Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Fun fact: these candies are also known as buckeyes. But I wanted them to look like truffles. They came out soft and melt-in-your-mouth good.

I was going to go with this recipe at first but then decided with Cook's Country because I like how they shared their trial and error story, which is more detailed in my cookbook than on their website.

I liked their idea of adding white chocolate to the peanut butter because it does firm up nicely. Whenever I make chocolate covered strawberries, white chocolate sets up faster and harder than semi-sweet. So with that in mind, I combined one ounce of white chocolate chips to one cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and one teapsoon of shortening over a double broiler for coating the candies.

Keep your eye on melting chocolate, stirring occasionally. Take it off the heat as soon as most of it is melted and stir until smooth. Let it cool for at least ten minutes and becomes eaiser to coat the candies. 

I halved the recipe and got 40 candies (1 1/4 inch in size).

Congrats Geoffrey Zakarian! #NextIronChef

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
Adapted from: Cook's Country

2 1

Preheat ove

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Eggnog Cake

I waited nearly a year to make this cake. I found it after eggnog already left the shelves so I saved the recipe away to my favorites tab, and never forgot it. I guess it's hard to live up to a year's worth of wait or this cake just sucks.

It's edible but that's pretty much it. I could slightly taste the eggnog, but overall the texture wasn't fluffy or soft or dense or airy or anything unique. To be fair, I kept it chilled and never tried it at room temperature.

It's worse when the eggnog filling and eggnog frosting recipes I (tried for the first time) paired with this cake also sucked. Okay, the filling wasn't so bad. It was a creative attempt to replace milk with eggnog for instant pudding. But I wanted eggnog filling. And ended up with instant pudding. You know? Just not quite right. No depth of flavor.

The frosting was a disaster. I admit that was my fault. It was a good consistency after adding 1/4 cup eggnog like you're supposed to, but then it lost it's thickness - because I added too much. I doubled it. Couldn't help it. I like eggnog.

So, I kept whipping it, hoping it would thicken. But the butter started to curdle so I had to stop. I tried adding a teaspoon of cornstarch. Still didn't thicken up. I was already starting to taste the flour flavor so I couldn't add more. I added 1/2 cup more powdered sugar. Still didn't thicken up. And it was becoming too sweet. The only thing I could think of was turn it into whipped cream so I folded in 1/2 cup of cool whip. Not my best but at least it was fluffy enough to put on that cake.

One of those cakes I'd just like to throw in the garbage but my dad would get mad at me if I did.

Eggnog Cake
Adapted from: Cook's Country

1/2 cup butter, softened
 1-1/4 cups sugar
 3 eggs
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
 2 cups all-purpose flour
 2 teaspoons baking powder
 1 teaspoon salt
 1 cup eggnog

Preheat oven to 350° F.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with eggnog, beating well after each addition. Pour into two 9-in. round baking pans coated with cooking spray.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Eggnog filling
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
 2 cups eggnog
 1/2 teaspoon rum flavored extract

Mix together the vanilla pudding mix, 2 cups eggnog, and 1/2 teaspoon rum flavored extract in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Eggnog frosting
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup Best Eggnog
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch fine salt

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Turn the mixer to medium low, gradually add the powdered sugar, and beat until combined, about 2 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the frosting is very airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Use immediately.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Eggnog French Toast

I didn't have to go to work this morning so I made eggnog french toast. I've been looking up recipes using eggnog, mostly cakes, but came across this one and thought it was brilliant.

I used Promised Land Eggnog, and still can't decide if its mild or strong. Probably in between, but not strong enough to taste in the french toast. I remember from last year that Borden's eggnog was mild in flavor too. Oak Farm's eggnog was stronger, which I used in a cheesecake recipe and the flavor stood out, so I'd like to try this again sometime with Oak Farm's eggnog.

I think fresh nutmeg would be nice too, because I didn't taste it either. Still a good breakfast though, and I enjoyed cooking on the griddle this time - so much easier.

Eggnog French Toast

4 eggs
1 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2.5 tablespoons butter
10 slices of white bread (not toasted, not stale)

Preheat your pan on the stove to medium heat or to 350 degrees if using a griddle. Whisk the first four ingredients into a 8x8 dish. Cut 1/4 tablespoon butter and place into one corner of your pan. If it melts and sizzles slightly, without smoking or burning it is at the right temperature. Coat one corner of your pan with the butter. Dip a slice of bread into the egg mixture and flip to coat both sides. Place on top of the melted butter inside the pan. Repeat with all slices. Cook for about 6-8 minutes on the first side and about 3-4 minutes on the second side, until they look golden brown. After every two slices I dip, I sprinkle more nutmeg into the egg mixture, to be sure each slice gets a good amount.

Optional topping ideas: fresh fruit (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, bananas, or oranges) maple syrup, a light dusting of powdered sugar, or whipped cream. Of course, drink with eggnog.

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