Thursday, September 30, 2010

raspberries and pierogies

on wednesday i had a full day of food!  michael and i woke up early to go raspberry picking at rosby's, then we went to yoga and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening MAKING PIEROGIES!!  really, we spent hours making them.  well actually i made most of them because michael had taken over making the dough and rolling it out while i filled filled filled the pierogies.  it was a long day.  i plan on using these raspberries for my cupcakes this weekend... a vanilla cupcake filled with mint cream and topped with raspberry mousse.  i also froze my extra raspberries to make sure at least for the next couple months that i will have local raspberries for my cupcakes!  i froze the perfect ones special for garnish.  if you haven't made it to rosby's this season you should really try to make it out soon.  their website says that the season goes until the end of october.  it's just a good way to spend your morning!
so after all of the raspberry freezing and canning was done, we made the pierogies.  we made 3 kinds:  jalapeno cheddar potato, cheddar potato, and bacon and kraut.  we used two kinds of cheddar, an aged australian and a regular run of the mill orange cheddar.  the pierogies are for sunday, which is michael's oktoberfest birthday party.  we made pierogies last year for the same themed party and ended up making the same mistake this year except not as extreme.  for some reason we always end up with a ton of extra filling and have to make 3-5 extra batches of dough to deal with all of it.  while i can't complain about having extra pierogies to last through the winter, i was pretty tired around 10 p.m. and wanted to give up on the filling.  so my only advice if you try to make pierogies is that you really only need 3 lbs of potatoes and not the 5 lbs the recipe usually calls for.  

pierogi dough recipe

2 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs (mix before adding)
1 tsp salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup "potato" water  (add in little at time)

Let dough rest 1/2 hour or so before your roll it out

this recipe comes from my mom.  every christmas my aunt makes pierogies and i look forward to it every year.  the "potato" water is the water you boiled the potatoes in, but normal water will work too.  make sure the dough is a little sticky when you are done with it because you are going to be adding a lot of flour as you roll it out so you want it to be sticky.

as for the filling, just mash 3-5 lbs of potatoes.. we used russets... and add the normal butter and milk you would use to make your mashed potatoes.... then add about 3 cups of cheddar cheese or more or less to your liking.  we didn't measure this out.  we used a lot though as you can see from the above picture.  then once you are done incorporating the cheese, split the potato mash in half and mix about 2-3 tablespoons of chopped jalapeno to one half of the potato mixture.

for the kraut, michael just fried up 4 slices of bacon and then added a pound of kraut in the same pan and continued to cook it all together.

when making the pierogies, we used a round cookie cutter and kept a glass of water to seal the pierogies together once folded in half.  sorry these directions are so vague, we just really did it off the top of our heads.  it's not hard i promise.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

farmers market 9/25

celebrity guest at the market this past saturday!!  michael, voted cleveland's hottest bartender on, sat with me at my booth and drank a lot of coffee.  he also helped make the blackberry tartelettes which were a special addition to this week's offerings.  i had apple spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, mocha cupcakes with espresso buttercream, cashew carrot and cardamom cupcakes with cashew cream cheese frosting, the blackberry tartelettes, and peppermint sandwich cookies.  had michael not been there with me i probably wouldn't have been smiling as much because it was very very cold this morning.  i had a blanket and two coats and i was still really chilly.  the wind was not our friend.  perhaps it was the onset of the cold weather, but the market was pretty dead.  i don't blame anyone who decided to stay in bed instead saturday morning instead of coming out to the market.  it was rough going from 92 degrees on friday to the low 50s saturday.  i took a nice long nap after the market wearing lots of comfortable layers.  regardless of the weather, i managed to sell out of almost everything and brought the leftovers to michael's stepdad's 60th bowling birthday.  woooooo bowling.  next week is the last market week and i am quite sad it is coming to an end, but also excited to sleep in a little on saturday mornings.

Monday, September 20, 2010

make your own vanilla extract

do you know how easy it is to make your own vanilla extract?!  i didn't.  michael had mentioned how awesome it would be if i made my own vanilla extract a month or so ago and i shrugged it off, assuming it would be a daunting task but after having too much time to spend on baking blogs this weekend i found out from joy the baker that making vanilla extract would be immediately added to my monday to do list.  really, it is SO EASY.  you really have to try it.

what you will need:  1 cup of bourbon, 3 vanilla beans, and a pint jar.  that's it!

use a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down the center of the vanilla beans, leaving about an inch at the top and bottom of the vanilla bean uncut.  next cut the vanilla beans in half so that they can fully be emerged in bourbon.  put the vanilla beans in a pint sized mason jar.  next dump the cup of bourbon into the jar and shake shake shake!  now store it in a dark place for 2 months, visiting the jar every week or so to shake it up again.
  some people opt to scrape the vanilla beans into the jar to add a little more vanilla flavor i guess.  i didn't see this as a necessary step, but feel free to do it if you want.

as far as vanilla beans go, i used the madagascar variety because it was readily available but feel free to use tahitian or mexican if you want!  joy says this about vanilla beans "Madagascar beans are powerful, dark, full vanilla flavor beans.    Tahitian beans remind me of vanilla figs- fruity and floral.  The Mexican variety has just a hint of sweet creaminess," and i think that's a great way to explain them.  also, some people prefer to use vodka or rum when making their vanilla extract but i am a real nielson massey madagascar bourbon vanilla extract snob, so for my first time around i just had to use bourbon.  i would like to try the vodka-mexican vanilla bean combo in the future though.

so look forward to rosy girl baked goods using her own exclusive vanilla extract in 2 months!  also if you are lucky enough to be my close friend, you might be getting some vanilla this christmas ;)

farmers market 9/18

this week at market i couldn't have asked for nicer weather.  the sun was out and after a rough friday i was really hoping for a successful day.  i had a batch of cupcakes fail on me for some reason, although i suspect the butter wasn't quite room temperature and my raspberries were just not what i needed them to be.  baking just took a lot longer than it normally does.  lucky for me i have a great mom and boyfriend who were ready to help :)  i made pumpkin cupcakes with maple syrup cream cheese frosting, chocolate raspberry balsamic cupcakes, black pearl cupcakes, which are chocolate ginger and wasabi infused cupcakes, and chocolate espresso shortbread cookies.  it was my first time making the black pearl and i was nervous about how much wasabi to put in... i think i would add a tad more next time.  i ended up selling out of everything, which is always great.  i have to admit i did save one chocolate raspberry balsamic cupcake to bring to michael at melt after the market was over.  i thought it would be a nice treat for him on a busy melt saturday.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

cupcake hero: caffeine!

my favorite part of fall is the return of the pumpkin spice latte.  i don't usually drink coffee or even caffeine for that matter, but i'll always make an exception for the pumpkin spice latte.  after realizing that this month's cupcake hero secret ingredient was caffeine, i decided i had to make the pumpkin spice latte into a cupcake.  so here's what i came up with :)

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes With Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
makes 12 cupcakes :)
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 and line your standard muffin pan with (brown) liners.
2.  Heat milk in small saucepan until warm and then stir in espresso powder until it is dissolve.  Set aside to cool.
3.  In a medium to large bowl, whisk(by hand) together the oil, vanilla, pumpkin and espresso milk.
4.  In a smaller bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.  Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk(by hand) together.  Be careful not to overmix.
5.  Fill liners about 2/3 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack completely before frosting.

Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
from love and olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1.  Put the sugar and eggwhites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream.
2.  Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick and shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until is is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and whip for another 30 seconds until incorporated. Spread or pipe on cooled cupcakes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

my pumpkin carriage

for this past week's market i made some peach blueberry and thyme cupcakes, spiced chai latte cupcakes, mexican hot chocolate cupcakes and salted chocolate and vanilla bean cookies.  besides being busy friday baking, michael had won a happy hour party at reddstone so i had to get everything done by 5 in order to be able to go.  that being said, i forgot to take pictures of the spiced chai latte cupcake.  i was hoping to take pictures of them at the market on saturday but with the strong winds blowing ragweed all around and my lack of allergy medicine, i was pretty out of it and forgot again.  luckily after a nap i realized that my best friends ned and ali had bought a dozen cupcakes so they were able to take the pictures for me.  so now you know why the last batch of photos looks a bit different than the rest ;)  oops!  promise to be more on top of things next week.

speaking of next week, i am planning to make some delicious pumpkin cupcakes, chocolate balsamic raspberry cupcakes and black pearl cupcakes.  the cookie is yet to be determined.  did you know there is a pumpkin shortage this year?  it was an extremely frustrating day driving all over the west side of cleveland looking for some canned pumpkin.  i finally gave up on the search and was ready to change the menu for this weekend and forget the cupcake hero contest when my mom called and told me whole foods had some!!!!!!  woooooooo.  while driving to the east side is not favorable, i was just so happy to have found some canned pumpkin.  so come this saturday and enjoy the great pumpkin cupcake that almost didn't happen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

a rainy day at the market

last week at the market, mother nature decided to keep us honest here in northeast ohio with some serious rain.  it was a cold morning and i was not dressed for the weather.  luckily my mom was nice enough to bring me some blankets, so with my hood up and two blankets wrapped around me, i manned my tent at the market.  there were a couple points where the sun peaked out, only to retreat minutes later and downpour again.  i decided to pack up around 12 because i was just too cold and the wind was threatening to blow away my baked goodies.  i had made the blackberry cupcakes along with the earl grey cupcakes, and then tried out some chocolate tarragon cupcakes.  i also made some DELICIOUS, but rich, apricot, almond and chocolate chip cookies.  those definitely didn't disappoint.  overall, i managed to sell a good amount of cupcakes and then ventured over to The Eclectic Mixx, where my wonderful boss helped me sell the remaining lot of cupcakes.  there was only a couple left after that and i brought them to michael's bike polo tournament sunday, but it just wasn't meant to be because they were knocked over and ruined almost immediately after they got there.  i guess the cupcakes decided they had been through enough already.  so thank you to everyone who did come out saturday, i hope to see you next week with some chai latte cupcakes, peach blueberry and thyme cupcakes, mexican hot chocolate cupcakes and some salted chocolate vanilla bean cookies :)