Saturday, March 28, 2009

Back from Vacation

I'm back! Well... I never went anywhere. In fact, I'm on vacation right now... which is why I have a little bit of time to put these up. I have been keeping track of my baking endeavors (with the exception of some muffins that I completely forgot to take a picture of), I just haven't been posting them. 

I just got my wisdom teeth out, so I look like a chipmunk and am a little sore. But on top of that, I can't eat anything I make pretty much. I made some pudding-impostor experiments which worked to feed on, but not much past that. 


So- we begin chronologically:


Tart dyed pink in an attempt to make it more dainty looking. 
Not dainty, but delicious.

The fruit tart was made using sugar-cookie dough for the crust (always works) and baking that for about 10 minutes at 350. The filling is a creme made from one egg yolk, about one to one and a half cups of milk, three tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of flour to help thicken. This is done over the stove, and stirred continuously until thick. It should sit for a few minutes, then chill in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving. This would be really good with some more fruit... but I didn't have any. 


Flour Halva

If you are thinking "this isn't Halva", then we are thinking the same thing. REAL halva, the one made with sesame and full of wonderful happiness, is one of my favorite foods. We used to get it in bricks coated in chocolate and it would be gone by the end of the week. One of my many weaknesses, but its high on the list.

I don't remember where I found this recipe, but it was intriguing. Its just made with flour, a little butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and some milk, "cooked" over the stove for a few minutes until it comes together as a dough. It tasted a little too much like flour for my taste, but I did use whole wheat flour, which tastes much stronger to me. 
Interesting- but I prefer cookies. Or real Halva.


Molten Chocolate Cake with Melted Chocolate and Sliced Bananas

One of the BF's favorites, so I had to make it for him one evening. This is a mini flourless chocolate cake that was still mushy in the middle, served warm with melted chocolate all over. Who could say no to that? I don't have a mixer at school, so making flourless chocolate cake requires me to overlook the whole beating the eggwhites until stiff..... which makes for a little bit of a funny texture (not really firm, but not airy either... kind of in the middle). Still, it tasted as it should, and anything covered in chocolate gets my vote of approval. 

(Recipe to come)


Citrus Madelines

90g sugar
180g flour
110g butter (room temperature)
3 egg yolks
zest of 1 lemon
1t. orange extract

Preheat the oven to 350.
Combine butter, sugar, lemon zest, extract and egg yolks until smooth. Add the flour and combine until it comes together into a dough. 
Here is where you get to make a decision. This recipe was intended to make Spritz cookies, however I do not have any way to pipe them, so I pressed them into mini-madeline molds. Choose your weapon. 

Bake for 7-10 minutes (mine took 7-8, but if you use a pipe and make them bigger, they may need more time. Or if you want them crunchy- mine are kind of soft on the inside). Cool completely and devour.


Vanilla Sugar Cookies

If the recipe is easy and requires no cookie cutters (though festive, they are difficult), it becomes a regular. The first day I made these, they were half gone, and two days later I had to make another batch. This is thanks to my dear PJ who gave me a really great christmas cookie book when we exchanged christmas presents about two weeks ago. Our tummies thank you! (our arteries... not so much).

(Recipe to come)



The Great Experiment (or how I messed up buttercream frosting)

Me and egg whites have never been friends. I just can't seem to make them do what I need them to do. I have never made a successful meringue, never been able to get them to become white and fluffy for anything. I once made marshmallow soup "successfully"... though inadvertently 

So in my attempt to make some lemon buttercream frosting, the eggs did not fluff, the butter separated, and I was left with a tangy but soupy mess. So what did I do? I added about a cup and a half of whole wheat flour, some baking powder, and mixed in some raisins and dried blueberries. Stick it in the oven and about 25-30 minutes later I had a rather nice looking cake with a hint of lemon and full of dried fruits. Nuts would probably have made this really good, but I didn't want to waste them on an experiment. 

An approximate recipe:

1.5c. whole wheat flour
1 stick of butter (1/2c)
1/2c. sugar
1t. baking powder
3 egg whites
1/4c. milk
1/2c. raisins (or mixed dried fruits)
honey to drizzle over the top. 

Preheat the oven to 350.
So I mixed the egg whites, sugar and butter until it was a soupy mess, then added about 1 lemon worth of lemon juice. This can be skipped... since it was the cause of the mess up, but if you want, add it for authenticity. 
Add flour, baking powder and milk and mix until it forms a thick batter. Pour the batter into a cake pan or loaf pan (mine was about a 9"round) and sprinkle the dried fruit over the top. using a spatula, poke the fruit so it mixes into the top half. Pop into the oven for about 25 minutes (but keep an eye on it). If it turns too brown, cover it with aluminum foil. 

Allow to cool completely before eating. I haven't tried it yet (its still cooling) but I imagine its a mildly sweet coffee cake, best served with tea or... coffee. 


Go forth and devour.





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