Friday, March 30, 2012

Chocolate Fix- Cocoa Crinkle Cookies

A new post is long overdue and the truth is over spring break I had planned to do all sorts of baking and posting.  I figured with all my free time I would be able to try out all these new recipes and even a cake or two since my brother's birthday was coming up, but then I got my butt kicked by one of the worst colds ever. The three day fever was not my idea of spring break, I didn't even get to make my brother's birthday cake because I was spending some quality time in the hospital. Anyways, now that I'm almost fully recovered I decided to ease my way back into baking with one of my favorite Cocoa Crinkle Cookies.



This lovely recipes was taken from one of my all time favorite cookbooks. You can always tell my favorite recipes because those are the pages with batter splatter all over the pages.






Cocoa Crinkle Cookies
Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oik
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • powdered sugar for rolling
Directions
  1. Combine sugar and oil either with a mixer or by hand.  Add in cocoa.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Slowly add in flour, baking powder and salt. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 350. Then shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll into powdered sugar.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.





Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Finals are finally over and I decided to celebrate with one of my favorites cupcake combinations, chocolate and raspberry. There is something so simple and delicious about chocolate raspberry cupcakes, a dense, moist chocolate cupcake under a pillow of raspberry buttercream frosting is just what the doctor ordered.








    
    Ingredients:
   
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY®'S Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 35o, and line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a large bowl combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add in eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat on medium high speed for about 2 minutes until well combined.
  4.  Add in boiling or hot water.  Bater will be very thin.
  5. Pour into paper liners. About 2/3 full, makes approximately 24-30 cupcakes.
Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 6-7 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
 Directions:
  1. Place butter, milk, preserves,vanilla, and 3 cups sugar in large bowl slowly beat together until sugar is combined.
  2. Beat on high and gradually add in the rest of the sugar until consistency is stiff but spreadable.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homemade Eclairs

So its the middle of finals week but that didn't change my need for dessert and after flipping through the cookbook I saw them. Beautiful, fluffy, chocolate eclairs. When I was little eclairs were one of the things that I simply couldn't fathom how they were made.  They were a pastry with this cream inside and the just blew mind mind.  But now I think I've go the secret unlocked.


Very satisfying, eclairs are a three step process dough, cream, and ganache. But satisfaction can be yours in just an hour!

Part1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Start with the dough known by its fancy name of Pâte a choux, also known as cream puff dough.  In a large saucepan, combine water, butter and salt, bring to a boil. Then all at once, add in flour and stir until a ball forms.


Let cool for 10 minutes. Then ad in eggs one at a time.

Now take either a piping bag or just a Ziploc freezer bag with about a 1 inch opening cut in the corner, and pipe eclairs onto a greased baking sheet.

Put them in the oven. If your going to fill the eclairs with a pastry bag take them out after 15 minutes and poke a hole in the small side of each of the eclairs; this will give you an opening to fill with cream. Then put them back in for 15 minutes.  If you plan to slice them and add in the cream, bake for a straight 30 minutes.

Part 2: Now for the cream, combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and egg yolks in a bowl. Beat with a mixer for 2 minutes until thick and pale yellow. Then in a saucepan bring milk to a boil add gradually add into egg mixture.  Put everything back into the saucepan and boil 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly. 


Remove from heat and add in vanilla.  Suddenly you have this delicious warm vanilla cream.


Cover with wax paper so a skin doesn't form and either put in the fridge for a while or use immediately. It's pretty hot so I put it in the fridge to cool while the Pâte a choux finished cooking.

Part 3: The chocolate ganache.  This has to be a million times easier than it sounds. Once again using a saucepan bring the cream to a boil.  And add in chocolate pieces and stir until smooth.



Now it's time to assemble. If you're going to fill your eclairs with a pastry bag insert tip into the previously poked hole. If you're husband lost your pastry tips like mine did, use a bread knife and slice the eclairs in half.  Then you can either fill a pastry of Ziploc bag with the pastry cream and pipe it on the bottom half like I did or you can spoon it on. Put it all together and spread chocolate ganache over the top. Now you have you're very own eclair.



Pâte a choux 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Grease baking sheet.
  2. In a saucepan combine water, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil, add in flour all at once stirring vigorously.
  3. Let cool for 10 minutes then add in eggs one at a time. 
  4. Pipe onto greased cookie sheet.
Pastry Cream
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Directions:
  1. Combine sugar, flour cornstarch, and egg yolks in a bowl. Beat for 1-2 minutes until mixture because somewhat thick and light yellow. 
  2. In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil.
  3. Gradually add milk to egg mixture.
  4. Pour it all back into the saucepan and boil 1-2 minutes, whisking continually. 
  5. Remove from heat and add in vanilla.
Chocolate Ganache
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup (8 oz) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate pieces.
Directions:
  1. Heat cream in a small saucepan.
  2. Add in chocolate pieces, and stir until smooth.



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dr. Seuss Inspired Cupcakes

There can never be too many excuses to bring cupcakes to class.  Recently we celebrated Dr.Seuss' 108th Birthday at the preschool I work at and I couldn't refuse my cupcake crave.  Unfortunately, cupcakes craves never seem to come at a convenient time.  So far, inspiration seems to hit between 10 and 11 at night but as a baking junkie I can't deny a good baking high.




A bottle of food coloring later I had these lovely Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes. I love baking for 4 year olds because it really takes the pressure off, bright colors and sugar, pretty much seal the deal.  Because I have a handful of food allergies in class these are basic vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Also, since inspiration hit when I was almost out of flour I adapted a vanilla cake mix to make it actually worth eating.




Vanilla Cupcakes
Ingredients:


  • 1 package white cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • *red food coloring
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line one regular sized 12 cupcake pan with cupcake holders.
  2. In a large bowl combine cake mix, sour cream, and vegetable oil.
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time and add in vanilla.  Mix until smooth.
  4. Fill each liner about 2/3 of the way full with batter.
  5. Bake for approx 14 minutes. When done, insert toothpick if it comes out clean they're done!
  6. Makes approx 18 cupcakes.
*If making red cupcakes add in almost one bottle of food coloring after step #3

Buttercream Frosting:
Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. Confectioner's Sugar (This is usually 1 bag)
  • 3 sticks unsalted, softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • *blue food coloring
Directions:
  1. Put about 1/4 of the sugar in a large bowl with the butter.  Begin beating until combined. (Careful not to inhale all the powdered sugar in the air!)
  2. Incrementally, add in the rest of the sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Frosting should be stiff but still spreadable.
*If making blue frosting add in after step #2