Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pop goes the tart

I feel so bad that I've neglected to post any baking projects. . . . but alas there have not been many, for three reasons: A). I eat them all, which counteracts me trying to look svelte in  my bikini for Vegas and summer Barbeques and B). Summer School and C). I've been using my iphone to snap my food pics. and it's just not suitable for still life pics. I'm hoping to have a groovy SLR in a few weeks, then I'll be a photographing--baking fool;)

Nevertheless,   I bought a huge jar of nutella, not because I like to eat it by the spoonful, the way I eat creamy peanut butter, (absolutely no self-control), but because I found this awesome pop tart recipe that looked so fabulous, I just had to give it a whirl.
I got the recipe from here: And the only thing I altered was the baking time.

Homemade Nutella Pop-Tarts
For the dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cold milk
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt for 10 to 15 seconds. Scatter the butter over the top. Mix on low speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or just until the flour is no longer bright white and holds together when you clump it. Lumps of butter the size of pecans should be visible throughout the dough.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk until blended. Add to the flour mixture all at once. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until the dough just barely comes together. It will be a shaggy mess.
Dump the dough onto an unfloured surface and gather it into a tight mound. Using your palm and starting on one side of the mound, smear the dough bit by bit, starting at the top and sliding your palm down the side and along the work surface. Do this once or twice on each part of the dough, moving through the mound until the whole mess has been smeared into a cohesive dough with streaks of butter throughout.
Gather up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down into a disc about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. The dough will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge or 1 month in the freezer.
For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
For the Glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.
To assemble the Pop-tarts:
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. On a lightly floured surface roll the first half of the dough into a 28×11 inch rectangle. Using a paring knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into eight 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch rectangles (about the size of an index card). Brush four of the rectangles with the egg.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of the filling on top of each of the 4 egg washed dough rectangles. Top with the remaining 4 rectangles of dough. Use a fork to lightly press the edges together and seal them together. Place each Pop-tart on a parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Repeat the same process with the remaining half of the dough.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops of the pastries are golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.
Brush the tops with the glaze. Add sprinkles if you want to feel happyl. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the glaze to set before serving.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Makes 8 pop-tarts.

With the leftover dough I made Nutella pinwheels(4 of which I devoured after I glazed them); my grandma used to make these w/butter, cinnamon, and sugar.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yes, I am a cupcake snob.

It's been almost a month since my last posts; as always life got in the way and things are winding down again, only to pick back up when summer school starts in a few days. Yes, I'm working summer school.  What was I thinking?! Doh!

Okay, but to the reason I'm posting today, I think I may very well be a cupcake snob and here's why.  I'm not proud to admit this, but  I've tried a variety of cupcake establishments starting with Magnolias,(which made cupcakes popular in New York) and Sprinkles-the chain that make cupcakes popular in Socal., Casey's-our local joint, Sweet Lady Janes-cupcakes is not neccessarily their specialty, and my all time fave-Crumbs-in L.A.( a must try-and they ship nationwide) and a few other places in the L.A. environs.

But, a new place just opened very conveniently located (just down the street) and had they been good, it would have been very bad for my waistline.  But, sadly they weren't. Now,  where do I begin? They did little advertising before they opened? I didn't know they were even open, Hello, Internet!!  They serve their cupcakes in plastic clamshells, GASP! They don't wear cute little outfits or uniforms, or are not unform in any way, period. Their cupcakes tasted like a box mix and the only two offerings of cake were choc. and yellow and the icing was, well, for a lack of a better term, runny. I really wanted to like them, but they pretty much missed the mark. Cupcakes are not a neccessity, they are a luxury bakery item( selling at $3-$4 a pop) and should be treated as such.

 My cupcake criterion: I want my cupcakes to taste delicious: for my foodie palate, be aesthetically pleasing: presentation, and packaged cute: again presentation. I want my cupcake servers to be professional, dressed uniformly, even if it's in a skirt with knee-highs and pink aprons: atmosphere,(See Casey's) and the whole experience to be, in a word:  heavenly=)  Am I asking too much?!