Flour Child Bakery opens in Virginia Beach!

My mom and I just opened a bakery in Virginia Beach!! "Like" us to stay updated! If you care to read our blog, it's flourchildbakery.blogspot.com.



Friday, July 31, 2009

Cooking w/ Trader Joe's: Edamame Salad

Ladies and Gentleman (uh, Adam, I think I can address you solely, lol), I have discovered a new love... Trader Joe's! I know I'm a little late, but in Hampton Roads we're always slightly behind on the trends (we got our first cupcake shop 2 years ago and our first Trader Joe's this year). Our only TJ's is in Va. Beach, which is about 30 minutes away from my house. Thankfully, I work at Just Cupcakes, whish is literally a stones throw from there! HURRAY! Anyway, you may remember me mentioning that I won a cookbook contest on warmolives.blogspot.com and she sent me Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's. She gives away one cookbook each month, and the winner of the cookbook is asked to please make one recipe from the book and post it on their blog w/in 30 days. I decided to make the Green Garbanzo Salad, except I substituted edamame. Wednesday when I left work I decided to do some grocery shopping. I bought all the ingredients for the salad (which, btw, the book says all of the capitalized ingredients in the recipes can be found at TJ's... umm no! I couldn't find the frozen garbanzos, the frozen shelled edamame, or the super tiny mozz. balls). I decided to get a container of the fresh, ready-to-eat edamame, as well as a bag of frozen, ready-in-5-minutes edamame and see if it was worth the extra $1 to buy it pre-cooked and already shelled. Shelling the soy beans was super easy, so yes, I will be saving my $1 and buying the whole frozen pods from now on! As for the mozz. balls, I bought the regular sized marinated mozzarella and quartered them.

This salad was so delicious! Josh even loved it, and his favorite food in the world is cheeseburgers and loaded baked potatoes! Speaking of cheeseburgers... we ate this salad as a side dish. Wanna know what it was next to on our dinner plates? Cheesy Hashbrown Hamburger Helper! Yeah, we know how to do it up right in the 757! Lol ;) Anyway, I made a double batch of the salad, and between Josh and I it was gone in 2 days! It's safe to say this recipe is going to become a staple in the Baker household!

Oh yeah, did you notice I'm creating a new section for my blog? "Cooking w/ Trader Joe's!" Expect a LOT more posts with that subtitle! ;)

Green Garbanzo Salad (from Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's)
Serves 4

2 cups frozen Green Garbanzos or frozen shelled edamame
2 tsp salt to flavor boiling water
1/2 cup Perlini Super Tiny Fresh Mozzarella balls
1/4 cup diced red onion (I will reduce this next time, as it was more than enough for a DOUBLE batch.)
1/2 tsp minced garlic or jarred Crushed Garlic
1/4 cup Tuscan Italian Dressing (We barely used this much in a double batch. I'd say just add it to taste.)
Fresh basil, for garnish

1. Cook garbanzo beans in salted water. Drain.
2. Combine all vegetables in a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over salad, add mozzarella balls, and toss gently.
3. Garnish with chopped fresh basil.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

UPDATE: Win a copy of "Hello, Cupcake!"

UPDATE: So obviously you're all either really busy this summer or really lazy. I've only gotten TWO entries for this contest so far, and it's been posted for TWO WEEKS! Since I'm super nice, I'm changing the rules. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment including your e-mail address. (Still U.S. residents only, sorry.) I'll randomly choose a comment, and you'll get the book! :D How's that for a giveaway?!?!

Recently, I won the IronCupcake:Earth challenge, and one of the prizes was a copy of Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Something interesting is that this is the 2nd copy of this book that Houghton Mifflin (the publisher) has sent to me for free (I reviewed it right before it came out)! Lol, so this time I'm giving it away! But don't think winning is going to be easy. Oh no no no, I have to make sure you're not gonna get it and then make a buck off of it on craigslist! I'm gonna make you WORK for it! Muahahaha... SO, here's how to enter:

1. Reproduce any one of the following cupcake designs from the book.
2. E-mail a picture of your cupcakes to howtoeatacupcake{at}yahoo{dot}com
3. If you have a blog, please post your cupcakes and link back to this entry. (Thanks!)

1. Leave a comment including your e-mail address.
2. Sorry, U.S. residents only. =(
Submissions will be accepted until Saturday, August 8 (my birthday!). The winner will be chosen at random and will be notified by Wednesday, August 12. Everyone has a fair chance to win, so what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and get your cupcake on!

HERE ARE THE DESIGNS TO CHOOSE FROM:
Pandamonium
Corn on the Cob
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Big Birthday Cake
What a Hoot!
(If you see any mistakes in the instructions, let me know. I scanned them really fast and barely looked over them. I'll double check them soon.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Baked" Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've noticed that chocolate chip cookies seem to be one of the most controversial desserts when it comes to finding the "perfect recipe." Some people like them chewy, some people like them crunchy. Some people prefer to use melted butter, some like the creaming method. Some like to use brown sugar, some like to use white sugar. Some say vanilla extract is unnecessary, some say it's a necessity. There are so many issues when it comes to the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe! I'll get this out of the way first: I have not found it. These "Baked" cookies (from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking) are delicious, but I have a few complaints. My first is that there are WAY too many chocolate chips for my liking. I want to be able to taste the caramely flavor of the brown sugar and the vanilla-flavored dough, but instead I get bombarded by chocolate chips in every single bite! My second and last complaint is that the cookies are just too flat. In the picture in the book, the cookies look almost cake-like. While I am extremely pleased that my cookies did not have a cakey texture, I am disappointed by how flat the were. Yes, they were chewy (which I like), but just flat, almost as if they had deflated. I guess it's a weird complaint, but I like my cookies to have a little more volume.

I did notice something strange while I was lining my pans with parchment paper. Inside the Reynolds parchment paper box there is a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. It's almost identical to the "Baked" recipe, but it has 1/2 cup more flour and only 12 oz. of chocolate chips. I just thought that was a funny coincidence! :) PS: This recipe is brought to you by my super awesome boyfriend, Josh. I was getting ready to type the recipe into Google Docs, but I got up to get a drink. When I came back, look who was sitting in my seat doing my dirty work for me! He's the greatest! <3Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)
Makes 24 cookies (I used a 2-tablespoon scoop and got 33 cookies!)


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups (16 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. The mixture will look light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat for 5 seconds
Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated
Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate chips.
Cover the bowl tightly and put in the refrigerator for 6 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Use an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to scoop out dough in 2-tablespoon-size balls. Use your hands to shape the dough into perfect balls and place them on the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans once during the cooking time, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and the tops just start to darken.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the individual cookies to the rack to cool completely (although they are delicious warm).
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

IronCupcake_012: Marbled Lavender & Honey Cupcakes

Iron Cupcake:Earth_012
Theme: Herbs
My entry: Marbled Lavender & Honey Cupcakes
Voting begins: Tuesday, July 28 @ http://www.ironcupcakemilwaukee.com/ and will be open through Wednesday, August 5 at 12 noon Central.

Another last minute Iron Cupcake entry! Man, I gotta work on completing the Iron Cupcake challenge before the end of the month! Anyway, I made these Tuesday night for wing night. I knew I wanted to use lavender as my herb of choice, but I was worried the flavor would be overpowering. No way! I added some crushed lavender leaves to a basic vanilla cupcake recipe, and I ended up with a delicate, lavender-scented cupcake! To make them even fancier, I divided the batter and colored some of it purple. I swirled it into the white batter to give it a marbled look. Then for the frosting, I made a very simple buttercream with some honey added to it. It was just enough to accent the lavender flavor without overpowering it. These are probably the prissiest, most delicate cupcakes I've ever made. But don't let the dainty appearance fool you because they are DELICIOUS! ;D

Pretty marbled cupcakes... Oh btw, all of you searching for the perfect domed cupcake recipe... I FOUND IT! Marbled Lavender Cupcakes... Want a bite????? ;P
Marbled Lavender Cupcakes (adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes)
Makes 16

1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature
2 tablespoons lavender leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Honey Frosting (my own recipe)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Food coloring, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and cream.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream chopped lavender, butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two addi­tions of milk mixture, and beating until combined.
3. Measure out 1 cup batter, and transfer to another bowl. Stir purple food coloring into reserved 1 cup batter.

4. Fill prepared cups with alternating spoonfuls of white and purple batter, filling each three-quarters full. Run the tip of a paring knife or wooden skewer through batter in a figure-eight motion to make swirls. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops are golden and a cake tes­ter inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes (Mine were done at about 18 minutes). Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
5. To make frosting, combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on low until combined. Increase speed to high and whip for 1 minute.


Overall rating on a scale of 1-5
Moistness: 5
Tenderness: 5
Frosting: 5 (mmm... honey!)



Prizes provided by Etsy artists:
A sweet cupcake ID bracelet by INSANEJELLYFISH
A delicious treat from CIRCLEMONKEY
Also,
CAKESPY, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice!
SWEET CUPPIN CAKES CUPCAKERY will be tossing in sweet surprise.
Corporate prize providers:
HEAD CHEFS by
FIESTA PRODUCTS
HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
JESSIE STEELE APRONS
CUPCAKE COURIER
TASTE OF HOME books
UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM
Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Cake Slice presents: Marbled Lemon Blueberry Butter Cake

Sorry I'm late! This new job is keeping me so busy, but I love it so I'm not complaining! I was supposed to post this entry yesterday with all of the other Cake Slicers, but as soon as I got home from work my mom swooped me up and took me to the mall to go cell phone shopping. I made this cake waayyy back at the beginning of the month. It was delicious, and the entire thing got eaten during wing night! That rarely happens! I'm gonna chalk it up to the fact that I only made half the recipe. I baked it in a 13X9 pan and then cut it into three "layers" to make a rectangular cake. I had a hard time marbling my batter, and when the cake was sliced you couldn't really tell it was marbled. But it was still yummy! The homemade blueberry filling was the best part! I wasn't a huge fan of the whole-egg buttercream. I would've MUCH rather had Swiss meringue buttercream, and Josh agreed with that! Other than that little tidbit, the cake was awesome! Another great choice for The Cake Slice!

See? The marbling looks pretty from the top... This is how I cut it to make a rectangle-shaped cake. I thought I was going to have problems with my buttercream. After whipping the eggs with the sugar syrup, I got SOUP! But it all worked out in the end... And I'm pretty darn proud of the way I decorated the top! ;D ...the marbling is indistinguishable, but it's still pretty!
Marbled Lemon Blueberry Butter Cake (from Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes)
Makes one 8-inch triple-layer cake

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1½ tsp lemon extract
7 egg whites
3 cups cake flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1¼ cups milk
Fresh blueberries, for decoration
Lemon blueberry preserves (below)
Lemon buttercream frosting (below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of three 8 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper. In a mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest and lemon extract until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg whites 2 or 3 at a time, beating well between additions and stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, whisk gently to blend. In 2 or 3 alternating additions, beat the dry ingredients and milk into the butter mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times. Beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute to smooth out any lumps and aerate the batter. Scoop 1 cup of the batter into a small bowl. Divide the remaining equally among the 3 prepared pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula. This gives you a smooth surface to work with. Add 2½ tbsp of the lemon blueberry preserves to the reserved batter and blend well. Drizzle heaping teaspoons of this blueberry mixture over the batter in the pans. Use a skewer to swirl the blueberry mixture in short strokes to drag it down through the lemon batter without mixing it in. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a cake tester or skewer stuck in the centre comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Lat the layers cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack, peeling off the paper and leaving to cool completely.

Lemon Blueberry Preserves
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
¾ cup sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Puree the blueberries with any juices that have exuded in a blender. Pass the puree
through a coarse strainer to remove the skins. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the blueberry puree with the sugar, lemon juice, zest and ginger. Bring to a gentle boil over a medium heat, stirring often for 20 minutes, or until the preserves have thickened and are reduced to 1 cup. To check the proper thickness place a small amount of a saucer and put in the freezer until cold. Drag your finger through it. If a clear path is made through the preserve then it is ready. Let the preserves cool before using. (Can be made up to 5 days in advance).

Lemon Buttercream Frosting
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
2 eggs
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to boil without stirring, occasionally washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from the heat. In a large mixer bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beast the eggs briefly. Slowly add the hot syrup in a thin stream, pouring it down the sides of the bowl; be careful to avoid hitting the beaters or the syrup may splatter. When all the syrup has been added, raise the speed to medium,-high and beat until the mixture is very fluffy and cooled to body temperature. This can take 15-20 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and gradually add the softened butter 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, beating well between additions. As you’re adding the last few tablespoons of butter, the frosting will appear to break, then suddenly come together like whipped butter. Beat in the lemon juice, and the frosting is ready to use.

To Assemble
To assemble the cake, place a layer, flat side up, on a cake stand. Spread half of the lemon blueberry preserves over the top. Place a second layer on top of the first and spread the remaining preserves over it. Finally place the third layer on top and frost the top and sides with the lemon buttercream. Decorate with fresh blueberries and serve.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cookie Carnival: Lemon Ricotta Cookies

This is my first post for the Cookie Carnival, hosted every month by Kate over at The Clean Plate Club. This month we were allowed to vote for which cookies we wanted to make. The winning recipe was Lemon Ricotta Cookies. I didn't vote for these, but when I found out they were the winner I knew Josh would be excited. He's crazy about lemon desserts. This particular recipe comes from FoodNetwork.com. Reading the reviews, I noticed everyone said these were a cake-like cookie. I'm not a fan of cake-like cookies........ UNLESS!! Unless they're smashed together with fluffy, creamy frosting in the middle... You see where I'm going with this?? Whoopie pies, people, WHOOPIE PIES!!?! My dad is crazy about whoopie pies. He's always asking me to make them. So this week for wing night, I made a dessert that satisfies the two most important men in my life!
These lemon ricotta cookies whoopie pies are fabulous! The cookie is definitely cake-like. It's moist and the lemon flavor is excellent. The frosting in the middle is a cooked flour frosting (my 2nd favorite frosting after SMBC). It's creamy and fluffy and lemony and PERFECT! These whoopie pies will satisfy any lemon lover!

Lemon Ricotta Cookies w/ Lemon Glaze (I omitted the glaze and sandwiched the cookies with Cooked Lemon Frosting, recipe below)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Glaze:
Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative container.



Cooked Lemon Frosting
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, soft but cool
Zest of 1 large lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Whisk together sugar, flour, milk, and cream in a saucepan. Boil over medium heat until mixture becomes extremely thick like glue, about 15-20 minutes. Whisk frequently to prevent burning.

When mixture has thickened, pour it into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high speed until mixture cools to room temperature, about 15 minutes (test it by touching it with the back of your hand or wrist). Add the soft but cool butter a few tablespoons at a time. When all the butter has been added, increase speed to high. The frosting will look too soft at first, but it will thicken after about 3-5 minutes on high speed. Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.

WHAT A DAY!

Usually I don't like to make posts about things in my life that don't pertain to baking or food. I don't want to clog up my blog with entries about what happened this week on Nurse Jackie or about conversations Josh and I have about how the only thing certain is uncertainty. Usually, my life is pretty blasé. However, today is an unsual day. (I say "is" because the only thing I'm superstitious about is not tearing off the date on my page-a-day calendar until I've fallen asleep and woken up the next day. Today is today until it's tomorrow.)

Let's go back to this morning. I left for work in a hurry and forgot to grab my Oikos Greek yogurt (with honey on the bottom, yum). When I got to work, not only did I have no breakfast, the air conditioner was broken! It's Virginia! It's hot. It's humid. It's NOT cupcake-friendly weather. So we sold our cupcakes BOGO all day because customers had to wait while their cupcakes were being frosted-to-order. One positive thing so far, I got off work early which gave me plenty of time to come home and bake for "wing night." Back to the not-so-positives, on my way home, I got stuck at the drawbridge. As if that isn't bad enough already, when I went to turn my car back on, THE BATTERY WAS FREAKIN DEAD AS A DOORNAIL! I was sitting in the middle of the highway in my mom's tiny Cabrio (she was getting my car inspected for me, thanks momma!) waiting desperately for someone to stop and help. A very nice man driving a huge F-350 stopped, but he couldn't jump me because he couldn't turn his monster of a truck around on the highway. Finally, almost 10 minutes later, while cars are ZOOMING past me at 50+ mph, a guy from the department of transportation pulled up and pushed my dead car across the bridge so I could pull off of the highway. Then the nice man with the F-350 turned his truck around and gave me a jump. Both the VDOT guy and the F-350 guy were so nice! Thank goodness for both of them! So finally, I got back on the road and got home safely. Then, I went to use the bathroom and ALMOST dropped my phone in the toilet. That would've seriously been the straw that broke the camel's back...

I'd like to end this dreadful post on a positive note. I won Iron Cupcake:Earth last month, and one of the prizes is the book Hello, Cupcake! It came in the mail today, and I already have a copy of it. SO... I'm giving this one away! I haven't thought of what kind of contest I'm going to have. If you have any ideas or suggestions that would be nice. Otherwise, scroll down to where it says "Post A Comment" and tell me how sorry you are that my day sucked so bad! ;P

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins

The scenario:
2 bananas sitting on the table, rapidly turning brown
My all-purpose flour container, almost empty
My bag of whole wheat flour, FULL
What to do?
Whole wheat banana nut muffins! Mmm, I should've known the subtle sweetness of whole wheat flour would go perfectly with the taste of overripe bananas. Add to that a tangy zing of dried cranberries and a delicate crunch from toasted walnuts... It's the perfect muffin! It's not too sweet, so you don't feel guilty about eating it for breakfast. My only complaint was that the banana flavor was mild. But I think that let the flavor of the whole wheat flour shine through. So, I guess I have no real complaints after all!
The original recipe is from Betty Crocker: Baking for Today. It uses all-purpose flour, but I substituted whole wheat flour for most of the AP flour. The original also adds a streusel topping. You can do that if you want a sweeter muffin, but I omitted it.

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins (adapted from Betty Crocker: Baking for Today)
12 muffins (or about 10-11 if you fill the cups to the top)

1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Streusel topping, optional (recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or use nonstick spray.
2. Make streusel topping; set aside.
3. In large bowl, beat milk, oil, egg, and mashed bananas with fork or wire whisk. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt all at once just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Fold in cranberries and walnuts. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle each with about 1 tablespoon streusel topping, if using.
4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown (Mine didn't take near that long! I think they were done at about 17-18 minutes. Check them with a toothpick.). If baked in greased pan, let stand about 5 minutes in pan, then remove from pan to wire rack; if baked in paper baking cups, immediately remove from pan to wire rack. Serve warm if desired.

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons firm butter or margarine

In medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until crumbly.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Baked Rice Pudding

Q: What do you do with all the leftover white rice you get with your Chinese takeout?

A: Make rice pudding, duh!

I've loved rice pudding ever since I was a kid. My dad used to buy the Kozy Shack brand in the big container. Momma would divide it up into those little Tupperware cups with the plastic lids. Then, when it was time for dessert she'd take them out of the fridge, sprinkle them with cinnamon, and mmmmm it was so good! Until this day, I can't understand how some people don't like it! I guess it's a love it or hate it thing. Josh doesn't like it. He says it's a texture thing. I don't understand that either, but to each his own. That means more rice pudding for me, IF I can fight the spoon away from my dad! ;D

This recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens: New Baking Book. I love this book, and I recommend it to any home baker. Along with lots of pictures and informative tid-bits, the book has a wide variety of recipes, including low-fat, foreign specialties, and my favorite, old-fashioned desserts, which is the chapter where the rice pudding recipe was hiding. The recipe would be perfect without any tweaking, but of course I can't always go by the recipe word-for-word. I added a little extra vanilla and just a pinch of lemon zest. I also plumped my raisins in dark rum for a minute or two. The end result is fabulous! My family prefers it cold, so after it cooled I divided it up into containers, just like mom used to. It's perfectly creamy with just the right amount of vanilla and cinnamon. And the lemon zest really brightens it up and keeps it from feeling so heavy without actually tasting lemony. This recipe is definitely going into my binder as a keeper!
Did I mention this only took minutes to make?! It's one of the easiest desserts I've made in a long time, AND I got to mark another thing off my Top 100 list!

Baked Rice Pudding (from Better Homes and Gardens: New Baking Book)
8 servings

4 beaten eggs
2 cups milk, half-and-half, or light cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cooked rice, cooled (leftover rice works well)
1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins (I plumped my raisins by simmering them in 2 tablespoons of dark rum for 1 minute. Drain them and let them cool.)
Pinch of lemon zest (about half of a small lemon) (my own addition)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. In ungreased 2-quart casserole combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Beat until combined but not foamy. Stir in cooked rice and raisins (and lemon zest, if using). Place casserole in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish on an oven rack. Pour boiling water into baking dish around the casserole to a depth of 1 inch.
2. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 30 minutes. Stir well; sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Bake for 20-30 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm or cold. To serve cold, cover and chill pudding for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts per serving (8): 184 cal., 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 111 mg chol., 130 mg sodium, 31 g carbo., 0 g fiber, 6 g pro.

Monday, July 6, 2009

GUESS WHO TOTALLY WON IRON CUPCAKE THIS MONTH!!

ME! Yes, me, Cassie Jean Baker! See.... http://www.ironcupcakemilwaukee.com/2009/07/ice011summer-berries-we-have-winner.html

Wooooo hooooo!!!! Go Cassie! Go Cassie! I never would've had a chance if Sandy (the mastermind behind the whole Iron Cupcake challenge) hadn't changed the voting rules recently. For every vote you get, your name goes into a drawing. That way everyone has a chance to win, not just the popular blogs that get all the votes. Thanks to everyone who voted for my "Not-So-Blue-Berry" Cupcakes! And thanks to Sandy for hosting the best baking contest on the internet AND all over the world! I can't wait to get started on this month's challenge, herbs! My basil plant is gonna hate me by the end of this month! Muahahaha! :D

PS: I must be having some incredible luck this month! Just last week I found out I won the contest at warmolives.blogspot.com for the cookbook "Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's!" There's a brand new Trader Joe's right across the street from Just Cupcakes (the new cupcakery I work at). So I'm excited to do some grocery shopping and cook up something great from the cookbook as soon as it arrives!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fresh Blackberry Kuchen

I've been waiting since the beginning of June for the tiny green buds on my blackberry bush to turn into plump, juicy blackberries! Finally, last week, the blackberry bush delivered! I picked handfuls and handfuls of the gorgeous berries. I maneuvered my way around spider webs, stink bugs, and bird poop to find the best looking berries on the thorn-laden stems. My hard work paid off when I baked my thoroughly cleaned blackberries into this yummy kuchen (pronounced "koo-ken")!

This is my impression of you right now: "What the heck is kuchen?" Was that an accurate impression? And here's my impression of Wikipedia: "Kuchen, the German word for cake, is used in other languages as the name for several different types of sweet desserts... The term itself may cover as many distinct desserts as its English counterpart cake." It goes on to list several types of kuchen, including this description which is closest to the kuchen I made today: "A pie-like pastry, with a thick, "cakey" crust and a sweet custard based filling." And lastly, here's my impression of someone who just likes to argue: "Nuh uh! Kuchen is a German yeasted coffee cake!"

No matter what you think a kuchen is (okay now THAT sounds naughty), believe me when I say that this one is really yummy! The recipe I used is from Better Homes and Gardens: New Baking Book. It's a dense cake on the bottom with a sweet/tart, lemony yogurt custard on top. Oh yeah, there's also loads of BLACKBERRIES! I absolutely LOVE the flavor of blackberries and lemon together. I also love the flavor of yogurt with honey. So I replaced some of the sugar in both the cake and the custard recipe with a bit of honey. The end result is a fabulously refreshing dessert that is totally perfect for summertime! If you have any kind of fresh berries sitting in your fridge dying to be eaten before they get wrinkly and mushy, you MUST make this kuchen! ;D

Fresh Raspberry Kuchen (from Better Homes and Gardens: New Baking Book)
Makes 1 9-inch cake (up to 12 servings)

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (I used blackberries)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 egg whites (save yolks for filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla

FILLING
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt (I only had 1 cup and it worked fine)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar*
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest (about 1/2 a lemon)
1 teaspoon vanilla

*(In both the cake and the filling I removed 1 tablespoon of sugar and replaced it with 1 tablespoon of honey)
1. If using frozen berries, thaw at room temperature 15 minutes; drain.
2. In food processor bowl or medium mixing bowl combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and the baking powder. Add butter, egg whites, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cover and process, or stir by hand, until mixed well. (Mixture will be like soft cookie dough.) Spread onto the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan; sprinkle with berries.
3. For filling, place yogurt in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons flour. Add 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, whole egg, lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix until smooth; pour over berries in springform pan.
4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 55 minutes or until center appears set (slightly wobbly) when shaken gently. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes; remove side of pan. Cover; chill in refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours.
5. To serve, remove pan bottom. Transfer to a platter. If desired, garnish with lemon leaves.

Nutrition facts per serving (12): 187 cal., 6 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 55 mg chol., 111 mg sodium, 30 g carbo., 1 g fiber, 4 g pro.