Category Archives: Desserts

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

 

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Today is my step-mom’s birthday (Happy birthday, Judy!).  Judy likes carrot cake — something  I’ve made for her a couple times already. So I wanted to switch things up a bit and decided to make cupcakes to help her celebrate another spin around the sun.

If you have something to celebrate — or even if you don’t — you might want to give these a try too.  You won’t regret it!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Yield: 16 Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Ingredients

    Cake:
  • 1 3/4 cups flour (8 3/4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar (8 3/4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups grated carrots (10 ounces)
  • Frosting:
  • 10 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar (8 ounces)
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons buttermilk powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, chilled and cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/3 cups pecans, toasted and rough-chopped

Instructions

    Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves together in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla together until smooth. Stir in carrots. Fold in flour mixture until just combined.
  5. Pour 1/4 cup batter into each of 16 cupcake liners.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tins and cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes.
  8. Frosting:
  9. With a hand or stand mixer beat butter, sugar, buttermilk powder, and vanilla together until smooth, scraping bowl as needed. Add cream cheese one piece at a time, blending until smooth before adding the next piece.

Notes

This icing doesn't tend to hold up under hot and humid conditions. So if you make these on a warm day, keep them refrigerated until about a half hour before serving.

http://bleulegume.com/2016/09/carrot-cake-cupcakes/

Banoffee Pie

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My first taste of dulce de leche was an eye-opening  — or palate-opening — experience.  If there were other things that tasted this good, I wanted to know about them and work with them.

After watching April Bloomfield make this pie, I became convinced of two things:  1) I need to make this now and 2) April and I should be soul friends.

This mostly follows April’s recipe, though I didn’t grate the pastry dough because I can be lazy, used chocolate curls because they photographed better, and scaled the recipe to fit my two 8-inch tart pans.

Banoffee Pie

Yield: Makes 2 pies

Banoffee Pie

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • Three 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk, labels removed
  • 9-10 bananas
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon shortening
  • For the crust:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces and chilled
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

Instructions

    Make the dulce de leche:
  1. Put the cans of condensed milk into a slow cooker. Cover completely with water. Cook on high for 10 hours. Depending on your settings, you may have to reset the slow cooker after 6 hours of cooking. Remove the cans once the cooking process has completed and cool them completely before opening.
  2. Alternately, you can simmer the condensed milk in a large pot. Again, cover the cans of milk completely with water. Simmer for 3 hours. Remove the cans once the cooking process has completed and cool them completely before opening.
  3. Make the crust:
  4. Preheat oven to 350F.
  5. Sift the flour into a food processor and add the sugar, butter, and salt. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the yolks and pulse until crumbly dough forms. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and lightly knead just until smooth. .
  6. Divide the dough in half. Use your fingers to press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of two 8-inch tart pans, creating an even layer in each. Dock the pie crusts, using a fork to pierce the bottom of the crusts in a few places to allow steam to escape during baking.
  7. Freeze the crust for 15 minutes.
  8. Bake the tart shells until the edges are light golden brown, 20-25 minutes. You may want to use pie weights if you worry about the crust puffing up.
  9. Cool to room temperature.
  10. Assemble the pie:
  11. Peel 6 or 7 of the bananas and slice them on the bias into approximately ½ inch thick pieces. Starting from the outside and working your way to the enter, arrange the bananas in concentric circles on the bottom of each tart shell, overlapping slightly.
  12. Gently dollop the caramelized condensed milk on top of the bananas in each of the two tart pans. Spread it evenly over the slices. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill, up to 2 hours.
  13. While the pie is chilling, combine the cream and the confectioners’ sugar in a bowl. Use a knife to scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the cream; discard the pod. Use whisk or a handheld electric mixer to whip the cream to soft peaks. Cover it too, and chill in the fridge.
  14. Place the chocolate chips and shortening in a bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds. Stir. Continue heating in the microwave in 15-second increments, stirring after each increment, until chocolate has melted. Don't overheat or the chocolate will burn and become gritty.
  15. Spread the melted chocolate in a very thin layer onto the back of a baking sheet. Freeze for 2 minutes until just slightly pliable.
  16. Use a metal spatula to scrape off curls of chocolate from the baking sheet. Place curls into a bowl and refrigerate.
  17. Peel and slice the remaining bananas. Layer, in loose concentric circles, on top of the dulce de leche in each of the tart pans.
  18. Top each pie with whipped cream. Finally, top the whole thing with chocolate curls.
  19. It's best to serve this right away, or within a few hours as it can tend to weep a bit. That being said, I've allowed this to sit in the fridge overnight with stabilized whipped cream and it was still pretty darn good the next day.
http://bleulegume.com/2016/06/banoffee-pie/

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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This has been my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe ever since stumbling upon it in the May 2009 issue of Cook’s Illustrated.  It’s everything I have ever wanted a chocolate chip cookie to be:  crisp on the edge, chewy in the middle, and deeply flavorful thanks to a better ratio of dark brown sugar to granulated, as well as the use of brown butter.  If chocolate chip cookies were to be served in the afterlife, they would surely be made from this recipe.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8¾ ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter, divided
  • ¾ cup (5¼ ounces) dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips (7 1/2 ounces)

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large (18x12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside.
  3. 3. Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling the pan constantly until the butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer the browned butter to a large heatproof bowl. Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons butter into the hot browned butter until completely melted. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
  4. 4. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to the bowl with the butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until the mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips and give the dough a final stir to ensure there are no hidden flour pockets.
  5. 5. Scoop the dough into 16 even portions, each about 3 tablespoons, and arrange them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.
  6. 6. Bake the cookies 1 tray at a time until the edges have begun to set but centers are still soft and the cookies still puffy, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheet to wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely before serving.
http://bleulegume.com/2016/04/chocolate-chip-cookies/

 

Rum Balls

 

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Are you ready to RUM-BALL?!?!  These are one of my son’s favorite Christmas treats.  Basically, this recipe is a dough made of crumbled brownies and rum.  Balls are formed from the dough, chilled, and decorated however you’d like.  Roll them in sugar, dip them in chocolate, or go wherever your imagination takes you.

Feel free to use your own brownie recipe!  Simply add more or less rum, as needed.

Continue reading Rum Balls

Grandma Wable’s Angel Food Cake

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She says: Over the years, my grandmother made countless angel food cakes –and I was fortunate enough to be her helper.  Occasionally, we would get to eat one, but most of the time these would be donated to our local fireman’s fair where they would be raffled off.

Now, I’ve rarely met a cake I haven’t liked.  Still, this one is among my absolute favorites.  It’s … ethereal.

He says: Philosophers used to wonder how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. What they SHOULD have been wondering is, “How do we make angel food cake so good that it will make you dance?” On second thought, it’s better that they didn’t … otherwise they might have used up all the angel food cake ingredients centuries ago. And besides, have you ever seen a philosopher dance? (Spoiler alert: It ain’t pretty.)

Continue reading Grandma Wable’s Angel Food Cake