Last Wednesday in the early afternoon I imagined writing this post by saying lovely things about how I love baking and summer berries, and birds chirping…my world was so full of hope and anticipation! I’ve been getting cherries at the grocery store lately and they have been oh so wonderful. I had the opportunity to volunteer to make a dessert for a meeting at our church (that I wouldn’t actually be attending) and jumped at the opportunity since I get to make dessert so rarely lately. I immediately opened my summer cooking magazines looking for a wonderful summer treat! Cooking Light had some awesome cherry recipes and I knew I had to try one. I needed to feed 12 people so I chose the Double-Cherry Upside-Down Cake (of course looking back I wish I’d made the Cherry Galette). Doesn’t that picture of the cake look amazing?
I’ll admit, I was already hearing the compliments in my head as I imagined dropping off my perfect cherry upside down cake! It would be so perfect. I had a lovely time making it and I was oh so full of anticipation. Everything went off without a hitch. I even didn’t mind that pitting the cherries was a bit time consuming. I put the whole thing in the oven and spent the next hour smelling it’s wonderful scents!
I pulled it out of the oven and it was perfectly golden brown! I was a little unsure of myself so I followed the directions to the letter. The toothpick inserted into the center came out clean. I left it to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes….as it turns out neither of these proved to be enough.
I hate flipping desserts…but I figured, “Ellie, you’re a pretty bad ass cook, if you follow the directions you can totally handle this.” I looked down at Capri, who was standing at my feet and said, “Here’s the scary part,” took a deep breath and flip…and my heart sank. For one the instructions said to flip it onto a wire cooking rack – dumb! why would I do that? I quickly moved the rack onto a cookie sheet as I saw everything begin to seep through!
I really tried not to panic as I looked at the edges falling off…I probably would have let myself panic except that Jeremy was really sick that day and I didn’t think he could help me at all if I went into full on melt down mode. I tried to breathe deeply. I took the dessert up to church a little early…still on the cooling rack because there was no way I could move it onto the lovely cake stand that I had envisioned displaying it on. I decided to spoon it into bowels and then cover it with ice cream. Of course once I started spooning it I discovered that the cake portion had all seeped down through the cooling rack, oh and the very center part of the cake wasn’t even completely finished yet!
It was a humbling and semi-disastrous experience. And I won’t lie, it wasn’t a cheap experience either – there are 2 kinds of cherries on there and despite them being on sale that’s still a lot of cherries! I will say that I ate the pieces that fell of the end and they were quite tasty but the presentation was utterly disappointing.
I have been tempted to try again because I hate that this recipe beat me, but I’m not buying all those cherries again and I’m worried that even if I try again it still won’t be a success. So there it is…my sad cherry cake story.
This week it was my turn to bring a dessert to our small group – it’s always my favorite thing to bring! I wanted to make something kind of St. Patrick’s Day themed. So I made Bon Appetit’s Chocolate-Stout Brownies because if you make something with Guinness that makes it Irish. These were awesome! So good! I was a little worried they would be more rich than sweet so I also brought vanilla ice cream and irish cream, but they were plenty sweet (of course we still used the ice cream and irish cream!)
The recipe gives you the option of choosing bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. I went with the semi sweet but I think next time maybe I’ll try half and half. The only thing that was a little different with mine is that when I reduced the Guinness for the amount of time they suggested, I only ended up with 1/4 cup so I had to do that twice and my brownies had a doubly concentrated amount of Guinness in them. Some of the ones around the edges turned a little chewey on the sides, but they were still good. The inside was super soft. In fact, 3 days later and I think they still taste just as good as the first day! (yes, I’m eating one right now
This recipe has some steps, but it wasn’t overly difficult. I imagine it’s not too much more than most made from scratch brownie recipes, other than reducing the Guinness and making the glaze. I give this recipe 5 out of 5 stars – I think it will become one of my go to desserts!
I saw this recipe for Easy Gourmet Cupcakes on Heather Bailey’s blog this last week and decided to give them a try! I think this is my new favorite way to make cupcakes!
I had bought a box of strawberry cake mix in the clearance bin at HEB so I decided to use that. I used vanilla pudding and strawberry icing. I’m not really a strawberry cupcake fan, but these were both fluffy and moist – so good! I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to making cupcakes the way the box instructs!
My mom asked me to bake a pie for Christmas. I pulled out my massive Gourmet Today cookbook that I haven’t used nearly enough (but am now determined to use more often). I found this recipe for Rum Raisin Apple Pie (which was in Gourmet Magazine in 2006 – how I miss that magazine…sigh). Anyway, I haven’t made a lot of pies but other than peeling the apples, this was relative simply. Now, I didn’t make my own pie crust because I had a coupon and just went with the Pillsbury refrigerated crust. I also didn’t use raisins, I used craisins and I thought they were excellent. I did use the three different kinds of apples – Gala, Granny Smith, and McIntosh. Anyway, I thought this pie was a really yummy twist on the traditional apple pie!
I saw this recipe last week on the According to Kelly blog and knew that I wanted to make it ASAP! It was just this last year that I think I had bread pudding again for the first time in a long time and loved it so when I saw a recipe for one with pumpkin in it I knew it would be amazing. I don’t have a lot of opportunities to make dessert so I decided I would just make this for our Monday morning staff meeting and hope that it was ‘brunchy’ enough – it was!
I bought the bread fresh, cut it up the night before and left it out so it would stale up a bit. I made mixed together the ‘pudding’ ingredients the night before too and put them in the fridge so when I got up in the morning I just mixed in the bread and popped it in the oven and then made the caramel sauce – which took no time at all. I didn’t use the raisins, but I do think some cranberries could be good in here. The only other change I made was that I used half & half in the caramel sauce because I forgot to buy whipping cream – so my caramel might not have been quite as thick.
The recipe suggests that you double or triple the caramel sauce, but I just left it as is because I didn’t want it to be overly sweet since we would be eating it for breakfast. I think it was the perfect sweetness, but I might double the caramel sauce if I were making it for a dessert.
You definitely want this right out of the oven when it’s all warm and wonderful. Such a great fall treat! This recipe is a keeper!!!
Our church had baptisms at a park on Sunday night and I made this Festive Fruit Tart. It was supposed to have peaches in the middle instead of strawberries, but they didn’t look so great at the store. Now, I actually didn’t get a chance to try this, but I did lick the spatula that had the cream cheese mixture on it and it was quite good. Obliviously, I didn’t have a tart pan that had a removable bottom either so it wasn’t quite as pretty as the Taste of Home picture. However, the fruit still made it look really pretty. It’s a super easy recipe and looks very summery!
Book club was a week ago yesterday and I got to host! I’ve had a lot going on so I was trying to figure out what I could do that would take minimal time…but as you know whenever I try to do stuff like that I always make too many plans and it always takes longer than I thought it would! I didn’t decide what I was going to do until the day before bookclub, but I did only pick three recipes this time…although the last one had a lot of options.
I decided to make two sweet things – one fruity and one chocolaty – and I thought it would be nice if each recipe used one sheet of puff pastry so I could just buy one box and use it up. Here are the Fudgy Brownie Cups. These were super easy to make. They were pretty rich and they looked fancier than they actually were – one of the many wonderful things about puff pastry! This recipe didn’t make as much for me as it said it would. I had enough pastry dough, but not enough batter and I measured it out, so I don’t know what happened! I think the powdered sugar made them look even better! I also made Lemon Thyme Cream Puffs. These took a little more time because you infuse the cream with the thyme and it has to chill and such. There’s a good picture of them with the recipe link. I totally forgot to drizzle the white chocolate on them! I bought it, I just forgot! I had a lot of left over filling, so I used for a d-groups treat and filled some little phyllo pastry cups and put strawberries on top.
So the desserts were fun, but I was most excited about my third recipe – Roasted Garlic Crostini with Assorted Toppings. Of course I made almost all of the assorted toppings – what’s wrong with me!? I love crostini and these were pretty tasty. As you can see in the picture I put all the toppings that went with the goat cheese in that serving plate I got for super cheap in Mexico last year. For each one of those you top the crostini with the roasted garlic paste and some goat cheese, then you add something from the other bowls – roasted red bell pepper, sun dried tomatoes & capers, tapenade (I bought it at HEB, not time to make that), or tomatoes, basil, and crushed red pepper in balsamic vinegar. I thought these were all really fun. I also pre-made two different ones – fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil as well as prosciutto and Parmesan. I thought they were all very fun, but in the future I would probably only do the ones with the goat cheese – they were my favorite!
I know! Too many food posts and no pictures either! I’m sorry! I do have batteries for my camera now…but sadly I made this last week so still not picture, so instead I’ll leave you a picture of rhubarb since a lot of people seem to not know what it is – this is, of course, a picture of it after it’s been cut up, but pretty much imagine big red and green celery.
Jeremy’s family was in town last week and because of the drama with our house closing we decided to go out to dinner instead of cook at our house. However, I did manage to make dessert for us to come back to. I saw this recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuit Topping at Sweet Fern Handmade’s blog. And was inspired to make it! I love strawberries and rhubarb (and cobbler…and cornmeal). For my birthday I almost always ask for a strawberry rhubarb pie instead of chocolate cake (even though I love chocolate cake too!). This recipe is from an old issue of Bon Appetit and you can find it here. It was super easy and I even found fresh rhubarb at HEB so that made it even better! I liked the cornmeal topping, but I don’t know that I’d want every cobbler to have that…I ate the leftovers for breakfast and snacks for the next couple days!
I made this recipe on Friday to bring to one of my co-workers who was having a birthday and also happened to be proctoring my finals that day. He requested something chocolate for dessert and I knew I had to make this! This is something that I had in one of the Whole Foods Culinary classes last year. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture…but here’s a picture of a lovely ramekin from Williams-Sonoma. The reason for the picture for the ramekin is that I wish I had these to make this dessert in. I made mine in cupcake pans and then remembered that in the class they had served them in little ramekins and it makes sense to do that because they are a little hard to get out of the cupcake tins without messing them up. The recipe suggests serving these with whipped creme and glazed berries, but I just used whipped creme this time around (although glazed berries would be heavenly!). I don’t want to brag and really I’m not because I didn’t write the recipe, I just followed the instructions – these were are probably the best chocolate dessert I have ever made! They are called warm chocolate cake, but I really think of them as mini chocolate lava cakes! The only truffles I found at the grocery store were a mixed pack of Lindt truffles – milk, dark, and white chocolate (I think the variety was a good thing!). Mine sunk down quite a bit in the middle, but I think that’s normal, hence the topping of glazed berries and whipped creme to cover that up! oh, also I had too much batter for just my 12 muffin tin, so I used the extra and made some in the mini muffin tin with no truffles inside – still so good! Note: this recipe only uses 4 Tblp of flour – so it’s very dense and moist (sorry Amanda!)
Warm Chocolate Cake
Lance Daughtry with Whole Foods Market Culinary Center
5 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup and 2 Tbsp of sugar, divided
12 0z chocolate, chopped (I used dark chocolate chips)
1/2 lb butter (2 sticks)
4 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp espresso powder (I just brewed up a smal amount of espresso and used 2 Tbsps of that)
12 chocolate truffles
Powdered sugar and glazed berries for garnish (or whipped creme)
Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl combine eggs and 3/4 cup of sugar. Whip together on high spped approximately 15 minutes, then medium speed for approximately 5-10 minutes. Mixture should be smooth, shiny and have no air bubbles. Create a double broiler by heating a large sauce pan filled 1/2 full with water over medium heat. Set a large bowl on the top of the sauce pan. Place the butter and chocolate in teh bowl, stirl until melted. Add the chocolate mixture to the whipped eggs/sugar. Mix until combined, scrape the bottom of the bowl while mixing. Add flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, and espresso, mix until combined.
Pour batter into individual containers. Place 1 yruffle in the center and push down, submerging the truffle in teh batter. Bake 8-10 minutes or until batter solidifies.
For glazed berries:
Dilute jelly with water or juice in a saucepan. Take a pinch of glaze and mix with berries in a bowl with hand quickly. I remember in the class they used an apricot jam…)
This really isn’t a very difficult recipe, but the mixing does take a little while, but what a breeze with a Kitchen Aid!
Once again, I must say this month’s issue of Gourmet is quite wonderful. They always have adds for different food items (two that I noticed this month were Ghirardelli’s chocolate and McCormick spices), anyway they have these adds that feature recipes with their products. This month had a two page spread with two recipes for Ghirardelli chocolate! I made the first one, the Wish Star Chocolate Cookie. Ghirardelli has partnered with Make a Wish Foundation and created this special cookie. Sadly, I had some issues with the dipping into the chocolate part. Something happened when melting my chocolate chips and it turned out to be more like really good frosting instead of being something that I could dip the cookies into, however I still think it’s fine. These cookies are not very sweet. They are really a chocolate shortbread dipped in chocolate. They kind of remind me of a soft biscotti. I think they would be great with coffee, tea, or even a nice glass of milk. I am happy with them and would probably make them again and serve them with coffee.