Archive for April, 2012



How Not To Use German Food Coloring

Here are some pretty pictures of what looks like colored sugar and cream cheese frosting. If that was your guess, you are wrong. The colored sugar is actually German food coloring, which I failed to dissolve in a solution of water because I don’t read German. But let’s be real, I don’t even know if dissolving it is the thing to do. It’s just my guess.

As it was, I just stirred the sugar vigorously until the frosting got as dark as I wanted it. No hard feelings on either side, really, though I think we both felt a bit of unnecessary love went into the whole process.

Unnecessary love. Story of my life.

L

 

“For while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

1 John 5: 6-8

Pipe Dream #98: To Be Before My Time – Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

I think cream cheese was invented in America. I might have read that somewhere. Anyway, I can’t imagine Europeans inventing it. They like real cheese too much. Cream cheese feels like a processed cheese product of the American 50s.

Sometimes I wish I were born in a different era. I feel like I would fit in better in 1850 than I do now. Clothing from the 1950s makes me wish I were born then. Processed cheese products do not.

Please forgive me for the extremely pedantic explanation that is about to follow. I can imagine myself saying this in a really obnoxious encyclopedia voice:

Regardless of its humble beginnings, cream cheese has become a staple item in everything from dips to desserts. Most notably, perhaps, is its use as a frosting.

There are many frostings in this world, but none is so decadent as the cream cheese frosting. It is rich and flavorful and totally caloric. So, of course, everyone loves it. Especially birthday girls. I decided to try a giant cupcake again. Same problems as last time. Ah well. I can live my life without giant cupcakes.

The bonus of this frosting is that it is super easy to whip up, especially if you live in North America. It’s just two parts cream cheese to one part butter and powdered sugar enough to make it stiff. Snap.

I’m out,

L

Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, softened

1 stick (113 grams) butter, softened

5 cups powdered sugar (more or less depending on the consistency you want)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend softened cream cheese and butter with a mixer. When the fats are well mixed, blend in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until the frosting is as stiff as you would like it.

Favorite Shots: Peeps!

It is Easter this week! If I were at home, I would be eating Peeps. You know Peeps? The fluffy little sugar-coated, chick-shaped balls of marshmallow wonderfulness that puff up in the microwave and only migrate seasonally in America? Oh, how I rue the fact that these birds only peep out of their nests for three weeks of the year. (Did you get that pun? :]) I love Peeps.

There is a boy at school with a Peeps t-shirt. I told him I could probably eat 100 Peeps because I loved them so much. He didn’t believe. I tried to convince him (not sure why, death by sugar for me, I guess). He said he would buy me 100 Peeps and see if I could eat them.

Well that hasn’t happened yet, which is why I am not lying dead before you with crystallized sugar freezing up my veins, but I tell you the truth! I love Peeps. And point of the story, these chicks look like Peeps.

These shots were taken on my old camera, so the quality is not super high, but I love the yellow next to the aqua of the box bottom. It is striking.

Even more striking, though, and even more worthy of my love than Peeps, is the real reason I love Easter. Easter is a reminder of how much Jesus loves me. He died a death far worse than eating 100 Peeps all so that we would be free of the guilt of our sin and experience real life. Here’s what he said:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” –Jesus

Happy Easter,

Lauren

Someone Got It Right: Joyce

Today is my birthday, and I saved these pictures ’til today because I love them so much. Happy birthday to me.

L

Pipe Dream #97: To Raise Beautiful Chocolate Children – Whisky Truffles

Making candy is like raising a child. You’ve got to put a lot of love into it, you don’t always know what you’re doing, and sometimes you just have to cross your fingers and hope that things turn out. I say that like I  know anything about raising children. I’ve heard that is what raising children is like. Hi, Mom.

I pretty much faked my way through this recipe. It was 2 in the morning, I was making truffles for about 200 people, and I was distracted by the help. The recipe you will find below is lovely–I didn’t follow it. I added more chocolate (and whisky) to the ganache than I should have, I spent ages forming the not-so-excellent balls, and I dipped the truffles in more chocolate rather than coating them with nuts or cocoa.

Dipping the truffles turned out to be a challenge. In the first, perfect truffle you can see above and below, we managed a beautiful little chocolate swirl tail because the chocolate was at just the right temperature. (Never you mind the chocolate-encrusted fingernails–all of this was very sanitary. :]) Also, can I say that metallic food spray is the best? It makes everything better.

For the majority though, the chocolate was not quite at the right temp, so…

We birthed little baby birds. They were perfect.

Crossing my fingers,

L

Chocolate Whisky Truffles

Adapted pretty heavily from Joy of Baking

16 ounces (454 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream (double cream) (35-40% butterfat)

2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons whisky (cognac, brandy, Grand Marnier, kirsch, or rum would work also)

Place 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil.  Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for a minute or two. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. (If the chocolate doesn’t melt completely, place in the microwave for about 20 seconds, or over a saucepan of simmering water, just until melted.) If desired, add the liqueur. Cover and place in the refrigerator until the truffle mixture is firm (this will take several hours or overnight). I think I added more chocolate than I should have, making the ganache firm up a little too well. If you make your ganache correctly, follow the next steps to the tee. If you mess up, you’ll have to scrunch the chocolate together with your fingers. 

Place your coatings for the truffles on a plate. Remove the truffle mixture from the refrigerator. With your hands, a small ice cream scoop, a melon baller, or a small spoon form the chocolate into round or mis-shaped bite-sized balls. Immediately roll the truffle in the coating (or dip in melted chocolate) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or tray. Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm. Truffles can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or else frozen for a couple of months. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes 30 small truffles.


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