Monday, March 12, 2012

Eggs in Nests

Today was a beautiful almost spring day, and I wanted a beautiful spring breakfast to match. So I made these...

Eggs in Nests

1 cup grated potato
1 ounce grated sharp cheddar
6 eggs
cracked salt & pepper

How easy is this? Preheat the oven to 400. Spray a 6 cavity muffin tin with cooking spray. Mix a little cracked salt and pepper into the grated potato. Evenly distribute the grated potato through the 6 muffin cups and press into the bottoms and up the sides to make "nests." Next, distribute the cheese into the bottom of each cup. Press down into the bottom.  Crack an egg on top of each of the cups, then crack fresh pepper and salt over the top to taste.  Bake 15-20 minutes, until eggs are done and edges are crispy.  Use a spatula to loosen and remove the nests. 

These were soooo delicious with some grilled ham, and elegant enough to serve with crepes and prosciutto for  breakfast if we have guests. Yum!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chocolate and Caramel

Jamie came over today. We always get a sweet tooth when we get together and end up making some delicious concoction.  Today was no different.  We were watching cupcake wars and decided to make our own cupcake, the "one" we would make if we were on the show.  Here's what we came up with:

Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream and a Salted Caramel Drizzle

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup sour cream

Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add in eggs, butter, vanilla, and sour cream and mix until well combined with a wooden spoon. Use a cookie scoop to scoop batter into a prepared 12 cavity muffin tin. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

While baking, prepare the buttercream.
In a large clean, dry bowl, beat 2 softened sticks of butter with 4 cups of powdered sugar for 4 or 5 minutes, until fluffy.  This is a messy process, so don't be surprised to get it everywhere. Beat in 2 Tbs heavy cream, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and 2 tsp vanilla.  Continue beating for another 4-5 minutes, adding in more powdered sugar if necessary to reach desired consistency.  Set aside.

Make caramel drizzle while cupcakes are cooling.  In a large heavy saucepan, melt 2 sticks of butter over medium heat.  Add 2 1/3 cups brown sugar and whisk til well combined.  Stirring constantly, add in 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup light corn syrup.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon and boil over medium heat for about 8 minutes, until it reaches soft ball stage.  Remove from heat and pour into a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Prepare cupcakes:  Pipe buttercream onto each cupcake in desired design, then drizzle caramel over the top with a fork or small spoon.  Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt over the top.

These cupcakes really hit the sweet spot, and we had such a great time making them! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mmmmm, Brownies...

Lately business has taken off a bit, which is good, but it's left me in a bit of a lag as far as blogging goes, which is not good.
I really miss blogging almost every day, so I'm going to post more in the coming months, especially with spring around the corner... it's so much fun to create new delicious things from fresh ingredients when the Farmer's Market starts back up again!
Today I was really craving some chocolate, but not the candy type.  I needed something dense, and rich, and these brownies definitely did the trick.  Probably the best brownie recipe I've ever had for this purpose. That is, to satisfy a real chocolate craving. Paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some warm caramel sauce, and pecans, this is a dangerous treat worthy of a tall glass of ice cold milk.

Fudgy Brownies

12 Tbs cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
3 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving enough overlap off the edges to create a handle. Spray generously with cooking spray, both the pan and the foil used to line it.

In a large bowl, use a fork to slightly mix the olive oil into the cocoa powder. Scrape the fork, ad the butter tot he bowl, and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Whisking constantly, mix in the 2 cups of sugar.  Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in first the eggs, then the vanilla, salt, and flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly tot he edges with a rubber spatula. Bake 30 - 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean, making sure not to overbake. Let cool at least ten minutes before slicing.

Serve warm with ice cream and caramel sauce or hot fudge and pecans for a rich, sweet treat or eat one with a cup of cold milk.