Archive | March, 2011
14 Mar

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Parfaits   Serves 6

For the chocolate base:
1 cup milk, 2% or higher
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon butter
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped

For the peanut butter base:
1 cups milk, 2% or higher
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoons butter

For the whipped cream:
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preparations:

Chocolate: In a medium sauce pan combine the milk, sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and egg yolk.

Whisk until very well incorporated then cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to simmer and thicken.

Remove from the heat and add the vanilla, butter and chopped chocolate and stir until melted.

Pour through a strainer into a separate bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Peanut Butter:In a medium sauce pan combine the milk, sugar, peanut butter, cornstarch, and egg yolk.

Whisk until very well incorporated then cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to simmer and thicken.

Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and butter, and stir until melted.

Pour through a strainer into a separate bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

*When I made this recipe I skipped the step of pouring through a strainer, it turned out fine.

Next, prepare the whipped cream.

Pour the gelatin into the cold water and allow to stand for five minutes, or until completely bloomed.

Heat for five seconds in the microwave, making sure it is melted, and cool to room temperature.

Pour the cold cream into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla.

Whisk on medium low speed until the sugar is blended then increase the speed to medium high.

When the cream is softly whipped pour in the cooled gelatin.

Whip until the cream forms medium peaks.  Chill for thirty minutes, covered, in the refrigerator.

*to make things easier, I just used whipping cream, and added a splash of vanilla.

Gently whisk both the chocolate and peanut butter bases until smooth.  Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to each base and fold until the mixtures are uniform in color

Fill three piping bags with the peanut butter mousse, the chocolate mousse, and the whipped cream.

Pipe the mousse into your serving dishes/glasses in alternating layers, starting with chocolate and ending with whipped cream.

*Piping bags are optional, I just used a spoon to pour it in, it was a bit messy so you might want to use piping bags. If you don’t own a piping bag use a ziplock bag and cut off one corner.

Chill the parfaits for at least two hours before serving.

*It says its serves 6, but I suggest adding a little bit more of everything to the mix.

Recipe Via EvilShenanigans http://www.evilshenanigans.com/2010/10/short-rib-sandwiches-sweet-potato-chips-chocolate-peanut-butter-parfaits-and-blood-orange-and-ginger-sparkler/ found on FoodGawker http://foodgawker.com/

Advertisements

Baby Cakes

9 Mar

On a snowy winters day, I sat in the waiting room at Hair world waiting to meet with Alex, customers and employees frantically moving around the busy salon. I sat and watched her busy at work, chatting up her client and quickly working the scissors.  Once she was done we went to the backroom, where it was quieter, and got to talking. So why is it I interviewed a hairdresser when this is a food blog? Well hairdressing isn’t Alex’s only occupation, but she’s also an excellent baker on the side, cupcakes being her specialty!

Just like her favorite cupcake: classic vanilla, with chocolate icing, Alex is fun, simple, easy going and not to mention sweet. When I asked her if her cupcakes were made from scratch, her eyes lit up, “I pride myself in making the best cupcakes possible and store bought mix just doesn’t work for me, all my cupcakes are made from scratch, the taste of homemade cupcakes is so much better by far!” Surprisingly, when Alex was a little girl she wasn’t much of a baker, she was actually more into cooking than anything.  “I always used to help my parents cook dinner, I was never really interested in baking” she paused and said laughing “funny how things change, now it’s the opposite.. I always make my husband cook.”

While starting off with catering from home, she needed a name for her business, and the name she went with was ‘babycakes’. She told me a cute story of how she came up with the name, “The name babycakes came from when I was sending a text message to my sister inlaw and I called her babycakes, and it just hit me at that moment that it would be a great company name!” When I asked her what type of environment she likes to bake in, she was quick to answer, “I don’t like to bake in silence, I like to have music blaring from the speakers.” I asked her what her favorite music was to listen to; she said she loves listening to music from her teenage years, such as Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, mostly music from the 80’s.

On November 22nd an event called ‘Cupcake Camp’ was hosted at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth hotel, they raised over $34,500 and shared 20,000 cupcakes with 2500 Montrealers for La Tablée des Chefs and Kids Help Phone.  Among the 20,000 cupcakes were Alex’s Tiffany &Co cupcakes. Her inspiration for the design came from her love of the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, the jewelry itself, and the blue color of the tiffany box, she thought the well known design and color of the cupcake design would attract people, especially girls because what girl doesn’t love that tiny blue box… or more so what’s inside of the box! When I asked her about her experience at ‘Cupcake Camp’ you could tell it was a good one, here’s what she had to say “Cupcake camp was an amazing experience for me. I love the fact that I put myself out and used my skill to help the kids help phone. The energy reminded me of when I used to do hair shows.”

Alex has made all sorts of different cupcake styles, she has creepy Halloween designs, festive Christmas cupcakes, flowery ones, bright colors, and of course her tiffany &Co design that was featured at ‘Cupcake Camp.’ So does she have a favorite design? She certainly does, the tiffany &Co ones are the cupcakes shes most proud of, and therefore are her favorite! Everything on her Tiffany &Co cupcakes are edible, the blue boxes to the key locket on top!

I shot a hard question her way, if she had to choose one career option would she choose baking, or hairdressing?  I had a feeling this would be her response, although she paused for a few moments to think about it, she couldn’t make up her mind “I can’t choose between baking and hairdressing. They’re both fun and I have passion and patience for both.” Not to mention she has loyal customers for both! She said that with hairdressing and baking there are a lot of similarities, yet they are still very different from each other. Both hairdressing, and baking are artistic and have basic rules, once you have the basics down you can be as creative as you want.

Her inspiration to start baking came from watching the food network during the last few years. She is easily inspired and saw a few things on the food network that made her want to try out baking, ever since then she hasn’t been able to put down the whisk and stop baking! She finds herself baking quite often, especially when there are orders to complete. At least once a week Alex tests out a new recipe, she uses her husband and other friends and family members to try them out. I asked her if there’s anyone in particular that she looks up to, does she have a cupcake icon, this is what she had to say: “Its 2 hard to choose an icon, because there are so many out there. I’m big on cupcake girls, and DC cupcakes.” It’s very true, cupcakes seem to be a big trend lately!

Hairdressing, and baking are both looked upon as a woman’s job, so I asked her if she sees a lot of men in either line of work, she said that she doesn’t know of any man bakers personally, but she pointed out Buddy from Carlos Bakery which plays on TLC and that a lot of men on the food network bake on their shows. She thinks that hairdressing and baking is open and anyone’s game and no career should be looked at as a man or woman’s job. She also jokingly said her husband makes a mean batch of brownies.

So far on her journey of baking she hasn’t had any struggles, it’s been smooth sailing so far, hairdressing on the other hand hasn’t been so easy. Coming from Toronto her French isn’t the greatest, so there is sometimes a language factor, which can be difficult. In the end it always works out but it does take a lot more effort.

When the interview was over, we were about to part ways before Alex remembered something, she told me to follow her to her locker. She opened the door and pulled out a tray of cupcakes, she told me to try them and tell her what I thought, so here you go Alex… your cupcakes DO NOT disappoint!