Baking


This week’s theme for Wednesdays with Donna Hay was Sweets.  Not a hard theme to play with.  Who doesn’t like sweet treats?  Our only problem now is that we are trying to cut back on sugar.  Not easy with all desserts so I had to find one that was adaptable.

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And this one definitely was.  No chocolate chips – Cocoa powder.  White sugar easily subbed out with Splenda and a smidgen of Stevia. It does have 1/4 cup brown sugar but since I cut 16 brownies it is almost negligible in each treat.

These were great.  Just sweet enough.  Definitely one to be made again.  Maybe by subbing in some Whole Wheat Flour for the AP.

Sorry, Kayte, I know you won’t like these, but maybe the boys……

The recipe is on page 114 of Donna’s flavours.

Find out what sweet treat Kayte made for I’ve got a Sweet Tooth.

This weeks’ theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs was Fresh and Fruity.  Which is a great theme for this time of the year.  So many fresh fruits and veggies everywhere.  But here in the south while we have plenty of veggies coming in we don’t really have any fruits.  Watermelon is about all.  Fortunately for me I have some ‘fresh’ fruit that I canned last year so I used that.

For these….

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apple and pear upside-down caramel tarts

They are mini versions of a tarte Tatin and they are easy to put together.  And delicious.

Caramel sauce:
    1 ½ cups sugar
    4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup whipping cream

Tarts:

    2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into ½-inch–thick wedges
    2 Anjou pears, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
    1 frozen puff pastry sheet (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
  • To make the caramel sauce: Stir the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a medium heavy saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a simmer, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar that clings to the side.
  • The sugar that clings to the side of the pan has a tendency to crystallize and ruin the silky consistency of the caramel, so wiping the sugar off the sides of the pan will help prevent this from happening.
  • Allow the sugar syrup to boil without stirring, brushing down the sides of the pan and swirling the pan occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly, for about 8 minutes or until it begins to turn golden brown.
  • You will need to watch the syrup closely as it can burn quite easily.
  • Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add the butter and whisk until the butter melts and the mixture forms a caramel sauce. Stir in the cinnamon.
  • Pour three-fourths of the caramel sauce into four 4-inch-diameter cake pans with at least 1 3/4-inch-high sides, dividing equally.
  • Allow the caramel in pans to cool.
  • Whisk the cream into the remaining caramel sauce to blend and set the caramel sauce aside.
  • To make the tarts: Arrange a layer of the apples and pears decoratively over the caramel in the pans, then stack the remaining apples and pears to fill the pans completely. Unfold the pastry on a work surface and press the seams together if necessary.
  • Cut out four 4-inch rounds.
  • Place the pastry rounds over the apples and pears and tuck the pastry down between the sides of the pans.
  • Prick the pastry 5 to 6 times with a fork or small sharp knife.
  • Cover the tarts with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day to chill the pastry.
  • Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  • Transfer the tarts to a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through and the apples are very tender.
  • Let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the juices to cool and thicken slightly.
  • Place a plate over each tart.
  • In a swift movement, invert each tart onto each plate.
  • Remove the pans.
  • Drizzle some of the reserved caramel sauce around the tarts and serve.
  • Reserve any remaining caramel sauce in the refrigerator for another use.
  • These are definitely going into the dessert rotation. I always have puff pastry in the freezer and always have apples and pears on the counter (or in the pantary) so it would be no trouble to put these together – often.

    These are from relaxed cooking with curtis stone (page 358)

    Check wit the other members of I Heart Cooking Club to see what they made with fruit this week.

    My Birthday was this past Sunday. I turned….. old enough!! It was a good day with lots of BarBQue and lots of cake. Perfect!!

    And since it WAS my birthday week, Kaye chose CAKE for our theme this week. Thanks, Kayte!

    But it also happened to be Father’s Day.  And the Man’s favorite cake is Carrot Cake.  Mine happens to be…cake!!  Any cake with lots of frosting!  So kill two celebrations with one dessert!

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    There are not many cake recipes in Ellie’s books but there happens to be a darn good Carrot Cake Cupcake recipe in The Food You Crave.  It is just as good as the one I make for his birthday every year only healthier.  Less sugar.  Less oil.  Same frosting.  Same great taste. Still moist. Still sweet.  This may be my new g0-to for carrot cuppys!!

    The recipe or Carrot Cupcakes with Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting is on page 285.  But it is also on Food Network.

    What other cake did we enjoy this week.  Check out Let’s Make Cake at Eating with Ellie.

    Sunday is Father’s Day.  In our house that means BBQ, which means Dad cooks his own meal.  But while he may have to work a little on Father’s Day he does get a special treat.

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    Jesse Rosennberg’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

    Simple.  Sweet.  Delicious.  Easy.

      2 sticks butter
      1 cup sugar plus extra to coat the pans {I used 1 cup Splenda with a dash of Stevia}
      14 oz dark chocolate, chopped {Or use chips}
      8 large eggs

    Preheat oven to 300 F.  Grease a 9″ cake pan.  Sprinkle with sugar.

    Melt butter and chocolate in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until completely melted and combined.

    Beat the eggs until lightly colored.  Add the sugar and beat (whipping works better) until light and fluffy.

    Fold the egg mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture until completely mixed.

    Poor into the pan and bake for about 1 hour, testing after about 40 minutes, until cake has a nice crust on top and feels solid but soft.  Cook in the pan for 5 minutes and then turn onto a cake plate.  Cool.

    After it cooled I sprinkled with a little powdered sugar.  But it would, of course, be wonderful with ice cream!!  Oh, wait.  I made ice cream and it was wonderful!!

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    GOOD Cake!!  Even though this was sugar free {I used Splenda and a little stevia} it was still quite sweet. The cake was moist, intensely chocolate, and I will definitely make this one again..

    {Okay, we didn’t wait until Father’s Day to eat this.  It is also my Birthday so we are having MY cake on Sunday!}
    This recipe is from Jesse Rosenberg of San Carlos, CA.  She grew up in France and learned this recipe from  the lady who hired her for babysitting babysitting.

    The recipe is from One Big Table (page 808).

    I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

    I don’t bake nearly as much as I used to.  It used to be once-a-week.  Now, it’s about…well, it’s once in a while.  And when I do I try to use less sugar.  We aren’t getting any younger and it is harder and harder to ‘work off’ the sweet treats.

    But every once in a while we really want something sweet.  Last week we really wanted something so I made Keller’s Cheesecake – using Splenda and Stevia.  This week it is chocolate as in…

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    BROWNIES!

    Keller says brownies remind him of family, comfort, and childhood.  I feel the same way.  Mom used to make brownies.  They were always a treat.  ALWAYS!

    I made these using Splenda and Stevia as well.  Instead of 1 3/4 cup sugar I used an equal amount of Splenda and ADDED about 1/4 tsp of bulk Stevia.  INTENSE chocolate flavor (1 cup cocoa), just sweet enough, and very little guilt. Well, as little as you can have with 3 STICKS BUTTER!!.

    The recipe is from Keller’s ad hoc at home. {page 303} Also found it on Pretty Simple Sweet.

    I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

    I have found my new go-to CHEESECAKE.  Over the years I have had several recipes that I have used.  Junior’s, AB’s, Dorie’s.  And it seems every time I try a new one it becomes the best one.  Well, let me tell ya’ THIS one is it!  Probably!

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    Rich! Creamy! Rich!  Yes, that’s twice but it is THAT RICH!! And then drizzled with a little caramel! YES!!!

    Crust

        1 cup graham cracker crumbs

     

        3 T granulated sugar

     

      5 T unsalted butter, melted

    Filling

        1 lb (two packages) cream cheese (not reduced fat)

     

        8 oz mascarpone cheese

     

        1 cup granulated sugar

     

        4 large eggs

     

        2 large egg yolks

     

        2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)

     

        1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

     

        grated zest of one lemon

     

      1/4 cup plus 2 T heavy cream

    Combine the ingredients for the crust and press into a 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 325 for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned, and set aside to cool.

    Bring a pot of water to boil for a bath.  Combine the cheeses and sugar in your stand mixer and beat at low speed to mix, then raising to medium speed.  Beat for three minutes until light and smooth.  In a bowl, beat the eggs and the extra yolks. Add the lemon juice and slowly add to the cream cheese mixture, beating until combined, until there are no lumps. Add the lemon zest and the heavy cream and mix until well combined.

    Wrap the springform pan in foil to prevent leaks.  Boil water in a pot (you should have started this before hand) and create a water bath. Put the springform pan in the water bath so that it goes up halfway on the sides of the pan on the outside. Fill the filling inside the cheesecake and bake for one hour at 325 until set and a light golden brown.

    Allow to cool in the water bath, as the water cools (so it cools slowly and does not crack {mine still cracked a little around the edge}). Then refrigerate and serve chilled.   {ad hoc page 313}

    I looked everywhere for Mascarpone but was unable to find it.  Tags for it, yes, cartons of it, no.  So I made my own and it came out just fine.

    THIS is one of the best cheese cakes to come out of my kitchen. You HAVE to try this one if you love cheesecake!

     “I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

    April!  Time for another less used cookbook to hit the spotlight.  This month for Cookbook Countdown I am cooking through Thomas Keller’s ad hot at home .  I have had this book since 2011 when it was recommended by a good friend and fellow cook/baker.  I have made only two things from it:  meatballs with pappardelle and scallion potato cakes. Both were good but then I put the book away and haven’t opened it much since.  Big Mistake!  There are some wonderful recipes in it.  It is, therefore, a perfect candidate for the 4th {my third} month of Cookbook Countdown.  ENJOY!!

    I started with something simple – Buttermilk Biscuits.  I have been using Dorie’s  Basic Biscuit recipe forever so it was time for something different.  Good Call!  There were buttery (2 sticks of butter)!  And flaky.  And delicious!  Enough butter IN the biscuit you don’t really need any butter ON the biscuit.  Yeah, RIGHT!!!

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    Keller says to cut them 2 1/2″ and you would end up with 12 biscuits about 3/4″ high.  I patted mine to 1/2 inch and ended up with 12 for only 1/2 of the recipe.  I knew I didn’t need lots of biscuits hanging around and thought 6 would be perfect.  Ah, well… Not going to toss them:)

      2 cups each: self-raising cake & pastry flour, all-purpose flour

      1 tbsp + 1 tsp kosher salt

      1 tbsp baking powder

      1 tsp baking soda

      1 cup (1/2 lb/225 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, frozen

      1-1/2 cups buttermilk + 2 tbsp for brushing

      2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, for brushing (optional)

    DIRECTIONS

    In bowl of food processor, combine two flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Pulse several times to blend. Add frozen butter. Pulse until pieces are size of peas. Don’t over process or let dough come together.

    Transfer flour mixture to large bowl. Make well in center. Pour in 1-1/2 cups buttermilk. Stir and lift mixture with wooden spoon, gently working flour into buttermilk. Dough should begin to come together but not form solid mass or biscuits may be tough. Turn dough out onto lightly-floured surface. Pat into 3/4-inch rectangle, about 9 inches by 13 inches.

    Using 2-1/2-inch round cutter (or bottom of glass), cut out biscuits. Dough trimmings can be gently pushed together, patted out and cut one more time.

    Place biscuits, 1-inch apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush tops with remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk.

    Bake in preheated 425F oven 15 to 18 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until golden. If desired, brush with melted butter. Serve warm. Makes 12 – 18.

    Now I have two perfect biscuit recipes.  THAT could be a dangerous thing.

    This recipe, which appeared in the Toronto Star newspaper, is a little different from the one on page 274 of ad hoc but I like that it adds an extra bit of salt.  Everything else is the same.

     “I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

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