Thursday, December 4, 2008

Marshmallow Fluffycakes!


I had some amazing cupcakes planned out in my head to make for a friend’s birthday. Only to find out the day before he didn’t like one of the flavors. So I didn’t have much time to pick a replacement cupcake. I’m always interested in trying something new. A new flavor, a new method. I browsed one of my favorite food porn sites, I mean, food blogs, Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, and I was immediately drawn to these cupcakes! I thought I’d give them a shot!

The method to make them was different that any cupcakes I’d made before. I really enjoyed that I got to try making a marshmallow frosting. In the end result, they were certainly yummy, but not my favorite. I’m not sure I’ll use the cake recipe again, but the frosting one I definitely will! I’m not sure if I over beat the egg whites, or what, but the cake wasn’t as moist as I prefer. It was more on the dense side. Again, they still tasted great, and got rave reviews, but not my cup of tea!

They were still the cutest thing ever, so I decided I’d go ahead and blog them! I can’t help but give my honest opinion. That’s something my friends all know about me. I have no problem giving you my honest opinion. I left in most of Peabody’s notes about the recipe. If you try this recipe, let me know your results!

Marshmallow Snowflake Cupcakes
adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, originally adapted from Cupcakes Galore by Gail Wagman

Cupcake Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg whites(plus a pinch of salt for them)
1 cup mini-marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine flour and baking powder together in a bowl; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together, beating till light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk, and beat until batter is smooth. (Don’t panic, this will look more like cookie batter than bake batter.)

Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not to dry. Gently fold into batter. (This was a bit of a chore, just keep at it).

Fold in marshmallows.

Spoon batter into cupcake papers, filling cups about 2/3 full(even if you are using papers, be sure to grease down the top of the muffin tins as the marshmallow part tends to ooze over a bit). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.

Frosting:
2 egg whites
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla

Using a large bowl, preferably the top of a double boiler, mix eggs, sugar, corn syrup ans salt until combined. Place the bowl over simmering water ans whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot, about 3 minutes(be careful to not make it too hot since you are using eggs and don’t want them to scramble). Remove heat and beat 5-7 minutes until frosting is cool and stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Decorate cupcakes to your tastes.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Bean Soup


I love soups. They’re filling, warm, and usually nutritious. I first tried black bean soup at a Panera, and knew it was something I could easily make. I almost always have black beans & chicken broth on hand, so this soup is easy to quickly whip up. I found this recipe on Kraft Foods’ website a couple years ago, and it’s simple and tasty!

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Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. oil
3 cans (16 oz. each) black beans, undrained, divided
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) chicken broth, divided (or use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian)
1 jar (16 oz.) chunky salsa
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

Directions:

Cook and stir onion, garlic and cumin in oil over medium heat in large saucepan 3 min.

Place 1 can of the undrained beans and half of the broth in blender or food processor container; cover. Blend until pureed. Add to ingredients in saucepan. Repeat with second can of undrained beans and remaining broth. Add remaining can of beans and salsa to saucepan mixture; mix well.

Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 min., stirring occasionally. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Drizzle each serving with 1 Tbsp. sour cream.

**Modifications, I keep forgetting, that when I make this, I like a lot of beans in my soup. Less soupy, more thick, so next time I think I'll either puree only 1 can, or perhaps just add an extra can of beans.**

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pumpkin White Chocolate Blondies


Pumpkin, again? I know, right? I just couldn’t help myself. I saw these on Cate’s blog, and knew I just had to make them. And I’m telling you, you need to make these too. Most stuff I make I’m fine with just eating one serving, but these, I kept sneaking back in the kitchen for “just one more bite”. I had to take these to work PRONTO, or else I would of ended up eating the whole pan!

Even The Boy, who is not a pumpkin fan, went back for seconds!! He really liked them!

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Pumpkin White Chocolate Blondies

from Cate's World Kitchen, originally from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 package (12 ounces) white chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into squares.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pumpkin Waffles


I love pumpkin flavored anything. The Boy, not so much. I kept seeing recipes for pumpkin waffles, and finally on Saturday I woke up and decided, who cares, if he doesn’t like it he can eat cereal!

Once I decided I was going to make it I began to search for a recipe. All the ones I saw kept calling for buttermilk, which I didn’t have. I turned to one of my favorite sources for recipes, Cooking Light. I found this recipe, and luckily I had all the ingredients on hand. They came together quickly and I subbed whole wheat flour for half of the flour in the recipe.

He took one bite and looked up and asked if there was cinnamon in the waffles. I told him they were pumpkin waffles. He gave me “the look” and rolled his eyes, and just said “You and your pumpkin”. But he did finish his! I tried mine with both maple syrup, and then with pumpkin butter, and I preferred it with the pumpkin butter!

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Pumpkin Waffles

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (I used pumpkin pie spice)
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

Directions:

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (flour through cloves) in a large bowl, and make a well in center of mixture. Combine milk and next 4 ingredients (milk through egg) in a bowl, and add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist.

Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray; preheat. Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter per waffle onto hot waffle iron, spreading the batter to the edges. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until steaming stops; repeat procedure with remaining batter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fantastic Fudgy Brownies

So…. I got a new toy.

KitchenAid Professional Series 600

What better way to break in that bad boy, than with a batch of brownies! I like my brownies fudgy not cakey. So I spent some time searching and searching for a recipe. I had heard lots of good stuff about Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies, but for one thing I only had 2 sticks of butter, and for another, I’m not putting 1lb of butter and 6 eggs in my brownies! Ahhh! I have pants to fit into people!

Then I remembered one of my favorite recipe searches, Cooking Light. It’s a great resource. I found this recipe, and it had lots of good reviews. I had all the ingredients (sort of, I substituted butter for margarine, & Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet for unsweetened chocolate). I have to say, I wasn’t sure if a Cooking Light recipe could really give me the fudgy chocolate flavor I really was craving. Plus, the method for making these brownies seemed a little unorthodox.

The verdict, these brownies weren’t good. They were freaking fantastic! They were moist & fudgy, with deep intense chocolate flavors. This will be my brownie recipe from now on. Oh my gosh. They were so well loved, I only had one left once it came time to take a picture! Even if you have your basic, no fail recipe, I BEG of you, give these a try. You will NOT be disappointed!

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Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons stick margarine (I subbed unsalted butter)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (I subbed Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet)
2/3 cup Dutch process or unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°.

Melt margarine and chocolate in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa; cook 1 minute. Stir in sugar, and cook 1 minute (mixture will almost form a ball and be difficult to stir). Remove pan from heat; cool slightly. Gradually add warm chocolate mixture to egg whites and egg, stirring with a whisk until well-blended. Combine flour and baking powder; add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring well.

Spoon batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 25-30 minutes (do not overbake). Cool on a wire rack.

Calories: 132; Fat: 4.3g (sat 1.3g,mono 1.6g,poly 1g); Protein: 2.5g; Carbohydrate: 21.7g; Fiber: 0.2g; Cholesterol: 11mg; Iron: 0.9mg; Sodium: 46mg; Calcium: 16mg

I’m submitting this to Joelen’s Tasty Tools Roundup. I noticed the month of May was highlighting stand or hand mixers. What better post to submit than this one? I still use my KA stand mixer very often! It especially comes in super handy when making marshmallows or meringue buttercreams. Be sure to check out previous Tasty Tools Roundups, as well as Joelen’s other fun food events on her website!