Monday, April 12, 2010

Favorite Frostings

I'm late in posting this but I have to share my two favorite frosting recipes. I made two other batches (two dozens each) of birthday cupcakes aside from the ice cream cones ones a while back. One batch was for Miss T's birthday party at the bowling alley and the other was for my niece Sara. As mentioned before, I am still in process of trying to find that perfect vanilla cupcake recipe. So no cake recipe here yet. Butter cream frosting though, everyone's favorite is definitely the French Butter cream. The thing to keep in mind regarding this recipe is that because of the high amount of egg yolks, it has a pale yellow color that may not work if you want to color it to a specific color. Miss T wanted pink frosting, of course. Instead of pink, I could only get a salmon color out of it.

Vanilla cupcakes with French Buttercream

French Butter Cream Frosting

6 egg yolks, room temperature
1 lb of butter (4 sticks), room temperature
6 oz sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tsp vanilla

Using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks until it is light. While the eggs are whisking, heat sugar and water until 240F. Pour the sugar syrup in a stream in the egg yolk slowly. Let it whisk until the mixture is cool. Cut up the room temperature butter into pieces. Put butter in one piece at a time, adding the next one only when the previous one have been incorporated. The frosting can be made ahead. If it is just the night before, I would just leave it on the counter. I put in the refrigerator and ended up with a block of butter the next morning. Just let it rest and get close to room temperature again. Stick it back in the mixer and whip it back up.

More cupcakes!!

My second favorite frosting recipe is a Swiss Meringue Frosting. The process and recipe is exactly the same as the French Butter Cream recipe, except use 5 egg whites instead of the yolks. Whip the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until stiff peaks. Then just pour the hot sugar syrup in the egg whites in a slow stream. You could start adding the butter right after the sugar syrup. The mixture will look a bit too light and foamy right up until your last stick of butter, then all of a suddenly it will look like butter cream.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Biscuits that I will probably never make again...

brown sugar black pepper biscuit

I had biscuits like these a few weeks ago with my chicken and waffles that are topped with a brown sugar/black pepper topping. I liked them so much that I wanted to try to make them at home. I don't, however, have the time/energy to make biscuits from scratch first thing in the morning. So the biscuits are from a tube. You know, the ones that pops really loud when you finally break the seal? I know I know, processed/package food are mostly bad for you with all kinds of gross chemicals and trans fat. I can't deny the convenience of having prepared packaged food though so I do buy them and checks the ingredients list closely. These I found at Trader Joe's and the ingredient lists are acceptable to me. I mixed up some brown sugar with freshly cracked black peppers and topped each with a generous spoonful. Bake as directed. While they are sitting in the kitchen cooling on the counter, Miss T walked in and said, "I smell something." Then she proceed to throwing up all over herself. She is still reminding me now, two weeks later, that I am not to make those biscuit anymore because it made her threw up. So, as much as I liked them, I will probably never make them again. I encourage other people to try them though, as I do think they are quite delicious.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Salted Caramels

A couple of weeks ago, Chris decided to take Miss T up for a couple more days of ski school while there are still snow. I don't remember having a couple of days by myself for a long time and definitely not since she was born 3 years ago. So what to do with myself? Make caramels of course! I saw the recipe on Good Eats with soy sauce as one of the ingredients. Now I can never resist odd ingredient in recipe to see how it works together. The morning after they left, I started my day boiling sugar.
boiling sugar

Boil until it is nice and dark. (I only took the caramel up to 325F instead of the 350F that the recipe asked for, too afraid to burn it.) Add the cream and butter and bring it back up to 255F.
caramelizing sugar

Pour into the prepared pan and let cool for half an hour.
salted caramels

I got some pink salt from Trader Joe's to sprinkle on. Don't have to be pink salt of course, I just wanted an excuse to buy it.
pink salt

Sprinkle the salt on top. I think I will cut back on the salt here, 1 tsp was quite a bit.
salted caramels

Let it cool for another 3 hours. In my case, the whole day since I left and went shopping with my cousin in Napa and had dinner at Ad Hoc before going home. Cut into little squares and wrap with wax or parchment paper.
salted caramels

Easy to make and you get a lot of it. Perfect for sharing with unsuspecting coworkers.