CarpeBlog #1

(Yes, this is a new thing. I figured that I’d quickly share some of my thoughts on my blog before school starts and I start starting every post with excuses as to why I have not been diligently updating the blog.)

This food blog’s beginnings were very cliche. It was the standard story – I was going through some introspectively rocky renovations, I needed a way to express myself/distract myself/make a change/(insert another cliche here) so I started a food blog as a symbol of my taking action and proving myself wrong. Blah blah. Can we get some tissues for the tears that were not shed for the duration of this paragraph?

It’s funny because a few months back there was a week where my viewership went through the roof. It was probably the best day of my life. Except, as it turned out, about three quarters of the total viewerships were my own, seeing as I had been checking the homepage every two minutes to see if the number had increased (it did, thank you for asking).

Move-in Day at Ohio State was yesterday – very cute. People were lining up outside dorms and cheering as new residents stepped foot outside of their cars. Being someone who prefers to scuttle around unnoticed when I look absolutely horrendous (bright red from semi-sunburn, really quite hideously dressed, (how was I to know they would red-carpet Move-In Day?) probably smelly – you get the picture) I decided that I would sneak in behind the crowd to avoid the limelight, except of course, I have a mother who quite possibly only knows how to speak at one volume.  So that failed. (It was actually very adorable though, Ohio State is very good at these things. :-) )

START OF A NEW SCHOOL YEAR. I’d write a list of things (sort of like a New Year’s Resolutions list) that I aspire to accomplish, but I think that’s just going to speed up reader scrolling speed.

You know, when you start to travel frequently, you actually end up not feeling the effects of jet lag as badly as most people. When you’re on the plane and crossing timezones, you don’t actually know what the precise time it is. Instead, you know what time it is either in the place where you last were or where you’re going to be. It’s a little bit like life actually. We’re never really sure of where we are presently unless we look back at who we last were or look forward to who we want to be. I went back and looked at posts from the earlier days of this blog and the way it’s written – its voice – and discovered that it was quite different (to me anyway). Here are several things I learned over the past three months:

  1. Right now is life. Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you. Don’t miss it.
  2. Happiness is not the absence of problems but simply the ability to deal with them. It’s not about what the world takes away from you that counts but what you do with what’s left. Laugh when you want to cry. (It’s stupidly obvious advice but whatever, I’m Dr Phil-ing it, yo.)
  3. What others think or say about you is a reflection of them – not you.

Cool.

And now, some pictures of cake.

Because cake.

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Old fashioned buttermilk chocolate cake. (SO GOOD.)

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Probably the worst apple tart I have ever tasted. It’s lucky it was a sexy piece of tart and I eat my food with my eyes.

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Sour cream chocolate cake with chocolate whipped cream frosting. Funny story actually – turns out there were metallic flakes in the dark chocolate disks I used to decorate the cake so I sort of poisoned my entire family? Nobody knows though. (Perhaps it can be passed off as genetic?)

Mixed Berry Classic with Vanilla Custard

It’s kind of cool being a kid who grew up in a Western environment but was raised the Eastern way. The coolest things can be summed up in two (fairly materialistic) things: (1) Chinese New Year’s (because you get money) and (2) Chinese Father’s Day (because the 8th of the 8th month is a lucky day according to Asian superstition).

I just like it because I get to make cake without being scolded by Mom for mucking up the kitchen. As mentioned in previous posts, our family does not believe in unhealthy fodder so even if I wanted to make a wicked chocolate cake, I can’t actually get away with it without receiving some sort of disgusted omg-real-butter aimed in my direction. It’s quite entertaining because even though my mother is hands-down the master of that look, she’s usually the one who ends up enjoying the cake the most.

10574423_10152712810071209_7372453865906522796_n10603656_10152712810146209_5933949138828898229_n10606104_10152712810221209_1370118180144036270_nI can’t seem to get through a baking excursion without one or two mishaps. I accidentally forgot to spray the bottom of the cake pans (but earnestly lathered plenty of grease on the sides of the pans) and so my cake layers actually stuck to the pan. I wound up literally digging the cakes out of the pans like the common barbarian and frantically “gluing” the bits and pieces back to the original cake layers.

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This cake is really light. It’s the kind of cake you have when you haven’t finished your philosophy paper, but you can’t have something that’s going to make you feel guilty, so you get this kind of cake because… because cake. And philosophy paper.

Mixed Berry Classic with Vanilla Custard

Ingredients

Mixed Berry Sponge

  • 90ml hot water
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • 250ml (1 cup) cake flour
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) castor sugar
  • 10ml (2 tsp) baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 4 extra-large eggs, separated
  • about 100ml water
  • 40ml extra castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries

Vanilla Custard

  • 2 cups milk
  • 35ml instant custard powder
  • 30ml castor sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Place electrical beaters in freezer – this makes beating the egg whites far more effective.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  4. In a separate larger bowl, mix 90ml hot water, egg yolks, olive oil, vanilla essence and castor sugar together.
  5. In a third bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, slowly sifting the extra castor sugar in. (A way to check it is to take the bowl and turn it completely upside down. If the egg whites don’t move, you’re good to go).
  6. Pour the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture and mix until halfway mixed.
  7. Fold the egg whites into the wet mixture. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  8. Grease two 20cm cake pans. Pour mixture into cake pans and bake in oven for 25-30min or until a skewer comes out clean when tested.
  9. Invert the pans onto cooling rack! Allow the cakes to COMPLETELY cool.
  10. Remove from cake pans (run knife along edge of pans first).
  11. To make the vanilla custard, cook the milk over a low heat and then pour the sugar and custard powder into the milk. Keep stirring until the custard thickens. Dip the back of a spoon into the custard mixture (for testing), run a finger down the middle and if the custard doesn’t glue back together, it’s ready.
  12. Let the custard cool completely.

Piecing It Together

  1. Lather custard between the two cake layers.
  2. Decorate with sifted icing sugar.

*** I made the pattern by folding a piece of paper in half and cutting out the zigzag pattern. I then sifted cinnamon sugar over the sifted icing sugar and VOILA! A lovely pattern.

 

 

Wholewheat Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

I’ll admit that I really have been procrastinating updating my food blog for the past few months. Mostly because I actually really haven’t been doing a lot of baking since I left South Africa early June, but I could have been a pretentious little fart and posted previous bakes, disguising them as new creations. Sadly, I’m not nearly smart enough to (successfully) pull off such a feat. A rough summary of my chaotically glorious past two months: I spent June and July in two places: Taiwan and Houston. During this time I learned a lot of rather important things, one of which was that my body appears to be remarkably capable of sweating. I spent two weeks in Houston participating in a youth tour called “HASSE Space School”. It was utterly fantastic. It was probably the happiest two weeks of my life. I have never laughed so hard and so often, so, being a person who greatly delights in laughing, I came back feeling utterly renewed. 10422001_895772663782570_8915510977280569188_n   (I’m riiiiiight in the middle, with the lovely wind blowing through my hair. We were standing on a Mars surface simulation ground.) I obviously a lot more that I have to say regarding my experiences and feelings thereupon but I’ll do that on a place where the main focus is not baking. So. I’ve become totally obsessed with eating healthy these days, mostly because I gained 10kg during my time in America (because #america) and seriously struggled to walk because, well… I was unbelievably fat. Thus, most of what I bake from now until the next time I decide to YOLO again will be wholewheat and too healthy for a standard bakery’s standards. These cookies came out very strange. Strange because even though they were a recipe that I was really familiar with, they had a totally different texture. Instead of soft and chewy, they were crisp and crunchy. I also found it better to mix the sugar and cinnamon properly before scattering it all over the cookies. IMG_5971 IMG_5966 IMG_5962                 IMG_5961 IMG_5959 IMG_5958In any case, they taste really good. (The thing about writing is that you often end up writing a whole lot of utter crap that technically could be summarized in a very short, but fairly boring, sentence. Sort of like Newspeak.)

Wholewheat Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups wholewheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • extra brown sugar
  • ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Mix wholewheat and cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  2. In another bowl, mix oil and sugar together using a whisk. They won’t mix, but make sure you do this step.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla extract to the wet mixture and whisk well. The mixture should be quite smooth and a lovely golden yellow in colour.
  4. Using a spatula, mix the dry ingredients together so that everything is evenly distributed.
  5. Pour dry ingredients into the wet mixture. (DRY into WET!!! NOT the other way around)
  6. Using the spatula, combine the two until a soft, brown dough is formed. It is alright if it is slightly crumbly, this is not a bad thing.
  7. Preheat oven to 160 C.
  8. Line a baking tray with parchment paper OR  spray non-stick spray thoroughly all over the tray.
  9. Grab enough dough to form a round ball roughly the size of a golf ball.
  10. Place the ball onto the baking tray, and using the palm of your hand, press down to flatten the dough slightly. This must be done!!!
  11. Repeat step 10 until all the dough has been used.
  12. In a small bowl, combine the extra brown sugar and cinnamon together, flavoring it according to your own preference.
  13. Sprinkle the tops of the cookie dough until it has been covered with the cinnamon sugar.
  14. Place the baking tray into the oven and bake the cookies for 15 minutes.
  15. When you remove the cookies from the oven, they will be EXTREMELY soft and crumbly when hot. This is not a bad thing! Leave the cookies alone and wait for them to cool.

RECIPE SOURCE: My brain

 

Italian Olive Oil Cranberry & Pecan Praline Cake

To be honest, although the name of this cake is relatively fancy, making it wasn’t a unique experience seeing as butter has been/always will be banned from our household. I’ve always made my cakes with oil, though I suppose the only unique experience was that the oil I used was *most importantly* olive oil. Oddly enough, it tasted very differently from previous cakes that I’d made (mostly because olive oil has an incredibly dominant flavour), and my dad was remarkably pleased with his extremely healthy birthday cake.

The other great thing about this extremely healthy birthday cake was that I got to eat the whole slice… That’s really significant. I usually can’t make it through half of the slice before my mother frowns suspiciously at me and puffs her cheeks up to indicate just how fat she thinks I am.

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Actually, I’m lying. Olive oil is equally as fattening as butter, but the only difference between the two fats is that olive oil is fat that’s “good for the body” (how that makes sense in the diet world I do not know but I will take it as a well-researched bit of information/comforting titbit).

The pecan praline must not be made in a skillet!!! I wound up with this sticky lump of roasted nuts instead of the beautifully crunchy praline I wanted. If you want to make a proper praline, you should treat it like it’s muesli. Toast it in the oven, pour the melted honey over it, and then roast it some more in the oven.

Happy baking!

ITALIAN OLIVE OIL CRANBERRY & PRALINE NUT CAKE

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising!)
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 100g raw pecan
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts and seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 180C. Grease the cake pan with some oil.
  2. Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and vanilla extract, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.
  3. Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
  4. Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. DO NOT OVERMIX.
  5. Transfer batter to cake pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  6. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.
  7. Toast raw pecans for about 5 minutes in a saucepan. Transfer slightly toasted pecans to baking tray.
  8. Melt the syrup/honey and pour the liquid goodness over the slightly toasted pecans. Chuck in oven of about 140C.
  9. Decorate the cake first by sifting some icing sugar over the cake, and then carefully arrange your crude pecan praline over the icing dusted cake top.

RECIPE SOURCE: 101 Fuss-free Bakes

Nutty Cranberry Buttermilk Scones

My aunt recently visited me in South Africa charged with an extreme desire to basically earn her place in the kitchen. (Personally I see no insult in sending a woman to the kitchen and usually obey quite happily) Thus, we ended up cooking or baking at least two to three times a day. My aunt and uncle eat like normal people (in other words, they actually drink cow milk and use butter) so I gleefully tackled recipes which I normally wouldn’t have been able to try due to a lack of ingredients.

I’ve always wanted to make buttermilk scones since Masterchef stated that the usage of buttermilk usually resulted in the best scones. *COMPLETELY AGREE* I have never made such beautiful scones before. Not only did they not fossilize after one day, but they also smelled gorgeous. My aunt insisted on “healthifying” the recipe and so we chucked in some cranberries and a seeds and nuts mix. However, the key factor in scones is that they need to rise well and evenly. You also need to cut them scones with a round cookie cutter to get them to have those flat edges… I tried baking rolled up bits of the scone dough and they ended up looking like badly-risen/kneaded bread rolls.

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I also really dislike scones that aren’t nice and golden on the top so I egg-yolked the tops twice. Once before they went into the oven and the second time after they’d been baked for half the set time. Some of the scones came out looking mutated but that was mostly because my aunt had extra dough and snowmanned my perfectly cut out scones.

Nutty Cranberry Buttermilk Scones

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup mixed seeds and nuts
  • 1 beaten egg for glazing

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (220C)

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.

Add butter and mix with your fingertips to a coarse meal.

Add buttermilk and mix just until combined. 

Add the dried cranberries and nuts.

Transfer dough to a floured board and divide into 2 parts. Roll each to 3/4 inch thick rounds.

Cut out the scones with a round cookie cutter and place slightly separated on a greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg yolk, and bake for 7 minutes.

Remove from the oven and brush again with the egg yolk. Bake for another 8 minutes.

Serve warm, split in half with butter and marmalade.


Traditional Shortbread with Brown Sugar Glaze

Okay so admittedly I’ve been incredibly lazy with regard to keeping my food blog up to date. It’s purely because I did not venture into the Nosker House kitchen once after Spring Break (because it is gross). It’s also a serious mission to lug all the baking equipment out of  my closet all the way down to the lobby where there is also no baking privacy. However, I’m back home (BACK HOME IN MY BEAUTIFUL SOUTH AFRICA!!!) and have literally been baking every two days since I got back. I’m so glad to be back! Golden family moments, as well as seeing most of the choms back home… It was really great. Nothing’s really changed – I still have to repeat what I say several times (especially if I think it’s funny) when people don’t pay attention to me, Neo still won’t admit that we’re friends – it’s been lovely.IMG_4048IMG_4021 I’ve been sweet-talking my mother and convinced her to buy me two pats of butter (in a house where milk is frowned upon this is well deserving of an Xbox Achievement unlocked announcement). And so, for the first time ever, I made cookies with REAL BUTTER. IMG_3967IMG_3972 Honestly I now fully understand why people rave to butter. It is almighty. It is liquid cholesterol-inducing gold. It is magnificent. My cookies held their shape, I wouldn’t stop sniffing my fingers, and I now understand why people refer to butter cookies as “melting moments”. However, I’m also stupid as well as a glutton so as I was making the caramel mixture to pour over my shortbread, I stuck my finger into the boiling hot sugar (because what foodie doesn’t finger-taste their own food? ESPECIALLY if it’s in liquid form) and an angry red welt immediately popped up. It was probably the most painful 3 seconds of my life because the more I waved my finger around in anguish, the quicker the sugar solidified on my finger, thus prolonging the excruciating pain. No pain no gain, yo.

Traditional Shortbread with Brown Sugar Glaze

INGREDIENTs

  • 125g butter, softened to room temperature
  • 50g castor sugar
  • 180g cake flour

instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a square baking tray with parchment. Do not attempt to use non-stick spray… Just don’t do it.
  2. Cream the butter with an electric beater until it is smooth and quite literally creamy.
  3. Mix the butter and sugar together. Do this by pouring the sugar into the butter in small amounts at a time.
  4. Pour the cake flour into the butter mixture and use your fingers to rub the butter and flour together until you form fine crumbs.
  5. Pat the butter-flour mixture into the baking tray and press to make it dense.
  6. Use a fork to stab holes into the mixture. This helps prevent it from rising unevenly.
  7. Bake for about 40-45 min until golden brown.
  8. Cut the slices WHILE HOT! Don’t try to cut it when it’s cold because it will just crumble awkwardly.
  9. Melt some castor sugar in a saucepan and cook the syrupy goodness until it’s golden brown in colour. Add some salt to balance the sweetness and drizzle it over your freshly baked batch of cookies.

RECIPE SOURCE: Step-by-Step Baking

No-Bake Strawberry Pop Tart Balls

It has been a serious while since I last posted something on CarpeBriem… This week was absolutely awful though. I stressed so much during the course of the week that I currently have a remarkably large bald spot on my head. Philosophy and Photography grate my tits.

Anyway, I’ve recently discovered the amazing delectable called “cake balls”. They are the perfect amount of lazy that I love. I didn’t need to go out of my room for these cake balls, I didn’t need to premake cupcakes to crumble for these (technically these can’t be called cake balls because they are made of zero cake), the only mildly difficult part of making these cake balls was the dipping of chocolate, which is more messy than difficult.

I made Oreo cake balls a week ago and while sitting in Philosophy, I was struck with a moment of inspiration – WHAT ABOUT POP TART BALLS? Do they exist? Will it work? Will cream cheese live up to its fullest potential? So I immediately googled “pop tart balls” (don’t do that, some of the searches that popped up were super sketchy) and oh my gosh – they barely existed. Or they existed and the reviews were really bad. So I decided that it was time for another experiment AND IT TOTALLY PAID OFF.

IMG_2479 IMG_2478Just on a side note – never try to melt Tollhouse white chocolate chips in the microwave. For some bewildering reason, the chips curdled into something that resembled feta and I don’t really know what I did wrong. Also, don’t try to use Hershey’s Cookies&Cream chocolate bars – you’ll just end up with a delicious smelling mound of pseudo-bird-crap.

Strawberry Pop Tart Balls

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 strawberry pop tarts
  • 1 tub Philadelphia’s strawberry cream cheese
  • 1 8oz Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar

instructions

  1. Using a food processor, or, if you’re a lowly student like me, use a handheld smoothie blending stick and process the pop tarts until they are finely crumbed.
  2. Mix the strawberry cream cheese into the crumbs until well combined.
  3. Chill in the refridgerator for 1 hour.
  4. After 1 hour, remove and roll mixture into balls of about 3cm in diameter.
  5. Freeze balls for 1 hour.
  6. Melt the chocolate until it’s quite runny. Dip the cold balls into the chocolate mixture (either completely or half-dipped).
  7. Using a chopstick or some or other stick, dip it into the leftover chocolate and literally swish it around to get the decorative chocolate tops.
  8. Remember to keep the balls cold otherwise they won’t taste that great.

RECIPE SOURCE: My brain during Philosophy.

Red Velvet Cake Balls

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! :-D

If you’re single and considering watching really falsely promoted romantic comedies whilst snacking on some muesli-straight-out-the-box (traditional Bridget Jones style), you really should feel bad and I have absolutely zero sympathy. Why? Because (and I know Grammar Nazis are going to spaz out for starting a sentence with “because”) today is the day of LOVE and why do you need other people to make today great for you? Love yourself, or get fat. It’s always been either one of the two.

Okay. SO… My roommate had been fretting over an appropriate Valentine’s Day gift for her boyfriend (yes, my love life has reached that oh-so-very-sad point) so I offered to help her bake something for him, because that’s what Asians do, we give homemade treats to our boyfriends (well, not me, but whatever).

The woman (and thank God she will never read my food blog) drove…me…insane…

Okay – so she insisted on doing nearly everything by herself – which is all very well IF SHE ACTUALLY KNEW WHAT TO DO… But because I know that I am a perfectionist with a slight baking superiority complex, I bit my lip and watched her painful struggle with the spatula. Her feel for cooking was absolutely top-notch (and I say this with every ounce of sarcasm I can muster). I was physically in pain as I watched her bugger up what had initially started out as beautiful little creations. This is probably why I am alone on Valentine’s Day. :-P

photo 1photo 3-2photo 2photo 3Anyway, so the reaction I got from my floormates was ridiculous. I knew they had to taste good because they smelled good, but until I’d actually bit into one myself, I didn’t realise just what I’d been missing out on in life. The red velvet just melts into your mouth and you get this lovely crunch for the thin chocolate cap on top. You get a hint of all the flavours all at once – vanilla, chocolate, cream cheese – and it just all melts together accompanied by the Hallelujah chorus (I’m obviously exaggerating because I’m dramatic).

They weren’t that difficult to make, but what I did struggle with (besides my temper) was dipping them in the chocolate and the fancy pattern on top. They cake balls themselves are quite sticky at room temperature and you definitely need to freeze them a bit before you start to dip them into chocolate and whatnot.

Things to be mindful of:

  • Do not try to crumb the cupcakes up before they’ve cooled because the steam from the warm cupcakes will make the crumbs soggy.
  • You can do this recipe with a red-velvet-cake-from-scratch recipe and homemade cream cheese frosting.
  • You can dip the whole cake ball in chocolate if you want, but then you should use a fondue fork.
  • Melt the chocolate in little bits at a time. The best way to melt chocolate is by placing the chocolate in a small ceramic bowl and placing that within a bot of boiling water. So it’s almost an indirect way of heating up the chocolate without ever actually causing it to burn. Unless you’re a buffoon.

photo 4photo 2-2These might just be the prettiest things on my food blog as of yet! At the end of the day, I actually had so much fun. I even ruined some diets, which is always a fun time!

Red Velvet Cake Balls

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack red velvet cake mix (and then you’ll usually need eggs, water, and oil)
  • 2 tubs of cream cheese (the standard size)
  • powdered sugar to taste
  • bars of milk chocolate (about 2 Cadbury bars)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Follow the instructions on the red velvet cake mix box and pour the cake batter into a 12-hole muffin pan. You can bake a whole cake, but it just takes way too long and I have zero patience. The muffin pan is waaaaaay quicker.
  2. Let the cupcakes cool. Do not attempt to crumb lukewarm muffins – your efforts will be in vain.
  3. When the cupcakes are completely cool, crumb them so that they are extremely fine. I used a whisk, and just kept whisking until I got the fine crumbs I wanted.
  4. Using a mixer on low speed, beat the cream cheese until it is soft and creamy. Sift in powdered sugar until it’s as sweet as you want it to be.
  5. Using a spatula, fold the cream cheese into the red velvet cake crumbs until TOTALLY COMBINED. No white bits left untouched!
  6. Roll the sticky mixture up into bite-sized balls, and place them on a tray. Place these in the freezer until they’re frozen (about 30 minutes).
  7. Melt the chocolate (read above for melting chocolate tip). Using your hand, dunk half the cake ball into the chocolate, and then set aside. Continue until all have been dunked.
  8. Place in the fridge to let the chocolate set.
  9. Enjoy and feeeeel the calories! :-D

RECIPE SOURCE: Bakerella

 

 

Peanut Butter Cookies with White Chocolate & Butterscotch Chips

These cookies DESTROYED MY DIET. I’d had a great day – I’d had my complex carbs in the morning, I’d eaten my salad for lunch, snacked on my guacamole and reduced fat crackers – AND THEN ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR HAPPENED.

These cookies were so soft and crumbly fresh out of the oven, and my capacity for patience is about the size of a teaspoon so I destroyed two of the twelve cookies that came out of the oven. I didn’t want any broken cookies in my picture so I ate them.

I really think I have trust issues with all-purpose flour… How is it possible that cake flour is perfectly well-behaved when I used it instead of all-purpose flour, but when I use all-purpose flour I am always left bewildered and desperate? It’s crazy, I tell you.

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IMG_1442IMG_1432As you can see, these cookies looking fanfreakingtastic. And they taste like fairies dancing on your tongue. The butterscotch and white chocolate chips were an incredible combination with the peanut butter! I’d added the butterscotch chips on a last minute whim (because that’s just typical me). I’m still feeling smug and preening because of how incredible these cookies tasted. They’re packed with the peanut butter flavour (which is always a good thing), and because there are so many complementary flavours going on at the same time, you have to eat them with a glass of milk.

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Best fatty moment of my life ever. (I say this in every post but it’s because I actually think everything tastes good… Even Nescafe 3-in-1 coffee. *shrugs*)

peanut butter cookies with white chocolate & butterscotch chips

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oil mixed with 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 heaping cup of peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
  2. In a medium sized bowl – whisk the flour and salt together.
  3. In a larger sized bowl – whisk the egg, sugar, oil, vanilla, and peanut butter together.
  4. Pour the flour mixture into the wet mixture, and mix until combined. It will feel dry initially but I promise you everything will eventually mix together.
  5. Put the dough mixture in the freezer for about 10 minutes. You just want to chill them a bit so that they don’t spread too much when they bake.
  6. Remove dough from the freezer and roll them into balls about 3cm wide in diameter. Place on a baking tray or sheet with enough space for spreading.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the bottoms of the cookies are slightly golden in colour.
  8. LEAVE THEM ALONE AND LET THEM COOL DOWN ON THE TRAY!!!
  9. When they have fully cooled, remove them from the tray and serve with a large glass of yummy-yummy milk.

RECIPE SOURCE: My brain. 

 

 

Snickerdoodle Cupcake with Coffee Buttercream

221 HITS AND RISING FOR CARPEBRIEM IN JUST ONE DAY?!

This is the craziest thing ever – great things like this just DON’T happen to me. I am TOTALLY geeking out right now. (Hopefully this isn’t like one of those “one-hit wonder” moments and tomorrow I’ll be back to cruising at single-digit views again.)

This is the best thing ever – THANK YOU RANDOM READERS!

So this weekend I was introduced to amazing titbits called “pudding shots”. Forget the fact that they sound sketchy – I had 7 in a row. I stuffed them whole into my mouth because well, it is a pudding shot… What else was I supposed to do? Delicately nibble my way around with a politely cocked pinky finger? Anyway – watch this space because pudding shots should be making their official appearance soon.

Why are snickerdoodles given a unique name for its own? Why do people not refer to them as simply a cinnamon cookie? That’s exactly what a snickerdoodle is – a cinnamon cookie. I got flak for denying my cinnamon cookies their rightful “snickerdoodle” title and, because I am a polite and lovely person, I refrained from flatly stating, “Bullshit.”

However, because the original recipe I’d modified had named these cupcakes (see, here’s another pet peeve – in my mind, a cupcake includes icing. What do you call a cupcake minus icing? A mini-cake. Not a cupcake!) “snickerdoodle cupcakes” so I was like, alright, plagiarism is real – let’s be decent.

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The coffee cream was a last minute improvisation…AND THE RESULT WAS INCREDIBLE. It’s a cupcake but it tastes like home. The cinnamon and coffee combination makes you think of a fireplace, a fluffy blanket, and a romantic looking girl thoughtfully reading a book. While everyone loves a great vanilla or chocolate cupcake, this snickerdoodle cupcake is a fantastic palette-”cleanser”. It’s light, soft, and incredibly moist… And it’s cinnamon-flavoured, which already puts it in a league of its own.

Because who doesn’t love cinnamon?

SNICKERDOODLE CUPCAKE WITH COFFEE BUTTERCREAM

INGREDIENTS

Cupcakes:

  • 1 and 2/3 cups (210g) all-purpose flour (DO NOT OVERMEASURE)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt*
  • 3/4 cup milk (soy or cow)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Coffee Buttercream

  • 1 cup salted or unsalted butter, room temperature
  • powdered sugar to taste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon expresso or instant coffee grounds

INSTRUCTIONS

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a larger bowl, whisk sugar, oil, egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract together.
  4. Pour the flour mixture into the wet mixture. Mix it all together with a spatula and be careful not to overmix! 
  5. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. You don’t need them to be that big.
  6. Bake the cupcakes for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Coffee Buttercream:

  1. Using a mixer or a whisk, beat the butter until it becomes creamy in texture.
  2. Slowly whisk the coffee grounds in until completely combined.
  3. Whisk in powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until you get to the level of sweetness you want.
  4. Toss in a pinch of salt (salt is amazing in baking) and whisk it all together.
  5. Pipe the icing onto the cupcake in as attractive a manner as possible.
  6. Serve with a cup of coffee/tea and a good book. Next to a fireplace.

RECIPE SOURCE: About.com