Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fun With My Kitchen Torch: Crème brûlée and Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

By: Jill
I received my kitchen torch as a gift a few years ago and I actually use it much more than I originally thought! Two things that I've made using the kitchen torch are crème brûlée and lemon meringue cupcakes.

The first time I made crème brûlée, I wanted a recipe that didn't require special ingredients that I did not have in my pantry and was also simple enough that it couldn't go terribly wrong! I decided to use this recipe from Ina Garten because I've really liked her recipes in the past and find that her instructions are easy to follow.

Crème brûlée starts with egg yolks (and one whole egg) and sugar that is beaten until just combined.

Meanwhile, 3 cups of heavy cream are scoured on the stove (I actually used one cup of half an half and 2 cups of heavy cream).

This recipe called for a tablespoon of Gran Marnier to add a slight orange flavor.

The recipe made enough for 6 portions.

They were cooked in water bath for 40 minutes, cooled to room temperature, and then refrigerated.

Right before I served them, I sprinkled them with sugar and then used my kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar.

It was delicious!

My dad loves lemon meringue, so for his birthday I decided to make lemon meringue cupcakes using this recipe from Martha Stewart.

I used freshly grated lemon zest for the cupcake base.

I've made my own lemon curd in the past, but I've found that the right brand can taste just as good and save you time!

Each cupcake was topped with lemon curd.

The meringue frosting was made over the stove top and was easier to make than I thought!

After piping the frosting onto each cupcake, I used my kitchen torch to toast the meringue for an authentic lemon meringue pie flavor.

I use my kitchen torch for numerous other recipe including s'more cupcakes and to create cheese crusts on savory dips. It is a worthwhile kitchen tool for me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Amazing Brownie Pan!

By: Christine
I had seen a lot of infomercials advertising an "amazing brownie pan" that was supposed to make baking brownies easier. I was curious as to how this pan actually worked. I happened to find one of these pans at the Christmas Tree Shop and I knew I had to get it and test it out!
This pan comes with three pieces, the pan, removable bottom, and the dividing grid.
I decided to make on of my favorite brownies; s'mores brownies!

I started out with graham crackers that I crushed into crumbs. I mixed the crumbs with some butter and pressed the mixture into the bottom of the pan. I used my favorite brownie recipe and poured the batter into the pan, on top of the crust. Then I added the dividing grid. I sprinkled some of the graham cracker mixture onto the top of the batter and placed the brownies into the oven.
After the brownies were done baking, I removed them from the oven. Quickly, I added a half of a marshmallow to the top and pressed down slightly. I placed the brownies back into the oven under the broiler to toast the marshmallow.
After the brownies were done baking, I let them cool slightly. Then, I pushed the removable bottom out from the top of the pan with the dividing grid still in and let them cool completely. After the brownies had cooled, I removed the dividing grid and the brownies were complete, and the best part was that the brownies were cut into perfect squares!
This pan helped to create perfect brownies and I can't wait to use it more often!