Monday, September 22, 2008

Pain au chocolats et Croissants

Ok, so I know I won't officially be a Daring Baker until next month, but like many before me I decided to try out some of their previous challenges. This of course meant picking one of the most daring, in my opinion, recipes for a baker. And I am speaking of croissants. I can still smell them, which I know is weird seeing as they were made yesterday. For someone who has never laminated dough before, I have to say it was scarier sounding than it actually was. The whole process just fascinated me. Anyways, the recipe I chose to follow was the one on Brown Eyed Baker's site. Her pictures were so mouth watering and tempting me to try them. And so I had to. Right? Right. She mentioned how enormous hers turned out, so I decided to cut the dough into smaller triangles thinking they would turn out smaller, more normal sized croissants. Nope. They were still monster size croissants. But they were soooo good. And obviously I also made some pain au chocolats because if you couldn't tell by my blog name I am obsessed with them. My love for them started before I even went to Paris. (sigh/looking a bit misty-eyed) Excuse me for the emotional moment ;) So since I am not at home writing this and have forgotten my pictures, I will be posting them at a later date. So stay tuned for my croissant/pain au chocolats pictures.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The little cupcake that could

Well I'm finally getting around to posting my cupcake results from the Morton Pumpkin Fest. For my first baking contest I'd say I did pretty freakin fantastic. Especially with how many people entered and three prizes in each division. While I didn't place, I did get Honorable Mention. And that is something to be proud of. Since this contest, it's made me even more excited to bake and find new challenges. So enjoy the pictures and the recipe, and stay tuned for my next baking adventure.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Vanilla Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups of flour
1 tsp. of baking soda
1 tsp. of baking powder
¾ tsp. of salt
1 ½ tsp. of cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp. of ginger
½ tsp. of nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 cup of dark-brown sugar
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 sticks of soft butter
4 eggs, beaten
½ tsp. of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pans with liners. In a medium-sized bowl, mix all dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.

In a large-sized bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly add the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until batter is smooth. Then add the pumpkin and mix until completely incorporated.

With a small cookie dough scoop, fill the cupcake liners with 2 ½ scoops each. Bake until the tops are nicely rounded, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. About 20 minutes. Place cupcakes on wire racks and let cool. Then frost with vanilla cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Makes about 24 cupcakes

Vanilla Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces of cream cheese
1 ½ tsp. of cinnamon
1 stick of butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ½ cups of powdered sugar *

Cream butter and cream cheese in a mixer on medium/high for 30 seconds. Turn it to low speed and add cinnamon and vanilla. Keeping the mixer on low/medium slowly add the powdered sugar.
Now you are ready to decorate your cupcakes. So put your favorite frosting tip on your pastry bag and start frosting :)

*(If you prefer a sweeter frosting, feel free to up the powdered sugar to 3 or even 4 cups.)

Frosts about 24 cupcakes

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pumpkin Cupcake Countdown

2 days and counting until the annual Morton Illinois Pumpkin Festival! Am I excited? I'd say so.  This will be my very first baking contest. Exciting! And it really is the perfect first contest for me. Why?, you may ask. Well fall is my favorite time of year, Halloween is my favorite holiday, AND I love love love cooking with pumpkins. Yes, they can be a lot of work to cook and scoop out the pumpkin pulp, but it's so much fun. And it tastes so good :)
So stay tuned for my pictures at the festival and my recipe. Yum :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Day As A Blogger

Well, this is my first blog post. I'm a little nervous, but a lot excited. I love food, and I really love baking! Especially when I get to share my results :) So how did I come to have this blog? Well, while browsing for some new recipes I found an interesting blogroll. So we'll see if they accept me into their world of food blogging. Fingers crossed! Stay tuned for my first food post.