Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Everything Good in One Bar (i.e. Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispies)

In general, I will usually go for anything that includes chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, coconut, and crispies (puffed rice etc. etc.). When I found these bars on Oh She Glows, I knew I had to make them ASAP. They contained more than half of my required allurements for sweets and knew that they would be incredible. They were.

Do you like chocolate (hopefully this is a yes)? Do you like peanut butter (again, yes)? And do you like crispies? Good, these are the sweet for you. If you don't enjoy or abstain from any of these items, this probably isn't the treat for you, or really, the blog for you. This is the kind of treat I could eat all day long everyday. Surprisingly light and yet incredibly satisfying. Also, they are a sinch to whip up. Requires one bowl, a pot, and a baking dish.

Oh and to make it a little healthier I found some organic kids cereal that fit the bill. It was delicious and I felt so much better about eating these without the thousands of ingredients and preservatives and flavorings added. They were not needed (or wanted).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mom's Apple Crisp

I have been making this dessert like crazy for the past few months. Although I'm slowing down considerably now (thank God) because the honeycrisps (my beloved) are not really in season any more. I pretty much refuse to use/consume any other apple besides the honeycrisp. I use my mom's recipe and it is amazing! No sugar added, except for brown sugar in the topping. It's one of, if not the healthiest desserts I've made and is really pretty good for you considering that there isn't much else in it besides apples.....

That is, until it gets into my hands and I add some flare (and in doing so, make it extremely unhealthy, but SO WORTH IT). I made some homemade vanilla ice cream to go along. I don't think I can adequately express how $%^* good homemade ice cream is. The recipe I use is pretty much entirely whipping cream, a bit of whole milk (why even add this?), a bunch of sugar, and vanilla beans (I like to buy the pods in the bulk spice section, split them, and scrap out the seeds myself. SO much cheaper and fun). I don't care how unhealthy this ice cream may be, it's incredible and even better along side apple crisp. I now can't imagine one without the other. They are perfect for each other. I miss you already honeycrisps.


Meringue & Raspberry Cupcakes

Even though my updates have been a little sporadic lately, I have in fact been baking a fair bit. Last month for Collin's birthday it seemed I had been baking a lot and tried to suggest options for his birthday that selfishly looked easy to make. He resisted all my attempts to trick him into accepting chocolate chip cookies or a simple pie and insisted on these Raspberry Jam Meringue Cupcakes (similar recipe) that I foolishly showed him right off the bat. When it got down to making them I was dreading the meringues. I had never made them before and anything with eggs whites just seems fussy and likely to fail. They didn't in fact and were to my surprise, not too hard. Messy for sure, but not too difficult. I used Martha again. I'm in a Martha kick right now, not sure why. Her recipe called for making the entire cupcake/top a meringue then slicing it in half and filling with jam and whipped cream. This seemed odd to me. How would you possibly go about eating two hard things stuck together by glob of something smooshy? I made a simple vanilla cupcake instead and made the meringues not in a muffin tin like suggested, but on a baking sheet like normal. I can't for the life of me remember what cake recipe I used but rest assured it was something simple. Most vanilla cake recipes will work here. As long as it tastes good, you're good to go. Once the cakes were ready, I topped with a dollop of raspberry jam and whipped cream and finished with a baked meringue. The end result was good but a bit too sweet. Probably not something I will make again. Martha has fooled me yet again. Why do I still go back?? They weren't terrible by any means, but for me? Not my favorite. Although, who are we kidding, I love chocolate and peanut butter and frosting. My idea of a great dessert doesn't involve jam or fresh fruit of any kind really. But to each their own and this kind of dessert happens to be Collin's favorite so who am to say it isn't good?

A lot of left over yolks

Photos by Me and my new camera

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Valentine's Day Tuxedo Cupcakes

For Valentine's Day (gasp, almost a month away now....) I made Jamie's Black Tie Cupcakes from My Baking Addiction. A recently discovered her blog after trying to fill the gap of another blog I read that, much like this one, is too infrequent to keep my interest. Hopefully you haven't all given up on me! So, I found her blog and was instantly impressed and wanted to try one of her recipe's out and since it was V-day, chocolate was in order. The cupcakes were delicious but the frosting really was incredible. It was just the right amount of sweet and was amazingly creamy and didn't at all taste like cream cheese. To me this is a huge deal. I'm not adverse to cream cheese frosting but let's just say it would be my favorite. I love a buttercream but am finding them to be waaaay too sweet for most things that you wouldn't just take a tiny bite of. What I do love about a standard cream cheese frosting is that they are rarely ever too sweet because the bite from the cream cheese cuts the sugar nicely. I enjoy them from time to time but to have a cream cheese frosting that gets away with tasting not cream cheesy? Now that's a winner in my book (insert Charlie Sheen reference here). I'm sorry if I offend the cream cheese lovers of there. Never the less, you'll know it has cream cheese even if you can't taste it so you'll probably enjoy it just the same. Anyway, the end result was a decadent, creamy, not too sweet (or sour), frosting that perfectly paired with a rich chocolate cake. The cake on the other hand wasn't very good. The coffee proportions were all wrong which may have been my fault (I used fresh espresso and diluted a bit instead of instant espresso). I've had many other chocolate cakes that use instant espresso and they are wonderful (i.e. Ina Garten's) but this one just didn't work. I would highly recommend sticking to Rose's Heavely Devil's Food Cake for that one. See previous post for the recipe here. There is NO comparison as far as I'm concerned. Best chocolate cake ever. But maybe that's why all other chocolate cake's pale in comparison?

Oh! AND these cupcakes were filled with chocolate ganache. So if you're a chocolate fanatic I'm sure you will enjoy this little detail. For me? It was a bit much. But there are a few chocolate fanatics (and some not as much) of my acquaintance that loved this part especially.

I topped them with a little more of the frosting mixed with a TON of red food coloring. I couldn't believe how much it took to make it a true red! I was using gel as well and it took so much! So be prepared for that. I'll blame it on the cream cheese. It must absorb food coloring into a black hole of some sorts. Only explanation.

Photos by Collin Monda