March 22, 2011
This should be embarrassing, but I’m taking it as evidence of my extraordinary love of sweets and utter dedication to my craft. I spent the last three nights in a row researching the ultimate dessert grilled cheese. There are tons and tons of recipes/ideas/thoughts concerning this monumental idea, but you have to be careful and wade through them with a watchful eye. Dessert grilled cheese with chicken? Think again.
You don’t need a recipe to make dessert grilled cheese. It’s entirely up to you and your desires, your cravings, your culinary creativity. There are great combinations to explore and all kinds of cheese and bread to utilize, like macerated strawberries with mascarpone and honey, or nutella, cream cheese and raspberry jam.
The recipe I present to you is simply my view of a perfect dessert grilled cheese using ingredients commonly found in the baker’s kitchen. Dessert and breakfast are sometimes synonymous to me, which is why you are getting dessert grilled cheese on a Breakfast Tuesday, but just like the ingredient combinations, the meal possibilities for this grilled good seem almost as limitless. I thought of it as breakfast because, with the days getting warmer, I’m spending a lot more time on my feet and needing an extra caloric splurge here and there. The needing could come from my sugar addiction and not from extra exercise, but that’s another story for another time.
Enjoy, and if you have any awesome takes on the dessert grilled cheese, let me know!
Dessert/Breakfast/Sweet Grilled Cheese, Take One
1 oz cream cheese
1- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 scant tablespoon chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
Half of a banana, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar blend
1 tablespoon unsalted butter for greasing skillet
2 slices brioche, french bread, challah, texas toast, or bread of your choosing!
1. Preheat skillet over medium heat. If your stovetop is notoriously hot, preheat over medium low heat to avoid burning. This sandwich takes a little bit longer to heat through than normal grilled cheese.
2. Spread one slice of bread with cream cheese and sprinkle chocolate chips over cream cheese layer. Spread other slice of bread with peanut butter and sliced banana. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over prepared bread slices. Smoosh bread together to make a sandwich.
3. When skillet is preheated, place one tablespoon butter in skillet to melt and place sandwich in skillet.
4. Grill sandwich on each side until warmed through, 4 to 5 minutes on each side, covering if necessary.
December 15, 2010
The next co-worker request? Easy peasy.
There was also a sketch of a bunny that kind of reminded me of the bunny in Donnie Darko. Even if I could include a scanned image, it would frighten me a little. He’s definitely not a bad artist, I’m just easily terrified by seemingly silly things.
Since the request was so straightforward, I spent a bit of time pondering which of the many carrot cake recipes I should make. What I ended up doing, however, was think outside of the recipe box. My favorite carrot cake recipe, from Cupcake project, was always first in my mind, but I wanted to do something else vegan, so everyone could have some and not have to push any personal boundaries and limitations. I researched what eggs did for baked goods (and by researched, I mean I read a few paragraphs from In the Sweet Kitchen and decided it was more fun to make up my own storyline for eggs in baked goods. More fun, yes, but definitely less productive), and came up with a few things. Eggs help bind the batter together when baking, help retain moisture and in turn help to keep things fresh, and also have the power to aid leavening agents.
Following a blank stare into the pages of the book, I turned around to scrutinize my pantry. Black beans, cans of soup, pumpkin puree. Bingo. Pumpkin it was, and the mini-cupcakes I made turned out wonderfully. They didn’t rise as much as the egg-included ones did, but they turned out perfectly cakey regardless. I loved the depth of flavor and color added by the pumpkin, which wasn’t overwhelming at all; you still got the flavor from the carrot, coconut, and pineapple.
I halved the recipe to yield only 24 mini-cupcakes, due to my excessive baking this time of year. And mini-cupcakes, as apposed to full size, because they are easy to pop in your mouth when you run into our back office.
Veganized Carrot Cake in cupcake form
(Adapted, and halved, from the Cupcake Project)
Makes 24 mini cupcakes
¼ cup granulated sugar
eyeball half of ¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup crushed pineapple
½ cup flaked coconut
1.5 handful of raisins, or cranberries, or other dried fruit
¼ cup pumpkin puree
1/8 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons margarine
½ cup all purpose flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line your mini muffin tins (or one regular muffin tin).
2. In a bowl large enough to fit all ingredients, mix everything except the last three ingredients.
3. Add the oil and margarine, then mix until everything is combined.
4. Add the flour in two batches, making sure you mix just until the flour is combined.
5. Fill mini cupcake liners with batter (you can fill them up to the top with this recipe).
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, checking them at 16, or until they test done with a toothpick coming out clean.
As much as I appreciate the art of baking vegan, and respect the choice to become a vegan, I haven’t warmed up to vegan cream cheese and the traditional side of me loves cream cheese frosting on carrot cake. I copied the cream cheese recipe from Cupcake Project exactly (except halved, in order to fit the cupcake order).
Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting
(Halved, from the Cupcake Project)
4 oz cream cheese
2 tbs unsalted butter at room temperature
1 ½ cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp vanilla extract
1. Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy and light colored.
2. Mix in the powdered sugar gradually, until you get the consistency you desire.
3. Add the cardamom and vanilla extract, then mix until completely incorporated.