Archive for December, 2013

Favorite Shots: May All Your Junk Food Dreams Come True This Christmas

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Merry Christmas!

L

 

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A Pastry Delayed – Cossetta’s

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Welcome to another episode of ‘Lauren Eats Pastries.’ So glad you could join.

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In this episode, I will be eating several full-size pastries from St. Paul landmark, Cossetta’s. It’s a combination Italian eatery and grocery, recently remodeled to include a fine-dining restaurant and a pasticceria. Needless to say, ever since I found out about the promise of REAL LIVE ITALIAN PASTRIES so close to me, I have been pining to check it out. So I took the best lunch break ever with my best cousin and ate pizza and pastries.

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Ain’t she saweet? Cakes to break your heart.

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May I also present to you…the lobster tail.

I saw an episode of Cake Boss once that detailed the making of these monstrous flaky pastries, and I’ve craved one ever since. The dough is rolled out ultra-thin and then somehow wrapped together so the dough has these tiny little layers. I assume this is the same technique as used for sfogliatelle (which Cossetta’s also had). The difference is that sfogliatelle are filled with a sort of hardened citrus filling, while lobster tails are stuffed full of a vanilla pastry cream. So much cream. Cream dreams come true.

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I also decided on this trip that I will never need to eat a cannoli again. So there. I said it. The shells are always chewy and the filling is never sweet or flavorful enough. Maybe that is the point? But I just find them boring.

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While the presentation of the mango mousse was interesting (if a little sloppy with the fruit), I felt it was a little dry. The mod joconde was the coolest part., and the center jelly was intensely mango.

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The pastries I sampled at Cossetta’s were the closest thing to authentic Italian pastries I’ve had in the States, easily. Despite the fact that I tried lobster tail, the name of which decries its inauthentic origins, the tiramisu was as good as I’ve had. And you guys. The lobster tail.

Goodnight,

L

Merry Christmas! Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake + Recipe Ideas

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Guys, MERRY CHRISTMAS VERY SOON!

I waited heavens ever so long to try this pound cake. Everyone knows that putting the words “cinnamon roll” in a recipe makes it breakfast. And everyone also knows that putting protein-rich greek yogurt in a recipe makes it healthy NO MATTER WHAT.

This loaf is effectively breakfast cake. Imagine it with cream cheese icing on Christmas morning. HI HI HI. Just make it a day ahead or freeze it and thaw overnight.

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Please don’t overbake. I would line my pan with parchment were I to do the whole rigamarole over again.

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Are you looking for last-minute Christmas recipes for your holiday gatherings and cookie exchanges? Look no further. Here are a few holiday appropriate favs:

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I’ll likely be taking some time off from the blog as per usual around Christmas and New Year’s. Enjoy the break. :]

L

Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake

Adapted from creme de la crumb

For the cake:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 whole eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoons baking soda

For the swirl, mix together:

¼ cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the glaze, mix together

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray (or line with parchment) and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the Greek yogurt, then the heavy cream and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and baking soda. Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Split one third of the batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the batter. Repeat and layer half of the remaining batter over that, then sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar over that. Then end with the remaining batter and smooth the top.

Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until edges begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack, then remove.

The original recipe suggests icing the loaves with a cream cheese mixture. I didn’t have any cream cheese on hand, so I made a thick powdered sugar/milk/vanilla glaze. Start with a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and stir in milk, one teaspoon at a time, until you get a thick glaze. I can’t remember if I used more glaze than that. I think it very likely.

Pipe Dream #240: To Not Call IT – Milk Chocolate Toffee Peanut Butter Cookies

 

“Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again? Uh… okay, well, the button on the side, is it glowing? Yeah, you need to turn it on… uh, the button turns it on… yeah, you do know how a button works don’t you? No, not on clothes.”

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Two ingredients and you’ve got a cookie? And not even one of those ultra health two-ingredient banana breakfast whatevers? What is this some kind of miracle?

In this case, no. No miracle, likely due to user error. Let me tell you about this.

I know I’ve blathered on before about how freezers are such a help when it comes to baking, but in this case, my tried and true trick of freezing cookie dough balls so you can have cookies on hand at any moment didn’t work out so well. The recipe isn’t very traditional (helloooo, two ingredients), and I think freezing them messed with the consistency too much, making for a close to burnED bottom and the rest of the cookie underdone. Or perhaps I didn’t beat the ingredients long enough.

Also, I would like to try this again with no toffee (which got too chewy) and parchment paper lining the pan. I’m still getting used to this new pan situation. I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU WORK YIT.

Luckily, these were filled with Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips and chopped up Heath bars, so I still scarfed them like wut right quick. They were good enough to satisfy a peanut butter craving for sure. The recipe below doesn’t include the freezing step, so I hope you have better luck with it.

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Windows is restarting,

L

Milk Chocolate Toffee Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted slightly from Averie Cooks

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces heath bars, chopped + 4 ounces milk chocolate chips

Combine peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until well-combined. The sugar should be fully incorporated and no longer gritty or granular. This will take about 5 minutes or longer.
Add the baking soda and beat to incorporate, about 1 minute on medium-low speed.
Add the Heath bits and chocolate chips and beat to just incorporate.
Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds of 2 to 3 tablespoon each. Place mounds on a large plate, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F, and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart, and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until edges are set and tops are barely set.
Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

 

Favorite Shots: Popcorn Balls and Other Awful Seasonal Desserts

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Ring a ding ding! Opinion time on tha blog.

One of the worst seasonal desserts ever: Popcorn balls.

One of the best festively unique desserts ever: Brownies topped with popcorn.

Try it, you’ll like it. Especially when the popcorn is adhered to the brownies with a layer of melted Rolos and chocolate chips. Duh.

Pipe up! Do you have a least favorite seasonal dessert? I feel like a stereotypical answer here would be fruitcake, but who knows? Maybe you hate buckeyes or something. But seriously, don’t hate those. They are amazing.

L

Pipe Dream #239: To Make Some Cultural Mash-Ups – Spicy Chai Pine Nut Biscotti

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I’m going to keep this ultra-vague so that I don’t offend you. I find some cultures in some places at some times to be very boring. The food, the art, the weather. It’s just true, and some days I feel bad about it. Not today, but some days.

Anyway, the whole spicy chocolate thing? Not boring. And when combined with a pine nut biscotti? With chai spices? Let’s just say we have a massive cultural mash-up on our hands. Not one, but three ethnic foods that have no business doing business are in this mix, baby. There is no going back.

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You might think this combo of flavors is a little weird. I did, even as I was eating it, but I feel like biscotti is one of those cookies that you could throw the kitchen sink into and everything would turn out all right. Somewhere between being baked to the point of rock, getting dipped in chocolate and being dunked into coffee, these cookies lose any palate-numbing overload that may result from too many people cramming onto the bus. Besides, don’t you think that an Indian-Italian baby would be beautiful? (Just googled it. Oddly, I found a lot of wigs.)

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Important things in this recipe:

  1. Bake your cookies for long enough. Or else you’ll end up with semi-soft biscotti like I did. Pointless.
  2. Use quality chocolate for dipping. It makes all the difference.
  3. These keep so well. They are perfect for wrapping and gifting for the holidays.

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Other biscotti for the more traditionally inclined:

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Ever googling my slightest inclinations,

L

Spicy Pine Nut Biscotti
An LH Original

2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup strong brewed chai tea, room temperature
1 egg
1 egg white
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toasted pine nuts
In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the tea, egg, egg white, milk and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in the pine nuts.
Divide dough in half. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and refrigerate while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment, shape each half into a 10-in. x 2- inch. rectangle. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Place pans on wire racks. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board; cut with a serrated knife into 3/4-in. slices. Place cut side down on baking sheet. Bake for 6-9 minutes on each side or until firm. Remove to wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

 

This is Your Brain on Drugs – Oatmeal Creme Pie Cake

This is your brain.

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This is your brain on drugs.

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Am I right?

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This is a giant oatmeal creme pie, the brainchild of my afternoon brain, and it fulfilled every desired I have ever had to get back the creme pies of my youth that were stuffed full of awesome.

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Please jump on this bandwagon.

L

Oatmeal Creme Pie Cake

Cake adapted from My Kitchen, My Love

1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups oats
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 6-inch round cake pans.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, molasses and vanilla, beating until well blended. Whisk together the dry ingredients, then slowly mix in flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture. Fold in the oats.
Divide the batter between pans. Bake in pre-heated oven for 18-20 minutes until the cakes are a deep golden and a toothpick in center comes out fairly clean.
Allow cakes to cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the marshmallow filling:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
15 ounces marshmallow creme
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Beat all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Spread between the two cooled cake layers.

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