Wednesday, July 25, 2012



Pretty, but fail.

The first time I made tiramisu, I used Giada's recipe. It was pretty good. My second attempt at tiramisu, I screwed up Debi Mazar's recipe from Extra Virgin.

Before I get to that, I tried half with the soft lady fingers from HEB and the other half with hard lady fingers (savoiardi) that I have to get from World Market. If you use the soft ones, you have to brush them with the coffee. They get mushy if you dip them in the bowl of coffee. They taste fine, but I do prefer the hard lady fingers because they are denser, so it tastes more authentic. 

Everything was going fine until I added my mascarpone to the mixture. It became clumpy and curdled. The more I mixed, the more it became cottage cheese. This did not happen to me before. Puzzled, I read online that tiramisu can "break" if your mascarpone is cold and and the egg mixture is warm. All ingredients need to  start at room temperature. I waited 30 minutes for it to come to room temperature, mixed it again, and added alittle flour, but it still didn't come together.  

In the end, it was not fluffy or creamy. I'll have to try it again some time, but now I'm tired of tiramisu.

Monday, July 16, 2012

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Maryam sure can nag for some cookies. She found this recipe through pinterest, and now I have a new favorite baking website to check out for inspiration. I "finally" made them when Yusif and Naven came over yesterday. Baking is just more fun when you're going to share.

These cookies were fabulous because they are made with cake flour and bread flour. I highly recommend bread flour when making cookies. I added one cup of toffee bits just for that extra depth of flavor. If you do add toffee, use parchment paper on your pan, because as the cookies cool they can start to stick and it's harder to get them off in one piece.

I can't stress how important it is to "underbake" your cookies to get them chewy and soft on the inside. You should take them out of the oven when they still look like they need 2 more minutes to get golden brown. If they already look golden brown and perfect to eat, they will be overbaked. Because as they cool on the pan, they will still be cooking slightly.

The recipe says they need 48 hours to chill. I agree, if you want the best cookie, you have to wait. But you can speed the process by putting them in the freezer first and then the fridge.

This blogger's 8 secrets for baking the best cookie are all true. Very good read!

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate chips
Sea salt 

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pillsbury Lemon Raspberry Pie

I made this recipe for the first time yesterday for some lovely ladies so I'm glad it turned out ok! The custard was creamy and not too rich. The cream cheese whipped cream was my favorite part, and really elevates this to a cream pie and not a tart, so don't just substitute it for regular whipped cream! 

I completely overlooked the recipe and didn't notice I was suppose to sprinkle pecans to bake into the crust. It was still delicious without them and actually I probably would have omitted them anyway because I wanted this to be as creamy as possible, not crunchy. 

So here's what failure looks like! I have a bad habit of not paying close attention to recipes. I put the pan on the stove to preheat and started adding the ingredients one by one as I fetched them from the pantry and fridge. But you are supposed to mix them first when everything is cold and then put it on the stove, and mix constantly.

That way you don't overheat your ingredients when you add the eggs so they don't scramble and get all gummy. So I had to do it over again. At least they weren't expensive ingredients. Above is what it should look like!

For the cream cheese whipped cream, I adapted the recipe slightly. I used 8 oz. of cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon extract, and no milk. I forgot the milk. But it came out with all the flavors balanced and the perfect texture. 

I didn't want to cover up all those beautiful raspberries with the cream like the recipe wanted to, so I spread half of the cream over the custard, layered the raspberries on top, and then piped the rest of the cream around the edges. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I like to think these cupcakes were for you my little nephew, Ibrahim. 
You are 28 weeks today, and I got to show your sweet little face to your parents, aunties, grandma, and cousin this fourth of July. Thank you for looking at the camera!

I found this recipe on pinterest! The cake is delicious. I added two more tablespoons butter (just to use a whole stick) and only 1/4 cup milk in the batter. Hopefully I am done messing up cake batters by making them too liquidy. I notice recipes usually ask for a bit too much. Cake batter should be thick! And always end the mixing process with flour! I also used light brown sugar instead of dark. They came out moist and tasting like a chocolate chip cookie. I got 22 cupcakes with this recipe. Be careful not to overbake, they will become less moist. When you smell them, they are done, and when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I baked them for 19 minutes at 350.

The peanut butter frosting was perfect for these. I used 1 cup powdered sugar and only 1/4 cup milk. 
I think chocolate sprinkles would have been so cute on top but I forgot to buy them!
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