Thursday, June 30, 2011

You're the Devil in Disguise: Devilish Angel Food Cake

For my mom's birthday- Aunt Pam and I decided to do something a little different. Usually we decorate a cake using all of our Wilton skills (we're taking an official cake decorating class in July), but we decided to do something mom loves just as much- angel food cake. 


Angel food cake, you would think might be hard to make since it is so sinfully good, but really with a few little tricks it's an easy recipe. However, Grandma, Aunt Pam and I ended up having a couple laughs in the process and also became experts after making 2 batches. 


Angel food cake take #1- After you take the angel food cake out of the oven you NEED to turn the cake upside down so you keep that fluffy air-light taste to it. Otherwise it will get dense. It will resist gravity and not fall out of the pan when you do this- so no worries. When my grandma used to make hers back in the day (as she calls it) she used to rest the pan on top of a glass coke bottle back in the day. 




We unfortunately didn't think of what we could use until after the cake came out. So we tried a water bottle....That little angel cake went to heaven before we could even get a bite of it! It came crashing down on the floor and the cake smashed into pieces with water spilling everywhere. Aunt Pam was a little sensitive so I decided not to pull a paparazzi moment. At least Nikko the dog got a little snack. 


Angel food cake take #2!- I had to run to the grocery store and buy more eggs (you'll see on the ingredient list how much you need in one batch!) and try and find a glass coke bottle. Of course- for some reason they were all sold out. However- Grandma and Aunt Pam figured out that we could use the A1 sauce bottle and it worked just as well. It almost fell once- but we were able to catch it just in time. 


But here are the most important tips and pointers I learned from the Fisher chefs and reading! 
1. Apparently- according to a recent Chicago Tribune article on angel food cake you don't have to have it rest on a bottle and really you could just have it slightly raised (put little bowls underneath the sides) and that should do the trick. If this actually works- I will have to see. 


2. Angel food cake is one of the healthiest desserts for you! 


3. You know you have beaten your eggs right when you can literally turn the bowl upside down and nothing falls out. Aunt Pam performs this "magical" trick.
magic! 
4. Always make your own whipping cream and add strawberries for that extra Bam! Mom, I always try to make Emeril and you proud :) 


Angel Food Cake
Ingredients
1 1/2
cups powdered sugar
1
cup cake flour
1 1/2
cups egg whites (12)
1 1/2
teaspoons cream of tartar
1
cup granulated sugar
1 1/2
teaspoons vanilla
1/2
teaspoon almond extract
1/4
teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Move oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Mix powdered sugar and flour; set aside. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Beat in granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, on high speed, adding vanilla, almond extract and salt with the last addition of sugar. Continue beating until stiff and glossy meringue forms. Do not underbeat.
  3. Sprinkle sugar-flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, over meringue, folding in just until sugar-flour mixture disappears. Push batter into ungreased angel food cake pan (tube pan), 10x4 inches. Cut gently through batter with metal spatula.
  4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cracks feel dry and top springs back when touched lightly. Immediately turn pan upside down onto heatproof funnel or bottle. Let hang about 2 hours or until cake is completely cool. Loosen side of cake with knife or long, metal spatula; remove from pan.

Look for stiff peaks

Gently fold other ingredients in


The balancing trick




Perfect- light fluffy angel food cake. Just a simple bite of heaven. Happy birthday to the best mom in the world. 



Bon Appétit!
Maggie

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Ultimate Milk Dippin' Cookie: Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

There is nothing I like more than having chocolate chip cookies or Oreos with a glass of cold milk. So what could be better than combining them into one giant dunk-tastic cookie? 

For ryan's last cookie of the month recipe- I made something that he actually found on another blog. Chocolate chip cookies with an ENTIRE Oreo baked in the middle. 

I was definitely a doubter- how would the cookie stay together, would the Oreo be any good after the cookies had cooled, or was this actually going to work? 

I first tried using my own cookie dough recipe but it was just off. So I decided to take the chance and follow the instructions (for the most part).  They turned out great. The best part is the Oreo doesn't re-harden and really becomes incorporated into the chocolate chip cookie. 


Although I no longer have to make ryan a cookie of the month, I'm now baking cookies once a week as a prize for swim instructor of the week! 

I used original Oreos- but I highly recommend trying Double-Stuffed Oreos. 

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies



Ingredients

• 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
• 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 3 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1 package Double Stuff Oreo cookies
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together with a mixer until well combined.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. In medium bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.
  4. With a cookie scoop, form balls with the dough. Place one ball on top of an Oreo cookie, and another ball on the bottom. Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo cookie is fully enclosed with dough.
  5. Place onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets and bake cookies for approximately 13 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.


















Bon Appétit!
Maggie



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cupcake Wars: Wilton Cupcake Decorating Class

My Aunt Pam and I have been talking about taking a cake decorating class for over a year now. We have been trying to teach ourselves and have done ok considering we have no idea what we are doing haha.  However, we really need to learn the basic skills.  

Yesterday, we finally took a one day Wilton cupcake decorating class at a Michaels near us. We learned the basics on how to properly use bags and tips as well as other products. 

For instance- did you know that there is cupcake food color spray-paint- Miss Pam and I had to buy that. I swear I almost went and bought the entire two aisles of decorating products. 

It was a two hour class, but it went quickly. You can't be afraid of getting messy- we were both covered in icing and laughing when our flowers looks more like a giant monster blob. My favorite one I made was using a giant star tip and making a professional-looking swirl on top. A classic cupcake decoration that you can find in most bakeries! 

We are now signed up for a beginner cake decorating class for all of July and I have to admit I'm pretty excited. 

Maybe we're not quite ready for Cupcake Wars, (I think the battle of the frosting is just beginning), 
but we're at least making a start! 



I swear the cupcakes looked a lot better- they just got smashed a couple times due to travel!

Bon Appétit!
Chef Maggie


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rome if You Want to: Pasta al Pomodoro

Rome, Florence, Tuscany- Ryan is one lucky guy and off to be an Italian explorer. His family is going to spend almost two full weeks in the pasta capital of the world- Italy.

So last night- I was excited for him and decided to make pasta. Ryan is a very picky eater, but it seems we are starting to change his ways. Of course, after I made the pasta sauce he told me he usually doesn't like red sauces. There's a long list and I can never keep track. However, he LOVED this one! (He had three helpings!)

Pasta al Pomodoro is similar to a marinara sauce- it's very light. It's foundation is pureed tomatoes, olive oil, onions and garlic. I only had a little bit of basil as we just started planting our garden on Monday, but I highly suggest that you use more than I did. Just a little bit deepened the flavor and complexity of the sauce.

My grandma makes the traditional family pasta sauce- so it will still have to get her seal of approval. Pasta al Pomodoro is a very light sauce as compared to a heavy meat sauce. This is a great dish for a summer dinner. The Dunphys and Ryan didn't leave me any left overs for today so that must say something!

I also love the colors of the dish- even through red and green usually remind me of Christmas, this is different. The red sauce with the green basil just creates a sense of freshness.

Note: Ryan grated our own Parmesan to put in the sauce. You can use "bagged Parmesan" but make sure to put it in the food processor and grate it down a bit.

Pasta al Pomodoro

Ingredients
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes, puréed in a food processor
Kosher salt (Do not be sparse with the salt in this case- at least a tablespoon!)
3 large fresh basil sprigs
12 ounces bucatini or spaghetti
2 tablespoons cubed unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino

Directions

  1. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium-low heat. Add minced onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2-4 minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute more.
  2. Increase heat to medium, add puréed tomatoes and season lightly with kosher salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and the flavors meld, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in basil sprigs, and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a 5-quart pot. Season with salt; add spaghetti or bucatini and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
  4. Discard basil and heat skillet over high heat. Stir in reserved pasta water to loosen sauce; bring to a boil.
  5. Add pasta and cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add butter and cheese; toss until cheese melts. Transfer to warm bowls; serve with more cheese, if desired.





Refused to cooperate with the photographer haha

Adapted from: Epicurious


Buon appetito!
Chef Maggie