Archive | Desserts RSS feed for this section

Rasberry Chocolate Pudding Cup-Bread Basket Cake Company

4 May

Today was the Sayonara potluck gathering to regrettably wish one of my coworkers good journey in her next endeavors and adventures. I will miss her stories of all her weekend escapes to concerts and food festivals. She always had something unique to share and always brought a wise approach with such youthful vibrancy to any conversation that I was consistently left in amazement of her. I wish her well in her travels.

I think travel is good for the soul! As well as travel, I would include food in things that are good for the soul! The potluck today had some great dishes, but the highlight for me came just as we were sitting down to eat. Our boss walked in and set this big white box down in front of us. It was clear that it had come from a bakery and then I realized that it was a Bread Basket box and I knew what she had bought.  I wish I could remember what she called these treats and I can not seem to find the name for them on their website. They need to be called something like “Nom in the Knees” or “My Rasberry Blackout”.

image

Pictured above is a Pudding Cup from the Bread Basket Cake Company of Camarillo, California. They are a fairly local bakery that make some of the most colorful treats I’ve seen in a long time.

Do not be fooled by all the  perfectly ripe raspberries on the top of each cup! This is not a light dessert. The whip cream is of the highest quality full-fat cream. The vanilla base pudding in the middle is copious amounts of decadency incarnate. If you manage to make it to the bottom of the cup, which is made from white and dark chocolate, a sweet chocolate pudding awaits. I think it might be a chocolate frosting because of the seriousness of the sugar texture. All it is very rich and easily shared, but I challenge you to eat one alone!

I saved mine and ate it later in the evening at home. I think my roommate may have known I was home from the “Dessert Aura” that shined from my insides out to the world.

On the flip side, I am planning to go walking tomorrow evening and for the next three weeks. Calorie overload, but I highly recommend them to anyone coming close or driving through the area. They are located right off the freeway and have very pleasant and agreeable staff! If anyone goes please let me know what you think!

Advertisements

The Simple Simplicity.

3 May

When do plans always fall in line. I don’t usually have it so lucky. I had made plans for a friend to come over and make dinner for her and I was running late! Things that I had going form me were that I can chop food like the wind and that I had not planned on making such complicated dishes. What was on the menu for tonight was:

I honestly have never had so much go wrong with a meal!!!! It ended with a bit of dessert joy in a tart, but the first 3 things posed some problems for me.

The garlic toast was a simple enough deal. I just have never used, or don’t remember using an oven broiler. I forgot my delicously dainty toasts in the oven for one minute too many and I was left with more than a couple burnt edges. The bottoms were ok, but the tops were a bit rough in some places.

The second bit was the Curry Rice! I adore Japanese Curry. My Father, with his great love of curry, was making family dinners for years with it. His style of preparation was to cube everything up including the rue, add it all to the pan with some water and then let it simmer for some time.  It ended up being more like a thick soup. It was tasty and I didn’t know any better so all was copacetic.

From the year 2000 to 2004 I shared a condo with Satoko and Yuri, two of the most wonderful girls I know! We lived together and cooked amazing meals for each other all the time. They, among many dishes, taught me how to make Japanese style curry with a bit more careful attention to the details. Talk about a huge taste and texture difference! I really like eating the red pickled daikon radish with it as well. The sharp contrast in texture is refreshing especially if the curry you are eating is really hot.

The part that messed up on was the rice…..

The most simple of things…rice. The upside is that I am one step ahead if I ever decide to make rice porridge.

The last dish, I got the idea to make while driving home trying to think of a quick dessert. I knew that I wanted to make a tart with some left over pie crust. All I needed were some strawberries and some kind of cream topping. I bought some whipping cream and made a what turned out to be this grossly and excitingly tasty dessert! It made up for all my earlier errors.

The strawberry tartine cooling just out of the oven.

I let the pie cool out of the oven for like 15 minutes. Then served it up with a generous portion of Whipped cream that was prepped in way to make it taste like cheesecake. I will make this all for you some day I promise!

The Strawberry Tartine with Cheesecaked Whipped Cream

Strawberry Tartine with Cheesecaked Whipped Cream

I have posted the recipe on the Food52 website if you would like to make it. I enjoy their blogs immensley and the community of food bloggers they attract.  Please ask me any questions about my recipe. It’s only the second one I’ve ever written and I would appreciate input or feedback. Thank you Sasha for coming over and letting me cook for you! Let’s dine again soon!

When being an nerd and a foody collide.

27 Apr

So about a year ago I was watching and anime called Pandora Hearts and at the beginning of the first episode the characters are eating an apfelkuchen.

I thought to myself,”What is that……???”.

I looked it up and it turned out it was apple cake! How tasty would that be?! I was so excited to try it out I found some recipes and flagged them for later. I was going to pick up some supplies to make it when I was next paid.

Well that was my intention anyway. I would look at the recipe from time to time, thinking I would get to it…once I had this kind of sugar….or that kind of pan.

Well, a year later, along come a resurgence in my love for baking and cooking and after a while I remembered that I had wanted to make this cake/bread that had looked like such a delicious idea. I started by researching recipes and seeing what fit best for what I wanted to make. I have these little cake molds that I really wanted to use and I thought they would work perfectly for something like this. As far as ingredients goes, I was so surprised to find out how much sugar was used in apple cake. Also I most of the recipes used oil as fat and not butter. I could not make out why this was but when I eventually settled on a recipe that I thought would work, I was happy with the results when I used oil.

The apfelkuchen.

The apfelkuchen after it was removed from the molds.

I have these really cute cake molds that I’ve collected over the years. I always seem to forget that my starts take a lot of prep to make sure that cooked batter will come out of the mold. It works best if I line the pan with parment paper cutouts. Of course is had been such a long time since I had used them, that I had forgotten this weeeee little step. The result was that I was only able to salvage 2 of the little stars out of the four that I made.

The Apfelkuchen

The Apple Bread was really hard to remove from the molds that I chose.

The crust on the bread was so crunchy! I might change the apple I use next time. or remove the apple skins. I am not sure about the texture of the apples with the skin on.

The Apfelkuchen close up

The Apple bread had the most delicous crust on the outside! It was almost the texture of a cookie.

The recipe I followed was a Apple Bread Recipe. I knew that it was not a traditional apfelkuchen which is more like a cake, but this recipe worked  for what I wanted to do. I had to change the cooking time as I did not use the same baking container. The amounts of the ingredients all remain the same. I will most definitely make this again and I’m so happy that I received that bit of inspiration from my super nerdy hobby!

Banana Coconut Lime Bread and I were meant to be.

15 Apr

I had my ripe frozen banana.

I had my unsalted butter.

The rest of it I keep as a staple.

It was go time for Banana Bread! My world was then turned upside down when my coworker told me that a friend of her’s from across the state had come been going through recipe blogs and had found a recipe for…..wait for it……

Banana Coconut Bread with a lime glaze!!!!!

I followed the recipe to the T for the most part. I added a little lime zest to the glaze because I like the fresh taste that zest adds to sugar glazes.

The bread was moist and so tasty! It was dangerous to keep in my house……so of course I brought over to a friends house. I brought her two of the loaves with the express instructions that one of the loaves was to go to her mother, the amazing Renu!

image

As I understand it only half of the extra gift wrapped loaf made it to their house and it was a somewhat serious point of contention. I sort of new this would happen because of the way the first loaf vanished at her house the night I brought it over. It was a magic trick on how make sugary, moist loaf of banana coconut bread disappear with out letting a crumb hit the counter….poof!

image

Thank you Jessica for sharing this recipe and I promise I will make it again and find a way to share the love!

Sous-Chef…..

3 Apr

I love working with a Sous-Chef!!!! Thank you Sarah for taking the roll on Friday! I really appreciated the extra set of hands and great conversation.  It has been a long time since I baked with anyone else on a foodie project.

I actually had no idea what cookie to cook that night. I still had oatmeal cookies left over and I was motivated to challenge myself on something new. As well, when I made those pre-mixed cookies for Valentines, I really loved the cookie that was premixed and packet-ed in the box. I am no food chemist, but I know what each component in baking a cookie is supposed to do. What I did was read the box to see what the dry ingredients contained and then looked up a recipe where the contents might have been similar.

It worked.

I found the recipe for Empire Cookies in a magazine I “liberated’ from my mothers house in Canada.  The cookie portion mixes up pretty easily. It’s not a very moist cookie, and I think I will still change the butter content on it next time and make it even more brittle.

 

The Cooling Cookies

The Empire Cookie after being dipped in sugar and filled with jam.

I actually remembered a technique I learned on a cooking show about putting the cookie in-between two sheets of parchment paper when rolling out the dough. Of course, I only remembered this after having the hardest time with the first batch we rolled out sans some parchment paper. It all got stuck to the counter and it was a mess. When we used the parchment, it was like seeing ray of light beam through on a cloudy day. The cookies were so much easier to roll out and get thin, not to mention getting them off the darn flat surface without breaking the delicate dough became a much more do-able process.

 

The Empire Cookie Dipped and filled

The Empire cookie dipped and filled

 

I had most of everything in my pantry.The recipe asks for almond extract, but it said that vanilla extract could be used and that is what I did. It also called for a candied cherry to be placed on top. As cute as this looks, that is just one thing that I don’t keep on hand. Looking at the cookies they did look somewhat barren on the top. I had red sprinkles I used to sub for the cherry and then Sarah asked it I had some coconut! I thought that was a great idea and I did indeed have some unsweetened coconut in stock.

 

The Empire Cookies

The Empire cookies are topped with a dot of colored sugar and unsweetened coconut

Was very happy with the outcome of this cookie. There is a lot that you can do design wise. It’s a nice crunchity cookie. Makes you feel like a cookie monster with it’s brittle crusty batter. Even with the icing on top it’s not all that sweet. I was thinking it was going to be really overpowering, but I think the tartness of jam, and that the cookie only has half a cup of sugar, makes it all come together really nicely.

 

 

The Empire cookies

The recipe I used for the cookie is as follows:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter(1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar ( I am going to try castors sugar next time)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup any fruit jam

Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tsp hot/boiling water

Topping:

  • Colored Sugar
  • or Unsweetened Coconut ( I think that the coconut might be better baked until lightly brown)

Bake in a 350° oven until edges are brown. It was about 12 minutes in my oven. They are very brittle, so be care when removing from sheet.

 

 

Raspberries are the only food that I can stick on the tips of my fingers anymore.

27 Mar

image

I love the fresh fruit available to me here in California. I was at a party tonight to celebrate the birth of my super friends mother,  and this bountiful plate of fruit appeared behind us. It was filled with fresh raspberries, apple slices, grapes and strawberries. All very delicious! Muchos Gracias for the fruit!

Choco chip cookie love!

5 Mar

I love cookies! When it comes to chocolate chip, I know what I am doing. I know how I want them to come out and know how to get there. It is my go to cookie. I can get them done in no time flat and they are sure crowd-pleaser.

With that said, the recipe that I have always followed is on the back of Nestle Toll House Semi-sweet Chocolate chip bag. I find it basic, easy to prep, and delicous. What makes mine wonderful is in the prep, the baking and my attention to the way I want my outcome of the cookie to be.

Pictured below is a big part of that process. What I do after I make my batter and add the chips is I push all the batter up against the sides of bowl and I pop in the fridge, then I start preheating the oven.

The Choco chip Cookies_Secrets

The chocolate chip cookie secrets.

In the time it takes for the oven to preheat the cookie batter have cooled enough and can start being spooned out on to the cookie  sheets. I am pretty specific about the cookie sheets that I use. I don’t like using non-stick cookies sheets. I don’t know the science behind it, but the way they distribute heat makes cookies burn on the bottom. You could reduce your cooking time, but then you might have problems with your centers. I like aluminum Jelly roll pans! They do just the right things to the edges of a cookie. Makes the sugar melt and brown perfectly.

 

The Choco chip Cookies_Baking

When I remove the cookies from the oven I let sit in the pan for about 2 minutes before I try to remove them. It helps the edges get perfect. You will notice above how the cookies are rising very nicely. I have definitely had cookies that didn’t rise well and just spread too far over the pan and created more of disc than a cookie.  When you refrigerate your dough for just a bit it helps the the cookies set up, and controls spread when baking.

The Choco chip cookies_cooling_close-up

Below is a close up of how I like the a perfect chocolate chip cookies  to look. It has brown edges that you can see how the sugar has crisped up well and then the centers of the cookies should be chewy and moist, but not raw. They should have a light golden color to them.

The Chocolate chip cookie cooling

The Chocolate chip cookie cooling

Seems like whenever I bake cookies I learn something. Today I learned a lot of things while cooking these cookies.

1) I’m over only having one cookie sheet.

The Chocolate chip cookies_finished

2) Not sure, but this is the second time, when using Kosher salt, that the cookies came out a bit salty. Think I will stick with good ol’ table salt for these cookies in the future.

In the end the cookies vanished like all the others before them. I am excited to start challenging myself to some other cookies this year, but I am happy that I have the basics of this cookie down at the least.