Cupcaitering

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Avocado Pound Cake

I don't know what to say about this other than: "This is good. You should bring it into your life"



Slightly adapted from: Joy the Baker Cookbook

Makes enough for two 9X5-inch loaves, or 1 loaf and 12 muffins

Recipe:
3 cups of flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 baking soda
1 1/2 baking powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp mashed avocado
4 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:
1) Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

2) Using an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add avocado and beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, ensure that the the ingredients are well combined. Beat in vanilla.

3) With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add the buttermilk and the remaining flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated.

4) Divide the batter into the pans. Bake loaves for 50 to 60 minutes, bake muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating half-way through. 

vegan chocolate zucchini cake

First off, what I am supposed to be doing...writing my dissertation. What I am actually doing...writing this blog post. It took a few months of slogging away at the same old thing every day to get me back on here, but, hey, I will take it if you will.



It's no secret that I'm a vegan baked good skeptic. Mostly because, I've never really been impressed with the vegan baked goods I've tried. Even Babycakes, the New York bakery that is a favourite among the ethically-minded celebrities, was a huge flop when my sister and I missioned across the city to try it. I always thought the less than amazing vegan baking was due to long-time vegans simply forgetting how real baked goods are supposed to taste and being happy with sub-par offerings as a result.

Ok, so where am I going with all this? Yesterday, I had a baking date with my friend Elinor who happens to be a vegan. I met her in class and we bonded over food, food system issues and eventually both got involved in a food related discussion group on campus. Moral of the story, we both love food! For a while now, I have been on-and-off trying to eat less animal products. I even toyed with the idea of veganism myself. There are plenty of good reasons to go vegan. I was reading an article about the water footprint of various food items last night. By and large, the water footprint for animal products is much greater than crop products with equivalent nutritional value [1]. In fact, it's 1.5 times larger for milk, eggs, and chicken meat than for pulses. And, those aren't even the biggest offenders when it comes to animal products [2]! The thing that really should concern all of us in North America especially is that animal products from industrial systems consume and pollute more water resources than those from grazed or mixed-systems [3]. The water issue is just one reason to reduce our consumption of animal products...I could go on, but I'll save it for another time.  


On our merry vegan baking adventure we went and can I just say, I was shocked and surprised at how amazing it turned out? We made two things. Both, I would never guess are vegan if I didn't know. First up, was a vegan chocolate zucchini cake. Moist, chocolately and delicious. It was so yummy warm. If you are looking for an easy treat to whip up, whether vegan or not, this is worth trying!


Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Ingredients

2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 ½ bananas4 tablespoons water
¼ cup soy milk (you could use any non-dairy milk)
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

For Topping:

3 tablespoons light brown sugar
½ cup flaked almonds

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
2.  In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt.
3. Mash bananas adding the water until combined.
4. In a large bowl combine oil, applesauce, sugars, vanilla, and coffee powder. Beat!
5. Set aside half a cup of the dry mixture and add remaining to the wet ingredients while beating at a low speed. 
6. Combine the zucchini, chocolate chips and flour mixture. 
7. Add the zucchini mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well. Batter is very thick but moist.
8. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Remove cake from oven to add combined brown sugar and flaked almonds for topping. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
9. Let cool a little bit and enjoy!

References[1-3] Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2012) A global assessment of the water footprint of farm animal products, Ecosystems,15(3): 401–415. Found here: http://www.waterfootprint.org/Reports/Mekonnen-Hoekstra-2012-WaterFootprintFarmAnimalProducts.pdf


Friday, August 10, 2012

Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart with Fresh Berries and Sweetened Cream

On my continued (although likely to fail) quest to bake all of the things in the Joy the Baker Cookbook, I prepared this tart to contribute to a ladies night of great chats and lots of sparkling wine.



Tarts are great because even though they look really fancy, they are actually incredibly easy (mind you slightly time consuming) to prepare and the ganache for this tart was extremely easy to make. 


Recipe: Slightly adapted From Joy the Baker Cookbook

For the crust: 
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
scant 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup cold butter
1 large egg yolk, beaten

For the ganache:
8 ounces dark chocolate finely chopped
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut in half

For the topping: 
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups (or to taste) fresh berries - Joy calls for raspberries and blackberries, I used strawberries, raspberries and blueberries

Directions: 
1) To make the crust, in a large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and spices. Cut in butter with fingers until well incorporated. Add the egg yolk and bring the mixture together with a fork. The mixture should be shaggy and crumbly. Dump the mixture into a 9 inch tart pan and use your fingers to press the dough into the edges of the pan. Place the crust in the freezer to chill for at least an hour. 

2) For the ganache, add the chocolate pieces to a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the cream to a very low simmer. Pour half of the heated cream onto the chocolate and allow to sit for a minute. Use a whisk to incorporate the melted chocolate into the cream, start in the centre and work your way out. Slowly add the remaining cream and whisk until smooth and glossy.  Add the butter chunks and use a spatula to stir until the butter is melted. Set aside at room temperature while you bake the crust. 

3) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and place buttered side down on the chilled crust. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil.  Continue baking for 15 minutes or until the tart shell is golden brown. Allow to cool before filling with the ganache. 

4) For the topping, in a medium bowl whisk together the cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Spread the ganache into the cooled tart shell,  top with the berries of your choice, and generously dollop with the whipped cream. Serve immediately. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Zucchini and Potato Pancakes

Pancakes for dinner are a wonderful thing. As much as I love pancakes for dinner, sometimes they don't necessarily feel like dinner....but these guys are perfect for dinner and would be amazing for brunch.


I had them for dinner, largely because I wanted to have them with beer. Not that beer and brunch should not be combined.

Taken from Joy the Baker Cookbook

Recipe:
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 garlic clove
2 cups grated zucchini
2 cups peeled and grated potato
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
sour cream for serving
paprika for dusting

Directions:
1) Using a medium sized pan over medium heat heat the olive oil and add onions. Cook until the onion is transparent, then add the garlic and continue cooking for one more minute. Place onions and garlic in a small bowl.

2) Place zucchini and potato along with 1/2 tsp of salt in a colander over a medium bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes then press down with a clean towel, squeezing out the excess water.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk eggs. Whisk in the flour, baking powder and remaining salt. Add the onions and garlic, zucchini, potato and stir together until well combined.

4) Over medium heat, using the same pan as you used for the onions, heat olive oil, and drop the batter in by rounded tablespoon. Flatten gently with a fork and cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Place on a plate and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.

5) Serve with sour cream and paprika. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sauce

It's too hot outside. Have a sundae.




This ice cream sauce is a fantastic way to dress up any sundae and help you to cool down and fill up.

Recipe: From Joy the Baker Cookbook

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used natural)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk or cream.

Directions:

1) Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and stir until smooth and well combined.



Friday, July 13, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate is good....muffins are usually pretty good.  So you would assume that three kinds of chocolate combined with some other stuff and turned into muffins would be amazing.



You would be wrong...but you do get a pretty decent afternoon snack though. 

Recipe: Taken from Joy the Baker Cookbook

1/2 cup unsalted butter
5 ounces of semisweet chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup semisweet dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions: 
1) Place butter and semisweet chocolate in a heat proof bowl over simmering water, once melted remove the bowl from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

2) In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3) Whisk the brown sugar into the melted chocolate. Whisk the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla into the mixture until well blended.

4) Add the flour mixture all at once and fold in. Fold in the dark chocolate chips.

5) Divide the batter between 12 muffin cups and bake for 18 to 20 minutes (mine took 18).

6) While the muffins cool melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzle over the muffins.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jam Milkshake

Drink this.


It will solve all of your problems, particularly if your problems revolve around you being a hot sweaty mess.

Recipe
Adapted from: Joy the Baker Cookbook

Peanut butter milkshake:
3/4 cup vanilla ice cream
2 Tbs natural peanut butter
Splash of pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

 Strawberry milkshake
3/4 cup vanilla ice cream
2 Tbs strawberry jam
1/3 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup whole milk

Directions:

1) Make the peanut butter milk shake first. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour the milkshake into a large measuring bowl and place in the freezer.

2) Using the same blender, mix together all of the ingredients for the strawberry milkshake.

3) Pour the milkshakes alternately in a large glass. Garnish with a strawberry.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blueberry Orange and Almond Pancakes with Orange Maple Glaze

These are excellent summer pancakes. They are delicious and totally have at least a serving of fruit, so I'm going to go ahead and call them healthy.


Full disclosure....I had the for lunch and the glaze seemed like it would be just a little bit too much...so I just had them with maple syrup.

Recipe:
Taken from: Joy the Baker Cookbook

For the pancakes:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp orange zest
Scant 1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen, I used fresh)

For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbs fresh orange juice
1 Tbs maple syrup

Directions:

1) Whisk together dry ingredients in large bowl.

2) Whisk together egg, buttermilk, orange juice and orange zest in a separate small bowl.

3) Combine all of the ingredients in the large bowl and fold in the blueberries.

4) Allow the batter to sit while you preheat the griddle to 350 degrees F. Spoon the batter over the hot griddle and allow to cook until bubbles are showing through the uncooked side. Flip and cook for about 5 minutes more or until done.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

S'mores Brownies

I am not a camper. I tried. For a really long time I thought that I could become a camper, but it's just not going to happen. Since coming to terms with my dislike for sleeping on the ground (combined with growing fear of snakes) I've really missed s'mores. There are a lot of good things about camping, nature can be pretty amazing but also s'mores. S'mores are always incredible, whether you are one of those who will slowly roast your marshmallow until it is perfectly golden brown and gooey and delicious, or if you just stick it in the flames and get your daily dose of carbon. 



With summer now upon us I thought these would be an appropriate treat to prepare for book club and would also help quash my s'mores craving.

Taken from: Joy the Baker Cookbook

Recipe:

11/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup roughly crushed graham crackers
12 large marshmallows

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a 9X13 inch baking pan.

2) Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

3) Place a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water to melt the butter and chocolate. Once melted and smooth, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Whisk in the sugars. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla and add the dry ingredients. Fold in the graham crackers.

4) Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Dot with marshmallow and bake for 30 to 40 minutes (mine took 38). The Marshmallows will be brown and puffy, but will deflate once cooled.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chewy Coconut Almond Raisin Granola Bars

One of the good things about having a life skill is the ability to barter. Baking is pretty much the only life skill that I have in which I'm able to produce something that I can trade. So when one of my friends had an excess of the face wash I like...a trade was in order. She asked for something healthy-ish so these granola bars seemed like a good idea.


They are super easy to make, delicious and will make your kitchen smell like the best place in the world. Welcome to a cash-less society.

Recipe:
Taken from: Joy the Baker Cook Book

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs ground flax seed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs honey
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tbs orange juice

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, butter the foil and set aside.

2) In a large bowl, combine oats, oat flour, flax seed, spices, coconut, raisins and almonds.

3) In a small bowl combine melted butter, honey, and orange juice. Pour over the oat mixture and combine until all of the dry ingredients are moistened.

4) Dump the mixture into the prepared baking pan and using your hands press into the dish until tight and solid in the pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

5) Remove baked granola from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for about half an hour, then refrigerate for  an hour more until cool This will make cutting it into bars easier. Cut into 12 bars and wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store in an air-tight container.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kettle Corn

So the thing about life....is that sometimes it sucks. And other times it's busy and some of the times sucking and busy join forces and really just make me want to curl up in bed with my cats and never leave. That's not really an option though, so instead I make kettle corn and feel just a little bit better about life.


It's also so simple and quick that it can be made even when you're terribly busy. Also, if you share it, all of you're friends will love you. But they'll also hate you because it's totally addictive.

Taken from: Joy the Baker Cookbook

Recipe:
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup yellow corn kernels
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Directions:
1) Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, then add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the corn kernels and sprinkle the sugar as evenly as possible. Place the lid on the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high.

2) When the popping beings (using oven mitts - this is important if you place value in not burning your hands) remove the pot from the heat and shake it around a bit, then return to the heat. Shake again every thirty seconds until the popping stops.

3) Once the popping stops, remove the pot from the heat and sprinkle the salt over the popped corn.

Enjoy!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Chocolate Brownie Cookies with Macadamia Nuts and White Chocolate Chips

Working in the public service generally means that your job security is pretty well assured. And while that is still largely the case, lately there has been a lot of insecurity and in fact things are feeling a whole lot less secure.
 

All that to say, morale around the office is pretty much rock bottom. But cookies help. I brought these cookies into the office this week and while, things still kind of suck, I think they helped take peoples minds off the insecurity we're all feeling for at least a minute.

Recipe:

8 Ounces chocolate chips
3 Tbs unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup macadamia nuts, roasted and salted

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2)Melt butter and chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Remove from heat.

3) Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl.

4) Whisk sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Add the flour mixture all at once and fold over until just combined. Fold in the chopped macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips.

5) Bake for 10 minutes, being sure to turn the tray at the half way point. The cookies are best just slightly under-cooked. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

After the baby shower this past weekend I made my way to Toronto to stay with Hera who is currently subletting an apartment.


On the Sunday morning, after sending Hera out to get some missing ingredients, we made these delicious pancakes. The biggest challenge...the apartment she's subletting has no measuring spoons, so I kind of guessed at quantities and while they still turned out alright, it was a bit of a challenge.


The recipe originally called for raisins, which I guess would be ok. I opted for chocolate chips.

Taken from: Joy the Baker Cookbook

Recipe:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
2 tbs packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
big pinch of ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 tbs pure maple syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

1) Warm griddle.  In a medium bowl whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.

2) In a large bowl whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, and maple syrup. Add in dry ingredients all at once and stir until well combined.

3) Over a heated frying pan or griddle ladle the batter and wait until bubbles form around the edges to flip. Cook until both sides are browned. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pip is Coming

You may remember that Caitlin made a wedding cake in the fall, while now our good friend Margot over at Newfoundlander at Heart has a person in progress (Pip) on the way. So, this past weekend we threw a baby shower for her, generously hosted by her mother in law, and organized by Hera and Brynn (Kate got the plates and napkins).


 I'm so excited for Margot to become a mother for real...I mean throughout all of University we all called her mom and she is probably the reason I didn't contract scurvy or some other nutritional deficiency in my first year of university. As amazing as she was and still is at being a friend-mom, she will be an even better for real mom!


In addition to providing an excuse to see Margot and other catch up with friends living in Toronto, the shower allowed me to knock a few things off my "to bake" list, which at the moment is pretty sizable.


I made brownies with chocolate butter-cream frosting...a lady only gathering does call for some pretty intense chocolate goods, along with brown butter chocolate chip cookies, and one of my new favourite things, chamomile cupcakes with honey glaze.  The brownies were probably no better than boxed brownies so I'm not sure it's something that I'd make again, but the cookies and cupcakes are both incredible and I can't wait to make either or those again.

All from: Joy the Baker Cookbook

Brownies with Chocolate Butter-Cream Frosting

Recipe for the Brownies:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
 
Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

3) Melt butter and chocolate together in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Once melted, remove the bowl from heat and stir in sugars. Whisk in the eggs, yolk, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and fold together. Fold in the chocolate chips.

4) Pour batter into a prepared 8 inch square pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or untila skwere inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool while you prepare the icing.

Recipe for the Buttercream frosting

3/4 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups of powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup ovaltine powder

Directions:

1) Cream together  butter, cocoa powder and salt.  Add in the powdered sugar, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is evenly incorporated. Add in the milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

2) in a small bowl, mix together cream and ovaltine. Turn the mixer to medium and pour the cream in slowly.

3) Frost your brownies - this recipe makes enough for two batches of brownies, so you can either half the recipe or store some for later. 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe:

1 cup plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp molasses
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used pecans)
1 cup chocolate chips 

Directions:

1) Brown 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of butter by placing it in a small sauce pan over medium heat until you start to see brown flakes on the bottom of the pot and it starts to smell nutty. Pour browned butter into a small bowl and place in the fridge to cool.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer cream together remaining butter and granulated sugar. Add the vanilla and molasses and bean until incorporated. Pour in the browned butter along with the brown sugar, and mix for about 3 minutes until well incorporated. Add egg and egg yolk, then beat for one more minute.

3) Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Fold in pecans and chocolate chips.

4) Cover dough with saran wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour while the oven preheats to 325 degrees F. Roll dough into tablespoon sized balls and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Chamomile Cupcakes with Honey Glaze

Recipe:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons dried chamomile (from teabags)
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Glaze
1 cup icing sugar
3 Tbs heavy cream
1/2 Tbs honey
pinch of salt

Directions:
1) Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chamomile leaves.

2) Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour half of this into the butter mixture and beat until just incorporated. Add the remaining milk mixture and continue to beat.

3) Divide the batter between the cupcake tins. Bake cupcakes for 17 to 20 minutes. I made mini cupcakes for the shower so they only took 10 minutes.

Directions for the glaze:

Whisk together ingredients until smooth. Once the cupcakes have cooled use a rubber spatula to spread the glaze on the cupcakes and garnish with some chamomile leaves. 



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lemon Chia Seed Protein Pancakes

One of my favourite things about breakfast is that it's the only meal of the day where it's ok to eat something sweet. Now, having the biggest sweet tooth in the world, this really appeals to me. However, it's also the only meal of the day where beyond meat and eggs, there aren't many options that aren't simple carbs. I'm currently trying to cut back my gluten for a little dietary experiment but last night I decided that  I really wanted pancakes for breakfast. So, I found a low carb pancake recipe to begin with.

The other part of this pancake story dates back to Monday. I was sitting in my Methods of Development class and we were discussing a project that was aimed at helping farmers move away from poppy growing in Pakistan. Well, all I could think about was lemon poppyseed anything! Once again, a burden of the sweet tooth - my mind is often derailed by sweets. I didn't have poppy seeds but I did have chia seeds, which are close enough. Plus, they're healthy!

The results of this little experiment were quite delicious, plus, I was totally full and will likely stay full for quite some time after just a few pancakes because of the protein packed punch (yay for alliteration!). I will warn you, the texture is not quite the same as regular pancakes, but I really liked it. They were still fluffy and the almonds added a subtle flavour.



Lemon Chia Seed Protein Pancakes

1 cup almond meal
2 tbsp unflavoured protein powder (I used pea protein)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 almond milk (or regular milk, or water)
zest of 1 small lemon
juice of half lemon
chia seeds (I didn't measure, just threw some in until it looked good to me)

Directions
1. Combine almond meal, protein powder, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
2. Melt butter in microwave, add eggs, vanilla, and almond milk and whisk all together.
3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, stirring until just before it is combined.
4. Throw in the lemon zest, juice and chia seeds and stir a tiny bit more until incorporated.
5. In a pre-heated (medium heat) and oiled pan, pour pancakes and cover until they cook enough to flip them. They won't bubble like regular pancakes, but you should be able to tell when it's ready to flip.
6. Serve warm with toppings of your choice. I ate them with raspberry jam.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Toasted Oat Smoothie

Breakfast is sometimes best in liquid form.


This smoothie is delicious and the toasted oats add a lovely richness to the berries.

Taken from: "Joy the Baker Cookbook"

Recipe:

1/4 cup raw oatmeal
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries15
2 tsp honey or brown sugar

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oatmeal on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and slightly browned - about 15 minutes.

2) Place oats in a blender, cover, and blend until the oats become a powder. Remove all of the oats and measure 2 tablespoons for the smoothie. Reserve the remaining for another smoothie.

3) Place milk, 2 Tablespoons of oat powder, banana, blueberries, and honey in the blender. Blend until well incorporated, serve immediately.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pi Day and Falling a bit behind

Pi Day other wise known as 3.14 or March 14th....more than a month ago.


Woops. Turns out I've been so busy baking that I've neglected the blogging.


Sweet Potato Pie....tastes almost exactly like pumpkin pie but (in my opinion) has a better texture. The no roll crust....probably not as good as my usual crust, but this allows me knock off two of the recipes from the Joy the Baker cookbook.

Taken from: "Joy the Baker Cookbook"

Pie Recipe:

2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

No Roll Crust Recipe:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1 heaping tablespoon cold cream cheese
3 tablespoons milk, cold
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions:

1. Prepared mashed potatoes and allow to cool. Mash until there are no lumps.

2. In a medium pot over low heat, add the brown sugar, all of the spices, salt, butter, and half of the evaporated milk. Cook until the mixture is well blended and starts to bubble, remove from heat and allow to cool.

3. In a large bowl beat the eggs with a fork. Add the remaining can of evaporated milk, granulated sugar, and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add the cooled sweet potato mixture to the egg mixture and whisk well.

4. For the crust, whisk together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Grate the frosen butter and add the butter pieces and cream cheese to the flour mixture. Use your hands to incorporate.

5. Whisk together the milk and oils and add all once to the flour and butter mixture. Use a fork to combine the wet and dry ingredients. Leave the dough a bit shaggy and dump into the bottom of a 10-inch pie plate.

6. With your fingers, press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides. Try to create an even thickness along the entire pie place but don't worry about the finger indentations.

7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and pout the filling in. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the pie crust is browned and the center of the pie is no longer loose or jiggly.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Trail Mix Cookies

5 down 95 more to go....


I'm going to have to pick up the pace on this.

My favourite thing about trail mix is that even when it has M&Ms it still feels healthy...When you transform trail mix into cookies you kind of loose that ohhhh healthy feeling...but they're so delicious it doesn't really matter!

Taken from: "Joy the Baker Cookbook"

Recipe:

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup M&Ms
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted and salted peanuts
1/2 cup raisins

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lines baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) Whisk together Oats, flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and set aside.

3) In a stand mixer cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and then the vanilla until combined. Add in the dry mixture all at once and mix together on low speed until well combined.

4) Fold in the peanut butter chips, peanuts, M&Ms, and raisins.

5) Roll tablespoon sized balls of dough and place onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges. Rotate the baking sheet half way through (mine took 12 minutes to bake).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Single Lady Pancakes

Pancakes are awesome. But too much of a good thing almost always results in an entire afternoon wasted curled up on the couch in pancake-coma.


No more....the perfect pancake recipe for one!

Single Lady Pancakes from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp old fashioned oats
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 tsp vegetable oil
dash of vanilla
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk

add ins:
1/4 cup blueberries
zest from half of an orange

Taken from: "Joy the Baker Cookbook"

Directions:

1) Whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together oil, vanilla, and buttermilk.

2) Add wet ingredients all at once and stir until well combined. Fold in the blueberries and orange zest.

3) Melt butter in a frying pan and cook over medium heat until bubbles form and flip over. Cook until golden brown.

Vanilla Bean Snickerdoodles

I don't want to brag, but I'm really awesome at procrastinating. I've found the trick while procrastinating is to find another task that you can attach some importance to and then you don't even have to feel poorly about yourself for procrastinating.





So, instead of cleaning my apartment, I made cookies. Totally a productive task. My apartment is still a mess....but I have cookies. I think this was a good choice.

Recipe: Slightly adapted from "Joy the Baker Cookbook"
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla
vanilla bean scraped of seeds

For the topping:
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Taken from: "Joy the Baker Cookbook"

Directions:
1) Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.


2) In the bowl of stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time. Add in the vanilla.


3) Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Place the dough in the fridge for about half an hour while the oven preheats to 350 degrees F. While you're waiting mix together the ingredients for the topping in a small bowl.


4) Scoop table-spoon sized balls of dough and roll in the topping. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until slighly golden.










Thursday, March 8, 2012

Granola

I remember as a child begging my Mom to depart from her usual purchase of plain cheerios for some kind of chocolate and sugar laden breakfast cereal and whenever she would very occasionally indulge us, watching the milk slowly turn into chocolate milk.




Now I have granola that does that....pretty much the best thing ever...totally healthy and good for you because it's granola but also chocolate.



Taken from: "Joy the Baker Cookbook"

Recipe:

4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl mix together the oats, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, cocoa powder and salt.

2) In a small sauce pan heat the remaining ingredients until bubbling. Add the honey mixture to the oats and toss until all the oats are well covered.

3) Using baking sheets covered in parchment paper, bake the granola for 20 minutes or until it's toasted and fragrant. Store in an air tight container.







Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins and a Couple of Life Goals

Oh Joy....Joy the Baker I mean. On February 28th she released her amazing 100 recipe cook book. And on February 29th, I took a leap (get it???) and decided that I would make all the things. Originally I had no real time frame associated with this goal, but I guess I'm feeling pretty damn ambitious because I decided that I'd have this done by the time I return to school in the fall.


So now, lets talk about these muffins. This recipe was one of the first things to really grab my attention so I decided they would be the first thing that I would make on this baking challenge. Brown butter has the ability to make vegetables taste like candy, so the incorporation of brown butter in baked goods can only be a good thing and in the case of these muffins it's a pretty fantastic thing and I'd highly recommend you make these a part of your life.


My other life goal is really only slightly related to baking and probably has more to do with some pretty deep seated and highly repressed self loathing, but I've signed myself up for is the Esprit Ironman distance triathlon in Montreal on September 8th....the only real connection between this and the baking challenge is that it will hopefully help to keep me not obese in the process of trying baking 100 different recipes in about 6 months. Plus perhaps this baking challenge will mean I'm not constantly hungry in the months leading up to the race?


One down....99 more to go!

Taken from "Joy the Baker Cookbook"....obviously.

Ingredients:

For the Muffins:
7 Tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups of fresh blueberries

For the topping:
3 Tbs butter - cold
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 Tbs sugar

Instructions:
1) preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare a muffin pan.

2) Brown your butter - remove from heat when butter solids become a medium brown colour and smells nutty. Pour butter into a small bowl to allow it to cool slightly.

3) Whisk milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the butter and whisk until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add the milk mixture and fold in the blueberries. Your batter should be really thick, this is ok. Divide the batter between 12 muffins cups.

4) To make the topping, combine all of the ingredients and rub together with your hands until crumbly. Sprinkle batter evenly over the muffin batter.

5) Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

sweet potato latkes

Thought I'd post something a bit new for this blog, since I haven't posted in eons. When I started the blog, the intent was to focus on improving my baking, and I definitely did. Now that I don't have access to an oven, I can't really share any baked creations (and boy am I missing it!). So, I decided I might share a few meals. Who knows if anyone is interested in this, but I am going to share anyways.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, but it's important to combine that with some fat in your meal to ensure uptake. That's what these delicious latkes are perfect! Plus, they are ridiculously easy. Other than the sweet potato grating part - that made me miss my food processor.


Sweet Potato Latkes

1 large sweet potato, grated
1/3 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Heat about 3 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Cook latkes on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes per side. Remove onto paper towel to remove excess oil. Enjoy! I ate mine with greek yogurt.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts

There's something about the end of winter that makes me crave food that would more ordinarily associated with fall.


There is also something extremely rewarding about baking something that I had previously thought could only come from a package. And without all the preservatives and stuff, it's like totally healthy. Plus it means that I rock at life. Right?


Going into this, I was not entirely convinced that this would be worth the extra effort, but having them fresh from the oven makes them much better, and for me the satisfaction of making something from scratch is worth the extra effort.



Recipe - Slightly adapted from Joy the Baker:

For the Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg (for brushing the dough)

For the Filling:
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1 large egg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Maple Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons milk
Cinnamon for dusting


Directions:

For the crust:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter and break it up in the flour mixture using a pastry cutter. Work it in until only pea sized lumps remain in your mixture.

In a small bowl, beat the egg with the milk. Add the mixture all at once to the dry ingredients and stir to make sure that moisture is introduced to all of the flour mixture. Lightly dust a clean counter with flour and knead the dough on the floured counter for a few turns until it really starts to come together. Divide the dough in two, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

In a small sauce pan, heat pumpkin puree and spices over medium heat. Just heat through until the spices become fragrant. This helps to bring loads of flavor into the filling. Remove from heat and place spiced pumpkin in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in egg, salt and sugar and place in the fridge to rest while you roll out the dough.

Putting it together*:

This would probably work better if you are into measuring and being precise. I'm not. I just rolled the dough out until it was to the desired thickness and then cut into equalish looking pieces. 

1) On a well floured work surface, press dough into a 3×5-inch rectangle, roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch thickness. Trim dough with a pizza cutter, creating a rectangle. Using the pizza cutter, cut each side into thirds, creating 9 squares. Place dough squares in the fridge while you roll out the second piece of dough in the same way.


2) Brush half of the squares with beaten egg. This will act as the glue for the top layer of dough. Spoon about one tablespoon of pie filling into the center of each non-brushed dough square. Top with a piece of brushed dough and use a floured fork to crimp the sides closed. Using the tines of the fork to create vent holes in each tart.

3) Let tarts rest in the fridge for 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden (mine took 22 minutes).

4) While tarts are baking, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze until smooth. Once the tarts have completely cooled, pour over the tarts and dust with cinnamon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nutella Tart

Did you know that February 5th is World Nutella Day? I didn't and I feel pretty embarrassed about that. World Nutella day has been around since 2007, so I decided I needed to do something to make up for missing FIVE years of world nutella day. My first thought was to sit down with a jar of nutella and a spoon and not stop eating until it was finished but somehow that just didn't seem right (although would have been glorious).


This nutella tart though....is the perfect way to make up for five lost years of nutella celebrations.




And as the recipe doesn't call for that much nutella you'll have plenty left over to continue celebrating the deliciousness that is nutella.

For the Sweet Tart Dough:

Taken from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From my Home to Yours"

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
9 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 large egg yoke

Directions:
1) Put the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until ingredients are well combined. Scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. Stir the yoke and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. Pulse the ingredients until the dough begins to form clumps and curds. Turn the dough out and knead the dough lightly just to ensure that all ingredients have been incorporated.

2) Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan - save a little dough in the refrigerator to patch any cracks that may appear after the crust is baked. Press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that it will loose it's crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes.

3) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of tin foil and fit the foil buttered side down against the crust. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes. Allow the crust to fully cool. This can be prepared a day in advance.

For the Filling:

Taken From "Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme"

2/3 cup Nutella
4 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
7 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large egg at room temperature, stirred with a fork
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature, stirred with a fork
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup hazelnuts toasted, skinned and cut into large pieces

Directions:
1) preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2) Spread nutella evenly over the bottom of the crust and set it aside. Melt the chocolate and butter in separate bowls and allow them to cool until they feel warm to the touch.

3) Using a rubber spatula stir the egg into the chocolate, stirring gently in ever-widening circles, be careful no to agitate the mixture. Slowly add in the yolks and sugar. Finally stir in the warm butter. Pour the ganache over the nutella and scatter the hazelnuts over the top.

4) Bake for 11 minutes - the center will shimmy if jiggled. Allow the tart to cool for at least 20 minutes or until room temperature







Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baileys Marshmallows

First, I have to apologize for my prolonged and unexplained absence. Sometimes, life gets in the way and I just haven't been baking very much.

I decided to get back into baking by turning my kitchen into a big sticky boozy mess and really think that you should too. These are delicious!!!! Particularly when left on top of a big mug of hot chocolate and left to melt.


Recipe:

3 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold, baileys, divided in two

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1) Grease a 9X13 pan and then dust with powdered sugar.

2) Mix 1/2 cup of baileys and gelatin in the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment.

3) Over low heat add remaining 1/2 cup of baileys, sugar, salt and corn syrup until the sugar has dissolved. Turn heat up to medium and let boil until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F.

4) Add the sugar mixture to the gelatin and continue to mix at medium until it begins to grow in size. While this is mixing, use a hand mixer to whisk egg whites until they form solid peaks. Add egg whites and vanilla extract to sugar mixture until well combined.

5) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. You will likely need to grease a spatula to be able to get everything out of the bowl - it will be a very sticky mess. Dust with powdered sugar and let the marshmallows sit for 3-5 hours or overnight until firm. Remove from the pan and cut into desired size.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mini Chocolate Orange Doughnuts

Chocolate and Orange is an amazing combination. My love affair with this began when my parents gave up on getting us to eat real oranges from our Christmas stockings and replaced them with chocolate oranges...


After eating just a small portion (cough cough half of it in about 10 minutes) of my chocolate orange I decided that I needed to make chocolate orange everything.



I'm not totally sold on this though....the orange flavour didn't come out quite as much as I would have liked and the glaze was just too sweet...but both are fixable problems and they still looked really cute. I also suppose if you don't have high expectations for them they're OK.



Recipe:
Doughnuts (slightly adapted from My Baking Addiction)
½ cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1¼ cups pastry flour, sifted
1¼ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
½ cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1½ tbsp. butter, melted
½ teaspoon of vanilla

Glaze* (slightly adapted from Joy the Baker)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.

* I had a lot of excess glaze and would suggest halving this recipe

Directions for the doughnuts:
1) Grease a mini-doughnut pan and preheat oven to 425

2) Combine orange zest and sugar until the sugar is moist and fragrant, then set aside.

3) Whisk together dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk, butter and vanilla and mix together until well combined.

4) Place batter in a piping bag and fill each doughnut cup about halfway. Bake for 4-6 minutes - mine took 5.

Directions for the glaze:

1) Combine the ingredients and whisk together well.

2) Once doughnuts are completely cool dip them in glaze, about half-way and leave to cool on a drying rack until the glaze has hardened.