Baking partners · Desserts · For Kids · Oven Delights...

Chocolate whoppie pies

Anything that has chocolate is always a favorite among my children. These lovely looking ones was a challenge for us from baking partners for this month and it was an excuse for my kids to indulge in another chocolaty treat.. These cake like pies that are being sandwiched between buttercream tastes a lot like the ores…
Thank u soo much Swathi and Anitha for the lovely challenge and it was Anitha of Anitha’s Kitchen Dairy who suggested this lovely recipe.
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Ingredients:

Chocolate Whoopie Pies:

1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all purpose flour

3/4 cup (75 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

1 large egg at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup (60 ml) buttermilk

1/2 cup (120 ml) lukewarm strong coffee

Vanilla Filling:

1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (115 grams) sifted powdered or icing sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (120 ml) light corn syrup

Beat the room temperature butter until light and fluffy in a stand mixer. Add in the sifted powdered sugar little at a time until well mixed. Add in the vanilla and the corn syrup and beat well for another minute or two.
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Method:

Step 1:

Preheat oven 190 degrees Celsius. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 2:

In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Step 3:

With the electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg beating well. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Step 4:

In a small measuring cup, mix the buttermilk and coffee . With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

Step 5:

Drop a tbsp of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches away from one other( ice cream scooper works best for these to get even sized pies) With slightly moist hands smooth the tops of the cookies.

Step 6:

Bake for about 9 – 10 minutes or until the tops of the cookies, when lightly pressed, spring back. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 7:

To assemble the pies sandwich two pies in the flat side with a big dollop of buttercream.
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Baking partners · Celebrations · Desserts · For Kids · Oven Delights...

Strawberry cake

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Strawberry is a favorite fruit among many. When I was a child my dad would buy me small boxes of strawberries literally everyday. I just love the mild sweetness in these beautiful red fruits. I can keep eating them at anytime of the day or night. When I first came to India from Bahrain the first thing I was upset about was that strawberries are not fresh looking as u used to get back in Bahrain. The other thing was that they were soo expensive and half of them in the box are always spoilt and thrown out. So when ever I go to Bahrain the first thing I would ask my dad were strawberries.
When I was thinking about what cake I should make for my husband’s birthday the first thing that came to my mind was strawberry cake. U never find cakes made out of strawberry purée anywhere in the cake shops in chennai or as far as I know I never saw any. All u could find would be vanilla sponge sheet cakes layers with strawberry preserve filling in between the sponge layers.
This month we also had this as a challenge in baking partners. So I immediately grabbed this opportunity and for my husband’s birthday.

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Ingredients :

For the cake:
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs (room temp)
1 cup whole milk (room temp)
1 package strawberry flavored Jelly
1 cup butter, (room temp)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberry puréed

Method:

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.

Step 2
In a large bowl beat the egg whites in a hand mixer or stand mixer with 1/2 cup sugar until stiff peaks and glossy. Set aside.

Step 3
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each.

Step 4
Combine the flour and baking powder and stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Blend in vanilla and strawberry puree.

Step 5
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes well before removing from pan.<Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter & flour two 9 inch round cake pans, or use non-stick spray.

To Make flour Icing:

Ingredients:
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cook 5 tablespoons flour and milk over low heat till thick, stirring constantly. Cool it completely.

Beat 1 cup sugar, butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until light and fluffy.
Add cooled flour mixture and beat until frosting is a good spreading consistency.

After the cakes have cooled completely frost with this beautiful icing.

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Baking partners · Desserts · Oven Delights...

Lemon bars

Lemony lemon bars. Something I heard for the first time 2 months back. It was a challenge from baking partners for the month of June that I’d missed. I have tried these lemon bars with 3 different recipes and preferred the recipe from joy of baking best. It had a more lemony tinge to it that I really liked. I had made another batch using condensed milk which was also nice. Thank u Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen and Suja of Kitchen Corner Try It for the wonderful challenge.
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Now let’s get making these super lemony lemon bars

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST:

1/2 cup room temp. unsalted butter,
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

LEMON FILLING:

1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Method:

In a clean bowl mix the flour, salt , powdered sugar and give a good whisk to combine the dry ingredients well.

Take the room temp butter and mix it well with the flour to reassemble bread crumbs.

Take a square 8′ baking dish and press the crumbs evenly in the dish to form the base. Take fork and make holes through out the base.

Bake for 15 – 20 mins or until the corners of the crust just starts to brown. Take it out of the oven.

Mean while for the fillings, whisk sugar , eggs , flour , Lemon juice and zest and whisk it well till all are well combined and pour over the hot crust and bake for another 20 mins or till the filling has set.
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Let it cool in a wire rack. Generously sprinkle the top with powdered sugar. Cut it into small pieces and enjoy.
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Baking partners · For Kids · Oven Delights...

Vegetable puff

Puffs is something that makes me go back to my old college days. When I was at college, I would regularly buy an egg puff and a small bottle of sprite to have along with it from a bakery near my bus stop. This was just the perfect snack that I could get with my pocket money. Even today I have a big craze for those egg puffs and a bottle of pepsi or sprite. My mom used to make these puffs using ready made puff sheets that she used to get from the supermarkets in Bahrain.
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I have always wondered how they could get those perfect flaky layers that were soo delicately thin and delicious. In fact I have a craze of eating them layer by layer and the innermost soft layer in my favourite.
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When I got the puff pastry as a challenge from baking partner this month I was soo damn nervous and had a doubt if I could even get anywhere close to the ones I eat at the bakeries. I had to browse videos to get the tips and tricks of it. I just followed the instructions and recipe given by Vah chef. The puffs came out really well. It was a big dream come true for me. Thank u soo much swathi and Sangeetha of Nitha’s kitchen for this wonderful opportunity.

Ingredients to make puff sheets:

200 gms flour
200 gms butter
About 100ml water
1/4 tsp salt
Extra flour for dusting while kneeding

For the filling:

Pressure cook 1/2 kg of skin peeled potatoes with 1 cup water, 1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of turmeric till about 2 whistles .

Release the pressure after about 5 mins and cool completely.

Heat 2 tsp oil in a heavy bottom broad vessel. Once the oil is hot add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and let it splitter. Add one finely chopped onion and 2 finely chopped green chillies . Sauté till translucent.

Add a tsp each of cumin powder , pepper powder, garam masala powder and salt to taste

Add the mashed potatoes such that it mixes well with the spices and I added tinned green peas for an extra taste. Garnish with coriander leaves and cool the filling completely.

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Fill the puff sheets with the masala

Egg wash:

1 large egg
1/4 cup milk

Beat the egg and milk until well combined.

Method to make puff sheets :

Kneed a soft dough with flour, water and a tsp of melted butter.

Kneed the dough well on a flat surface for about 10 – 15 mins to develop the gluten in the dough. Add dry flour to prevent sticking to hands and surface.

Make the dough into a square and wrap it with cling wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hrs or even over night.

Now take the cold butter and using light pressure with the rolling pin slight press the butter between two butter sheets and form the same size square as the dough. Dust it with little flour just for a little firmness. Refrigerate it for about 2 hrs or over night.

Now this is a little long and time consuming process. So ,patience is what makes the end results simple awesome and u will not regret the time spent.

Step 1

Take the chilled dough and spread it light how we make chapathis or tortillas. Keep the chilled butter on the centre of the spread dough and seal the butter well from all four sides.

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You should work fast else your butter would melt.

Chilli it for about half an hour.

Step 2

Spread the dough with a rolling pin using light pressure.

Fold the spread dough into three folds

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Cover with cling wrap and chill the dough. This is the first set of folding .

Repeat the same process of spreading the dough and folding it for another 5-6 times and refrigerate after every fold. If You feel the dough is becoming sticky due to the melting butter, refrigerate it for about 10 mins till the butter has set.

Step 3

Now finally spread the chilled dough into a thin 1/2 inch layer cut into equal squares and chill it for another 15 mins.

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Step 4

Fill the small squares with small quantity of the vegetable masala filling and seal it with water.

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Step 5

Refrigerate for 15 mins .

Apply light egg wash to the top of the puffs before baking for about 15 – 20 mins at 250 degree Celsius or till the top and bottom crusts turn golden brown in colour.

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Baking partners · Desserts · For Kids · Oven Delights...

Chocolate babka muffins

Chocolate babka is an Jewish sweet bread that has raisins or cinnamon as their filling. Being a bread variant it has yeast. Our challenge for the months of April 2014 in baking partners was to make chocolate babka or carrot cake. I made both of them coz carrot cake are one of my favorites and chocolate babka muffin was something new I hadn’t even heard of.
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Now let’s get back to these delicious babka muffins. These are generally baked in the form of a loaf but we has to do these as muffins in a muffin tray. The chocolate finning inside these tasted heavenly. I add a bit of cinnamon for an extra tinge and also my favorite almonds slices. They were topped with streusel topping that was really yummy. Streusel is just a crumble mixture of the regular APF ( all purpose flour), butter and brown sugar.
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Ingredients:

Dough:

1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, ( I used whole milk)
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) active dry yeast
1 large room temperature egg
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus additional for bowl and muffin tins

Filling:

3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
225 grams semisweet chocolate ( I used morde)
Pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1tbsp chopped sliced almonds

In a food processor add in your roughly chopped chocolate with the salt, sugar, and cinnamon (if using) pulsing it until the chocolate is very finely chopped with some parts almost powdery. Add butter and pulse machine until it’s distributed throughout the mixture. Stir in the slices almonds and Set the mixture aside.
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Egg wash (optional)

1 egg
2 teaspoons (10 ml) heavy cream or milk

whisking together an egg and the cream until smooth

For streusel topping

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup APF
3 tbspn butter

Mix everything and refrigerate
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Method:

Dough preparation:

Step 1
Warm milk and a pinch of sugar to between 110 to 116°F. The milk must be warm but not hot to touch
Sprinkle yeast over milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Step 2
In a small bowl, whisk together egg and remaining 1/4 cup sugar, then slowly whisk in yeast mixture.

Step 3
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Run mixer on low and add egg mixture, mixing until well combined. Add in the butter and mix until everything is incorporated.
Switch mixer to dough hook and knead the dough for 10 minutes on low speed for 10 minutes, it should be sticky and elastic but will firm up a bit after it rises.
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Butter a large bowl and place dough in it. Cover loosely plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled for about 2 hrs.
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Assembling the muffins:

Generously butter a standard 12-muffin tin and set aside.

Once dough is doubled, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and gently deflate it with floured hands. Let it rest for another 5 minutes. Once rested, roll dough into a large rectangle. The short sides should be about 11 to 12 inches. The other side can be as long as you can roll it.
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Sprinkle the filling evenly all over the dough’s surface. Tightly roll the dough back over the filling from one short end to the other. With a sharp serrated knife or dental floss gently cut 1-inch segments off the log and place each in a prepared muffin cup. Loosely cover buns with plastic wrap and let them rise for another 30 minutes.
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Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the buns with egg wash and top it with some streusel topping before baking them. I found the buns I brushed with the wash shinier but otherwise virtually indistinguishable from the un-brushed buns in color. Bake buns for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and brown.
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Baking partners · Celebrations · Desserts · Oven Delights...

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Carrot cakes are very rich and moist cake that I make quite often in the form of cupcakes. It’s can be made in the form on cupcakes, layers or even in loaf. Normally walnuts, pineapple chunks are added to enhance the flavor and taste. It’s usually topped with cream cheese frosting or just dusted with icing sugar.
This month my challenge from baking partners was to bake either chocolate babka muffins or carrot cake. I did both. Thanks to Swathi Iyer and Tammy for these beautiful recipes

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For the cake:

300 grams self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg (grated)
1 pinch of salt
4 eggs
335 ml sunflower oil
450 grams sugar
125 grams carrots (grated)
140 grams walnuts (chopped)
2 tablespoons boiling water

For the icing:

175 grams unsalted butter
200 grams cream cheese (full fat, softened)
215 grams icing sugar (sifted)
Method

Method:

Step 1

Sift the dry indredients and set aside. Separate the egg whites and yolks. Grate the carrots.

Step 2

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks in a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat the egg yolks and sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy and till the ribbon stage has been attained. Beat in the oil until well mixed.

Step 3

Add the dry ingredients and mix just until well mixed. Don’t over mix the batter.
Mix the egg whites into the batter with a spatula using cut and fold method. Do not over mix as the batter will deflate.
Stir in the nuts, pineapple chunks and shredded carrots

Step 4

Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degree using two 6′ round cake tins For about 30 mins or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Step 5

Make the cream cheese frosting by beating in the cream cheese , butter and powdered sugar and finally vanilla and decorate it to your choice.

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Note:

This cake must be refrigerated as it’s frosted with cream cheese.
U can use either brown sugar or normal caster sugar to make the batter. It’s up to once choice.
I used Swiss meringue butter cream to decorate the outer of my cake.

Baking partners · Oven Delights...

Saltine crackers

Saltine cracker or Graham crackers has been one of my favourite crackers that I used to purchase from the supermarkets. I just love them with a hot cup of coffee. The really thin and flaky texture is what I like about these biscuits. These are also called soda cracker.

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This month’s baking partners challenge was to make these yummy crackers. This superb recipe was suggested by Arthi Sharma. Thanks a lot Arthi and Swathi. I never thought I could make this at home.

Let’s get started

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Raw sea salt (kal uppu)
2 tablespoons butter melted, plus more for greasing bowl.

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Method:

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water; stir to dissolve and let stand for 5 minutes.

In the food processor with a kneader attachment add flour, melted butter, salt, warm milk with yeast to form a soft dough. If the dough is sticky add little more flour to make a soft dough.

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Place the dough in a buttered glass bowl covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate for atleast 8 – 10hrs.

Take the chilled dough and qith a heavy rolling pin roll the dough into a rectangle of about 18 by 6 inches and no thicker than 1/8-inch. Fold the dough from the short ends, brushing off the excess flour, to make 3 layers for extra flaky crackers. Roll it again with a rolling pin.

Prick the dough with the toothpick to help cook evenly. Evenly cut the dough along the edge of a ruler with a pizza or cookie cutter into desired shapes.

Place the crackers close together on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle salt lightly from a hight above the crackers to distribute evenly.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 °C until lightly browned and crisp for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the crackers. Check the crackers several times during the baking period to make certain those on the outer edge of the baking sheet are not getting too brown.

Remove from the oven and brush the crackers with melted butter. Let cool on a metal rack and store it in an airtight container.

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