Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Waste of Three Sticks of Butter

Last Friday I was eager to bake on the weekend.  The fact that it was also St. Patrick's Day on Saturday was even more of an incentive, because I had two Martha Stewart recipes that I was eager to try - Irish Coffee Cupcakes and Chewy Irish Coffee Blondies.
Since my spring garden is off to a great start, I was planning to pick up the Baker for a visit on Sunday because she really, really wanted to see the snowdrops and crocus that are in full bloom.  It would also be a great for a traditional German "kaffee und kuchen" afternoon and I could get her to taste test these new recipes, since coffee is her favourite flavour.  Here's a little bit of the spring garden:
Wasting Two Sticks of Butter
Image Courtesy MarthaStewart.com
Although my cupcakes weren't as professional as these, they still looked beautiful and the paper liners peeled very cleanly, which doesn't always happen but I guess having two sticks of butter in the batter didn't hurt.  The best way I can describe the taste is "meh" - they're moist but the coffee flabour was very mild for something named "Irish Coffee".  When the Baker and I had them on Sunday afternoon, my mum suggested that if made them again, I should brew extra strong coffee, instead of just using instant granules as listed in the recipe, for a better flavour.  Since I don't have whiskey at home, which was called for as flavouring in the icing, I used Irish Mist liqueur.  We liked the frosting better than the cupcakes!  Somehow I don't think I'll be making them again.  Here's the recipe link, if you want to give them a try:  Irish Coffee Cupcakes
And the last stick went to...
Image Courtesy MarthaStewart.com
The recipe for the blondies is from the March issue of Martha Stewart Living.  It stated that they should be baked for 25-20 minutes, but less for a more chewy blondie.  Since my oven runs quite hot, I only baked them for 22 minutes, but was not impressed with the results.  They were dry and no amount of tasty glaze (also flavoured with Irish Mist) on top made a difference.  There was no way I was taking them to the office and I didn't even bother asking my mum to try them.  I think the only way they'd be any good right now is dipped into an actual cup of coffee before eating them.  Maybe you'll have better luck with them than I did - Chewy Irish Coffee Blondies
I also need to add that the first time I bake a new recipe, I don't deviate at all from the essential ingredients or the instructions, to make sure that it turns out as described.  I give myself a pass when it comes to using another flavour of booze in the icing. :)
Hopefully next weekend things work out better when I test out cookies from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Acorn and Oak Leaf Bundt Pan - and a cake too!

It's no secret that I love shaped cake pans and when I find a great deal on a well made, heavy pan, I won't pass it up!  I found this pan at the Loblaw's Superstore after Thanksgiving last year for only $12.44.  I used it the first time for a Hallowe'en cake but, the chocolate cake really didn't show off the shape of the pan, so it needed more testing. ;)

I haven't been posting much (gee, d'you think?), but I try to bake every weekend.  The last time I made this Apple Bundt cake it was big hit, so I thought I'd try it again with the new pan.  I think it looked lovely dusted with icing sugar to show off the shape and it tasted as good as the first time I made it.  I used both Macintosh and Granny Smith apples (above) in the recipe to keep the apple-sugar-cinnamon mixture from getting too runny, but there was still some tasty carmelization around the top of the pan, as you can see here.

I'm going to wait until the fall to use the "muffin" pan I found on sale that day for the same price.  Wait until you see the adorable three dimensional pumpkins it makes...