Monthly Archives: November 2010
I couldn’t make all sweets this week for the premiere of Deathly Hallows. After all, even witches and wizards need something more nutritional than cauldron cakes and butterbeer. :) When I found this recipe for pita bread shaped into the Sorting Hat, I knew I had to make it. Although it didn’t turn out nearly as realistic as I hoped it would, I still think it looks pretty cool. The whole wheat flour gives it just the right color, and the recipe is made to ensure the pita will not puff too much. I will most definitely be making this again when the second part of the movie comes out next summer. This bread isn’t just for looks; it tastes amazing, too. I’ve never had freshly made pita, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to go back to store-bought ever again. You can serve this with your favorite dip, but I highly recommend this roasted red pepper and chipotle hummus.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water (80-90°F)
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cups all-purpose flour
Combine sugar and water in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast and allow the mixture to proof for 10 minutes. Add in 3 cups flour, one cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Set aside for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours. The sponge will get a stronger flavor the longer it sits. (I left mine out about 4 hours.) After the sponge has had time to sit, stir in the salt and olive oil. Stir in an additional 2 cups flour. Knead dough by hand for 8-10 minutes or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook for 5 minutes. If the mixture is too moist, add flour in 1/4 cup increments until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. Place back in the large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise 2-3 hours, or until dough has doubled.
To make the Sorting Hat, preheat oven to 350º. Form a large cone, about 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide, out of aluminum foil. Punch down the dough and remove 2/3 of it, keeping the remaining third covered. Lightly flour a work surface and spread the dough out into a large circle so that it’s large enough to cover the foil cone. Spray the cone with cooking spray and cover it with the dough. Pinch the dough to create the eyes and mouth, and in various places to create wrinkles. Place face side up on a baking sheet.
Form the remaining 1/3 of dough into a 10 inch circle. Place on a baking sheet and use balls of foil to make the hat brim ruffle. Bake both pans for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and increase heat to 425º. Spray the face with nonstick cooking spray and stand upright. Place both pans back in the oven and continue to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on a cooling rack, then place the face on top of the hat bottom when ready to serve.
Adapted from Diamonds for Dessert, recipe originally from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
Our visit to Wizarding World happened to fall on Eric’s birthday. Since I wasn’t able to make him a cake to celebrate, we decided we’d get something sweet inside the park. Our first stop was Honeyduke’s Sweetshop, where we picked up a cauldron cake to share. It was an incredibly delicious chocolate cupcake filled with chocolate mousse, and it even had a cute little chocolate handle. That, along with frozen butterbeer, was our breakfast. Hey, when in Rome… ;)
Cauldron cakes were number two on my list of things from Wizarding World to recreate. Although I’ve seen many versions, many with candy and licorice, I wanted to stick with what I had at Wizarding World. After all, I’m not one to mess with something that tasty. I’m so happy that, flavor wise, these were spot on. The cupcakes are intensely chocolate, with both Dutch-process cocoa and bittersweet chocolate. Once you fill them with the light and fluffy mousse, you’ve got a seriously chocolatly dessert that anyone is sure to love.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
Place oven rack in lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour a 12 cup muffin pan. In a medium bowl, combine butter, chocolate and cocoa. Set over a small saucepan with simmering water and heat until melted. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk eggs. Add sugar, vanilla and salt and mix on medium-low speed until combined. Add cooled chocolate mixture and continue mixing until chocolate is incorporated. Sift in one-third of the flour mixture and continue mixing, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Mix in sour cream, then sift in remaining flour mixture. Continue mixing and scraping the bowl until everything is combined. The batter will be thick. Divide batter evenly into muffin pan cups and bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March 2005
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 tablespoons hot water
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder and water; set aside. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Set over a small saucepan with simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip cream, sugar and salt at medium speed until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue whipping until soft peaks form. Whisk the cocoa mixture into the chocolate until smooth. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Using a rubber spatula, fold in remaining cream until combined and no white streaks remain.
Yield: about 3 cups
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, November 2009
To make cauldron cakes:
Place a sheet of wax paper on a small cutting board or flat plate. Set aside. Remove centers of cupcakes using the cone method. Melt about 6 ounces of chocolate in a shallow bowl. Dip the tops of the cupcakes and set aside. Place remaining chocolate in a piping bag. Pipe cauldron handles onto wax paper and place in freezer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pipe or spoon mousse into cupcakes. Once the chocolate handles are cooled completely, remove from wax paper and place on top of each cupcake.
There’s something you might not know about me. I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter books and movies. I wasn’t always, but once I watched one movie, I was hooked. I was devastated when I found out Eric and I were moving away from Orlando before Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Luckily, we were able to fly back over the summer and use our season passes one last time. Even though it was incredibly hot and crowded, it was totally worth it to be able to experience a small part of the Harry Potter world. Walking through Hogsmeade was like being in another country, and I felt totally immersed in it. We loved everything about the park, but I think it’s safe to say our favorite thing there was the frozen butterbeer.
Butterbeer, for those who don’t know, is a favorite drink of young witches and wizards. While there’s enough alcohol in it to make a house elf drunk, there’s not enough to do the same to humans. The butterbeer at Wizarding World was not made with alcohol, for obvious reasons. Also, it was taste-tested by J.K. Rowling herself. Pretty cool, right? This butterbeer tastes very much like a cream soda, with notes of butterscotch in the background. Like the kind at Wizarding World, it has a slightly slushy texture. However, the really fun part about it is the foamy topping. The frozen butterbeer at Wizarding World comes from a tap, with a separate tap dispensing the foamy topping. Having a butterbeer mustache is something to be proud of, so skip the straws when drinking this drink. ;)
Looking for more Harry Potter recipes to celebrate the premiere of Deathly Hallows this week? Come back tomorrow for another magical treat!
For the butterbeer:
1 1/2 cups cream soda
6 tablespoons butterscotch schnapps
2 cups ice
For the foamy topping:
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butterscotch schnapps
Combine cream soda, schnapps and ice in a blender. Blend until slushy. Pour into a glass or mug. In a small bowl, combine heavy cream and schnapps. Using an electric mixer, whisk together until almost whipped. You want the cream mixture to be slightly loose, not as firm as whipped cream. Top the butterbeer with the foamy topping and serve immediately.
Cook Like a Champion original
It’s no secret that I love all things pumpkin, especially pumpkin spice lattes. I was so happy a couple months ago when I discovered that I could make my own at home. I’ve saved quite a bit of money (and I hope calories) by making them at home, and I’ve actually come to prefer my version to the coffee house one. So when I saw this recipe was based on the same recipe I used to make my beloved pumpkin spice lattes, I knew I had to try it immediately.
This ice cream, without a doubt, is one of the best ice creams I’ve ever made. It’s super creamy and full of all the flavors you’d expect to find in a pumpkin spice latte. I love how the espresso and pumpkin both stand out and how the fall spices add subtle background flavors to the ice cream. You might think that the ice cream would be slightly gritty because of the amount of espresso and spices, but I can assure you it’s not. I did modify the amounts of nutmeg and cinnamon just a bit because I adore nutmeg and wanted to add more than the original recipe called for. This ice cream was delicious straight from the freezer, but I’m already imagining how it would taste in milkshake form or affogato style with a shot of espresso poured over the top. If you like pumpkin spice lattes, you will love this ice cream.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups half and half or whole milk
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin purée
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the heavy cream, half and half, espresso powder and spices and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the egg yolks and granulated sugar together until the mixture becomes light in color and falls from the beaters in ribbons.
Remove one cup of liquid from the cream mixture and gradually pour into the egg yolk mixture, beating the entire time, to temper the eggs. Add tempered egg mixture back to the saucepan and whisk well. Add the pumpkin purée and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Transfer the custard to a large mixing bowl, preferably one with a pour spout, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap against the surface of the custard. Chill for at least two hours, or overnight. Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Once the ice cream has reached soft serve consistency, transfer to an airtight container and freeze for 3-4 hours, or until ice cream has hardened. To make the ice cream easily scoopable, allow it to sit at room temperature a few minutes before serving.
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction
This was one of the first recipes I ever posted on my blog. It’s been one of mine and Eric’s favorites for at least four years. My friend Toni gave me the recipe when we were in college, and I have many fond memories of enjoying this soup with friends. It’s easy and cheap, two things most college students love. It also makes quite a bit of food, so it’s great for sharing or having leftovers. There are some things that I absolutely will not eat as leftovers, but this soup is a big exception. I think it tastes even better the next day. This recipe has become a favorite in both mine and Eric’s families, and I’m happy to repost it with a few changes and a better photo.
This soup is incredibly hearty, making it perfect for a chilly night. The beans and corn give the soup some texture, and the spicy flavor soaks into everything. The added chipotle makes the soup pretty spicy, so leave it out if you don’t want the extra heat. I liked the smokiness it provided, and the heat mellows out some when you add cheese and sour cream. I remember thinking “What, a packet of ranch dressing?” when Toni gave me the recipe, but I can assure you the soup is not the same without it. I know this recipe goes against my mostly fresh food motto, but some things are just too good to give up. :)
*Note: All cans are standard size.
1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can light red kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can whole-kernel white corn
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1 packet of ranch dressing mix
2 packets of taco seasoning (or 3-4 tablespoons homemade)
shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions and tortilla chips, for serving
In a Dutch oven or large pot set over medium-high heat, brown meat until cooked through. Add one packet of taco seasoning (or 1-2 tablespoons of homemade seasoning) and stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients, leaving the canned ingredients undrained, and stir well. If desired, add a small amount of water to thin the soup. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for at least 20 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions and tortilla chips.
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