Baby Doughn?t you Wanna Go, Bake to That Same Old Place, Sweet Home Roundarch-Isobar-Chicago

I was asked to write a blog post about the recent bake off tournament in the Chicago office. For some reason, I was stuck on memorable song lyrics (probably inspired by the silly title I started with), and realized that this blog is best written to the tune of the ?Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?.

Now this is a story all about how
The Roundarch Isobar Chicago Office bake off went down
And I?d like to take a minute just sit right there
I?ll tell you how Raf Winterpacht became our Top Bake-air

In the west end of the office the idea was born and raised
In the kitchen is where we would compete for the praise
Made a bracket, assigned the matchups
Brought in our treats, everyone ate them up
When a couple of votes, said your baking?s no good
The winners moved on, and loser?s got booed
Stage after stage the finals came round
It was Megan and Raf – the final showdown

They whistled to themselves as they tried to decide
Which recipe to use to win all the pride
They thought long and hard and decided to make
Chocolate Chip Cookies and Gooey Butter Cake

They pulled up to the kitchen about noon or lunchtime
And yelled to the office, ?Yo, peeps the Bake Off?s in here?
The crowd ran in to taste and vote right there
Raf had more points and became our Top Bake-air

There you have it; basically we had a Bake-Off, head to head competitions organized bracket style. Each round the winner moved on and the losers cried to themselves as they returned back to work. The following photos are meant to enhance the story, not to make you hungry or jealous.

Oh and I think we are going to try and do this again, but this time with a twist. The competition will still be tournament style, but you can bake/cook whatever you want as long as you use a common assigned ingredient. Chicago people let me know if you want to be a part of the next tournament.

BONUS: Raf was willing to share his winning recipes.

Gooey Butter Cake:

INGREDIENTS:

1.?? 18 oz. box of yellow cake mix
2.?? 3 eggs
3.?? 1 whole stick of butter? – melted
4.?? 4 cups of confectioner sugar (powder sugar)
5.?? 1 teaspoon of vanilla
6.?? 1 block or 8 oz. of cream cheese?? –room temperature
7.?? a 9 x 13 greased pan

Preheat oven to 350

First, melt 1 stick of butter, let it cool for about 30 seconds after melting, and add it to the box of dry cake mix, then add one egg—mix it together until it becomes a sticky dough.

Take a 9 x 13 greased metal cake pan or use PAM, place the cake dough at the bottom and smooth it out until it covers the bottom of the pan evenly. I use my knuckles and fingers. Try to make it even, but it’s okay if it isn’t smooth. Just spread it out to cover the bottom of the pan in one layer. The dough is basically about a 1/2 inch thick when spread out.

Next in a large mixing bowl, break up your cream cheese into little portions, which should be at room temperature, add the two remaining eggs and vanilla, and slowly beat it with an electric mixer, adding 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time (4 total) to avoid a mess. Mix until smooth.

Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of your cake dough, spread it lightly and evenly.

Put it in the oven for 35-45 minutes.

When it is done, it will have a golden color to it, the top will be a very thin sheet of fine sugar, like a brulee. Take it out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature and serve.

Chocolate Truffles:

INGREDIENTS:
1.?????? 32 oz. very good quality bittersweet chocolate grated
2.?????? 4 tbsp. salted butter
3.?????? 1/4 c whipping cream
4.?????? 1 tsp. good vanilla extract

Put butter and whipping cream in double boiler until butter melts and whisk. Add 1/2 the grated chocolate and mix. After 1 minute remove from heat and stir until the chocolate is fully melted. Add vanilla and mix well.? Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until chocolate firms but isn’t hard (20-30 min).? With clean hands (this part is a pain, you have to wash your hands often or it’s very difficult) roll a tbsp. of chocolate into balls and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Once all chocolate is rolled put in refrigerator for an hour or so.

Melt remaining chocolate in a double boiler with a tbsp. of butter until you get a smooth ganache. Take cold truffles out of fridge and dunk in warm ganache (I use a fork and tap off excess) and put on parchment. If you want to sprinkle with nuts, cocoa or sprinkles do it now before chocolate sets. Once all truffles are dipped you can put them back in the fridge to set.? It’s labor intensive, but they are worth it!

For the other fillings, I used the following:
Mint: Just substitute 1 tsp. of Peppermint oil instead of the vanilla
Peanut Butter: 1cup of creamy peanut butter, about 2/3cup of powdered sugar, and 4tbsp of room-temp salted butter, blended with electric hand-mixer.
Nutella: Same as peanut butter, but substitute the peanut butter with Nutella. It might need a little more powdered sugar, depending on the consistency, but it needs to be thick enough roll into balls.

Tiramisu:

INGREDIENTS

  1. 12 egg yolks
  2. 1 Cup Sugar
  3. 1 package of ladyfingers, about 4 dozen
  4. 16 oz. Mascarpone cheese
  5. 1/2 cup milk
  6. 10 oz. Heavy whipping cream
  7. 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  8. 1/2 cup chilled espresso
  9. 1/2 cup spiced rum
  10. 1/2 dark chocolate bar

Mix/Beat egg yolks in a saucepan with the sugar, then add milk. Put on medium heat and whisk nonstop, until the mixture gets bubbly and starts to rise. Lower heat to simmer and stir another minute. Place mixture in bowl and cover with plastic wrap to the level of the custard mixture. Chill for 1-2 hours.

Mix espresso and rum, and place in freezer for 30 min sometime while custard is chilling

Take custard mixture out and place into bowl large enough to add mascarpone cheese.
Using electric hand blender, blend the custard with the cheese until well mixed. Make sure it’s not runny, but not too stiff that it can’t be spread easily.

In a chilled bowl, whip the whipping cream and vanilla with an electric whisk.

Take ladyfingers, one by one, and dip into espresso mixture. They shouldn’t be completely soaked, just dipped. Line them to make a layer in a large casserole dish (I prefer to use glass).
Spoon half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers evenly, and make sure they’re completely covered.
Spoon half of the whipped cream over the mascarpone mixture.
Repeat layers.
Sprinkle shaved bits and pieces of the chocolate over the whipped cream layer. Also, if a knife is used to make the shavings, you’ll end up with some chocolate powder. Also sprinkle that over the whipped cream layer. Cocoa can also be used to cover it uniformly.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours so the flavors of the espresso and rum soak into the ladyfingers.

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