Baker at Heart ♥

Posts Tagged ‘food

I find making homemade caramel sauce quite difficult. I have tried making my own when I was on my ‘salted caramel’ everything phase and it was a disaster. I can’t buy the canned stuff because caramel is something that can’t be found easily on this side of the world. Caramel syrup is everywhere but the sticky, gooey stuff is elusive. I have searched the interwebs for other ways to make caramel sauce and luckily, I have found two easier alternatives. The first one involves dark brown sugar and boiling all the ingredients for around 3 minutes. The other one, which is quite more expensive, is buying Kraft caramel candies (who knows we have these candies in the supermarket?!) and melting them with milk or heavy cream. Last week, I made caramel sauce using the Kraft candies as a topping for my chocolate malt cupcakes. They tasted okay but the caramel just flowed on the sides of the cupcakes and most of it went under the cupcakes instead. Fail.

I had some leftover caramel sauce, so today I decided to make caramel cupcakes. The recipe is from The Hummingbird Bakery’s cookbook Cake Days. The recipe states that the yield is 12-16 cupcakes but I have gotten 22. The notes on the back of the book say that they use a 50ml scoop and that’s the same scoop that I have. The ingredients are also listed in weight, which is really easier as you can just put a bowl on top of your digital scale and then weigh away. Anyhow, those 22 cupcakes are now down to 11, six hours after baking them cupcakes. My mom, who is my most highly regarded critic, says that these cupcakes are almost perfect. Not bad, eh?

caramel cupcake

Caramel Cupcakes

adapted from Cake Days / makes 12-16 as per the book / bakes in 18-20 minutes at 375F (190C)

You’ll need:

80g unsalted butter, softened

280g granulated sugar

240g all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

240ml milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

150g caramel sauce

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375F or 190C. Line a muffin pan with liners.

2. Mix together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt using a hand-held whisk or stand mixer on low speed until crumb-like in consistency.

3. Mix the milk, vanilla extract and eggs in a small bowl until combined.

4. Pour 3/4 of the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Pour in the remaining 1/4 of the milk mixture and the caramel sauce and mix until incorporated and the batter is smooth.

5. Scoop into the muffin pan and bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in the muffin pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool further.

6. Serve and smile! 🙂 Best eaten with a tall glass of cold milk!

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It’s hump-day Wednesday on this side of the world! It’s 10AM here and I’m thinking of what to cook for lunch. I’m on the last week of my three-week long staycation and I’m already dreading the coming Monday!

Last week was pretty busy. I had my last few days of driving lessons (manual really is hard!). Thursday last week turned out to be really crazy, given the amount of alcohol I had ingested that night. I was supposed to go to a party last Friday but plans changed the last minute and I ended up sleeping instead. Good thing the party wasn’t that fun (according to the rumor mill ) – it turned out to be one drama-filled party.

Now, I present you my take on calamansi muffin (or cupcake, whatever, they look similar to me LOL). Calamansi is our local version of lime and lemon. It probably tastes more like lime than lemon though. Calamansi is usually used while it’s still in its unripened state (green in color). It’s used to flavor drinks, cakes, etc and it’s also used as a condiment. It gives food some kick to it.

Pepper.ph made a food hack of the calamansi muffins found in probably one the best beaches in the world, Boracay. I have never been there and I don’t have plans of going there soon. I’m not a beach person because I’m half blind and I’m deathly afraid of riding small boats. You need to ride those small boats to get to the island. If the government puts up an airport on the island itself, then maybe that’s the time that I’ll think of going there.

So why cupcake? I used cupcake liners for this recipe because I didn’t want to bother with cleaning my muffin pans. It wasn’t a bad idea actually, it was just that the sides didn’t turn out as golden as the ones on Pepper.ph’s photos. Mine were pale, like vanilla cupcakes but boy, they tasted amazing!

Calamansi Cupcakes

IMG_5274

adapted from Pepper.ph / Makes 12 / Bakes in 18-23 minutes at 350F (180C)

You’ll need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup calamansi juice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners. But if you want that golden hue and crust on the sides, grease well the muffin pan holes and put the batter directly to the pan.

2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

3. Combine calamansi juice and milk in a small bowl.

4. Cream butter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Make sure to mix thoroughly between additions.

5. Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients to the creamed mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.

5. Scoop into the muffin pan and bake for 18-23 minutes. Mine were okay at 19 minutes.

6. Cool cupcakes in the muffin pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool further.

These can be stored on air-tight containers for about three days. Best eaten on the same day of course! If you check Pepper.ph’s photos, you’ll see that the sides of their muffins are golden. You can achieve this by doing away with the liners and putting the batter directly to the muffin pan. The heat will give them that crusty, golden look.

Happy Monday to everyone who’s in the same side of the world as I am! I have been hibernating for a week now (I’m on a three-week long staycation) and my days have been quite productive. For starters, I have enrolled in a driving school and yes, I can now more or less drive a manual car! Driving is quite a daunting task, especially here in our country. We have crazy drivers, rough, pothole-filled roads (yeah I just drove on one long stretch of said road this morning) and crazier pedestrians who will risk their lives crossing the highway instead of using the overhead bridge. Funny thing is I’m learning on a manual but our car is an automatic, so I don’t know… I don’t think it’s a waste of time but I won’t be able to practice my manual driving skills after driving school ends on Thursday.

Anyway…

Last Saturday, I was browsing through food blogs and looking for something to bake. I had just baked cupcakes the week before, so I decided on making brownies instead. A lot of the food blogs I have read proclaimed this brownie as the best brownie ever. And yes, this brownie recipe didn’t disappoint. The recipe was from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. The brownie was moist, rich, dense and very chocolate-y (hello 11 oz of chocolate plus cocoa powder!). It wasn’t crumbly and dry like the other brownies I have tried before. It was really one awesome brownie and I’d definitely bake it again and again and again. Everyone here in our house couldn’t get enough of it too!

The Baked Brownie

brownie (2)

From Baked: New Frontiers in Baking / 350F (180C) / Bakes in 30 minutes

You’ll need:

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
8 ounces unsalted butter, chopped
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (I don’t have espresso powder here so I used Moccona instant coffee granules instead)
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2. Melt  butter, dark chocolate and coffee powder in a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan with simmering water. Once melted, turn off heat and stir in the white and brown sugars. Let it cool to room temperature.

3. Sift flour, salt and cocoa powder in a small bowl. If you’re lazy like me, you can just dry-whisk the mixture.

4. Once the melted chocolate mixture has come to room temp, add in 3 eggs and stir until combined. Add the last 2 eggs and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and stir.

5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture and FOLD until just combined and with no flour streaks left. Do not whisk the two mixtures together! Do not over-beat! This is important! 🙂

6. Spread batter over the pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the brownie comes out with few moist crumbs. Make sure to rotate the pan halfway through the baking time. Let cool in a wire rack for 30 minutes then cut into squares (or whatever shape/size you like).

Or you can also cut it immediately and get your tongue burnt just like me. But it was so good I wasn’t thinking of my tongue or my fingertips which were already reddish from holding the hot brownie. 😛

Here’s to a positive week ahead! Aja!

These cupcakes are insanely rich, moist and delicious! These are by far one of the best cupcakes I have ever made. Plus the peanut butter frosting is to die for!

 Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter FrostingImage

Makes 12 cupcakes

350F

Bakes in 18-20 minutes, Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

½ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

½ cup cocoa powder

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp baking powder

2 eggs

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

½ cup sour cream

Frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter)

3 oz unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

1/3 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine butter, chocolate and cocoa in a heat-proof bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan with simmering water (bowl’s bottom should not touch the water) and heat mixture until chocolate and butter are melted. Whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add eggs to the chocolate mixture, whisk until combined. Add sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk again until incorporated. Alternately add the flour mixture and the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix batter until homogenous and thick.
  5. Divide the batter evenly. Pop in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean.
  6. Cool cupcakes in the muffin pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Remove from pan and place on wire rack and cool for 30 minutes before frosting.

Frosting:

  1. Combine the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in a bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy. Scrape down sides of bowl as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until mixture is smooth.

Make sure you thoroughly mix your cupcake batter. I ended up with some small lumps of flour mixture in my cupcake. 😐

So how did you celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? For NYE, I was up and about, busy cooking food for our media noche. We didn’t stay up late, maybe  all of us were already asleep by 2AM. Then New Year’s Day came and I was greeted by a bad case of stomach flu. Maybe because I ate too much food when I wasn’t supposed to? I’m currently on Phase 2 of the South Beach diet so I should be staying away from simple carbs, like white pasta, noodles, rice, etc. So yes, I gave in yesternight and gobbled up food like a mad woman. I spent most of today either lying on my bed or sleeping. 😐

But here’s what I’ve baked for yesterday’s events –

torte

———-

Chocolate Walnut Torte (makes one 8-inch cake)

350F/bakes in 60 to 70 minutes

Adapted from Bake Happy (which she got from Martha Stewart)

You’ll need:

Cake:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Ganache:

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

2. Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Melt the butter and the chocolate in a bowl using a double-boiler or microwave. Let it cool for 3 minutes.

4. Mix sugar and vanilla extract with the chocolate-butter mixture, then mix the eggs then the buttermilk. Add the chopped walnuts.

5. Fold in the flour mixture just until incorporated.

6. Bake for 60-70mins. Test using a toothpick – few moist crumbs should stick to it. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then invert into a wire rack. Cool for three hours.

7. For the ganache, place the heavy cream and chocolate in a heat-resistant/microwave-able bowl and heat (using a double-boiler or microwave) until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth. Let cool for a few minutes then pour over cake. Garnish with remaining chopped walnuts.

So I got excited and took the cake out 10 minutes before the minimum baking time. I pricked it with the toothpick and got satisfied with the results. The top had a crust already so I kinda panicked. Well, when I sliced the cake, it was still a bit too fudge-y for my liking in the middle. My mom said it tasted fine though.

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous 2013! I have a new journal and I can’t wait to use it. And yes, I’m hoping that I’ll be spending the next holiday season with a certain special someone. 😛

I have seen snickerdoodle recipes everywhere and since I begun baking, I haven’t tried baking it. I’m not that keen on baking cookies as I don’t like my hands getting all buttery and sticky. Cleaning up takes longer and cleaning is the only thing that I hate about baking (aside from unsuccessful recipes).

I mentioned in the previous post that I have ground nutmeg in the cupboard. I have been really meaning to use it since I got it around November and luckily, I have stumbled upon Nami-Nami‘s snickerdoodle recipe that has nutmeg.

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The cookies are small (I like bite-size cookies) and they’re very cinnamon-y with a hint of nutmeg. The cookies are not without flaw though – they are somewhat on the hard side and some are bordering on being burnt. They aren’t as cracked as the other cookies I see on the net, maybe because the recipe doesn’t have cream of tartar. Plus, I think my oven thermometer is trolling me. It was in the 325F mark during baking so I waited maybe a minute or two more than the maximum suggested baking time before pulling the cookie sheets out. Then out came the not-quite-chewy-cookies. 😐

On a side-note, my 8-year old cousin helped with scooping out the dough and coating them and she told me she had fun doing that. Good job, cousin!

———-

Snickerdoodle Cookies (makes 35 teaspoon-sized cookies)

180C, bakes in 10-12 minutes / Adapted from Nami-Nami

 You’ll need:

125g all-purpose flour

¼ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

62.5g of butter, softened

50g sugar

1 small egg

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp sugar

½ tbsp cinnamon powder

Directions:

1. Mix the flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat until incorporated.

3. Add the flour mixture and mix just until the flour is blended.

4. Mix the tablespoon of sugar and cinnamon powder in a small bowl.

5. Scoop teaspoon-sized dough balls and roll into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place them 3cm apart on the cookie sheet. Lightly flatten with a back of spoon or with your fingers.

6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes at 180C or until they are firm around the edges. The middle should still be a little soft. Remove and then place on a wire rack to cool.

These can be stored on airtight containers for a week.

Cheers to the final weekend of 2012! It’s Saturday and I was supposed to sleep in but lo and behold, I was wide awake at 8 in the morning and was already fiddling with WordPress. I realized I should start a blog that would document my adventures in cooking and baking. I’m a new baker (and cook), you see. I have been baking for just a year now. It started when I helped out my best friend make cookies for her church-mates. I remember feeling giddy while mixing the dough and using the cookie cutters and seeing the final products of our labor. When I went home, I bought ingredients and baked on my own. I wasn’t as successful as her though, so I tried using a cupcake box mix. It turned out okay, nothing spectacular. But my love for baking just grew exponentially bigger from there. I researched, watched videos, read numerous food blogs and tried their recipes. I was ecstatic! I just had one teeny problem, I didn’t have an oven that could accommodate a tray or a pan as big as 12-cup muffin pan. Baking a lot of cupcakes took forever, plus our electricity bill went high from time to time. So Christmas 2012 came and yes, I bought a bigger oven! It’s still a table-top oven though, but it can now fit a 12-cup muffin pan inside, which is good since most cupcake recipes yield 12 cupcakes anyway.

Cooking is another story. I can fry and make traditional Filipino soup dishes like sinigang and nilaga (it’s kind of like throwing everything in the pot right?). I don’t know how to make adobo, menudo and such, though. And I just remembered, I can make pasta too! Everybody here loves my aglio olio, whose recipe I have gotten from Rachel Ray. Now I can hear my tummy begging to be filled again. Goodbye South Beach diet.

It’s still a little bit early and I don’t know what to do today, aside from baking snickerdoodles which I’ll blog about later. I haven’t tried baking this cookie and I have searched the interwebs for a recipe that has nutmeg since I have the ground variety here which I have been itching to use since I bought it at Chocolate Lovers. Woah long sentence there, eh? Anyway, it’s been a great year of baking and a little bit of cooking and I look forward to more kitchen adventures in 2013!

PS. I think this year-end/start of new year post is a little bit early. I just want to write, that’s all. 😀