Monday, March 16, 2009

Walnut & Cinnamon Sticky Buns

I realised today that I am over my yeast phobia, because on a whim I decided to make sticky buns. Actually I think it is less of a phobia and more of an aversion because with most yeasty things it takes forever before you get to enjoy them! My first thought was to do hot cross buns but Easter is still a month away and anyway I've been buying them since Christmas!

I've had my eye on Dorie's Pecan Sticky Buns for ages but being based on a brioche dough they need an overnight rest in the fridge. I whipped out my version in just a couple of hours. These are my own adaptation.

Walnut & Cinnamon Sticky Buns
Makes 16 buns

For the buns:
4 cups plain flour
1 1/4 cups milk
2 x 7g sachets of instant yeast
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/4 ts salt
100g butter, melted and cooled

For the glaze and filling:
125g butter
1/2 cup golden syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1 tbs cinnamon

For the buns:

Grease a square baking pan, approximately 10 x 10, generously with butter and set aside.

In a small heavy based saucepan combine the milk and sugar and stir over low heat until warm (I always aim for blood temperature) and the sugar is dissolved. Switch off the heat. Stir in the yeast and leave for around 10 minutes. It should become thick and foamy which means your milk was warm enough and your yeast is active (if it does nothing take my advice and just start over again with fresh ingredients).

Sift the flour and salt together into the bowl of your mixer. Add the melted butter and yeast mixture and give a quick stir to combine. Using a dough hook attachment work the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, approximately 5-8 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for an hour or until it has doubled in size.

For the glaze and filling:

In a small saucepan combine the butter, golden syrup and brown sugar. Bring to the boil over medium heat, keeping a close eye and stirring occasionally.

Pour the mixture into your prepared baking pan, reserving around 4 tbs in the saucepan. Tilt the pan to coat the surface evenly. Sprinkle over the walnuts then set aside.

To the reserved mixture add the cinnamon and stir well to combine. This forms the filling of the buns. You will need to reheat the mix over low heat to make it a spreadable consistency when you are ready to assemble the buns.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Turn out the dough onto a floured board and roll out into a large square, approx 16 x 16. Spread the filling mixture over the top as evenly as possible. Starting with the edge nearest you, roll the dough up into a cylinder.

Cut the dough into 16 pieces and place cut side up into the baking pan on top of the glaze.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for around 30 minutes or until they have doubled in size, rising up to the top of the pan.

Bake at 200 degrees celsius for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180 and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until the buns are golden brown.

Turn out onto a platter or bread board covered in baking paper as soon as possible after removing the buns from the oven. Be very careful as the glaze will be scalding hot.

Try to hold out for a few minutes at least before digging in as you will most definitely burn your fingers and your mouth. But it's totally worth it!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes

For the past couple of years Saturday has been just another working day for me. Working for yourself from home kind of means the days of the week are irrelevant anyway so I've never minded. Then for the past couple of weeks we've had birthing classes to go to which were a lot of fun but still an early start.

But now I am officially on maternity leave ... no clients, no classes, nothing to do but get ready for this baby who will be here in 6 weeks (!!!) And what better way to celebrate a Saturday morning than with pancakes!

I've been on an oats kick for the past month or so, having either porridge or bircher muesli every day without fail and although I wanted pancakes I wasn't ready to give up on my oats either. Lucky for me this recipe has been floating around for awhile, first at Joy the Baker, then at A Whisk and a Spoon.

They were the perfect start to the day. We also finally got out to the movies for the first time in about 6 months and saw Ghost Town. We liked!

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes
Adapted from Sunset Magazine

1 1/2 rolled oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries or raspberries ( I used frozen)
butter or oil to grease the pan

1. In a bowl mix oats and buttermilk. Let stand at least 15 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk and vanilla. Stir in flour and oats mixture. Mix until evenly moistened, then fold in blueberries.

4. Place a nonstick griddle, or nonstick frying pan over medium heat. When hot, coat the pan with a few teaspoons of a light colored oil (you can eyeball the measurement).

5. Pour batter in 1/2 cup portions onto griddle and cook until pancakes are browned on the bottom and the edges begin to look dry, about 2 minutes. Turn with a spatula and cook another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Coat pan with more oil as needed to coat remaining pancakes.

6. Serve the pancakes as cook or keep warm on a baking sheet, in a single layer in a warm oven (less than 100 degrees Celsius or they will dry out) for 15 minutes, or until you’re able to serve them.

7. Stack and serve with berries, maple syrup, ice cream - whatever takes your fancy!

This quantity will easily feed 4 people. We did find the batter a little runny. so next time I would use only 3/4 cup milk and double the baking powder to give them a little more lift.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Lemon Cup Custards

Wow there was a lot of tension in the ranks about this one! Personally, I love lemon, love custard and love eggs so had absolutely no problem with it. Thanks to Bridget of The Way The Cookie Crumbles for choosing such a simple, delightful recipe!

After reading about the lack of lemonyness, I let the milk simmer for about 10 minutes before bringing it up to the boil and then let it steep for over an hour. I baked them for just over 45 minutes because I wanted firm not jiggly custard. They got a little browner on top than I anticipated but I really liked the effect!

The taste test ...

Luscious, creamy and exactly what you want from a baked custard. I thought it was brilliant to get this effect from a custard which doesn't contain any cream. The lemon flavour was subtle but definitely there and really elevated an otherwise very plain dessert. I was originally planning on topping these with some stewed blueberries but in the end decided they didn't need it.

We will definitely be making these again and playing around with other flavour combinations.

You will find the recipe on The Way The Cookie Crumbles.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Belated Chocolate Armagnac Cake

So clearly my tastes are fickle at the moment. Not 5 days ago I swore I was totally over chocolate cake and couldn't face making another one.

My reasons for relenting were threefold, firstly everyone else's cakes looked so fudgy and fantastic that I was already regretting my decision by last Tuesday night, secondly N's mum was coming over for lunch and we wanted something drool-worthy for dessert and thirdly, well, I'm pregnant dammit and if I want chocolate cake I want it now!

I subbed cranberry juice for the alcohol and let the prunes steep overnight. I also used ground almonds because it was easier though I imagine walnuts and pecans would complement the Armagnac (or regular brandy or scotch) perfectly.

How did it go? Actually it was the first unmitigated Dorie disaster I've ever had. It was a breeze to whip up and I even floured the tin (which I never do) just to make sure it would all work out. I gave it 35 minutes in the oven by which time it was puffed almost to the top of the tin, cracking on top, coming away from the sides and looking done for all intents and purposes. A skewer came out clean and I even used my snazzy new digital thermometer to check the internal temp (I stopped looking when it reached about 75 deg C).

The problems started when I went to lift it from the cooling rack onto a plate and it started to separate in the middle. I then realised just how underdone it was when I plonked the glaze in the middle and it started to sink. Seriously. There was a crackly topped cake tsunami effect going on with the glaze getting lower and lower in the centre and the cake being pushed out towards the edges. I persevered and spread it out anyway.

By this stage I knew it was rubbish so I cut a piece anyway and yep, it was liquid in the middle. Not chocolate lava cake but actual liquid cake mixture exactly like when it went in the oven. Ewww!

So it went back in the oven, glaze and all, for another 40 MINUTES! before it actually started to firm up. No photos of that, it would put you all off your food.

I have no idea what is going on. I haven't had any problems like this with our oven before. If anything it tends to cook faster because it is a convection oven.

I imagine if it had worked as intended it would have been fantastic. What we ended up with was 'meh'. While I am curious to see what would happen next time I can't see myself making this again.

Particularly when after one bite I decided I really am over chocolate cake. *sigh*

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chocolate Overload

Can one ever have too much chocolate cake? I wouldn't have thought so but after this month's DB pick I'm definitely all chocolated out. I love the idea of this cake though, even the prunes (especially because of the prunes really because they go so well with chocolate!) so will make it sometime in the future. My Dad would love this, pity his birthday isn't until November...

Thanks to LyB of And then I do the dishes for this week's choice. And apologies for not making it!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers February - Chocolate Valentino

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

I have to say I wasn't hugely excited about this challenge. I mean I love chocolate, don't get me wrong, but I'm kinda over all those chocolate lava style desserts and this seemed a little too similar to things I have made before. That being said, my husband was thrilled! And seeing it was Valentine's I made it in a mini heart pan just for him :)

I am a little off my game at the moment. I think I've mentioned before how I have been misreading recipes a bit lately. This time I read everything correctly but I went ahead and stuffed up anyway!

I ended up with far too much batter for my little pan and clearly remember saying to N "the recipe says to fill the pan 3/4 full" as I blithely went on and scraped every last bit of batter into the pan so it was practically overflowing. I'm sure you can guess what happened. We had a chocolate volcano explode in the oven. I would show you the photo but I'm too embarrassed about our dirty oven.

So my cake is not the prettiest (it honestly never occurred to me until a week later that I should have just pulled off the lumpy lava edges and turned it upside down for the photos) but my husband assured me it was absolutely sublime and suggested several times that if I really wasn't happy I should just make it again. Isn't that sweet? He's always thinking of his stomach me.

Chocolate Valentino
from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Easiest Creamiest Ice Cream Ever

600ml pure heavy cream
1 can condensed milk
vanilla extract to taste

Whip cream until it just starts to thicken then while still beating, drizzle in the condensed milk followed by the vanilla. Whip until it has at least doubled in volume. Freeze. Eat. Swoon.

Make sure you check out the other DBs posts for cakes far prettier than mine!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: (Crunchless) Caramel Bars

Mmmmmm ... was anyone else drooling at the mere thought of these?!

You will notice there is no 'crunch' with these bars. We can't get toffee bits in Australia and although I could have made my own English Toffee as someone suggested I decided to make a more traditional caramel slice instead. Purely because condensed milk caramel is one of my favourite things EVER.

I used Dorie's base (minus coffee and chocolate pieces) with caramel filling and melted chocolate on top. Recipe below!

Caramel Bars

1 ½ cup plain flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
240g unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Condensed Milk Caramel-
60g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 can condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius fan-forced. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and line the base with baking paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

To make the base, whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon. Using a stand mixer beat the butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another three minutes or until the mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the vanilla and turn off the mixer. Add all the dry ingredients, cover the stand mixer with a kitchen towel and pulse the mixer on and off at low speed about 5 times. Remove the towel, turn the mixer to low and mix until the dry ingredients are just incorporated and you have a very heavy, sticky dough. Scrape the dough into the buttered pan and smooth it into a thin, even layer.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the base is bubbly and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the pan to a rack.

To make the caramel, place all ingredients in a heavy based saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to the boil, whisking continuously for approx 8 minutes or until the mixture is thick, bubbling and a deep golden brown. Don't stop whisking for even a second or you will end up with a lumpy, black mess (my first batch ended up this way but steel wool works wonders).

Pour over the cooked base and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely. When cool top with melted chocolate. Once set, slice into bars and devour.

This is a great alternative to the traditional boiled-in-the-can condensed milk caramel which I am still too afraid to try!

The taste test ...

Oh. My. God. This slice is sinfully rich. Make sure you cut into bite sized pieces! There is no way this could be made into icecream sandwiches although ... maybe chopped up and stirred through vanilla icecream? Yum!

Big thanks to Whitney of What’s Left on the Table for this week's awesome pick.

On another note, we did a little shopping over the weekend.

"Awww, sock!"
(a reference to How I Met Your Mother from last night if you saw it)

So "little" obviously refers to the size of each piece rather than quantity because check out that stash! We went a bit crazy but I don't think we bought a single thing that wasn't on a great special. There was one little jacket in particular which was $50 full price and we got it for $12.50 (and seriously $50 for that? I don't think so)

Baby stuff is just so cute!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Devil's Food White Out Cake

This week's TWD pick is definitely worthy of being the cover girl. It was gorgeous!

The cake itself was sensational. Really rich and chocolatey. I made minis and didn't have any problems with flat cakes, just the opposite in fact, these rose up into domes and didn't sink at all. I did forget to add the boiling water though. Maybe that had something to do with it?

I also decided not to make the frosting, instead using sweetened whipped cream. I haven't really got my head around the cooked frosting thing yet and am still on the anti-uncooked-egg bandwagon at the moment.

On that note, it seems I can't be trusted reading recipes at the moment. At least 3 times over the past week or so I have either misread something or completely overlooked a vital ingredient or process. I blame pregnancy brain! At least leaving out the water wasn't a problem, the results speak for themselves!

The taste test ...

Yum! I really loved this cake. The only problem I had was when it came to slicing it up. The cake wanted to slide all over the place on its pillows of whipped cream and the whole thing turned into a gooey delicious mess pretty quickly!

I'm really glad I made a mini version though because this would have been really dangerous to eat just between 3 of us! Thanks to Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater for this week's pick.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Classic Custard Tart

I've had custard on my mind ever since I decided not to make last week's TWD selection of Floating Islands. I absolutely adore custard and while I wholeheartedly avoid the bright yellow goop that passes for custard at the supermarket, strangely I don't make it very often at home.

I decided it would have to be baked to pass my food safety limitations at the moment, so custard tart it was!

What elevated this from the mundane was the fact I used whole fresh nutmeg for the first time. I know, where have I been?? Just like when first I tried a fresh vanilla bean, this was spectacular.

We loved this tart. So simple and elegant and not too sweet. You can find the recipe I used here. The only change I made was to the pastry - leaving out the egg yolk and water, replacing them with just enough apricot juice to bring it together. This added a lovely subtle flavour and most importantly, meant I could eat some uncooked. I love pastry!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: No Islands Here

So, the egg thing. Normally I love them but I now have one track pregnancy brain and cannot possibly allow myself to eat anything not totally cooked through. That means no floating islands. Sorry Shari!

I promise I will do better next week!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: World Peace Cookies and 2 Awards!

I'm so happy someone chose Dorie's World Peace Cookies. I've seen them floating around the blogosphere for probably 12 months but have never gotten around to making them. Thank you Jessica of Cookbookhabit!

As with most slice and bake cookies these were a breeze to whip up. And even better without any egg in the mix I could eat the cookie dough! So I did ... lots!

I know many people found them very crumbly to slice. I had the same problem but they did squeeze back together pretty well. Any bits leftover, well, I ate them!

The taste test ...

Sensational. What else can I say? I really loved these and can see them becoming a regular. I ended up using salted butter (because that's all I had left) and added a few grinds of salt from the grinder so I have no way of knowing how close to the required amount I actually got. Next time I'll make them exactly as is.

All my taste testers agreed these were probably the best chocolate chip cookies they'd eaten! Although my husband still prefers the Whopper Drops - in his mind that is now the standard against which all Dorie's cookies are measured! :)

UPDATE - they taste great frozen ... so much for hiding them in the freezer!

It makes me so happy that other people do actually read and enjoy my blog. Over the past few weeks I have received 3 awards from 2 lovely bloggers - the Lemonade Award from Cakelaw and My Baking Heart and the Fabulous Blog Award also from My Baking Heart.

Thanks ladies, you made my day! If you haven't already checked out their blogs make sure you do!

The rule of the awards are:
1. Put the logo on your blog/post.
2. Nominate other fabulous blogs which show great attitude
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let your nominees know that they have received the award by commenting on their blog.
5. Link this post to the person who gave you this award.

I am passing both awards on to the following bloggers:

Annie of Annie's Eats
Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes
Heather of Sherry Trifle
Mary of The Food Librarian
Prudy of Prudence Pennywise
Wendy of Pink Stripes

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...