mail
Almond Cake
Fruit Flavored Cake
Zebra Cake
Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes
Honey Spice Cake
Tres Leches Cake
Coconut Cake (from “Good Eats”)

Icing, Frostings, Cake Coverings, and Fillings
Whipped Cream Frosting
Pour Fondant
Marshmallow Fondant (That actually makes it onto a cake)
Italian Style Buttercream
French Style Buttercream
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (New Recipe)
Chocolate Buttercream
Chocolate Icing made with Melted Chocolate
Coconut Pecan Frosting (Icing for German Chocolate Cake)
7 minute Frosting
Fluffy Boiled Frosting
Fresh Strawberry Frosting
Fruit Puree Filling
Lemon Curd Filling
Rolled Buttercream

Pies, Pastries, and All Things Flaky or Fluffy
Peach Hand/Fry Pies
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Doughnuts (Baked)
Doughnuts (Fried)
Sticky Buns
Croquembouche-Cream Puffs
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Double Crust Pie
Latticed Top Pie
Pecan Pie
Cream Pie
Funnel Cake
Crack Pie

Cookies, Bars, and Brownies
White Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookie (New Recipe)
Traditional French Macrons
Lemon Bars
Graham Crackers
Short Bread
Waffle Cookies
Whoopie Pie
Checker Board Cookies
Stained-Glass Cookies
Roll-Out Sugar Cookie from Colored Sugar Cookie Dough
Cranberry Almond Bars

Yeast Breads, Quick Breads, and Muffins
Orange and Cranberry Muffins
Rosemary Bread
Hot Cross Buns
Potato Bread
Pumpernickel Bread
Monkey Bread
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Blueberry Muffins
Streusel Topped Muffin
Lemon Poppy Muffins
Bran Muffins
Cheese Bread

Desserts That Are Creamy and Ate With a Spoon
Banana Pudding (from scratch)
Chocolate Soufflé
Crème Brule
Bread Pudding
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
Chocolate Lava Cake
Fried Ice Cream

Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Browned Butter and Sage Sauce
Vegetarian Pot Pie
Spring Rolls

All Other Wonderful Things
Caramel Popcorn
Corn Dogs
Gingerbread House
Fruit Leather

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daring Baker’s October Challenge/ 7. Doughnuts

This entry has a semi-dual purpose, one a qualified success and the other one a total fail. Let’s start with the positive.
(I did not have a doughnut cutter; so, I used a cookie cutter and pastry tip.)

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious. After much recommendation and fanfair, I choose the Alton Brown Yeast Doughnut recipe. I was excited to try this recipe. I was trepadatious about two things however, 1) working with yeast [it never likes me] and 2) frying.

So, the Daring Baker’s part of the doughnuts were a quailified success in that I completed the challenge, but the results were not what was expected. Due to other commitments this month, I waited until the 26th to make the doughnuts. Therefore, when things went wrong, I did not have the opportunity to run to the store to buy or replace ingredients.

My doughnuts came out like fried dinner rolls. That is because I did not have any all purpose flour. I had to make due with bread flour. But, even more pressing on the texture of my doughnuts was that all of my yeast was dead. I tried all three envelopes and I got no foaming action when added to the hot water. So, instead of scraping the recipe and wasting the ingredients already mixed, I added two teaspons of baking powder to the last half of flour and then followed the rest of the recipe, minus the resting time to rise.

(I could not wait to fry all the doughnuts to take a bite. 
1st doughnut out of 1st batch--still warm and super yummy!)

I included the recipe below as I planned to follow it (adapted from Alton Brown’s recipt). Please be sure to check the other’s Dbers sucessful and gorgeous doughnuts.

(Doughnut holes)

So, now let’s talk abou the failure. Making doughnuts was on My Top 100 list. I was thinking “Great!” when the doughnut challenge was announced for daring bakers; “I can kill two birds with one stone.”

However, since I did not have the right flour or yeast and I was not happy with the texture, I deem this a fail, an incomplete. It will not count towards completetion of an item on my list. So, “7” in the title needs to be scrathed out… techincally.

Lastly, look to a post at the end of this month (or beginning of next) updating My Top 100 list to reflect completed items and additions to the list.

(Fresh out the fryer and pre sugar coating)

Yeast Doughnuts (modified from Alton Brown’s Recipe)

3/4 cup Milk
35 gm Butter
1 pk/ 1/4 oz Active Dry Yeast
40 ml Warm Water
1 Large Egg beaten
1 oz White Granulated Sugar
3/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 tsp Vanilla
2 1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
Vegtable Oil


1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the butter.

2. Place the butter in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and butter mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, vanilla and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.

5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.

7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick.

9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.

11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown.

12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Immediatey shake in a mixture of sugar and spices (I used cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice) blend for coating.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Taste the Sensation

I have said it before, but it bears repeating- I think nearly anything sweet can be baked into a cookie. This week I was inspired to bake a York peppermint patty into a cookie.

 The cool thing about these Yorks are that they are Halloween theme, so they are a bright orange color in the middle and catch you by surprise when you bit into the cookie.

I absolutely adored this cookie! The mint was refreshing and the color joyous.

York Peppermint Patty Cookies

- Batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe (without the chocolate chips in the batter)
- 1 package fun sized York Peppermint Patties
- Chocolate chips

1) Freeze the York Peppermint Patties.
2) Wrap the frozen patties in cookie dough. Remember the orientation of the Patties in the cookie so they are placed flat.
3) Press chocolate chips into the top of the cookie to give a little more chocolate flavor, if you desire.
4) Freeze or refrigerate the filled cookie.
5) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake until the cookies just begin to brown on top, about 15-18 minutes from semi-frozen. Do not over bake or the filling of the Peppermint Patty will ooze out. (It does look kind of cool and possibly makes a good Halloween party cookie because of the ick factor.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

6. Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Welcome Fall! It is official and I am officially excited! Winter is my favorite season, but fall is my favor flavor. So you are probably thinking, what does fall taste like? Nutmeg and allspice with a hint of cinnamon all swirled together with squash and sweet potatoes and on special occasions sprinkled with nuts and always prepared with love and warm wishes. Doesn’t fall sound yummy?

I bought my first two sugar pumpkins of the season from a road side farm stand over 2 hours away from my house. I washed, sliced, cleaned, and roasted them. They have great flavor with a delicate, silky pulp. What was I going to make with my new found beauties?

Pumpkin Cheesecake, but of course. This recipe I created myself (go me!) which means I go heavy on the spices and did not measure them at all. Oh yeah, #6 complete off my top 100 list.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

1/2 cup melted butter
2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4-1/3 cup granulated sugar

1) Melted Butter with graham crackers and sugar until mixture is homogenous.
2) Press crust into parchment lined 9x13 pan.
3) Bake for 8-10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.
4) Take out of oven and let cool.

3-8oz Boxes of Creamed Cheese at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 Tbs vanilla
2 Tbs Flour
2 cup Pumpkin Puree
Largest Dashes of Nutmeg
Medium Dashes of Cinnamon
Smallest Dashes of Allspice
(Dashes because I recommend more than one. Spice to your taste. I like a lot.)

1) Beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.
2) Add one egg at a time and beat until just incorporated before adding the next.
3) Add vanilla and flour. Beat until smooth without over mixing.
4) Take out approximately 1/3 of the mixture and set aside.
5) Add pumpkin and all of the spices to the remaining mixture. Fold to combine.
6) Pour pumpkin mixture over prepared crust.
7) Spoon cream cheese mixture over pumpkin mixture and swirl with the tip of a small knife.
8) Bake for 30-40 minutes. The center should be almost set (slight jiggle)
9) Allow to cool completely before refrigerating the dessert for at least four hours.

Monday, October 04, 2010

… And More Sugar Cookies…

The Daring Bakers’ challenge had to posted by the 27th of the month, so I made one batch of cookies for that challenge. Then I had the dubious task of shelling out those cookies to mommy’s and my own co-workers.

One of my bestest (and yes that is a word when it refers to a friend as great as mine) friends loves sugar cookies, specifically iced sugar cookies. But this friend lives over an hour away; so she was not local for the first cookie dispatch.

Therefore, I had to make fresh cookies just for her one week later, when I knew I would see her.

So, these cookies are just because, just for J, and decorated in no particular way.

This time around I really wanted to try the icing-in-icing (flood-in-flood) technique. After doing just one, I fell in love with the design and all of my cookies ended up with this technique.

I had fun decorating these and I got the biggest compliment from J.

She said they were too pretty to eat, paused for a second, and then demolished the cookie artwork :-D