Monday, October 31, 2011

October and Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Happy Halloween and Happy Monday! 

I do have to apologize for not having a totally awesome, gross, Halloween post for you. It has been a very busy month, full of activities and fun. Been going to a lot of sporting events and get-togethers. Unfortunately, I haven't been home to bake as often as I'd like, and honestly between everything I've been too tired to sit down and write anything for the blog. I did manage to crank a few things out of the kitchen though, some great, some experiments that were not so great. :) Oh well, learn from your mistakes. Some recipes I need to tweak and perfect a little more before sharing them with you. 

The news I'm most excited to share with you all is that I finally jumped on the Swiss Meringue Buttercream bandwagon. I do have to say it is amazing! It is smooth and fluffy and not too sweet. Way better than regular buttercream! Once you go Swiss you can't resist! (Geez :p) I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to regular buttercream after trying this. I just made the regular vanilla version, although the flavor possibilities are endless. I learned the technique and got the recipe off of one of my favorite blogs, Sweetapolita. She has a post that totally breaks down the different types of meringue buttercreams and their techniques. I found it to be very informative and helpful. 

5 large egg whites (30g each–total 150g) 
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar 
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes 
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
Pinch of salt 

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and vinegar, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot. 

With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continuously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). Add vanilla and salt, mix well. You can also add a wide variety of flavorings, extracts, and more. 

Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes. 

Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. 

Makes approximately 5 cups of buttercream.

Here are a few things coming out of my kitchen this month...... 

Root beer Cupcakes

Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes (Still working this one out.)

Chocolate cake with Swiss meringue buttercream filling and chocolate frosting

So how was your Halloween?  Did you get to take the kiddos trick or treating?  No kids here so I don't get to do that yet, but my mom (lover of all things scary) and a friend of hers dragged me to a haunted house this year.  I swear I clung on to them like it was a life or death situation, then when they start chasing you with a chain saw, oh no, why do we like to scare ourselves?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oreo Cheesecakes

Who doesn’t love cookies and cream? A few weirdos out there I’m sure, right along side the kooks that don’t like chocolate. (I mean that in the nicest way possible :D) I can understand the peeps that don’t really care for cheesecake because it’s so easy to obtain a bad one, sour, clumpy, that’s no good. You just have to make sure that when you are making cheesecake you’re using room temperature items and creaming the cream cheese real well before you proceed. I really like this recipe because it's relatively easy and you don’t have to use a water bath. (Which can get tricky to take out of the oven) Plus you don’t even have to make a crust, how easy is that!? This is also another one of those recipes that you could play around with and try out different flavors. A good fall variation would be golden Oreo’s with a little pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice added to the batter, it would be yummy! 

Oreo Cheesecakes 
Makes 15 

21 Oreo, cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, 15 left whole and 6 chopped 
1 pounds cream cheese (two 8oz packages), room temperature 
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten 
1/2 cup sour cream 
Pinch of salt 

Preheat oven to 275° F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole Oreo cookie in the bottom of each lined muffin cup. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add the sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in the vanilla. 

Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add in sour cream and salt, beat to combine. Using a large spatula, fold in the chopped Oreo cookies. 

Divide batter evenly among the cookie-filled muffin cups, fill each cup almost to the top. Bake, rotating muffin tins halfway through, until the filling is set, about 22 to 28 minutes. 

Transfer the muffins tins to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate (in the muffin tins) at least 4 hours (or overnight). Remove from tins just before serving. 

I found this beautiful recipe on La Mia Vita Dolce which she got from one of Martha Stewart’s cookbooks. I halved the recipe.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Oh the Irish Car Bomb, if you've never had one, they are quite yummy. It’s a shot that consists of about a half a pint of Guinness, and a shot glass of half Jameson’s Irish whiskey and half Bailey’s Irish cream, you drop the shot into the pint glass and chug. The other half requested these for his birthday, and I thought they were perfect for a guy. Chocolate with three different types of alcohol, how can you go wrong? He was lucky to be home while I was baking because he got to have an actual Irish car bomb with the left over liquor. And I'll admit I did have a Guinness too while I was baking, even though I started at 11:30am. (Hey! I must check the quality of the ingredients I'm using!) Most of the similar recipes I've seen call for an Irish cream buttercream, but the other half hates frosting so I opted for an Irish cream whipped cream frosting instead. The end result was perfect! If you are looking for a well balanced cupcake, this is the one for you. I think that if you had topped this with a sugary buttercream it would have been too sweet. The whipped cream complimented the rich ganache center very well. I also would like to add that I could bake everything with beer because it gives it such a rich flavor and moist texture. (Which I may try) So you guys have got to try this one, they’re awesome!

The other half says it's the best cupcake he's ever had. (And I didn't make him say that)

1 (11.2 fl oz) bottle Guinness 
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 eggs
1 (8oz) container sour cream 

Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners. 

In a medium saucepan, combine Guinness and butter and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Then whisk in cocoa powder until smooth and let cool. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. 

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add cooled chocolate mixture to the sour cream and eggs and beat until just combined. 

Slowly add dry ingredients and beat briefly on a slow speed, scraping down sides as needed. 

Fill each cupcake paper 3/4 of the way full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 17-18 minutes (Mine baked for 18 minutes and came out perfect) 

Remove cupcakes from oven and let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan and placing on wire rack. Cool completely before filling. 

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
4 teaspoons Jameson whiskey 

Place chocolate in a medium heat-resistant bowl. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream until bubbling.

Carefully pour it over chocolate and let sit untouched for 20 seconds. After that, stir until smooth and combined. 

Add in butter and whiskey. Let cool until it’s a pipe-able consistency, using the fridge if needed. If you use the fridge, make sure to stir every 10 minutes.

Irish Cream Whipped Cream Frosting 
2 C heavy whipping cream 
2/3 C sugar 
2 T Baileys Irish Cream (I added a little extra) 

Whip heavy whipping cream until it looks like whipped cream. 

Mix in sugar and Baileys Irish Cream until just combined

Cupcakes and ganache adapted from Cake and Allie
Irish cream whipped cream from Cupcake Project


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