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Posts Tagged ‘Daring Bakers’

The end of the month means that it’s time for another Daring Bakers’ challenge!

This month, Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

I stayed pretty simple with the soaking syrup and the filling. I really wanted to use up items that I already had, and even though I had a lot of ideas, I kept it simple and easy. For the soaking syrup, I made a honey syrup with equal parts honey, sugar, and water. For the filling, I used an already-made whipped topping and then covered that with fresh strawberries. The texture of the Savarin is different, but I don’t mean that in a negative way! It is like a cross between a bread and a cake. The recipe is a little time-consuming, so this isn’t something that you can just whip together. That said, it would be a wonderful addition for a Mother’s Day brunch.

Savarin

Natalia provided us with the Savarin recipe, along with detailed instructions and photographs. My honey soaking syrup was 1 cup each of honey, sugar, and water. I put the 3 ingredients into a saucepan, brought it to a boil, then let it boil for 5 minutes. I kept it warm until I was ready to soak the Savarin. Later, when the Savarin was ready to serve, I filled the center hole with whipped topping and fresh strawberries.

Savarin

Made with love, not calories!

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Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!

For anyone who doesn’t know, I don’t like vegetables. Ok, so maybe a couple- but not very many. I can remember many nights when I was younger, still sitting at the dinner table while everyone else had finished, staring at my vegetables. Luckily we had a dog! Fluffy (our shih-tzu) would sit by my feet (she was no dummy!), and I would have a conversation with her while I fed her my vegetables. Yup, I talked to the dog. I had too- she was a noisy eater!

Nowadays, I am trying to make an effort to eat more vegetables. It’s a slow process though. So when I found out what the challenge was for this month, I was hesitant, but game. My first thought was to use beets, but my local store didn’t have any (I didn’t want to use the canned ones). However, they did have avocados. So that’s what I went with. I made 2 recipes. Chocolate avocado brownies (which I’m sharing with you today) and chocolate avocado cookies (grain-free), which I will share with you soon. I really liked the brownies. They are moist and right in the middle of fudgy and cakey. I couldn’t taste the avocado- which to be honest was my goal!

Chocolate Avocado Brownies

One Year Ago: Dutch Crunch Rolls and Corn Muffins

Chocolate Avocado Brownies

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 avocado
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave on high, for 30 second intervals, stirring after each one until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

In a food processor, add the avocado, egg, and egg yolk. Process until smooth (you may have to stop and scrape down the sides once). Add in the sugar, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, and vanilla bean paste. Process until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate and process until incorporated. Add in the flour and pulse until combined. The batter will be thick, so spoon it evenly into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with the back of the spoon. Bake it in a preheated oven for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center is clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Chocolate Avocado Brownies

Made with love, not calories!

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Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie was our February 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to use our creativity in making our own Crisp Flatbreads and Crackers!

A few weeks ago I was in a snacking mood. Nothing in the cupboard suited my craving, and I was too lazy to drive to the store. So, to the internet I turned, and found a recipe for homemade Cheez-its! Yes- that is what I wanted! 30 minutes later, Nick and I were snacking on homemade cheese crackers. I’ve now made this recipe twice, and I know it’s one that will make a regular appearance in our cupboard!

Cheese Crackers/ Bake, Run, Live

One Year Ago: Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Bread

Cheese Crackers
Recipe lightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup flour
Sea salt for sprinkling on top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, table salt, garlic powder, and flour. Let the machine run until everything comes together and forms a ball of dough. Remove the dough and knead it a few times (this just gets any bits and pieces incorporated). Split the dough in half (doesn’t have to be exact, I just find it easier to work with a portion of the dough). On a lightly floured surface, roll out one half of the dough, to about 1/8 of an inch thick. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter (you could also use small cookie cutters if you wanted to make certain shapes, like goldfish!), cut the dough into 1 inch squares (they don’t have to be this exact size- mine never are!).  Transfer the squares onto the prepared cookie sheet (I used an offset spatula for this, that way I could move multiple pieces at a time and not have to touch them). The crackers will puff up a little, but they don’t spread, so you can line them up pretty close to each other on the cookie sheet. Continue cutting out the crackers until all the dough has been used. Using a fork or a toothpick, prick the tops of the crackers, then sprinkle with sea salt (if using. We like salt, so I did this step).

Bake in a preheated oven for 10-13 minutes or until the crackers are a light brown. The time will depend on how big the crackers are (I had a few small crackers that baked faster, so I had to move them off the cookie sheet before the rest were done). Once the crackers are done, remove them from the oven and let cool. Once completely cool, store in a zip-lock bag or a plastic container. Enjoy!

Note: You can use any cheddar cheese that you like. The 1st batch I made, I used a pre-shredded Colby and Cheddar mix. The 2nd batch I used a pre-shredded Fiesta blend.

Cheese Crackers/ Bake, Run, Live

Cheese Crackers/ Bake, Run, Live

I’m linked at: 2 Girls and a Party, Semi Homemade Mom, Hungry Little Girl, Lady Behind the Curtain, Cheerios and Lattes, Pamela’s Heavenly Treats, Addicted to Recipes, The Busy Bee’s, Chocolate, Chocolate & More.

Made with love, not calories!

 

 

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Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulde Speculaas from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond paste and dough! Delicious!

Come the 1st of every month, I am like a little kid at Christmas time. That is the day in which we find out our next Daring Bakers’ challenge!  I really enjoy these challenges. Most of them have been desserts that I have never heard of, or never made, and that is exciting. This month was no different!

The spices that are used in speculaas, remind me of spices that go into pfeffernuesse cookies or gingerbread; cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Then for a surprise, white pepper, cardamom, and corriander. Note: the recipe provided also included mace, but it is a spice I have never used, so I omitted it from my spice mixture. Francijn has wonderful directions on how to make this delicious pastry so I am going to direct you here, in order to get the recipe.

003 Gevulde Speculaas

Gevulde Speculaas

One Year Ago: Daring Bakers’ Basic Biscuits

Made with love, not calories!

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Last month I made candied orange peels for the first time, and I used some of them in my Orange Chocolate Panettone. The rest of the orange peels, I dipped in dark chocolate (you know, because everything tastes better with chocolate!).

I mentioned the other day that I am trying to clean out my pantry by using up “left-over” ingredients. I knew I wasn’t going to eat the chocolate dipped candied orange peels any time soon, so I decided to chop them up and add them to cookies.

These cookies are delicious! I really liked the chewy texture of the candied orange peels, and it’s the right amount of chocolate! If you are feeling adventurous, I highly recommend making your own candied orange peel (the recipe can be found here). It is a little time-consuming, but it is well worth it (you can purchase it on-line also).

037 Oatmeal Chocolate Candied Orange Peel Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Candied Orange Peel Cookies

6 tablespoons butter, softened
4 tablespoons shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1 2/3 cup finely chopped, chocolate covered candied orange peel*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and the sugars. Stir in the egg and vanilla and mix well. Add in the baking soda, salt, and flour, then stir until combined. Add in the oats and chocolate candied orange peel.

Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, scoop out the dough and place onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Leave 2 inches between each cookie. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-11 minutes, or until the cookies are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, move the cookies onto cooling racks and cool completely. Enjoy!

*Note: If you purchase the candied orange peel and it isn’t dipped in chocolate, add 1 cup finely chopped candied orange peel and 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips.

Oatmeal Chocolate Candied Orange Peel Cookies

I’m linked at: Nutmeg Place, Cornerstone Confessions, Lady Behind the Curtain, Whimsy Wednesdays, Cheerios and Lattes.

Made with love, not calories!

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The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!

Chocolate and Orange Panettone

“Panettone is a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan (in Milanese it is called “paneton” Milanese dialect (pronunciation IPA: /paneˈtuŋ/)),[2] usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Italy,southeastern FranceBrazilPeruMaltaGermany and Switzerland, and is one of the symbols of the city of Milan. In South America, especially in BrazilArgentinaUruguayVenezuelaColombiaPeru and Chile, it is a Christmas dinner staple and in some places replaces roscón de reyes/bolo rei (King cake).” (Source)

What a fun challenge to end the year! Despite my best intentions to complete the challenge earlier in the month, I procrastinated and just finished making my panettone a few days ago (though I made the candied orange peel a few weeks ago- that counts for something, right?!).    However, I’m going to say that it ended up being perfect timing, as I was able to share some of it with Nick’s parents on Christmas Eve, and wth my parents on Christmas morning.

If you have a baking to-do list like I do (it’s currently 107 items long!), and panettone is on that list, I highly recommend the recipe that Marcellina gave us to use. I used the panettone recipe and the recipe for candied orange peel. Both recipes are easy to follow, however, I will say that both recipes take time. This just means that you need to plan a little more when making them! Marcellina let us choose our own “add-ins” for the panettone, so I went with candied orange peel (yup, already mentioned that!) and 70% dark chocolate. If you visit Daring Bakers‘, you will see what the rest of the participants used to flavor their panettone!

For the recipes, please visit the Daring Bakers’ link, as Marcellina has some really great detailed information (and pictures). For the panettone papers, I found mine on Amazon, as my local cake/candy store doesn’t carry them.

Chocolate and Orange Panettone

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Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

While Peta shared a dozen cookie recipes with us, our challenge for the month was to choose one of the recipes to make!

I chose to make Chocolate Coconut Cookies! This recipe came via Baking Glory and is a delicious chocolate cookie with a coconut macaroon filling. I did have a little issue with the dough, so I had to change the way I formed the cookie. The cookie dough is supposed to be formed like a purse to hold the filling. While I formed my cookies this way, they didn’t hold their shape well during baking. You will see in my pictures below how I formed the cookies and what they looked like after being baked, but I have to say that I gave up! I took pictures after baking a dozen cookies, then with the rest of the dough, I just made thumbprint cookies! That was easier and they still tasted the same- no matter how they looked 🙂

Chocolate Coconut Cookies
Recipe lightly adapted from Baking Glory

Coconut Filling:
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Cookie dough:
1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg

To make the coconut filling:
In a medium-sized bowl, cream together (either by hand or with a hand-held mixer) the cream cheese and sugar. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla bean paste. Stir in the shredded coconut. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To make the cookie dough:
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add in the egg and mix until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the flour mixture (the cookie dough will be stiff).

To make the thumbprint cookies:
Use a small-sized ice cream scoop (or a tablespoon), scoop the dough and roll it into a ball. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and using your thumb, create a well in the middle of the dough. Place a teaspoon-sized amount of the coconut filling into the well of the cookie.
Bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, move the cookies onto cooling racks and let cool completely. Enjoy!

How the cookies looked when I formed the dough around the filling…

how the cookies looked when I made them as thumbprint cookies!

Made with love, not calories!

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