Tag Archives: sweet & vicious

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

With a month to spare, I have finally completed #3 on my 31 before 32 and made the last of the 12 recipes from my Sweet & Vicious cookbook! There are so many great recipes I still can’t wait to try out, but I am happy to have the ones I “had” to do behind me. Since I’d done a few of the main recipes and a couple of the extracts, I wanted to try something from the back of the book. The frosting area seemed as good as any so I decided to tackle Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

So light and wonderfully fluffy! It made for some very pretty cupcakes.


I took some pictures of the process, just so you’d have an idea of how things were going to look as you went along. I find that sort of thing helpful whenever I’m trying out a new recipe.
The egg white/sugar mixture when I put it on ⇑ and took it off ⇓ the double boiler. 
How the meringue looked when it was ready for the butter. 

Notes:

  • I think the thing I liked best about this was the sweetness. I like sugar as much as the next pudgy American, but I hate frosting that is sickly sweet. Standard buttercream is easy to make, but usually it’s a bit much and has ruined many a cupcake for me. It’s really nice to have this in my back pocket for future baking.
  • This recipe also pipes like a dream; I had wonderful frilly frosted cupcakes with minimal piping bag manipulation, and it held its shape and didn’t dry out overnight.

Sweet & Vicious: Kahlo Cookies (Strangely Hot Mexican Chocolate Cookies)

Guys, I am so so very close to finishing off #3 of my 31 before 32 list! Recipe 11 of 12 tried from the wonderful and intimidating Sweet & Vicious. Do I wish I had managed to do it sooner? Yes, but some of these recipes were a little more complex than I anticipated, not to mention that almost every recipe had an ingredient that I had to make a special shopping trip for. I think that’s why being this close to the end make me feel strangely powerful. I won’t go as far as to say I defeated the book, but we fought to a draw and I am good with that.

Notes:

  • For the first time, in a very long time, these did not go to my trusted taste testers. They were good enough that Andy and I decided to keep them for ourselves. Now in all honesty, he is consuming 3 or 4 cookies to every one that I eat, but these are some of the best cookies I’ve had in a while.
  • I think the added heat is what makes these cookies something special. I think you could forgo the extract, but the chipotle pepper is essential. For me, it cuts some of the sweetness -and these are very sweet cookies-, and it forces me to slow down and really enjoy the complexity of what I am tasting.
  • If you guys are interested in the hot pepper extract, it’s fairly easy to make, but it does require two weeks to cure.  Comment below if you’re interested and I’ll post the how-to.

Sweet & Vicious: Jacked Up Ginger Cookies

After the relative success of the “Serious Oatmeal Cookies”, my mom and I decided to tackle one of the more holiday-y cookie recipes from my Sweet and Vicious cookbook, Jacked Up Ginger Cookies. Now, I’ve never made ginger cookies before, but if you are fond of the spice then these are the cookies for you.

I’m not normally a fan of ginger cookies, but I have had a few in the last couple of years that have amended my attitude from “Ewww” to “Well, I’ll give it a try”. I will admit though as I was chopping the various kinds of ginger and measuring out that full 1/4 cup of molasses my skepticism of this recipe was definitely growing. Not that I thought that it would be “bad”, just that I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, or bag of cookies as the case may be.


Notes:

  • Flavor-wise these little ginger bombs delivered exactly what they promised. Plenty of big ginger flavor. Did I like them? Not really, but my mom and Andy did. So much so, that Andy “forgot” to remind my mom to take a few of the cookies to take home with her. He just waited until she left and then demolished the remaining cookies that day. It was kind of cute.
  • Texture and bake-wise these were pretty spot on, chewy when they first came out of the oven and then perfect for accompanying a hot beverage after they had set up after a day or two. Even though I didn’t care for the flavor, everyone else liked them enough for me to make them again anyway.

Also, my mom got me this cute little plaid plate for Christmas. It’s a set of four: a bunny, a fox, a raccoon, and a pug. The trash panda is my favorite by far. He reminds me of the cheeky little bandits that come to our back porch every night to eat the cat food for the outdoor cat.


Sweet & Vicious: Serious Oatmeal Cookies

My traditional holiday plans have been a bit wonky this year, but one of the things I knew I wanted to do while my mom was visiting was make cookies. I also figured it would be a perfect opportunity to knock another recipe or two off of the 12 I wanted to try from my Sweet & Vicious cookbook. Since I wanted to make something I knew she liked, I made a supreme culinary sacrifice and offered up the book’s take on my least favorite cookie, oatmeal raisin. Shudder.

Notes:

  • These cookies turned out thick, chewy, and lightly sweet. There was a hint of kick from the ginger and the tang of the dried cranberries made them almost bearable for me. Almost. Andy and my mom, however, gleefully consumed cookie after cookie and then packed them up for Andy to take into work since they couldn’t stop eating them.
  • Despite a few quirks, this recipe was pretty straight forward and easy to follow. The only issue I had was the cook time. It may have been my oven, but I needed an additional 4 minutes of bake time per batch. Just keep an eye on yours and make sure to let them sit for a couple of minutes before trying to scrape them off the cookie tray.

Upside-Down Skillet Corn Cake

And I am chipping right away at #3 on my 31 before 32, this time with Upside-Down Skillet Corn Cake. While seemingly simple, I had a tough time with the recipe. Was it an off day? Was it the humidity? Am I not as good at this baking thing as I thought I was? Who knows, but this recipe was delicious and, after a bit of reflection, well worth the trouble.

Notes:

  • Boy howdy did I have a rough time with this recipe. First, I could not get the brown sugar to melt into the butter. I stirred and stirred, up-ed the heat, turned it back down, and in a desperate attempt – added more butter. Alas, it was all for naught, and I eventually just had to give it a “good enough” and cross my fingers. It 90% worked out. Most of the texture issues worked themselves out as the cake baked, but there was one small grainy patch left that I gently scrapped off before serving.
  • I also could not get the fruit to cooperate, I used nectarines instead of peaches because that fuzz on the outside makes me shudder. As I tried to pit the fruit, it refused to release the pit, and two of my nectarines turned to mush in the process. Even afterwards all I could do was squeeze fruit pieces off of the pit and use them for something else. So I guess I should go for slightly under ripe fruit next time?
  • The cook time was WAY off on this. I baked it for the recommended time plus some and finally took it out when it seemed like the sugar mixture on the edges was starting to burn. The middle was still not fully cooked. Next time I am going to bake it lower for longer. Maybe 325 for 50 minutes to an hour.
  • It is important to note, I do not have a cast iron skillet that is the right size for this recipe so I used a cake tin. Which might have contributed to the bake time issues. I’d still use it again, but I’d also be interested in a do-over with the recommended equipment.