European Style Baking for a Healthier Lifestyle

Just A Bit of Butter

Just A Bit of Butter

European Style Baking for a Healthier Lifestyle

Recent Posts

5 Secrets of Wedding Cake Success

5 Secrets of Wedding Cake Success

The weddding cake!!! It’s the ULTIMATE cake- the cake that symbolizes a huge life choice, and look gorgeous in all the wedding photos. Yes, making the wedding cake is quite an important job.  Not only must it look beautiful (and satisfy all the bride’s ideas […]

How to Make Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

How to Make Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

I love Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Have you ever woken up in the morning and just craved a cinnamon roll? Most people have at one point or another.  Even Lemony Snicket was once quoted as saying ‘Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven […]

Donald Trump Cupcakes

Donald Trump Cupcakes

I was walking through the mall the other day and I asked my friend “Who do you think is going to win the Republican primary?” She repsonded by saying that she disliked politics and couldn’t wait for the whole election to be over so that she didn’t have to hear about it on the news or see the Facebook wars over which candidate was better.  Hmmm, I thought- a similar sentiment for many Americans who decline to get involved in any level of political turmoil.

Almost immediately I asked her if she had seen the article about Donald Trump refusing to eat Oreos now that Mondalez, the company  that manufactures them, has moved the main manufacturing facility to Mexico. This decision was apparently made after executives learned it would be $46 million cheaper to move the plant to Mexico instead of leaving the production in Chicago where it currently resides.  Donald Trump actually loves Oreos by the way, so not eating them was a huge decision for him.

Hmmm, I thought again.  What better way to start a politically charged argument than to make the most politically charged cupcake I could think of- a Donald Trump cupcake.  And yes, I did decide to use Oreos for the eyes.  And yes, it is ironic. Enjoy the irony and the deliciousness that is, the Donald Trump cupcake.  Delicious cupcake recipe courtesy of The Cake Bible.  Delicious orange Trump hair and big eyes courtesy of Donald Trump- my favorite Republican candidate that we love to be astounded by (and yet secretly delight in all of the half truths he proclaims about America).  Your welcome Republican party for this extra publicity.

(Donald) Trump Your Cupcake!!!

Cupcake

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 10.5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder

Icing/Finishing

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • oreo halves
  • 2-3 drops red food coloring
  • 1 drop yellow food coloring
  1. Combine all dry ingredients in mixing bowl and mix for 15 seconds.
  2. Add cream to dry ingredients and then add butter and beat for 2 minutes to aerate, scraping down sides occasionally. Add vanilla paste.
  3. Add egg yolks one at a time beating and scraping down between additions
  4. Fill a piping bag with the batter.
  5. Line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners.  Pipe the batter evenly into the tin to fill all the cupcake liners.
  6. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool.
  8. While cooling mix butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl at high speed to make icing.
  9. Take out about 1/4 cup icing and mix in food coloring.
  10. Fill piping bag with mahogany colored icing.
  11. Cut off top of cooled cupcake.  Spread icing on one edge of cupcake and then get two oreo halves (used for eyes) to prop up the lid of the cupcake. Wedge the other side of the lid into the cupcake so that it sticks.
  12. Pipe the orange icing on top of the cupcake for that signature “Trump” look.
  13. Voila, you have “trumped” your cupcake.  20150918_204917

 

Apple Tart in Less Than 30 Minutes

Apple Tart in Less Than 30 Minutes

  I am not sure about you, but sometimes I just want to impress a friend or a boyfriend or just make a treat for myself.  I might have an urge to bake but I am short on time or feeling lazy and yet I still want […]

Secrets of Shortbread

Secrets of Shortbread

As a pastry chef, I frequently get asked “What is your favorite dessert?”.  Well the answer is that I have many favorites! Of course, I am a pastry chef and get to eat delectable treats all day.  To say that I have a favorite is […]

For The Love of Tomatoes! (Tomato Tart)

For The Love of Tomatoes! (Tomato Tart)

Ah, tomatoes – that summer vegetable (or is it a fruit?) we all love.  We grow them in our gardens, and put them in salads, and their red freshness is one of the beginning signatures of warm summer days.  But, I think the poor tomato sometimes gets left high and dry because apart from chopping it up and dressing it or putting it in a hamburger bun, how else can we eat it?

Two words – Tomato Tart.  This lovely, fresh tart is not only beautiful but delicious.  The crust is made by hand, and then layered with fresh tomatoes, sliced thin and layered in concentric circles.

Below is the recipe.  Bon appetit!

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cold water

1. Combine flour and salt on the counter and cut in butter until it is in pea-sized chunks.

2. Cut in cold water and use hands to press dough together, folding as you knead, to create layers.

3. Form dough into a disk and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.

4. Roll out dough into circle using a rolling pin and press into 9 inch tart pan.

5. Wrap the unbaked tart and chill at least one hour.

6. Place layer of aluminum foil in bottom of tart covering the bottom of sides and fill with rice or beans. (blind bake).

7. Bake tart with rice/beans inside for 12 minutes at 350 F.

8. Remove beans and bake empty crust an addition 5 minutes.

Filling

  • 6 oz Gruyere cheese (thinly sliced)
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes

1. Thinly slice tomatoes and cheese.

2. Chop basil and garlic.

3. Layer cheese on the bottom of the baked crust. Sprinkle basil and garlic on top of cheese.

4. Layer tomatoes decoratively in concentric circles in the crust.

5. Salt and pepper to taste.

6. Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes until tomatoes are cooked down and cheese is bubbling.

If you enjoy this recipe please let me know.  I would also love to hear about some of your favorite tomato recipes!

P.S. You can make miniature tomato tarts too! Perfect for appetizers!

DSC_0271

A Caramel Walnut Tart For any Occasion

A Caramel Walnut Tart For any Occasion

When I was in culinary school I had the honor of being instructed by a very fine chef who was about 70 and European.  He had a heavy German accent, could still bend a sheet tray in half, and had more energy than most 20-year-olds I […]

Hazelnut Torte – Hazelnuts Never Tasted So Good!

Hazelnut Torte – Hazelnuts Never Tasted So Good!

Celiac’s disease and gluten intolerance is now affecting thousands of people around the world.  But having Celiac’s, which makes one intolerant to wheat, barley, and rye should not inhibit a person from enjoying a great dessert.  Last week I made a hazelnut cake which is […]

Better Banana Bread

Better Banana Bread

banana breadAh banana bread, the ubiquitous go-to dessert of all home bakers- right after chocolate chip cookies.  Banana bread is great because it easy, beloved by all, and requires virtually no baking utensils.  The other great thing about banana bread is that it is easy to “play” with the recipe.

When people find out that I am a baker I almost always get this question, “So, uh, baking is really precise right?” After which said person usually explains to me that they love cooking because there is no precision and that baking requires too much technique.  Well, my friends, I beg to differ! Baking does require precision in its elements. (e.g. amount of liquid to protein to fat to sugar). But, if you understand how these ingredients interact with each other you can play with them all you like. I don’t want to make this post into a lengthy tutorial but I would like to briefly review the role each ingredient plays in banana bread.

SUGAR

Sugar is integral to a baked product in many ways such as adding flavor or aiding to build structure.  But the key thing to remember about sugar is that it is hygroscopic. This means that sugar attracts water.  Adding more sugar can think out a batter since the sugar pulls water away from other ingredients (like flours and proteins).   So you can remove sugar from a product for dietary reasons but remember that it will change the consistency of the product.

FAT

Fat helps to emulsify ingredients together and add flavor.  Butter, of course, is one of my favorite fats but fat can come from other places too like oils or nuts.  Butter also softens dough and develops the crumb or structure of the product.

FLOUR

Flour adds strength and bulk to a product. It absorbs liquids and adds flavor. Flour also adds gluten which can toughen a baked product.  Gluten is desirable in breads and less desirable in cookies and cakes where one would like a tender, soft crumb.

LEAVENING

Banana bread calls for baking soda so that is the only leavening ingredient I will discuss here.  Baking soda reacts with an acid when moisture is present and is a mild leavening agent.  In the case of banana bread, the baking soda is reacting with the mild acidity in the bananas.  (Bananas have a pH of about 5).  Be careful when playing around with baking soda- add too much and you coulld give your product a chemical taste.  If you want to create a super soft banana bread you can add 1/8 cup of buttermilk or two tbsp of sour cream.  These acids will react with the baking soda in the recipe resulting in a tender crumb.

Now that you know the basics, play around! And if you are looking for even more detail on baking terminology check out this site.  Below is my banana bread, created after some careful tweaking.  I would love to hear back from you about your experiments and adventures with banana bread. Message me and let me know what you have learned!

CHRISSY’S EASY MIX BANANA BREAD

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/2 cup nuts toasted (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream (optional)

Mash bananas and mix with melted butter, egg, vanilla paste, and granulated sugar. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt. Gently stir dry ingredients into the wet (do not overmix).  Add your optional ingredients if you like at this time.  Spray or grease a small metal loaf pan.  Pour in banana bread batter and bake at 350 F for 40-50 minutes until golden brown.

The BEST way to enjoy Beets

The BEST way to enjoy Beets

Have you ever eaten something so wonderful and pure and yet so simple that it surprised you?  I have- and it is beets.  Beets are one of those forgotten vegetables.  Or what I like to call scary vegetables. Scary vegetables are vegetables you pass in […]


My Diary

Post ID:

Have you ever eaten something so wonderful and pure and yet so simple that it surprised you?  I have- and it is beets.  Beets are one of those forgotten vegetables.  Or what I like to call scary vegetables. Scary vegetables are vegetables you pass in the grocery store that have long stalks and leaves, and crazy curly cue vines coming out of them that make you wonder “What is that?” and “How would I even begin to prepare it?”  Beets (like anything) should never come out of a can.  They should be enjoyed- fresh-in the lazy days of summer.  Try standard red beets and enjoy how their glossy maroon color dress up your summer dinner table. Experiment with golden beets and their yellow hue, or even better candy-cane striped beets- a beet bred for its concentric circles of red and white.  Beets have a subtle yet beautiful flavor that should never be tarnished.  Which is why I recommend just a simple summer salad when preparing this vegetable.  Sometimes vegetables remind me of people. If an artichoke is your prickly old uncle then I would think of beets as being the elegant young lady at the dinner party.  Simply dressed, beautifully presented, and always just right with anything.  So allow me to digress away from butter today and share a little recipe with you that has no butter at all!

Beet Salad

  • 3-5 beets
  • Foil
  • Green onions
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Vinegar to taste
  • Olive Oil to taste

Wash beets and cut off stalks. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place on metal baking tray also lined with foil.  Bake in oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 1-2 hours or until a small paring knife easily cuts through the beet.  Unwrap the beet and allow to cool.

Slice each beat into circles about ¼ to ½ inch thick and pile into a salad bowl.  Season to taste with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Enjoy at room temperature for maximum flavor.

Beets
Beautiful Beets!

Beets