Recipes: Orange Meringue Buttercream on Dark Chocolate

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I received The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum as a Christmas gift a few years back. I love how detailed Rose is when it comes to baking. She is very specific with every step and stresses the importance of certain ingredients, she also provides all of her measurements in weights. One of my favorite recipes from her book is the burnt orange silk meringue buttercream. It is a heavenly combination of caramel with orange overtones and is an excellent compliment to a dark chocolate cake!

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This took me hours to prepare in one evening, so I’d recommend splitting up the steps if you can.

Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible

Ingredients:
Caramel Creme Anglaise
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) sugar
5 large egg yolks
1 cup (8.5 oz) milk
1 large vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 tsp vanilla
Italian Meringue
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp (3.25 oz) sugar
2 tbsp (1 oz) water
2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups (16 oz) unsalted butter, softened
Additions
1 tbsp orange concentrate (reduce 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice to 1 tbsp)
1 tbsp orange zest

Directions:
Prepare the caramel creme anglaise. Have ready a sieve suspended over a bowl, near the range. In a small saucepan bring the milk and vanilla to a boil, and keep warm. In a heavy pan combine 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tbsp water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook without stirring until deep amber (360 degrees F). Remove immediately from the heat and slowly pour in the hot milk, reserving the vanilla bean. Return to low heat and cook, stirring, until the caramel is completely dissolved. Place the egg yolks in a medium-size heavy saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of the caramel milk mixture to the yolks, stirring constantly. Gradually add the remaining milk mixture, stirring, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until just below the boiling point. The mixture will start to steam slightly, a thermometer should register 170 degrees F. Strain immediately into the sieve. Allow to cool to room temperature then store in the fridge.

Prepare the Italian Meringue. In a small heavy saucepan combine 1/3 cup sugar and the 2 tbsp of water. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling Stop stirring and reduce the heat to low or remove from heat. In a mixing bowl beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Increase the heat and boil the syrup until a thermometer registers 248 to 250 degrees F. Beat the syrup into the egg whites in a steady stream. Be careful to not allow the syrup to fall on the beaters. Lower speed to medium and continue beating until completely cool (about 2 minutes).

Complete the Buttercream. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds or until creamy. Gradually beat in the creme anglaise until smooth. Add the Italian Meringue and beat until just incorporated. Beat in the orange concentrate and orange zest.

Dark Chocolate Cupcake
Adapted from Ina Garten’s chocolate cupcake

Ingredients:
12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tbsp brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder (valrhona)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

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Recipes: Pumpkin Almond Flaxseed Granola

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Granola as party favors for my sister’s baby shower.

Here is a granola recipe that I make once every two weeks. We go through our morning cereal rather quickly, so instead of buying boxes and boxes of granola every week I decided to make our own. This way I can reduce the amount of sugar usually found in boxed cereal and add additional nutritious ingredients like flaxseed and wheat germ. We like to mix this with the Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes.

Granola with Pumpkin Seeds / Almonds / Flaxseed
Yields roughly 10 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup safflower oil or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt (optional)
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Position the oven racks so they are spaced evenly apart (2nd and 4th levels). Mix the oil, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt (if using) together in a large bowl. Add the wheat germ and mix to combine. Add the rolled oats and gently mix till the oats are evenly coated with the mixture. Add the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and flaxseed and very gently mix till everything is evenly dispersed.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pour the granola in an even layer onto each baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Switch the baking sheets and bake at 280 degrees for an additional 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the granola to continue drying and cooling down for another 15 minutes in the oven. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely on the baking sheets. The Bormioli Fido 3 Litre Jar is perfect for storing the granola.

DIY: Juice Cleanse

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With the Oscars airing tonight, I’m sharing a detox menu plan for those wanting to trim up for a special occasion without spending big bucks on websites like Organic Avenue and Blue Print. If you are planning on doing this cleanse a couple times a year, I recommend investing in a juicer and making the juices yourself. This is a great way to kick-start into a healthier and lighter you.

First, invest in a masticating juicer. T did the research for me and found the Omega 8004 was best rated in our price range, specifically for juicing greens.

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Menu
8am Young Love
10am Coconut Water
12pm Green Apple
2pm Cucumber Juice
4pm Beet Ginger
6pm Cashew Nut Milk

Adjust the times to your schedule. Play around with the ingredients to suit your taste buds and use fresh organic fruits and vegetables when possible.

Young Love

  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 bunch spinach
  • 3 stalks celery

Coconut Water
There are many brands available these days (Vita Coco, Zico), check that it doesn’t contain added sugar and is not from concentrate.

Green Apple

  • 1 green apple
  • 1/2 lemon (zest and pith removed)
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 4 kale leafs
  • 3 stalks celery

Cucumber Juice

  • 2 large cucumbers

Beet Ginger

  • 1 lemon (zest and pith removed)
  • 1/2″ ginger
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 beet with greens
  • 2 celery stalks

Cashew Nut Milk

  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp honey

I followed this meal plan for 5 days with minor adjustments from day to day by substituting different fruits, herbs, and greens. Remember to keep the juices chilled, grab a straw and sip away. Check back for more recipes, happy cleansing!

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