Well, it was a process, but we made it. Sorry for my absence from this blog, but moving was quite tiring. The movers came in at 8am Saturday morning, and left the new house at noon. My dad came up that day to bring me some goodies and help us move things around, install air conditioners, etc. Then we went out to dinner at a local Chinese restaurant that I wanted to try. I’m always looking to seek out authentic restaurants that either disregard the Chinese American food staples, or combine the authentic with the American. I had scallion pancakes, steamed dumplings and tea smoked duck with steamed buns. Amazing. I can’t wait until I have an iPhone and can take pictures of restaurant food. Ugh.
Anyway, before I continue, I wanted to share some pics of the new house with you all. Check out this kitchen. There’s so much space, and I love it. I’m incredibly excited to start baking, and figuring out the best place for taking food photos.
Also, we think we have successfully converted Izzy into a true-r version of a house bunny. When we first moved in, we had to keep her in her pen in different parts of the house.
But now, we have the dining and living rooms sectioned off via baby gates, and Izzy has access to the foyer and kitchen. I have a kitchen buddy! And she’s adorable!!!
I think that’s enough about the new house for now, and I know you’re all pardoning my excitement. I am pretty excited about these cupcakes though.
I made a pledge to myself back at the apartment to make more cupcakes. They’re just so great and I don’t make enough of them. I opened a 29oz can of peaches to make these pancakes, so I had to find other ways to use them.
And so, when I saw these cupcakes, well, it was a done deal.
A light vanilla cupcake with peach pieces baked inside, covered with vanilla buttercream and milk crumbs. Yeah, it has summer written all over it. I’d love to make these again with fresh peaches, and if any of you try, please let me know how it goes.
Now excuse me, I have a kitchen to cover in flour and sugar!
Peaches n’ Cream Cupcakes
Adapted from Hummingbird on High
Makes 12 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup whole milk
1 egg, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 oz fresh (or canned) peaches, sliced
For the vanilla buttercream frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp whole milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
For the milk crumb topping:
(makes more than you’ll need, feel free to halve)
¾ cup milk powder
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 oz white chocolate, melted
Preheat oven 325 F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. Put flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and beat on slow speed with a hand mixer until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. You could also use a wooden spoon or your fingers. Your choice. Gradually pour in half of the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
Whisk egg, vanilla, and remaining milk together in a separate small bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated.
Scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the batter is smooth, but do not overmix.
Divide the sliced peaches between the lined muffin cups so that the base of each is covered. Spoon the cupcake batter on top until two-thirds full and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the cake bounces back when touched. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Next, make the frosting. Beat together the powdered sugar and butter in a large bowl until the mixture comes together. Combine the milk and vanilla in a separate bowl. Then, add the milk-vanilla mixture to the powdered sugar-butter mixture a couple of teaspoons at a time, stirring carefully. Once all the milk has been incorporated, continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost as desired.
Lastly, make the milk crumb topping. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Divide your milk powder into two portions — one ½ cup portion, and one ¼ cup portion. Combine the first ½ cup portion of milk powder with the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together until combined. Add the melted butter and toss, using a rubber spatula, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.
Spread the clusters on a parchment or Silpat-lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. The crumbs should be sandy at that point, and your kitchen should smell like buttery heaven. Cool the crumbs completely.
Crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than 1/2 inch in diameter, and put the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the second ¼ cup portion of milk crumbs and whisk together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Pour the 3 oz melted white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are enrobed. Continue tossing every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month. Top the frosted cupcakes with milk crumbs and enjoy!
I have always been interested by Boston cream pie, as it is actually a cake. Yet it’s called a pie. According to Wikipedia, the dessert was first made in a hotel in Boston in 1896 by an Armenian-French chef.
And it was made the “official dessert” of Massachusetts in 1996. I did not know that states could have an official dessert. Massachusetts cheats a bit though. We have a state dessert and a state cookie. Which is chocolate chip by the way. Missouri’s state dessert is the ice cream cone. Ok, I need to get off Wikipedia now. But not before I tell you that both Ohio and Oklahoma have multiple “state meals”…how does that work? Oh and, the state “snack food” of Utah is jell-o, ok I’m done, I swear.
Sooo, back to Boston cream cake, I mean pie. I remember the first time I attempted to make a full sized one with my friend Diego. We used a cookbook with British measurements (by weight, not volume) without a kitchen scale in his mom’s kitchen. His mom and I did all the work, and the cake-pie came out…well…edible.
My next attempt was last year for my stepfather’s birthday. Much more success was achieved, and everyone was pleased. Which brings me to these cupcakes, made for my stepdad’s b-day again. I guess he really likes Boston cream cake-pie. I’ll have to think of another iteration for next year. I’m thinking whoopie pies are a good way to go.
But for this year I made cupcakes. Tasty vanilla cupcakes filled with pastry cream and topped with ganache. Perfect for those of you who like your Boston cream pie-cake handheld and adorable.
Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
Adapted from She Who Bakes
Makes 12-14 cupcakes
For the pastry cream:
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp plus ½ tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
1 cup 2% or whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the cupcakes:
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup milk
For the ganache:
6 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
First make the pastry cream. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl until smooth. Meanwhile, heat the sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens. Once the thickened mixture starts to bubble, remove the saucepan from heat. Pour 1/3 of the thickened mixture into the yolks and whisk until smooth. Return the yolk mixture back to the saucepan and place it back over heat. Add in the vanilla extract and stir it for another 4 mins. Pour the cream into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for at least 4 hours.
For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tray with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until pale, about 5 minutes. Add in the flour mixture and stir to combine. Place the butter and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, pour the mixture into the batter and beat well. Finally, mix in the vanilla extract. Scoop the batter into muffin cups about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool.
Once the pastry cream has chilled, remove it from the fridge and beat it until it’s smooth. Set it aside while you make the ganache.
Put the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Once it boils, pour it over the chocolate. Let it stand for 3 mins, then whisk until smooth. Set aside to let it cool.
For the assembly: using a paring knife, cut out a cone the top of the cupcakes and set them aside. Fill the holes with pastry cream. Cut the bottoms off the cones so only the top remains, and place the tops over the pastry cream, pressing down. Using a spoon or an offset spatula, spread about a tablespoon of the chocolate ganache over the tops of the cupcakes. Let the ganache set for 15 mins (putting the cupcakes in the fridge will expedite the process) and serve!
One cannot live on chives alone. So let’s make pudding. It’s a perfectly rational conclusion, obviously.
So…my track record with homemade pudding in the past hasn’t been so great. During the fall, I got super stoked to make caramel pumpkin pots de crème, I mean wouldn’t you? And they never set. It was definitely a delicious soup, but pudding it was not.
I put making pudding on the back burner for a while, hoping to forget about my failure. I while I never forgot, I found the courage to try again, this time with much more success.
Thanks to my incredible foresight of bulk ordering vanilla beans before graduating with my leftover college meal plan, I have a tiny cache of the black gold, and thus, this pudding was born.
Man, nothing tops homemade vanilla pudding. Except whipped cream. Get it? Cuz you top pudding with whipped cream, yeah, ok I’ll stop now.
Vanilla Bean Pudding
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 6 individual servings
2 2/3 cups whole milk, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. While it is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla bean seeds, and pod if using, in the bottom of a medium, heatproof bowl. If using extract, do not add it yet. Gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup whole milk, a little at a time so lumps do not form, then whisk in the egg. Once milk is boiling, very gradually add it to the cornstarch mixture in the bowl, whisking the whole time.
Return the mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon. Once it comes to a simmer, cook it for one minute longer (which will cook the cornstarch and egg fully). Stir in vanilla extract, if you’re using it and divide pudding among 6 dishes. Chill in refrigerator until fully set, about 2 hours.
Press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the pudding before you chill it if you don’t like pudding skin.
Get ready for gratuitous rabbit shot (s) Wednesday! Ok…maybe that won’t be a thing, but hey, don’t think about it, just look at this cute bunny.
Why are we divided into people who crave the dark sinfulness of chocolate, and those who prefer the light, clean taste of vanilla? I was definitely one of those kids that liked the middle option on the soft serve machine of swirling the two together, which is ironic now given how dichotomous I am in most aspects of my personality.
Usually, I’m all about the black vs. white, the passionate, undying interest vs, the nonchalant passing glance of apathy. But I guess when it comes to food, it’s all just undying interest, so I’m into everything.
You can see that I mixed in my failed attempt at cookie dough fudge. It worked great in the ice cream!
I love vanilla ice cream…but I also love chocolate ice cream. And mint chocolate chip…and cookie dough, and many many other flavors. Still, nothing beats the elegant simplicity of vanilla, and this is the king of vanilla ice creams.
I love David Lebovitz’s cookbook Ready for Dessert. I’d highly recommend picking it up if you have the means. Or you can wait until I post about every recipe since I’m dying to make them all. Your choice.
Vanilla Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert
1 cup whole milk
pinch of salt
¾ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, salt and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the saucepan, then drop in the pod. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep for 30 minutes.
Pour the cream into a medium bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. Reheat the milk mixture until it’s warm. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula. Pour the custard through the mesh strainer into the heavy cream. Rinse the vanilla pod and return it to the custard to continue steeping; stir in the vanilla extract.
Let the custard come to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the chilled custard in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.