Moving

So, I’ve decided that WordPress is just not working for me. Apart from all the issues I’ve been having loading pictures, it’s just a really frustrating host for a blog.

However, I am moving this blog to Blogger. If you’re looking for some new goodies please follow this link.

Daring Bakers’ January 2012 Challenge: Biscuits

 Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

Ingredients:
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

Variations on the Basic recipe
Buttermilk – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with buttermilk, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, increase the fat to 4 tablespoons, in Step 3 aim of pea-sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 fold and turn the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with buttermilk.
Australian Scone Ring (Damper Ring) – follow the Basic recipe above but decrease the fat to 1 tablespoon, in Step 3 aim of fine beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, in Step 7 form seven rounds into a ring shape with the eighth round as the centre, glaze with milk.
Cream – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with cream, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with cream.
Cheese and Chive – follow the Basic recipe above but add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, after Step 2 add ½ teaspoon sifted mustard powder, ¼ teaspoon sifted cayenne pepper (optional), ½ cup (60 gm/2 oz) grated cheese and 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives into the sifted ingredients, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are widely spaced in the baking dish, sprinkle the rounds with cracked pepper.
Fresh Herb – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add 3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (such as parsley, dill, chives etc).
Sweet Fruit – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) dried fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currents, cranberries, cherries etc) and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.
Wholemeal – follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour.
Wholemeal and date – follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour and after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) chopped dates and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.

White Yule Fruit Cake

I’ve made this fruit cake a few times for the holidays, so i know it’s a yummy one. It’s best if you make it a few days ahead, so that the glaze can really soak into the cake.

First, mix the raisins and cherries in the orange juice. 

 

Then mix the butter, eggs, sugar.

Then combine the flour, baking powder, salt. Separate 1/2 cup of that mixture and set aside. Add the rest of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Then mix in the nuts and raisins into the rest of the flour and add to the dough.

Bake. When it’s done, spread the glaze over the cake, and wrap it up so it can absorb the orange galze.

ORANGE-BOURBON GLAZE

      • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
      • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
      • 3 tablespoons white sugar
      • 3 tablespoons Jack Daniels Whiskey ( or use another brand whiskey)

FRUITCAKE

    • 1 cup golden raisins
    • 1 cup dark raisins
    • 1 cup canned pineapple tidbits, well drained
    • 1/2 cup currants
    • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 5 large eggs
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 teaspoons grated orange zest
    • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
    • 1/2 cup candied green cherries, well packed ( sliced in half or chopped)
    • 1/2 cup candied red cherries, well packed ( sliced in half or chopped)
 
Page 2 of 3White Christmas Fruitcake With Orange-Bourbon Glaze (cont.)

Directions

  1. To prepare the orange-bourbon glaze (do this firstly) in a small saucepan over medium heat cook the orange juice with sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 2 minutes).
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon until combined; set aside to brush on fruitcakes.
  3. For the fruitcake; butter two (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans.
  4. In a medium bowl combine both raisins, pineapple tidbits, currants and orange juice; let stand for 35 minutes at room temperature.
  5. In a large bowl beat butter until creamy (about 2 minutes).
  6. Add in sugar and vanilla and beat for about 6 minutes (there should be no sugar granules remaining at all).
  7. Add in eggs and beat just until no yellow remains in the bowl.
  8. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt; remove 1/2 cup of the flour mixture to a bowl; set aside.
  9. Add in the flour mixture (not the 1/2-cup) to the butter mixture beating on low speed just until completely blended.
  10. Add in the orange zest and lemon extract (or lemon zest if using) beat until combined.
  11. Drain the raisin mixture and return back to their bowl; stir in the cherries and mix to combine.
  12. Toss the cherry/raisin mixture with the reserved 1/2 cup flour mixture, then using a spatula fold the mixture into the batter until combined.
  13. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
  14. Bake (second-lowest oven rack) at 325 degrees for about 1 hour or until the cakes test done.
  15. Brush the warm cakes liberally with some of the orange bourbon glaze until dissolved in the cakes.
  16. Cool for about 10 minutes in pans, then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
  17. Glaze liberally again with the bourbon glaze, then wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator for 2 days before serving, brushing with remaining glaze over the 2-day period (you might not use the complete amount of glaze, you can drizzle the remainder on the cake slices when serving!).
  18. Serve or freeze until ready to use.
 

 

Sourdough Muffins

So, I wanted to use a bit of my sourdough starter. His name is Poe (yes, I named my sourdough starter) and he is fabulous, and it’s about time I use a bit of him in muffins.

It’s a super easy recipe. So, mix all the ingredients, leaving the sourdough starter for last.

I added a dollop of pumpkin butter in the middle of each muffin, but you can use wahtever you like, or nothing at all.

1  cup sour dough (pancake batter consistency)     1 egg

2  cups flour                                                              2 tablespoons shortening

1/2  cup sugar                                                           1/2  teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup milk

Mix all ingredients well, adding the sourdough last, so that it forms a thick but runny batter.  Stir rather than beat.  Fill muffin-tin cups about half full and bake for 30 minutes, or until done, at 375 degrees.

The Daring Bakers’ November Challenge: Sans Rival

Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.

Start by beating the whites, until stiff. Start adding the cream of tartar and the sugar.

Then assemble the cake.

Ingredients
10 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) cream of tartar
¼ cup (60 ml) (20 gm) (2/3 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (optional and not traditional)
2 cups (480 ml) (240 gm) (8½ oz) chopped, toasted cashews

1. Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.
2. Line cake pan bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the sides really well.
3. In a large clean, dry glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (2 mins.). Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat now at high speed until stiff shiny peaks form. (about 7-10 mins.)

4. Fold in nuts, reserving enough to use for decoration.

5. Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread in pans, evenly to edges. If doing batches, use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the meringue from the baking pans while still hot; allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled.

7. When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped. Set aside.

French Buttercream:

Ingredients
5 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1¼ cup (300 ml) (2½ sticks) (285 gm) (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
Optional Flavorings: 2 oz (55 gm) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) almond extract, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) vanilla extract, or any flavor you like

1. Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
2. Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).
3. With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. Continue beating on high until the mixture is ROOM TEMPERATURE (about 15 mins). Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time. Add flavoring after you beat in the butter. Refrigerate the buttercream for at least an hour, and whip it smooth just before you use it.
Assembly:
Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.

Assembly:

Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a
thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of
buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and
sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.

Pecan Pie

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Of course, the staple at  my house is pecan pie. This year, though, I wanted to try it with a bit of alcohol in the mix. Most of the recipes call for bourbon, but since no one drinks that at home, I used grappa and kaluah.It’s bound ot be an interesting flavor.

So, first, prepare the pie crust.

While that’s baking, start roasting the pecans, and heating up the caramel.

Then mix the cream, the eggs, the salt and the alcohol.

Add it to the caramel. Place the nuts at the bottom of the pie, then fill with the liquid. Bake!

Grand Marnier Pecan Pie (made 9" deep pie dish) 
Pie Crust
Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick butter (113gram), chilled & cut into small pieces
1/4 cup tbsp. cold water
Flour for dusting

Method
1. Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a food mixer until well combined.
2. Add the butter and pulse on low speed until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
3. Add water slowly until it starts to clump together.
4. Place the dough on a clean flour dusted surface and roll it out into a disc big enough to cover a 9inch tin.
5. Carefully place the dough into the pie tin and form it.
6. Transfer to fridge and chill for at least half an hour.
7. Take it out and prick the pie base all over with a fork. Blind-bake (cover with foil and weight down with rice/beans) the crust at 180C for 15mins. Take it out, remove the foil and put it back in oven and baked for another 15 mins or until golden brown.
8. Set aside to cool.

Filling
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups pecans (200gr)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup (60gr) unsalted butter
3 large eggs
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp glucose
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
4 tbsp Grand Marnier (or any Bourbon/Rum)

Method
1. Heat sugar, honey, glucose and butter in a large saucepan until boiling, stirring constantly.
2. Roast the pecan on frying pan over medium heat, until is hot and just about to brown. Remove, set aside to cool.
3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
4. In the meantime, beat eggs, cream, Grand Marnier and salt in a separate bowl and add to caramel once cool.
5. Spread the pecans over the bottom of the pie crust, pour the liquid mixture into the pie crust.
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F (180C) until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.
7. Take out and let it cools down before serving with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies

I wanted to make cookies today, and this recipe just called to me. It’s a recipe from Two Peas.

 

Mix the flour, the salt, and the chopped pecans. Set aside.

Beat the butter, the sugar, the egg yolk, the maple syrup, and the vanilla extract.

Slowly, add the flour mixture.

Shape into balls and press a pecan half into the dough, if you’d like. Then bake!

2 3/4 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3/4  chopped pecans

2 sticks butter

3/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 egg yolk

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir in 3/4 cup chopped pecans and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together 2 sticks (1 cup) of room-temperature butter and 3/4 cup of sugar until smooth and light. Add 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup, 1 large egg yolk, and 1/4 teaspoon of maple or vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until just combined; the dough should be smooth and pliable. Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out rounds using a two-inch cookie cutter and place one inch apart on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with 1 beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar (turbinado for a coarse look; table sugar for a light glaze). Place a pecan in the center of each cookie, if desired. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

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