Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dobos Torte


The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonfulof Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular DobosTorte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: ExquisiteDesserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

This torte was SO yummy! And, I had the perfect occasion for it. We ate it for dessert at a picnic for my 30th birthday. We sat around all day, grilled bratwurst and burgers, played frisbee and euchre and ate cake! The only problem I had making this cake was that the buttercream was absurdly soft. But after chilling it for a while, it held up alright.

All the Daring Bakers are posting their tortes today. You should check out the
rest of them.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I know it's not New Year's for most people, but for teachers, there's a similar vibe at the beginning of September. So, this time of year, I tend to make resolutions. I started the first one today because I've got exactly two weeks before I have to be back at work. I thought maybe implementing my resolutions one at a time would be easier than trying to do everything on the same day. So, today, I started running. I'm trying to start going to the gym 5 days a week. It's ambitious, I know, but I've got this gym membership and, darn it, I'm going to use it. So, today I ran 2.18 miles in 30 minutes.

And now, for part II. I'm going to get my apartment clean if it kills me. And, with the amount of dust I'm kicking up, it might. So... here goes nothing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Germs!

As the youngest of a big family, I'm familiar with watching germs spread from one kid to another. And as a teacher, I know that I'm going to get a bad cold once or twice a year. And I know lots of people who stock up on hand sanitizer and Airborn as if they were magical talismans against illness. I don't put much faith in all that. Generally, during cold and flu season, I drink lots of water, get some extra sleep and eat lots of fruits and veggies. I trust my immune system, and it does ok.

But this is the off season! I don't come into contact with sneezing, coughing, drippy children in the summertime. I hang out with the Tummy and the Medium Dude. So, I let down my guard. Which explains why, when the Tummy came down with a head cold, I immediately caught it. Grumble, grumble, grumble...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thirty!

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 30. And the best part of having a birthday, in my opinion, is the excuse to eat birthday cake! This year, I had a little barbecue in the park with some of my friends on Saturday. I wanted to make sure I had enough of everything to go around, so in addition to cake, I made birthday cupcakes.

Now, because the Tummy flies so frequently, he has a lot of miles to use up. One thing he uses them for is subscribing to magazines. So I have this subscription to Bon Appetit magazine that I almost never use. (I generally look through it and drool, but that's about it.) And that's where I found this AMAZING recipe. I could not believe they were so easy and so good. And, although the original recipe called for vanilla bean, I used vanilla extract, because it's cheaper. They were still wonderful. I'll definitely be making them again.

Vanilla Bean - Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting
Bon Appetit, April 2009

REDUCED COCONUT MILK
2 (13-14 oz) cans unsweetened coconut milk

CUPCAKES
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds from a split vanilla bean)
1 cup reduced coconut milk ( see above) room temperature

FROSTING
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup reduced coconut milk (see above) room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds from a split vanilla bean)
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (for garnish)

DIRECTIONS:
REDUCED COCONUT MILK - In large, deep saucepan, boil coconut milk over medium-high heat for 25-30 minutes or until reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Remove from heat. Cool completely. Chill in small, covered container. This can be made up to 2 days ahead.

CUPCAKES - Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk together dry ingredients. In separate bowl, beat butter until smooth. Then, add sugar and blend (about 2 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating and scraping sides after each addition. Add vanilla. Add half the dry ingredients. Add coconut milk and beat just until blended. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix just until blended. Divide batter among muffin cups and bake about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then, remove from pans and cool completely.

FROSTING - Beat butter until smooth. Add everything else except the flaked coconut. beat until light and fluffy. Frost cupcakes and then sprinkle with toasted coconut.