Monday, September 27, 2010

Brown Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream

Happy Monday, everyone!

Today I have a wonderful vanilla treat for you. While some think vanilla is synonymous with plain or generic, I think it is marvelous, particularly in the form of a well crafted vanilla ice cream. When I tasted today's dessert, I was smitten.

The ice cream has an absolutely luxurious mouth feel, one that the recipe's author credits to the use of dry milk powder. It is so amazing that I am tempted to start incorporating the use of a small amount of milk powder into all of my ice creams. The custard and vanilla will remind you of an excellent french vanilla ice cream but the addition of brown sugar sets it apart, giving the ice cream character and richness.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tiramisu Truffles

I've gone totally scatterbrained in the kitchen. I'm starting to cook like my sister, who is famous in the family for baking purple chocolate chip cookies without the aid of any food coloring. How exactly that happened remains a mystery.

I can't seem to read recipes correctly. I find myself omitting key ingredients and steps. My custards magically curdle, my ganaches crack, I neglect to remove the desiccant packet from freeze dried fruits before grinding them.

I'm spacing out, putting things in the freezer that should be in the refrigerator and vice versa.

I think I ruined a 3lb box of cream cheese...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dulce de Leche Coffee Cake

I've been baking a lot this week. Testing recipes and frequently finding myself disappointed by the results.

It's been a little frustrating. Especially when Mr. Humble and I are at odds over the verdict for a particular baked treat. Like the well reviewed Epicurious pumpkin spice cake with my own mascarpone dulce de leche frosting. He loved it and insisted I should post it. I thought it tasted less like spice and more like salty-metallic baking soda.

He says he can't taste it but I think that's just because he has corrupted his taste buds with too much rooster sauce.

So we 're posting something we can agree upon today, a relatively simple coffee cake. It has passed the taste test, even though Mr. Humble professes a greater fondness for the plain version of this cake I make. He doesn't seem to understand that I made four cans of dulce de leche this week and they need to find a purpose before I start eating the stuff straight from the can from a spoon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Science Cookie Roundup #7

Inspired By Wolfe--who will forever have a special place in my heart for making the medieval Beef y-Stywyd--sent me the following email:
I am nominating my friend Kathy who blogs over at Play, Eat, Learn, Live. For her daughter's 7th birthday, she organised a science-themed birthday party, including science experiment party games and pass the parcel with science themed prizes. The piece de resistance was the 'birthday cake' which took the form of cupcakes in the design of the periodic table. Once I heard her plans, I volunteered to help and we spent an evening icing 118 cupcakes with the correct chemical symbols. It's fair to say that until I began to ice 118 cupcakes, I did not fully comprehend how many cupcakes there were! Kathy has blogged about our experience in icing the cupcakes here:
Oh, I do commiserate. The periodic table is a huge undertaking.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Big Chocolate Cake

Best way to follow up a healthy post? A massive, heart stopping chocolate cake.

I was tempted to load up on the chocolate curls, ganache, raspberries and fancy piping, but in the end I decided to make something a little more basic. A big, fat, simple chocolate cake.

Don't feel constrained by my minimalism though. Add-ons like raspberries and whipped ganache would be wonderful upgrades to this moist, fine textured chocolate cake.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Garbanzo & Celery Soup With Gremolada

Soup today! Healthy soup. Sorry if this disappoints those who read my blog for a vicarious sugar rush.

I did try to deliver, spending my morning hand-pulling some gorgeous twisted hard candies. However, I decided that blogging about how to make these treats would be unwise. I managed to burn myself while handling the pulled sugar, even with my layers of gloves.

Sure, handling hot sugar is dangerous by default but I've decided that trying to handle hard candy is crazy dangerous for most home cooks (including myself). It isn't the same as handling something like taffy, which you can work with your bare hands.

I don't want to post a recipe where I need to recommend having your local hospital's burn unit on speed dial.

Hence we're posting my lunch today.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fruit Gelées

Happy Monday, everyone!

We're making candy today, and unlike last week's marshmallows these are vegan/vegetarian friendly. Fruit gelées is something that I've long wanted to make for the blog but it involves one rather pesky ingredient: Pectin.

Since not all pectins are created equal, you often see recipes will call for a specific brand or type (like apple) when making gelées. Rarely does one find a recipe that calls for a generic powdered fruit pectin, the type one might find at a corner grocery store. And of course, using gelatin as the gelling agent was off the table, as it doesn't produce the ideal texture in these fruit candies.

What I needed was a reliable recipe that had a chance of working with ordinary powdered fruit pectin and finally, I've found one to share with everyone today.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ruby Grapefruit Cake

Following Friday's disaster, my laptop keyboard is more or less working again. Some keys have been poorly reattached, jutting up at awkward angles and crying out for technological orthodontia, but for now, it works.

However I was not so lucky as to have all my keys turn up. I'm still missing my ESC, F3 and CTRL keys. When I ask my two year old what she did with Mommy's ESC key, she tells me she wants chocolate.

While I may not know much about negotiating with toddlers, something tells me this may be a trick...

Anyway, let's get down to the grapefruit cake. It's from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook. The cake, despite its rather humble appearance, is delicious. Low on fuss but high in flavor, each slice is moist and sticky with bitter-sweet ruby grapefruit syrup.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Th_nk Good_ess It _s F_ida_

We're having some technical difficulties in the Humble household today.

Someone had an unsupervised moment with my laptop, and popped off about 30% of its keys.  I actually NEED those keys to make today's post, so Friday's treat is going to be late. Most likely tonight or tomorrow, assuming I can round up all of tiny pieces.

I do hope none of them were eaten...

Oh boy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Marbled Chocolate Malt Marshmallows

I'm not sure about other food-bloggers, but I am always on the lookout for new cookbooks.

After spending 5-6 hours a day in the kitchen, I often need something new and exciting to drag me in again the next day. New cookbooks keep me inspired, baking and blogging.

Every now and then, I stumble across a really unique cookbook, one that will be supplying today's recipe. The simply titled "Marshmallows: Homemade Gourmet Treats".

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lemon Mascarpone Cream Cake

Happy Monday, everyone!

So we're following up last week's easy cookie theme with something a little more fussy. Something that would get my apron dirty.

Today's cake is divine. Frosted with whipping cream, stabilized with mascarpone cheese and flavored with lemon curd. It's light, creamy and not too sweet. The cake is moist and dense, yet fluffy with a delicate crumb. Layered with a little lemon curd and the mascarpone frosting, it's easily one of my favorites.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Science Cookie Cutter Set Winner!

Time to post the winner of the Science cookie giveaway.

I gave Sherry of the entire week to sort through all the mountain of comments and emails and pick a winner. She emailed me Thursday night telling me she had picked a winner but announcing it completely slipped my mind on Friday, so we're doing a rare weekend post here on the blog.
After reading all the comments ( which were all great) and making sure they followed directions, I cut and pasted into a table then'd it because I couldn't put a higher value on newton vs someone's dad! 
Totally understandable, Sherry. So the winning comment was...

Friday, September 3, 2010

White Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies

Happy Friday, everyone!

Today's post is going up a little later than normal. Mr. Humble took today day off and is at home… which throws a wrench into my normal baking/blogging routine.

Like when he drags me off to hunt down produce all morning because being at home on a workday makes him "fidgety".

He does try to be helpful though, like staging this glass of milk for me.

You spilled some there, buddy…

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

More cookies today!

I've been craving peanut butter lately so earlier this week I whipped up a batch of these cookies cute little sandwich cookies.

Since I baked these cookies late in the evening, when the lighting is terrible for food photography, I boxed them up and tossed them into the freezer. I will often freeze things this way, since not only does it preserve the food until I'm ready to photograph, it usually deters would-be-snackers who pass through the kitchen.

Key word here is usually.

As it turns out, freezing these cookies is no deterrent. When a half dozen sandwiches went missing, I questioned the usual suspects and learned that they're quite good straight from the freezer. I tried them and discovered they're indeed terrific frozen and everyone I give them to agrees.

Crisp, frosty peanut butter wafers, a cool silky smooth filling, it almost makes peanut butter... refreshing?!

I know it makes no sense, you'll just have to try them to understand.

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