Thursday, June 28, 2012

Caramel Pudding? Yes, Caramel Pudding!!

I like pudding.  And, contrary to what most pudding instruction say, I'd rather not chill my pudding...  I like it warm.  I remember making "real" pudding when I was a little girl.  When I say "real", what I mean is that it came out of a box, but you still had to "cook & serve" it, as opposed to just mixing it with milk and putting it in the fridge.  My mother would put me in charge of making the pudding and I thought I was really suffering when the heat began to make my had warm while I waited for the chocolate liquid to begin to thicken.  When it was thickened, I would pour it into small Tupperware dishes.  After dinner, I'd dive into the slightly warm dessert, skin and all.  I loved it. 
When I was going through my new cupcake book, I was intrigued to see a homemade recipe for caramel pudding.  I had to try it.  This did NOT come from a box... It's the real deal friends. 
In this picture, you can sort of see the picture of the pudding in the book.  On the stove, I'm whisking the whole milk and the cream, preparing it to add to the egg/cornstarch/spices mixture that I have waiting in my Bosch. 
You have to pour the hot milk/cream into the egg mixture very slowly, whisking the whole time, so you don't end up cooking the eggs... Scrambled eggs in your pudding would be gross.
Once this is all combined, I poured everything back into the sauce pan and added the caramel and some butter.  I heated it for about 5 minutes till it was thickened and the caramel was mixed in completely. 

Then, I scooped the pudding with a ladle and put it into my ramekins.  The recipe says it makes eight 6oz servings.  I don't know exactly how much each of my ramekins holds (probably around 6 oz), but each one was filled and I was able to fill 3 more small bowls. 
The review from the Peanut Gallery:  These were delicious...  I used my homemade vanilla and real vanilla beans, so the flavor was a wonderful caramelly/vanilla and just delicious.  Everyone liked it.  The kids had theirs chilled.  Roger and I had ours warm...Oh My Word!!  It was good!  The only problem was that it was quite rich and no one, except me, could finish theirs.  I could have spread it out into about 12-14 dishes and that would have been fine. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I'm Back...With Cupcakes!

     I know, I know...pick yourself up off your chair.  It's been a while.  Over a year.  Is it strange that I enjoy reading other people's blogs, but feel like it's silly to write about our life because no one will think it's worth reading?  Anyway, I've found myself on a little "kick" lately.  About 6 months ago, I was eating at a local restaurant that had a TV and there was a show on that had me, and my family, entranced.  It was "Cupcake Wars".  We sat there for an hour and watched the whole show.  It's on the Food Network, and unfortunately, we don't have that channel at our house.  So, I was on the search to find those episodes.  I found the episodes on YouTube and was so excited to see most of the first 5 seasons.  So, I made a little plan with myself...I only watch the show when I'm on my treadmill.  Each show is 42 minutes long and it's just the right amount of time for a decent workout.  I'm able to walk about 2.25-2.5 miles each episode.  I look forward to it every night! 
     Naturally, it's also inspired me to make some cupcakes.  I came across a cupcake cookbook a few weeks ago while at Barnes & Noble.  It's written by the gals that are on another Food Network show called DC Cupcakes.  I found a few of those episodes on YouTube as well.  Anyway, I've been baking ever since!

     So, I've decided to make all the cupcakes in this book and give you a little review of how it goes.

I got all the ingredients together.  The eggs, butter, and milk were at room temperature...  I used homemade Madagascar vanilla.  I sifted the flour and added it to the creamed butter and sugar.  It looked great.

Then, I gently folded in the coconuts. 

I immedately noticed that there was quite a bit of batter.  The recipe said that it made 12 standard cupcakes.  I planned to make 2 batches for a couple of events that were coming up...  As I began to fill the cups, I knew that there was going to be way more than 12.  I was able to make 21 cupcakes.  I filled them 2/3 full and put them in the oven. 
My oven has a bake setting as well as a convection bake setting.  I had put it on bake because sometimes the fan that spins during the convection setting can make baked goods cook faster on one side.  The recipe said 18 minutes, but I ended up leaving these in the oven for 25 minutes!  I checked them at 18 and they were still  liquid.  I put them in 2 more minutes at a time and pulled them out when they were perfect.  They looked great.  I had the ingredients for another batch so I went ahead and put those in the oven.  I switched it to convection oven and these were done in about 20 minutes.  They all looked awesome! 

I made the cream cheese frosting and then got to work on the fun part.  After I frosted each one, I covered it in sweetened coconut.  I think they turned out beautiful. 

Here's what they look like in the book... 
The Peanut Gallery's Review:  Several members of my family are not big fans of coconut.  I knew this and made a few of the cupcakes without the coconut on top...just cream cheese frosting. 
The cakes were wonderful.  There was a slight coconut flavor, but not overpowering.  They were wonderfully moist.  The frosting was wonderful.  I put a little extra on some of them, and was a little light on the others so the family could choose what they like.  Roger liked them with the light amount of frosting.  Zack liked them with the heavier amount of frosting.  I liked them all!  Yum!