Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweet and Salty Brownies

We had a potluck at work today and the easiest and quickest thing I could think of putting together was brownies.  So, I threw together my go to brownies.  Because I had left over caramel sauce, I decided to toss that in too.  Turns out, my final result was very similar to Baked Explorations' Sweet and Salty brownies.  Following suit, I sprinkled 1 teaspoon of fleur de sal and  1 teaspoon of coarse sugar on top once it was done baking.  I thought these would bake up very similar to these other caramel filled brownies  I made but the filling mostly soaked into the brownies.  This wasn't too bad as it kept the brownies very moist.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cocoa Caramel Cake

My niece won first place in the Made By Kids category at the Cake4Kids CakeOff-4Kids event this past weekend!  Under my supervision, she baked, frosted, and decorated both a tasting cake and a show cake (which we ended up serving that night as well).  They were chocolate cakes with a salted caramel buttercream frosting.

Instead of having her use Hershey's cocoa powder in my go to chocolate cake recipe, I supplied her with a "premium" can of Ghirardelli cocoa powder.  It definitely changed this chocolate cake recipe for me.  I don't think I can ever go back to every day grocery store brand now.  (To make matters worse, I recently purchased both E. Guittard and Scharffen Berger cocoa powders to do a comparison in the near future.)

The best part of the night was when I let her decide whether to use coffee or boiling water with this recipe and she replied with the most logical answer, "Kids don't drink coffee!"

The show cake included a base made of candy melts and extra candy melts as "sprinkles" on top.  She piped on the frosting using a 2D tip.  I was trying to teach her to do swirls but her making drop flowers worked out a lot easier.

Not wanting her to deal with hot bubbling sugar, I prepared the salted caramel sauce for her which she simply added about 1/2 cup to my go to vanilla buttercream recipe.  I was afraid of burning the caramel; so, I took it off the heat a lot sooner than necessary; hence, it didn't turn out as amber.  It might explain why the taste was too subtle in the frosting.  So, I let her drizzle the caramel sauce all over the top of the cake and it turned out really good!  People thought the tasting cake was her show cake as well.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Whole Wheat Waffles

Finally found a weekend morning where my husband and I weren't running out the door the second we woke up to break in our new waffle maker.  I have been using the same one for the last 15 years until we were gifted with a new one as a wedding present.  This new machine was amazing; the waffles came out perfect.  They were fluffy on the inside with a slight crunch on the outside.

Just like 95% of all other recipes I come across, I had to tweak this recipe a bit by using whole grain flour instead of all purpose flour.  The waffles tasted so nutty that I felt as if I needed to add actual nuts to batter next time.

The best part was that I am now able to make 4 waffles instead of 2 at a time!  I baked up the entire batter and simply froze the leftovers in a ziploc bag.  Made for a quick breakfast on the go during the week.

Recipe adapted from BH&G New Cook Book

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Oreo Cheesecake

For my niece's birthday cake, I was inspired by the Oreo Dream Extreme cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory.  I knew I had to incorporate chocolate into her cake, as it was her favorite, but I didn't want it to be just a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  The creamy cheesecake compliments the richness of all the chocolate components.

Oreo Cookie Crust

Layer of Oreos

Original New York Cheesecake

Chocolate Mousse

Next time, I cannot forget to line the pan with parchment paper.  Because I didn't line the pan, I was afraid that it would just fall apart if I attempted to remove the disk.  Hence, the cake was presented with the disk still attached.  Not a big deal this time around as I attended her party and served the cake myself.

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