Lazy Sunday

February 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Every Sunday I try and make a big Sunday breakfast because I’ve always dreamt of having those quaint moments with the family eating a nice, hardy breakfast and ruminating over the past week, the future and our never-ending dreams.

We have managed to pull it off, for the most part, since the New Year. I credit this to the waffle maker my parents got me for Christmas. I love waffles and Sundays have now been renamed Waffle Sundays in our household.

Throughout the past few weeks my husband and I have been experimenting with various waffle recipes but we seem to always come back to the Belgium Waffles I posted a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t until today that we discovered a new recipe to add to our waffle repertoire.

The other day, as I was searching everything waffles, I came across Waffleizer which is an insanely great website for waffle fanatics.

There was a waffle recipe for cinnamon buns in waffle form. Basically, you just grab Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, crack open the packaging and then press it in a waffle iron.

Since I didn’t want to go out and buy a pack of cinnamon buns I decided to make my favourite brioche cinnamon buns a la Flour.

After I had waffleized the cinnamon buns I drenched them in a cream cheese maple syrup mash up. Delicious.

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Cinnamon Bun Waffles

Cinnamon Bun Waffle recipe:

  • 1/2 batch of brioche (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

On a floured work surface, roll out the brioche into rectangle about 12 by 16 inches and 1/4-inch thick. It will have the consistency of cold, damp Play-Doh and should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so the long side is facing you.

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the longest side farthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll tightly, so you have a nice round spiral.

Use a bench scraper or a chef’s knife to cut the roll into 10 equal pieces. Place them in a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap overnight.

The next day, take out cinnamon buns and heat the waffle maker.  Once waffle maker is heated, place one cinnamon bun on the waffle iron and close it.  The time it cooks will depend on your waffle maker.  Mine cooked the cinnamon buns in a minute so I would recommend checking how the cinnamon bun looks after a minute.  You want to achieve a nice golden brown crust on it.

Carefully remove cinnamon bun waffle and place on plate.  Smoother with maple syrup or a maple syrup cream cheese mash up.

Enjoy!

Brioche Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups (350 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 2 1/4 cups (340 grams) whole wheat bread flour
  • 1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (82 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 3/8 cups (2 3/4 sticks; 310 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces

Method:

Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose, whole wheat bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and the eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients are combined. Stop the mixer, as needed, to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.

With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important for all the butter to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.

Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny, another 15 minutes. It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at the start and then eventually it will turn smooth and silky. Turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. Test the dough by pulling at it; it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in 1 piece.

Put the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof (that is, grow and develop flavor) in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight At this point you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

A waffle-lot of goodness

January 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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The New Year has come and I am sure many of you have made resolutions–I, however, had made none. I’m doing quite the opposite actually.

While most people resolve to lose weight, I am giving up on losing weight. In September 2009, after I had my daughter I was determined to lose all of the 80 lbs I gained. It’s now been over two years later and I’m still trying to lose ten more pounds and it’s not going to happen.

So I’ve come to accept and frankly I don’t really care (I actually kind of care) but there is nothing I can do about it. I really don’t like dieting and a recent article in the New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope called Fat Trap made me realize any short-time diet I attempt to wouldn’t allow me to maintain my once “ideal” weight in the long run.

The article basically says that our bodies fight against weight loss. If you are really adamant about losing weight the diet you choose needs to be a lifelong journey.

That’s not going to happen for me especially since I got a two-in-one waffle and omelette/pancake maker. Homemade Belgian waffles are the best. These aren’t the cardboard egos I ate as a kid. These are addictive. These are drool-worthy. These are simply delicious!

The recipe makes a lot of waffles so that they can be frozen and reheated for later.

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I topped mine with homemade candied bacon buttermilk ice cream

Belgian Waffles Recipe
Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 3/4 cups warm milk, divided
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

Method:
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm milk till foamy, about ten minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites just until stiff peaks form.

In a large bowl, mix together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the remaining milk, the melted butter and the sugar. Add the yeast mixture, salt, vanilla, and then alternate between the flour and remaining milk. Gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter.

Cover the batter without touching it tightly with plastic wrap. Set bowl aside in a warm place to rise until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour.

Cook in a waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions.

I was able to make 10 waffles but the recipe says it should make 8.

Very berry strawberry Cheesecake

April 23, 2011 at 9:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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It’s been awhile I know.  I always have the intention of writing a blog post but the days become clouded with curious children exploring their way through every nook of the house, finding treasures and creating messes.  Thus, the nights become a manic cleaning frenzy ending with the floors gleaming simply to await the return of sticky fingers and applesauce paintings sprinkled with flour.

Right now everything seems hard.  I am tired.  Too tired to even give a detailed explanation of how I feel.  At twenty-five-years old I am drained.

I know this is unfair to say this but sometimes I feel like I am a single mother.  It’s a ridiculous comparison, I realize this.  But, with my husbands work schedule (sometimes working 6 days a week, sometimes working nights, sometimes working days) and no family or close friends that I can depend on the loneliness and work is overwhelming.  I don’t know what more to say.  I can’t even express my feelings and I’m not sure why.  Am I unsure? Am I trying to repress?  Am I scared?

Delving into the abyss that is my inner-most self is frightening so all I can do is focus on the positive and face that monster when I feel it’s ready to be tamed. Not now. Sometime soon.

So, I focus on the good, the blessings, the fortune: beaming at the thought of my children playing together and getting to experience the narrative that there lives will weave; laughing at the silliness of my husband and his unintentional thoughtfulness but smiling at the comfort and assurance of his forever love.

My family is the foundation of my life and their love is rooted in my heart.

In fact, my husband brought me some happiness the other day by getting my first baking job.  A co-worker of his asked if I sold my baking (which I never really thought about or tried to pursue) and he forwarded her my email.

The guidelines were simple: a strawberry cheesecake that will feed four people and this is what I came up with.

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Strawberry Cheesecake with strawberry lava layer (adapted from Bon Appetite)

yield: Serves 12

Begin preparing this a day before serving.
Ingredients 
For crust
  • 20 whole graham cracker (10 ounces total), broken
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
For lava layer
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

For filling

  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
For topping
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For topping

  • 2 16-ounce baskets strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • 1 18-ounce jar raspberry jelly

Method

Make crust:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Wrap foil around outside of 10-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Combine graham crackers, butter and sugar in processor. Using on/off turns, blend until crumbs begin to stick together. Press crumbs onto bottom and 2 3/4 inches up sides of springform pan. Bake crust 10 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.

Make lava layer:

In a small saucepan, combine strawberries and sugar set pan over medium heat. Stir strawberries and when they soften mash.  Cook until reduced by half.  Remove from stovetop and cool to room temperature.

Make filling:

Beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt in large bowl until very smooth. Beat in flour. Add eggs and beat just until blended, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.

Spoon a layer of batter on top of the crust.  Then pour strawberry filling over top gently spreading it to the sides of the pan.  Pour in the rest of the batter.

Bake cheesecake until outer 2-inch edge of cake os puffed and slightly cracked, center is just set and top is brown in spots, about 55 minutes. Transfer cake to rack. Cool 10 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Make topping:
Whisk sour cream, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl to blend.

Spoon topping over cake, spreading to edge of pan. Bake until topping is just set, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Run knife between crust and pan.

Cool hot cake in pan on rack, Chill overnight.

Release pan sides from cheesecake.

Arrange slices of berries in staring from the outside, strawberry points facing out.  Continue to place strawberries in a circular patter and cover completely.

Stir jelly in heavy small saucepan over medium-=low heat until melted.Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

Brush enough jelly over berries to glaze generously, allowing some to drip between berries.

*This post has been entered in Sweet as Sugar*

Embrace the love day.

February 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Valentines day will be here in less than a week. People generally fall on two sides of the Valentine’s day spectrum; you have those who love the holiday and then, there are those who hate it.

Well, I embrace February 14th. I think that I have said this before but I truly believe that Valentine’s day is a day to enjoy. Some people might argue that it is a hallmark holiday and I suppose one could interpret it as such. However, I view it as a day to show your loved ones how you feel. In today’s society, people tend to get caught up in activities, work and, even, play which leaves little time to vocalize the love you have for the one’s around you.

At my household we don’t buy cards; we make them. There are no chocolates bought– no cakes, no sugary confectionaries, nothing of the sort. Everything we do is made from scratch and with love (I realize that is cliche but aren’t many aspects of life cliche?).

So for those of you who detest Valentine’s day, I ask you to take time and express your feelings to the one’s you love. Take time. Don’t rush the process. Make yourself happy and others happy.

And, that is what Valentine’s Day is about.

As a special treat for my children and husband I made Mini Melon-pans. While the average North American might not be familiar with the baked good, it is quite popular in Asia. They are comprised of sweet yeast bun that is covered with a cookie like crust and, in my opinion, quite delicious. So delicious in fact that I have submitted this recipe to YeastSpotting.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone–may your heart be filled with love.

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Mini Melon-Pans (adapted from Happy Home Baking)

Ingredients
(makes 12 mini buns)

Dough Ingredients:

  • 160g bread flour
  • 30g cake flour
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 10g milk powder
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100ml water
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • A few drops of red food colouring gel

Pastry Ingredients:

  • 45g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 10g milk powder
  • 70g cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • A few drops of red food colouring gel

Method:
Prepare Bread Dough – Place water, egg yolk, salt, sugar, bread flour, cake flour, milk powder and yeast in the pan of the bread machine (according to the sequence as stated in the instruction manual of your bread machine).

Select the Dough function of the bread machine and press start. After about 8mins of kneading (the ingredients should form a smooth dough by now), add in the 15g of butter. Let the machine continue to knead the dough. After the kneading cycle has stopped (20mins), Stop and Restart the machine. Continue to let the machine
knead for another 10mins. Stop the machine and remove dough from the bread pan. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions (about 120g each). With lightly floured hands, take one portion of the dough and knead in cocoa powder, until the cocoa powder is fully incorporated into the dough adding flour if dough becomes too sticky. Repeat the same for the other dough with food colouring. Leave the third dough plain. Shape each dough into a smooth round and place in separate lightly oiled mixing bowls, cover with cling wrap and let them rise till double in volume about 50 ~ 90mins.

Prepare Pastry Dough –

With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream butter & icing sugar till pale and fluffy. Add in egg yolk gradually and beat until combined. Add in milk powder and cake flour. Fold with a spatula and gather the mixture to form a dough.

Divide the pastry into 3 equal portions. Knead in cocoa powder, red food colouring separately into two of the portions, leave the 3rd portion plain. Divide each pastry dough into 4 smaller portions. You should have 12 doughs in total.

Cover with cling wrap and leave it aside for 10 mins. When ready, remove bread doughs and give each dough a few light kneading on a lightly floured work surface.

Press out the trapped air as your knead. Divide each dough further into 4 smaller portions (about 30g each) and shape into balls. Flatten each pastry dough into a round disc. Wrap each bread dough with it’s corresponding pastry dough. Wrap the pastry dough over about 2/3 of the bread dough, leaving the bottom 1/3 unwrapped.

Place doughs in paper muffin cups, cover loosely with a damp cloth or cling wrap and let dough proof for 25 – 30mins or till the dough reaches almost to the rim of the paper cup.

Bake at preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 18 mins. Rotate the buns halfway into baking to ensure even browning. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Deception.

January 29, 2011 at 8:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Deception. When are you allowed to deceive someone? Is it ever acceptable? What if it was for the greater good? I am very weary of deceiving someone even if it is deemed okay.

The reason I write about deception is because my daughter will not eat vegetables. The only veggie she likes is broccoli (which is the king of vegetables in my humble opinion). So, what is a mother to do?

Well, many people have heard of the cookbook called Deceptively Delicious–a cookbook that I received two years ago and never tried. I didn’t like the idea of duping my kid into eating seemingly healthy foods. However, I needed some artillery to fight this battle and this book was the answer.

Out of the cupboard it came and on to the counter. As I flipped through the pages my eyes set on a brownie recipe. The brownies called for pureed carrots and spinach, which are two of my child’s most hated foods–perfect!

My eyes scanned over the recipe and disappointment spread over my smug deceptive face.

Margarine!?? In a baked good?! Never! I have a problem with margarine that I won’t go into but I will say I don’t believe it is very healthy.

The only option left was to come up with a brownie recipe that wouldn’t comprise flavour yet still allowed for it to be packed with vitamins.

I whipped up the brownies (the purees were a bit time consuming but I made huge batches and froze them in 1/4 cup portions) and their aroma filled with house.

“I smell something!” My daughters eyes widened as she descended the stairs. “I smell chocolate!”

On the counter she could see the brownies and looked at them in her shy, coy manner her mouth open panting in anticipation of tasting something sweet.

“Here, have a brownie sweetie” I said.

My daughter’s eyes gleamed as she bit into the not-too-fudgy but not-too-cakey brownie.

Mmmmm.

They passed the tests but I failed. I had to tell her there were carrots and spinach in them. It didn’t matter in the end, though, they were knowingly delicious.

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Picky Eaters Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup carrot puree
  • 1/2 cup spinach puree
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, 2 egg yolks
  • 1 scant tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with aluminum foil so that the sides of the foil hang slightly over the pan. Spray foil with vegetable oil.

Whisk cocoa and boiling water in a large bowl. Add chocolate chips and whisk until they are melted. Whisk in the purees and butter until combined (the mixture will look a bit curdled). Add the eggs, yolks and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated.

With a spatula, mix in flour and salt until combined.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until brownies are set (when a toothpick is inserted it comes out with moist crumbs)–about 30-35 minutes.

Transfer pan to a cooling rack and cool.

Compromise on the pies

December 22, 2010 at 7:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I guess I should admit something.  I am a really picky eater.  I have a list of foods in which I won’t eat and another list of foods I won’t even try.  A fan of mushrooms I am not.  Tomatoes? No way!  And don’t get me started on any kind of red meat other than beef.

But the worse of all is pumpkin.  Every autumn and winter pumpkin is seen everywhere creeping its orange goopey-ness into everything from soup to muffins to pies!  I love pie but for at least a decade now I have been deprived from them during the winter holidays because of that menacing squash!

No longer will I stand for a lack of pie consumption during Christmas!  I do, however, understand peoples affinity for a staple (in this case the dreaded pumpkin pie) so I decided on a comprise–sweet potato pie.

When I told my husband I was making sweet potato pie he thought it was a savoury dish and not dessert.  It seems not many people here in this part of Canada have tried sweet potato pie. I believe, that it isn’t that common a dessert in American save the south.  Since I love southern food I thought why not.  Sweet potato pie it was.

Sweet potato pie is similar to pumpkin pie as it uses a lot of the same spices that you will find in pumpkin pie.  Sweet potato pie, however, is a bit lighter, less dense and more importantly not pumpkin.

I chose this recipe because I liked the ingredients the most and I had everything on hand.  What are you waiting for, give sweet potato pie a try!

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Sweet Potato Pie

from Ruth Reichl’s Comfort me with Apples

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark rum (I omitted this)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I omitted this)
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (I used my favourite pie dough recipe)

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and roast them on a shallow baking pan in the middle of the oven until very tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool to room temperature. (If preparing the night before, transfer sweet potatoes in airtight container and refrigerate).

Raise the oven temperature to 400°F, and place a shallow baking pan on the bottom rack.

Scoop the flesh from potatoes into a bowl and discard the skins. Mash the sweet potatoes with a fork until smooth. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar. Add the melted butter mixture to the sweet potatoes with the milk and the eggs and beat with a whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining ingredients (the filling will be quite liquid).

Pour the filling into the pie shell.

Carefully transfer the pie to the heated shallow baking pan on the bottom rack of the oven and bake until the filling is just set, about 40 minutes.

Transfer the pie to a rack to cool.

Trouble Makers.

November 26, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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My kids are great. I love them. That being said, they are also little monsters (my three-year-old even insisted on being a monster for Hallowe’en and her favourite movie is Monsters Inc). I think my kids are such trouble-makers so that I can experience what my parents went through.

When I was only a toddler, my brother and I would hatch plans and get into a terrible amount of trouble. Soon after I learned how to walk, I used the drawers in the kitchen to create steps up to counter. There I was able to get the bottle of Flintstones vitamins and hand them to my brother who proceeded to open said bottle–we ate them all.

Another time, we decided that we wanted all the Fudgesicles and Popsicles for ourselves. So, when my mom and dad went to bed we snuck downstairs to the big chest freezer in the basement. My brother lifted me up while I opened the freezer and took the icy treats. We thought we would be smart and save them so we hid them under our pillow. We awoke to my mother’s screams as she saw a melted brown mess spreading from underneath my pillow.

Now, it is my turn.

It seems like every day my daughters stir up trouble. One incident happened just yesterday. I went to the bathroom and I was gone for under 2 minutes only to return to a gigantic mess of cracked eggs and butter smeared over the kitchen floor and on my little angels. Mind you, this was just after then had been given a bath.

Today, they decided to top themselves. My daughter asked me to peel her an orange. My first mistake was turning my back to them. They grabbed one of their chairs from the craft table and placed it near the cabinets. My eldest daughter climbed up and removed the vaseline from the a basket. All the time I was doing this I was thinking “wow, my children are so great. They can play so nicely and quietly together.” That was my second mistake–my girls never play quietly.

Let’s just say that vaseline is a lot harder to clean up than butter and eggs.

Despite the lack of butter and eggs, I knew I had to make some cupcakes today. It was someone’s birthday weekend and I had to deliver some birthday spirit in the form of baked goodies. It was a bit hard to figure out what to make because this person doesn’t really like sweet stuff. So I racked my brain and decided on Gourmet’s dessert of the month, Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

Again, this recipe is perfect to satisfy a desire for autumn flavours (and a cinnamon fanatic like myself). Instead of a cake I made cupcakes so that it would be easier to serve and eat.

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SPICED APPLESAUCE CAKE WITH CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
From Gourmet Magazine
Makes 14 cupcakes

FOR CAKE

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

FOR FROSTING

  • 5 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line muffin tin with paper cups or grease.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Scoop batter out into muffin tin filling it 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.

Cool in muffin tins for 10 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy.

Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.

Spread frosting over top of cooled cupcakes.

Sometimes Downers can be a good thing.

November 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Wow, my last post was probably one of the most dull posts that ever was. All I can say is that I am very sorry. I don’t know what is wrong with me but I have been feeling extremely drained for the past two weeks.

This exhaustion that I am experiencing is odd because I have always been someone who needs very little sleep. Oh well, such is life I suppose so I shall trek on.

The weather in Whistler has been getting colder and colder. Last night, while I wasn’t sleeping, I heard the constant howling of the wind and rattling of the trees outside. Just the sounds alone sent chills throughout my body. Today, however, didn’t feel so cold so my daughters and I wrapped ourselves up in layers of clothing and ventured out to the market.

At the grocery store we scored some great deals, which included fresh organic cranberries. In light of the upcoming American Thanksgiving I decided to bake a recipe I saw a few months back. To my surprise many other food blogs posted the same recipe today–collective food conscience perhaps? Whatever the case this would be a great dessert alternative for the standard pumpkin pie.

The recipe was featured as a Tuesday’s with Dorie choice in september. I won’t retype the recipe here but, rather, direct you where you can find it (Superfluous: TWD- Cranberry Upside-Downer).

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Whether you are in America celebrating the holidays or in Canada give this recipe a try. It is sure to be a hit and proves that sometimes Downers can be a good thing.

Always room for comfort

November 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It seems like November has only just arrived but it is already mid-month. Where has the time gone? This month has been extremely busy–the majority of which I spent lying in bed in at my parents’ house in mild pain and sleeping. When I finally returned home, I was struck with the bite of frosty weather.

The weather in Whistler is getting chilly and my house lacks proper insulation. So, I decided I would be efficient and heat the house with my oven while baking something homey for my husband since apparently the bachelorhood he endured while the girls and I were gone made him feel quite lonely.

Apple crisp was the perfect treat for these cool fall days especially for my family because we always equate the dessert with feelings of comfort. This is a straight forward recipe that has always been a hit with our family. Sometimes comfort comes in the simplest of ways. It may not be the prettiest dessert, but it’s sure to warm you up on a cold, wet day.

Mom’s Apple Crisp

10 medium sized apples (macintosh, golden delicious or granny smith) peeled and sliced

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

Juice from 1 lemon

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup butter, cut into cubes

Method:

Preheat oven to 370 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl toss the apples with granulated sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Pour apples into a 9×13 pan and set aside.

In another medium sized bowl, mix flours and sugar together. Then, with a pastry blender (you can also use your hands) cut in the butter until it the butter is coarsely mixed in and is about the size of peas.

Spread the flour mixture on top of the apples evenly and place in preheated oven.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and you can see the apples mixture at the corners bubbling.

Remove from oven and cool.

Serve with ice cream or on it’s own for breakfast, lunch, dinner or all of the above.

It’s my birthday and I can bake if I want to.

March 26, 2010 at 3:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I love days of celebration. I love surprise parties, welcome home parties, any type of party really. So, I am pretty excited about today because it is my birthday, which means I get to make myself a cake.

Although I make desserts often, I rarely make ones’ tailored to my own tastes.  I think I have always put people’s needs before myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I actually prefer it that way. That is usually because half the time I don’t know what I want so I would rather other people decide.

This attribute of mine, however, drives my husband nuts. So the only way he would let me make my own cake is if I made a cake that I wanted.

The dessert I decided to make is something a little out of the ordinary. It is actually a bit of a weird dessert–so weird that I wish my almost-sister/best friend extraordinaire and lover of all things weird, Tonija, could share my cake with me.

My birthday cake is a Carrot Cheesecake. Weird, right? I thought that it would be fun to make for several of the following reasoms: I have never heard of a carrot cheesecake before, there were carrots in the fridge that I needed to use, I like cheesecake, I like carrot cake, there is cream cheese frosting on carrot cake, cream cheese is the main ingredient in cheesecake (go figure) and the list goes on and on.

Of course this cake isn’t perfect just yet as it is my first attempt but I thought I would post the recipe for others to try and improve on or just try for that matter.

Photobucket

Carrot Cheesecake

Ingredients:
For crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

For cheesecake:

  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple with some juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 packages (7oz) cream cheese, softened and cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:
In a food processor, pulse graham cracker crumbs and walnuts together till walnuts are about the same size as the graham cracker crumbs (30 seconds). Pour butter on top of crumbs and pulse till mixture holds together when pinched (20 seconds).

In a 9-inch springform pan sprinkle graham cracker mixture evenly into it. Then, press down with the palm of your hand to form a crust. Press down mixture so that it completely covers the pan and goes partially up the sides of the pan. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Clean the food processor so that it can be used again. Add carrots and pineapple to food processor. Pulse together until the consistency of a puree is achieved. Transfer into a medium bowl.

Stir in 2/3 cup sugar, cinnamon and salt into carrot puree. Then beat in 3 egg yolks, one at a time. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the cream cheese. Beat on medium until cream cheese achieves a soft and fluffy appearance. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Slowly add the sugar and mix until combined.

With mixer still on medium speed, add the whole egg. Mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg yolk and mix until just incorporated. Add vanilla and mix till combined.

Using a spatula fold the carrot mixture into the cheesecake until thoroughly combined.

Pour cheesecake batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with spatula.

Place cheesecake into preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the sides of the cheesecake is set and the middle is slightly jiggly.

Remove from oven and place on a wired cooling rack.  Once fully cool cover and place in the fridge for 3 – 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Photobucket

Note: I am not concerned about cracks in my cheesecakes so I didn’t take measures against it. However, if you are concerned about getting a crack in the cheesecake place the the cake tin in a water bath before placing it in the oven.  Once the cake is finished baking turn off the oven and open the oven. Keep the door ajar and let the cake cool in the water bath before removing it.

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