What is the use of having a cookbook if you don’t make at least one recipe from it? For a while now we have owned Damn Good Food by chef and owner Mitch Omer of Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis. We’ve been there many times now and everything on the menu is absolutely amazing. I wanted to try something different that I have never made before, so I went with their Caramel Pecan Rolls. I just made half of the books recipe and some aspects were failing for me so I had to make some slight changes. Otherwise, it was superb. They were a lot easier than I first thought. The dough itself is slightly sweet rather than being bland and letting the filling and caramel carry it. My husband keeps raving about it as he finishes off the last of them. The caramel itself isn’t overly sweet either which gives the rolls a nice rounded flavor that doesn’t make you run for a glass of milk to wash it down. I’m going to make these the next time my mother-in-law comes to visit as she adores caramel pecan rolls, and I will use any opportunity available to impress her.
This white cake cupcakes recipe is a white birthday cake recipe that I found and wrote down from an old cookbook at my mother-in-laws. It required a lemon but I did not have any on hand, so I replaced with some vanilla paste and it tinged the cake slightly so I didn’t get that white birthday cake look. However, after one bite I didn’t care these were amazing with a very tender crumb that was still light and moist. I haven’t made cupcakes in a while so I was thrilled to finally make something new.
I will use this recipe again frequently if the opportunity allows. I must try this with lemon because it is probably divine, just replace the vanilla with lemon juice and zest. I had some of my basic Swiss buttercream in the freezer from earlier in the week. To use frozen frosting defrost it and then whisk it up, add in the food coloring and is perfect for quick cupcake needs.
On very high recommendations I bought some AmeriColor Gels and I used the violet in the frosting and I am beyond happy with the gels. They are bright, vivid, and true rich colors. I threw out my other colors and replaced them, these color gels are just amazing. If you have not had a chance to try them out and jump on that bandwagon do so soon. I cannot say enough good things about this AmeriColor Gels pack, it has all the basic colors you would need.
Originally I had my heart set on making a lemon tart. When I started gathering my ingredients, I was dismayed to find a few essential ingredients missing from my cupboard. What’s a girl to do in this situation? “If life gives you lemons, make macarons out of them!” I succumbed once again to the macaron madness and went to town. This batch turned out so perfect and consistent with the last couple batches, I think I’ve finally nailed these suckers and I can justify a moderate ego boost. Thus I present to you, these lemon macarons.
If you’re new to the world of macarons I recommend reading my tips from this prior post before proceeding with your shells.
Back in October we went to my favorite restaurant for dinner and the dessert of the week was a chocolate ginger cake. After the first bite of this cake I was convinced that I had to try to replicate it. It tasted like Christmas. Yes, I realize this is late for a Christmas cake, but it’s also an ideal winter cake. What makes this cake over the top is the bourbon caramel sauce. Serve it with some toasted pecans and crème fraîche and you have a highly complex and impressive dessert that is rich and leaves you completely satisfied. This dessert will also ruin your New Years diet resolution, so for that I am sorry.
The great thing about this recipe is it’s a one pot wonder. The bundt pan I used was a gift for my birthday and not-coincidentally matched the one the restaurant used. I have mentioned before about the trick to using dark pans vs light pans — to turn down the oven slightly with a darker pan to avoid an over cooked outside with a undercooked interior. So keep that in mind when making this cake as the temperature will go down by 25°F if you will be using a dark aluminum pan.
The caramel is a basic butter caramel I have made before with some adjustments to make it dark and rich with the amazing flavor of the added bourbon. The leftover caramel sauce can (and should) be saved in a sealed container in the refrigerator (mason jars are awesome for this), because it is simply amazing on ice cream. Give this a try for your next party, or just to warm and spice up a cold winter dinner, you will not be disappointed.
A crack of the knuckles, a light breath to blow some dust off the keyboard, and I’m sitting down at my computer with purpose again. I must remember to enjoy the little things! Oh little blog, how I missed you! I want to apologize to you friends for the lack of updates since holidays began. Interestingly enough it is when most blogs show the highest number of post but when you work two jobs in retail, then take a vacation to visit family your time for cooking gets shorter. Many days I would get home at 11pm, go to bed and start the day over at 8am – 11pm again. I know, I did it to myself so only I am to blame, but it was nice to have the extra money, and work at a job that I cannot even express how much I enjoy it compared to the other. Okay, enough about me and my weirdness enjoying a busy holiday season at the country’s biggest shopping mall.
On to the real matter at hand, food. Well with me it’s more sweets and desserts, but you know that by now. I have had this combination on my list since my first batch of macarons came out all lovely and puffy. At the local market I seen these limes that were the size of a large lemon and they smelled fantastic. Then what is in a basket on the end cap? A bag of organic shredded coconut which was on sale. I knew it had to be so I picked up both and went home on a mission.
I made these brown butter brownies again this weekend and they turned out so good I thought I should give this recipe a bump and a new picture. I didn’t change anything with the recipe and they turned out better than ever. So read on and enjoy!
Originally posted on March 11th, 2011
It’s Friday, the weekend is here. I got a lovely dozen white roses yesterday from my husband to cheer me up after the past quite stressful and emotional two weeks. It worked, they look amazing. So, to do something equally nice I decided to make him brownies. I know they are his favorite and bring back memories of the very first thing I ever made for him. When we first moved in together 9 years ago, he was working nights and I knew when he got home in the early morning he would go to his computer to play a few turns on a game and stay up for a few hours. To surprise him, I made a batch of brownies and left them on his desk. According to him I “blew his mind” because they were from scratch. Until that day I had never made brownies from scratch before – they were always from a box mix. Since that day I refused to make brownies from a box ever again.
One recent day I went looking for a new brownie recipe. Usually my brownies had been lighter and more of a cake-like texture and I wanted something that had more of a tooth to it. After a bunch of trial and error I arrived at this final recipe. I had never made brownies using this technique but I am sure they will be received with just as much joy and welcome by your loved ones and friends as the first time I made my husband brownies.
Browning the butter adds a nutty toffee element to the final result and adding in the espresso powder just enhances the chocolate flavor. The crunchy top and fudge like center make this by far the best brownie recipe I have ever had in my life and that is not an exaggeration. My suggestion, make them when you will not be alone with them for hours. This recipe does require quite a bit of arm strength and at a few points things might not look right but trust me, in the end the work for these is worth it! Chocoholics beware. This will take a lot of will power to resist consuming the entire pan.
The macaron madness continues! I adore how they fit any flavor combination you can possibly think of. I already have two pages in my notebook filled with combinations to try. This round I went with a basic macaron with a blackberry buttercream. I had some blackberry compote in the freezer left over from the orange blossom cheesecake. This filling fits macarons perfectly, it isn’t overly sweet and has the perfect ratio of acidity vs sweetness. Did I say they taste amazing yet? This is so far my favorite combination, but I am sure I will say that again soon.
I hope you get a chance to give macarons a try in your kitchen. If you do, my previous post has some of my own tips that helped me. I hope they will help you as well, so good luck!
Honestly, I don’t need this many chocolate macarons in the house and I wish all of you could show up just to take some away, but now I understand the term macaron madness. I cannot believe how much fun I am having making these things! They are just too hard to resist eating.
For this batch of chocolate macarons, I wanted to come up with a filling that would require egg yolks. I was left with three for every batch of macarons and would rather not waste them. So, I took some inspiration from my favorite cooking show, Masterchef Australia (link at the bottom). This version of buttercream uses egg yolks – yay no waste! – and it’s very smooth which complements the cocoa shells wonderfully. I decided to add half of the espresso powder in the buttercream near the end give an almost crunchy texture to the cream with tiny bursts of coffee flavor to wash away the sweetness of the chocolate macaron shell. I don’t think it could have turned out any better.
Macarons are the bane and bliss of many food bloggers. I have been semi-successful before but that was nearly a year ago. I wanted to make them again as an alternative to my birthday cake. The problem was, my old recipe wasn’t working for me. I wasn’t getting any pied or feet. I blame the new oven I got in the spring (likely excuse, but seriously when you get a new oven it takes time to learn its personality). I gave up for a while until I read Tartelettes ebook, Demystifying Macarons. When you want to make macarons, she’s a pretty reliable go-to. I’ve had multiple success now with her recipe and techniques by mixing it with some other little tips and tricks that worked for me.
Remember when you were told as a kid, “practice makes perfect”? Well, Parisian macarons fall along those lines. I cannot explain well enough in words what the mixture should be like. Where to be gentle, where to just stir with some vigor, and the exact texture. I will tell you I have found that adding cocoa powder produces a chewier cookie, and takes less folds than the basic macaron recipe does. So, it’s just working with the basic recipe enough times to gain a feel for it, to know when you are at the right constancy. If you decide to go down this road of trial and error, I promise to send you happy pastry thoughts.