Dealing with life is a piece of cake.

Posts tagged ‘graham cracker crust’

Practicing patience with a payoff of pie.

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Patience.

I don’t have it. Not really, anyway.

I have the patience for things like…

um…

…yeah, no patience.

It’s become very clear to me, more than ever, that life is full of trial and error. And because of this realization, it has also become very clear to me, more than ever, that I have a hard time being patient with that.

Today, I attempted making churros. I forgot the water. I was forced to add it after I already had the sugar and oil on the heat, to the point that it was smoking. Turns out it didn’t really matter, because once I added the flour everything seemed a-ok.

But then, when attempting to push the dough through a bag/star tip, it wouldn’t budge. I wasn’t strong enough, and I seriously did not want the dough exploding out of the bag and end up all over my hands, or worse, the floor.
I wonder if there’s some baker’s workout on Pinterest?

“Okay, no problem, I’ll just roll the dough into balls,” I thought to myself. Cool. I heated up the oil and began to fry. Everything seemed fine. Rolled them in the cinnamon-sugar mix, and took a sigh of relief. They looked great!

So I took a bite…and spit it right back out.

They had not cooked through. Ugh. I’ll have to do this again, another day. Keep an eye out for that post.

Behold, an unbaked churro. I don't recommend taking a bite of this...yuck.

Behold, an unbaked churro ball. I don’t recommend taking a bite of this. *shudder*

Everything is trial and error.

Waking up in the morning is a pretty good example.
Will my alarm clock be effective? No? Hmm…maybe I’ll set three for tomorrow.

Styling my hair is trial and error.
Okay, the fancy new volumizing shampoo I bought makes me look like Mufasa. Big fat error.

Dating. Dating is definitely trial and error. No italicized examples necessary.

Cleaning the fish bowl. Another example.
I’m pretty sure my roommate didn’t MEAN for the fish to fall down the sink drain…

All of this trying and error-ing becomes overwhelming, but you have two options:

1.) Try, try again.

2.) Surrender and abandon ship.

There are times when you just want to throw your hands in the air, throw in the towel, and throw other things around because apparently that’s the theme when giving up. But don’t! Learn to adapt. As Eric from Boy Meets World once said, “Life’s tough. Get a helmet.”

Option #2 is for quitters. We’re not quitters, we’re winners, dagnabbit! And I’ll be damned if I let some churro travesty kill my baking mojo, a crazy shampoo continue to make me look like a native to the Amazon, or let a few slightly more meaningful setbacks crush my spirit. On to bigger and better things, I say!

Things like…Key Lime Pie.

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I love Key Lime Pie. It’s such a refreshing change from chocolate, and gives my texturebuds (it’s a thing) a run for their money when I’m not putting cake or cookies in my mouth.

Initially when I made this, it didn’t set. I decided to have some patience, and let it chill. Boom. Key Lime Pie.

Lesson of the day? Patience gets you pie.

I think we could all practice patience for a result such as this, dontcha think?

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Key Lime Pie

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted
—-
1/2 cup lime juice
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp lime zest
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Crust:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine sugar and graham cracker crumbs in a small mixing bowl.

3. Add melted butter, and press into mixture with a fork until thoroughly combined.

4. Press into a pie pan and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Filling:

1. Beat egg yolks, lime juice, vanilla and heavy cream until combined. Add zest and combine.

2. Add sweetened condensed milk until completely combined, and then on high for 5 minutes. The filling will begin the thicken.

3. Pour filling into prepared crust.

4. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

5. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Top with whipped cream when cool. Visit the Fruit Tart Cupcakes for that recipe here.

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Bon appétit!

S’more than a cupcake

The first bite of a s’more is quite an experience.  The graham cracker begins to crumble, marshmallow is oozing out the sides all over your hands, and the chocolate snaps in a piece that is way too big for your bite.  You’re a mess, and it’s amazing.  Napkins are for wimps – you take bite after bite until that delicious treat is in your stomach, and there’s no question what to do next: reach for another marshmallow to roast.

It’s a classic dessert that pleases taste buds of all ages.  I think that’s what I like most about them.  Everyone likes them!  The nostalgia attached to them is a treat in itself.  I can’t think of too many other foods that bring me back to childhood quite like a s’more does.  If you’re a weirdo who doesn’t know what a s’more is, Google it.  If you’re a super-weirdo who doesn’t like them at all, you should probably stop reading, like, right now.  I mean it.  Because you’re not going to like what I have planned here.

There are TONS of variations of the s’more. Meet Me in the Kitchen’s page on s’mores had me mesmerized the first time I read it. Andes Mints? Are you kidding me? Wow. Genius.

But you know what? I’m one of those people who cannot be satisfied until I try something myself. I knew there was something missing in this great combination of flavors. I wanted something s’more!  (Sorry, I had to.)

What was missing? Butter, sugar, and flour of course! I made S’mores Cupcakes, and they are so good.  There are a lot of recipes for this out there, believe it or not.  But there wasn’t one in particular that I liked so much that I wanted to follow the directions (big shocker, I know).  So I found a new chocolate cake recipe (from 6bittersweets, made my own graham cracker crust, and made my own frosting.  Trust me when I say this, considering the fact that I have made my fair share of cupcakes, these babies are good.

Next time, I will probably try a meringue frosting, so I can torch it to make a “roasted marshmallow” look.  But the frosting I used is perfect, so I’m fine with it for now.  The best part about these cupcakes is  the fact that they hit all the points a s’more does.  A graham cracker crust at the bottom, chocolate cake, another layer of graham cracker crust, and then topped with a marshmallow buttercream.  Ohhhh dear.

S’mores Cupcakes

Graham Cracker Crust

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted
1 oz semisweet chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin pan with cupcake papers.

2. Mix crumbs, sugar, and butter in a medium bowl until combined.

3.  Place about 1 tbsp of the mixture in each prepared muffin cup, and press down on the crumbs to form a firm crust.  Set remaining mixture aside.

4. Chop and/or shave the semisweet chocolate and sprinkle on the crust.

5. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour
7 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

1. Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl. Mix these together until evenly combined.

2. In a separate large bowl, mix together the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla.

3. Add the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. (While I was doing this, I began to boil my water)

4. Add boiling water and stir to combine.

5. Fill graham cracker crusted-cupcake pan with batter 2/3 full.

6. Use remaining graham cracker mixture and sprinkle on top of the unbaked batter.  Lightly press with your hand to secure the crumbs.

7. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the tops are firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

8. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cakes and place on a wire rack.  Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

They look so good, it’s almost tempting not to frost them!

…yeah right.  Bring on the marshmallow!

Marshmallow Buttercream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup marshmallow fluff

1. With an electric mixer, beat cream on high until soft peaks form.

2. Add vanilla and sugar and beat until well combined.  The texture should still be firm, similar to whipped cream.

3.  Add marshmallow fluff, beating on high until smooth and completely incorporated.  Feel free to add more fluff, but I felt this was the proper amount of sweetness.

All I have to say is these little guys are trouble.  In the best way possible of course.

One is not enough, there’s always room for s’more!

(another bad pun)

Enjoy!

Cheesecakes for sharing (or not)

I think cheesecake is one of those things you shouldn’t eat more than once or twice a year. Don’t worry, I have my reasons for this seemingly cruel rationing. First of all, we all know that cheesecake is mouth-watering, but unfortunately it’s because of the ingredients. There’s no way around it, this dessert is not good for you. Eating cheesecake all the time will definitely leave you shopping for elastic-waist pants (which is a nightmare in itself), but before I depress you beyond repair, remember what I just said: cheesecake is mouth-watering. It is SO GOOD. This brings me to my second reason for depriving myself of this treat. The less you have it, the more you enjoy it, and you get to keep your pants. It’s a win-win in my book.

That being said, I have a very exciting announcement. After all these years of baking, I have finally created my very own recipe!!!! Of course I would do this with a dessert I hardly ever make, but I’ll ignore that little detail for now and just enjoy this achievement.

Cheesecake is really easy to make. The only obstacle that can turn a moist, beautiful cake into a dry flakey mess is baking time.  Baking time?  Really?  Seems easy enough to monitor, right?  Wrong!  I’ll share a little secret with you, I took a huge risk with this baking adventure. Not only did I use my own choice of ingredients, I decided on several little cheesecakes, instead of one massive one. This altered standard cheesecake baking time, which is usually about an hour.  I was shaking in my little baker boots while these were in the oven, but the Sugar Gods were definitely watching over me, because they turned out perfect, allowing me to not only share the cake but also the recipe! It was a momentous occasion.

The recipe comes in 3 parts: crust (my personal favorite), the filling (duh), and ganache.  Crust is awesome.  It adds a perfect crunch and even though it’s a staple in every pie, it seems to be a carb-o-licious surprise at the bottom of a mountain of yum.

Given the way I talk about dessert, isn’t it amazing that I don’t weigh 800 pounds?  I think so.

Anyway, here’s my recipe.  I wonder when saying that will get old…

Cheesecake with Ganache Topping

Nilla Graham Cracker Crust
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup Nilla Wafer crumbs
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Break the graham crackers into pieces and put in a ziplock bag. Use a rolling pin to crush the crackers until you see nothing but crumbs. Put them in a medium-sized bowl, and repeat with the Nilla Wafers.

3. Add the sugar and flour. Mix until evenly distributed.

4. Add the egg yolk, mix well.

5. Melt the butter and add to the mixture. If you melt the butter in the microwave, do it in small increments of 30-40 seconds, stirring the butter for about another 30 seconds between cooking time. This is because even if the butter is not completely melted when you take it out of the microwave, the heat of the melted will more likely than not melt the rest. You don’t want to over-do it.

6. Add the butter to the graham cracker mixture and mix until evenly combined.

7. Press the crust into the pans, and bake for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Creamy Cheesecake Filling

5 8-oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 1/2 tbsp flour
1/8 tsp salt
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt on medium speed until smooth.

3. Beat in remaining ingredients on medium for about 30 seconds, and then reduce the speed to low and beat until well combined and smooth.

4. Pour filling into ramekins (a bit more than 3/4 full) and place on a baking sheet.

5. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on them – if you see the sides start to crack or pull away from the dish, they’re done! Take those babies outta there! Set the cakes aside to cool.

Note: I also made cupcake-sized cheesecakes. Follow the instructions for the crust and the filling. Fill the cups 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes.

6. Put the cheesecakes in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but no longer than 48 hours. But who can really wait 48 hours?!

The Ganache
I can’t take credit for this one. The ganache recipe is from everyone’s go-to lady, Betty Crocker.

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
6 oz semisweet baking chocolate, chopped

1. Heat whipping cream over low heat until hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat.

2. Stir in chocolate until melted. Ganache is ready to use when it mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon. It will become firmer the longer it cools.  If the cheesecakes aren’t ready, don’t make the ganache yet.  The ganache has to be used when it’s made, otherwise you’ll have a big mess and you’ll get really frustrated.  No one wants that!

Do whatever your little heart desires with decoration. Since it was Valentine’s Day, I melted 3 types of chocolate and made candy heart molds. Fruit is a classic topping for cheesecake as well. I put the ganache in a piping bag, and then just spooned some on for some of them. Yum!

Here are some of the cupcake-sized cheesecakes:

BEWARE: ONE IS NEVER ENOUGH

Confession: I didn’t even try these after I made them!  Shocking, I know.  But my boyfriend and I did try them at 5am the next morning before work.  Talk about starting your day off right!

Bon appétit, mes amis!