Friday, May 27, 2011

NYT Super Natural Brownies

Oh. Look, another brownie recipe.

At this point I think I have tried so many they are all intermingled in my mind which is mush because I'm a mother and I don't sleep.


These were good...they didn't jump out of the oven at me saying, "HEY, I'm the best brownie you have ever eaten and you shall never make another kind of brownie ever again."

They were just sort of like, "Hey, what's up. I'm a brownie. I'm chocolatey and delicious and you probably want to eat me and have a glass of milk."

Have I lost my mind?


Super Natural Brownies
Source: NYT
Yield: 15 decent sized brownies

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter, more for pan and parchment paper

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or 3/4 cup whole walnuts, optional.

1. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and line with buttered parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, or on low power in a microwave, melt butter and chocolate together. Cool slightly. In a large bowl or mixer, whisk eggs. Whisk in salt, sugars and vanilla.

2. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Fold in flour just until combined. If using chopped walnuts, stir them in. Pour batter into prepared pan. If using whole walnuts, arrange on top of batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until shiny and beginning to crack on top. Cool in pan on rack.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lobstah Salad Sandwich

Looks good doesn't it?

Lobster salad should be free of crap. A tiny bit of real mayo to hold it together. A few pieces of diced celery. Buttered and toasted bread (I would have prefered a hot dog roll but we didn't have any). That is it. Let the lobster speak for itself.

This looks a hell of a lot better than the ants on a log that I am eating right now.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ruby Red Grapefruit Cake

This had been on my list of things to make for quite some time. In an effort to balance the budget, Maine has had furlough days for the past two years. After becoming a mother I have dedicated furlough days to baking something that is a bit more time consuming than just chocolate chip cookies. We only have one more furlough day left. I will be happy to see the money back in my pay check...but sad to have a day off when daycare is open. (a little selfish but Mommy needs mommy-time!)

I thought this cake was fantastic. So so moist with the syrup made from the grapefruit (I may have indulged a bit in the syrup itself...or just used some in a glass of water to make grapefruitade of sorts). Be patient in letting the syrup soak into the takes time.

Ruby Red Grapefruit CakeSource: Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
Yield: One 9x4 loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon grated ruby grapefruit zest
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
Grapefruit Syrup:
1 cup strained fresh ruby grapefruit juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Grapefruit Icing:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh ruby grapefruit juice

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prep your pan by coating with a little non-stick spray or lightly oil.

Sift together the flour and baking soda and then whisk in the kosher salt. Set the mixture aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, combine the eggs and sugar on medium speed for three minutes. The mixture should thicken, increase in volume and the whisk will leave a trail in the batter. Once everything looks right, beat in the milk, oil, then the zest and vanilla.

Reduce your mixer's speed to low and then beat in the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until incorporated.

Pour the batter into your pan. Bake for an hour (rotating once).
While waiting for the cakes to bake, you can prep the grapefruit syrup.

Combine the grapefruit juice and sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer (it can boil over if left over high heat) and cook for 1 minute.

Once you pull your cake from the oven, poke holes into the cake with a wooden skewer. Brush your syrup over the cake, allowing it to absorb and then repeating until you've used up all the syrup. Allow the cake to cool in the pan completely before attempting to unmold.

To unmold, lightly coat a piece of waxed or parchment paper with a little oil or nonstick spray. Cover the cake with the paper and then invert. Turn the cake right-side-up onto a serving dish.

Whisk together the powdered sugar and grapefruit juice to make a glaze. Drizzle the glaze diagonally across the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Slice and serve.

Keep the cake loosely covered at room temperature for up to two days.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolatey Ganachey Frosting

I'm sorry Mr. chocolately not a word?? No? How about ganachey?? No?

Well they should be.

At first I was super stoked about this frosting. When warm/room temp it is amazing. As it cools it does get pretty hard. I am in love with the cupcake though. Buttery and perfect.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
Source: Annie's Eats
Yield: 24 cupcakes

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
1½ cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups milk

For the frosting:
1 lb. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 tbsp. boiling water
3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt

To make the cakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the edges of the pans, tapping out the excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk together to blend well and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk. Beat each addition just until incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared baking pans. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans to help remove the cakes. Invert the cakes onto the rack and peel off the parchment. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting. Level the cakes if necessary.

To make the frosting, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until the cocoa is dissolved.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the cocoa mixture until well blended. (Note: My frosting was still a bit runny for decorating at this point. I let it cool longer before frosting the cake so it could firm up slightly.)

To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers on a serving platter. Top with 1 cup of the chocolate frosting and smooth over the top of the cake. Top with the remaining cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting as desired. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Baby Food! Squash and Apple

Hey look, we can kill two birds with one stone.

Bake the apple right in the squash, scoop it out and blend it up.

I wanted to start out doing baby-led hasn't really worked out for us at this point. But by trying to start with it...I skipped doing a smooth puree. I would offer him a chunk of cooked sweet potato, he didn't seem interested so I would mash it with my fork right at the table. Then he was interested. And I don't see why baby food has to be so processed that it is completely lump free. I mean, how boring is that?

So even when I process the food in my Cuisinart, I leave it a little lumpy. Obviously not big chunks he could choke on...I mean...give me some credit.

I baked this in a 375 degree oven for about a half hour. Next time I will cover the apple with foil so it doesn't dry out on the top.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Amazing Chocolate Bundt Cake

I made an absolute mess with this cake. I whipped it together while the baby was napping. I tried letting it cool as much as I could before frosting it...but apparently I didn't let it cool enough because when I checked on it in the morning (hello breakfast) there was a pool of frosting in the middle.

I mean, not that there is anything wrong with a one inch pool of fantastic chocolate frosting.

This cake is amazing. It is moist and chocolatey. The frosting is wonderful. Just perfection.

Make this.

Do it.

But make sure to let it cool all the way before frosting it...otherwise you have a mess.

Chocolate Frosted Chocolate Bundt Cake
Source: Joy the Baker
Yield: 8-10 servings

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon brewed coffee
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted

For the Glaze:
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan and set aside.
To make the cake batter: Put brewed coffee and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and let come to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs and egg yolk on low speed for about 1 minute. Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix on low again for another minute.

Add the flour and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. The batter will be very loose. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack.

To make the icing: Chop the chocolate into small pieces, put them in a heatproof bowl (or a double boiler), and set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Be sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water. Remove the bowl from the heat when all of the chocolate bits have melted.

Melt the butter in a separate pan or in the microwave. Whisk the melted butter into the melted chocolate until thoroughly incorporated. Sift in half of the powdered sugar. Add the sour cream and whisk to combine. Sift in the remaining powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. The glaze should be thick and shiny. Lastly, add the coffee and whisk to create a glossy glaze.

Pour the glaze over the Bundt cake, covering it completely. Leave at room temperature until ready to serve.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Baby Food! Oatmeal and Banana

Here goes my first post about making baby food.

It is probably pretty predictable that I would make my own baby food, right?

I mean. I'm a snot about what I eat...why wouldn't I be a snot about what my kid eats?

So when most parents introduce rice cereal (what the F is that??) I milled some oats and made my own cereal.

I have now got it down to a perfect consistency. 2T of milled oats to 3T of water. Microwave that for 30 or less seconds, add about a half ounce of warmed breast milk. Perfect!! I've also started adding banana once in a while. This is the perfect way to use up bananas that are a bit over ripe for my taste. My dude doesn't care! He luuurrrvvvs his bananas....and oatmeal...and squash...