Sunday, June 24, 2012

Triple Lime Cupcakes

Hello everyone! Today's sweet treat was planned for a very special occasion: six years ago today, I married my best friend. It has been a very busy six years, with so many changes in our lives. Six years ago I had no idea that we would be where we are today... I feel so truly blessed to have my amazing husband by my side through thick and thin. 
Us on our wedding day - first dance!
To celebrate this occasion, I knew I wanted to make cupcakes, but I just had to figure out the flavor. He has been asking for something citrus-y for a little while, so I gave him the option of either lemon or lime. He chose lime! I think he would have preferred key lime, but in good ol' Indiana I haven't found a reliable fresh key lime source yet (if you know of any, please let me know!)
So I came across this recipe from She Makes and Bakes for a key lime cupcake, so I just adapted for regular limes. The cupcake itself though I used my recipe from Lime Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting recipe since I love it so much! The lime curd came out very creamy and with the right amount of tangy-ness. Since I didn't want a regular cream cheese frosting, I added 1 Tbsp of the curd that I made to it to give it just a hint of lime too. All in all, a very successful recipe, if I may say so myself!
 Look who I had eyeing my cupcake while I took pictures!

Now the recipe below made 24 cupcakes, plus an 8-inch cake (just a little on the thin side). I doubled the original recipe for the curd, and I still wish there was a little more. I may increase it a little more next time, and if I have extra I can always save it for some yummy toast! I also wish I had more frosting... so therefore the little cake I made especially for my husband and I to share is not covered completely in frosting (like I would want it to be). I filled it with half curd and half frosting.
Triple Lime Cupcakes
~makes 2-3 dozen cupcakes~

For the cupcakes:
Same cupcakes from my Lime Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting recipe

For the lime Curd:
1/2 cup lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
1 Tbsp lime zest
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened and cut into 4 pieces

For the cream cheese frosting:1 package cream cheese (8 ounces)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp of lime curd
3 cups powdered sugar
Bake the cupcakes according to the directions in my  Lime Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting recipe. Let cupcakes cool completely to room temperature before cupcake assembly.

To make the curd, whisk together the lime juice, zest, eggs, and sugar in a mixing bowl set on top of a saucepan with simmering water (this is the double boiler method). Add butter and whisk until thickened and smooth (a thermometer would read 160-170 degrees). Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap to chill. It will pipe into your cupcakes much easier if it's chilled. Once chilled, set aside 1 Tbsp of the curd for the frosting.

To make the cream cheese frosting, in your mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the lime curd and salt and mix until incorporated. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix until smooth.

To assemble the cupcakes, use an apple corer or a knife to cut a hole in the center of your cupcakes (cone method - 
for directions, check out this link). Fill the hole with the chilled lime curd. You can do this with a spoon, a pastry bag, or a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off. You don't need to place cake over the hole as the frosting will cover it (I'm sure you can find plenty of mouths to eat those cones!). Pipe frosting on top of the cupcake. 

Lime curd and frosting recipes adapted froShe Makes and Bakes

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie

-1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, finely ground
-1/3 cup sugar
-1/4 tsp salt
-6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

-2 Tbsp lemon zest (~ zest of 1 lemon)
-1/2 cup lemon juice (~1.5 lemons)
-2 whole egg yolks
-1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk

Meringue topping:
-3 egg whites
-1/4 tsp cream of tartar
-1/4 cup sugar

For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Add the melted butter and mix well together until mixture resembles course sand. 
Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie dish and, using your fingers, press into the sides and bottom of dish. Bake crust in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes. Let crust cool slightly before adding the filling.

For the filling:
Mix lemon zest, lemon juice, and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Add in condensed milk and mix on high until smooth and thick. Pour mixture into cooled crust and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly before adding the topping.

For the topping:
Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over filling; seal all edges of crust. Bake for 10 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour; more if possible.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Meringue Cookies aka Suspiros

Hello there! I can't believe my maternity leave is almost over... which means my little one is almost 2 months old! Time has just flown by, more so than with my first child it seems. Time just keeps going by faster as you get older huh?
Well, so I'm approaching this last week of being at home as a great time to do things I may not get around to as often once work comes along. One of those things for me is baking, sadly... Although I hope that's not much the case. We'll see... 
Anyways, I want to share this recipe I found for these little heaven-on-earth bite-sized cookies. I had some egg whites sitting in the fridge that I was going to use in a pie as a meringue topping. Then I thought "maybe I can find a recipe for suspiros!" What are suspiros? These are one of my favorite childhood treats from Brasil.  They are crunchy on the outside, but gooey on the inside and it just melts in your mouth. You can get these in treat bags in Brasil, and let's just say that you had to take those bags away from me before I finished it all myself. It is just oh-so addicting!
So I first looked for recipes in Portuguese thinking that I would be lucky there. Not so much... the recipes just didn't look very promising... so then I don't know how but I saw English versions called "meringue cookies". Now why didn't I think of searching by that name? I looked around, and the FoodNetwork had some good-looking recipes by Giada, although hers has espresso and chocolate chips in it. Maybe I will attempt to make those one day, but I wanted my simple/plain version. I finally came across a recipe at Joy of Baking that fit the bill! I mean, the true suspiros that I remember only took 2 ingredients: egg whites and sugar. This recipe also adds in cream of tartar, but that is wonderful since it stabilizes the egg whites to tolerate the heat better when baking. So I made these little gems and let me tell ya that it was everything I had hoped for and more! Taking bites of these truly sent me back to my childhood... I had to really control myself to not eat the whole batch!
Now you could make these big and even top it with some fruit or ice cream (unnecessary in my opinion), but I opted to make them bite sized so that, you know, you can eat more of them! 
Try these today and tell me what you think :)  Enjoy!

~makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies

4 large egg whites
1 cup of superfine or caster sugar*
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Now add the sugar, about a Tbsp at a time, and keep beating the egg whites on medium-high speed until they can hold very stiff peaks (this can be checked by flipping the mixing bowl upside down and nothing would move!!!)
Transfer the mixture into a pastry bag with the big star tip (you can use any other tip you would like, or not even a pastry bag and just 2 spoons) and pipe it onto the parchment paper. Leave a little bit of room between the cookies, but since these don't expand, you don't need to leave a lot of room in between. 
Bake the cookies for about 1.5-2 hours (note: if you have a convection bake option in your oven, I would use that for this instead of normal bake because the fan removes the moisture better from inside the oven). The cookies are done when the outside is solid and the cookies are just a tad golden (just a tad!!!). Turn off the oven and leave the cookies in the oven until room temperature. To store them (if you have any left!), place them in a air tight container, and they will last for several days.

*Sidenote: I recommend having superfine sugar for this as it allows the sugar to be completely dissolved into the egg whites so that you have a smooth cookie rather than a grainy one. To make this sugar, I simply took regular white sugar and processed it in a food processor for about a minute.

Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking

Monday, June 4, 2012

S'mores Cookies

A couple years ago for my parents' anniversary, we got them a fire pit. They have absolutely loved using it and it comes out many many times throughout the year. Also, because of this fire pit, my parents finally got to experience S'mores. You may be thinking: "What?!?!?!?!" Yes, sadly enough they had never had the pleasure of having a S'mores until then. Being foreign parents, they are getting to experience more American things through us children (and also now grandchildren). This is proof that you are never too old to have S'mores :)
Needless to say, they loved S'mores and always try to have the supplies handy at their house for when we visit.  So when I saw this recipe for S'mores cookies by Kevin and Amanda on Pinterest, I knew I had to make them and share them with my parents. And like these cookies they did!
You can taste the graham cracker in the cookie dough, and the combination of chocolate chips and mini marshmallows makes the cookie so irresistible! I modified the recipe slightly, mainly by adding more graham cracker crumbs and decreasing the flour, and using regular chocolate chips and mini marshmallows (because that's what I had on hand...). Hope you enjoy these cookies!!!

Look at that gooey-ness!
S'mores Cookies
~makes about 2 dozen cookies

-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

-1/2 cup white sugar
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup AP flour
-1 cup graham cracker crumbs
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup chocolate chips/chunks
-1 cup mini marshmallows


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, use a food processor or blender to crush the graham cracker sheets into 1 cup of the fine crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Add the chocolate and marshmallows and stir to combine.
Using a small ice cream scoop, place dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Kevin and Amanda