Cupcakes With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Heart And A Whipped Cream Soul

Now I bet you want the recipe? Do you? For the cookie center make your favorite not too fluffy chocolate chip cookie recipe.

You could find one pretty easy. Make it the day before your cupcakes. Make the dough and the roll them into balls. Maybe about a tablespoon worth. Put them on a tray and then right into the freezer.

Vanilla cupcakes 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour 2 cups (414g) sugar 3 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 cup (240ml) milk 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil 1 tbsp vanilla extract 2 large eggs 1 cup (240ml) hot water

Mix you wet ingredients except for hot water. Soft dry ingredients in.

Mix until combined.

Once mixed, mix in hot water. Batter will be a little runny.

I used an ice cream scoop to make each cupcake even. Scoop your batter into your liners. A little less then half full. Then plop a frozen cookie ball into the center of each. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 or until the cake bounces back to the touch.

For frosting I did buttercream 1 stick softened butter 1/2 cup Crisco 1 Tablespoon vanilla 1-3 Tablespoon of milk 4 cups powdered sugar.

Published: February 25, 2017 | Comments: 0

Port Salut Rind

When ate my first Port Salut I loved it. However, there was a bright orange rind on the side of the cheese, I ate it, but then had second thoughts.

This was early into my cheese career, and a Port Salut was super exotic for me. Now I am actually a cheese monger.

So did I make a mistake?

On an authentic Port Salut the rind is find to eat but as with a lot of edible rinds it is personal preference to eat it or not. But that does not mean that they all have this edible rind on them. Many of the ones you find will have a plastic-coated wrapper which is not edible. Becareful and understand how your cheese is prepared, and what has been done with it.

I saw a comment about Annatto only being used in cheddar.

That is false!

Pretty much every cheese that isn't pure white has small amounts of the ground seed for coloration. Some examples are Shropshire blue, beemster aged Goudas and Cotswold. Some farmer's (boeren) Gouda doesn't and they are just slightly yellow from ageing but almost white.

My suggestion is is you are unsure of a rind being edible do not eat it. Once you find somebody that sells then with edible rind you can see the difference and you will know right away if it's paper, wax or other non food materials but overall no rind will actually be harmful to your health if you eat it.

Published: February 19, 2017 | Comments: 0

Warm Cheese

Think of it this way: cheese was a normal part of everyday diet for most of the world for centuries before invention of modern refrigeration. It doesn't need to remain at a consistent 33-38F for every moment of it's existence otherwise it will rapidly spoil.

A cheese like brie is actually much better at room temperature than refrigerated–it softens up and will have a much creamier texture as well as more pronounced aroma. In France a lot of families don't even refrigerate their cheese at all, they stick it in paper though, or put it on a plate covered by another plate.

Traditionally it (and most cheeses) would have been kept "cool" in a cellar or cave for storage, somewhere between "room temperature" and modern refrigeration. For serving it is recommended that you actually leave it out on the counter for 30-60 min. or so to come up to room temperature.

Unless you live somewhere tropical with lots of fungus or mold issues, by leaving it out overnight you have only slightly shortened the expected shelf life of a cheese which would normally be perfectly fine for weeks in the refrigerator, especially since it was already sealed in a container that would keep out germs/bacteria anyway. The biggest threat to spoilage of a cheese would be exposure to mold spores through the air, and being in a plastic bag basically means the likelihood of that happening is low.

If it was already contaminated with mold before you put in the bag, then you have only accelerated the process a little by giving it a better climate to grow and it will just get moldy a little bit sooner (maybe a couple days) that it would have it you had not left it out.

I think it is quite strange that people are so paranoid about food spoilage with things like this. Do you know how this stuff is made? How do you think people survived before the 1940s?

also, as a side note I'd recommend storing it in something other than plastic.

It actually benefits the cheese if it can "breathe". Brie typically comes wrapped in some type of parchment paper-type product (or special cheese paper) for this reason and typically that is all you need so it is overkill to then put it inside a plastic bag on top of that. Brie goes bad in two ways. It becomes ammoniated and smells VERY VERY strongly of ammonia. Or it goes moldy.

Yes, it will allow a little moisture to escape and it can get dry over a long period of time, but plastic is worse because it holds in too much moisture (or traps moisture from the atmosphere) and can actually cause it to go bad faster and develop "off" flavor and texture.

Paper is adequate to keep out mold spores and other things that will make you cheese go bad so it isn't necessary to have something airtight or impermeable.

Published: February 3, 2017 | Comments: 0

Quick Irish Soda Bread

I havent made it in ages but it has more wholewheat than plain flour ratio. It should have more of a wheat based bread look than being white bread. When I say 'traditional' I also mean the common/ basic foundation of irish soda bread (ISB). So ISB is commonly and traditionally plain without raisins or other fruit. However of course you can add things as you like (my sister makes one with bacon/cheese/ jalapeno* variation).

ISB is commonly made because the climate (in ireland) isn't great for bread that needs long proofing- cold/wet weather, heating is also expensive so you arent commonly going to have heating on all day (though its not cold that everyone is dying!). And I believe wheat is a bit cheaper there too.

Adding wheat is a must for ISB perhaps other soda breads dont need it but Irish soda bread needs wheat.

Some ways to eat the bread:

  • Irish lamb stew (not my fave thing to eat)
  • Bubble and squeek*
  • Sunday carvery with 3 types of potato- mashed/roasted/steamed …. all on your plate!
  • Black pudding and scallops
  • Full irish breakfast (thats smoky back bacon with white and black pudding)
  • A proper poured guinness (those irish car bomb drinks are offensive to irish history)
  • Chunky chips with curry sauce
  • Potato farls
  • Tayto crisps!
  • Bacon joint thingy
  • Jaffa cakes
  • Breakfast roll
  • Chicken roll

Boxty is fun too; several different recipes made out of potato.

Boxty pancakes are really common, but i personally like the boxty dumplings, which are a bit like Irish gnocchi (and you can sub gnocchi for them in recipes with some success).

Basically it's mash potato, grated raw potato and flour mixed together into a dough, made into dumplings, boiled like pasta until the raw potato is cooked.

When I was in Dublin last I remember having this great meal which was boxty dumplings, salt beef, cabbage and maybe a few other vegetables (carrots and onions maybe) tossed in a white mustard sauce.

It was really good, and I've cooked various imitations of it since at home.

Published: January 28, 2017 | Comments: 0

Proofing Sourdough Bread

This recipe is pretty thorough and turns out great. Though it could have used a little more info on proofing, and baking with steam.

The recipe itself is simple.

  • 500g bread flour 300g water 10-15g salt 100g active starter
  • Knead, rise, form, proof, bake at 450 with steam.

You can only approximate if you don't have a scale so your mileage may vary greatly. I learned that if you want real bread you need to meassure in grams. Cups just don't cut it. I picked up a cheap scale at Walmart and it has been one of the best investments to make bread.

Mix the stuff with the flour, water and salt. Knead briefly, turn into an oiled bowl and cover loosely. Let rise for an hour, knock the gas out of the dough and let rise again.

Turns the dough onto a floured surface, shape and proof until puffy (gently poke it with a wet finger rip. when the indentation springs back slowly it's ready)

Bake at 450 in a preheated oven. For steam you can do one or some of the following.

Pan of water on the bottom of the oven. Sort of works.

Mist the bread with a spray bottle before baking and evey few minutes during the first ten minutes. Works really well but you lose heat every time you open the oven door. Preheat your oven to 550 and keep it there for the first ten minutes.

Bake in a covered container. A dutch oven or place a metal bowl over the dough. Remove cover after the first third of baking time. This may be the best method of them all.

Bread making as very much both art and science. The odds of getting perfect results on your first attempt are slim. Every oven is different, proofing times vary, room temperature, water temperature, kneading time and technique all play important roles. Heck, just shaping the loaves takes skills you learn by doing.

Spend some time looking up bread making on YouTube.

Theres lots of cool stuff there.

Published: January 26, 2017 | Comments: 0

Good Cheese From Costco

It is a bit regional, as well as seasonal. Mine has Colliers "powerful Welsh Cheddar. " Definitely my go to when I need a lot of Cheddar for a recipe. Costco likes to source from local/regional producers when feasible, and they often carry items only during certain times of year.

On the west coast (maybe elsewhere) they have great prices on Tillamook brand cheeses (I recommend the extra sharp white cheddar) but in the NE you will find Cabot and in the midwest probably Wisconsin brands.

But I believe you will find the same Kirkland brand parmiggiano-reggiano and grana padano at unbeatable prices for high quality stuff anywhere you go.

Fortunately a dry hard cheese like that will keep for a long time—I use a ton of the stuff but those massive wedges last a long time anyway.

Costco is one of the few places where you don't need to be concerned about the quality of their Kirkland house brand products, they are often equivalent or better to the major name brands, and almost never worse.

Published: January 23, 2017 | Comments: 0

Sharpest Cheddar In Town

I used to hear fellow mongers have the exact same conversation you just had all the time. I understand how it can be helpful to push people toward more useful descriptors, but don't kid yourself. You know exactly what they want & it isn't Montgomery's.

The point still stands, right? People mean so many things when they say "sharp," that its worth delving in to. if they just mean aged, then its typically a wax or vacuum-sealed cheddar that's 5 years old from Canada.

There is definitely an unspoken role of cultural ambassador.

That's also why it's so important to be welcoming, people can get really defensive when they're out of their element. I like to just start handing them samples without asking too many questions, then seeing where they take me from there. Guidance and kindness are super important on the cheese counter.

That's because when people ask for a sharp cheddar they aren't asking for a farmhouse cheddar, they're looking for a new york aged cheddar. Unfortunately a lot of specialty shops choose not to stock wax-rind cheddars so the best direction to go is often gouda or pecorino.

There is nothing wrong with people who like that sharp bite.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if you like super sharp cheddar you might also want to give aged provolone a shot. It's not the same as the sandwich cheese. Here's an example of what I'm talking about, although I'd prefer it look more like this. You want the stuff that's getting toward the consistency of parmesan. That's sharp.

Published: January 22, 2017 | Comments: 0

The Worst Cheese

Liquid smoked cheese isn't horrible, but actual smoked cheese is much better.

When I first tested "smoked cheese" I had to gag.

Most of them are smoked processed Massdam. Look for a naturally smoked gouda. They're worlds apart.

I bought a little pellet smoker tray to cold smoke cheese myself.

Published: January 14, 2017 | Comments: 0

Is There A Lot Of Penicillin In Blue Cheese

The penicillin in blue cheese is Penicillium Roqueforti. The one in bloomy cheese is penicillium camemberti. Just those two molds, as you know, produce very different products.

The one used to create the antibiotic is Penicillium Chrysogenum (or notatum). These are all totally different strains of mold insofar as what they're used for, how they look, and what their effect on food/the body is. People can be allergic to penicillin without being allergic to penicillium, and vice versa. The strains are genetically different enough that that is definitely not a possibility.

The only mold that secretes penicillin is Penicillium Chrysogenum (notatum).

I will say I am deathly allergic to Penicillium Chrysogenum and if there was a cross-over at all I would have been dead a long time ago.

It's probably a good thing there's no penicillin in blue cheese, otherwise it probably wouldn't be a viable antibiotic anymore.

Published: January 9, 2017 | Comments: 0

Bread Without A Breadmaker

The best tweak you could do is to drop the no-knead and get your hands in there for a good 10 to 15 minutes of hard work. That's about 3 songs on the radio with an advert somewhere (or 1 song if you were a teenager in the 70s).

If you simply can't be bothered to knead the bread (why?) then you can use this simple recipe.

Artisan Bread

  • 4-1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/4 cups of wheat flour
  • 3 cups of warm water – 90 to 95F
  • 1-1/2 tbsp of kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tbsp of granular yeast
  • 1/4 tsp of black pepper

In a large bowl, add the wheat flour, white flour, pepper, yeast, and salt and mix. Slowly pour in the warm water and mix ingredients. Don’t work the dough at all.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for about an hour or two. Place the bowl in the warmest area of the kitchen to aid in rising.

Divide the dough into three even sections and form each into a ball. Place on a pizza stone or a baking pan dusted with a little flour to prevent from sticking. Dust the outer edge of each dough ball with a light coat of flour to prevent sticking.

Cover the dough on the pan or stone with a towel and let rest for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 450F, and before placing in the oven, take a sharp knife and make a couple of slits in the top of the loaf to allow the moisture to escape as it bakes. Bake 30-35 minutes.

If you place a pan of water on the rack below the baking bread it helps the bread stay moist and bake even.


The first few loaves you bake will likely be awful compared to even store bought pre-sliced loaves but don't stop trying. There's always another loaf and the densest bread can make great croutons or melba toast.

My biggest hurdle was handling dough that was still wet without adding more flour. If there's one tip I could give it's weighing ingredients against bakers ratios (% weight of each ingredient against weight of flour). I think it gives you a real appreciation of how much the percentage of water affects the resulting loaf (seriously, for baking 1 loaf, a few grams either way can be the difference between a country loaf and a ciabatta).

Published: December 29, 2016 | Comments: 0