Archive for October, 2010

October 19, 2010

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Delish devil’s food cake, creamy chocolate ganache filling, topped with white chocolate buttercream frosting.

I seriously don’t think that I could say anymore that would entice you enough to want to try these cupcakes. This was the birthday flavor of the month. A definite must make again recipe (as if any of the recipes I post I wouldn’t make again). The ganache turns into this thick creamy center in the cupcake kind of like a chocolate truffle. It’s sinfully delicious and makes you want another one! Luckily all of these were pretty much designated to be given to people, otherwise I would not have let one of these tastey cakes go to waste!

Cupcake Recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 package of instant devils food pudding (only the powder)
1 ½ c. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla extract
1t. almond extract
1/2 c. room temperature butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°

Whisk together flour, baking powder, pudding powder and salt.  Separately mix milk with vanilla and almond extracts, and set aside.

With an electric or stand mixer in a large bowl combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time allowing each to incorporate well before moving on to the next ingredient.

Incorporate the dry ingredients and milk by alternating – half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk.

Use a small ice cream scoop for the cupcake batter. It makes the perfect size cupcakes.

Bake for 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting Recipe   

1/2 cup shortening (Crisco has sticks and they are so much easier to measure)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) – room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
2-4 T. whole milk
1 T. vanilla extract
1 c. melted white chocolate

I used Wilton’s Candy Melts for the white chocolate because the Candy Melts, melt nice and smoothly too. Melt according to the package directions. (or use almond bark or your favorite white chocolate chips or bars).

In a stand mixer, beat the shortening and butter together, add the cooled melted chocolate and beat at low speed 1-2 on a KitchenAid stand mixer.  Now, incorporate the sugar gradually – 1c. at a time. Once sugar is incorporated (it will look dry) add the milk 1 T. at a time until you get the consistency you like. It will be about 3T for a medium consistency.

Cover with a wet cloth while not in use, or place in the fridge if you plan on using it much later.

Filling Recipe – Ganache

1 ½ c. heavy cream
15oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped

Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl. In a saucepan heat the cream to just before it reaches a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow the chocolate to melt and the mixture is smooth.

Now you need to completely cool the ganache either in the freezer for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator covered.

Once completely cooled whip the ganache with a whisk or using a hand or stand mixer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assembly

Using a cupcake filling tip on a decorating bag, fill the bag with filling then inject the cupcakes with the filling. (or use this method).

To decorate use the coupler only (without a decorating tip) and pipe the frosting in a circular motion. I sprinkled some black sugar flake I found at Michael’s Art and Craft store.

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

October 3, 2010

Meatballs

Meatballs in Vodka Sauce

Homemade meatballs are pretty easy to make. I think people are intimidated thinking the process of cooking meatballs will be involved and take a long time. However, they are much easier and more approachable than you think!  Also, I just cannot bring myself to buy the frozen meatballs in the freezer section, they are filled with so many preservatives and high in sodium and probably start with highly processed meat. Unnecessary in my opinion, and homemade meatballs taste so much better! I’ve made these meatballs for sandwiches, fondue parties, spaghetti, ravioli. You can even use them for the sweet and spicy meatballs you see at potlucks, mix them with some barbeque sauce, or sweet and sour appetizer…the possibilities are endless!

 This recipe is easy enough for weeknight cooking with the indulgence of homemade comfort food!

1lb ground beef
1 lb mild Italian sausage (not in casings)
1T Herbs de Provence (or dried basil and oregano)
1 egg, beaten
½ c. bread, torn (can also use bread crumbs, finely crushed crackers)
¼ c heavy cream
¼ c. parmesan
1/8 t. nutmeg
S&P

TEAR up bread into small pieces and pour cream over bread. Meanwhile, crumble ground beef and sausage in a large bowl. Add herbs, bread, and parmesan. Whisk egg lightly and add. Toss meatball mixture to make sure ingredients are spread throughout meat.  Do not over work otherwise the meat will be tough.

PREHEAT oven 400 degrees.

ROLL meatballs into a bite-sized balls. Add to a cast iron skillet and brown all sides. Move skillet to oven and finish in the oven 15 min. (Can also place on a baking sheet if all the meatballs don’t fit in one pan or if you don’t have a oven safe skillet).

Serve as an appetizer with dipping sauce, or with pasta and an italian sauce sauce (Vodka Sauce).

October 3, 2010

Vodka Sauce

My weekend “relaxing at home” usually consists of turning on Food Network or the Cooking Channel and writing up my weekly menu plan and playing in my kitchen cooking up some recipe on my mind.

This particular weekend I was watching the Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten (who by the way has provided so much inspiration to me, as a woman who started out working at the White House on the nuclear energy policy, decided one day she was going to quit her job and do something so completely opposite and open a specialty food store – and she became crazy successful!). This episode Ina had a guest chef who was sharing a recipe from his restaurant.  Apparently the recipe was one which the owners of the restaurant was able to learn from a chef on a trip to Italy. So this is an authentic dish from Italy!   

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

    In and oven safe pot (I used my brand new Le Cruset cast iron dutch oven) Over medium heat saute the onion in the olive oil until it becomes translucent, add the garlic and sautee until the onion becomes a little carmelized. (Don’t burn the onion or garlic otherwise you will get a very bitter flavor in your sauce).

    New Toy

    Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute.  Then add the vodka and allow it to reduce a little.  Now you want to add the tomatoes, crush each whole tomato in your hand before you add it to the pan, then add the liquid and stir. Add salt and pepper. I would add at least 1/2 tablespoon of salt, the tomatoes are not very salty.

    Cover the pot and place in the oven for for 1 1/2 hours.

    Remove the sauce from the oven and cool.  At this point you can place the sauce in a jar and put it in the fridge and finish for another day. Or cool it enough to place the sauce in a blender and puree.

    Next put the sauce back in the pan and add resh oregano, heavy cream and some more salt and pepper. Cook aout 10 minutes.

    Serve over pasta with grated parmesan cheese. (pictured here with my Meatballs)