Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I already redeemed myself from my cheesecake blunder. A month before that, I tried to redeem myself from my cookie blunder. I was close.

I baked some chocolate chip cookies for a friend who didn't share! Haha. I think I overbaked it though. They are far from being chewy. Anyway, my friend still liked it. It's just that she had to heat it in the microwave to soften it a bit.

I'll try a different recipe next time. I find these too sweet.

Blueberry Cheesecake Cups

Last Holy Wednesday, I felt bad for obliging one of my friends from the office to cook adobo for us. She loves blueberries so much. To make it up to her, I made her blueberry cheesecake cups for dessert.

I'm so glad to found this recipe from Joy of Baking because:
1. I have no other pan other than my muffin tins.
2. I am not very crazy about blueberries. I can just put a little on my "individual" cheesecake while the others can put as much as they want. I even topped one with melted bittersweet chocolate instead of berries.
3. I don't like cheesecakes with flour.

I only made six because I said I'm abstaining from baking for Lent and because I didn't want to end up wasting ingredients. I can still remember the first time I tried making a cheesecake.

It was a happy lunch hour for us!

(makes 6 servings)

1/2 cup graham crumbs
1/2 tablespoon granulated white sugar
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup (8 oz) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
1/16 teaspoon (pinch) salt
1 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (or more if you want it to really smell like lemon or use lemon zest)
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature (I substituted this with 1/4 tbsp white vinegar plus enough whole milk to fill 1/4 cup and let stand for 5-10 mins)

Cheesecakes: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line muffin cups with paper liners. (Can also use silicone baking cups.)

For Crust: In a small bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press a heaping tablespoon of crumbs onto the bottoms of the muffin cups. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.

For Filling: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese on low speed until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, beating until incorporated. Add the extracts and buttermilk and beat until incorporated. Remove the crusts from the refrigerator and evenly divide the filling among the muffin cups. Bake for about 18 - 22 minutes or until firm but the centers of the cheesecakes still wobble a little. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (a few hours or even overnight).

To serve, gently peel off the paper liners and place on your serving plate. Serve with strawberry or raspberry sauce, fresh berries, or drizzle with melted chocolate. These cheesecakes can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Of Cream Cheese and Frostings

A month ago, I made a dozen of chocolate cupcakes for a friend's homecoming and also as her birthday gift.

Topped it with cream cheese frosting in three variants:

Nutella cream cheese frosting - added nutella spread. It turned out too sweet and a little hard to pipe.

Spiced cream cheese frosting - added cinnamon and nutmeg. My favorite!! :)

Cherry cream cheese frosting - added cherry brandy. It was too soft for piping. I probably added too much brandy. I can't seem to get the smell and taste I wanted until after a few more drops of brandy.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tagaytay 2013 Weekend

Our department's leadership team went to Tagaytay last weekend for our Q1 team building. Although I didn't stay up to play cards and drink with them, I sure had a lot of fun.

The stop at People's Park to fly kites reminded me of the days my uncle made kites out of crepe papers and how we tagged along when he flew them at a vacant lot near our house. And I saw a heart shaped cloud! :)

I didn't enjoy our lunch at Leslie's though. I think that restaurant is now overrated. The grilled liempo was my consolation. I hope we ate at Antonio's instead (I think they are more expensive and is more known for their breakfast meals?).

The Pink Sisters Church is nice and very peaceful. It reminded me of the retreat house we went to when I was in fourth year high school.

The place we stayed at was amazing! Check out Lilyboy's Bed and Breakfast.

I loved our early trip at Bag of Beans the next day, loved the freshly brewed black coffee on a cold morning in Tagaytay. I wished we stayed longer.

I brought cupcakes! It's nice to have an excuse to bake fancy cupcakes once in a while. This was one of those times. I was worried days before that weekend though because I still don't know what kind of cupcake I'll do. Then while I was at Shakey's having my lonesome pre-valentine dinner, I saw the paper place mat with their featured dessert, banana peach surprise. That's where I got the idea to try this banana split cupcake recipe.

Although it tasted good, I still have to practice whipping a more stable whipped cream frosting. My ganache didn't set at all, I was sad to waste a lot of chocolates and I have yet to google what is the corn syrup for.

I wish I have more weekends like this! :)

P.S. My S3 was on a taking-picture-rest-mode so I didn't have a lot of pics to share. Special thanks to Edi and Ronee for lending me their shots. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Black Forest Cupcakes

As I have mentioned in my last post, I didnt like how the cake turned out. This time, I used the dark chocolate cupcake recipe from BEB (brown-eyed baker). Instead of following some recipes for the filling and frosting, I just followed how I would like it to taste.

And I noticed, I keep doing recipes that are my least favorite (the red velvet, vanilla, and now this) but after giving it a try, I think they no longer belong to the "least favorite" category.

(makes 9-10 2 oz cupcakes, 6 regular)

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
1/8 cup (2 tbsps) dark choco chips
1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa
6 tbsps all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp (1/4 tsp + a dash) baking powder
1 egg
6 tbsps granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sour cream (can be substituted with 3/4 tsp vinegar + enough milk to make 1/4 cup, let stand for at 5-10mins)

dark sweet cherries, drained then mashed with fork
Cherry brandy (optional, can also use rhum and coffee liquer or kirsch if you have one), amount depends on how much liquerish you want your filling to be

1/2 cup whipping cream (use heavy whip cream of you can find one, it's more stable)
Cherry brandy (amount depends on how much liquerish you want it to be)
1 tbsp powdered sugar (increase amount if you want it sweeter)
Vanilla extract (optional)

1. Melt butter, cocoa, choco chips. Baine marie style (sauce pan over a sauce pan with simmering water). Set aside to cool.
2. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder in a separate bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
3. On a separate bowl, whisk egg. Add sugar, salt, vanilla. Pour over flour mixture. Add choco mixture. Whisk using hand mixer, just to combine everything.
4. Add sour cream. Mix just to combine. Be careful not to over mix.
5. Pour to muffin pans lined with paper liners. (I used 2 oz paper liners. Scooped 2 tbsps in each and made 9-10 little cupcakes)
6. Bake for 350ยบF for 18-20mins.
7. Cool the cupcakes for 5 minutes in the pan after taking out from the oven. Remove from pan then cool completely on rack. Once cooled, core the cupcakes (I used one of my piping tips) the put it the filling. Brush cupcakes with cherry brandy (this depends on how much you want the brandy flavor in the cake) poking holes on the cake to absorb it better.
8. Frost and garnish with maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Weekend with Friends

Spent the weekend with two of my dearest friends since college. A time with them never fails to make me happy.

I baked some black forest cupcakes with them... watching. Haha. All I thought Gaile will help me bake! She spared me of washing the dishes and spearheaded the decorations though. Nap was our ultimate taste tester. :)

Here's our final product. This turned out to be too sweet. I thought the cake lacks sweetness so I made the frosting a little bit sweeter. I forgot that the cherry filling and syrup were from the canned dark SWEET cherries. I didn't like the cake so the next time I'm doing this (maybe tonight), I will choose a different recipe. Must be the self-rising flour substitution. It looked good in the pictures though.

The morning we woke up, I forced them to stay for breakfast that became our brunch because Gaile wanted to wait for the banana muffins to bake. They left at almost 2PM instead of 10AM as planned. Haha! Happy times!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

My dad was an overseas Filipino worker (OFW).Back in my elementary days when he comes home for a vacation, there are a lot of chocolates for me, friends, and family. Naturally, I am the first to pick and I hoard all the dark chocolates and milk chocolates with hazelnuts. I guess that's okay because at that time, nobody liked dark chocolates other than me. It's bitter, they say.

This cupcake is more bitter than sweet that I think most people won't like it but I enjoyed every bit of it together with the peanut butter cream cheese frosting and some choco morsels. I got the recipe from the brown eyed baker. I cut the recipe in half though.

Somehow, I regret that I didn't melt as much dark chocolate to put some dark chocolate filling. Yeah, dark chocolate overload is what I had in mind. :)

I also used unsweetend cocoa instead of the dutch-processed and I'm guessing that made it more bitter than it's supposed to be. The sweet frosting complements the bitterness of the cake. I think I'm making another batch this weekend so I can have some colleagues taste it and make others appreciate it as much as I did.

And did you see how I piped them? I almost got the right consistency. I am getting there! :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Banana Muffins

A friend tweeted me the link to this banana bread recipe. It can be turned into muffins and I took that option.

I made this when I was reviewing for my midterm exams so I have something to munch on while studying. I also cut the recipe in half.

So easy to make and really really good! I will try to use wheat flour and brown sugar next time to make it healthier. And I wonder if saba will be much better than lakatan. Then maybe I'll add diced bananas, too (in the batter or as toppings).

(recipe makes 6-9 muffins)

5 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
6 tbsps caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 dash banana extract (optional)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 dash baking soda
1 and 1/2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 medium banana, diced (optional)
1/4 cup choco chips (optional)
1/4 cup nuts, unsalted (optional)

To make batter:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Melt the butter gently in a small saucepan, then cool a little. Add the sugar, egg, milk and vanilla and banana extracts.
3. Sift the dry ingredients into a wide bowl and pour in the butter mixture. Stir everything together, adding the mashed bananas, choco chips and nuts; do not over mix or beat the batter.
4. Lightly butter muffin tins (or line with bought paper cases) and pour in the batter.
5. Cook for 12–15 minutes (or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean). Cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out on a wire rack. When cool, spread with lemon icing.

I used cream cheese frosting instead of the lemon icing in the original recipe. I just added some lemon juice and lemon extract. I like it more without the frosting though.

1. dash = 1/4 tsp
2. if putting banana extract, use only a dash of vanilla
3. any type of nut is okay, I used sugar coated pili nuts. Walnuts may be good, too!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Truffle Filling

I want to mark the new year as a year for my new found hobby - baking. I decided to make some for media noche and forced my family to eat it.

I got new cupcake liners from one of my best friends. It's so sweet of her to still remember how I love butterflies. She also gave me candies for decoration. Many say, circles/round shapes are lucky during the new year so I chose to use the pink dragees to simply garnish the cupcakes.

This is basically a classic vanilla cupcake with melted white chocolates. Another least favorite cupcake. But then I found this recipe with chocolate filling and I am a sucker for yummy cake fillings especially if it's melted chocolate! I won't mind vanilla cupcakes this time. I, however, never liked white chocolates so I opted to buy assorted truffles. They are really really good so don't be surprised with the price. I wanted to put extra dark chocolates but they're really pricey.

Trisha's recipe calls for 30 cupcakes but I only did the recipe for 18. I used her cream cheese frosting recipe cut it in half and made adjustments by adding a quarter of cup of cream cheese and made it not too sweet. I'm determined to not burn my cakes like the last time. I read some tips online like the need to adjust the position of the racks and lower the oven's temperature. It somehow worked.

Although the top was still browned/toasted than it's supposed to be, over-all, it's better than the first. And they're not dry! I'm happy and proud of these. :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes

12/17/12. It's my big day! I finally baked on my own for the first time using my new oven.

Experiment #1: I love chocolates. But being my first time, I'd rather not waste any chocolate if in case my experiment won't turn out well. So to help me decide what recipe to do first, I asked my twitter/FB friends. Unfortunately, only one answered (maybe they don't trust me since it's my first time! Haha!) and so red velvet cupcake it is!

I was hesitant to do it though. In spite of its popularity, it's my least favorite. Just because it's red. I know Mary Grace's black velvet cake is adapted from the same recipe but I love it. Just because it's not red. For me, anything that is supposed to be chocolaty should have a shade of brown or black.

What changed my mind is the recipe I found from a blogger - Bake Happy. There are 3-4 bloggers I follow for cupcake recipes but she's the only one who is not a foreigner. I liked her because she has many Pinoy flavored cupcake recipes that are interesting to try. And I got intrigued about her red velvet cupcake recipe because she used Yakult instead of sour milk.

My finished products were dry. I think I did well with preparing the batter but I had problems with the oven. My cupcakes almost burned! :'(

I tasted one and it still tasted fine but dry. So as not to waste them, I made the cream cheese frosting runny to cover the ugly top. And because I wasn't able to find some red sprinkles, I decided to use pink chocolate shavings.

I brought the goodies at the office. My colleagues said it was good (but dry) and they liked the frosting so I guess it wasn't a complete failure.

As for me, I found the cake lacking in sweetness while the frosting was too sweet just like what the last to taste told me. I will definitely make this again and make some adjustments with the sweetness. :)