Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Chipotle Mango Cupcakes

I saw these cupcakes yesterday on Tastespotting and they seemed to consist of a variety of flavors no normal person would ever put together. Therefore, they were right up my alley and I decided to make them. They were easy enough to make and came out pretty well. I always tend to err on the side of plenty when it comes to spices, but never having used chipotle chili powder before and it being a brand new bottle, that might have been a mistake, so if you decide to make them, stick to the actual measurements (mine are a tad bit eye-watering). The mango pieces in the batter keep everything moist, but also give them much more of a muffin-y consistency than what I usually think of as cupcakes. Recipe at Coconut & Lime, where their food photos look waaay classier than mine (granted, their's probably weren't taken on a paper towel in a school cafeteria either). Oh, mine also yielded 16, not 12 and I cut up fruit jelly slices for garnish. I also used regular lime instead of keylime in the icing because there were certainly no keylimes at the Shaws on Rte 9.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Coconut Cake

This cake is for my co-worker Linda's birthday on Wednesday. We are having a potluck early-dismissal lunch and I said I would bring a birthday cake. (I guess this is what teachers did all those days we had early dismissal in school)

I had never made a coconut cake before and the directions kind of lost me when they said to poke holes in each layer with the top of a wooden spoon (see Paula Dean's cake recipe here), but my mother told me it would be OK and she's been making cakes a lot longer than I have, so I went with it. It was OK. I used a straight buttercream frosting instead of Paula's and pressed toasted coconut into it. I used the remaining coconut milk as liquid in the frosting, but it didn't take on the flavor. Next time I might add coconut extract, but this time I was feeling cheap in the supermarket.

Anyway, it looks great and what we scraped off the bottom of the pans tastes incredible. This is the second time in two weeks I've made a cake from scratch, no Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines, I'm feeling pretty good about myself.

I hope Linda likes it!

Friday, March 7, 2008

The "Healthy" Crescent Rolls

Being officially tired of baking, I decided to mix it up for this weekend's party (I am very popular). This came to me last night when I was trying to think of something to make that would be yummy and EASY.

I bought a bunch of asparagus and some green beans since I was informed that not everybody throwing the party likes asparagus. I decided to blanch the veggies before baking so they wouldn't be too firm or burn in the oven. Then I spiraled each stalk/bean with crescent roll dough from the refrigerator section (picking up a trend? I think my mixer is loney) and rolled each one in parmesan cheese. I baked them according to the directions on the dough tube (and the oven stayed on the whole time!)

All in all it was super easy and pretty fun. And they are DELICIOUS!


Stalks and Beans

Just beans

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Sad, Sad Cookies

Where to begin...

I found these adorable sad puppy cookies today on Tastespotting (which may just be the best website ever) and thought they were so cute that I had to make them. Unfortunately, the recipe was from some British company that makes a milk product that British people use to drug their children at night (Horlicks) and was all in grams and wanted me to cook them at 150 degrees and stuff, so I assumed they were crazy and decided (like any good American would) that I could do the same thing with sugar cookie dough from the refrigerator section in the supermarket.

This is what the sad puppy cookies made by the drug-pushing English chick looked like:

While my equally-as-good-but-better-because-they're-American sad puppy cookies were baking, I soon determined that I have no knowledge of baking chemistry (or any chemistry for that matter) and had forgotten entirely that sugar cookies EXPAND while baking.

So, this is what my super amazing sad PANDA cookies look like:
I especially like that they are all square because the cooked together.
These guys are the saddest pandas of all.

At least I can bring them to work tomorrow. Teachers'll eat anything.

The Clafouti

This year I was invited to a Valentine's Day party and asked to bring a French-themed dessert. Rather than just going to the Parisian bakery that's down the street from my house and buying something authentic like a normal person, I decided to make a clafouti (which sounds middle eastern, but surprise- isn't!).

I made a cherry one using the Julia Child recipe. It was during this endeavor that I discovered my oven does this fun thing sometimes where it shuts itself off when you thinking it's cooking away. I also discovered that tart pans with removable bottoms are not so good for liquids. Live and learn.

Oh, and nobody at the party ate the thing, but I brought it home and it was incredible.

Here's the recipe (I used frozen cherries and it turned out fine).

And the pictures: