5:59 AM

Daring Bakers' Croissants

I've always been a little bit in love with Julia Child, especially after the movie, Julie and Julia.. So when I realised this month's challenge's recipe is from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I swooned a little.

The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!


This croissant took sometime to prepare, what with a total prep time of 12 hours. But, trust me, it's worth it.


I made mine dairy free by replacing the milk with soy milk, and the butter with magarine. It still tastes surprisingly buttery!


Ingredients
¼ oz (7 gm) of fresh yeast, or 1¼ teaspoon (6¼ ml/4 gm) of dry-active yeast (about ½ sachet)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water (less than 100°F/38°C)
1 teaspoon (5 ml/4½ gm) sugar
1 ¾ cups (225 gm/½ lb) of strong plain flour (I used Polish all-purpose flour, which is 13% protein)
2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
1½ teaspoon (7½ ml/9 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml/¼ pint) milk (I am not sure if the fat content matters. I used 2%)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) tasteless oil (I used generic vegetable oil)
½ cup (120 ml/1 stick/115 gm/¼ lb) chilled, unsalted butter
1 egg, for egg wash

1. Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Leave aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little.
2. Measure out the other ingredients
3. Heat the milk until tepid (either in the microwave or a saucepan), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar
4. Place the flour in a large bowl.
5. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour
6. Mix all the ingredients together using the rubber spatula, just until all the flour is incorporated

2:53 AM

Daring Bakers - Candylicious!!!

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

This month's challenge was so fun! And sweet! Very much so!

I made a whole lot of sweets, from Sponge-candy (Honeycombs), to truffles, to coconut fudge, to soft caramel candy, to praline.

The recipes for the sponge candy, truffles and praline can be found here. As well as instructions as to how to temper chocolate.
 I failed the first time I tried it, considering room temperature was 31C and I needed my chocolate to go down to 27C.. so it was so not happening. but some angel told me a new method involving ice, which I will try when I get a weekend free again. =)


As for the coconut fudge, recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. Can be seen here





Hazelnut Praline!


Sponge Candy. I covered some with chocolate to make Crunchie!


Chocolate Truffle with Praline


Ferero Rocher Box comes in handy for storing truffles!



Coconut Fudge




Dark Chocolate Truffles
11:57 PM

Daring Bakers' From Phyllo to Baklava...Rolls!

I've been MIA-ing for the past 2 months. Finally started my new course in Communicative Designs, and I've been swarmed! The art school is called The One Academy, TOA, which, rightly-so also stands for Tons Of Assignments.

But here I am! On what I call a 'none-holiday'. Because we only get 2 days off out of the supposed week. *sigh* and I have to spend this time doing what is a mountain of work.

Enough rant.

BAKLAVA!!

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

I've never even tasted these before. I have, however seen them on menus at some middle-eastern restaurants, and i have a friend who swears they are the best tasting dessert on earth. So imagine my delight when I found out we had to make these.

Phyllo Pastry

Ingredients
1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (185 gm/6½ oz) unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (¾ gm) salt
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) cider vinegar (I actually use red wine vinegar.)

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt
2. Mix with paddle attachment
3. Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.
4. Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water.

5. Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes.
6. Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.(Note: Good de-stresser; mental note: must make this more often.)
7. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil.
8. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 30-90 minutes, longer is best ( I let mine rest for just over 2 hours)

9. After resting, flour the heck out of everything, because you canNOT over-flour this dough. And cut off a chunk about the size of a golf ball and start rolling.
Looky here for how. =)



Filling

Ingredients
Zest of an orange
1 cup Almond
1/2 cup Hazelnut
8 tbsp sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon

1. Using a processor crush the almond and hazelnut with 2 tbsp of sugar.
2. Mix everything together.

Baklava Making!
(Makes enough rolls to fit an 8" square baking dish)

1/2 cup oil (original recipe says clarified butter, but I'm lactose intolerant, hence the oil.)

1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
2. Butter your baking dish.
3. Take a sheet of phyllo pastry and oil the top, sprinkle with the nut mixture liberally, and using a thin dower or, like I did, by using a long chopstick, roll up the pastry.
4. Oil a second sheet, and place this rolled up pastry, with the chopstick still intact, and roll up in the second sheet.
5. Push down into the pan, releasing the chopstick.
I know this sound so confusing, I don't even understand that myself, so please do watch this.
6. Repeat until you have used up all the pastry. and oil the top of them.
7. Using scissors, snipped half way through the rolls, and bake for 30 mins.
8. Snipped the whole way down and bake for another 30 minutes, until golden brown.
9. Pour the syrup, mostly into the gaps, and some on top. (You will hear a sizzle, this is the pastry drinking up that juice)
10. Leave overnight to let it absorb and develop this amazing texture.






Cinnamon Citrus Syrup

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup sugar
1 2-inch slice of citrus peel (I used a lemon)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon

When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot, I find it better when the baklava is hot and the syrup has cooled.

1. Put everything except the nutmeg and the cinnamon powder into a pot, and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Strain the the syrup, and mix in the nutmeg and cinnamon.
3. Let it cool.


*Just outta ze oven*

*Slurping up the syrup*

Aren't they a thing of beauty?
Taste oh-so-nice!!
6:31 PM

Daring Bakers' Dairy Free Filled Meringe Coffee Cake


I got to say, when I saw the name "coffee cake"; I really thought there was coffee inside. Then I read the recipe and my brain went, "Oh? So this is coffee cake."


The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Make 2 round cakes, 6 inches in diameter
Yeast Coffee Cake Dough

300 g flour
20 g sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3.5 g active dried yeast
90 ml soya milk
30 ml water
67.5 g vegetable oil
1 large eggs at room temperature

Meringue
2 medium sized egg whites at room temperature
Pinch of Salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
55g sugar

Pumpkin Puree Filling
Around 500g pumpkin
2 tablespoon soya milk
2 tablespoon sugar (to taste)

Chocolate Cinnamon Nut
55 g chopped nuts
15 g granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
50 g semisweet chocolate chips

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 115g of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
2. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and oil and heat over medium heat until just above room temperature.
3. With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended.


4.Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 75 g flour and beat for 2 more minutes.


5. Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the remaining flour) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
(But try to avoid this, more flour means tougher cake in the end.)
6. Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.


7. Prepare your filling. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling. I found it easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate separately.
8. Grate the pumpkin finely (remember, the finer they are, the greater the surface area, and the faster it'll be cooked through.) Put into a saucepan over low heat. Stirring occasionally. Add the sugar. Put into a blender with the milk and pureed.


9. Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue: In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
PHail
PERFECT PEAK

Assemble the Coffee Cakes
1. Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 15 x 8-inch rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges.
3. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the meringue.
4. Roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.
5. Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.
6. Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings. Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.
8. Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.
Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.

The bottom is so ugly! But, the pumpkin filled one so soft and tasty!