Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries (Weight Watchers)

This recipe made a sweet potato eater out of me! I love them with ketchup! Be careful cutting the sweet potatoes--they're very hard when they're raw.

2 lbs large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450F degrees.
  2. Half the potatoes, then cut into 1/2 inch wedges.
  3. Toss with oil, salt and pepper in medium bowl.
  4. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet.
  5. Bake, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 35 minutes.
Makes 4 1-cup servings: 234 Cal, 6g Fiber, 4g Fat, 4 Points

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Salmon Croquettes

I'm not a big fish eater, so this recipe is my saving grace during Lent. It's very low calorie if you use non-stick spray and low calorie whole wheat bread.

1 14 3/4 oz. can Prelate Wild Alaska Pink Salmon
2 sl (whole wheat) bread, ground to crumbs in herb grinder
2 eggs
ca. 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
ca. 1/2 tsp Salt
ca. 1/4 tsp Pepper

1. Drain salmon and remove skin and bones, if desired. (I do!)
2. Make bread crumbs.
3. Combine everything.
4. Form 9 croquettes. I prefer them to be about 2 1/2 or 3 inches wide and only about 3/8 inches thick.
5. Fry either in oil or with non-stick spray until nicely browned on both sides.

Note: I think they taste best with yellow mustard on them. Some people like cracker crumbs, other prefer mashed potatoes and some even use rice. See what you like best.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

100% Whole Wheat Bread

 I used to get a newsletter from The Prepared Pantry. This recipe came from that newsletter and can still be found on their website: It's so delicious and the dough is so easy to work with--either as eater or baker, you'd never know it was 100% whole wheat! 

The key to really great 100% whole wheat bread is to extract the best flavors from the whole wheat and temper the harsh tones that sometimes accompany [whole wheat bread] whole wheat flour. Good whole wheat bread has an almost nutty taste without a bitter aftertaste. A long fermentation gives the yeast a chance to produce its own flavors and convert the starch to sugar. By refrigerating the dough overnight, you can make excellent 100% whole wheat bread.

This is one of our favorite bread recipes. Yeasts perform differently at low temperatures. In this recipe, the dough is mixed the day before and refrigerated. The acids and enzymes produced by the yeast at lower temperatures temper the harshness of the whole wheat and develop wonderfully complex bread flavors. It’s no more work than other recipes; you just mix the dough the day before.

Bakers note: This bread should be very light and fluffy, not dense. The secret of making it so is to make sure that the dough rises fully both in the first rise and in the pans. The dough will fill two 5 x 9‑inch loaf pans and should be very soft and puffy before baking. If you let it over‑rise, you may see a blister or two in the dough. Poke the blisters with the point of a knife and hurry the bread into the hot oven.

5 to 6 cups fine‑ground whole wheat flour
1 seven gram packet of instant yeast (or two teaspoons)
2 cups water
1/2 tablespoon salt (or 1 1/2 tsp)
1 large egg
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons melted and slightly cooled butter

1. Place about three cups of the flour in the bowl of your stand‑type mixer. Add the yeast. Carefully measure 2 cups room temperature (80 degrees) water. The water should feel cool to the touch. Mix the water with the flour with a dough hook for 30 seconds or until the yeast is dissolved and the ingredients begin to combine.

2. Add the salt, egg, sugar, and butter and continue mixing. Add most of the remaining flour and continue mixing at a medium speed for at least four minutes adding more flour as needed to reach a soft dough consistency. (It is important that the dough be mixed for at least four minutes to develop the gluten.) The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but will be soft, not firm, to the touch.

3. Once the dough is mixed, place it in a large greased bowl, turning once to coat both sides, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or for up to three days.

4. On the day that you would like to bake your bread, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature‑‑about three hours. The dough should rise to nearly double in size.

5. Once the dough has risen, form the loaves. Coat your hands with flour and gently form a loaf by pulling the dough around itself to create a slightly stretched skin. You may need to coat your hands several times if the dough is sticky. If necessary, pinch the seams together on the bottom of the loaf. Lay the loaf gently in a well‑greased loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with the second loaf. Let double again in size, about 1 ½ hours.

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once the dough has doubled (the loaf should be very puffy), place the two loaves on a shelf in the top half of the oven, well‑spaced so that air can circulate between the loaves. Bake for thirty minutes or until done. The interior of the loaves should register at least 185 degrees F when an insta‑read thermometer is inserted through the bottom crust. Remove the bread from the pans and cool on wire racks. Let it cool completely before cutting.

Recipe courtesy of Dennis Weaver at The Prepared Pantry. This recipe appeared in “Bake it Better” published by The Prepared Pantry, June 24, 2005.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jam Cake

This must be iced with caramel icing! A must-have at Christmas!

1 cp Unsalted butter
2 cp Sugar
5 lg Eggs
3 cp Flour plus 1 tbsp
1 1/2 tsp Allspice
1 1/2 tsp Cloves, ground
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cp Buttermilk
1 tsp Baking soda
1 cp Raisins, chopped
1 cp Black Walnuts, chopped
1 cp Blackberry Jam (Mom insists it must be homemade! We leave the seeds in.)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. (5 minutes)
2. Add the eggs one at a time and combine well after each addition, scraping the bowl occasionally.
3. Into a bowl, sift together 3 cups of flour, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and salt.
4. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and baking soda.
5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in batches alternating with the buttermilk mixture, ending with the flour.
6. In a bowl, toss together the raisins, walnuts, and 1 T flour. Stir the mixture into the batter with the jam, stirring until well combined.
7. Line the bottoms of 2 buttered 9-inch cake pans with wax paper and butter the paper.
8. Pour the batter into the pans and bake in the middle of a preheated 325F oven for 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
9. Let layers cool in the pans on a rack for 15 minutes, invert them onto the rack and let cool completely.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Banana Crunch Cake

This recipe is from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking. I love it with the topping, but I also make it w/o and put a caramel icing on it, which works because the cake itself is not overly sweet. I've never been a fan of banana cake or banana bread, but this recipe converted me! I especially love the fact that it has no white flour in it. This recipe makes delicious muffins, too. Just be aware that this only makes 4 cups of batter, which is enough for one 8" x 2" square pan. If you want a round cake, you should use a 9" pan. Also, I've only ever made this recipe with walnuts, not pecans, and never used any chocolate or toffee chips.

Cake batter
1 cp (120g) oat flour (or ground oats)
1 cp (120g) whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cp (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
2/3 cp (132g) packed light or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 cp (225g) mashed banana (2 large or 3 medium), the riper the better
1/2 cp (109g) plain yogurt, non-fat to full-fat
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cp (60g) chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cp (168g) chocolate or toffee chips (optional)

Crunch topping
3/4 cp (60g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cp (66g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 T (28g) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cp (30g) chopped pecans or walnuts

1. Grease and flour an 8-inch-square pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Whisk the flours, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, ca. 5 minutes.
4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions.
5. Mix in half the dry ingredients until moistened, then mix int he bananas, yogurt and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottowm f the bowl, then add the remaining dry ingredients and the nuts and hcips, if using, mixing until evenly moistened.
6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
7. Make the topping, if using. Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and alt in a small mixing bowl until well blended. Stir int he melted butter until the moisture forms large crumbs; stir in the chopped nuts. Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.
8. Bake unit the edges pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 20 minutes before serving warm, with ice cream, or cool completely before eating.

Quick Caramel Icing

This is from the Cake Doctor cookbook. I don't know why but sometimes it stays soft. Depending on the weather and consistency of the icing and/or cake and my general icing abilities that day, sometimes I need more than other times, so I double the recipe. Just put what's left into a plastic container in the fridge. When you want to use it, just heat it in the microwave or on the stove or make another batch and add the old to the new at the end. If it's getting hard like it's supposed to, then it makes great pralines with pecans.

Quick Caramel Frosting
12 T butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/8 cup whole milk
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Put butter and brown sugars in a medium-sized heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until the mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, stir, and bring the mixture back to a boil, then remove from the heat. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon till smooth, returning to a low heat if necessary.

Use immediately to frost cake. If frosting hardens while you’re still frosting the cake, place the pan back over low heat and stir till frosting softens up.

White Cake with Caramel Icing (Blue Ribbon-Winning)

White cake with caramel icing is my mom's favorite cake. This cake recipe is from King Arthur, but I'm too cheap to use their wonderful cake flour, so I just use White Lily all-purpose flour. (You can substitute this for cake flour in any recipe, btw.) This cake is rather dense and not exceedingly moist, so I use a butterscotch schnapps simple syrup on the layers. I use the quick caramel icing recipe from the Cake Doctor cookbook, below. (As a word of warning, sometimes is doesn't want to stick to the cake. I have no idea why. If you do, then let me know! I've grown to view making this cake as simply an exercise in practicing patience.)

White Cake
2 3/4 cup White Lily All-Purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 3/4 cup superfine sugar (granulated can be ground fine in food processor)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
4 large egg whites
1 large whole egg
1 cup Stonyfield organic full-fat plain yogurt

1.      Preheat oven to 350F.
2.      Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
3.      Combine the dry ingredients, add the softened butter and mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
4.      Meanwhile, combine the wet ingredients.
5.      Add the liquid ingredients one-third at a time, beating on medium speed for 2 minutes after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl in-between each addition and at the end.
6.      Divide batter between pans, tap each pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, till a cake tester comes out clean. If the cakes are pulling away from the edges, they’re already over-baked!
7.      Let sit on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto a rack and then place another rack on top and flip them over. Let cool at least 1 hour before frosting.

Simple Syrup
Heat and stir till sugar is dissolved:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Set aside to cool. When cooled add:
1/2 cup butterscotch schnapps

When the cakes are cool, level them and brush the tops with simple syrup.

Quick Caramel Frosting
12 T butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/8 cup whole milk
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Put butter and brown sugars in a medium-sized heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until the mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, stir, and bring the mixture back to a boil, then remove from the heat. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon till smooth, returning to a low heat if necessary.

Use immediately to frost cake. If frosting hardens while you’re still frosting the cake, place the pan back over low heat and stir till frosting softens up.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Russian Salad Dressing (James Beard)

This is Mom's favorite dressing. It tastes delicious with endive and arugula. She swears she got it out of James Beard's American Cookery, but we can't find it in there anywhere!

1/4 cp sugar
3 T water
1 1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
2 1/2 T lemon juice
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T vinegar
1 cp salad oil
1/2 cp catsup
1/4 cp grated onion

In a saucepan, cook sugar and water until it spins a thread, about 230°. Cool syrup. Combine remaining ingredients; add syrup and whisk to blend well. Chill thoroughly.
Makes about 2 cups of Russian dressing for salad.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Volume to Weight Conversions for Baking

I love my kitchen scale because it allows me to dirty fewer bowls and be lazy--physically, that is, but not mentally! All that math! Still, it's so cool to be able to make a recipe of cake batter, weigh one cup and figure out how many cups of batter you have. I guess I'm just a kitchen geek ;-) Well, here are the conversions that I use the most. I often round up if it's really close, like with granulate sugar. I just consider 1 cup of sugar to be 200 g.
1 cup all-purpose flour                120g
1 cup granulated sugar                 198g
1 cup packed brown sugar           198g
1 cup powdered sugar                 120g
1 cup cocoa powder                     85g
    4 T                                      2 oz/57g
    8 T                                    4 oz/113g
   16 T                                   8 oz/227g
1 cup Crisco                                 192g
1 cup sour cream                          242g
1 cup corn syrup                           340g
1 cup mashed banana                    225g
1/4 cup peanut butter                     65g

Friday, August 27, 2010

King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book Recipe Index (According to Flour Type)

I love the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Book, but I got rather frustrated when I tried to find recipes using some oat flour I recently purchased. They don't have an index of recipes for the different types of flours. That would have been so practical! So I'm making up my own and putting it on here so I'll be able to find it ;-) I should note here that I'm only including the recipes that sound interesting to me. If a recipe stated that traditional whole wheat or white whole wheat flour could be used, I just listed it under the traditional whole wheat category. I've also indicated whether I liked the recipe if I've tried it.

Short list of grains/flours:
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Oats
  • Oat Flour
  • Spelt Flour
  • White Whole Wheat Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour (Traditional)
  • Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

Barley Flour
  • Triple Ginger Pancakes, 11
  • Broonie, 52
  • Cream Cheese and Molasses Bread, 55
  • Classic Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies, 305
  • Multigrain Snickerdoodles, 308
  • Soft Barley-Sugar Cookies, 312
  • Pumpkin Cake, 424
  • Midnight Mocha Pie, 486
  • Asparagus and Scallion Quiche, 491
  • Barley Cakes, 562

Bread Flour
  • New England Nut Bread, 48
  • Chocolate Pound Cake, 387
  • Peanut Butter Cream Pie, 482
  • BLT (Bacon, Leek and Tomato) Quiche, 488
Buckwheat Flour
  • Buckwheat Pancakes, 13
  • Buckwheat Crepes, 15 
  • Homemade Whole Grain Pancakes, 4
  • Maple Granola, 25
  • Cinnamon-Nut Granola, 27
  • Gingered Oatmeal Muffins, 40
  • Sailor Jacks, 43(Yummy but intense!)
  • Broonie, 52
  • Cream Cheese and Molasses Bread, 55
  • Hibernian Brown Bread, 60
  • Banana Crunch Cake, 67 (Yummy!)
  • Oat and Currant Scones, 85 (Yummy--make them all the time!)
  • Eggnog-Oat Scones, 95 (OK, not really worth the trouble.)
  • Salted Cashew-Crunch Cookies, 307
  • Multigrain Snickerdoodles, 308
  • Chewy Oatmeal Cookies, 314
  • Crunchy Cinnamon-Oat Drops, 317
  • Nutty for Oats Cookies, 318 (Yummy! Adore them!)
  • All Oats, All the Time (Cookies), 319
  • Chewy Oatmeal Decorating Cookies, 331
  • Scottish Shortbread, 332
  • Cinnamon-Apple Bars with Peanut Butter Glaze, 345
  • Classic Date-Nut Bars, 357
  • Lemon-Oat Squares, 365
  • Classic Peach Pie, 479
  • Midnight Mocha Pie, 486
  • Roasted Corn Quiche, 493
Oat Flour
  • Banana-Oat Pancakes, 8
  • Hazelnut Waffles, 19
  • Gingered Oatmeal Muffins, 40
  • Sailor Jacks, 43
  • Lemon-Poppy Seed Bread, 49
  • Banana Crunch Cake, 66
  • Oat and Currant Scones, 85
  • Cinnamon-Filled Scones, 90
  • Eggnog-Oat Scones, 94
   Spelt Flour
  • Simple Spelt Pancakes, 2
  • Buckwheat Crepes, 15
  • Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Waffles, 17
  • Hazelnut Waffles, 19
  • Spelt-Cream Cheese Biscuits, 78 (Extra yummy!)
  • Soft Currant Drops, 316
  • Chocolate Crinkles, 328
  • Banana-Chocolate Chip Squares, 344
White Whole Wheat Flour
  • Homemade Whole Grain Pancakes, 4
  • Orange Cloud Pancakes, 7
  • Triple Ginger Pancakes, 11
  • Sour Cream Muffins, 33
  • Gingered Oatmeal Muffins, 40
  • Lemon-Poppy Seed Bread, 49
  • Eggnog-Oat Scones, 94
  • Fruitcake, 382
  • Easy Banana-Walnut Bread, 545
  • Banana-Chocolate Chip  Muffins, 546
Whole Wheat Flour (Traditional)
  • Sailor Jacks, 43
  • Moist Bran Muffins, 45
  • New England Nut Bread, 48
  • Maple-Walnut Bread, 191
  • Cream Cheese and Molasses Bread, 55
  • Hibernian Brown Bread, 60
  • Crumb Coffeecake, 65
  • Banana Crunch Cake, 66
  • Honey-Whole Wheat Biscuits, 74
  • Oat and Currant Scones, 85
  • Cinnamon-Filled Scones, 90 (Yummy but rather decadent--skip the filling!)
  • Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, 304
  • Classic Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies, 305
  • Multigrain Snickerdoodles, 308
  • Peanut Chews, 311
  • Chewy Oatmeal Cookies, 314
  • Iced Orange Cookies, 320
  • Sugar and Spice Drops, 325
  • Thin and Crisp Wheat Cookies, 329
  • Chewy Oatmeal Decorating Cookies, 331
  • Double-Fudge Brownies, 341
  • Cinnamon-Apple Bars with Peanut Butter Glaze, 345
  • Soft 'n' Chewy Date Squares, 347
  • Butter-Nut Blondies, 348
  • Lemon-Oat Squares, 365
  • Brown Sugar-Spice Cake, 377
  • Caramel Blitz Torte, 413
  • Fudge Pudding Cake, 416
  • Carrot Cake, 419
  • Honey Cake, 421
  • Chocolate Stout Cake, 422 (I thought this was only "alright," but some people loved it.)
  • Pumpkin Cake, 424
  • Gingerbread, 425
  • Chocolate Zucchini Cake, 426
  • Sweet Plum Cake, 428
  • Whole Wheat Pie Crust, 443
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • Crumb Coffeecake, 65
  • Hazelnut-Espresso Coffeecake (calls for Frangelico), 72
  • Spelt-Cream Cheese Biscuits, 78
  • Classic Butter Cake, 368 (Yummy!)
  • Devil's Food Cake, 370 (Yummy!)
  • Coconut Cake, 373 (Quite good, but I don't like coconut in my cake.)
  • Lemon-Raspberry Cake, 375
  • Orange Cake, 379
  • Vanilla Pound Cake, 384
  • Chocolate Pound Cake, 387
  • Whole Wheat Genoise, 391
  • Toasted Almond-Mocha Cake (calls for Frangelico), 395
  • Black Forest Cake, 398
  • Strawberry Shortcake Torte, 401
  • Daffodil Cake, 404
  • Peach Melba Jelly Roll, 409
  • Citrus Surprise Cake, 411
  • Classic Peach Pie, 479
  • Peanut Butter Cream Pie, 482
  • BLT (Bacon, Leek, and Tomato) Quiche, 488

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Petit Fours (Blue Ribbon-Winning)

These little babies are delicious, but rather tedious to make. I've read about people making the cake in 9 x 5 loaf pans and slicing it, but I have not tried that. I did recently try making round cakes and using that, but it was wasteful--I had to end up make a couple of trifles, darn it! Anyway, I would highly recommend putting the cookie sheet on a turntable when you're pouring the fondant on them. That way, you can easily turn them round to see if they're covered on all sides. You can also use Nick Malgieri's Pound Cake to make delicious petit fours.

White Cake (from King Arthur Flour)
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 T baking powder
1 3/4 cup superfine sugar (granulated can be ground fine in food processor)
3/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup White Lily All-Purpose flour (or cake flour)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
4 large egg whites
1 large whole egg
1 cup full-fat plain yogurt (I prefer Stonyfield organic because it has a superior taste.)

1.      Preheat oven to 375F.
2.      Grease and flour a 12x18x1” jelly roll pan.
3.      Combine the dry ingredients, add the softened butter and mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
4.      Meanwhile, combine the wet ingredients.
5.      Add the liquid ingredients one-third at a time, beating on medium speed for 2 minutes after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl in-between each addition and at the end.
6.      Pour the batter in the pan and use an offset spatula to spread around evenly. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles, and bake for 10-15 minutes, till the cake springs back when touched.
7.      Let sit on cooling rack for 5 minutes. Place a piece of parchment paper over cake and turn it out onto a rack and then place another piece of parchment paper on the cake and another rack on top and flip them over. Let cool at least 1 hour.

22 T (2 3/4 sticks) salted butter, slightly softened
2/3 cup Crisco
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
5-7 T heavy cream
2 lb confectioners’ sugar
2 T corn syrup

1.      Cream butter and Crisco till smooth.
2.      With mixer on low, slowly add flavorings and 5 T cream.
3.      Stop mixer and scrape down the sides.
4.      With mixer on low, slowly stream in the confectioners’ sugar
5.      Add1 T corn syrup and 1-2 T cream if desired (depending on consistency, which is dependent on your environment). Mix on low.
6.      Add 1 more T corn syrup if desired. Mix on low till smooth and fluffy.

3/4 cup cream sherry
1.      Level cake.
2.      Divide cake into two by cutting down the middle, so that you have two ca. 12x9x1” pieces.
3.      Brush one piece of cake with sherry—just enough to taste, not to dampen cake.
4.      Spread a thin layer (ca. 1/4”) of buttercream on top of the sherry layer. Press lightly on the cake to make sure it seals with the bottom layer.
5.      Place the other cake layer on top of the one with the buttercream.
6.      Spread a thin layer (ca. 1/4”) of butter cream on top of the top cake layer.
7.      Let cake sit for 5-10 minutes so that a crust forms on the buttercream.
8.      Place a Viva paper towel on top of the cake and lightly rub your hand across it to smooth out the buttercream.
9.      Transfer the cake to a plate/cookie sheet and refrigerate overnight. (This is necessary to make the edges smooth when cut.)
10.  Remove the cake from the fridge and cut it into small pieces (ca. 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” or 1 1/4” x 2”), wiping off the knife after each cut.
11.  Place the cakes on a cooling rack that has been set on top of a rimmed cookie sheet. Leave about 1 1/2" around each piece. Place another rimmed cookie sheet next to this one.
12.  Make the fondant icing.

Quick Fondant Icing (from Wilton)
6 cups (ca. 1 1/2 lbs.) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup water
2 T light corn syrup
1 tsp almond extract

1.      Combine water and corn syrup. Add to sugar in a saucepan and stir over low heat till well-mixed and heated to 92F. (If fondant is heated too high, it will lose its shine when it dries.) (I'm a nervous nelly, so I used a chocolate thermometer--it's quick and measures low temps.)
2.      Stir in extract and icing color, if desired.
3.      Pour fondant over cake, making sure all sides are covered. When pan is empty, move the cooling rack over to the other cookie sheet and scrape the fondant back into the pan. If there are any crumbs, pick them out with a knife or toothpick.
4.      Reheat icing—only to 92F. Continue as above.
5.      As soon as the cakes are dried, slide a thin metal spatula underneath them and transfer them to a parchment-lined cookie sheet for decorating.
6.      Decorate with buttercream icing, above.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

High-Ratio Pound Cake

This is my favorite pound cake and it's so easy to make! It's from Nick Malgieri's Perfect Cakes. This is one of the cakes I use for petits fours. *See note below for explanation of "high ratio."

2 1/2 cp (10 oz/300g) bleached all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1 3/4 cp (14 oz/350g) sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cp milk
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Set a rack in the lower third of th eoven and preheat to 350F.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and beat on the lowest speed for about 2 minutes, or until the ingredients are well combined.

Meanwhile, whisk all the remaining ingredients together in a mixing bowl until well combined.

Increase the mixer speed to medium, add one-third of the liquid ingredients, and mix for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beater. Add another third of the liquid, beat for 2 minutes, and scrape again. Finally, add the remaining liquid and beat and scrape as before.

Use a large rubber spatula to give the batter a final vigorous stir, then scrape it into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes in a 12-cup Bundt pan, buttered and floured, or until a toothpick inserted int the cake halfway between the side of th epan and the central tube emerges clean.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto the rack t finish cooling.

Yield: 7 cups of batter (perfect for petits fours made in 12 x8 x 1 pan)

*High-Ratio Cakes (from Perfect Cakes, pg 44)
A high-ratio cake is one in which the weight of the sugar equals or exceeds the weight of the flour. (This applies to many pound and butter cakes, but not all). The high proportion of sugar can make the batter separate, resultin in a coarse texture in the baked caked. The "high ratio" mixing method, developed in the 1940s by Procter and Gamble, prevents the batter from separating and yilds a particularly fine textured cake.

Basically, you first mix all the dry ingredients with the softened butter. Then the liquids, including the eggs, are combined and added in three parts. The resulting baked cake has a great texture and moist crumb. To convert a recipe to the high-ratio method of mixing, first check to see if the sugar equals or exceeds the flour: calculate 8 ounces for a cup of sugar and 4 ounces for a cup of all-purpose flour. If and only if the recipe passes the test, you can combine all the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl, add the softened butter, and beat for 2 minutes on low speed. The add the liquids, mixed together , one-third at a time, beating for 2 minutes on medium speed between each addition.

Lemon Cake

I originally got this recipe from the Wilton's website. Everyone who tastes it falls in love with it!

2 cp granulated sugar
2 cp (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 T + 1 tsp lemon extract
2 3/4 cp (330g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour pans. Cream sugar and butter in mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and lemon flavor, mix until smooth. Add flour and baking powder and mix 30 seconds. Add lemon zest and mix 1 minute more. Place batter in prepared pan(s). Bake 50-55 minutes or unitl toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on cooling rack. Loosen sides; remove from pan and cool completely before serving.

Yield: approximately 6 1/2 to 7 cups of batter.

Lemon Curd

This recipe is from Nick Malgieri's Perfect Cakes. It's so easy to make and so delicious!

3 large lemons
3/4 cp sugar
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 large egg yolks

Finely grate the zest of 2 of the lemons. Squeeze and strain the juice from all 3 lemons; there should be about 3/4 cup. Combine the zest, juice, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Strain out the zest and return to a boil.

Meanwhile, beat the yolks in a bowl until they are liquid.

Beat 1/4 of the boiling liquid into the yolks and return the remaining liquid to a boil. Beat the yolk mixture int the boiling liquid and continue beating over medium heat until it thickens slightly. Do not allow the lemon curd to boil or it will scramble. Pour the lemon curd into a clean bowl, press plastic wrap against the surface and chill it.

Alton Brown's "Butter" Cake

According to Alton, butter is 20% water, so if you want to use shortening instead, decrease the amount (of butter/shortening) by 20% and increase the water by 20%.

pinch of salt
300g sugar
350g flour
165g butter (or 140g butter flavored shortening)
130g egg yolks
14g baking powder
160g milk (or 180g milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350F, position rack in top 1/3 of oven.
  • Cream shortening on low ca. 1 minute.
  • Add sugar and pinch of salt. Cream on medium/high at least 4 minutes.
  • Add egg yolks (slowly--creating an emulsion)
  • Alternately add dry and wet ingredients
    • half dry, half liquid, half dry, half liquid
  • Jiggle a little before putting in oven
  • 3" all around each pan

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gingerbread Men

I misplaced this recipe and had to do without these cookies this past Christmas. I was so depressed! I got them from someone's wonderful Christmas Cookie website when I lived in Germany, but the website doesn't exist anymore. I tried another recipe that seemed similar, but it was no replacement. I finally cleaned my room today for the first time in, well, let's just say several months, and there it was in a pile of papers! Yeah! These are the best--very easy to work with and delicious!

1 cp shortening
1 egg
2 T vinegar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2-3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 cp granulated sugar
1 cp molasses
5 cp sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg, molasses, and vinegar. Sift together dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture. Chill 3 hours. Roll dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Cut in shapes. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 374F for 5 to 6 minutes. Cool slightly on cookie sheet and then remove to rack. Makes about 5 dozen.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Susan's Mum's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1 T instant coffee
1 T hot water
1 cp brown sugar
150 g sour cream
1/2 cp soft margarine
2 eggs
1 1/2 cp flour
3 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 160C (325F).

Grease and line 2 20cm (8") sponge sandwich tins (round cake pans).

Dissolve coffee in hot water in mixing bowl. Cool. Add sugar, sour cream, margarine and eggs then sifted flour and baking powder. Beat till smooth. Spread mixture into tins.

Bake for 25 - 30 min. 

Sandwich with filling and ice.


4 oz unsalted butter
8 oz icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1 T hot water
1 tsp instant coffee

Sift icing sugar into mixing bowl. Add butter and beat till smooth. Mix coffee in water, add to sugar mixture and beat till well mixed. You can increase coffee if flavour is not strong enough.

Susan's Mum's Chocolate Cake (i.e,, My 30th Birthday Cake)

Susan gave me the best birthday present by slaving for hours to make this cake in our little kitchen nook in Germany. She'd called her mom specially to get the recipe--a phone call being a rare occurrence since it was so expensive (usually reserved for pressing culinary questions). We served the cake on the bottom side of a cookie tin lid. Our table was part of something we found out on the side of the road on a junk pick-up morning that we'd covered with a table cloth from my first landlady. We invited so many people, we didn't have near enough chairs for them to sit in! It was a birthday to remember!

200 g butter
1/4 cp cocoa
6 T hot water
1 cp castor sugar (finely ground granulated sugar)
3/4 cp self-raising flour
2 eggs, separated

Grease sides of 20 cm (8") square tin and line bottom of tin.

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Heat butter, cocoa and water in medium pot to melt butter. Stir to combine then add castor sugar and mix well. Add sifted flour and stir gently. Then mix in egg yolks. Beat egg whites to a stiff foam (peaks will fold over when beater is removed) then fold into chocolate mixture. This is a very moist mixture. Pour into prepared tin.Bake for 30-40 minutes or till cooked. Invert tin on rack and leave to cool.

Filling (Chocolate Cream)

300 ml (1 1/4 cp) cream
300 g dark chocolate
2 T brandy

Bring cream to boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate (broken into pieces) and brandy. Stir till chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into bowl and refrigerate till spreadable, stirring now and again. Split cake and fill with filling.


300 g dark chocolate
125 g unsalted butter
1 T milk

Melt chocolate (broken into pieces) with butter in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir to blend then add milk. Stir till smooth. Cool till thick enough to spread on topa dn sides of cake.

Susan's Scones

That's pronounced half-way between "scun" and "scahn"! Easier to eat than say, but whatever you do don't call them biscuits! (If you value your life, that is.)

3 cp self-raising flour
1 pinch salt
1 T castor sugar (very fine granulated sugar, here's a great link to explain)
25 g butter
310 ml (1 1/3 cp) buttermilk
currants or cheese


These cookies are very chocolate-y and crunchy! Very more-ish! The recipe is from my friend Susan in New Zealand. I don't know where the name comes from! The dough will seem dry but the cookies come out alright.

7 oz butter
3 oz sugar
1 oz cocoa
50 corn flakes
walnuts, optional

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the flour and cocoa and mix. Add the cornflakes (I crunch them up a bit.) and walnuts, if using.

Bake 15 minutes.