Frosted days: Baked results for Thursday

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No, frost (as in ice crystal type frost) has not set in yet. I am thinking about how tomorrow will be filled with making frosting. All those cupcakes I made need frosting. I have to make the frosting and then transport it with me to Oslo and frost all the cupcakes when I get there. I don’t have sufficient transportation options for taking fully frosted cupcakes with me. I am not a big decorator anyway, but it is not as though I can make lovely frosting designs on the cupcakes thanks to this transport challenge. Sigh.

So… the list of everything that is coming with me to work on Thursday (I think this is everything, but can’t be sure)…

*Kahlua coffee cupcakes
*Lemon cream oat bars
*Mini chocolate pudding pies baked into vanilla cupcakes
*Crème brûlée cupcakes
*Dark chocolate hazelnut mini tarts
*Oreo truffles
*Highly experimental red velvet cupcakes
*Dulce de leche bundt cake
*Carrot-pineapple cake with a brownie layer in between carrot layers
*Brown sugar cupcakes filled with Toblerone candy
*Brown sugar shortbread
*Licorice cupcakes
*Banoffee cupcakes
*Vanilla orange biscotti
*Guinness cupcakes with Baileys frosting

Lemon cream oat bars

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One of the simplest things I have ever made. Lemon cream is literally a can of condensed milk mixed with lemon juice and lemon zest… and that gets sandwiched between an insanely simple bar-cookie crust. I would argue that the simplicity is the reason a lot of almost-non-bakers opt for bar cookies (to me they just seem like something a(n) (American) Midwestern soccer mom might make. Not sure why bar cookies feel Midwestern to me. They just do. On occasion, though, they join the rest of my repertoire.

Like today.

Lemon cream oat bars

Crust:
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats

Preheat oven to 175C. Mix and press half the mixture into an 8-inch by 11-inch greased pan.

Filling:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

Mix well. Spread onto bottom layer of crust.

Top the filling with the remaining crust until fully covered.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool. Once cool, refrigerate.

Once chilled, cut into bars and serve.

Banoffee cupcakes – Baking experiments to eat at one’s own risk

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Beware of baking experiments. As I have written before, I don’t taste any of these things, so the experiments especially are… well, totally experimental. This means that no one has tasted them before they end up on offer in the workplace, making my colleagues unwitting (even if entirely willing) lab rats. People take their taste buds into their own, eh, hands, every time – although this rings true more starkly when I am making something I have never attempted before.

Behold the banoffee cupcake, which is aptly named for banana and toffee mixed together. I made a lightly toffee-flavored cupcake and will fill it with caramel and banana and frost with dulce de leche Swiss buttercream. I doubt that this will be the final word in banoffee cupcake experimentation, however.

Banoffee cupcakes
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup neutral-flavored vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup dulce de leche (or some kind of thick caramel)

Preheat oven to 175C.

Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and oil. Alternately add the dry ingredient mixture with the buttermilk in three additions. Add the half-cup of dulce de leche.

Put batter into cupcake liners and bake – probably about 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. I used larger cupcake liners and it took closer to 35 minutes for mine to bake through.

To assemble, you can decide for yourself how best to deal with it. I am going to cut the center out of the cupcake and fill with dulce de leche and banana slices and frost with dulce de leche frosting. Maybe sprinkle some graham cracker crumbs and/or crushed Daim candy on top. We shall see.

This would be infinitely easier in cake form rather than individual cupcakes.

Vanilla orange biscotti and the dullness of liquor stores

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It seems that when I bake, I like to include biscotti in every big haul of baking. No clue why. This recipe is a new attempt – not sure what I think of the dough or the recipe itself. I had to make modifications – the recipe that inspired this choice called for orange liqueur, and I am not really someone who has a large stock of alcohol on hand. I happen to have a handful of things specifically for baking (Guinness, Baileys, Kahlua and vodka…), and I find it to be one of the dullest things on earth to go to liquor stores. (It has always been the “norm” for me that alcohol is only available in a state-run liquor store – in Washington state, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, this was normal. Washington recently passed a law privatizing liquor sales, so all alcohol is now available in grocery stores and the like… but that does not help or concern me, not only because I no longer live there but also because I would hardly go out and buy a whole bottle of something just to get a tablespoon of it for a cookie recipe.)

Orange zest and a dash of orange juice just have to cut it. (And it did! These were quite popular and well-liked.)

Vanilla orange biscotti
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons butter, melted
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (I used orange juice)
1 tablespoon orange zest (I used the zest of one whole orange)
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup sliced/slivered almonds
1 large egg white

Preheat oven to 175C.

Mix all ingredients together (except the egg white at the end, which is for brushing onto the logs of dough), adding the dry ingredients only at the end, just before the almonds, which will be added last. The dough is very sticky, so handling it will require either that you flour your hands or keep wetting your hands with cold water. Make two logs with the dough, each about 2 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch tall. (You will need your hands for this, and this is where the sticky part gets… stickiest!) Whisk the egg white and brush it onto the dough logs (will help them lightly brown).

Bake 30 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, slice the logs into 1/2 inch slices and turn them on their side. Reduce the oven temperature to 150C and bake on each side for about 10 to 15 minutes.