I have books that languish on my shelves for ages before I make something from it. The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook is different. I keep reaching for it when I’m looking for something to make. To be honest, it had me as soon as I saw the “s’more pie” recipe. I was even willing to buy a kitchen blowtorch for it.
Cheryl and Griff Day own a bakery in Savannah and have compiled the recipes from the bakery into one sweet book. Southern comfort food is instantly obvious when you begin to flip through the pages. The recipes draw you in and you’ll want to make everything out of the book. I love the gorgeous photography and the way the authors take the time on instructing you on how to get the best results out of your baking.
The first recipe I tried was the s’more pie for my Western themed party. This chocolate was deeply intense (I used 70% cocoa) and I think a standard bittersweet (50-60%) would make the pie less rich. I had to scale back in using all of the meringue topping because it was already starting to look like it was a mile high. You can easily just make the chocolate pudding portion as a quick dessert option. This pie screams showstopper:
I’m smitten with Smitten Kitchen. Every time I visit the site, there is something that begs to be made.
In honour of St. Paddy’s Day, I tried the chocolate whiskey and beer cupcakes. This little cupcake is packed with a chocolate Guinness cupcake, filled with an Irish whiskey ganache and then topped with Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting. An incredibly moist and rich cake with a frosting that’s sweet, but not over the top.
I did run into some problems with this recipe:
There is such a thing as too much butter. When making the cupcakes, the batter separated resulting in an oozy layer of butter. I think I let the batter sit too long that caused the separation. Try having the eggs and sour cream already beaten to prevent this. Another solution is to use less butter, maybe 1/2–2/3rds the amount.
My ganache turned grainy. This was an easy fix, I just beat the mixture with an electric mixer until it was smooth as silk.
Despite these issues, the cupcakes turned out so well that I’ll be making another go at this for next year. Don’t fear the booze that’s in this recipe. You can only taste the Irish Cream in the frosting (don’t like Irish Cream? Replace it with milk or cream instead).
Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes (slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes
Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 70% cocoa)
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)
2 to 3 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
4 tablespoons Baileys
Special equipment: apple corer and a piping bag (I used a plastic bag with the tip cut off)
Make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in a large bowl to blend (you will be adding the rest of the ingredients to this bowl).
Bring stout and butter to simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat to combine. Add flour mixture and mix on slow until just combined. Filling muffin tins 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.
Make the ganache:
Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl.
Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let stand for one minute and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Cool slightly, but still soft enough to pipe.
Fill the cupcakes:
Using the apple corer, cut the centres out of the cupcakes being careful not to hit the bottom.
Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill until it reaches the top.
Make the frosting:
Whip the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time until it looks thick enough to spread.
Add Bailey’s. If the mixture thins out, add more powdered sugar until thick again.
I have a habit of going on cookbook binges and then having them sit on my shelf for ages without trying a recipe. It’s not that I do this intentionally, life just happens.
I never bought the Momofuku cookbook that everyone has sitting on their shelves. But Momofuku Milk Bar was instantly on my list when it came out. I can’t even tell you how long it has been sitting on my shelf before I used it. Continue reading →
It’s always around this time of year when I want to break out the juicer. All the great citrus fruit is in season and I love fresh juice made from blood oranges. The juicer is also great for using up bits of random ingredients in the fridge. Just throw them together and see what happens.
Black cod with swiss chard from Bon Appetit cleanse
It’s almost the end of January, how is everyone doing on their resolutions? One of my goals is to eat healthier and cook dinner more often. The down side of eating better? My grocery bill has significantly gone up with all the fresh fruit and veggies I’ve been buying. It’s given me a better perspective on how some people just can’t afford to eat healthy.
I’m hoping this healthier eating doesn’t fizzle out so I’ve dug up some links to help me (and you) stay on track:
Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse: There’s no juice fasting with this cleanse, it’s for people who like to eat. Basically, it’s 14 days of eating the way you should be eating: no processed foods, less sweets, minimal booze. Even though they tell you not to have dairy, there were a few dishes that had yogurt and goat cheese. I’d like to see less of that in the next version. I didn’t do the full program because R doesn’t eat red meat and I’m pretty weak when it comes to resisting sweets. The menu is great for ideas and I enjoyed how it’s all planned out. The Black Cod (Sablefish) with Swiss Chard, lemons and olives earned a place on the fancy meals list. The breakfast recipes were easy to prepare and for the most part filling. However, 3 rye crackers with smoked salmon and avocado did not cut it for me as a breakfast. The Salted, seedy chocolate bark helped curb sugar cravings and so easy to make. Just melted chocolate (done in the microwave) and you sprinkle the toasted seeds on top. I want this chocolate in my fridge at all times.
Weekend Glow Kale Salad: I’ve only had kale chips which I love, but I’ve never had kale in a salad. I don’t like bitter greens, so I never wanted to try it. The recipe says this is for kale skeptics so it sounds like a recipe for me.