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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Awesome Cupcakes!

Yesterday,  I got really hungry for some gingerbread ,and I had this great idea to make them into cupcakes. And then I got the idea from my mom to fill them with lemon curd. But we ran into a few problems. Firstly, we didn't have ground ginger.That was easily solved. After a google search, we found a recipe for gingerbread with fresh ginger, which we have in abundance. 
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour or 1 1/2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • Pinch of kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses

  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

  • 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour cupcake pans (or line pans with cupcake liners)Set aside.
    Sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
    In a large bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and the brown sugar. With a handheld electric mixer or a wooden spoon, cream the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg, molasses, fresh ginger, coffee, and vanilla extract and beat well to combine. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk in three additions, beating well after each addition.
    Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake/muffin pans. Bake for 15-18 mins. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
    Let cool.
    Recipe adapted from:

    Hollow out a small hole area in the center of the cupcake. Fill with lemon curd.
    Here's the recipe I used.
    • 5 egg yolks
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
    • 1 stick butter, cut into pats and chilled


    Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup. Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.) Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon. Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Remove to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

    Recipe from

    I then iced them with a vanilla buttercream. Then I topped them with a a few thin sliced pieces of crystallized ginger.
    Next time....
    I would make a better lemon curd. The recipe I used hear for some reason was extremely runny, although the taste was good. I would also use a different kind of icing, the buttercream was a bit overpoweringly sweet. But other than that, they were muy delicioso.
    I was pretty proud of myself because this was basically the first recipe that I really adapted to make my own. And they turned out great. The gingerbread was spicy and sweet, and the tartness of the lemon curd balanced that out very well.


    Peppermint Cheesecake

    I made this cheesecake a while ago for a dinner that my parents had with friends of their's. Fortunately, I got to eat some too. This recipes was slightly adapted from a recipe found in Popular Plates magazine (Holiday Baking Issue)
    Peppermint Swirl Cheesecake
    • 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 3/4 cup sour cream
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp peppermint extract
    • 6 drops red food coloring
    • One 9-inch oreo cookie crumb crust
      • about 15 cookies crushed (I used holiday oreos with red filling for a festive look) and mixed with 3 Tbs. melted butter/margarine 
    1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl beat the cream cheeseand sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the sour cream and vanilla; mix well
    2. Place 1/2 cup of cream cheese mixture in a small bowl and stir in peppermint extract and food coloring; mix well. Pour the remaining cream cheese mixture into the crust.
    3. Drop the peppermint mixture by spoonfuls into the mixture in the crust and swirl witha knife to create a marbled effect.
    4. Bake the cheesecake for 30 to 35 min, or until edges are set (center will still be slightly wobbley)
    5. Allow cake to cool for 1 hour, the cover it and let chill until serving.

      Tuesday, January 18, 2011


      Well, unlike the previous post which consisted of some good, and some bad, and some in-between, this was all good.

      These have cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger as well.


      • 2 cups granulated sugar
      • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted


      Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
      Combine the sugar and kosher salt. Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt mixture on a flat surface such as wooden board or marble. Unfold each sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry. This is not about sprinkling, it's about an even covering of sugar. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it's 13 by 13-inches square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom. Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half as though closing a book. You will have 6 layers. Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place the second sheet of pastry on the sugared board, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar mixture, and continue as above. (There will be quite a bit of sugar left over on the board.) Slice and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment.
      Bake the cookies for 6 minutes until caramelized and brown on the bottom, then turn with a spatula and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.

      Recipe from (Ina Garten)

      These turned out to be highly acceptable. They were time-consuming, but simple. I highly recommend not touching them when they have just come out of the oven. Caramelized sugar is very, very hot.(: 
      Very good when enjoyed with a mug of hot tea.
      One thing about them that makes me wonder a little bit is if I used less sugar, if they would be a bit softer.
      Highly acceptable, I would gladly make them again.


      Afghani Meal

      We read the Kite Runner in English this past semester. It was a great book and I would highly recommend it to almost anybody. The movie was also great. I watched it before I read the book which usually doesn't help the book experience, but it was a very well done movie. I enjoyed both very much. This book takes place in Afghanistan. Like I said before, I wrote down all the foods that I saw in the book, while I was reading. Then later, I googled them, and found recipes for ones that sounded good. For the most part all of the dishes were fantastic.
      The Main Dish: Chicken Korma


      • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
      • 4 (2 inch) cinnamon sticks
      • 10 cardamom seeds
      • 1 onion, thinly sliced
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 2 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
      • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
      • 1/2 cup warm water
      • 1/2 cup buttermilk
      • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


      1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook cinnamon sticks, cloves, and cardamom seeds in hot oil for three minutes. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until soft. Cut each chicken breast half into 4 pieces, and add to skillet; cook for about 5 to 8 minutes.
      2. Season with salt, red pepper flakes, coriander, and cumin. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Continue cooking for 10 minutes.
      3. Stir in buttermilk, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Just before serving, mix in the parsley.
      Recipe modified from
      This was a great dish. The flavors all came together and balanced very well.  I doubled it to be able to feed my family. I also added a bit more, or a bit less of some ingredients. Great when served with rice.

      The Rice
      I wouldn't recommend making this rice quite the way I did. I made the rice like normal, but I added some extra stuff for flavor. I added some sliced orange,  a few cardamom pods, and some star anise. It was very good, except fro if you got any rice that was touching the oranges. I added the orange too soon, and it made parts of the rice very bitter.

      • 2 cups  all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling
      • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
      • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled, plus 2 teaspoons
      • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
      • 1 tablespoon warm water
      • Canola oil, as needed
      Put the flour into a large bowl and add the salt and the yeast. Use your fingers to mix and blend the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, the yogurt and warm water. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment or, alternatively, with your hands, combine all of the ingredients. Knead the dough with the mixer on low speed until it becomes smooth, 8 to 10 minutes. Again, alternatively, knead the dough on a lightly floured flat surface.
      Pour the remaining 2 teaspoons of melted butter into a bowl large enough to hold the dough. Coat the sides and bottom of the bowl with the butter and put the dough in the center. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and keep it in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
      Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
      Using a pastry brush, lightly grease 2 baking sheets with some canola oil. Slide the baking sheets into the center of the oven for a few minutes.
      Gently roll the dough into a 9-inch circle on a lightly floured surface so it is about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the disk into quarters. Roll each quarter to 1/8-inch in thickness and still be able to fit 2 on a baking sheet.
      When all the ovals are rolled, brush off any excess flour. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and arrange the naan in a single layer, 2 pieces per pan. Bake until they are light brown and puffy, about 5 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the naan to a serving platter lined with kitchen towels to keep them warm.

      Great! Only downside: I wish I would have made more.
      Recipe from

      The Dessert:
      This is the most awful thing I think I have ever eaten. And unless you regularly enjoy eating bathroom deodorizers, I highly do not suggest this dessert. And so that you can all avoid it like the plague, here's what it's called: Firnee. Yeah, I know it doesn't even sound good. Well, I realized that too late.

      I'm not quite sure how this much made it out of the pie plate.
      So, for the most part, this was a very good meal. Well, kinda.