Thursday, 30 August 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

This evening I have been very busy indeed! In preparation for one of my friend's birthday tomorrow I've been whipping up a storm in the kitchen much to the annoyance of Molly who is confused as to why he has yet to get his dinner! For the occasion I decided to get out my trusty bible when it comes to cupcakes and that is of course the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. If you like me love baking, if not for yourself but the enjoyment of others...this book is a must have for the collection!

I was torn between my favourites the Chocolate Cupcakes and the much talked about Red Vevlet Cupcakes. Too difficult a decision  really so I just decided to make both....sure why not, everyone loves cupcakes on Fridays right? So tonight I'm going to share with you the Hummingbird Red Velvet Cupcakes. These are a little trickier than your average cupcake but both aesthetically and taste wise, its definitely worth a little extra work. 



Red Velvet Cupcake

Makes: 12 approx.

Ingredients:
60g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
1 egg
10g cocoa powder
20ml red food colouring (Dr. Oetker's liquid colouring to be precise)
½tsp vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk     
150g plain flour
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½tsp white wine vinegar

For the cream cheese frosting:
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold  

  

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
2. Put the butter and the sugar in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or 
    use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well   
    mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is  
    well incorporated.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract   
    to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly  
    combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a 
    rubber spatula). 
4. Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until  well  
    mixed, then add half the flour, and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this  
    process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the 
    bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a  smooth, even
    mixture. 
5. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat 
    until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.
6. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated
    oven for 20–25 mins, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted   
    in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before  
    turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. 

For the cream cheese frosting: 
Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 mins. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.
When the cupcakes are cold, spoon over the cream cheese frosting on top.  

If like me you like making cupcakes for special occasions check out the really cute carrier box I got so I can give these particular delicious treats to someone as a present. I picked this up in DEALZ (known as Poundland in the U.K.) for just €1.49, bargain.... I think so!

                

E-D's Notes

  • Just to take that that the above quantities for cream cheese frostings makes quite a lot of frosting. This frosting is quite heavy and I feel you don't need much of it as it can be a little over powering so maybe half the recipe unless you love cupcakes smothered in frosting. 
  • For the decoration I got these really lovely blue, white and red sugar balls from Sainsbury's for £1.20. The striped red cupcake cases are by Edingtons. I bought these ones in Meadows and Byrnes for €2.00 however they are readily available online and in good cook wear shops.
                



















Recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, by Tarek Malouf 
(Ryland, Peters & Small, £16.99)

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

For as long as I can remember the wafting smell of the M&S bakery in the Jervis in Dublin has haunted me. Can't a girl just have a look around Boots without having to be lured in by that ever enticing smell of......Chocolate Chip Cookies! They are amazing and delicious and wonderful....but pricey! And it took me a long time to learn how to resist the temptation and to walk on by without buying one. But there is a very simple solution....and being the generous soul that I am, I'm going to share it with you. Here's the answer.....Learn to make the cookies yourself and learn how to make them even better!!!

So find below the recipe for my very own delicious version! Tried and tested at many family parties, team meetings in work and amongst friends, they have officially been stamped with the seal of approval by all!!!


Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes: 10-12 Cookies


Ingredients:

250g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp. salt
170g butter
220g brown sugar (how brown is up to you!)
100g sugar
1tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 large bar of chocolate, broken into pieces (200g) 
  (judge yourself just how chocolatey you want them to be)



Method:
1. Preheat oven to 160°C/145°C(fan oven)/Gas Mark 3. Grease 3 baking trays.
2. Sift the salt, soda and flour together in a bowl.
3. In a seperate bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended 
    (Use a handheld mixer if you have one! or a freestanding mixer if doubling the recipe).
4. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.
5. Mix in the flour until blended.
6. Stir in the chocolate pieces using a wooden spoon. Place spoonfuls of dough onto the trays 
    (ping pong ball sized). Leave plenty of space between each as they will spread out a lot.
7. Bake for 15-17 minutes (stopwatch!) until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on the tray for a 

    few minutes before placing on wire racks to cool totally.



E-D's Notes
- I can usually only fit 5 cookies per tray (at most). They really do spread out a lot so keep that in
  mind.
- You can choose what type of chocolate you want to use; dark, milk or white. You can even use   flavored chocolate like aero or orange chocolate. I personally like a mix of milk and white but 
  that's personal preference.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Chocolate Fondant

I thought I'd get things off to a start on 'ED Does It' with something that's really really important to me....and that's food!!! I want to share with you one of my favourite all time recipes that's pretty easy once you've practised once or twice and looks really impressive if your serving it at a dinner party. When done right it is Oh So Good!!! But as I've learnt over the last couple of years whilst eating out and about...when done wrong it can be Oh so....disappointing. After lots of trial and error and after careful consideration and tweaking of numerous recipes....I give you the ultimate dessert recipe;

E-D's Easy Chocolate Fondant

Makes 2

Ingredients
50g unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
2 tsp cocoa powder, to dust
50g good quality bitter chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), in pieces
1 free range egg
1 free range egg yolk
60g caster sugar
50g plain flour, sifted 
Icing sugar, to dust
Vanilla ice cream to serve
    
Method
1. Preheat oven to 160°C/Gas 3.
2. Butter four ramekins (about 7.5cm in diameter), then dust liberally with cocoa, shaking out  
    any excess. If possible I recommend the kitchen craft moulds (as pictured).
3. Slowly melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl set over a pan of hot water, then take off     the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
4. Using an electric whisk, whisk the egg yolk, whole egg,  and sugar together until pale and 
    thick, then incorporate the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour. Divide the chocolate mixture  
    between the moulds and bake for 9-10 minutes (depending on your oven).
5. Turn the chocolate fondants out on to warmed plates. Dust the tops with icing sugar and 
     serve with a a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

E-D's Notes
A glass of cold milk is a must have with this fondant as far as I'm concerned.
More importantly...this dessert once perfected is a great one for your 'Culinary Bag of Tricks!'
Once perfected it's easy to whip up. The key to it is the timing! You NEED to time it with a
stopwatch!!! 1-2 minutes too long and the delicious melted chocolate goo at the centre of the
fondant will solidify and form a boring plain 'aul chocolate sponge!! Not so impressive. After
lots of research and debate in my house its has been agreed that the Kitchen Craft Moulds
below are a solid investment! I picked these ones up in Meadows & Byrnes but they are also
available on Amazon for under €10. See the link below for a look!



      E-D's Links