Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chocolate Bear Claws

So when I turned to my little sister today and asked her what she was in the mood of eating, without missing a beat, the reply was "Bear Claws." I hadn't had one in years, and it brings back memories of the bakery from my hometown. Of course, in order to find a recipe, I immediately turned to google. I figured that this was too specialized for even allrecipes. To be fair, Allrecipes did have a bear claw recipe, but it was an almond bear claw, and that wasn't the taste we were going for. It seems that the Detroit bakery is the only place that makes chocolate bear claws- everyone else in the online community seems to be making pastries with almond paste and calling them bear claws. After combing the 'net, (does anyone use that word anymore? hello?) I found bits and pieces of what promised to be something that closely resembled the chocolate bear claws we were looking for. I have to thank my dearest oldest sister for giving us the final piece to the puzzle- the filling, without which, you would not be able to call this a chocolate bear claw! Final result: Perfect. Slightly richer than the bear claws of my youth, but yummy just the same!
Chocolate Bear Claws:

Pastry Dough
3/4 C. soy/rice milk
1/2 C. sugar 
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 C. margarine
1/2 C. water 105°F.
2 pkg. active dry yeast
2 eggs
4 3/4 C. flour 

1/2 cup oil
1 cup soy/rice milk
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup sugar

One recipe
chocolate cake
(I keep botched cakes in the freezer for just such occasions)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons corn syrup
Mini chocolate Chips to decorate

Heat milk until bubbles form around edge; remove from heat. Add sugar, salt and margarine . Stir until margarine is melted. Let cool. In separate bowl add water; sprinkle yeast in and stir until dissolved. Add milk mixture, eggs and 3 cups flour. Beat with electric mixer 2 minutes. Add rest of flour using spoon. Beat until smooth. Cover with foil and refrigerate 2 hours. Dough may be kept for 3 days in refrigerator.

Bear Claws:
Prepare chocolate cake and bake like regular. Combine the prepared chocolate cake* and all filling ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a food processor fitted with the knife blade, and pulse until it has a smooth, paste-like consistency. Divide dough in half and  roll into a 18 x 9-inch rectangle. Pat filling paste over dough as smoothly as possible.
 Sprinkle chocolate chips over filling and press down into filling.  Fold into thirds; pinch edges together. Cut crosswise into 6 sections. On open side make 3 (1-inch cuts), evenly spread. Place on greased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Cover and rise about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F. and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Melt all glaze ingredients in microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave another 30 seconds. Pour into ziploc bag, and snip off corner. Drizzle over cooled bear claws. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. 

Variation: (above)
Instead of chocolate filling: Brush 2 tablespoons melted margarine over rolled dough. Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over margarine and roll as instructed above. For the glaze, heat 3 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon instant coffee. Add 1 1/2 cup powder sugar. Stir in 2 tablespoons corn syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and drizzle over bear claws. Sprinkle with slivered almonds for decorations.

*There seems to be a glitch with the print button, and the line " One recipe chocolate cake" does not print. I am trying to resolve this, but in the meantime, don't forget the chocolate cake in the filling!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

So it doesn't look like the picture....still tastes amazing!

I have a long list in my brain of  "to-try recipes." Of course it would make a lot of sense to actually write down this "list" or at least save them in my favorites, but nope, my life generally doesn't make sense, and who's checking anyways, right? Anyways, the things on my "list" usually get made when I look at the picture, start drooling and my brain starts thinking...."you know, its my neighbor's cousins birthday... I probably should make these cupcakes." Ok maybe not that drastic, but something along those lines. This post from BrownEyedBaker went up a few weeks ago, and I am pretty sure that everyone agrees that they look delicious, so I decided I simply must make them. I followed the recipe exactly- except I substituted Rich's Whip for the heavy cream, and here are the results.

Look the same? Not at all!I think the Rich's Whip was the culprit for "ruining" the frosting. I say this in quotes, since the frosting was delicious. Not light and fluffy like the picture, but it tasted literally like Reese's Pieces. Seriously. And for a Cholov Yisroel convert, this is a huge deal.  Once I saw the frosting was so thick, and adding milk wasn't helping, I realized I had to come up with a Plan B. Her recipe does not call for filling the cupcakes, but since my frosting came out so thick, I figured it would make a good filling - sort of like a Reeses.

Once they were filled, naturally chocolate on top follows, and the peanut butter flower was just for kicks.Result: Delicious. I still wonder what her frosting would have tasted like...next time I will try with authentic heavy cream to see if that was the problem. If you do decide to make these, I want to point out that I was not at all happy with her chocolate cupcake recipe. I love my chocolate cake recipe, and I use it for everything. I found that this recipe just didn't measure up. If I would make these again, I would use my own chocolate cake recipe, and look for a different peanut butter frosting recipe that doesn't call for heavy cream. End of the day, these were delicious, and I was happy that I did not waste a day in the kitchen!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, My Biggest Little Monkey!

So today is my adorable oldest monkey's birthday. He is six years old, and sooo proud! A few years ago I started a tradition of sorts that the kids can pick any themed birthday cake they want. So naturally what would any five year old boy pick out? A LEGO cake! My favorite cake decorating website is CakeCentral so we checked out all the LEGO cakes they had to offer, and here's what we decided on.
How cute are those little lego hands?
      No, that is not paint, its cake batter! This is what happens when a six year old makes the decisions...
 This cake took about 6+ hours to make and those LEGO men were exhausting, but if you would have seen the smile on his face when he went to sleep tonight, you would understand why it was worth every teeny tiny lego bump. In his own words " Mommy, this was the best birthday ever!!"

Recipe Notes:
The cake is the same recipe as the bundt cake, with the cooking time reduced, and no streusel filling.
Frosting Recipe
Fondant Recipe

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The way brownies were meant to taste...

Every time I make brownies, I try a new recipe. I kid you not. Maybe its because there are a bazillion brownie recipes out there. Maybe its because I find it intriguing that there are a bazillion different ways to combine cocoa, sugar, flour, oil and eggs and each way comes out completely different. In either case every recipe claims to be the best, fudgiest, chocolatiest (sp?) brownie that you will EVER taste. So naturally, I have to try each recipe to see if they are right. Many are pretty good. Some are delicious. Some are so-so. Soooo these brownies that you are drooling over, they really are amazing. I am not going to say that these are G-ds gift to mankind. Although, they do come pretty close....In my humble opinion, this is my final destination- I have found my perfect brownie recipe. While we are on the topic, I am a firm believer that everyone has their recipes that accomodate their tastebuds, and is their best recipe. Meaning, you might make these brownies immediately, and taste them, and say    " What? She thinks these are amazing? I've tasted better." And if you do say this, you have just proven my point that everyone has different tastes, and their own "go-to" recipes. I think everyone is just partial to their own recipe boxes....if you have one that is. Either way, I liked these, and I wanted to share them with you, so if you do make them, I hope you enjoy!
Notes: I followed the recipe almost exactly....except I added in 4 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate to the melted margarine, and let the chocolate melt in it. Also, for optimum results, don't use a mixer- just use a wooden spoon and a bowl, and don't over mix the brownies. This is the key to fudgy brownies. In order to make this recipe in a 9x13 pan, the recipe needs to be doubled.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Perfect Coffee Cake

I love coffee. So naturally I have been on a search for the perfect coffee cake recipe. My go-to for recipes is Allrecipes so after analyzing recipe after recipe, I came up with the perfect coffee cake. Lots of people have asked me for the recipes of my baked goods. Honestly, I don't make up my own recipes so I don't feel comfortable posting them as my own. But from now on I will do my best to post links of where I found the recipes. Most of the recipe websites that I use  have reviews, and I find them quite helpful.
Recipe Links:
(Note: I did not use cocoa in the batter, added 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. I also used the chocolate chips as a streusel middle)
(Note: I used the streusel part of this recipe only, added chocolate chips and replaced the cinnamon with cocoa.)
Chocolate Glaze 
 2 cups powder sugar, 4 tablespoons cocoa, 4 tablespoons oil, 4 tablespoons corn syrup, 2 tablespoons soy milk. Mix everything together in microwave safe bowl- it should be slightly thick to mix.If it is too thick to mix it, add 1 teaspoon of soy milk at at time until it is the consistency of a thin cookie dough.  Microwave for 30 seconds, until the glaze is smooth, and pourable. Pour over cooled cake.

Make sure to let the cake cool completely before turning over the bundt pan, and slide a knife around all edges to help loosen the cake.

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