So I Married a Chef

Adventures in Baking Balanced with Exercise and Healthy Meals

TWD – Chockablock Cookies April 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 6:00 pm

I’ve been brainstorming since this recipe was chosen which mix-ins I wanted to use. I wanted to try something a little different, but not so far off the beaten path that it would be strange. I also wanted to try to use some ingredients I already had in house. What I decided to mix in was cashews (different), craisins (normal), chocolate chips (normal), and coconut (normal). So, not so different really. But, its hard for me to want to purchase ingredients for ONE recipe. Either way, these were quite tasty. I loved how the molasses really came through in both the dough and the finished cookies. I brought them to work on Monday along with the cinnamon roll sugar cookies for a meeting. The other teachers in the meeting weren’t from my school, so they had never tasted my confections before. Needless to say, the each went back for seconds, thirds, fourths, etc. I definitely got some followers :) Hopefully this leads to orders this summer!!! Anyway, onto the pics :) Oh, and I actually just halved the recipe.

Mixed dough – check out those chunks!

All scooped out on my Silpat – which if you don’t have already, you NEED to invest in!

Baked:

Cooling – I meant to take a more fun one than on the rack, but I forgot and they have since gotten consumed.

I liked how these weren’t overly sweet, had a nice combination of flavors, a little crunch, didn’t taste like they were completely awful for you ;)

Right now I have the homemade chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in the freezer and in the next two days I will be making s’mores ice cream. Post and recipes to come!  Happy Tuesday, all!

 

Variety is the Spice of Life April 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 3:08 pm

These week I made a variety of confections. I also included a pic of one of my husband’s :) First I’ll post these cranberry chocolate chip scones. I really don’t remember which day I made these! Either way, they were quite tasty and quick to assemble.

The only problem with these, I couldn’t get the powdered sugar to caramelize!  Next time I will stick to the regular cinnamon and sugar mixture on top and broil for a few seconds at the end to really crunch it up.

On Tuesday, I came home to find this:

Joe has been CRAVING homemade bread lately. So, on his day off he made a loaf. It was whole wheat and delicious! I know it included roasted garlic, roasted jalapenos, pistachios, pepitas, pinenuts, sesame seeds, all kinds of herbs. We have half still in the freezer for later use. YUM!

So, this week was achievement testing week at my school. To celebrate all of the hard work that the teachers have put in I spend 4-5 hours of my Wednesday night making 3 different types of cupcakes: Carrot with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, Lemon-Limoncello (I have blogged these in the past), and Chocolate with raspberry filling and Almond Buttercream. They got rave reviews from all of my colleagues, and I may even get some orders for a bridal shower out of this!  Most importantly, my principal mentioned to me that she used to love Sam’s Club’s lemon cream cheese cake. Well, the Lemon-Limoncello cupcakes blew her away! SCORE! Here are the three. I will say, the carrot ones are not my best effort in terms of looks – they overflowed the pan and I had to make amends. Also, the lighting is bad on a few and I didn’t realize until I uploaded the pics today.

Chocolate with Raspberry Filling and Almond Buttercream:

Carrot:

Lemon-Limoncello – Boo on the strawberry juice that ran!

Finally, I made these cinnamon roll sugar cookies. They seriously taste like a cinnamon roll in cookie form. I recommend you making them ASAP! I made the dough on Saturday and let it chill overnight before I rolled out the cookies and baked today (Sunday). The only thing I changed was that I melted the butter and mixed in the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling. I didn’t have a chance to let me butter soften enough to spread. It worked well, I thought.

Rolled Dough:

Filling spread:

Rolled up pre-slicing:

On the pan. I almost felt like I was making sushi rolls :)

Baked:

Frosted:

SOOO yummy!  One slipped off the cooling rack onto the counter, so naturally I had to eat it so as not to waste a good cookie ;) I have a full day meeting tomorrow, so I’ll be bringing a bunch of these and some of my TWD bakes (post on Tuesday of course) on a cookie tray to make the meeting a little more fun. I also left a dozen with my mom because she loves cinnamon just like me!

On the agenda for the week…
Ice Cream!!!! Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate S’mores for my class that won a Jeopardy challenge we had to study for the achievement test. I haven’t made ice cream since last summer, so I can’t wait :)

I was completely unpleased with these carrot cupcakes… does anyone have a good carrot cupcake recipe to share? I like when it includes pineapple and coconut!

Thanks for reading!

 

Quick TWD – Cream Biscuits April 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 7:24 pm

It’s officially testing week at my school, so limited blog time here! However, I will have some AWESOME stuff to post later this week/weekend. I’m making a bunch of cupcakes for the teachers to celebrate testing being over. In the mean time, here is my TWD post. I actually made these biscuits for Easter a few weeks ago. We had no bread planned, so I told my mom I would make the biscuits! I made them a day ahead, refrigerated, and popped them in the over to serve. They are by no means pretty. I don’t have a biscuit cutter, so I just cut the dough into rectangles. They tasted fantastic and were VERY easy to make!  Here are some pics of the process and the final product.

Dry ingredients with the cream added:

Dough rolled out:

Dough on pan:

Baked – YUMMMMMM!

Again, sorry for the short post, but good things to come later. This includes an AMAZING loaf of bread that the husband made today on his day off – whole wheat, roasted garlic, herbs, pistachios, pepitas, roasted jalapeno… probably more!

 

Loads of Goodies April 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 5:45 pm

Long time no post!  Obviously the first week back at school was busy, chaotic, hectic… so no time to post!  Never fear though, I have made a TON of good stuff to share :) On my final day of Spring Break I decided to test out this recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, since it had a lot of good ratings! The guidance counselor at my school (who is GF) said that they were hands down the best GF cookies she has ever had! Yay! Joe and I also really liked them and agreed that we wouldn’t have even known they were GF – chewy, moist, yum!  Here’s what they came out like:

Up close:

This past weekend Joe and I met up with a colleague of his and his wife. It just happened to be the wife’s birthday this weekend, so I made her some Lemon-Limoncello Cupcakes – TO DIE FOR (Thanks Brown-Eyed Baker for the recipe)!!! I only got to eat the divot that I cut out of each, but I mixed it with the lemon curd and some frosting to get the full effect. These would make a fantastic layer cake, and I can definitely see making them again in the near future as cupcakes.  Here are some pics of the process:

Cupcakes with divot cut on top (there were 4 more on a separate plate to make it 1 dozen):

Lemon Curd:

Cupcakes filled with the curd:

Frosted and garnished with a strawberry half. I LOVE LOVE LOVE cream cheese frosting, and this one was no exception.

This weekend I was baking to itch (shocking), and desperately trying to avoid work. I looked over at the counter and saw some over-ripe bananas, and I had just bought Joe some brand new ones for the upcoming week. So, I made him some Strawberry Banana Muffins to take to work. I got the recipe from joyofbaking.

Check out that strawberry chunk in the middle row!  I of course didn’t try them (banana hater), but they went over well with Joe’s staff.

I also made some Mexican Chocolate Biscotti with a cayenne kick. I combined a few recipes and made up my own additions.

As Joe said… “these are bangin’”! Recipe is at the end of the post.

Finally, I can’t believe I haven’t shared photos/recipe of my weekly baked good – breakfast bars! Joe and I eat on the road/desk, so I came up with this portable recipe. My absolute favorite breakfast is hot, stovetop oats – but those can only happen on the weekend. This is my best shot at getting in some oats during the week. I LOVE to smear these with some nut butter. My most recent nut butter was an eclectic homemade mix of brazil nuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, cashews, flax seeds, and hazelnuts with a little maple syrup, a little salt, and a touch of canola oil to smooth it out. Anyway, onto the breakfast bars.

All of the dried fruit and nuts = holy YUM!

Recipes -

Breakfast Bars (~200 cals each, 6.5 g fat, 4.5 g fiber, 7 g protein)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar, NOT packed
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
5 dried apricots, chopped
2 Tbsp EACH: pepitas, chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, chopped pecans – all toasted
3/4 cup liquid egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1. Line a 9×9 pan with foil (and spray with pam) or parchment (no pam needed); preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix ingredients from salt to the nuts in one bowl.
3. In a separate bowl (I use a measuring cup) mix the egg whites, vanilla, and applesauce. Pour liquids into dry ingredients and fold until mixed.
4. Spread into the prepared pan and bake for 15-18 min – until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan, and then remove using the parchment/foil overhang. Cut into 8 bars. (I use a pizza cutter and it works perfectly!)
These keep really well for a week. I give Joe 5 and I take 3 and then I make more the next weekend :)

Mexican Chocolate Biscotti
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and preheat the oven to 350. When heated, toast the pecans for about 8 min. Then reduce the oven temp to 300
2.  In a food processor, pulse the bittersweet chocolate and brown sugar until crumbly.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne.
4. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and vanilla until combined. Add in the chocolate/brown sugar mixture and beat until incorporated. Gradually add in the flour mixture – add in the pecans about halfway through the addition. Beat until just combined.
5. Separate the dough into two equal portions (the dough is pretty sticky) and on a well floured surface, shape each one into a 10 in by 2 in log. Place both on prepared baking sheet about 3 inches apart – the logs will spread. Bake for 35-40 min, until fairly firm to the touch. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
6. Once cooled, use a serrated knife to slice each log into 15 slices (about 3/4 in thick) at an angle. Return to the baking sheet (or two) cut side down and bake for 15 more minutes. Flip the biscotti to the other cut side and bake 15 minutes more. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on cooling rack completely.
7. Dip these babies in some coffee, tea, milk, or just eat them plain… they are AWESOME!!!

On a side note… my running game has been REALLY down… My left knee has been killing me. I ran 1 mile today to try to get back in the game after not running all last week and skipping my long run this weekend. Any advice on how to heal my knee?? Anything is greatly appreciated.

On a more positive note, things for the farmers market are really coming together. I got a canopy, a table, all kinds of packaging material, and best of all…. A LOGO!!! Carly’s Confections is in business :) I’ll post the logo when it is finalized, but I love it thus far. My brother’s best friend created it for me – his job is in web design/graphic design, so needless to say he is fantastic! Now I’m just trying to get all my vendors straight, and figure out pricing. The market starts in a little over a month. Yikes!

Hope all is well with you guys :) Thanks for reading!

 

First Layer Cake on My Own (and more SB bakes) April 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 12:17 pm

I definitely baked up a storm over Spring Break, but of course didn’t have time to post until today! And sadly… today is my last day of break :( I’ll start with two more items that I plan to sell weekly at the farmers market.

First – Chocolate Chip Espresso Brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookies – I plan to offer some variation each week :) This batch DEFINITELY needed more salt!

Onto my HUGE project… the cake…

So, I decided that I needed to test out my cake baking skills for Easter. I am not much of a decorator, so I figured that in order to actually sell my cakes they have to taste so good that minimal decorating is needed. The flavor of the cake will speak for itself. So, I did some research and dreamed up some ideas and came up with this cake – chocolate cake, amaretto custard filling, mocha frosting. Yum, right? Ok, chocolate cake recipes… I finally settled on Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake. It got great reviews from bloggers. I will say, it was super moist, rich, chocolately, yum! I decided to split my layers to allow for more filling, and due to moistness, it took a lot of patience to split the cake without breaking it. But it did work out with nothing more than a slight crack that was easy to cover up with filling/frosting. For the amaretto custard filling, I used Dorie Greenspan’s pastry cream and added some almond extract and way more amaretto than she suggested (seriously, only 2 tsp????) I probably ended up with more like a quarter cup because I needed the amaretto to come through with a rich chocolate cake. It did!  Success :) Finally – my achilles heal on this cake, the mocha frosting. I LOVE swiss meringue buttercream. The first batch came out great!  Then I fridged it overnight… and it separated and wouldn’t come back together. So I had to start over. The second time worked out perfectly. I reserved some plain vanilla for the colored decorating, and added bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder to the rest. I ended up having to make a small batch of vanilla because I didn’t save enough for 4 different colors. The basic swiss meringue recipe is at the bottom of the post and I HIGHLY recommend it!  It leave the frosting shiny, creamy, delicious, with NO grit from the typical powdered sugar. Onto the pictures….

Layering the cake:

Crumb Coating:

Done – ready to chill!

Basket Weave – Done! Not perfect, but I’ll take it for my first time.

Borders added – top’s a clean slate

Then I added some fun flowers to the sides to break it up a little – who wants all brown????

Then… Joe did the top. I tried to You Tube ideas, but I wanted to include Joe as well and he is SO much better at this than I am. He went with some Gerbera Daisies. I thought he did awesome for not doing much cake decorating in the past 10 years.

Here is a slice, and half of the cake devoured. It tasted OUTSTANDING!!!!

Overall, I was super pleased with my first independent attempt at cake making/decorating. I actually have 2 other people asking me to make cakes for some upcoming events!  Yay!

So, this is Spring Break wrapped up… how sad! I had intentions of making more, but time ran out. That just means I’ll need to do some week day baking this week. Joe and I are meeting up with another couple (Mike and Jen) at a grilled cheese restaurant that everyone raves about called Melt on Friday. It’s Jen’s birthday on Sunday, so I’m going to make these Limoncello Cupcakes!

On a side note, the pups are doing great! My only problem right now is sore knees from running!  But, I did 9.3 miles is 1 hour 20 min on Sunday. Pretty happy with that.

Any suggestions for what kind of cake I should try making next???
Thanks for reading :)

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 cup egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 lb butter, softened and cut into chunks
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a metal bowl (easiest to use your mixing bowl for the electric mixer) over simmering water, whisk egg whites. Gradually add in sugar. Continue whisking until the temperature reaches 140 degrees and the sugar is dissolved.
2. Either attach your mixing bowl to mixer or transfer sugared egg whites to your mixing bowl. Using the wire whisk attachment beat until a stiff meringue is formed. When ready, you will feel that the bowl is no longer warm.
3. Switch to the paddle attachment and start the mixer at medium speed. Add chunks one at a time (about 10 seconds or so between each addition) until all butter is added. Keep beating.
The frosting will separate and look curdled, that’s just fine!!! Continue beating, and the mixture will all come back together to a smooth, glossy frosting. Add in the vanilla and mix until combined.

***For the mocha, I added in about 1 – 1 1/2 cups of melted bittersweet chocolate with 2 Tbsp instant espresso powder melted in.

 

 
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