Archive for October, 2008

Whole Milk Makes the World Go Around

October 28, 2008

I used to bake and cook with skim milk at home because that’s what we had in the fridge. But the results you get with whole milk are ten times better. So rich and creamy and delicious. Now, when I need milk for baking or making dessert I get just a cup or two of the good stuff from the local coffee shop.

Banana pudding has always been one of my favorite desserts. The texture of the vanilla wafers after being soaked in pudding for a few hours is just fabulous. They’re still a little crisp in the center, but the outside is soft and infused with vanilla pudding. Not having any bananas on hand, I added chocolate chips to the basic pudding components. Yum!

This whole thing was a big experiment with limited resources. I’d bought a box of vanilla wafers a while ago and most of it was already consumed. The few whole ones still left in the bag just barely made a ring around the pan.

Chocolate Chip Pudding

1 box instant vanilla pudding

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips

vanilla wafers

Whisk together pudding mix and milk. Refrigerate 15-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whip heavy cream and vanilla with chilled beaters until stiff peaks form.

Fold half the whipped cream into pudding.

In an 8″ round pan, layer:

Half the pudding

Vanilla wafers and chocolate chips

Remaining pudding

Whipped Cream

Take one!

October 21, 2008

Finally got a chance to bake some cupcakes today. First a disclaimer: I am not a scratch baker. Give me a box of cakemix and something yummy will happen. Give me flour and baking powder…who knows what kind of surprise you’ll get.

The batter was absolutely delicious, but much thicker than the cupcake batter that I’m used to seeing from mixes.

They didn’t rise as much as I would have liked. I don’t think it’s because I didn’t fill the cups enough either. The bigger ones just spread, creating delicately crisp edges.

The cake had an interesting texture. Very fluffy, especially delicious when warm, but almost grainy when cool. Good, but not ideal.

Vanilla Cupcakes

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Sift together flour and baking powder.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition.

Add milk and vanilla. Mix well.

Add the flour one cup at a time. Mix until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each cup. Tap pan on counter to level tops.

Bake 22 minutes.

Immediately remove cupcakes from tin to cool.

Flora and Sucrose

October 17, 2008

Last weekend I traveled the arduous 60 miles from school to home and escaped from college life for a couple of blissful days.  I managed to drag my boyfriend out of bed early Saturday morning to accompany me on a lovely little outing to the fabulous farmers market in my hometown.

 

He bought me bouquet of gorgeous gerbera daisies, which I brought back to school with me. They are still thriving a week later.

The guy selling the corn was quite a character. Every time we walked by he had something interesting to say about everything from the latest presidential debate to the gastronomic preferences of the British. So by the fourth time around we were convinced we had to try an ear of his super sweet corn. I have to say it was quite delicious.

We also got a bouquet of dahlias for my boyfriend’s grandmother’s birthday, a few white nectarines, and some honey sticks – my sister’s favorite farmers market fare. 

 

“The meanings of gerbera daisies stem from those attributed to the general daisy family. These meanings include innocence and purity, and daisies are also a classic symbol of beauty. However, the gerbera variety holds an added meaning of cheerfulness, which stems from the assortment of colors available. An assorted bouquet of gerbera daisies can lift the spirit and sending one is an ideal way to brighten someone’s day.”  http://www.proflowers.com/flowerguide/flowermeanings/daisy-meanings.aspx