I Heart Dessert http://iheartdessert.com The Sweet Life: A blog about baking and cooking with an emphasis on sweets Tue, 22 Feb 2011 07:57:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.19 Game Day Fixin’s http://iheartdessert.com/game-day-fixins/565 http://iheartdessert.com/game-day-fixins/565#comments Tue, 22 Feb 2011 07:57:54 +0000 http://iheartdessert.com/?p=565 For the Superbowl a few weeks ago, I decided to try an oven-fried buffalo wings recipe that I’ve been wanting to try since last year! I found this recipe after the 2010 Superbowl was already over, but I made sure that I wasn’t going to miss out on making it for this year’s Superbowl. This recipe does take a bit more prep time, but the results are well worth it. I was amazed at how crispy the wings came out and you don’t even need a deep fryer! Make this for your next big game get together and I promise you there won’t be a wing left.

Oven-Fried Buffalo Wings
(adapted from seriouseats.com)

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Frank’s RedHot Sauce
  • Blue cheese or Ranch dressing
  • Celery sticks

Directions

  1. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and set a baking rack inside. Dry chicken wings with paper towels. Place wings in large bowl, sprinkle with baking powder and salt, and toss until thoroughly and evenly coated. Place wings on rack, leaving slight space between each wing.
  2. Place baking sheet with wings in refrigerator and allow to rest, uncovered, at least 8 hours, and up to 18 hours.
  3. Place oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Bake chicken wings for 20 minutes. Flip wings and continue to cook until crisp and golden brown, about 15 to 25 minutes longer.
  4. Meanwhile, combine butter and hot sauce in small saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking until combined. Transfer wings to large bowl, add sauce, toss to thoroughly coat, and serve immediately with blue cheese/ranch dressing and celery sticks.

Wings ready to be placed in the fridge over night

Fresh from the oven...crispy goodness...

Frank's Red Hot Sauce - You can find this at your local grocery store

Wings tossed with the buffalo sauce

Oven Fried Buffalo Wings paired with Celery and Ranch - Crispy, juicy, and tender!

Can't watch a game without some guacamole!

Game day guacamole

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Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding http://iheartdessert.com/chocolate-croissant-bread-pudding/526 http://iheartdessert.com/chocolate-croissant-bread-pudding/526#comments Thu, 25 Nov 2010 08:31:55 +0000 http://iheartdessert.com/?p=526 Warning: This dessert is not for people who are counting calories. If you even attempt to make or eat this dessert you might as well just throw your diet out the window, but it will be worth it, I assure you.

Where do I begin describing this dessert? I really should have video taped the expressions of the lucky few who were able to try this dessert at a recent potluck. Those faces were priceless. After one bite you could see a total change in their face from normal to absolute bliss to bewilderment at how a dessert could be so so good. It really made me laugh that everyone had the same reaction. However, its not just the chocolate croissant bread pudding alone that makes it amazing, it requires a few simple steps in order to achieve that “OMG” moment.  First, make sure your bread pudding is fresh from the oven and still warm or just microwave it for a few seconds to get it nice and warm again. Second, place a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Lastly, make sure to get a nice spoonful of the bread pudding and ice cream in one bite.

This dessert is definitely a crowd pleaser and perfect for the holidays. On that note, Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you’ll be enjoying this bread pudding at one of your holiday parties!

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding
(adapted from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 12 croissants
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Break up the 12 croissants into 1 inch pieces.
  3. Lightly butter a 9×13 in. baking dish. Layer croissant pieces and chocolate chips into the baking dish. Making sure to evenly distribute the croissant pieces and chocolate chips.
  4. Combine butter and sugar in a separate bowl until well blended. Add cinnamon and vanilla and mix well. Add the 5 lightly beaten eggs. Add the heavy cream. Make sure everything is well blended.
  5. Pour the egg mixture onto the croissants. Soak for 8 to 10 minutes. You can push the croissants down to ensure coverage by the egg mixture.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes to brown the top. The bread pudding is done when the custard is set, but still soft. Allow to cool.
  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream on top. Enjoy!

Buttery flaky croissants. I bought a 12-pack of croissants from Costco. Great deal for $5.79!

Croissants broken up into 1 inch pieces

Chocolate chips interspersed with the croissant pieces

Letting the egg mixture soak through

Finished product out of the oven

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream - Unfortunately, this picture does not do it justice and cannot show you how truly amazing it is, but it is believe me.

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I’m Back http://iheartdessert.com/im-back/507 http://iheartdessert.com/im-back/507#comments Mon, 08 Nov 2010 05:04:19 +0000 http://iheartdessert.com/?p=507 Took a bit of break from my blog, not because I wanted to, but because I’ve just been so completely busy lately. This is the first week that I’ve gotten a chance to catch up on things. Everything has been so hectic that I haven’t even had time to bake (except for quick box mixes which I will post later). I completely missed out on Halloween baking this year, which makes me so sad, but oh well what can you do. I’ll try to make up for it during the upcoming holidays. Even though I haven’t had time to bake, I still find time to eat of course, so let me update you on my recent food/dessert adventures.

I took a trip to San Diego and visited a popular desert shop called Chocolat Cremerie that specializes in gelato and of course I had to make a stop at my favorite dessert place, Extraordinary desserts. I also finally got a chance to visit Mozza, which is co-owned by Mario Batali. I’ve been hearing about their pizzas for a long time and I thought they were good, but not as good as NY pizza. Sorry, Mario. Next place I went to was MILK, which is a cafe, bakeshop, and ice cream parlor. I love their homemade ice cream bars and sandwiches, pretty unique and delicious as well. Last adventure took me to Doughboys which is a small cute cafe and bakery that is famous for their red velvet cake. Food was good, but the dessert was better and I could literally just eat the cream cheese frosting by itself. And now I will leave you with the most important part, pictures!

Raspberry & Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato from Chocolat

Extraordinary Desserts Viking Cake - Chocolate creme brulee and milk chocolate cremeuse between chocolate cake layers with crushed chocolate almond pralines.

Mozza- Envelope filled with utensils.

Bone marrow al forno - Spread it on bread, delish!

Squash blossoms, tomato & burrata pizza - tasty, but not really worth the $23

Butterscotch budino, Maldon sea salt & rosemary pine nut cookies - So creamy, so good!

MILK storefront

MILK's infamous blue velvet cake

French macaron ice cream sandwich and red velvet poppers

Brownie ice cream sundae

MILK homemade strawberry shortcake ice cream bar

Best strawberry shortcake bar! SO GOOD!

Doughboys afternoon special - Big bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Hits the spot on a cold day!

Doughboys famous red velvet cake - Really good frosting!

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Adventures in Foodieland http://iheartdessert.com/adventures-in-foodieland/482 http://iheartdessert.com/adventures-in-foodieland/482#comments Mon, 30 Aug 2010 05:52:31 +0000 http://iheartdessert.com/?p=482 What a weekend! Started off yesterday with the first annual OC Foodie Fest, which was essentially a food truck festival. There were 50 different food trucks that participated and the turnout was madness! Around 8,000 people attended the all day event which resulted in long lines, trucks running out of food early, and sunburns. For these events you have to come with a strategy: 1) Come early 2) Bring a group of friends and 3) Split up, go to different trucks, order an array of food and 4) meet back with your group and EAT! Unfortunately, I didn’t follow this strategy completely (we came late) and so the lines were ridiculously long and the worst part was that some trucks had started running out of food! All in all it was a still a good first experience. I was still able to try a variety of trucks and we were lucky enough to run into friends who offered to order food for us since they were close to the front of the line.  Some of my favorites were Cool Haus, a gourmet ice cream sandwich truck and Dogzilla, a Japanese style hot dog truck.

Today, I continued my foodie adventures and went to LA to try the infamous Umami burger. I tried both the Umami burger and Truffle burger and they were both delicious. But, the Truffle burger wins my top pick. It was AMAZING. It was pretty much just meat and cheesy goodness, but not just any cheese…Italian Truffle Cheese! The burger was bursting with truffle flavor from the cheese and truffle glaze. Afterward, we made a stop at Blanc Haute yogurt, a gourmet frozen yogurt place in Beverly Hills…of course. I wasn’t too impressed by this place. Definitely overpriced and the gourmet toppings didn’t really wow me, but its fun to try something new every once in awhile.

I’m gonna need a break from eating after this weekend. So stuffed. I don’t know how Man v. Food does it.

Great Balls on Tires Truck - Meatball sandwiches

Ciao Balla - Italian Meatball Sandwich

Ball Gogi - Korean style meatball with rice noodles

White Rabbit Truck - Filipino Fusion Tacos

Ludo Truck - Really wanted to try this truck, but they ran out of food!

Dogzilla Truck - Dozilla Hot Dog with avocado, bacon, onions, the works!

Yakisoba Dog!

Cool Haus Truck - Ice cream sandwich truck

Guy making my order

They ran out of cookies, so we had to settle for cookie ice cream sundaes with the broken cookies they had left lol. Top left: Balsamic Fig & Marscapone (my favorite!) Bottom: Dirty Mint (tasted like a Mojito) Top Right: Brown Butter w/ Candied Bacon

Umami Burger

Umami Burger - with cheese crisp, shitake mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, and sauteed onion. In my haste since I was busy devouring my Truffle burger, I didn't take a picture of it.

Blanc Haute Yogurt

Gourmet toppings

More toppings - they even had champange grapes!

I love how they have to mention the chocolate is from France.

My Blueberry Pomegranate yogurt with chocolate covered truffle figs, chocolate pear pieces, and nut toffee nuggets.

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Sugar High Summer http://iheartdessert.com/sugar-high-summer/471 http://iheartdessert.com/sugar-high-summer/471#comments Fri, 06 Aug 2010 06:20:00 +0000 http://iheartdessert.com/?p=471 Although, I haven’t been doing much baking lately I’ve still managed to keep busy in the eating sweets department. So far this summer has been full of indulgence. I’ve been a regular at Pinkberry since they started their half priced happy hour and I’ve almost filled up my stamp card (yea, that’s how often I’ve gone in only a few weeks). On top of that the other week I went to the Essential Chocolate Desserts store, where I had a coupon for $35 worth of dessert for $15. I came home with a huge box of goodies: gourmet ding dongs, cake truffles, cupcake, cake, and the list goes on. I haven’t managed to eat through all the goodies just yet since I seem to be collecting dessert in my fridge (cheesecake, cupcakes, etc.) .

As for non-dessert news, I got to check out the Top Chef tour while it was in town.  Richard Blais from Season 5 and CJ Jacobsen from Season 3 were there doing cooking demos and question and answer sessions. It was a lot of fun and the best part was we got to try the dishes they made. So far, I’m having a good summer and the best part is it’s not over yet! Looking forward to more food and fun!

My box of goodies (from left to right) : Gourmet ding dongs, cake truffles, chocolate cupcake, moonpie, lemon bar, and a slice of lemon-coconut cake

Red Velvet Ding Dong - So so good!

A look inside

Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory - Decadent all the way

Top Chef Tour

Richard and CJ doing their cooking demo

Brussels Bistro - Pot of mussels and Belgian pommes frites. I have a weakness for mussels and fries. Delicious!

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Lemon Cupcakes http://iheartdessert.com/lemon-cupcakes/467 http://iheartdessert.com/lemon-cupcakes/467#comments Mon, 28 Jun 2010 05:48:14 +0000 http://iheartdessert.com/?p=467 These lemon cupcakes were a nice refreshing change to the usual cupcake flavors I bake. The cake was soft and moist and the sweet tangy frosting was so addicting. I must admit I was a little sad when the last cupcake was gone. I could not get enough of these cupcakes! Next time, I’m definitely making the whole recipe instead of halving it.

Lemon Cupcake

Lemon Cupcakes
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
makes about 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • zest of 2 medium lemons
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sour cream

Frosting:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Directions:
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add lemon zest and vanilla; mix well.
  2. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick).
  3. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. For frosting, cream butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, vanilla, lemon zest and milk; beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes.
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Hello Again http://iheartdessert.com/hello-again/458 http://iheartdessert.com/hello-again/458#comments Fri, 04 Jun 2010 05:55:21 +0000 http://iheartdessert.com/?p=458 Wow…1.5 months no blog! I must apologize for the lack of activity on my blog, unfortunately life gets in the way sometimes (the good and the bad). Anyway, the good news is I am back and do not expect anymore interruptions in the near future.

In the last month, I discovered (actually a friend told me) about a hole in the wall baking supply store that has become my new favorite store. I love how the store front can look so deceivingly small, but once you enter its like a whole other world. They have pretty much everything imaginable there, a baker’s dream. Quite the selection of cupcake liners, all kinds colors and patterns and an impressive array of bakery boxes to hold cakes and cupcakes. I could spend hours in there. My friend’s birthday gave me the chance to bust out my window cupcake box that I just bought from there and I absolutely love it! It’s got the Sprinkles vibe with the brown cardboard box look, but the best part is the window and the holders inside.I made dark chocolate cupcakes with pink vanilla bean frosting and H-A-P-P-Y B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y candles on top. I guess the box made it look so legit that my friends thought I bought cupcakes from a real bakery haha. So, thank you to my new baking supply store for helping my cupcakes step it up a notch in the presentation department!

Dark chocolate cupcakes with brown liners like Sprinkles!

Pink vanilla bean frosting

Cupcakes placed in their holders

Cupcakes placed in the holders

Check out the window!

Love these candles!

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The Baked Brownie http://iheartdessert.com/the-baked-brownie/434 http://iheartdessert.com/the-baked-brownie/434#comments Thu, 15 Apr 2010 07:22:55 +0000 http://iheartdessert.com/?p=434 Dark. Rich. Decadent. This brownie is over the top from its high quality ingredients to all its acclaim as the “Best Brownie”. Oprah even named it one of her favorite things and for some reason when Oprah says its her favorite somehow its gotta be a favorite of ours too. From the moment I saw this recipe in my newly purchased Baked:New Frontiers in Baking cookbook I knew I had to find out what all the fuss was about.

Let’s start with the ingredients. This recipe required quite a few specialty ingredients: quality dark baking chocolate, Valrhona cocoa powder, and instant espresso powder. Took a few phone calls to find the elusive Valrhona cocoa powder, but I finally tracked it down at my local Sur la table. Next was the dark baking chocolate which I also found at Sur la Table. I decided to go with Scharffen Berger Dark Baking Chocolate (62% cacao) which was one of the suggested brands. Buying the best ingredients comes at a hefty price. One 6 oz. Scharffen Berger bar was $8.50 and a box of Valrhona cocoa powder was $10.50. Taking another look at my shopping list I realized I needed 11 oz. of chocolate, so I had to grab one more bar and that brought my total to $27.50 for just those two ingredients. Ouch. This is when the fear started to set in. What if it doesn’t turn out? What if I completely hate it? I’d hate to waste the most expensive brownie I’ve ever made. Not gonna lie here, I’m a brownie mix type of girl. Betty Crocker $2.99 box mix to be exact and I think it tastes better than some of the from scratch recipes I’ve tried in the past.

High end ingredients in hand, the moment of truth was just a recipe away. The process was relatively simple: combine dry ingredients, melt chocolate, mix, and bake. I made sure to be extra careful, following the directions closely and rechecked that I didn’t leave out any steps or ingredients. About 27 minutes later my brownies where baked and ready to be cooled. The aroma of deep rich chocolate filled my kitchen and it smelled so delicious. It was hard to be patient and wait until the brownies cooled before I could cut myself a piece, but when I did let me tell you it was unlike any other brownie I’ve tasted. So chocolately, so fudgy, so moist, and oh so yummy! I could really taste what a difference quality chocolate and cocoa powder could make. The chocolate taste was much more richer and deeper. I absolutely love dark chocolate and this brownie exudes dark chocolate to the point that I can’t help but love it. So, know I now exactly why this Baked Brownie was dubbed the “Best Brownie” and why it’s Oprah’s favorite and now it’s mine too. Don’t get me wrong, I still have love for my Betty Crocker brownie mix which is much more wallet friendly, but now I’ll have a favorite brownie recipe for those special occasions that will help it make it even more special and decadent.

Love my new cookboook

The Baked Brownie

The Baked Brownie
from Baked:New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Yield: 24 brownies

Baked Note: A great brownie is easy to make, but here are a few pointers: 1) Use a dark cocoa powder, like Valrhona. A pale, light-colored cocoa does not have enough depth. 2) Make sure your eggs are room temperature and do not overbeat them into the batter. 3) Make sure you check your brownies as they bake. An even slightly overbaked brownie is not a Baked Brownie.

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp Valrhona dark cocoa powder
  • 11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped coarsely (I used Scharffen Berger Dark Baking Chocolate (62% cacao))
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9 by 13 inch pan. (Quick tip: I used the wrappers of the butter to grease my pan. Fast and simple.)

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder together.

Place the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water (creating a double boiler), stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. Mixture should be room temperature.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk) fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until there is just a bit flour visible.

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake the brownies in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes (rotate the pan half-way through baking) and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the brownies. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.

Tightly covered with plastic wrap or in an air tight container, the brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Scharffen Berger Dark Baking Chocolate (62% cacao) Bars and Valrhona Cocoa Powder

The cocoa powder has a deep dark color.

Melting my chocolate and butter together.

Fudgey goodness.

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A Dozen Easter Cupcakes http://iheartdessert.com/a-dozen-easter-cupcakes/418 http://iheartdessert.com/a-dozen-easter-cupcakes/418#comments Mon, 05 Apr 2010 01:55:16 +0000 http://iheartdessert.com/?p=418 Happy Easter! It’s been a long 40+ days and I’m excited to finally eat chocolate today! Giving up chocolate for lent was no easy task, but I made it and I’m definitely going to go on a chocolate binge for the next few days. It was interesting to not be able to have anything with chocolate. Whenever I crave something sweet I usually reach for a piece of chocolate, but I found myself replacing it with more healthy treats like fruit and yogurt or maybe some peanut butter on a banana. I guess I could have eaten candy instead, but I’m not much of a candy person anymore (can’t eat sour patch kids like I used to when I was little, and warheads, remember those?).

Although, my first instinct is to pick something with chocolate, giving up chocolate helped widen my view about desserts I would’ve never chosen otherwise. I was able to try all sorts of yummy non-chocolate desserts (strawberry tiramisu, salted caramel macarons, maple bacon donuts) on various outings and it didn’t make me miss chocolate at all. Maybe I’ve changed? But, then again I think I would still have to fight the urge to pick something chocolate over a non-chocolate dessert. At least I feel like I’ve tried a lot of new things and I know that I can live without chocolate, but in all honesty I wouldn’t really want to haha.

For Easter, I decided to make mini cupcakes (vanilla with vanilla frosting, it wasn’t Easter yet when I made this hence no chocolate). To make them egg-stra special, I decided to color the frosting with some nice pastel colors and arrange them in an egg carton. This makes for a great gift idea; easy to whip up and cute packaging!

On a side note, if you’re wondering what my first chocolate dessert will be, its a Sprinkles’ Red Velvet cupcake. I also picked up one of their flavors for the season, Brown Sugar Praline, which is really good. Love that praline topping! Too bad its seasonal, I think they should make it one of their regular flavors.

Looks like a regular egg carton from the outside...

Surprise!

A Dozen Mini Cupcakes - Ready for Easter

Sprinkles Cupcakes - Top Row: Brown Sugar Praline and Vanilla Cupcakes, Bottom Row: Red Velvet with a cute bunny

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Bananas Fosters Ice Cream http://iheartdessert.com/bananas-fosters-ice-cream/410 http://iheartdessert.com/bananas-fosters-ice-cream/410#comments Mon, 22 Mar 2010 04:36:59 +0000 http://iheartdessert.com/?p=410 Haagen-Daz has new limited edition flavors and one of them happens to be bananas fosters flavor. I was excited to see this at the store and couldn’t wait to try it. I was a little hesitant at first because sometimes banana ice cream can taste so artificial, but to my surprise it was so tasty. Love love love! Totally tasted like bananas fosters, but in ice cream form. Now. if they would only bring back their sticky toffee pudding ice cream. These two flavors would definitely be stocked in my freezer all the time.

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