Brownie cupcakes with Dulce de Leche

No this is not a Russian or Ukrainian desert. Although dulce de leche is cooked condensed milk, used very often in Russian/Ukrainian deserts. I was reading a new favorite blog girlsguidetobutter.com, and her recipe of “Ree’s Baked Fudge Meets David Lebovitz’s Dulce de Leche Brownies”, inspired me to create my own. After reading Ree’s recipe, David Lebovitz’s recipe and Sofya’s recipe I decided to give it a try on my own. I wanted to make it easy to transport because I was going to take it to work with me. I decided on making brownie cupcake bites and chose a super simple recipe from Martha Stuart.
Here is what you will need for my version of this delicious dessert:

Martha Stuarts Everyday Food, Super-Fudgy Brownies

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan

1 Cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon salt

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/4 Cups sugar

3 Large eggs

Dulce De Leche

1 Can 14 oz Sweetened condensed milk

Before you start the brownies you will need to make the dulce de leche. Place the unopened can of condensed milk in a small pot. Fill completely with water. Place over medium heat and let the condensed milk cook for 2 hours. The water will evaporate so add water when needed so the can is always covered. When the two hours are over, take the can out of the water and let it cool before opening.

While the can is cooling start on the brownies.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

According to Martha Stuart recipe:

“Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of gently simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes; remove bowl from pan.

Add sugar; mix to combine.

Add eggs, and mix to combine.

Add flour mixture; mix just until moistened (do not overmix).”

I was not very patient with my chocolate and butter and took it to the microwave. It worked out perfectly.

Take paper cupcake liners and line your cupcake pan. Scoop up the brownie mix with a ice-cream scoop (about 1/4 cup) and place into the cupcake pan.

Open the can of cooked condensed milk.

Place a heaping tablespoon into each individual “cupcake”.

I tried to swirl the dulce de leche into the brownie batter

Bake 50-60 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

After reading all the different recipes I hope you find one that works for you!

Soooo good!!!

Ukrainian Rose Petal Preserves

I just love love love roses! They are beautiful, they smell wonderful, and I learned they taste great!

My mother found this recipe in a really old Ukrainian cookbook that she brought with her from Ukraine. It’s a fragrant and delicate preserve with four simple ingredients. It’s really easy to make. Give it a chance and you’ll be surprised at how delicious roses can be.

Ingredients:

1 Cup rose petals

*For me it was about 11 roses, make sure to press down or squish the petals down so it’s truly 1 cup. They also need to be organic, home grown, fragrant roses. The long stemmed roses from the store will not work.

2 Cups sugar

Juice of 1/2 large lemon

1 Cup water

Remove the petals from the rose. I found that my moms roses had a few pincher bugs hiding inside. DO NOT COOK WITH BUGS. I found that shaking them out did the trick. Once I took off the petals I examined each one to make sure it did not have any defects or bugs on it. After 11 roses I finally had my 1 cup.

I also had a few rejects.

Remove the yellow end or the part where the rose petal connects to the flower.

Wash the rose petals with water.

Combine water with sugar in a medium sauce pan. Turn the burner to medium high heat. Stir frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. The water will become clear. Add lemon juice and stir.

Add all of the rose petals and lower the heat to low.

Le the rose petal water come to a slow boil.  The rose petals will slowly start to become clear.

Stir frequently. Cook for 1 hour.

I cooked on low heat for about 1 hour 15 minutes and that extra 15 minutes made the rose petals more tender and the preserve thicker. If you have the patience use that extra 15 minutes.

Rose petals will become clear and sauce will be thick. Don’t worry if you see some color from the rose petals. Even when you place them in your jar it will continue cooking.

Because I knew that my jar will be empty within a week (and it was), I didn’t take any extra measures with jarring my preserve. I simply transferred from saucepan to jar with a table-spoon and closed it until the preserve cooled. Of course I managed to get some in my mouth and burn my tounge (it was worth it).

It is so delicious. It works great with slices of baguette or french bread or toast. Or if you’re like me I just ate by the spoonful.

Oh sooo good!

Shem-Pop Delicacies

Recently I’ve discovered a great talent around me. My cousin Lily, who’s mom is an amazing cook and baker has also taken on baking. Lily and her friend Vicka make the most amazing cakes, cupcakes and other delicacies. Check out their album on facebook. If you live in the Sacramento California area contact them at shem-popdelicacies@hotmail.com to place an order or find out more information.

My plan now is to get together with them…bake…and give you the recipe!

Mother’s Day!

Sunday was Mother’s Day so Happy Late Mother’s Day! But isn’t it mother’s day everyday for all mothers out there? At least once a year there’s a day dedicated for it. Unfortunately I had to work on mothers day but fortunately I had my mom and sisters over for tea and cake in the late evening. It was so nice to have them over and have a little girl talk. And thanks Andrey (my husband) that hung in there to enjoy the tea and cake with us. I thought about using little dainty tea cups and saucers but with the amount of tea my family drinks I opted for large coffee mugs. I think my sister refilled hers 3 times throughout the evening!

 For my tea party I took inspiration for the recipes from Natasha’s Kitchen food blog. She is amazing and so are her recipes!

The mini tea sandwiches were Aunt Anna’s Canapes

And the cake was a combination of THREE different cakes. Yes it was a little crazy and a little daring. Plus I have never made anything like it before. I used my mother in laws recipe and directions for Russian biskvit cake. From Natasha’s kitchen I used the whipped cream cheese frosting and the syrup. I got the idea for cherries from another one of her cakes. My cake turned out delicious!

My sisters made

The cupcake were so yummy and buttery. What a great recipe. I have to incorporate this into a cake. Any ideas?

Here is the recipe for my mother-in-laws biskvit cake mix:

6 Eggs

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup all purpose flour

1 Tsp vanilla extract

Frozen black cherries, defrosted

In a large bowl mix together the eggs and one cup sugar. Use a hand mixer or stand alone (probably easier) to beat the eggs and sugar untill light and fluffy. Add vanilla and flour. Slowly incorporate into the eggs and sugar. This was the first time I had even made the cake and I just could not get the fluffiness I needed for the eggs. My mother in law said (over the phone) I should add a little more sugar untill it starts working. I ended up adding additional 3/4 cup sugar! My mixture almost tripled in size and I stopped. It still turned out great and very delicious anyway.

 I used two buttered 9inch spring form cake pans to bake the cakes at 350*. You can follow Natasha’s Kitchen directions if it works better for you.

Let the cakes cool completely.

Lay the first layer down on the serving tray. Using a tablespoon, slowly poor half the syrup on the cake. Layer with the cream cheese frosting. Place the defrosted cherries in a layer on top of the frosting. Frost over the cherries. It’s a good idea to make the frosting layers thin so that you’re not getting a huge bite of frosting when eating the cake, unless that’s what you want! Place the second cake layer and repeat with the syrup and frosting. Cover the sides of the cake with frosting. You have cake!

Enjoy!!

My mom brought me these beautiful roses from her front yard. She has a great recipe for rose petal preserves. Come back soon and see the recipe!

Sooo goood!