Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cake Slice Bakers - September 2012: Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

Wow, I can’t believe it’s the 20th again! I know I always say this, but time flies by so quickly and yet so slow. It seems like forever ago since I posted the Ultimate Lemon Roll Cake, but it seems like every week just goes by too fast.

This moth’s cake happens to be the second to last cake out of The Cake Book by Tish Boyle. Next month the Cake Slice members will be featuring a cake of our choice as a sort of last hoo-rah for finishing the book. 

I am not a big fan of peanut butter and chocolate. I know, shocking! I’m probably one of the 5% in the world that doesn’t like that combination. With that in mind, when I say I really, really, really enjoyed this mousse cake, it means the cake was seriously delightful. That’s the word I was looking for: delightful!

This cake is so light and creamy; I have never tasted anything with this kind of texture.

I decided to make cupcake mousse cakes because I didn’t think an apartment of four girls would be able to consume a full 9-inch mousse cake, but I think I like the presentation more than a slice anyways. The different layers look so pretty.

Now lets talk about taste. The crumb crust was sweet and a perfect contrast to the creamy peanut butter and chocolate layer, but lets face it; crumb crusts are never the stars of the show. The star here, for me at least, was definitely the peanut butter layer.

Usually peanut butter can have a very strong presence in desserts, which is why I prefer to get my peanut butter fix with my daily PB&GJ (grape jelly is the only way to go people). The peanut butter mousse layer was perfect! It was very light and was just peanut buttery enough to cease my peanut butter cravings. You can also taste just the slightest hint of cream cheesy goodness. I had a smidge-worth of trouble with the chocolate part, thought. The chocolate decided not to melt completely, but that did not stop me from enjoying the sweet and smooth layer. I actually thought the chocolate layer could have used a little more chocolate flavor, but it is still tasty nonetheless.

I took some over to my friend’s house on Monday for he and his roommates to share. 30 minutes after I left I got a text from him telling me that he and his roommates loved the little mousse cups. After just two days there are only three left in the freezer. I say this recipe is a success!

Oh and I forgot to mention something. Since we will be finishing The Cake Book next month, the Cake Slice Bakers are starting a new book in November and if you would like to join us in our year long devotion to cake, please email Paloma at (at) gmail (dot) com with your name, blog name, and blog URL.

Also check out how the other members of the Cake Slice Bakers did here.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake
Adapted from The Cake Book
Makes 12 mousse cups

Chocolate Wafer Crust
90g chocolate teddy grahams
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Peanut Butter Mousse
2 ½ oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, soft
72g confectioners sugar
100g smooth peanut butter
Pinch of salt
1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream

Chocolate Mousse
2 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
50g milk chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp. milk
3 tbsp. (33g) sugar
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

Place 12 cupcake liners in a standard muffin pan and set aside. Crush teddy grahams into fine crumbs with either a food processor or place in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl and add in melted butter. Stir until combined. Place about 1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. of the crumb mixture into each muffin cup. Pat the crust down with a shot glass or something heavy. Refrigerate while you make the peanut butter mousse.

Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-low until creamy, about 1 minute. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, you don’t want to get lost in a cloud of sugar. Mix until the sugar is well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the peanut butter and the salt. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed

In a separate bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream on high until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Gently fold in ½ cup of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to lighten it up. Fold in another ¾ cup cream until light in color and airy in texture. Use a small cookie scoop (I believe mine was 1 oz.) and scoop two dollops on top of the crust. Smooth out the top. By the way, you may have extra peanut butter mousse; do what I did and top off the chocolate layer with some more peanut butter mousse. Refrigerate mousse as you make the chocolate layer.

Place chopped chocolate into a medium bowl. In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar and milk and heat over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate and stir constantly until the chocolate has completely melted. Add vanilla extract and stir.

Fold in 1/3 of the remaining whipped cream to lighten the chocolate up. Fold in the rest of the cream and mix until light and airy. Dollop two 1 oz. portions of chocolate mousse on top of the peanut butter layer. If you have leftover peanut butter mousse, it’s a good idea to spread that on top of the chocolate, but only if you want.

Place muffin tin in the freezer for at least one hour to firm up. Take the mousse cups out of the tin a few minutes before serving. Store remaining mousse cups in the freezer until ready to be eaten. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hey, I know it’s been a while since my last post. I used to do two updates a week, but that was during summer and had nothing to do. Now I’m in school and I’m starting to get used the rhythm of things. I think now that I’m used to when I get out of class and how much homework I have, I’ll probably (hopefully) will start updating once a week.

Another reason I haven’t been posting is because I haven’t made anything worth blogging about. Like I said in my last post, I made cookies, but they weren’t all that great. Then I made some kind of chiffon orange muffin, but that had no flavor and then developed a soapy taste after just one day. I also tried making granola, but I burnt it. I have just not been having much luck in the kitchen, until these cookies.

My dream chocolate chip cookie includes a soft, gooey middle with a slightly crisp outer ring. The cookie has to have not too many chocolate chips and be slightly puffy so I can get a good sense of the actual cookie’s taste.

These cookies have a slight crisp outer crust, the center is perfectly soft, and the chocolate chips melted beautifully and didn’t overwhelm the cookie. I wish the cookie had a little more volume and a little more brown sugar flavor but other than that this batch was really great.

Oh, and you know how some cookies get kind of stale after sitting on the counter for just a few hours? Not a problem with this recipe. I left them on the counter for several hours and they were still soft and chewy.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly adapted from Penguin in the Kitchen
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature
½ cup (75 g) semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda into a small bowl; set aside. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the melted butter and sugars together until creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop (I believe mine is a 1.5 oz.), portion the dough out, spacing each cookie about two inches apart. Bake dough for 10-12 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before removing the cookies to cool completely.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2nd Blogiversary Celebrated with some Fantastic Treats

I’m honestly at a loss for words. I can’t believe I’m trying to type this post at this very minute because my brain is seriously mush. I physically feel weak and it’s not a good feeling. This my friend is what college calculus does to people.

I like math, I do. That is I like math when it clicks. I’m more of a pattern person. When I discover a pattern, I roll along with it. However, I probably wouldn’t be having so much trouble if my teacher taught what was going to be in the homework. My professor is a good teacher, he just doesn’t teach what will be on the homework. So I’m left stting here rubbing my temples and just feeling like mush.

I don’t want to feel like mush. You know why? Well yeah feeling like mush isn’t all that fun, but today should be celebrated. On September 5, 2010 this blog was born. Yes, today is my little blog’s 2nd birthday. It’s amazing how the time flies.

Sadly I do not have a new scrumptiously yummy treat to share with you today because life has gotten in the way. I have baked (some) but nothing blog-worthy. I was going to throw my hands in the air and post about some ok-ish cookies, but I know Cookie Jar Treats deserves better, so I will wait. So I’m giving you all who read this blog and IOU and a few of my favorite treats from the past year. Enjoy.

So yes, these are some of my favorite recipes from the past year. You'll notice there are some pumpkin recipes to get your fall baking on. I'd also like to ask y'all to help me out. You see I have no idea what to bake since I've just been sitting here doing college work and when I'm not doing that I'm just favoriting and pinning things (interest account: rblooney if you're interested). I'm getting so caught up that I'm having trouble deciding what to bake. I want you guys to be interesting in the things I bake, so I'm asking for your input. Chose one of the five from below (or if you don't see something you like, add your own)

1. Homemade Oreos
2. Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
3. Peanut Butter Granola
4. Pancakes (I've got a slew of pancake recipes I'm dying to try)
5. Whoopie Pie (feel free to suggest flavors)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes for Four

It’s been a really long time since I last posted. But I’m still alive. I’ve survived two weeks of college. The first week was… shall I say interesting? Not a bad interesting, but just a new experience interesting.

I really like most of my professors so far. My engineering teacher is kind of hard to understand (he’s Romanian) but he’s sweet. He assigned this research paper last week. We had to go to the Clemson website and select a professor in the engineering field we are interested in and find stuff out about what their research topics are. I learned a lot about Robust Parameter Design. It’s actually really interesting! (Robust Parameter Design is the thing that finds problems in your products before it’s put on the market.)

My chemistry teacher is pretty ok. So far she’s only going over stuff that I already now about chemistry, but I guess you have to start somewhere. My chemistry lab professor on the other hand is kind of silly. He’s Indian and has an accent and he’s kind of adorable in a crazy way. By the way, if you follow me on instagram (rblooney) you can see my awesome lab coat and goggles I have to wear at all times while in that class.

My math teacher is so-so. I’m in an analytical geometry and calculus class and so far I’m just not getting it. I took pre-calc in high school, but all the stuff I learned in that class just left my brain and I’m kind of lost. I’m just replying on patterns that I see in the problems right now. I’ve also been going to this tutoring thing, so maybe if I attend all that I can it’ll start to click.

My English class is pretty ok so far. I was totally afraid of taking the class because of my professor, though. I went to a professor rater website and every. Single. Comment. On her profile was terrible. So far I haven’t seen the bad side. She seems funny and likeable and just wants things done a certain way. But there is a place at school that reads your essay and edits it for you before you turn it in, so I’ll be going there a lot because I’m not taking any chances.

My absolute favorite class is my history class. My teacher is this oldish (he’s like grandpa old but not like super-duper old) and he is so loveable and all over the place. I can tell he really loves history, which makes me love the subject even more. My 8th grade history teacher actually got me into history so much that I thought about pursuing history as a major, but then I had government and geography, which are two subjects I really don’t like, and then I had world history, which isn’t all that interesting to me, and then my U.S. history teacher junior year was just awful. But I’m glad I’m liking the class because he’s really fun.

Anyways, I made these cupcakes the first couple days in my new apartment/dorm. It’s an adapted version of Jessica’s cupcakes for two on How Sweet it Is. Instead of two, I made four. It was interesting baking in a new oven and in a place that isn’t a mile above sea level. But then again I’ve never had any trouble with any recipe that I’ve made when baking at sea level. I don’t believe those “high-altitude horror stories”.

So have a good Labor Day and enjoy a cupcake, or two.

Vanilla Cupcakes for Four
Adapted from How Sweet it Is
Makes 4 cupcakes

1 large egg, room temperature
¼ cup (96 g) sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with 4 liners; set aside.

Whisk the egg and the sugar until well combined. Add the vanilla and stir in the melted butter. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir until smooth. Stir in the milk.

Distribute the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan with a cookie scoop. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Makes more than enough for 4 cupcakes

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. water

Cream the butter and powdered sugar together. Add in the vanilla extract. Add water 1 tsp. at a time until the frosting has reached desired consistency.

Frost cool cupcakes.

Eat and be happy.
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