Sunday, May 12, 2013

Triple Chocolate Strawberry Bouquet

So, I listen to the radio alot. I've been driving alot lately and it's always on. Nearing Mother's Day, there were so many commercials and radio show hosts talking about paying money for chocolate-dipped strawberry bouquets and i'm like...why. Why spend so much money on that when you can make them yourself?? Homemade gifts are so much more boss.

With these strawberries, I dipped them in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and drizzled them in white chocolate. mmm :) 

After licking all my chocolate bowls, my mom said it was the best mother's day ever :) and then I told her to clean her mouth because there's chocolate stains all over it. 

milk chocolate
dark chocolate
white chocolate
parchment paper

I washed the strawberries and let them chill on a paper towel in the fridge overnight. 

I covered the whole strawberries in milk chocolate first and let those dry in the freezer for a bit.

Then I dipped the strawberries halfway with dark chocolate and let them dry in the freezer for a bit. 

I melted white chocolate in the microwave (every time i try using a bain-marie for white chocolate, it always seizes =/ but microwave works like a charm!!) in 10-second intervals, mixing well after each. 

cut the sides of the parchment paper (you can use brown paper too; that will actually look more classy but I wasn't in the mood to spend any more money) like this.

skewer the strawberries and lay them down in two rows. 

fold the two sides of the paper inwards, letting them overlap each other.

then twist the ends together!

you can also use some twine to tie the ends together... I didn't have any laying around so I opted for the twist. 

simple and inexpensive! and it sure impressed all the moms whom I delivered to; they all stared and admired...and then devoured :) 

Mini Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes

Happy Mother's Day!! I feel like it's my favorite holiday; I get so happy trying to make my mom happy and feeling special today. She is the most hard working person I know; I don't know how she gets so much done in one day. She has so much love for me, my brother, and my dad; it surprises me everyday. But before making myself cry just thinking how wonderful my mom is, I wanted to share this recipe! My mom loves cheesecake so I wanted to make her this mini beauties. 

And the picture up top is modeled by my very own mommy! Look at those beautiful hard-working hands :) 

1 stick softened butter
2 packets of chocolate graham crackers
3 eight ounces cream cheese 
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 eight ounces sour cream
6 ounces raspberries

before starting: wash raspberries, add a couple splashes of water in a small saucepan with the berries and boil on high. Mash the raspberries and then let it boil again until the water reduces, about 10 minutes. use a sieve to sift out the pulp and voila! raspberry sauce. 

1. Get the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs to room temperature (i left them out all day; soft, room temp. cream cheese will keep the cheesecake extremely smooth-textured and not lumpy! soooo crucial.)

2. crush graham crackers into crumbs

3. mix in the butter into the graham crackers until it forms a combined mixture.

4. spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners and use some utensil to mash the graham crackers into the bottom of the liners (i used the twisted inner cap of a thermos). 

5. bake for 8 minutes in 350 degree oven.

6. when done, let them cool to room temperature

7. beat the cream cheeses together until it's a smooth texture with no lumps of cream cheese. I beat the cheeses with my stand-up mixer and then by hand to ensure there's no lumps. 

8. beat in the sugar real good.

9. then fold the eggs one at a time, mixing until just incorporated each time. 

10. fold the sour cream and mix until just incorporated.

11. pour in the cheesecake mixture into each cupcake liner

12. add three small drops of raspberry sauce onto each cheesecake cup

13. take a toothpick and swirl the drops around, swirling just enough to make the marbling effect, not just make a uniformed raspberry layer on top. 

14. in the preheated 350 degree oven, add a pan of hot water on the bottom of the oven. 

15. place the cheesecakes into the oven and lower the heat to 325 degrees. bake for 12 minutes or until there is only a slight jiggle when shaken.

16. take out of the oven and leave outside until cooled to room temp. then place in fridge, uncovered, overnight. 

17. most important step: enjoy and hope you guys had a very great mother's day :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Banoffee Tart

This is an amazing recipe that I borrowed from manggy! Instead of one large tart, I made it into four smaller tarts. Also, I caramelized and flambed the bananas with sugar, butter, and Bacardi Gold instead of putting in regular cut-up bananas. And I added pecans! because I didn't have any peanuts. But it worked out beautifully in terms of taste, texture, and sweetness level.

Ingredients (makes four 4-inch tarts)
1 can (14 oz.) condensed milk
1 1/2 (210g) cups AP flour
1/2 cup (50g) powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, slightly melted
1 large egg yolk
~ 1/4 cup sugar
~1/4 cup butter
2 large (firm) bananas
1/2 cup dark rum
chopped pecans
heavy cream

First off, the toffee is made out of regular condensed milk!....except you have to submerge the cans in hot boiling water for 3 hours. Then it turns into lovely sweet brown toffee :) 

make sure the cans are always submerged in water. You'll have to check periodically, around every half hour or so.

Ok. The recipe calls for frozen butter. But I accidentally forgot to put the butter in the fridge when I bought it, so it was pretty melty. I was too lazy to wait for the butter to freeze, so I simply added the melted butter into the sieved flour, powdered sugar, and salt

Once the pastry blender causes the mixture to resemble small crumbs, go ahead and add an egg yolk! When that's all nicely mixed together, grab a handful and spread the dough towards the corners of the tart pan, making sure not to spread it too thin. I made the edges pretty thick because I like it that way and I'm aware that I get in the habit of making my edges thin :/

Freeze for 30 minutes, longer if you'd like, and preheat your oven to 375 degrees. After that looong wait, cover the tarts with foil and bake for 25 minutes. 

 Take out the foil and bake for another 8 minutes for the dough to brown.  Cool to room temperature and then in the fridge with the tart molds, in case the dough isn't sturdy by itself yet.

 While the dough is cooling, cut your bananas! I used Gordon Ramsay's caramelised bananas recipe as a guideline, but when it came down to it, I didn't measure out the butter and sugar; I just eye-balled it. 

Pour the sugar in a medium-heated pan and wait until it all dissolves. Then slightly turn up the heat to give the sugar a darker color. Once it's an ugly color it's over. and burnt. But when it's still a pretty color, add the knob of butter and wait 'til that dissolves. Then add the bananas and swish them around to coat them into the caramel. Check if bananas are tender with a knife. Now comes the fun part.

 I had never flambed anything before, so this was all new to me. I seriously almost caught myself on fire lol.

Pour the Bacardi Gold (or whichever dark rum you prefer) into a half-cup container. 

I heard you should never pour straight from the bottle in case the flames catch up to the bottle from the pan know. 

I don't if I'll explain this okay, but once I poured in the rum, I slightly tilted the pan's edge toward the stove flames and then the flames caught on to the rum and blew up at me. 

Once the flames subside, add a little water so the caramel won't be too thick. Add chopped pecans and mix them in and turn off the heat.

 Assembly line! 

Add a layer of toffee first.

Then add the bananas and another (thick) layer of toffee.

whip the heavy cream until firm peaks and frost!

For the chocolate sauce, I melted some semisweet chocolate with some heavy cream. Once that melted in a bain-marie, I added a large knob of butter to make it look shiny.

 Dip the edge of a spoon in the chocolate and swish it all over the tart. 

 Yum. It wasn't even overwhelmingly sweet. It was a perfect-sweet. And all the components came together and it was just...amazing.