Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Brownies inspired by the Fassbender!

Irish Cream Brownies!
If you know me and haven't been living under a rock, you know about one of my new favorite actors: Michael Fassbender! He's incredibly talented, showcasing his chameleon-like ability in films like Hunger, Inglorious Basterds, Shame, Prometheus, Fish Tank, A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, X-Men: First Class...okay you get it and I digress, but the list really goes on and on. He's also very easy on the eyes, so that doesn't hurt! Now, I was going to try and pick one of his many fantastic films to center my Irish Cream Brownies recipe upon, (Shame-ful Brownies, anyone? I kid, I kid, I would never disrespect the amazing work of Steve McQueen like that). Then I decided that there were just too many good movies Fassbender's been in to just choose one. Instead, I decided on a first for this blog: a recipe inspired by an actor.

Since Fassbender is half-Irish, I figured what better way to  honor him through baking than to incorporate Irish cream or coffee liqueur into an already fun brownie recipe? So without further ado, I present to you Irish Cream Brownies: Magneto approved! Go ahead and feel free to familiarize yourself with this guy. He seems kind of goofy in real life, which makes him even cooler to me.  The first interview is part of an on-going collection of "screen-tests" that Lynn Hirschberg of the NY Times conducts. If you're not a Fassbender fan, (please don't tell me), there's plenty of other fun interviews to choose from (Carey Mulligan, Natalie Portman, Vera Farmiga).

The second is from Charlie Rose's wonderful program. No copyright infringement intended, this is all Lynn Hirschberg and Charlie Rose! Oh, and you're welcome:

Lynn Hirschberg's Screen Tests:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQEi65xdl44

Fassbender with Diva Noomi Rapace, (she's a really fierce l'il cutie, too) on Charlie Rose promoting Prometheus:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpQY867nktw


Brownie Ingredients, (Adapted from this amazing Hershey's recipe: http://www.hersheys.com/pure-recipes/details.aspx?id=5008&name=Best+Brownies#share_modal )

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon Irish cream or coffee liqueur

Frosting ingredients

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 cups powdered sugar
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond milk (or 1-2 tablespoons regular milk)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons Irish cream or coffee liqueur

Directions for the Brownies

(1)Pr-heat oven to 350 degrees F
(2) In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together.
(3) Stir in vanilla extract
(4) Add eggs and beat until well-incorporated
(5) Mix together flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add this dry mixture to the batter.
(5) Stir in coffee liqueur and chocolate chips.
(6) Line 9-inch square pan with foil. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until fork stuck into center of the brownies comes out clean.
(7) Cool the brownies.

Directions for the Frosting

(1) Melt 3 tablespoons of butter.
(2) Add vanilla, cocoa powder, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. Mix thoroughly.
(3) Add milk, cinnamon, and coffee liqueur.
(4) After brownies have cooled, spread frosting on generously.

Enjoy and thank you again for reading!

Love Always,
Rukh




Sunday, June 24, 2012

Curious George's Banana Nut Bread!

Banana Nut Bread! Photo courtesy Megan Faillace
Banana Nut Bread! Photo courtesy Megan Faillace
Banana Nut Bread!
Did you love reading the Curious George books as a kid as much as I did, (and did you enjoy the cute cartoon version as well)? He was such a sweet, curious little monkey! In honor of him and the Man with the Yellow Hat, I present to you lovely blog readers: *drumroll please,* Curious George's Banana Nut Bread! Why? Well, because I'm pretty sure Mr. George had a fondness for bananas, and what better way to enjoy said bananas than baked into a yummy Martha Stewart recipe? I stuck to her genius, but added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon:

http://www.marthastewart.com/312772/banana-bread

Oh, one more thing: I baked this amazing bread in a 9 inch square pan, and ended up only having to bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, a little less than the given baking time.  I'm more of a pecan than walnut girl, so I opted for those, but I'm sure either would be just great! Now go forth and bake, (and thank you for taking time out of your relaxing Sunday to read this, I truly appreciate it)!

Love Always,
Rukh

P.S. Here's a little 80s nostalgia for you, Curious George style; no copyright infringement shenanigans intended: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uTdnVNx-fE


Monday, June 18, 2012

Jurassic Park Cookie Cake!


Dinosaur Sprinkles!

Yup, I'm still thrilled about these neon-colored dinosaurs...
I have to be real: this is basically cookie dough baked in a cake pan topped with store-bought frosting/neon dinosaur sprinkles, (yes you read that correctly, neon dinosaur sprinkles)! I figured there was no harm in at least sharing the pictures, even if it's not my most original work. The recipe is the same one I used from another baking blog, but any wonderful cookie dough recipe should suffice: just be sure to keep an eye on the cookie cake as it's baking because you don't want it to burn! I added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to my cookie dough by the way, as I find that it kicks up the chocolate flavor (clever girl, five cool points to you if you get this reference). Use the frosting of your choice, (I went with Pillsbury classic vanilla and was quite pleased), and spread it on top of the cookie cake after it has completely cooled. If you're a sprinkle-person like me, add some lovely decorations on top!
I found these cute dinosaur sprinkles in a set at the grocery store. I hope you find them too: I'm sure your inner five year-old will rejoice in them as much as I did. Jurassic Park will always be a classic to me...I mean Jeff Goldblum was in it! If he's not cool in all his quirkiness, I don't know who is!  Now, I know this post is very short and sweet, but hey, at least you get to look at yummy dessert, right? Happy Monday!

NOTE: I used half of what the recipe called for cookie dough wise and baked it for about 20 to 25 minutes, (or until it's golden brown).You might have to bake it for a little longer depending on how much cookie dough you use or whether you have a fancy schmancy oven! Either way, enjoy!

Love Always,
Rukh 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Blueberry Doughnut-like Cake for The Greatest TV Show Ever!


I know these look *very* similar to past blueberry dishes I've posted about, but I swear, these are a whole new ballgame! So, like many of the recipes I post about, this particular one was inspired by/adapted from one from the fierce diva Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. I intended to make her Strawberry Summer Cake, (the recipe for it can be found here):


Midway through, I realized I couldn't bear to use the "these are way too good to be true and are sweet enough to qualify for a dessert all by their lonesome selves" strawberries I got from the Farmers' Market in Burbank this morning, (hollaback Orange Grove & Third Street)! I decided to improvise: I had a ridiculous amount of blueberries in my fridge and what better home for them than swimming in sweet cake batter? Are you ready for the recipe? I refer to it as Blueberry Doughnut-like Cake, simply because the cake unintentionally tastes a little like blueberry doughnuts, and let's face it: how could that ever be a bad thing?

What show is this recipe inspired by? Believe it or not: The Wire. Okay, okay, it's a stretch, but I promise it'll make sense in just a bit: The Wire is probably the greatest TV series of all time. I've heard that stated by multiple people, (people who have never met each other by the way), and couldn't agree more. Each season of this phenomenal show focuses on a different social issue, (season 4 focused on problems in the public school system and is coincidentally my favorite). It doesn't hurt that they have some serious talent in the ensemble: Andre Royo, Sonja Sohn, Idris Elba, Michael K. Williams, Clarke Peters, the list goes on and on.

During (my favorite) season 4, the focus shifts to a group of kids. These young actors are insanely gifted, and one of them plays a kid who steals cars and goes by the nickname of "Donut." Let's think of this cake as an ode to him, his friends, and Omar Little.  Hey, I know it's a stretch, but any excuse for getting people to watch this TV show is just fine by me. So without further ado, here's the recipe. No go make it quickly and get to watching The Wire. Trust me, you'll thank me later!

Here's what you'll need:

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1.5 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:

(1) Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
(2) Cream together butter and 1.5 cups sugar. Save the last tablespoon for later!
(3) Add the egg and whisk thoroughly.
(4) Add the vanilla, lemon extract, and milk and stir until well-blended.
(5) Add the dry ingredients. Make sure to stir until the mixture is completely combined.
(6) Stir in the cinnamon and then careful add 3/4 cup of your blueberries. Save the last 1/4 for later!
(7) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
(8) Lightly coat a 9-inch square pan with cooking spray. According to Deb's recipe, a 9-inch round one will not hold the cake and will make a mess, so be sure to put this in a square pan or a larger round one!
(9) Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula or the back of a teaspoon. Sprinkle remaining blueberries and then 1 tablespoon of sugar on top.
(10) Bake for 10 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a fork stuck into the center comes out clean. One more note from Deb's recipe on this: assume that the fruit will be gooey no matter what, so test a central area of the cake where there's no fruit.
(11) Cool cake completely before cutting into small squares. Enjoy with an episode of The Wire! Check out HBO's official website for it, (no copyright infringement intended). These fancy HBO people were smart enough to support this beautiful piece of work, so they better get it! 




Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chocolat! Chocolate Cherry Fudge!

Chocolate Cherry Fudge: Messy, yet tasty (I promise)!
Have you seen the cinematic decadence that is Chocolat? If not, you should get on it: Juliette Binoche. Johnny Depp, and Diva/Dame Judi Dench in a fun love story centering around a French woman and her magical chocolate shop. Of course it includes many scenes of chocolate being prepared in all its glory, so I recommend you have some on hand when you watch the film: maybe fudge will do the trick?

The IMDb page for Chocolat: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241303/

In honor of this sweet movie, I give you Chocolate Cherry Fudge. This recipe was inspired by a fudge recipe found here: http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/simple-fudge-an-interview-with-anne-thornton/. I did, however, make several adjustments. Without further ado, I'm about to share one of the simplest recipes I know. I dare you to try it...trust me, you won't regret it!

Here's what you'll need:

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
8-10 maraschino cherries (optional for those who just like good ol' plain chocolate)

Directions:

(1) Melt the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, and salt over low heat in a saucepan/medium heatproof bowl. Stir this mixture until it's completely smooth. I suggest using the double-boiler method so as not to burn your chocolate. For those unfamiliar with this, it's super easy! Fill 1/4 of a medium skillet with water. Heat the water until it comes to a boil and then reduce the heat to low so it can simmer. Place the saucepan in the water, and you've got your fancy schmancy double-boiler!

(2) Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla, cinnamon, (and the cherries if you're into them like me). Don't worry if some of that sugary syrup from the cherry jar gets in the fudge: trust me, it's all for the best!

(3) Place foil in a 9-inch square pan. Lightly coat the foil and sides of the pan with cooking spray. Pour your chocolate mixture in the pan and spread evenly. Chill for at least 3 hours or until the fudge is firm. Then, flip the pan over onto a large plate and carefully peel off the foil.

(4) Cut into squares. I suggest smaller squares, simply because this fudge is very rich, but to each their own! Also, remember to keep these little treats in the fridge. They get rather melty if left out for too long. Bon appetit!