Posted on Leave a comment

Individual Strawberry Jam Cakes

Looking for a tasty little treat for a mid-day snack or and end-of-day dessert? These hand-cakes by Martha Stewart will hit the spot. You can easily customize the recipe by switching out the flavor of the filling and using or omitting the citrus.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Individual Strawberry Jam Cakes

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp finely grated orange zest (I left out the citrus)
2 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (left out)
1/4 cup milk
6 Tbsp strawberry jam or preserves
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I substituted milk and added 1/2 tsp vanilla extract to make a vanilla glaze)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a standard 6-cup muffin tin and set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, (and zest) until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one at a time until creamy; set aside. Into a small bowl, soft together flour, baking powder, (and salt). Add flour mixture and milk in alternating batches to butter mixture. Set aside.

In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites to soft peaks; fold into batter among muffin cups. Make an indentation in the middle of each; full with 1 Tbsp of jam. Top with remaining batter.

Bake until a cake tester inserted in top cake layer comes out clean, about 30 mins. Untold cakes and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar and juice (or milk). Place parchment paper; drizzle cake with glaze.

Notes:
1. When separating batter, crest a thick enough base but conserve enough to cover the jam to reduce or prevent the jam leaning out.

2. When whisking icing, start with powdered sugar and slowly add the juice/milk to desired consistency. Blending all at once results in a thin, runny icing.

Advertisements
Posted on Leave a comment

GBBO – Prue’s Chocolate Mini Rolls

Who doesn’t love a good challenge from the The Great British Bake Off? The latest season available on Netflix introduced us to Prue, one of the new hosts, and her

udli7476
Prue Leith’s chotoclate mini roll

chocolate mini rolls.

Admittedly, my first attempt at this recipe didn’t follow the instructions to the letter, but I learned a few things and can’t wait to bake more versions in the future until I find the method that I am happy with. No matter what, the trials will all be delicious because this recipe is the right balance of chocolates and peppermint.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prue’s Mini Rolls

Cake:
60 g cocoa powder
30 g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp boiling water
6 large eggs, separated
150 g caster sugar (a.k.a. super fine sugar. I only had granulated on hand)

Filling:
150 g butter, softened
300 g icing sugar (a.k.a. powdered sugar)
1 tsp peppermint essence (I used extract. There is a difference in strength but the extract worked just fine.)

Coating:
200 g plain chocolate, 70% cocoa solids (only 60% was available near me and it worked out fine)
200 g milk chocolate
100 g white chocolate

Heat oven to 350F. Grease two 30 cm x 20 cm Swiss roll tins. Line the base of each tin with a piece of greased parchment paper. (I only had a single half sheet pan available. I baked one sheet instead of 2 due to the slight size difference).

Since the cocoa powder into a small bowl, add the butter, vanilla extract, and boiling water and mix together. Set aside.

Whisk 100 g of the caster sugar and egg yolks together until light, thick, and fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Add the remaining 50 g of caster sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved, making a meringue.

Beat one third of the meringue mixture into the chocolate mixture to loosen the mix. Using a large metal spoon, fold the remaining egg whites into the mixture.

Divide the mixture between the two lined tins and level out. Bake for 12-18 mins. (My half sheet went for about 16 mins).

Remove from the oven and place on cooling racks. Cover the tins with a damp tea towel and leave to cool completely – 45-60 mins. (In my attempt, I took the cake out of the tin while hot and rolled with a tea towel. This ended up deflating the cake horribly. I do not recommend this alternate technique for this cake.)

For the filling, beat the butter until soft and gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add the peppermint essence and continue beating until white, soft, and fluffy.

Turn the cakes upside down onto two sheets of parchment paper (or a tea towel) and peel off the parchment paper on the top. Turn the cakes so that the short end is facing you. Score a line 4 cm on both short ends of both cakes. (I don’t recommend using the scoring method as the cake falls apart.) Spread the peppermint cream over the top and toward the edges.

Starting from the front short edge, roll up the cake, stopping in the middle. Repeat he same from the back until both rolls meet in the middle. Cut down the center between the rolls.

Repeat with the remaining cake so you have four rolls. Trim the ends and cut each roll into three so you end up with 12 mini rolls. Place the rolls, seam-side down, on a cooling rack and chill in the fridge for 15 mins to firm up.

To finish, melt the plain and milk chocolate together in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (a double boiler). Place the cooling rack over a baking tin so it can catch the chocolate and dip, spread, or pour the chocolate over each mini roll to coat. Leave to set.

Melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (double boiler). Spoon into a small disposable piping bag and snip off the end. Pipe fine stripes across the width of the mini rolls and leave to set. (My white chocolate never got thin enough to pipe, so I spooned lines onto each roll and used a toothpick to make designs.)

Posted on 1 Comment

No Chill and No Expanding Sugar Cookie Recipe

Any time is a good time for sugar cookie cutouts. I had a smallish window to pull together a cookie dough and get it ready for cutters, so I looked around for a recipe that didn’t require time in the fridge. I stumbled across In Katrina’s Kitchen’s recipe for the “Best Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever!” Check out her page for a printable version of the recipe and some of her tips.

For a quick recipe, it worked well. The dough didn’t spread when baked. It ended being a bit difficult to work with as it was a bit too dry and a bit too wet. I had a tough time finding a balance. My dough didn’t end up as thick as the recipe suggests so I may need to try a different approach when I add my dry ingredients next time. I also found the flavor to be ok. It didn’t wow me but I did enjoy it.

Star Wars cookie cutters were purchased from ThinkGeek. Dinosaur cutter was purchased from Michaels.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth, minimum of 3 mins. Beat in egg and extracts.

In a separate bowl, combine baking powder with flour. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer, put the dough on a counter top, wet your hands, and finish kneading by hand. DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH.

Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want them to be closer to 1/4” than 1/8” in thickness. Bake for 6-8 mins. Start with 6 mins and check on them from there. Let cool on the sheet until they’re firm enough to move to a cooling rack.

Posted on Leave a comment

Brookies

Brookies, or brownie cookies, are always a nice treat. You get to enjoy the flavor of a chocolate cookie and a chocolate chip cookie at the same time. What’s not to like? For this bake, I gave this recipe by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe a spin. I really like how this recipe includes the weights for the dough balls to give you a starting point for proportions. After I saw how the first sheets came out, I started making some cookies with a larger percentage of chocolate chip relative to brownie as an experiment. You really can’t go wrong here. You can make these cookies as balanced or imbalanced as you’d like. The only tweak I’m making the next time I make these is to leave out the salt, but that’s due to personal preference. Give this recipe a go and make a fun treat chocolate-lovers will enjoy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Brookies

Brownie cookie ingredients:
10 Tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup (5 oz) lightly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup (5 oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups + 3 Tbsp (7.25 oz) flour
1 cup (1.5 oz) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda

Chocolate chip cookie ingredients:
10 Tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup (5 oz) light brown sugar
2/3 cup (5 oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 Tbsp (10.75 oz) flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Sweet aside.

Brownie cookie batter:
I’m a medium bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy (around 1-2 mins). Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat the mixture for 2-3 mins until light in color.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate while making the chocolate chip cookie batter.

Chocolate chip cookie batter:
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth (about 1-2 mins). Blend in the egg, yolk, and vanilla, mixing for 2-3 mins until the batter is very light in color.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter with the chocolate chips and mix until no dry streaks remain and the chocolate chips are evenly distributed.

Both:
Pull out dough to make smallish balls. Use a 0.5 oz ball of brownie batter and a 0.65 ball of chocolate chip batter. Press the two balls together and use your hands to shape the cookie by flattening and turning it to smooth out the edges, forming a flattish but thick shape. Continue until all of the batter is used. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them out to allow for some spreading during baking. Bake for 8-10 mins. The brownie side may crack a bit. Under-cook slightly for a softer and more chewy cookie. Let cool for 1-2 mins on the sheet before moving them to a cooling rack.

Posted on Leave a comment

Banana Nut Bread

Banana bread recipes are quite varied. When you find one that gives you the right texture and flavor, you tell everyone about it! My go-to recipe was introduced to me by a former coworker. This one comes from Cook’s Illustrated. The bread is soft inside with a just-right crunchy crust.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Banana Nut Bread

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
3/4 cups of sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe, soft, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)*
1/4 cups plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle portion and heat the oven to 300F.

*to quickly prepare the bananas, use this kitchen hack. Space the bananas out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (the bananas might leak and this provides easy clean up). Place the bananas in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Check on them until they reach desired texture. For the most mashable, let them get black without burning. Take out of oven. Remove peels and mash bananas. Set aside to cool.

Raise oven temp to 350F. Carefully line the same baking sheet with a clean piece of parchment paper. Spread walnuts out onto sheet. Place in oven to toast until fragrant, around 5-10 mins. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9×5 inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cooled walnuts. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract with a wooden spoon. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Do not over-mix! Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to three days. It can also be double wrapped with plastic wrap and double wrapped with foil and kept in the freezer for several weeks.

UCDT8591.PNG

Posted on Leave a comment

Oatmeal Chai Sandwich Cookie

Today I utilized three different recipes I’ve tried in previous bakes and ended up with something very tasty! How tasty? The entire plate of cookie sandwiches was gone before any could be shared outside of the house! This has become a new favorite.

May I present to you, the oatmeal pecan sandwich cookie with chai buttercream.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• Chewy oatmeal cookies from a previous post (just use chopped pecans as your mix ins instead of apples or walnuts)

• Chai spice* (from the chai spice sugar cookies post) I make a batch of this to keep handy for experiments like this. The buttercream only needs up to 4 tsp so there will be more than enough left over if you make a batch of the chai spice.

• Chai buttercream (modified from Chocolate, Chocolate and more)

6 Tbsp butter at room temp
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tsp chai spice mix* (see recipe above)
2 tsp whole milk

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 mins. Sift the powdered sugar into the butter in 3 half cup sections, scraping the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Add the chai spice and beat again. Add milk a 1/4 tsp at a time and beat for a few mins until the frosting is smooth and keeps its form when manipulated. If it looks too runny, stop adding milk. Adding more powdered sugar will thicken it. Adding more milk will make it less stiff. Mix until desired consistency is reached.

Spread a thick layer onto a cooled oatmeal cookie. Place second cookie on top and press down to secure the cookie, but not hard enough to make the frosting run out of the cookies.

Posted on Leave a comment

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

I’ve had a stash of macadamia nuts for a few weeks now and had been itching to try a new recipe for white chocolate macadamia cookies. I found a highly-rated recipe on Allrecipes and decided to give it a try. The recipe produced some very tasty and soft cookies. The only tweak I would make next time is using half the salt, but that’s only due to personal preference.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

1 cup butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup white chocolate chips or morsels

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth – about 3 mins. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Mix in chocolate and nuts.

Drop teaspoonfuls of dough onto the prepared sheets. Bake for around 10-12 mins or until golden brown.

I baked some of mine until golden brown and then others I took out as soon as the edges browned. Both bakes turned out soft and tasty, though the ones that were in the oven longer had a bit more of a crunch. Tweak your bake time based on your preference of how you like your cookies.

czzt0616

Posted on Leave a comment

S’mores Pie

S’mores are one of my favorite summer treats. When this recipe by Wishes and Dishes came across my feed, I had to try it! The graham cracker crust was a version I hadn’t tried before and I like how it turned out. I’m sure I’ll use it again with other recipes. I also had a big win with this recipe – I remembered to build the sides of the crust! I was sure to heavily emphasize my notes about the sides so I wouldn’t forget. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
S’mores Pie

1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (8 graham crackers if you are making the crumbs yourself)
1 tsp baking powder
7 oz marshmallow creme (1 container)
6 whole full-sized Hershey’s bars
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet morsels)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9” pie pan.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until combined. Mix in the egg and then the vanilla extract. Next, mix in the flour, then the graham cracker crumbs, and finally the baking powder.

Divide the dough in half.

Press one portion of the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.

Using a rubber spatula sprayed with non-stick spray, add the marshmallow creme on top of the crust. Spread evenly. Separate the chocolate bars into individual rectangles (aka pips) and place each pip on top of the marshmallow creme. Evenly distribute the mini marshmallows on top of the chocolate bar pieces (I added an extra handful of mini marshmallows).

Using the remaining portion of the crust, pat sections of dough on top of and around the marshmallows. They will not be completely covered which is what you want. The dough is soft so do this in pieces.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. I added a small handful of more chips.

Bake for 20 mins until lightly browned. Remove from oven and place on wire rack.

Cool completely before cutting.

As an added touch, I crushed the remaining single graham cracker in the sleeve and sprinkled it on top of the baked pie.

Posted on Leave a comment

Bangarang Cake

I’ve been reminded for weeks that someone wanted “a rainbow cake with rainbow icing” for his birthday cake. Ok. No problem. My first thought was to use it as an opportunity to try a mirror glaze! Unfortunately, I realized I wouldn’t have the time in the week leading up to the birthday so I went through several other ideas – 6” rounds each of a different color, two 9” rounds with the colors carefully layered – before I settled on a tie-dye 9”x13” and decided to wing it with the design of the buttercream.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For the cake, I used a boxed white cake mix and the recipe on the box. I substituted milk for water and melted butter for oil. Note that you can either us just egg whites or the entire egg with the box recipes. Since I wasn’t leaving any of the cake white, I used the whole egg. After making the cake batter, I separated it into five individual bowls. I used Betty Crocker gel coloring for each color except for purple, which was a liquid coloring. I realized too late into coloring that my dark colors had gone bad so I was not going to get the typical red, yellow, green, etc. The colors ended up very bright which ended up being perfect! I alternated pouring batter of different colors into the greased 9×13 pan so they sat on top of each other. Half of each bowl would get poured in. After each half, the second half was added to keep the variety going in the layers. When the batter was all in the pan, I realized it looked like the imaginary food the kids had a food fight with in the movie “Hook”! Now I’m calling this bake “Imagination Cake” (imagination pie was referenced in the food fight scene). Take a toothpick and run it up and down the length of the cake or make swirl designs to add additional twists of color. Place in the oven for 30 mins at 325F. When done, let cool.

For the frosting, I went with I Am Baker’s whipped vanilla buttercream.

2 sticks of butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract
4 cups of confectioner’s sugar, sifted (her recipe goes as high as 8 but I found the minimum to be perfect)
2 Tbsp whole milk (She notes that you can go up to half a cup for a more creamy and loose icing. I found 2 Tbsp to be perfect.)
1 pinch of salt

Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with he whisk attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy – about 3 mins. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Continue to mix.

With mixer on low, slowly add the sugar, milk, and salt, frequently scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Once incorporated, whip the frosting for at least 3 minutes on medium to high speed. I ran mine for 7 minutes, same as in the recipe.

If the frosting is too thick to spread, gradually beat in the additional milk (up to a half cup, total).

Separate into five different bowls. Add selected food dye to each bowl and stir until combined. Place an open baggie into a small cup with the top of the bag folded over the lip of the cup. Pour frosting from one bowl into one bag. Lift up bag, zip or twist to close, and use scissors to snip a small tip off of one of the bottoms of the bag. Holding the bag over the cooled cake, squeeze the bag to pipe the icing in a straight line longways along the cake. Use a butter knife, rubber spatula, or icing knife, smooth the row of colored frosting across the cake and down the sides. Repeat the bagging and popping steps for your next color. Overlapping color in each row helps with coverage. Repeat until the entire cake is covered. Run a toothpick through the frosting, lengthwise, to give the frosting a little extra flair. I ended up with plenty of leftover frosting but I also didn’t make a thick layer of frosting on the cake. Let sit or place in the fridge to firm up. It’s been so hot here that I popped mine in the fridge overnight. It gave the frosting a nice texture. The frosting also softened up again nicely after sitting out for a bit.

The almond extract works really well with the other flavors and makes this frosting stand out.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Cannoli Dip Cake Experiment

Some days more than one experiment fails. This trial saw two fails in one day! The idea behind this bake was to try my first recipe for my long venture down the road to figuring out my ideal cannoli dip/filling. Unfortunately, the recipe I tried turned out really runny and had way too much almond extract. I hoped the filling would firm up in the fridge but no luck. I still tried to salvage it by scrambling and throwing together a chocolate ganache to maybe lock in the filling, but I ended up only adding half the amount of chocolate necessary so that, too, turned out too runny. Instead of ending up with a tasty cake experiment, I ended up with a few lessons learned. #weKeepItMessy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cannoli dip from Cookstr.

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese (I used Polly-O which did not require straining)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk or heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Mini chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Combine ingredients and place in the fridge to set.

Chocolate ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz chocolate (I used only 2 oz of semi-sweet chips)

Place chocolate into a heat-safe bowl. Heat cream in a small pan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Pour hot cream directly onto the chocolate. Let sit for 2 mins to let the chocolate melt. Stir until smooth. Pour onto cake.

 

IMG_3504
Runny cannoli filling between two slabs of yellow cake.
Posted on Leave a comment

Coconut Crack Bars – Keto

My first keto-friendly, sugar-free experiment. I came across a post on The Big Man’s World for a coconut crack bar. Many friends have expressed interest in keto-friendly desserts so I wanted to try my hand at one.

This recipe is simple as you just mix three ingredients. However, it proved to be a pain in my butt today as I had to go to five stores to find unsweetened coconut and to Amazon for the syrup. After all of the running around, my bars didn’t turn out like the picture. However, they are very tasty, work well as a frozen treat, and surprised me with the monk fruit maple syrup!

One thing to note is that the recipe is not clear on whether it needs 1 cup of solid coconut oil, melted, or 1 cup of melted coconut oil. It’s possible mine have a bit more than intended leading to a thinner batter.

Curious? Give it a go!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Coconut Crack Bars

3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup monk fruit sweetened maple syrup (I used Lakanto brand)

Line an 8×8 or 8×10 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add the shredded coconut. Add your melted coconut oil and monk fruit syrup and mix until a thick batter remains. If it is too crumbly, add a little extra syrup or a tiny bit of water.

Pour the coconut crack bar batter into the lined pan. Lightly wet your hands and press firmly into place. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. Cut into bars and enjoy.

Storage:
Room temp – 7 days
Fridge – 1 month
Freezer – 2 months