Acme Baking Company Chocolate Chip Muffin

20130609-194312.jpgIt seems to have become a thing around here, each week on Sunday afternoon I bake a batch of muffins to enjoy for breaky the next week. This week there were some mini chocolate chips screaming out to be used up so it became obvious that it was time to tackle the Chocolate Chip Muffin.

Micro Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk
Heaping handful of mini chocolate chips

Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl. Then lightly beat the egg, milk, oil and vanilla in another. Add wet to dry and mix just until incorporated. Fold in your chocolate chips.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 12 cupcakes (either with a liner or grease and flour). I made exactly 12 using a large cookie scoop about 3/4 full. So probably a heaping 1/3 cup in each cupcake.

Bake for 16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

These are a fairly dense muffins and you could add a little rock sugar to the top before baking to kick up the sweetness a little.

Acme Baking Company perfects the Salted Caramel

I am a novice candy maker, I have attempted three caramels in my lifetime and unlike a lot of fellow novice bakers I have had success every time. That being said, the perfect Salted Caramel still alluded me. So this year, for my boss’ birthday, she requested home made salted caramels and I accepted the challenge.

The resulting recipe is soft enough to bite into but firm enough to cut and wrap – they literally melt in your mouth.

Acme Baking Company Heavenly Salted Caramels
boiling, sugar, candy, caramel
Prepare an 8×8 pan – I chose to line the pan with parchment and then lightly sprayed the parchment with non-stick spray.

In a medium sauce pan heat the following over low heat while cooking the sugar mixture:
4 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt (I used table salt)
2 tsp vanilla

In a 3.5-4qt sauce pan cook the following to 310 degrees:
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup

When the sugar mixture reaches 310 degree, slowly add your heated cream mixture. This will bubble, spit and erupt furiously – don’t be afraid it will all calm down but be sure you add the cream slowly to avoid a boil over or any kind of accidental burns.

Once the mixture calms down a bit, stir it just a little (with a fresh utensil) and allow to come to “FIRM BALL” temp which should be around 250 degrees.

At 250 degrees, remove the mixture from the heat and add an addition 2 tbsp butter. Stir the mixture until the butter is completely melted and the entire thing looks smooth and shiny.

Pour the hot mixture into your prepared dish and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Then sprinkle with fleur de sel. Cool almost completely and cut long strips with a pizza cutter and then the actual pieces from each strip with a sharp knife. Wrap each piece individually.

Acme Baking Company Vanilla Marshmallows

The Acme Baking Company Christmas box for 2012 contained traditional
treats like ginger thins, fudge, chocolate chip cookies and some more
unique offerings. But, every year new things have to be tried and
included and this year was the year of the marshmallow. Boozy and
traditional graced boxes prepared for families with short people (ie
kids).

Boozy marshmallows are a little challenging to make but I promise to
post a recipe and how to instructions eventually. For now, here is my
favorite, simple vanilla marshmallow recipe. Whip some up, toss them
into hot chocolate, on the end of a stick to toasting or just eat them
straight out of the container.

Vanilla Marshmallows

As with all candy making you want to prepare your pan beforehand. We
used an 8×10 pan, you can use something smaller you will just have
slightly thicker marshmallows. Spray the pan with non-stick spray and
wipe most of it out with a paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar;
make sure to coat the pan well.

1/2 cup very cold water
3 packets of gelatin (found in your grocery store near the Jello)

Place the cold water in the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the
gelatin over it before you start making the sugar syrup on the stove.
Let stand.

2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Combine in a 6qt heavy sauce pan. Heat on medium heat and stir until
the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring once the sugar is dissolved and let
the mixture come to a boil – no need to increase the heat. Once the
mixture comes to a boil, let it go for 1 minute and then remove from
the heat.

2 teaspoons vanilla (or other extract)
Attach the whisk attachment to your mixer and with your mixer on low,
slowly pour the hot syrup into the bowl in a steady stream. Once
combined increase the speed of your mixer to medium high – after a few
minutes add the vanilla and continue to whip for about 12 minutes
total.

Once the mixture if fully whipped it will be fluffy and incredibly
sticky. Coat a rubber spatula or large offset knife with non-stick
spray and scrape out your bowl into your prepared pan. Be patient but
continue to work the mixture until it is spread in evenly in the pan.
Top with a generous coat of powdered sugar and let stand on your
counter for 3 hours or overnight.

There really is not anything you can do to expedite this process, it
just takes this long to firm up. Once firm, lift your marshmallows out
of the pan and place on a cutting board. I used a greased pizza cutter
to cut squares, but you could use shaped cookie cutters for fun
shapes. Toss cut marshmallows into a bowl of powdered sugar to
eliminate sticky edges.

Package in airtight containers. These marshmallows will last about 1 month.

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Acme Baking Co – Fleur de Sel Caramels

At Acme Baking Company we don’t claim to be candy makers, before this year our attempts were limited to fudge and this amazing pecan roca that can be made using a microwave. Sure a candy thermometer graces our kitchen gadget drawer but it had never seen the inside of a pot of boiling sugar until now! It can be intimidating but if you follow our instructions you should have success.

We should note, that we typically use a 6qt hard anodized non-stick pot but we think we will graduate to a heavy stainless steel pot soon. The other thing  worth mentioning is that candy making is really easy to clean up. It sounds like it would present a sticky mess but remember sugar dissolves in hot water so with a little patience your mess will be cleaned up.

Fleur De Sel Caramels

Before you start it is important that you have your pan prepared. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick spray. (I generally spray and then gently wipe it mostly off with a paper towel)

1 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (this can be purchased at Williams Sonoma or online – you can also use a whole, split vanilla bean. Just remove it before adding the hot milk to the boiling sugar)
1 1/4 tsp sea salt – finely ground
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

In a small sauce pan, heat the cream, butter, vanilla, paste and salt over medium low heat. Do not boil this mixture but make sure you get it really hot and stir it frequently.

In a large, 6qt, sauce pan heat the sugar, corn syrup and water over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved continue to heat the mixture, occasionally swirling the pan until the mixture becomes  a light amber color. This will take some time so be patient and don’t try to rush it by increasing the heat of the burner.

Once the mixture is a nice golden color, stir in the cream mixture. Pour slowly and stir constantly – the sugar mixture will boil up so don’t go too slowly. Once the cream is all added you will not be stirring anymore. At this point you should insert a candy themometer without letting the bulb touch the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking the mixture until it reaches “firm ball” stage or about 248 degrees.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour into your prepared pan – avoid the temptation to scrape the pan. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes or so and then sprinkle the top with a coarsely crushed sea salt. Cool completely and then cut. I typically use a lightly oiled pizza cutter. Wrap the pieces in wax paper, cellophane or foil 4” squares – you can buy these or make your own.

A little lemon in your honey – uniquely flavored frosted cookies

Lemon Honey Dough Cutout Scraps

At Acme Baking Company, we are always trying to find unique flavor combinations that result in delicious baked goods. This recipe was less of a “find” and more of a “I guess it is time to share it” treat. I have been making these cookies since I was a little girl, they are a staple at Christmas in our family and I have never come across anyone else who makes them.

A big plus, you can make the dough, roll, cut, and bake weeks in advance because these cookies freeze perfectly – when you are ready to finish them up take them out of the freezer, allow them to thaw and frost as desired. I typically use a thick buttercream frosting which is flavorful and rich but if you prefer more refined decorations the flavor in this cookie would shine equally with a basic royal icing.

Lemon Honey Cutout Cookies

Ingredients:
2/3 c. shortening
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon extract
1 1/3 c. honey
5 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt

Cream together the shortening and sugar, add the eggs, lemon extract and honey. Sift together the dry ingredients and add the creamed mixture.

Divide into 4 balls of dough, flatted to disk shapes and wrap in cling wrap. Chill at least 1 hour, then, on a floured surface, roll each dough disk out to about 1/4″ thickness. It is important that your thickness is consistent because you want all your cookies to bake in the same amount of time. Cut out in desired shapes. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until  you can gently touch the cookie and no fingerprint remains. Cool completely and either freeze or frost as desired.

Recipe yield will vary based on the cookie cutter size, but on average you shoudl get about 5 dozen cookies.

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Quick Palmier- an Acme Baking Quick and Easy Favorite

20111124-144327.jpg Sprinkle surface with cinnamon sugar (3 tbsp sugar to 1 tsp cinnamon) take 1 sheet of thawed puff pastry and place it on top of the sugar mixture. Top puff pastry with another cinnamon sugar (3 to 1 again). Roll the puff pastry out until it is fairly thin. You will be pushing the sugar mixture in on both sides.
Making 1 inch folds roll in from the long sides. Roll evenly on both sides so they meet in the middle.
Slice 1/4 inch thick and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
Bake at 350 to 400 for 13 minutes or until brown. The sugar will melt. Let the cookies cool on the sheet.

Gluten free peanut butter cookies – for our Acme Baking Company celiac friends

Baking gluten free is not a primary focus of Acme Baking Company but, like most of you, I have gluten free friends that I would love to bake for. Enter Gluten Free Peanut Butter cookies!

Ingredients
1 c. Peanut butter
1 c. Sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Mix in a bowl, scoop on lined cookie sheets and make the normal criss cross fork tine imprint or make a well that you can fill with jelly when you take the cookies out of the oven. For a little extra something, sprinkle flake salt on top before baking but just a little!

Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet.

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Glazed Lemon Cookies – fancy cookie that is easy to bake!

acme baking company glazed lemon cookie

At Acme Baking Company we get excited about baked goods that are easy to make and look great. These delicious glazed lemon cookies come up aces on both the ease and aesthetic fronts. Perfect little disks of crisp, delicate lemon cookie topped with a rich and bright glaze.

Glazed Lemon Cookies

Cookie Dough:
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold cubed butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a food processor, blend the sugar and lemon zest until the sugar is yellow in color and slightly damp. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and blend until combined. Add the cubed butter and blend until the mixture looks like graham cracker crumbs.

Mix the lemon juice, egg yolk and vanilla in a glass with a pour spout. Pour as a steady stream into the dough mixture while the food processor is running. Let the dough continue to be processed until a ball forms.

acme baking company dough logAcme Baking Company wrapped dough log

Place a length of plastic wrap on your counter, transfer the dough to the plastic wrap and form a round log about 2 inches thick and 12 inches long. Wrap the plastic wrap around the dough and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Cut the dough log into slices just shy of 1/4 inch thick. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 13-16 minutes until the edges begin to brown.

Let the cookies cool on until firm on cookie sheets then transfer to a cooling rack.

Glaze:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 1/2 c. (6oz) powdered sugar

Whisk together the lemon juice and cream cheese until completely smooth. This took my a while and was definitely a forearm workout. Once complete smooth add the powdered sugar. If the mixture is a little too stiff (mine was) add a little bit of water (a couple of teaspoons max) and whisk until incorporated. Don’t be tempted to add more water, the mixture will come to the right consistency.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of glaze on each cookie disk. Spread the edges using the back of a spoon. Let the glaze set completely, this could take up to an hour.

Buckeye Cupcake

Who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate. This recipe could have been improved upon had I used marshmallow and homemade peanut butter but I am not going to lie, these cupcakes are delish!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

For the filling:  
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Blend together all ingredients then make 1 inch balls, it made 28 balls for me. I made them the night before and stored them in the fridge overnight.
For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs

Put flour, soda, salt and cocoa in a bowl and whisk. Set aside,
In a measuring cup mix together the sour cream, milk and vanilla extract.
In the bowl of a mixer (with a beater blade) cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time.
Alternate additions of flour mixture and sour cream mixture. Start and end with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Line cupcake pans with paper, drop 2 tbsp of batter into the bottom of each cup (I used a cookie scoop for this, it was the smallest one I had, probably 1inch). Put 1 peanut butter ball in the middle of each and then top with 1 tbsp more of the batter. If you have batter left over divide it among the cupcakes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes (I was done around 20 and I think I should have pulled them out at 19). Let cool completely.
For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Combine butter, cream cheese and peanut butter in a mixer (with a beater blade). Add powdered sugar and then the whipped topping. (I think I would swap whipped topping for marshmallow cream but either way it ends up with that thick consistency)
Frost cupcakes as desired. I used a big star tip. I also made dark chocolate disks by melting quality chocolate (my choice is Scharfenberger) and then I used a squeeze bottle to create them on wax paper. It all went into the fridge while I created the frosting.

Enjoy!