Hunger Games Bakeshop

There was only one day left until the Hunger Games movie premiere! Aly got pretty hungry while she counted down so she decided to make Hunger Games inspired desserts: Mockingjay Cake, Prim’s Goat Cheese Cheesecake, Girl on Fire Cupcakes, and Peeta’s Lavender Shortbread. The Mockingjay Cake is a 5″ x 5″ piece of red velvet cake, covered with buttercream frosting and black sprinkles, and the symbol is made out of shortbread. Same cake and frosting for the Girl on Fire Cupcakes; also decorated with shortbread. See below for recipes. Enjoy and may the odds be ever in your favor when you bake!

Prim’s Goat Cheese Cheesecake

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup butter

16 ounces cream cheese (softened)

8 ounces goat cheese from Prim’s goat Lady

8 ounces sour cream

4 eggs (room temperature)

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Directions

1. Mix graham cracker crumbs with butter and press it onto the bottom and about a third way up the sides of your pan.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Beat the cream cheese and goat cheese with an electric mixer on low until light and fluffy.

4. Add sour cream and continue mixing on low. Then add eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract and mix.

5. Pour filling into the crust and bake for about 45-50 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate for at least a few hours before serving.

Shortbread

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick of butter (softened)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 egg yolk

Directions

1. Combine flour with salt and set aside.

2. Mix butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Then add flour and mix.

3. Separate dough depending on how many colors you want to use for decor.

4. To make the Mockingjay symbol I added yellow food coloring and used a knife to cut the circle, bird, and arrow. Then I layered each piece on top of the cake which was frosted and covered with black sprinkles.

5.  For the fire design on the cupcakes, I used red and yellow food coloring and layered the yellow piece on top of the red and baked them as one piece.

6. Bake at 350 for about 7-9 minutes depending on how thick you rolled your designs.

* To make Peeta’s Lavendar Shortbread, add 1 tablespoon of lavender extract and 2 tablespoons of honey to the recipe above and use purple food coloring.

NOT the Fairest of Them All…

Remember how Princess Aly made a New Year’s resolution to try making the fairest cookie in all the land? Well her and Emmy the fairy tried one night in March. They knew what they had to do was no small accomplishment. They were hoping to make the perfect macaron with the following elements:

So what was the result?? Feetless macarons with no egg shell-like crust. They looked and tasted like a whoopie pie/sugar cookie hybrid. Where did it all go wrong? They had no idea. They knew the batter did not come out very smooth and the macarons never finished “resting” but they weren’t sure how to pinpoint their mistake. They were glad they anticipated the disappointment though and purchased macarons from Whole Foods in advance. Below is a side by side comparison of a Whole Foods salted caramel macaron with Aly and Emmy’s lavendar macaron. The odds were obviously not in their favor… but that is a story for next time.

Ingredients

130 grams almond meal

30 grams of powdered sugar

100 grams of egg whites (about 3 eggs room temperature)

70 grams granulated sugar

Baking scale

Sifter

Piping bag with round tip

Gel food coloring (optional)

A couple store bought macarons (a must!)

Directions

1. Sift almond meal until you reach 130 grams on a baking scale. Then add 30 grams of sifted powdered sugar to the same bowl; total will be 160 grams, and set aside.

2. In a small bowl measure 70 grams of granulated sugar, and set aside.

3. In a separate large bowl separate egg whites to reach 100 grams (about 3 eggs). Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed. When the egg whites start to rise, increase speed and add in the 70 grams of granulated sugar that you previously measured and food coloring if desired. Only use gel or powdered food coloring because liquid ones can create too much moisture in your batter. Continue beating egg whites until you form stiff peaks.

4. Using a spatula, fold in half the almond meal and powdered sugar mixture. Then add the other half and use the electric mixer on low speed until batter fall in wide ribbons.

5. Fill batter in piping bag and use a round tip to make small discs on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a Ziploc freezer bag. Leave about 1 inch between each disc. When finished, bang the cookie sheets on a surface to prevent air bubbles.

6. Let rest for about 20-25 minutes. While they rest you can preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

7. When macarons are done resting, the outside should become hard enough to touch and the color of the macarons should have dulled.

8. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Then let macarons cool on a rack before removing from parchment paper.

9. When cooled, you can fill macarons with buttercream, nutella, chocolate ganache, etc.

If your macarons didn’t come out right, now you can consume the store bought ones and try again another day! The salted caramel was better than the chocolate. However if you live in or near SF, just go see Chantel! You won’t be disappointed.

Celebrate Pi Day

For years Princess Aly stayed away from apples. She hadn’t consumed one let alone touched one ever since she was traumatized by her dear friend Snow White’s “apple incident.” But one year with March 14 (3.14 = pi day!) fast approaching, Aly decided to face her fears and celebrate with Not Snow White’s Pie!

Ingredients

1 Trader Joe’s pie crust

2 apples (NOT poisonous!)

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Sprinkle of salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon of flour

1 tablespoon of butter

Directions

1. Unwrap crust and thaw at room temperature for about 20-30 min until pliable. Mold half the crust into bottoms of 2 small ramekins and bake according to box.

2. While bottom crust bakes, prepare apple mixture. Cut the apples into small chunks or slices.

3. In a bowl, mix apples with vanilla, cinnamon, salt, sugar, and flour.

4. When the crust is done, divide apple mixture into the 2 ramekins. Cut the tablespoon of butter into small pieces and add to the tops.

5. Cover ramekins with remaining crust, pinching at the edges. Cut slits at the top to allow steam to escape.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes. If edges of the crust are browning too much you can cover with foil.