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  • pixeltheatre 1:26 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cupcake throw down   

    Cupcake Throw Down: Mini Southern Hogs Cupcakes 

    I was invited to participate in the 3rd edition of the Vancouver Cupcake Throw Down held last week at The Chapel, in the Downtown East Side. It was a benefit bake-off for H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society. With plenty of time to develop a recipe, I readily accepted. I’ve wanted to have fun with bacon in a dessert recipe for quite a while. Here was my chance. An episode of Eat St. set my own wheels turning with bacon pralines. My love of salted caramel set the tone for the rest of the recipe. I tried a couple of bases, a brown sugar base and a blue corn meal base.I brought samples of both to my office and some of my co-workers provided some good feedback. Personally, I liked the corn meal-based one better. It had a bit of a tang to it, and some crunch, but the majority of my colleagues opted for the brown sugar one. So, brown sugar it was in the end.

    The event had a great turnout. Some 22 bakers were there and the flavours were quite something to see and taste. Great venue too. It was nice to see so many young families there — nothing like young kids hopped up on sugar. 🙂

    Mini Southern Hogs Cupcakes

    Bacon Pralines

    1 pound thick-cut bacon
    2-1/4 cups light brown sugar
    2 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    1 1/4 cups toasted pecans, roughly chopped
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 tablespoon bourbon
    1/4 teaspoon table salt

    Special equipment: candy thermometer

    Toast pecans in a preheat 350F oven for 10 minutes.

    Cook bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels, then line bacon on a parchment-covered pan.

    Place 2 cups brown sugar into a 3-quart heavy saucepan, being careful to not get sugar on the sides of the pan. Add the cream, the 2 tablespoons butter and cook over very low heat (do not let simmer), stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until the sugar is dissolved, 10 to 15 minutes. Wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Clamp on a candy thermometer to the saucepan and boil the syrup over moderately-high heat until it registers 236 degrees F.

    Remove the pan from the heat, leaving the thermometer in place, and let cool until the syrup registers 220 degrees F, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour mixture over lined bacon and let cool and then place in fridge to harden. Once harden, chop into small pieces.

    Salted caramel fudge
    1 cup white sugar
    1/4 cup water
    1 stick (1/2 cup) fresh unsalted butter
    1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
    1 1/2 teaspoon bacon salt (available at Edible BC on Granville Island)

    Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper.

    This process can take awhile depending on the heat source. Keep an eye on it, if the caramel begins to smoke, you’ve burned it and you’ll have to start over.

    Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove it from the heat and immediately add the heavy cream – the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam – be cautious as the sugar will be very hot.

    Whisk the final mixture together well over low heat and sprinkle in the bacon salt. Cool in fridge overnight.

    Cupcakes
    1 1/2 cups (188 gms) flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    115 gms unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 cup packed (125 gms) + 2 tbsp brown or raw sugar
    2 eggs, at room temperature
    1 tsp bourbon
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    2 tbsp milk

    Preheat the oven to 350°F and line the muffin trays with paper cups.

    Combine the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

    Cream the butter, vanilla and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated into the above butter and sugar mixture.  Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

    Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating it with two additions of buttermilk and milk.  Beat until well combined.

    Spoon batter into the lined muffin tray cups, filling each to about half. Bake for about 25 minutes (20 if you make the small cupcakes).

    When cooked, let them cool down in the tray for 10 minutes, then put them on a wire rack to cool down completely.

    Cream Cheese Frosting
    300 g Icing sugar, sifted
    50 g Unsalted butter, room temp
    125 g Cream Cheese, slightly softened
    5 ml vanilla
    Buttermilk to taste and texture

    In a food processor or electric mixer, beat the icing sugar and butter until well mixed.

    Dice the cream cheese into smaller cubes then add to the mix, beating until completely combined.

    On medium-high speed, add vanilla and continue beating the frosting until it becomes light and fluffy. This takes around five minutes.  Add buttermilk if you want a creamier frosting.

    Assembly

    When the cupcakes are cool, scoop a small chunk of each cupcake (small melon scooper works well), and spread a small dab of the salted caramel fudge. Replace the cupcake chunk on top of the fudge. Pipe the cream cheese frosting on cupcake and sprinkle bacon praline on top. Refrigerate.

    Sources:
    Cupcake recipe adapted from: Manu’s menu website: http://www.manusmenu.com/triple-salted-caramel-cupcakes

    Salted caramel recipe from: Cooking Channel’s Four Twenty Blackbirds Salted Caramel Apple Pie recipe: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/four-and-twenty-blackbirds-salted-caramel-apple-pie-recipe/index.html

    Bacon praline recipe adapted from: Food Network – New Orleans Bacon Pralines: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/new-orleans-bacon-pralines-recipe/index.html

    Cream cheese frosting recipe adapted from Good to Know Recipes: http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/475341/Red-velvet-cupcakes

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    • Jenna Conover 7:38 pm on March 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I was just looking for an amazing cupcake recipe!

    • Cheryl Andrews 11:56 am on June 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Everything looks wonderful! Just found you online. Would love to hear from you.
      -Cheryl

      • Cheryl Andrews 11:56 am on June 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Cheryl Spargo from NH, went to Cambridge

    • TeseHealley 12:17 pm on June 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      а мне лично вкатило 🙂

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on June 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baklava, phyllo dough   

    Daring Bakers 51st Challenge: From phyllo dough to baklava 

    Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava. I had made baklava a couple of times before, with store- bought phyllo. I was a little leery of having to having the dough from scratch. Actually, making the dough was not the issue. The rolling and stretching was. My hunch was right. The recipe yielded a very nice and pliable dough. Unfortunately that’s where it ended for me. As I started rolling the first sheet (I needed 18 in all), it became clear an exercise in frustration was ahead. Words of one of my chef instructors came to mind: “Liz, you have to pick your battles.” Though this originally related to my hopelessness in turning vegetables, as well as not very good knife skills in general, I knew this was another battle I would not pick. After failing to stretch properly a couple of sheets, I gave up. I ended up using the dough to make a “pets de soeurs” (“nuns’ farts”), a common way in Quebec to use up pastry dough. Spread some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, roll up and cut pin wheels. Bake at 350F until dough is cooked through. The next day I bought some phyllo sheets and completed the challenge. Very nice and incredibly sweet recipe. I highly recommend buying pre-made phyllo sheets. Life is too short. 😉

    Pets de soeurs

    Baklava

    Phyllo Dough:

    *Note 1: To have enough to fill my 9” x 9” baking dish with 18 layers of phyllo I doubled this recipe.

    *Note 2: Single recipe will fill a 8” x 5” baking dish.

    *Note 3: Dough can be made a head of time and froze. Just remove from freezer and allow to thaw and continue making your baklava

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (185 gm/6½ oz) unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
    • 1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (¾ gm) salt 1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
    • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
    • 1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) cider vinegar, (could substitute white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar, but could affect the taste)

    Directions:

    • In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt
    • Mix with paddle attachment
    • Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.
    • Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water (I had to add a tablespoon more)
    • Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes.
    • Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.
    • Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil
    • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 30-90 minutes, longer is best ( I let mine rest 2 hours and it was perfect)

    Rolling your Phyllo

    ** Remove all rings and jewelry so it does not snag the dough** Use whatever means you have to get the dough as thin as you can.

    • Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger then a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.
    • Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-flour.
    • Roll out the dough a bit to flatten it out.
    • Wrap the dough around your rolling pin/dowel
    • Roll back and forth quickly with the dough remaining on the dowel (see attached video for a visual, its much easier then it sounds. Nope, not for me, it wasn’t.)
    • Remove; notice how much bigger it is!
    • Rotate and repeat until it is as thin as you can it. Don’t worry if you get rips in the dough, as long as you have one perfect one for the top you will never notice.
    • When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. NOTE: you will not get it as thin as the frozen phyllo dough you purchase at the store, it is made by machine
    • Set aside on a well-floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up. Between each sheet again flower well. You will not need to cover your dough with a wet cloth, as you do with boxed dough, it is moist enough that it will not try out.

    Baklava Recipe

    Adapted from Alton Brown, The Food Network 30 servings Ingredients For the syrup:

    • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) honey
    • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) water
    • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) sugar
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 (2-inch/50 mm) piece fresh citrus peel (lemon or orange work best)
    • a few cloves or a pinch or ground clove When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot, I find it better when the baklava is hot and the syrup has cooled

    Directions

    • Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved
    • Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.
    • Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain cinnamon stick and lemon, allow to cool as baklava cooks

    Ingredients for the Filling:

    • 1 (5-inch/125mm piece) cinnamon stick, broken into 2 to 3 pieces or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (8 gm) ground cinnamon
    • 15 to 20 whole allspice berries ( I just used a few pinches)
    • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) blanched almonds
    • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (155 gm/5½ oz) raw or roasted walnuts
    • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) raw or roasted pistachios
    • 2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm/ 5 1/3 oz) sugar
    • phyllo dough (see recipe above)
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225g/8 oz) melted butter ** I did not need this much, less then half**

    Directions:

    • Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
    • Combine nuts, sugar and spices in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor chop with a sharp knife as fine as you can. Set aside
    • Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan
    • Brush bottom of pan with butter and place first phyllo sheet
    • Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter and repeat approximately 5 times ending with butter. (Most recipes say more, but homemade phyllo is thicker so it’s not needed)
    • Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
    • Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
    • Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
    • Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
    • Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
    • Continue layering and buttering phyllo 5 more times. On the top layer, make sure you have a piece of phyllo with no holes if possible, just looks better.
    • Once you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance.
    • With a Sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. If you can’t cut all the ways through don’t worry you will cut again later. A 9×9 pan cuts nicely into 30 pieces. Then brush with a generous layer of butter making sure to cover every area and edge
    • Bake for approximately 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again this time all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary, you are looking for the top to be a golden brown, take close watch yours may need more or less time in the oven)
    • When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the cooled (will still be warmish) syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. It looks like it is a lot but over night the syrup will soak into the baklava creating a beautifully sweet and wonderfully textured baklava!
    • Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled cover and store at room temperature. Allow the baklava to sit overnight to absorb the syrup.
    • Serve at room temperature

    Freezing/Storage Instructions/Tips:

    There are a few ways to store your Baklava. It is recommended that you store your baklava at room temperature in an airtight container. Stored at room temperature your baklava will last for up to 2 weeks. You will notice as the days pass it will get a little juicier and chewier. You may choose to store it in the fridge; this will make it a little harder and chewy, but does increase the shelf life. You can also freeze your baklava and then just set it out at room temperature to thaw.

     
    • Cyrus 7:22 pm on February 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great info. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident (stumbleupon).
      I’ve book-marked it for later!

    • understand 8:32 pm on April 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Good day! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted
      to give a quick shout out and tell you I really
      enjoy reading through your blog posts. Can you suggest any
      other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?
      Thanks a lot!

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on April 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: birch syrup, maple, mousse   

    Daring Bakers 49th Challenge: Maple Mousse served in an edible container 

    The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com! Firstly, this challenge was a cooking trip back to my home province of Québec. Born and raised there, Spring always meant sugar shack time, so maple syrup is definitely part of my heritage. Secondly, the container suggested for this mousse was none other than bacon! Bacon? Yes, oh yes…Glorious bacon. 🙂

    We got this challenge underway in no time. I enlisted my honey in this challenge, because I wanted the cups to be perfectly shaped, and I knew he had the skill and patience to make these work (patience, I confess, I don’t have a lot of when it comes to stuff like that ;( ). As the results show, the cups were perfectly executed (thanks hun!)

    This challenge gave me an opportunity to try a product I tasted at Edible BC in the Granville Island Market: Birch syrup. I had first tried it as part of a limited edition salted caramel birch syrup chocolate made by our favorite chocolate artisan, Chocolatas. The story, according to the salesperson, was that Edible BC approached Chocolatas and asked them to experiment with the birch syrup. The result was that divine piece of chocolate perfection. I thought it was great that merchants in the market interacted this way. A few months later, we came across that syrup while browsing at Edible BC. We got to taste it, and found the taste not quite as sweet as maple syrup, but interesting nonetheless. I couldn’t think of what to use it for to justify paying the somewhat steep price, but kept it in the back of my mind.

    When I read this challenge, I thought, here’s my opportunity. So I split this recipe into two, one half was maple mousse, and the other half became birch mousse. Although I think the quantity of gelatine in the recipe was a bit too much, the two syrups/eggs mixtures really congealed, the whipped cream managed to bring everything together. As for the birch mousse, the lesson learned is that this syrup should be mostly used as a flavouring agent instead of an actual ingredient. I used the same quantity of syrup (1/2 cup) as I did for the maple. The birch syrup is not as “syrupy” as the maple is. The mousse tasted more like molasses, and reminded me of the homemade molasses taffy I used to make with my grandma. However, when eaten/combined with the bacon cup, the taste became much more subtle. We topped both desserts with some walnuts and grated dark chocolate.

    This challenge really got our imagination going into other ways we could use bacon cups.  You just can’t beat the taste and aroma of bacon. Thanks for a great challenge, Evelyne!

    Bacon Cups:

    Ingredients:
    • 24 thin slices good quality bacon

    Directions:
    1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.

    2. Take a muffin pan or 6 small ½ cup capacity heat-proof bowls, turn upside down and carefully form aluminum foil covers on the back of 6 muffin cups or the bowls.

    3. Taking 2 strips of bacon at a time crisscross the strips over the backs of the muffin cups and cut to size a tad longer then the bottom part of the cup. Now use 1 to 2 more strips to cover the sides of the muffin cups in a weaving fashion. You want a full tight weave because bacon shrinks a lot. For smaller cups I used a shot glass with a square of bacon for the bottom and I wrapped 1 strip around the side.

    4. Tuck the ends of the bacon strips inside otherwise they will curl while cooking. A good idea is to insert 4 toothpicks where the crisscrossed bacon meets in the weave.

    5. Place muffin pan in a cookie tray to catch drippings. Bake in oven for about 25 to 40 minutes, or until the bacon is golden and crisp but not burned.

    6. Cool completely, a good hour, before removing your cups delicately from the foil.

    Maple Mousse:

    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup (240 ml/ 8 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup)
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 1 package (7g/1 tbsp.) unflavoured gelatine
    • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml. g/12 fluid oz) whipping cream (35% fat content)

    Directions:
    1. Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.

    2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).

    3. Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.

    4. Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatine. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatine has completely dissolved.

    5. Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.

    6. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.

    7. Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.

    8. Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your edible containers.

     
    • Crumbs of Love 4:23 pm on April 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Do you think birch beer is made with birch syrup? just a thought. Anyway, very impressed that you did both challenges. You did a great job!

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on March 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: coffee cake   

    Daring Bakers 48th Challenge: Mets la main à la pâte! Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake 

    The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake. I’m always happy when a recipe calls for kneading. Can’t think of a more therapeutic action than kneading. Always brings a smile to my face. Then again, I might be influenced by the regular sight of my cats kneading and the purring that always accompanies that action. Total bliss. 🙂

    This  recipe, which I halved, produced a very nice bread. We had the option of using one of a couple of suggested fillings, or come up with our own. I went with Jamie’s, a combination of pecans and chocolate chips. Add cinnamon to that mix and you have one very tasty bread. This recipe is a definite keeper. Thanks ladies!

    FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE

    Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
    The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake

    Ingredients
    For the yeast coffee cake dough:

    4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
    ¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
    ¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
    1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
    ¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
    ¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
    ½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
    2 large eggs at room temperature

    10 strands saffron for Ria’s version (Saffron might be hard to find and it’s expensive, so you can substitute with ½ – 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom or ground nutmeg. Or simply leave it plain like Jamie’s version)

    For the meringue:

    3 large egg whites at room temperature
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon vanilla
    ½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

    For the filling:

    Jamie’s version:
    1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped pecans or walnuts
    2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
    ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate

    Ria’s version:
    1 cup (130 g / 5 oz.) chopped cashew nuts
    2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
    ½ teaspoon garam masala (You can make it at home – recipe below – or buy from any Asian/Indian grocery store)
    1 cup (170g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips ( I used Ghirardelli)

    Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
    Cocoa powder (optional) and confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes

    **Garam (means “hot”) masala (means “mixture”) is a blend of ground spices and is used in most Indian savory dishes. It is used in limited quantities while cooking vegetables, meats & eggs. There is no “one” recipe for it as every household has a recipe of their own. Below, I am going to share the recipe which I follow.

    4 or 5 sticks (25 g) Cinnamon Sticks (break a stick and open the scroll)
    3 ½ tablespoons (25 g / less than an ounce) Cloves, whole
    100 g. (3.5 oz.) Fennel seeds
    4 tablespoons (25 g / less than an ounce) Cumin seeds
    1 ½ tablespoons (10 g / less than half an ounce) Peppercorns
    25 g (less than half an ounce) Green Cardamom pods

    In a small pan on medium heat, roast each spice individually (it hardly takes a minute) until you get a nice aroma. Make sure you stir it throughout so that it doesn’t burn. As soon as each spice is roasted, transfer it to a bowl to cool slightly. Once they are all roasted, grind into a fine powder by using a coffee grinder, or pestle & mortar. Store in an airtight container and use as needed.

    Directions:

    Prepare the dough:

    In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.

    In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. Ria’s version: add the 10 saffron threads to the warmed liquid and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor and a yellowish-orange hue.

    With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

    Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.

    Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

    Prepare your filling:In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling if using. You can add the chopped nuts to this if you like, but I find it easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate separately.

    Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:

    In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

    Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

    Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.

    Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue (ex: half of the cinnamon-sugar followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate).

    Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.

    Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

    Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.

    Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

    Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.
    Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosenthe coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.

    Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.

     
  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on February 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Bakers 47th Challenge: Panna Cotta and Florentines 

    The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies. Two of my favorite treats. The florentines made with oats instead of shaved almonds was an interesting twist. The panna cotta is a smooth and refreshing dessert. I served it with mixed berries reduced in balsamic vinegar. That’s the way I first learned to do it in cooking school and it’s still my favorite way to balance the creaminess of this dessert. Thanks for reminding me the simplicity of this dessert.

    Giada’s Vanilla Panna Cotta

    Ingredients

    1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
    1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
    3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
    1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
    1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½

     

    oz) granulated sugar
    pinch of salt

    Directions:

    1. Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
    2. Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).
    3. Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn’t boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
    4. Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
    5. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.

    Hope you love it!

    Chocolate Panna Cotta

    Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

    Ingredients:
    1 cup (240 ml) whole milk1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
    2 cups (480 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
    ½ cup (115 gm) (4 oz) sugar
    ¾ cup (145 gm)(5 oz) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
    ½ teaspoon (2½ ml) vanilla extract

    Directions:

    1. Pour milk into a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the top, set aside for 2-5 minutes.
    2. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir in cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a low boil.
    3. Add chocolate and whisk until melted. Whisk the milk/gelatin mixture into chocolate cream mixture. Whisk until gelatin has dissolved.
    4. Transfer to ramekins, or nice glasses for serving.
    5. Cover and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight

    Nestle Florentine Cookies

    Recipe from the cookbook “Nestle Classic Recipes”, and their website.

    Ingredients:

    2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter
    2 cups (480 ml) (160 gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
    1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) granulated sugar
    2/3 cup (160 ml) (95 gm) (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour
    1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup
    1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
    1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
    pinch of salt
    1½ cups (360 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) dark or milk chocolate

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

    1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
    2. To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.
    3. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
    4. While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).
    5. Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean).
    6. Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate.

    This recipe will make about 2 1/2 – 3 dozen sandwiched Florentine cookies. You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper).

     

     

     
    • Mary 9:27 am on February 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I was really happy to be reminded of this dessert as well. I bet it was delicious with the berries.

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on January 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Bakers 46th Challenge: Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet 

    The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert. I really waffled as to whether or not to make this dessert. On the heels of the Christmas season eat-a-thon, I didn’t really feel like creating, and eating, more sweets. But,  after seeing all the creations coming from Daring Bakers on the forum, I decided to go for it. The final result was a chocolate-flavoured Joconde biscuit, layered with a chocolate mint mousse and ladyfingers moistened with cacao liqueur. I only did half the recipe and used a 7-inch spring pan. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to show a photo of the inside of the cake until mid-February. This cake will be dessert for our Valentine’s day dinner. Stay tuned.

    Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet

    Equipment required:

    • Silpat
    • ½ baking sheets or a 13” x 18” jelly roll sheet (rimmed baking sheet)
    • Mixer (optional)
    • Bowls
    • Knives
    • Offset spatula
    • Regular spatula
    • Pastry comb (optional)
    • Rulers
    • Spring form pan
    • Biscuit cutter (or ring mold, or cut PVC pipe, or whatever else you can think of to use as a mold for individual desserts)
    • Torte/entremets mold/Springform pan/ Trifle dish (for larger desserts)
    • Cling wrap
    • Parchment paper
    • Gel, paste or liquid food coloring (optional)

    Joconde Sponge

    YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

    Ingredients:
    ¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal – *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
    ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners’ (icing) sugar
    ¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
    3 large eggs – about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
    3 large egg whites – about 3 oz/ 90g
    2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
    2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted

    *Note: How to make cake flour: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/

    Directions:

    1. In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
    2. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
    3. On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
    4. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
    5. Fold in melted butter.
    6. Reserve batter to be used later.

    Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

    YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

    Ingredients
    14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
    1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners’ (icing) sugar
    7 large egg whites – about 7 oz / 200g
    1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
    Food coloring gel, paste or liquid

    COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.

    Directions:

    1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
    2. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
    3. Fold in sifted flour.
    4. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

    Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:

    1. Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
    2. Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.
    3. Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
    4. Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.
    5. Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
    6. Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
    7. Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

    Preparing the MOLD for entremets:

    You can use any type of mold. I would suggest:

    1. Start with a large piece of parchment paper laid on a very flat baking sheet. Then a large piece of cling wrap over the parchment paper. Place a spring form pan ring, with the base removed, over the cling wrap and pull the cling wrap tightly up on the outside of the mold. Line the inside of the ring with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping top edge by ½ inch. CUT the parchment paper to the TOP OF THE MOLD. It will be easier to smooth the top of the cake.
    2. A biscuit cutter/ cookie cutter- using cling wrap pulled tightly as the base and the cling covering the outside of the mold, placed on a parchment lined very flat baking sheet. Line the inside with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping.
    3. Cut PVC pipe from your local hardware store. Very cheap! These can be cut into any height you wish to make a mold. 2 to 3 inches is good. My store will cut them for me, ask an employee at your store. You can get several for matching individual desserts. Cling wrap and parchment line, as outlined above.
    4. Glass Trifle bowl. You will not have a free standing dessert, but you will have a nice pattern to see your joconde for this layered dessert.

    Preparing the Jaconde for Molding:

    Video: MUST WATCH THIS. This is a very good demo of the joconde and filling the entremets:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca4eLDok-4Q

    1. Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.
    2. Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”. Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.
    3. Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length. (Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler.)
    4. Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to “wrap “your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.
    5. The mold is done, and ready to fill.

    *Note: If not ready to use. Lay cake kept whole or already cut into strips, on a flat surface, wrap in parchment and several layers of cling wrap and freeze.

     
    • pragmaticattic 10:14 am on January 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Very cute idea to pipe hearts–nice!

  • pixeltheatre 4:24 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: stollen   

    Daring Bakers 45th Challenge: Stollen 

    The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

    I was late in checking the new challenge this month. It goes live on the 17th of every month. Hilariously enough, I looked at it after coming back from the first German Christmas Market in Vancouver. A open-air market with vendors selling typical German-fare such as gluhwein and…stollen! I had bought one, as it is one of my favorite Christmas treat. I told my partner that it was something I always wanted to to make, but never got around to it. I had bought some marzipan a couple of years ago with the intention of making it, but it was still in my cupboard. No more excuses. I particularly liked this recipe, though it’s a multi-day affair. I made this a couple of times, adding marzipan both times. The first, despite reading the instructions over and over, I rolled the wrong side of the dough, ending with a very fat wreath. Still good, though. The second time around, rolled it the right way, but it took a lot longer to bake than the time indicated in the recipe. Still turned out right. This will become a staple of my Christmas baking. Thanks Penny for a great challenge!

    Stollen Wreath

    Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people

    Ingredients

    ¼ cup (60ml) lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
    2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (22 ml) (14 grams) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast
    1 cup (240 ml) milk
    10 tablespoons (150 ml) (140 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter)
    5½ cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first – then sift- plus extra for dusting)
    ½ cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
    ¾ teaspoon (3 ¾ ml) (4 ½ grams) salt (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 grams) cinnamon
    3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
    2 teaspoons (10 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract or orange extract
    ¾ cup (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel (link below to make your own)
    1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed raisins
    3 tablespoons (45ml) rum
    12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional)
    1 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) flaked almonds
    Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
    Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath

    Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zested orange.

    Directions:

    Soak the raisins
    In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum (or in the orange juice from the zested orange) and set aside. See Note under raisins.

    To make the dough

    Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

    In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup (240 ml) milk and 10 tablespoons (150 ml) butter over medium – low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

    Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.

    In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (4 liters) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.

    Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

    Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!

    Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn’t enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.

    Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
    Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.

    Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath

    1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
    2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
    3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
    4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.

    Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.

    Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.

    This was before I pinched it together

    Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.

    Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

    Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.

    Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

    Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.
    Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.
    Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first.
    The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.
    Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh – especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!

    When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.

    The stollen tastes even better in a couple of days and it toasts superbly…. so delicious with butter and a cup of tea….mmmmm

    Storage
    The more rum and the more coatings of butter and sugar you use the longer it will store.
    The following is for the recipe as written and uses the 45 mls of rum and two coatings of butter and icing sugar
    1. Stollen freezes beautifully about 4 months
    2. The baked stollen stores well for 2 weeks covered in foil and plastic wrap on the counter at room temperature and
    3. One month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.

     
    • Audax Artifex 5:00 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I just love that first photo your stollen looks so perfect and rustic wonderful effort and the snow effect on you blog is so cute.

      Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

    • Coz 7:37 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I think your stollen looks like a snow topped mountain. I like how you did your cuts to make it look that way.

    • Erin 8:13 pm on January 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful job on the challenge this month!! Your stollen is beautiful and just looks so festive. I love that you made the recipe a couple of times during the month. Well done!

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on November 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Cooks 19th challenge: Soufflés 

    Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

    I had done a soufflé before in cooking school, but couldn’t remember how successful I had been. I knew they were pretty fussy. I looked for a recipe online that wouldn’t be so big. There’s only two of us to feed, and found what looked like a pretty straightforward spinach soufflé recipe. Didn’t work. Never rose, though it was cooked throughout and tasted good. It didn’t involve a water bath, though. I also had waited for the oven to reach the proper temperature after folding in the egg whites. Perhaps that was the reason? Who knows.

    So I went back to basics and did the lemon soufflé recipe from my school notes. It worked, kinda. Didn’t rise
    much, but had a nice light and lemony taste. Interesting challenge, but not one I’ll be doing again soon. As noted above, too fussy.

    Here’s one of the recipes Dave and Linda offered.

    Chocolate Souffle

    Adapted From BBC Good Food Recipe by Gordon Ramsay

    Ingredients

    FOR THE DISHES

    2 Tbsp (30 ml) 1 oz (30g) unsalted butter, for greasing
    Cocoa powder or finely grated chocolate

    FOR THE CREME PATISSERIE

    2 tbsp (30 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
    2 tsp (10 gm) (0.35 oz) caster (superfine) sugar (regular sugar is OK)
    ½ tsp (4½ gm) (0.15 oz) corn starch (aka cornflour)
    1 medium egg yolk
    1 medium whole egg
    4 Tbsp (60 ml) milk
    5 Tbsp (75 ml) heavy cream (or double cream)
    3 oz (90gm) good-quality dark chocolate preferably 70+% cocoa solids, broken in pieces
    2 Tbsp (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
    Optional: 2 tsp orange zest or 2 tsp minced chipotle chile en adobo or 1 tsp chipotle chile powder. (The chile version is a Monkeyshines favorite!) Optional: powdered sugar for dusting

    FOR THE EGG WHITES

    6 medium egg whites
    6½ Tbsp (95 ml) 3 oz (90g) superfine/caster sugar (if you don’t have it, regular sugar is OK)

    Directions:

    1. Heat oven to moderate 375 ˚F/190 ˚C/gas mark 5.

    2. Take four 1 cup/~240ml soufflé dishes and brush them completely with softened butter. Tip a little cocoa powder or grated chocolate into each dish, roll the dish around tilting it as you do so it is evenly lined all round.

    3. For the crème patisserie, mix the flour, sugar and corn starch into a small bowl. Put egg yolk and whole egg into a medium sized bowl, beat lightly, then beat in half of the flour mixture to give a smooth paste. Tip in the rest of the flour mixture and cocoa powder and mix well.

    4. To make the ganache, pour the milk and cream into a pan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and beat until it is melted and smooth with no lumps.

    5. Gradually stir hot chocolate ganache into the paste from step 3, and add the orange zest or chile if using. This is your crème patisserie.

    6. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks with an electric whisk. Sprinkle in the sugar as you are mixing. Keep whisking to give stiff, firm peaks to give volume to the soufflés.

    7. Stir about 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the beaten egg whites into the crème patisserie. Carefully fold in a third of the rest, cutting through the mixture. Fold in another third (take care not to lose the volume), then fold in the rest.

    8. Spoon the mixture into the dishes. Run a spoon across the top of each dish so the mixture is completely flat. Take a little time to wipe any splashes off the outside of each dish, or they will burn on while cooking.

    9. Bake the soufflés for 15-17 minutes.
    10. The soufflés should have risen by about two thirds of their original height and jiggle when moved, but be set on top.

     

     
    • Danielle 2:45 pm on November 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I have not been daring enough myself to try a souffle but after seeing your awesome pics, I think I’ve gotta! 🙂

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on October 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: donoughts, donuts,   

    Daring Bakers 44th Challenge: Mmmmm…doughnuts! 

    The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious. Doughnuts!? Oh yeah! Also a proud canuck, I knew where this host was coming from. Tim Horton’s is more than a doughnut shop, it’s an institution in this country. Hun and I often have our Saturday breakfast there, and no matter the location, it’s always busy with a spectrum of people.

    I’ve always wanted to make donuts, but for some reason, was a little worried. Not sure why. Especially after doing this challenge. I was on my way home from holidays when I looked at this month’s challenge and emailed Hun right away. Glee, all around! The debate about what we would stuff in some of them started in Orlando, and continued while I waited for my connection in Houston airport. We’ve been playing with mini snickers stuffed in wonton wraps or funnel cake batter and fried, and doughnuts seemed the next natural step.

    For good measure, I tried both recipe. I was pleased to see (or taste) how less sweet homemade doughnuts can be.  The recipes suggested were straightforward. We fried the doughnuts outside on the bbq burner. Cooking time was quite less than the one suggested. Also, we found that 375F was too hot, cooking the outside before the inside was properly done. Reducing the heat to 350F fixed that. We tried a couple of glazes (white and chocolate) found on the web, but we’ll need to revisit those. Too watery and didn’t coat very well. The snickers stuffed doughnuts, done with the yeast recipe, worked well enough, though I’ll have to use more dough next time, to make sure the dough really rises around and covers the half mini-snickers piece well, as we ended up with some chocolate canola oil.

    All in all, a great challenge. We came out with four dozen donuts (not including the holes). Thankfully, these freeze well. 🙂 Looking forward to making some fresh ones at Christmas time, when my mother visits. She adores them — as a treat, of course.

    Yeast Doughnuts:

    Preparation time:
    Hands on prep time – 25 minutes
    Rising time – 1.5 hours total
    Cooking time – 12 minutes

    Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

    Ingredients
    Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
    Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
    Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
    Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
    Eggs, Large, beaten 2
    White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
    Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
    Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
    All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
    Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

    Directions:

    1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
    2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
    3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
    4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
    5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
    6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
    7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
    8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
    9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
    10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
    11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
    12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

    Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts:

    Preparation time:
    Hands on prep time – 25 minutes
    Cooking time – 12 minutes

    Yield: About 15 doughnuts & 15 doughnut holes, depending on size

    Ingredients
    Sour Cream ¼ cup / 60 ml / 60 gm / 2 oz
    All Purpose Flour 3 ¼ cup / 780 ml / 455 gm / 16 oz + extra for dusting surface
    White Granulated Sugar ¾ cup / 180 ml / 170 gm / 6 oz
    Baking Soda ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml / 3 gm / .1 oz
    Baking Powder 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
    Kosher (Flaked) Salt 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz (If using table salt, only use ½ teaspoon)
    Nutmeg, grated 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / .3 oz
    Active Dry Yeast 1 1/8 teaspoon / 5.6 ml / 3.5 gm / .125 oz
    Buttermilk ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoon / 210 ml / 225 gm / 7 ¾ oz
    Egg, Large 1
    Egg Yolk, Large 2
    Pure Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon / 15 ml
    Powdered (Icing) Sugar ¼ cup / 120 ml / 65 gm / 2.3 oz (Used for decorating and is optional)

    Directions:

    1. In a small stainless-steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, heat the sour cream until just warm.
    2. Heat the oil to 375°F/190°C.
    3. Over a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg; make a large well in the center. Place the yeast in the well; pour the sour cream over it. Allow it to soften (if using packed fresh yeast), about 1 minute.
    4. Pour the buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into the well. Using one hand, gradually draw in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Mix until it is completely incorporated. The dough will be very sticky. Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.
    5. Sift an even layer of flour onto a work surface. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of flour. You don’t want the doughnuts sticking to your counter. Scrape dough out of bowl onto the surface; sift another layer of flour over dough. Working quickly, pat dough into an even 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness. Dip cutter in flour and, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place holes and doughnuts on a floured surface. Working quickly, gather scraps of dough together, pat into 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness, and cut out remaining doughnuts and holes.
    6. Drop three to four doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Once they turn golden brown, turn them and cook the other side. Cooking times may vary, but with my oil at 375 °F/190°C, I found they only took about 20 to 30 seconds per side.
    7. Once cooked, place on a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain.

    Sift powdered sugar over doughnuts and serve.

     
  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on September 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , sugar cookies   

    Daring Bakers 33rd Challenge: September themed decorated sugar cookies – Are you ready for some football!? 

    The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking. Further, we had to use September as our theme for these cookies. For me, this means the return of the National Football League on television. Never been a big fan of Canadian football, but American football, oh yes! So, followed the recipe for the basic sugar cookies, found some relevant cookie cutters at Gourmet Warehouse and tried some colour icing. Not the smoothest results, but it worked. Another one down.

    Basic Sugar Cookies:
    Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4″ Cookies

    200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
    400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
    200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
    1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
    5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean

    Directions
    • Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming
    creamy in texture.
    • Tip: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during
    baking, losing their shape.

    • Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
    Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.
    • Tip: I don’t have a stand mixer so I find it easier to switch to dough hooks at this stage to avoid
    flour flying everywhere.

    • Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces.
    • Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm/1/5 inch (0.2 inch)
    • Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
    • Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in clingwrap and then refrigerate it for an
    hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and
    then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker.

    • Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface.
    • Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife.
    • Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour.
    Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking.
    • Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.
    • Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
    • Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.
    • Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in
    some cookies being baked before others are done.

    • Tip: Rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly.
    • Leave to cool on cooling racks.
    • Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.
    • Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated
    cookies can last up to a month.

    Royal Icing:

    315g – 375g / 11oz – 13oz / 2½ – 3 cups Icing / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar, unsifted
    2 Large Egg Whites
    10ml / 2 tsp Lemon Juice
    5ml / 1 tsp Almond Extract, optional

    Directions

    • Beat egg whites with lemon juice until combined.
    • Tip: It’s important that the bowls/spoons/spatulas and beaters you use are thoroughly cleaned and
    grease free.

    • Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites.
    • Tip: I’ve listed 2 amounts of icing sugar, the lesser amount is good for a flooding consistency, and the larger amount is for outlining, but you can add even more for a much thicker consistency good for writing. If you add too much icing sugar or would like to make a thinner consistency, add very small amounts of water, a few drops at a time, until you reach the consistency you need.
    • Beat on low until combined and smooth.
    • Use immediately or keep in an airtight container.
    Tip: Royal Icing starts to harden as soon as it’s in contact with air so make sure to cover containers with plastic wrap while not in use.

     
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