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Everything posted by kthull

  1. I've made the Tiramisu Eggnog Trifle from Bon Appetit and people loved it. I didn't do the chocolate leaves but it was still a showstopper of a trifle.
  2. No matter how hard I've tried, I always, always, always hit the beaters when pouring in the sugar syrup. When that happens, I get hardened bits of sugar in my buttercream. I also read once to pour it down the side of the bowl...when I did that, I had a giant lump of hardened sugar at the bottom of the bowl and and a broken buttercream. The only way I can work it (and I have a 6qt KA) is to pull the bowl off the mixer, whisk in the syrup by hand (and man does it get stiff towards the end) and then quickly put it back on the mixer and proceed as directed. Great demo. I wish this was here a few years ago when I was having my buttercream nightmares.
  3. This past Christmas I did a layered Jell-O mold (sure wish I had this thread to guide me). But the family recipe for a single flavor mold is with cream cheese. 3oz per small box of Jell-O. The way I got it to work (MIL's always, always, always separates) is to have room temp cream cheese and zap it with an immersion blender set inside a small 2 cup measure. No graininess and it holds the emulsion long enough to set. Next year, it will be in a bundt pan and layered with the straight jell-o. I love being able to top what the family finds untoppable. Thanks everyone!
  4. Not really failures, but duds: Snickerdoodle Pinwheels from the Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies. They looked beautiful but turned hard as rocks...and I underbaked. Also made the Lemon Blueberry Crumbles from a recent Gourmet and they were ok, but I wouldn't make them again. Failure that couldn't be helped: 15 minutes into baking a cheesecake, my daughter cut herself and had to go the ER. She's fine, but I turned the oven off and the cheesecake sat a few hours in the oven. Didn't want to risk making everyone sick, so I tossed it.
  5. Wendy, I'm so thrilled about that TJ's. I was there on opening day. Maybe we'll bump into each other there sometime. Question: did you get those chocolates there or somewhere else? Edited to add: Dessert Christmas Eve was white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce, plus cookies: Speculaas Snickerdoodle Pinwheel Blueberry Lemon Crumbles Caramel Pecan Cookies Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies Cherry Swirls Korova Tonight's dessert was to be an espresso hazelnut cheesecake, but my daughter slipped last night pouring eggnog for Santa and sliced her arm terribly on the shattered Oberweis bottle (extremely thick glass). The cheesecake was only 15 minutes in the oven when the ambulance came. I had enough wits about me to shut off the oven...if only I thought to either stick it in the fridge or set it at a lower oven temp, it might have survived. But after two hours, I figured I'd just be getting everyone sick. So instead we just ate more of the above cookies.
  6. Trader Joe's stroopwaffels. Mmmmm. Nice just slightly warmed over a cup of coffee.
  7. No pictures, but I brought eggnog cheesecake with hot buttered rum sauce to a brunch today. I baked it off in a square pan and cut it into triangles.
  8. Oh, that sounds good. It's the Autumn Trifle with Roasted Apples, Pears and Pumpkin-Caramel Sauce and it's on epicurious.com
  9. I'm putting together an ad-hoc trifle. I had a ton of scraps from my kids' Halloween parties: pumpkin blondies cut into the shapes of ghosts, then dusted with powdered sugar. They're nice and moist and a super pumpkin-spice flavor. Anyway, I made eight half-sheets of this stuff and ended up with six one-gallon ziplock bags full of scraps in the freezer (though I've been nibbling for a month now). So, my latest (and probably final) thoughts are this: Pumpkin Praline Trifle - pumpkin blondies - praline pastry cream (from this month's Gourmet mag) - pecan praline streusel (more like pecan streusel mixed with praline bits...streusel recipe will be a take on Herme's streusel from the Philadelphia cake in his Desserts book) repeat layers - top with spiced whip cream (sweetened whipped cream with cinnamon and nutmeg) - shards of pumpkin-seed brittle for garnish My only fear is that the praline might overtake the pumpkin flavor. If it does, I can always do a last minute sub of either pumpkin pastry cream (I think too much pumpkin going on) or just vanilla pastry cream...or maybe even cinnamon-nutmeg spiced pastry cream and a plain whipped cream on top. I don't have a soaking syrup planned for the cake layers as the blondies are really moist. Anyone think that's a mistake? I'm deliberately choosing non-alcoholic on this one as kids are involved.
  10. I've gone through several recipes over the years and this one from Emeril is my favorite.
  11. Are you looking for home quantity or commercial quantity? Here's the version I use (home baker, no large quantity), and I've tweaked it to the point that I know it will work for me: Italian Meringue Buttercream 6 egg whites 2 cups sugar 1 cup water 1 lb butter, softened and at 65ºF 1 Tbsp vanilla Combine sugar and water and heat to 245. While sugar is boiling, work butter until smooth and lump free. When sugar reaches 230, begin whipping whites to stiff, but not dry, peaks. Slowly drizzle sugar syrup into whites while beating. Continue to beat at medium until warm but not hot. Switch to paddle and on low speed, first beat in vanilla, then add butter in several additions. If mixture looks grainy, whisk over simmering water until it comes together. Chill if necessary. (edited to add butter crucial butter temp...colder or warmer butter and it breaks on me)
  12. Kathy, that's magnificent! I've seen brain-shaped jello molds online...is that what you used? Absolutely stunning!
  13. Nice fingers Mary! Aren't they fun? And Lumas, those marshmallows are great!
  14. Daniel, I forget where I got the recipe...maybe allrecipes.com? It's a tasty butter cookie, just a little wierd to eat. Never tried a whole hand though.
  15. The eyeballs are peanut butter balls dipped in white chocolate. Then an M&M and tinted piping gel finish it off. The fingers are just a stiff butter cookie, rolled into logs. Then they're pinched at the tip and the middle joint and scored for the knuckle lines. The fingernail is just a sliced almond. Those are dipped into the same piping gel as the eyes. The fingers are really easy and browned just right look really gross in person. Kids love that. The eyeballs take more time, but they're irresistable. I've also done the peanut butter balls as snowmen for Christmas, using chocolate plastic for the hats and nose and piped on charcoal eyes and smiles. After Wendy's idea of orange choux filled with pumpkin mousse, that gave me the idea of peanut butter ball pumpkins...but not enough time for this year's parties.
  16. I've done the fingers and eyeballs before and they're a huge hit with the kids. Here's what they looked like:
  17. I sometimes get this when I prepare a LOT of pumpkin, I think it must be something in the raw pumpkin that irritates the skin. If I only do one or two bits it's not an issue, but if I chop up a whole pumpkin I get the same symptoms as you descibe. I've found that if I wash my hands frequently during the preparation it's not an issue. But you could also wear light rubber gloves.. problem solved ← i agree..it could be an allergy to raw pumpkin..in which case i would use rubber gloves... washing frequently works as well...but gloves are better..... ← I guess what threw me is that I've never had this reaction in all my years of pumpkin carving and seed roasting every Halloween. This really freaked me out, making me think it had to do with the pie pumpkin (we know the farmer and he's particularly proud of passing his test allowing him full use of all industrial pesticides).
  18. Anyone using fresh pumpkin have any strange skin reactions? I got a couple pie pumpkins this weekend and roasted one last night to puree, but after handling it, the skin on my hands got so tight that they were throbbing and the skin started cracking. After several rounds of washing and gobs of lotion, I was doing ok, but then as a test put my hand in the bowl of seeds and the reaction was instantaneous. I eat pumpkin seeds frequently, so doubt I have an allergy. Needless to say, after the reaction to my skin, I pitched the pumpkin. Most disappointing.
  19. I made Herme's Tropical Tart from the Desserts book for a friend's birthday. Luckily, a slice made it home for me to try. Not bad...I was anticipating more.
  20. For a class project, I have to research the origins of Shoo-fly Pie and bring in samples on Thursday. Sounds painfully sweet!
  21. I would always make a vanilla ice cream base and then add my left over ganache. Talk about silky, intense chocolate ice cream.
  22. I'm still a big fan of the sour cream sugar cookie for cookie bouquets and they're already on the fragile side, so I may have to just suck it up and do my own test. Wendy, as far as appearance goes, are you talking about the running of colors as mentioned upthread or is the basic finish of the icing ruined?
  23. I'm doing a few cookie baskets for a school cake walk and I wanted to know if I could bake and decorate the cookies, then freeze them. I freeze unbaked cookies all the time, and I've read on the forums of freezing baked cookies prior to decorating, but not AFTER decorating. I'm specifically planning on using Wendy's icing recipe. Also, if the cookies can be frozen post-decoration, will they still be sturdy enough to stay on their sticks?
  24. Tonight, we had vanilla ice cream (Edy's) topped with scraps of yesterday's brownies, freshly whipped cream, still-warm chocolate sauce (Herme's recipe) and raspberries from the garden. Simple, but delicious.
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