Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake - by Lisa

I honestly don't know where I found the energy and drive to complete this final recipe at 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant with 90+ degree temps in the land of no air conditioning, but I DID IT! :D Subconsciously, I worry that now I am caught up, I am going to go into labor any minute now. LOL!

Anywho, I am thankful that this was a pretty easy recipe to make - I was even motivated enough to make the raspberry sauce since Summer's entry made it sound especially yummy! I divided this one into two days - Monday night I made the cake, and then tonight I made the raspberry sauce. As usual, it took me longer than expected to chop the chocolate (Summer, I can't wait to see your technique!), but once that was done, everything else pretty much sailed right along. I might have over beaten the eggs as they ended up pretty fluffy and had lots of air bubbles, but that didn't seem to detract from the cake. As per usual, I omitted the espresso powder but didn't change anything else otherwise. I was also excited to finally use the spring-form pan that I bought a couple of months ago. I've been wanting to try out a cheesecake, but I've just been too busy to squeeze that in!

Making the raspberry sauce was real easy, and it added a very nice touch to the cake. I tried out my Cuisipro Decorating Pen with the sauce, and I am sad to report that it didn't do as well as I'd thought. Oh well, it might just take some practice! Hubby and I both dived into the cake tonight after dinner. We both thought it was pretty tasty - very moist and almost icing-like in its consistency. I think I was expecting a slightly firmer cake with a little more sweetness, but this could also be due to my cheaping out on the chocolate. Normally I would buy the Ghirardelli chocolate, but price persuaded me to go with Hershey's and Baker's chocolates. I am pretty sure it would have been a richer cake with the better chocolate. I definitely enjoyed the contrast of the tart raspberry sauce against sheer chocolate. It would be neat to see how it would taste with some whipped cream too. All in all, a yummy dessert and one that was pretty easy to make!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fudge Brownies - by Lisa

So what is crazier than getting ready to add a new baby to the family in a mere two weeks? Moving to a new house of course! So that's why I've been a bit behind in my contributions. I was scheduled to make the flourless chocolate cake last week, but we were in full on packing mode (moved this past Sunday), and there just wasn't time. Hopefully I'll be able to complete that one this week or next week - we'll see how things go. I do have the kitchen mostly set up, and most importantly I have my baking cabinets fully organized. :) But I do miss my stove/oven!!!!! At least the one here is gas too.

My sister and her kids are visiting (and helping us unpack!), so I thought making the brownies would be a nice treat, plus my sister absolutely loves brownies! Like Summer said, this really is a pretty easy recipe.

For the chocolate portion, I used two different brands - Ghirardelli (semi-sweet) and Bakers (unsweetened). I still really struggle with efficiently chopping it, but found the Ghirardelli is much easier to chop when it is slightly soft (we had a pretty warm day yesterday). The Baker's chocolate, however, was a beast to get chopped. I guess I just need more practice! For whisking the eggs and sugar together, I used my stand mixer and boy did it get fluffy! I forgot to take a picture of that step. I also omitted the espresso powder, because I knew I'd be able to taste it, and I wanted to be able to enjoy these brownies fully!

 Melting the chocolate and butter

I got them into the oven fairly quickly and based on Summer's experience, I set the timer for 25 min instead of 30 just in case mine cooked quicker as well. When I checked them at 25 min, they seemed set and the top was cracked around the outer edge, so I decided to pull them out. After letting them cool for a little bit, I started to cut them up, and that was when I got concerned that they might have been a little under done. BUT they still tasted delicious and were indeed nice and fudgy which is just how I love my brownies!!! Hubby, sister and niece all approved and seconds were had by all. :) I definitely see myself making these again.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fresh Berry Shortcakes - by Summer

I am a little sad that this is my last recipe until after our break.  It's been lots of fun baking all these tasty berry desserts lately.  The warm weather streak continues in Minnesota, but I was determined to make these today.  All week I have been wanting something sweet to eat at night and I was worried our berries would go bad or be eaten before having a chance to make this!  You will see my berry mixture is heavy on the blueberries because the strawberries and raspberries were nearly all eaten up already!!!

My favorite bowl
Pre-baked biscuits
The biscuits were super easy to make.  I actually went out and bought a biscuit cutter.  I have been wanting one for a while and it was a good excuse.  The dough came together really nice, but when it came to patting it out into a disk, I had a little trouble.  I think it was closer to 1/4 inch thick rather than 1/2 inch thick.  I ended up with 11 biscuits instead of 8.  As a result, they didn't quite rise as much while baking.  But don't you worry, they are still plenty tasty.

Because I had so many extras, I was trying to figure out what to do with everything.  While I was washing the dishes this evening, I glanced out my window and saw my neighbor across the street sitting on his front porch.  I immediately put a berry shortcake together and ran it over for him for dessert!  It's the perfect summer night to sit out on the front porch and enjoy some tasty berry shortcake!

This was a great dessert.   I really liked the flavor of the biscuits.  I will definitely make these again.  This would be great for when you have friends over because you can make everything ahead of time and then everyone can assemble their own to their liking - some people might want lots of whipping cream, while others might load up on berries.  Or if you are my husband, you'll load up on both!

I still plan on baking while on our break.  I like my desserts!  But I, of course, will refrain from You Made That for Dessert and instead pull out some of the other dessert cookbooks that have been collecting dust on my shelf this year.  I actually have quite a few, but I haven't even looked at them since we started this project.  But I feel like my confidence is building, so I hope to make a few new things during our time off.