Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict

I saw this on Serious Eats and had to make it. It is completely gross yet terribly funny. I originally planned on making it for April Fools Day but as you can see, it's April 18th so we'll just say I made it for April Fools Month.

The instructions are detailed on Serious Eats and I made only slight modifications:
  • I didn't have a pound cake and wasn't going to buy one just for this purpose but I did have very thick slices of a sweet white bread. I fried that in the frying pan and sprinkled a mix of cinnamon and sugar on it.
  • I used cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream because it's what I had leftover from a recent cake I made. Cream cheese frosting beats buttercream frosting out anytime anyway. I should have warmed the frosting a bit more so the consistency would have looked more like the sauce.
And here are the steps in picture form:

Oh Cadbury eggs do I have a use for you...

The breakfast "potatoes":
The gooey, melty, "eggs" atop the brownie "hams" and "English muffin":

The final plate - it looks so appetizing! 

The dissection: the "English muffin" is a cake doughnut, the "ham" is a brownie, the "eggs" are Cadbury Creme Eggs of course, the "Hollandaise sauce" is cream cheese frosting, and the "breakfast potatoes" are pieces of white bread toasted with cinnamon and sugar.

It was a fun project! I was prepared to throw it in the trash but surprise (or maybe not), the BF wanted to eat it. Ew.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bistro Maxine

Steph found a crêperie café to try via Yelp in downtown Palo Alto while we were there. We originally wanted to have dim sum but nothing was open earlier than 10 am. Boo.

Enter Bistro Maxine. The place is TINY, as advertised, but at 8:30 am on Saturday morning, the place was empty. The menu features a large selection of both savory and sweet crepes for almost $10/plate. The plates come with a small bowl of fruit.

We ordered:

  • Complète; egg, ham, Swiss cheese
  • Forestière; egg, ham, Swiss cheese, mushrooms
  • Maxine; egg, spinach, mushrooms, Swiss cheese

No pictures of everything because they mostly all looked the same from the outside.

We did also split a sweet crepe for dessert:

Pomme Cannelle; sautéed apples, cinnamon

Is it strange that we're eating dessert at breakfast???

Mmmm... it was kind of heavy for me, but did the trick since I wasn't hungry until well past lunch-time.

Monday, April 5, 2010

King Arthur Flour's Fudge Brownies

My tried-and-true brownie recipe is usually the one by Ina Garten but I was looking for something with a bit different texture (more "classic brownie") and decided to try a new recipe from KAF. This one is "KAF Guaranteed" and had a lot of good reviews which was a positive sign. The guarantee promises:

These brownies, deep chocolate brown inside with a lighter-colored top crust, will be about 3/4" to 1" tall when cut. They'll be ultra-moist without crossing the line into gooey/underbaked.

I wasn't sure if it would measure up to my usual brownie recipe but it passed all expectations and then some.

It was also easier and faster to make - definite plusses.

My changes were to use normal Dutch process cocoa (not the Double Dutch process cocoa) they recommend, and to leave out the espresso powder. Some people in the group don't care for coffee. It was still excellent. I was hesitant to add chocolate chips into the batter because I don't normally like chunks of hard chocolate in the brownie. KAF says you have the choice of adding the chips right away to the warm batter so the chocolate melts and gets incorporated or waiting 20 minutes and adding the chocolate so that there are firm chunks after the brownie is baked. I opted for somewhere in between and added the chips when the batter was still slightly warm, but not warm enough to completely melt the chips.

My brownies took a bit longer than the recommended time - about 38 minutes. They looked beautiful! The crust was shiny as promised, and when I cut them, the chocolate bits melted, making the brownies just slightly moist.  These were fantastic right out of the oven. They have a good chocolate taste, without being overly sweet. The texture is perfect... slightly chewy and fudge-y but not too dense. I did not find them cakey.

I saved a few for a special "project" I want to make in the next week or two... stay tuned!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Orange Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake

It's Easter and we were celebrating at my brother's palace today. My contribution was dessert. I decided I was in the mood for chocolate. I have been making a variety of healthier options -- cookies with dried fruit, breads with vegetables, and muffins with fresh fruit -- and needed to go back to my "core" chocolate. For whatever reason, the combination of orange chocolate came to my taste buds. I was in search for some orange chocolate cake. But I didn't want to bake a chocolate-based cake with a flavoring of orange. I wanted an orange cake with chocolate flavoring. And what do you know, Ina Garten makes a Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake.

The recipe takes a little bit of time due to the zesting of oranges and making the syrup and ganache. However, this is a recipe to keep. It was moist and delicious. It got 5 stars from 93 reviewers and it difficulty level was moderate. For those who bake regularly, it's fairly easy. It just takes a little more time.

The only change I made was using 1/4 cup of grated orange zest versus the 1/8 cup. I wanted a more orange flavor. And if I made this again, I would double the recipe for the cake and syrup. The cake turned out dense so doubling the recipe would lead to much happier bellies. The ganache amount can be left as-is. It is enough for us Wong's who aren't that into the "frosting".

In the bundt pan

Out of the bundt pan

Making the ganache

Ganache is finished

The final product!

My brother got a picture of the cake after it was cut! It shows much better than this picture above because you can see the chocolate chips amongst the orange cake.

Blackberry Oat Muffins

When the Smith's and Bortz's were in town for breakfast this week, I decided to make a healthy batch of muffins. Mrs. Smith always seems to be talking about her new weight loss and I wanted to make sure she had something decent to eat in the morning. I settled on Blackberry Oat Muffins, a recipe from Quaker Oats, that were only 110 calories each.
I thought there were a tad bit on the dry size but overall, pretty good.

Blackberry Oat Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
110 calories each

1 cups oats
1 cup buttermilk
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries (raspberries or blueberries will work too)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine oats and buttermilk; let stand 10 minutes. Add egg whites, butter and lemon peel. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients except berries. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently stir in blueberries. Fill muffin cups almost full. Bake 20-25 minutes.

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