Archive | November, 2012

The Cherpumple Lives!

25 Nov

A while back I mentioned how I was going to be attempting to make a cherpumple for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Well, I am happy to report that the experiment was a success!


…and I couldn’t have done it without the help of Walter, who prevented this powdered sugar from dirtying the floor by acting as a towel

It was really pretty easy. I baked the (frozen store bought) pies on Monday night and stored them in the refrigerator until Tuesday night, when I mixed up the boxed cake mixes and baked the pies into them.

 

The original Cherpumple directions simply advise to cook the cakes as per the box directions. Well…that didn’t really work out so well. There was so much moisture in the pies that the cakes took forever to bake, and in some places didn’t set up very well. I ended up leaving them all in for over an hour, and there were still places that were soggy after that long. What I ended up doing was scraping the soggy parts of cake off the layers, and then cutting pieces of cake off the ends and placing them on top of the pies. It worked out pretty well in the end.

 

So, here it is – the cherpumple – a cherry pie inside a white cake, a pumpkin pie inside a yellow cake, and an apple pie inside a spice cake – all layered and slathered with cream cheese frosting

 

So the big question is – how was it? It was sweet. Really, really sweet. Personally, I liked it. I liked the pie and cake combo, and the frosting was a nice added layer of smooth sweetness.

 

Will I be making it again next year? Well…probably not. It was fun and delicious, but at the end of the day a scratch made apple or pumpkin pie is always a winner, so I think it will stick with the classics in the future. But, it is fun to try something new once in a while, and this was certainly an interesting concoction, to say the least!

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Battle Of The Sugar Cookies – Which Recipe Is The Best?

18 Nov

 

One of me favorite things to make is frosted sugar cookies. They are delicious, versatile, and super fun to decorate for any and every occasion. I used to cheat and use a boxed sugar cookie mix, but the brand I prefer (Krusteaz) is no longer carried at any of my local grocery stores, so this holiday season I realized I would have to take drastic measures and (gasp!) make my sugar cookies from scratch. I have done this before, but haven’t found a recipe that was worth repeating. So, I did some research, and narrowed it down to these two recipes:

 
Betty Crocker Sugar Cookies
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Granulated sugar or colored sugar

Directions
1. Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
2. Heat oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease cookie sheet.
3. Divide dough in half. Roll each half 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes with 2- to 2 1/2-inch cookie cutters. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet.
4. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

 

Allrecipes.com The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies Recipe
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Then, it was time for the duel. So, I prepared my ingredients

And mixed my doughs

Betty Crocker

All Recipes

And baked my cookies (even though the all recipes said to bake them at 400, I baked them at 375 and they turned out fine, 400 seemed really high to me and the oven was already at 375)

Betty on Left, AllRecipes on Right

So once all that was done….the big question is, which recipe was better?

Let me start out by saying, they both had their good and bad points – The Betty Crocker cookies were slightly drier, but more flaky and had lots of delicate layers, which were delicious. The All Recipes cookies were richer and more buttery, but puffed up more when baking and definitely had a slightly more shortbread-ish texture, which isn’t my favorite when it comes to sugar cookies
For me, I think the winner has to be the Betty Crocker recipe, the smooth dough produced a cookie which had a better overall taste, which could have something to do with the almond extract in the dough (yum!)

 

However, if you are looking for more of a classic sugar cookie taste, I think your best bet would be the All Recipes cookies

 

Both turned out delicious and when slathered with frosting have that classic taste we have all come to associate with Christmas

 

Happy Holiday Baking!

Cherpumple – What The Heck Is That?

6 Nov

Some of my best friends are coming from Virginia for Thanksgiving, and they are not picky eaters so I don’t have to worry too much about what I serve them (luckily!). However, my one friend did make one request… he wants a cherpumple. When I told him I would make it, he got more excited than I have ever seen him (seriously, that’s how pumped he was about the prospect of this dessert!)

The Cherpumple

Does that dessert look scary to you? Because it scares me! I am not sure how I would eat attempt to eat it, much less attempt to make one!

 

So what exactly IS a cherpumple, you might ask? It’s a towering cake monstrosity constructed of a pumpkin pie baked into a spice cake layer, an apple pie baked into a yellow cake layer, and a cherry pie baked into a white cake layer, and the layers are stacked (or glued) together with cream cream cheese frosting.

 

Charles Phoenix is the inventor of this (slightly ridiculous) dessert. How did he come up with the idea for the cherpumple? Well, he was eyeing the remains of his family’s Thanksgiving meal and noticed that everyone took a sliver of each pie—cherry, pumpkin and apple—and some cake. “I was inspired,” he says, “to combine all my family’s traditional holiday desserts into one.” Read more about him and his invention Here

So here ‘s the recipe:

The Cherpumple “Monster” Pie Cake

Ingredients:
– 1 8″ frozen pumpkin pie
– 1 box spice cake mix
– 1 8″ frozen apple pie
– 1 box yellow cake mix
– 1 8″ frozen cherry pie
– 1 box white cake mix
– eggs and oil according to the cake mix
– 3 tall tubs of cream-cheese frosting
– 3 8.5″ round cake pans

Bake pies according to instructions and cool to room temperature overnight. Mix cake batter according to instructions. For each layer pour about 1 1/3 cup of batter in the cake pan. Carefully de-tin the baked pie and place it face up on top of the batter in the cake pan. Push down lightly to release any trapped air. Pour enough batter on top to cover the pie. Bake according to box instructions. Cool and remove from pans then frost it like you mean it.

 

Ok, so I know I will definitely be using all store bought cake mixes and pies, but as for the frosting, I will definitely make my own, probably a combo of cream cheese and butter base (plus powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk – you know, all the usual frosting suspects), and this is really because it tastes a LOT better than packaged frosting, and it is really easy to make from scratch too!

 

My biggest concern with this is that I have a feeling it will fall apart when I attempt to assemble it. What I am planning on doing is baking the pies the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, then baking the cake pies on Wednesday, and I will be refrigerating them until I am ready for assembly, and I will make sure the frosting is cool too, and that will hopefully help all layers stay firm during assembly! Worst case scenario? I pretend I wanted it to fall apart and that it was meant to be served in bowls and eaten with spoons

 

Either way, I am looking forward to the new culinary challenge, as appearance has always been the hardest thing for me master when it comes to desserts. I can make some tasty desserts, but they don’t always look like the picture in the recipe…maybe the cherpumple will force me to pay more attention to detail and it will end up being the prettiest dessert ever! Like this one…

 

…Either way, I can’t wait to taste it, and will definitely be posting some pics after Thanksgiving. My mouth is watering just thinking about it…