Category Archives: Desserts

citrus punch for our 100th post

Happy 100th post!  It’s been a while, but I’m still in the heart of my busy season.  Finding time to cook or even think about cooking has been replaced by excel spreadsheets and memos that are unfortunately not writing themselves.

The fact that Ray and I have been able to carve out pieces of our lives to blog about our shared passion is a success in itself. I’m so happy we’ve made it to 100. Let’s hear it for HUNDREDS more.

What better way to celebrate the big hundo than with my favorite? Citrus and cupcakes! Woot woot.

Key Lime Pie Cupcake Recipe

Makes 24 cupcakes.

1/2 C butter
1 C sugar
3 eggs
1 C milk
1 C flour
9 graham crackers
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp kosher salt
5 egg yolks
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C key lime juice (I cheated and just used regular limes because I have no patience to juice small limes — it’s like peeling a grape!)

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Mix completely before adding the next egg.

In an open storage bag, crumb your graham crackers with a rolling pin.  If you’re like me and like to release your stress and other other extreme emotion, grab a frying pan and whack the living daylights out of the bag.  Combine with flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk and ending with the dry ingredients.   Mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lime juice. Pour the lime mixture into your batter and stir.  Make sure there is a clear difference between the graham batter and the lime mixture.  If you see graham batter clumps, then you’re good to go.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4s of the way and bake 20 minutes for full sized cupcakes, 10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes.  I did a mix of both because I was getting impatient and wanted to cook off all of my cupcakes in one load.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8oz packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 1/2 sticks butter (room temperature)
6 C powdered sugar (more or less depending on your sweet tooth level)
1 tsp lime juice

Cream together the cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer or stand mixer.  Add the powdered sugar slowly.  This will ensure a non-chalky frosting.  Add the lime and any food coloring you’d like.  I did one drop of yellow and two drops of green to match the limey color.

Wait for cupcakes to come to room temperature and frost.  Garnish with slices of lime and enjoy.

Thanks again everyone for the wonderful and continued support. Ray, I, and our humble blog truly appreciate it.

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bring back fall…with apple pie

This fall has been somewhat disappointing weather wise going from unseasonably warm to cloudy rainy weather to freak October snow storm. The weather has played apart in delaying my pie making, but today, I’m going to bring back fall with an apple pie. My first apple pie in college was a success, followed by a mediocre pie during the holidays. For every pie that succeeded, there was a failed pie and today was another attempt to break the curse. I consulted Smitten Kitchen to try an all butter crust recipe, because the crust is always the biggest player in pie. This also gave me an opportunity to use my pastry blender, which had been collecting dust (cleaned before use? Yes). In recent years, I’ve been making use of a food processor for my pie crust needs. Fast and clean, but more clean up required.


A Call to Arms

Double Pie Crust (because a single layer pie crust would be cutting corners)
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks very cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1/2 cup + a few extra tbsp very cold water

Blend flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add cold cubed butter and mix with pastry blender until pieces of butter are smaller than a pea and texture of mixture is crumbly. Add 1/2 cup water and bring dough together with 1 hand. Add additional tbsp cold water until dough comes together. Separate into two portions, flatten into a disc shape between plastic wrap and cover completely with the same plastic wrap. Place dough into fridge for at least 2 hours.

For the filling, I used Food Network Kitchen’s recipe since my best pie post college used this recipe

Apple Pie Filling
1 lemon
3 lbs. peeled baking apple slices (7 to 8 apples, I used Golden Delicious)
2/3 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
2 tbsp butter melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 to 3 tbsp AP flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1 egg plus 1 tsp water
sugar to sprinkle

Toss the juice of 1 lemon with apple slices, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large pot, melt 2 tbsp butter and cook apple mixture on medium high heat until sugar mixture starts to bubble, lower temperature to medium low heat and cover pot. Cook until apples are tender (about 15 minutes). remove from heat and add vanilla and flour. Mix and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out dough from the fridge into 2 circular layers 11 to 12 inches in diameter. Place 1 layer into 9 inch pie tin and mold along the edge. Fill with apple mixture and top with cubed butter. Take egg and mix with a little water to make egg wash. Brush egg wash along the edge of the pie. Place second layer of pie dough over the top of the pie. Press edges of the pie until the crust is sealed. Cut off access dough 1 inch from the edge of the pie tin. Fold the 1 inch of access dough under the edge of the pie so the it rests on top of the edge of the pie tin. Flute the edges of the pie. Cut 6 slit above the pie to let steam come out as it’s baking. Brush egg wash over the pie and top with sprinkled sugar. Place pie on foil covered cookie sheet in case of overflowed filling. Bake for 15 minutes and reduce temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake an additional 50 minutes. Let cool and serve warm.

My pie turned out butt ugly so the streak of unfortunate pies shall continue. At least I’m positive that the crust is flaky. Let’s hope it tastes good.


In sales, this is called “Rustic”

cookies ‘n cream cupcakes

Since I changed jobs earlier this year, I’ve been looking for the baked good that would be the new favorite in the office. At my last job it was the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, which I made 10 or so times over the span of 2.5 years. I made those twice so far (once in the form of a muffin), but they haven’t gotten the same rave reviews, so I started hunting for something better. Maybe flashier?

As I was searching through my inventory, I noticed a bunch of unused cupcake liners and realized that I hadn’t made cupcakes since college. Since I was going for wow factor and a crowd pleaser, I thought about an Oreo cupcake and searched cookies and cream cupcakes. It led me to this beauty. The frosting may become the basis of all my cream cheese frosting until the end of time. Let me also tell you that those half Oreos on the bottom blew peoples’ minds. THEIR MINDS. BOOM. INTERGALACTIC SONIC BOOM.

The only adjustments I made were using skim milk I had on hand instead of heavy cream in the frosting and opting to not use crumbs to decorate because I had to assemble these at the a co=worker’s birthday party. The recipe also only gave me 20 cupcakes because I used a couple of Oreos less than what was stated. The batter was looking rather loaded with cookies.



Cupcakes:
20 Oreo Cookie Halves, Twisted with Cream
2 1/4 cups AP Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
8 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1 2/3 cups Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites, Room Temperature
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 cup Milk
12-15 Oreo Cookies, Coarsely Chopped (Quartered)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz. Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
4 cups Confectioners’ Sugar, Sifted
2 tbsp. Milk

Garnish:
20 Oreo Cookie Halves, Cut Down the Middle

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Line regular size cupcake pan with paper liner. Place twisted Oreo half on the bottom of each liner, cream side up. In bowl, combine dry cupcake ingredients and sift/whisk/blend with fork until mixed. In a separate bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed. Blend in egg whites one at a time. Pour in vanilla. Turn speed to low and slowly incorporate half the dry cupcake ingredients. Add milk until combined and then add remaining dry ingredients. Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold in chopped Oreos with a spatula.

Divide batter evenly into cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes. Rotate half way for even baking or adjust as needed if your oven has hot spots. Test done-ness with toothpick and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack until cooled completely.

For the frosting, combine cream cheese and butter and mix on medium-high speed until smooth. Add vanilla extract until combined. Slowly add in confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Add the milk and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated. Whip on high speed until light and fluffy. Add more confectioner’s sugar, if too wet and milk, if too dry. I placed the frosting in some zip lock bags so that i could easily bring them to the party and pipe onto the cupcakes. Add a half Oreo cookie to garnish.

the pumpkin king

Attention, sane people — it is September 20th and I’ve already whipped out my Halloween sprinkles and harassed friends for canned packed pumpkin (thanks Kate!).  Apparently, canned packed pumpkin is seasonal and now is not the season.  LIES!

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe by David Leite

Yields 20 cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 15 oz can of solid packed pumpkin

Frosting
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with fabulous Halloween cupcake liners.

2. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.  You may choose to sift the dry ingredients together, but I typically skip this step because I’ve had no idea where my sifter’s been for the past 7 months.

3. Add the eggs one at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely before frosting.

Make the frosting:
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. To assemble the cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the cooled cupcakes and decorate with any crazy sprinkles and Halloween candies you have around.

These cupcakes are tremendous.  They are moist, super delicious, and so season appropriate (especially if you’re a crazy early bird like me!).  As you can probably tell, I had a very fun time decorating them. I even bought those damn pumpkin candies that I hate.  Those didn’t make it to the picture because I was having an inner debate whether to add them.  I really don’t like them… candy corn either.  Gross.  I did give in though, because they are just too cute to boot!

If you like pumpkin pie and feel like mixing it up a bit, definitely give these bad boys a try.

As a side note, yesterday was my 25th bday.  WOOOO! I went to Menton, a Barbara Lynch restaurant (of course).  I snapped some pretty snazzy pictures of the tasting menu goodies, so be on the look out for that in an upcoming post.

the macaron showdown


Pierre Hermé vs. Ladurée

I came to Paris with one mission in mind — the mother of all macaron showdowns. To preface, I’m something of a masochist and average two emotional breakdowns annually over these small confections. Whether it be a puny foot, broken meringue, runny buttercream, or a combination of the three, I find a way to meet my two breakdown quota. If I’m going to Paris, why wouldn’t I want to see the source of both my ecstasy and agony? And so I headed to the St. Germain des Prés area in arrondissement 6.


Asparagus macarons for those brave enough to try… read on!

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