Archive for April, 2014

Pipe Dream #266: To Spring Clean – Butterscotch Shortbread Cups with Salted Caramel

brown sugar shortbreads 1

Is end of April too late for spring cleaning? I’ve got most things taken care of. Except this post, which I’ve put off posting for months and months and ages because I don’t particularly like the photos or the recipe. And now I’m off-loading because if I sit on it any longer, I will go insane. #dramatic

So be prepared for the best recipe/writing you ever did see.

There, I feel better.

I was initially attracted to this shortbread because

4 INGREDIENTS

SUPER EASY

BROWN SUGAR IN SHORTBREAD WHA???

SELF-RISING FLOUR (of which I have an abundance)

But I really should have left it in its natural form, that is, in biscuits, because trying to make it into little cups to hold a typically nearly-burnt caramel sauce was a fail. They just puffed right up, and I was forced to dig out and eat each of the underbaked middles in order to fill them. The tragedies.

brown sugar shortbread 3

brown sugar shortbread 2

Tragically yours,

L

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cups with Salted Caramel

Shortbread adapted from Staying Mom

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups self-raising flour

salted caramel sauce (I used this recipe.)

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then stir in the flour until blended. Gather dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate while the oven preheats.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray. Remove the dough from the fridge and form into tablespoon-sized balls. Press each ball into a muffin tin, lining the bottom and sides. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven.

At this point, you may want to dig out a little hole for the caramel sauce to go in. The whole cup idea didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. You can eat the middles that you scoop out. Why not. Once cool, fill each cookie with salted caramel sauce. Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 20 cookies.

Pipe Dream #265: To Cake-cess – French-Toasted Angel Food Cake

angel food cake 2

 

I never liked angel food cake as a kid. Why go for a bitter, dry cake served with fruit, when I could have a dense, buttery cake with a creamy frosting?

But in the wisdom of my years (and the experience that taught me that all too often, grocery store bakes are subpar), I decided to give it a go myself. I was somewhat inspired by my recent attempts at chiffon cake, which follow something of the same technique, but use whole eggs rather than just whites.

 

 

angel food cake b

Also, I’m better at baking now. Angel food cake is something of a technical challenge, requiring much whipping and folding of egg whites. The key is to fold very, very gently so you don’t deflate your cake. Because the egg whites are so voluminous, there is actually very little flour used in the recipe. Maybe some of the bitter flavor I experienced as a child was from the lemon used to flavor the cake and stabilize the whites?

angel food cake 1

 

 

angel food cake a

The result is a fluffy but moist cake that is light enough to serve with all kinds of toppings. Whipped cream and fruit would be traditional American, but since I was so pleased with my cake-cess, I decided to celebrate and French-toast the slices. This was not a bad decision, and while I don’t insist that you imitate me, I highly recommend it. Not for the sake of my ego, but for the sake of your well-being and life experience.

angel food cake c

angel food cake d

Because I just want to take care of you,

Lauren

Angel Food Cake

Adapted from David Lebovitz

1 cup (130 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
1 cup (200 grams), plus 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites (from about 12 large eggs), at room temperature
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Have a 9-inch (23 cm) tube pan or Bundt pan ready. (Do not use a non-stick tube pan or grease the pan.)

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, begin to whip the egg whites on medium speed. When they become foamy, add the lemon juice.

Increase the speed to high and continue to whip the egg whites until they just begin to hold their shape in soft peaks. Gradually whip the remaining 1 cup of sugar into the whites, a tablespoons at a time. Do not overwhip; the egg whites should not be overly dry or stiff, but soft and cloud-like. Beat in the vanilla.

With a rubber spatula, fold the flour and sugar mixture into the whites gradually, a small amount at a time.

Spoon the batter in the tube pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the tube pan over a cooling rack. If the pan doesn’t have “feet”, set it over the neck of a heavy bottle or overturned metal funnel, using the center hole of the pan to hold the cake until cool.

If desired, french toast your slices as you would bread and serve with sauce and whipped cream.

The LAst Time We’ll All Be Together

santa monica sunset 2 low res

My dad keeps saying things like, “Welp, since this is the last time we’ll all be together as a family…”

It’s like we’re all going to go our separate ways and/or die after this.

Get real,

L

two trees low res

vw low res

pier sign low res

pacific park low res

ferris wheel low res

lyndon street low res

marina low res

flags low res


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