Our bakers slogged through the chocolate tempering process to make some tasty truffles — and we have some rogue flavors!
Let’s see those truffles — leave your links here!
What better way to take a break from an overload of Halloween candy than baking some cookies? Leave your links here!
Mmmmm, pie! Next up on the schedule: a Classic Apple Pie. Posting date is October 22!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
- 3⁄4 cup ice cold water
- 2 balls of Classic Pie Dough
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 7 medium Granny Smith apples
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon whiskey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together.
- Cut the cold butter into cubes and toss the cubes in the flour mixture to coat. Put the mixture in the bowl of a food processor and pulse in short bursts until the pieces of butter are the size of hazelnuts.
- While pulsing in quick, 4-second bursts, drizzle the ice water into the food processor through the feed tube.
- As soon as the dough comes together in a ball, remove it from the food processor and divide it into two equal balls. Flatten to a disk and wrap each disk first in parchment paper and then in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the disks until firm, about 1 hour. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before proceeding with the recipe.)
- Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Unwrap one of the balls of chilled dough and put it directly on the work surface. Roll out into a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to a pie dish and carefully work it into the pie dish, folding any overhang under and crimping the edge as you go. Wrap and freeze the crust until firm, about 2 hours, or up to 3 months.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the light brown sugar. Peel and core the Granny Smith apples, then cut them into ⅛-inch wedges.
- Heat the butter over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Swirl the saucepan occasionally until the butter begins to brown. As soon as the butter is evenly browned, add half of the apple wedges and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, or until the apples are softened.
- Add the remaining apples and the cornstarch/sugar mixture. Mix until the sugar has melted, then add the vanilla, whiskey, and cinnamon to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and thick. Do not overcook.
- Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Unwrap the remaining ball of chilled dough and roll out into a 12-inch round.
- Pour the pie filling into the frozen pie crust, and top with the second dough round. Trim the dough, leaving a 1⁄2-inch overhang. Crimp the edges together, brush with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with the raw sugar. Cut 3 steam vents into the top crust.
- Bake the pie until the filling bubbles and the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool the pie on a rack for 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The pastry cream was a bit finicky for some, but for the most past our bakers give these cupcakes a thumbs up! And we have some rogue Baked Brownies!
Let’s see those cupcakes, bakers — leave your links here!
Next up on the schedule: banana cupcakes topped with vanilla pastry cream, aka the “sexier, silkier French cousin to good old American pudding.” Posting date is October 8.
- 2 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
- 1 3⁄4 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1⁄2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 4 bananas)
- 1⁄2 cup buttermilk
- 3 cups half-and-half
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Fresh banana slices or dried banana chips
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add the eggs, and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bowl again and add the bananas. Beat until just combined. Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
- Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick in- serted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and place them on the rack to cool completely.
- Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the half-and-half to a simmer and keep warm.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together until the mixture is pale, about 1 minute. Whisk half of the warm half-and-half into the egg yolk mixture, then pour that mixture into the remaining half-and-half in the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through the sieve and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, or until chilled.
- There are many ways to frost a cupcake. If you have a pastry bag, simply fit the bag with the largest tip, fill the bag with the pastry cream, and pipe out enough pastry cream to cover each cupcake. If you do not have a pastry bag, use an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to scoop the pastry cream and dispense it onto the top of the cupcake. You can also use an offset spatula to frost the cupcakes. Top with a single slice of fresh banana or a dried banana chip.
Our bakers loved this loaf (or, in one case, muffins) — what a great way to kick off fall and Baked: New Frontiers!
How did everyone enjoy our first foray into New Frontiers — and pumpkin spice season? Leave your links here!
This is it for Baked Occasions — we’ve reached the end of the schedule! We’re finishing up with Peppermint Chocolate Chip Meringues. Posting date is September 10.
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- Red food dye or gel
- 4 ounces (115 g) mini chocolate chips, or regular chocolate chips, roughly chopped (about 3⁄4 cup)
- Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed for 1 minute. Sprinkle the egg whites with cream of tartar and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time. After all of the sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed to high and beat just until stiff peaks form; the whites should still be shiny, not dry.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in the peppermint extract, food dye (a few drops at a time until the desired color is reached), and chocolate chips until combined.
- Drop the mixture by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. (Alternatively, you can pipe the meringues into a Hershey’s Kiss–like shape using a pastry bag fitted with the largest round tip so that the chocolate chips can pass through.) Bake just until the meringues color and are not wet at all, 55 to 60 minutes, then turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven.