Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mocha Porter Quinoa Loaf #BreadBakers

A slightly sweet loaf made from ground quinoa, mocha porter beer and brown sugar, with semi-sweet chocolate chips rolled up inside, this bread would be perfect for breakfast or an after school snack. 

It has been my privilege for the last week to be the stay-at-home mom for a dear, darling friend whose wonderfully wisecracking husband underwent surgery to remove a cancerous lung. My presence allowed her to be where she needed to be without worrying unduly about her children. I can’t express the delight it gave me to bake chocolate chip cookies for after school snacks again! As involved as I was in volunteer opportunities and gratifying community service way back when, my favorite time of the day was always when my daughters arrived home from school and told me about their days while munching on a couple of warm cookies, fresh out of the oven. I miss those days.

I am pleased to say that our patient is out of ICU and on the mend and I am back home again but I left behind this high protein loaf, made with quinoa and tasty mocha porter beer, and slightly sweetened with brown sugar. The semi-sweet chocolate chips are optional, but I highly recommend their addition.

Many thanks to Jenni from Pastry Chef Online for her oatmeal porter bread recipe which I adapted to create this loaf and to Mireille from Chef Mireille's East West Realm for hosting this month’s edition of Bread Bakers. And an extra thank you to my Bread Bakers co-creator, Renee from Magnolia Days for creating the initial link list. We have a great bunch of quinoa breads for you today so make sure to scroll to the bottom of my recipe to see the links.

A note about quinoa: From what I have researched, quinoa is very high in protein but for our bodies to access the protein, it has to be either cooked or ground to open the seeds. If the seeds are used whole, they will pass through us just as they went in and we miss out on the benefits of the protein contained therein. The more you know!

For the dough:
1/4 cup or 60ml whole milk, plus 1-2 tablespoons more for brushing on the loaf before baking
3 1/2 cups or 440g flour plus a little extra for rolling the dough out
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup, packed, or 50g light brown sugar
1 cup or 200g quinoa (I used black quinoa but any sort will do nicely.)
1 cup or 240ml mocha porter (Mine had a strong coffee flavor with a background of slightly sweet stout. Imagine a coffee Guinness.)
1/4 cup or 60ml canola oil plus a little extra for greasing the bowl and bread pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
7/8 cup or 145g (or more - you could put a whole cup but that's all I had) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Warm your milk in a microwave or on the stovetop until it is quite warm to the touch but you can still hold your finger in it for several seconds comfortably. For those who like to use a thermometer, you are looking for between 125-130°F or 51-55°C.

Put one cup or a little less than a third of the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer, along with the sugar, and spoon the yeast into the middle.

Pour in the warm milk, right on the yeast. Give the bowl a little swish to mix in some of the flour and sugar. Allow to rest for about five minutes. The milk should activate the yeast and become frothy. If it doesn’t, start over with fresh yeast.

Starting to bubble up. It's a good thing.

While the yeast is proving, grind your quinoa using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, if you have one.

Add the rest of the flour to the yeast bowl, along with the ground quinoa, salt and oil then pour in the porter. The extra four ounces are for the baker.

Mix well with your bread hook and keep mixing until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape the dough off of the bottom of the bowl and flip it over. Continue mixing with the bread hook for another 3-5 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally and flipping the dough over.

Scrape the dough into a ball in the bottom of your bowl and drizzle in a little oil around the ball. Turn the ball in the oil to coat lightly.  Cover with a towel and put in a warm place for the first rise of about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, grease your standard loaf pan with some oil.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Use your hands to pat it into a small rectangle. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough up lengthwise and put it seam-side down into the prepared loaf pan.

Cover very loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for about half an hour. When the half hour is almost up, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

When you are ready to bake, remove the plastic and brush the loaf lightly with the milk.

Put the loaf in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350°F or 180°C.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cover with foil if it is browning too quickly but isn’t cooked inside. Once again, if you are a thermometer using type, and I highly recommend you become one, you are looking for an internal temperature between 195-200°F or 90-93°C for doneness.

Allow the loaf to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


Have you ever baked with quinoa? If not, we hope you will give it a try!

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.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Almond Joy Cupcakes #CupcakeDay

All the joy of coconut and almonds, baked into a dark chocolate cupcake, made easy to assemble by using the muffin method: one bowl of wet ingredients poured into one bowl of dry ingredients. What could be more festive or easier?

Every week on this blog, I celebrate Muffin Monday with a new muffin for you, sometimes sweet and sometimes savory. Muffin Monday is a made up holiday but that doesn’t make it less festive or important because if you can start your week out with something tasty from the oven, it’s going to be a better week automatically, than if you didn’t. This week, I am joining a lovely group of bloggers for another made up holiday: Cupcake Day. After all, what is a cupcake but just a dressed up muffin? That really is the dividing line for me. Muffins can be glazed but never frosted. A big pile of icing is reserved for cupcakes. For my Almond Joy Cupcakes today, I took the middle ground and topped the muffins with one toasted almond, as they do in Almond Joy candy bars, and poured a lovely heaping helping of semi-sweet chocolate ganache over the top, after stuffing the batter and the center with sweetened coconut flakes.

Many thanks to Coleen from The Redhead Baker who spearheaded this fun celebration and handled all the hosting responsibilities!

1 1/2 cups or 190g flour
1/2 cup or 50g ground almonds
3/4 cup or 150g white sugar
1/3 cup or just over 27g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons or 200ml coconut milk
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 oz or 100g semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 3/4 oz or 135g sweetened coconut flakes - divided

For the topping:
1 cup or 240ml whipping cream
8 1/2 oz or 240g semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pinch salt
12 toasted almonds

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin tin by spraying with non-stick spray or lining it with paper cups.

Combine your flour, ground almonds, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together your eggs, coconut milk, oil and vanilla extract.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stop when it’s still quite dry looking.

Add the chocolate chips for the batter and about half of the coconut. No need to measure, just eyeball. Stir until just mixed.

Spoon half your batter into the 12 cups.

Use your fingers to make balls out of the remaining coconut.

Tuck one in the batter of each cup.

Top the coconut balls with the remaining chocolate batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Meanwhile you can be making the ganache. Put the cream in a little pot or a microwaveable bowl and heat till just before boiling. Remove from the stove or microwave and pour in the chocolate chips and the pinch of salt and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

Set aside to cool. It should thicken as it cools but should still stay a pouring consistency. If it thickens too much, rewarm it gently.

When the cupcakes are done, remove them from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove to continue cooling on a wire rack.

When they are completely cooled, dab on a bit of the chocolate ganache and stick one toasted almond on top of each.

Allow to set a little then spoon on more ganache to cover the almond and the cupcake.


Looking for ways to make this week even better? How about baking one - or many -  of these 26 wonderful cupcakes?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Eggnog Pound Cake with Eggnog Glaze #FoodieExtravaganza

Homemade eggnog adds richness to the tender crumb of this sweet pound cake and eggnog glaze with extra freshly grated nutmeg is the perfect icing on the cake. If you only have the store-bought kind, that would certainly work just as nicely.

The best laid schemes
When I initially signed up to contribute a recipe to this month’s Foodie Extravaganza eggnog themed event, I did it with a certain amount of smugness because I knew I had one Tetra Pak of Borden’s eggnog, still in date, that was left over from last year. So even if the new ones didn’t make it to the Dubai supermarkets in time. I was GOOD to GO.

But to paraphrase the poet, Robert Burns, “the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry." And I find myself, happily, willingly, extending my annual visit to Kuala Lumpur to help a dear friend and her family through a rough time. Except the Borden’s eggnog has not come in yet here. In fact, the store where I used to buy it when we lived here says they aren’t getting any this year. Say what, Ampang Mini Mart??

Needs Must
So here’s what I did. I made our family's favorite eggnog, my grandmother’s recipe, already posted here, but in a much smaller quantity, and I added in a little vanilla. (I’ll put the ingredient quantities below, for those who want to go all homemade too.) And THEN I baked eggnog pound cake and made eggnog glaze. It’s been a favorite at snack time all week and one piece has even been requested in a lunch box. Score!

For the eggnog:
Follow the general instructions here but use the following ingredient list if you are making your own eggnog, just for this cake. Then allow it to cool before starting the cake.
1 3/4 cups or 415ml whole milk
1 egg
1/3 cup or 75g sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The cake recipe has been adapted from this one From Chocolate, Chocolate and More. Joan's makes two loaf-shaped pound cakes.

For the cake batter:
1/2 cup or 115g butter, room temperature
1 cup or 200g sugar
2 eggs
2 cups or 250g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 240ml eggnog

For the glaze:
1 cup or 125g powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch salt
1-2 tablespoons eggnog

Plus extra nutmeg for sprinkling on top of the glaze, if desired.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 10-cup Bundt pan by spraying it liberally with non-stick baking spray (the kind with flour in) or by buttering and flouring it.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream your butter and sugar together until they are light yellow and fluffy.

Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

First egg going in. 

Add in the flour, baking powder, vanilla, salt and nutmeg.

Then pour in all the eggnog.

Beat until well combined. Once the batter is mixed well, turn the mixer up to medium high and beat for 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Remember, this is pound cake so it's going to be quite thick.

 Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a wooden skewer stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and then turn the cake out onto the rack.

While it cools, you can make the glaze. Measure your first three glaze ingredients into a small bowl then add the eggnog a little at a time until you reach your desire consistency.

Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake.

Grate a little more nutmeg on top, if desired. (But I highly recommend it!) Let glaze set up before serving or storing.


Are you a fan of eggnog? Then this is your season of joy as well as your Foodie Extravaganza month! Many thanks to our great host, Alexis from We Like to Learn As We Go.

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month. Posting day is always the first Wednesday. If you would like to participate in the next Foodie Extravaganza, just go to our Facebook page to join. We would love to have you!