Thursday, 3 April 2014

Whipped Frosting with Raspberry

Remember all those fails I was encountering? Getting closer, but still not there. This cake was better than this one, but still a bit dense and chewy. But I found a new great frosting!

I’ve been hesitant about using whipped cream in cakes because it droops with time. But I got my hands on some whipped cream stabilizer to keep it nice and stiff! There are a bunch of tricks floating around out there for stabilizing whipped cream – cornstarch, gelatin, marshmallow, mascarpone, draining, just to name a few. I’m not sure what’s in this stabilizer, but I suspect it’s cornstarch…

Anyways, this is my new favorite frosting because it’s so easy to make and use. No butter bring to room temperature and cream, no egg whites to heat. Just whip up with some icing sugar and you’re done.  PLUS, it’s not too sweet or heavy or rich!

Whipped Frosting with Raspberry
1 ½ cups whip/heavy cream
1 ½ Tablespoon stabilizer
¼ cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
Jar of raspberry jam
*tip: place metal bowl in freezer before making frosting

1.    In a chilled metal bowl, whip the cream with a whisk attachment to soft peaks.
2.    Add stabilizer and whisk to blend.  Add sprinkle icing sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat to stiff peaks. Do not over beat.
3.    Line a piping bag with jam and add whipped cream. Don’t fill all the way – you’ll need to refill in batches because the jam runs out pretty quickly.
4.    Cover entire cake with a thin layer of whipped cream. I skipped this step because I was lazy, but you’ll definitely want to do this.
5.    Pipe roses (I used a 1M tip) ideally equally spaced apart and not overlapping. Fill in gaps with a smaller star tip.

Rose piping is the easiest decorating technique ever and even when your roses aren’t identical, the overall effect of the cake is pretty. I think has the highest prettiness to difficulty ratio, or to put it another way, the most bang for the (little) effort.

Anyways, back to recipe testing!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Toasted Coconut White and Dark Chocolate Cookies

My current obsession is coconut. Toasted coconut to be specific.

Coconut seems to one of those love it or hate it ingredients. I know people who absolutely love it while other absolutely detest it. I fall in the former category. I decided to put together a dark chocolate cookie with bursts of white chocolate. After a bit of testing, I got it right – a chewy cookie with crispy edges and the warm nuttiness of toasted coconut.

Btw, I have a still have a bottle of coconut syrup from my trip to Hawaii last year. I should really do something with it…

Toasted Coconut White and Dark Chocolate Cookies
Makes…a lot.

3 cups fancy coconut (or shredded)
2 oz dark chocolate
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoon glucose
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups bread flour
¼ cup cake flour
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoon cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips

1.  Lay coconut on a baking sheet and bake in a 300 degree F oven for 10 minutes. Watch carefully and toss as the edges of pan get brown to ensure even toasting. Set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Set aside.
3.  With a beater attachment of a standmixer, beat butter for a minute until fluffy. Add both sugars and glucose and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
4.  Add egg, vanilla, and melted chocolate and beat for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
5.  In the meantime, sift both flours, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl.
6.  Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low until the mixture just comes together.
7.  Add 1 cup of toasted coconut and white chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
8.  Scoop dough with a 2-inch scoop and roll in the remaining coconut. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 14 minutes or until the edges are firm.
9.  Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before cooling on a rack.
Toasted coconut.

Dough portioned out with the BIG scooper.

Verdict: These are one of my favorites now. A perfect balance of textures and flavours. This makes a large batch so feel free to cut the recipe in half, or portion out the dough and freeze it for a craving. You know what you’ll find in my freezer!
For all you Canadian readers, these cookies remind me of Tim Horton’s toasted coconut chocolate timbits, especially before baking!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Pretty Fail

Baking fails are so frustrating. You’re wondering why I haven’t posted for a few weeks. It’s not that I wasn’t baking, it’s that I’ve been experimenting and failing. Oh, and trying to get good natural lighting for shooting. It meant that I would run home from work and then try to shoot in the last few minutes of sunlight. (Maybe I should invest in some lights…)

But spring is finally here, and with it more daylight hours for photographing! I wanted to make a cake that represented spring and although the outside turned out pretty, the cake was a complete bust. It was dense, rubbery, and kind of dry. And it was full of tiny holes. When I suggested throwing the entire thing out, the fiancé said I should bring it to work, but when he took a bite, agreed that it had to go straight into the trash.

The good thing is that I didn’t making the cake for any occasion or for a gift or potluck. I made it for me – as in I wanted to make a cake for experimenting and practicing. Which is why I didn’t get upset when it failed. Apparently, I would’ve been upset for a week had it been meant for someone/something.

Anyways, thought you’d like some photos. Can you detect the density of the cake?

Friday, 14 February 2014

Chocolate Sable Sandwich Cookies

Today is the one year anniversary of when I received my gorgeous Tiffany blue KitchenAid stand mixer. It’s been one hell-of-a year as I put my hand mixer away and let the big boss go to town, mixing cookie dough, whipping Swiss meringue buttercream for 20 minutes until it comes together, etc., etc., (see blog for more details). It’s my favorite tool in the kitchen (next to my bamboo cutting board, ice cream scoops, and nicely weighted knives), and I’ll even go so far as to say that I’m in love(and I’m pretty sure it feels the same way)! I guess I have to say a big thank you to that cute guy that got it for me last Valentine’s Day.

For our anniversary bake, I decided to give sable cookies a go - super easy, prettily piped, topped with sprinkles, and sandwiching buttercream.

Chocolate Sable Cookies
Adapted from here.

1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 ¾ cup + 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
½ cup + 3 Tablespoons icing sugar
3 Tablespoon egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 355 degrees F.
2.  Sift cocoa, flour, espresso, and salt into a bowl and mix. Set aside.
3.  In a different bowl, or stand mixer, beat butter until soft. Add icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
4.  Add egg whites and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add vanilla and beat to combine.
5.  Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
6.  Fill a piping bag with a wide tip (I used 1M). Pipe designs onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-11 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on sheet before moving to a rack.

Buttercream of your choice. I actually used leftover frosting from my freezer – chocolate and raspberry. Pipe or spread buttercream on one cookie and top with another. Enjoy!

Verdict: The sables are great because they are chocolate-y and but only a little sweet. The filling gives it more sweetness and richness, so it’s up to you whether you want to take it to that level (they are good on their own). Tip: make sure the dough is really soft before piping. I kneaded it a bit in the piping bag to soften it to a pipe-able consistency. All in all, it was a great anniversary!