Though Cinco de Mayo isn’t something I get very excited about, and I really don’t like tequila at all, I do appreciate any excuse to run with a theme, especially when it involves baking. So I’m adding my two bits dos pesos to the festivities with these Tres Leches Cake Shooters.
No, you can’t actually tip up the little paper holder and dump the cake in your mouth, but each one packs a small hit of tequila. I don’t recommend going with the expensive stuff, either; even though it’s smooth and less painful to barf back up the next morning, it doesn’t have that knock-you-upside-the-head cheap tequila flavor needed to make these babies scream “Cinco de Mayo!”
I used 1.25 ounce paper Jello shooter cups. These are great to have around for so many things: spice portion cups, condiments, dips, nut or mint cups, medicine cups, and for craft items like beads. They’re also known as souffle cups, but as small as these are, that would be a very small portion…especially since souffles are mostly air.
Two little shooters, in their cups.
I think the little shooters are easiest eaten with a spoon, but they willingly come out of the cups and can be eaten like a normal mini-cupcake if you can tear the cup off. The cups I bought are surprisingly strong, with a hard to tear rim, so you might want to use a small pair of scissors and just give each cup a tiny snip on both sides before you add the topping. Or you can watch people struggle with it…which could actually be pretty entertaining.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue beating, and add sugar a tablespoon at a time. When all the sugar has been added, beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In a large bowl beat the egg yolks until thick, about 4-5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla and stir to combine.
Add the egg whites to the yolk mixture and fold in carefully.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over the egg mixture and fold in gently.
Set 1½ ounce paper souffle cups on baking sheets, leaving an inch between each cup to allow heat to circulate. For best results, spray with a flour/oil spray like Baker's Choice.
Fill each cup no more than ½ full and bake for 12 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Combine the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream, tequila, and vanilla in a small bowl.
Poke holes in cooled cupcakes with a fork, just to break the surface and allow the milk mixture to be absorbed, and pour a scant tablespoon of the milk mixture slowly over each cake.
When all of the cakes are done, cover them loosely with plastic wrap and let them chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
To make the topping, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Add the tequila slowly, whipping continuously. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe topping onto each cake. Garnish with thin slices of lime peel if desired.
If you are careful and tidy, you can soak them like this.
If you are impatient like I am, you’d better soak them over a bowl!
Honestly? I didn’t think I’d like these very much. My enthusiasm usually grows proportionally with the amount of chocolate in a dessert, and these had none. But I was very pleasantly surprised, and “tested” them more than I should have. The Man seems to be appreciative too, so I don’t think the chickens are going to get any of this experiment!
Speaking of experiments, Mother’s Day is coming soon and I believe that for the sake of nostalgia I will make something I’ve never ever EVER made before. My mom’s green jello salad with pears and walnuts and cheddar cheese. Sure hope the chickens like pears…
I’ve never tried topping a cookie before baking, but after sampling these Chocolate Orange Pecan Cookies last night, I have a feeling you may be seeing a lot of “cookie crust” variations in the months to come! Brainstorming has consumed my thoughts and I have some great ideas, though I’ll try to intersperse the cookie recipes with other genres of baking so I don’t make you crazy, too. They won’t win any awards for beauty, and I’m doubtful they will go viral on Pinterest, but hey…looks aren’t everything, right? So here’s what we have: A deep chocolate cookie covered with a pecan, sugar, orange zest and egg mixture – basically a chewy meringue. The topping bakes along with the cookie, and turns into a dense, flavorful crust that hardens just enough to make them easy to store without fear of mushing the cookie tops.
The story here isn’t about the cookie; I used my cookie dough recipe for Nonpareil Cookies, which worked nicely. The story is about the topping, and how it complements the cookie’s flavor and texture. Here’s the recipe for the topping:
Instead of rolling out the cookie dough, I rolled the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and went the lazy efficient route and used a cookie stamp (or you can crisscross it with a fork, like a peanut butter cookie) to flatten it to about 1/4-inch thick.
Flatten with a cookie stamp or fork.
I baked them at 350F for about 12 minutes. If you want a crispier cookie, try stamping (or rolling) the dough thinner or cooking them for another minute or two.
After being sealed in a plastic bag overnight they actually had a fairly soft texture, more like a brownie. Yum. Perfect with a hot cup of coffee.
For the record, I’m really not fond of coconut, but tried a few cookies rolled in coconut and a few with chopped coconut added to the topping. Both were excellent – if you like coconut!
I’ll be back with more. Chocolate topping, streusel topping, berry topping…you can’t stem the flow of this tide! If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the kitchen.
Welcome to our Fly on the Wall group post. Today 12 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house,and then check out the other houses too! Links to all of the crazy bloggers are at the bottom of this post.
April finds me whirling around like a Dervish. I usually thrive on multi-tasking, but you may have noticed that my personality has suffered a bit. In other words, do NOT come in my kitchen! Or talk to me. Or expect me to feed you. Several deadlines are all looming, and I’ve actually had to resort to putting a priority list down on paper instead of juggling things around in my head. You’ve been pretty good about staying on the ceiling, out of my way, but the other occupants of this house haven’t been as helpful.
And how those occupants have multiplied!
We had decided NO MORE DOGS after we lost our German Shorthair last fall. We had Otis, our yellow lab, and that was enough; he seemed happy to be an “only child.” Oh, occasionally a box of puppies at the feed store would tempt me, and The Man and Lord Voldemort were lobbying for a dog that was trained to hunt for antlers that the deer, elk, and moose shed every year. I made myself walk away from the box-o’-pups, and a shed-hunting dog was out of our budget completely, so we had no plans for another dog.
You hear it coming, don’t you?
My husband booted up a hunting site he chats in, and there was a 2 year old black lab, a trained shed dog, free to a good home. Her owners had to move to an apartment, and she was miserable there. I can’t say I was consulted; by the time I realized what was going on, The Man was already on the phone, saying “We’ll take her”, but I was wholeheartedly in favor. So Daisy joined the family, and she has stolen all of our hearts. Otis loves having her to play with, and even the cats like her. Of course, she went into heat right after we got her, so there has been a lot of yelling, screaming, and shooting of BB guns going on to ward off the neighbor dogs. And Miss Daisy went right to the vet to avoid eight or ten more little family members!
Silver Laced Wyandotte chicks
I also brought home some chicks on my last run to town. I got out of the car holding a white cardboard box that look very much like a pastry box. If The Man could hear better, he would have known immediately what was in the box. Six chicks can make an awful lot of noise! But he can’t hear well (don’t get me started) and for a brief moment he looked excited and hopeful, thinking I’d brought him home a treat. The guilty look on my face must have given me away, because the first thing he said was: “that had better not be chicks”. Oops.
We needed them (the old girls are about to go to freezer boot camp) but we weren’t ready. He spent the next hour fixing up the brooder box while I scurried around trying to keep them warm enough. A heating pad under the box and one over the top, and they were just fine. Now they’re all cozy in their home for the next six weeks. This means the pressure is on my husband, because he is the one who will have to dispatch Laverne, Shirley, Thelma, Louise, Lucy, Ethel, Betty, Wilma, Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia, Kendra, and Holly. I will be gone that day – guaranteed!
And I’ve learned my lesson…I won’t be naming these young ladies!
Starched doilies, drying.
My Homemaker’s Club Spring Tea is coming up next week, and I am making nut cups for 80 women. The theme this year is “Elegance and Old Lace” so I bought lace and tried starching circles of it to go around the little cups. I was fussing over them, weaving a little ribbon through the lace (not sure I liked the way they looked) and The Man was hovering over my shoulder giving me a headache guidance. Finally I cut, colored and starched little doilies out of a tablecloth I had, and asked him what he thought. Helpfully, he said “if you put the doily on the cup, and the drawstring, you can call it a nutsack.
Yeah, that would go over real well. He’s a charmer.
I had to laugh later, though, when I heard him singing from the other room. It was the Mr. Rogers tune, and he was crooning: “I’m a beautiful guy in the neighborhood.” Really? I started snickering and he assured me ““You got the whole package, Lor. Cute, funny, playful.” I could add to that list. I could! But I’ll take the high road…this time.
When I try a recipe and it fails, I don’t usually post pictures for everyone to see. But a monumental fail calls for documentation, so here’s my attempt at an “heirloom” Easter recipe. It was supposed to be a beautiful Kulich, but the recipe had me pouring oil over the dough and trying to work it in with my hands. It was a fairly expensive recipe to make, so I didn’t give up…just kept trying to “fix” it. Huh. The only word for this big, sloppy mess is FAIL. We did get a good laugh out of it though. You can find this (and my ham fail) in my April Yummy Northwest column. There are some good recipes on there, too!
Dough, basting itself in oozing oil.
Do you have one of these? I do. The Man gave it to me for Christmas a few years back. I usually try to be polite and appreciative; it’s the thought that counts, right? But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t! I looked at him slack-jawed and waited for an explanation. He said, and I quote: “I thought you’d like it. It’s for our diet.”
I can see every woman’s eyes roll back in their head right now. If there are any men reading this, they’re probably looking around, shaking their heads, going “Whaaaa?” Just for the record, never, NEVER give your wife a gift with a cord on it unless she specifically tells you that’s what she wants. And even then, get something personal to go along with it. And never ever EVER give her something that has the words “Fat Reducing” on it. Trust me!
But I digress.
I used this machine exactly twice. I mean, I cook with butter and cream for heaven’s sake. I really don’t think that squeezing a few drops of fat out of a piece of meat is going to make a huge impact on my diet. And it’s just another hard-to-clean appliance. The darn thing was taking up shelf space in my fruit room, so after brainstorming with The Man, we came up with some other uses for it. Here are a few:
Mean Green Chicken Shit Scraping Machine. (Boot scraper)
The Queen Preen Crimping Machine (for those of us lost in the 80’s)
The House Isn’t Clean but Come in Machine (Door stop)
Reach the Latrine Step-Up Machine (for youngsters)
I even tried a recipe in it, doing my best to thwart the healthy vibes it was emitting. It isn’t a thing of beauty, but it’s easy and tasty. It would have been really good with a dollop of whipped cream on top, but I didn’t think of it at the time. The other possibility would be marshmallow cream (or a leftover Peep?) on the inside of the cake. I used a few marshmallows, and they added sweetness but disappeared as the cakes grilled.
In case your mind works anything like mine, don’t even consider dipping it in an egg mixture. It doesn’t come out like French toast…it turns into a soggy mess. You’re welcome!
You know I rarely make a single batch of anything. When I make a cake, I make extra and freeze a layer or two. It comes in very handy when you have to produce a dessert quickly (trifle) or want to take something special to a friend (petits fours) or get a sudden craving for Grilled Pineapple Cakewiches.
Each month a fun group of bloggers shares recipes that represent a theme that one of us picks. This month that theme is “Celebrating Chocolate” and I have the pressure honor of being first up to bat.
I’m sure the other gals will take it much easier on you, but I brought a recipe that is a wee bit challenging and (oh, please don’t run away) time-consuming. It is also worth every minute spent in the kitchen!
When the Cronut excitement hit last year, my daughter immediately challenged me to create my own recipe for these flaky little fried pastries. She loves my croissants and assumed Cronuts would be a simple transition. Do you know what? She was right! They came out just as I had envisioned them – a rarity, for sure.
This slightly sweetened croissant dough takes time to do properly, but it’s one of those processes that is spread out over two days. The dough can be started in the afternoon, turned and rolled several times over the course of the evening, and then put in the refrigerator until the next day (or even the day after!) when the shapes are then cut out, allowed to rise, and then fried, rolled in sugar, filled, and frosted.
I know, I know. It sounds complicated, but if you follow the instructions one simple step at a time, you will be rewarded with this:
So…here is my recipe for Chocolaty Croissant Puffs. Don’t let the length of it intimidate you; I get a little wordy when I’m trying to explain how to do something. Just be glad I’m not standing behind you in the kitchen, micromanaging you! Not that I ever do that, of course. Ahem.
Also, for some helpful hints you might want to check out my CROISSANT blog
Flaky layered doughnuts filled with chocolate pastry cream and iced with a ganache glaze. Makes12-14
1 package active-dry yeast
1⅓ cups warm milk
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold butter
A shallow bowl of sugar for rolling pastry in
oil for frying, enough to fill pot 3" (I prefer peanut oil)
¼ cup cornstarch
⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup water
3 egg yolks
1 cup half & half
¼-1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces dark chocolate (or 1 cup chocolate chips)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup half & half
1 teaspoon powdered egg whites or meringue powder (optional)
In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) combine the yeast and warm milk. Let it sit until dissolved - about 10 minutes.
Add the butter, vanilla, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the flour and stir until combined.
Switch to a dough hook and slowly add 2 cups of the remaining flour. Knead with the dough hook for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining ½ cup of flour if needed to make the dough come away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
Cover with a towel and let the dough rise until doubled - about 1 hour.
Drop the dough on a lightly floured surface. Turn it over to coat, and knead a few times. Place the dough in a large plastic zipper bag, or wrap loosely in plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator.
Working with one stick of butter, pound and roll the butter between two pieces of waxed paper or parchment, making a 6½-inch by 4-inch rectangle. If necessary, trim the butter to get reasonably straight edges and use a knife or spatula to spread the trimmed butter back onto the rectangle. Place in the refrigerator. Repeat with the other stick of butter.
Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
Place chilled dough on floured surface and roll it out to approximately 12x8 inches, with the long side towards you.
Put one piece of chilled butter in the middle of the dough, with the butter's short edge towards you. Fold the dough from the right, over the butter, pressing down gently. Place the other piece of butter on the dough that is covering the first piece of butter and fold the left side over, pressing the seam to close. (It is like a book, with the "open" edge on the right and the short edge facing you.
Roll out gently to measure 12x8 inches. Fold into thirds again, press the edges to seal, and put the dough back into the plastic bag. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.
With the long sealed edge on the right, roll out again to 12x8 inches. Fold into thirds and place back in the bag in the refrigerator for 45 minutes
Repeat one more time and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, roll the dough out to measure 12x8 inches. Fold into thirds. Roll it out again, to approximately ½-inch thick. Cut shapes out with a flower-shaped cookie cutter or a round biscuit cutter. Lift the cutter straight up - don't twist it. Use a small round cutter (a bottle cap works in a pinch) to cut a circle out of the center of each pastry. These doughnut holes are wonderful when fried! Cover with a towel and let rise until almost double, about 1 hour.
Heat oil to 370 degrees in a deep pot, with the oil about 3 inches deep. Keep a close watch on the temperature, as it will change quickly as dough is added and removed. It is important to keep the temperature near 370 degrees to keep the pastry from absorbing oil.
Slide a few pieces of dough into the pan, leaving enough room for them to move around. Cook for approximately 1 minute on each side, or until a light golden brown. Remove with a "spider" or slotted spoon. Place on paper towels to drain, with more paper towels over the top. When cool enough to handle, roll the bottom and sides in sugar. Repeat until all of the doughnuts and the holes have been fried and sugared.
MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM:
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, sugar, water, and egg yolks. Beat or whisk well.
In a medium saucepan on medium heat, heat the half & half until it's hot and bubbly. Pour half of it over the egg mixture, whisking briskly. Pour the egg mixture back into the hot half & half. Whisk continuously on medium heat until thick, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until incorporated. Cover and let it cool, stirring occasionally. When completely cool, put the pastry cream into a pastry bag with a bismark tip or a medium round tube tip.
With a skewer, poke a hole in one side of a pastry. Insert the skewer to the left as far as you can without poking it through the side of the pastry, then to the right. Put the tube into the hole you just created and squeeze filling in each direction. Repeat on the other side of the pastry. Each doughnut should have two holes. NOTE: If you prefer, you can cut each pastry across the equator, add filling and replace top. OR you can "plug" the bottom with a small piece of one of the doughnut holes and fill the core from the top.
MAKE THE GLAZE:
Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over the lowest heat setting. Add the butter, corn syrup, and vanilla. Stir. Add the powdered sugar alternately with the half and half until the mixture is fairly thin. Adjust the amount of liquid as necessary. If you want a firm glaze, add the powdered egg whites or meringue powder and stir well.
Dip the top of each pastry and decorate with candy flowers or sprinkles if desired.
Cut out the shapes (save the “holes”…they’re the best part!)
Risen – look at those layers!
Ready to fry.
Fry for 1 minute, flip, and fry for another minute.
roll in sugar
Options, left to right: plug bottom and fill the core, slice horizontally and fill, or fill using pastry tip.
Insert skewer to the left, then the right on both sides.
Pipe in the pastry cream.
Like croissants, these are best eaten the same day they are made. With a little planning, there would be plenty of time to fry them in the morning for a brunch, because the pastry cream and glaze can be made the day before, just like the dough. (They are both fine in the refrigerator for several days…just let the cream soften at room temperature and re-heat the glaze gently.) You could also save time by using instant pudding for the filling.
A little chewy, a little flaky, and sinfully rich, these sweet puffs taste as beautiful as they look.
Be sure to come back to see what the other bloggers bring. I can assure you there will be some absolute recipe gems! Links to their posts will be added each day. Enjoy!