Individual Baked Alaskas with Vanilla and Coffee Ice Cream

IMG_5924I loved these Individual Baked Alaskas. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I’ve had baked Alaska once, about fifteen years ago, and I only have a vague memory of it. IMG_5908From the recipe it sounded a lot like making ice cream cupcakes, basically slicing chocolate cupcakes in half and then layering them in muffin tins with ice cream. IMG_5914Then you top the whole thing with meringue and either bake it (which sounded like an alarming thing to do to an ice cream dessert), or in my case, you break out your new pastry torch and toast the meringue the fun way.
IMG_5918The recipe takes a bit of planning, but the technique is excellent. Friday evening, I made the Red Wine and Chocolate cupcake recipe we made back in May. Saturday I started layering the ice cream with the cake and then let everything freeze. Sunday morning I made the meringue and everything was ready to torch for some friends I had over on Sunday night.
IMG_5920And I have to tell you, letting people light their food on fire makes for great dessert conversation.

If I made them again, I would change two things. I would make the bottom layer a slice of cake. Every time I took the cakes out of the freezer the bottom layer would melt a bit until I was left with barely any ice cream. Also, I would try adding granulated sugar to top of meringue to crisp them like creme brulee. IMG_5927

Baked Sunday Mornings

St. Pat’s Drunk Cake

IMG_3000The St. Pat’s Drunk Cake from Baked Occasions is described as a Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake with Whiskey Bailey’s Glaze. I was pretty excited to try it!  I think dark chocolate and dark beer is a dynamite combination.  I used Innis and Gunn’s Irish Whiskey Stout, which has a molasses flavor, and tastes a lot more like whiskey than you would expect from a beer, even one with the word ‘whiskey’ in the name. I think a basic Guinness would work better, and is undoubtedly more widely available.   The cake came out well, it was very dense, rich and chocolatey without being overly sweet.  It didn’t have a pronounced stout flavor. I think the beer just blended in to enhance the chocolate. IMG_5139However I didn’t feel like the frosting fit the cake very well. Mixing cream cheese and boozy flavor was just odd. And the frosting I made wasn’t particularly attractive, too thin to spread but too creamy to pour.  I think having a simply powdered sugar glaze would have worked well, and skip the cream cheese altogether. Drizzle a bit of melted chocolate on top of that would be perfect. IMG_5142
Baked Sunday Mornings

Dad’s Black Cocoa Bundt with Butter Whiskey Glaze

IMG_5207I wasn’t crazy about this cake. To be fair, I couldn’t find black cocoa powder (so bummed about that), but I’m not sure if that would have made much of a difference. I’m curious to see what the other bakers think of it, as it’s not something I’ve ever used. The bundt cake turned out alright. It was chocolatey and moist, but I found the texture was a bit uneven, and overall the cake just seemed kind of boring.  The batter had a strong mocha flavor that unfortunately didn’t carry over to the the finished cake. The glaze was an ok powdered sugar glaze, but didn’t really add any flavor but extra sweetness.IMG_5208I thought the whole thing would have been tastier if you made a syrup with granulated sugar, melted butter and whiskey and poured that over the cake instead of using a frosting.

Baked Sunday Mornings

Red Wine Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze

These Red Wine Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze were delicious. I don’t think you can detect the red wine in the finished cake, but it results in a super amped up chocolatey flavor. IMG_5116And I loved the simple glaze topping. It looked gorgeous, and nothing complements chocolate cake better than more chocolate.

IMG_5109More recipes should come with a built in beverage. After all the recipe only calls for 1.25 cups of wine, leaving plenty left over for some tipsy baking.

Baked Sunday Mornings

Mini Walnut Brownie Cupcakes

BrownieThese are such a great little sweet treat to help keep my exhausted co-workers going. The base is a pretty standard chocolate cake, but the topping was what made these stand out.  If I made it again, and I probably will, I think I’d use less batter and more topping per cup. They don’t really rise that much, so even though they looked really full going into the oven I didn’t have any overflow problems.

The only negative was that it took a really long time to fill my mini cupcake pan. It would be a great recipe to enlist the help of a friend in exchange for baked goods.

Baked Sunday Mornings

Campfire Cookies

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Campfire cookies are a bit like combing chocolate chip cookies and s’mores. The result is not quite as good as either of those things, but still rather tasty. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the addition of marshmallows, that was the part I was sure I wasn’t going to be crazy about. The texture was a bit dry and sandy, but didn’t hurt the overall flavor of this cookie.

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The dough was a bit dry too, but scooped out alright after some time in the fridge. I ended up using cinnamon sugar graham crackers, as that is what I had in my pantry, and I think it made them really sweet. I wouldn’t recommended using them.

I brought these to a friend’s Halloween party a few weeks ago. I love the name Campfire Cookies, but people tended to look at me blankly when I called them that, so I just went with “It’s a S’more cookie.”

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Overall it’s a nice spin on a chocolate chip cookie, but chocolate chip cookies are perfection so I don’t know if I’d make these again. I might start adding marshmallows to other cookie recipes though.

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Happy Thanksgiving!
Baked Sunday Mornings

Candy Bar Cookies

cookiesSo this week, Candy Bar Cookies. The basic idea is to wrap chocolate cookie dough around a smooshed bit of candy bar, and then add an artful topping of more chocolate and sprinkles. (I went for the Jackson Pollock technique in my white chocolate application.)

The good news is that these were really tasty, and my co-workers really liked them! The bad news, these were a disaster to make. I heard warning bells right off the bat when I read the instructions and saw “the dough will look sandy.” That usually ends well.

I was hopeful that the hour spent chilling would help the dough stick together a bit more, but alas, it was not to be. My attempts at rolling and cutting the dough into well ordered circles was quickly abandoned for the much better technique of grab, smoosh and roll.  I committed wholeheartedly to making a mess out of myself and my kitchen, and thankfully, unlike many baking experiments where you abandon a good portion of the recipe, it worked out just fine.

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The recipe suggested using miniature Peanut Butter Cups, Mounds Bars, Rolos and Three Musketeers. I went with a mix of Snickers, Caramel Milky Ways, Mounds and Three Musketeers. By far the most delicious result was the Mounds. Something about the coconut texture and the dark chocolate just worked amazingly well.  The other three were just overly sweet, and ones including caramel resulted in more caramel melted outside of the cookie than inside.

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I don’t know if I would make these again. I do like having smaller cookies to take to the office, and they are a fun treat. However, it was tedious assembling everything together.

Bourbon, Vanilla, and Chocolate Milk Shakes and Simple Chocolate Syrup

This is recipe for Bourbon, Vanilla, and Chocolate Milk Shakes and Simple Chocolate Syrup is incredibly easy, and very tasty. I’ve been making a lot of ice cream lately, so it was a cinch to whip up a batch of vanilla. I usually use the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream recipe. If you’re interested in trying your hand at making your own ice cream, I highly recommend her cookbook. I’m a Columbus, Ohio native, so I have a soft spot for Jeni’s, but her cookbook is indeed easy to follow and has a lot of interesting and unusual flavor combinations. MilkshakeThe chocolate syrup was really easy too, and turned out to be surprisingly thick and fudgy. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate syrup, I find most recipes taste like sugar, and not at all like chocolate. I added a pinch of instant coffee to the mix hoping it would intensify the flavor, but it still ended up overly sweet for my tastes.

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All in all, this was a delightful treat for a hot summer day.

Baked Sunday Mornings

Simple Chocolate Whiskey Tart

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I think this Chocolate Whiskey Tart may be one of my favorite recipes from Baked (the Whiskey Pear Tart is my absolute favorite, clearly I have a thing for boozy tarts). It is really easy to make, and is seriously delicious if you like chocolate.

IMG_2823I did skip the whipped cream, since I was bringing this to a friend’s house and didn’t think that it would travel well. I think it would be delicious with a whipped topping, but it is really great with just the chocolate filled tart as well. The whiskey flavor was not overpowering, and mostly added  depth to the chocolate. I would recommend omitting the salt from the crust, but other than that this was spectacular. 

Did I mention that it’s really really tasty?

Next: Bale Bars

Baked Sunday Mornings

Chocolate-Chip Orange Panettone

cake2I adore panettone, it’s one of those things that pops up every Christmas, just like how suddenly everything is pumpkin flavored in October, and then peppermint flavored in December.  I’ve never had homemade panettone, in fact I don’t know anyone who’s ever even attempted it.  My experience is limited to a co-worker who brings the boxed version into work every year around the holidays. This Chocolate-Chip Orange version is glorious, and such a wonderful variation on the traditional flavors. I had most of the ingredients on hand, except for the iconic panettone wrapper. Baked Elements mentioned a few alternatives, such as a metal coffee can (now that is an experiment for another day), but I found my local Sur La Table selling the wrappers for only a dollar. dough
Rising dough. photo 5 (1)
This recipe called for homemade candied orange peel, something that I have never eaten, much less made. Luckily they were very easy, basically just boiling orange peels, and then boiling them again in sugar syrup. They turned into something similar to gummy candy, and the leftover syrup was really nice in tea. I used clementines because I had some on hand in my fridge  and figured this would be a great recipe to use them up.
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The texture didn’t turn out quite like I expected, a bit more like a cake than bread. I may have over baked it a touch. I waited until the thermometer reached the specified temperature, but I think it would have been better to take it out earlier. Luckily it was still really delicious, and a great combination of flavors, I love citrus anyway, and the orangey flavor of the cake combined with the sweetness from the chocolate chips is supremely tasty. Happy holidays! cake1cake3

Happy holidays!

Baked Sunday Mornings

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Next week: Lemon Lime Champagne Granita