Saturday, July 23, 2011

Helpful Sundays - Eggs

I always have several dozen in my fridge at any given time (I have been known to actually use two dozen in a few days). I am lucky that I get a good portion of my eggs from my in-laws who have a farm in North Georgia (at least when the darling hens actually lay them). This means I get eggs in various sizes and colors (green eggs anyone?) but it also means that I don't have an expiration date on a carton so I can determine if the eggs are good. There is a easy test that you can do to determine if an egg is good instead of just going by the date printed on the carton.

Fill a glass or bowl with water and carefully drop the egg into the water. If the egg floats, then it isn't good to eat. If the egg stays on the bottom then go ahead and crack that sucker.

I should mention that the FDA has guidelines for eggs and the website states that even if the egg floats you can crack it open and smell it. If it smells okay, then its okay to eat. I don't know about you but the smell of a rotten egg is horrible so I just go by what my lovely mother-in-law told me about floating eggs being bad.

It's possible I am the last person to know about this lovely test and I am just sharing something that is old news to everyone but hopefully that isn't the case. I consider this a great money saver since I always have so many eggs on hand. With a little but of internet searching there are several products that are still good after the expiration date (as long as they are stored correctly).

Other important things regarding eggs:

Blood spots are common and are totally safe. However, it is always good to crack eggs into a separate bowl.

3 small eggs equals 2 large eggs

A half an egg equals 2 Tablespoons of a beaten egg

Egg substitutes can be used in recipes that don't require cooking of an egg if you are worried about salmonella or you can heat the eggs in a liquid from the recipe, stirring until the mixture reaches 160 degrees.

I hope you learned something and find the egg test as useful as I have over the last couple of years. Now back to baking. Don't be afraid of cracking some eggs.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Helpful Sundays - Substitutions

I love to bake but I don't like wasting money or ingredients so I am happy to say that with some google magic I was able to find solutions to these problems. You may know about these but I had no idea and felt bad for buying buttermilk everytime I needed it and not using it all. Cake flour is another expensive ingredient that I felt wasn't worth the cost for the handful of recipes that I have come across that use it.

Here are some easy substitutions for ingredients that you probably already have on your cupboard:

Buttermilk - add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar to a measuring cup and then add milk up to the 1 cup mark. Let stand for 5-10 minutes

Cake Flour - 1 cup of AP flour minus 2 Tablespoons

Brown Sugar - add molasses to sugar and you have brown sugar. 1 cup sugar with 1 Tablespoon of molasses. For dark brown sugar, add another Tablespon

Oil - if you have run out of oil or just don't want to use it, you can use applesauce instead

Baking Chocolate (unsweetened) - I don't care to have stacks of partial baking squares sitting around the kitchen so I was very happy to find this substitution. 3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder with 1Tablespoon of melted butter equals 1 baking chocolate square

Sour Cream/Yogurt - these can be used interchangeably

I am sure there are more but these are the ones I commonly use in my baking adventures and hopefully now you will too.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cherry and Cookies and Cream Birthday Cupcakes

 It is a co-workers birthday tomorrow so I baked up some cupcakes to take into work. I am a bad baker since these were made to get rid of the extra frosting and batter that I had from the cupcakes I made over the weekend. However, cupcakes are cupcakes and it will be nice for the birthday girl tomorrow.

(I really like this photo)

I will share the recipes for the best chocolate cupcakes and the cookies and cream frosting in my next post.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

This year I decided to bake cupcakes with a summer feel instead of patriotic (no red white and blue here). It’s not that I am not patriotic, it’s just my husband has to work the holiday so it’s just another day off for me. My husband enjoyed these cupcakes and I hope his coworkers do as well. On holidays when he has to work, I always try to send some cupcakes to work to hopefully ease the pain of having to work when other people usually get the day off. Maybe they even look forward to working since becoming my taste testers over the last year and a half.

Anyway, back to the cupcakes…

These cupcakes are worth making if you love cherry limeades (think Sonic!). The only thing I would do differently is add more of the syrup to the cupcakes so the lime taste was stronger. 

 Recipe Adapted from Annie’s Eats

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes - 24 cupcakes

3 cups cake flour (I used the AP Flour substitute – 3 cups of AP flour with 6 tbsp of cornstarch)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp limeade concentrate
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk

Lime syrup: (I halved the syrup recipe and still had plenty left over.)
3/4 cup limeade concentrate
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Frosting: (I had some icing left over)
1 cup salted butter
1 cup shortening
1 lb (1 bag) of powdered sugar
2 tsp clear vanilla
Maraschino Cherry Juice (I bought 2 6 oz jars and used the juice from one and half of the other)
Red food coloring (I didn’t add any food coloring)


Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Use your favorite cupcake liners and 2 cupcake pans.  In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together – set aside.  Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter then add the sugar. Once combined add in the limeade concentrate and then add the eggs. Make sure to scrap down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is combined before adding the rest of the ingredients.  Now alternate the dry ingredients and milk, starting and finishing with the dry ingredients.

Once everything is combined, scoop the batter into the cupcake pans and bake for 15-20 minutes. My cupcakes were done at 18 minutes. Cool cupcakes on wire racks.

Lime Syrup:
After the cupcakes have cooled, poke holes into the cupcakes with a toothpick. Whisk together the powdered sugar with the limeade concentrate and spoon the mixture onto the cupcakes. I let the cupcakes sit while I made the icing so the syrup would have time to soak into the cupcakes.

*Do not skip this step as the cupcakes do not really have a lime flavor without the syrup.

Cream the butter and shortening together. The longer you leave the mixer on the better. Add the vanilla and then slowly add the powdered sugar. After you have added all of the powdered sugar then add the maraschino cherry juice. Add as much juice as you want but be mindful of the icing getting too thin. I didn’t add any food coloring but if you wanted to this is the time to add it to the icing.

Frost the cupcakes and add the decorations of your choice.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Helpful Sundays – Reducing Recipes

When I first started baking I would always fix the recipes as written, which meant I always made more then I always needed and there were always ton of baked goods around the house. Of course, my husband didn’t mind but there is a time when you don’t want to try a new recipe and have to make 30 cupcakes or a full 10-inch cake.

I am not very good at math (fractions make my head hurt) so of course I had to search the internet everytime I wanted to reduce a recipe and I stumbled upon this website that was a life saver. I printed out the PDF to put with my recipes and saved a copy of the file on my computer.

Check this website out:

Please note the following:

Sometimes recipes are hard to reduce since halving an egg just doesn’t sound like fun to me but if nothing else, you can always freeze the batter. Yes, I said that correctly, you could put the remaining batter in the freezer and pull it out as needed. I have done this several times and the cakes/cupcakes come out just like I made the batter that day. I guess that is technically two useful tips for the day.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...