Thursday, September 30, 2010

Zucchini bread mission

Dave really likes zucchini bread, and he brought back a giant zucchini from his friends place in upstate NY so I figured we'd better do something with it.

My mom and grandma gave me two recipes for zucchini bread. One was hand written, we don't know where it came from, and they other was from a weight watchers cook book. Apparently the mystery source recipe hadn't been turning out so well. It was too difficult to get out of the pan, it would stick and fall apart. So I tried the weight watchers one instead. What an awful idea. I don't know what it was but it wasn't zucchini bread. In fact I'm not even going to post a picture of it, I'm embarrassed. But I guess I can link to it here. Sad.

So I went searching and came across this recipe for "Mom's Zucchini Bread" that had good reviews. I still had more than enough zucchini left so I tried it out. And the results were really good!

Very moist and tasty, came right out of the pan with no problems!

It also has chopped walnuts in it which I was was going to skip, but don't! They were really good in it too!

Btw, it has a whole cup more flour than the "mystery" recipe that was too moist to come out of the pan. Huge difference. Would definitely make it again!

I had even more zucchini left over, so was going to try out these zucchini spice cupcakes with caramel frosting...but the days got away from me, so I'll have to save them for next time!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

cherry almond tea cakes

my grandma turned 94 earlier this month. 94! And she's doing well! She lives with my parents, but she always has, and she doesn't go on trips anymore but she still goes out to bingo every Friday! I need to take up bingo.

Anyway, she likes cherries, so I made these cherry almond tea cakes for her birthday dinner.

They call for fresh bing cherries with the stems, but the one store I was able to get to the day I had to make them did not have them. So I wouldn't be stuck with cherry-less almond tea cakes, I got a bag of frozen dark sweet cherries. Then stopped by the drug store for some cherry cordial candies, which I thought would be brilliant.

First, some notes from the recipe... (I've been adding notes to recipes I bookmark using delicious, it's really proved very useful!)

The 1-1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp (1-1/4 sticks) butter confused's 1 and 1/4 sticks, I consulted Martha's recipe she amended. Bad baker that I am, I've never heard of almond meal, nor was it at the A&P, surprise. I chopped up almond slivers, worked fine. Skipped the brandy as I had none and added vanilla extract instead. In the end I definitely needed more cherry flavor. The frozen cherries baked up fine but didn't so much taste very cherry-ful, and the cordials, those were a disaster.

Here's what it looks like when it works, and when it doesn't.

First, the frozen cherry variety. Again, not enough cherry flavor, would definitely be better with fresh cherries. But look at that cute little cherry in the middle! :oD

And here's the cherry cordial chocolate disaster.

Some of them actually did make it out of the pan, and while they were warm and gooey they tasted delicious. But the issue is the juice that surrounds the cordial is not supported by the cupcake. It melts away and bubbles out of the cups and on to the pan. Where as it cools is becomes hard candy.

Nightmare. But here's one more of the pretty ones to even it out. More on the flickr page as usual!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ginger chocolate brownies

Dave and I were going to a Sunday afternoon bbq with co-workers. I gave him a choice of thai tea cupcakes, tri-color cookies, and ginger brownies, and he picked ginger brownies with fresh ginger root. :oD

Ginger and chocolate seems to make so much sense and not a lot of sense at the same time. They seemed like they'd pair so well I wondered why I haven't seen more ginger and chocolate treats, so maybe it didn't make that much sense? But that can't be right, they must be amazing.

Before I baked these up I ended up throwing a little bit more ground ginger in it to make them more gingery but was afraid of putting too much. In the end Dave recommended more ginger as well. So more fresh grated ginger next time.

Here they are before they went in the oven.

And here they are after! Mine didn't get crackley on the top, but they still tasted good and were a success at the party! They're super chocolately and delicious and more are in baking adventures set on flickr!

Friday, September 17, 2010

and in the morning, it was sorbet!

I was ssoooo excited when I saw how easy this recipe for triple berry sorbet was! You don't need an ice cream maker or anything! I wanted to try it right away and decided to make it for a labor day afternoon bbq.

My biggest issue was straining the damn seeds out of the puree. You need just the right size colander to keep the seeds out but actually let the juice through, it was more difficult than I thought and I almost gave up but Dave was there for me!

So I poured it into my metal mixing bowl and stuck it in the fridge and waited. Then I transferred it to the freezer. The took it out and stirred every 30 min from about 10 at night until 1 in the morning and the edges had jjjuuussttt started to freeze. So I went to bed!

I woke up around 9 am the next morning, and over night my sorbet had turned into sorbet!

It was scoopable and everything, not one big frozen block, I was ssssooooo excited and it tasted delicious!

Right before everyone came over I made whipped cream for topping from heavy whipping cream I had intended to use for marshmallow frosting for my smore cupcakes. It actually went over really well, even my two friends who are not really berry eaters had some and enjoyed it. :oD

I wish I had tried this sooner and had more of summer time to make all sorts of fun sorbets with. But now it's on to fall and new adventures!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Campfire Smore Mini Cupcakes

From bakerella! ooohhhhh... I was invited to a Labor Day weekend campfire, so I thought smore cupcakes would be appropriate. :oD

So, I know baking minis can be a different experience than full cupcakes but I do love them so, they go over so well at parties and they're so fricking cute. But there are occasionally some things about recipes that baffle me, like why my cookies and cream martini cupcakes failed? Just because I half the recipe? That's bullshit... Anyway, back to the Smore Minis!

So these cupcakes layer graham cracker batter, brown sugar graham cracker crumbs, a whole marshmallow baked right in the middle, chocolate batter then ganache. That is a tall order for a mini but I knew I could do it.

I had standard marshmallows that I had to cut into pieces so that was fun, but other than that they went pretty well! I had a ton of chocolate batter left over though, I actually baked a whole other pan almost of just chocolate.

So, Miss Bakerella says "When they bake, the marshmallow will mostly melt away into the cupcake, but a little will make it’s way to the surface and peek through the topping." I'm not sure why I believed this or why hers look the way they do, but my marshmallows did not "melt away." They expanded and grew out of the cupcake! Because they're marshmallows and that's why marshmallows do when they're heated! I know, I heart campfires and have microwaves peeps at easter just to watch them expand.

This is them right out of the oven, marshmallow looks good here, but as they cooled the marshmallows collapsed to leave mini caverns in the middle of most of my cupcakes. Not a disaster but not pretty... but smores are meant to be a mess, right?

I had intended to make marshmallow cream frosting, but I had a campfire to get to, so I ended up just melting down the marshmallows with butter (rice krispie treat style) and dunking the tops in it, then sprinkling with more graham cracker, bam, smore cupcake!

Here's one layered and one chocolate with marshmallow topping.

And here's how the layered minis turned out in the end. They were a mess to unwrap or eat though. So it was convenient they were minis so you could inhale them straight off the wrapper!

More on my flickr page!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

wanna-be organic french toast muffins

I am rather behind on baking posts. I've been moving and what not, but that's the best excuse I have. Anyway, I made these one night while still at my apartment. They are wanna-be organic because I substituted a bunch of organic ingredients...sort of...

I amended from this recipe. I think I deem it a success, they seemed a little dry the next day, but would be good with some jam or butter. I ate them for breakfast all week and they definitely have a french toast flavor with the cinnamon.

I used whole wheat pastry flour (substitute volume for volume) and used organic vanilla yogurt thinned with approx 1 tablespoon chocolate soy milk instead of buttermilk. And, I used organic agave maple syrup instead of classic maple syrup. I poked holes in them like the instructions say but my syrup just sort of went all over, maybe if it was room temperature, mine was cold.

Baked about 6 minutes for minis. It made almost 42! They looked adorable and tasted lovely right after I poured the syrup over them and dusted them with powdered sugar, but in like 10 minutes my powdered sugar disappeared somewhere into the muffin. If you're going to serve these for a brunch or something I suggest sprinkling with powdered sugar right before you set out!

More in my baking set in flickr!
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