Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Lemon Streusel

Friday, April 25th, 2014

I’m really big into streusel right now.  Fat, flour, and sugar combine to create this crumbly goodness right on top of soft cakey goodness, and I just can’t get enough of it.

Typically, I’m into a cinnamon streusel.  Cinnamon is one of those ingredients where I almost always add at least double whatever amount the recipe calls for.  It’s so delicious that more of it will necessarily be more delicious.  And, in truth, it usually is.  I have yet to be disappointed by it.  But I wanted something a little less warm and cozy and a little fresher to combine with the lemon.  This streusel is cinnamon-less, something that is likely never to happen again so enjoy it while you can.

Lemon Streusel

I’m calling these “cupcakes”, although their lack of frosting might push them more towards the muffin category.  My reasoning is this: these were served for a coworker’s birthday today, and I think we can all agree that they are definitely birthday worthy.

This recipe is the love child of takeamegabite and joythebaker.  Really, I’ve been dreaming about the idea of lemon and streusel in these cupcake liners since I got them on clearance a few weeks ago.  But I’m not really confident in my baking skills (especially not gluten free baking skills), to just grab a bowl and a spoon and make it happen.  I need a starting point.  When I saw this berry buckle recipe, I knew that would be my streusel.  But as I stressed just the teensiest bit over the creeping birthday deadline and not having any idea how I was going to do the lemon cupcake beneath the streusel, Joy taught me all about the lemon + sugar rub down.

Lemon Streusel Cupcakes

This recipe happened at 6 in the a.m. with slippers, PJs, and bad lighting.  It happened when I blended recipes from two of my favorite food bloggers.  It happened when I found a jar of just enough lemon curd in my fridge.  It happened.  And boy, am I glad it did!

Lemon Streusel Cupcakes
Adapted from takeamegabite and joythebaker

For the cupcake:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups BetterThanCup4Cup
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup lemon curd
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup BetterThanCup4Cup
  • 1/4 cup butter at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Mix the sugar and the lemon zest with the back of a small spoon until that sugar is all lemony fresh.  Then cream it with the butter.  Mix in the eggs and milk.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients until flour is just moistened.  Don’t overmix that mess.  Spoon into cupcake liners until 2/3 full.  Top each cupcake with a teaspoon of lemon curd.

In a small bowl, combine sugar and flour for topping.  Work in the butter with your fingers until it’s all crumbly.  Sprinkle over the cupcakes.

Bake for 20ish minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes so the topping doesn’t go everywhere.  Then pack one up for your husband to take to work and give the rest to the best friend/mentor you can find.

Mr. Goodbar Pie

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

At school, I have a “work husband” named Mr. Williams.  We teach the same students, but different subjects.  He’s my partner in crime and has been an amazing mentor to me these last two years.  He’s patient with me, answers all my questions, and complements my strengths and weaknesses exactly perfectly.  He takes care of me.  So obviously, I take care of him.  But I’m not nearly as good at the whole knowing what to do in completely unpredictable situations thing.  I’m good at the cooking thing.

So I bake him muffins, cookies, brownies, whatever.  Because he deserves to be treated right.  Especially on his birthday, which was earlier this week.  And while Mr. Williams loves every kind of food (no really, I sometimes take him recipe fail rejects, and he eats them up happily), I wanted to make him something he would really enjoy.  I know that his favorite candy bar is Mr. Goodbar.  … so I set out to make a Mr. Goodbar inspired pie.

Creamy chocolate custard is layered on a crunchy peanut crust.  If you’ve never made a nut crust for a pie or cheesecake, you should really get on it.  It’s a great gluten free alternative to a graham cracker crust, and honestly, I think it’s substantially tastier.  Gluten-full folks just think you’re incredibly creative and don’t miss the gluten in the slightest.  You also don’t have to spend all that money on gluten free graham crackers.

And if you think that any recipe that requires you to separate eggs is high maintenance (I’ll admit it, I totes did until just a few years ago) and a recipe that calls for only the egg yolks OR the egg whites but not both is completely out of reach, I really want you to reconsider.  Really, it’s just an excuse to make key lime pie with the egg whites.  Who doesn’t love a good excuse to make key lime pie?  The egg whites can go into a ziploc bag and into the freezer until you’re ready.  Then you just thaw and use like you normally would.

Really and truly, this whole thing took me about half an hour to whip up, although it was in a couple different stages.  Don’t be afraid.

Mr. Goodbar Pie

Teacher birthday parties tend to happen on tables littered with math homework and pencil boxes.  Don’t mind the background of the photo.

So let’s get to this recipe.  I made two 8-inch pies, but I think it would go great into a large spring form pan instead.  Bottom line is… it makes a lot.  Feel free to half the recipe according to your needs/desires.

Mr. Goodbar Pie

For the crust:

  • one 12oz. container of roasted, unsalted peanuts (or about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 T. unsalted butter, melted

In a food processor, pulse peanuts until finely chopped.  Add the sugar and pulse until combined.  Pour in the butter.  Pulse until mixture resembles wet sand.  Press into the bottom of two 8-inch greased pie pans and up the sides.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until just starting to brown on the edges.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool while you put together the filling.

For the filling:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or baking chocolate roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  While that’s slowly melting, whisk the egg yolks until pale yellow.  Then mix in the sugar, vanilla, and 1 cup of the cream.  Set aside.

At this point, your chocolate is probably well on its way to getting all melty.  When it’s thoroughly melted, mix in the remaining 1 cup of cream.  Slowly pour some of the egg mixture into the chocolate cream mixture, whisking constantly.  Now pour the egg/chocolate mixture into the remainder of the egg mixture, again whisking constantly.

At this point, I like to pour the whole mixture through a fine sieve, just to ensure a thoroughly creamy texture with no chocolate chunks or eggy bits.  I suppose you could skip this step, if that’s not really a thing for you.

Pour into the prepared peanut crusts, and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until the middle of the pie is no longer wobbly.  If you choose to bake this in something other than 8-inch pie pans, cooking time will vary.  Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before topping.

For the topping:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 T. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. chopped Mr. Goodbar

Using a mixer (or a very dedicated arm), whip up the cream and powdered sugar until you reach stiff peaks.  Spread evenly over cooled pie.  Sprinkle Mr. Goodbar pieces over that.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

And then get ready… because people are gonna lurv you.

I don’t know

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

When I was little, I knew everything.  I argued with adults because I thought I knew better.  I thought people getting hired for a job because they had more experience was nonsense.  The few times I didn’t know better, I played like I did.  ”Oh, uh… yea… I was about to say that.”  I wasn’t.

Somewhere in college, I learned how to say “I don’t know”.  I didn’t use it very often because hey, I still knew most everything there was to know.  I felt like I deserved to have a multi-page resume because I was just so great.  Since then, every day seems to teach me only one thing: I know less than I thought I did.

I used to create recipes and think that I was the bee’s knees.  Look at this pasta I made.  Aren’t I fabulous and special?  No.  Cooking requires experience.  The more you do it, the better intuition you have.  The more recipes you see combining certain ingredients, the more willing you are to go off script to create a combination you’ve seen before.  I like cooking.  I think that what I cook is usually pretty tasty.  But it’s not nearly as original as I thought it was when I was in high school.

… so this morning when I wanted doughnuts that combined chocolate and peanut butter, that wasn’t exactly a fresh idea.  I already have a tried and true chocolate doughnut recipe (see this cookbook).

Doughnuts in Morning Light

And peanut butter frosting just made sense to me.  I was a little nervous about how to go about that, though, because I wasn’t about to go shopping for whatever ingredients I was missing in any of the recipes I found.  … and then I thought about peanut butter pie.  That glorious creamy peanut buttery combo topping ground Oreos.  And the recipe for that is pretty simple.  Peanut butter + cream cheese + cream + sugar = amazing.

… but let’s make this simpler given the ingredients I actually have on hand: Peanut butter + dairy + sugar = amazing.  And so it did.  I used Yoplait vanilla greek yogurt because I have a Costco sized amount of it that’s going to go bad next week.  But let’s not kid ourselves, this recipe is hardly rocket science.

Doughnuts by Window

My sister requested that she be awoken when breakfast was ready, so I served her bedside with doughnuts and hot cocoa.  She kind of loves me a lot.

Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 1/4 c. peanut butter (I used creamy, but I think crunchy would be grand)
  • 1 5.3oz. container yoplait vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar

Mix ingredients until creamy.  Chill.  Frost doughnuts immediately before serving.

 

Fat Cottonwoods

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Southern New Mexico is a pretty familiar place for me.  My parents both grew up here.  Both sets of grandparents still live here.  Numerous aunts and uncles live nearby.  I’ve spent a lot of time here.  No amount of familiarity could ever make this view any less breathtaking.

White Sands

White Sands National Monument is a supremely under-appreciated experience.  There are views of the mountains surrounding you, and the white sand seems to go on forever.  The dunes are giant and absolutely amazing to sled down.

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I just love feeling the cool evening breeze.  And coming home to eat this peach cobbler afterwards?  It’s just too much!

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I cannot tell a lie.  I based this almost entirely off of Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.  I gluten-freed it with Cup-4-Cup.  I may have used more pecans than it called for.

This recipe was stolen from Smitten Kitchen, but inspired by 2-lbs-for-a-dollar peaches and the pecan tree in my grandmother’s back yard.  Please make it.  It’ll make you happy.  Promise.

Sideways Recipes

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

I’ve been reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School to my fifth graders.  On Thursday, we read my absolute favorite chapter: Maurecia.  It’s all about this little girl who hates everyone/thing except for ice cream, but eventually gets tired of all the different flavors.  Her amazing teacher Mrs. Jewls ends up making Maurecia-flavored ice cream which Maurecia can’t taste, but all the other children think is amazing.  The teacher realizes her mistake: Maurecia ice cream is the flavor that Maurecia tastes when Maurecia isn’t tasting anything.

Debbie-flavored ice cream

Debbie-flavored ice cream

I’m no Mrs. Jewls.  But this is Debbie-flavored ice cream.  At the very least, it’s inspired by her existence.  This blackberry white chocolate chip ice cream is positively amazing.  Sometimes, when you want to make birthday ice cream for somebody, you should really just wander around the grocery store and pick up ingredients.  You’re playing with cream and sugar.  What can go wrong?

Once I had already purchased the blackberries and white chocolate, I went online and started looking for a recipe.  This is backwards.  I’m pretty ok with that.

I came across this recipe, but it wasn’t working for me.  For one, I didn’t have half-and-half.  I also (whoops!) had only purchased one pint of blackberries.  … so I kind of made things up, basing my methods loosely on the Pioneer Woman’s and loosely on what I do every time I make ice cream.  What happened was amazing.  Check it.

Natural light is important!

Natural light is important!

…so I take pictures of my food on the railing of my front porch…  No bigs.

Blackberry White Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

loosely adapted from the Pioneer Woman

  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 1 Tablespoon lime/lemon juice (I used lime because I had it, but I doubt it matters)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Make the blackberry “syrup” by combining the first three ingredients in a saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes.  Press through a strainer to get as much juice as possible.  Set aside.

Pour white chocolate chips into a food processor.  Pulse a few times to create smaller chunks, but not so much it turns into a powder.

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I’m a firm believer in 1% in ice cream, although all recipes call for whole)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups cream

Pour the cream into a bowl, place mesh strainer over top.  Whisk egg yolks together in separate bowl.  Combine milk and sugar in saucepan.  Cook over medium/low heat until hot and steamy.

Whisk a small portion of the milk mixture into the egg yolks.  After tempering the egg yolks, add to the milk mixture.  Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly.  Pour through mesh strainer into the cream.  Whisk to combine.  Mix in the blackberry syrup.  Chill thoroughly in an ice bath or in the refrigerator.

Right before freezing, mix in the white chocolate chips.  Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.