Monday, April 7, 2008

Churn, Baby, Churn!

"Aww, bread machine perleasssseee...." We do remember the times when we tried to please our dad just to get us a bread machine. Why bread machine? We found out that most of the home kitchen appliances which were already laid in the kitchen and store, getting infested with webs and dusts varies from waffle pan, the very old popcorn machine, sandwich toaster, noodle machine etc. We wanted something different and more sophisticated - let's just say hi -tech. There's only two that we wish to lay our hands and paws on - the ice cream maker and the bread machine. One was granted; the ice cream maker, and now awaits the bread machine. And hopefully, in a year time, we'll make use of the kitchen appliances more than once. It's such a waste to put them aside as displays, that's what we have just realized.

{Shot lost, no thanks to Picasa Web Albums}

Recently, we have got back on our hands and paws on our brand new ice cream maker. Brand new? The usage does not even exceed 2 times and oh well, guess that it's time to churn something up before the icy maker gets rusty.
We were searching for the simplest recipe of all, easy yet very creamy. Googled and lady luck was with us, the recipe was short and nicely summarized, and of the ingredients that we have in excess; white chocolate and macadamia nuts. Think of white chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts toppled into a big bowl of the very creamy vanilla ice cream. Sinful, isn't it? The after-churn of the second product was pure white and smooth. The first was a failure, devastated by the clumpy custard - we ate some of it though, and it tasted like scrambled eggs in hot soup. And it was "overheating" to be blamed. It was gone for good, into the bin, after our stomachs called for the urgency of diarrhea pills... Gotcha!

{Shot lost, no thanks to Picasa Web Albums}

Plights shed; we prefer chunky bits of white chocolate and nuts being seen on the scoops of ice cream though but it doesn't turned out to be what we have wanted. It might be the amount of nuts and chocolate chunks, it might be too little. The other alteration we have made was substituting the vanilla beans with 1 generous tablespoon of vanilla extract. After the custard almost freezes while churning in the ice cream maker, we quickly add in a pack of macadamias (a pack would be 250g) and handfuls of chopped white chocolate which will be... Approximately 200g, I guess. (*Smacks face*)

{Shot lost, no thanks to Picasa Web Albums}

The recipe stated that it will yield 6 servings, but somehow, there's more than stated. We've scooped the ice cream from the ice cream maker (after chilling in the freezer for some time) into a tight-lit Tupperware. The ice cream itself was creamy and the additions were the specialties. We have fun chewing off the frozen white chocolate chunks (approximately in 1-inch cubes) and snacking on the nuts.

Hopping over to the next calorie-plus goodie; a batch of cupcakes and a cake for a birthday girl that we love, Pohsan. The cupcakes were vanilla cupcakes (Billy's) with strawberry jam fillings, peppermint ganache filling and lavender cream filling. The pink buttercream is the one with strawberry fillings, which were then topped with slices of fresh strawberries. Nah, we don't grow the berries. The term fresh indicates boxes of berries that just got out from the freezing cold aisle; the fridge. The green buttercream were flavored with mint essence , drizzled with melted chocolate and decorated with Alpine mint chocolate slices. The purple buttercream, a vanilla cupcake with lavender buttercream as filling, topped off with crystallized sugar flavored lavender (the sugar were mixed with a little drop of purple coloring and a sprig of lavender leave were stored together with the sugar, thus, the lavender sugar!).

The birthday girl requested for a strawberry and chocolate flavored cake, decorated with pure strawberries. A chocolate and strawberry fanatic, we should say. We came up with this very tall cake, with 2 strawberry sponge cake (in pink) and 2 moist chocolate devil's food cake (in dark brown). Each cake sponge was brushed lightly with a simple kahlua-infused syrup. Seven layers in total, following by the first layer, which is the chocolate sponge. Second layer - fresh cream with a layer of strawberries slices. Third layer - strawberry sponge. Fourth layer - chocolate ganache. Fifth layer - strawberry sponge. Sixth layer -
fresh cream with a layer of strawberries slices and the last layer will be the chocolate sponge.
The entire cake was then frosted thinly with the remaining fresh cream, and placed into the freezer for almost 30 minutes for the coating of fresh cream to set. While waiting impatiently, we worked on the strawberry sticks. The long flimsy wooden stick were used. The strawberries were caramelized for sometime - on pan, with butter and some sugar. The caramelized strawberries were let dry on the parchment paper as it was soaking wet. It seems to be.

Back to the cake, we took the cake out from the freezer and topped the cake's surface with chocolate ganache and the sides with chocolate curls. After the chocolate ganache has begun to set, the skewed strawberries were placed onto the cake. We have much trouble on the issue of how the skewers will look good on the cake. And we managed to make it look better by putting them in cross-wise. The piping of "Happy Bday Pohsan" were done with buttercream. The last thing to be done was arranging the cupcakes around the cakes. And we were glad that the girl likes it as much as we did.

Next up, we, which now includes Molly, has brought a batch of devil's food chocolate cupcakes with extra dark chocolate buttercream frosting for Mamin, another birthday boy last month (shot taken above). We ran out of ideas on what decors and flavors to go for as we wanted to give him a big surprise. Surprise. The cupcakes were slightly bigger than the usual mini ones - thus saves time. The cupcakes were filled with 2 different fillings; peanut butter cream cheese and the other one would be thick chocolate ganache.

We'd realized that piping pretty swirls is pretty hard and intense when it comes to larger cupcakes. From the statement made, complete swirls basically equals dollops of buttercream slabbed onto the cupcakes. Very high in calories and VERY creamy. That is why cupcakes are eaten together with the cream, not alone. But oh well, the fact is our cupcakes were loaded with too much frosting. That was Mamin's comment and comments are mostly welcomed - where alterations leads to improvement. We molded the roses with cooking white chocolate and used it as the cupcakes' decors. White roses were chosen; that's the rose that Mamin is using as his display picture in his msn, and we had not seen any other display pictures other than that gray-scaled shot of a white rose.

The center of attraction,
amount of 4 cupcakes, were cupcakes decorated with chocolate flakes and chocolate-molded coffee beans. The coffee beans were made out of dark chocolate where tempering is involved. Then, this comes down to pouring the melted dark chocolate into the coffee-bean mold and let it set at room temperature. Our conscience told us to put them into the freezer. And within 10 minutes, those coffee beans chocolate popped out easily from the coffee-bean mold. The cupcakes (4 of them) were not done yet. We've pipe words with a beige-colored buttercream; Happy Birthday Mamin!

Without mercy, the remaining piece went down to our stomachs. Ours were more like it, dollops of dark chocolate buttercream piped in dainty swirls (shot above). Upon the visit to give Mamin a surprise, we felt so excited in meeting him, and that was the first time seeing him ever since we finished our A-Levels. Enjoyed the way he ate the cupcakes, which was part of a token of appreciation presented to us. And we miss him greatly. =)