I'm going to publish my Sound of Music Sing-a-Long Saturday in two sections. First, the baked goods.
I tried to make Frosted Chocolate-Buttermilk Cupcakes (sans the cream cheese frosting) from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, along with Baking Illustrated Simple Chocolate Frosting (page 345).
Well, I just ate two of them...you know, just to make sure. And I'm not crazy about them. I used dehydrated buttermilk today. Have you seen this? Cook's Illustrated says it is okay to use...but I'm not sure if I used it correctly. The instructions on the buttermilk say that you add the dehydrated stuff to the dry ingredients and add water to the wet ingredients - basically, don't rehydrate it before using. However, they only have measurements for 1 cup or 2/3 cup. I needed 6 tablespoons and I couldn't figure out how I could keep the wet and dry separate. So, I mixed up one cup and grabbed 6 tablespoons from it.
The cupcakes are pretty dense but not too moist. Remember I made the Chocolate Sheet Cake from Baking Illustrated? That had real buttermilk and was quite moist. I wonder if it is the recipe, me or the buttermilk. Anyway, I think I should try that recipe again with real buttermilk and see if it makes a difference.
I also made the Simple Chocolate Frosting. It was pretty easy and had only two ingredients: heavy cream and semi-sweet chocolate. First, you bring the cream to a simmer and pour it over the chocolate chips. Cover with foil for 5 minutes and then whisk it up. I popped it into the refrig for an hour and then whipped it up for 2 minutes. You could also not whip it and leave it dense.
I think I should have done that. I might have overwhipped it - what do you think? Is this "medium-stiff peak" (as the recipe dictates)? It was very mousse-y and light, but perhaps a little too light? Hum. I'm going to have to try that recipe again too. And, when I whipped it, I ended up with a boatload of extra frosting!
By the way, I went to Penzeys Spice store (from a recommendation from my friend, Julie). It is great! I got some Dutch processed cocoa powder, real nutmegs pods, cream of tartar, cardamon, and some other spices. If you want to visit, you'll have to come to Torrance, California - the only store in all of California. I overheard the cashier say that Pulitzer Prize winner, Jonathan Gold shops there! Don't forget to check out his top 99 summer restaurant recommendations...sadly, I have been to only a few on the list. I must do more research!