Let’s talk about some rich, delicious foods. I know that it’s summer, and people are trying to eat lighter food to fit into their bathing suits. But you can’t eat light all the time. Sometimes, you just need to indulge a little. Let’s start our indulgences with a favorite of mine: Krispy Kreme! For their 77th birthday, Krispy Kreme is offering a deal where you can go to a participating store on July 11, buy any dozen doughnuts, and receive a dozen original glazed doughnuts for just 77 cents. I doubt I’ll be able to get any, but someone should enjoy some. :D
This first dish wasn’t my personal favorite, but my husband really enjoyed it. It’s very rich, but with a nice combination of flavors. If you haven’t heard of them before, a Cuban sandwich usually involves ham and pickles, while a monte cristo is a ham and turkey sandwich that’s battered and fried. You probably already know that I’m not a huge meat-eater, so it shouldn’t be a big shock that I’m not over the moon for this one. To me, the best part of the sandwich was the pickle because the acidity of it helped cut through all the fatty, richness of the rest of the sandwich. If you’re feeling especially decadent, you should definitely consider putting this on the menu. I did find that the amount of sauce the recipe made was double what we needed, so you may want to scale it back.
Cuban Style Monte Cristos (from Rachael Ray)
5 tbsp. butter
1 clove finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. mustard
8 slices white bread
8 slices Swiss
8 slices baked ham
8 slices smoked turkey
4 slices dill pickle
1. In a small pot over medium heat, melt 3 tbsp. butter. Add the garlic and saute 2 minutes; then whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 1/4 c. milk and let thicken for 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the mustard and remove from the heat.
2. Spread some of the mustard sauce on each piece of bread. Layer the sandwiches with 2 slices each of Swiss, ham, and turkey and 1 slice of pickle. In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and 1/4 c. milk.
3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat; add 2 tbsp. butter and let melt. Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture, then place them in the pan. Cook the sandwiches til they’re golden brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side.
What was more exciting to me was the cupcake recipe that I whipped up for one of my SIL’s birthdays. She wasn’t set on a specific recipe, she just asked for some kind of cake involving chocolate. I decided to go with an amazing recipe that combines a rich chocolate cake with a creamy cheesecake filling. I’m not sure what she thought (yet), but we thought they were to die for. The original recipe says that this yields 12 cupcakes, but I think it actually yields 18. (I didn’t want to bother cleaning the pan and cooking 6 more cupcakes, so I put the leftover in a loaf pan.) Though they aren’t as composed as your usual birthday treat, I really loved their rustic look. These were really easy to whip up, and I think they’ve clinched a spot as my go-to cake recipe.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes (from the March 2009 issue of Bon Appetit)
For the cream cheese filling:
1 8 oz. pkg. softened cream cheese
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt (Some people on the BA site said that this was too salty for them. I didn’t have a problem with it, but you could cut it in half if you’re sensitive to salt.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the cupcakes:
1 c. all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. cocoa
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 oz. melted bittersweet chocolate
1/2 c. milk
1. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese in a medium bowl. Add the egg, 2 tbsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla; beat til almost smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar (3/4 c. + 2 tbsp.) til fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Stir in the chocolate and vanilla, then beat on high for 5 seconds. Alternate beating in the flour mix and the milk. Once incorporated, beat on high for 5 seconds.
3. Divide the batter among the paper cups, filling them 1/3 full. (That’s not a typo, just 1/3 full.) Using a tbsp., hollow out the center of each cupcake. (I know that sounds impossible, but this isn’t your typical cake batter. This was so fluffy and silky; it reminded me of a mousse.) Place 1 heaping tbsp. of cream cheese filling in the center of each cupcake.
4. Bake the cupcakes til a toothpick inserted in the center (of the cupcake, not the filling) removes cleanly, about 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then finish cooling on a wire rack.
These cupcakes are my new go-to; have you discovered a new indulgence lately?