Saturday, June 18, 2011

Perfect Picnic Platter-Flower Garden Cupcakes!

What goes better with a picnic than delicious Yellow Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting? Not much unless they are decorated with cute flower cupcake liners to match the scenery!
Here is a batch I whipped up for a picnic inspired by these cute little cupcake liners.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dark Chocolate Brownies

According to my sister-in-law I made the PERFECT brownies! (Thanks Em) They were rather delicious. Using top quality ingredients truely makes a difference in your final product. I didn't believe this before but after trying it I am a true believer. The extra cost is definitely worth the extra deliciousness. Chewy, Rich, Yum! Enjoy.

Rich Dark Chocolate Brownies

1 oz (1/3 cup) Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso (they conveniently come in little packs exactly this size)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp boiling water
1 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 oz milk chocolate, chopped fine
4 Tbsp (1/2 Stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Large eggs
2 Large yolks
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
17.5 oz (2 1/2 cups) sugar
8.75 oz (1 3/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate cut into small pieces
(Note: You really can use any type of chocolate in place of the recommended types in this recipe. If you like really dark, bitter chocolate then go for semisweet or bittersweet for all the chocolate here. Do keep in mind though that the percentage of cocoa in your chocolate may change the texture of the final product.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack on bottom level. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with a foil sling. I love this method, it makes the brownies so easy to remove from the pan. Here is how you do it. It is super simple.
Foil Sling:  Fold foil lengthwise to an 8 inch width and place in the bottom of the pan lengthwise. Make it long enough so the foil hangs over the edge a bit. Do the same thing with foil in the opposite direction making a 14 inch wide sheet and draping it over the sides. Now you should have 4 "handles" around each edge that you can use to easily life out the brownies without mangling them. Yay! Coat the foil with a light spray of Pam or the like.
Whisk the cocoa powder, espresso and boiling water together until smooth. Add the 2 oz of chocolate (1/2 semi-sweet and half milk chocolate). Once melted and smooth whisk in the melted butter and oil. Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the sugar until delicious looking (If you are making a double batch this counts as your arm exercise for the day). Add the flour and salt and mix with a rubber spatula until combined then fold in the last chocolate pieces. This gives it that extra delicious texture and chocolatey goodness factor.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake about 30- 35 minutes (please use an oven thermometer and avoid the heart-ache of getting 'bricknies' rather than 'brownies') or until a toothpick inserted halfway between the edge and center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow to rest for about 1 1/2 hrs. This is very important for the texture so give yourself time! Lift the brownies from the pan using your awesome sling and place directly on the wire rack. Allow to completely cool for another hour or so. Cut into sqaures (or other fun shapes) and enjoy.
These store really well in an airtight container at room temperatuer for about 4-5 days so you can definitely make them ahead of time. You might even say these get a little better with age. :D So tasty!
(Adapted From America's Test Kitchen Chewy Brownies Recipe)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Graduation Desserts ~ Rice Krispie Pops, Gold & Purple Cake Pops and Brownies

Graduations Galore!
I had the pleasure of doing a dessert spread for a Westminster College graduation party a few weeks ago.
The school colors are purple and gold so that of course had to be incorporated somehow. They requested my chocolate fudge and yellow cake pops as well as brownies and rice krispie pops. They turned out delicious and oh so cute. Enjoy.

Rice Krispie Pops dipped in Vanilla
Chocolate Fudge and Yellow Cake Pops
Dark Chocolate Brownies

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chocolate Salted Caramel Macarons

Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Filling. Can you really beat that?
I'm not sure you can. These were AWESOME! So tender and delicious inside. Mmmm. So pretty too!

 My oven went crazy again and kind of ruined a batch of macarons by heating up too hot. Oops! So, to cover up the ugly I just decorated it with a bit of melted chocolate. Yum. Fix of Champions.

They went quickly...even the batch I hosed.
I am not sure that I can post this recipe without getting in trouble so I am going to air on the side of caution. Let me know if you want it and I'll send it to you. ;)