grapefruit lemon butter bars

via epicurious and bowl licking
makes 12 bars

20 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup grapefruit juice + zest
1/2 cup lemon juice + zest
1 cup sugar 
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 and line 8x8 baking pan with foil. Whisk 2 tbsp powdered sugar and 2 tbsp sugar. Cream 10 tbsp butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Then mix flour in two batches. Pat dough into pan and prick holes all over surface with a fork. Bake for 30-40 minutes until edges are lightly browned and top is golden pale. 

Meanwhile, in a saucepan whisk together egg yolks, juices, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat until curd thickens enough to coat back of a spatula. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until completely incorporated. Strain through a strainer, then whisk in zest.

When the shortbread is baked, remove from oven and lower heat to 300. Pour the curd over the shortbread and bake for another 10 minutes. Cool completely then refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the curd set before cutting into bars.

2 notes

chocolate salted caramel cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream frosting

via 20 something cupcakes and picky cook
makes 12 cupcakes

for the cupcakes:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 large eggs
6 tbsp buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tbsp cup warm water

for the filling:
2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 teaspoons flaked sea salt, preferably Fleur de Sel

for the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted 
Pinch of salt 
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped 
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
2 tbsp milk 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners. Sift together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, add eggs, buttermilk, oil, extract, and the water; beat until smooth and combined.

Spoon the batter into liners about two-thirds full. Bake approximately 15-17 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Transfer tins to wire racks and allow to cool for 10 minutes; turn cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Then using a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped piece (about 1/2 inch deep) from the center of each cupcake and throw away the pieces. Make the salted caramel.

Heat sugar with the water and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until syrup is clear; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan and stop stirring.

Cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed. Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized and just reaches 360°F. Remove from heat and slowly pour in cream; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt.

Let cool for about 15 minutes; if caramel begins to harden reheat gently until pourable. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons warm caramel into each hollowed-out cupcake. The caramel will slightly sink into the cupcake – just add a bit more. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over filling.

For the frosting, beat butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat to combine, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.

Add vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract, and beat to combine. Slowly add milk and continue beating on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. 

Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 1 month in air tight containers.

1 note

red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

adapted from joy the baker
makes 12 cupcakes

for cupcake:
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp red food coloring gel
2 tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp distilled white vinegar

for frosting:
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 tbsp butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, cold

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add egg, then scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl combine espresso powder and warm water, then mix in cocoa, vanilla, and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. Stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and salt and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.

Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.

Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting. 

Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, at least a few minutes. Turn mixer to low and slowly add in butter and powdered sugar. Turn to medium-high and beat until sugar has dissolved into frosting and is not grainy.

1 note

vanilla bean and cocoa nib meringues

adapted from joy the baker
makes 12-18 cookies 

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 vanilla bean, split and scrapped of seeds
1 splash of vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa nibs

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together granulated sugar and vanilla bean scrapings with the back of a spoon.  Press the vanilla bean scrapings into the sugar until well distributed and fragrant.  Set aside.

Clean and dry the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  Add egg whites and beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  Add pinch of salt and cream of tartar.  Increase speed to medium high and beat to soft peaks.  The egg whites will be white and foamy, with large but tight bubbles.

Gradually add the granulated sugar, increasing the mixer speed to high.  Beat for about 3 minutes on high speed, until stiff, glossy peaks form.  Egg whites will be spoonable, but keep their shape when dolloped onto a baking sheet.  Once thick, remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in cocoa nibs and vanilla extract (if you didn’t use vanilla bean).

On prepared baking sheet, dollop out egg white mixture by the two tablespoonful.  Space about 1-inch apart, although the meringues won’t spread as they bake.  Place in the oven and allow to cook for 60 to 70 minutes.  Meringues will brown sightly on the top and feel hollow to the touch.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Remove from the parchment and serve with coffee or mint tea.

Meringues will last, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.  

0 notes

apple crumble bars

adapted from smitten kitchen and h2 photography
makes 12 -15 bars

filling:
5 apples, peeled, cored, and diced into chunks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon

crust/crumble:
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks)
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch pan.Mix the apples with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, cinnamon and lemon juice (make sure you zest it before juicing). Set aside.

Stir together 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and 3 cups flour. Mix in salt and lemon zest. With a fork, blend the butter and egg until dough has crumbly texture.

Pour half the dough into the greased pan and pat down into a single layer (don’t overwork the dough or else the butter will melt). Pour in the apple mixture, spreading it evenly over the first layer. Crumble in the remaining dough over the apples.

Bake for 45 minutes until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

0 notes

rice pudding

adapted from nigella lawson’s nigella bites
serves 3 rich portions or 1 really bad break-up

2 3/4 cups milk (recipe specifies whole milk but i couldn’t tell the difference from fat free lactaid)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or replace with 1/4 vanilla bean or just use vanilla sugar above)
3 tbsp heavy cream

Microwave 2 cups of milk for 1 minute (enough to almost boil but not quite). Pour into a pan with the rest of the milk and keep at a simmer. Recipe turned off the heat but making the rice pudding took so long it would have been cold.

Meanwhile melt butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a heavy-based pot. When it starts to turn into a pale caramel, add the rice and stir to coat evenly. Gradually, slowly ladle in the milk, constantly stirring the rice so that a skin doesn’t form. Only add more milk when most has been absorbed by the rice. Recipe said to start checking for doneness at 20 minutes, but it took almost 50 minutes for me. 

When the rice is thick, plump, and sticky (whatever doneness you want for yours), remove from heat and stir in 1/2 tbsp of sugar (add more if you want more sweetness), the vanilla, and heavy cream.

Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon or grated chocolate.

1 note

chocolate pots

via Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef Takes Off
serves 4 (or 2 if you’re greedy)

1 cup light cream
7 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
2 large egg yolks
3 tbsp brandy (or any alcohol that you think goes well with chocolate)
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp butter 

Optional: 1 tsp of espresso powder and/or vanilla extract

Heat the cream until nearly boiling. Remove from heat and add brandy (book says to add at the very end but it turned out way too strong). Pour over chocolate, let it sit for a minute, and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Beat in egg yolks and stir until smooth. Allow to cool slightly before stirring in the butter. Pour into individual serving pots.

Book notes: if you don’t allow the chocolate mixture to cool a little before adding the butter, it will look like chocolate has split. Rectify by letting it cool more and adding some cold milk until consistency is smooth again. Also, if texture is too rich, whip the egg whites (leftover from the 2 yolks) until they are stiff and fold into chocolate mixture before pouring into pots.

6 notes

chewy molasses chocolate chip cookies

makes 3 dozen cookies
via joy the baker

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon dark molasses, not blackstrap
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups dark chocolate chips or chunks
sea salt for sprinkling on top of cookies just before baking

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, mix the granulated sugar and molasses until no large molasses clumps remain. Look at that! You just made your own brown sugar!

Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the homemade brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough for about 20 minutes, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Lightly sprinkle each dough ball with a few flecks of sea salt. It really brings out the chocolate flavor.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. I like these cookies to be just a bit under-done. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

chocolate yogurt snack cakes

via smittenkitchen
makes 16-19 cupcakes

7 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (125 ml) plain, whole-milk yogurt
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (David recommends aluminum-free baking powders, such as Rumford or Bob’s Red Mill, as do I)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners or lightly butter the pan. Or, if you’re Deb and have to be fancy dust off that much-neglected mini-springform pan and coat it with a nonstick spray.

2. In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt the chocolate with 1/4 cup of the oil. Once melted and smooth, remove from the heat. (Alternately, you can do this in the microwave on high for 30 seconds, then in 15 second increments, stirring well between each until smooth.)

3. In another bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 cup oil with yogurt, sugar, eggs and vanilla and almond extracts.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the yogurt mixture. Stir lightly a couple times, then add the melted chocolate and stir until just smooth.worked better for me to slowly incorporate dry into wet batter. also make sure to sift dry, otherwise you get lumps.

5. Divide the batter among the muffin or springform cups (two mini ice cream scoops) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (less for mini-springforms, more for muffins, though your oven may vary) or until they feel barely set in the middle and a tester or toothpick comes out clean. start checking after 18 min.

6. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before serving with coffee and a nice dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream and any berries you can scrounge up in your fridge. Or, you know, as is.

Do ahead: These cakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for four days.

10 notes