October 31, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes


Happy Halloween everyone!

Even though halloween in not usually a holiday I get into I decided to try these candy corn cupcakes.  I made these about a month ago and it totally bombed.  I didn't have a good cupcake recipe.  I didn't have the necessary food dyes.  This time I went into it prepared.  I'm bringing these to a potluck at work so I made them mini (no one wants everyone to see them pig out on a huge cupcake.)  Plus after all that food, no one needs that much sugar (except for me!)



These are festive and cute and I'm glad I gave them another chance.

Candy Corn Cupcakes

For these cupcakes I used the Yellow Butter Cupcakes from my Rose's  Heavenly Cakes Book and they turned out really well.  Light and fluffy.  Perfect.


I halved the recipe so here we go.  (enough to make about 6 large cupcakes or 24 minis)

1 egg room temperature
1/3 c yogurt, divided
100 g cake flour
100 g superfine sugar
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
6 T, 85 g butter at room temperature

Start by lining 24 mini muffin tins with cupcake liners and preheating the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl mix together egg, 1 1/2 T of yogurt and vanilla together until lightly combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer mix all dry ingredients with flat beater on low speed for 30 seconds.  Add the butter and remaining (3.5 T) yogurt and mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened.  Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes.  Scrape down bowl.

On medium low add the egg in two parts beating on medium for 30 seconds between additions to strengthen the structure.  Use an ice cream scoop to fill cupcake liner about 3/4 full.

Bake for 15 minutes until golden on top and check with a toothpick.

Cool the cupcakes on wire rack before icing.

For the icing (you'll have extra for sure) unless you double the recipe for the cupcakes

185 g (13 T) butter at room temp
2 1/2 (75 g) egg whites at room temp
1/2 c sugar divided
2 T water
1/4 t + 1/16 t cream of tarter
1/2 t vanilla

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter alone until creamy (about 1 minute)

Pour egg whites into a large glass bowl and have handheld mixer ready.

In a small heavy saucepan stir together 1/4 c + 2 T of sugar and water until moistened.  Heat on low.

While the sugar is heating beat egg white until foamy, add cream of tarter and beat until soft peaks form then sprinkle in 2 T of sugar and beat until stiff peaks.  Keeping a eye on the sugar.

Bring sugar up to 248 degrees  and immediately start pouring into egg mixture in slow steady stream while beating on high.  Lower the speed to medium and continue to mix for 2 minutes.  Then let the meringue cool in the fridge for a few minutes.

Attach whisk beater to stand mixer.  Beat egg/sugar mixture into butter on medium high speed for 3 minutes.  Beat in vanilla.

This is where I divided the icing and mixed in the food colours.

October 26, 2010

Linzer Cookies


This is week two of 10 weeks of Christmas cookies.  I’ve gotta say this is a wonderful way for me to justify a lot of Christmas baking!  I’m allowing myself to start thinking about it and am really enjoying putting so much thought behind it.  I saw these cookies on an awesome new (to me) blog called Eat Live Run.  The author makes everything she posts so much fun to read.  Her pictures though are what made me add these to the list and while mine aren’t near as pretty they’ll do.
Every time I see the name Linzer I think about how much I’d love to be in Austria for Christmas.  It’s even on my life list, yes I do have one, it’s two pages long and makes me so happy to read.  It’s full of wonderful things that appeal specifically to me.  One day I might show it to you.  I’ve done four of the things on it already, made my own yogurt (LOVE), got married (also LOVE), drove down the west coast (a good chunk of it), and learned to scuba dive (well I tried it and I’ll never be able to actually do it).
These cookies are nutty and buttery and down right delectable.  Something my grandmother would have made me.  They’ve got texture from the nuts, I can never get my hazelnuts finely ground enough, but that’s probably just my problem and I think it makes them interesting.  They soften with jam in them overnight so that they’re chewy in your mouth and the raspberry jam (homemade of course) is just a perfect compliment to the hazelnut (I made hazelnut pancakes with raspberry syrup twice in the last month, so they’re a winning combo for us.)
Next time I make these, for the boxes, I’ll make them much smaller and remember that re-rolled scraps will shrink so don’t use them.

Linzer Cookies from Eat Live Run

Mine made 16 big cookies (note to self need new cookie cutters)
240g (2 c) flour
200 g (1 c sugar)
5 oz (1 c) toasted and ground hazelnuts
1 egg
8 oz (1 c) butter 
1/2 t vanilla
1.5 t cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 t salt
Cream together butter and sugar until creamy and light.  Add egg and vanilla while mixing until well combined.  
Mix together dry ingredients in medium sized bowl.  Add to butter sugar mixture until just combined.  Pat dough into two disks, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 2+ hours (otherwise it’s all sticky).
Preheat the oven to 350 and flour a surface and rolling pin liberally.  Working quickly roll the dough onto counter, don’t make them to thin, about 1/2 a cm will do.  Punch out with cookie cutter and place in oven for 12 minutes until edges start to brown.  Once the cookies are transfered to a cooling rack, roll out the other half of the dough this time cutting out the center of the cookies for the top layer. 
When the cookies are all done and cooled, sprinkle icing sugar on the top layer cookies and spread jam on the bottom layer cookies.  Sandwich together and enjoy!

As the recipe points out these cookies can be made in advance and frozen before topping with jam and sugar.

October 25, 2010

Oct 23-24

Saturday morning started early when I went to pick tash up from surrey.
We (I) baked a disastrophe cake and went for a walk
Lunch was this awesome lentil soup with poached egg and greek yogurt.
The next morning shane and I had to buy icecream cupcakes and saw this epic scene
Shane made 6 of us french toast with rum caramel sauce I made and toasted pecans
then we got started with the pumpkins
A weird picture of me in the kitchen
7 pumpkin spice lattes 4 without coffee
Shane's titled "puking in the bushes"
And the rest of ours

October 22, 2010

October 20, 2010

10 weeks of Christmas Cookies


It’s definitely time to start my 10 weeks of Christmas cookies.  I just saw this idea a couple days ago and loved it because that same day I had picked out my Christmas box cookies.  
Last year I started this project and ended up giving away 12 boxes to the people that we wouldn’t see on Christmas.  They were given great reviews so I knew I had to expand this year.  I also needed to put more forethought into it, I ended up doing a lot in the last two days.  So this year I will start early, testing begins now and I”d like to have the last of the Christmas boxes sent away by the 19th of December.  
This week: Chai spice biscotti.  My own and absolute favorite biscotti I’ve ever had.  More crisp like a cookie and very flavorful.  Enjoy.

Chai Biscotti
This recipe makes only 15 or so biscotti.  It’s enough for our household of 2 but not enough to give away.  You can easily double and triple the recipe, but if you do, make sure to split the dough into halves or thirds respectively before shaping and baking.
If you take out the chai and spices you have a completely blank canvas.  Try adding 1/2 a cup of cocoa powder, chocolate chips and pecans or pistachios and candied ginger or espresso powder and walnuts with dark chocolate drizzled on top.  I use this recipe many different ways.
1 c + 2 T flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t ginger
tea from 2 chai tea bags (at least 2 t)
3 T butter
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
2 oz white chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place silpat on baking sheet.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice, ginger and chai tea in a bowl and mix to incorporate.
In another bowl cream butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy.  Add egg and mix well. 
With mixer on low add flour mix slowly. 
On silpat shape into log 12 inches long and 2 inches wide.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Cool for 5. 
Transfer to a cutting board and cut into individual biscotti 3/4 inch wide.  Place biscotti on baking sheet cut side.  Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.  Cool on rack and drizzle with white chocolate.


October 19, 2010

Fall!

Did a bit of this, but since we've been spoiled with sun
pulled pork pizza anyone?
someone took this one of me in my relam
you can find this here

Apple pie


Apple pie is a once a year thing in my house.  Maybe twice if I get conned into giving one away.  It usually marks the start of a full out apple assault.  Well that part is still to come.  It’s in the plans.  I’m awaiting a food mill.  I should just buy one.  I hate waiting.  Oh well, I’m thinking about it!  Apple sauce, apple butter, apple jelly!  Damn that’s a lot of work.

This is my standard recipe, I found it a few years back.  I think it’s delicious, you should too.  It’s from the Style at Home webpage oddly enough, I’m not sure why I ever looked there but it’s working well.

Classic Apple Pie
I start making the dough the day before.
You could also try brown sugar instead of white and maybe a handful or raisins or cranberries.
Crust:
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 c cold butter, cubed
1/4 c ice water
3 T sour cream (I used yogurt)
1 egg of egg wash
2 T coarse sugar
In a large bowl, whisk flour with salt.  Using a pastry blender cut in butter until there are only fine crumbs with a few larger pieces.
In a liquid measure whisk water in with sour cream.  Drizzle over flour mixture and toss briefly with a fork adding a little more water if necessary until ragged dough forms.
Divide dough in half and press into 2 disks, wrap.  Refrigerate until chilled, 30 minutes or longer.
Filling:
8 apples
3/4 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
1 1/2 t cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 t salt
2 T butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Peel and core apples, slice to 1/4 inch, enough to make 8 cups.  Place in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl toss together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Add to apples and toss until coated.
On a floured surface roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness and wide enough to cover a 9 inch pie plate.  Fit to pie plate, trim and fill with apples. Dot the top with butter.  Roll out the other pie dough.  Fit over filling, trim to leave 2 cm overhang.  Fold upper layer of pastry under pastry on rim.  Flute edges to seal, cover with light egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake in oven at 450 for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake until filling is bubbly and thickened, apples are tender and crust is golden, 55-65 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature. 

October 16, 2010

Peanut Butter Brownies


Peanut butter and chocolate.  The love of my mouth.  You two belong together, together with me.  Seriously though, I adore you.  However you decide to come I’ll take you in, you have a place with me. 
Shane and I love peanut butter and chocolate.  And regretfully it had been a while since I last baked something to marry the two.  I saw the recipe on smitten kitchen clicking on that terrific “surprise me” button!  I love it, it brings me to all these neat points in Deb’s life that are so fun to read.  Less than three hours later I was on my way to the store to pick up the items and less than 6 hours later they were in my mouth.  Thank you Deb.
After I dropped these off at Shane’s work he sends me a text, “there’s more right?”


Terrific peanut butter flavour, crunchy little salty bites and hard bits of chocolate through out.  Yum!

Peanut Butter Brownies - from smittenkitchen
makes 32 if you cut them smallish
Brownies:
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 3/4 c of sugar
1 c natural pb
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
2 t vanilla extract
2 c flour
1 1/2 c (9oz) chocolate, dark  or bittersweet
1/2 t salt (if using unsalted butter and natural pb, not the mucked up stuff)
Ganache:
1 1/2 c (9oz) chocolate, semisweet
1/2 c cream
1 T butter
Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and line with parchment paper a 9x13 pan. 

Beat together butter and sugar in stand mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy.  Then add pb and mix until it is all together, scraping down sides.  Beat in eggs, yolk and vanilla.  Reduce to low speed and stir in flour and salt if needed until just incorporated.  Mix in chopped chocolate and spread into greased pan.  The batter will be very thick, like cookie dough.
Bake brownies until deep golden and puffed, 40 minutes or so.  Toothpick will come out with crumbs on it.  Let cool completely.
To make ganache place chopped chocolate in medium sized bowl.  Heat cream in small saucepan.  Pour hot cream over chocolate and add butter.  Wait one minute before stirring to melt butter and chocolate into a smooth mixture.
Spread ganache on cooled brownies and leave to set as long as you can resist (or throw them in the fridge for 20 or so minutes)

October 15, 2010

Sourdough Muffins


Those muffins there were really only baked out of guilt.  You see I’ve had this starter I’ve been maintaining for 6 weeks, that I’ve only used three times.  I feed it everyday and constantly worry it’s not going to survive but hardly use it!  What a waste I thought.  Since we aren’t really the pancake kind and I have a beautiful loaf of bread in the freezer I thought I’d try muffins.  I took a loose recipe and made it work.  Only...I’d say it’s definitely a savory muffin.  The sourdough really makes it, well, cheesy.  I suppose it might have done better with a lot more sugar and maybe some sweeter berries, but it would go well with jalapenos and cheddar or thyme and rosemary.  I’ll give it another go yet.   But heres your template.
Sourdough muffins:
3/4 c ap flour
1/2 t baking soda
2 t salt
2 T sugar
3 T melted butter
1 egg
1 1/2 c sourdough starter
2 T yogurt or buttermilk
your add ins
Start by preheating the oven to 350 and greasing a muffin pan.
Mix the flour, baking soda, sugar and salt in a medium bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix briefly.  Spoon evenly into pan.  Bake 20 or so minutes.

Oct 15

I'm sick of being sick with a cold I've had for a few weeks.
The garden is just about done, though there is a lot to for next year yet.
I learned a lot from this first garden of mine, I'm sure next years will be much better.
The weather has turned from summer to autumn at last.
The leaves are dropping and crunching under our feet. I keep dreaming of the day when I can rake leaves from my own tree.
We had our weekend in Whistler and then all dragged our feet back to work.
And enjoyed my one measly turkey sandwich to celebrate the holiday. A happy thanksgiving to start off the holiday season.