Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Trifle

We were assigned the task (I use this term loosely, it is more like a privilege) of preparing dessert for our family Christmas weekend.  Kristi saw Joy's post first and sent it to me with the message "Must make."  And I could not have agreed more.  Unfortunately, we had a small disaster with our rolling attempt and had to make a quick adjustment to our plan.  Trifles are an especially easy way of turning a cake failure into an elegant crowd pleaser.
Chocolate Peppermint Trifle (adapted from JTB)
Makes 12 small servings

Flourless Chocolate Sponge Cake
4 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
6 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Peppermint Whipped Cream
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil, to taste

Chocolate pudding, 4 servings
Andes baking chips
Crushed candy cane
Chocolate shavings

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease 17x12 inch cookie sheet.
Place parchment paper on top and grease this too.  Set pan aside.
Beat egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar until thick and lemon yellow, 5-7 minutes.
Melt chocolate over double boiler.
Let chocolate cool for a few minutes, then slowly add to egg yolk mixture.
Stir in vanilla.  Set aside.
In a clean, dry mixing bowl beat egg whites for a few minutes.
Add salt and cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Pour in 2 tablespoons sugar and beat to stiff peaks.
Fold 1/3 of egg whites into chocolate mixture.
Don't over stir.  Streaks of chocolate and whites are OK!
Fold the remaining 2/3 of whites into chocolate in 2 batches.
Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Don't mess with it too much, as it will deflate.
Bake for 15-17 minutes,  until cake springs back when touched.
Remove from oven and cool in pan on wire rack.

To prepare whipped cream, place cream, sugar, vanilla, and peppermint in stand mixer bowl.
Beat to thick consistency with peaks which hold their shape.
Store in refrigerator.

Prepare pudding.  A 4 serving size box will work well.

To assemble, spread a small layer of pudding in the bottom of a small, pretty glass bowl.
Cut cake into 2x2 inch squares (size is not terribly important) and layer on top of pudding.  Use half of cake per layer.
Top with half of remaining pudding followed by just less than half of whipped cream.
Sprinkle a layer of Andes chips over whipped cream.
Layer remaining cake, pudding, and whipped cream.
Store in refrigerator for up to one day.
Garnish with chocolate shavings and crushed peppermint just before serving.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Sage Butter

The inspiration for this dish came from dinner put on by my gross anatomy professor at UC. He is famous at the medical school for his amazing dinners that he puts on, and an invitation to his house is like winning the lottery. The main course at one of the dinners was a farfalle pasta dish with roasted butternut squash, turkey sausage, and a sage-butter sauce. At the time I was vegetarian, so I avoided the sausage. Now as a Paleo, I have adjusted the dish to fit my current needs.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Sage Butter

1 large butternut squash (peeled, and cubed- smaller cubes= shorter cook time)
1 large sweet potato (for a sister who doesn't like butternut squash...EWeage...)
3 small onions (sliced like for a stir-fry)
5 large cloves of garlic (sliced up)
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tube of breakfast sausage (or whatever kind you like)
4 Tbs butter
2 tsp minced fresh sage (you can use dried instead)

Put the squash, sweet potato, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet (use two if you need, you don't want the squash piled up or it won't cook properly). Pour some olive oil over them, mix with your hands, and season with salt and pepper. Throw in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Be sure to flip the squash after about 15 minutes so it doesn't burn.

While that is going on, cook up the sausage. You can roll it into little meatball shapes, or patties, or whatever your little heart desires. Cook them up in a skillet and set aside.

Finally, brown the butter in that skillet you just cooked the sausage in (yeah, get all that flavor, yum). Add the sage just before the butter is browned so the flavor can infuse with the butter.

Once the squash is done, mix the squash and the sausage together in a serving dish, and drizzle the sage-butter.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Caramel Delight Bark

Kristi and I have two older brothers who are Eagle Scouts.  We loved going to the Boy Scout meetings; there was always something new and exciting.  They took camping trips in the summer, ran a concessions stand at Venetian Festival, and did community service projects together.  So naturally, we jumped at the chance to join Girl Scouts when old enough.  What a disappointment!  The only thing better about Girl Scouts than Boy Scouts is the fundraising.  If given the opportunity we would have joined Boy Scouts and just made our own Girl Scout cookies.  Or this bark!

Caramel Delight (Samoas) Bark (from Endless Simmer)
makes one 9x13 pan

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
1 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, warmed
12 ounce bag dark chocolate chips
12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups coarsely chopped shortbread (or animal crackers)
2 cups shredded coconut

Mix sugar and water in sauce pan and heat over medium-high.
When mixtures begins to boil, swirl pan to mix, but do not stir with spoon.
After the liquid has boiled for 5-8 minutes and turns amber add the butter.
Stir until butter is melted and add the cream.  Mix well.
Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350.
Place coconut on cookie sheet and toast in oven for 5-10 minutes.
Melt half of each bag of chocolate chips in a double boiler.
Pour into parchment lined 9x13 cake pan.
Press cookie crumbs into chocolate.
Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes until cooled.
Pour cooled caramel on top, leaving a small margin of chocolate around the edge.
Place back in freezer.
Melt remaining chocolate.
Pour on top.
Press toasted coconut into top layer of chocolate.  Chill.
Use a large chef knife to cut bark into bite size triangles.
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve or gift.

P.S.  Check this out if you're in to Thin Mints!

Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes

Last week I enjoyed an afternoon shopping in Grand Rapids before my pre-interview dinner.  I love shopping... with my mom and sister.  Doing so alone isn't as fun.  Being tired of looking at cute clothes and shoes with no one to share it with, I stepped in to Barns and Nobel to peruse before heading back to the hotel.  And who can pass up a Starbucks while browsing the shelves?  Sadly, they were out of pumpkin spice, so I enjoyed my second favorite of the fall season, salted caramel mocha.  It worked out quite well because when Kristi sent me a salted caramel cupcake recipe I decided to create another Starbucks inspired cupcake flavor.
 Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes (adapted from 52 Kitchen Adventures)
Makes 24 cupcakes

Cake Batter
1 devil's food chocolate cake mix
Ingredients listed on box
3 single serve instant coffee packets

Caramel Filling
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, warmed

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed
4 sticks butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar

Prepare the cake mix as directed, dissolving instant coffee in water.
Bake a few minutes less than box says.

Heat sugar over medium heat in sauce pan.
Swirl pan to stir while sugar boils.
When liquid is amber color add butter.
Whisk in cream.
Set aside to cool.

Heat sugar and water over medium heat in sauce pan.
Swirl pan to stir while sugar boils.
When liquid is amber color add vanilla.
Whisk in cream.
Set aside to cool.
Beat butter with salt until fluffy.
Add powdered sugar.
Once cool but still pourable, add caramel to frosting.
Refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble, use paring knife to cut cone out of center of cupcake.
Spoon a teaspoon of caramel into hole.
Cut point of cone off and place the remaining back over caramel.
Using Wilton 1M tip, pipe frosting on cupcakes.
Drizzle cupcakes with extra caramel sauce if desired.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Reindeer Cookies

We don't eat red M&Ms in ours house at Christmastime.  Blue, yellow, orange, green are all up for grabs, just not the red ones.  Want to know why?  Because Rudolf is a red nosed reindeer!

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies
makes 5 dozen cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Small twist pretzels
Red M&Ms
Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375*
Cream butter and sugars together, then add peanut butter.
Beat in eggs.
Add soda, salt, and vanilla.
Slowly mix in flour just until blended.
Roll into small balls and place 12 on each greased cookie sheet.
Press dough into triangle shape.
Add red M&M at point of triangle (nose), two pretzel twists (antlers), and two chocolate chips (eyes).
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until cookies are just barely golden brown.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes

I'm in Cincinnati this week chilling at Kristi's place between residency interviews.  This being the furthest I'm traveling I was hoping for a bit of warmer weather, but unfortunately the snow came with me.  But since we're (I use this plural loosely, Kristi is supervising from the couch with her computer and a textbook in her lap while I slave away in the kitchen) indoors baking, I suppose the weather outside doesn't have much bearing on the evening.

The peppermint mocha cupcakes we made last New Years and pumpkin spice latte (multiple versions) this fall were such crowd pleasers the natural course of action was to try yet another Starbucks holiday concoction in cupcake form.  Choosing between gingerbread and eggnog was a simple decision; eggnog is bordering on vile and gingerbread is a Christmas party in your mouth.  A brief Google search and the discovery of molasses in the kitchen cupboard sealed the deal.  And a facebook status poll about frosting confirmed that topping half with cinnamon whipped cream and the others with lemon cream cheese frosting was the way to finish off these cupcakes.  Each frosting recipe is enough for 12 cupcakes, double if you want to try just one variety.
Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes (adapted from Bakers Royale)
makes 24 cupcakes

Cupcake Batter
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup blackstrap molasses
2 large eggs
1 cup strong, hot coffee
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon Whipped Cream Frosting
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
8oz cream cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Add molasses and eggs.
Stir baking soda into coffee (in a decent size mug, it will foam a little) and add to bowl.
Mix in spices and salt.
Slowly add flour.
Divide evenly in lined cupcake tins.

Bake for 18 minutes.
Let cool on wire rack before frosting.

Whip cream and vanilla with stand mixer until about halfway to whipped cream consistency.
Add powdered sugar and beat with close supervision until cream is thick.
Chill for a bit before piping onto cupcakes.

Beat cream cheese and butter together until well blended.
Add lemon juice and powdered sugar.
Use piping bag and Wilton 1M tip to frost cupcakes.

Store cupcakes in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lavender Cupcake with Wildberry Swiss Buttercream Frosting

If you are looking for a controversial cupcake, then this is the recipe for you.

Reactions ranged from nearly spitting it out because it "tasted like eating flowers" to saying "it was the best cupcake I've ever eaten"

So if you are looking for a culinary roller coaster, look no further.

My personal critique: I thought the cake was too dense, and the frosting didn't have as strong of flavor or color as I would have liked, but for being subtle flavors, it worked well together.

(Update: I forgot to put this in the original post. This cupcake was inspired by a recent trip to Columbus and a stop at one of my new favorite places, Jeni's. It is an ice cream shop that makes the most wonderful flavors, like lavender wildberry and pear riesling, from local ingredients. It is fabulous. There will probably be a few more posts in the coming months inspired by Jeni's flavor combinations!)
A note on the ingredients: I bought the dried lavender flowers, mixed berry herbal tea, and 3 berry flavored sugars at a local tea and spice shop here in Cincinnati. Please note, this recipe calls for less than 1 teaspoon of lavender. No need to buy a full ounce like me, unless you have other plans to make lots of lavender-y goodies later.

Lavender Cupcakes (Modified from Joy of Baking) - I doubled the recipe
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of dried lavender (crushed or ground up in coffee grinder)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the lavender. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17 -20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Always check a few minutes before the stated baking time.
Makes about 12 cupcakes

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Modified from Annie's Eats)
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ounce of herbal berry tea (ground to a fine powder) - I would recommend trying to replace this with a wildberry flavored concentrate if you can find it.
To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved. (This took a lot longer than I was expecting. My arm got tired...)
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (don’t worry, it will come together!) Stir in the vanilla extract and the other flavoring you found and mix just until incorporated. Tint with gel icing color as desired.
Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.
I sprinkled some of the cupcakes with leftover lavender flowers and some with a mix of strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry flavored sugars.
Yield: about 5 cups- it was enough for 24 cupcakes with the 1M tip with some leftover

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving in a Muffin (minus the turkey)

Joy the Baker is a genius.  I'd love to meet her.  Someday.  Oh, someday.
Here is proof of her culinary prowess.
Pumpkin.  Apples.  Cranberries.  Pecans.  All in one muffin.
And its vegan too.  Good?  Bad?  You be the judge.
Though we'll all agree that waiting until now to share this with you was a bad choice.

Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Pecan Muffins (adapted from JTB)
Makes 12+ large muffins, or 2 loaves

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cloves
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
Preheat oven to 350*
Mix ingredients flour through cloves.
Add pumpkin, oil, syrup, water and stir well.
Fold in pecans, cranberries, and apples.
Divide batter evenly in large muffin pans or regular loaf pans.
Bake 20-30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Raspberries and Cream Muffins

 Living at home for the month has many benefits, one of them being the fresh produce.  We have a plethora of raspberry bushes in our backyard which usually produce a bumper crop of berries in the summer and fall.  Being that there have been several cool nights with frost Mom didn't think there would be many to pick last weekend.  Thankfully she was wrong!  We went down to the patch to just grab a few to pop in our mouths and ended up with a whole bowl.  Since I've been at this new clinic a week and hadn't brought in any baked goods, it was perfect timing.

I remembered the berries and cream muffins we made in the Yukon and decided to do a little Googling to find a similar recipe.  As luck would have it, I stumbled upon the exact one.  We had strawberry and blueberry in the Yukon and I imagine they would work well with whatever berry you have.  Or maybe even peaches!  Though the raspberry were good, I think the strawberry were probably my favorite.

Raspberries and Cream Muffins (adapted from Taste of Home)
Makes 3 dozen muffins

4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups raspberries
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup greek yogurt
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400*
Crack eggs in large bowl.  Beat lightly.
Add sour cream, yogurt, oil, and vanilla.
Beat in powder, soda, and salt.
Add sugar.
Stir in flour just until mixed.
Gently fold in raspberries.
Fill greased muffin pan about 3/4 full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Grain-Free (Paleo-ish) Pumpkin Cupcakes 2-ways

In KWeage world, Fall = Pumpkin. Hence this post.

Going Paleo has thrown a monkey wrench into my usual baking/eating habits of fall.  By now I would have consumed copious amounts of pumpkin-flavored baked goods including, but not limited to pumpkin muffins, pumpkin scones (okay, so I did paleo-ify these), pumpkin bread, pumpkin donuts, and so on. Because of my withdrawal from the pumpkin-grain combo, I decided to make my own version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte/ Pumpkin Chai cupcakes.

I do have to admit, they are not nearly as good as the real deal (which I made not too long ago, but did not consume), they were good enough to tide me over for a while before I decided to take another Paleo-free day (That is totally not encouraged by paleo people, but, hey, a girl has got to eat carbs sometimes :) Also, I think I didn't leave them in the oven long enough, but maybe it is just the nature of baking with almond flour.

Adapted from Elana's Pantry

Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
1 1/2 c blanched almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c honey
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 packets of instant coffee
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger

Grain-free Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes
1 1/2 c blanched almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c honey
1 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 tsp crushed loose-leaf masala chai (used a mortar and pestle)
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For each recipe, mix the wet ingredients together with the spices. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Pour into greased cupcake wrappers. Bake at 325 F for about 20 minutes. (This time is not set in stone. If they aren't done by this time, put them back in).

Allow cupcakes to cool on a rack. Then using a paring knife, cut out a cone shape in the center of the cupcake to fill with spiced cream cheese mixture:

Spiced Cream Cheese:
8 oz cream cheese
2 Tbs powdered sugar
3 Tbs whole milk
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Top the cupcakes with the whipped cream frosting and a sprinkle of cinnamon or even a drizzle of caramel if you have it!

Whipped Cream Frosting:
2 c heavy whipping cream
1/4 c powdered sugar

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Chai

Grasshopper Pie

Guest post #1!  We welcome Jonathan for a friendly battle of the grasshopper pie.  I'll let him take it from here (with a few interjections every now and then).

Grasshopper pies... either a remnant celebration of the creepy crawly goodness of Halloween, or a delicious dessert, depending on whether you’re familiar with the term.  But what really is a grasshopper pie?  That’s the question we set out to answer in this non-competitive bake-off (And it was only non-competitive because Jonathan knew EWeage would win and his pride couldn't take it).
Briefly, who am I? I’m Jonathan.  A resident fortunate enough to have been the recipient of several of the delicious recipes posted earlier in this blog which found their way to the hospital. Father of the superstar of his own blog, Noah.  And a friend of EWeage, who happened to mention in passing that she knew a recipe for grasshopper pie… one that was different from mine!

My recipe comes steeped in a healthy dose of family tradition.  Every Thanksgiving, my aunt makes grasshopper pie.  For 364 days every year, my family and I look forward to this dessert.  I have a hefty slice (or two or three) on Thanksgiving, but you can pretty much guarantee there won’t be left-overs to enjoy the next day with all of the turkey and stuffing that didn’t get eaten.
Grasshopper Pie JEgle Style
2/3 cup milk
28 marshmallows
Pinch of salt
8-oz. package thawed Cool Whip
2 oz. crème de menthe
1 oz. crème de cocoa
Green food coloring (if you’re using clear crème de menthe)
(For any teetotalers out there, I tried making this in high-school with extracts, rather than the alcohol - acceptable results, but definitely not preferable.)

21 Oreos
1/3 cup melted butter
In a generously sized sauce pan (remember, marshmallows expand), heat the milk until just prior to the boiling point.  Meanwhile, puree the Oreos for the crust in a food processor.  Mix with the butter in a bowl and then press into a pie pan to form the crust.  Refrigerate until the filling is ready.

Add the marshmallows to your sauce pan, and stir occasionally over low heat until melted.  Remove from heat and add a pinch of salt.  Once cooled, add the remainder of the ingredients and stir.  Pour into your crust and refrigerate for at least 6 hours (the more set it is, the easier to serve).  You’ll probably have a little extra filling, so you can either pour generously (like I did), or set it aside for sampling later... perhaps a dip for your left-over Oreos?  Just before cutting and serving, dip the bottom of the pie pan into warm water to loosen the bottom of the pie from the pan.

There’s an art to the degree of thawing of Cool Whip and the degree of marshmallow cooling before adding the other ingredients.  My aunt has it perfected.  Sometimes I get it right.  The only potential pitfall is aesthetics.  Taste is the same regardless.  In this pie, I let the Cool Whip thaw a little too much, and the filling had a slightly more airy texture than normal.  Still tasted amazing, though.  And if the bake-off had been competitive, well... to avoid any negativism, let’s just say Noah would’ve been proud of his Dad.  Our judges agreed they'd be more than happy to enjoy either dessert again if we so desired to share.
Grasshopper Pie EWeage Style
25 Oreos
1/3 stick butter
1 1/2 quart mint chocolate chip ice cream
1 8 ounce tub Cool Whip
hand-full of mini chocolate chips

Remove ice cream and Cool Whip from freezer to thaw.
Crush Oreos with bottom of cup in pie pan (we're avoiding dishes here!) or use food processor as Jonathan suggested.
Melt butter in microwave.  Mix in to Oreo crumbs.
Press in pan to create crust.  Chill in freezer until ice cream is a scoopable consistency.
Use large spoon to scoop slices of ice cream and layer into pie crust evenly.
Top with Cool Whip and mini chocolate chips.

You pick which ingredients you'll pick up at the store tonight!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Buttercream

I have been taking exams for the past two weeks. Yes, two weeks. The last one is on Friday, and by Wednesday all I wanted to do was sleep and bake. So that is what I did :) 

I went out to lunch after the worst exam (Pharamcolo-blech) to a place called Take the Cake here in Cincinnati. It is pretty much the type of place I would love to open when I retire. It has a fantastic bakery, but also serves up a small menu of fresh and delicious food. I had the open-faced meatball sandwich with this fantastic pesto. And I had a moca cupcake. Yup, I broke Paleo for the day. Worth it. 

The cupcake made me want to bake even more. So Wednesday when I was at home "studying" I decided I should make something for my church small group. Initially I wanted to do a chocolate-espresso style cupcake, but I didn't have any instant coffee. Then I thought about chocolate-peanut butter, but I am lacking peanut butter. Then I considered making these beauties, but no corn syrup put a kabosh on that plan. And then I thought, well, what is the common denominator in all of these cupcakes? duh, chocolate.

And with that, I present to you a Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes (from Cooks Illustrated, “American Classics 2009”)
makes 12 cupcakes; do not double recipe… make two separate batches if you need more
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I went with 82% Scharffen Berger)
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) Dutch-processed cocoa (Hershey's Special Dark for me)
  • 3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream (I used Greek yogurt)
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (1/2 cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.
  2. Combine butter, chocolate and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and fully combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to touch.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl to combine
  4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined; then sift in remaining flour mixture and whisk batter until it is homogenous and thick.
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.
  6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.
Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Again with the Hershey's Special Dark)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons evaporated milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Little About KWeage

Cooking Background
Heritage...Homecooked Midwestern Style
Preferred Genre...I love a good BBQ. Specifically a cross between N.Carolina and Kansas City. 
Typical Ingredients...Garlic, Chocolate, and Pumpkin. Not all together though...

Butternut Squash Soup
Cheese...Always. :) Gun to my head, I choose goat. 
Cacao Ratio...72%
Gelateria...Hrm, don't have one of those around here. Bummer.
Ice Cream (Readily Available)...Death by Chocolate. South-Bend Chocolate Factory style. 
Shaken Lemonade...Berrien County Youth Fair for sure.

Tilapia with Mango and Roasted Pepper

Committed to Memory...Um, since I don't really use recipes...
Signature Dish...The roomie says pork chops or taco salad. :) 
Go-To Dish...Weage-style chocolate chip cookies
Transport Back to Home...Roast beef and mashed potatoes. 
Special Meaning...Fudge and Chex-mix
From Scratch...Cupcakes!
Best Dish Cooked to Date...Just made roasted butternut with caramelized onions, sausage and browned butter
Experiment Gone Right...Nearly every night in the kitchen. Like I said, tend to not follow recipes
Experience...The entire time I was in Brazil/Ireland 

Coconut Macaroons with Dark Chocolate
Weakness...cake, cookies, cupcakes...
Kitchen Gadget...KitchenAid Standmixer of course!
Song about Food...Big Rock Candy Mountain?
Food-Related Movie...No Reservations or Julie and Julia
Chefs...Alton Brown and Rick Bayless
Currently Reading...Food Lover's Companion

Grain-Free Chocolate Cupcake

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The moment pictures of Annie's version of these cupcakes appeared on my computer screen last year I knew I had to make them.  Times like these I love that one of my favorite food bloggers is a pathology resident.  Non-medical people are likely to appreciate these as "cute" Halloween cupcakes.  Medical folks, on the other hand, really appreciated the humor and creativeness of these cupcakes.  Seriously, who wouldn't want to eat a brain suffering from a hemorrhagic stroke?  Especially since they'd be free from chemical additives like TPA (forgive me, I had to)!
Hemorrhagic Stroke Cupcakes (inspired by Annie's Eats)
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 white cake mix and necessary ingredients
1/2 can cherry pie filling

Buttercream Frosting
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk
3 cups powdered sugar
Red and black gel food dye
Preheat oven to 350*
Prepare cake mix as directed.
Spoon enough batter into paper lined cupcake tins to cover bottom.
Add 1-2 cherries in center of each cupcake.
Top with cake batter.  Spread with a spoon so no cherry filling leaks out.
Bake as directed.

Beat butter, vanilla, and milk until smooth.
Add powdered sugar one cup at a time.
When preferred consistency, remove a small portion to two bowls.
Dye the small portions black and red.
Return a 1/2 teaspoon of each red and black to plain frosting.
Mix well.
Add more colored frosting until desired pink-grey brain color is created.
Chill frosting in refrigerator for several hours.
Use a Wilton 10 tip to frost brain gyri on the cupcakes.  The key is to create 2 hemispheres.
Brain transplant anyone?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal

Happy National Oatmeal Day!  Yes, it is a real thing.  If you don't believe me, check this list out.  I made this oatmeal several weeks ago, but wanted to wait for this special occasion to share.
 My brother's mother-in-law attended a trade show where she picked up a cookbook with a recipe for peach blueberry baked oatmeal.  While my mom stayed at their house to babysit this adorable girl, she tried it out.  And she's made it over and over since then.  It quickly become a favorite!

With the leaves falling, autumn flavors like apple and pumpkin sounded like a necessary twist on the original.  To make it even healthier I replaced the oil with applesauce and followed the suggestion to use more egg whites than whole eggs (it works just fine with 2 whole eggs also).  This oatmeal has the consistency more of a coffee cake than regular oatmeal.  It reheats really well too, especially with a splash of milk in the bowl before microwaving.
Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal (adapted from Taste of Home)
Serves 8-10

3 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 egg whites (the egg yolks were used in the chai cake!)
1 egg
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla
2 apples, diced 
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350*
Combine oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt.

Whisk egg, egg whites, apple sauce, pumpkin, and vanilla.
Add milk to wet ingredients.
Mix dry and wet ingredients together.
Add apples.
Pour into a greased 11x7 casserole dish.
Top with pecans.
Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until nuts are toasted and top is golden brown.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halwa Cupcakes

 This is my last week working with this preceptor in her office.  It has been wonderful observing her interactions with patients and I have been impressed with her close connection to so many of them.  The number of people who have hugged her at the end of an appointment is outstanding.  Seeing one of the main reasons I chose to go into primary care played out everyday has been a blessing.  As a thank you for her and the office staff, I wanted to bake something to share this week.

Because today is Diwali (and my preceptor is Indian), I took the opportunity to create an Indian sweet inspired cupcake.  Enter Halwa Cupcakes.  Halwa is a carrot pudding with warm spices, nuts, and raisins.  I love it!  I also really like carrot cake, so combining the two and topping with a modified ginger cream cheese frosting could only produce delicious results.  And it did!
Halwa Cupcakes with Ginger Chai Frosting (inspired by Cupcake Project, adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 26 cupcakes

Cake Batter
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup chopped pistachios

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 ounces butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon  grated fresh ginger
2 tea bags (or 3 tablespoons chai concentrate)
1 cardamom pod
2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350*
Grate carrots, set aside.
Beat eggs in mixer.
Add sugar and oil.
Beat in spices, baking soda, and salt.
Slowly add flour.
Beat in carrots.
Use spoon to mix in raisins, cashews, and pistachios.
Divide into paper-lined cupcake pans.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Submerge tea bags into small amount of boiling water.
Add seeds from cardamom pod to water.
After 5 minutes, remove tea bags and strain out seeds.
Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
Add ginger and 3 tablespoons of the concentrated tea.
Slowly add powdered sugar.  Feel free to add more to make thicker/ sweeter.
Chill in refrigerator for easier piping.
I used a Wilton 1M tip.