February 8, 2015

Raspberry Charlotte

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, hesitate to make this Raspberry Charlotte for your loved ones this Valentine's Day.  I cannot begin to tell you how absolutely amazing it tastes and how straight forward the recipe is.  Can you tell how I'm excited I am about it???  It literally took me less than three hours to make, yet the finished cake looks like it came from a posh European tea salon.  Everyone will be impressed! 

Whenever the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine is published online I immediately look to see if there's a dessert or baked good.   Ecstatic doesn't even begin to describe my reaction when I saw the recipe for this raspberry charlotte.  I've made charlottes before, but the kind using store bought lady fingers and some type of mousse.  This recipe blows all of those out of the water!  

Even for a novice the instructions are very easy to follow.  My advice for the best success is to read the recipe several times beforehand and have your equipment and mise en place ready to go.   After that it's smooth sailing.

The only diversion I made from the original recipe was in decorating the finished cake.  Instead of swirling the raspberry jam in a marble pattern on top, in honor of Valentine's Day I made little hearts.  Give this recipe a try...you won't regret it one bit.

February 1, 2015

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

I've had these Cookies & Cream cupcakes on my mind for quite a while and now that budget planning is over at work I finally found some time to make them. Let's just say they've definitely lived up to my expectations. They're quintessentially American and so delicious.

Every component of the cupcake is bursting with cookies and cream flavor.  For the cake I simply used Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cream Cheese Butter Cake recipe and added crushed Oreo bits.   I did the same for the frosting and added more cookie bits to a whipped vanilla buttercream.  

December 5, 2014

Lemon-Ginger Icebox Cake & a Giveaway

When BelGioioso asked me if I wanted to create a recipe for a traditional dessert "with a twist" using their mascarpone cheese I was more than happy to accept the challenge.   The first thing that came to mind was an icebox cake made with lemon and ginger.  This dessert is not only easy to assemble but also really light and refreshing.  I highly recommend you give it a try.  You can find the recipe on culture's website.  

As an added bonus BelGioioso was generous enough to host a giveaway to my blog readers.   One lucky person will win a gift package with an assortment of their cheeses.  I speak from experience when I say they all taste delicious!

Here are the giveaway rules:

1) Only open to residents with a mailing address in the continental US (i.e., no Alaska or Hawaii addresses.)

2) Leave a comment to this blog post.  You must include your email address in the comment in order to be entered.   Sorry, but that's the only way I'll be able to contact the winner. 

3) Only one entry per email address.  

4) Giveaway ends on Thursday December 11 at 11:59PM PST.  Winner will be selected from all eligible entries on Friday December 12.

UPDATE: The randomly selected winner from the eligible entries was Comment #1.  I'll be emailing you directly for your information.  Thanks again everyone for participating! 

November 30, 2014

Top Crust Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are one of my favorite bar cookies and I definitely prefer them over the more popular brownie.  I have a tried and true recipe that I've turned to without fail.  Now don't get me wrong, I love it, but my only gripe is that I whenever I dust the top with powdered sugar it inevitably melts in to a sticky goo - not so pretty. 

My co-worker raved about the fabulous lemon bars from Devil's Teeth Baking Company and brought one in for me to try.   Their lemon bar was different from ones I'd tasted (or made) before.  This bar had a crispy and brown top "crust" that allowed the powdered sugar that was sprinkled on top to stay dry.  

I searched online to see if Devil's Teeth might have a recipe posted but to no avail.  By happy coincidence I was watching some baking videos by one of my favorite websites, Woodland Bakery Blog, and saw a recipe for lemon bars.  Even better, I could tell from the video that they had a top crust.  Eureka!  I tried the recipe and while the filling was exactly what I was looking for I found the crust to be a bit too soft.  So I combined my favorite shortbread recipe with this new filling to come up with a lemon bar that had a crispy bottom AND top crust! 

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