Friday, May 23, 2014

Grapefruit Brûlée Cake

     Have you guys ever had a grapefruit with brûléed brown sugar on top that is served cold? Because it is absolutely delicious. It is a perfect summer treat to break through the crust, cut out a wedge and have the cool, refreshing grapefruit slide down your throat. I find it so refreshing, that it inspired a cake in its image.
    Think simple cake. Think buttermilk moist, grapefruit tang. Think crunchy poppy seeds.
     Then the top-spread generously with brown sugar and placed under your broiler until it caramelizes and turns into a mix of a chewy and crunchy crust for your beautiful cake.
    Yes, your beautiful cake must be sacrificed for this less than stellar looking top, but I'm telling you, the top is the BEST PART OF THE CAKE. DON'T YOU DARE NOT DO THE TOP. I sighed when I looked at the finished cake and thought simultaneously: "Man, I am ready to eat this cake..." and "AHH, why is it not more pretty??" Its ok, just breathe, eat your cake and you will forgive it and love it forever. Ok?

Adapted from The Homesick Texan's Ruby Red Grapefruit and Pecan Sheet Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

3/4 C grapefruit juice
2 C all purpose flour
Zest of grapefruit
1 3/4 C sugar
1 TSP baking soda
Zest of grapefruit
1/4 TSP salt
3/4 C buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 TSP vanilla
2-3 TBSP poppy seeds (depending on your crunch preference; I prefer 3)
1/2 C brown sugar

1. Butter and flour a 9x13 pan, and preheat your oven to 375F.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, zest and salt.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine the melted butter, grapefruit juice, buttermilk and beaten eggs. Whisk to combine.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently fold them together until no streaks of flour remain. Fold in the poppy seeds. Use as few of stirs as possible so you don't over mix.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes. Once an inserted toothpick comes out clean, place the cake on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife along the edges and carefully invert the cake onto a sheet tray.
6. Turn your broiler on and position a rack in the top 1/3 of the oven. Sprinkle the cake with the brown sugar and place it under the broiler. You do not need to close the door, watch carefully and pull the cake once the top is fully melted/caramelized and there are a few dark spots.
7. All the cake to cool thoroughly before eating. Enjoy!

    Boulder Butter

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Butterscotch Pudding

      My dad came in town last week, and I was whisked into a frenzy of Denver Tourist, a fun musical, long walks and wonderful company. Of course, we also ate our way through a splendor of delicious foods with no holding back (the amount of ice cream and decadent breakfasts consumed are something to be admired). However, the last night was a truly wonderful experience at a swanky downtown Denver restaurant my friends had recommended.
     It ended in a delicious dessert selection and paired wines, and I felt I was in a magical place surrounded by happiness (...ok, maybe I am being a tad dramatic). The point is, it was a phenomenal night I will remember for a long time. Dad ordered a butterscotch pudding dessert, and I, being a devout lover of all thing butterscotch, caramel, dulce de leche, sweet darkened milky goodness, of course insisted on a bite...ok maybe two.
    Then I wanted more, so I figured it was time for pudding. Butterscotch traditionally consists of brown sugar and butter. These form the base of this pudding and then creamy whole milk, bourbon, and vanilla get to play, because why not?
     The result is a creamy, mildly sweet and refreshingly cool dessert that plays gently in your mouth. The brown sugar and bourbon go beautifully together and the vanilla just enhances their game. I dusted the cups with cocoa powder and a few dark chocolate pieces for a bittersweet compliment. I'm sorry (but not really sorry) for introducing you to homemade pudding, but believe me after seeing how easy and scrumptious this is, there will be no more instant mixes in your cabinet.

Adapted from David Lebovoitz's Butterscotch Pudding

4 TBSP (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 C packed brown sugar (dark for a strong flavor and light for a milder)
3/4 TSP fine salt
3 TBSP corn starch
2 1/2 C whole milk
2 large eggs
1 TBSP  bourbon
1 TSP vanilla

1. Add the butter and the brown sugar to a sauce pan over low-medium heat and melt together until combined and all of the brown sugar is wet.
2. Whisk together 1/2 C of milk and the cornstarch until no clumps are visible and all of the starch has dissolved into the milk. Whisk in the eggs.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the other 2 cups of milk to the brown sugar/butter mixture. Next, whisk the cornstarch/milk mixture in as well.
4. Return the pot the heat and bring to a boil, while wishing constantly. Since you are whisking it will be hard to see the "boil" so when you see little bubbles all around the side of the pot, go ahead and turn it down to medium-low heat and continue whisking until it has reached a thickened consistency (looking like hot fudge).
5. Remove from the heat, whisk in the bourbon and vanilla and pour into a large serving dish or divide into small dishes. Cover them with plastic wrap, pressing it against the actual pudding, to prevent film from forming on the top. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours to cool before serving. Top with whipped cream, cocoa powder, chocolate shavings or whatever floats your boat.
   Boulder Butter

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Oatmeal Ginger Cream Pies

       Be aware: I do not write the follow declarations lightly. If I ever had a small bakery, these would be a consistent menu options. They are downright phenomenal. The cookie is so perfectly chewy; I was shocked when I first bit into it. The texture is something I have strived for in many a cookie and when I finally achieved it in this one, I felt pure glee wash over me. 
       The oats are packed in to make a deliciously deep flavor and with the brown sugar, they create the most scrumptious sweet and nutty sensation. Now, I am not one of those people who rave about the healthy stomach benefits of crystalized ginger and truth be told, I am not its biggest fan. The one time I tried to eat it plain, I spit it out (just the honestly you needed, I am sure). However the way it plays with the sweet and simple cookie around it, and the harmony it has with the filling made me a lover. The large, chewy pieces of deep ginger flavor and hits of warm spice are how I want my oatmeal and ginger fed to me from now on. 
      Finally, the middle...the middle was what took this cookie from just being my happiness in a small little circle to being a wiggle back and forth, smile on my face, and pure joy of knowing this cookie was all I could ever ask of it to be. It was a simple combination of cream cheese, powdered sugar and plenty of vanilla. The plain cream cheese (no butter) base created an intensely creamy and tangy flavor profile next to the oats and ginger which I am convince made each of them taste their best. The large amount of vanilla used created a delicious, warm, simple and sweet accent that mellowed everything else out. 
     When I was making this cookie, I was not expecting to be head over heals for it you guys, but I am telling you, do not take this baby lightly. It will bring you kitchen bliss and if you have ever enjoyed a Little Debby Cream Pie, I am really positive you will completely forget about those very promptly.
Adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook's "Oatmeal Cream Pies with Ginger Cream"
Makes approximately 11 cookie sandwiches a.k.a. packages of love

3/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 TSP baking powder
1/2 TSP baking soda
1/2 TSP ground cinnamon
1/4 TSP fine salt
3/4 C rolled oats
3/4 C instant oats
8 TBSP (1stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 ounce (approx. 1/3 C) chopped crystalized ginger
1 package (8 ounces) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature 
1/3 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 TSP vanilla extract

1. Sift together the flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl. Add in the oats. 
2. In a stand mixer (or with a handheld mixer) beat together the butter and sugars until light and creamy-desired texture pictured here. Add in the egg and beat until combined on low speed, then continue for an additional 20 seconds on medium speed.
3. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides a few times until the mixture is fully combined (do not over mix here!) Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the crystalized ginger with a spatula.
4. Form the dough into an inch thick round and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Let it chill in the fridge for 4-24 hours (the longer rest time is better). 
5. Remove the dough and let it come up to room temperature for about an hour before baking. When ready, preheat the oven to 350F and scoop the dough into rounds on a sheet tray (I used a 40 scoop, making 22 cookies**)
6. Bake the cookies for 13 minutes, rotating the sheet trays at 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
7. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese for a few seconds, and then add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until thoroughly combined and some air has entered the mixture. 
8. Once the cookies have completely cooled, spread a dollop of the filling evenly over half of the cookies. Top with the other halves and melt into happiness when you dig in!
   Because of the cream cheese filling, these will need to be refrigerated the majority of the time, however you can take them out for 2 hours to come up to room temperature before eating if that is what you prefer; I do.

**Note: If you make cookies even once a year, buy one of these! It makes it so much easier and your cookies will bake evenly. You can buy various sizes depending on your cookie size preference. The larger ones are also a good way to measure out scoops of muffin or cake batter. I cannot stress how useful they are!  Look around for what you like or go to a kitchen store and they should have plenty of options :) P.S. They would also make a great way to measure equal filling amounts in all of the cookies. 

    Boulder Butter