Monday, April 21, 2014

Mango Lime Sorbet

Mango is a great fruit. Now, it certainly isn't as good in Minnesota as it would be in the tropics, but a perfectly ripe mango is one of my favorite fruits. And considering the fact that I've never had nor made sorbet before so I thought this would be the perfect time to try. 

The recipe I used had some issues that didn't allow for the sorbet to combine. However, it didn't involve an ice cream maker, which is far more convenient. With a few tweaks, however, the recipe allows for the sorbet to come together and not be tiny shards of frozen mango.

Mango Lime Sorbet

Makes about 1 pint
Adapted from: Cooking Light

2 pounds very ripe or overripe mangoes *
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Pinch of course salt
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime zest (optional topping)

Peel mango and cut flesh away from the seed. Cut mango flesh into medium sized diced pieces. Freeze mango pieces on a cookie sheet for at least 5 hours.
Meanwhile, make the simple syrup by placing sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool completely.

Take mangoes out of freezer and allow to soften for 20 minutes. Place mangoes and salt in a food processor and puree until smooth. Pulse in simple syrup and juice. Top wit lime zest (optional), and serve immediately.

*It is very important that the mangoes you buy are ripe. If they aren't the sorbet is going to be clumpy and will not come together properly. Be sure to buy mangoes ahead to of time in case the store doesn't have fully ripe ones.

This is a great simple recipe to kick off the warm months. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Strawberry Coconut Muffins with Chia Seed Topping

For sure my favorite meal is breakfast. It's one of the greatest excuses to eat plenty of sugar. Fruit, baked goods, chocolate, it's all packed into breakfast.
So I had some leftover chia seeds from last weeks recipe, chia pudding, and I thought I would whip up another item using them. I did a quick Pinterest search to come up with these great breakfast muffins that would be perfect for any morning.

I used this recipe from Cook Republic, head over there to check it out.

For the recipe however, I used regular flour and regular sugar in place of spelt flour and coconut sugar, and it turned out amazing. I would recommend this method so you don't have to spend extra money on ingredient you probably won't have in your house.

Until next week!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Chia Pudding

This weeks recipe is a bit different than what I usually post. Much different from cakes, cupcakes, cream puffs, etc. I saw this post on pinterest about chia seeds and its different uses in food and its health benefits. Looking deeper, I found many pudding recipes that can be made with the seeds. 
The seeds are high in antioxidants and omega-3, making this pudding great to eat even for breakfast. 

I decided to try three different recipes, chocolate, mango coconut, and raspberry. I also fooled around with the ingredients and found that using just coconut milk, as many recipe call for, isn't enough to get the proper texture. Adding almond milk however, creates a better pudding texture.

Chia Pudding

Adapted from: skinnytaste
Yield: 2 servings

For the Base Recipe:

1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp chia seeds
3 1/2 tsp sugar

Mix all ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Add flavors of choice (see below), and place in refrigerator overnight, or at least 8 hours.

For Flavors:

Raspberry: Puree  1/2 cup raspberries in blender and add to milk mixture.
For the topping, heat together 1 pint of raspberries and 1/4 cup of sugar in a saucepan for about 10 minutes, or until raspberries break down.

Chocolate: Melt 2 tablespoons of chocolate and stir into milk mixture.

Mango: Chop up 1 mango into large chunks, and add it to the milk mixture. Then add 1 tablespoon shredded coconut to the mixture.

The possibilities are endless with flavors so don't be afraid to get creative!

Until next week!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Vanilla Blackberry Mascarpone Cake

There is way too much cake in my house. There was two last week and two this week if I count shattered one that stuck to the pan.
That brings me to my next point. This week I had some major issues trying to get the cake out of the pan. First, I used nonstick cooking spray, and I tried then buttering and flouring it. Both didn't work very well however, the butter and flour worked better.
This brings me to a point: parchment paper is a must for flat bottomed pans. Based on what I have been reading butter the bottom, then a layer of parchment paper, and the butter and flour the parchment, should work best.

However, the recipe this week is a great cake for any occasion. It's pretty light, and has a great amount of flavor.

Vanilla Blackberry Mascarpone Cake

From with edits to: Erica's Sweet Tooth
Yields 1 9 inch cake

For the cake:
2-1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter 2 9" cake pans. Place a layer of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, and butter and flour the top of the parchment.
In a medium bowl, combine milk, egg whites, almond extract, and vanilla extract and beat with a fork or whisk until blended. In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, mix the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the cubes of butter a few at a time, continuing to beat on low speed for another 2-3 minutes.
Slowly add all but 1/2 cup of the milk to the flour mixture and increase speed to medium for 1-2 minutes. Add the rest of the milk and continue to beat for another minute. Pour batter evenly among the cake pans. Bake the cake for about 27 to 30 minutes and the cupcakes for 20-23, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the blackberry mascarpone filling:
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 pint blackberries
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the mascarpone cheese and blackberries on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar slowly, add the vanilla, and then beat for another 2-3 minutes. 

For the vanilla buttercream:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 to 4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat well until completely mixed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat for another 1-2 minutes until smooth. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. (You want it to be easily movable, but still thick.)

For assembly:
Level your cake layers and transfer the bottom layer to a cake circle or cake plate. With a large round tip, pipe an outline of vanilla buttercream on top of the layer and then fill the circle in with the blackberry mascarpone filling. The buttercream creates a nice dam for the filling so it doesn't leak out.
Stack the other layer on top and apply a crumb coat of buttercream frosting to the entire cake. Place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes, then complete your final layer of frosting.

Here is a video on crumb coating if you need some instruction.

Hope you enjoy!
Until next week!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cake Decoration Class

It's staring to become spring, a very welcome season change. A few days ago, as well, we had an amaryllis plant that just bloomed for the first time. I thought I would share it just because it is such a beautiful flower.

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to take a cooking class at a great cooking school in Minneapolis called Kitchen Window. The class was cake decorating, and I learned a ton! Of, course my piping isn't super great yet, and trying to smooth out a cake just makes me put more craters in it, but I am definitely coming along.
I learned some basic borders, flowers, and designs to do with the spatula. Then, the class continued on with advanced flowers, proper filling techniques, and how to properly pour fudge onto a cake to get a perfect drizzled edge. I loved working with the instructor who was very knowledgeable and really helped me with some issues that I had during the class with piping.

But, if this seems interesting to you, I would highly recommend taking a cake decorating class as a great jumping off point into cake design.
There are plenty of online classes too you can sign up for, if you can't make it to a class!

Here if one of the cakes I made during the class:

I only had time for some quick snapshots this week, cause it has been very busy.
Until next week!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Chocolate Brioche

Mmmm, what better way to spend breakfast than with a nice piece of freshly baked bread with a hint of chocolate. It's been a busy week here for me, so I needed some fresh warm bread to help me wind down.

I'm also very excited to take a cake decorating course next weekend, so there isn't going to be a dessert, but I will write about the experiences I had at the course.

But back to the warm chocolate bread...
Brioche is, in my opinion, a great morning bread. It warm, soft, sweet, and just hits the spot.
This recipe can be made the night before, and the baked in the morning for a perfect breakfast.

Chocolate Brioche

Makes 12 small brioches
From (with small edits): Foodagraphy

For the dough:
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2+2tbs cup whole milk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, diced and at room temperature

For the filling:
5 1/2 tbsps milk
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsps flour
1 1/2 tbsps cocoa powder
1 tbsp butter

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the butter and mix until it forms a rough dough. On an unfloured surface, start kneading the dough incorporating the butter as you do so until it forms a smooth ball; around 8 minutes. Dough may seem extremely buttery initially while you are kneading the butter in but don’t worry, as you continue to knead, the buttery dough will become become soft and pillowy. Place the dough back into the bowl— cover with a light cloth— and leave in a warm place for 2 hours or until double in size. Here’s where you can leave them overnight to proof.

For the filling, bring the milk to the boil. While it’s heating, mix the egg white and sugar in a bowl until combined. Mix in the flour and cocoa powder and beat until incorporated. When the milk is boiling, pour it over the cocoa mixture, whisking as you go. Transfer back into the pan, and continue to cook on medium heat until thick. Mix in the butter. Spread it on a baking tray lined with plastic wrap or parchment. Freeze till firm, a least 1 hour.*

Remove any air from the brioche dough by gently patting it down, then roll it into a rectangle. Place the cocoa filling in the middle, then fold the dough over it, sealing the ends together. Roll into a longer rectangle and fold once more. Repeat the folding one more time, then roll the dough back into your original rectangle. Roll the dough onto itself to form a log. Trim the ends, then using a sharp knife, slice into 3cm-thick segments. Butter a muffin tin or biscuit cutters and place the slices into them, cut side up. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipe Notes:

*Watch out while freezing the chocolate. Parts will be firm before others. Keep it in the freezer longer than you think you need. I didn't and ended up just spreading it on the dough. It made things a bit messier trying to roll out the dough, but it did work.

Until next week!