Thursday, January 27, 2011

Join me in Frosting for the Cause!


Hello everyone! As you may notice the lack of recipe that follows, today I am guest posting over at Frosting For The Cause (first time ever participating as a guest post! So nervous!!!).
Paula from Vanilla Bean Baker is the driving force behind this amazing project that is bringing together 365 different bakers to blog and share their personal encounters with cancer. With this project, we are all "baking" a difference one recipe at a time. If you are unfamiliar with this project, I recommend that you hop on over to this site and read the many stories shared by the registered bakers. Also, if you are interested in participating in this wonderful project, click here.


Frosting for the Cause


PS: if you are wondering what I made for this wonderful cause: it is Oatmeal Fudge Bars!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tiramisu


Hello everyone! Today I am sharing a recipe I have had for quite a while and have even become somewhat famous among my family and friends for making for special occasions. I have always been a huge fan of Tiramisu, but never thought of making it (sounds too complicated to make right?). Well, then when I was still dating my husband, I had heard my "future" father-in-law LOVES Tiramisu. So what do I do? Of course, I wanted to score brownie points with his family, so I decided to try my hand at it. By the way, I found this recipe online, although I can't find it anymore and I had not saved the source of the original. It was labeled as a William-Sonoma recipe.
Anyways, back to my first attempt at Tiramisu: it went well for a first time, except that I made the mistake of using egg whites instead of egg yolks! Oh man... but you know what though? My father-in-law still ate it! LOL That is family love right there. Since then I've had many more opportunities to... uh-hum, "fine-tune" my skills (and learn the difference from egg yolks and whites). 
So a little background info on Tiramisu. If you don't already know, Tiramisu means "pick me up". This Italian dessert is made of sweet biscuits dipped in coffee (hence the pick me up part) and layered with an Italian custard made of Mascarpone cheese. But aside from the fancy name, it is not hard to make. I'll add comments throughout the recipe directions so that I can hopefully lend my years of "experiences" (or the what-not-to-do's). I hope you enjoy this recipe!



Ingredients

  • 6 EGG YOLKS
  • 3/4 cup SUGAR
  • 1 lb MASCARPONE CHEESE, softened
  • 2 cups HEAVY CREAM, chilled
  • 2 Tbsp RUM or RUM EXTRACT
  • 1 tsp VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 2 Tbsp + 2-3 cups brewed (and cooled) ESPRESSO or COFFEE
  • 5 EGG WHITES
  • 40-50 LADYFINGERS
  • COCOA POWDER, for garnish
Directions
  1. In a mixing bowl set over but not touching a pan of simmering water, beat the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and thick ribbons fall from the whisk (4 to 5 minutes).
  2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer.
  3. Add the mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth and creamy (2 to 3 minutes). Set aside.
  4. In a chilled large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream to stiff peaks.
  5. Add the rum, vanilla and the 2 tablespoons of espresso (or coffee) and beat until smooth.
  6. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the mascarpone mixture into the cream until blended and smooth.
  7. While blending the mascarpone mixture and the heavy cream mixture, in a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks (when the whisk is lifted straight out of the bowl and inverted, the whites should hold their shape).
  8. Add about 1 cup of the beaten egg whites and fold gently until blended.
  9. Add the remaining egg whites and fold gently until the mixture is smooth and blended.
  10. One at a time, submerge each ladyfinger into the remaining espresso, then lay it on the bottom of a 6-quart glass or ceramic baking or serving dish (about 2 inches deep).
  11. Continue to form a complete layer.
  12. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the soaked ladyfingers until evenly covered.
  13. Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers over the mascarpone cream, then spread the remaining mascarpone cream evenly over the top.
  14. Dust the Tiramis├╣ with cocoa powder to create a rich, dark topping.
  15. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 1 day before serving.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Butter Cookies



Happy New Year greetings to everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season J Looking back at this last year, I sure have many MANY things to be thankful for. One of the things I am super thankful for are the people who surround me. I absolutely love my family and friends, coworkers, even my neighbors! I wanted to share my gratitude with everyone, and so I chose to try my hand at cookies (yup, not cupcakes) and share them with my loved ones. I saw this wonderful recipe for Danish Butter Cookies at Day Dreamer Desserts, and couldn’t wait to give it a try. I was a little nervous not knowing how they would turn out as I had never used a cookie press. Also, I had not checked the original recipe from All Recipes, and didn’t know that one recipe makes seven dozen cookies! Ha! Well, on the upside, I had enough cookies to share with LOTS of people, so I guess it was win win!
So these cookies turned out wonderfully! I had lots of fun trying out the different cookies shapes, some of which I had no idea what they did before I pressed the dough through it. This cookie is very buttery with just enough sweetness to it. In the end, it wasn’t hard to get rid of these cookies, as you can see from my last picture.
To share these babies with my loved ones, I placed 3-4 cookies in a cupcake liner (mine were Santa Claus themed) and placed these liners in a cookie tin. If I may say so myself, I think it turned out pretty cute.
I will be posting next another edible gift idea I made for my neighbors. Meanwhile, enjoy this recipe!


Danish Butter Cookies
Makes ~7 dozen

Ingredients:
3 cups unsalted butter (6 sticks)
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
7 egg yolks
6 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl (fitted with the paddle attachment), cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift and whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet in a few batches. Using a cookie press, press cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake for 7-8 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Oh, and this is what was left BEFORE Santa arrived!

Recipe originally from Day Dreamer Desserts, adapted from All Recipes