Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Margherita Pie

I made this delicious pie as soon as it was posted on My Baking Heart, and am sorry to wait so long to blog it. I've made this several times already, and each time it seems to come out better and better. It's such a perfect summery dish and is so easy to throw together. And it tastes even better the next day!

I'm posting the entire recipe, crust and all, though I must confess that I have always used store bought crusts.

Pastry dough:
2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 large egg or 2 large egg yolks
3 tbsp cold heavy whipping cream, milk or water

8-10 slices mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 lb whole cherry tomatoes
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp sour cream
2 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp minced garlic
10-12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I planned on making cupcakes to bring to my grandmother's birthday party and wanted something easy, unique, and delicious. While I love to bake, I'm not so good with the whole from-scratch concept, so I googled The Cake Doctor for a semi-homemade treat.

This recipe did not let me down! It was so easy to throw together and yielded a fabulous cupcake with a nice surprise inside. I wasn't a huge fan of the frosting, but I think that's in part due to the fact that I used store-brand cocoa - I haven't liked it in other recipes, so I'll try a "real" brand next time.

Instead of a log of cookie dough, I bought a package of the break-and-bake cookies - the mini size. They were perfect; I threw the whole thing in the freezer and then just broke off what I needed.

These were a crowd pleaser for sure - make them today!

  • 24 paper liners for cupcake pans (2 1/2-inch size)
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 package (1 pound) frozen cookie dough (see "the Cupcake Doctor says" below)
  • Chocolate Buttercream (see below)

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.

2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look well blended. Spoon or scoop a heaping 1/4 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it two thirds of the way full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Cut the frozen dough pieces in half to make 24 pieces. Place a frozen cookie dough piece on top of each cupcake. Place the pans in the oven.

3. Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 23 to 27 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting. They may sink a bit in the center.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the Chocolate Buttercream.

5. Place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread it out with a short metal spatula or a spoon, taking care to cover the tops completely. The cupcakes are ready to serve.

Store these cupcakes, in a cake saver or under a glass dome, at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze them, wrapped in aluminum foil or in a cake saver, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cupcakes overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

The Cupcake Doctor says...

If you use the 18-ounce logs of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough (instead of the 1-pound packages of frozen dough), cut them into 24 equal pieces and freeze them before using them in this recipe. It's important to use frozen dough, because you don't want it to bake completely and become a cookie. You want the center to be gooey when you bite into it.

Chocolate Buttercream

Makes 3 cups, enough to frost 24 cupcakes (2 1/2-inch size) generously
Preparation time: 10 minutes

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place the butter and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until the mixture is soft and well combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons more milk if the frosting is too stiff.
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