Do You Know The Blackberry Muffin Man?

I recently picked another quart of blackberries from my garden and decided some fresh blackberry muffins would be a nice treat. Actually, half of the QA department thought it was a good idea and why would I object?

I found this recipe from an Oregon blackberry grower—how could I go wrong? I actually saw the same ingredients, ratios and method on several websites. Well, they all got it right. These are easy, quick and delicious.

Although the blackberries were fresh from the garden I froze them for a couple of hours. This kept the blackberry juice from diffusing out into the muffin batter. I also cut them in half to help the dispersion throughout the batter.

BLACKBERRY MUFFINS
INGREDIENTS

FOR THE BATTTER
• ½ C all-purpose flour
• ¾ C sugar
• ½ t salt
• 2 t baking powder
• ⅓ C vegetable oil
• 1 egg
• 1 t vanilla extract
• ⅓ – ½ C milk
• 1 C fresh frozen blackberries or fresh (cut in half)

FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING
• ½ C sugar
• ⅓ C all-purpose flour
• ¼ C butter melted
• 1 t ground cinnamon
• Optional – ½ t ground cardamom
METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F .
  2. Grease a muffin tin or line with muffin liners.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
  4. Add oil to a 1 cup measuring cup. Add egg and enough milk (⅓ – ½ cup) to fill to 1-cup line. Add vanilla and almond extract (if using) and whisk to combine.
  5. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in blackberries.
    To Make Streusel Topping:
  6. Mix together sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and cardamom with a fork until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  7. Divide batter evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle with streusel topping.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. When muffins are done, cool for a few minutes in the muffin pan before removing to cool on a wire rack.

I Ain’t Gonna Work on Maggie’s Farm No More

My friend, Maggie, and I have been trading recipes, tips and techniques for a while now. A couple of weeks ago she sent me this recipe for her biscuits, and it is outstanding. Making the batter takes 10-15 minutes, then 15 minutes in the oven and they are ready.

I followed her method exactly, except I cut the biscuits out with a 2” circular cutter. I then bunched the leftovers into a ball, patted them out and re-cut, twice. This provide a good sample for our Quality Assurance Department, who graded them A+

Maggie’s Six Biscuits

INGREDIENTS
• 1 tsp Baking Soda
• 1 tsp Salt
• 1 tsp Sugar
• 1⁄2 tsp Baking Powder
• 1 1/2 c AP Flour
• 1 stick Cold Butter
• 3/4 Sour Milk or Buttermilk (I soured whole milk with a bit o’lemon juice)

METHOD

  1. Mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Cut in the butter (fingers or pastry thingie, your choice) til it’s a shaggy mess … remembering
    that the less it’s messed with the flakier it’ll be.
  3. Once it’s at the shaggy mess stage begin adding the liquid a bit at a time until it’s a soft dough …
    keeping in mind then”remembering” bit notes above.
  4. Knead it a tiny bit.
  5. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, pat it into a rectangle about 1/2” high, spread some
    melted butter on it,
  6. Fold in half, pat it into a rectangle about 1” high, spread some melted butter on it.
  7. Cut into 6 pieces, place on parchment papered baking sheet, bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.

Sure, I’ll Pop Right Over

We saw a recipe for strawberry popovers from William Sonoma. I decided to try straw, black and rasp berry popovers. While the taste was spot on, the moisture from the berries retarded the bake on the bottom, resulting in the dreaded soggy bottom. I will try again with some freeze dried berries. Luckily, I also made vanilla ice cream to fill the hole where the popover collapsed from the excess moisture. It won’t fix the problem, but who cares?

The flavor and texture of the popover was very good. Can’t wait to try them with the ice cream! Oh, and I didn’t have any mascarpone cheese, hence the vanilla ice cream.

Strawberry Popovers

INGREDIENTS

• 1 ½ cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk
• 4 eggs
• 1 ½ cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) all-purpose flour
• 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
• 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
• 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
• 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
• 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
• 8 strawberries, hulled and very thinly sliced
• Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
For the mascarpone whipped cream (optional):
• 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
• ½ cup (4 oz./125 g) mascarpone cheese
• 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Place a standard 12-well muffin pan in an oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C).
  2. In a blender, combine the milk and eggs and blend on high speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, granulated sugar, salt, lemon zest and vanilla bean paste and blend on high speed until combined, about 30 seconds, stopping the blender to scrape down the sides as needed. Add the melted butter and blend on high speed for 30 seconds.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven and spray the wells with nonstick cooking spray. Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the prepared wells, filling each about three-fourths full. For each popover, place 4 strawberry slices on the surface of the batter.
  4. Bake the popovers for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C). Continue to bake until the popovers are deep golden brown and the strawberries look slightly dehydrated, 10 to 15 minutes more.
  5. While the popovers are baking, make the mascarpone whipped cream, if desired. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Add the mascarpone cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla and beat until medium peaks form, about 10 seconds.
  6. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the popovers cool in the pan for 3 minutes, then dust with confectioners’ sugar.
  7. Using an offset spatula, remove the popovers from the muffin pan. Serve warm with the mascarpone whipped cream, if desired. Makes 12 popovers.

Don’t Spoonerize a Curd Tart

Raspberry Curd Tart

I have been baking a lot of bread recently. With the self-isolation, several of our friends were unable to find bread in the nearly empty supermarkets and as I really like to bake I am giving a lot of bread away – a loaf or two a day. Luckily, I bought an extra 10 lbs of bread flour a couple of weeks ago, along with 5 lbs of AP flour and 4 lbs of sugar.

Today, I am taking a break from bread. I made a raspberry curd filled tart. I really like my chocolate tart with orange drizzle, but saw and adapted the Raspberry Curd to use with my tart shell. Luckily, the curd can be made in advance and refrigerated so today I only had to make the tart shell. (Don’t let me kid you. I also made 2 loaves of white sandwich bread for friends.)


INGREDIENTS

Raspberry Curd
• 3 cups raspberries
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 tsp Meyer lemon zest
• 2 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice
• 2 Tbsp water
• 2 large egg yolks
• 2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 1 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, diced

Tart Shell
• 100 g cold butter cut into small cubes
• 200 g almond flour (I may increase this by 50g, not sure yet)
• 60 g icing sugar
• ½ tsp vanilla
• ¼ tsp salt
• 2 eggs (100g) Topping

METHOD

  1. For the raspberry curd, combine raspberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil (about 5 minutes); reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Place in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Wipe pan clean and strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a cleaned pan and discard solids.
  4. Whisk together egg yolks and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.
  5. Stir yolk mixture into raspberry mixture; bring to a boil over medium-low heat (about 5 minutes). Be careful, the mixture can burn if heat it so high. If it does, do not scrape the bottom of the pan.
  6. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat (the mixture should coat the back of a spoon).
  7. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth.
  8. Place curd into a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
  9. Chill curd in the refrigerator at least 2 hours, or up to 1 week (if making in advance).
  10. For the tart shell: Mix butter with sugar (I break up the chunks of butter by rubbing them into the sugar with my hands)
  11. Add salt then vanilla
  12. Add egg and mix well
  13. Stir in flour. Mix by hand until incorporated. I did this in 3 parts mixing well between each.
  14. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 min until it firms up a bit.
  15. Butter (spray) tartlet pan
  16. Coat hands with flour and press the sticky dough into tart mold
  17. Prick holes in bottom and sides of formed dough
  18. Add pastry weights to the pan
  19. Bake in preheated oven 350o F (175o C) for 17 – 20 min
  20. Remove pastry weights with 5 min left in the bake
  21. Remove pastry shells from pans and let cool on wire rack To assemble tart, spoon raspberry curd into cooled tart shell and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula.
  22. Arrange raspberries over filling in a decorative pattern.
  23. Chill in the refrigerator 2 hours before serving.

Peace on this (and all) Shabbats

Most synagogues host an Oneg after Shabbat services on Friday night. The name Oneg Shabbat means joy of the Sabbath in Hebrew and usually refers to a celebratory gathering held after Sabbath services, often with food and socializing.

Our synagogue, Temple Or Rishon, invites each family to host an Oneg once a year and many do so, often joining efforts with other friends or families. We have baked desserts for the Oneg we host with friends every year. This year I made eclairs and chocolate chip/raspberry bit/ganache covered brownies. These have been favorites of the synagogue membership. The recipes for both can be found at eclairs and brownies.

I made two dozen eclairs.

 

And three dozen brownies. This year I topped them with ground cashews. Last year one friend said they would have been the best brownies he ever had, if they had some nuts on them.

A Remiss is as Good as a Re-mile

I was remiss in not documenting the baking I did for our synagogue’s Oneg (celebration of the joy of Shabbat after Friday night services) a couple of weeks ago. All of the recipes are posted elsewhere. Search this blog for the various key words for more detail.

We were one of three families providing pastries etc for the Oneg. I made Gooey Strawberry Brownies. (Previously I made raspberry brownies so tried strawberry this time.)  Due to the size of the strawberry jammy bits the brownies ended up very moist and “gooey,” which is not a bad thing. Somehow, only half of the brownies made it onto the serving tray, so sadly, the other half had to come home with me.

I also made sweet whipped cream filled, chocolate drizzled profiteroles. I find choux pastries easy to make and freeze well for a last minute snack when invited out, or if friends stop by. I actually saw them online a few weeks ago and decided they would be good to add to my Oneg selection.

There is nothing like a couple of dozen tartlets with cream patisserie filling and blueberry topping. Tartlets and cream patisserie are quick and easy to make, and again the tart shells freeze for future use, if necessary.  It wasn’t necessary to freeze any, they were decimated at the oneg. I like to glaze pastries with apple jelly to add that nice shine. Last year I could not find any apply jelly in the stores, or even anyone who had heard of it, so I made a couple of pints and am still using it.

And finally I decided to make some fig newtons with some of the huge store of figs I have in the cupboard prior to this year’s harvest.

Oh! I almost forgot.  I had some sugar cookies in the freezer so added them to the mix on a whim. A few months ago I froze them in cylinders so I could just cut them into disks and bake them. I used them all up so need to make another batch.

Stairway to Raspberry Heaven

I saw a KAF recipe for Chocolate and Raspberry Brownie Bars. If you are a regular reader, you know I am baking about 800 one and two bite desserts for a fundraiser in March. Since brownies are baked in a sheet pan and cut to bite size, these brownies become a relatively easy way to make 4 dozen desserts (or about 6%) at once.F677178C-384A-4527-AFD1-0640B7565AD4

Basically this is a brownie with both chocolate chips and raspberry jammy bits folded into the batter and coated with a heavy layer of ganache. Once baked, and still warm a thinned coating of seedless raspberry jam is spread over the brownies. (Don’t over bake the brownies!) I cooled the coated brownies in the fridge for a while as I made and cooled to thicken the ganache.

While not essential topping with a raspberry and dusted with confectioners sugar really set this dessert off. (Rats, just ended that sentence with a preposition.)

CHOCOLATE AND RASPBERRY BROWNIE BARS

INGREDIENTS

BROWNIES

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups dark cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Raspberry Jammy Bits
  • 3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon  water

CHOCOLATE GANACHE GLAZE

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoons light corn syrup (20g)
  • 2 2/3 cups (400 g)) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan. To make very even bars, line the pan with aluminum foil before baking, leaving foil sticking up above the edges of the pan.
  2. Crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the sugar and melted butter, stirring until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, chips, and Jammy Bits, again stirring well.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look moist, but not uncooked. Do not overbake! Remove them from the oven.
  7. Heat the seedless raspberry jam with the water, and stir until smooth. Brush over the warm brownies. Set aside to cool for an hour or longer before topping with the ganache.
  8. To make the ganache, heat the cream and corn syrup until they begin to steam. Pour over the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes, add any flavorings, and whisk until smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes or so.
  9. Pour ganache over the brownies while it’s still warm, but has begun to thicken — reheat if it thickens too much as you work. Allow several hours for the ganache to set up fully. You may refrigerate the brownies to hasten the setting of the ganache.
  10. Remove the brownies from the pan using the aluminum foil sling. Heat a knife in hot water, wipe dry and use to cut the brownies. Repeat with each cut.
  11. Just before serving, garnish brownies with fresh raspberries and confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Busy Bakery Day

Here are some samples of one and two bite pastries I am making for a party of about 200 people. We are meeting tonight for a party progress meeting. I decided to give the group a sample of some of the varieties of desserts I am baking for the event.

 

I have both lemon and mango curd filled profiteroles, cream patisserie filled eclairs and tartlets, vanilla cake with pink icing and raspberry drizzle and vanilla cake with chocolate drizzle. There are mini-raspberry cheesecakes, blueberry and apply mini pie bites, chocolate brownie cups with chocolate mousse and a raspberry drizzle. Some of these were made ahead and frozen until today. The tartlets, eclairs, profiteroles and all icings, drizzles and frostings were made this afternoon.

A productive bakery day!

Not My Waterloo

85C73474-EA5B-44BD-83C5-6C3FA75720CFNeapolitans, not Napoleons, one-bite Blueberry Pie and Caramel Sauce while sporting a new Ugandan Youth Center produced apron Neil picked up for me on his trip to Africa last month, made for a good week in the bakery (not to mention the sandwich and NY rye breads… which I did just mention, didn’t I? Sorry ’bout that.)

9E3D9EB7-31C6-4056-A2E2-EB98E5A96B0BThe Neapolitans are chocolate cookie based with a white cheesecake center and raspberry buttercream frosting, cut into 1” squares. Next time, I need to keep any skin from forming on the cheesecake. It kept the frosting from adhering properly.

F226223A-A147-4E15-B8F6-5E3FBAA9DA1AThe Blueberry Bites should be dusted with some coarse sugar after being egg washed to add some sweetness and shine.  The caramelized sugar should add both. I may add a little lemon zest for a little tang.

084CBE55-B2CD-4C2E-9F93-326140831A39The Caramel Sauce will be used later for a Peanut Butter/Caramel/Salted Chocolate petit four, but I had the time and it will keep in the fridge for a longtime so why not? The rest of the dessert will come later this week.

NEAPOLITAN CHEESECAKE COOKIES

https://www.frugalcouponliving.com/neapolitan-cheesecake-brownies/#_a5y_p=4163544

INGREDIENTS (Half Recipe)

COOKIE

  • 1 cup butter, softened (1/2)
  • 2 cups white sugar (1)
  • 2 eggs (1)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (1)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (6 Tbl)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4)

VANILLA LAYER

  • 16 oz Cream Cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Sugar

STRAWBERRY LAYER

  • 1/2 cup softened Butter
  • 6 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Strawberry Preserves (optional)
  • 4-5 drops Red Food Coloring

METHOD

COOKIE

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line a 13×15” pan and set aside. Be sure the paper extends over the sides of the pan.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
  5. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture.
  6. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes in the preheated oven, until top of cookies are completely set.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

VANILLA LAYER

  1. Cream together cream cheese, sugar and eggs until well blended.
  2. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over brownie layer.
  3. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until cheesecake layer is set. 1st try took 25 min
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes until top is no longer warm to the touch.

STRAWBERRY LAYER

  1. Beat butter (and strawberry preserves if using) while slowly add in powdered sugar.
  2. Add in food coloring to achieve pink color, then whip to get uniform color.
  3. Frost cheesecake layer by spreading frosting with a spatula to completely cover.
  4. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

BLUEBERRY PIE BITES

https://www.sugardishme.com/blueberry-pie-bites/

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • about 45 blueberries
  • 2 Tbl raw or turbinado sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)
  • Special Equipment Required:
  • 1½” biscuit cutter
  • pastry brush

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a pan with an edge so the pie bites don’t roll away when you place them in the oven.
  2. Lightly flour a clean work surface and unroll the refrigerated pie crust.
  3. Use a 1½” biscuit cutter to cut all your little pie bite circles out of the refrigerated pie crust.
  4. Place 1 blueberry in the center of each circle. Sprinkle each one with a little sugar (you probably won’t use all the sugar).
  5. Fold up two sides of one of the circles like a taco. The grab the adjacent sides and pinch the corners. This makes a little pocket for the blueberries. You can dip your fingers in egg wash to pinch the corners if you can’t get them to stick.
  6. Brush each bite with the egg wash. Place each bite on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Sprinkle with a little more sugar and bake for about 10 minutes.

CARAMEL SAUCE

16 Servings, Prep Time: 10 Minutes, Cook Time: 15 Minutes

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt

METHOD

  1. Bring the water, sugar, and butter to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not stir the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved in the water. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the caramel has turned golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Carefully pour in a slow, steady stream of cream into the caramel while stirring constantly. The hot caramel will boil vigorously when the cream is added and solidify in areas. Add the vanilla extract and salt. Continue stirring over low heat until the caramel is smooth and creamy, 5 to 10 minutes more. Allow to cool for at least half an hour before using.

 

Which Way to Carnegie Hall?

Everyone knows how to get to Carnegie Hall, right? I am considering making bite size desserts for a gala at our temple with about 200 people expected to attend. Conventional wisdom indicated I will need 4-600 individual desserts. Perhaps you can see why I have not yet committed to this task. Allotting 2-3 desserts per person I should also have 5 or 6 dessert options, too many and it’s overwhelming (for the attendees and the baker!)

blueberry lemon and mango keylime profiteroles

So, back to Carnegie Hall. Practice, practice, practice. For anyone who follows my blog you know mistakes to not leave the house, so I practice everything first. I also experiment with different flavors and combinations. For instance, I made profiteroles last week. One was to be a mango/key lime and the other a lemon/blueberry. They were fine, except the key lime overpowered the mango. I will have to try again. Practice, practice, practice. The lemon was fine, if a bit intense.

vanilla cake and swiss meringue buttercream frosting

A couple of days ago I made some vanilla cake bites with Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting. It was a new cake recipe, I was looking for something a bit lighter, plus a new buttercream. This one uses a Swiss meringue (egg whites and sugar whisked over simmering water in a bain marie. The frosting was delicious but a bit of a pain in the butt. I would use this if I could have  several desserts that use the same frosting. I may just divide it into aliquots and color them differently to make an easy differentiation.

chouxI make choux fairly often so don’t really need to practice, but the little choux pastries are a good way to try the different filling flavors and icings. I made these choux in an hour or two last week, used a dozen or so for experimenting and froze the other 4 dozen. If I decide to do this project I will take a day and make 200 or so. I just need enough freezer space.

This morning I decided to add two new pastries File Jan 10, 10 17 21 AMto my portfolio. The first, and easiest was the chocolate cookies with chocolate mousse filling. I decided to add some shaved milk chocolate and white chocolate over some of them and since I had some raspberry coulis in the fridge, I drizzled that over some to add more color.

pineapple upside down bites.jpeg

Once those were complete and I finished cleaning the kitchen, (yes, I clean everything up between each bake) I started the one bite Pineapple Upside Down cakes. I used the same vanilla cake recipe as last week. It was a little tricky miniaturizing everything and keeping them looking good. Next time I will reduce the amount of pineapple and use a quartered cherry so there will be more room for the cake.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

INGREDIENTS

  • 7 large (210 grams or 7 oz) egg whites
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups (3 sticks or 340 grams) unsalted butter, softened*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt (we use non-iodized fine sea salt)

METHOD

  1. In a medium pot, add at least 1-inch of water and bring to simmer.
  2. Thoroughly wash and dry the stainless-steel mixing bowl from your stand mixer* (you don’t want grease touching meringue). Add 7 egg whites and 2 cups sugar and whisk together.
  3. Place mixing bowl over pot of barely simmering water, creating a seal over the pot (bowl should be over the steam, not touching water). Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 160˚F (takes about 3 min). Sugar should be fully dissolved (you should not feel any sugar granules when rubbing mixture between finger tips). Mixture will feel hot to the touch.
  4. Wipe water from bottom of mixing bowl and transfer bowl to stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff glossy peaks form (about 15-20 min) and bottom of the bowl feels completely at room temp and not warm (important: warm meringue will melt the butter).
  5. Once bowl is at room temp, switch to paddle attachment, reduce to medium speed and add butter 1 Tbsp at a time, adding it just as fast as it is absorbed by meringue. Once all butter is in, scrape down the bowl and continue beating until it reaches a thick whipped consistency (3 min on med-high speed). If it looks lumpy or liquidy at all, keep beating until smooth, thick and whipped.
  6. Add 2 tsp vanilla extract and ¼ tsp salt and mix on med-high until incorporated (about 1 min).

Notes

*Butter should be softened at room temp about 1 hour (more or less depending on your room temperature). It should be slightly cool to the touch and not overly soft or warm. If too soft, refrigerate for 10 minutes at a time.

Vanilla Butter Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk Note: I use 1% milk and add the 2 Tbl as whipping cream

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a cast-iron pan, and dust with all-purpose flour, tapping out excess. Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Fill pan halfway, and bake until golden around edges (time will vary depending on size of pan). Remove from oven, and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Transfer cakes from pan to a wire rack. Let cool. Coat each with glaze just before serving.

Chocolate Mousse Filled Chocolate Cookies

INGREDIENTS (Half Recipe)

  • 1 cup butter, softened (1/2)
  • 2 cups white sugar (1)
  • 2 eggs (1)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (1)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (6 Tbl)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
  4. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture.
  5. Spray Baker’s Joy or similar product into mini cupcake pans and fill ½ full (about a level teaspoon).
  6. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are set.
  7. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 egg yolks (2)
  • ¼ cup sugar (2 Tbl)
  • 1 cup whipping (heavy) cream (1/2)
  • 1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup) (1/2)
  • 1 ½ cups whipping (heavy) cream (3/4)

METHOD

  1. Beat egg yolks in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar.
  2. Heat 1 cup whipping cream in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until hot. Gradually stir at least half of the hot whipping cream into egg yolk mixture; stir back into hot cream in saucepan. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (do not boil). Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, just until chilled.
  3. Beat 1 1/2 cups whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Fold chocolate mixture into whipped cream. Pipe or spoon mixture into serving bowls. Immediately refrigerate any remaining dessert after serving.