I just wanted to say thank you to all of you that have been following my posts here on tumblr. Its been fun, but I’ve had a hard time getting my blog to look the way I want it too, so I’ve decided to move. My posts will now be found here: http://carpetheyum.wordpress.com/. If you want to see my posts, feel free to follow me on wordpress, or on facebook at www.facebook.com/carpe.cibus. :)
Happy bacon birthday.
Today was one of my classmate’s 20th birthday. She often jokes about loving bacon too much (and has mentioned on several occasions that she wants to get a bacon tattoo). So, I knew for her birthday I had to make a bacon treat. And I thought it would be fun to do a sweet bacon treat. I have previously made maple bacon cupcakes, but I was looking for something different this time. I ended up finding a recipe for chocolate peanut bacon bark, which was delicious. I did two variations of the recipe.
Chocolate Peanut Bacon Bark
8 strips bacon, candied
16 ounces chocolate (chunks or chips, I used milk chocolate but the original recipe calls for semi sweet.)
1 cup peanuts (the original recipe calls for unsalted, but I used salted and I think it added something. I would say do salted, but its up to you).
To candy the bacon: Preheat oven to 325. You will need 2 sheet pans of equal size. Line one pan with tin foil, arrange bacon on the pan. Then sprinkle with brown sugar (I used about 1-2 tablespoons per slice). Place another piece of tin foil over the bacon and lay the other sheet pan on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, then check the bacon. If it looks golden brown, take it out, even if it still seems wiggly. The bacon will crisp up as it cools. If it doesnt seem brown, resist the temptation to take the top sheet pan off and crank up the heat. I did this and I just about burned the sugar on the bacon. Just put them back in the oven with the top pan on and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. When done, set aside to cool. Once cool enough, chop into small pieces.
For the bark: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in a glass bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesnt touch the water. Stir until completely melted and smooth.
Stir in the bacon and peanuts. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and spread to about 3/8-inch thickness. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour to set up. Place bark on a cutting board and cut into pieces.
To make a variation of this recipe, try using butterscotch chips or peanut butter chips, or pecans, walnuts or almonds. For my variation I used butterscotch chips and glazed pecan and walnut pieces. When this version was done, I felt like it was missing something that the salty peanuts added to the chocolate version, so I sprinkled a little bit of kosher salt over the top of the bark before it had a chance to cool down and set up. It definitely needed the salt.
chocolate on the left, butterscotch on the right.
The lost post
After I posted my recipe for feta dip in cucumber cups, I noticed I had saved a draft of a post that never got finished. This was from a few months ago! Jeeze. The summer really made me lazy. Anyway. Here ya go!
Today I made cookies, as a request from one of my coworkers for his last day of work. He requested some chocolate chip cookies, but I found this recipe for Chocolate Chip Monster Cookies on the side of a shredded wheat box and I had to give it a try. These cookies turned out soft yet crunchy, because of the shredded wheat. A good twist on a classic chocolate chip!
Chocolate Chip Monster Cookies
Makes 4-5 dozen cookies
3 3/4 cups frosted bite size shredded wheat cereal
2 cups milk chocolate chips, divided
1 cup of butter, room temp.
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375. In a food processor or blender, grind shredded wheat cereal until fine. Add 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips and process or blend until mixture is as fine as possible. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until just combined. Work crushed cereal and chocolate mixture into the dough with a wooden spoon or a mixer. Add remaining chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonful onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are lightly browned and centers are cracked but still moist. Remove from baking sheets and cool on a wire rack.
** A helpful hint! To test to see if a cookie is done, try and lift the edge of the cookie off the sheet pan. If it comes up easy, the cookies are done. If it doesn’t lift, it needs a bit longer in the oven.
(tryin out my new camera app)
Feta cheese and fancy cucumber cups
Second semester is underway. First up: Garde Manger and Culinary Spanish. In Garde Manger we had to make 200 hor d’oeuvres for an event on our schools main campus. Chef told us at the beginning of class that we would do 50 each of four different kinds, but when we got into class, he only told us three kinds to make. While everyone was working away on the stuffed cherry tomatoes, ham rolls, and salami cone things (I forget what he called them), I had the awesome idea to make a recipe I make for my family all the time. Its called Greek Salad Bites in the cook book I found it in, but I always just call it feta cheese dip. I ran the idea past Chef, and he said as long as we had all the ingredients, we could make it! I was so excited (and I’m not gonna lie, I’m still feelin pretty proud about it). They went over quite well :)
Feta Cheese Dip
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, combine garlic and sun dried tomatoes. Pulse until they become sort of paste like. Add parsley and basil, pulse until herbs are finely chopped. In a separate bowl, mix sour cream and feta. Stir in tomato/herb mixture. Taste, then season (you may not need salt, feta is pretty salty cheese). Serve with pita chips and sliced cucumbers.
For the event, they needed to be fancier than chips and dip, so we made cucumber cups.
We got the cool design using a chanel knife (which is kind of like a peeler, with a V cut out). You can get the same effect by just using a peeler and peeling off every other section. Then cut the cucumbers. Cut on an angle, then straight, then the opposite angle. This creates a flat bottomed slice with an angle on top. Then, with a melon baller (or a small teaspoon), scoop out some of the inside of the cucumber. Pipe or spoon dip into the cup.
As of this week, I am back in school! This summer has been so much fun, I’m sorry I’ve neglected to post all of the wonderful things I’ve been creating! But now that school has started, I’m going to try my hardest to start posting again.
Just a little news…
So, in case you were wondering, I just celebrated my 23rd birthday! I often get asked if I am much younger than I am, so for my birthday my friends got me this.
Coffee cake, the literal version.
A few weeks ago, I took some mocha brownies into my work to share with everyone and they were a hit! One of my coworkers is a big fan of my cupcakes, so she asked me to translate the flavors from the mocha brownies into some cupcakes, but with less chocolate. Let me tell you. Finding a recipe for coffee cupcakes WITHOUT chocolate was kind of a challenge. But I found this one and I think they turned out pretty good! I topped them with some fluffy ganache frosting.
Makes 12 cupcakes
2 tablespoons boiling water
8 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350. Combine boiling water and instant coffee, stir until dissolved. Let cool. Stir in buttermilk. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. With a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.
Milk Chocolate Ganache Frosting
8 oz. heavy cream
8-10 oz. milk chocolate chips (I tend to add a little more chocolate, just to make sure that after the ganache sets up, it’ll be nice and thick!)
1 tsp. vanilla extract.
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat heavy cream over low heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips. Let sit for 1 minute. Stir to combine. Add vanilla. Stir again. Let cool in the refrigerator, preferably overnight. Once it is cool and thick, beat with a mixer until light and fluffy.
If you don’t have time to let the frosting cool overnight, you can dipped the cooled cupcakes into the ganache in its liquid form, which will create a thin layer on top of the cupcake.
The end result looked pretty good, if I do say so myself. :)
May birthdays are just so much pun!
Its time for May’s birthday cupcakes. We wanted to do something fun.
Something to represent that summer is just around the corner.
And….. Somehow, we wound up with this.
Eggy Cupcakes (from my 500 Cupcakes book)
Makes 18 cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, room temp.
1 cup sugar 2 cups self-rising flour*
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
*If you don’t have self rising flour, here’s the substitute. 1 cup self rising flour = 1 cup minus 2 tsp all purpose flour + 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder.*
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In a large bowl (or a mixer), cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Then add vanilla. Slowly add flour mix to butter/egg mix, until all the flour is just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix! Scoop into prepared cupcake pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, room temp.
A pinch of salt
18 drained peach or apricot halves*
*If your halves look anything like our halves did, you may need to trim them up. You’ll see.*
With a mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add salt. Add sugar in parts (mostly to keep it from getting all over your kitchen). Beat it on high until fluffy and white. Pipe or smear a generous portion of frosting onto the cupcakes and top with a piece of fruit.
Now do these cupcakes look egg-cellent or what?
I mean really, I’m just egg-static with how they turned out.
These cupcakes are egg-stremely cute.
Who knew that a few simple ingredients could make the cupcakes look so egg-sotic?
I’m not trying to eggs-agerate but I think these things are just egg-sactly what the May birthdays needed.
They were so egg-citing to make, but now I’m just eggs-hausted.
Alright. Had enough with the puns? Good. Cuz I just cant shell out anymore.
Now someone get me a glass of water… I’m poached.
Seriously. I crack myself up.
And thats all yolks!
Summer time and the livin’s easy…
School is out for the summer! My grades have been posted and I got a B in baking, a B in cooking and an A in purchasing and storeroom management. At the beginning of the semester I would have told you I’d have done WAY better than that, but this semester was actually a lot harder than I expected. Physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. In fact, on my last day of class, I think I came home and took a 3 hour nap! (haha) But now I can rest up and get prepared for my next semester. Because school is out, I’ll have a lot more time on my hands and hopefully will be posting more often.
If you so desire, you can follow me on facebook, and receive your updates that-a-way. www.facebook.com/carpe.cibus. Just click ‘like’. You know. Theres some more pictures and things on that page, cuz I don’t want to clutter up y’alls dashboard with a ton a ton of pictures from school. :)
Blinkers and the Pupcakes
Everyone, take a deep breath! Finals are OVER! (pause for applause)
I made it through my first semester of culinary school. And, I only have one scar to show for it, a big burn mark on my arm (which, oddly enough, I dont remember burning myself at all…) Anyways. Its summer break, whether the weather permits it or not (yep. It snowed all day yesterday). That means you’ll be hearing more from me and seeing more yummy things as I have more time on my hands. Like today! Today is Blink, my brothers beagle pup’s 2nd birthday. So I’m gonna make him a birthday cake! (dog friendly of course!). And, because I always do, I’m going to make them into cupcakes.
Blinker’s 2nd Birthday Peanut Butter Pupcakes (get it? PUP cakes?)
(recipe from here)
Makes 7 1/2 cupcakes
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (or substitute rice flour)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
¼ Cup Organic Peanut Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/3 Cup Honey
In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda. In a separate, larger bowl, combine oil, peanut butter, honey, egg and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Scoop into cupcake papers, bake for approx 12-15 minutes. The website suggested using pureed cottage cheese, peanut butter or plain yogurt as frosting. We just used peanut butter.
(Captions, starting from the top left: 1-Rascal, Blink and Basil, waiting for treats. 2- Blink, enjoying his pupcake. 3- Rascal begging for more! 4- Basil, keeping an eye out to make sure no one is going to take his treat. 5- cleaning up the crumbs!)
The dogs reviews were pretty clear. They inhaled those little treats! As for my brother and I…. well. They were really dry. And kinda bland. Like eating a piece of stale wheat bread with a TON of peanut butter on it. Maybe I overcooked them? Maybe they needed more liquid? Maybe they’re just not really made for us 2 legged folks to be eating them. Whatever the case, I think Blink had a pretty good birthday.