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It’s that time of year again. #PSL

I’m a bit ignorant, so when all the pumpkin spice latte hash tags started popping up all over social media, I really thought it was a typo for PMS. Luckily, I figured it out pretty quickly with the help of this internet meme:
pumpkin-spice-girl
 
It’s that time of year, folks. Fall is finally here! In Texas, you know Fall has arrived as soon as the temperatures dip slightly below 80ºF and people start busting out their sweaters, scarves and leather boots. That’s just how we do.
 
And, of course, you can’t forget about pumpkin EVERYTHING. Around this time, every year, Starbucks brings back a Fall favorite, the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
 

In honor of its return, let’s talk about pumpkin spice CUPCAKES. Earlier this week, I used another great recipe from my friend Katie. The cupcakes turned out moist with the perfect amount of spice. The frosting has a hint of cinnamon and isn’t overly sweet. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1 cups light-brown sugar
1 cups white sugar
1 cups (2 sticks) butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the brown sugar, granulated sugar and melted butter.  Whisk until just combined.  Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and whisk until smooth.  Then mix in the pumpkin puree. Be sure not to over mix the batter. This will lead to tough cupcakes.

4. Line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

5. Fill each well in the cupcake pan about 3/4 full and bake until the tops spring back when touched, about 20 to 25 minutes.

6 Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting with the cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

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Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
8 oz. cream cheese
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt

1. Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

2.  Add the cinnamon, vanilla and salt.  Lower the mixer speed and slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until just combined.

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The Spice of Life

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It’s no secret that I love ice cream. I would probably eat it everyday if I really wanted to, but we all know that’s probably not a good idea.

I’ve owned an ice cream maker for a long time, but never really took full advantage of it. If you’re like me and you live in Texas, you generally just head over to the grocery store, buy a half gallon of Bluebell and call it a day. My friend Melisa recently sent me this recipe that was posted on The New York Times, so I decided to give it a try. I haven’t really come across a recipe that I really LOVED until now.

There are a lot of ice cream recipes out there that are eggless and don’t require any cooking time, but I’ve noticed they end up with very icy results, similar to freezer burn. For me, the ideal ice cream is rich, creamy and flavorful. This recipe yields just that. This simple recipe provides an excellent custard base ice cream, leaving plenty of room for you to get creative with flavors.

For this post, I decided to combine two of my favorite things: ice cream and chai lattes. You will need an ice cream maker for this. I use the Cuisinart ICE-21 and it works great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of half and half (I prefer using the half and half instead of two cups of cream because it gives it a lighter texture)
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 2/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of spiced chai latte mix (can be found at your local grocery store, in the coffee aisle)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt (a pinch will work just fine)
  • 6 large egg yolks*

Let’s do this:

1. In a small pot, add the milk, cream, sugar, chai mix and salt. Heat the stove to medium and stir the mixture until it dissolves completely.

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2. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then remove from heat. This should take about four to five minutes.

3. In a separate bowl, gently whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour in the milk mixture (approximately 1/3 a cup at a time) to temper the eggs. “Tempering” is the process of raising the temperature of the eggs slowly so that the eggs don’t scramble as you add in the hot ingredients.

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4. Pour the entire mixture back into the pot. Heat the stove to low to medium setting and continue whisking. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and can coat the back of a metal spoon (approximately 170º F when read with a candy thermometer).

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5. Run the mixture through a strainer to remove any clumpy egg remnants and place the mixture in a clean bowl.

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6. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. After cooling, cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill for a least four hours.

7. After chilling, run the custard mixture through the strainer one last time to remove any film that has formed during the chilling process.

8. Churn the ice cream in the machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions (approximately 25 minutes).

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9. Your ice cream can now be enjoyed as soft serve, but I recommend storing it in the freezer overnight for best scooping results. Enjoy! 🙂

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* If you’re not sure what to do with all your leftover egg whites, consider making French Macarons using my recipe.

Hey…nice feet.

It’s been a while. I can’t believe it’s been more than three years since my last post! Social media makes it easy to showcase a food creation. You snap a photo, slap on a filter, add some clever hashtags and voila! You’re on the internet. Blogging is time consuming, but hey, I’m here now, and I want to talk about French macarons.

When most people think about French macarons, they think of adorable meringue cookies with a delicate outer shell and a sweet, chewy center. They can be sandwiched together with jams, jellies, ganache or flavored butter cream. All in all, they sound pretty amazing. The creation of a macaron is no easy feat. Mastering the macaron has taken me countless trials, quite a bit of wasted material, and a whole lot of frustration (I still end up with some ugly/unsuccessful batches every once in a while). Hopefully the post will help you avoid all of that frustration and put you on the fast track to mastering the one and only, macaron.

A few things before we begin:

  • You will need a food scale so that you can measure the ingredients by the gram. Sounds dramatic, I know, but you’ll thank me later.
  • Make sure everything you plan on using is DRY (bowls, mixer, spatula, sifter, etc.) Any additional moisture content will ruin the outcome of your quest
  • Age your egg whites. Some may tell you that you don’t need to age your egg whites, but I have noticed greater macaron success with aged egg whites. Let the egg whites sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours in a covered container.
  • You will also need a #12 Wilton tip and a piping bag
  • Cut some parchment paper to fit your baking pan

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams of sifted finely ground almond meal
  • 100 grams of sifted powdered sugar
  • 80 grams of aged, room temperature egg whites
  • 80 grams of granulated sugar
  • Gel food coloring if you wish to color your cookies. Do not use regular food coloring.

Let the quest begin (sorry for the poor photo quality! it’s difficult to take photos with one hand):

1. Preheat your oven to 310º F. I’ve noticed that my oven tends to run hot, so I prefer a lower oven temperature. Too much heat can cause hollow, brittle cookies.

2. Weigh / measure each of the four ingredients and place them in separate containers. Sift the almond meal and powdered sugar together and set aside.

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3. Using a whip attachment, mix the egg whites at a medium speed until foamy. This should only take about 2-3 minutes.

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4. Continue to beat the egg whites, while slowly adding in the granulated sugar*

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5. Beat the egg white and granulated sugar mixture until you they become soft peaks. This takes another 6-7 minutes. Be patient and fight the urge to turn the mixer to a higher speed. This can lead to overbeating the egg whites, which will lead to pointy, witch hat looking macarons.

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6. Drop in some gel food coloring. I usually use about two to three drops. The color tends to fade during the baking process, so don’t be alarmed when the mixture looks like neon lava. Continue to mix at a medium speed for about 20 seconds, so that the color is evenly distributed.

7. Remove the mixing bowl and attachment. Add half of the almond meal and powdered sugar mixture into the egg white mixture and fold gently with a spatula. This will take approximately 25 folding motions. Add the remaining almond meal / sugar mixture and continue folding. This should take another 25 folds.

8. The batter should be thick, but flowy, similar to the consistency of lava.

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9. Transfer the batter into your prepared piping bag with the #12 tip

10. Hold the bag / tip perpendicular to the parchment paper / baking pan and pipe even, round circles. The batter should spread slightly, so be sure to provide about an inch of space between each circle.

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11. Tap the baking pan lightly to get rid of any air bubbles in the meringue.

12. Let the baking pan sit for 30 minutes to an hour at room temperature so that a shell begins to form (resting stage). The macarons should feel lightly tacky to the touch, but should not stick to your finger.

13. After the resting stage, put the tray in the center rack of the oven and bake for 14-15 minutes at 310º F. Watch the macarons grow feet!

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14. Remove from oven after they finish baking and cool.

15. Fill them with your choice of filling and enjoy!

* I ran out of granulated sugar, so I used Sugar in the Raw. I ground the sugar in the a Vitamix blender and hoped for the best. Probably why they turned out a bit ugly.

A Crinkle in Time

I’ve been wanting to make chocolate crinkle cookies for quite some time now, but every time I bake cookies, I tend to always revert back to my good ol’ chocolate chip recipe. Today I felt like doing something a little different 🙂

I found came across this recipe while surfing TasteSpotting this afternoon, so I just had to give it a try. Instead of using baking powder, I accidentally used baking soda. Whoops…but thankfully, they still turned out delish!

Check em out:

They aren’t as puffed up as I had hoped they would be, but it was probably due to my fluke.

Here’s the recipe I used (adapted from Urban Spork):

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1  1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Melt chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl in the microwave. I generally heat for 30 seconds at a time and stir each time. Be careful not to burn the chocolate! Set aside, and let cool.  Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Mix butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Mix in eggs and vanilla, and then the melted chocolate.  Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the milk.  Divide dough into 4 equal pieces.  Wrap each in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Divide each piece into 1-inch balls.  Roll in granulated sugar to coat, then in confectioners’ sugar to coat.  Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake until surfaces crack, about 13 minutes.  Let cool on sheets on wire racks and enjoy!

If you love chocolate, you have to try these!

New York City is crazzzzzy

Greetings!

My weekend in New York City was ridiculously fun! I checked off most of the items on my itinerary and got to hang out with a bunch of great friends.

Not much to say…so here are some pics from the weekend:

Soba from Mitsuwa

soba

Yummmm

tim

Taiyaki

yum

Mitsuwa Marketplace
595 River Road,
Edgewater, NJ 07020
TEL: (201) 941-9113

Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. It’s a huge Japanese market place with ramen, sushi, baked goods and so much more!

Greetings!

Welcome to my blog! Big thanks to Jimmy for setting this blog up for me. I am not very computer savvy…so we’ll see how this goes.