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October 21, 2008

Cooking With Disney: Pumpkin Muffins

One of my favorite treats at the Disneyland Resort during the autumn holiday season is their pumpkin muffins with cream cheese icing. I'd never considered actually trying to make them myself, though, until the recipe turned up on Disneyland's Annual Passholder web site (www.disneyland.com/ap) a few weeks ago (it's in the "News and Events" section).

It looked pretty straightforward, and I like to bake, so I decided to give it a try. So here's a photographic record of my attempt!

Recipe:

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Icing

Pumpkin Muffins:
2 cups pumpkin puree (canned)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325 F.

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In a large mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla until well blended.

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Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until just blended. Overmixing may result in less tender muffins.

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Fold in the raisins until consistently distributed.

Portion mixture into muffin pans and bake at 325 F for 25 minutes.

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Insert a toothpick into center of muffin and remove. If toothpick is clean, the muffins are ready. If not, allow muffins to cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until toothpick is clean. Allow muffins to cool for 30-60 minutes.

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Cream Cheese Icing:
1 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Allow cream cheese and butter to soften at room temperature for about an hour.

Mix cream cheese and butter together until smooth.

Add vanilla extract, powdered sugar and cinnamon, and mix until well blended.

Remove from mixer, and cover and refrigerate until needed.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with icing.

Poke a hole into the center of each cooled muffin and squeeze icing directly into the middle of the muffin, finishing with a rosette on the top.

Special Tip: The icing recipe makes a generous amount.

Ok, now for MY notes...

The recipe makes 24 regular-sized muffins. I filled the muffin cups about 2/3 full.

I like cinnamon, so I used 1 t. - and even that wasn't enough. I will probably increase the amounts of the cinnamon and cloves the next time - maybe add some ginger, too.

I don't care for raisins, so I used chocolate chips instead! It might sound like a strange combination, but they were really good - and they disappeared at work about 5 minutes after I put them out. :-)

I didn't use the cream cheese icing, either - that's just too sweet for me. And these muffins are so good they don't need it.

The next time I make these I'm going to cut down on the oil - they were a little too moist. I'll probably try using 2T of oil and 1/2C of applesauce instead.

May 3, 2008

Food and Wine Festival - How to Bake a Chocolate Souffle

Warning: This blog entry contains explicit chocolate photos. Not recommended for non-chocoholics.

Chocolate Souffle was the star of the first Sweet Sundays demonstration of this year's Food and Wine Festival, prepared by Napa Rose's pastry chef Jorge Sotelo, and his assistant Sergio.

Chocolate Souffle

Makes 8 servings

6-1/2 ounces 62% Scharffen Berger Dark chocolate (or other chocolate with cocoa content no higher than 72%)
1/2 C. plus 6 T unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated - bring to room temperature before separating, 4 hours or overnight
1/4 C. plus 3 T sugar
1 T all purpose flour

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All the ingredients were set out in advance.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a pan of water barely to a simmer. Place the chocolate and butter over the pan of water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is melted.

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Chef Sotelo finishes melting the chocolate.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar together until thickened slightly and lighter in color. Whisk in the flour and then the chocolate mixture.

Place the egg whites in a metal bowl and place over hot water until warmed slightly. Add 1 T of sugar and whip with an electric mixture on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1-1/2 tablespoons more sugar. Turn the speed to high and add the last 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar and whip until the whites form stiff peaks.

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Chef Sotelo warms the egg whites.

Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites.

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Sergio pours the chocolate as Chef Sotelo mixes it into the egg whites by hand.

Divide the mixture among 8 buttered ramekins, filled 3/4 full. Place the ramekins on a baking tray and bake about 9 to 10 minutes. The tops should be puffed and feel firm to the touch but are very liquid in the center.

The batter can be made the day before and poured into the ramekins. Remove from the refrigerator one hour before baking.

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Chef Sotelo demonstrates the technique of making fancifully shaped garnishes out of hot sugar "taffy".

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He finishes a heart-shaped decoration, while a finished corkscrew-shaped decoration sits on the counter.

And voila, the finished souffle, garnished with a white chocolate medallion, a crunchy cookie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Looks good enough to eat! It was yummy.

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August 22, 2007

Cooking with Disney

I don't know if you've noticed, but AllEarsNet has an extensive collection of recipes from many of the WDW restaurants - you can find the list HERE.

I don't care much for cooking but I love to bake, and I love desserts (especially chocolate) so I've tried a few of these. I thought I would share some of my experiences - things I've learned, and what works and doesn't work, and whether or not I think it's worth the effort.

I'm starting with the Milk Chocolate Creme Brulee from Fulton's, since I mentioned that in a recent blog entry.

Here's the recipe:

Milk Chocolate Creme Brulee
Fulton's Crab House
Downtown Disney

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 egg yolks, large
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3 oz. milk chocolate
2 TB granulated sugar

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

2. Bring heavy cream and 1/4 cup of sugar to a boil in a saucepan.

3. Whisk together egg yolks, vanilla, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar.

4. Add this to the heavy cream with the milk chocolate, making sure the chocolate is completely melted.

5. Ladle custard into 6 oz. cups and place cups in large baking pan.

6. Add enough water to the baking pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until set, approximately 45 minutes.

7. Remove custards from water and cool. Refrigerate until well chilled.

8. Preheat broiler. Sprinkle 1/2 TB of sugar over each custard.

9. Broil until sugar caramelizes, approximately two minutes.

Serve immediately.


This is actually pretty easy to make, but it looks and tastes really awesome. I've made a few modifications, though. :-)

I use dark chocolate (Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips, or other bittersweet chocolate) instead of milk chocolate.

The recipe doesn't say this, but once you bring the cream to a boil, REMOVE IT FROM THE HEAT. On a gas stove simply turn off the burner, but on an electric stove you'll need to move it to a different burner or a hot pad.

I add the chocolate to the cream (if you're using a chocolate bar, chop it into 1/4" pieces first) and stir to let it melt before adding the egg yolk mixture. (You don't want the cream mixture to be too hot when you add the eggs or it'll start cooking the eggs and it can get lumpy.) I find a wire whisk works well for getting everything to combine together, but if you use a wire whisk then you need to make sure not to use a non-stick sauce pan.

For the baking cups I've used ceramic mini-souffle dishes as well as small pyrex baking dishes - either one works fine, though the mini-souffle dishes look a little fancier. I can fit 6 of them in a metal 9x13 pan and then pour in the water. It's awkward carrying a pan half-filled with water, so I put the pan in the oven and pull the oven rack partway out and THEN pour in the water.

I found that baking at 275 degrees really *doesn't* work - or if it does, it takes a LOT longer than 45 minutes! I bake it at 325 for 30-35 minutes. I do have to be really careful when taking it out of the oven to avoid sloshing hot water around (water drops mar the nice top of the creme brulee!). I carefully use a pair of metal tongs to pull the custard cups out of the water and then set them on individual serving plates.

We ignore steps 7-9, because rather than chilling it and then caramelizing the sugar on top, we eat it right out of the oven! It's so good that it doesn't need the caramelized sugar, but I serve it with whipped cream and usually some berries on the side.

Ok, now I'm starving...there must be some chocolate around here somewhere!

See you in the kitchen...

Laura

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Cooking with Disney category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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