Wednesday, 31 December 2008

World Peace for New Year

World Peace Cookies

Yes.. what better thing then some optomistic, positive baking to ring in the New Year... so I choose this recipe from Baking with Dorie. they have been oh so blogged about many a time and I was really curious to see how they would rock my tastebuds.. i must admit, i didn't get it, perhaps I had the wrong salt size? i dunno but they just tasted like chocolate, chocolate chip cookies to me (albeit it damn good ones!)

Here is the recipe
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
155g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp fleur de sel or ¼ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
140g bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous ¾ cup mini chocolate chips

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together.Beat the butter until soft and creamy.Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.
Pour in the dry ingredients and mix just until the flour disappears into the dough- for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly.
Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.Turn the dough out onto t a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half.Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 4cm in diameter.
Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before making- bake for 1 minute longer.)

Preheat oven to 160˚C.Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.Using a sharp knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1 cm thick. Yikes.. don't slice it on your silicone mat, or you'll have a shreded mat!

(The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them- don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.)Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 3cm between them.Bake the cookies on sheet at a time for 12 minutes- they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be.Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

STORING: Packed airtight, the cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Daring Bakers: Yule Log!

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand
Now let me tell you i have always wanted to make a yule log.. however i had no idea there was more than one (aka the rolled up cake one). So yes seeing this recipe which has no fewer that 6 subparts seemed like a lot of faffing about.. and a hell of alot of chocolate.. and i love chcoclate, so i choose to make my final icing white and my fuiellet.. aka rice crispies with white chocolate too! All in all it was a great success, minus the pate a bomb sugar syurp burn on my hand! here is the photo progression...

First the Daquaise.. i made the regular almond meal variety

Then the Creme Brulee.. wow what a difference a vanilla pod makes.. first time using one they are amazing!

Here's my pate a bomb.. i m always worried about these, i'm not too comfortable with sugar syrup yet and think there was still some stuck to the side of the bowl, but it managed to get pretty fluffy.. (we have our own hens, so the yolks are so vibrant they are really hard to make white!

Ouch! my burn from a drop of sugar syrup on my hand...

Here's the log ready for its icing! in hindsight I'd probably even off the sides to make the icing have an easier time.
Finally the finished Yule Log! It was delicious, though next time I'd make more layers not chocolate as it could be over powering that mousse! I'd also probably run the rice krispies through a food processor as my layer was pretty much un cuttable!

Also 30 min. in the fridge was not nearly long enough to thaw this out.. the creme brulee layer still tasted icy. (even after an hour at room temp) i left the leftovers in the fridge overnight and had after lunch and then all the layers were perfect!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

TWD: Buttery Jam Cookies

This weeks recipe is picked by Heather of Randomosity and the Girl. She chose Buttery Jam Cookies on page 80. These were a cinch to make and baked up easy with a nice classic domed shape. However I wouldn't make them again. While there was nothing wrong per se with the cookie, it didn't really make much of an impact. So while it was included in this year's cookie giveaway.. it probably won't get a seat next year!

Be sure to check out the rest of the cookies on the TWD blog roll!

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Lussekatter-- Happy St. Lucia Day

Happy Lucia day!

I spent a year and a half in Sweden and it was there I finally leared to work with yeast.. or at least finally had success with yeast actually doing what its supposed to do. One of the wonderful baked goods from Sweden are these Lussekatts (lucie-cats) Which are prepared for St. Lucia celbrations..

They are a nice slightly sweet (ok barely) soft saffron bread with a couple of raisins. Usually paired with Glogg, I tend to eat them anytime I can, so am not limited to nightime.. find them perfect at breakfast..lunch.. dinner.. snack.. etc etc

Sorry mine are in a bread box, but it was for their own protection as I got busy baking 5 batches of Christmas cookies!

50g fresh yeast (or use 3 1/2oz sachets)
200g butter
1/2 Liter milk
1/2 t salt
1 egg
1 packet saffron=6 threads broken
1 deciliter sugar
15deciliter flour

Melt butter in saucepan, then add milk.. let sit until fingerwarm
if using fresh yeast crumble into large bowl, then add cooled milk mixture (if using dry I tend to put in mix with flour etc.. its up to you)
add saffron, salt, suker, egg and some of the flour (i use a whisk at this stage to get a pancake batter consistency, then switch to dough hook, or wooden spoon to add the rest of the flour. You are going for a soft consistency here, not dry or tough.
Let rest for 30 minutes or until doubled
knead dough and divide so its easier to work with. roll out snakes to desired width (I go for pointer finger- pinky finger width)
coil in any shape... traditional is a s shape.
Add raisins into center of spirals (or for eyes, etc whatever you want)
let these raise for about 30 minutes or until passes finger test (aka you touch them and there is a mark made cause they've risen again)
Put on sheets lined with baking paper .
in 250celsius oven for about 30 minutes or until just golden (these will spread when baked so give em room!

When done, leave to cool on sheet/rack under a kitchen towl
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

TWD:Grandma's Sugar Cookies

This Week's recipe was choosen by Ulrike of K├╝chenlatein. She chose Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies on pages 146-147. These were just what you would expect, easy and tasty either with adornement or not. I made these as part of my christmas cookies to give away this year and while I had planned for some nice frosting, I was just cookied out by the time I made it round!
Here they are all packed up ready to be given to a lucky person! They are very tasty and I found the dough easy to work with. Perhas this was beause I had made them the day before, so they had a good rest in the fridge! Be sure to check out the rest of the TWD ers fabulous cookies this week!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, 8 December 2008

Thanksgiving rewind!

This Year I decided to throw a Thanksgiving pary.. living in the UK, means that if I want an American specific holiday then I have to orchestrate it into some sort of new package. So Thanksgiving dinner party it was. We had 14 people and a 22lb turkey which amazingly was all eaten! Unfortunately I don't have a single picture of said bird, as I got busy at the time it was finally done. But I must say even the butcher exclaimed the virtues of this particular 'goregous' bird.. Personally as a Vegetarian I had my own ideas for turkey. Including making a Pumpking cake turkey (using a 70's Wilton cake pan) and a vegetarian seitan/Stuffing/Puff Pastry 'turkey'-- When the recipie said use scraps to decorate.. i decided to be a bit funny and build a backbone.. and from there :)

Pretty funny stuff!

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Daring Bakers Carmel Cake

This is my first challenge as a daring baker and luckily coincided with a birthday party, so while that caramel cake was really lovely.. I didn't have to eat it for days!

This month's recipe comes from Shauna Fish Lyndon and can be found here. Read all about her cake here. Her co-hosts this month( Alex ( and Jenny ( have also contributed some caramels, which I chose not to make as I'm not really a huge fan, but do check that out as well!

The cake baked up pretty straightforward.. perhaps if anything taking a little bit longer than expected.

The Carmel sauce was not so easy.. the first time I made it I followed the directions for 'dark amber/smoking'... i was ready for splatters but I think all of the sauce ended up on the tile surround and i was left with a thin water that tasted like burnt sugar.. i didn't want that taint in the cake and frosting so I tried again.. This time remembering the pointers for Dori's carmel pnut brownie cake I took the carmel off earlier and then whisked in the water.. the result as you can see if a very thin maple syrup for pancakes liquid.. but it definately gave things a carmel flavor. The butter cream came out easily and I did add salt to taste.. just enough to highten the flavor.

It was somewhat of a not so pretty cake- no doubt due to my own poor skills as icing (which is something we are not taught in cake decorating class.. apparently in the UK.. all buttercream/torting is considered confectionary!!!) So I ran a toothed icing comb over it and drizzled some of the remaining caramel syrup.

since the cake was going to a b-day party I don't have any pictures of it cut, but it was delicious and got many compliments!.. I stopped it off with a stensil in cocoa powder

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

TWD Aborio Rice Pudding

Well Well.. This recipe was one I immediately thought I'd skip.. see i hate foods with undecided texture... i'm into my texture and the thought of a dessert that was neither smooth, nor solid puts me off.. but not so my Fiance (sorry I just have to keep trying out the word to remind myself) he was pretty excited about the prospect when I showed him Nov.'s picks... so that and the fact that I didn't have a kugelhofpt pan, and thought I'd be really way too busy with celebrating thanksgiving.. I decided to make it..

Thankfully I did read the comments and upped the rice to a scant half cup.. however i should of paid attention about the scorching! i went to watch some tv and came back to boiled over..

however sacraficing the burnt on bottom, the remainder was fine. and perhaps it loosing a bit of liquid to boiling over helped the final consistency? I made choc and vanilla!

Be sure to check out this recipe's host blog here.. and all of the rest of the TWD blog roll!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Barefoot bakers: Herb- Roasted Onions

I actually had the fiance make this one, as I was trying to get the rest of dinner (some yummy polenta) done.

I actually made these in time for Thursday.. but then completely forgot/got way too busy with thinking about weddings and such to complete the posting but there they are! Check out the host

Kelly from Baking with the Boys to see her onions and recipe.
There is no picture of my finished product, but suffice to say they were excellent and the dressing would be very nice on a whole host of other veggies/salad as well!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Sorry for the Downtime!

I haven't posted anything for awhile here.. but I have a good excuse really...

I got engaged 2 weeks ago and what with my head in the clouds haven't seen any need for eating or baking!... but now that winter is starting to rear up and its cold outside I will get back to it!


Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Rugelach TWD

This was my first time ever eating (let alone making) rugelach. Its nice.. a solid 7/10 excellent coffee time treat!

I read a few comments and decided Iwanted to mix up the filling a bit, so I made one circle per the recipe while the other was coated in nutella, dulce de leche and pecans (it was my favorite)

I had no idea what decorators sugar was, so used some swedish rock sugar.. these were good and pretty easy to put together!

Check out the rest of the blog roll and get the recipe here!