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Category Archives: Baking

Coffee Cake

This Coffee Cake is adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Food from my Frontier cookbook. The recipe is also on her website. It’s made with lots of instant coffee in it so it’s really a Coffee Cake, not the plain type of coffee cake. The instant coffee you use in this cake really influence the flavour so it’s best you use one that you like. I used UCC Instant Coffee Blend No.117 left behind by my parents which has this sour-ish aftertaste (which is why I don’t like drinking instant coffee!) and it didn’t impart a rich coffee flavour to the cake.

I halved the recipe and made the cake in a 6″ round pan, and I’m not sure if that has any impact on the texture of the cake but I’m not crazy about it. It could also be due to the one-bowl mixing method.

The coffee icing is a new update to the icing she used on her blog post. She creamed the butter in that one while this one the butter is melted. Again, I halved the recipe but used only 1/4 of the powdered sugar as it was too sweet when I tasted it. I had to add unsweetened cocoa to make it less sweet and that’s why my icing is darker in colour compared to hers. (The second sign that her sweets recipes will be too sweet for my taste is from her latest blog post where she said she found Starbucks’ lemon poppyseed ‘delightful and delicious’ while I found it too sweet with the icing to finish!)

Coffee Icing
(From Food from my Frontier)

3/4 cup butter
2 T instant coffee
4 T half-and-half
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add in the instant coffee. Stir it together, then add the half-and-half and whisk to combine. Turn off the heat and add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk till the sugar has dissolved and the icing is smooth. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Drizzle the icing over the cake.

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What I think of the cookbook? Well, I wouldn’t buy it as I found three of the recipes that I would make from it on her website. She also gives more instructions there as she’s not restricted by space. However, if you’re a fan of Pioneer Woman and you’re always making her recipes, this cookbook will be convenient. She has included new recipes as well as updates to some of her old ones. This Coffee Cake, for instance, has been updated with a creamy (cream cheese) filling between the layers and a different icing. There are also awesome pictures of her family and farm throughout the book with humorous captions. If you love PW, you’ll love it!

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Baking, Food

 

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Rich Chewy Brownies

We would usually be out on a Saturday but today the force is strong with the wind. Blowing at 46km/h and gusting at 63km/h at one point, home we stayed. I tried this brownie recipe from Anna Olson. She posted a link to it on her Facebook page on Valentine’s Day. I like that it’s quick to make; no butter to measure out, just vegetable oil.

When it was baking, the aroma was so good that it drew Little Guy out from his room to ask me what it was.   I told him it was brownies and he exclaimed, “BROWNIES!!” then proceeded to thank me for making brownies. So sweet. :)

These brownies are hard to photograph, they are so dark!

Verdict: They are true to name, rich and chewy. Very nice, my boys like it so it means it’s not too bitter even though I reduced the sugar to 1 cup. Would be good with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream!

Update: I have to add that they are very chocolatey too! I used Ghirardelli’s Bittersweet Chips and they’re   larger than regular chips so they didn’t fully melt and it’s wonderful! 

Rich Chewy Brownies (from Anna Olson’s website)

These brownies are rich and dense, and get that beautiful shiny, crackling top to them. Another secret to them: they are Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free!

If you wish to make these using traditional wheat flour, replace the 1/2 cup of rice flour and 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.

Makes 1 8-inch square pan

Cuts into 25 brownies

  • 11/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups Dutch process (alkalized) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces and/or chocolate chips (I left out the nuts)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment so that the paper comes up the sides of the pan.

Stir the sugar, cocoa and oil together until moistened.

Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to blend.

Add the rice flour, cornstarch and salt and stir until incorporated. Stir in the walnut pieces and/or chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake the brownies for about 25 minutes, until they lose their shine and when a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the brownies to room temperature before slicing.

The brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Baking

 

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Sweet and Spicy Nuts II

Dinner’s not ready and I’m snacking on these…not good!

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts

1 pound mixed raw unsalted nuts
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of cayenne

Whisk the egg white, water and salt in a bowl. Put the nuts in and toss to coat. Dump nuts into a sieve, place the sieve over the bowl and let it drain for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sugar and spices together. Lift up sieve, pour liquid out of the bowl and dump the nuts back in. Pour sugar mixture in and mix to coat nuts.

Pour nuts on to a parchment-lined tray and bake for 30-35 minutes in a 300 degrees F oven till brown. Remove from oven, let nuts cool slightly before breaking them up. Store in an airtight container when cooled.

(Posting from my phone while standing over the stove. The photo’s rotated but I can’t fix it from here, sorry!)



 
9 Comments

Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Baking

 

French Fridays with Dorie: Crème Brûlée

Blew the dust off my Around My French Table cookbook and joined the club again with this Creme Brulee. I checked the French Fridays with Dorie website on Tuesday and knew I could make this week’s recipe as there’ll be three egg yolks left over from the cupcakes I was baking for my son’s school. It’s also about time that I wrote a new post since my last post was back in October! I had been busy and was neglecting the blogging world for a bit but will be back next year with more regular reading and posting. I do missed visiting all the wonderful food blogs!

Anyway, back to the Creme Brulee, the custard was cooked on Wednesday and then all of a sudden….. it’s Friday! Where did the time go?? I baked the custard on Friday and served it on Saturday. I baked the custard for 50 minutes and left them in the oven to cool as they were still too jiggly in the middle. Dorie could fill 6 ramekins with 1/2 cup of custard each but I only have slightly more than 2 cups of custard and filled 5 ramekins.

The Christmas busyness got me distracted when I made the creme brulee and I forgot about the jam at the bottom of the ramekins although I remembered it earlier in the day! So no jam surprise, just regular creme brulee for me.

I sprinkled the one on the right with white sugar just to see the difference in effect and it doesn’t look as good as using brown sugar.

The taste? Well, I could have under-baked it or maybe it’s meant to be this way but it was too soft for me. While the taste was good it felt like ice-cream that has been sitting out for too long.

Take a look at other Creme Brulee here.

I would like to end this post by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on December 25, 2011 in Baking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie

 

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Finding My Routine

It’s the new school year, the kids have been back to school for two weeks now, and I’m trying to get a smooth routine running. I drew up a timetable for Big Kid and he appreciates it. He likes having a schedule, that kid. He likes to check the chart, stuck on the fridge, to see what he should be doing. I need a schedule too to make my life more organized and productive. The big thing now for me is the daily meal planner. Big Kid has after-school programmes every day except for Fridays. I have to plan the dishes according to how much time I have to cook e.g. Mondays – I have 30 minutes to cook and I do my prep in the afternoon, Wednesdays – dinner has to be ready by 5pm the latest and we’re out of the door a quarter to 6pm. The last two weeks have been a trial run for both of us since most of his programmes have not started.

French Fridays have taken a back seat until I find the time to make the recipes. (Blogging too for that matter!) I could have made the honey-spiced madeleines, which is this week’s recipe, this past weekend but I made Dorie Greenspan‘s Brr-ownies as York Peppermint Patties 8-pack were on sale for $1 at Wallyland. Furthermore, a family has invited us over for dinner and, I could be wrong but, I think brownies make better desserts to bring over than madeleines.

These brownies are a pretty good snack but they sure aren’t pretty to photograph! However, these fudgy brownies with bites of peppermint patties were eaten so quickly that I could only get a photo like that before they were all gone.

Since I have sour cream to use up, I also made Dorie’s Nutty, Chocolatey, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake, another not-so-pretty-to-photograph cake. (Click the link to the recipe for a second recipe from Dorie.) I used only pecans and mini chocolate chips for the swirl as Hubby doesn’t like raisins. I love the flavour combination of the swirl – cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans and chocolate – and it goes so well with the buttery, orangy cake.

I’m not surprised there was no picture for this recipe in the book but it really tastes better than it looks. :)

One new thing this year that I’m very happy about is Little Guy going to school twice a week at the school just 10 minutes from the house. As long as the weather permits, we would walk there and back. This morning I let him cycle to school on his bike that has never seen the outdoors before. It has always been an indoor toy and now that it’s almost time to give it away, I decided to let Little Guy use it on the streets before he really outgrows it!  Time to seek out a new bike for him…

 
9 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Baking, Food, Life

 

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