Sunday, September 21, 2008

Farmers Market Blueberry Cupcakes

A few months ago I heard about Trophy Cupcakes while watching "Cupcake Week" on the Martha show. Since then I've become obsessed with cupcakes and got really excited when I saw this recipe featured on their site.

These cupcakes took me about 3 hours to make, but were a lot of fun. They should not take 3 hours, but since I STILL do not have a Kitchenaid stand mixer, it took me a little longer plus I messed up. For the meringue you have to beat the egg whites for about 10 minutes or so and I had to do that twice (by hand-mixer) because I ruined the first batch. Whenever you need to beat egg whites for airy meringues or souffles do not allow a speck of egg yolk into the bowl or they will not fluff up at all. I was whipping and whipping away for like 20 minutes until I decided to "Google" my problem and found out what was wrong. So lesson learned.

Here are my thoughts about the overall outcome. I thought the meringue was really really buttery. I should have know better since Swiss Meringue is supposed to be buttery. The recipe called for a whole pound of butter for the frosting alone. Yep, that's right... 4 whole sticks of butter! It does make a lot though and I have to say the consistency was dreamy. It was the perfect piping frosting. The cake part was a tad dry and almost tasted more like a muffin.

I still really liked these cupcakes, but will try to tweak a few things next time and will try a different meringue recipe.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Steak Salad

I'm a really big fan of salads, especially when they can serve as a meal all in itself.

Since my recent discovery of the flat iron steak, I really wanted to try this recipe. Flat iron steak is best when marinated so I just use a little bit of olive oil and really good steak seasoning. Let it sit room temperature for about 30 minutes, grill it, then slice into strips. Goes great with grilled asparagus, our favorite.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

S'more Tart

I made this tart a few weeks ago for a family picnic. You really can't go wrong when it comes to s'mores or marshmallow..anything. I don't know anyone who doesn't love them.

I used Callebaut (it's the best) semi-sweet chocolate for the filling, but I will probably use bittersweet next time. It was very sweet.

This was a lot of fun to make, but a nifty little kitchen torch would of come in handy to toast the marshmallow topping. I think I left it in the oven too long because the topping started to melt a little bit.

S'more Tart
adapted from a lot of sources

For the crust:
1-1/4 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix all ingredients until well blended.
Bake 8 min. or until lightly browned; cool completely.

For the filling:
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate or semi-sweet, chopped finely
1 cup heavy cream, (I used half-n-half because that's all I had)
1 large egg, at room temperature for 30 minutes
pinch of salt

Put chocolate in a large bowl. Bring cream just to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, then pour hot cream over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then gently whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Gently whisk in egg and a pinch of salt until combined and pour into graham cracker crumb crust (crust will be about half full). Bake until filling is softly set and trembles slightly in center when gently shaken, about 25-30 minutes. Cool pie to room temperature on a rack (filling will firm as it cools), about 1 hour. (I chilled in the refrigerator to speed up the process.)

For the topping:

1 7-ounce jar Marshmallow Creme
3 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar

Scrape the jar of marshmallow creme into a big bowl and set aside.

Beat the egg whites with salt in another large bowl until foamy. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff and glossy peaks form. This can take 7-10 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of the beaten egg whites to marshmallow creme and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions until just incorporated. Spread or pipe meringue over top of cold pie. Swirl with a knife to create peaks or use the pastry bag to do the same. ( I used a big star tip to pipe the top).

Bake pie just until peaks and ridges of marshmallow meringue are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Don't walk away from the oven! Or if you have a kitchen torch, use that to lightly brown the peaks. Let stand at room temperature until meringue is cool. Enjoy!