Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chocolate Eclairs

Choux Pastry:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg, beaten (for brushing)
Pastry Cream Filling:
2 1/4 cups milk (I used 1%)
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
Chocolate Topping:
1/4 cup cream
3 ounces semi sweet chocolate

1. First prepare the pastry cream. In a large bowl whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and 1/4 cup milk. Whisk in cornstarch and flour until smooth. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, bring the 2 cups of milk to a gentle boil. Gradually pour one third of the hot milk into the egg mixture, to temper the eggs, whisking constantly. Pour remaining hot milk into egg mixture.
3. Pour mixture back into saucepan and place over medium high heat, whisking constantly until mixture boils and thickens, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and continue cooking for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla.
4. Transfer pastry cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, covering the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for at least 2 hours.
5. For the eclair shells, in a small bowl mix together flour, salt, and sugar. Set aside. In a pot over medium heat, place water and butter and bring mixture to a boil, making sure the butter is completely melted before it boils.
6. As soon as the water/butter boils, remove from heat and stir in flour mixture all at once until a thick ball of paste forms. Place back on the heat and continue to stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
7. Transfer dough into the bowl of an electric mixer or a food processor. Blend mixture on low speed for 1-2 minutes to release steam and cool to lukewarm. Once mixture has cooled blend in the 2 eggs until smooth.
8. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip or a large ziploc bag with the corner cut off. On a parchment lined baking sheet pipe nine, 3" long logs. Brush with the remaining beaten egg.
9. Bake shells for 15 minutes at 400°F then reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking 30-35 minutes until golden all over and dry and airy in the center.
10. Poke holes in the ends of each shell (I used my flower nail) and let them cool completely on a wire rack. For chocolate topping, place chocolate in a bowl. Heat up cream until hot and pour over chocolate, stirring until smooth. Let cool.
11. Once eclair shells are completely cooled and chocolate topping has cooled to room temperature and is slightly thickened, you are ready to assemble the eclairs. The pastry cream should be chilled by now.
12. To put together the eclairs, pipe them full with pastry cream and top with chocolate topping. Chill for a few minutes to allow topping to harden. Serve & enjoy!

Makes 9. For best keeping, store eclairs in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Little Lemon Cakes

Adapted from The Food Network

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt (I used sour cream)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
zest of 2 lemons (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used melted butter)
2 cups icing sugar
3-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease mini loaf pan molds and line each with a strip of parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk together plain yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Add dry ingredients and stir until combined.
3. Divide batter among prepared loaf molds, filling half full. Bake cakes for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely before glazing.
4. For the glaze, in a bowl mix together icing sugar and start by adding 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Gradually add more lemon juice until a smooth paste forms that can flow.
5. Glaze the tops of each cake and let stand until glaze has set, at least 15 minutes. Serve & enjoy!

Makes 1 dozen.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hot Cross Buns

Adapted from The One Pot Chef 

4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 packages quick rise dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons each)
1 cup sultana raisins
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 egg
60 grams butter, melted
1 1/2 cups warm milk (110°F)
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons apricot or peach jam, melted

1. In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, yeast, raisins, and zests. Set aside. In a small bowl mix together egg, melted butter, and warm milk. Add to dry ingredients and stir on low speed until dough forms.
2. Knead by hand or using a stand mixer until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. Place dough into a greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place, until doubled in bulk, about an hour. I put mine in the oven with the oven light on.
3. Grease 9x13" pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, punch down dough, and divide into 12 equal size pieces, about 3.5 ounces in weight each. Form each piece into a ball and place into pan. Use the scissors and cut an "x" into the top of each ball.
4. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes. In a small bowl mix together flour and water to form a paste. Place into a piping bag or plastic bag and pipe an "x" on each bun and brush tops with melted jam.
5. Bake buns at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding when lightly tapped. Serve warm with butter and jam. Enjoy!

Makes 1 dozen.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Snack Bars

Adapted from Epic Curious

1 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup rolled oats, ground
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup chocolate chips

1. Grease and line each mini loaf pan cavity with a piece of parchment paper.
2. In a bowl mix together flour, rolled oats, ground rolled oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients stirring until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover cookie dough with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 1 week. Preheat oven to 325°F.
4. Using a small cookie scoop or 1/8 cup, scoop out cookie dough and place into cavities, pressing flat with a spoon. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Let bars cool for 5 minutes in the pan before placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Once bars have cooled, serve & enjoy!

Makes 20.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

High Tea

The Sweet:
Grapes, Blackberries, & Strawberries

The Savory:
Flakes of Ham Pinwheel Sandwiches
Turkey & Cucumber Triangle Sandwiches
Cherry Tomatoes

Fairy Cakes

Adapted from Cakes & Slices

120 grams butter, softened
170 grams sugar
185 grams flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
whipped cream
icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, milk, and eggs until smooth and pale, 1-2 minutes.
2. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling two-thirds full. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
3. Cut the tops off of each cupcake, and cut in half to make the "wings". Fill the indentation with whipped cream then place the wings on and some jam in the center. Dust with icing sugar before serving. Enjoy!

Makes 1 dozen. 

Lemon Squares

Adapted from All Recipes

2 cups flour
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup butter, melted
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line 9x13" pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang for easy removal.
2. In a large bowl mix together flour, icing sugar, and melted butter. Press dough into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
3. In a bowl mix together sugar, baking powder, and flour. In a large bowl whisk together eggs and add sugar mixture, whisking until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and zest.
4. Pour filling over crust and bake squares for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before removing from pan and cutting into squares. Serve & enjoy!

For best keeping, store squares in the fridge.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Homemade HobNobs

Adapted from Sweet CS Design

1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter or golden crisco shortening
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk or semi sweet chocolate chips, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor combined rolled oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and sugar.
2. On low speed or using pulse, add butter, corn syrup, and vanilla. Mix until dough forms. Take 1 tablespoon of dough at a time and roll into a ball. Place dough balls onto baking sheet.
3. Flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass. Bake cookies for 12 minutes until evenly golden brown. Let cookies firm up for 5 minutes on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Spread some melted chocolate on the cooled cookies and use a toothpick to create the classic HobNob design. Let chocolate set then serve and enjoy!

Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies. Best served with a cup of tea.

Mini Chocolate Bundt Cakes with Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from

1 ounce semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Ganache Topping:
1/4 cup cream
3 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 300°F and grease 6 mini bundt pans. In a small bowl mix together coffee and semi sweet chocolate chips and microwave in 30 second intervals until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl whisk egg until light and pale and then gradually drizzle in melted butter.
3. Add sour cream and vanilla to the egg mixture and stir until smooth. Gradually stir in the cooled coffee mixture followed by the dry ingredients, adding all at once, and stir until smooth and combined.
4. Divide batter among prepared bundt pans, filling half full. Place pans onto baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert cakes onto a wire rack to cool.
5. While cakes are cooling, prepare ganache. Microwave cream until hot, but not boiling, about 40 seconds. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and let sit 5 minutes. Stir until mixture is smooth and glossy.
6. Once ganache has cooled, pour some over each cooled cake. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and or some fresh berries. Enjoy!

Makes 1/2 dozen mini bundt cakes.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Brown Sugar Scones

Adapted from Crisco Canada

1 3/4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup golden crisco shortening
1/3 cup currants
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and brown sugar. Cut in crisco with a pastry blender or two knives until the size of small peas. Stir in currants.
3. In a bowl whisk together egg and milk. Add to dry ingredients and stir with a fork until soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a 7" wide round, about 1" thick.
4. Cut the round into 8 triangles and place onto baking sheet. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding when gently tapped.
5. Let scones cool then serve with butter and jam if desired. Enjoy!

Makes 8.