Sunday, May 25, 2014

S'mores Trifle

When life gives you lemons you make lemonade right?  Well I say, when life gives you ugly chocolate cupcake you make trifle.  I have conquered a lot (relatively speaking) as a home cook/baker, but for some reason chocolate cupcakes, not chocolate cake, but specifically CUPCAKES just seem to evade me.  

This is not even the first time this is happened to me.  In fact, I think all the chocolate trifles I have made are a result of a failed chocolate cupcake attempt, except maybe this trifle (be still my heart). I should learn better.  

This year for my birthday I was really trying to be good, dessert-wise.  I have been limiting my sugar and only eating sweets once a week so I thought cupcakes would the perfect little heavenly bite, just enough but not overdoing it.  Then if I had too many leftover I could just give some away. 

Oh but no, those sunken chocolate cupcakes stuck all over the pan had to rear their ugly faces.  Really, I should learn.  However, it actually turned out good; making the cupcakes into a trifle.  I kept with the s'mores theme that I wanted (hello is it summer yet!!!)  and I ended up taking them to a church barbecue, and brought home NO leftovers.  Score!

You can thank me now for this, 'cause you'll have something to take to every gathering you attend throughout the summer.

S'mores Trifle
1 13x9 pan of your favorite chocolate cake (from scratch or a box), baked and cooled
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 12-oz bag milk chocolate chips (good quality)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 bag mini marshmallows

For the milk chocolate ganache, pour chocolate chips out into a small mixing bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream to just a boil then pour it over the chocolate chips.  Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  Remove cover and whisk until smooth.

To assemble trifle, layer about half of the cake in the bottom of a trifle bowl.  Top with 1-1 1/2 cups of the graham cracker crumbs and drizzle 1/2-3/4 cup of the ganache.  Add about 1/3 of the bag of mini marshmallows. (You can toast the marshmallows if you want, I happened to use my kitchen torch but it isn't necessary.)  Repeat layers with remaining cake,  graham cracker crumbs, ganache and marshmallows.  (Note: you may not want all of the graham cracker crumbs or ganache, you can use personal judgement there. I also reserved a tiny bit of crumbs and ganache to for garnish.)

To toast the top layer of marshmallows there are a few ways it can be done.  The easiest way would be to use a kitchen torch.  You could also put the whole bowl under the broiler (after you add the marshmallows) in the oven for about 3-4 minutes watching very closely; and you may have to take out the top rack as trifle bowls tend to be on the tall side.  The last way you could toast the marshmallows would be to lay them out on a large baking sheet, put them under the broiler for 3-4 minutes then remove them from the oven, allow them to cool then transfer them to the trifle and garnish as desired. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cake Batter Scones

Celebrating birthdays is just about one of my favorite things to celebrate.  Although my husband isn't much for celebrations, I still try to make a big deal for the rest of us.  My go-to birthday breakfast is usually these Cake Batter Pancakes, but this year I wanted to try something different.  It's no secret that I love scones (thirteen recipes on the blog to be exact) so I thought cake batter flavored scones would be perfect for a birthday breakfast.  While there is no actual cake batter in the dough, you better believe they taste EXACTLY like birthday cake and practically melt in your mouth!  They had me swooning.  I may have eaten one...or three.

Cake Batter Scones
for the scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles (or less if you want)
for the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

extra sprinkles for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Pulse a couple times to blend.  Add butter and whiz until mixture becomes a coarse meal.  Alternately you could use a pastry blender or two knives to cut butter in.

In a separate bowl, add heavy cream, vanilla and almond extracts and stir briefly to combine.  Add flour mixture to bowl, along with sprinkles, and stir until a dough forms (it will be crumbly).  Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, only about 3 or 4 times. Do not over-work or dough will be chewy.

Divide dough in half and gently pat out into about a 6-inch circle.  Cut into 6-8 wedges and place on an ungreased cookie sheet or cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Repeat with other half of dough.  Bake in preheated oven about 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Make icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  Once scones are cooled, drizzle icing over the top, add more sprinkles if desired, and allow to set. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Brown Butter Banana Muffins

 Who doesn't love a good muffin for breakfast once in a while? Unfortunately most muffins are so LOADED with sugar they could really be considered a dessert.  Not these!  I love using super ripe mashed bananas in my pancakes and muffins because they lend a natural sweetness so you don't have to use much added sugar.   

These muffins are  delightfully delicious and incredibly moist.  My girls sometimes get finicky about the kind of muffins I make but these were gone in no time.  With less than half the sugar than your typical muffin recipe and by using whole wheat flour you can feel good about eating a few of these.

 Brown Butter Banana Muffins
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 bananas, mashed
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.   Line muffin tin with liners.

In a small pan melt butter over medium high heat.  Continue cooking until butter begins to smell nutty and starts turning a golden and brown bits appear.  Set aside to cool slightly.

In a mixing bowl, combine milk, egg and yolk, vanilla and mashed banana.  Very slowly whisk in warm butter, brown bits and all (do it too fast and you'll scramble the eggs).  Add in the sugars and whisk well to incorporate.  Sift in the rest of the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Divide batter evenly into the muffin tin.  Bake 12-14 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

SOURCE: Adapted from Breanna's Recipe Box

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