Mar 27, 2014

Eat Dessert First: Baby Boston Cream Pies

Oh boy, oh boy! I'm a pretty good baker if I do say so myself (and I do). I don't mean to beg or get all high-and-mighty. I've actually never really been good at a lot of things, but I have always been good at baking. It comes naturally to me. I enjoy it. I like it more than cooking. I enjoy cooking but maybe I like the end result of baking better because it is usually a dessert or bread or some other delicious something, where as cooking I have to do in order for this family to eat. There is just more enjoyment in it because I don't have to do it.

That being said, I decided it had been too long since I had baked anything other than cookies while Rob was gone because I just wanted milk and cookies. So I pulled out a baking book I got for Christmas but hadn't used yet and found me a recipe. There were so many to chose from that it was hard but the huge picture on the page won me over, and this time this was what I was going to make.

Dessert Brought To You By: Taste of Home Bakeshop Favorites

Here's What You Need: 
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% milk (I used skim but that's only because I buy skim milk and I buy whole milk, I'm not going to buy 2% for 1 cup - not worth it - but you do what you want)
6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
9 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (yup, I sure didn't use the full amount but that was only because I ran out. Trust me I was sad...)
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 cup all-purple flour
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 teaspoons butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Here's What You Do:
In a small heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in milk and cream until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat. Stir in small amount of hot mixture into egg yolk; return all to the pan; stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla. Cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a small bowl. Press waxed paper onto surface of custard. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, egg, vanilla, and lemon peel. Combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and mix well.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Spread custard over the bottoms of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies.

For glaze, place chocolate and butter in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate and butter; whisk until smooth. Stir in confectioners' sugar. Spread over cookies; let dry completely. Store in the refrigerator.

Sorry about the horrible picture quality. And also I need to work on my frosting smoothing skills.
No matter how much you bake or cook, you can always learn something new. And I learned some new things with this recipe. For one, I learned that there was such a thing as cake flour. Who knew!? I don't know why I was surprised since there is every kind of flour out there and I have about half of them in my pantry. That's what happens when you like to bake.

Another thing I learned is that I have a stand-mixer and it would make baking and mixing a lot easier. Granted, I do get a much better workout with my hand-held mixer, but it is much harder. I'm not used to having a stand-mixer since I got it at Christmas and have only used it a couple times because I just haven't done as much baking as I have wanted. I finished mixing, looked up and remember the stand-mixer that was standing there staring at me, judging me. Oops. Next time!

I learned that I can't "drop by rounded teaspoonfuls." I tried, but it didn't go well. I used two spoons and it was okay but not something I excel at apparently. Along the same lines, I don't know know what 2 inches apart means. I seemed to have put them too close together on the cookie sheet which means they baked together a little, which means that they are really more of a square and less round. Oh well. Again, now I know for next time.

Overall, there felt like there was a lot of steps to this recipe and I felt like a made a huge mess (I did actually!), but it was actually pretty easy. You have to make sure you have time considering you have to let the custard sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours, but that's nothing in the scheme of thing. That's what nap times were invented for. Okay so that's not true in the slightest, but it's amazing how much you can get done in a nap time without a little girl under foot.

And I'll admit that I'm not the best at making things look pretty. Hopefully that's something I can improve over time. But as with most things, it didn't matter. It was delicious and that was what was important. We did learn that if you want to eat them fairly quickly because the cookies will get soft in the fridge, but they were still delicious. The recipe really wasn't overly hard. There were many steps to it because you had three different components to it, but if you break it down it's not that bad. The recipe is written in a way that while one thing is working then you can be working on another part and so on. That definitely helps.

I highly recommend this recipe, not that any of you feel so inclined to bake, but it was pretty dang delicious if you want some sweet tonight. Yum!

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