Summer comes to a close.
life as an aspiring amateur
This is my cousin, Emily. She bought this sweet new pro-grade Canon, and let me help her break it in one day. It was raining, and there were mosquitoes as big as my fist hiding near the creek.
As an added bonus, I’ve posted the recipe for the Oreo truffles I did for Wades’ grad below. I always think of Emily when I make them because she made the first I ever had.
Thanks, Em! You’re beautiful, and if people don’t tell you that enough, then I am really sorry, because it is so so so true.
Adapted from everywhere
1 package Oreo cookies (about 30)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into chunks
10 ounces almond bark or vanilla candy coating (alternately, you could use melted chocolate chips with a 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil for dipping)
Pulse the Oreos in a food processor until finely ground. Add the cream cheese chunks and pulse until well-combined. Scoop the mixture into small balls and roll until they are smooth. At this point, you can stick the truffles on candy sticks if you like. Set the truffles on a lined baking sheet, cover and freeze for at least a half hour.
Melt the candy coating in a bain marie or in the microwave, being careful not to scorch it. If you want to stir in food coloring at this point, you can do that. Dip each truffle in the coating and gently shake off the excess coating. Place the truffles on wax paper, sprinkle and let cool until hardened. Store covered in the refrigerator.
I was going to be a good blogger and re-title this recipe because I changed a few things from the Serious Eats version. But after wracking my brain for a better word to describe the hulking masses of butter and brown sugar that make the crumbs of this cake, I couldn’t figure out anything more appropriate that ‘behemoth.’
So here it is, the most inappropriately hulking mass of a calorie bomb I have ever made. It is the fulfillment of every crumb and crisp lover’s fantasy. I know who you are, you who snitch the crumbs off of every streusel-laden item that comes out of the oven. You are me, and the crumbs are everyone’s favorite part, so no shame. Besides, it’s not like you can even pick off enough crumbs from this to make it obvious. Under the crumb there is only…more crumb. An unending bowl of crumb. You’ll be ill before you hit the bottom.
Unbelievably, there actually was a cake layer to this crumb cake, never mind that it was squashed to a thin pancake. I actually really liked the cake part; it was so soft! I want to make this again, reducing the crumb and increasing the cake part. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for ages.
So. Much. Crumb.
Crumbs. So. Huge.
I halved the recipe and used an 8″ round, but if you do the same, I suggest an 8×8″ square or a 9″ round.
The next time you hold a tea party for giants, make this cake. The next time you need a crumb fix, make this cake. Hokay.
Behemoth Crumb Cake
Adapted slightly from Serious Eats
For the crumb:
3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the cake:
1 cup sifted unbleached or bleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup superfine or strained sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Make the topping: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low flame. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes, but do not allow the butter to become cold. Transfer the butter to a large mixing bowl.
Add the flour, brown sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and cinnamon to the butter. Stir together until the mixture forms small crumbs. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment, spray with cooking spray and dust the pan lightly with all-purpose flour, tapping out the excess.
Make the cake: Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, then whisk together. Set aside.
Place the butter in the bowl of a standup electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Soften the butter on low speed. Increase the speed to medium-high and cream until smooth and light in color, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking about 6 to 8 minutes to blend it in well. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the egg, and beat, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat for about 1 minute longer. Blend in the vanilla.
Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream, dividing the flour mixture into 3 parts and the sour cream into 2 parts, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until incorporated after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary and mix for 10 seconds longer.
Pout the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the back of a tablespoon or rubber spatula. It will just barely cover the bottom in a thin layer.Take a handful of the crumb mixture and make a fist to press the mixture into a large clump, then separate into smaller clusters, scattering them on the top of the cake batter. Repeat until all of the crumbs have been used. Try to make sure that every surface of the cake part is covered, as it will bubble up in any gaps you leave on top. Gently pat the crumbs into the batter with the palm of your hand.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top and begins to come away form the sides of the pan. Let cool completely, then lift the cake out of the pan. Drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze and cut into slices.
Trifles are the cooking equivalent of those sand art projects you did in elementary school, easy to assemble and satisfyingly ornamental without much effort. Granted, you probably won’t be able to create a camel under a palm tree using orange zest and whipped cream, but go for it if you want, man. Also, like sand art, trifles have a short shelf life, though this is because they go down easy, not because your little sister shook up your sand bottle and made all the colors mix and then your sand bottle was ugly beige-colored instead of zesty rainbow-colored.
Guys, I was really excited about using this flavoring oil. It’s like orange juice concentrate. Except not for drinking. It’s just really strong, ok? You can get these in like, any flavor you want, too.
Unlike this trifle, which was gluten-free and intentional, these are the result of an overly dramatic cake layer. I tried to get it out of a pan I didn’t bother lining before it was totally cool and was met with fierce resistance, so I mercilessly shook it into pieces. It was heartbroken, but hey, I can’t care about every cake’s feelings. After such a bad knock, I decided to give it a mercy killing and split it into four crumbled servings which I buried in creamy layers of pastry cream and whipped cream. Not such a bad way to go out, I guess.
Because of the chill time required, trifles are a make-ahead dessert. Also, aren’t you just jazzed about getting a peek inside this fridge? To me, knowing what’s in someone’s fridge says a lot about them. It’s like reading their diary. Ok, I realize I am a little obsessed with food sometimes. You probably do not even care about this. Olives, broccoli slaw, maple syrup, greek yogurt and queso. Judge me how you will.
I served the trifles in individual glasses garnished with an orange wedge to make them an acceptable dessert-for-breakfast. Because a pretty glass means you can eat whatever you want whenever you want.
Orange Almond Trifles
For the cake:
Half of any cake recipe will do. I used this one from i am baker.
For the orange pastry cream:
Any pastry cream recipe will do. I halved this one from Food Network.
For the sweetened whipped cream:
Beat 1 cup heavy whipping cream with a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Stir in a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
Layer the trifle components, starting with the cake, then the pastry cream, then the whipped cream. Garnish with orange zest and toasted almonds. I used wine glasses as a vessel, but you could use anything. If you don’t want individual servings, you could try something like this.
Can you even believe it? Two gluten-free recipes in one post? What es thes? You’re welcome.
I attended a themed dinner party this summer, hosted by the same dude who put on the fancy science dinner party I attended in the winter. A girl’s got some luck, getting invited to two whole dinner parties. Winner parties.
Anyway, it was full of delectable magical foods (Harry Potter-themed) and crisp drinks (no really, they involved cucumbers), which was good, because it was approximately humidity 100% that day, and I was in no mood to be served less than magical anything.
I didn’t even want to eat my own paltry contribution to the dinner party, whose only redeeming fpoints were the large chunks of fruit busting out and the fact that they are gluten-free scones. They nearly melted in the damp on the way over. I’m sure they are excellent scone recipes, but I couldn’t enjoy them to the full. Make these in October, when there are leaves on the ground and your shirt isn’t sticking to your back, ok? You’ll be happier.
I did try making some magic with the balsamic-roasted strawberries, which I paired with mint. How adventurous, right? Actually, it’s a pretty classic flavor pairing, but I didn’t think either flavor came through enough in the scones. It would be sweet to do a really minty scones and then make some sort of roasted balsamic strawberry butter or compote. If you try it, let me know how it goes.
GF Almond Peach Scones
Adapted from Art of Gluten Free Baking
2 cups gluten-free flour flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Baking Blend + a heaping half teaspoon xanthan gum)
2 tablespoons baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces sliced peaches (I used canned peaches)
1/4 teaspoon almond oil (LorAnn’s) or 1 teaspoon almond extract teasfinely
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Grate in the cold butter and stir to combine. Stir in the peaches. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond flavor and milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture to flour mixture all at once. Stir together until completely moistened.
Turn out the dough onto a parchment-covered baking sheet. Press into a 1” thick square and cut into 9 or 16 squares, handling the dough as little as possible. Brush with extra heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Place the baking sheet with cut squares in the freezer for 20 minutes before baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the bottoms of the scones are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.
GF Balsamic Strawberry Mint Scones
Adapted from Joy the Baker and
For the strawberries:
8-ounces medium strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Place a rack in the center of the oven (or toaster oven) and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut each strawberry in quarters and place on the baking sheet in a single layer. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt. Whisk together until completely incorporated. Drizzle the mixture over the strawberries and toss until each strawberry is coated.
Roast strawberries for 20 minutes, then remove to a small bowl with a slotted spoon, draining the strawberries of most of the juice. Let cool.
For the scones:
2 ½ cups gluten-free flour flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Baking Blend + a heaping half teaspoon xanthan gum)
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup cold butter
2 tbsp minced pineapple mint (or any kind of fresh mint)
½ cup heavy cream
2 eggs, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Grate in the cold butter and stir to combine. Stir in minced mint and the roasted strawberries. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and the milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture to flour mixture all at once. Stir together until completely moistened.
Turn out the dough onto a parchment-covered baking sheet. Press into a 1” thick circle and cut into 8 wedges, handling the dough as little as possible. You can cut those in half if you want to make 16 mini scones. Brush with extra heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Place the baking sheet with cut wedges in the freezer for 20 minutes before baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the bottoms of the scones are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.
Hiiiii. Best blog post title evaaaaaaa. Give it up; I’m tired.
An abundance of things does not a happy home make. But it does make a house feel more home-y sometimes, I think. This is my friend’s place, and it felt like home to me, so I edited it to make the light just right. Have I told you about my thing about yellow light childhood memories? I forget. Anyway, sometimes I just remember things in a fuzzy, yellow sort of way. It’s very comfortable.