Tag Archives: dessert

Surviving a Salted Caramel Cupcake Fail!

Salted Caramel Cuppies

I just have to deal with the fact that I am not a great baker.

I’ll still try to do it, but wow I need to have a little more patience with myself.

Since I bought the Martha Stewart Cupcakes book earlier this year, I’ve been wanting to make the Salted Caramel chocolate cupcakes. They looked like everything I like about food – sweet, rich, salty and chocolatey. I finally decided to make them to bring to Hallowe’en movie night.

I managed to mess something up at each stage.

D’oh #1 – Footless Cupcakes

The cupcakes stuck to the baking tin, and lost some chunks when I pulled them out. I didn’t have mini cupcake liners, but it wasn’t a problem last time. I just oiled it up and went ahead. Needless to say, I was not happy. Some of them wouldn’t stand on their own because of their injuries. On the other hand, they were really tasty and I decided it wasn’t too big of an issue.

D’oh #2 – Crazy Caramel (Corn?)

I messed this up twice, basically. The caramel sauce ended up being the worst part of the whole thing – everything else sort of pulled together, except for this part. Instead of sauce inside, it’s like a piece of caramelly fudge, or like the texture of candy corn. Grrr. My problem revolved around my lack of a candy thermometer, and I couldn’t judge when it was cooked enough. I knew we had a thermometer and pulled it out – only to discover that it’s a meat thermometer and doesn’t measure a high enough temperature. Crap on a stick!

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, it helps to know the different stages to look for. I found this web page that describes the different stages, but I still messed it up. First, I pulled it off the heat too early because I thought it was cooked more than it was. I added the cream, and realized it was too light and oogy. I put it back on the heat, cooked until it browned and tasted better — but then after I poured the sauce into the cupcakes, it started to harden funny (the aforementioned candy corn texture). Ah well, not much to be done about that – and I was too lazy to start over by baking new cupcakes.

At least it still tasted good…

D’oh #3 – Mmmm, Chocolate Soup

Following the instructions, the dark chocolate icing ended up being the consistency of chocolate soup. I saved it by putting the bowl of icing ingredients into a larger bowl full of ice, and beating the crap out of it as it cooled. It turned out really really good. As a side note — I have no scale and had no idea what one pound of chocolate should look like. I guesstimated, and it worked. I don’t think my baking warrants getting a scale, either.

Salted Caramel Cuppies - Insides

Oh yeah – and I forgot to add the decorative salt on top before I took pics. Hahaha!

The Verdict

While I screwed all sorts of things up, these turned out pretty tasty. I do eventually want to try the recipe again, to try to get it all perfect. First, I’ll tackle the caramel a couple more times and use it in other things. The chocolate frosting on this is really incredible – and it should be, considering the amount of butter that’s in it!!

They don’t have this recipe up on the Martha Stewart website, but I found it posted on this blog. Note that this blogger had no trouble with the caramel… so it’s obviously me.

UPDATE: I bought a candy thermometer. I am determined to make this work, because I really love caramel and I think I should be able to make it.

Salted Caramel Cuppies - solo

Almond Pista Kulfi (a Bite of Blog Love)

Almond Pista Kulfi -side

This post is part of a “Blog Bites” challenge issued by Nupur, of the blog One Hot Stove. This month, we’re asked to pick ANY recipe from the blog of our choice, make it, take pics and blog about it. The spirit of the “Blog Bites” challenge series is to get us checking out other food blogs and posting about our experiences, while giving due credit to the original poster. This also fits with the ‘Blog Love’ series I started back in June…

I had already found the perfect recipe when I saw the challenge. Sweet! (Literally)

I have always wanted to try making ice cream, but I don’t have an ice cream maker (and try not to buy unitasking gadgets). Summer brings a slew of amazing sounding ice cream recipes which, for the most part, just depress me into trying to justify making an ice cream maker (can I make dinner ice cream?).

Then I came across a recipe for Almond Pista Kulfi, posted by indosungod on Daily Musings.

Kulfi is an Indian frozen dessert that is made with milk, instead of cream, so doesn’t require an ice cream maker. They often come in flavours like mango, almond, pistachio – and can contain ground nuts. This recipe is a combination of almond and pistachio.

Ground Almonds, Pistachios and Vanilla Beans

Vanilla Beans with Ground Almonds and Pistachios.

I first had to roast my almonds and pistachios, and then grind them coarsely in the food processor. Since I had some on hand – and totally love them – I decided to add vanilla bean, as well as a few drops of almond extract.

You start by cooking down some whole milk and condensed milk on the stove, adding in a few ingredients and cooking it down a little more.

Making Almond Pista Kulfi

Making kulfi. It may be too thick already…

Here is where I ran into some trouble. Never having made kulfi before, I wasn’t sure how thick it should be. Initially, I followed the instructions, cooking the milk down for a certain amount of time. After adding in some ingredients and letting it thicken, you’re supposed to cook it down a little bit further. I did take it off earlier than it called for, thinking it was thick enough… but it was actually too thick. It was actually too sticky to freeze all the way through!

The next day, I decided I would try to fix things. I warmed up a little more of the whole milk and stirred it into the “semifreddo” concoction, crossed my fingers and stuck it back in the freezer. It worked!!

Writing instructions for these kinds of things can be tricky, because different stoves and cookware can cook things differently. Trial and error are definitely required! I now have a better idea of the consistency it should be when done. I know this sounds gross when talking about dessert, but it had the consistency of clam chowder (sans lumps) before freezing. Thick, coats the spoon, but not too sticky.

Almond Pista Kulfi - top

Back off! This bowl is MINE!

Sooo delicious! Once I’m done killing this batch, I’m going to make a cardamom coffee one!!! Can’t wait!!

Recipe after the jump!

Continue reading Almond Pista Kulfi (a Bite of Blog Love)


Lemon Tree Macarons - assortment

A while ago I mentioned how macarons are starting to eclipse the popularity of cupcakes. I still don’t think they have the mass appeal of cupcakes, but they are pretty special. Do a Google image search, and you’ll see why — while they all have a similar shape, they can come in bright jewel colours and complex flavours.

I first saw Lemon Tree macarons while in the throes of my cupcake obsession. Of course, every time I passed the little table at St. Lawrence Market, I was on my way to buy cupcake supplies for that weekend. Must buy macarons next time.

These macarons don’t really mess with the gimmicky stuff. They are all inspired by classic flavours, like mint, nut, caramel, mocha and chocolate.

Lemon Tree Macarons - Salted Caramel

Delicious salted caramel – can you blame me for being greedy?

It took a couple of months, but I finally caved and bought a few. J and I shared them bite by bite, and found a delicious surprise in each.

Probably my favourite one, the only one I kept all to myself, was the salted caramel. You can’t tell from the outside, but inside there is a well of delicious flowing salted caramel. Sooooo good!

If you want these babies, you either have to make a custom order or buy a few from the select stock at their small table downstairs at the St. Lawrence Market (just next to Rube’s rice and bean island). You won’t regret it!!

The Last Cupcake

Tiramisu Cupcakes

This past week was my hubby’s birthday, and I decided a long time ago that I would make him any special dessert he wanted. At one point, I even offered to make the Tiramisu recipe posted on the Daring Kitchen (one that requires you make most things from scratch – the biscuits, the mascarpone cheese, etc.). He decided that he wanted cupcakes, so the logical choice (having just bought my Martha Stewart Cupcakes book), was to make Tiramisu Cupcakes.

This recipe came from “Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes” book, but you can also find it online at marthastewart.com. I tried to stick to the recipe as closely as possible, but did take the opportunity to make the mascarpone cheese from scratch. So much fun!!

Tiramisu Cupcakes - inside

Inside the cupcake.

This cupcake has three parts, to imitate the flavours and textures of Tiramisu: a vanilla bean cake, a Marsala/Espresso syrup that is allowed to soak into the top of the cake, and a light mascarpone/whipped cream icing.

I was really happy with the way these turned out. The Marsala/Espresso syrup really made it, as it gave the most flavour punch. Both the cake and frosting were lightly flavoured and not too sweet.

One thing I should mention — paper liners work better than silicone ones for these particular cupcakes. I had only used the silicone ones once before, with a more firm type of cupcake. They worked perfectly with those cupcakes, but didn’t work quite as well with these delicate babies. I think the combination of a fluffier cake base, and the soaked tops made it REALLY hard to pop them out of the silicone. Awkwardness ensued, and messes were made.

This will be the last cupcake I make for a little while. April has been a kind of cupcake eating bootcamp for me, and I’m a little cupcaked out. I keep telling people that I feel like my body is made of cupcakes right now. 🙂