Showing posts with label baked. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baked. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Silver Bell Sugar Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

A great sugar cookie recipe that actually keeps its shape when baked. Mix up your sparkling sugar decorations using both crystal white and silver to make your silver bell sugar cookies really shine. And don't forget the silver dragées for the clappers.


If you look back through my recipe archives, there is not a single cookie that’s been rolled and cut out with a cookie cutter to be baked and decorated. Not one. And in last five and half years I have shared 53 cookie recipes. I just counted.

When my girls lived at home, baking sugar cookies was a fun activity year-round but we really got into them – and making gingerbread men to decorate - just before Christmas. A couple of summers ago, I invited my small nieces over for a sugar cookie baking/decorating session where as many sprinkles were consumed directly as were put on cookies. But we had a lot of fun!


And since they didn't care about anyone else's idea of perfection, their cookies were fabulous and creative and beautiful.


Tip: For children (or adults who need more encouragement), fill squeezy bottles with the royal icing. They are much easier to handle than piping bags.

I’ve finally figured out that what I mind about making these things is not the time or the patience they require but the lack of company in my kitchen. So here’s my recommendation to you. Put on the holiday tunes. Mix up a batch (or two) and invite some friends or family over to decorate with you. Of course, you don’t have to make silver bell sugar cookies. Use your own favorite cookie cutters and colored sprinkles. And while this is a great time of the year to get together, sugar cookie baking sessions can be fun all year round.

Ingredients for about 40 small cookies
For the cookies:
1/2 cup or 113g unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature
1/2 cup or 100g granulated sugar
White of large egg, at room temperature (about 40g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups or 218g all-purpose flour, plus a bit more if needed for rolling
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the royal icing:
1 1/4 cups or 156g powdered sugar + more as needed
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch salt
1 egg white (about 40g)

Important: Uncooked egg whites should not be served to anyone with a compromised immune system, unless those whites are from pasteurized eggs. Substitute an equivalent combination of powdered egg whites and water, according to the package instructions.

For decorating:
Assorted sprinkles
Silver dragées for the bell clapper, if desired

Method
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, soften the butter by beating it for a minute or so. Add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl occasionally, as needed.

Add in the egg white and vanilla and beat again until they are fully incorporated.



Add in the flour a bit at a time until it is completely mixed in and you have a soft dough that is firm enough to roll out.



Divide the dough into two pieces and roll them each out on parchment paper until they are about 1/4 in or 1/2 cm thick. Sprinkle on a tiny bit more flour if you must to keep the dough from sticking to your rolling pin. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least one hour or until ready to bake.



Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Line your baking sheets with more parchment or silicon liners. If they are well chilled you can put these cookies fairly close together as they should not spread or puff very much. Well-chilled is key. 

Remove one rolled dough circle from the refrigerator and cut out your cookies with a cookie cutter. Use a flat spatula to transfer them quickly to the prepared cookie sheet.



Bake in the preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to brown.

Remove and leave to cool completely before decorating. Continue the process until all the dough has been cut out and baked.



NOTE: Always add newly cut cookies to a cool lined cookie sheet before baking. Putting them on a hot pan will cause the butter to melt out prematurely. Having two or three pans to rotate is helpful.

Once the cookies are completely cooled, make the royal icing. Sift the powdered sugar, cream of tartar and pinch of salt into a mixing bowl.

Add in the egg white (see important note above) and whisk it in a little at a time from the middle, until all is incorporated.

Partially mixed in. Just keep whisking from the sides until all is incorporated.
Check the consistency of the icing by lifting your whisk and allowing it to drip back into the bowl. Too runny? Add more powdered sugar. Too firm? Add a drop or two of water. You want to be able to pipe it but have it keep its shape.

Spoon some of the icing into your piping bag fitted with a #3 tip. Pipe a royal icing outline of the cookie and pop on a silver dragée for the clapper, if using.



Outline all of the cookies and leave the royal icing to harden before you move on to the next step.

Cover the royal icing bowl with a piece of damp paper towel, then cling film and refrigerate. When the outlines are hard, remove the royal icing from the refrigerator so it can warm up a bit, and stir to loosen up.

Set up your decorating station putting one small saucer for each color of sprinkle or decoration you are using. This will allow you to reunite the sprinkles that fall off with their similarly colored brethren when all this is over.

Put the cookie in the first saucer and use a spoon to add a puddle of royal icing into the middle of the cookie. Spread it around right up to the hard outlines with a toothpick or even a clean paintbrush.

Add some sprinkles. Shake the cookie so loose sprinkles fall back in the saucer.

Move the cookie to the second saucer and add the next color sprinkles. Shake the cookie so loose sprinkles fall back in that saucer.



And so on.

Place finished cookies in a safe place where they can dry until completely hardened before trying to stack, package or transport them.



Enjoy!

This month my Creative Cookie Exchange group is sharing decorated cookies, perfect for the holidays or whatever you feel like celebrating!


Creative Cookie Exchange is hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life. We get together once a month to bake cookies with a common theme or ingredient so Creative Cookie Exchange is a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts at The Spiced Life. We post the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Almond Pear Bread Pudding #BundtBakers

This Almond Pear Bread Pudding is a delightful twist on traditional pudding, made with thinly sliced crunchy pears and sweet almond croissants.



I’m just gonna put this out there. I don’t like pears. It’s not so much the flavor, which is nice, but the texture. Why would I eat gritty fruit when there is so much I can eat that isn’t gritty? When our Bundt Bakers host for this month proposed pears for our theme/ingredients, I groaned quietly to myself. Pears!

This was a job for The Flavour Thesaurus, (<affiliate link) a handy little book I got for Christmas last year. I flipped to Pears and there in the first paragraph, it said “Pear and Almond: A natural couple: classy and restrained. Save them from an excess of tastefulness by making an unctuous pear and almond croissant pudding.”

What a splendid idea! As you all probably know, almond croissants were originally created as a way for French bakers to offload day-old croissants by filling them with sweet almond paste, topping them with sliced almonds and syrup and baking them again. Which also makes them perfect for making bread pudding, a creation traditionally made from day old (or older) bread.

Here’s what I discovered after baking this almond pear bread pudding.
1. I like cooked pears!
2. Pears and almonds are a natural couple.
3. I should have chosen a different Bundt pan in which to bake it. The swirly pan seemed to trap all the buttered almond slices in the little edges. Next time, I’m going to use my classic Bundt pan with the nice even, open curves and I suggest you do the same.
4. My husband's colleagues love almond pear bread pudding. I send food in with him All The Time. This bread pudding was the first time he forwarded me two emails thanking me!

Ingredients
4 large almond croissants
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup or 200g sugar
1 cup or 240ml whole milk
1 cup or 240ml whipping cream
5 small Coscia pears – about 12 3/4 oz or 365g whole - or sub your favorite pear
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare pan:
Light coating of butter or shortening applied with pastry brush
4 tablespoons melted cooled butter
1/4 cup or 20g finely sliced almonds

Method
Slice the croissants in about 1 inch or 2 cm pieces.


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your eggs and vanilla. Add in the cup of sugar and whisk again until the sugar starts to dissolve and the eggs lighten in color and get a bit frothy.

Add in the milk and cream and whisk again.



Add the sliced croissants to the egg bowl and push them down into the liquid.

Core and slice your pears thinly. Unless the peels are tough, there’s no need to remove them. A melon baller makes the coring much easier, if you have one.



Toss the sliced pears in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of sugar, salt and Amaretto. Set aside.



Prepare your Bundt pan – preferably one without many nooks and crannies – by using a pastry brush to coat the inside with butter or vegetable shortening.

Drizzle the melted, cooled butter all over the pan and sprinkle in the thinly sliced almonds. Set aside.



Give the croissant bowl a gentle stir and add the pear slices to the top. Cover with cling film and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour to give the croissants more time to soak up the sweet egg mixture.



When your hour is about up, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Stir the pudding to mix in the pears. Spoon the pudding into the prepared pan. Butter the shiny side of a piece of foil and cover the Bundt pan tightly with it, buttered side down.



Put your prepared Bundt pan in a larger deep pan and fill the bottom pan halfway up with water.

Bake for 2 hours, checking occasionally and adding more water to the bottom pan, if necessary.

After 2 hours, remove from the oven and remove the foil. Return the Bundt pan to the oven, uncovered, without the pan underneath. Bake for another 30 minutes.

The almond pear bread pudding will puff up beautifully, high above the edge of the Bundt pan, but then will slowly sink back down as it cools.



Leave to cool for about 10 or 15 minutes on a wire rack. Use a non-stick surface safe spatula to loosen the bread pudding from the pan. If bits stick inside your pan, just scrape them off and sprinkle them back on top of the pudding.

Serve warm with a generous pour of thick cream. With a little more amaretto on the side, perhaps.



Enjoy!

Many thanks to our host, Lauren of Sew You Think You Can Cook both for her behind-the-scenes work this month and for pushing me into realizing that I do like pears after all.

Check out all the other pear Bundts our Bundt Bakers are sharing this month:
BundtBakers

Bundt Bakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the Bundt Bakers home page.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rustic Parsnip Bread #BreadBakers

Mashed parsnips add a sweet earthy flavor to this rustic parsnip bread. Caramelized parsnips on top of the loaf bring a little wow factor, making this a great bread for your holiday table.



This may sound silly to a bunch of you but I didn’t discover parsnips till I was an adult. I remember the first time I saw them in a Sydney market and I assumed they were pale carrots until I read the little sign in front of them. Parsnips. The name helped me not one bit.

But I am adventurous cook and eater so I bought a bunch and took them home. Those were the days before internet but I did have a paperback cookbook from the Australian Women’s Weekly series with traditional Australian recipes to consult. Parsnips could essentially be used anywhere a carrot could. In sweet cakes or savory stews. My favorite way of eating them is roasted in the oven or caramelized in a hot pan. Either way emphasizes their native sweetness.

This rustic parsnip bread features parsnips two ways, mashed in the dough for flavor and moisture and tucked in slits on top for flavor and decoration. This recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s rustic potato bread, which I first made more than fours ago, back when I had just moved to Cairo and found myself in a freezing cold house without a working heater. An ideal time to turn the oven on! Read that post for tips if you are trying to get yeast dough to rise in a cold kitchen.

Ingredients
For the dough:
3/4 lb or 340g firm parsnips
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup or 60ml tepid reserved parsnip water (80 – 90°F or 26.7 – 32.2°C)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups or 280g – 310g flour

For the optional topping:
1 parsnip about 3 1/2 oz or 100g
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon flakey sea salt

Method
Peel your parsnips for the dough and cut them into cubes. In a small pot, cover the parsnips with water and add 1 teaspoon of the salt.



Cook until they are fork-tender. Reserve 1/4 cup or 60ml of the parsnip water and then drain the parsnips well in a colander.  Pop them back in the pot and mash them with a potato masher while they are still warm, getting them as lump free as possible. Set aside to cool.



When the parsnips are cool, stir the yeast into the parsnip water, warming it again if necessary. It needs to be warm enough to activate the yeast. Leave for about five minutes.

Meanwhile, put your cool mashed parsnips in the mixer and beat briefly to loosen them up.

Add in the olive oil, the yeast/water mixture and the last teaspoon of salt. Mix until the liquids are incorporated into the mashed parsnip.



Change your mixer attachment to the dough hook and start adding in the flour.  This mixture is going to be very dry at the beginning.

Just trust and keep mixing. That said, you may not use quite all the flour. I had a few tablespoons left when I decided that the dough was a good springy texture. Knead for by machine for a few more minutes.

For the first rise, put a bit of cling film on the top of the mixing bowl and allow the dough to rest for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.

To caramelize the last parsnip, peel it and cut it into thin, short pieces.

Drizzle the olive oil in a small non-stick pan and gently fry the parsnip pieces until they are golden on all sides.



Sprinkle in the sugar and keep cooking the parsnips till the sugar has melted and started to brown a little. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Once your first rise is done, roll the dough into a ball and then press out into a round disk.  Starting at the end closest to you, roll the dough into a tube.  When you get to the last turn, make sure the seam side is down and fold the sides under.



Place the roll of dough on a lined baking pan and use a sharp knife to cut slits in the top.  Tuck the caramelized parsnips into the slits. Drizzle any oil left in the pan over the top then sprinkle on some flakey sea salt.



Cover the loaf loosely with cling film and put in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Put a pan in the bottom of the oven about halfway through the preheating process. This pan gets really hot and a little water added just as you put in the loaf creates enough steam for a lovely crust.

When the second rising is done, put the baking pan with the loaf in the oven. Quickly pour a 1/2 cup or 120ml water into the pan at the bottom and close the oven immediately.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until the crust is nice and brown and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped.  Check halfway through and rescue any parsnips that have fallen off so they don’t burn on the pan, which would be a terrible waste when you could be eating them. Cover the loaf loosely with foil for the remainder of the baking time if you feel the parsnips or the bread is browning too fast.



If you are so inclined, you can check the internal temperature to see if the rustic parsnip bread is cooked throughout. It should be about 200°F or 93°C. in the middle.

Enjoy!



This month my Bread Bakers are baking breads with root vegetables of all kinds, with thanks to our host Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories. We've got both sweet and savory bakes for you today, so something for everyone!
BreadBakers
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Orange and Plum Muffins #MuffinMonday

Shiny deep purple plums and bright oranges vie for my attention in my local grocery store these days. How could I resist baking them both into orange and plum muffins?



I briefly considered making sugar plums with orange zest and putting those into muffins. But, you know what, I am just too lazy for that. After all, once they are all cut up and mixed with muffin batter, who would know they had ever started life as sugar plums?

I brought these muffins round as a welcome for a new neighbor who moved in across the street while I was away last month. Shortly after, I got an iMessage: “Thank you so much for the muffins. My daughter doesn’t usually like muffins but she’s on her second one now!”  As you can imagine, that made my day! May they get as good a reception in your house.

Ingredients
2 cups or 250g flour
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest 1 orange plus juice
4 small ripe, yet firm, plums (Mine weighed about 8 3/4 oz or 250g total, whole)
1 egg
Enough milk to orange juice to make 3/4 cup or 175ml
1/3 cup or 75g butter, melted then cooled

Optional: Pearl sugar for decoration

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C. Put liners in a 12-cup muffin pan or grease it well with butter or non-stick spray.

Cut the pits out and chop the plums in small pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Zest your orange into the dry ingredients and stir gently with a fork to combine and separate the zest strands from each other.



Add in your chopped plums and stir till they are well coated with the flour mixture.


In another smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, and the 3/4 cup or 175ml orange juice/milk mixture.



Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Divide batter among the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle on some pearl sugar, if desired.



Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.



Enjoy!


We are so glad that you’ve stopped by for Muffin Monday! We've got some beauties for you this month.


#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sticky Pecan Pie Bundt #BundtBakers

Pecan pie filling mixed in cake batter makes the best Sticky Pecan Pie Bundt, perfect for any family celebration.



This month’s Bundt Baker theme is Happy Fall, Ya’ll so I could have baked with apples or pumpkin or other fall produce but while I was in Houston recently, I was reminded that it’s pecan season as well. There’s a farmer’s market near our house where you can either buy fresh Texas pecans or bring the harvest from your own trees and pay 40 cents a pound to have them crack the pecans in their noisy electric machines.

Years ago, I remember my grandparents sitting at their kitchen table cracking and picking the shells off of Louisiana pecans and it was a long and challenging job. Forty cents seems a fair price to pay not to have to do the cracking part by hand!

My favorite thing to make with fresh pecans is my aunt’s pecan pie. It’s a must at Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you are feeding a crowd, make a party-sized version. But for any other occasion, do try this sticky pecan pie Bundt!

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups or 315g flour
1 1/2 cups or 300g sugar
1 cup or 240ml light corn syrup, plus a little extra to drizzle on - optional
1/2 cup, firmly packed, or 100g dark brown sugar
1/2 cup or 113g butter, melted and cooled
4 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups or 175g chopped pecans


Method
Preheat oven to 325°F or 163°C and prepare your 10-cup Bundt pan by brushing it with butter and dusting it with flour. Scatter a good handful of the chopped pecans in the bottom of the pan. Set it aside.

Put all of your ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Use your stand mixer or electric beaters to mix the ingredients until completely combined.



Turn the beaters to high and mix well for 1 minute.

Pour the batter into your prepared Bundt pan.

Bake in your preheat oven for 55-60 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.



Run a wooden skewer around the edges of the pan and the flute in the middle to loosen the Bundt, then invert it onto the wire rack. Leave to cool completely.

If desired, drizzle a little more corn syrup on the Bundt as glaze.



Enjoy!

Many thanks to our Bundt Bakers host this month, Teri from The Freshman Cook! Check out all the other fall bakes we have for you today!

BundtBakers

BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

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