Monthly Archives: April 2012

Sweet & Salty Chocolate Guinness Pie

So my friend Chelsea came to visit for a week.  She used to live in Brooklyn, but moved to Kansas City, but is back for a week long conference.  Chelsea is not only a friend, but an avid reader of this blog!  I asked her what she would like for me to make her and she asked for Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, yes these are delicious, but I’m a little tired of making them.  If it was beer and chocolate she wanted, I had just the recipe I wanted to try!

Clearly I’m on a bit of a pie kick.  Pies are like the ultimate dessert, they are fancy, but not as formal as a cake.  And I think pies are relatively impressive for your guests.  Not everyone can make a good pie!  Also, I don’t have as many opportunities to make a good pie, so I like to make one when I get the chance.

This pie starts with a salty sweet crust.  The idea of using pretzels in the crust is genius!  So good and crunchy.  My crust was kind of crumbly so I upped the amount of butter in the recipe below, let me know how that works out for you!  The chocolate-Guinness pudding is A-mazing!  So rich and flavorful and perfectly creamy.  The beer marshmallow on top is fun and a relatively light topping, it really completes the pie!  As you can see from the pictures, I looked away from the broiler for 20 seconds and the top got a little dark.  Stacey said she liked the burnt marshmallow on top, use your own judgment and watch carefully!   There are kind of a lot of steps involved, but that’s the fun part for me!

Print the recipe.

Sweet & Salty Chocolate Guinness Pie
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
Yield – 8-12 servings from a 9” pie

3/4 cups crushed pretzels
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
3 tablespoons + 1/2 cup + 1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks + 2 egg whites
1/4 + 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup +1/2 cup Guinness
1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate – I used 60%
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons water
10 large marshmallows

Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease the bottom of a 9” pie pan.
  2. In a food processor crush the pretzels and the graham crackers.  Melt the butter in the microwave.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the crumbs, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar.
  4. Press the crumbs into the pie plate and bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Chocolate Filling

  1. Whisk together 4 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar in a small bowl.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of Guinness and the heavy cream to a medium sauce pan.  Cook until hot, but not boiling.
  3. Break up the chocolate, remove the Guinness mixture from the heat, and add in the chocolate.  Stir together until the chocolate is melted.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture slowly into the egg yolk mixture whisking the whole time.  Pour everything back into the saucepan.  Add in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the cornstarch and stir to combine.
  5. Heat until thickened and then pour into the pie crust.  Place in the fridge.

Marshmallow topping

  1. Place 1/2 cup of Guinness in a small saucepan and heat until the Guinness is reduced to 2 tablespoons.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Build a double boiler and whisk together 2 eggs, 1 cup sugar, and the water in a medium bowl over simmering water.
  3. Heat and whisk the mixture until there is no longer a gritty texture.  Remove from the heat and add in the marshmallows.
  4. Stir together and then place back over the double boiler until the marshmallows are all melted.  Stir in the reduced Guinness.  Pour over the chocolate mixture.
  5. Place in under the broiler for 60-90 seconds or until the top is browned – be careful, pay attention!
  6. Place in the fridge overnight.  Decorate with extra pretzels.  Use a warm knife to cut.

 

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S’more cookies

My friend, Ms. Rossi, is pretty awesome!  She teaches 4th grade at Clay Elementary School and she showed her students this blog.  They said such nice things about my baking, so I wanted to send them a special treat!  Here you go boys and girls, enjoy your s’more cookies, let me know what you think!

These cookies taste just like s’mores!  They are gooey and chocolaty and the graham cracker bottom provides just the right crunch. I really like the crunch of the graham cracker on the bottom, it allows the cookie to be softer without compromising the functionality.  Also, these s’more cookies are super easy to make.  The recipe makes 40 large cookies, it’s definitely a keeper.

Print the Recipe

S’more Cookies
Adapted from Glorious Treats
Yield – 40 cookies

20 graham crackers broken into halves (40 pieces)
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows + more for putting on top
10 fun-pack sized Hershey’s broken into 4 pieces each

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Spread out the halves of graham crackers and bake for 5 minutes.  Let cool while you prepare the dough.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one at a time and then beat in the vanilla.
  4. Add the flour, soda, and salt to the mix and beat until just combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips and 1 cup of marshmallows. I had to use my hands to mix everything together.
  6. Use a medium sized cookie scooper to scoop the dough on top of each square of dough. Bake for 5 minutes.
  7. Add one piece of a Hershey’s bar and two mini marshmallows per cookie.  Bake for another 5 minutes.
  8. Let cool for a few minutes on the pan and then use a metal spatula to separate squares and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Chai Buttercream

If you want some deliciousness in a bite, these are the cupcakes for you! I am usually not a fan of recipes that require you to go out and buy special or hard to find ingredients, but here is one.

Over Easter weekend I went with my roommates to Vermont with the primary focus of visiting the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. After the sugar high from the Mini-Vermonster faded, we needed a hit of sugar fast! So we went maple sugar tasting! There were many Elf-ish moments.

There is Grade A Fancy, Grade A, Grade A Amber, and Grade B. As you go down the list the maple syrup becomes darker and more flavorful. Maple syrup is not limited to just grades, there are many infused maple syrups like vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, and chai. I tasted many maple syrups and the chai is amazing!!!! You can get some here!

When I first tasted the chai maple syrup visions of cupcakes began dancing in my head, specifically pumpkin cupcakes! I love pumpkin, it’s one of my favorite foods! Usually pumpkin is more of a fall food, but who cares, maple syrup is made in the spring!

The pumpkin cupcake is moist and tender. As an extra bonus, this cake recipe is super easy, no mixer required!  Everything comes together in one bowl and mini cupcakes are best! The Swiss meringue buttercream on top is to die for!! I love Swiss meringue buttercream and it is much easier than it gets credit for. The frosting is incredibly smooth and creamy and it absorbs the chai maple syrup perfectly!

Print the Recipe.

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Chai Buttercream
Yield – 28 mini cupcakes
Pumpkin cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart
Maple Chai Swiss Meringue Buttercream adapted from my Bellini Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 can (7.5 ounces) pumpkin purée

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and melt the butter in the microwave. Place the melted butter in the fridge to cool down.
  2. Sift together the flour, soda, powder, salt, and spice onto parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the butter and the sugars. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the pumpkin.
  4. Whisk in the dry ingredients until everything is well combined.
  5. Using a medium size scoop, scoop the batter into lined mini cupcake pans.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.

Maple Chai Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons chai maple syrup
pumpkin pie spice

  1. Pour about an inch of water into a small saucepan and place the bowl from your stand mixer on top. Make sure the bottom of bowl is not touching the water.
  2. Add the egg whites, sugar, and salt to the bowl of the stand mixer on the double boiler. Heat and whisk until the mixture is frothy and there is no longer any grittiness.  About 6 minutes.
  3. Move the bowl to the stand mixer and use the whisk attachment. Whisk for 7-10 minutes until the outside of bowl is cool and the mixture has stiff peaks.
  4. With the machine running, add in butter one tablespoon at a time. Just keeping whisking until everything is well combined. Scrape the bowl as needed.
  5. Add in the maple syrup and beat until mixed.
  6. Use a rubber spatula to fold the frosting together and then scoop into a pastry bag with a 1M tip. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.

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Pulled Salsa Chicken {Roommate Dinner}

Here is a little known fact – I do eat meals!  On the weekdays I usually eat a salad with soup or make a sandwich or eat the same entrèe for 4 nights in a row.  It can be tedious cooking for one.  On Sunday nights the roommates and I like to share a roommate dinner.  We make real meals with salad, entrèe, and dessert.  When this tradition started a few years ago over on Clinton Ave., it was just Ruth and I taking turns.  When Stacey started cooking, she joined the rotation.  So every 3 weeks, I search my Pinterest board for the perfect dish to inspire my roommate dinner.

I knew this dinner would need to be a make ahead one because we had been on Spring Break (the joys of living with teachers!) all week and were going to see a mantiee of the Newsies on Broadway.  By the way, Newsies is awesome, very fun with excellent dancing and singing.  We sat on the porch drinking some Skinny Girl Margaritas, eating, chatting, and enjoying the close a beautiful week!

The tacos were super easy to make!  Just dump the ingredients in the crock pot, turn it on for a few hours, come back, shred, and mix together.  There was a lot of flavor and all they needed was a little dollop of gauc and 0% Greek yogurt.  Delicious!  I made everything in the morning before the show, covered it well, and put in the fridge.  All I had to do when we got home was shred the chicken, set the table, and put everything out.

Menu

  1. Pulled chicken tacos – see recipe below
  2. Mixed greens with tomato, avacado, red onion, and lime vinegrette
  3. Guacamole made in the style of Mexico according to Ruth
  4. Grasshopper Pie

Pulled Chicken Tacos
Adapted from That’s So Michelle
Yield – 5-6 servings

1.34 pounds skinless chicken breasts (obviously the amount can vary some, my chicken had bones in)
2 jars salsa (I used one medium and one mild to control the heat level)
1 can (15 ounces) drained and rinsed black beans
8-12 small tortillas (I put the leftover chicken on a salad)
Greek yogurt or sour cream
Guacamole
Cilantro for garnish

  1. Place the chicken, beans, and salsa in a crock pot.  Turn on low and cook at least 6 hours or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
  2. Pull the chicken out the crock pot and let cool for a few minutes.  Using 2 forks, pull the chicken apart and add back into the salsa and bean mixture.
  3. Heat the tortillas in the microwave for about 45 seconds.
  4. Scoop some of the mixture on a small tortilla, I recommend 2 per person, and top with a dollop of yogurt and guacamole.

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Red Velvet Brownie S’more Bars

These bars can be served two ways – fresh from the oven on a plate with a fork or day old in bar form.  After many taste tests, I can attest that both ways are equally as delicious!  The first way is super gooey, warm, and comforting.  The second way is easier to handle and is much more toothsome.

I made the bars on Tuesday and of course the roommates wanted to try some right away.  I tried to protest and saying they needed more time to cool, but obviously I did not protest too hard, because I too wanted to try the bars!  Since it was a beautiful spring evening, I brought the bars out to the deck for eating.  As you can see, it was messy.  Stacey agrees that these were well worth the mess!  I told her to make a face that shows how much she is enjoying the red velvet brownie s’more bars – she made a great face!

To combat the gooey-ness, I put the rest of the pan in the fridge and cut into pieces Wednesday night.  At first it was little rough to cut the bars, but once I got a little out, I was able to remove the whole thing from the pan and put my weight into cutting.  I then boxed up the bars and took to work on Thursday.

Let’s just say these little, gooey bars caused quite a stir at lunch! The fourth period lunch crowd quickly ate through their first helpings and took second helpings to save for later!  By the time the fifth period lunch crowd got their hands on the bars, there wasn’t that many left and people had to rush to get a piece!  Luckily the fifth period lunch crowd is generous and many cut their pieces into halves or quarter for sharing!

Making these bars was pretty exciting, I’ve never used the broiler before!  I’ve always been a little scared, but I did it!!!  I did sit in front of the oven watching the tops brown.  This was probably a crucial step, however.  I could easily observe when to rotate the pan and when to pull them out of the oven.  Do yourself (and your friends) a favor, make some ooey, gooey, red velvet brownie s’more bars – everyone will love you!

Print the Recipe.

Red Velvet Brownie S’more Bars
Adapted from How Sweet It Is on Sugarcrafter
Yield – approx. 20 small bars

Crust
1 1/4 graham crackers (a little less than one sleeve)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease an 8 x 8” pan.
  2. Crush the graham crackers and smush together with the butter using a fork.
  3. Press into the greased pan.

Brownie
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Dark)
2 tablespoons red food coloring (I used Americolor Tulip Red Gel Paste)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl of stand mixer with a paddle attachment until well combined.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the vanilla, cocoa, and red coloring to make a paste.  Add this to the butter mixture and beat together.
  3. Add in the flour and salt and beat until just combined.
  4. Using a spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour over the graham cracker crust and bake 30 minutes until the top is set.

Topping
1 jar (7 1/2 ounces) marshmallow fluff
13 marshmallows, regular size

  1. Right after the brownie comes out of the over use an offset spatula to spread the fluff.
  2. Cut the marshmallows in half and spread out over the top.
  3. Turn your oven to the broiler setting and place the bars inside the oven.
  4. Sit in front of the oven and watch closely, rotate as needed, and remove from the oven when the top is nice and toasty.
  5. Let cool a little for a plate and fork dessert.
  6. Put in the fridge overnight to cut into pieces.

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Grasshopper Pie

So far in this blogging world I have always had a couple of posts up my sleeve, scheduled, and ready to post.  Suddenly, after only 3 1/2 months of blogging, I’m out.  I would like to blame this one work, going on vacation, and my class at the AMNH.  It’s time for some hard core baking this weekend.  Maybe I should just give up on my skinny jeans…

Luckily, there are a lot of spring birthdays coming up!  Look out Krystal, Fatema, Ruth, and Jess, desserts are coming for you!  Plus Chelsea is visiting, she’ll get some dessert too!

In a lot of ways this pie was a bit of a baking fail.  I love you Martha, but your recipe was really confusing and I messed up at some critical point.  I don’t know if you can tell from the pictures, but my beautiful light green layer separated into two layers.  The taste was still good, the texture was a little off.  I think one of two, or both errors occurred.  First, I poured the creme de menthe on top of the gelatin instead of sprinkling the gelatin on top of the liquid.  Maybe my gelatin didn’t bloom properly.  Second, I didn’t let the cooked, pudding mixture cool and thicken enough before whisking in the whipped cream.  I sort of had to whisk in all the whipped cream.

Despite the separation that occurred, the flavor profile was fantastic!  If you’ve ever been to the Chocolate Room here in Brooklyn and tasted their mint ice cream, I now know how it is done!  The Brownie Sunday with the mint ice cream is one of my favorite meals in the world, like I’m-on-death-row-the-last-thing-I’ll-ever-eat favorite!  Steeping the milk with the mint leaves creates the beautifully intense, yet tasteful floral & minty flavor and aroma.  It’s truly outstanding!  The creme de menthe rounds out the minty flavor.  I used the clear creme de menthe because the green really grosses me out – if you want a greener pie, do what you must.  The only thing I didn’t like about this pie was the texture.  I think the filling was was weird because of the separation – one layer was very Jello-like and the other was more of like a whipped mouse.  I also did not like the coconut in the crust.  Maybe if I pulverized the coconut with the chocolate wafers, it would be a better texture.

After typing out the recipe, I realized my mistakes and look forward to trouble shooting this recipe.  Even though this was a slight baking fail, I’ve had too many in the past month and I needed something to post regardless.  Oh, and those chocolate wafers are expensive, like $5 for little box!  There isn’t even filling :-(

Print the recipe.

Grasshopper Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts page 250
Yield – 1 9” pie, 8-10 servings

Crust
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookies crumbs (about 32 cookies)
1/4 cup sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease the inside of the pie pan.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave.
  3. Use a food processor to grind the chocolate cookies and THEN measure.
  4. Whisk together the sugar, cookie crumbs, and sugar.  Mix in the melted butter.
  5. Press the mixture firmly into the pie pan and up the sides.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until firm, cool completely

Filling
1 1/2 cups milk, I used skim
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 tablespoons creme de menthe, I used the clear kind
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) unflavored powdered gelatin
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar

  1. Bring the milk to a boil with the mint leaves.  Once it starts boiling, turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 15 minutes.  Strain through with a mesh strainer and throw away the mint leaves.  The mixture should be pale green.
  2. Place the metal bowl and wire whisk for the stand mixer in the freezer for a few minutes and then beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Put in the fridge until you are ready to use.
  3. Pour the creme de menthe in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top.  Let the gelatin bloom for five minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in another bowl, yes your fourth bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar.
  5. Add your mint-infused milk to the gelatin bowl and whisk to combine.  Place this bowl on a double boiler and whisk until the gelatin has dissolved, about a minute.
  6. Slowly pour the hot milk into the yolk mixture while constantly whisking.  Then, pour the egg/milk/gelatin mixture BACK into the bowl milk bowl that was on the double boiler and cook for about 10 minutes or until it reaches 150 F.
  7. While whisking and watching, prepare a water bath by placing a bunch of ice in water in a big bowl.
  8. Once the mixture is cooked, place bowl in the ice bath and let cool and thicken.
  9. Whisk in 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture until well combined.  Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a rubber spatula.
  10. Pour the mixture into the pie shell, cover, and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Assembly
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 oz dark chocolate
Small sprigs of mint

  1. Whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until it reaches stiff peaks.  Place in a pastry bag with a large star tip.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to make small strips of chocolate.
  3. Cover the top of the pie with stars and then sprinkle the chocolate shavings around the edge.
  4. Carefully place the sprigs of mint.

 

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Single Girl Chocolate Cake

Sometimes life is exhausting and you need a night to lay on the couch, catch up on some tv, and just relax by yourself.  I spent my spring break at the AMNH completing a PD about DNA Barcoding.  Don’t let me fool you, I love me some science!  The past week was fantastic with lab work, talks from scientists, and the encouragement to increase my own pedagogy and professional development.  But my brain hurts and I’m tired.  So when I knew my roommates were going to be out for the evening, I took full advantage.

Joy the Baker is an awesome website!  So many food bloggers are wives or mothers or full time bloggers.  They create beautiful and delicious food and I enjoy their blogs tremendously.  Joy is none of those things, yet she creates beautiful and delicious food! I feel I can relate to her blog more than others, especially when she shows the food she eats alone.  I love her voice and her perspective.  One of the best parts of being single is being able to eat any assortment of foods and call it a meal.  I don’t need to worry about what someone else wants or needs to eat for dinner!  Sometimes you just need recipes for one!  Her cookbook, which I highly recommend, has several.

The cake is spongy and moist and very chocolaty.  This isn’t a diet food!  The ice cream was a decadent addition.  I found these adorable, little, single serving ice creams at Key foods and I couldn’t resist the pistachio!  And, how cute is this?!?!

And it even comes with a little spoon!

Treat yourself, you deserve it!

Print the recipe.

Single Girl Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook pg 170
Yield – 1

cooking spray
2 teaspoons cocoa
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark chocolate chip cookies
1 egg
4 teaspoons sugar
pinch of salt
dash of vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon floor
1/2 cup gelato or ice cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray the inside of an oven-proof mug with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the cocoa inside and coat completely, dump out any extra.
  2. Build a double boiler and and add the butter and chocolate chips to a heat-proof bowl. Stir until melted and then let cool slightly.
  3. Whisk together the egg and sugar, pour in the melted chocolate chocolate, whisking until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, salt, and vanilla and stir until just combined.  Poor into the mug.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes (pull the ice cream out of the freezer now!) and then let cool for about 2 minutes.
  6. Use a spatula to get the cake out of the mug and place it on a plate.  Cut open to let the gooeyness out.
  7. Scoop the ice cream on top.
  8. Enjoy curled up on the couch with some trashy tv on.

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