My crazy has a name now: Master Baker's Rockstar of the Month. I'm not sure if I should be proud or ashamed that my insanity has attracted attention. Still, you should totally go check out all the entries, and the real winner of the Easter Candy challenge. They absolutely made me droooooool.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Professor Johnson is one of the things I'll miss about W&L Law. He has hosted a weekly student Bible study in his home for who-knows-how-long. And for just as long, his wife has provided amazing food for the students who come to that Wednesday night Bible study. One of my all-time favorites is her tomato soup. She graciously shared her recipe with a few of us, and since I have had scheduling conflicts for the last year and have been unable to enjoy her wonderful food, I thought her tomato soup with grilled cheese sounded like the perfect exam nourishment. In reality, it is much more nutritious than I expected considering how creamy and delicious it is!
Mrs. Johnson's Tomato Soup
1 med. onion
2 cans of diced tomatos
1 large can of evaporated milk
1 large(r) can of tomato juice
2 sticks margerine
2 Tbs parsley
garlic salt to taste
1/2 - 2 cups flour
Saute onion in butter.
Add flour to make a paste.
Add milk slowly, until creamy
Add other ingredients. Heat.
Add water to desired consistency.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Heat oven to 350°.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I finally got to break open my new food processor! It was one of my favorite Christmas presents, but I hadn't found the right recipe yet. It was finally used to make the nutty crust of this banana cream pie from NPR.
I thought it would be a good pie to use for the Master Baker challenge - the theme this month was vanilla, and I thought that was a good excuse to try a recipe with whole vanilla beans.
I'm also a huge fan of the candied pecans on top. My guests were picking the pecans off and nibbling on them. They were delicious. I almost left them off, thinking that they'd be too much, but I've absolutely glad that I went ahead and made them.
The pudding was a new experience for me, but it was much easier to make than I feared from the directions, and it actually went quite quickly. The directions are blissfully thorough, and warn you ahead of time.
Nut Pastry Pie Dough
Makes one 8- to 10- inch single crust.
1/2 cup finely chopped, raw, unsalted walnuts
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
FOOD PROCESSOR METHOD: In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the nuts, flour, sugar and salt until just combined. Add the butter and egg and pulse until the dough balls on the blades. Remove the dough and shape it into a ball. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
HAND METHOD: Put the nuts in a medium bowl with the flour, sugar and salt. Mix well. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles dry cookie dough. Mix in the egg to moisten the dough. Shape the dough into a ball. Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Press dough into the bottom of a pie pan, cover with parchment paper and pie weights, and parbake at 350 degrees, for 20 minutes. Let cool.
Makes 3 cups.
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1/2 cup sugar, divided
tiny pinch salt
1/2 cup egg yolks (about 6 yolks)
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
In a large, heavy, non-reactive saucepan (aluminum reacts and will cause a pudding to turn dingy grey), combine the milk, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the vanilla bean and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch until smooth.
Have the whisk, a ladle and a large glass or ceramic dish handy. Heat the milk mixture in the saucepan until it just comes to a boil, whisking it a bit as it gets steamy. When you see the first bubbles boiling up, take the pan off the heat and place it on a potholder next to the egg mixture. (To make life a little easier on yourself, put the egg bowl on the right if you're right-handed, or on the left if you're left-handed. Use your stronger arm to whisk; use your weaker arm to ladle the hot milk.
During the next steps, stir constantly or the eggs will coagulate and you'll have scrambled eggs.This is quick work.Take a ladleful of hot milk and pour it in a thin stream into the eggs, whisking constantly. Continue stirring, and add a few more ladlefuls of hot milk to the eggs in the same way.The tempered eggs are now ready to add back into the hot milk.
To do this, whisk the hot milk constantly and pour the tempered eggs in slowly. When fully combined, put this mixture back on the stove top over medium heat and continue to whisk constantly.The mixture should be ready to come back to a boil very quickly.When the custard nears the consistency of pudding, take very short pauses in stirring to look for signs of a bubble surfacing (it is more like a single volcanic blurp). Don't look too closely, or you'll risk getting spattered with hot pudding. Just stir, pause briefly, stir, and so on.
When you see the first blurp, remove the pan from the heat immediately and whisk in the cubes of butter.Whisk until fully combined and immediately pour the pudding into a large glass or ceramic dish to cool it down. While the pudding is still very hot, stretch plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Smooth out any air pockets to make the pudding airtight. This will prevent a skin or condensation from forming on top of the pudding. Refrigerate the pudding until completely cold — at least 4 hours.
Stir the cold pudding and retrieve the vanilla bean. Squeeze out the excess seeds (those little black specks) in the interior of the pod with your thumb and forefinger — pinch and slide your fingers down the length of the bean, freeing the black seeds as you go. Do this with each half of the bean, returning as many seeds as possible to the pudding. Stir the pudding again and pour it into the crust. Smooth the top with a spatula.
Makes 2 cups candied nuts.
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons whiskey
1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups raw unsalted pecans or walnuts
These look like glossy versions of the original nut, but they are robust with candied flavors. Use any kind of honey — clover is fine — because the vanilla and whiskey dominate the flavor anyway.
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
In a large bowl, mix together the honey, whiskey, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Add the nuts and mix well.
Spread the coated nuts on a large well-greased baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Stir and scrape them up every 5 minutes with a spatula and return the pan to the oven until the nuts smell good and are deep glossy brown. Be careful not to burn them.
Remove the pan from the oven and scrape the nuts up with a spatula occasionally as they are cooling or they'll stick together and to the sheet.
When the nuts are cool, dry, and set, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
And Finally ... the Pie!
Makes one 9-inch single-crust pie.
3 cups vanilla pudding (page XX)
pastry for a 9-inch single-crust pie, blind-baked
4 to 5 medium-size ripe bananas
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
candied pecans or walnuts
Select ripe bananas without any sign of spots or green near the stem.
Slice the bananas ¼ inch thick to get about 4 cups and immediately toss them in the lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Stir in the sour cream gently. Layer the coated bananas in the pie crust, and flatten them gently.
Layer the pudding on top and smooth it with a spatula.
Refrigerate the pie, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours before cutting.
Serve wedges of pie cold with Candied Pecans; their salty accent is quite nice next to the custard and bananas. Store loosely covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Here is the idea: Anyone can grow mint! Seriously, it's practically impossible to kill, and it thrives easily. It also can grom from cuttings. SO, I thought, make a cupcake that provides pretty much everything needed to start an herb garden. It has the pot and the mint - just eat the cupcake and throw in some dirt and water.
4. top with a sprig of mint
Friday, April 18, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Earth Day cupcakes (mint and chocolate)
THE party favors (to be revealed)
banana cream pie
Posted by Elizabeth at 5:15 PM
Sunday, April 13, 2008
This month's theme for cupcake hero is Earth Day. I was really stumped by this one, and was desperate for inspiration until I found it! I was looking at the finalists for Martha Stewart's cutest cupcake contest, and it clicked. Someone submitted a cupcake in a mini terracotta pot, with an actual green plant sticking out of it!
I think I'm going to do a mint chocolate cupcake with a sprig of mint 'growing' out of it. The mint can either be eaten or planted, because mint grows really easily from cuttings! It's like a (single) herb garden in a cupcake! I think it'll be cute... and the mint icing will already be green, so it'll make great grass. I think I'll try it both with green mint grass and with crushed oreos over it to look more like dirt. We'll have to see.
Posted by Elizabeth at 11:14 PM
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I love alcohol, pink, and sugar, so these were a must! I found a blog (which unfortunately appears to be have been abandoned) that is exclusively cocktail-based cupcake recipes, and I really wanted to try the cosmos. I was invited to a crawfish boil this weekend and promised to bring baked goodies. I took the rice krispy treats and these, and they were a real hit!
I thought I'd go ahead and reprint the recipe here for your convenience.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of triple sec
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
A stick of room temperature butter
2 tablespoons of sweetened lime juice (such as roses)
1 tablespoon of milk
A few drops of red food coloring
1 lime for garnish
Be especially careful not to open the oven during the first 20 minutes of baking as it will increase the chances of your cupcakes falling flat on their butts. This recipe has a little extra weight on top also due to the cranberries so just trust me on this one and keep your sticky fingers off the oven door for the first twenty minutes. The cupcakes when done should be golden brown and irresistible looking. (I know one of mine never made it to the frosting stage!)
For Cake:Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and give it a quick stir to combine. Place eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat on medium with an electric mixer until light and foamy. About 2 minutes. Melt butter (about 1min in microwave) and pour over eggs and sugar whilst beating. Add triple sec to eggs, sugar and butter mixture then turn mixer to low. Add half the dry ingredients to the mixer. Add milk and orange juice Add remaining dry ingredients. Continue mixing until remaining dry ingredients are combined (no more than a minute) being careful not to over mix the batter. Immediately divide batter equally among the 12 cupcake liners. I like to use an ice cream scoop to do this. Helps keep each cupcake uniform size. Sprinkle a little pinch of cranberries on top of each filled liner and put in hot oven immediately. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean, with no crumbs. Place on a baking sheet to cool.
When cupcakes are completely cooled you can begin to make the frosting.Place 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, salt and butter in a bowl and cream together using a stand or electric mixer on high until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer to low, add half of the remaining confectioners’ sugar, the lime juice and milk, then the remaining half of the sugar. Turn mixer to high and beat until fluffy and of piping consistency. Add food coloring until the color of the frosting looks similar to Barbie pink Frost cooled cupcakes in your favorite way Garnish with a slice of lime
Friday, April 11, 2008
I finally got a chance to use my new pan! One of my friends has a birthday tomorrow, so we went out to lunch (and shopping) to celebrate. I thought this sounded like a great excuse to bake a giant cupcake, so out came the pan!
Tomorrow, it's regular-sized cupcakes and rice krispy treats!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
I loved making all the Easter treats! I suppose that I have more than a little streak of competitiveness. While I am normally quite lazy, a competition moves me to action pretty quickly. Master Baker's March contest is a great example! Here are all the treats that I made with the theme ingredient: Easter Candy!
Mini Reese's Egg Cheesecake
Mini Cadbury Nest Eggs