Sunday, May 30, 2010

White Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies


I have been craving cookies for so long, and I finally had time to make them before heading off to my brother's high school graduation ceremony. However, I didn't have time to run to the store, and I didn't exactly have the typical cookie ingredients. I pulled out an old bag of butterscotch chips, some white chocolate chips, and some pecans. There was about half a cup of each, so what the heck? Just dumping them into a basic cookie recipe should do the trick, right?.

Oh boy, it sure did. I'm not even a big fan of butterscotch and I love this cookie. The butterscotch flavor is the strongest, but the white chocolate makes the cookie creamy, and the pecans add a slight nutty taste and texture. I think I used too much baking powder in mine, but I have fixed the amount in the recipe below. Hope you enjoy my weird cookie recipe!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans


Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time until mixed well.

Add flour and baking powder, mixing just until incorporated.

Add white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and nuts and pecans and mix in.

Scoop out enough dough to form a 1 inch ball, and place 12 of these dough balls onto each cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the outside. (I think these are better slightly undercooked.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chocolate Chip Muffins

For a week, there has been no food in our house. My brother and I have been living on cereal and left-over raspberry lemon coconut cake. Healthy, right? We finally went to the grocery store today, and my brother picks up a pack of chocolate chip muffins. As soon as he puts the muffins in our basket, I pick them up, hand them back to him, and tell him that I'll make him some real chocolate chip muffins.

So to keep my promise, I immediately got out one of my cookbooks and found a perfectly simple recipe. An hour later, a dozen delicious chocolate chip muffins were ready for my brother to devour. He was my hand model for most of these shots, so I thought I would reward him with a muffin right out of the oven. After eating just one, he said he will no longer buy muffins at the store. Score one for home baking! :)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips



Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease 10-12 muffins cups or use paper liners.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Fold into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk.

Divide half the mixture between the muffin cups. Sprinkle several chocolate chips on top, then cover with a spoonful of the batter. If you're like me and want more chocolate, sprinkle chocolate chips on top as well!

Bake until lightly colored, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before unmolding.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Raspberry Lemon Coconut Cake

After almost 4 months of silence...I'm back! Being back from college for the summer means it's time to start this blog up again and get some delicious recipes ready to share with you.

For my first recipe of the summer, I chose a very light and refreshing raspberry lemon coconut cake. This cake is quite labor intensive, but the end result is well worth all the work. This is my first time making buttercream, and I must say I was impressed with how delicious it is despite the mass amounts of butter used to create it. Enjoy this delicious summery cake!

Ingredients:
Raspberry Lemon Coconut Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup whole milk or buttermilk, room temperature
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons fine lemon zest
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Lemon Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup raspberry preserves (strained for seeds, if desired)
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut



Preheat your oven to 350°F and place a rack in the lower third of your oven. Coat two 8" or 9" pans with butter or nonstick spray and line the bottoms with a circle of parchment. Place the pans on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a second small bowl, combine the milk and egg whites and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest and mix for a minute on medium speed until fragrant. Add the butter and cream together on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon extract and then grab your bowl of flour and milk.

Reduce the mixer's speed to slow and add 1/3rd of the flour. Once moistened, increase the speed to medium and mix until incorporated. Then add 1/2 the milk mixture and beat until the mixture is uniform. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, alternating until you've finished with the last 1/3rd of the flour. Mix the batter for a further 2 minutes to ensure it is lump free and well aerated.

Divide the batter between your baking pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the centers of the cake springs back when touched lightly.

Place the cakes on wire racks to cool. After a few minutes, run a knife around the outside of the pan to release the cake and remove from the pans. Allow to cool right side up until room temperature.

To make the buttercream:

Combine the sugar and egg whites in a bowl over simmering water. Whisking constantly, beat until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar is no longer gritty. Remove from heat and continue to beat until you have a thick, glossy meringue.

Transfer the meringue to the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat for several minutes on medium speed. Once the bowl of the mixer feels cool to the touch you can add your butter, one stick at a time beating on medium high. Once the butter is all in, continue to beat for 6-10 minutes.

The mixture may seem to curdle at some point but don't worry, continue to beat and it will come together into a velvety buttercream.

Once well beaten, you can add the lemon juice a little at a time, beat until absorbed and then adding more. Then add the vanilla and you're ready to frost.

To assemble the cake:

For a four layer cake, level and divide the layers with a serrated knife. Place the bottom layer onto a cake round (or onto a cake plate with tuck strips of wax paper under the cake to protect the plate while frosting).

Spread a third of the raspberry preserves onto the bottom layer of the cake and then a layer of buttercream. The trick to layering buttercream on top of a slippery layer of preserves is to put your buttercream into a disposable piping bag (or ziplock bag) and cut off a 1/3" diameter opening. Starting in the center of the layer, pipe a coil of buttercream. Continue to coil tightly, round and round until you have an even layer of icing on top. No need to spread the frosting with a spatula using this method. Top with a second layer of cake and repeat two more times. Place the last layer on top and then crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of icing. Chill the cake until the icing is firm and then frost the cake with the remaining butter cream. Smooth the remaining buttercream over the cake with an offset spatula until it is level and smooth.

Sprinkle the coconut over the top of the cake and coat the sides by gently pouring the coconut between your hand and the cake.

The cake is best eaten the day it is made. If you need to store it, refrigerate it covered for up to two days, allowing plenty of time to bring it back to room temperature before serving.

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