Monday, November 29, 2010

when burning stuff tastes good

In desserts, there is a flavor that evokes a feeling of comfort to me. The taste of burnt sugar. I have a deep love for toasted marshmallows,there is something so delicious about that toasty sugary treat. I think it's the reason I find Creme Brulee so endearing. But honestly, I am not really turned on much by puddings...which Creme Brulee kind of is. So, this is my way of having my cake and eating it too!
The cake is dense and the flavor is is reminiscent of the custard. What seals the deal, is the combination of burnt butter in the frosting and the burnt sugar on top. I sprinkled the top off the frosting with a bit of brown sugar and then "torched" it.
CRÈME BRULEE CUPCAKES

½ cup butter, softened
1 cups sugar
½ cup prepared caramel
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup sour cream
1 cup milk
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar and caramel together until light. Add the vanilla and eggs one at a time and mix well. Beat in the sour cream. Sift the dry ingredients directly into the bowl and mix well on a low-medium speed slowly adding the milk. In each muffin cup, spoon the batter into muffin tins lined with paper. Bake for 18 minutes. Cool on a rack. Frost with Penuche Frosting.

PENUCHE FROSTING

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup cream
5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla

Melt butter, sugar and cream together and cook for 5 minutes over medium high heat. Cool to room temperature and then beat, cup by cup, the powdered sugar into the caramel. Add vanilla ½ way through. Continue beating until light and fluffy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

what's for dinner cupcake?

I know that recently my posts have been few and far between. I haven't given up on blogging, but had a few priorities to take care of. I hope you are still hanging in there with me. I'll get back into the regular swing of things soon.
I still have two more entries to my CUPCAKEPALOOZA or self imposed cupcakes all day challenge. For today's entry, I have Faux Turkey upcakes...I might need to work on the title a bit, due to the fact, the turkey is in fact real but the cupcake is faux. I am sure you have all seen meatloaf prepared in cupcake tins. they are handy, because they cook quicker than meatloaf. But have you seen them frosted? I frosted them with fluffy potatoes...yumm. If you look closely, they "frosting" is lightly tinted with beet juice and the sprinkles are in fact parsley.
You can definately make this with ground beef, but I do encourage you to try the turkey. With the mashed potato frosting, it is very reminicent of thanksgiving dinner. I do in fact, like to serve it with cranberries as well.
FAUX TURKEY CUPCAKES

Foil cupcake tins
2 lbs ground turkey
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup bell pepper (red, yellow, or yellow), diced
1 cup rice, cooked and cooled
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Teaspoons Worcestershire
1 cup sweet and sour sauce

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
3 Tablespoons salt
1 cup milk
4 Tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a heavy saucepan boil peeled potatoes in salted water until tender. Meanwhile warm the milk. Drain completely, leaving no water in the pan. With a potato masher,mash the potatoes with the butter and pepper adding milk a bit at a time.
In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients, excluding 1/4 cup of the sweet and sour sauce. Smash all ingredients together well and form balls and place into foil lined cupcake pan. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Juices should run clear. Remove from oven and place on a baking sheet. Scoop potatoes into a pastry bag and pipe onto the little meat cakes. Garnish with parsley.

Monday, November 8, 2010

cupcakepalooza

Still working on this "Day of Cupcakes" that I have deemed CUPCAKEPALOOZA. Today's creations are a breakfast cupcake and a snack. Now, I could have gone the easy route and produced a muffin for breakfast, but I thought that would be cheating. A muffin is a muffin. So I was thinking quiche. Parchment paper wrappers on cupcakes are pretty trendy right now, so I made a faux wrapper with filo dough. I am not the biggest fan of eggs, so I covered up the taste and texture as much as I could with tons of fresh chopped vegetables and pepper jack cheese. I used the top of the cauliflower florette to mimic frosting on top...besides it being a cute addition, the roasted cauliflower on top gave the whole thing depth.
The snack, is a simple cucumber sandwich cut to make a cupcake. For fun, I used two types of bread (dark rye and sourdough) and cut them to match the size of the cucumber. And of course, like the caprese below, a fun savory cream cheese frosting pulls the whole idea together. I thought these would be perfect for a wedding or baby shower.
QUICHE CUPCAKE

½ cup onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup red pepper, minced
1 cup cauliflower
½ cup asparagus, diced
1 cup pepper jack cheese
1/4 C flour
1/4 t baking powder
8 eggs
1/2-1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 box of filo dough
6 Tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On a cutting board, lay a piece of filo down and brush it with the melted butter. Lay another sheet over and repeat. Cut into squares and tuck into a muffin pan. Fill all twelve holes.
In a bowl, combine the onion, garlic, red pepper, cauliflower, asparagus, cheese, baking powder, flour, salt and pepper. In another bowl, beat the eggs and milk until frothy. Pour eggs into vegetable and cheese mixture and combine. With a ladle, spoon enough of the mixture to fill each filo filled hole. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and set.

CUCUMBER CUPCAKE SANDWICH
4 slices rye bread
4 slices white bread
1 Armenian cucumber, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons dill
1 teaspoon Dijon
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 package cream cheese
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

In a bowl, combine dill, Dijon, lemon zest, salt, pepper and cream cheese and blend with a handheld mixer. Lightly spread cheese mixture over each slice of bread. With a small 2 inch cookie cutter, cut the bread and cucumber into circles. Stack the bread and cucumbers alternately. Pipe the remaining cheese mixture on top with a star tip.

Monday, November 1, 2010

caprece cupcake

Oh here I go again with cupcakes. If you think that cupcakes are just a fad or are plain sick and tired of them, It's ok...I do understand. But come on...what is there not to love about little bites of joy. I love them because they are perfectly sized...and you don't feel like a glutton after eating one. Now, if you eat more than one, that is a whole new tale to tell. But there is no doubt about it, the cupcake train is still rolling and plenty are hopping aboard.
One day, I was pondering the deep concept of cupcakes, and I thought to myself: Can I have cupcakes all day? What I mean is: Could I make a cupcake for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert? Well, of course I can. So without much further adieu, I present to you
CUPCAKEPALOOZA! A series dedicated solely to the love of cupcakes and the endless inspiration they provide.
Today's first entry to CUPCAKEPALOOZA is the Capece Cupcake. Caprece salad is a much loved dish by many. Tomatoes are just fading on the vines now, so run out and pick them right away. Caprece is easy...it involves a few key ingredients: Tomatoes, mozzarella,and basil. Anything else is just frosting on top (he he he). For this presentation I made some crostini with baguette slice that were drizzled with a bit of olive oil infused with garlic. I topped the bread off with Parmesan cheese and toasted them in the oven at 350 degrees for ten minutes.
I chose to use Roma tomatoes because when sliced, they were just about the same size as the mozzarella. You can also cut the mozzarella with a biscuit cutter if it is too large. The drizzle is a basalmic syrup, that packs a sweet little punch at the end. Enjoy. CAPRECE CUPCAKE
printable version
4 vine ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 package cocktail tomatoes
1 package fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 bunch basil
2 tablespoons pesto
1 package cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup basalmic vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
toothpicks

Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each. In a bowl, combine the pesto and the cream cheese and cream with a hand mixer. Scoop cream into a pastry bag with a star tip. Place a toothpick in each stack and top off with a cherry tomato. Pipe the cream cheese onto each stack. In a saucepan, combine sugar and vinegar and simmer until thickens. Drizzle over Caprece cupcakes.