Sunday, March 6, 2011

Leftover Frosting...

Post your idea for what I should do with my left over frosting in the comments below (please not on facebook) and the winner will get a piece of the final creation!

I made over 50 mini carrot cupcakes for a dessert party this weekend. I was feeling a little proud of myself, but when I got there, I was even more impressed with everyone else's desserts! They looked especially wonderful all together as a big spread.
carrot cupcakes
(click on the photo to see my flickr stream, and each individual dessert)
lovely spread2

I also made some chocolate meringues, and they are fine, but I'm not a fan of meringues to begin with, so there's not much to tell except that I thought they kind of looked like tiny cow poops when I was making them.

Anyway, the dessert party was fun, but it was a lot of sugar. Nick and I came crashing down later in the day. We are still left with about half the cupcakes, and a whole lot of extra frosting.

It's a cream cheese frosting made with 16oz of Philadelphia cream cheese, one stick of butter (both at room temp) with about a cup of powdered sugar and a cup of dark maple syrup.

Sea of cupcakes

Now I ask YOU! What should I do with the extra frosting? Post your ideas in a comment right here. I will choose my favorite idea and make that thing! If you live in the area, I will even bring you a piece/portion of the finished product for you to enjoy. So give me your most fun and creative ideas because I'm up for the challenge.

Chocolate Meringue Recipe
As far as meringues go, these are very tasty. However, I don't really like meringue, so I'm not the best judge. Why would I make something I don't even like? Too many leftover egg whites, and guilt at throwing away food.

5 large egg whites (use the yolks to make David Lebovitz's vanilla ice cream)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2/3 cup of superfine sugar (I just put regular sugar in a food processor and process for about 20 seconds)
2/3 cup of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 275F.
1. Sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder together into a medium bowl.
2. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and lemon juice until soft peaks form.
3. Slowly add in superfine sugar (one tablespoon at a time) and continue to beat eggs until firm peaks form.
4. Fold in the cocoa and sugar mixture.
5. Pipe onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet (in poop-shapes if you like) about 1/2 an inch apart. They don't expand much in the oven.
6. Bake for 1:30 to 2 hours. Less time for chewier centers, more time for crisp through.
7. Leave baking sheets in the oven overnight so that the shells dry out completely.
8. Store in airtight container, but not in fridge. Cold does weird wet things to baked egg whites.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Breakfast of loafers

I know, I know, it's been, like 3 weeks. I've been busy, what can I tell you. I've got a lot of catching up to do, so don't be surprised if I post about valentine's day dinner in the middle of March.
On the weekends, Nick and I like to lounge for a little while. We make a pot of coffee, sip it slowly, and contemplate what to have for breakfast. Sometimes we make cinamon buns from a can. I really love those things. But sometimes, we make things from scratch. Like these pancakes.
Mmm Bananas
I used to buy box mixes for pancakes, but making them from scratch is almost just as easy, and it's one less thing to keep in the pantry. I'm always running out of room in my pantry. And in my closets. But that's another story.
This is a "4 grain" variety, which is really only three grains because white flour doesn't come from a different plant than wheat flour (not that I know of, at least).
Four grains
And when I make pancakes (or pannies as we refer to them)I always like to dollop some extra ingredients when the batter hits the pan. Often it's blueberries for me and chocolate chips for Nick. This time we went for bananas. They caramelize so nicely, and taste so ooey gooey delicious.
And because these are so hearty and grainy, and they even have fruit, I like to call them "healthy", so I pour on the syrup with reckless abandon. Because as a proud Canadian, I am a proponent of lots of maple syrup. The real stuff, from Canada.

Adapted from Joy of Cooking
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup AP flour
1/3 cup cornmeal (adds a lovely crunch and sweetness)
1/4 cup ground oats (grind oats in a clean coffee grinder)
2 Tablespoons natural sugar (less if you're using bananas)
2 teaspoons baking soda

1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Whisk wet ingredients in a second, smaller bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix just until combined.

Pour about 1/2 a cup of batter at a time into a hot non-stick or well seasoned cast iron skillet. Quickly drop thin slices of banana or other fruit (blueberries are wonderful, even straight from the freezer) before flipping.

This recipe makes about 14-20 pancakes, depending on the size. I think they serve about 6. They're incredibly hearty, so you probably only need 2 to 3 pannies per serving. Keep them warm in the oven while you make the rest of the batches by keeping a rimmed cookie sheet in there at about 250F.