Kitchen Adventures, Cooking Explosions

Archive for April 2010

Sometimes, I know just what I want to bake. Sometimes, I just start searching through blogs and recipes until something grabs me by the ankles and begs to be baked. These muffins were like that.

I love fancy drinks from fancy coffee places. I love anything sweet, preferably covered in whipped cream. Now, I have to be honest, I haven’t ever ordered a caramel macchiato from anywhere, but muffins that involved caramel sauce, hot chocolate, and cream cheese had to be awesome. So, off I went. The first hurdle was trying to find caramel flavoured hot chocolate. I had never seen it anywhere, but I figured that some -had- to exist. Not only did I find some, but I found fancy-schmancy Nestle Dark Chocolate hot chocolate powder WITH caramel. Needless to say, I was in love, and it came home with me. (Side note: It makes a killer cup of hot chocolate, especially with some milk. Annnd it works great in these muffins.) I also had to wander the grocery store for a while trying to determine where they hid the caramel sauce. Considering it was still winter, ice cream related products (like caramel syrup) were playing a good game of hide and seek, but I was victorious, and ridiculously proud of myself. I am pretty sure sometimes the people at my grocery store hide things on me. Well, not really, but it feels that way sometimes!

So, home I went, ingredients in hand, and started to put together these muffins. They seemed like they had a lot of steps, but were soooo worth it. If you are a taster, like me (I have to make sure things are properly mixed. And of course, the best way to test that is to taste things,right? Right.), definitely make sure some of the cream cheese/caramel filling finds your mouth, it is very, very tasty. (I think I could eat a bowl of just that. That might just be my inner sweet loving bakergirl talking, but mmm, yummy.)

These turned out to be not super sweet (I suspect  thats why you can get away with drizzling caramel sauce all over them!) and more cakey than muffiny, but I loved them. They go great with coffee or tea for breakfast!



Caramel Maccihato Cream Cheese Muffins (from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, slightly edited)

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp instant espresso powder
1/3 cup caramel flavoured hot chocolate
½ cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

Caramel Cream Cheese Filling (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375F.
Grease either a jumbo (makes 6) or regular (makes 12) muffin tin.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, but do not boil. Add the hot chocolate and the powdered espresso. Whisk and set aside. Don’t worry if it doesn’t all dissolve

Cream together on medium speed the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. (I just used a wooden spoon instead of a mixer, and it worked fine.)

Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Add the vanilla extract and espresso milk mixture, and beat for an additional minutes.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter mixture in the mixing bowl into the large bowl with the flour mixture.

Fold the mixture together just until combined. (do not over mix)

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each one about 2/3 of the way full.

Using a piping bag with large tip, fill the bag with cream cheese mixture. Place tip into the middle of the muffin and fill until you see the cream cheese on top. Repeat with all of the muffins.

Bake for 16-18 minutes (22-25 for the larger ones like I made). Insert a knife or wooden skewer to make sure they are done. Be sure to not insert the knife or skewer where the cream cheese is, that will give you a false reading of whether the muffin is done or not.

Let cool and drizzle with caramel if desired (I know, I know…you desire).

Caramel Cream Cheese Filling

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 TBSP caramel sauce (I used the kind you drizzle over ice cream)
¼  cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 TBSP all-purpose flour

If using stand mixer, clean bowl. If using electric hand beaters, just get a new bowl. Beat the cream cheese and caramel together on medium-high for about 2 minutes. Until it is nice and smooth. Add sugar, egg, and flour and beat an additional 2 minutes.

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My mother loves going to thrift stores, and she passed that love on to me. When I mentioned that a bundt pan was on my list of “baking things I wanted to acquire someday just because”, she right away told me she always saw them at our local thrift store, and would be sure to pick one up for me when she was there next. Of course, now that she was going to the thrift store for a bundt pan, they had plenty of angel food cake pans, but no bundt pans.

A few days passed, and I sort of forgot about the mission to acquire a bundt pan. After all, there were plenty of other things I could bake! My mother eventually acquired a bundt pan for me, with pretty fluted sides. I had no idea how large it was (I later found out it was one of the larger sizes), but I decided to try baking something in it and see from there. I had also never had to grease and flour a pan before, but I am sure glad I looked up how to do it! My finished cake slid out like a dream. 🙂

I have an unnatural love for lemon cake. I have no idea why, but I love it. It just feels like springtime and happiness, in cake form. Considering it was winter when I made this cake, it was the perfect thing to brighten up a dreary winter’s day.  I did learn one major thing, though. When you glaze the cake, MAKE SURE you put something underneath it. I didn’t. I glazed it while it was on the cooling rack, and, well, my counter was then covered in a nice layer of lemon syrup. While it smelled lovely, it was kinda messy, and not all that fun to clean up. Don’t be like me. Put a plate or a cloth or a baking tray under your cooling rack  to catch the glaze!

Buttermilk Lemon Cake (from Tasty Kitchen, by RustownMom)

  • ¾ cups Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar (divided Use)
  • 3 whole Eggs
  • 2-¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Baking Soda
  • ¾ cups Buttermilk
  • 1 whole Lemon (the Rind And The Juice, Divided Use)

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar; beat in eggs.

Sift the dry ingredients and add to sugar/butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk.

** If you don’t have some handy, you can make your own buttermilk with 3/4 cup milk and 1 scant tablespoon of vinegar. Let sit 15 minutes before using**

Grate the rind from the lemon into the batter mixture and add nuts if using, and stir. Pour batter into greased and floured Bundt cake or loaf pan.

Bake about 1 hour; check after 45 minutes to see if done. Cool 15 minutes while you mix the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the juice from the lemon. Invert the cake on a plate and drizzle it with lemon syrup.


FoodBits

April 2010
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