March 29, 2015

Nutella Gelato


This gelato is so smooth and creamy that I was amazed it was something I made at home, rather than a high-quality gelati store creation.  My grandfather was in raptures about it.

It's a custard-based recipe so there're egg yolks and stove-top cooking involved, plus lots and lots of Nutella.

Recipe adapted from: Leave Room For Dessert
Ingredients
500mL cream
500mL milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
300g caster sugar, split into two 150g portions
5 egg yolks
300g (or more!) Nutella

Method
1. In a saucepan, heat the cream, milk, vanilla essence and 150g caster sugar over medium heat.  Stir until all the sugar is dissolved.

2. Just before the mixture starts to boil, remove it from the heat.

3. Beat the egg yolks with the other 150g portion of caster sugar until the mixture is thick and pale.

4. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the cream mixture and heat it again, over low heat, stirring constantly.  Keep heating it until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

5. When the mixture's thickened, stir the Nutella in until everything's combined.

6. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions (I used my Cuisinart freezer-bowl ice cream maker).  Alternatively, you can pour this into a shallow brownie tin and put it in the freezer, taking it out every couple of hours and beating it to ensure that it's smooth.



Enjoy!



March 22, 2015

Snickerdoodles


When one of my Mum's friends from America gave her a recipe for 'snickerdoodles' I had no idea what such things could even be.  It turns out that they're vanilla cookies covered in cinnamon and sugar.  The dough is delicious and the finished cookies are nice and crunchy on the outside, softer on the inside.  I recommend dipping these in some tea for extra yumminess.

Recipe adapted from: tasteofhome.com
Ingredients
125g butter
250g caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
230g flour
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Sugar coating:
5 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 190C (375F).

2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Beat the egg and vanilla into the butter mixture until combined.

4. Fold the flour, bicarb soda and cream of tartar into the mixture.

5. In a small bowl, mix the white sugar and cinnamon together.

6. Form the dough into small balls (I use about a tablespoon of dough per biscuit) and roll them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

7. Place the dough on on a baking sheet covered in baking paper or silicone mats, make sure you leave enough room between the cookies as they will spread when baked.



8. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, you don't want to over-bake them as then they'll be too crunchy (unless, of course, you like that!)

9. Let the cookies cool on wire racks.  Enjoy!



March 9, 2015

Chocolate Fudge Peanut Butter Cookies


These cookies are beautifully soft and chocolatey, the peanut butter is present but not overwhelming.  Another great chocolate/peanut butter staple!

Recipe adapted from: How Sweet Eats
Ingredients
115g dark chocolate
250g butter
125g peanut butter
375g white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
310g flour
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
250g chocolate chips (more if required...)

Method
1. Melt the 115g dark chocolate in the microwave and set aside.

2. Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between additions.  Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

4. Add the flour, cocoa powder (sift this for best results), bicarb soda and salt, mix until combined.  It will be quite a soft dough but that's okay, once you add the melted chocolate it will firm up a bit; and you want these cookies to be gooey and soft in the end.

5. Mix the melted chocolate in, and finally fold the chocolate chips into the batter.

6. Cover the dough and refrigerate for a few hours.  I left mine overnight - you can just cool it for however long you like and bake it when you're ready.

7. When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 175C (350F).

8. Form balls of dough about 1 tablespoon in size (you can go bigger or smaller if you like, but make sure you adjust the baking time accordingly) and place them spread out on a baking tray covered with baking paper or a silicone mat.


9. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes.  They should be soft in the middle still, you don't want to overbake these and lose their squishiness.


February 25, 2015

Simple Chocolate Cake - use up leftover sour cream!


I only use sour cream for baking, and I buy it specially when I am trying out a recipe that calls for it.  Unfortunately, this usually ends with the sour cream sitting around in the fridge until it goes off.

This time, I was determined to use it, and I came across this recipe which calls for just 115g sour cream - perfect for that little bit left over!  The cake itself has a batter like brownies, but comes out of the oven fluffy and light.  You could use any icing you wanted, really; I went with a simple dark chocolate ganache with hazelnut praline paste.

I recommend doubling the recipe if you would like to make a layer cake, or using a smaller cake tin.

Recipe adapted from: Foods of Our Lives
Ingredients - 22cm round cake (1 layer)
115g butter
57g dark chocolate
43g cocoa powder
2 eggs
150g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
115g sour cream
105g flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
3/4 tsp baking powder

Method
1. Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F).  Line a 22cm round tin with baking paper and butter the sides.  I used a springform tin.

2. Melt the butter with the chocolate then mix in the cocoa powder.  Set the mixture aside to cool.

3. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until combined.

4. Beat the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.

5. Stir in half of the flour.

6. Mix in the sour cream and finally add the rest of the flour as well as the bicarb soda and baking powder.  Mix until combined.

7. Spread the batter into the prepared cake tin.  Mine was quite thick at this point, but don't worry!  Bake the cake for about 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.



8. Let the cake cool before serving with whatever sweet topping you desire!  As per usual, I used ganache...



...as well as 100s and 1000s.  I recommend eating this cake warm - a quick blast in the microwave will do the trick.  Enjoy!



February 14, 2015

Coconut (Meringue) Macaroons


It's that time of year - the time when I see a lot of pink, hearts and chocolate all over food blogs and food link sites.  Let's do something completely different, shall we?

The recipe I have to share with you today is for coconut macaroons; delicious melt-in-your-mouth meringues that are easy to make and even easier to eat.  This is a recipe from 1999 that my Mum has written down in her recipe book and it's an absolute classic in my house!

Ingredients
3 egg whites
167g caster sugar
60g desiccated coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp corn flour



Method

1. Preheat your oven to 110 degrees C (230 F).

2. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

3. Bit by bit, add the caster sugar, beating well in between.  Once all the sugar is added, beat the eggs until they form firm peaks.

4. Beat the vanilla essence and corn flour into the eggs.

5. Gently fold the desiccated coconut into the mixture.




6. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag with a star tip and pipe swirls onto a baking tray covered with baking paper or a silicone mat.  You can make these whatever size you like (just make sure that you adjust the baking time) - I like to make mine so that you can eat it in one to two bites.


7. Bake the macaroons for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until they are lightly golden, dry and firm on the outside.  You really want to dry these out so they're good and crunchy and don't stick to the baking paper/silicone.

Usually at my house we bake them then turn the oven off and open the door and let them sit in there (as we steadily snack on them) to dry out completely.



8. Let the macaroons cool and enjoy!


When straight out of the oven, the macaroons will be chewy in the middle but once cooled, they are crunchy all the way through.  You can eat them by themselves or sandwich them with ganache or Nutella or something of the sort.  I like them plain because you can just pop them in your mouth and munch.



February 9, 2015

Hokkaido Milk Bread


I'm having a bit of an obsession with yeast.  When I saw this recipe, I just had to make it, because I also have a bit of an obsession with soft, sweet bread.  This recipe is pretty simple (just time consuming as you have to wait for the dough to rise) and it makes a beautifully soft bread.  It's supremely satisfying to have the smell of yeast spread through the house and pull the loaf apart once it's out of the oven.  I highly recommend baking this bread the next time you have a free day!

Recipe adapted from: Two Red Bowls
Ingredients - 22 x 12 cm base loaf (approx 8.7 x 4.7 inch)
Tangzhong:
6 tbsp water
2 tbsp bread flour

63mL (1/4 cup) milk
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
350g bread flour
1 tsp salt
63g (1/4 cup) white sugar
63mL (1/4 cup) cream
1 egg
2 tbsp butter (at room temperature)

Egg wash:
1 egg
1 tbsp milk

Method
1. First, make the tangzhong, which is a cooked mixture of flour and water.  Whisk the 6 tbsp water and 2 tbsp bread flour in a little saucepan until smooth, then heat over medium heat while whisking constantly.  The mixture should thicken up; take it off the heat as soon as lines appear while you're stirring.

2. Transfer the tangzhong to a small bowl and set it aside to cool. 



3. Microwave the milk until it's just above room temperature (not too hot, or you'll kill the yeast!) then sprinkle the yeast onto the milk and set it aside for 10 minutes.  The mixture should start to foam and smell yeasty.

4. Once the tangzhong has cooled, whisk the cream and egg into it.

5. Pour the milk and yeast mixture into the tangzhong mixture and stir briefly, then tip the wet mixture over the dry ingredients (bread flour, salt and white sugar).

You can use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together but I just gave it a blast in my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.

6. Knead the dough (or mix in your stand mixer) until the dough forms a ball.  It will be very sticky at this point but there's no need to add more flour, unless you're kneading by hand, in which case just flour the surface of the table and your hands.

7. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time, kneading in between.  Ensure that the butter is fully incorporated into the dough.

Keep kneading/mixing for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

8. Butter a bowl (I just used the mixing bowl), and place the dough into it.  Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it sit for 1 - 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.  You could leave the dough in the fridge overnight, but I wanted to get to the end bread product ASAP.




9. Punch the dough down and divide it into four equal pieces.  Roll each piece out into a rectangle-like shape.



Fold the rolled out piece of dough into three, and roll that out again.



10. Roll each flat rectangle up...


11. And place each roll into your loaf tin lined with baking paper.  The rolls don't have to be perfect, don't worry, the dough will rise even more and any spaces will be filled in.

12. Cover the baking tin with a tea towel and let it rise for another hour until doubled in size.  While that's going on, preheat your oven to 175 C (350 F).



13. Mix the egg and milk for your egg wash, then brush it over the top of your risen bread.

14. Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes.  The top should be shiny and browned, and when you tap the bread it should sound hollow.



15. Let your bread cool a bit, then there are many ways you can enjoy it!


As the loaf is made in sections, you can pull each quarter apart beautifully; or you can always cut the bread up with a knife.



I love to eat this bread by itself, it tastes amazing, but it's also delicious when toasted and slathered with honey or condensed milk.