dulcis serenus

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A week in review October 28, 2013

I didn’t get a chance to post this week due to some pretty large orders causing me to work 10+ hours almost every day and a three-day migraine making me want to go to bed the moment I got home each day. Here are a few picture of what I accomplished this week including a grand total of 27 dozen decorated sugar cookies and 100 more undecorated ones. Enjoy!

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Gluten-free Day October 14, 2013

No special orders for today, which means I had time to do something other than just the normal cupcakes for the case. I chose some gluten-free desserts. We seem to have a high demand for special dietary needs desserts and I try to keep something gluten-free in the case most days. Today I did three such desserts: peanut butter truffles (known as buckeyes to my Kansas friends), flourless chocolate torte (not pictured), and Death By Chocolate (one of my flourless chocolate tortes had an unfortunate accident and needed to be turned into a parfait with the addition of chocolate ganache and chantilly cream.)

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Adventures in Pastry School January 26, 2012

So, I’ve been slacking a bit on this whole blog thing, but I have a really good reason: last October I started pastry school!  I am currently enrolled in a six month program at Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, and it is amazing.  I’m having so much fun and learning all sorts of new tricks.  There are days when I get frustrated with my abilities, or lack there of, but most days it’s a blast.  I can’t wait to go to class each day and see what I’m going to learn.  I don’t really have a lot of free time to write posts most days, so I’ve been saving up pictures of all of my finished products to share with you now.  Enjoy!

 

First Birthday Celebration October 20, 2011

The The Peanuts’ first birthday was last month and there mom has covered pretty much everything from the party onher blog, except for the cupcake recipes.  That was my job, and quite honestly, I’ve been slacking.  I posted right before the party about the Caramel Corn that I made, but never made it around to telling you about the amazing cupcakes.  We decided that we wanted to make three different cupcake toppers for the party: one with pictures of Ellisa, one with pictures of Hudson, and one with one of the first pictures taken of them together.  Since we were being so ambitious with the toppers, we decided that we needed three different cupcakes to go with them: Peanut Butter Cup with White Chocolate Peanut Butter frosting, a peanut butter cup tucked in the center, and chocolate jimmies on top; Double Chocolate with Cream Cheese Chocolate Ganache and white pearl sprinkles; and Orange with Cream Cheese frosting and circus peanuts.  The Double Chocolate and Orange are modified versions of my favorite cake recipe, but the Peanut Butter Cup was one that I tried for the first time, and I have to say that I was impressed.  It was like eating a giant peanut butter cookie.

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Here’s what you need:

cupcakes:

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup milk

18 full-sized peanut butter cups

frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted

Here’s what you do:

cupcakes:

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Combine the dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Fill 18 paper-lined muffin cups about half  full.  Place one peanut butter cup on top of the batter, pressing it in slightly.  Cover with more batter filling the cups about 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

frosting:

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl and mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl as you work.

Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Slowly add in the white chocolate.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Here’s what you need:

cupcakes:

8 Tbls butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 pkg instant chocolate pudding mix

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

1 Tbls vanilla

2 eggs

frosting:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

8 Tbls butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

8 oz milk chocolate chips

3 Tbls heavy cream

Here’s what you do:

cupcakes:

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  In another bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine wet ingredients. Mix wet and dry ingredients alternately into the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the dry. Fill 12 paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.

frosting:

In a double boiler, combine chocolate chips and cream.  Heat on medium heat until melted, stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar until evenly combined.

With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the melted chocolate.

Orange Cupcakes

Here’s what you need:

cupcakes:

8 Tbls butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup orange juice

zest of two oranges

1 1/4 cups flour

1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

1 Tbls vanilla

2 eggs

frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar

6 oz cream cheese, room temperature

4 Tbls butter, room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla

Here’s what you do:

cupcakes:

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and orange zest.  In another bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine wet ingredients. Mix wet and dry ingredients alternately into the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the dry. Fill 12 paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.

frosting:

In a large bowl cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add vanilla.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar until evenly combined.

 

Caramel Corn September 10, 2011

So, I’ve been out of contact for a while and, for that, I am sorry.  I’ve had a busy couple of months with surprisingly little baking, until now.  We’ve moved again; we’re still in the wonderful city of Austin, but in a much better location, and I’m really loving our new house.  The kitchen is a little dated, but there is lots of counter space and, my favorite thing, a double oven, which I have been putting to good use the last couple of days.  Our friends have twins and tomorrow is the little ones’ first birthday party.  I am super excited about this as their mother and I have been diligently meeting, planning, and crafting for the past three weeks or so.  (I must say that my Cricut machine has been put to very good use.)  It is going to be amazingly adorable, and I get to make almost all of the baked goods!  Everyone refers to the twins as “The Peanuts” so the majority of the food at this birthday extravaganza is going to involve peanuts, including this amazing Caramel Corn.

Here’s what you need:

7 cups plain popcorn, popped

2 cups peanuts

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

Here’s what you do:

Place the popped popcorn into two greased baking pans.  I used disposable roasting pans.  Add the peanuts to the popcorn.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.  Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Bring to boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.

Remove the caramel mixture from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla.  The mixture will become lighter and foamy.  Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat.  Don’t worry about getting all of the corn coated; the caramel will spread out as you bake and stir it.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Line your counter top with waxed paper.  Pour the caramel corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces.  Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers.

 

Strawberry-Lemon Tart and a Birthday Celebration July 17, 2011

Today is a very special and exciting day: my boyfriend’s little sister is turning 24, and she loves to celebrate!  Now, I know that everyone loves their birthday, but JW really loves her birthday, and that makes the anticipation of the day so much more exciting.  Thanks to her boyfriend’s careful planning, the celebrations started last night with a Master Pancake show and will come to an end on Sunday in the form of seeing the last Harry Potter.  Between the bookends of two great viewing experiences there are a multitude of activities and surprises.  One of which is this Strawberry-Lemon Tart and I have no doubt that she will love it, after all,  her favorite flavor of dessert is lemon.

This tart was created by combining a few of my favorite recipes: the crust is from one of my favorite blogs Dessert First and the lemon curd is an Ina Garden recipe.  I covered the top in a fruit glaze to keep the strawberries fresh and give everything a nice sheen.  I have to say that I am really happy with how it turned out.

Happy 24th birthday, JW!

Thanks for being the little sister I never had, but always wanted.  You are truly an amazing person and I am grateful to have you in my life.


 

Bourbon Celebration May 26, 2011

When asked what baked good he wanted for his birthday, my friend CP replied, “A bottle of bourbon.”  I immediately thought, I can do that.   And I did.  In the form of a Chocolate Bourbon Cake decorated with Candied Bourbon Pecans and accompanied by Bourbon Ice Cream.  It was a bourbon dessert feast, and it was amazing.  I knew I wanted a cake that was rich without being too sweet with a dense, tight crumb.  So, I modified my favorite cake recipe by adding cocoa, vanilla pudding mix, and bourbon, of course.  The pudding mix might sound like an odd addition, but it is a great way to make cakes more dense similar to a torte.  I have to say that I’m not much of an alcohol in cake person.  I typically think that the alcohol can be overwhelming, but the bourbon in this cake gave the chocolate a warm spice flavor that was quite enjoyable.

Here’s what you need:

for the cake:

8 Tbls butter

3/4 cup sugar

zest of 2 clementines

1/4 cup bourbon

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/3 cup milk

1 Tbls vanilla

2 eggs

for the toppings

(glaze)

1 cup powdered sugar

3 Tbls bourbon

(candied pecans)

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup milk

1 10 oz pkg pecan halves

2 Tbls vanilla

1 oz bourbon

Here’s what you do:

Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare one round cake pan by spraying with non-stick spray and lining with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and clementine zest.  Stir in bourbon.

In another bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine wet ingredients.

Mix wet and dry ingredients alternately into the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the dry.

Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Glaze:

Once cake is cool, combine the powdered sugar and bourbon stirring until smooth and drizzle over the cake.

Candied Pecans:

In a medium sauce pan, combine salt, sugar, cinnamon, and milk.  Bring to boil over medium heat stirring occasionally.  Continue to boil the candy mixture until it reaches soft ball stage, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and bourbon, then pecans.

Immediately spread pecan mixture onto a wax paper lined surface and separate using two forks.  This makes more pecans than you will need for decorating, but you will be glad to have the extra.  They are a bit addictive.

Decorate the top of the cake with candied pecans and some additional clementine zest.

Serve with Homemade Bourbon Ice Cream.

 

 
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