Category Archives: Fruit

Orange Pound Cupcakes


As you all know, I have discussed pound cake in a past post. I just recently had a hankering to make a pound cake, well, recently as in this morning. Only this time, I wanted to make it orange flavor, utilizing both the zest and the juice to create the most flavorful essence.

Okay, I sound like I’m making some sort of perfume here! It’s been a busy past few weeks, time to wind down and make cupcakes. Pound cupcakes. Little pound cakes. Baby pound cakes. Pound Puppies.

Well, I already baked them at this point, so I’ll give you the option for the icing. The icing is simple, utilizing fresh orange juice, zest, and powdered sugar. It’s not too sweet, not too sour, it almost tasted like orange juice, which was what I was going for.

You have the option of either dunking your cupcakes in the icing.

Or spooning it on. Either way, try to get it to drip down the sides of the cupcakes or cake or drip into your stomach. I don’t judge.

The thing that I was really proud of with these cupcakes here was the face that they really gave me some purty pictures! I’ve been trying to get some more ‘food stylist-y’ in my photography without having to spend, I don’t know, the extra thousands and thousands of dollars that i have in the depths of my poor college student bank account. I fear I’ll never be as good as Matt Armendariz or Tartlette, but then again, they are professional photographers. I love looking at their work and getting inspired by it. All I can say is this, I love my camera, I love natural light, and I love Photoshop, that’s all I need.

So give them a go! You’ll be glad you did!

Orange Pound Cake with Sweet Orange Icing
Adapted from the Buttermilk Pound Cake recipe by Alton Brown
Ingredients
1 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
8 ounces All-Purpose flour
8 ounces Granulated Sugar
The zest of 1/2 Orange
2 large Eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Buttermilk
1/4 cup Freshly-Squeezed Orange Juice

Method
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, prepare 1 loaf pan by spraying with nonstick baking spray or rubbing with butter and dusting with flour, or line cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
1. Combine buttermilk and orange juice, set aside.
2. In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar together on medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes (no less than this). Add in the seeds of the vanilla bean, salt, and orange zest and mix until evenly distributed.
3. While making sure to scrape down the bowl as you go, add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium speed until evenly mixed and distributed; around 2 minutes per egg. The mixture will be very creamy.
4. Starting and ending with the flour, alternate adding the flour and the buttermilk mixture until both are incorporated. Around three additions of flour and two of the buttermilk mixture.
5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, or distribute into cupcake tins, filling each liner around 2/3 full. Bake 40 minutes in the loaf pan, or 25 minutes in the cupcake tins. A toothpick will be clean when inserted into the center of each. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack quickly. Allow the loaf to sit in the pan for ten minutes exactly, then loosen the edges with a knife and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool immediately.

Citrus Glaze
Recipe by Alton Brown

Ingredients
6 ounces powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice
Pinch kosher salt

Method
Add the powdered sugar, zest, juice, and salt to a medium mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.

Drizzle immediately over the completely cooled cake or store glaze in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Stir well before using.

Happy Baking!
Clara

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My Favorite Breakfast


I love yogurt, I live for yogurt, I live to die and come back to life for yogurt. When I landed back in the big city, the first thing I thought about was yogurt. Just kidding, the first thing I thought about was my happiness and glee of being home, then yogurt. Well, it would have been that, except in all actuality, the second thing I thought about was the anxiety that the airliner brought me when I discover that my larger bag, with all of my clothes and Christmas gifts (and Wii) had been misplaced and was NOT on the baggage claim. Ahhh, freakout time. Luckily, they located it, to find out that it had been misplaced and was coming on a later plane. So, I came to the airport at two, after my much needed and SUPER DELICIOUS lunch with my daddy, get my bag, then come home. Wonderful! Yogurt.

Despite what many would think, I am a health nut. I exercise, work hard to eat the recommended values of fruits, vegetables, and protein in the day, all while staying in a 1200-1300 calorie limit, according to how much exercise that I had gotten that day. I have never liked milk in the least bit, but I love yogurt, so I get my dairy and calcium from that. That being said, I am obsessed with Frozen Yogurt (Fro-Yo), I always go to the self-serve places and get 9 ounces of plain tart with vanilla, then top with strawberries and raspberries. This is a typical lunch for me, it keeps me full for FOREVER. They have two places in Savannah that I always hit up, I couldn’t live without my yogurt.

I discovered a method of creating my own Fro-Yo by using Fage Greek Yogurt. This isn’t product placement, its just the only company I really know of. Greek yogurt is an extremely thick yogurt that comes from straining . I had tried the 0% (or skim) several times, thinking it would be like the plain tart. Well, plain tart is sweetened, and I realized this after trying it. I didn’t like it the first time I had it, mainly because it is SO tart and so thick that it was always overwhelming to the palate. I was determined to find out what to do, because I wanted to enjoy this yogurt and eat it frequently, because 8 ounces of it contains 120 calories and, get this, 20 grams of protein. That’s more than a chicken breast. Just saying.

Sugar, yes, has calories, but really, there isn’t a ton of sugar in this, an 8 ounce serving is 270 calories (which is the same per ounce of self-serve Fro-Yo) and contains the same amount of protein. I could only have about 6 ounces though, it fills you up so much! 6 ounces of this yogurt is 170 calories with 13 grams of protein, with the addition of vitamin C in berries or fiber in whatever bran flakes or cereal bits that you choose to top it with. That’s the magic of all! What’s also good is the ability to control the sugar, I used about 3/4 c. of sugar, that was sweet enough for me, 1/2 cup wasn’t quite enough, it was still extremely tart. After this, I used good-quality vanilla extract to really brighten up the flavor. What tied it all together was the 1/2 tsp. of sea salt, it was a good way to round out the flavor.

Be sure to taste as you go!

The yogurt is thick, sure, but it still has a lot of water that we can get out, it imparts no flavor to the yogurt and just adds a higher risk for ice crystals. So, an overnight trip in the fridge in a fine mesh strainer lined with two layers of paper towels set over a bowl would get all of that excess out.

Look at all of that water! There was at least 1/2 cup in there!

Look at how thick it got! Heck! It’s like cheese! Delicious vanilla-y cheese. Now, this is too thick to pour into the ice cream maker, so I added milk to thin it out a bit.

I know what you’re thinking, “We just took out all of that water…to add milk? What’s WRONG with you?” I HAVE AN ANSWER, KIDDIES! As I said earlier, the water gives the yogurt no flavor, it’s just there. The milk adds more of a rich background to the yogurt, rounding out the flavor even more without taking away the wonderful tartness that is the yogurt.

A twenty minute trip in the ice cream maker got it to the perfect consistency!

Topped with strawberries (I had frozen here, just chopped up and thawed), this was the ideal and filling breakfast that I needed! It was a hit with the ‘rents as well!

The difficulty here is storing, yogurt doesn’t have enough fat in it (or in this case, none, despite the touch of milk) to stay soft and scoopable when stored in the freezer. So, I got some small, individual serving cups and evenly divided the leftovers up into them, that way if I wanted some yogurt, I could just pull out a serving, let it thaw a bit and enjoy it all the same.

Give it a try! Please! Its SOOOO delicious!

Greek Fro-Yo
Ingredients
2 17.4 oz. Cartons of Greek Yogurt (Total [Whole] or 0% [Skim], any fat content you want)
1/2-3/4 c. Granulated Sugar, according to your taste
1 T. Vanilla Extract (Optional)
1/4 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
1/2 c. Milk (any fat content)

Chopped Fresh Fruit (Recommended: Strawberries, Raspberries, Kiwi, Blackberry, Mango, Banana, etc.) or whatever topping you want.

Method
-Freeze Ice Cream Maker bowl according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Line a fine-mesh strainer with two layers of paper towels and set over a bowl, making sure to have at least an inch of space underneath. Set aside.
1. In a bowl, mix together yogurt with sugar, starting with the lower amount and add more according to your taste. Add in salt and vanilla extract (optional) and stir well to combine.
2. Pour mixture into the prepared strainer, cover with paper towels and cover with plastic wrap and allow to strain overnight.
3. Place strained mixture into a bowl and discard the water, stir in milk.
4. Start up the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and gently pour in the yogurt. Freeze until the yogurt reaches soft-serve consistency. Serve topped with your favorite toppings.

-To store, divide the fro-yo into individual serving cups and freeze. Allow to thaw for 10 minutes or so before enjoying in order to get that wonderful consistency back!

Happy Baking!
Clara

Cherry Pie Expo Part Doux (or however its spelled)

Final day of our fun learning experience! I have a new recipe for tomorrow that is nice and luscious. Ice cream. Pistachio ice cream. At least, I think so, I made it with pistachios, its green, and its nummy. However, I haven’t exactly had pistachio ice cream anymore (don’t. judge. me.). It’s a light version and its very delicious. So I look forward to posting that for tomorrow.

Okay, here is the perfect pie crust.

I actually had room temperature shortening, but the butter was cold, and so that was okay! Anyway, I have always found that using a pastry cutter was essential and easy. Probably because I don’t trust a food processor, I always end up pulsing a bit too much, and thus ending up with a thick, glutenous mass that ends with a…hockey puck. Ahem. Anyway, work with that until you get a crumbly mixture, kind of like cornmeal.
I like to add the water in small increments, until it looks like it is enough. I always end up using less water than called for. Just enough until the mixture comes together in a ball. Not easily, mind you, it will look a bit crackly when you roll it out, it will be a little bit sticky. What’s important is that you just don’t work it very much. Gather it into a ball, put it on a rolling mat (or whatever you use to roll out, dust with a little bit of flour, too), roll it out, press into pie pan. That’s all the work it needs. After this, I like to stick it in the fridge while I make the top crust.
As for the top crust, I just made half of the recipe for the pie crust, so just half everything and roll it out. To make the lattice strips, cut it in about 3/4″ wide strips all the way down. Pour your filling into the prepared crust, and then:

Lay one direction all down the pie, like this. Then.

Pull back every other strip GENTLY (they can break easily). I found it easier to lay the rolling pin behind the pie and lay the strips on it.

Lay down one strip as far back as you can get it, press it to the edges. Pull down the strips that you had up, then pull all of the strips that you haven’t pulled up yet gently and lay them on the rolling pin.

Lay another strip down and press into the edges. Repeat this process until you have run out of strips and you have a pretty basketweave look.

At this point, you can make an egg wash with 2 tablespoons of water and 1 egg yolk, but I was out of eggs (whaaaaaaaat?), so I made a simple syrup by microwaving 1 tablespoon sugar with 1 tablespoon of water until the sugar was dissolved. I brushed this on top, then sprinkled a little more sugar over that. I baked promptly.

See? Purty!

Cherry Pie With Lattice Top Makes 1 9″ pie
Ingredients
FILLING
1 Recipe Cherry Pie Filling

FOR CRUST:
1 1/4 C. All-Purpose Flour
1/2 scant tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Granulated Sugar
6 T. Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into chunks
1/4 C. Vegetable Shortening, cut into chunks
3 T. Water

1 Egg Yolk
2 T. Water

Sugar, for sanding

(to make LATTICE crust, prepare another half of the crust recipe)

Method
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. Prepare cherry pie filling (recipe above) and set aside.
2. Prepare crust: Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl, whisk together to combine. Add in butter and shortening, and blend using a pastry cutter until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add in water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough clumps together. Combine into a ball and allow to sit for about five minutes, wrap with plastic wrap first.
3. Roll out into a 10″ round, and gently transfer and press into a 9″ pie pan.
4. Pour cherry pie filling in and prepare half of the pie crust recipe for the lattice topping. Roll out to the same thickness as the previous crust.
5. Cut crust into 3/4″ wide strips and lay five or six strips down onto the pie, going the same direction. Gently bring back every other strip on the pie, laying them onto a rolling pin behind the pie pan for support. Lay down a strip over the strips that aren’t pulled back, as far back as possible. Gently bring the strips on the rolling pin down, repeat with the strips that have not been pulled back yet, being sure to space yourself adequately. Repeat this process with every other strip until the lattice is finished.
6. Brush pie with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
7. Place pie on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 23 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for 12-13 minutes longer, or until the crust is golden on top.
8. Remove and cool on a rack. Enjoy!

Happy Baking!
Clara

Cherry Pie Expedition Part Un


Please bear with me as I figure out how to do this over the next two days. When I mean two days, I mean today and tomorrow. So, what I think I will do is show you how to do the filling today, and how to do the pie crust tomorrow, as well as the lattice top.

Sorry if this seems disorganized, I wanted to be thorough and…well…here’s thorough.

I used fresh cherries for the filling, from the looks and size of them, they were most likely Bing cherries. But I wouldn’t know, all I know is that they were organic, which is nice as well. Anywho, I went to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought one of these cherry pitters. Boy was it a lifesaver! Fun, too!

Cherries are so photogenic, I can’t stand it.

So, I took my cherries (it all amounted to about 3 cups of pitted cherries, I weighed about, oh, a pound and a half at the store.) and added the juice of half of a lemon.

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of sugar, as well as 4 1/2 T. of corn starch. I know it seems like a lot, but it will hold together the filling, so that it doesn’t spill out of the pan when you cut it. I don’t like the look of pie filling that just oozes like liquid, it doesn’t look done. Plus, I like that goo, I like that goo a lot.

Goo is a good goo. Goo goo goo. Ga ga ga. Goo. Ga.

Goo.

And a little less than half of a cup of water. Over a medium heat (this goes into a saucepan by the way. I have been using a 1.5 quart one that I use for EVERYTHING. Candy, ice cream making, the works! Get one that you find versatile and useful.) Cook this over medium-high heat, stirring every once in a while until the syrup becomes thick and wonderful. Transfer it to a new bowl to cool.

Like this. You can enjoy the goo as much as I did.

After which, you add it to your pie crust that I will show you how to make for tomorrow! Recipe for it as well.

Cherry Pie Filling
Ingredients
3 C. Pitted Bing Cherries (dark sweet, also, about 24 ounces unpitted)
1/3 C. plus 1 T. Granulated Sugar
1/2 C. minus 1 T. Water
4 1/2 T. Corn Starch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. Almond Extract
1/4 tsp. Salt

Method
1. Pit cherries (or you can use frozen cherries that have been defrosted) and pour into a 1/5 quart saucepan.
2. Add sugar, corn starch, water, lemon juice, almond extract, and salt to the cherries and gently stir them in.
3. Heat over medium high heat, stirring gently and occasionally, until the liquid gets thick.
4. Remove from heat and cool before adding to pie crust.

I will compress everything together tomorrow as well, so it will get a little easier. I promise!

Happy Baking!
Clara

Nummy Yummy Nummy Healthy!

I’m conducting a persuasive speech for speech class tomorrow. I need to conduct one that is supposed to change (or hopefully change) the opinions of my classmates from one thing to the next. Well, my subject is whole foods v. processed. Well, for the past three speeches, I’ve brought edible visual aids, and so I wanted to talk about one of the most well-known processed food (I know what you’re thinking, there are many, MANY processed foods out there. I’ll shut up in a moment): Granola bars! Now don’t get me wrong, I love them, but I know that there are so many more healthy things that can be packed in them if natural and mostly organic foods are packed into them as well.

Yay, zinc! Manganese! Magnesium! Riboflavin! Iron! Vitamin B6! Selenium! Thiamin! Phospherous!

Fiber!

And that’s just in the wheat germ! These things are PACKED with nutrition. I also got some dried cherries and dark chocolate in there. Dark chocolate has antioxidants. So, you can just say that you’re being healthy. While eating chocolate.

Thanks, chocolate!

Lets go in order. Rolled oats, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, wheat germ. I don’t have a lot of time to describe them all in detail, but I will tell you to get them RAW, UNSALTED, and IF YOU CAN: organic. We are toasting them, cooking them! It takes fifteen minutes, and it will make your kitchen smell like heaven. Warm, toasty heaven.

Now for the dry ingredients. Simple, straight forward. Only difference? I bought the darkest of the dark brown sugar. It smells of wonderful molasses and is oh so pretty. This stuff makes this heaven. Oh, and honey. Yay honey.

Sticking all the now toasted oat mixture into the stirred wet ingredients while still warm helps to coat them. Its fun to mix them, you can mix them all you want, since gluten is not a feasible idea here.

I used dried cherries and bittersweet chocolate chips, and took the liberty to chop them all up nice and well. That way everything was nice and spread through. The chocolate melted nicely, so it was just all marbled through the mixture. Yum.

Make sure that your pan is very well greased!

And nicely pressed in.

Oh! And be sure to stack up your bars like this when your finished. Its very very important.

Good Eats Granola Bars: Clara’s Chocolate Cherry Variety
Ingredients
8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cup
3 ounces sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup
1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup packed
1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Method
Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week

Happy Baking!
Clara