Monday, May 30, 2011

Hot Dog Buns

Hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day! It's been a while since I posted anything. Last week I bought a 4lb. container of strawberries because they were on sale for really cheap and used some of them to make strawberry bread. I wasn't super crazy about it and didn't get a picture so I didn't bother posting it. Other than that i've been pretty lazy about baking lately.
Since today is Memorial Day and that means bbq, I used this opportunity to make homemade hot dog buns. I've been wanting to try it for a while but it's not that often we eat hot dogs. Making hot dog buns from scratch isn't something I would want to do everytime since it's so much easier (and probably cheaper too) to just buy a bag. But these turned out great and I wouldn't mind making them again if I get in the mood to. This recipe can also be used to make hamburger buns. I only made 1/2 the recipe and had 9 buns.
Hot Dog Buns
King Arthur Flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 packets or 2 scant tablespoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)

2 cups warm milk (105°F to 115°F)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons salt

6 to 7 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

*egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water

sesame, poppy or caraway seeds or coarse salt (optional)


In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar and then the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk, oil, salt and 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 18 equal pieces. This is done most easily by dividing the dough first into thirds, then those thirds into halves, then the halves into thirds. Shape each piece into a ball. Roll the balls into cylinders, 4 1/2-inches in length. Flatten the cylinders slightly; dough rises more in the center so this will give a gently rounded top versus a high top.
For soft-sided buns, place them on a well-seasoned baking sheet a half inch apart so they'll grow together when they rise. For crisper buns, place them three inches apart. Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Fifteen minutes before you want to bake your buns, preheat your oven to 400°F. Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with seeds, if you choose. Bake for 20 min. or until lightly golden.
yield: 18
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

With a title like this, you know it's going to be good. I wanted to be sure to try this recipe soon because who knows when i'll be able to have time to make something like this after the baby comes. Well, i'm sure i'll have time but whether or not I want to put the energy into it is something else. I've tried another mousse cake recipe (double chocolate mousse torte) not too long ago and wanted to see how this one compared since I really liked the other one. I have to say they were close equals in my book and depending on the mood im in or what ingredients I have on hand would determine which one to make. Really they were pretty much the same thing, except the other was topped with whipped cream and this one was topped with white chocolate mousse. We shared some of the cake, but mostly we ate it. And i'm not ashamed because it was worth it, and that's all that matters.

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
Cook's Illustrated via. Annie's Eats

For the bottom layer:

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (plus extra for greasing the pan)

7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

¾ tsp. instant espresso powder

1½ tsp. vanilla extract

4 large eggs, separated

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

For the middle layer:

2 tbsp. cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed

5 tbsp. hot water

7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1½ cups heavy cream

1 tbsp. granulated sugarPinch of salt

For the top layer:

¾ tsp. powdered gelatin

1 tbsp. water

6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped

1½ cups heavy cream

For garnish:

Chocolate curls or cocoa powder


To make the bottom layer, butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. (I lined the bottom of the pan with a parchment round for easy removal later.) Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325˚ F. Combine the butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Crumble half of the brown sugar into the mixing bowl with your fingers to remove any lumps. Beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges and the center has just set but is still soft (should spring back after pressing gently with a finger), about 14-18 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour. Do not remove the cake from the pan. (If not making the second layer right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to proceed.)

To make the second layer, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl; set aside. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Once melted, remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 2-5 minutes.
In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds. Whisk in the cocoa powder mixture until smooth. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and tap gently on the counter 3 times to remove air bubbles. Gently smooth the top with a spatula. Wipe the inside edge of the pan to remove any drips. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.

To make the top layer, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let stand at least 5 minutes to soften. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring ½ cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved. Pour the hot cream mixture over the white chocolate and let stand about 1 minute. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Baby Shower Cake Pops

Cake pops have never been something that interested me. I'm not one to spend a lot of time or detail on little things. I get bored after a little while and things start to get sloppy for the sake of getting the job done. And you spend so much time and they're eaten so fast. But for some reason when thinking of a dessert to make for a baby shower, I thought i'd give them a try. And I didn't want to go simple like just drizzling some chocolate or sprinkles on top. I wanted to make them look like a baby. Don't ask me why. I have no artistic ability at all. Ask me to draw anything and it looks like a 5 year old did it. I think maybe because I wish I was artistic so every once in a while i'll try my luck again only to realize why I don't do things like this.

Anyway, these took a long...time. And it didn't help that it was about 80 degrees outside (which means it was way, way hotter in my kitchen). I had no idea of all the things that could go wrong while making these and ended up having quite a few casualties.. Some of the candy coating on some of them cracked and even broke off and a few of them fell off the stick (which im wondering if it's because it was so hot inside they got melty and just fell through the stick..). I was losing my patience but after you've come so far you just gotta stick it out. My husband ended up making the bows for me (the whole lack of artistic ability thing again) which was really nice. I made the fondant one night, the bows the next night and everything else the next day. I used fondant for the bows and pacifier- which had a sprinkle on top of it. I tried a few different ideas for face features, but this is what I ended up with. Cute or creepy- you decide. It was fun to try but I think next time i'll ditch the stick and just go with cake balls, ones that don't require anything too 'artsy' for me.

Baby Shower Cake Pops

(I just thought this picture was kind of funny)

I'm not going to post the marshmallow fondant recipe, but here's the link for it: Marshmallow Fondant from All Recipes

And instructions on how to make the cake pops, from Bakerella
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Monday, May 2, 2011

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

I kind of made this recipe on a whim since I had a carton of cream that needed to be used asap and I happened to have some frozen raspberries left-over from the lemonade I made a few weeks ago. It was really easy and quick to make (aside from waiting time) and the ingredients are simple. I loved the texture of the ice cream, it was so thick and creamy. The raspberry and chocolate wasn't my favorite (maybe next time i'll try strawberry...) but it was still good. I'm usually pretty lazy when it comes to home made ice cream, i've only made it 3 times in the last 7 months or so since I got the machine but I enjoy it every time I do.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream
Pennies on a Platter

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
5 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen

In a large, heavy saucepan, whisk together the whipping cream, cocoa powder, and sugar. Whisk frequently and heat until it comes to a full, rolling boil and starts to foam. Remove from the heat and stir in the raspberries. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and purée. Press through a strainer over a mixing bowl to remove the seeds.
Chill overnight in the fridge and then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter