Friday, August 27, 2010

Sweet Baby Baked Alaskas

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
Thank you Elissa for such a fun challenge! Now on to the recipes :)

Originally I had been thinking of doing a cookie dough ice cream because browned butter makes me think of chocolate chip cookies all warm from the oven and soft and wonderful....Sorry, I was having a moment. Ok so that night after finding out what the new challenge would be I was telling my BSM (Big Sexy Man) what flavor I was planning for the ice cream when he sweetly looks at me with his big gorgeous brown eyes and asks, "Can it be peanut butter cup ice cream instead?" How do you say no when your man is giving you "the look"? Obviously I said yes which meant I had to find a peanut butter ice cream recipe. Lucky for me lots of fellow bloggers have David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop" and in it is a peanut butter ice cream recipe, which I found here. The only adjustment I made was adding almost twice the amount of peanut butter cups. YUM :)

After the ice cream was well on its way to delicious scoopableness (yes that is a word, ok maybe not in the dictionary but it should be) I started on the browned butter pound cake. Since mini Baked Alaskas was what I was after, cupcake size is what I made. Aren't they cute? Wait did someone take a bite outta that lil guy?! (chewing) That's shocking! (still chewing)

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Meringue (For the Baked Alaska)

8 large egg whites
½ teaspoon (3g) cream of tartar
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
1 cup (220g) sugar

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.

If you can't tell from the melting ice cream on the pan I did not have a torch and had to throw them in the oven to toast the meringue. Melting ice cream aside I thought they were a huge success and so much fun to make.
I'm guessin my BSM and my parents liked it because everyone was pretty quiet after the first forkful. And then our plates looked like this.
On a side note I thought I'd share our wonderful new addition, our beautiful adorable niece Brielle. I can't wait to give that sweet baby face some ice cream in a few months. Sadly she is still too tiny for any good food yet.
Stay tuned for my next baking adventure!
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