Maple Rosemary Bacon Cupcakes

/ Monday, June 22, 2015

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"Did I hear you right? Bacon... Rosemary... Cupcakes?"
It's about the reaction you hear from everyone, followed by a
"This is actually amazing."

I got the whole crazy cupcake idea from watching too much TV (what can I say, I like cooking shows). Shows like Cupcake Wars was my inspiration for this amazing treat (that and the Internet of course).

I've been doing more baking than blogging recently, this recipe was actually from last week, I currently have a strawberry pie in the oven right now that I might make a post about later this week.  I've just been really behind on editing photographs recently, so my food photos have been getting lost in the mix.

See, I'm trying to put together a portfolio to send to colleges in hopes of getting into a BFA program for photography! But, it's a ton of work, and the editing process has been very extensive.

Maple Rosemary Bacon Cupcakes with Candied Pecans
Makes 12 cupcakes
Adapted from: Twigg Studios

For the Bacon:1/2 lbs. bacon
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, pulled apart into small chunks
1/2 cup maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat bacon with maple syrup and sprinkle rosemary. Fry in a meduim sized frypan until crispy. Cool to room temp.
For the Cake: 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbs.  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 whole egg plus 1 egg white, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbs. maple syrup
1/2 cup milk

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg and egg white one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla and maple syrup. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, beating until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.
For the Frosting:200g butter, room temp
250g icing sugar
3 Tbs. maple syrup
Beat butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the icing sugar. Stir in maple syrup. If frosting becomes too thick, add a bit of milk.
For the Pecan Topping:1/2 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup sugar
Toast pecans in a small pan until golden. Remove pecans from pan, and set them side. Place sugar into the pan and allow it to melt. Stir pecans into melted sugar, then remover from heat to cool. Once fully cool, place on top of cupcakes.

I'm now going to pull out my strawberry pie. Until next week!

Kue Cubit

/ Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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I've actually tried out many different recipes this week from a Japanese Water cake to creme brulee. I was going to post about the Japaneses water cake, but it didn't quite work out as recipe translation hasn't been going too well.

However, I have an Indonesian recipe today shown to me by an Indonesian foreign exchange student who is going to my high school this year. It's called Kue Cubit, and its a basically an undercooked, gooey, sweet pancake.
In other words its amazing.

Mine were a little bit over done, actually just perfectly fully cooked, but the point is to have the gooey center.

My second batch, however, was perfect. They key is a low temp oven and keeping a good eye on the cakes, something I can't say I excel at.

Kue Cubit

Yields approx. 18 

For the Kue Cubit:
3 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
a pinch of salt (if you use unsalted butter / margarine)
2 Tbsp. chocolate chips
Preheat oven 325 degrees F. Place chocolate chips in a food processor and pulse until fine. Combine all the ingredients(including the chocolate) together, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.  Butter and flour a cupcake pan. Place 1 1/2 Tablespoons of batter into each cavity, place in oven until set, but the tops are still runny, about 10 min. Keep an eye on these, as they will become overdone quickly. Serve warm.

They are an amazing sweet little snack, and although they aren't traditionally made in a cupcake pan, the adaption works really well! It you want, sprinkle some extra chocolate shavings on top!

Until next week!

Parmesan Savory Scones

/ Sunday, May 3, 2015

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This weekend my friends hosted a great brunch party in order for us to study for finals. Everyone had to contribute, and many people were making sweet things such as lemon blueberry french toast and smoothies. I realized I should go for something savory that can be still eaten for breakfast. I originally had a recipe, but it was the night before the party and, let's face it, I was too lazy to drive to the grocery store.

So, scone recipe aside I dug through my refrigerator and discovered that my family doesn't do that often enough. Between too far gone cucumbers and rosemary sprigs, I didn't find much to go on. (Maybe I shouldn't be so lazy about going to the grocery store.)

However, I found a nice fresh onion from the pantry, and some brand new parmesan cheese that seemed to do the trick.

The great think about the onion, is it gives it tenderness without bad after breath, making the scone perfect for breakfast. 

Parmesan Savory Scones

Makes 8 scones

For the Scones:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup skim milk)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley minced

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until coarse clumps form. (There will feel as if there are too many dry ingredients in the bowl.)
Add eggs, milk, and lemon juice. Mix until well combined. Stir in cheese, onion, and parsley.
Remove from bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead with hands for 1-2 minutes until cheese and onions are well integrated into dough. (The dough will be very sticky, so don't be afraid to use more than a little flour.) Shape dough into circle that is about 1 inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or a knife, divide in half. Cut each half into 4 triangles. At this point, you can freeze the scones. (This is what I did so they could be freshly baked the next day.)
To bake, place scones in a 400 degree F oven on a parchment lined baking dish. Bake for 20 min.

A great idea is to keep them frozen and then bake a few everyday to continuously have fresh scones for breakfast!
They are best served fresh with butter or, if you want them for lunch, with soup.

Coconut Rum Chocolate Mousse Crepe Cake

/ Sunday, April 19, 2015

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It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, I've been extremely busy, but this week I was very excited to try something I've been wanting to attempt for a while: a crepe cake. If you want something that looks very impressive, and tastes amazing this is perfect.

When the cake is topped with candied rum pecans and toasted coconut, basically nothing can go wrong. So even though the recipe list is long and the instructions longer, don't get daunted. It's completely worth it. Kind of reminds me of when I went to Chicago a few weeks ago and stood in line for 45 min to stand on the glass ledges on top of the Willis Tower. It was aggravating and tedious, but well worth it.

Coconut Rum Chocolate Mousse Crepe Cake

From (with edits to): Half Baked Harvest

For the Chocolate Mousse:
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 egg yolks
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum

To make the mousse. In a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate. Microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Stir in the melted butter, it will thicken. Set aside to cool. In a small saucepan whisk together the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons water and sugar. Place on the stove over medium heat and stir constantly until the sauce thickens slightly and just coats the back of a spoon, about 2-3 minutes. Make sure to remove the eggs from the stove the minute they begin to curdle and thicken. Stir the melted chocolate into the egg mixture until completely smooth. Place in the fridge while you whip the cream. Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl using a hand mixer) and whip cream until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and coconut rum (if using) and whip until combined. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like. Now add half the whipped cream with cooled chocolate mixture. Gently fold the cream into the chocolate until no more streaks remain. Add the remaining cream and gently fold into the mousse. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for two hours or overnight.

For Coconut Rum Cream:
1 can coconut milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons rum
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

In a medium saucepan combine the coconut milk and cornstarch. Whisk until the cornstarch is completely dissolved and there are no lumps. Add the sugar, eggs and salt, whisk until smooth. Place the pan on the stove and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Simmer until the cream thickens and is smooth like pudding, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, rum and shredded coconut. Transfer the cream to a bowl, cover and chill two hours or overnight.

For the Crepes:
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup water + an extra 1/4 cup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add butter to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Swirl gently until brown bits appear on the bottom, about 5-6 minutes, then immediately remove from heat and set aside. Combine the eggs, milk, flour, the melted + browned butter, salt, 1 cup water and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds or until well combined. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours. Remove the batter from the fridge and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup water. Heat a 10 inch non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add cooking spray to coat. In a circular motion pour 1/4 cup of batter (I measure it out for every single crepe) into the skillet. Quickly pick the skillet up (using an oven mitt, especially if using a cast iron skillet!) and swirl in a circular motion to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to a cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool on a piece of parchment paper. After 5 minutes or so I like to flip the crepes to make sure they are not sticking to the parchment. Continue until all batter is gone. Makes 20 crepes.

For assembly:1 can very cold coconut milk (chilled in the fridge overnight)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
toasted coconut, for topping
toasted coconut rum pecans, for topping (optional) (coconut rum + brown sugar + pecans)

Place the bowl of a stand mixer and your whisk attachment in the freezer. Lay all 20 crepes out on a large clean counter. Remove the chocolate mouse and coconut cream from the fridge and evenly divide both the mouse and coconut cream among all 20 crepes (10 with chocolate mousse, 10 with coconut cream) and spread in an even, thin layer. Now place one crepe in the center of your serving plate and layer on the rest alternating between the chocolate mousse and coconut cream (one coconut cream layer, one chocolate mouse layer and so on). Do your best to try and keep the stack straight. Once you have used all the crepes and the cake is assembled place it in the fridge while you whip the coconut cream.

Flip your cold can of coconut milk upside down and open it. There should be around 1/2 cup of coconut water at the top. Pour this into a container and save for another use. Scoop out the coconut cream and place in a bowl. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. It will not be stiff like regular whipped cream. Beat in the powdered sugar. Remove the cake from the fridge and top with your desired amount of coconut whipped cream. Place back in the fridge for 30 minutes or until ready to serve. When ready to serve, top the cake with toasted coconut and rum toasted pecans.

So that's it! It can be a little daunting just going through all the parts to this cake, but its really not that bad and the product is well worth it!
Until next week!

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake

/ Sunday, March 29, 2015

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It has been a while hasn't it. Well, last weekend I attempted to make ice cream mochi after being inspired by my trip to United Noodles, the largest Asian Grocery Store in the Mid-West. I bought the special rice flour and everything and was super excited to post about it. Then I actually tried to make it...

Everything started out fine, I got the mochi cut in circles and the ice cream in perfect spheres. However then I actually tried to encase the ice cream in the mochi, and that's when the whole thing became a very literal mess. So I ended with some kind of chocolate soup spilled all over the floor and ended up just eating the sweet rice paste.

Well this weekend I made a cake for my church's bake sale, so after my failure last week I thought I would go with something easier that I have made plenty of times: chocolate cake.

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake

From: Raspberri Cupcakes

For the cake:
 8 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup milk
Grease and line the base of a three two 9 inch cake tins and preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) (lower by 10°C for fan-forced). Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, salt, bicarb soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Using an electric mixer with a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar on high about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated.Mix together the water and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the milk mixture. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients until smooth. Split batter mixture between the prepared tins. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in tin about 5 mins, then place on a wire rack and cool completely before icing. Cake can be baked the night before and stored in an airtight container overnight before assembly.
For the raspberry ganache:
250g good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
150ml heavy cream
125g fresh raspberries, pureed and strained
 Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Heat cream over low-medium heat in saucepan until just boiling, pour over cream and set aside for 5 minutes. Use a whisk to combine mixture until smooth, then gradually add raspberry puree to taste. Chill until it thickens but is still pourable (take care not to leave too long or it will make it hard to spread). This mixture is prone to splitting as it cools, if this happens just reheat the bowl over a simmering saucepan of water and add a bit more cream. Place one layer of chocolate cake on your cake stand and cover with ganache. Sandwich second layer on top and repeat.
For the chocolate ganache:
400g dark chocolate, finely chopped
300ml heavy cream
Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Heat cream over low-medium heat in saucepan until just boiling, pour over cream and set aside for 5 minutes. Use a whisk to combine mixture until smooth. Chill until it thickens and just holds its shape but is still pourable. Use a spatula to spread over the outside of your cake. I used an offset spatula to smooth the surface. Place macarons around the border of the top of the cake. Decorate center of the cake with raspberries. Chill cake until ready to serve, remove from fridge at least 30 mins before serving.
 Until Next Week!

ProStart Culinary State Competition

/ Sunday, March 8, 2015

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Last week I participated in the state ProStart Culinary Invitational. The experience was amazing and I had such a great time!

So, the competition was between 10 teams. We had to cook a three course meal in one hour. But get this, we didn't have electricity. We only had two gas burners (essentially two stove tops). Everything else had to be done by hand in one hour. It was not only stressful, but seemingly impossible. However, my team of four pulled through and we made some amazing dishes.

My team and I prepping our station... as you can tell we are not very organized cooks :)

So I was in charge of the dessert, two people were in charge of the appetizer, and one person was in charge of the entree. (Shown below)

Our appetizer was a salmon cake with apple fennel slaw and harissa aioli (bottom left), our entree was a maple lamb shank with butternut squash, kale, and fragola saute (top), and our dessert was a chocolate panna cotta with rosemary salted caramel sauce, raspberry coulis, bruleed chocolate filled raspberry, candied hazelnuts, and a sugar spike garnish (bottom right).

To pull all that off we had to co-ordinate our every move and every ingredient. It was a crazy experience actually cooking it at the competition as well. While cooking our entree, the wine cork broke and we had to find something to use to push it into the bottle, I also had to gather all my extra sugar after I forgot to reserve some from the sauce for the sugar spike.

In the end, we didn't place, but our food got a ton of attention from cooking a lamb shank in one hour.

My dessert was highly praised and the chef told me he had tasted Sous Chef try-outs that didn't taste as good as what I had done! That of course was amazing to hear and made the experience all the more worthwhile.

Interested in knowing more? Check out the ProStart website!

Also, I made fortune cookies this week, but I'm not sure if I have time for pictures so I hope I can get those up sometime soon!
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