Monthly Archives: September 2011

{Way Too Pink} Strawberry Yoghurt Muffins

I’ve battled with this for ages and as much as I hate to admit it sometimes, the people around me have got it right all along.

I’m a girly girl.

Yeah, I don’t stress too much when I break a nail or if my hair gets unruly but take me to a store and I make a beeline for anything pink, glittery and cute. My compass is dead set on this as a criteria for anything that catches my eye. Rock chick was so 6 years ago, when I was 17 I believe.

So imagine how difficult it was not to have anything too pink in my newly decorated room. I caved, bought myself a set of Lilo and Sitch sheets and another set that’s white with a reversible option of pink. All that girly goodness hidden under a snow white duvet; wait til they lift the covers! But I swear I sleep better on pink, really.

And to explain my recent disappearance (12 days!), I’ve been away in Australia to visit Fred. Last minute decisions are rather exciting, especially when you book your tickets the day before you intend to fly. I may love pink but I’m borderline danger-lover. I arrived home early this morning to discover there was no food for my empty stomach. So I baked, and one hour later, had tall muffins in pink glaze to soothe my sore butt and jet lagged brain. I’ll make it through the day just fine.

Strawberry Yoghurt Muffins (adapted loosely from The Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook)
Makes 6 muffins

60g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour (or use buckwheat, sorghum or millet)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
100g (a little less than 1/2 cup) plain yoghurt
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp strawberry jam

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 6-cavity muffin tin with paper liners.

2) Cream butter, sugar and vanilla extract together in a stand mixer until fluffy. Mix the flours, baking soda and baking powder together.

3) Add the egg into the butter and beat well. It will look rather watery but will come together after you add in 1/4 cup of the flour mix.

4) Add in half the yoghurt and  beat well. Mix in the remaining flour and yoghurt . Stir in the jam until mixed through. Using a spatula, gently fold in the berries. Divide batter evenly between the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Top with strawberry glaze.

Strawberry Glaze

2 tbsp strawberry jam
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp warm water, or more if needed

1) Mix the jam, icing sugar and 2 tsp of warm water together until you get a smooth glaze. If glaze is too stiff, add in 1 tsp of water at a time until you reach a slightly runny but still opaque glaze. Use immediately.

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Fruit, Muffins, Recipes

Baked Alaska

My favourite feeling is being satisfied.

It’s this warm, fuzzy hug that something’s been accomplished.

You’ve gotten somewhere.

You’re going somewhere.

You waited.

And good things are about to come.

You know they say fake it til you make it? Like when you’re in a room full of people you aren’t dying to be mingling with; fake the friendly smile til it starts creeping up from within. Something along those lines. I think I read too much Cosmopolitan psychology. The kind they coat with colourful words and throw a celebrity on the front cover of. But as much as I’d like to feel that I’m better than the regurgitated words of wisdom, thing is, positive reinforcement always works.

So what is it comes along with a perfectly slim, gorgeous specimen of nature which I’ll never be? I think these covers sell magazines, but the content isn’t always the worst. Sure, there are only so many times you can be told that if you use your finger to smudge your eyeliner pencil you get an instant smokey eye; but sometimes those silly Top 10 Ways to Get What You Want features do a little magic for someone who’s feeling a little down.

There, I admit it, I’m a magazineaholic. Grab your fork, eat your ice cream (and brownie) and curl up with a magazine. Promise you’ll leave with some new knowledge whether its a tip on how to pair boyfriend jeans with heels or a great breakfast idea. I should be doing that more often now…since I finally got a job…and will have to start wearing pants again in a couple of weeks!!!

Baked Alaska by Sweets by Vicky

1 pint of ice cream (I has raspberry ripple)
1/2 x Meringue recipe (use the rest for a Swiss Meringue Buttercream)
1/2 x Brownie recipe

To Assemble

1) Line the bottom and sides of 2 small loaf tins with plastic wrap. Pack the ice cream firmly into the tins, ensuring to fill up any gaps. Leave a 2 cm distance from the ice cream and the top of the tin.

2) Measure the size of the brownie that is needed to cover the ice cream and trim a piece accordingly. Press firmly onto the ice cream and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

3) When ready, make the meringue. Un-mould from tin and turn out onto a large piece of parchment so that the brownie is on the bottom. Immediately cover a thick layer of the meringue over the entire cake. Use the back of a spoon to make peaks in the meringue. Freeze for 30 minutes or until ready to bake.

4) Preheat oven to 220°C. Place the Baked Alaska on a baking tray and bake for 5-6 minutes until the peaks and edges start to take on a golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Meringue

4 egg whites
1 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1) Mix all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, without letting the base of the bowl touch the water. Beat with a whisk constantly until it reaches 60°C. Remove from heat and immediately attach to the stand mixer and start whisking on high until the meringue is cool to touch and holds stiff peaks. Use immediately.

2) You’ll end up using about 2/3 of the meringue for ONE of the Baked Alaskas, so beat the remaining meringue with 180g of unsalted, softened butter for Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Flavour as desired. Store in the fridge.

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Filed under Cakes, Ice Cream, Recipes

Lemon Meringue Bars

Today someone asked me why I didn’t want to be a fashion blogger since I’m obsessed with adding new things to be wardrobe all the time. I didn’t really know how to answer them. Do I like food more than I love pretty things? I love things; especially ones that make the usual me feel like SHAZAAAAMMM!!! me. Like those wide leg, high waisted flare jeans.

I came up with something half decent as she stared at me, waiting for an answer.

I don’t like taking full body photos of me and if I were to be a fashion blogger, that’s the sort I’d be. So see, it’s not that I didn’t want to…I couldn’t. Physical limitations.

Food on the other hand, can also get quite fussy. Thank goodness you can eat them after all the effort. It’s the washing up that realllyyy reeks. And the slaving over a hot stove part. You can’t win it all.

So I found a great way to satisfy my need to dress up and keep this blog going…super cute aprons! Don’t feel bad if you need to wear a string of pearls or have winged eye-liner on while you bake; I totally get what you mean.

Dad went straight for it after the photos

Besides, you never know when company’s coming, especially if you’re going to be baking these succulent, buttery lemon meringe bars. You can’t possibly answer the door looking like that.

Lemon Meringue Bars (adapted from The Essential Baker & The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread)

Base
1 cup + 2 tbsp GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
156g cold butter, unsalted

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and line a 9 x 13 baking tray with parchment.

2) Dice butter into 2-inch cubes and place it in the freezer for 5 minutes while you gather the remaining ingredients.

3) Mix the flours, icing sugar and salt together.

4) Do this either in a food processor or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment: Pour 1/2 of the flour mix and all the cold butter into the mixing bowl and (food processor) pulse on and off until the butter starts mingling with the flour. Add in the remaining flour and pulse until it comes together to form a dough. (Stand mixer) Do the same, but have the motor running on medium-low until you get a dough. Do not over mix. Place the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers, ensuring the dough covers the base of the pan and about 1/2 inch up the sides, to prevent filling from flowing over.

5) Place in the freezer for 10 minutes and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and pour filling over the base. Bake for another 20 minutes or until filling has just set. Top with meringue either by dolloping heaping spoonfuls over the lemon filling or piping it in swirls and stuff. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely before slicing. It’s even better when it’s been refrigerated for 3-4 hours.

Filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp GF flour blend
145g lemon juice (about 5/8 cup)
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp whole milk
pinch of salt

1) Mix all the ingredients together and whisk well.

Meringue
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1) Place the egg white, sugar an cream of tartar in a bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl of a pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until an instant-read thermometer registers 60°C. It will look thick and foamy. Remove from pan and place bowl on the mixer and whisk on high speed until you get a glossy shiny meringue which holds stiff peaks.

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Filed under Bars, Fruit, Pastry, Recipes

{Another Chocolatey One} Crackly Brownies

I swear I wasn’t sneaking the odd piece here and there…

I once had an obsession; I wanted to bake brownies like Betty Crocker just without a box mix.

But you know those pouches of liquid Hershey’s fudge you get with the premium brownie mixes? You can’t beat the excitement of ripping it open. It’s like receiving a hand written letter. There’s no way around it.

So instead of trying to make a longer process seem more enticing than Betty Crocker’s one-box-one-bowl-one-PERFECT-tray brownies I’ll just cut to the chase. Betty, I love you, you’re inspiring, but I think you’re losing your touch. Sorry I had to say that, maybe I’m just upset because there’s no gorgeous gluten free version of Betty’s mix. That’s it. Throw a tantrum, make these brownies and be happy Miette wrote a book.

So what’s one gluten-filled dessert you wish you could un-glutenify? I think Mine would be cannoli. There are recipes out there; I just need to get those tube things for frying. And maybe croissants. But for the sake of fitting into interview clothes, I might hold off the pound of butter for now.

I miss going to work. Is that weird? I probably won’t be saying this if I had a job. But I’ll only know it if I did. Which I don’t. Hence, rambling.

Vicky, out.

No stand mixer for me; old school hand held all the way!

Crackly Brownies (adapted from Miette)

1 cup GF flour blend
1 tsp baking powder
1 pound of 70% couverture chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, unsalted
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
5 large eggs, room temperature

1) Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a 9 x 13inch baking tray with parchment and grease well. [I didn’t have a pan on hand so I used a round cake tin]

2) In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Melt the chocolate and butter together over a bain marie or in a microwave, medium power, 45 second bursts until melted through. Stir well and leave to cool.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until double in volume. Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture in a steady stream down the side of the bowl while the whisk is running on low speed. Add in the vanilla. Once the chocolate if fully incorporated, using a spatula, fold in the flour until just mixed through. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Remove from oven and allow to cool immediately (I would put it in an ice bath or in front of a fan).

4) Refrigerate to set before slicing into squares.You may wish to spread a layer of ganache over it if you’d like to be sent into a chocolate induced coma. It’s great.

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Filed under Chocolate, Recipes

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

POSITIVITY IS…

like a pretty girl; sooner or later it’s bound to attract something. And one of ’em will be good.

like a pair of high heels; it makes you look good no matter how you’re feeling

like getting your nails done; the waiting sucks but it’s worth it

like holding hot coffee on a cold day; may not be the exact thing you need, but at least it makes you feel better

like eating cupcakes; it lifts your spirits no matter the occasion.

I’ve been in this job hunting circus for awhile now. It’s tough, and I’m really not a patient person. That’s usually why I prefer baking mini cupcakes instead of their grown up cousins; it takes far less time. It’s also why I prefer dresses over a pants-suit combo. It’s also why I hate wearing rompers; it’s far too fiddly when I need the loo.

My point is… I hate waiting, especially when I feel that I don’t know what I’m waiting for. And let’s face it; it’s like everytime I hit the ‘send’ button, my resume gets sent into a dark abyss, of which I don’t even know if I’ll hear anything in return. At the very least, baking ensured I get some form of gratification. My waist disagrees but I’m in no mood to argue.

So here I am, still hunting like a loon, but maybe I’ve grown tired of being impatient or perhaps it’s just sunk in that no matter how fretful I get, no employer over the internet is sharing my pain. But I’ve learnt that I can always make waiting a little more bearable by baking mini cupcakes, make chocolate frosting that doesn’t require 2 hours to set and eating cold cupcakes because they don’t dry out in the fridge.

If you’re waiting for something or anything, these will make it slightly less awful than the bleak situation you’re in; promise.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes
1 x recipe Double Chocolate Cupcakes
1 x recipe Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

Double Chocolate Cake (adapted from Miette)

1  1/4 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
1 1/4 cup natural cocoa powder (I used Varlhona, but feel free to use your favourite)
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 ounces 56% couverture chocolate, chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups caster sugar

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 48 mini-muffin tins with paper liners. I had some batter left over so I made 3 regular sized cupcakes extra.

2) In a bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. In another bowl, pour the hot water over the chocolate and mix until it’s homogenised.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs until they are fluffy and triple in volume. Slowly add in the oil, whisking to blend. Add in the vanilla and buttermilk and mix well. Mix in the water + chocolate mixture. Add in the sugar and beat until combined.

4) In three additions, incorporate the flour mix until just combined. Divide evenly into the prepared tins and bake for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin to cool completely. FROST. CONSUME. FEEL BETTER.

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Filed under Cakes, Chocolate, Cupcakes, Frostings, Recipes