Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011.04.07 - Baked Brie, Broccoli Soup, Cake Pops

What to do with a ton of leftover brie?  First world problems, people.  I chose to serve it baked and oozy with a healthy broccoli soup to balance it out and a special dessert.

D recently finished her thesis defense, earning her the title of Doctor (PhD variety) in Physics.  Celebrating the culmination of over six years of work (and not blowing anything up with electromagnets or particle accelerators the whole time!) deserves a special dessert, at the very least.  I wanted to play with the theme of the atom, so it seemed like a good time to try my hand at cake pops.

Baked Brie with bread

Typical baked brie wrapped in puff pastry can be pretty great, but I felt like something a little "lighter".  This recipe calls for just baking the brie as is, and topping it with some honey and almonds.  It was great paired with Trader Joe's Rustic Rosemary Bread (a new favorite!).

Broccoli Soup

I've made this soup from Molly before, and I love it.  It is not at all heavy, it is better than the sum of its parts (even non vegetable lovers like this soup), and it seems pretty much healthy (as long as you take it easy on the sour cream topping).

Modifications: Left out all garlic, per usual (allergies).  I forgot to add the grated parmesan to the sour cream mixture, but we all survived :)

Red Velvet Cake Pops

Unless you've been living in a cave, you probably haven't been able to avoid cake pops on the internet or in the world.  I hear they sell them at Starbucks now!  I hadn't made some before, but I had a can of cream cheese frosting in the pantry, so I thought red velvet cake pops would be perfect for my atomic structure. 

Per cake pop tradition, I used a box red velvet cake mix.  Which tasted oddly like ... nothing ... after I baked it.  The least flavorful boxed cake I've ever had.  I knew that I'd be combining the sucker with a whole container of frosting, so I didn't worry about it too much.  The cake pop making process was messy (I used my hands!  they were dyed red!) but not too difficult.  I didn't quite have the patience to make them perfectly smooth, round, and even sized, so mine were pretty remedial looking.  One of the big downsides of my side-by-side refrigerator is that it is hard to freeze a batch of cake pops all at the same time, because I can't just stick a half sheet pan in there :( 

The dipping process went pretty smoothly, although I must emphasize instructions that I vaguely recall reading in Bakerella's book -- make sure that the pop is *completely* covered by the candy melt coating.  I had a few that had tiny holes and sure enough the cake pop mixture extruded out of the holes, for lack of a better word.  I chose chocolate for my neutrons, green for my protons, and purple for my electrons.

I arranged the pops in a loose atomic structure, paying no attention to proper balance, and used some thin silver thread to join the electrons together in their valence levels.  D said that the structure would be more appropriate for a neutron (also the subject of her thesis), so imagine they are instead quarks, some top, bottom, charmed, spin, whatevers :)

I find cake pops to be unbearably sweet (but still completely addictive).  I'd love to make a version with a more subtle frosting and a good homemade cake.  Most common reaction from people trying a cake pop for the first time: skeptical look, tentative bite, then "oh!" then "YUM!" then "how is this so moist?"  It's kind of hilarious.

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