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Entries in recipes (578)

Tuesday
Aug182009

South African Munchies: Delicious Crunchies

South African Crunchies
I first discovered Crunchies, a (natch) crunchy South African bar cookie, when CakeSpy Buddy Naomi handed one to me and said "eat this". Of course I was more than happy to oblige. Now, these cookies (made by local catering company On Safari) vaguely resembled granola bars, but one bite made the difference achingly clear. These cookies have a flavor that granola bars could only aspire to: crunchy, salty-sweet, coconutty, and very buttery.

So what's the deal with these cookies?
South African Crunchies
As one South African blogger reminisced,

Growing up in South Africa, the one cookie-tin constant that every child will remember is crunchies. They were usually one of the first things that your mom let you bake and kept forever in an airtight container, so we all grew up on crunchies. To me, they were distressingly unglamorous....but they certainly were a stalwart of every cookie tin that I remember growing up.

Want to make some crunchies? While On Safari's recipe is proprietary, I did find a crunchie recipe on the Hulett's Sugars (a South African manufacturer of sweeteners) which seems pretty legit.

 

South African Crunchies

  • 310ml (1¼ cups) flour
  • 310ml (1¼ cups) breakfast oats
  • 310ml (1¼ cups) coconut
  • 185ml (¾ cups) Huletts White Sugar
  • 20ml (4 teaspoons) Huletts Golden Syrup
  • 125ml (½ cup) butter or brick margarine
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) bicarbonate of soda
  • 45 - 60ml boiling water
  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Melt the Huletts Golden Syrup and butter together. Combine the bicarbonate of soda with the water and add to the butter mixture.
  3. Mix together with the dry ingredients.
  4. Press the mixture into a Swiss roll tin (or for a thicker crunchie, bake in a square 20cm x 20cm tin) and bake for 20 minutes at 150ºC. Gently press down the sides if they seem to rise too much.
  5. When light brown, remove from the oven and cut into squares. Switch off the oven. Return crunchies to the oven, for about 10 minutes to dry out.
  6. Allow to cool before removing from tin.

 

Sunday
Aug162009

Taste the Rainbow: A Homemade Funfetti Recipe from iheartcuppycakes

Sprinkles have been spilled.
Continuing our monthlong celebration of birthdays and all things sweet, CB from the inimitable iheartcuppycakes.com has kindly donated not only some sweet birthday memories, but also her super sweet recipe for homemade Funfetti Cupcakes. All the fun of a classic childhood treat--but grown up for more adult palates. Here goes:

My birthday is in July. I'm an Independence baby. Tom Cruise eat your heart out! When I was very little my mom would make me a Funfetti birthday cake from cake mix while I "helped" by licking the beaters. It was my favorite part! Even to this day. Don't judge me! It's Funfetti. HA! I think that's why I am not as anti-cake mix like some other bakers because of those great birthday memories with my mom.
Guest post from iheartcuppycakes

Here is my recipe for homemade Funfetti Cupcakes:

Funfetti Cupcakes


Recipe adapted from Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski

 

Makes about 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes

  • 1-1/4 cups AP flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg white, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used half-and-half instead)
  • 2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles

For vanilla buttercream
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 7 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Guest post from iheartcuppycakes
Instructions

 

To make cupcakes—

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
  3. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, fitted with flat beater, beat the sugar and butter until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating on low.
  4. Then add vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture. Fold in rainbow sprinkles.
  5. Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

To make buttercream—
In a stand mixer, fitted with flat beater, beat butter until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add 5 cups of sifted powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla, beat until combined. Add more powdered sugar until you get to the consistency you want.

 

[NOTES: I think I added about 6-1/2 cups, give or take a few tbsp, to get the consistency I wanted. If its too stiff, you can add a little more milk.]

Frost with vanilla buttercream and garnish with more rainbow sprinkles.

ENJOY!


Keep up with CB at iheartcuppycakes.com or via her twitter feed!

 

Thursday
Aug132009

Guest Blog Post: Lemon Berry Cupcakes by Pâtisserie Natalie

Lemon Berry Cupcakes by Pâtisserie Natalie
When you visit Pâtisserie Natalie, you'll undoubtedly be impressed. The pictures are simply gorgeous; the recipes are creative and sophisticated, yet unfussy.

But you'll be even more impressed knowing that the baker/writer/photographer behind it all is still in high school. No, really.

With a professional-looking portfolio of photographs and recipes already under her belt, Natalie's future sure does look sweet; happily, she has prepared a guest post exclusively for CakeSpy.com! Here goes:

Hi, my name is Natalie, from Pâtisserie Natalie. I'm so excited to get to do a guest post for CakeSpy; I've been a fan for a long time. I'm a high school student from Seattle who loves photography, food styling, and baking. I've been interested in the arts since I was really little, and found my real calling through blogging. I didn't discover the food blogging world until recently. I also didn't realize how much I would love it. My blog gives me a way to share my design and creative flow with other people, as well as see other artist's work.

Lemon Berry Cupcakes by Pâtisserie Natalie
I started baking more seriously about 2 years ago, but it is now an addiction. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I am more frequently in the kitchen then not. I absolutely cannot stay away from my kitchen aid mixer and my camera. I am self-taught in html/css coding, and do all my own graphics and layout work for my blog (CS Note: she's interested in pursuing a career in web/graphic design and photography).


I decided to make these Lemon Berry Cupcakes because as many people know, Seattle doesn't have that many sunny days during the year. Summer flavors for me are lemon and berries. Seeing as the sunny days are limited, I felt that I needed to make something that used those flavors. While I don't mind the rain at all (I love it, actually), many people are a little bummed that our summer days here are ending. With that in mind, I made these cupcakes as a sort of "summer revival." I've been working on the recipe for this lemon pound cake for a while, but I think I've finally got it. I'm often disappointed by lemon cake, as it doesn't actually taste lemony. That is not a problem for this cake at all. It's very moist and soft, which is not usually the case with pound cake. The frostings are made from raspberries and blackberries, which is why those frostings are so pink.

 

Lemon Pound Cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter; softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 5 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk together in a large bowl thoroughly, and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  5. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar one at a time, beating in between each addition.
  6. With the mixer on a low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the yogurt mixture in 2 parts. Start and end with the flour mixture.
  7. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and scoop even amounts of the batter into the cups, filling almost to the top.
  8. Bake for 16 minutes, rotating the pan after 8 minutes. Once golden brown around the edges, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for at least 2 hours before icing.

 

Lemon Berry Cupcakes by Pâtisserie Natalie
Blackberry & Raspberry Buttercreams

  • 2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter; softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar; sifted
  • 1/4 cup blackberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup raspberry sauce
  1. Beat butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar until smooth. Divide into two parts, removing half from the mixer bowl. Add the blackberry sauce to the mixer bowl, along with 3/4 cup of powdered sugar. Place buttercream in a piping bag and pipe a circle around the outer edge of the cupcake top, spiraling in towards the center.
  2. In the same mixer bowl, add the remaining half of the butter and powdered sugar that was set aside. Add the raspberry sauce and 3/4 cup powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Place in a piping bag and pipe an extra dollop on top of the blackberry buttercream.

Blackberry Sauce
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and place over medium heat. Stir frequently until juices from berries boil. Using a wooden spoon, crush the berries in the pan. Let boil for 2 minutes to make sauce more dense. Strain the mixture if you prefer to have smoother frostings. Cool in refrigerator.

Raspberry Sauce
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and place over medium heat. Stir frequently until juices from berries boil. Let boil for 2 minutes to make sauce more dense. Cool in refrigerator.

 

Thursday
Aug132009

Love and Crumbs: A Peach Crisp Recipe from Moonrat

Happy Birthday to Moonrat
August is totally the sweetest month: it's the month during which CakeSpy was created, and it's also the month of your humble Head Spy's birthday! And so, in celebration of all of this sweetness, there's going to be a month-long celebration of birthday treats, featuring memories (and recipes) from a collection of CakeSpy pals. It kicks off with the lovely and amazing Moonrat, writer of the Editorial Ass blog, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing industry (and plenty of other fun social commentary). And--bonus--it happens to be her *actual* birthday! As for her laissez-faire birthday treat? Here goes:

Dadrat's Birthday Peach Crisp

When you're a kid, having a summer birthday seems like the short end of the stick. Not only are all your friends away on vacation when you want to have a party, but you can't even bring cupcakes into school for your class!

But I got over my righteous anger pretty quick, because I was a really, really lucky kid whose dad had a penchant for fruit trees. The white peach tree in our back yard would drop peaches at the exact right time each year for Dad to make me some of his peach crisp. Here's his recipe, Dadrat-approved.

Here's how Dadrat did it:

First, he'd make me collect all the peaches and check them for worms (pesky buggers; the antithesis of delicious!). But in case you don't have a white peach tree in your yard, or live in a cement box in the city (like yours truly), you can also buy peaches at the store. If you can find white peaches, they're really, really nice--softer, fibrous, tangy. You'll need about 4 cups. Unless you're doubling or tripling the recipe, which we usually do.


Then he'd preheat the oven to 425. Or around there; Dad dislikes numbers and favors cooking impressionistically. But let 425 be a guidepost for normal people.

Now while the oven is preheating, prep your peaches. You don't want any fuzzy skin in the crisp, so you're going to have to peel them. Luckily, there's a trick. If the peaches are fresh, put them in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Apparently this is called "blanching"--which is particularly humorous if you're using white peaches already. But anyway. Take them out and let them cool, and the skins will come right off. Definitely wait until they cool, though, so you don't burn your mitts. Peel, and slice.

Now stick your peach slices in a large bowl. Mix with:
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (if you like nutmeg, which I really really do)

Butter the bottom of a casserole and pour the peaches in. Squeeze some lemon (or lemon juice) over the peaches if you feel like it.

 

In a separate bowl, combine

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick of cold butter, chopped up into little squares
If you want, you can throw in walnuts, too, which we never did when I was a kid, but which suddenly strikes me as an awesome idea, unless you are allergic to nuts, in whcih case I don't recommend it. But for everyone else, walnuts are both delicious and an excellent source of iron.

 

Sprinkle this dry mixture over the top of the peach mixture in the casserole. If you like--and I do--sprinkle an additional teaspoon of brown sugar over the top. It gets sweet and crusty.

Bake for about a half an hour. If you do it right, it doesn't turn to mush. My dad quothe, "The only reason to cook it is to heat it up."

Now you can eat it.


Keep up with Moonrat's rad adventures (and the occasional fuzzy animal picture) at editorialass.blogspot.com.

 

Sunday
Aug092009

More is More: Decadent Poundcake Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Peanut butter cupcakes
There are those people who say that pound cake is a dessert that needs no garnish, rich and decadent as it is on its own. 

I am not one of those people, however, so when I recently prepared the pound cake recipe featured on the absolutely amazing Smitten Kitchen site, while the cakes (which I baked in cupcake-cups) were absolutely delicious, I couldn't help but feel that it was a beginning, not an end: they needed something serious--no delicate fruit toppings here, please--to balance out that lightness.

And what could be more decadent than topping an already-buttery cake with peanut butter buttercream frosting?

Peanut Butter Frosting
Happily, I had just received a sweet sample pack from Superior Nut which included a decadent peanut butter dessert topping (think peanut butter, but sweeter and with the consistency of a thick hot fudge), which was easily incorporated into a batch of buttercream which was then used to frost the baby-poundcakes; it was all topped off with some sea salt and roasted peanut chunks. The result? Astoundingly sweet, rich, and satisfyingly salty cupcakes which prove that while sometimes less is more, sometimes more is best.  

Want a piece of this awesome? Here's how I did it:

Peanut butter cupcakes
Poundcake Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting

 

For the Cake: For a light and versatile poundcake, check out this recipe on Smitten Kitchen; I made my batch with two major changes: first, vanilla extract was used in place of cognac; second, they were baked them as cupcakes instead of one large cake (this reduced the baking time by about 5-7 minutes). It made about 15 cupcakes. Some of them were a little bit short, but extra frosting compensated quite nicely.

For the Frosting: I doctored up a batch of Magnolia Bakery's famous buttercream:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 to 6 cups confectioners’ sugar (less than in the original recipe, since the Peanut butter topping was sweetened)
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Superior Nut's Peanut Butter topping (or, I'm sure you could make due with a similar amount of lightly melted peanut butter or other nut butter, but you might want to add a little more confectioners' sugar)
  • Optional: Sea salt and Roasted Peanut Chunks for garnish

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of the sugar and then the cream and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes). After incorporated, add the peanut butter topping to the mix and put back on low speed until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency; you might need to add a little extra sugar but probably not. Do not refrigerate this frosting, or it will become a brick; it can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Finally, enjoy. These cakes were brought to CakeSpy buddy Dave's birthday party, and apparently had the birthday crowd in a sugar coma even the next day.

 

Tuesday
Aug042009

Babka Kebabs: Glorious Kebabka!

Kebabka
There is a deeply rooted belief here at CakeSpy that just about any food tastes better on a stick. I dare you to think of one that doesn't.

But as Rachel of Coconut & Lime recently lamented via twitter, while many desserts-on-a-stick are adorable and delicious, they can all too often be "too small to be satisfying". 

Happily, there is a food on a stick that will stick with you: delicious chunks of chocolate babka speared kebab style on a skewer--or, as I like to call it, kebabka.

Kebabka!
Now, kebabka is not necessarily a cute food. It's not delicate, and it's not dainty. But it is rich, chocolatey, carbohydratey, and delicious--and when enjoyed several chunks at a time eaten directly off of a stick, it will not leave you hungry.

Here's how you do it.

 

Kebabka (based loosely on this recipe)

  • For the babka
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 (.25-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour


For the topping (I kind of cheated here)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 big bar of chocolate (the jumbo sized ones at the grocery store--I used Hershey's Special dark chocolate)
  • Small amount of whipping cream, just for texture

 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until creamy (I saved the egg whites for an egg wash later)
  3. Mix the yeast in warm water with the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. When this mixture thickens, add it to the egg yolks along with the, milk, vanilla and salt.
  4. Add the yeast mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and mix well. Slowly add the flour until a soft dough is formed. 
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until dough is no longer sticky.
  6. Cover the dough and allow it to rise in a warm place until it doubles.
  7. When it's looking pretty big, you might want to prepare the filling. To do so, you could put your butter and chocolate (broken up) in a double boiler to melt it, or you could do as I did and microwave it at 10 second intervals until it is melted. Add a touch of heavy cream (if you feel like it; I did) and mix until fully incorporated.
  8. At this point, I put the dough on a floured silicone pastry mat and rolled it flat and long. I cut it into about 15 separate little chunks.
  9. Then I rolled out each little chunk of dough and poured some chocolate filling in each one, then made it into a little roll and put each one into a cupcake cup.
    Mini BabkasRising to the occasion
  10. Allow these little loaves to rise again for about 2 hours.
  11. At this point you can either pour some of the leftover topping on top of the risen dough mounds or just, you know, eat it with a spoon (oh so rich!). 
  12. I used some of the leftover egg whites to lightly brush on top of each little loaf to ensure a pleasing golden tone.
    Mini Chocolate Babka
  13. Place in a preheated 350*F (150*C) oven for 30 minutes or until done. Let cool completely.
    Big plate of kebabkas
  14. Once cool, cut into either halves, or fourths; spear as many chunks as you'd like on kebab skewers, and eat yourself some food on a stick. If desired, serve with whipped cream for dipping (it's good!)

 

Thursday
Jul302009

Making Whoopie: Pies, That Is

Homemade Whoopie Pies
While I stand by my claim that Whoopie Pies are not the next big thing, I am completely willing to admit that they are delicious. While several more exciting recipes have been developed, this one from marshmallowfluff.com is a good starting point--because after all, they say that you should learn the rules before you break them, right? So why not do as CakeSpy buddy Chris and I did and learn the ropes with this fairly traditional recipe, which includes Marshmallow Fluff (a substance which has been connected with the Whoopie Pie since the 1930s, when a cookbook called Yummy Book included a recipe calling for the fluffy stuff), then let your creativity go wild as you discover delicious new variations: pumpkin? Peanut butter chocolate? Strawberry? Or perhaps you could just ogle at all of the flavors available at Wicked Whoopie Pies. It's not just (whoopie) pie in the sky!

Whoopie Pies (recipe adapted from marshmallowfluff.com)

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 c. unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Filling (recipe follows)


Homemade whoopie pies
Heat oven to 350 F. Grease two large cookie sheets and set aside. In a large bowl with mixer at medium speed beat egg and vegetable oil. Gradually beat in sugar and continue beating until pale yellow in color. In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a measuring cup combine milk and vanilla. Add flour and milk mixtures alternately to eggs and sugar, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

 

Homemade whoopie piesHomemade whoopie pies
Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheet. These will spread a lot, so make 6 cakes per sheet at a time. Bake about 5 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched with finger. Remove to wire racks to cool. When cool, use filling and two cakes to make sandwiches. Makes 15 (or 20-something mini ones).

Filling

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 c. confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
In a medium bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and remaining ingredients until light and fluffy. Of course, if you're just lazy, you could just put a big smear of Marshmallow fluff between the cakey layers and enjoy your treat slightly faster. Not that we did this, of course.
Homemade whoopie pies

 

Thursday
Jul232009

Gimme S'more: Delicious S'more Brownies

S'more brownies by Nicole
Brownies can be a polarizing subject: cakey or fudgy? Frosted or unadorned? Wars haven't been fought over the subject, but I'm pretty sure that punches have probably been thrown.

In a 2007 NY Times article, Julia Moskin wrote that “The ideal modern brownie is simple and unadorned, but rigorously designed (like a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress).” While she has a powerful point here, it's clear that she's never tasted the s'more brownies made by multitalented CakeSpy buddy Nicole (who happens to be a baker, pet shop owner and occasional clothing store employee...how many hours are in her day?). These decadent little chocolatey nuggets get a perfect little slightly salted crunch from lightly crushed graham crackers and an absolutely heavenly texture from the marshmallows. She served these at a recent get together at her house, and they disappeared faster than you could say (in your saddest Oliver voice, natch) "S'more, please".

Luckily Nicole has shared the recipe so that we may all attain this well-accessorized brownie nirvana at home.

 

 

Nicole's S'more Brownies
  • 2 eggs
  • 1c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. shortening, melted (CS Note: Not sure how it would affect the recipe to use butter instead here, but I'm not anti-shortening and thought it gave them a nice chewiness).
  • 2 -1 oz squares unsweetened chocolate melted
  • 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 c. slightly crushed graham crackers
  • 10 large marshmallows, cut in half

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat eggs lightly with a spoon. Stir in sugar, salt and vanilla. add shortening and chocolate. Stir in flour and graham crackers. Do not beat at any time. Spread mixture into 8 inch square pan. Place marshmallow pieces on top of brownies; bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. (Nicole's note: brownies should still be soft; let cool in pan
before cutting.)

 

 

By the way, if you're in the Seattle area, your canine friends can enjoy Nicole's baking too--she sells homemade dog biscuits at her pet store Immortal Dog Pet Supply! Just saying.

 

Wednesday
Jul222009

Cookies by Tea: Delicious Little Picnic-Friendly Morsels

Cookies by Tea
My friend Tea says she's not a baker, but as you can see by these cookies, she's a liar.

She served these little morsels at a recent picnic we had (along with buddies Megan, Scott and Mr. CakeSpy), and they were definitely the star of the show. Though unassuming in size (while the close-up shot may fool you, they are actually about the same size as a jumbo marshmallow), they pack in a lot of flavor: they're chock full of white and milk chocolate chips, nuts and apricots, and very, very buttery. The apricot works especially beautifully, adding a wonderful moisture to the texture as well as a nice flavor complement to the sweet chocolate chips. Honestly, I can't imagine a more perfect picnic cookie. They're compulsively eatable and extremely addictive: just watch out, because it's easy to lose track of how many you've eaten!

Now, I haven't made the cookies myself (yet), but Tea based her recipe on this one, but with minor changes.

Tea's Cookies
  • 1 2/3 cups regular flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, stir in the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients until well blended, then add the chips, almonds, and apricots.

3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an unprepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Cookies should be golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks.

4. Enjoy, preferably at a picnic.

 

If you've never visited the Tea & Cookies site, then boy, are you in for a treat: click here! If you have visited before, why not visit again...now?

Wednesday
Jul082009

Corndog Days of Summer: A Sweet and Savory Experiment

Corndog Dessert Experiment
Combining sweet and savory in desserts is not a new thing--unless you've been living under a rock, you've certainly encountered desserts with savory elements--bacon or honey baked ham cupcakes, chili-infused chocolates and caramels; cakes with a cheesy secret; salted licorice ice cream...the list goes on.

Nonetheless I was intrigued when I came across this corndog dessert. It sounded interesting, yes--but delicious? The inventor of the recipe, a pastry chef who also invented a fried chicken dessert assured me it was tasty; I had heard good things about incorporating corndogs into desserts in the past. I set out to see for myself.

Starting out: For the recipe, I started out with Plinio's recipe mentioned above, but substituted the hot dogs with veggie dogs, and instead of making my own ice cream (too hard!) I simply used store-bought French Vanilla. Before anything else, I made the batter and let it sit for about an hour in the fridge. You can scroll down to the bottom of this post for all of the ingredients.
Veggie Dogs
Let the Experimentation Begin: 

 

That didn't work out.Oh well.

Idea 1: To make the little corndogs as if they were little balls of fried ice cream: surrounding a piece of veggie dog with vanilla ice cream, then coating it all in the cornmeal batter and frying it quickly. 
Verdict: Two problems: First, I don't think I let the ice cream set long enough, and it all imploded. Second: it occurred to me that having the veggie dog surrounded by ice cream would mean that at the center of this treat you'd find a chunk of frozen veggie dog. Sorry, but definitely not a delicious prospect.

 

Corndog Dessert

Idea 2: Going for a simpler approach, I coated chunks of cooked veggie dog in the cornmeal batter, and fried them up in a skillet filled with butter and sugar. This gave for a nice, carmel-y crisp edge; they were then served a la mode with plain vanilla ice cream.
Verdict: This method did work better, and the taste was actually pretty good--I think the hardest part was getting over the visual of the little pink coin of veggie dog, but taste-wise it had a nice sweet and salty thing going on.

 

Corndog Dessert Skewer
Idea 3: Building off of the success of Idea #2, this time I brought back the ice cream ball idea again, but this time put a little dollop of spicy mustard inside of each ball of ice cream and then let them cool for an hour in an extra-cold freezer. Then, I fried up another batch of the corndog-fritters and skewered them on a stick, alternating the fritters and balls of mustard-filled ice cream (note: you might want to let your little corndogs cool for just a little while--if they are still hot, the ice cream will melt a bit too rapidly for you to get them together).

Make Room for MustardBalls of Ice Cream
Verdict: Once again, once you can separate yourself from the weird factor of mixing hot dogs and ice cream, it's actually pretty good. I was most suprised by how nicely the spicy mustard worked with the rich vanilla ice cream though: it was a surprisingly addictive combination. 
Resolution: This was a very fun experiment, and once past the weird factor, the dessert is actually pretty palatable. Nonetheless, I don't think it is going to make it into my regular dessert rotation--as fun as it is to challenge yourself sometimes, I still think guests might make faces if you tried to serve this to them at a barbecue.

Corndog Dessert
Miscellaneous things you'll need:
  • 3 veggie dogs (or two would be fine if you like smaller pieces--you'll end up with about 20 golfball-sized corndog balls)
  • Vanilla Ice cream (if you got a half-gallon, it would be too much, but I'm sure you'll put it to good use).
  • Spicy mustard, if desired (I used Gulden's)
  • For frying: a stick of butter and as much sugar as you want to sprinkle in with it

Batter:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 ea egg
1 cup milk

 

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients; in separate bowl, combine egg and milk. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before use.
Batter
At this point, choose your adventure! You can coat each piece of veggie dog (I cooked mine first) and fry it up in a butter-and-sugar mixture and serve a la mode; you could make them up and skewer them with ice cream balls, or you could invent your own variation. Have fun!

 

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