Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

27
Aug
09

A lesson in decadence – homemade ice cream and chocolate peanut butter cake

This week has been a lesson in decadence indeed…. So far I’ve made two of the creamiest creations in my short baking experience in the last couple days!  Ah, and what fun it is to see people innocently enjoy the fruits of my labor 🙂  Surprisingly, these desserts were quite simple to make… I just wouldn’t recommend eating them every week unless you have the metabolism of Michael Phelps.

The first dessert I will spotlight is just plain homemade ice cream.  Well, not entirely plain, as I added some macerated strawberries to the mix to give it a bit more flavor.  Thanks mom for the great ice cream machine for my birthday 🙂  I just had to put it to good use immediately, much to the delight of my coworkers.  Normal ice cream is actually quite easy to make, though I eventually plan to expand my repertoire to more complex frozen desserts such as sorbet and gelato.  But we all need to get started somewhere, right?

I remember making ice cream from scratch in middle school using a big oatmeal can and rock salt.  Wow, sure that was fun, but what a lot of work!  And I’ve even seen modern ice cream machines require the use of a crank or something… maybe good exercise, but come on, we live in an era of convenience now 🙂  Thanks to my new trusty Cuisinart, ice cream can be made in 20 minutes with little more than a flip of a switch!  Ah… technology.  Sometimes it makes me actually appreciate engineering.  Well, almost.

Homemade strawberry ice cream

Homemade strawberry ice cream

Next up, I was asked to bake a birthday cake for my most gracious and knowledgeable bible study leader, Chris Jee.  Hm, seeing as there probably would be more than 20 people attending this surprise potluck, I decided on a very rich birthday cake that I’ve been meaning to make for a while but never mustered the courage.  With the birthday cake slices most likely cut thin, the richness of this cake should be able to appease even the greediest sweet tooth.  To put in a nutshell, the three layers of cake are made of super moist chocolate sour cream batter.  These layers are then connected with a filling and initial frosting of peanut butter cream cheese.  This is chilled then covered with another layer of peanut butter semisweet ganache.  And finally, I sprinkled generous amounts of toffee bits on top.  If you’re getting worried about the health of these servings… well, satisfy that part of your mind with the knowledge that there isn’t really too much sugar involved in this cake.   Then serve yourself a slice of this most decadent dessert guilt free 🙂

Three layers of moist chocolate cake, coated with the PB Cream Cheese, covered with ganache :)

Three layers of moist chocolate cake, coated with the PB Cream Cheese, covered with ganache 🙂

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23
Apr
09

Cream Cheese Tiramisu

Well, time to take a different approach to my desserts and return to my roots.  Tiramisu was probably the second or third dessert I made when I moved to my new apartment last year (around Valentine’s day).  It isn’t exactly “baking”, but it still requires much of the similar preparation.  However, without the baking time included, it’s much faster to prepare than several other desserts, so it’s something to consider if you are short on time.  Just remember that it tastes best after it chills in the refrigerator overnight.

Tiramisu is a funny beast: it’s a traditional Italian dessert, yet there are so many permutations allowed for it.  Normally, it is made with lady fingers soaked in espresso, layered with a cream made of mascarpone cheese and egg yolks.  It did not originally have any liquor, but most modern recipes have some type of coffee or chocolate liquor added into the cream.  The first tiramisu I ever made consisted of the normal mascarpone cheese + egg yolk mixture, with lady fingers that I purchased from the local Kroger’s.  At this point, I didn’t have any kitchen utensils (no stand mixer, food processor, electric beater, etc), so as you can imagine, whipping heavy cream to stiff peaks was a complete hassle.  In fact, I probably stood there beating by hand for a good 15 minutes before Daniel and Sherry showed up at my door, kindly offering to whip it in my stead.  It still took another good 15 minutes before we achieved peaks… this was the exact moment I decided to buy an electric beater 🙂

Cream cheese tiramisu

Cream cheese tiramisu

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15
Feb
09

cupcake truffles

Seems like cupcake truffles are pretty popular lately, so I figured I should I should get in on this craze before it gets outdated 🙂  I was actually inspired to make these things after going to the farmer’s market on Valentine’s day with my friends Rich, Kristine and Eric (how romantic!).  Kristine had recommended these truffles before, but I never seemed to have time to make them.. until now!  Since I had the rest of the day to myself (such a loser), I started looking online for some inspiration, and agreed with Kristine that red velvet cupcake truffles would be perfect for Valentine’s Day weekend 🙂

Red velvet cupcake truffles

Red velvet cupcake truffles

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05
Dec
08

Miracles of Tea

Is there anything more relaxing after a long day than a nice hot pot of freshly brewed tea?  I sometimes feel like tea has the same stress-relieving powers as cigarettes for smokers (except without, you know, the addiction and health problems).   I usually use some Jasmine tea I purchased from New York, along with Green and Rose petal Tea I obtained from Korea.

I recently was fortunate enough to receive a new tea set… unassuming on the surface.

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