Tuesday, December 23, 2008


So... today actually started off with doing some quick work for old company. After that, it was on to the holiday baking.

First, the new vanilla that my bro & sis-in-law brought me from their last trip to Mexico....

I know the U.S. dollar is in the crapper, but I really don't think they paid $50 for a bottle of vanilla.....

Anyway... first up... tiramisu. No pictures... I was still kinda half alseep and really, tiramisu is SO easy to do and the final product is not nearly as pretty as when you cut/scoop yourself some. Make whip cream, whip your marscapone, cook some egg yolks in a bowl over boiling water until they're light yellow and doing the ribbon thing, combine it all, dip lady fingers in coffe and get a-layering. Oh yeah, sweeten your whipped cream and mixture as you go along. I usually also throw in a couple tablespoons of Kahlua.

Next.... Red velvet cupcakes. I've never had red velvet cupcakes before and I've always wanted to try, so I had a go.

Wow, that is some RED batter. I even went with a single ounce of food coloring rather than the ounce and a half (I only bought one bottle) the recipe suggested.

Got my muffin pans loaded, put them in the oven, and waited. For failure.


Ok... not as epic of a fail. I can work with those.

There might be an issue with me using extra large eggs rather than large eggs, but we haven't had a lot of success with cupcakes in this oven. They all seem to do this. Kinda odd. In any case, I managed to get out 12 cupcakes that were OK or could be covered by frosting. Thank god for frosting, it can turn an epic fail into a not so epic fail.

On to the cream cheese frosting....

Look mom! Lumpy frosting! My specialty, apparently!

Everything was room temp and I tried to get my powdered sugar in there as lump-free and slowly as possible, but I somehow always end up with lumpy frosting. Go me!

Oh... and note to novice bakers out there like me... generally NOT a good idea to frost cupcakes OVER the bowl of frosting, otherwise you may end up with something like this...

At least it's not a very special episode of "When Kitchens Attack: Knives Edition" and it's just cake and not blood. 'Cause it kinda looks like it.

And when putting the hard candy decorations on your cupcakes, it's a good idea to NOT put the first one pretty-side down.....

Thankfully, there were enough candies in the package where I was able to pluck that one off and do the rest....

Not too bad. Not masterpieces, by any means, but I'm not totally ashamed to bring them to the in-laws. And I'll be surprised if we even go through those 12 cupcakes... there are usually a TON of cookies on hand and the kids eat mostly those.

Next up... stuff for the brunch at my mom's.

Look at that blender go! Actually did two mixtures in there... first a savory egg mixture for a baked omelete, and then a custard mixture for Creme Brulee French Toast. Easy easy.

After that... got in my workout, shoveled our sidewalk since the association apparently isn't getting our stuff plowed for this go-around of snow, and made pita chips.

Pita chips... it amazes me what they get away with in stores for the bagged "baked pita chips". Like, two-fifty for a measly little bag. For $1.29 I can get a package of pocket pitas at the produce/ethnic market, and make a HUGE bag of pita chips with very little work. I don't buy into the pre-bought pita chip empire, man!

Dinner was not exciting. Frozen dinners... and while the Marie Callender's Country Fried Chicken was a favorite in college even though it involved some juggling of stuff in the microwave... it was good. They are no longer so. Chicken ala the McNugget texture (and I like a McNugget... when I want a McNugget. Not when I want chicken) and just blah over all. Guess I'm never buying those again. EVER.

Also whipped up a quick Reuben dip that I'll either bring over to the in-laws, or serve on Xmas day. I might actually keep it until Xmas day.... it's filling and since I only have nibbles, it's nice to have something like that. I'll figure that out tomorrow.

One last load for the dish washer, wiped down the counters and this lady is DONE. It's all pretty thoughtless from here on out. Throw some stuff in the oven, and unwrap and place cheese on a board on Xmas day.

Actually had time to do my nails and they are waiting for a second coat of pain.... Christmas... bring it on. As long as the roads are actually travel-able tomorrow... we're currently getting YET MORE SNOW and I am not happy about that. Someone told me that the farmer's almanac for this winter said it'd be a rough December but easier after that.... I sure hope so. I'm already sick of winter.


Hurricane Mikey said...

Second coat of 'pain'?

Freudian slip?

Anyow--hope you have a wonderful Christmas. And thanks for all the cool food-bloggin' this year. Lots of fun to read!

MrsVJW said...

D'oh! Should be paint. This is what I am like when I'm off work... proper spelling goes out the window!!

JJ (Lady Di) said...

For your vanilla - That's prob in pesos. They still use a $ for it. :) But if you want to feel special, pretend they spent it in dollars. :D

I thought I'd pull a Peggy for your muffin problems:
From Betty Crocker:
Q.What's the problem when muffins don't rise?
A. Three things will keep muffins from rising fully: not having the oven temp hot enough, not mixing the batter enough and using muffin cups that are too large. Start by heating your oven for 10 to 15 minutes before baking to bring it up to the temperature called for in the recipe. You may have to experiment a bit with the baking time, especially if you think your oven temp isn't quite accurate. Be sure to mix the batter until all the ingredients are moist. And finally, use the size of muffin cup called for in the directions.

I'm thinking your oven temp could be off since you say your oven has been giving you problems. Have you checked it? That seems to be the most common thing suggested when I PAP.

My thought is that you can also over mix the batter too much, (letting out the carbon dioxide) even though it is double acting baking powder. That might be the problem if you're using a KA instead of hand mixing. You really only need to mix until the large lumps are gone, a lot like pancake batter.

Have a great Christmas. :)