Archive for June, 2013

A Mad Grad, Upcoming Delights

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Oh, Wades, the things I do for you. Given my sister’s obsession with DQ’s Brownie Oreo Earthquake, I felt it was only appropriate to festoon her grad party dessert table with every Oreo/marshmallow cream dessert I could think of. I was up til 2 a.m. baking, but baby was it worth it. I’m proud of her, ok? She’s good at everything.

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Give it up, these Oreo Cupcakes alone would have been worth braving the relentless rain that day, but there were several other desserts that made the cut. (Not pictured is the savory Greek food served that day. I had to keep telling people, “It’s like eating a taco; you’ve got this.” Nice work, Mum.)

Upcoming recipes you should be on the watch for:

– Oreo Truffles (On sticks.)

-Puppy Chow Bars (Hwhat?? I know.)

-Frosted Cake Batter Cookies (Also, I know.)

-Twinkie Bundt Cake (You guys. HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOW CREME. NEED I SAY MORE.)

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Cousens. Fet.

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Coffee. Actually, this was mostly creamer. The ice cubes are coffee, so they melt into the creamer and your coffee won’t be diluted. Genius!

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Hi there, I love you two.

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Celebrating. Watch out, SoCal, her she comes!

Love,

L

Oreo Pudding, An Experiment

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I baked up a storm (literally) for my sister’s grad party this year. Here is a sneak peek of one of the desserts I made.

I first tried something like this pudding at a wedding I attended this year. It was like eating cookies n’ cream pudding frosting wonderfulness. I was intrigued and started looking up recipes, and came across a lot of these icebox cakes, which basically involve layering Oreos and whipped cream and letting them sit in the fridge overnight. The Oreos soften up from the cream and the cream thickens up, making a scoopable cake/pudding thing.

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It seems incredible to me that you could make such a gloriously delicious dessert with only two main ingredients. I thought it couldn’t be so simple–there had to be something else–so I decided to mess with the original recipe a little. I used cream cheese/whipped cream mixture because I thought it might hold up better in the heat, but next time, I am going to stick with the straight whipped cream, just to see. I didn’t use enough of the cream mixture to really replicate the wedding pudding, so I have to give this a second shot sometime soon.

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Good thing it was so rainy that day–the party turnout was less than expected, so we have menny, menny Oreos still lying around. Incidentally, this is a great recipe for a crowd, or for any Fourth of July shenanigans you may have planned. Make ahead, mass quantity and Oreos are always a crowd-pleaser.

Less than pleased,

L

Oreo Pudding

Lots of Oreos

This stabilized whipped cream

Layer the Oreos with the cream cheese/whipped cream mixture in a serving dish of your choice. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with crumbled Oreos and serve chilled.

 

 

 

Pipe Dream #203: To Make A Few Of Your Favorite Things – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Hot Chocolate Whipped Cream

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I can always tell if my sister is due home because several things will appear in the pantry:

Goldfish

Tortilla chips

Feta cheese

Spicy salsa

Kefir

Swiss Miss

That’s, like, basically all she eats, so it is incredible to me that she has the mind of a spelling bee ninja and the body of an agile panther. I always try and make something she would like when she comes home, but she usually just tells me to make what I want. So I either make what I want or I make her what I already know she likes: cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies.

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This was my first time making a “New York-style” cheesecake. Is it supposed to be so brown? I think so, and the consistency was correct, but I still wanted it to be prettier, so I slathered on some hot chocolate whipped cream. This cheesecake would probably be pretty baller on its own, maybe with some fresh berries and chocolate sauce. If I did this again, I would double the amount of hot chocolate in the whipped cream. Nice thought, but the flavor got lost a little bit.

This was also my first time making eggless chocolate chip cookie dough, which is supposed to be cookie dough for people who would just shovel spoonfuls of the raw stuff into their gullet rather than baking cookies. It involves sweetened condensed milk, and personally, I thought this dough was lacking in flavor. I would rather make the regular stuff and take my chances with Salmonella.

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The batch made a lot, so I had extra dough balls with which to decorate the top of the cheesecake. I had grand plans to make a massive pile of dough in the middle of the cake, but my mom, in an effort to show hospitality to some wayfarer, snicked my dough from the freezer and tried to bake cookies. Because they have no egg or leavener, they turned out flat and hard as rocks, which should just be a lesson to anyone who steals cookie dough. Who is having the last laugh now, Mum? And as for your poor wayfarer, come back another time, and I’ll make you something decent.
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I’m sorry. I can’t stop with the pics. It’s so pretty.
cc cheesecake 4Happy B Day, Miss Thang.

L

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Hot Chocolate Whipped Cream
For the crust:

⅔ package of Oreos, crushed into fine crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted

For the cheesecake filling:

2 pounds (32 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
heaping 1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks

For the cookie dough:

½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips (Mini chips are preferable, but I just chopped up some regular ones)

Prepare the cookie dough: Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl, then beat in the vanilla. Add in the flour, stirring until completely incorporated. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk, then the chocolate chips. Scoop into 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until completely frozen.
Prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix together the cookie crumbs and the butter. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
Prepare the cheesecake: Increase the oven heat to 500 degrees F. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low until broken up, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides, and add ¾ cup of sugar and the salt. Mix over low for about a minute until well combined, then beat in the remaining ¾ cup of sugar.
Scrape the sides, add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix on low for 1 minute. Mix in egg yolks until thoroughly combined. Add the whole eggs, two at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Stir in about ½ of the frozen cookie dough balls, until evenly distributed.
Placing the springform pan on a baking sheet, pour the filling into the crust.
Bake for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 200 degrees. Bake for about 90 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is 150 degrees. If you find that the top of the cake is looking too brown, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil.
Let cool for 5 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen the sides so that it doesn’t crack as it is cooling. Let cool for another two hours, then wrap the pan in plastic and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours. You can also freeze the cheesecake at this point, but make sure it is well-wrapped.
To remove, wrap a warm kitchen towel around the pan, and let set for 1 minute before gently removing the sides.

For the hot chocolate whipped cream:

1/2 cup hot chocolate mix

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Whip the cream with the hot chocolate mix until medium-stiff peaks form. Spread on the cooled cheesecake as desired.

To serve, garnish with more whipped cream and reserved cookie dough balls.

 

 

 

Favorite Shots: One Frustrating Thing

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One frustrating thing is when I can’t capture how big the sky is/how small I feel sometimes.

L

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;

What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?”

Psalm 8: 3-4

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How To Throw A Brunch In The Microwave

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Ok, so the title of this post might be a little misleading. It isn’t really about how to throw a party inside a microwave (that is unrealistic), nor is it a list of handy brunch-ish recipes that one can make in the microwave (I showed you that microwave lemon curd earlier this week.).

Rather, the title of this post reflects my wish that throwing brunches was as easy as 1-2-3 seconds in the micro. That way, I could do them all the time. Brunch food is the best, and special meals make people feel loved, so why wouldn’t I want to do them all the time?

Mother’s Day 2013 was a lovely treat, and a chance for me to practice my cooking skills. You can find what I made below–stay tuned for plenty of upcoming posts with the recipes for the pretty mini biscuits above. To go along with our strawberry bellinis, I made a series of little bites:

-Raspberry scones with sweet cream and lemon curd

-Chived paprika feta biscuits

-Black and white chocolate twist cookies

Here is the rest of the meal. Except I won’t be blogging about the following. This is a baking blog.

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Spring pea and scallion soup with truffle oil, cream and mint.

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Chived quinoa with dilled yogurt, salmon and kale.

Incidentally, I’m not sure what kind of salmon I used for this. It is some type of lox, like the stuff you see on the classic bagel breakfast. Based on this informative article, I think it might have been cold-smoked salmon.

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Kale, sun dried tomato, feta frittata with candied maple bacon.

Going forth,

L

Pipe Dream #202: To Stop the Show – Lemon Mousse Crepe Cake

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Did you know that lemons are always in season? This means two things: 1) This is technically a light “spring” crepe cake, but 2) you can make it any time you are feeling like a perfectly light, undeniably easy and downright show-stopping little number of a cake.

It is my joy to provide you with light, easy, show-stopping little numbers. Especially when you may be planning on hosting a brunch. Stay tuned for my handy guide to brunching, coming up later this week. (It likely won’t be helpful; don’t hold ya breath, Doris.)

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And it is my particular joy that I didn’t make the crepes from scratch, meaning this cake was actually enjoyable for me to eat.

Well, who am I kidding? Most cake is enjoyable for me to eat, but I mean, after slaving away for hours, sometimes I feel the emotion of tired a little more than if I buy a slice of cake. Thus, this cake is two things: 1) the semi-homemade but 2) a treat for whoever makes it.

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This is the second-best shot I took of the entire brunch. I love it.

It’s essential (read: freaking sweet) that you make this cake ahead of time. The paper-thin layers of crepe need time to meld with the creamy lemon mousse in the fridge. What goes into the fridge a delicate pile of smooshed crepes, comes out a sliceable masterpiece.

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If I were to do this cake again, I would maybe double the mousse recipe and put more than a heaping 1/4 cup in between the layers. It would make the cake taller, and then I could eat more mousse.

And SIDENOTE OF IMPORTANCE:

Throwing a brunch might not be a complete cinch, but this lemon curd recipe that I used in the lemon mousse sure is. You make it in the microwave. It takes five minutes. Could life get better?

(Once I posted a recipe for lemon curd. It is a great recipe. No microwave, but no sieving, either, so you can make your choice, I guess.)

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Like I said, a sliceable masterpiece. Who knew show-stopping could be so easy. Stop the show. Start the applause. I’ll be making one of these babies again soon.

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Bravissim-ink,

L

Lemon Mousse Crepe Cake

Inspired by Martha Stewart

30 8-inch crepes (I used storebought ones for convenience, but they didn’t taste great)

2 cups prepared lemon curd (I doubled this recipe.)

2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold

3 tablespoons powdered sugar.

2 teaspoons powdered gelatin

2 tablespoons cold water

powdered sugar and blackberries, for garnish

Whip the cream in the stainless steel bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.

Put the two tablespoons of cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over top. Let this stand for a couple minutes until the water is absorbed. Place the  bowl in the microwave and heat on high power for 30 seconds, until the gelatin has liquefied. Beat this into the whipped cream until just combined.

Fold the whipped cream into the lemon curd until just combined, and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble to cake, place a crepe on a serving platter. Top with a heaping spoonful (maybe 1/4 cup) of the lemon mousse and spread in a thin layer to about 1/2 inch away from the edge of the crepe. Top with a crepe and repeat until all the crepes have been used. Once the final crepe is placed on the top of the cake, refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Just before serving, garnish the cake with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, fresh berries, or any reserved whipped cream or lemon curd. Or top with all of the above.

It Is About That Time

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Wouldn’t you say? Can’t even wait for roasted, herbed onions. Can’t even wait until I have a real green thumb.

L

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