Friday, September 28, 2012

Cake Batter Ice Cream

Isn't it pretty? I wrote this post about 3 weeks or so ago, there is still ice cream left over.  I don't think this bad boy is going to get the use I thought it would.  Yikes!  Don't tell Hubby.

 Okay, I finally did it.  I got myself a "real" ice cream maker.  I had been using an old one my Uncle gave to us, which was nice, but you had to turn it by hand.  And I was/am just lazy.  Now I didn't get one of the super expensive ones like a kitchen aid or cuisinart.  I got a cheap one at the Loblaws store for $30.  I figure for the amount of time I am going to use it, that is good enough.

  So I wanted to make ice cream, but I was not going to do anything too fancy, I mean I am lazy and that is how I like it.  So I looked up on line some options, and I settled on cake batter ice cream.  Why you ask, well it had very little ingredients and it was a custard base ice cream, so to me that sounded like a nice place to start.
If you are not grossed out by this picture, well I thank you.  Those of you that are, try not to think about it.
  So here is the recipe link.

Cake Batter Ice Cream
By Ekho on all recipes

-1 cup milk
-1/2 cup white sugar
-2 egg yokes
-2 cups whipping cream
-1 TSP vanilla *
-3/4 cups white cake mix sifted **

*I used vanilla bean paste, because I am fancy like that, I also did not measure because I am also lazy like that

**I used 1 cup as in the comments some people said they liked more, I also didn't measure it properly, so there may have been even more, more is always good, usually

So place it all together in a pan and set it over medium heat.  Now I didn't do the water trick, where you rinse the pot with cold water before putting milk in, to stop it from burning on the bottom.  So I had a bit of burned custard on the bottom, oh well.
I should have like I don't know, swirled it or something.  Like this it just looks gross.
  I used my candy thermometer because that is what the guy said to do, you want to cook it on medium until it hits 160, this was just about the time the stuff started to thicken up like crazy.  You want to keep stirring it to make sure your eggs don't scramble.  Once it hits the right temperature, pour it into another container.  At this point the recipe said to chill it over night in the fridge, but I went one step further and strained it though a fine mess strainer.  Just in case there were any bits of egg or anything lumpy.  It was thick, but just use a spoon or spatula to push it through.

Oh ice cream maker, how I so wanted you.  And how well you will look sitting in your box in the basement.

  Then I let it set over night, it was so hard not to just eat it, it was so yummy smelling.  Anyway the next night I got home as fast as I could, seriously I was so upset I had to work that night too, but I had enough time to mix it up.  So I got out my mix, and stirred it up a bit to get it all ready, then I got my ice cream maker set up.  Not sure about the other ones out there, but you just pop the whole bowl into the freezer and then when you are ready get it out, attach the paddle and the top and then start it and put the stuff in through the top.  It said to let it go for about 20 minutes. Or so I remember I cannot find the instructions.

  Anyway I started it up and had to spoon the ice cream base in, it was so thick!  And I let it go, and then I realized after doing the dishes that I had not set a timer.  So I looked at it and it looked thick but I was not sure, so I I turned it off, and it was thickish.  What do I know, it was not done I don't think.  So I turned it back on, and let it go and then about 4 minutes later it started to make noise.  So I turned it off.  I put it into a container and got as much out of the bowl that I could, but there was a good layer on it that I could not get off, maybe with a metal spoon but I didn't want to scratch the bowl.  So I put it in the freezer; then stood by the sink eating what was left in the bowl with a plastic spoon.  It was so thick I did not really like the texture.
See how pretty it looks?  I think I would like it like this, it got too dense once it was left in the freezer.
  Then the next night I got to finally try it.  I wanted to try it the night I made it but they say you have to let it set up at least for two hours.  So try it I did, and it was really nice!  I was thinking of mixing sprinkles right into it but some people don't like that, so I just put some on top, and yummo!  I can see making this again, for sure.

  I will say it is a very rich ice cream, like Ben and Jerry's rich, so a little goes a long way.  I will be eating this for weeks I think.  No sharing either, because I was too lazy to scoop it out when I first made it and now it is way too hard

So this is a few weeks old, I am going to have to throw it out, I have not touched it and Hubby and Pork Chop would not even look at it.

Also thanks for the kind comments and emails, I am doing well.  Some times I just have to let it out.  Hubby is awesome, Pork Chop?  Well he has been extra sweet, giving me hugs and all.  Gotta love that.  I have plans to get back to my baking next week.  My mom and Hubby are taking me to a huge sweet and desert show this weekend, it will be like shopping for shoes;  just way better.
HookingupwithHoH TidyMom

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wedding Cake Pops

I was not thrilled with these, but looking back at them they are better than I thought.

  I have not been able to blog for about a week now really.  I was busy doing a desert table for a friend of mine.  I had taken three days off of my full time job and had my mom and sister help.  It was crazy!  So I am not back on a schedule yet at all.  I just want to lay in bed and be alone.  I am feeling really low, and I don't know how to deal with it really.

 Not a great way to start a post, but it's how I am feeling.  I feel really sad and alone, and  I don't know why. Is it the fact I feel the weight of being a mom and knowing I am not doing a really good job of it? Is it because I have gained weight and went through so much to lose it in the first place? Is it just that I want to sit and cry a lot of the time, but I just cannot?  I don't know. I just know my depression is hitting me harder right now, and I want to pretend like it's not.  I want to feel like nothing is wrong and life is perfect.  But it just isn't.  

  I don't know how I can complain so much when I am so lucky, I just feel wrong, and I hate feeling this way.  So I think I may need to take a few weeks to find me and try to get my happy back.  Not sure I will be able to, but if I keep at it the way I have been, I will start to hate life and I don't want that.

  So I figured I would share a few pictures here of the cute cake pops I did for my Hubby's best friend and his new wife.  Then I think I will just try to take it a bit easy.  If I can post I will, I have a few things I have done in the last few weeks, then I hope to be back at it again in a month or so.  Maybe I just need a break, a little time to just be.  

  So sorry for the downer post, but I am struggling and I think I need to put my time in for the really important things, my son and Hubby.  And me, I sort of count too, although I don't feel like it really matters right now.  So please stay tuned I bet I will be back at it in a few weeks, and as I said I have a few things ready to post so I won't be totally gone. I will try to keep up on my blog reading at least, that helps me to feel some joy.

The bride had wanted pink and white and cream coloured chocolate.  I screwed up many pounds of it, so did milk with lot of sprinkles, she seemed just as happy.  Or she was just happy the wedding was over, who knows really.

She is a graphic artist so she designed all the label stickers it was so easy to use them.

They got married right here, and had their first dance on the steps, it was so sweet.

Lil\'Luna HookingupwithHoH

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting

I know, dark picture and I also realize it is not valentines day yet, but I got these sprinkles and had to use them or else I could die.  What?  It could happen.
  So some times when you are baking there are left overs.  Like I have said before, I will do almost anything to not have to clean up left overs.  S'mores bark anyone?  Well after over coming the world of macaron making; and yes I totally get how overly dramatic that sounds.  I had a bunch of egg yolks left over.  Now I was smart this time and actually used them in something I knew I would like.  Last time I made lemon curd, and I don't know how, but it was so lemony I couldn't even eat it.  And I love lemon.  Anyway.  So this time, this time I made a cake.  And it was good.  So good in fact that Pork Chop even ate it, icing and all.

  I know right?  The world can end now, nothing will top that.

  So to find a cake I just googled "recipes with egg yolks" and I found a bunch.  The one I picked looked easy.  Even though it was a layer cake, and I hate those.  I love eating them, hate making them, there is a difference.  So I planned to make it in a 9x13 and just ice it that way, and be all fancy and put sprinkles on it.  It was a great plan, in theory.

  Here is the Link
I love how a home made cake batter is so nice and thick, the mixes you buy are so watery.
  So the reason why it would have been better as a layer cake, was I think it needed more icing, and less cake.  It is hard to eat a cake with a 2 inch layer of icing.  Or so I'm told, I could do it, I know I could.  The cake was a little dryer than I like, maybe that the extra time that I baked it because I didn't listen for the timer really, so a minute or two less and I bet it would have been great.  Anyway let's get started.

Yellow Butter Cake
from Joy of Baking

-3 cups sifted cake flour*
-3 1/2 TSP baking powder
-1/2 TSP salt
-3/4 cup unsalted butter
-1 1/3 cup sugar
-6 large egg yolks
-1 cup milk
-2 TSP vanilla**

*when a recipe calls for cups of sifted flour, that means you sift then measure the flour.  If it calls for flour, sifted you measure then sift.

**I used vanilla bean paste, just because I could.

Start by heating your oven to 350, then preparing your cake pan.  Either with spray or butter then flouring it, or like I did just leave it.  The pans I have are non stick so they usually are okay.

Beat the butter by itself until light and creamy, then slowly add the sugar and beat again for a few minutes.  Then add the egg yolks, three at a time.  Mix well then add the vanilla.  To add the dry ingredients, do it in three batches.  Then the milk in two batches.  So add 1/3 of the dry stuff, then half the milk, then another 1/3 of the dry stuff, then the rest of the milk then the last of the dry stuff.  I have heard that if you do this it will ensure a nice smooth batter.  What do I know, I usually just dump it all in, but I followed the directions. This time.
It looks sort of glossy right?
 So then you want to bake your cake until a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  And do not do what I do and forget as mine over baked just a bit.

Please ignore the fact I have like a million things on my table yet again.
Then once it is done and cooled you can make your frosting.

Chocolate Frosting
From Joy of Baking

-6 oz unsweetened chocolate
-1 cup unsalted butter
-2 cups icing sugar
-1 TSP vanilla

So chop up the chocolate and melt it in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Once melted take it off the heat and let cool.  Beat your butter until smooth then mix in the sugar. Beat in the vanilla and beat until light and creamy.  Then add the chocolate and beat the icing until well mixed, then turn up the speed and mix it until it is glossy.  I never noticed it getting glossy but whatever; it worked.

And here is Pork Chop, he was working up an appetite because he ate the whole piece of cake I gave him, icing and all.  He never does that!
  So once you have that all ready, you can either decorate your layer cake like a pro, or like me just slather all the icing on top of your cake and sprinkle it with some sprinkles and leave it at room temperature until ready to serve.
I don't know why but I love these sprinkles.
I think the icing was a nice balance, not overly sweet and again I suggest doing this as a layer cake, because I found it was a little dry.  I will make it again for sure, I have plans to try macarons again so I will have plenty of egg yolks to work with.

Is that not the saddest cake picture ever?

Monday, September 17, 2012


Try to imagine these on a pretty cake plate, all nice and pretty.  Because my nerves were shot, so this is the real picture you get.

 I love macarons, and by love them, I mean I could live off of them, and call my life full.  And by full, I mean fat.  But they are so light and airy you cannot feel too guilty about them right?

  Anyway I made my second attempt at macarons last week.  I made them about a year ago, at the time they were not bad, I think they looked great.  But I over baked them just a bit and they were not soft, they were crusty.  I was so sad.  And I put of making them for this long, because I needed Hubby out of the house, with them being made with nuts.  Also I was just not brave enough.  I love macarons, and I knew mine would never be as good.
Here I am filling my bowl with hot water and vinegar to make sure there is no grease to ruin my egg whites.

  I decided to make them again as I promised my friend I would try for her wedding.  So I did, and this time they worked!  I must point out that I watched them like a hawk in the oven.  A few got a little toasty but still perfectly fine.  I am not going to be 100% comfortable with them, but at least I am not totally terrified of them any more.

 Sort of.

See my pretty scale?  I bought it last year just to make macarons, and used it once.  But it's awesome, it will let you put something on it then balance it to zero, so any bowl or whatever will not matter, so cool.

  Anyway to make these there are like a million recipes.  But from everything I have ready they all agree that measuring by weight is the best way to do it. Also using almonds and grinding them up yourself with your icing sugar is better than flour.  I think they said because you never know how old the almond flour you are buying is.  I don't know, that is what I read. Also most recipes call for aged egg whites.  Or egg whites that are at room temperature.  I don't know all the reasons, but I went with sort of doing it my way.  Basically I did what I could.

I used sliced almonds since the slivers did not break up as nicely last time.

  So I ended up using the recipe I read on Bakerella,

found on Bakerella and slightly edited by me ( because I cannot leave well enough alone.)

-90 grams of aged egg whites
-50 grams white sugar
-200 grams icing sugar
-110 grams slivered or sliced almonds, without skins
-1 TBSP vanilla bean paste*

This is all you need, plus egg whites, but those look ugly in pictures.


-9 ounces of bittersweet or unsweetened bakers chocolate
-1 cup heavy cream

*I wanted these to be simple so I added the paste to make them fancy, the wedding is black and white, so you know, white macarons

Okay I got this a few months back, because the little one we had was so crappy it hardly chopped anything and you need your almonds fine.  Also when I got it I washed it and dropped the blade and sliced my finger so bad I had to get Pork Chop to get Hubby who then took like 5 feet of gauze and tape and wrapped my finger up.  True story.

To start you want to get your stuff all ready.  By this I mean you want to make sure that all the things you are using are grease free.  The bowls and whisk you are going to use to beat and store your egg whites have to be grease free.  Any grease and the egg whites will not work properly.  To do this I just put all the things I am going to use in my mixing bowl and fill it with hot water and white vinegar.  Then I rinse it well with soapy water and let dry.  This ensures there is no grease and you are all ready to go.

See I just ground up the almonds a bit, then added the sugar and ground them until I could not grind them no more.

  So to start, separate your eggs, the night before is what I do.  I make sure to use three bowls.  One bowl to break into, this will catch your egg white.  Once you crack your egg, put the yolk into another bowl.  And as you crack each egg, move the white to another bowl and keep adding each egg white as you go.  This way if the yolk were to crack and run it will only ruin the egg you are working on, not the whole bowl of whites.  You cannot use egg whites with the yolk, it will not whip up properly.

And see this was my stupid idea, I ended up using my flour sifter, then ended up realizing how stupid that was, there were chunks of almond all stuck in the mesh, it took forever to get it all out.  So just sort of use this sifter and pick out the really big bits.

  So then I cover the bowl and put it in the fridge.  The next morning I take it out and leave it covered on the counter until I get home at night to work on it, this is about 10 hours.

  I have also read you can just use egg whites that you have just cracked then microwave them on low until they are room temp.  It is up to you, do what you feel confident with.

See? This is the perfect egg, or at least I think so, not too stiff, but just enough to hold the shape.
The next day, when you are ready to bake, you take the almonds and icing sugar and place them all in a food processor.  Grind them up until they are all fine and mixed well.  Then take the mixture and sift it to get out any big lumps, and process it again.  I found it took a few times to get all the lumps out.  Also you have to add the icing sugar or else you end up with almond butter, and that is no good for this.
So here they are all pipped out.  When you are pipping them they look really grainy and sort of chunky, but they settle out and look so nice and shiny.  

  So once you have this done you are ready to start.

To start, take a large glass of wine, or booze or beer, really doesn't matter.  Drink said booze and try to calm your nerves.  I so wish I was a drinker, may have helped me here.  Anyway, this step is optional, it just helps to calm your macaron making nerves.

See how dark that chocolate is?  Well I told the people at work I used unsweetened chocolate because one guy always says my stuff is too sweet, when in fact I just screwed up.  It happens.
  I started by adding the egg whites to my clean mixing bowl and whipping them until the eggs became frothy, just a minute or two of full speed mixing.  Then I turned the mixer to low and poured my sugar in slowly.  Now I did not take many pictures as I was so paranoid that it would all mess up I was not going to chance it.   Anyway, once you add the sugar, crank the mixer back up and mix until your egg whites hold a nice peak, not a total stiff peak, but like a peak you get for a frosting that is soft enough to pipe, but not hard.  That makes no sense at all really, but I took a picture, if you can see it.  You will just have to go until it holds, but be so careful not to over whip it or the eggs will be dry.  I know, really specific. I hate that.
I didn't put too much as it was not that sweet.

  So once you get that, you want to add your vanilla bean paste.  Just add it in and whip it for like 10 seconds more, to make sure it is all mixed in.

  Then you take the bowl off the mixer and get ready to pee your pants!  Or  just you know, finish making the macarons.  I read a few recipes and they all seam to be different.  So I did what I felt comfortable with.  I added the almond sugar mixture in three additions.  I would add some, then fold it ever so delicately to get it all together.  I was so scared I was going to deflate my whites, and also so annoyed as it seemed the stupid almonds would not mix in.  But I was patient, for once, and it all worked.  So once the first addition was in, after about 15 or 20 folds, I did the next addition and repeated until it was all good. Then I got to work, fast.  Why?  Well I was so scared it was not going to work.

I was so excited they worked out I took this picture then forgot to take one of them all together; never said  I was smart people.

  I took a disposable pipping bag and put in a size 8 Wilton round tip.  I wanted to make these mini and felt that I needed the tip.  I think next time I can do it without the tip, save myself some trouble.  Anyway I needed to fill the bag twice, so next time I will just fill the bag then snip the tip off and pipe way easier I think,

 So I pipped out my little macarons, about 1 1/2 inch across.  I did this on parchment lined cookie sheets.  Then I banged the sheets together a little to settle any air pockets, then I left them.  I set the timer for 20 minutes and then once it went off I checked them.  You know they have set enough when you touch them lightly with your finger and there is a skin formed.  Then I heated my oven to 300 degrees and once heated put them in for 6 minutes.  I watched them, at 6 minutes they had risen and they had the foot, but trying to pull one off the pan broke it was not fully cooked, so I did another minute then another.  In all it was 8 minutes and they were perfect.

And again, imagine them looking all nice and stylish, they tasted good so that is all that matters.
  I let them cool on the racks.  I used a little spatula to get them off the sheets, but left them there.  Then I got my filling ready.  I was going for black and white, so wanted a dark filling.  So chocolate ganache to the rescue.

  So I used 9 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, which turns out is really bitter.  So whatever, it worked as the macaron shells were nice and sweet .

 I roughly chopped the chocolate, then scalded the cream and poured it over the chocolate.  I let it sit for a few minutes then using a whisk stirred it until it was all mixed and smooth.

  Then I assembled them all.  You can either use a pipping bag or a spoon or whatever.  I only had a few to do, so I let the ganache set up for about 10 minutes, then just put a small bit on one side of a shell then put another shell, gently pressing them together to stick.  Then I read that it is best to let them set over night, in a container in the fridge.  This allows the filling to soften the shell of the macaron even more.

  So that is what I did, and I was eating them like nothing, because I had succeeded in  the world of macarons.  Well not really, I posted it on face book, then I put them away to take to work.  Only because I needed to share them so people would believe I actually made them.

  So now I feel confident that I can do them again, I will probably need to drink each time I make them, but at least I know I can do it! Oh and maybe start drinking actually, I am a rather poor drunk.
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cream Cheese Wedding Mints

Seriously this is the only good picture I took.  I am even ashamed of that.

Okay don't judge this post by it's title.  If you do you will miss out on one yummy treat!

  I have heard about these mints a few times, and then a little while ago the ladies on a board I chat on had brought them up.  I had not heard of them before that board, and from what I could gather in parts of the states they are the one thing that every celebration has to have.  Like their name, they are for weddings, you make them in the bridal colours.  Usually in a flower and leaf shape, to be all wedding like.  And apparently no party is a real party without these.
At this point, I was thinking it looked gross.  But I kept telling myself, it's just a big batch of really thick cream cheese icing.

  Now I say they are from the states, but I googled and there looked to be a few different versions, all with slightly different recipes.  I think I narrowed it down to Nebraska being the centre of it all.  And by that I mean I saw the name Nebraska and just stopped looking any farther.  So I may be totally wrong.  I don't know, but I have been wrong before.  Like once before.

I had visions of making all these different shapes and stuff.  Then I gave up and did just pumpkins.

  So in looking it up all the recipes had the same basic ingredients. Cream cheese, icing sugar and mint.  Some called for vanilla, others for some butter and some even left the mint out and used other flavors.  So I did what I always do and did the easiest thing I could.

  And these mints are usually shaped or even rolled into pillow like mint shapes.  I even read that there are special molds for these.  And since here in Canada they have probably never heard of these, I just used what I had.

  I was going to make tiny little mints, but then once I mixed it all together and noticed I had a lot more dough than I expected,I used a bigger mold.  I also like mint, like a lot, so I wanted them bigger.

That is a ball o' wedding mint stuff, in a bowl of sugar.  I know, amazing right?

  So here you go, how this Canadian girl tried cream cheese wedding mints, and is now going to make them again.  Maybe.

 Cream Cheese Wedding Mints
I sort of just went with the least amount of stuff, so it's by me, sort of:

-1 8oz block of cream cheese
-2 kg of icing sugar, I did not measure, I just used the whole bag I had, sorry
-1/2 TSP peppermint/ mint extract ( you can add more or less, I might up it to 3/4 TSP next time)
-food colouring paste if you like

See I have all these super cute silicon baking things, and I swear I never use them until after the holiday they are for.  But this time I was way ahead of the game.
  So basically you mix it all together.  I started by creaming the cheese, then adding the mint and food colouring.  I used my scrapper paddle to start, but then switched over to the metal paddle as this is one thick dough.  Once it was almost all together, the machine was having a hard time, I took it out and mixed it by hand.

This is all I got out of that batch, but seriously these are huge mints.

  Now this was a huge pain in the butt for me.  I have these nail stickers on that are sort of flaking off, but not enough that I want to take them off.  But enough that I didn't want to chance it, so I had to wear plastic gloves, and the ones I have are really loose, so it was a pain.  Anyway, I started kneading it all on parchment, but got annoyed and just did the rest on the table, until it was all together, it was still a little sticky, but not that bad.

  So I got started, set Pork Chop up with his own little bit to do.  And then he started screaming "this is cheese!!!! I can smell the cheese!!!"  Which is not as funny as it sounds when the whole table was covered in stuff and he was doing this, like the "cheese" was going to kill him.  I had told him it would be like play d'oh, well it wasn't so he wanted nothing more to do with it.  This is why I cannot bond with him over baking, unless he can sniff the flour, he is out.

  And just so you know, I had talked this up for a few days, how we were going to make play d'oh you can eat and how fun it would all be.

  Yeah well, whatever, I give up!

I really liked the skulls, those in plain white would be really neat.  And that blob to the right was half a bird.  The tail broke off, so I ate it.  And I even tried to do some super man and bat man ones, because if there is one thing I know.  I need to justify the comic molds I bought.

  So according to what I read you take a bit of the dough and roll it into a ball, then roll the ball in regular white sugar and push it into the mold you want to use.  They usually use one mold and pop the mint out right away.  Well my mints were big and I figured they needed a few minutes to set up before popping them out.  So I used a silicon mold I have, it is pumpkins and I bought it to make cake balls.  I will soon, I promise.  Anyway I filled the whole mold then popped them all out and put them on parchment in a cake pan in a single layer.

  Now from reading some people leave them out to dry anywhere from an hour to forever, like they never refrigerate them.  I don't know how I feel about that, as there is cheese in them.  So I let them set to dry for about 1 hour or so and then packed them up and into the fridge.  I am paranoid that way.

  I also tried a few smaller molds and what not.  I found then too detailed to be any good for this.  So I stuck with the larger ones.  I like easy people.

I don't know how cool Bat man and Super man would feel being immortalized in cheese and sugar, but I bet they would love it.
  So I ate one, and I was all " I  don't know how I feel about that"  I mean you can sort of taste the cream cheese, it was almost like a really dense cream cheese icing, but with a hint of mint.  So I ate another, then another.  And then I had diner, then I ate another.  I have no control.  But I think they were really good.

  So the next day I took them to both works.  I also had one for myself, and I liked it even more when it was firmer and cold.  So I think they were so good, but I might up the mint just a tiny bit.  Also when I gave them to the elevator guys one of the guys said he had those mints before in the states, because I had to explain what they were. He said he liked them, but you know they could just be being nice.

  And my other job, they seemed to be trying to be nice and not say what they really thought.  I said I want to know, so they said it was not one of the better things I have made.  So I said I may have to dip them in chocolate and try again, that sounded good to them, so we will see.  And just so you know it is like 3 weeks later and they are all almost still there, so I have to throw them out.

  Not one of my better treats.  Oh well, at least I tried.

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The Mandatory Mooch