baker tagged posts

An Unexpected Party: the Feast

Just before tea-time there came a tremendous ring on the front-door bell, and then Bilbo remembered! He rushed and put on the kettle, and put out another cup and saucer, and an extra cake or two, and ran to the door.

“I am so sorry to keep you waiting!” he was going to say, when he saw that it was not Gandalf at all. It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a golden belt, and very bright eyes under his dark green hood.

Hobbits love food and we at Castles and Cooks are huge fans of both food and the Hobbit, so we’re pouncing on this opportunity to make some recipes that Bilbo Baggin’s would approve of. When the dwarves overtook Bag End that day, Bilbo did all he could to continue their never ending feast.

In the span of a chapter, Bilbo and the thirteen dwarves devoured all they could including eggs, scones, mincepies, roasted chicken, pickles, sausages, cheese, bread, tea, ale, beer, porter, coffee, red wine and more! Many of those are simple enough to make or buy (scones were one of our first recipes). But three of them felt worthy of their own new recipes.

If you’re looking for a complete Hobbit feast, you’ll have to wait until after the movie where we will dissect the whole scene, but until Friday: eat, drink and be merry.

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Baker’s Recipe: Marsala Soaked Tiramisu Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

The Sellsword of the Forsaken Field raised his gargantuan blade as he charged towards the mechanical monstrosity that rose from the desert sands. Infused with newfound power, he sprinted forward and lodged the Edge of Baneslaying Destiny into the clockwork beast’s ruby eyes. With fluid grace, the Sellsword slid under the beast and stopped behind it ready and weaponless.

Closing his eyes, he summoned his blade to his hand and watched the guardian fragment as it ripped its intricate insides apart. The dust cloud could be seen for miles and the Sellsword turned to his compatriots and simply asked:

“Anyone else hungry?”

My playgroup is actively trying to make sure we get together more often than once every few months, because frankly that isn’t frequent enough to toss some dice and fight monsters. But I think I figured out how to make it work: bribery. We all want to sit around the table and delve into a dungeon, but everyone has different schedules. So now I offer baked goods for when we do end up playing, and hopefully that will keep the schedule.

My most recent obsession has been tiramisu. That decadent blend of coffee, Marsala and mascarpone is luxurious and so I finally threw caution into the wind and wanted to make my own. But most of my friends known me for making cupcakes, so I gave it a slight twist and made tiramisu cupcakes for our game day.

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Baker’s Recipe: Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes

Grok love treasure! Grok love food! Why not combine both? Om nom! Magical dish delicious for Grok! Grok go raid now.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a fan of buying candy the day after a holiday ends. November 1st was always a fun time to run to the grocery store to see what plunders I could get and February 15th is up there too. So when Valentine’s Day ended, I did what I always do and went to see what clearanced confectioneries I could find and ended up getting some excess truffles.

But now when I buy candy, it often isn’t to just scarf down immediate. I try to find new ways to use them in my baking or other recipes. Hot chocolate made of melted Milky Ways and a touch of Bailey’s  is amazing by the way. Long ago, I made Milk Way stuffed cupcakes and they were a hit, so I figured why not do the same with truffles? And I mean chocolate truffles, don’t be weird.

These cupcakes don’t end up with a truffle center. As the cupcake bakes, the truffle melts and infuses the cupcake with additional chocolate. Then the bottom layer becomes a delicious base of chocolate.

I do have to say, I feel kind of bad posting this the day after Rachael wrote about the Slow Carb Diet.

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A Baker’s Lesson in Potion Making: Vanilla Extract

During my years in college when I was baking constantly, I noticed I was rapidly using my vanilla extract supply. And when your weekly food budget could quickly become decimated by having to buy a new bottle, I once broke down and bought the wretched monstrosity known as Iminitation Vanilla Extract, which has about as much in common with the real thing as a handful of purple Gobstoppers does with a handful of grapes. So I finally reached the point where I said enough is enough and figured there must be a better way to get vanilla extract than paying far too much at the local grocery store and there is: make it yourself.

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Baker’s Recipe: Molten Chocolate Lava Elemental Cake

Wiping the sweat from his brow, Thaxus rapidly realized just how annoyed the rest of the party was. Why is it every time you’re looking for a Molten Lava Elemental all you ever find are Magma elementals? And no, they are not the same thing Toidi!

Delving deeper into the sunken volcano, Thaxus finally uncovered his prey. This was going to take a group effort, but the molten extract was absolutely going to make tonight’s dinner that much better.

The Molten Chocolate Lava Elemental’s history is full of questions and miscommunication. It is rumored that legendary Archchef Jean-Georges Vongerichten was the first to utilize the essence in a dessert, but the Lord of Chocolate, Jacques Torres, disputes this claim. Regardless of where this came from, the Molten Chocolate Lava element is becoming increasingly difficult to find in the wild as more and more imitations have arisen.

Now when you visit an eatery or inn after a long day of questing, what is advertised as being a molten lava cake is little more than a chocolate cake injected with some hot fudge. This is not an accurate representation of this legendary dessert. Molten Chocolate Lava cake is a cross between a chocolate cake, a soufflé  and a chocolate pudding. In fact, it is really nothing more than undercooked!

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Armory Review: Ninjabread Men Cookie Cutters

I’ve always loved the odd and off the wall approach to kitchen tools that Fred has. The Mix Sticks and Pastasaurus have been staples in my kitchen for years, so it came as no surprise that I fell in love with the Ninjabread Men cookie cutters.

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Baker’s Recipe: Chocolate Silk Pie

“This feels like cheating.”

“You’ll be fine, just wing it – it’s what I always do!”

“But I’m not you!”

“Thank the gods for that, could you imagine how awful two of me would be?”

“One is bad enough,” the mage replied as he presented his gift to the elven king. It looked like a pie, smelled like pudding and tasted like heaven.

It feels weird categorizing this as a baker’s recipe, since there is very little actual cooking. But a dessert is a dessert and I feel like those usually fall into the domain of the Baker.

In high school, a friend’s father would make these pies around Christmas and would often sell them at silent auctions for fund raising. I became notorious for viciously bidding against people for these pies – had I know how easy they are to make, I would have just made them myself! But after I spent far too much on a single pie, he finally gave me the recipe but I’ve since taken the recipe and reworked it slightly – like the addition of a cookie crust.

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Baker’s Recipe: Spice Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

In honor of my friend Bruce’s birthday, he requested a batch of spice cupcakes for his birthday cupcakes. As someone who is always willing to try something new, I tackled this quasi-gingerbread cake and gave them their own kick by topping them off with a caramel frosting.

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Baker’s Recipe: Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Elves are weird, Thaxus thought after helping himself to another chalice of elven wine. Who else would find a way to combine vegetables and dessert?

Carrot Cake holds a special place in my heart, simply because of the wonder creation that is Carrot Cake Soup. Sadly, the soup isn’t that great (but if you allow some vanilla ice cream to melt over some carrot cake… mmmm delicious). Still, with the harvest coming to an end, I found myself with far too many carrots and decided I could trick people into eating them the old fashioned way: by hiding them in cake!

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Baker’s Recipe: Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

“Next time you say there is a chimera in the kitchen, can you please specify it’s the delicious kind?”

It’s been ages since I’ve had time to post a recipe and since my cupcake ones tend to get the most attention, I knew I had to return to form. I occasionally bring baked goods to my local Magic playgroup and after bringing chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Oreos once, I knew I would have to go back to the well and craft something new. Plus I had recently devoured some cookies and cream frozen custard, so I definitely had cookies on the mind.

Just a warning to all bakers out there, this recipe requires an entire package of Oreo cookies. I advise you pick up regular, not double stuffed, because I have no idea what is actually in Oreo frosting. Also, the frosting on these cupcakes is cream cheese based so these must be refrigerated once finished.

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