Posts Tagged ‘whipped cream’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: How To Salvage a Burnt Cake

December 1, 2015
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Don’t cry over a burnt cake.

You know the old saying about how the cobbler’s kids going shoeless or something like that? Well this baker’s dessert game at home has been suffering. The other night, I popped a simple bundt cake into the oven and forgot about it. Since it needs to bake for 1 and 15 minutes, I knew it had a ways to go when I remembered it. The question was, how far? The answer: a little less far than I thought. The first sign was when the cake came out of the pan with a chunk missing. Ok, I thought, I will serve it sliced. Nope, that wasn’t the solution. It was a little dark all around.

The inside, while perhaps just a tad drier than I would have liked, was acceptable. What to do?

Way too lazy to make another one, I was determined to make this one work. (Note of apology to any of my dinner guests who might be reading this. You were worth a better cake. Really, you were.)

I ended up slicing the cake, and used a biscuit cutter to cut circles out of the inner cake. I discarded the dark, outer crust and pretended it never existed. I used the cake to sandwich whipped cream and drizzled it with chocolate sauce. I had purchased some icecream and strawberries to puree into a coulis, but never actually got that far.( I really was a lazy hostess!) I am going to assume that all is well that ends well, as there wasn’t a bite of cake left after the meal ended.

The moral of the story: Be resourceful. There is a solution to every problem. Next time this happens to you, cut the good parts into an interesting shape, or chunks, and top them with icecream, whipped cream and fruit, or a great sauce. Layer them in a cup parfait style, or soak the cake in sweet wine or liquor for a take on trifle. Your guests might just think you made something extra special, on purpose. Oh yeah, don’t forget to smile when you serve it!

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Unrecipe of the Week: Quick Tiramisu

October 19, 2015

 

4556800185_compLast weekend, I hosted a party for my husband’s birthday. I served cocktails and dinner for about 20 people, offering a variety of foods to please just about any palate. Around 3:00 on the day of the party, my husband asked for a tiramisu as one of the desserts. Time was of the essence, so anything that required too much prep work, or actual baking wasn’t advisable at that point.

For those who may not know, tiramisu is an Italian dessert consisting of layers of espresso soaked sponge, and creamy layers containing sweet marscapone cheese.

Most of the recipes incorporate eggs into the cream mixture. Not one who likes to serve raw eggs to my guests, I needed to find a way to make an egg-less version, and to make it fast!

This ended up being so easy, that you could whip it up after work and it enjoy it later that evening, although the longer it has to chill, the better it will hold together when you take it out of the pan.

The flavors melded well, and the espresso soaked cookies functioned beautifully as the sponge layers. The rest, as they say, is history. Try this yourself and see how quick and simple it really is to make.

Quick Tiramisu:

Select a pan that is deep enough to house 2 or 3 layers of cookies and cream. I used an 8″x8″ square baking pan, but you can use a small cassorole pan, or a loaf pan.

Line the pan with either plastic wrap or parchment paper so that it is smooth along the bottom and sides of the pan, and hangs over the top. Place the wrap in both directions. This will help you ease it out of the pan later.

Brew a pot of espresso, or very strong coffee. Pour some in a bowl and allow it cool enough that you don’t burn yourself when dipping the cookies. You can add a little Marsala wine for authenticity if you like, or a bit of rum if you have it. I didn’t use any alchohol, and it was still very tasty.

Quickly dip store bought (yep, I went there) lady fingers into the strong coffee. Make sure they are fully saturated, but don’t let them soak, or they will fall apart. Line the bottom of the pan with the coffee dipped cookies. Be sure to cover the whole area, even if you have to use broken cookies to fill in the gaps. The wet cookies will start to merge together and you will not be able to tell if a cookie was placed in the opposite direction or broken once you are done.

Beat about 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream with about  1 1/4 cup of powdered confectioner’s sugar, until the cream forms soft peaks. Beat in a 16 oz. container of soft, room temperature marscapone cheese. Spread a thick layer of the sweet cream over the cookies, and repeat. You should be able to stack 2 or 3 layers of cookies, and cream in the pan. End with a cream layer on top.
Dust the top liberally with unsweetened cocoa powder. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before serving.
To remove from the pan, use the over-hanging layers of plastic or paper to lift it out. Place it on a serving dish, cut it into squares, and enjoy!

Notes: The finished, chilled product should hold together well and easily come out of the pan. If you don’t want to take it out of the pan, or don’t have several hours to let it chill, use a large spoon to serve it. Put it in a nice glass and make it look like a parfait. Put a strawberry on top, and make it look like you planned it. Its all good.

I used store bought lady fingers, which I found in the cookie aisle at the grocery store.

Marscapone is a spreadable Italian cheese, similar to American cream cheese. It is found in the refrigerated dairy area of the market.

You can adjust the amount of the cream mixture to suit the size of the pan. This amount worked for my 8″x8″ pan, but you could cut it in half for a smaller loaf pan, or increase it for a larger rectangular pan. Just make sure the sides are high enough to build the layers.

The sides of tiramisu will be as smooth as the pan liner. If you don’t get the plastic or paper smooth, there will be creases in the sides of the cake. You can spray the pan with cooking spray before lining it to help the liner stick to the sides so it can be smoothed.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

August 5, 2015

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Summer berries seem to be at their peek right now. They are plump, juicy and sweet, and don’t need much to turn them into a delcious dessert. We love making these little mini sweet biscuits, which we fill with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. They are just sweet enough to make the transition into dessert territory, and the perfect foil for the rich cream and fruit. They are like your very own miniature strawberry shortcake, and we bet you’ll opt for more than one!

Mini Shortcakes | a.k.a. Sweet Dessert Biscuits:(adapted from Ina Garten)

Sift together 2 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar,1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt and place it in the bowl of an electric mixer.

Add 1- 1/2 sticks of butter, diced into small pieces and mix until the butter is the size of peas.

Add 2 eggs (slightly beaten with a fork ) and 1/2 cup heavy cream. With the mixer running on low, add them to the flour/ butter mixture and mix until combined and a sticky dough forms.

Dump the dough onto a well floured surface and knead so that it comes together and is workable. Roll until the dough is about 1/2″ -5/8″ thick. Using a lightly floured round cutter, or a drinking glass with a diameter of about 2″, cut the dough into rounds and place on sheet pan. Brush with an egg wash (beaten egg and a little milk or water) and sprinkle the tops with sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Allow to cool.

To serve, slice open and fill with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. You can substitute ice-cream or frozen yogurt for the whipped cream, and use any fruit you like. If you want to get “fancy,” marinate the berries in Grand Marnier or a little aged balsamic vinegar before serving, and enjoy!!

Photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Whipping Cream

April 14, 2015

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Freshly whipped cream is an amazing finishing touch to desserts and takes a bowl of strawberries to the next level of delicousness.

It isn’t very difficult to whip cream if you have an electic mixer, but if left unattended, it can start to become butter. While fresh sweet cream butter is incredibly good, it probably isn’t what you were planning to put on top of your pie.

If it starts to go too far, no worries. Just add a little bit more of the heavy cream to the bowl and whisk it in to bring it back to the consistency you were looking for. Of course you need to have more cream on hand to do this. Perhaps saving a few tablespoons, “just in case” isn’t a bad idea for distracted or newbie cooks.

A little vanilla extract, bourbon or flavoring of your choice is also a nice touch.
Enjoy!!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Where’s The Pumpkin in My Pumpkin Spice Latte?

August 28, 2014

 

As the summer starts to wind down and the days begin to get just a little bit shorter, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are just around the corner. This seasonal treat has a cult like following, with over 200 million of them sold to date! Starbucks recently announced it would start offering the drink extra early this year, to feed the frenzy.  I’ve never actually had one, (really!) so I am interested in what makes this so special.
Food Babe, an investigative food blogger was interested too, and what she uncovered may change your mind about ordering another one!

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Starbucks defines the drink as “[made of] pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavors, combined with espresso and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice.”

What Food Babe discovered, is that while it contains way more ingredients than anticipated, it doesn’t contain any pumpkin.

The base of the drink is espresso; just coffee beans and water. No surprise there.

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Next up on the list: pumpkin spice flavored sauce. Operative word: flavored. Contents:
sugar( and lots of it,) non-fat condensed milk, high fructose corn syrup, annatto ( for color), natural and artificial flavors, caramel color(class IV), salt and potassium sorbate.

Annatto is derived from a seed. It is considered safe, but can possibly effect blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Class IV caramel color is a laboratory creation, made by reacting corn sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperature, creating a by-product that has been linked to cancer, even in small doses, and is under investigation by the FDA.  Do you really want to risk your life to make sure the syrup in your latte is brown?

Potassium sorbate is a preservative made from the salt of sorbic acid. Although it has been found to be toxic to human DNA cells, the World Health Organization has deemed it safe in small quantities.

The “latte” part is made from steamed milk. The dairy option uses what is affectionately referred to as “Monsanto Milk”, which comes from cows raised with antibiotics, and fed GMO corn, soy and cottonseed.

While vegans and lactose intolerant can order a soy milk option, it is most likely that they won’t be informed that there is milk in the pumpkin sauce. Oops!

The whipped cream topping contains cream, and vanilla syrup which is made from more sugar, natural flavors, potassium sorbate, citric acid, and caramel color class IV.

Finish it off by sprinkling it with pumpkin spice topping, containing cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove and sulfites, another potentially dangerous food substance.

A non-fat grande pumpkin spice latte contains 50 grams of sugar and 330 calories, among other things, none of which are actually pumpkin. And while the $4.55 price tag may seem steep, the health risks are even more staggering.

For those who crave the drink, no worries. You can make a healthy version of it at home!

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Mix a shot of espresso with warm or steamed milk, a teaspoon of honey or pure maple syrup ( no Aunt Jemima’s please!) and a healthy sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

To read Food Babe’s post in it’s entirety, click HERE.

photos: Glasshouse Images

UPDATE: Starbucks has issued a statement regarding the ingredients in their popular drink:

“The standard recipe for Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte at company-operated and licensed stores does not contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and is sweetened with sugar. We are actively looking at phasing out caramel coloring. In any instances where it is used in our beverages, the level is well below the No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) and safe to consume.

As a company, we take pride in providing full ingredient transparency to our customers so they can make whatever choice is right for them on their beverage selection. The high level of personalization of Starbucks beverages available allows customers to enjoy a unique Starbucks Experience and tailor their drink to match their own personal taste preferences – including the selection from a variety of fresh dairy selections and soy milk, a combination of syrups, and coffee/espresso options and toppings. If customers have questions about any of the items offered in our stores, they can ask their barista for a list of ingredients. We’re also working on listing core beverage recipes online via Starbucks.com and hope to have an update in the near future.”

 

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Whipped Cream

October 1, 2013

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Whipped cream is a wonderful  finisher to many desserts and drinks. That stuff in a spray can, or the frozen tub of “whipped topping” can’t hold a candle to the real deal. While making whipped cream is easy if you have an electric mixer, and aerobic if you need to whip it by hand, it’s not always convenient to make, especially if you just want a dollop or two.

For all of you whipped cream lovers, who want to have “just a dollop” on hand to plop into your hot cocoa or top your evening ice cream and cookie binge, help is on the way. Did you know you can freeze whipped cream?

We stumbled upon this kitchen hack and thought it was a great idea. Next time you whip cream, take the leftovers and put it into a pastry bag, or a plastic bag with a corner cut off. Pipe the cream in mounds onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet, and place it in the freezer. If you are not fussy about presentation, use a spoon to form the dollops. Once the dollops are frozen, place them into a tub with a top, and leave them in the freezer for future use.

You’ll thank us when hot cocoa season rolls around!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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