Hello…it’s me

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Wow the last time I posted something was on October 3. That’s the longest I’ve ever had away from the blog. Since then, I have finished midterms, planned a friend’s wedding in twenty days, came home for Thanksgiving, saw the Lion King, was rear ended (I’m fine, thanks for asking), finished my internship, went to two weddings, finished my finals strong, moved out of my apartment, graduated from college, moved back up North to the Bay Area, celebrated Christmas and the New Years, went to Warriors vs. Heat game, planned a baby shower, and finally joined a gym. Whew.

These past few months have been absolutely crazy and to be honest, I found myself avoiding this blog for a while. Not so much so because I have been too busy in the midst of all of this, but I’ve always wanted to know the answers to everything and have it all figured out. And for the past few months, I didn’t. I didn’t want to be writing about all my joys and hopes and dreams and be lying through all of my posts. It wasn’t an identity crisis, but through all of these changes, I just need to ask, now that I have finished and retired my 18+ year title of “student,” where do I go from here? Where am I called to and where do I now belong? In the hustle and bustle of the go-go-go mentality, where do I find true joy, meaning, and purpose? Where am I called to be?

This morning I woke and it dawned on me how I’ve been trying to run away from all of this new reality. The reality that I am now to seek employment that I would like to be passionate about, the reality that I will not be returning to school in the Spring semester even though all my other friends will be (thank you SnapChat for #fomo), the reality that their lives will continue there while I try to figure mine out up here, the reality of now a real world life outside of the college bubble. It’s such an odd shift in the world you have built around yourself and its something new to face. But this morning I came to the realization that this is the way life goes. We can either wallow and trudge through the reality that is going to come whether we want it to or not, or we can see it in a new light, accept the fact that even though I don’t have this all figured out, it’s okay.  So here’s to a new chapter, the Post-Grad Life.

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Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Cinnamon Rolls

It’s October and once again, I’m asking myself where the time has gone. I’ve already been in school for over a month now and we are starting to prepare for midterms soon. Despite it, October is one of my favorite months. Usually, that means layering up, not looking too weird with a fuzzy scarf or vest or pea coat. However, I’m in Southern California where it seems as if summer wants to extend her stay. To bring in some kind of fall, I decided to make a batch of cinnamon rolls for my friends that are coming over later. I remember the first time I tried making cinnamon rolls…it was a complete flop. The yeast was either already expired to begin with or I used milk that was too hot, and thus, the rolls did not rise. They came out to be these tiny one inch circular hard biscuits that had a swirl of cinnamon brown sugar inside. Since then, I have told myself no more. Until now. A while ago, I found the absolute best Monkey Bread recipe. It tastes just like cinnamon rolls, so I figured it would be perfect to use.

Cinnamon Rolls

While this dough is probably the easiest anyone can ever make, it does take patience. And time. LOTS of time. You want to allow enough time for the dough to properly rise, for the needed reactions to take place, for the gluten to be able to rest, all that science-y chemistry stuff.

Cinnamon Rolls

To begin, make the dough. Combine the milk, water, and butter into a glass pyrex cup. As it is heated, the milk and water will begin to melt the butter. Microwave until the liquids reach 110 degrees, or just slightly warm to the touch. Once it reaches that temperature, add in the sugar and yeast and stir until it is completely dissolved.

Cinnamon Rolls

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment, measure in the flour and the salt. On low speed, slowly add in the milk mixture. Once it is all mixed in, turn it on high and beat until it comes together, about three minutes. The dough should be sticky, but not too wet where it cannot be managed. If it is too sticky, add in more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time.

Cinnamon Rolls

Turn the dough out into a lightly greased (with butter or oil) bowl and cover with saran wrap. Set it in a warm area of the house or outside if its hot and allow it to double in size. I allowed mine to rise for about two hours.

Once it has doubled and you are ready to use, punch it down and roll it out onto a floured surface. You can see the bubbles that have been released from the yeast.

Cinnamon Rolls

Roll it out into as even of a rectangle as possible. Make sure the dough is not sticking too much to the counter otherwise it will be hard to roll up.

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I use the rolling pin to almost flatten one of the long edges. This way, It will be able to seal up each roll without too much of a noticeable seam.

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After I roll it out, I give it a little time to rest as I make the filling. Simply melt the butter in a bowl and whisk in the cinnamon and brown sugar. Using an offset spatula, spread it out into an even layer of the cinnamon mixture onto the dough. Get every edge except the one that has the thinner border.

Slowly begin to roll up the dough, making sure to keep it tightly rolled up as you go until you get a log. To slice the cinnamon rolls, you can cut it in half, line it up, and cut them in half then in half again. That will give you eight nice sized pieces.

Cinnamon Rolls

Line them up into a baking dish. I’m using my cast iron to bake it in.

Cinnamon Rolls

Leave enough space between each one so that it has room for the dough to spread out and proof during its second rise.

Cinnamon Rolls

Place it back in a warm area and allow the dough to rise one more time for another hour. You will notice it to be ready when it has a puffed appearance.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Make sure you turn the pan halfway to ensure even baking. As it’s baking, whip up the maple cream cheese frosting in a stand mixer. Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth, then slowly add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup.

Cinnamon Rolls

When the rolls have finished baking, remove from the oven and immediately spread the frosting over the rolls. This will allow the frosting to melt and fall into every crevice of dish.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

These rolls are incredibly easy to make. They make the house smell amazing, the textures are very fluffy and light, and the cinnamon is powerfully present. I think my friends are gonna enjoy these tonight!

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Dough

2 Tbsp melted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish

1 c warm milk, about 110 degrees

1/3 c warm water, about 110 degrees

1/4 c granulated sugar

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (one package)

3 1/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more if needed if dough is too sticky

2 tsp salt

Brown Sugar Filling

1 c packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

1/2 c butter, melted (1 stick)

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 package cream cheese frosting (8 ounce)

2 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup maple syrup

Liberally butter a baking dish with softened butter. Set aside.

In a large pyrex measuring cup, mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix the flour and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add 2 tablespoons flour at a time and mix until the dough comes together. Dough should still be sticky, but dry enough to handle.

Grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl and turn it around to grease the dough. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.

Once it has risen, punch the dough down, and turn the dough out onto a floured counter surface. Use a rolling pin that has been dusted with flour and roll the dough into a rectangle. Use the rolling pin to flatten one of the long edges to create flat border. This will help the cinnamon roll seal. Let the dough rest while you make the filling.

Melt the butter in a glass bowl, then whisk in the cinnamon and brown sugar. With an offset spatula, spread the mixture over the dough in an even layer, avoiding the flattened border edge. Begin to roll the dough into an even log.

Cut into two inch pieces, and line it up in a buttered baking dish. Allow there to be some space between each roll as the dough will continue to expand during the second proofing. Cover with saran wrap and set it back in a warm location for an hour.

Once it has puffed, bake the rolls at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Turn the pan halfway during baking to ensure it browns evenly.

While it bakes, make the frosting. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. On low speed, add in the powdered sugar. Once it is incorporated, turn the speed high and let it whip. Slowly drizzle in the vanilla and maple syrup until fully incorporated.

When the buns have finished baking, remove from the oven and slather on the maple cream cheese frosting immediately. It will slightly melt the frosting and allow it to seep into the crevices of the rolls. Enjoy immediately.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

The marriage of bacon and maple. I’ve always seen bacon and maple donuts as well as bacon and maple cupcakes, but haven’t seen very much of them on a cookie. For work this week, we are hosting an event in which two chefs will be teaching a cooking demonstration as the audience learns and eats. The theme for the night is bacon and when I was asked to make a small treat to put into their gift bags, the first thing that came to mind were the marriage of bacon and maple.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

At first, I wanted to do a cupcake, but it would have been harder to gift wrap and put in a box as the frosting makes it more fragile. Maybe in the future I’ll come up with something bacon and cupcake related but for this, I ended up meshing the flavors of bacon and maple with my beloved chocolate chip cookie recipe that has been tried and true since I was in seventh grade. To it, I simply added chopped bacon and drizzled on a maple icing on top. While the actual taste of bacon very subtle, it adds a hint of salt and savory flavor that pairs well with the chocolate!

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

To begin, you need bacon. For this event, I had to make 160 cookies and ended up using 6 pounds of bacon. Yes, that is SIX POUNDS. But keep in mind that I double fried the bacon, rendering off as much of the fat as possible. So really, it came out to about 2-3 pounds that I actually used. The recipe that is put below is for a standard batch of 2 dozen cookies.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

The above bacon is only half of what I used. Fry up the bacon until it has a beautiful golden color on both sides and remove from the heat, draining off as much of the fat as possible.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Next, you want to get it into small pieces. You can use a knife to chop it up, but I find scissors are much sharper and faster at getting the job done.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now, we go back for the second fry. This removes any of the excess bacon fat…trust me, you’ll be surprised at how much fat will still come off the bacon meat! Once you think it has reached its peak and has removed as much fat as possible, place the bacon bits through a fine mesh strainer and drain out any of the extra oil. Place it in a bowl to cool down.

Now that you have your bacon, it’s time to make the classic chocolate chip cookies. To begin, cream together the butter and shortening. Slowly add the granulated sugar, then the brown sugar. Beat until well combined and scrape down the bowl.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Next, add in the eggs, one at a time and make sure it is fully mixed in before adding in the next! It’ll start to really get nice and fluffy at this point! Then, add in the vanilla.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

After this stage, most recipes will have you add in the dry ingredients, but lucky for you, you have come to the right place as this recipe is not like most recipes. Add in the two bags of chocolate chips. The mixer will get a little bumpy so you might want to lock it in place. I like adding in the chocolate at this point as opposed to folding it in after as it sweetens and deepens the flavor of the actual cookie as bits of chocolate get pressed into the dough. Also, adding it in now will prevent any over mixing of the batter once the flour is added in.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Beautiful. Now, sift in the dry ingredients. It’s very important to sift as it will allow your dough to not only be lump free, but to be light and airy. As soon as the dry ingredients have been mixed in, the dough is ready to be baconed up. Depending on how much you love bacon, you can either add more or less. I added two cups of bacon per batch of cookies. Just remember to save some bacon to the side so you have something to garnish the cookies with!

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fold the bacon into the dough and use an ice cream scoop to drop the cookie dough batter onto parchment paper. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Allow them to cool completely before icing them. To make the icing, simply combine the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and heavy whipping cream and whisk in a bowl until smooth and lump free. The quantities of how much whipping cream you use will vary depending on the consistency of you maple syrup. Some syrups are thicker than others, so if it is thicker, use more whipping cream. If it is a thinner consistency, use less and adjust accordingly.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Use a fork and dip it into the icing and shake it back and forth on top of the cookies. This will give it a messy but chic design. Garnish the tops with bacon bits before the icing sets!

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

An insane amount of cookies makes me dizzy just looking at it.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 2 dozen cookies
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1 lb applewood bacon

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp

1/4 c shortening

1/3 c sugar

1 c packed light brown sugar

2 Tbsp molasses

2 medium eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 c all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 c semisweet chocolate chips

Maple Icing (recipe below)

Remove the bacon from its packaging and fry until both sides are golden and crispy. Drain the pan from any bacon fat. Chop the bacon up into small pieces with either scissors or a knife. Return to the skillet and fry one more time to render off any of the fat that is still existing. Once the majority of the fat has rendered off, scoop the bacon bits into a fine mesh strainer and drain the left over oil off. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until fully combined. Slowly add in the granulated sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the brown sugar and continue to mix until fully incorporated. Add the molasses, eggs, and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low speed.

Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in all but 1/4 cup of the bacon, saving that portion to garnish. Using an ice cream scoop, drop the cookie dough onto parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cookies are golden brown and slightly browned on the edges. Allow them to completely cool before transferring to a cooling rack.

Maple Icing

1 1/2 c powdered sugar

1/3 c maple syrup

1/4 c heavy whipping cream

In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, syrup, and cream until it is lump free and smooth. Depending on the thickness of both the syrup and creams, you may have to adjust the recipe as you go to get the right consistency.

Once the cookies have been baked and cooled, use a fork and dip it into the icing. Shake the fork back and forth across the top of the cookies, then garnish with the reserved 1/4 cup of bacon.

Tri-Berry Crisp

Tri-Berry Crisp

Happy Labor Day! It has been an absolutely busy week here, to say the least. I’ve had to make countless to-do lists on my phone just to remember which classroom I am headed to next, what I am supposed to buy at a grocery store, what books am I supposed to find, etc. A special thank you goes out to Apple Notes for keeping my sanity in check. One of my biggest hurdles this semester is how to survive my PE classes. As I am graduating this semester and failed to take PE classes in the past, I was required to take four PE classes in order to satisfy my GE requirements. Thus, my schedule pans out with three PE classes back to back…to back. One. right. after. another. ugh.

Tri-Berry Crisp

I like to think that I used to be athletic. Somewhat. In the past, I took various yoga classes, pilate classes, I ran freshmen year, and did the occasional Turbo Jam or Billy Blanks Tae Bo (if you have no idea what those are, you should check them out). Then Junior year came and things became busy with work and school and I told myself climbing the stairs to the third floor everyday was good enough.

Fast forward to present day and I am taking Aerobics, Weight Training, and Strength and Stretch, a total of three hours of exercise twice a week. I had a taste of what the rest of my semester was going to be like and let me just say, everywhere hurts. My back. My legs. My arms. I’m told it will get easier as the semester goes on and I sure hope so. In keeping with a “going healthy” theme, I have decided to make a triple berry crisp to celebrate the end of summer and to welcome in the fall. Unfortunately, southern California doesn’t seem to have a fall season since it’s all desert and forever in the 80-90+ degrees range. Nevertheless, we can always hope. This crisp is beautifully naturally sweet and when paired with ice cream, becomes creamy with a crunch from the crisp! Absolutely perfect, absolutely beautiful, and absolutely already gone.

Tri-Berry Crisp

To begin the Tri-Berry Crisp, wash your fruit. You of course don’t have to use three berries, you can do all strawberries, blueberries, or all raspberries. It’s completely up to you! Quarter the strawberries so they are about the same size as the other berries.

Tri-Berry Crisp

Sprinkle in the sugar and flour. Toss the fruit around until the berries are completely coated. Spoon into whichever baking bowl you want to use. I’ve used cast iron in the past, but for today, I’m making individual crisps. Set aside.

To make the crisp, combine all the ingredients into a bowl.

Tri-Berry Crisp

You can use either your hands or a pastry blender, but I like to use my hands since it’s faster. Squish the butter and the dry ingredients together until it clumps together.

Pinch out small clumps of dough and drop onto the berries.

Tri-Berry Crisp

Place a sheet of aluminum foil on your baking rack in case any berry juice bubbles over. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the berries are bubbly and the crisp is nicely browned.

Tri-Berry Crisp

Wait about 5-10 minutes before serving because the berries and its juice will be extremely hot! Top off with vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy!

Tri-Berry Crisp

Tri-Berry Crisp

1 c blueberries

1 c strawberries, quartered

1/2 c raspberries

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp flour

For the crisp:

3/4 c old fashioned oats

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp flour

1 tsp cinnamon

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the oven rack with a piece of aluminum foil.

Wash the berries. Sprinkle in the sugar and flour, then toss with a spoon until evenly coated. Spoon into a baking dish and set aside.

To make the crisp, combine all the ingredients into a bowl. With your hands or pastry blender, blend the ingredients so that the butter is dispersed into the dry ingredients. Pinch off small clumps and place on top of the berries, making an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes or until the berries are bubbly and the crisp is golden brown on top.

Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving as it will be extremely hot! Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Cakey Brownies

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This has been an absolute whirlwind of a week! School has begun once more, and with that comes the long 6 hour drive down, the moving in, unpacking, and getting everything settled. Class has already started and it has been very bittersweet for me as this is also my final semester before graduating in December. In the midst of this, I was asked by a couple to bake for their adoption fundraiser they were having this weekend. I have known them since I could remember and they are now adopting their second child!! To learn more about their adoption process, head over to their own blog page, One More Blessing, to find out more about their journey!

Cakey Brownies

I was very honored to have been asked to bake for their fundraise! To help their efforts, I baked a Chocolatey Chocolate Sprinkles Cake, a Carrot Cake, my red velvet whoopie pies, chocolate chip cookies, and a pan of brownies for their bake sale.  These are all of my classic recipe that I have made well over ten times each and is always a crowd pleaser. In the past, I have made my Classic Brownies which are brownies with more of a fudge consistency, but since we already have an intense chocolate cake, I decided to make a cakey brownie instead, which is more gentle with the chocolate flavor. This version takes almost the same ingredients and concept as the Classic brownies, but by substituting half of the chocolate chips for cocoa powder, it creates a much lighter and cakier brownie!

Over a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate chips. Remove from the heat, then, add the sugar and whisk until fully incorporated. The mixture will be grainy, but that is okay. Quickly whisk the eggs in one at a time, as you do not want the hot chocolate mixture to cook the eggs.

Cakey Brownies

Once that is completely mixed through, sift in the dry ingredients.

Cakey Brownies

Whisk until just combined. Pour into a 9×13 inch pan that is lined with parchment paper, and smooth out the top. LOOK AT THAT BEAUTY!!

Cakey Brownies

Bake for 25-30 minutes in a oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. The top will be shiny and gorgeously crackly.

Cakey Brownies

Allow it to completely cool before slicing in. You could eat it while it is still warm, but then some of the steam will escape and cause the brownies to be dry. Waiting until it is completely cooled will allow the moisture to remain inside.

Cakey Brownies

By just changing one ingredient, you can turn a brownie from a fudge to a cake consistency!!

Cakey Brownies

Cakey Brownies

  • Servings: 12 brownies
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recipe adapted from Classic Brownies

2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 c unsalted butter (1 stick)

1 c sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 c all purpose flour

1/4 c cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper.

Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and butter until completely melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar. Add the eggs in one at a time, whisking completely to incorporate. Add the vanilla, whisk, then sift in the dry ingredients. Whisk until just combined, then pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to completely cool before serving!

Chocolate Sponge Roll

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Sponge rolls, also known as swiss rolls, have long been a favorite cake of mine! It is very light in texture without being too overpoweringly heavy with sweetness. I’ve posted about the Chinese Sponge Cake a while back and even added fresh cream and strawberries to it. This time, I decided to switch things up and made a chocolate flavored one with a fresh cream filling.

To begin, you want to separate your yolks from your whites. You will have an extra egg white which you can save for another use.

Chocolate Sponge Rolls

Add the sugar to your yolks and whisk vigorously until the color has lightened and thickened. If you are smarter than I was, you would either use a hand or the stand mixer to use. Unfortunately I was too lazy to wash the bowl and whisk attachment and thus, painfully whisked it by hand.

Chocolate Sponge Rolls

Next, sift in the cake flour and cocoa powder. You want this mixture to be as lump free as possible!

Chocolate Sponge Rolls

Whisk, until the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated and the mixture is thick.

After your yolk mixture is complete, it’s time to work on the egg whites! Whip up your whites until it reaches a stiff peak. Don’t over mix them otherwise your cake will bake out to be very dry.

Chocolate Sponge Rolls

Add half of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate yolk mixture and whisk until it has lightened. Then, add in the rest of the egg whites and mix until smooth. Then, add in the milk and oil and whisk until combined. Towards the end, I switched to a rubber spatula to make sure the bottom of the bowl was also mixed in.

Pour the batter into a 9 x 13 inch pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Spread the mixture out evenly and drop the pan onto the counter several times to release any air bubbles that may be trapped inside.

Chocolate Sponge Rolls

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until the cake springs back when a finger is gently pushed into it. Remove from the pan and allow it to slightly cool for about 5 minutes.

Chocolate Sponge Rolls

Take a new sheet of parchment paper, lay it on top of the cake, and flip it upside down so that the the top of the cake becomes the bottom. Slowly, peel off the old parchment paper.

Chocolate Sponge Rolls

There are different ways people roll their sponge rolls. Some people wait for them to cool completely before rolling, but I actually like to roll mine while it is still hot, as the cake is more flexible and less prone to cracking. To do so, take a tea towel and cover the cake, exposing only about an inch of cake.

Chocolate Sponge Rolls

Fold the exposed portion over the tea towel and begin to gently roll the cake and parchment paper into a log.

Chocolate Sponge Rolls

Once it is completely rolled, allow it to cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Sponge Rolls

As the cake is cooling, whip the cream. When the cake is completely cooled, gently unroll the cake from the towel and spread a thin layer of cream across the top. As you roll it back up, use the parchment paper to help keep it very tight and evenly round.

Refrigerate the entire roll for 10 minutes to allow it to set, then when ready to eat, remove the parchment paper, slice the cake up into one inch slices, and feast! Careful not to get too carried away! I told myself I would only “taste test” one slice but that quickly turned into two slices before I even cut the rest of the cake!

Chocolate Sponge Rolls

Chocolate Sponge Roll

  • Servings: 13 mini rolls
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4 egg yolks

1 Tbsp + 2 tsp granulated sugar

1/4 c cake flour

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cocoa powder

3 egg whites

3 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 Tbsp half and half

1/3 c heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp granualted sugar. You can either hand whisk it, use a stand mixer, or hand mixer. Mix until it has thickened and pales in color. Sift in the cake flour and cocoa powder and with a and held whisk, gently combine both mixtures until thoroughly incorporated and lump free. The mixture will be thick. Set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, whip up the egg whites and 3 Tbsp sugar using a hand mixer or stand mixer until stiff peaks are reached. Add half into the chocolate yolk mixture and gently whisk together until the chocolate mixture has lightened and is not as thick. Add in the rest of the egg whites and whisk until it is a homogeneous mixture and no streaks of white or chocolate remain. Pour in the oil and half and half and whisk in completely. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom to ensure every bit is mixed in. Pour into the prepared pan, spread it out evenly, then drop the pan onto the counter top to release any air bubbles. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cake springs back when it is gently pushed down with a finger.

To Assemble

Slide the cake out from the pan and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Using a new piece of parchment, cover the top of the cake and flip the cake upside down. The top of the cake is now the bottom, resting on the new parchment and the bottom is now the top, with the old parchment. Gently peel off the old parchment paper. To roll, place a tea towel on top where the old parchment was, exposing about one inch of cake on it’s long side. Fold the exposed portion of the cake over the tea towel, then begin to roll, using the parchment paper to help. Try to keep even pressure so it is evenly round throughout. Once completely rolled, allow it to cool to room temperature.

As it is cooling, whip the cream until it is stiff. Once the cake is cooled, you can gently unroll it out of the tea towel and parchment paper. Spread the whipped cream into a thin layer across the inside and tightly roll the cake back up. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to allow it to set and when ready to serve, slice into 1 inch slices and enjoy!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

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I would like to start off by apologizing to you, as I am about to introduce you to a product that may add 10 pounds or 5 extra cavities to your body. Thanks to the Pioneer Woman, I have discovered this:

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It’s CARAMEL IN A CAN. Absolutely genius. I forgot which episode I saw her use this on, but Ree Drummond, I thank you. I could eat this by the spoonful and this is always going to be stocked in my pantry from now on. With that, I had the inspiration to use this can to make salted caramel chocolate cupcakes.

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If you know me and the recipes I use, you would know that my absolute favorite and most used recipe is the Chocolate Cake recipe by Ina Garten. I have used it on countless occasions and it never fails me. With that, I turned her cake into a cupcake.

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Though the measurements may be slightly different, the process is entirely the same. Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.

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In a pyrex measuring cup, measure out the wet ingredients.

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Combine the dry and the wet, whisking until just combined. Next, add the hot coffee. The mixture will thin out and become watery. Using a large ice cream scoop, ladle the batter evenly into the cupcake tins.

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As it is baking, prepare the buttercream. Whisk the butter and powder sugar until combined. Add the whipping cream and beat until light and fluffy. Then, add in 3/4 of the can of caramel and salt. Whip until it is thoroughly combined.

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Once the cupcakes are cooled, you can frost them however you’d like! To drizzle the caramel, transfer the caramel to a glass container and heat for 15-20 seconds.

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Drizzle on the chocolate ganache and sprinkle on some sea salt flakes.

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Chocolate Cupcakes

recipe adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup good cocoa powder

1 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Scoop the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)

4 cups powdered sugar

3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream

3/4 can of Nestle La Lechura Dulce de Leche (or any other caramel will do)

2 tsp salt

Whip together the butter and slowly add in the powdered sugar until combined. Slowly, add in the heavy whipping cream and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add in the caramel and salt and beat until fully combined.

To frost the cupcakes, you can use any kind of tip you would like. I used a 1A Wilton Piping tip to pipe a giant dollop of frosting on the cupcake, then went back with a straight spatula and hallowed out the centers. Transfer the remaining 1/4 cup of caramel in a glass bowl for 20 seconds and drizzle across the tops of the cupcakes.

Chocolate Ganache

1/4 c heavy whipping cream

1/4 c chocolate morsels

In a glass bowl, heat up the heavy whipping cream in a microwave until bubbly. Pour in the chocolate chips and stir until completely glossy and combined. Drizzle onto the cupcakes. Then, use sea salt flakes to sprinkle onto the tops and serve!

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