Monday, August 17, 2009

Vanilla Ice Cream (Updated)

Okay, so the next one is not exactly a bake good. Not really at all because it's a recipe for ice cream. But I visited my Aunt Shane in North Carolina last weekend and who the hell wants to bake in that kind of weather? It's seriously ten times worse than New York's heat and humidity and if you know what that's like, you can sympathize. And just to further support this post: I have often used vanilla ice cream as an accompaniment in previous recipes so... this recipe definitely goes hand in hand with a baking blog. Right?

On Saturday night, after a lovely dinner out on the town, my aunt and I decided to go see that movie Julie and Julia. However, we missed the showing so we decided to go back home and make something for dessert ourselves, in honor of Julia Child (of course). My aunt has this gorgeous home in Greenville, NC, complete with all sorts of fun kitchen gadgets. Most notably, her ice cream maker from CuisineArt (pictured below) which she got from Williams and Sonoma (W & S).

Step 1: prepare.

Ice Cream Mix (from W & S)
1 and 1/2 cups Half and Half
1 and 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
Toppings (optional but recommended)

For this particular ice cream maker, you're suppose to keep the inside cylinder part in the freezer. Remember to pick up all the ingredients at the grocery store before you attempt to make ice cream. It can be a pain in the neck if you forget an essential one: it also prolongs the ice cream eating part :(

Also, don't forget the toppings! For this sundae, since we were going with vanilla ice cream, I decided on the classic hot fudge and caramel syrups and m&m toppings.

Step 2: add all the ingredients.

First, dump the ice cream mix into the mixer.

Then, add the half&half and heavy cream. Aunt Shane kind of took the reigns on this one. I watched and took pictures.

Step 3: and let the mixing begin.

Then you just click the "on" button and WAHLAH: 25 minutes later you have ice cream that looks kinda like this:

Step 4: top and enjoy!

Scoop out the ice cream into ice cream bowls. My aunt had special ice cream bowls that said, "Let's Party" on them I think, or maybe it was, "Ice Cream Party." Either way, they were cool. Then, top them with your favorite toppings. Like I said, I went with chocolate and caramel. I personally think you can't go wrong with that kind of combo.

Unfortunately, the ice cream was melting extremely fast in the hot Carolina weather so I took one for the team and forfeited a picture of my masterpiece in favor of enjoying the deliciousness of it before it became a puddle of cream and sugar. Here is an artist's rendering of the final product:

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pink Velvet Cake

pink velvet cake in the DC heat

This past weekend, I attempted to make a red velvet cake. Turns out you need a lot more red food coloring than I anticipated. So, here is the recipe for the pink velvet cake that I made while I was visiting my friend, Ben, in D.C. Also, I've had a request for more pictures so I'm going to do so with this one.

click to enlarge (no kidding)

And just so all of you know, this was a REALLY easy cake and I sort of cheated by buying a packaged cake mix and packaged frosting. Okay, I cheated. But I had to! Ben lives in a legitimate bachelor pad: he and his roommate, Luke, don't have much to work with in the way of kitchen utensils and ingredients (they don't even have measuring cups). Knowing this, I came up with a simple recipe that would (hopefully) taste good, be fun to make, and be a treat for Ben and Luke.

Note to Self: Don't bake in the D.C. August heat again. For those of you who are not aware of this already, D.C is currently on Heat Alert and it's literally scorching out.

Step 1: get it together.

Go to any grocery store and buy white cake mix (or even red velvet mix if you can find it) and cream cheese icing. I think this is where I went wrong with the color... If you are going to try this, or if I ever make this again, I'm going to try it with chocolate cake to get a richer red color.

Step 2: follow the directions.

Preheat oven (350 degrees F). Combine all the ingredients for the cake (the mix, eggs, vegetable oil, water) in a large bowl and blend it together until smooth and there are no more chunks in it. Add red food coloring (A LOT!) and stir it in until you get your desired red/pink hue.

Step 3: prepare the dish.

I used an 8x8 glass dish because that's all that was available in the house. I coated the inside of it in a light layer of oil. I would have covered that with a light later of flour so it wouldn't stick to the glass, but they didn't have any.

Step 4: bake at 325 degrees F for 35-40 minutes.

Step 5: cool it for about 2 hours and then transfer it to a plate.

Step 6: ice it and decorate.

This is my favorite part. I iced it kind it haphazardly and sprinkled it with red sprinkles to make it look delicious and pretty.

Step 7: serve it.

Another reason I wanted to cook this weekend was so I could use my new pie cutter that was a very thoughtful and adorable gift from Ann E. Dibble. Although I didn't make a pie, I served the pink velvet cake with my pink and purple pie cutter to very appreciative friends.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Peach Cobbler

I got this recipe from the food network website and it's by Paula Deen. I "tweeked" it a little bit though... Little Bird is my baking mascot (she also doubles as my salt shaker).

Step 1: prepare the peaches.

4 cups peeled, sliced peaches (I eyeballed it and peeled 5 peaches)
1 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup water

Combine the peaches, sugar, vanilla, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 2: preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 3: melt the butter.

8 tbsp butter
1/2 large lemon

Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish (I used a 2-quart glass dish to get really thick pieces) and place in oven to melt. Once it's melted, squeeze a half of a fresh lemon over the butter.

Step 4: prepare the cobbler.

1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda

Mix all the ingredients together until it's blended and smooth.
Pour mixture slowly over melted butter. Don't stir it. Spoon fruit on top and then gently pour in the syrup. (Batter will rise to top during baking like MAGIC.

Step 5: put it in the oven.

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes (I know this is a huge gap, but all ovens are not created equal). Check it at 30 and then monitor... take it out when you can see the juices bubbling and the top is browning. Then, relax and let it cool for a couple of hours.

Step 6: serve your peachy treat!

To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream.

birds eye view