Everyone has been asking me for my pizza dough recipe lately. Well, I use a recipe that can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/jays-signature-pizza-crust/ I don’t really change it much, other than the fact that I split it in two and roll it out to make it thin crust. I freeze the second half to make pizza another day.
I have been browsing Pinterest lately and I came across something that I saw a few years back. Alton Brown had baked his Easter eggs right on the rack in his oven. He said the peels come off easier and the yolks come out perfectly cooked, every time. Well, I just got around to trying it today and it seems to have worked… sorta.
I took 2 eggs from the carton I had in my fridge for the last week and a half. (I bought fresh eggs from the store yesterday but everyone says the peel coming off easily is because the egg is older so I thought I should start there) I pre-heated my oven to 325F and stuck the eggs in a mini muffin pan.
When the oven got to temperature, I put them in and set a timer for 15 minutes. I wanted to make sure they baked evenly so I turned the pan halfway through the cooking time and flipped the eggs over with tongs. Then i set the timer for 15 more minutes. 30 minutes total cooking time.
After 30 minutes, they went into a nice icy bath! They bathed for another 20 minutes, til they were cool.
One egg was perfect on the outside! It was completely white.
As you can see, this egg has a little bit of brown spots on the outside. I think if you tried, you could probably wash them off enough that they wouldn’t make a difference if you wanted to dye them
The white egg peeled perfectly. The shell came off in like 2 pieces. The browned egg, the shell came off in a million tiny pieces and took some of the egg white with it.
The egg with the big brown spot is also the egg that had the browning on the shell. It tasted normal but it has a weird look for sure. If you are doing deviled eggs, you might want to stick to boiling so the whites stay perfect. Even the perfect egg had a very little bit of browning on the white. Maybe I need to bake it for less time or at a lower temperature?
The best part of this, is that the yolks look PERFECT. I have tried a million times to get the yolk to not have that green/grey line around the outside edge after you boil it. I can’t tell you how many different crazy things I have done to try to minimize it. It might be worth baking them just for the perfect yolks.
I am going to attempt to bake the 18 pack of eggs I have set aside for dying tomorrow. Hopefully, I won’t be disappointed!
I saw Boston Creme cupcakes somewhere the other day and decided to day that I would make them. I didn’t want to use egg yolks in my creme filling so I found a recipe that used cornstarch as a thickener. Otherwise, I used the recipe from Martha Stewart’s website for the cupcakes and the chocolate ganache topping.
I have to say, the Vanilla Pudding mix is probably the best I have ever had. The first batch I made of it did not come out right because I didn’t use enough of the warm milk mixture to heat up the corn starch. It ended up really lumpy and didn’t set up right. I did it a second time and it came out pretty amazing.
Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 2% milk
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one and a half cupcake tins with paper liners.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
3. Start warming milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat.
4. Whisk eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes.
5. Beat in dry ingredients.
6. Once the milk and butter come to a boil, add milk mixture to batter with the mixer on low speed. Beat until smooth.
7. Add vanilla.
8. Divide batter among cupcake cups, filling each a little more than halfway. Bake cupcakes until light gold, about 15 minutes. Let cool in tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Let cool.
9. Using an apple corer, take the center out of each cupcake once they are room temperature.
While the cupcakes cool, make the vanilla pudding for the center of the cupcakes. I changed a few things in this recipe as well. The biggest difference is that I halved the recipe!
Adapted from TheKitchn’s D.I.Y. Pudding
makes 2 cups
2 cups 2% milk
1/4 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 vanilla bean pod, sliced in half
2.5 Tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1. Whisk the sugar into the milk and warm over low heat, stirring constantly. i added a half a vanilla bean pod from the vanilla sugar when I whisked in the sugar. This allowed the vanilla bean to steep in the milk while it came to a boil.
2. When bubbles appear around the edges, ladle a cup of the milk into a bowl with the cornstarch and beat the whisk until smooth.
3. Add cornstarch mixture back into the saucepan of milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens.
4. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot loosely. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Cool completely before filling the cupcakes.
While the pudding is cooling, make the chocolate ganache. The only thing I did differently was to use mini semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of chopping my own chocolate.
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Chocolate-Ganache Glaze recipe
Makes 1 1/4 cups
2/3 cup heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and add chocolate and corn syrup. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool, stirring often. Use immediately.
I was low on corn syrup so I ended up putting half a tablespoon of it into the ganache. It still poured nicely and was awesome.
Once everything is cooled to room temperature, you can begin to build them. I filled each cupcake with a teaspoon or 2 of the pudding. (there was a LOT leftover to eat on its own!) Once that was done, I poured a fat tablespoon of the chocolate ganache on top. I put them onto a baking sheet with a piece of Glad Press n Seal wrap under them for quick clean up. As you pour the ganache onto each cupcake, it will spill over the side. This is good! They look pretty awesome when that happens!
OK time for pics!
In honor of Cinco de Mayo (in a couple of days) I decided to make horchata cupcakes. Carter and I both really love to drink horchata. Last year, I made the same cupcakes but didn’t get enough pictures to write it up. This year, I measured all the ingredients out and found their weights as well as took lots of pictures of my candy set up. They came out just as adorable as they did last year and I am really excited to share them with the guys at his office tomorrow
I got the recipe from my favorite cupcake website, as usual. Horchata Cupcakes were an experimental cupcake that Chockylit made. I didn’t go as far as she did with it because I used store bought horchata. (We like the Kern brand) Other than that, I followed her directions pretty exactly.
Adapted from Chockylit’s recipe: Horchata Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes / 350 degree oven
1 stick butter
1-1/2 cups (294g) sugar
2 cups (278g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons (9g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2g) salt
1 teaspoon (4g) cinnamon
1 cup fresh horchata
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites
1. soften butter in the mixer on high speed
2. drizzle the sugar in with the butter and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes
3. sift flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together
4. mix the horchata and vanilla together
5. add the flour mixture and horchata mixture to the butter/sugar in 3 parts alternating between flour and horchata and beating well after each addition
6. set aside incorporated mixture
7. in a clean mixer bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form
8. fold egg whites into cake batter until incorporated
9. scoop batter into the prepared cupcake pans
10. bake in the 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean
2 sticks butter, soft
1/2 cup fresh horchata
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
7-8 cups confectioner’s sugar
1. soften butter in the mixer on high speed
2. sift confectioner’s sugar
3. add horchata, vanilla, and 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar to the sugar and beat until combined
4. add remainder sugar 1 cup at a time until desired consistency/sweetness is reached
I ended up using 7 cups of confectioner’s sugar and I didn’t bother to sift it. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I am too lazy to do it. I don’t know if it makes much of a difference or not but most of the time it works either way
The tacos on top of the cupcakes were a stroke of genius based upon the candies I had been using to do the fancy cupcakes from the Hello, Cupcake! book. I sat down one day and figured out what would work best for each component of a taco.
6 Kraft caramels (divided into 4)
2 Peach Guava Starburst fruit chews (From the Fiesta Pack)
2 Melon Berry Starburst fruit chews (From the Fiesta Pack)
1/2 cup Rice Krispies cereal
1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted
2 TBsp strawberry jam
Roll each piece of the divided caramel into a ball. Using a rolling pin, flatten the caramel quarters as thin as you can get them without sticking. I used a plastic, flexible cutting board for this because they were sticking to my wooden one as I was rolling them out. Try to keep them round when you do this step. (If you have trouble rolling out the caramels, you can nuke them in the microwave for 5 seconds. Any more than 5 seconds and they sort of melt into a puddle.) Don’t overlap the caramels once you roll them out because they will start to stick to each other!
For the cheese and lettuce, I cut the Starbursts into strips. For the lettuce, I flattened the pieces out and then sliced it to look like shredded lettuce. I started doing that for the cheese pieces but ended up cutting the strips into little squares because that resembled grated cheese better. I tried actually grating the cheese as well and that didn’t work out for me very well.
For the meat, melt the chocolate in the microwave until it is completely melted. Mix the cereal with the chocolate until it is coated evenly.
To build the tacos you have to work a little quickly, otherwise the caramel starts to get soft and melt to your hands. Fold the caramel in half like a taco shell, and layer in the meat, cheese, then the lettuce. I did all of these placed them on top of the frosted cupcakes. I went back once they were all finished and topped each taco with a small amount of the strawberry jam.
OK Completed Pics!
I highly recommend these cupcakes and also making the tacos for the top. I think everyone is pretty excited when they see them.
Yesterday, I made some chocolate Guinness cupcakes with a Bailey’s Irish Creme buttercream. I followed the recipe pretty closely. The recipe recommended making them in a jumbo size, but I did them regular cupcake sized. I didn’t know which Guinness to buy, so I asked a nice girl who was buying some which would taste best in a chocolate cupcake. She said that she makes them every year and uses the Guinness Draught. This was good news for me because it was available in a 4-pack! I also used Bailey’s in place of the Guinness in the original recipe for the frosting. I added a bit of milk to make the frosting soft enough to pipe onto the cupcakes with my new star tip. The cakes were very tasty with a light Guinness flavor. The frosting was WAY too strong for me personally but everyone else said it was awesome.
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup dark stout, such as Guinness, poured and settled before you measure
2 large eggs
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Vanilla Bailey’s Buttercream:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted or whisked.
3 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Creme liquor
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the cupcakes
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and place a baking rack in the center of the oven. Line 24 regular sized cupcake pans with liners (Mine had a basket print on the outside! :D)
2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cocoa powder, and stir until smooth. Then stir in the stout. Set the mixture and aside to cool for 10 minutes.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the eggs and the sour cream. Slowly add the cooled chocolate mixture, making sure to incorporate it well. Next, add the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and whisk until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
4. Fill each prepared cup about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the tops are just firm to the touch and a tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes. Leave the cupcakes in the pan on a rack to cool for 5 minutes or so, then transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack to cool completely before frosting, about 1 hour.
Make the buttercream
5. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, Bailey’s, vanilla, and salt to the bowl, and continue to beat until very smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add a little green food coloring if you would like at this point too!
Construct the cupcakes
6. Frost each cupcake in a way that you like. I used my new star tip and a piping bag. The original recipe recommends sprinkling each cupcake with a tablespoon of the crushed pretzels but I just used some green sugar crystals I had here. The cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight container or frozen for up to 1 month. However, they were gone by the end of today. The rig crew sure did like them!
Today (St. Patrick’s Day) I made some chocolate cupcakes with a mint chocolate ganache filling and mint buttercream. These I got from The Cupcake Bakeshop website by Chockylit. I love her basic chocolate cupcake recipe so instead of the one she paired with the mint chocolate ganache and mint buttercream, I used the one that I like so much. I like using Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa because it is less expensive than Valhrona. It is pretty amazing with Hershey’s so I am sure it would be amazing with the high quality chocolate. I found that when I added the milk directly from the refrigerator, the mix would look like it was breaking. I think the milk made the butter cold enough to partially solidify so I am going to try taking it out of the fridge when I start making everything to let it warm up a touch next time.
Recipe by Chockylit (I doubled her base recipe)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
1 cup + 4 tablespoons sugar
1 large eggs, room temp
1/2 cup + 4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup milk, not fridge cold
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat butter until light in color. Add sugar and beat until it is fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs and beat until everything is well combined.
Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a small bowl and whisk to combine. (Whisking the mix aerates it so you don’t have to sift it together)
Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mix and beat to combine. Add half of the milk/vanilla and mix well. Continue alternating between the dry mix and the wet once more, finishing with the last portion of the dry mix.
Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full. Bake cupcakes for about 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
The Mint Chocolate Ganache and Mint Buttercream were from a completely different recipe. I adapted it a little by accident. I forgot to add the butter and the teaspoon of mint after I mixed it all up but it ended up working out anyway!
Mint Chocolate Ganache
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
(1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon chopped mint leaves)
Chop the chocolate and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
Heat the cream and mint leaves in a small saucepan until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Pour the cream through a strainer, over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until the chocolate is completely melted. (If you add the butter and chopped mint from the original recipe, you add it here.)
Let the chocolate mixture cool then put it into the refrigerator to thicken for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Mint Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon all natural peppermint extract
Whisk the butter until creamy, scrape bowl.
Add 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, milk, and peppermint extract, and mix until combined. I tasted it after I added 1/8 tsp of the peppermint extract and ended up adding another 1/8 tsp. The consistency was perfect at this point but you can add more powdered sugar if it isn’t piping consistency for you. My frosting sort of looked like it was grainy to me but I think it was the fault of the milk being too cold again. I think it really makes a difference.
Once the cupcakes are cooled, you can fill them. I use an apple corer to take out the centers of each cupcake and snack on the middles while I am filling! I filled the cupcakes with one overfull teaspoon of the ganache and then piped on the frosting. (Tinted green for St. Patrick’s Day with a little food coloring while it was mixing.)
I topped mine with brown and green dark chocolate M&Ms
This batch was the second time I used the star tip. I really love the way the frosting looks on these cupcakes! It is bakery worthy I think
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to make Shepherd’s Pie tonight for dinner. I did a pretty traditional recipe from Alton Brown, except I substituted ground sirloin for ground lamb. I also added a handful of shredded jack/cheddar cheese mix and a sprinkling of garlic to the potatoes because I like interesting potatoes. I also put a good twist on the Shepherd’s pie by making it into cupcakes! I found some jumbo muffin size foil wrappers at the grocery store today and they made a much nicer serving size than the regular cupcake sized liners were. They were a little harder to fill and smooth the potatoes on because they are a bit flimsier than a real cup would be. I just picked them up in my hand and held them closed while I got the potatoes nicely spread on it.
Adapted from Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
1/4 cup milk
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded jack and cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
For the meat filling:
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
1 12oz package button mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup frozen peas
Wash the red potatoes and place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Put the pan on high heat with a lid, until it boils. Once it boils, uncover it, and turn it down to a simmer. Cook the potatoes until they are fork tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a microwave safe bowl, in your microwave for about 30 seconds – just until it is heated through. Once the potatoes are ready, put them in the bowl of a standing mixer and add the milk/butter mixture plus the cheese and salt/pepper/garlic powder. Mix them until they are whipped nicely. If you don’t have a mixer, you can put them back into the saucepan with the other ingredients and mash them with a potato masher.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, carrots, and mushrooms and saute just until they start to brown. Add the lamb, salt and pepper, and garlic and cook until everything is nice and brown and cooked through. Sprinkle the flour around the pan and mix it well. Let it cook for another minute and then add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, and thyme. Stir it well. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook it until it is thick like a gravy. This took me around 5 minutes but it could take up to 10-12 depending on the heat of your pan.
Add the corn and peas to the meat mixture. Line a baking sheet with foil Jumbo muffin liners in a 3×4 grid. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the liners almost to the top with meat filling. The mixture should fill 12 liners. With a smaller scoop or tablespoon, put a spoonful of mashed potatoes on each one. Flatten and smooth with a spatula. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are nice and brown on top.