Posted in Baking

Butter Pecan Cookies

Pecans in my part of the world are an exotic nut and used to be hard to find. If you are based in South America/USA/Canada (that part of the world), Pecans will most likely be a daily item since they are grown in/around those regions. So, this was my first time baking with Pecans.

I love the subtle but strong earthy flavour Pecans bring to the table. Yes, I know I used subtle and strong together but if you are a Pecan fan (or nuts in general actually especially hazelnuts and walnuts) you know what I mean! These cookies are simple in terms of their flavour profile as well as method of preparation. I won’t do my normal run through with this one but you can scroll down for the recipe.  🙂

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If you like some extra sugar in your cookies, then you can just roll them in castor sugar once baked. That also makes them look prettier. I was going for more of a home-made that makes you feel warm inside vibe than a quaint cafe that you love but is more of a special treat than an everyday thing.
I don’t know if that sentence made sense at all, it did in my head anyway.

I hope you enjoy these cookies. Have fantastic weekend everyone! Hug someone close to you and treat yourself!  ♥


Butter Pecan Cookies 

Ingredients:

Pecans 100 g
Butter 120 g, cubed
Castor sugar 70 g
Flour 130 g
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 C. Toast your Pecan in the hot oven for 6-8 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and salt.
  3. Slowly, mix in the flour until just combined. Fold in the Pecans.
  4. Roll your dough (might be a little sticky) into a log.
  5. Chop into 12 pieces and roll in some castor sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Posted in Baking, garden

Lemon Cupcakes with Basil Frosting

I Love Lemons/ Limes. I have been growing Basil and been wanting to use it for baking for years. I finally got the chance to use some basil in this frosting along with these limes that someone got for me.
I froze them because I wanted to save them for a special recipe and it was worth it. I actually only used a quarter of a lime because they are as big as my hand.

The next time I make these will definitely be with candied Basil leaves! Now, if I can pull that off I will be impressed. 🙂 I implore you to try this recipe for yourself and give me feedback.

Let’s start with the frosting:

Warm up the cream with basil leaves for 10- 15 minutes. Make sure not to burn the cream. Keep stirring the cream. After 15 minutes, take off the heat and allow to cool. Whisk in the cream cheese + sugar and refrigerate till the cupcakes are done.

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Infusing Basil into the cream

Look at these babies! Frozen limes are easier to use than regular limes and a lot prettier because of the condensation/ de-condensation. You just grate the limes and bam! (Don’t grate the pith, cut around the pith)

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For the cupcakes:

In a glass mix the milk, lime juice and lime zest.

Mix together the butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs and salt. The next step is to add in the flour and the baking powder.

Pour into the cupcake cases and bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

 

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RECIPE

Cupcakes:

210 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
115 g butter, melted
170 g castor sugar
3 eggs
2 tbsp lime zest
56 ml lime juice
112 ml milk
Frosting:

400 ml whipping cream
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
120 g cream cheese
50 g sugar

DIRECTIONS:

For the cupcakes: In a glass mix the milk, lime juice and lime zest.

Mix together the butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs and salt. The next step is to add in the flour and the baking powder.

Pour into the cupcake cases and bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting. Garnish with a Basil leaf.

For the frosting : Warm up the cream with basil leaves for 10- 15 minutes. Make sure not to burn the cream. Keep stirring the cream. After 15 minutes, take off the heat and allow to cool. Whisk in the cream cheese + sugar and refrigerate till the cupcakes are done.

Posted in Baking

Baked Beetroot Chips

Beetroot. The root vegetable that stains like no other. It is a nutritious vegetable that can be consumed in many ways. Some juice it, some eat it raw in salads, some grill it.
It also has a long history in baking, the old way of making the infamous red velvet was to add steamed and mashed beetroot in the chocolate mix to give the red colour.

We are all looking for healthy snacks, I offer beetroot chips as a colourful candidate. I hand ground the spice mix for this (which took me about 10 minutes). You can do a simple salt and pepper mix as well. I wanted to something spicy

 

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so, here’s my mix:
1 tbsp of dried birds eye chili
2 tbsp of white pepper corns
2 tsp of coarse sea salt
2 tsp of lemon juice

Use 5 medium sized Beets for this.

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Look at the colour! ♥♥♥

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Start by slicing the beetroot into thin slices using a slicer.
Toss the slices around in a bowl with a slash of olive oil.
Pour your spice mix in and toss again. Make sure your slices are coated.
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 180 C.

Posted in Baking

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls made uber-popular by Cinnabon. If cinnamon rolls ran a race against cake, ice-cream and short-crust pastry. Well, it would loose because cake and ice-cream HELLO?! but the point is they are great. You can have em warm or cold, with frosting or without. This was my first time making them and they turned out great. Soft and moist and appropriately cinnamon-y without being too sweet.

The only thing I would change is next time I would make sure the rolls are even in size ’cause I had 2 huge rolls, 2 medium sized ones and 2 small ones.

Another good thing about this recipe is you don’t necessarily have to make cinnamon rolls with it, you can make a pecan and chocolate filling or a fruit filling or even a savoury filling. The possibilities are endless!

Sample fillings: Mash some roasted tomatoes together with some salt and pepper and some sharp cheddar. You have pizza rolls my friends!

2. Take some unsweetened cocoa powder and chopped pecans and you have pecan rolls.

Now, let’s start with the dough. As you know I prefer to knead/beat/whip with a whisk by hand and not a stand mixer. Whether you are using a stand mixer or your hands this dough won’t take long to make.

Start out with the milk, heat in the microwave for 30 sec or in a saucepan till luke-warm. Take off the heat and gently whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover and leave to proof for 5-10 min.

Now add in the butter and don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t mix properly, its going to be chunky. Mix in the eggs one by one until combined. Slowly mix in the salt and flour, mixing until a soft dough forms. Knead this dough on a lightly floured surface for about a minute and roll it into a ball. Leave to rise in a covered bowl for 1-2 hours in a warm environment.

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Pre-rise
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Post-rise

 

 

 

I think the difference is clearly visible! Once your dough has risen properly, turn it onto a floured surface and roll it to roughly a cm thick and and even-ish rectangle.

The filling is pretty easy just toss the cinnamon and sugar together. Make sure the butter is of a spreadable consistency. (I only had to leave it out for 20 minutes and it was perfect- it was 33° C). Spread the butter generously on the dough and sprinkle your cinnamon sugar on the dough. Again, please be generous or else you’ll have just dough and no cinnamon.

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The next step is to roll up the dough into a log and cut into EVEN slices. As you can see I did not cut evenly. Put this rolls into a greased baking tray, cover them and leave to rise for 2 hours. I popped em in the fridge over night.IMG_20170421_210326211

In the morning I left them out (covered) for another hour and baked them for 30-35 minutes at 200 C. I sprinkled some extra cinnamon sugar on top because I didn’t want to make frosting and why the hell not?!

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Enjoy this beautiful day, where-ever in the world you maybe be!


Cinnamon Rolls Recipe:

Ingredients:
DOUGH
• 240 ml Milk
• 135 g Castor Sugar
• 1 and 1/2 tbsp (14 g) Active Dry Yeast
• 115 g Butter, at room temperature
• 2 Eggs, at room temperature
• 1/2 tsp Salt
• 558 g Flour, plus more for dusting/rolling

FILLING
• 90 g Butter, softened
• 100 g Castor Sugar
• 1 and 1/2 tbsp Cinnamon Powder

Directions:
1. Make the dough: In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until lukewarm. Pour the warm milk into a bowl with a spoon stir in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. This is called proofing your yeast. If the yeast does not dissolve and foam, start over with fresh active yeast.
2. Slowly beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add the eggs, one at a time, and then the salt. The butter won’t really be mixing into the mixture, so don’t be alarmed if it stays in pieces. Gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, mix until a soft and supple dough forms.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or aluminum foil and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1.5 – 2 hours.
4. Butter the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 10×16 inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick, even at the corners.
5. For the filling: Spread the softened butter all over the dough. In a small bowl, toss the cinnamon and sugar together until combined and then sprinkle evenly over the dough.
6. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 16 inch long log. If some filling spills out, that’s ok just sprinkle it on top of the rolls. Cut into 8 large rolls (about 2 inches in width each).
7. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan. Cover the rolls very tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, allow to rise until the rolls are doubled in size, about 2 hours. OR stick in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
8. If the rolls rose overnight in the fridge, remove rolls from the refrigerator and let rise in a warm place just as you did earlier until they are puffy, about 1-2 hours..
9. After the rolls have risen, preheat the oven to 191°C. Bake for about 30 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Posted in Baking

Tiramisu

What do you we love ?

Tiramisu, Tiramisu, Tiramisu.

Okay, now that I got that outta my system let’s talk about it –

Tiramisu is a pretty easy dish to love and master, at least as long as you can whip eggs properly. The dish relies on your egg whipping ability, of course the flavor profiles of the coffee and rum play a big role BUT if you under-whip the eggs the tiramisu will not be good.

Components for a good Tiramisu –

1. A nice strong and dark coffee mixed with some Dark Rum or Cognac. (I only used Rum)

2. Nicely whipped Egg whites.

My tips for whipping stiff peaks by HAND would be to always use a steel or glass bowl. It should be very clean, even small amounts of fat can curdle the egg whites. You can chill the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes, just make sure to wipe the bowl before adding in the whites.

See, it’s that simple! When you combine these components with light and airy sponge fingers, some sugar and creamy mascarpone, you get a lovely creamy light layered dessert.

Side note: I ate 3 sponge fingers just making this. They are delicious even without the rest!

Side note 2 : Whipping stiff peaks is definitely an arm workout.

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Final Stage

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The end result was a smoky dessert that was perfectly light and creamy as it was dark in the coffee tones with a slight alcohol buzz (tastewise).

Have a great day everyone! 🙂

 


TIRAMISU

125 ml espresso, at room temperature

4 tablespoons dark rum

pinch of salt

2 large eggs, separated

90 g sugar

250 g mascarpone

18 x 3½-inch ladyfingers

30 g unsweetend cocoa powder, for serving

METHOD : 

  1. Mix together the espresso, rum, and cognac. The mixture should taste strongly of alcohol. If not, add more until it does.
  2. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they begin to get stiff. Beat in half of the sugar until stiff.
  3. In a different bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until stiff and light-colored, about three minutes. By hand, beat in the mascarpone with a spatula or whisk, until lump-free.
  4. Fold in half of the beaten egg whites, then the remaining half, just until fully incorporated.
  5. Submerge each ladyfinger in the espresso mixture for 5-10 seconds, until completely, utterly soaked. (Dried ladyfingers will take longer to saturate than softer ones.) They should be dropping wet.
  6. Then line them in a 8″ square dish. Put a layer of the mascarpone cream. Sprinkle a generous amount of cocoa powder on top. Top with remaining  the mascarpone cream and some more cocoa powder.
  7. Cover, and refrigerate for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.
Posted in Baking

Lime, Blueberry and Earl Grey Tea Cake

I am just gonna leave this here.

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 Lime, Blueberry and Earl Grey Tea Cake

Ingredients

  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp heaped Earl Grey tea leaves
  • 220 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 g thick Greek yoghurt 
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp soda bi-carb 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest + juice of 2 lemons (1 if its a large lemon)
  • 100 g  blueberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160 C. Grease and line a 22cm x 8cm loaf tin with baking paper. Place the butter in a small saucepan over a medium low heat along with the tea leaves and stir until melted. Set aside for 20 minutes to infuse. Strain through a fine sieve and set aside.
  2. Place all the ingredients except the blueberries in a bowl and stir well to combine. Add the blueberries and mix through carefully. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 1 hour, or until the cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out cleanly.
Posted in Baking

Spiked Lime Bars

Hi everyone I used the latest harvest of the Lime tree to make these bars with a Vodka kick. It’s quick and yummy.

Have a great day everyone!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 490 g     Flour
  • 2 tsp      Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp   Salt
  • 170 g      Butter, softened
  • 150 g      Granulated sugar
  • 3              Eggs
  • 60 ml     Absolut Vodka
  •  Juice and zest of 2 medium sized Limes

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, and grease paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the citrus zest and juice.
  4. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing just until combined. Mix in half of the combined juice. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the juice, ending with the flour. Mix just until combined.
  5. Spread evenly and smooth the top. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Posted in Baking, travels

Chocolate, Coffee and Orange Cake

Baking in a country you are visiting is difficult for many reasons like sourcing ingredients, equipment, temperatures etc. It can make old recipes seem like new adventures. This however was a double whammy since I experimented/tweaked this old recipe making it a completely new adventure!

I am so glad I didn’t burn down the house! (kidding, sort of) Since I am in mexico, I used local chocolate, coffee and oranges! Different flavours and varieties work differently so when you make this recipe make sure to adjust the orange levels to your taste. I make mine extra zesty since I like the flavour. It turned out amazing! Everyone loved it 🙂 I kid you not the ganache was the smoothest one I have EVER made! It was absolutely gorgeous. “It was oh so sexy” said my sister when I shared a picture with her and I agree 100% !

Let’s get to it then:

  • Preheat the oven at 180C and grease a 9″ cake pan.
  • Prepare your liquid mixture by mixing the coffee, orange zest and juice, milk and vanilla extract. Set aside. I should mention that if the size of the orange is not very big use one instead of 1/2. The ones I got here in mexico were almost as big as my palm so please adjust accordingly!
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Mix together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. This is your dry mix.
  • Next, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.
  • Add half the flour mix to the butter and mix. Add half the liquid mix and mix again. Repeat. Make sure there are no lumps.
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The final mixture was not only glossy but pretty damn good!
  • Pour in the prepared pan and bake at 180 C for 40-45 min or until kitchen smells zesty and chocolatey or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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  • Let the cake cool while you make the ganache. Chop the chocolate to small pieces.
  • Mix together the coffee, orange zest and juice and a tiny PINCH of salt.
  • Gently heat the cream till you see bubbles at which point turn off the heat. Add in the chocolate and mix until it melts and is incorporated fully. Keep the pan on the heat for this process as it helps the chocolate melt.
  • Slowly, add the liquid mix and mix it in. You will have a glossy mix.  Slice the cake forming 2 layers.

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  • Sandwhich the cake using plenty of ganache. Glaze the cake with the ganache and let it cool for 2 minutes. Now, you can add any decorations like candy, candied zest etc..

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I hope everyone has a killer day! Enjoy your daily adventures and don’t forget to spread love and happiness! 🙂


Recipe:

280 g       Flour
95 g          Cocoa Powder
2 1/2 tsp  Baking Soda
1/2 tsp     Salt
168 g        Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
 255 g        Brown sugar
2               Eggs
2 tsp        Vanilla
110 ml     Strong coffee
110 ml     Orange Juice
Zest of 1/2 an Orange

110 ml     Milk

Ganache:

250 g    Cream
250 g    Dark Chocolate
110 ml  Strong Coffee
110 ml  Orange Juice
Zest of 1/2 an Orange

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 180 C. Butter 2 8-in. round cake pans. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl, set aside. In a measuring cylinder mix together the coffee, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla extract and milk.
  • In another bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add in eggs, mix well.
  • Add half the flour mixture to the butter and then add half the coffee mix. Repeat. Divide batter evenly between pans and smooth tops.
  • Bake for 35- 40 min at 180 C or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • GANACHE: Chop the chocolate to small pieces. In a glass mix the coffee and juice together.
  • On a LOW flame begin to heat the cream until bubbles start to form but DO NOT BOIL. Turn off the flame and add the chocolate pieces in. It is important to keep the pan on the stove with the flame off because the remaining heat helps incorporate the chocolate into the cream without burning it.
  • Once the chocolate has melted add in the coffee. Mix vigorously. You can now slice and layer your cake with the ganache and any other toppings like chocolate chunks or candied orange peel.
Posted in Baking

Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte

I hope everyone has a fantastic day! I am off on an adventure and I will write when I can. I leave you with a delicious, nutty and rich torte recipe.

I was not able to write this post in detail like I wanted but alas. Although torte are generally difficult to make this is a relatively easier one.

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A hazelnut heart. 🙂
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Thanks to the humidity, instead of hazelnut meal I had hazelnut paste. 
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Soft peaks achieved! 
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Whata beauty! 🙂 
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I decorated the cake with whole hazelnuts dipped in white chocolate and dark chocolate ganache.

Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte

For the Torte:

160 g   Dark Chocolate, chopped

160 g   Butter

5          Eggs, separated

165 g   Castor Sugar

125 g   Hazelnut Meal

50 g     Hazelnuts, roasted and chopped

35 g     Dark Chocolate, grated

For the Dark Chocolate Ganache:

125 g     Dark Chocolate, chopped

100 ml  Cream

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180º C. Grease two 22cm cake pans. Stir chopped chocolate and butter in a saucepan on low heat until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy; stir in the chocolate mixture, hazelnut meal, hazelnuts and the grated chocolate.
  3. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the peaks into the chocolate mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture into the cake pans and bake for 45 minutes. Let the cake stand for 15 minutes and turn onto a wire rack.
  5. Ganache: Stir the ingredients in a saucepan over a low flame until smooth.
  6. Slice the torte and spread the ganache over the torte.