Thursday, September 23, 2010

To Boldly Cut Like No Man Has Cut Before

Space... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new pizzas, to seek out new toppings and new cheeses, to boldy cut pizza where no man has cut before! Yes, this officially licensed Star Trek collectable is everything you hoped it would be. Laser etched stainless steel blade and solid metal construction make it perfect for battling Romulans in the neutral zone or precision pizza slicing.
You'll find that even though the prime mission of the Enterprise has now become very pizza centric, the chrome plated metal construction and padded gift box make the Enterprise pizza cutter a true Star Trek collectable. Plus it looks great on your desk even when not being used to cut your favorite cheese and sauce laden foods

Ehehehehehehe.... I want one of these so badly! How much fun would that be to have for pizza night? Heck, I'd probably start using it to cut things with all the time, or at least until they make me some geeky scissors.

 love the video for this as well. I need to get me one of those Imperial Officer hats and a remote control that lets me blow of the Death Star from whereever I happen to be. Man, I bet the Rebellion would pay a lot of money for that...

Everybody Loves Cupcakes, Even Cookie Monster

Everyone loves cupcakes! And how could you not? They're moist and sweet and make the perfect treat!
Plus, there are just so many different ways to make them and even more ways to decorate them.
You can take any idea you want and turn it into a cupcake.
I bet Cookie Monster would love these!

Cake and cookies together in perfect harmony!
I love the idea of Sesame Street cupcakes. They just look like so much fun to make and decorate.

Plus, with so many characters, you have no limits!
Heck, you can even take a page out of Bakerella's book and make them into cake pops if you like!

Aren't they cute and delicious looking?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Challenge #1: Heartbreak With A Strawberry On Top

In my last post I told you that I was reading a great book called The Icing On The Cupcake. Well, I'm finally finished reading it and it was fantastic! Pouring over each recipe at the end of each chapter was almost as much fun for me as reading the chapter.
So, to start my challange off, I decided to make the first recipe in the book;
~Heartbreak With A Strawberry On Top~
Sounds good doesn't it? It is.

I didn't manage to get as many pictures this time. I was trying to make dinner at the same time and taking pictures took a back burner as I tried not to burn everything.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room tempurature
1 egg, room tempurature
6 oz vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp potato starch (cornstarch)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine ground salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries

Place baking stone in middle rack of oven. Place mixing bowl in freezer for 5 mins. Now, I'm pretty sure that this step can be skipped if a) you don't have a baking stone or b) your freezer is tiny like mine is. I did, however, go out and buy a baking stone for this. Apperently it helps activate the ingrediance quicker to give it a better flavour. I picked mine up at Kitchen Stuff Plus for about $10.

Preheat the oven to 400'. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Cream the sugar and butter together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 mins.

I thought it was strange that it all balled together, but then again, I'm not used to using a mixer for my sugar and butter. I usually stir by hand.
Add the egg and beat for 2 mins. This step deffinatly smoothed the batter out and made it look normal again.
Add yogurt and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

I would've never think to use yogurt, but it gave the batter a really nice flavour.
Whisk the flour, potato (corn) starch, baking powder, salt and baking soda together.


Add the flour mixture to the batter. Mix until blended.
Fold in the diced strawberries using a rubber spatula. I think that was the most fun part of the entire thing. I wish I had gotten pictures of it.
Pour the batter into paper-lined cupcake holders. Fill 3/4 of the way to the top.
Turn heat down to 350'. (The extra heat, like the baking stone, helps activate the ingrediance right away)

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after it's placed in the middle of the cupcake.
Cool for 5 mins. Place on baking racks.

Now for the best frosting I've ever tasted!

2 tbsp butter, room tempurature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 fresh strawberries, about 2 tablespoons mashed

Cream butter, powdered sugar and mashed strawberries with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth, about 3 to 5 mins.

Chill frosting for 15 mins or until thick. (I probably should have let the icing set longer than I did.)
Frost cooled cupcakes

I know, I know, they don't look very nice, but at least the icing melted into a solid top, so they looked much nicer a few minutes later.

So far everyone who has tried them has loved them, including me! I will totally make this recipe again. I might even play round with it and use different fruits; blueberries, cherries, raspberries. Yum!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Icing On The Cupcake Challange

In Ansley Waller’s world of Southern belles and gentlemen, getting a diamond ring isn’t just important—it’s the ultimate goal. So when her fiancĂ©, Parish, unceremoniously kicks her to the curb and cancels their upcoming wedding, Ansley is so ashamed that she decides to leave Dallas and make a fresh start. In a surprise move, she heads to New York City to live with her recently widowed grandmother, Vivian, whom she’s never met. In turn, Vivian gives Ansley a no-nonsense ultimatum: Rather than wallow in misery, either get a job or go home.
The Waller women have a tradition of baking their way out of sorrow. So Ansley mixes batch after batch of creative cupcakes—Black Bottom Heartache, Moving Blues Banana Caramel, Tres Leches Made Small. Before long, she’s opening up her own cupcake shop and even trying her hand at dating. But the ways of Manhattan’s eligible bachelors are altogether different from their Southern counterparts, and Ansley’s nearly fail-safe tactics fall flat. And worse, someone’s got a half-baked scheme to sabotage Ansley’s new life. It’ll take a cup of courage and a dash of Southern charm, plus a few secret ingredients, if Ansley hopes to pull off her recipe for success.

I first came across The Icing On The Cupcake  when I was back in my hometown, in Shoppers Drug Mart, late at night, searching for the only item I had forgot to pack for a cottage trip that weekend, underwear. Who forgets to pack underwear? Well, apparently me. And why was I looking for it in Shoppers? It was almost 10 pm and I didn't know where else to look. I've seen 3 packs in the Toronto location, but alas, my hometown store doesn't carry them.
The trip however wasn't a complete loss. After giving up my search, the bf and I wandered over to where my mom was waiting in the book and magazine section. And there on the end of the display was The Icing On The Cupcake. After reading the back I knew that I had to read it.
So a month later, after finishing off another book series that I was reading, I finally got the change to pick it up. I'm not done reading it yet, but I am having a hard time putting it down and I'm already recommending it to other people who I think will like it. Not only is it funny, witty and charming, but it's extremely well written. But you know what the best part is?

It has a cupcake recipe at the end of every chapter!!

How awesome is that? Very awesome!
Seeing as though I haven't been updating Bake as much as Talk, I've decided to make a challenge for myself. I'm going to make all the recipes in the book and write about them for you! YAY!
So let the challenge begin!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

Who doesn't love Lemon Meringue Pie? Even I kinda like it and I don't really like pie!
My best friend Jocey invited me over the other night to help her make a test pie.
What's a test pie? Well let me tell you. This is a method that both her and I like to use. It's very simple really. When you come across a recipe that you've never used before and you're planning on using this recipe for a special occasion (like a birthday or party of whatever) your try it out before hand to make sure that it works properly.
I like to do this with new cookies and such, as I tend to screw it up the first time.
So Jocey had never made a Lemon Meringue Pie before (which surprises me considering she's a Martha Stewart when it comes to being awesome at everything) and I had ever only made one with a lemon pudding mix. We were both pretty excited about making this pie!

1 pie crust
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup water
4 eggs separated
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Pre heat oven to 325'
Combine sugar, salt and water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Mix cornstarch and water to smooth paste. I found out that you should always add the cornstarch to the liquids so that it won't harden. Who knew?
(That's the eggs yokes in the other bowl if you were wondering)

Slowly wisk into boiling sugar. Boil mixture until thick and clear, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
It gets thick really quickly, but takes a little while to turn clear.

In a small bowl, wisk yolks and lemon. Gradually mix yoke mixture into hot sugar mixture. Return to heat and bring to boil, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in grated lemon and butter. Cool until lukewarm.

While cooling, have a glass of wine, chill out and catch up. Mind you that's just a suggestion, but I think it's a good one :)

In a large glass bowl (it should be glass or metal and be cleaned of any oil residue. This apparently makes better Meringue.) combine egg whites and salt. Whip until foamy.


Gradually add sugar. Beat until stiff peaks.

Add lemon juice to Meringue when stiff. This was a step that Jocey added to give more volume to it. And you know what? It worked!
Stir about 3/4 cup of meringue into the luke warm mixture. Spoon filling into shell. We used a gramecracker crust that Jocey had on hand. Cover pie to crust with meringue. Make sure you seal around the crust to make sure that it doesn't separate.


Bake 15 minutes or until brown.
Doesn't it look yummy?

All and all we decided that this test pie was a success!