Category Archives: Kitchen Kwest

Crepe Expectations

In the halcyon days of Kat and my college years, we forged a strong bond with the university’s crepe ladies. See, JMU‘s dining service is one of the things that it’s known for (apparently)–and goddammit, I’d rather have good food than a good football team! Fortunately, in addition to the normal buffet-style cafeteria in the middle of campus, JMU boasted dining options covering sushi, Starbucks, paninis, gyros, noodle bowls, and…crepes.

The crepes were huge, and you had the option of slathering them in nutella, caramel, raspberry sauce, whipped cream, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, ice cream…needless to say, all these would cost you extra. Well, they’d cost YOU extra, but since we were TIGHT, our crepes were made with extra ‘love’ FOR FREE (‘love’ being all them goodies).

Anyway, blah blah blah, we love crepes, and feeling lazier than usual, we decided to forgo any actual baking and settled on making a milles crepes cake. It’s basically a tower constructed of crepes, except replace ‘cement’ with ‘frosting’.

Of course, since it’s us, we decided to bust out every spread/topping from the pantry, and then cover the entire deal in a chocolate ganache.

I can sense your jealousy. Either that, or you’re thinking “Pff, amateurs, they don’t even have LEMON CURD!”

Yeah, suck it.

The following are delicious spreads I had in my pantry: marshmallow Fluff, Nutella, dulce de leche, raspberry preserves, cherry preserves, blackberry preserves, Biscoff spread, aaaaand mango butter. YEP.

Then, like most of our other creations, we covered the entire thing in chocolate ganache. YEP.

I’d post a recipe, but all you really need is a bunch of crepes, a bunch of delicious spreads/frostings/whathaveyou, and some chocolate ganache (this time I tried out Martha Stewart’s recipe). I recommend microwaving this sucker before eating it, since cold crepe texture is…not so great.

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READY TO DYE

READY TO DYE

I believe my love of Easter candy is already well-documented, but I have not yet discussed the other part of this holiday that I love–dyeing eggs! Yeah, I realize there’s a bunch of people out there that go the ‘hardcore’ ‘adult’ route with beeswax, and there are the types that are coloring with all-natural methods, but I’m an old-school Paas girl.

YEAH ME

I insisted that we buy white eggs, because pff brown eggs won’t allow the dye to show up! I NEED MY COLORS!

Kat just has to prove me wrong

…then Kat had to go and show me up with her decidedly classy dyed brown egg. Kat 1, Kendra 0.

awesome sticker use

Special guest ‘Lady M’ judiciously used the stickers to create this idyllic pastoral scene–well, idyllic until someone decides to eat it.

OUR SWEET SWEET LOOT

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the CANDY! (and don’t say anything about the Gushers!) Now, time to hit up all the post-Easter candy sales…

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Legend of Buttercream Truffles

Kat: One night while I was nestled snug in my bed, visions of chocolate-dipped frosting danced in my head.

I mentioned my dream to Kendra, and she said let’s do it!

Kendra: First, you need some buttercream. The recipe I used was tweaked from Allrecipes (use shortening? Blech! We’re going full-Paula Deen here!).

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING TRUFFLES

  • 1 cup slightly softened butter (2 sticks–I microwave ’em for about twenty seconds, if taken from the fridge)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 oz cream
  • optional: peppermint extract, almond extract, lemon extract (for different flavors)
  • 20 oz chocolate to melt (chocolate chips are acceptable)
  1. Beat together butter and sugar until creamed.
  2. Mix in salt, vanilla, cream.
  3. Add optional extracts; you can divvy  up the frosting and add a teaspoon or two  of the different extracts until you reach a flavor intensity that you want.
  4. Bust out baking sheets or pans lined with wax  or parchment paper; spoon a cookie-dough sized dollop onto sheet until you have what will resemble a bunch of mashed potato blobs.way better than mashed potatoes
  5. Let buttercream solidify in freezer for at least thirty minutes.
  6. Chop chocolate if necessary, melt in double boiler (or if you feel like continuously microwaving it, be my guest)CHOCOCHOCOCHOCO
  7. Use a toothpick or a sharp thin pointy object to spear the buttercream blobs. Dip/cover in chocolate. Lather, rinse, repeat until everything is magically covered in chocolate. action shot!
  8. Freeze for another thirty minutes until chocolate has solidified. already cooling in the background
  9. EAT AND ENJOY! this was a mint one mmm
  10. …if you have any leftover chocolate, now’s the time to see what else you can dip! We had some Peeps lying around, and graham crackers are always a safe bet.sprinkle'd!

SUCCESS! These truffles are DELICIOUS. You do have to keep them refrigerated, but that’s a small price to pay for something so delicious. I’ve loved cold cake frosting ever since my parents started throwing birthday parties where they’d pick up those Baskin-Robbins’ ice cream clowns:

These truffles are like my childhood, except BETTER because it’s chocolate-coated. :3

There’s something so indulgent about eating straight-up cake frosting in truffle form–hopefully Kat has more dreams like this!

Kat: These…these are so good. So much better than I even imagined.  I like em best straight out of the freezer.

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Cookies^4 (or, Time-Traveling Cookies)

A few months ago, Kat and I took a trip to San Francisco. It was amazing! I definitely fell in  love with the city, between the liberal,  laid-back atmosphere and the huge food scene. People take their food SERIOUSLY, but in a good way!

Anyway, we especially took to the Mission District–lots of hipsters, the 826 Valencia Pirate store, and tasty tasty food. We kept going to Tartine Bakery and Anthony’s Cookies during our looooooong walks of the city (gotta fortify ourselves!). According to one Yelper, Anthony’s Cookies and Cream cookie was ‘…a cookie that tastes like cookie’ so of course with a review that nonsensical we had to try it.

And after trying it, we knew we had to replicate it on our own. After some Google-Fu, I tracked down a nigh identical-tasting recipe.

It begins.

Of course, we aren’t the types to just bake cookies–no, we’re kinda crazy adventurers. How could we make cookies baked with cookies in them even better?

Shit just got real.

If you answered ‘by sandwiching chocolate-chip cookie dough in between’, you’d be absolutely correct! But we weren’t done, no sir.

OH MY GOD THE HUMANITY

We definitely dunked these suckers in chocolate, and then finished them off with a layer of crushed Oreos. So that’s like, four dimensions of cookies! Cookies sprinkled on cookies with cookies in them sandwiching cookie dough. COOKIE COOKIE COOKIE COOKIE.

 

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WELCOME TO GOOD BURGER

Like most people, I suffer from a disease called ‘nostalgia’.

I have a pretty bad case of it. It’s why my friends and I went out and bought the new My Little Ponies after they released them a few years ago. It’s why I own DVD sets of  The Adventures of Pete and Pete and Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s why  I recreated a cake from when I was in second grade.

EAT IT BEFORE IT EATS YOU!

This, my friends, is the Burger Cake. My mom must have found the recipe from a Woman’s Day mag, because when I used the magical power of teh Googs©, that’s what came up. And so, for my sister’s 20th birthday, I got to work.

The recipe isn’t hard–in the spirit of my mom’s original cake, we went with box mixes for everything. You do have to pull a few Macguyvers in the kitchen and do things you normally wouldn’t–like baking part of the cake in an oven-safe bowl for the burger top, or voluntarily consuming Airheads  (I do not recommend this).

WHERE'S THE BEEF?

The ‘meat’ patty is frosted chocolate cake that’s covered in crushed chocolate cookies (or in this case, chocolate Teddy Grahams–because the idea of a bear burger is even BETTER). Bottom bun is half the poundcake plus red frosting ‘ketchup’. NOTE: IT IS INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT TO GET FOOD COLORING TO REPRESENT BUN COLORS, IT TOOK US FOREVER.

MMM BACON

All I’m saying–AIRHEADS. THEY’RE OUTTA CONTROL!!!

you say tomayto, i say tomahto

Okay, so the ‘red frosted sugar cookie’ tomatoes were less successful. BUT TASTY.

so spooky

Et voilà! Our finished burger cake was EVEN BETTER than that Woman’s Day one! Except that it sorta looks like it’s pleading with you not to eat it. Well sir, we’ll show you!

EAT IT EAT IT

THE BIRTHDAY GIRL WAS PLEASED. Except the cake apparently was too exciting to eat, and it sat around in her apartment as a show-and-tell for a week. Oh well, I made it for myself this past birthday and cake+airheads isn’t the best combo, so I don’t blame her.

where teddy grahams go to die

BONUS! One of our failbatches of bun-colored frosting turned gray, and so with the leftover cake and stuff we made TEDDY GRAHAM VOLCANO DIORAMAS involving BEAR SACRIFICES. Unlike the cake, this was pretty tasty!

And now I’ll leave you with another bit of nostalgia, the intro to Nickelodeon’s Good Burger movie (which is totally awesome, shut up haters!):

aaaand here’s the recipe, if you’re so inclined (and we just used Airheads for all the fixings, though back in the day my mom used the recommended spice drops).

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The Nicholas Cage Belated Birthday Cake

So.

I have a slight problem–I am fascinated by Nic Cage and his ‘acting’. I find it endlessly entertaining, even while sober.

One of my 2011 Resolutions was to attempt to watch all of his movies. We’ll see if I can pull this off.

It was his birthday on January 7th. On January 8th, my partner-in-crime came over and we baked a cake.

Not just any cake, mind you.

We started off with a layer of flourless chocolate on the bottom, and chocolate sponge cake on the top. Sandwich between them you can see chocolate hazelnut mousse and raspberry preserves.

I can't believe I ate the whole thing! Or most of it, anyway.

We covered it in chocolate ganache, with as much reverence as you can muster when you think about movies like “The Rock” and “Wicker Man”.

nutella fluffernutter

The hazelnut mousse was so good that we decided to go ahead and smother the thing in another layer.

FEEL THE MARZIPAIN

The best way to improve on a good thing is to cover it in marzipan, so that’s what Kat and I did. Then we hastily scrawled Nic Cage’s name on top, added a candle, and honored the man by digging in.

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