Saturday, June 26, 2010

Giant Cupcake

I just wanted to reassure you all that I haven't abandoned you! I have been very busy with my son's birthday and his party this weekend so haven't had time to test any recipes. In the meantime, I thought I'd post up a photo of Evan's birthday cake that I made for him earlier this week.

I used a recipe that I've posted up on this website previously, originally I made it as cupcakes but this time I made it in a giant cupcake tin and baked it for approximately 1 hour. If you ever decide to try something similar, just test the cake intermittently with a toothpick/skewer.

Link to Donna Hay Chocolate Buttermilk Cake mixture.

Results: A success again! Always a lovely moist cake and Evan certainly loved his first taste of cake so well worth the effort.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

O.M.G!! If you don't cook another day in your life then you MUST make these first!! Another winner from the Pioneer Woman, I knew they were going to be good with all the rave reviews I've read online so couldn't resist any longer. First you must repeat after me, "sugar and butter are my friend" and once you believe it - you're ready!

500ml full cream milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 package of active yeast
4 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1/2 scant teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt

Heat the milk, oil and sugar in a medium sized saucepan until mixture is about to boil - don't actually allow it to boil. Turn off heat and allow to cool down to a lukewarm temperature.
Sprinkle the yeast on top and sit for 1 minute. Add 3 1/2 cups of flour and stir to combine, cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm area for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining cup of flour and stir thoroughly to combine. It can be easier to finish off by hand. Chill the dough in the fridge before using to make it easier to roll out. You can store the dough in the fridge for up to 3 days prior to using however remember to keep "punching" the air out of it.

1 cup unsalted butter melted, plus extra as needed
1/4 cup cinnamon
1 cup caster sugar

Prepare your filling ingredients and set aside. Flour a large surface and take the dough from the fridge. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle shape measuring approximately 75cm by 25cm.
Pour the melted butter over the dough and spread out evenly using your fingers. Sprinkle the cinnamon (I used just under 1/4 cup) over the butter and then sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cinnamon. Be generous!
Beginning at the side farthest from you, roll the dough tightly towards you. Be careful to make the roll as tight as possible until you are left with one long roll of dough, pinch the seam together so the dough is joined. Don't be concerned if the filling oozes at all.

Cut 3cm thick slices from the dough roll, you should be able to produce 20-25 rolls. You can use any type of baking dish, I used 2 pie/quiche type dishes and 1 square dish. Pour a small amount of melted butter into each dish and swirl the dish to spread the butter out, ensure the butter covers the bottom of each dish.
Place the rolls into the dishes ensuring not to overcrowd, cover the dishes with a tea towel and allow to stand for at least 20 minutes before baking so they can rise. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees fan forced). Bake for 13-17 minutes or until a light golden brown.

Icing (adapted to Australian ingredients)
500g pure icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1/2 cup full cream milk
50g unsalted butter, melted
1-2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk the icing sugar, milk, butter and vanilla together until combined and the mixture is a smooth consistency. The icing should be thick but easy to pour. Add extra milk if too thick or extra sugar if too thin. Optional - if you like a coffee flavoured icing, add 1/4 cup brewed coffee and reduce milk accordingly.
Once the rolls come out of the oven to cool, generously drizzle the icing over the top. The warm rolls will absorb the icing and make them even tastier.

Results: Like I said, O.M.G!!!! Simply one of the best recipes I've ever made, amazing! They definitely take time to make however the first time always takes the longest due to the unknown so I'm sure it would take less next time. They are absolutely delicious to eat while still warm but just as great the next day. It's important to note that I actually halved all the ingredient amounts as the full recipe makes 50 rolls and with all the sugar and butter, I certainly didn't need to eat 50 of them!!! (so if you do wish to make 50 rolls, ensure to double the ingredients) This is honestly well worth the time spent in the kitchen.

Straight out of the oven - aren't they gorgeous?

Icing poured on while rolls still warm, divine!

10 minutes after the first dish was pulled out of the oven!

Source - The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook, page 38. Full recipe (for 50 rolls) & step by step photo's available on the Pioneer Woman website.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chocolate Chip Congo Bars

You may be asking yourself what a Congo Bar is...well I sure was when I first read this recipe! This particular recipe is a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and a brownie and for some reason, these are called Congo Bars overseas. Some may consider it a Blondie but I disagree as Blondie's traditionally have white chocolate in them. I was curious to taste this recipe once I saw it up on the Bakerella website so here you go...

2 & 3/4 cups plain flour
2 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
150g unsalted butter, softened
455g brown sugar (light brown if you can find it, it's not common in Australia)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
325g of milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 175 degrees (160 degrees fan forced) and line a 33cm by 22cm tray with baking paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, stir the brown sugar into softened butter until the butter disappears into the mixture. It will take approximately 10 minutes. Add eggs one at a time into butter mixture and mix well until combined.

Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts and stir to combine. Add flour mixture and stir until combined and then spread the batter into the lined tray. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Results: At first I wasn't sure if I really liked this but after I kept going back for more, I realised it was pretty good! You do expect more of a chocolate flavour because of the brownie texture but the chocolate chips are great. Because the chocolate chips come in 275g bags here, I also added some chunks of chocolate from a block and it really made a difference - I loved biting into the big chunks! I would even consider making the bars completely of chocolate chunks next time. If you prefer to preserve your arm muscles then you can use a mixer but the texture does turn out better mixing by hand.

Source - Bakerella website

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

This sounds like it's going to taste really good - right? If you aren't convinced by the title then just have a look at the photo below and then surely you are tempted to give it a go...

115g dark chocolate
115g unsalted butter
1 cup pure icing sugar (powdered sugar)
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
6 tablespoons plain flour

Preheat oven to 220 degrees (200 degrees fan forced), spray 4 custard cups with baking oil and place on a tray. (I used a canola oil spray)

Place chocolate and butter in a medium sized bowl and place in microwave on high for 1 minute until butter is melted. Whisk until chocolate is also melted. Stir in sifted sugar until combined then whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.

Divide mixture between 4 custard cups and bake for 13-14 minutes until sides are firm and centre is soft. Let stand for 1 minute before turning out onto plate.

Results: If you like puddings then this is absolutely the one for you! This is amazing! Chocolate pudding with oozing chocolate in the middle - it's just delicious. Of course you have to eat this with cream or ice cream - or both if you want to be daring! Of course this isn't as attractive on the plate as a self saucing pudding served in a ramekin but some sprinkled icing (powdered) sugar on top would do the trick! This pudding is also extremely easy to mix, I sift the sugar earlier and have all the ingredients ready on the side so I can quickly mix and pop in the oven once we finish dinner. Well worth the extra effort.

Source - The Pioneer Woman Cooks website (originally Brandielle for Tasty Kitchen)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Vanilla Mini Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Well as some of you know, I'm still practicing for Evan's upcoming birthday festivities so I made some vanilla cupcakes on Friday to see how they tasted and also to test my butter cream frosting recipe to make sure I have no last minute disasters!

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
175g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
1 tablespoon madeira (optional)
2 eggs
160g self raising flour
100g plain flour
200ml millk

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees fan forced) and line the cupcake tray with cupcake liners.

Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and pinch of salt with electric beaters until pale and fluffy. Add the madeira (optional) and beat until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift flours together and using a wooden spoon, fold the flour and milk alternately into the sugar mixture.

Spoon into cupcake liners (1/2 full if you prefer flatter tops and 3/4 full if you prefer rounded tops) and bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you would prefer regular sized cupcakes, then bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Mixture makes 24-36 mini cupcakes and 12 regular cupcakes.

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting
250g pure icing sugar (confectioners sugar), sifted
80g unsalted butter, softened
25ml whole milk
a couple of drops of vanilla extract

Beat the icing sugar and butter together with an electric beater or stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl and add to the butter mixture very slowly. Once the milk is incorporated into the mixture, turn the mixer up to high speed and mix for no less than 5 minutes. The longer frosting is beaten, the fluffier it becomes.

Add desired food colouring at the end or leave as is. The mixture makes enough to frost 24-36 mini cupcakes and 12 regular sized cupcakes.

Results: The cupcakes are nice, I haven't made vanilla cupcakes previously so can't compare them to anything but they are light and fluffy which is always good. The frosting is sugary and sweet - perfect combination!! If you are piping the frosting which means a thicker layer of frosting, I suggest making a double batch of frosting so you don't run out, I'd rather have more than less!

Source - Cupcake Recipe - Planet Cake by Paris Cutler, page 22
Source - Butter Cream Frosting - The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, page 11

Friday, June 4, 2010

Blueberry Cobbler

I started following the Pioneer Woman blog recently and immediately ordered her cookbook "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" which has American style recipes. The food pictures all look great so I decided to start with dessert since that always tastes good no matter what!

115g unsalted butter
1 & 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup milk
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen & any type of berry can be used)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (I suggest 160 degrees if you use a fan forced oven) and grease a 3 litre baking dish with butter. (2-2.5 litre would be sufficient)

Melt the butter in the microwave. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, 1 cup of sugar and milk together until combined. Whisk in the melted butter.

Pour the batter into the baking dish and sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the top of the batter. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar evenly over the top of the blueberries. Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown and bubbly. 10 minutes before you are due to pull the cobbler out of the oven, sprinkle an additional 2 tablespoons over sugar over the top if you wish.

Results: This tastes as good as it looks in the cookbook!!!! So crispy and sweet and then moist inside with the cake and fruit. You have to eat this topped with lashings of cream or vanilla ice cream, it's an order!! So good and so quick to make, just remember to factor in the baking time.

Source - adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, page 212.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Zucchini Mini Muffins

I absolutely love zucchini slice...I grew up on it, I introduced my husband to it and I look forward to introducing my kids to it! In fact, I have been contemplating making it for Evan to see if he likes it and to give him something different for lunch. So when I came across a very similar recipe which makes mini muffins, I was curious to give it a go.

2 regular zucchinis grated (or 1 large)
1 small onion, finely sliced
3 bacon rashers, cubed
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 160 degrees and grease mini muffin trays.

Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese and flour in a bowl and stir to combine. In a small bowl or measuring jug, combine oil and eggs. Add the liquids to the dry mixture and mix until combined.

Spoon mixture into mini muffin trays and bake for approximately 15 minutes, test with a toothpick to check if cooked. Makes 24-36 mini muffins.

Results: Yum! These are nice, similar to zucchini slice but lacking seasoning however as the idea of the exercise was to provide food for my child, I deliberately didn't season the mixture. Evan likes them which is great, I've frozen some muffins to see how they defrost as I like cooking food for him that freezes and defrosts well, just saves some time on a day to day basis. The original recipe states that the mixture creates 48 mini muffins, unless they are the worlds smallest muffins then I completely disagree! I got 24 but could have made the second tray smaller and perhaps squeezed 30 out of it.

Source - Recipe adapted from Huggies website

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blueberry and White Chocolate Muffins

My good friend Julia, served these tasty treats for morning tea a week ago and after eating two on the spot and taking four home and only allowing my husband to eat one of them, I knew I needed to learn how to bake them myself!

2 cups plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup white choc bits
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g butter, melted, cooled slightly
1 cup frozen blueberries (or any type of frozen berry)

Preheat oven to 18 degrees and grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with cupcake liners.

Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in sugar and choc bits. In a large jug or bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter until well combined. Using a large metal spoon, stir mixture into dry ingredients until just combined. Gently swirl frozen berries through mixture without over mixing.

Spoon mixture into muffin tray (makes 12 only) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked when tested with a toothpick. Stand in pans for 5 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool. Lightly dust with icing sugar to serve.

TIP - If you don't have buttermilk handy then you can make buttermilk by placing 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into a measuring jug and add enough milk (I suggest full cream) to bring liquid up to the 1 cup measurement. Let it stand for 5 minutes then use as needed.

Results: These are so delicious! The outside is slightly crunchy and the inside is so moist and yummy. Definitely one of my favourite recipes and SO easy to make. The first time I made them, they did go too brown on the outside but I believe my oven was too hot so the second time I ensured it was correct and they were perfect. 12 is the perfect amount as they are so good on the day you make them, you just have to eat as many as possible! Although husband assures me that a quick zap in the microwave on the following days works a treat. Thanks Jules!!!!

Source - Creative Gourmet via Ninemsn Recipe Finder (unofficially my friend Julia)