Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blueberry Banana Pie

It's Thanksgiving week!  Aside from getting ready to go home and help with making all sorts of things for my family, I've been signed up to make a dessert for my work's Thanksgiving lunch.  After discussing with my kickass boss and officemate, it was decided that I would NOT be making anything containing pumpkin.  Even though I love the smell, I really don't enjoy it and neither does my boss.  It feels un-American, but that's how I feel.  Blueberry banana pie was suggested and, since I've never made a pie, I was up for the challenge.  

Kristi brought me the recipe that her grandmother used to make for family gatherings, here it is.

2 pie crusts
2-3 bananas
Whipped cream filling (instructions below)
1 can blueberry pie filling
2 teaspoons lemon juice

For the filling:
8oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 pint of whipping cream, whipped. (I did this by hand for the first time EVER, it was delicious and I'm pretty proud of myself)

Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl, mix until just combined.  Gently fold in the whipped cream, making sure to distribute the cream cheese mixture throughout the whipped cream.

Bake pie crusts using your favorite recipe, or do like I did and cheat with frozen pie crusts.  Let the crusts cool, then thinly slice the bananas and line the pie crusts with them.  Fill crusts with whipped cream filling, then put in refrigerator to chill for one hour.

Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to blueberry pie filling, mix well.  Divide the mixture in two and pour over the pies.  Chill overnight.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

When Anna and I went to Quiz last week I took along what was left of the Butter Pecan cupcakes as a treat for Team Vince and the wonderful bartenders that allow us to bug them every week.  As I passed out cupcakes Tom the Bartender announced his birthday would officially begin at midnight.

Let me stop right here and say that I LOVE birthdays.  From the time I was little, my mom made a big deal out of them.  On your birthday you got to pick a restaurant for your birthday dinner (we didn't go out to eat much when I was younger so this was a HUGE deal), pick what kind of cake you wanted (and eat it for breakfast!), and of course there were presents.  My mom always made our birthdays special, so I guess I want to bring a little of that to everyone else.  That desire, combined with my love for baking, resulted in me offering to bake something especially for Tom's birthday.

He requested chocolate chip cookies and, internally, I scoffed.  Yes, I scoffed at chocolate chip cookies.  I love a chocolate chip cookie as much as the next girl, but there are so many other flavor combinations out there that it seems a waste to go with something so basic.  After thinking about all the exciting recipes I've been wanting to try, and remembering that we were in an Irish pub, I asked him how he would feel about an Irish Car Bomb cupcake.  "A what?  You can make something like that?", he said.  I told him the components; chocolate Guinness cake, Jameson's ganache, and Bailey's frosting, and he was in. 

I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen and highly recommend it.  I've tried two different recipes for Guinness Chocolate Cake and prefer this one because the Guinness flavor doesn't take over the cupcake.  The cake isn't too sweet and pairs really nicely with the Bailey's frosting, which was incredibly sweet.  The one thing I did change was in the ganache.  I found that the amount of Jameson's to add wasn't enough to really impart any kind of flavor, so I ended up adding four teaspoons and there was still only the slightest hint of whiskey.

Here's a picture of the finished product! My roommate is responsible for the piping, she's pretty great and always willing to lend her creative skills to my baking adventures.  On a different note, I've got to learn to stage pictures better.   
 To finish up, here are some pictures of Tom, Devin, and Kyle participating in a Double Car Bomb Race.   Sorry the first picture is blurry, it was serious competition!  Devin thought he was winning, little did he know...

Tom had already finished, Anna timed it at 29.2 seconds.  Congratulations Tom, and Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ice Cream Cupcakes

I didn't make this recipe up, I found it through several different sites, but it's become my go-to recipe for cupcakes.  Maybe it's the fact that there are only four ingredients, or that it only requires one bowl, or that the results have consistently been deliciously moist and not too crumbly. Regardless, the beauty of this recipe is that it can be adapted in ways limited only by your tastebuds.

Here's the general recipe: 

1 box cake mix
1 pint ice cream, thawed
3 eggs
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 and line 24 muffin cups with paper wrappers.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 15-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes on a wire rack before frosting. 

That's it.  Really.  You're done.  I've made chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and butter pecan versions of this cake.  Each one was delicious, but the butter pecan were my absolute favorites.  They smelled like breakfast when I pulled them out of the oven.  It reminded me of pancakes, and I love pancakes.  Go make these now!