Current Happenings in the World of Foodologie

Hi Guys! Sorry I’ve been MIA.  There so many things I’ve wanted to make but haven’t had time to.  And then, there are some things I made…

Like this orange-chocolate crepe cake, that was slightly underwhelming so I chose not to blog about it.

I also made brownie covered oreos for Halloween, but didn’t have time to photograph so alas, no blog post.

But all that said, exciting things are coming.  In 9 days, I’m off to Peru.  I’m so excited to tell you about all the awesome things I see (and eat).

Also Fall is in full swing, and you know you want to make this Fall Cake:

fall cake5

Trust me, it’s delicious.  Gingerbread cake, pumpkin cheesecake, caramel pecans and a hearty slather of vanilla buttercream.  Amazing.  I want it now.

Or maybe cookies are more your style.pumpkinchocchipcookies1

And if that’s the case, then you need some of these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies.

So make those while I prep for my trip.  I’m having a major desire to bake, but seriously out of ideas.  Any suggestions?

 

As soon as I get back from Peru (the day before Thanksgiving), it’ll be time for Turkey and then Christmas cookies.

So many exciting things to come!

What are you looking forward to most?

Aside from Peru, I’m seriously looking forward to Turducken.  My family has bought one the past two or three years and it’s seriously awesome.

 

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Little Banana Cake with Caramel Filling

Sometimes you just don’t want a big commitment.  Saturday, I went on a 16 mile hike up the highest peak in Orange County.  That was a big commitment; there was snow at the top of the mountain.. in Orange County…

I was totally ok with that commitment.

But sometimes, dessert can be a big commitment, especially cakes.

Because of this, I think my 6 inch cake pans were a great investment, and I think this banana cake has been my greatest creation from them so far.

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I actually made this twice, so I can tell you with confidence that it’s doubly tasty.

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Little Banana Cake with Caramel Filling

adapted from Epicurious

For Cake:
1 cup + 1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter
1/2 cup sugar, heaping
1 egg
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Caramel filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Icing:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Sift together flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add in egg, continue to beat for another minute or two.  Beat in mashed banana, milk, vinegar and vanilla.  Add in flour mixture until well combine.

Pour batter into 2 (6 inch round) cake pans (greased, floured and bottom lined with parchment paper).  Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and cooked through (mine took 25 mins, but yours might differ based on your oven so start checking after 20 mins).  Allow to cool completely.

Make caramel filling.  Melt sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Once sugar starts to melt turn flame to low.  Work out any clumps by stirring.  Once the sugar syrup is a deep amber color, remove from heat stir in butter (mixture will foam a lot but keep stirring), stream in cream as you stir, then stir in vanilla and salt.   Set aside to cool a bit.

caramel

Level off each layer using a serrated knife.  Place your bottom layer crumb side down on a plate (put some pieces of parchment paper around the edges to get a clean frost).  Spread half the caramel in the middle of the cake.  Put second layer on top and spread with remaining caramel.  Caramel should still be warm to the touch but not pourable.  You’ll have to spread it with the wooden spoon and it will smooth out on its own (if you let it cool too much you won’t get a smooth top.  Alternatively if the caramel is too hot, it might flow over the edges, no biggie, you can cover that with icing).

unfrostedcake

Next make frosting.  Beat half a cup of heavy cream, once it starts to form soft peaks add in sugar and vanilla.  Continue to beat until it forms firm peaks.  Frost the cake as desired.  If you plan to frost the entire thing (including the top) and decorate, double the frosting.  I only frosted the sides

partiallyfrostedcake

then used a piping bag with a star tip to decorate the edges to leave the caramel exposed.  Both are great, tasty options.

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If you’re ready for a big commitment (aka a full size cake), double the recipe and bake in two 8 or 9 inch cake pans.

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Either way, store this cake in the fridge until about 45 minutes before you’re ready to serve it.  Don’t come complaining to me that your caramel is too hard if you take it out of the fridge and slice it immediately.  Like all commitments, that part needs time too.

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What’s your next commitment?

Please tell me it’s this little banana cake!

Caramel Yogurt Bundt Cake

When I was little, I remember my mom regularly kept a Costco Pound Cake in a glass cake dome on the kitchen counter.  I remember not liking it much as a kid, but I’m pretty sure it was offered to anyone who came over.  We all need that kind of cake.

The kind you offer with coffee to any and all of your guests.  A simple cake that almost serves more of a decorative purpose than a gluttonous one.  This is that kind of cake.

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But I’ll be honest, this won’t wow you.  It’s a simple cake, and that was my intention.  Sometimes we need simple.

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Caramel Yogurt Bundt Cake

For Caramel:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp butter, softened

For Cake:
Caramel
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup plain yogurt (I used Fage 0%)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Then start making the caramel.  Add 1/2 cup of sugar to a sauce pan.  Turn on heat on high until sugar starts to melt.  Once sugar starts to melt, turn flame down to low and stir.  Keep stirring until sugar is melted, any clumps have dissolved and you have a deep golden amber color.  Next stir in butter then cream.  Keep stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl or mixer, beat together sugar and oil.  Stream in caramel and continue to mix.  Beat in eggs, beating 1 minute after each egg.    Combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl.  Gradually add flour to batter, alternating with yogurt.  Once combined, add milk and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth.

Pour batter into a greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake for 30 mins, then reduce oven temperature to 325F and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until you poke it with a knife and it comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely and turn onto a plate (note: I had a hard time getting it out of the bundt pan, but finally it happened! This always happens with bundt pans for me!).  Dust with powdered sugar and serve or keep in a cake dome on the kitchen counter.

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That’s what I would do if my counter was larger than 2 feet wide.  Clearly my kitchen is a little to simple.  Is yours?

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Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie

So today I realized it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post.  I blame it on one thing: The Walking Dead.

I’m about 859395 minutes late to the party, so I spent the last week watching the first two seasons.  It was an enormous race to watch all the episodes before the new episode on Sunday.  Good news: I’m all caught up.

Now I freak out when my lights flicker, but that’s okay.  If fictional tv shows freak you out (like they do me), just think of pie.

Then head into the kitchen to make this…

Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie

Single Pie Crust:

175g All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp Sugar
pinch of Salt
1 stick of Butter, cold
2 tbsp (maybe more) Ice Water

Filling:
6 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
3 tbsp bourbon/whiskey

Caramel:

1 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp Bourbon
few pinches of salt

Topping:

1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tbsp White Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
pinch of Salt
3 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp bourbon

Prepare pie crust by combing flour, sugar and salt.  Using your fingers, break the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse crumbs (even pea sized is fine).  Add ice water and bring it all together into a ball using your hands.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours.  You can make this up to two days in advance.

Once your dough has rested sufficiently, you can start to assemble your pie.  Roll our dough and place into a 9inch pie dish, trim the edges, make them look pretty if you’d like.

Next make the caramel.  In a deep saucepan, melt sugar over medium heat.  Do not stir.  Once it reaches a golden brown color, remove from heat.  Stir in butter (it will bubble a lot, keep stirring), then stream in cream while stirring then stir in bourbon and salt.  If you get some clumps it’s not a big deal.    Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350F.   Stick the prepared crust in the freezer while you make the filling and topping.  For the filling, I like to throw all the ingredients into a large ziploc bag, close it and toss it around.  A bowl works too.

Set aside while you make the topping. Next make crumble topping.  Combine dry ingredients.  Add butter and using your fingers work it into the mixture.  Drizzle in bourbon and toss to combine.  The mixture should look sort of like crumbs.

Next assemble the pie.  Pour a bit of the caramel into the pie crust and spread.  Next lay in half the apple mixture, pour some more caramel sauce (maybe 1/3 of it? also note if your caramel cooled too much and hardened just warm it up a bit on the stove).  Add the remaining apples and drizzle with some more caramel.  You should have about 1/4 of the caramel left over.  Sprinkle the crumble topping on the apples, then drizzle remaining caramel on top.  Place pie on a baking sheet and bake 45-60 mins or until golden and the fruit is bubbling in the middle.

Remove from oven, allow to cool completely then serve!

I recommend having this with a glass of bourbon while watching The Walking Dead (or maybe Vampire Diaries is more your supernatural style?).

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Caramel Surprise

Who doesn’t love a surprise?  Especially around the holidays.

Okay so the surprise is caramel.  I gave it away.  I’m terrible at keeping secrets.  And let’s be honest sometimes it’s not even a surprise but a gooey caramel mess.  You can’t really go wrong.  Either way, I’ll keep calling them a surprise cookie.  I sounds more enticing that way.

Caramel in a sweet and salty cookie.  I know, it’s exciting. Definitely surprise-worthy.

You’re probably going to want to make these for your next Holiday gathering and/or potluck.  They work for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa; clearly, they’re really equal opportunity cookies.

Did I mention they’re fun to make? And more importantly fun to eat.

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Caramel Surprise

1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp heavy cream, room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pretzel pieces

First make the caramel filling.  Put 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan.  Turn heat on to medium and wait til the sugar starts to melt.  Carefully keep stirring until all the sugar is melted.  If you get clumps, smash them with your wooden spoon.  Push them to edges, they’ll melt faster.  Once your sugar is a light brown color, remove from the heat and quickly stir in the butter.  Once the butter is incorporated, add the pinch of salt and stream in the cream and you stir.  Keep whisking/stirring until it’s one thick, uniform texture.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together 3/4 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Next add try ingredients  (including chocolate chips and pretzels).  The key is to work the dough as little as possible.  It’ll be a little sticky but that’s okay.

By now, your caramel should be pretty cool.  If it’s not then hang out for a few minutes until it’s cool enough to put in a ziploc bag.  Once you can, put it in a ziploc bag and cut off a bottom corner so you have a make-shift piping bag.

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and get ready to assemble your cookies (note: the dough will be pretty sticky!  This is sort of a messy cookie making extravaganza, but get into it!  It’s fun!).

Grab a small amount of dough and sort of flatten it into a disk shape.  Using your finger, make a small well.  Pipe about a tsp of caramel into the well. Then fold the edges around to cover the caramel.  Put some more dough on top to make sure the caramel is completely coated with cookie (you might have to use bits of dough to patch up holes).  Repeat until you have 36 dough balls (depending on how big you make them) or you run out of dough.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden around the edges.

Then surprise your fella, co-workers, siblings with these cookies.  They’ll appreciate them.  Mine did.  I can almost guarantee yours will too.

Who doesn’t love surprises?  Especially ones that involve chocolate, pretzels and caramel.

That’s what I thought.  Get to the kitchen!

Caramel Pretzel Brownies

I have a tendency to under-cook things.  It’s a bad habit, but to me, over-cooked anything is disgusting.

Who likes a soggy vegetable? (Other than Italians who seem to overcook ALL their vegetables… or maybe that was just FAO)  I like mine to have a bit of a crunch still.

Overcook your Thanksgiving turkey… Not delicious.

Steak well-done.  My dad likes to say it’s like the sole of a shoe.

Brownies are really no different.

I am of the firm belief that all brownies should always be a little undercooked.  If you’re in the brownie’s fully cooked camp.  We can’t be friends.  Sorry.

I really would like to find a middle ground, but no.  I can’t.  Slightly undercooked brownies are amazing.

Want to know what’s even better?

Slightly undercooked brownies with caramel in the middle and pretzels on top.


No words.


Caramel Pretzel Brownies

For Brownies:
4 Squares Bakers Unsweetend Chocolate
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
handful of pretzel sticks

For Caramel:

1 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

While the oven heats, make the caramel.  Heat the sugar in a saucepan until the sugar melts and turns golden.  Remove from heat, stir in butter and add pinch of salt, once butter is incorporated, stream in cream while stirring.  Once well combined, set aside to cool slightly.

In the meantime, make the brownie batter.  In a pan, melt together butter and chocolate.  In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and eggs.  Once the butter and chocolate have melted together, stream into sugar/egg combo while stirring.  Stir in flour until just combined.

Pour half the batter into a greased 9×13 baking dish (or line with parchment paper, which is what I did, and I used 2 9×9-inch pans).  Then drizzle caramel over first half of the batter.  If your caramel cooled too much and got sorta firm, you can reheat it a tiny bit.  Then pour the rest of the batter over the caramel.  Arrange pretzels on top.  Bake approximately 30 minutes or until it no longer jiggles in the center (it might take a little longer, but not sure).  But remember, the goal is a slightly undercooked center.

This will yield, amazingly fudgy, dense, delicious brownies.  They’re not super thick, but trust me, they more than make up for it in flavor.

So actually when I made these, I made two kinds.  Caramel and Peanut Butter.


So if you’d like, you can use peanut butter instead of caramel.

Both are delicious, the caramel was just extra delicious.

See the caramel in there? (hint: look to the left!)

Divine.

They’re gooey, sweet, salty,  and most importantly slightly undercooked all in one perfect little square.

I’m pretty sure that means they’ll make the perfect treat any time.

Fall Cupcakes: Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Filling and Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Frosting

You all remember the Fall Cake, right?

Inspired by my time spent working at a bakery… One layer of pumpkin cheesecake, another layer of gingerbread cake, caramel pecans in between and on top, then covered in vanilla buttercream.

That was it a little too intense for me to make that often.  So if you’re looking for the perfect fall dessert, that isn’t super complicated but will likely impress people, this is it.

Okay so it requires a lot of steps, but I promise it’s not that complicated and super delicious in the end.

Fall Cupcakes

for Gingerbread Cupcakes (adapted from Food Network’s Gingerbread cake)

1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1/4-1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (plus more for garnish)
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup boiling water

For Caramel Filling:

1 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt

For Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp butter, softened
4 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 lb powdered sugar (note you might need more depending on how sweet you like it)
dash of cinnamon
dash of ground ginger (or just use pumpkin pie spice)

Start my making the cupcakes.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine the sugar, oil, molasses and eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in crystallized ginger.  Add dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices), mix until almost combined.  Stir in boiling water.  Pour into cupcake pan lined with baking cups.  Fill only a little past half way.  This is sort of crucial.  If you over fill the pan, you get this:

Sad sunken in cupcake.  Not cute.

So fill them a little more than half way and bake them for about 15 minutes (mine took 14 mins) or until they pass the toothpick test.

Next make your caramel filling.  Heat sugar in a deep saucepan, until the sugar melts.  Once the sugar is a deep golden brown, take it off the heat and quickly stir in butter.  Once the butter is melted in there, add a pinch of salt and stream in the cream as you stir.  Keep stirring until smooth.  Set aside to cool.

At this point, your cupcakes and caramel need to cool completely.  In the meantime, go for a walk, rake some leaves (this really doesn’t apply to you if, like me, live in California…), call a friend, paint your nails, go to the gym, listen to Beyonce and dance a little bit, you get the idea…

Then come back and make the pumpkin-cream cheese icing.  It’s super easy, all you need is a hand or stand mixer.  Throw all the ingredients together and let the machine do the work.  Truth be told this frosting is delicious but not super stiff (that’s what she said).  You can add more powdered sugar if you’d like but I can only take so much sugar, it definitely hardens in the fridge but your piping might not be as beautiful as you’d like.  Oh well, it’s delicious.  Stick it in the fridge while you prep your cupcakes.

Now you can assemble!  Filling a cupcake with caramel is easy.  There are two ways to do it, but both ways involve putting your cooled caramel in a ziploc bag and cutting off the corner to create a make-shift piping bag.  Then you can either:

1. Take a knife and hole in the top and scoop some of the cupcake out.  Then take the “piping bag” and pipe some caramel into it.

2. Shove your finger into the top of each cupcake while they’re still warm.  Same effect.  It creates a hole.  I sorta like this method… some people might have an issue with it.  Obviously, please wash your hands before doing this 🙂 Then pipe in the caramel.

Once you’ve filled all your cupcakes with caramel.

Frost them as you’d like, either with a piping bag and tip or just a knife.  Both look lovely.  Either way garnish with some slices of crystallized ginger.

I swear these taste better the next day.  I don’t know what it is, but true story.  Would I lie to you?  Either way, we’re well into October and speeding into November.

That probably means you should give these cupcakes a try.