Archive for May, 2011

Cookie Dough Pie

As of sometime today I will officially be a doctor. (I hear I won’t leave the premises for 6 hours.. so the exact timing of this doctor-hood beginning is unknown.)

Can you believe it?

Me neither.

Since coming back from China it’s been a whirlwind of tying up loose ends and graduation festivities. I alternate from sleeping in and being sleep-deprived. My mood switches rapidly from sadness to be closing this chapter and happiness for the same thing. And in the midst of it all, of course, I’ve been baking.

I made this pie for a barbecue last week. I unfortunately had to leave early and didn’t get the chance to hear everyone’s feedback but I stole a slice, took a bite, and I was in complete heaven. Before we left, Boy had stolen two pieces of his own and the entire group knew we thought the pie was perfection in a spoon.

Cookie Dough Cream Pie
adapted from Love and Olive Oil

Ingredients
For crust:

  • 7 oz chocolate wafer cookies like Oreos, filling scraped out/eaten
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For cookie dough:

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/8 c granulated sugar
  • 3/8 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c mini chocolate┬áchips

For brown sugar cream:

  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 c milk, divided
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For whipped topping:

  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
For crust: Preheat oven to 350F. Using a food processor (or your own hands if you have some pent up anger), grind the cookie wafers into crumbs. Combine with melted butter. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate, using the bottom of a measuring cup or ramekin to ensure even thickness. Bake for 8 minutes and set aside to cool completely. Keep oven on for cookies.

For cookie dough/cookie garnish: Beat butter and sugars together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and milk and combine. Add in flour, salt, and baking soda on low speed until just incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips by hand. Take 8 small chunks of dough and form 1/2″ balls, reserving the rest of the dough for the pie. Bake small balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 7-9 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Cool completely.

For brown sugar cream: In a medium saucepan, mix sugar, flour and salt. Add in one cup of milk and while stirring constantly bring to a boil over medium heat. Thicken for 2 minutes then remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and remaining cup of milk. Temper egg yolks by adding some of the thickened heated mixture to the egg yolk mixture and whisking to warm. Pour entire egg yolk mixture back into saucepan, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil again. Then, lower heat and simmer for another minute, until it is the consistency of thick pudding. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly.

For assembly: Break off pieces of cookie dough and begin forming a cookie dough layer atop the cookie crust. You want a layer approximately 1/2″ thick. If there’s leftover feel free to snack. Then, pour slightly cooled cream filling atop the cookie dough layer, smoothing over the top with a spatula. Pop in the fridge until completely chilled.

For whipped topping: When ready to serve, beat heavy cream on low to medium speed until soft peaks form. Add in sugar and vanilla and continue beating on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread over top of pie, reserving some for a piping bag if desired. Garnish with cooled cookies and serve!

Yes, I took this picture in Boy’s car while driving to the party. Shoot me.

Congratulations Class of 2011!!

Bittman’s Brownies

Ni hao, friends!! I’m back from China, jet-lag free and super excited for the coming weeks filled with graduation festivities, friends, family (all coming in for my graduation party), and even more fun.

Whirlwind recap of China: Extremely tiring since every day there was something else exciting to see but definitely a lot of fun. Highlights include Shanghai (what a lovely city!), the Great Wall (picture below), a friend’s wedding, and literally spending every last penny of ours on food. It was two weeks with one of my favorite people in the world, our first trip longer than an extended weekend, and it was wonderful.

Now for the baking. Towards the end of our trip I was constantly complaining that I wanted some serious chocolate cake or brownie action. If you’ve eaten Asian food, you’ve realized that they’re not big on chocolate and their cakes are not the rich, dense versions you’ll find in any Western bakery, but rather light, fluffy sponge cakes with a barely detectable flavor. For this girl, whose refrigerator is never without butter and heavy cream and whose pantry is constantly stocked with dark chocolate, satisfaction with Eastern desserts could only last so long. So while I enjoyed my time in China I was looking forward to getting back into my own kitchen and whipping up some serious brownies.

These are serious brownies. They were not as chewy as I like my favorite brownies but they sure satisfied that gnawing in my stomach from a lack of a really good chocolate dessert.

Bittman’s Brownies
adapted from Eats Well With Others

Makes 16 or 1 8×8″ square pan.

Ingredients

  • 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8×8″ baking pan with aluminum foil. Melt chocolate and butter together in a medium-sized bowl over gently simmering water. Once almost melted, take off heat and continue stirring until completely melted. Stir in sugar with a wooden spoon followed by the eggs one at a time, salt, and vanilla extract. With a spatula, fold in flour until it just disappears. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until just set. Eat with a spoon as soon as they come out of the oven.

Yeahhhhh spoon!!

Pina Colada Cake

(Pardon the horrendous picture. This is actually the only decent shot I got and I am terrible at taking pictures in restaurants!)

I’m currently in China getting chubby on dumplings and hand-pulled noodles but figured I’d leave something sweet for you to munch on while I’m gone!

I made this cake as a (surprise, surprise) last-minute decision for a friend’s birthday (originally someone else volunteered but ended up not having enough time). I simplified it by baking it in a disposable cake pan, making a whipped topping rather than buttercream, and just slathering on toppings rather than slicing out layers etc. Actually, I was under some severe time constraints so we drove all the way to the restaurant with separate components and a still-too-warm cake and I threw it all together in Boy’s trunk. Thankfully, it came together perfectly and went well with the Cuban dinner we attended for the celebrant. It was a huge hit (some even said it was better than this ice cream cake). The flavors melded and the cake was a light ending to our meal. Each individual component was full of flavor and together there could be nothing more delicious.

Pina Colada Cake
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes

Ingredients
For Brown Sugar Cake:

  • 3 3/4 c cake flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For Pineapple Topping:

  • 1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bean

For Coconut Whipped Topping

  • 2 c heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/4 c confectioner’s sugar, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut, for garnish

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F.

For filling: Combine pineapple, sugar, lemon juice, and the scraped vanilla seeds in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly while the sugar dissolves, 2-3 minutes. Then increase the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and almost jam-like. Cool completely before using.

For cake: Butter a 9×13″ cake pan (or 3 9″ round cake pans). If you use the 9×13″ pan, you will have extra batter for cupcakes or a 9″ round cake.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl attached to an electric mixer. Whisk gently to combine. Add brown sugar, butter, and 1 1/2 c buttermilk and blend on low speed. Once incorporated, beat on medium 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with remaining 1/4 buttermilk and vanilla. Add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between, just until combined. Pour 2/3 of the cake batter (you can eyeball) into the prepared cake pan, saving the rest for cupcakes or a smaller cake. (Or divide among the 3 9″ round cake pans evenly.) Bake 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (for smaller pans, adjust time accordingly). Cool completely before topping.

For whipped topping: Whip heavy cream until soft peak stage. Add confectioner’s sugar and coconut extract and continue beating until stiff peaks. Taste and add sugar/extract as needed for your coconut loving taste.

For assembly: Spread pineapple topping over cooled cake (despite not using all the cake batter in my 9×13″ cake, I still used all of the topping – it’s yummy!). Then spread shredded coconut, followed by the whipped topping. Serve and enjoy!

I wish I had more pictures but alas it was not my camera’s night.

Enjoy your week everyone!