Saturday, July 27, 2013

Peanut Butter S'more Truffles

I know it’s hot out. I know none of you want to turn on the oven and make your 90 degree kitchen reach 100. This is why I’m giving you a nice cool treat. No it’s not ice cream (boy oh boy do I wish I had an ice cream maker!). Today I bring you Peanut Butter S’more Truffles.

I’m going to diverge a little here. Ever wonder why s’more are enjoyed during the summer? This thought just popped into my head like two seconds ago. But seriously, who wants to start a fire in the middle of July/August when it’s a bajillion degrees outside? Wouldn’t it be more practical to make s’mores during the winter? You know then you can snuggle up to the cozy fire during those cold winter nights and eat piping hot and melty deliciousness. It’s just something to think about.

So, back to truffles. These definitely have more of a peanut butter taste than and s’more taste, I won’t try to deceive you on that. But it really is a delicious combo, peanut butter, dark chocolate, and melted marshmallows.

Melted butter and marshmallows are swirled into the peanut butter dough giving a little bit of chew when you bite into the chilled truffle.

I’m pretty sure my dad ate the majority of these. Every time I looked over into the kitchen, there he was, popping another truffle into his mouth.

And in other news: my house has been sold. This means I have exactly 10 days (including the rest of today) left in Colorado. Things re already being stored into boxes and food items are being trashed. I have managed to convince my dad to keep all of my baking stuff, you know, just in case. This means I have to find ways to use up the chocolate chips, marshmallows, butter, flour and everything else I know won’t last. This should be fun!

Peanut Butter S’more Truffles
From Fabtastic Eats
Makes 2 dozen truffles

1 cup (256 g) creamy peanut butter
¾ cup (76 g) powdered sugar  
2 cups (90 g) mini marshmallows
2/3 cup crushed graham crackers (about 5 full sheets)
¾ cup (185 g) dark chocolate chips
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp. and divided
4-6 tbsp. milk

Line a large baking sheet with tin foil, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter with 2 tbsp. of butter. Mix until the butter has disappeared into the peanut butter. Stir in the powdered sugar. Do this gently as to now have the powdered sugar go all over the place. Fold in the crushed graham crackers.

In a sauce pan set over low heat, melt together the marshmallows and 2 tbsp. of butter. Once fully melted measure out about 1/3 cup. Keep the remaining melted marshmallow in the pan to reheat for later. Allow the 1/3 cup of marshmallow mixture to cool before folding gently into the peanut butter mixture.

Spray a medium-small cookie scoop with cooking spray. This will help release the dough easier. Scoop out portions and place them on the foil lined baking sheet. Freeze the balls while you make the chocolate coating.

In a double boiler or a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate chips with the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted. Stir in milk 1 tbsp. at a time until the chocolate reaches a good dipping or pouring consistency.

Roll or dip the chilled peanut butter balls into the melted chocolate. I just poured the chocolate over the dough balls because I found it too hard to roll them. Place the chocolate coated balls back on the foil-lined tray and freeze for about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, reheat the remaining marshmallow that’s in the pan. Drizzle some of the melted marshmallow mixture into every truffle for a final finish.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cake Slice Bakers - July 2013: Boston Cream Pie-lets

Today the girls of The Cake Slice Bakers and I come at you with Boston Cream Pie-lets. In a way I’m glad I got another chance to make some Boston Cream Pie because last year’s cake didn’t go so well. This year’s cake did turn out much better, but yet gain I had trouble with the pudding. Gosh-darn pudding always seems to give me trouble!

Despite my pudding handicap, this cake turned out so much better than last year’s pie I think.

This cake uses so butter. In fact, the cake gets it height from whipped cream. And boy did this cake grow! I really didn’t expect the cake to grow so tall. And it’s so light on the tongue. Is that weird to say? Oh well. It really is a fabulous cake.

The pudding I’m assuming would taste oh so amazing if it had actually set up properly. The recipe calls for a vanilla bean, something I have never used ever! So that was actually pretty exciting. And even though my pudding didn’t set up, I still used it. I know I cooked it for long enough, it just didn’t want to set up. I put some of the vanilla sauce (that’s what I’m calling it) on the bottom of the glass and on top of the first layer of cake. The sauce absorbed into the cake and made for a wonderful texture. I don’t know how to describe the texture without it sounding gross. How about it feels like cold ice cream running through a thick slice of warm cake? Am I the only one that loves when that happens? Yes? No? Ok let’s move on.

The ganche that tops this cake has been used several times in our baking adventures for this book and as always I am very pleased with the results. I didn’t have any bar chocolate or normal sized chips on hand so I used 4 oz. of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips along with the cream and it still turned out fabulously!

All together this cake is pretty great. Not in my top favorites for this year, but definitely a contender. I think I would have liked the cake a little more if I poured the vanilla sauce over the top layer of cake too. And even though I am pudding challenged, my absolute favorite part was the vanilla pudding sauce just because of the vanilla beans. I can’t wait to use vanilla beans again!

Boston Cream Pie-lets
Slightly adapted from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson
Makes 6 servings

1 cup (minus 2 tbsp.) unbleached all-purpose flour*
2 tbsp. corn starch*
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup heavy cream, cold
½ cup + 2 tbsp. sugar
1 egg + 1 egg white (use yolk for pudding)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

*or you can use 1 cup cake flour

½ vanilla bean
2 cups milk
½ cup sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. corn starch
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

½ cup heavy cream
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or chips

Line an 8x8 inch square cake pan with foil. Do not grease the foil. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

To make the cake: Sift together the flour and corn starch several times. This is to get the consistency of cake flour. Or alternatively you can just use 1 cup of cake flour. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment whisk the cold heavy cream on high speed until soft, droopy peaks form. Turn the speed down to medium-low and gradually pour in the sugar. Whip the mixture until stiff peaks form. Turn the speed down to low and add the egg and egg white followed by the vanilla. With the speed still on low whisk in the flour mixture into the whipped cream in three parts. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients have been incorporated evenly.

Pour the batter into the foil-lined pan. Bake on the center rack for 20-22 minutes or until the top is slightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack while you make the pudding.

To make the pudding: Slice the vanilla bean in half, length wise. Scape out the seeds from one half of the pod and place them, along with the pod, in the sauce pan. Add the milk and a few tablespoons of sugar to the sauce pan. Place the pan over medium heat and heat until the milk is hot. While the milk is heating, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining sugar. Stir in salt and corn starch. Stir 1/3 of the hot milk over the egg yolks. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over medium-low heat until mixture begins to thicken. Strain mixer over a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Whisk in the butter until melted.

To make the ganache: In a small sauce pan, bring cream to a simmer. Place the chopped chocolate or chips into a large, heat proof bowl. Add the hot cream to the bowl. Swirl the bowl to ensure even coverage of cream on the chocolate. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap for 5 minutes. Remove lid and whisk the chocolate from the middle and outwards. Start with small circles in the middle and move outwards until all the chocolate has melted.

To assemble: Cut 2 ½ inch circles in the cake. You will get four circles, so you can use the left over cake for another 2 servings. Cut each circle in half horizontally so you have 8 circles. Place a few tablespoons of pudding on the bottom of a glass, top with one cake circle. Dollop a few more tablespoons of hot  pudding on top of the cake and top the pudding with another cake round. Cover the top cake with the chocolate ganache. Cover the cakes with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Funfetti Sandwich Cookies

I don’t really have any interesting stories to share alongside today’s goody, so I’ll just do a little rambling if that’s ok with you. If it’s not ok with you then I guess just scroll down for the recipe…?

1.      I’ve started doing yoga once a day. The first day, it absolutely kicked my butt, but after a few sessions it got easier. I didn’t think I was going to like it because when I was like 13 or so my dad made my sister and me do an in-home yoga session. Long story short, it was painful and in no way relaxing. But the place I go to now is so much fun. I actually look forward to it every day! And shouldn’t exercise be fun?

2.      I’ve been reading a lot lately. Mostly because I know I won’t be able to read more than one book for pleasure in the upcoming year because of school. While staying at my aunt’s house for two and a half weeks I finished three books for a total of around 900 pages. One of the books I’ve recently finished is Dear Girls Above Me by Charlie McDowell. I’m basically recommending it to anyone and everyone. It is seriously that good. It’s not insightful or deep or anything like that. It is a quick read meant to be funny, and boy is it! I can’t remember how many times I actually laughed out loud at this book.

3.      I’m moving. Yay! Well yay and nay. Yay because I’ll be moving down to South Carolina and so I’ll be closer to family and I won’t have to worry about flying back and forth for school breaks. Nay because I’m going to miss my buddies here. I’ve lived half of my life in Colorado; it’s where I grew up and I’ll be sad leaving my home. Oh and snow, I’ll be missing my snow. Snow is good for the soul (as long as you’re not sitting outside in it)

4.      I made these sandwich cookies a little while ago. They were tasty, even my sister was into them! I set a couple out for the people who were looking at my house and by the time the appointments were over, every single one was gone. The realtor said they were a real hit with the kids that passed by. These are colorful and soft and just a good little snack or after dinner treat.

Funfetti Sandwich Cookie
Slightly adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
Makes 13 good sized sandwich cookies

1 cup cake flour
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/8 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
7 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
½ cup + 2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tbsp. nonpareils or sprinkles

Buttercream Filling
½ tbsp. milk
¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
5 tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. nonpareils or sprinkles

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt. Beat the room temperature butter on medium-high speed until creamy. Pour in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in the melted butter, vanilla, and egg until completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Turn the mixer speed to low and gently add the flour. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to get all of the flour incorporated. Once the flour has been mixed in, fold in the nonpareils.

Chill dough for a good 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Using a medium-small cookie scoop (mine is about 1 ½ inches in diameter) portion out the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure to space to cookies about 2 inches away from each other, they will spread a bit. Chill the cookie dough portions for another 10-15 minutes.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes or until edges are slightly golden brown. Cool cookies on the pan set over a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing to allow to cool completely. Repeat with any remaining dough.

To make the filling: mix together the milk, vanilla, and salt together in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Turn the mixer speed down to low and gently add in the powdered sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the milk mixture. Turn the mixer speed back up to medium-high and beat until fluffy. Fold on the nonpareils.

To assemble: match cookies in pairs by size. Spread about half a tablespoon onto the flat side of half the cookies. Press the flat side down of the remaining cookies onto the filling.
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