THE NEVER AGAIN FOLDER

Some adventures in the kitchen can be catastrophic. My lowest of the low was a certain Vegan Soufflee made in 2019 that was by far the worst thing I’ve ever made and maybe the worst I’ve ever tasted. Then there are things that ended up quite tasty but the process was so convoluted that… all I could think was “never, never again.” I share two examples today. You can actually use your own recipes to come up with them, they are both very simple. A brownie cake and sugar cookie dough, in two colors.

LADY BUG BROWNIE BITES

This one took me by surprise, after all I like to think I’m quite comfortable around Royal icing. And after baking the brownie bites in your favorite silicone half-dome mold, you are half way there. But, not so fast, my dear… not so fast. Getting the red icing to smoothly coat the surface, all the way down, is VERY messy and requires colorful language. Then you need to add the details in black while the red is still wet. Finally the white eyes are added later, when the base is set and any Zen you had is far gone.

They did look awfully cute, but I tell you, NEVER AGAIN!

Moving on…

JIGSAW BLACK AND WHITE COOKIES

For these cute looking cookies, all you need is the right cutter, and I recommend this one. I actually saw someone on IG making a pastry shell using this technique and immediately adapted it for cookies. It seemed so straightforward.

Roll out both doughs less than 1/4 inch thick (I was going to do sandwich cookies because I like to maximize suffering, so I wanted them thin). Cut with the mold, separate the pieces and assemble them together. Cut them in square shapes to bake.

I know they look pretty nice and appealing, but it was time-consuming, a lot of work to come up with just a few cookies. Also, you are left with some trimmings that to use you must mash together for a marble effect, no way to re-roll and get more jigsaw patterns going.

To be honest, I really like the Jigsaw Cookies and might do them again, maybe a Red Velvet and White when Valentine’s comes up. But I need some time to forget the hassle and tell myself “I don’t remember it being that bad.”

ONE YEAR AGO: Chai-Butterfly Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Roasted Cauliflower Salad over Hummus

THREE YEARS AGO: Sous-vide Egg Bites

FOUR YEARS AGO: Paul Hollywood, The Weekend Baker

FIVE YEARS AGO: Texas Sheet Cake

SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, September 2015

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Sour Cherry Sorbet: A Labor of Love

EIGHT YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen – September 2013

NINE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Sorbet at Summer’s End

TEN YEARS AGO: When three is better than two  (four years with Buck!)

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Grating Tomatoes (and loving it!)

TWELVE YEARS AGO: A Peachy Salad for a Sunny Day

BROWNIE CUPCAKES WITH FONDANT TOPPING

Not too long ago I shared a series of brownie cupcakes with a light milk glaze that you can take in many different directions depending on what you use to flavor the milk. In this post the same simple cupcakes were topped with fondant textured with a silicone mat. You will need a very small amount of buttercream spread on the top to serve as a glue for the fondant. I had some leftover from macarons, but you need so little that I would not mind if you grabbed a store-bought version. Perhaps a Wilton cream cheese frosting, which is not too sweet. It won’t be as good as home-made, but you will barely taste it in this case. Recipe for the cupcakes found here.

HEARTS AND GOLD BROWNIE CUPCAKE

Maybe my favorite of the trio, made using this mini-fondant mat. I used Sugarprism red to paint the hearts, and Egyptian gold luster + everclear to highlight the details. A little shower with Champagne glitter dust from TheSugarArt sealed the deal for me.

SPRINGTIME BROWNIE CUPCAKE

For this cupcake, I used one of my favorite little mats, which I bought a couple of years ago. You can find it here. After it dried a little bit, I painted using vodka + luster powder yellow, green, pink and the center of the flower with Egyptian gold. I could not help but finish them with some White Diamond Dust, again from TheSugarArt.

PINK SWIRLS BROWNIE CUPCAKE

For this cupcake I used this large silicone mat, and selected the region I wanted to top the cupcake by placing the round cookie cutter over it. Once the fondant dried for a few minutes, I brushed the surface with a glaze made with TrueColor Air-brush Shine Pink. The small detail in the center of the flower was added with Sugarprism red.

These are the three mats used in this set of brownie cupcakes…

Fondant mats are great little tools to play with, and work equally well with marzipan and even modeling chocolate. Some mats work better than others, and it does take some trial and error to get the impression perfect in the whole extension. With fondant, a bit of cornstarch helps. The advantage of cupcakes is their small area, a lot more forgiving to get it right.

Speaking of marzipan…

In these lemon cupcakes made a couple of years ago and for some reason never blogged (!!!!). The same white mat of the picture was used with rolled marzipan and dusted with dry luster powder in yellow and pink. Amazing what I find in forgotten folders in my computer. Sad thing is that I don’t even remember which recipe I used for them… I might have to re-visit this important issue!

ONE YEAR AGO: Brown Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Icing

TWO YEARS AGO: Mandioca Frita 101 

THREE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Puffs

FOUR YEARS AGO: Vietnamese-ish Chicken

FIVE YEARS AGO: Rutabagas Anna

SIX YEARS AGO: The Ultimate Raspberry Sorbet

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Crispy Cornmeal Sweet Potato Fries

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Pan-grilled Tilapia with Smoked Paprika & Avocado Cream

NINE YEARS AGO: Golden Saffron and Fennel Loaf

TEN YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, July 2011

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Heavenly Homemade Fromage Blanc

TWELVE YEARS AGOA Perfect Sunday Dinner

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

In this post I share chocolate cookies and brownie cupcakes, all dressed up for the occasion. Recipe for cookies can be found here, and brownie cupcakes with a click here.

Four types of decorations, depending on how much icing and how much work you’d like to put into the cookies. The simplest is the chocolate star with the sprinkle border. All you have to do is pipe a little line of icing all around and then dip the cookie gently in sprinkles. The hexagons were featured recently on my baby blog.

These stars were inspired by Haniela. They started with a flooded white cookie, and then some were air-brushed with a combination of stencils (stripes and stars), and some were outlined with a three-color icing using a flat icing tip.

The 4th of July Hearts were inspired by something I saw on Instagram last year and saved for the future. And the future is now!

Cupcakes were made using 1/8 tsp of orange oil to flavor the cake batter. The icing was flavored with chai extract, as described in my post from a couple of months ago. Patriotic sprinkles complete the look…

I hope you are having a wonderful 4th, and please if you are into fireworks, think a little bit about all those pets getting terrified out there. If you can minimize your fun, or do it away from residential neighborhoods, please consider doing so.

ONE YEAR AGO: 4th of July Inspired Baking

TWO YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, July 2019

THREE YEARS AGO: Brigadeiros for the 4th of July

FOUR YEARS AGO: Kaleidoscopic Macarons

FIVE YEARS AGO: Zucchini Noodles with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, July 2015

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Sous-vide Pork Chops with Roasted Poblano Butter

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Roasted Strawberry-Buttermilk Sherbet

NINE YEARS AGO: Amazing Ribs for the 4th of July!

TEN YEARS AGO: Baby Back Ribs on the 4th of July

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Blueberry Muffins

TWELVE YEARS AGO: A Pie for your 4th of July

THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN TURNS TWELVE!

POST #1441

A PALINDROME!


Twelve years. Hard to believe. It’s been such a journey, I sometimes don’t recognize myself in earlier posts. Like those written when I was a certified cake-o-phobe and decorated cookies were not to be found in my virtual spot. Twelve years later, I turned into a passionate baker, so much so that I started a second site just devoted to cookies. How did that happen? I have no idea, but I am having a blast with it. First things first. What is a Birthday party without cake? To celebrate this special day, I made a cake that joins my Brazilian roots (brigadeiros) with the cookies that launched me into a more serious baking path: macarons. Raspberry is the flavor. Pink and gold the colors. Happy 12th, my dear Bewitching Kitchen!

CELEBRATION PINK AND GOLDEN RASPBERRY CAKE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, cake slightly modified from My Cake School)

for one batch of cake:
(I made two batches to have 4 cake layers, used 3 in the cake)
350g) sugar
285g cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
15g baking powder
5 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup (242g) buttermilk
1/3 cup (72g) vegetable oil
140g unsalted butter, slightly softened.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 x 2 inch round cake pans. Reserve.

In the bowl of your mixer add the dry ingredients, sugar, flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk to combine. Reserve. In a separate bowl, add the egg whites, buttermilk, vanilla and oil. Stir with a fork to combine.

With the mixer on low speed, add the slices of butter a few pieces at a time to the dry ingredients. Increase the mixer to medium speed and beat until the dry ingredients look crumbly and moistened by the butter. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the egg mixture, increase to medium speed and mix for 1 1/2 minutes, the batter will become thick and fluffy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Divide the batter between the two pans.

Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool in the pans 10 minutes, then turn out.

for the raspberry filling:
2 cups ( 320g) raspberries
4 tbsp (60ml) water
1 cup ( 200g) sugar
25g cornstarch

Add the raspberries and water to a food processor and puree until smooth. If you’d like, you can strain the puree to remove the seeds, but in this case start from a bigger amount so you end up with 320g.

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Stir in the raspberry puree. Cook over medium heat, stirring consistently until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 8-10 minutes.
Allow to boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Refrigerate and allow to cool completely.

for the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon salt
2 pounds (approximately 8 cups) powdered sugar
food gel dye, Americolor Dusty Rose

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed (if you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment), beat together the butter, shortening, and extracts until smooth and creamy.

Add 2 tablespoons of the milk or water, the salt, and half the powdered sugar and mix just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, gradually add in the remaining sugar. Add more milk or water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

Divide the frosting in three bowls, and add increasing amounts of gel dye to get the ombre effect.

for decoration:
Raspberry Brigadeiros (recipe here)
Lemon Macarons (recipe here, but omit the blueberry jam)
Egyptian Gold luster powder
Everclear or vodka

Cake layers can be made a week in advance and frozen. Thaw still wrapped in plastic at room temperature. Assemble the cake by placing one layer on a rotating cake stand over a cardboard round base. A little buttercream on the cardboard helps it stay stable as you work on it.

Make a little dam with buttercream frosting (use the lighter color), then add the raspberry filling. Place the second layer on top, repeat the process and top with the third. Frost the cake first with a crumb coat, refrigerate for 30 minutes, then frost with the darkest tone at the bottom. If desired, add texture with a cake comb or spatula. Use the darker color to make rosettes on top, add the brigadeiros and macarons.

Finish the look with a few strokes of gold color on the edges of the buttercream roses and ridges on the sides of the cake. If you have golden sprinkles, put them to use…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I should thank Tanya, my tent-baking friend, for the help and advice she gave me to make this cake. It turns out that I had not baked a cake in about 10 months and was feeling pretty rusty. But I am thrilled with the way it turned out, because I had this image in my mind, and the cake came pretty close to my goal. I loved making the ombre effect with the three tones of pink. Come to think of it, Dusty Rose from Americolor is a total must-have. Pink is tricky. Just a little more than you think you need will take you into bubblegum territory. Not what I wanted for my cake. Dusty Rose gives a nice pastel tone.

For the macarons, I painted one shell in solid gold, and added a brush of gold on the other side. I think the lemon of the macaron filling was a good match for the raspberry cake. As to the frosting, I went with a type of buttercream that stands well at room temperature for several hours. It is important to use a good quality shortening, and butter. I went with Spectrum and Kerrygold.

If you’ve been following me for a while or if you are new here, thank you for your support, and thanks for leaving comments and feedback on recipes you try. I step into the 13th year of this journey with the same enthusiasm I had on the second year. Or third. Or 10th. I’ve never set goals for my blog, it is a reflex of what goes on in my life as far as cooking and baking is concerned. I just try to keep it varied and interesting, and hope that it inspires others to cook and bake.

ONE YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns 11!

TWO YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns 10, and a Giveaway…

THREE YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns 9!

FOUR YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns eight!

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Seven!

SIX YEARS AGO: Bewitching Kitchen Turns Six!

SEVEN YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Five!

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Four!

NINE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Three! 

TEN YEARS AGO:  The Bewitching Kitchen turns Two!

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Bewitching Birthday!

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Welcome to my blog!



THE MANY FACES OF BROWNIE CUPCAKES

One basic recipe, several ways to dress it up. I adapted the basic brownie and icing recipes from a version found in Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes. Clockwise from top left: Rose-Mint, Chai, Lavender and Orange-Ginger Brownie Cupcakes. I started making them in August last year and they’ve been a regular component of my weekly donations. Once iced and set, they stay good for a couple of days at room temperature.

BROWNIE CUPCAKE BASIC RECIPE
(modified from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes)

1 package Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate (4oz)
1 stick (1/2 cup, 113 g) unsalted butter
265g sugar (1 + 1/3 cup)
2 room temperature eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Place 12 cupcake liners in a baking sheet, and heat the oven to 350F.

Chop the chocolate and butter in pieces, place them in a microwave-safe bowl and melt at 50% power just until the chocolate is almost fully melted. Finish melting by whisking gently until smooth. Allow it to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

In another bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Reserve.

To the melted chocolate, add the sugar and mix with a handheld mixer, when the sugar is incorporated (it won’t be smooth), add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth, for a couple of minutes medium-speed. Gently sift the flour mixture on top, whisk just until the flour is incorporated and no dry bits can be found.

Fill each cupcake 3/4 full with the batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist. Cool completely before icing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

ROSE AND MINT BROWNIE CUPCAKES

1/3 cup milk (you won’t use it all)
1 bag Bigelow Rose Mint Tea
1/8 tsp rose water (I used Nielsen-Massey)
180g (1 + 1/2 cup) powdered sugar

Infuse the milk with the bag of tea by bringing it almost to a full-boil in a small saucepan, turning off the heat, adding the tea bag, closing the pan and leaving undisturbed for 10 minutes. Squeeze the tea bag. If you want a little more pink color, add a touch of food gel (I used fuchsia from Sugarflair, added with a toothpick).

Place the powdered sugar on a large bowl and add half the amount of infused milk, whisking gently until fully dissolved. Adjust with enough additional milk to make a spreadable icing that will not pour freely from the sides of the cupcakes, but instead be thick enough to form a stable layer. Decorate with sprinkles, or flowers made from Royal icing or molded chocolate, as in the picture below.

CHAI BROWNIE CUPCAKES

1/3 cup milk (you won’t use it all)
1 bag Double Chai Stash Tea
180g (1 + 1/2 cup) powdered sugar
sprinkles (I used this one, a favorite)

Infuse the milk with the bag of tea by bringing it almost to a full-boil in a small saucepan, turning off the heat, adding the tea bag, closing the pan and leaving undisturbed for 10 minutes. Squeeze the tea bag to release flavor and reserve the milk.

Place the powdered sugar on a large bowl and add half the amount of infused milk, whisking gently until fully dissolved. Adjust with enough additional milk to make a spreadable icing that will not pour freely from the sides of the cupcakes, but instead be thick enough to form a stable layer. Decorate with sprinkles, Royal icing flowers, or molding chocolate details.

LAVENDER BROWNIE CUPCAKES

1/3 cup milk (you won’t use it all)
1/4 tsp dried lavender flowers
180g (1 + 1/2 cup) powdered sugar
sprinkles

Infuse the milk with the dried lavender by bringing it almost to a full-boil in a small saucepan, turning off the heat, closing the pan and leaving undisturbed for 10 minutes. Pass the milk mixture through a fine sieve to remove the lavender. Reserve the milk. If desired, add a tiny drop of purple food gel dye.

Place the powdered sugar on a large bowl and add half the amount of infused milk, whisking gently until fully dissolved. Adjust with enough additional milk to make a spreadable icing that will not pour freely from the sides of the cupcakes, but instead be thick enough to form a stable layer. Decorate with sprinkles.

ORANGE-GINGER BROWNIE CUPCAKES

1/3 cup milk (you won’t use it all)
1 bag Orange-Ginger tea (I used this one from Republic of Tea)
180g (1 + 1/2 cup) powdered sugar
sprinkles

Infuse the milk with the bag of tea by bringing it almost to a full-boil in a small saucepan, turning off the heat, adding the tea bag, closing the pan and leaving undisturbed for 10 minutes. Squeeze the tea bag to release flavor and reserve the milk. If desired, add a very tiny amount of orange food gel dye.

Place the powdered sugar on a large bowl and add half the amount of infused milk, whisking gently until fully dissolved. Adjust with enough additional milk to make a spreadable icing that will not pour freely from the sides of the cupcakes, but instead be thick enough to form a stable layer. Decorate with sprinkles.

ENJOY!

to print the basic recipe for icing, click here

Comments: My main modification of the recipe was to use the full package (4 oz) of the unsweetened chocolate, adjusting the flour and butter amounts, so that you are not left with a tiny bit of chocolate hanging around. The cupcakes bake without doming too much, perfect to have a flat layer of icing on top.

In this post I used tea to flavor most icings but you can also use orange or lemon zest, omit the decorations, or flavor the basic icing with any extract you like. They are super versatile. If you use molded chocolate to decorate and the room is too warm, the chocolate might get slightly soft, but it won’t lose its shape. To make decorations with molded chocolate I used mini silicone molds, and later painted them with luster powder + vodka.

ONE YEAR AGO: Olive Oil Brioche

TWO YEARS AGO: Coconut and Lime Macarons

THREE YEAR AGO: Flank Steak Carnitas

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sesame and Poppy Seed Sourdough

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pecan-Crusted Chicken from Southern at Heart

SIX YEARS AGO: Lamb Shanks en Papillote with Cauliflower-Celeriac Purée

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Chestnut Brownies and a Blog Award!

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Quinoa with Cider-Glazed Carrots

NINE YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday: Heirloom Tomatoes Steal the Show

TEN YEARS AGO: Pain de Provence

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Golspie Loaf, from the Scottish Highlands