Archive for November, 2011

22
Nov
11

Parsnip, Cheddar and Black Pepper muffins

Amidst all the sweet muffins I make on a regular basis, I began to feel the need to include a savoury flavour or two. I happened across a recipe in Baked: Explorations (those cookbooks are phenomenal) that had potential, but I wanted to tweak it to suit my palate and what I had in the fridge and pantry at the time. The resulting muffin is sweet and salty, and tastes somewhere between a biscuit and a muffin.

Parsnipcheddar02

Parsnip, Cheddar and Black Pepper Muffins

adapted from Baked: Explorations

Steamed Parsnip Purée

4 to 5 medium parsnips

Fill a sauté pan or saucepan with about 2 inches of water. Set a bamboo steamer on top.

Peel the parsnips and coarsely chop. Place on the rack of the bamboo steamer. Cover and place over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and steam parsnips for 8 to 10 minutes, or until fork-tender.

Add parsnips to the container of a blender and pulse to make a smooth purée. Let cool before using in muffins.

Muffins

1 cup steamed parsnip purée

3 tablespoons sour cream or buttermilk

2 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups grated Black River Maple Cheddar

Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine the parsnips, sour cream, eggs, and butter. Mixture will be very thick.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and sugar.

Add flour mixture to the parsnip mixture and stir to combine. The batter will be very thick.

Fold in the grated cheese.

Divide muffin batter evenly between muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

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19
Nov
11

Haunted Forest Cake (Happy Birthday, Northern Army!)

October 27th was local design agency Northern Army‘s first birthday, and I was asked to make them a cake to commemorate the occasion, ideally incorporating their logo. I’d recently been toying with the idea of a spicy black forest cake, and this seemed like the ideal opportunity to finalize the recipe.

I made 3 square cake layers using the recipe below. The icing was a similar combination to the one I used for my Cupcake Camp Cupcakes – I find it eliminates the chalky mouthfeel I get from using a simple buttercream. I layered the cake with thick layers of frosting (next time, I’m making the icing batch bigger so I can get a better ratio of cake to icing). I printed out the Northern Army letters at about 320 pt Helvetica Bold, cut them out, and laid them on rolled-out white fondant. I cut the letters out of the white, then rolled out a full tub of Duff’s Black Fondant that I got at Michaels. I covered the cake, then cut the letters out of the black. I laid the white letters where the black cutouts were to make a relatively flush surface. To make it shiny, I brushed the cake all over with kirsch.

Haunted Forest Cake with Cherry-Kirsch Frosting

3/4 cups cocoa, sifted

1 1/4 cups hot water

2/3 cup sour cream

3 cups pastry flour or type 00 flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tbsp instant espresso powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/4 cups butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 325º F. Grease 3 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa and instant espresso powder. Add the hot water and whisk until smooth. Add the sour cream and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Whisk to ensure ingredients are combined.

In a large bowl, cream the softened butter. Add the granulated and brown sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla bean paste.

In 2 or 3 additions, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the cocoa. Begin and end with the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake at 325º F for 35 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the centre of each cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove cake from pan to cool completely before frosting.

Cherry-Kirsch frosting

Adapted from Demolition Desserts

1 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons whipping cream

5 cups sifted icing sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons kirsch, divided

3 egg whites, at room temperature

pinch salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons invert sugar

1 cup cherry jam

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter until creamy. Add the whipping cream and mix. Reduce speed to low and add icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix in the salt, vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of the kirsch. Set buttercream frosting aside.

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg whites, salt, granulated sugar and invert sugar. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Using a hand mixer, mix for seven minutes, or until white, glossy, and thick. Remove from heat and add kirsch. Let cool slightly.

Purée cherry jam until smooth. Mix into the buttercream frosting until thoroughly incorporated. Fold the seven-minute frosting into the buttercream mixture until combined.

Use this mixture to frost the haunted forest cakes. Garnish or decorate cakes as desired and serve.

Makes 1 3-layer cake or 6 dozen mini cupcakes.

18
Nov
11

Frangelico Balls

For a recent Fancy Party, I wanted to make rum balls. However, I wanted to make them taste a little more nuanced and elegant, so I decided to base the flavour profile on hazelnuts and spices. For the liquor, I used Frangelico, and I replaced the usual vanilla wafer or Oreo crumbs with Speculaas crumbs, using a delicious recipe from Baked. I think gingersnap or gingerbread crumbs would also work well here.

Frangelico_balls

Frangelico Balls

1 cup Speculaas cookies, chopped to crumbs in a food processor

1 cup toasted, skinned hazelnuts, chopped

1 cup sifted icing sugar

2 tbsp Dutch process cocoa

1/4 cup Frangelico

1 1/2 tbsp invert sugar, honey, or corn syrup

water

chocolate sprinkles, ground hazelnuts, or other coating

In a food processor, pulse together the Speculaas crumbs, hazelnuts, icing sugar and cocoa until uniform.

In a small bowl, whisk together the Frangelico and invert sugar. Add to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until a dough comes together. Cover the dough and chill the mixture for at least 4 hours.

Place some water in a bowl and the coating in a shallow dish. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Dunk in the water, then roll in the chocolate sprinkles. Repeat until all the dough is rolled.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes about 70 Frangelico balls.