Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A.D.I.D.A.B....Mint Oreo Ice Cream Pie!

All day I dream about baking...it's true! I'm always thinking up the next greatest flavour pairing in cupcakes or the next tastiest creation I can make.  I even have actual dreams at nights that revolve around cupcakes like the one I had recently where I woke up in a panic because I was in NYC with 3 hours 'til I had to be at the airport to return home and I realised I hadn't been to visit any Cupcakeries - shocking I know! 

It's been a busy weekend...I made close to 90 cupcakes on Saturday night for a friend's 'Sweet Sixteen' party.  They were Mint Oreo and Coconut & White Chocolate, and can you believe I didn't take one single picture! It's pretty ridiculous but we were so busy baking them up in the short time we had, due to spending the day at The Annual Conch Fest, and so pictures just slipped my mind! As a thank you present for making the cupcakes, I got the gift of some Mint Oreo's from the States!! It was super exciting! and Milah, who gave them to me, gave me the best idea for how to use my Oreo pie crust she had seen in my fridge.  She told me to fill it with mint ice cream, and I had the idea to add my crushed Oreo's on top to make it super minty and delicious!

I almost feel bad posting it on my blog, it doesn't exactly take much skill to create this dish but oh man it was so tasty that I just had to share!! Here's the step by step:

Get an Oreo crust and fill it with Mint Choc Chip Ice cream...you could fill it with any flavour but I am a mint fiend! 

Get some super yummy Mint Oreo's and chop them up into small pieces

Sprinkle the pieces over the top of your ice cream

Get a handful of Nestle Tollhouse Mint and Dark Chocolate chips (these were also a gift from The States!) Melt them in the microwave for about 40 seconds

Pour the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag, snip off the edge and drizzle over your pie

Put in the freezer for about an hour to set

Get it out the freezer and cut yourself a generous slice....Enjoy!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Hope all you Americans out there enjoyed Thanksgiving yesterday.  We had a nice thanksgiving meal here in Turks and Caicos - you can read about it on my other blog 

I had seen these amazing pumpkin pie cupcakes a few weeks ago and decided they would be my cupcake of choice to bake come Thanksgiving.  So I ordered the piping nozzle I needed to make that pie crust and bought some fun Thanksgiving cupcake liners online in the States, unfortunately my nozzle didn't arrive in time! I also couldn't get the deep orange hue in my frosting that I needed and so unfortunately this is how the pumpkin pie cupcakes turned out: 

Yes I know they look more like sun's! I should have just pretended that's what I was aiming for in the first place! but they were deliciously tasty thanks to this recipe from Martha.

If you want to see what I have been thankful for this week you can check it out here, but yesterday I was thankful for good neighbours...who were able to lend an egg in the midst of my cupcake baking when I dropped my last one on the floor! 

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes:
Makes 18

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

    • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

      • In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.

      • Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

    • Vanilla Frosting:
      Taken from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

      250g icing sugar, sifted
      80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
      25ml whole milk
      a couple of drops of vanilla extract

      Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding mixer with a paddle attachment on medium slow speed until the mixture comes together.

      Turn the mixer down to slow speed.  Mix the milk and vanilla together in a bowl and add to the mixer a spoonful at a time.  Once everything has been incorporated turn the mixer up to high speed.

      Continue beating for at least 5 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Stop Motion Cupcake Making...

So what do most people do when they're ill? Stay home from work...curl up on the sofa...rest and recover - maybe? What do I do when I'm ill? Go to work...come home, stay up ridunculously late to whip up 144 mini cupcakes in 3 varieties and then wake up the next morning at 6am (on my only 'lie in day' of the week!) to make 3 different frostings....WHY? because I'm cupcake crazy that's why! and because today I hosted my first cupcake stall here in Turks and Caicos:

It was a yard sale at a local primary school.  I've come to realise though that yard sales are pretty big entertainment here on the Island though so they're a pretty good stomping ground to sell cupcakes! I was rather impressed that my frosting lasted in the heat of the day too, I appear to be getting better at the whole Caribbean baking thing! 

I was in such a frosting frenzy this morning I forgot to brush my hair or beautify myself in any way shape or form, excuse the picture! 

I have to say I miss my collection of 14 porcelain cupcake stands like crazy! I sure could have put together a far prettier stall if I'd brought those with me! but luckily this stand my mom got me for my birthday worked a treat and was easy for me to bring with from England since it's just made from cardboard! and it got lots of compliments today too! 

Let me introduce you to the cupcakes...first and definitely the most popular of the day was 'The American: A rich chocolate Oreo cupcake topped with peppermint buttercream and a chunk of Oreo'

Then we have 'The Brit: A white chocolate and raspberry cupcake topped with white chocolate buttercream and a fresh raspberry (which did not come cheap on this Island!)'

Lastly, but definitely not least...this cupcake was my fave of the day, 'The Islander: A moist pineapple banana and coconut cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting, shredded coconut and a piece of pineapple'

It was a fun day and all the effort was worth it seeing the kids little faces light up when they saw the cupcakes! Although you can't please everyone, I had one very unhappy customer in the form of a 4 year old little girl who was after a cupcake with Gummi Bears on! Maybe next time...

For now, I will leave you with a little taster of the baking fun that goes on in my Kitchen! In Stop Motion form...it's my husband's new favourite thing to do, we have been making little clips like this of our Island adventure and so I thought it was only right to make a little baking clip too! Enjoy!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

American chocolate:a disgrace to the world

Today I got attacked by potcakes as I cycled home from work. Potcakes are the name given to mixed breed dogs down here in the Caribbean, they are usually kept outside and are trained up to be watch dogs over peoples homes. However the neighbourhood I work in, the potcakes roam the streets and the Kids that live there have trained them to chase after cars, bikes and people. So tonight a group of kids set their gang of pot cakes on me, they chased me biting at my heels and getting some good scratches in too. I ended up out cycling them in the end, but as I turned the corner two more potcakes emerged from a different house and started sprinting towards me so I stopped where I was, burst into tears and ended up getting my husband to come and pick me up!

So how do you recover from a potcake attack? by making some delicious Snickers Rocky Road! This is one of my favorite treats to make, but unfortunately it wasn't as good as it is when I make it back in the U.K and the reason for that is because of the chocolate I used! The title of this blog post is a direct quote courtesy of my husband...there is no chocolate here that even comes close to the tastiness of chocolate back home, it's definitely one of the things I miss the most! I guess on the upside it's helped me kick my daily chocolate fix, back in the U.K I had to eat chocolate every day but here I don't even get tempted because the chocolate just doesn't taste good! What's strange is even chocolate bars that we have back in the U.K like snickers and twix taste bad here! But luckily it's less than 4 weeks until my sister comes to visit and I know she's going to cram her suitcase with English chocolate for me...hooray! Don't get me wrong...I don't wish to offend any Americans, in fact if you follow my blog then you should know I am America obsessed and just love that country...in my opinion most things are bigger and better in the U.S! Most of my fave desserts and restaurants originate in the U.S but that's what surprises me most about the poor effort for chocolate they put forward! If indeed there are some amazingly delicious chocolates I have missed out on then feel free to tell me about them and I will gladly try and track some down to prove myself wrong!

So back to the rocky road, luckily the white chocolate drizzle on top saved the day because it was a bar I had brought over with me from England.  I melted it down and when I was finished with what I needed I didn't just lick the bowl it was in, I devoured it! Chocolate has never tasted so good!

If you want to make Snickers Rocky Road here is the recipe, it is super simple:

400g Milk chocolate for eating (Dairy Milk if in the U.K is what I usually use)
2 tsp Vegetable Oil
1 cup Rice Krispies
150g Chopped Marshmallows
4 x Snickers (chopped up)

1. Melt the chocolate over the hob or in the microwave
2. Add the vegetable oil
3. Chop up marshmallows and Snickers into bite size pieces
4. Add those and Rice Krispies into the bowl of melted chocolate
5. Pour into dish and refrigerate for 1 hour
6. Cut into pieces...and devour!

If you fancy turning this Rocky Road Delight into cupcakes you can see how I did it here: a chocolate cupcake with a peanut and caramel filling, topped with pink marshmallow frosting and topped off with a mini piece of Snickers Rocky Road (or not so mini in my case!)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Great Banana Bread Bake-Off

There is nothing better than a Sunday night baking sssh...apart from maybe a Sunday night baking sesh accompanied by the Kings of Leon! Man do I love that band and their new album is ridunca-dunculous!

One thing that our move to the Caribbean has brought about is a love for baking banana bread...why? Because your bananas don't usually last the car journey home from the supermarket without those little brown spots appearing! And everyone knows that over ripe bananas make the most perfect banana bread!

So we've been having a little bake-off in our house trying to find the best banana bread we can! A few weeks ago we made regular banana bread using my Betty crocker app. It was pretty good, but nothing compared to the insanely delicious chocolate chip and banana bread Byron made this past weekend while we were holed in for Hurricane Tomas! Oh how I wish I'd taken a picture but it was so yummy we devoured it before I even gave my little blog a second thought! We used this recipe and just added a large sprinkling of chocolate chips - it made a wonderfully moist bread that I would highly recommend.

This evening I wanted to continue testing out new recipes, and I found this beauty. Coconut is one of my favorite ingredients so a banana bread with desiccated coconut and coconut milk sounded too tempting to pass up!

1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup castor sugar
1 1/2 cup self raising flour
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup coconut milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Grease and Line a large loaf tin, and preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celcius.
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
Mash your banana and combine with the rest of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and mix until combined. (it will look a little lumpy due to the chunks of banana and the coconut)
Place batter in your prepared pan and cook for about one hour until your loaf is lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

The smell that comes from your oven is quite amazing! and the taste is even better! 'Try it Edward, you'll like it!'


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