Posted by: NoCtrlZ | 2011/04/14

Café Volcano Cookies

The recipe for these can be found on page 153 of Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. Although Dorie calls them cookies, I would say they are not cookies. They are made from espresso powder, egg whites, sugar, almonds and walnuts. The result is a very sticky, almost meringue, pufflet! I wasn’t actually a big fan of them and I also accidentally burnt some of them! Woops! Too many things going on in the kitchen tonight!

Posted by: NoCtrlZ | 2011/04/07

Blueberry Yoghurt Cookies

Makes around 15 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups Wholemeal flour
  • 1/4 cup Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 3/4 cups Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cups Oats
  • 1 cup fresh Blueberries
  • 1 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 1/8 cup Sunflower oil

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Mix together the flours and baking powder. Then stir in the cinnamon, sugar and oats. Add the blueberries and stir gently.
  3. In a seperate bowl, beat the yoghurt with the oil. Then add this to the flour mixture. Fold in gently (so as not to break up the blueberries!) until the yoghurt is entirely encorporated, and the mixture is quite sticky.
  4. Roll the mixture into balls and flatten gently onto the baking sheet. The mixture won’t spread out at all, so you can afford to put the flattened balls close together on the sheet.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until firm and brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. I then drizzled each cookie in melted chocolate.
Posted by: NoCtrlZ | 2011/04/07

Hazelnut Butter

I have noticed recently that you can buy natural peanut butter in most of the main supermarkets. By natural, I mean there is no sugar added. It’s just peanuts and sunflower oil. You can buy other types of nut butters in health stores, but I had some hazelnuts lying around that I was bored with so I thought I’d try to make my own hazelnut butter.

Ingredients:

  • Hazelnuts (or any type of nut. Use as many as you like. I used around 150g)
  • Small amount olive oil (optional)

Method:

  1. Optional: Lightly toast the hazelnuts on a baking tray in a preheated 180°C oven for around 7 minutes.
  2. Throw the nuts into a food processor and set it going. After a few minutes, you will need to keep stopping it at regular intervals to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Just keep going with this for around 10 minutes. It will take a while for the oil to come out of the nuts, so just try to be patient. If you need to, you can add a little olive oil towards the end, to make it a nicer consistency for spreading.
  3. Once you have reached the desired consistency, place in a jar or cling-filmed container and place in the fridge until needed.

Tip: If you prefer crunchy nut butter, do this process but then add in some chunks of the nut to the mixture at the end.

Posted by: NoCtrlZ | 2011/04/06

Cinnamon Squares

Sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been very busy recently and haven’t had time to bake! I recently went to a Conference in Luminy (near Marseille) entitled Recent Progress on Galois Module Theory. I had a great time there, it was very interesting Maths and beautiful weather! The following pictures pretty much sum it up:

I had a look round some Patisserie and Boulangerie in Marseille. I do wish we had more exciting and beautiful items like this in English bakeries.

Maths!

The campus was right next to some gorgeous mountains. I decided to go for a mountain run one afternoon, and it was beautiful.

Now onto the recipe! This week I made Cinnamon Squares from Dorie Greenspan’s Book (page 210-211).

As you can see, I’m not entirely happy with how it came out. The cinnamon and chocolate part is meant to be in the centre of the cake, running all the way through. Unfortunately, when I poured the top layer of cake batter on top, all of the middle section (the chocolate & cinnamon) spread to the sides. So the pieces in the middle don’t have this layer in them, or if they do it is right at the bottom. I’m not sure how I’m meant to prevent that from happening, as the book doesn’t seem to offer any advice for it.

I also followed the recipe for the frosting exactly, but my frosting just turned out to be the consistency of melted chocolate (quite thin) and indeed it didn’t even set for a long time. Perhaps my kitchen was too warm, but my frosting looks absolutely nothing like the thick frosting in her photos (or indeed the others from Tuesdays with Dorie). The recipe (and a better example of how it should look like) can be found on Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.

Posted by: NoCtrlZ | 2011/03/16

Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

I found this beautiful recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and I have only slightly adapted it here. I must say hers looks a lot neater than mine. I clearly need to practice my marbling technique! I also didn’t use chocolate chips, but chocolate chunks. However, they seem to have melted much more than hers did. I did consider using Smarties, but I thought this would ruin the elegance of the Brownies!

Makes 16

Ingredients:

For the Brownies:

  • 4oz Butter, cut into pieces
  • 3oz  Dark Chocolate (use a high percentage cocoa one)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2/3 cup Plain Flour

For the Cream Cheese topping:

  • 8oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

Extra Topping:

  • 1oz Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line an 8″ square baking tin.

For the Brownies:

  1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.
  2. Remove from the heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Now fold in the flour until it has just combined.
  3. Spread this mixture into the baking tin.

For the Topping:

  1. Whisk together all of the Cream Cheese topping ingredients in a small bowl until smooth (I used an electric hand whisk for this).
  2. Dollop this mixture, as evenly as you can, over the brownie batter. Then swirl it in with a knife or spatula.
  3. Now sprinkle the chocolate chunks over the cheesecake/brownie batter swirl.

Time to bake!:

  1. Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes.
  2. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once it has completely cooled, place it in the fridge until the topping has set fully. This may take a few hours, or you can leave it overnight (most brownies taste better the next day!).
  3. Once set, you can slice it into 16 pieces with a sharp knife, wiping it in between each slice if necessary.

Storage: The brownies can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Posted by: NoCtrlZ | 2011/03/16

Date and Walnut Loaf

I adore dates and I love walnuts too. So clearly, this cake gets a massive thumbs up from me. Cream cheese is creamed with the butter to create a delicious twist on this classic tea time treat. The recipe can be found on page 228 of Dorie Greenspan’s great book Baking: From My Home To Yours.

Posted by: NoCtrlZ | 2011/03/14

Pi Pie

What better way to celebrate Pi Day (3.14) than to make a Pi Pie! (Ok, so officially it should be half-tau day, but we’ll ignore this for now!) Alternatively, you may want to make some Mince Pi’s, or perhaps some Pi Fudge. Here’s how to make the Pie:

Ingredients:

  • 1 quantity of Cream Cheese Pastry
  • Filling of choice (sweet or savory), for example:
    • 1 Chicken breast, diced
    • Peas
    • Cooked Carrots (using frozen veg is fine)
    • Butter
    • Chicken stock
    • Cornflour
    • Splash of Milk (optional)
  • 1 Egg, for brushing

For the filling – just guess the quantities. It doesn’t have to be very accurate. Just make sure the sauce isn’t runny because this won’t stay inside the pie. Cook the chicken, peas and carrots in the butter. Then add a small amount of chicken stock, and cornflour to thicken. Milk can be added for extra richness. It’s a good idea to make sure the filling is cool before using in the pie (see Tips, below).

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Roll out pastry to the desired size. If making one large Pi Pie, then roll out a (roughly) 17cm diameter circle, or a square-ish shape. It doesn’t matter really as you’ll be cutting it out. Then place this onto the baking sheet.
  3. Place your filling on the pastry (see Tips, below) in the shape of Pi. Cut around the filling, so the pastry is also in the shape of Pi, but make sure you leave a large border.
  4. Roll out the rest of the pastry into the same rough shape. Place on top of the filling and cut around to again make a Pi shape (with a large border). Pinch the top and bottom parts of the pastry together so the filling remains inside upon baking. If there are any holes, they may be patched up with any remaining pastry you have.
  5. Brush the top with the egg (or some milk), and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until nicely browned on top. Leave to cool briefly on the tray before transferring to a plate to eat.

Tips:

  1. If using a filling that you have just cooked, i.e. that is still warm, you must either wait until it has cooled, or be very careful as it will melt the pastry. This is why it is a good idea to place the pastry on the baking sheet before you put the filling in, otherwise it’s very difficult to transfer to the sheet as the pastry will be melted!
  2. This pie also works equally well with a sweet filling – try chocolate, jam, nuts, dried fruit, or anything else that takes your fancy!
Posted by: NoCtrlZ | 2011/03/14

Cream Cheese Pastry

This deliciously creamy and rich pastry can be used to make Rugelach, or used as a special treat to replace a normal flaky or even shortcrust pastry pie. For example, it was used in the Pi Pie.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 100g Cream Cheese
  • 100g Butter

Method:

  1. Place the flour and salt in a food processor. Then add the butter and cream cheese, in chunks, and pulse 6-10 times, scraping down the sides often. Loose crumbs will be formed. Do not pulse until the pastry rolls up around the blades!
  2. Empty the pastry out and gather together in a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days) before use. Then roll out as required.
Posted by: NoCtrlZ | 2011/03/14

Raisin Oat Cookies

This recipe for these deliciously thick and chewy cookies is taken from Smitten Kitchen.

Makes 8

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) Butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Oats
  • 3/4 cup Raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C and place some baking parchment on a baking tray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Now stir this into the butter and sugar mixture. Once combined, stir in the oats and raisins (and walnuts, if using).
  3. At this point the dough should be chilled for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. You can either chill the whole mixture as it is, or drop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them. Allow at least 2 inches to separate the cookies, as they will spread out on baking.
  4. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top.
  5. Leave on the baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Posted by: NoCtrlZ | 2011/03/13

Pesto Genovese

Ok, so it’s not strictly a baking recipe, but it’s still a good one!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 50g Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Pinch Salt
  • 15g Pine Nuts
  • 30g Pecorino Romano, grated
  • 80g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • 7 tbsp Olive Oil

Method:

With a mortar and pestle:

  1. Smash the garlic then add a little handful of basil with a few grains of salt each time until all the basil has been added.
  2. Once a paste has formed, add the pine nuts and crush. Once smashed, add a little pecorino with some of the oil. Then add a little parmigano with some oil, alternating the two cheeses until all the cheese and oil has been added.

Alternatively, you can just combine all the ingredients into a food processor at once and blitzed for a few minutes. More olive oil can be added if you find the pesto to be too thick.

The pesto can be used for the classic Genovese dish (where Trennete is boiled with potatoes and green beans and then pesto is added once these are all cooked. The starch from the potatoes helps the pesto to stick to the pasta). Alternatively, an equally nice dish can be made by cooking linguine with potatoes, then adding cooked chicken slices and pesto to it once cooked and drained. Tomatoes, or sun-dried tomatoes, would also compliment this dish.

Storage: To store the pesto, pour into a jar, float a layer of olive oil on top, then cover and refrigerate for up to a week. Alternatively, the pesto can be frozen for up to 2 months.

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