December 26, 2010

Jalapeno poppers


Hope you all had a great Christmas with your family and friends! Holiday season is the time to remember your loved ones and the blessings that you are thankful for. I am thankful for my husband, my little girl, my family, my home, and all the happiness that surrounds me! I was particularly ecstatic about Christmas this year because it was the first in our new home and I wanted it to be special! We exchanged gifts in the morning with my daughter being super excited about the gifts she got (ofcourse!!)! We sure did have a wonderful Christmas morning!

Since all our close family members are back in India, we had a great gathering with our friends! We had a such an amazing time together with them who generously showered my little girl with gifts. We had a traditional Kerala Christmas lunch with all the trimmings, I should say! But I did try out a few new appetizers which turned out awesome! We finished off our meal with traditional Christmas Fruit Cake and a Berry Black Forest trifle.



Jalapeno Poppers

I found this recipe on youtube for some wonderful jalapeno poppers and I definitely wanted to try them out. Check out the video where the presenter explains the technique beautifully. The jalapenos that I used were a bit thicker than what she used, so I had to bake them a bit longer. Other than that I would say this is a fool-proof recipe which would be well received especially among crowds who would love food with a kick to it!! Since we were entertaining and I was running around with last minute "things-to-do" we couldn't take a lot of pictures.


I made some modifications to the recipe in the amounts used and here is what I did.. You might still have some stuffing left over which I think makes for a good topping for chips!

Recipe (Makes 24 servings):

Jalapenos -12
Cream cheese - 6 oz
Mozzarella cheese - 1/2 cup
Mild cheddar cheese - 1/2 cup
Beef lil smokies - 6-8 chopped finely
Onion - 1/2 cup, chopped finely
Bacon - 2 strips, cut into small pieces

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cut the jalapenos lengthwise into halves. Remove the seeds and membranes using a knife or a melon baller.

Cook the bacon so that they are nicely brown and crisp, drain on paper towels.

Remove the bacon grease and in the same pan, add some more oil and saute the finely chopped onions.

Once the onions are cooked, add the finely chopped sausage and cook until heated through.

In a bowl, combine the onion-sausage mix, crumbled bacon and cream cheese well.

Add the shredded mozzarella and mild cheddar cheeses and mix well.

Fill each of the jalapeno halves with the cheese-sausage-bacon mix to the height of the pepper half.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or longer until the peppers are cooked through.

Serve the poppers on a platter with some sour cream to cool down the heat, if any!

VERDICT: I just loved loved loved these!!! Once they are cooked through they just have the wonderful flavor of the cheeses, the peppers and the bacon, but I did come across a few raw tips of peppers which gave us (and some guests) a bit of a trouble! Nevertheless, this is a wonderful recipe which will be made again in my house soon!!


NOTES:

1. Check out the video for the actual recipe.
2. If the peppers arent cooked through, they will have some heat, so make sure there aren't any raw ones.


Thanks again for visiting Tasty treats! Have a wonderful week ahead!

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays!



Wishing all my readers, supporters, friends and family a very Merry Christmas, a wonderful holiday season and a happy and prosperous New Year 2011 !!


I will be blogging soon about some new amazing recipes that I tried out during the holidays! See you soon back at Tasty treats!



Cheers!!

October 27, 2010

Yeast Doughnuts for Daring Baker's Challenge!

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Yes!! I did it on time! Its been a couple of months since I've posted on the blog, and I've missed a few of the challenges as well... But I'm more than happy to be back, that too with a successful completion of the challenge! There is a reason I've highlighted the word "successful". Its because it had every reason to be the opposite when I attempted the challenge! Of course, I kind of "planned' it for the last minute.. Starting the challenge the evening before the posting date is never easy.. My little girl's school harvest festival being on the same evening didn't help much! We just went through a move (Yay! We are in our new home!!) and my baking/measuring stuff are still somewhere in the boxes.. Eyeballing 2/3 cup of flour is not fun! And the weather has gone berserk here- extremely windy, rainy and a bit cold. Doughnuts rising well..? I didn't think so! Ages old yeast also added to the chaos...



But even after everything that could've gone wrong, I completed the challenge - "successfully". The yeast didn't froth initially, but I still went ahead with making the dough. I didn't have a stand mixer, so I just mixed with a spoon and then later kneaded the dough a bit. But it came together in just a few minutes, nice, soft and smooth! I left the dough in the pre-warmed oven to help it rise a bit and left for my little one's school. But the dough didn't seem to have risen (maybe it did a bit!?) when I came back, but since there was no going back, I rolled the dough out and cut out the doughnuts.

I just wanted to test whether the doughnuts would be any good with the seemingly flat dough! But it wasn't as bad as I thought and showed some promise. So I cut out the rest of the doughnuts and let it sit in a warmed oven for about 30 minutes. I didn't have a thermometer so again, it was hard keeping the temperature constant. Anyways, the doughnuts fried beautifully to a golden brown color quickly and was crisp on the outside with a yeasty chewy inside. I was surprised at how "well-rounded" they got once they were in the oil. My only issue was many of them cracking open in the oil (which I assumed was due to the oil being heated up too much?).

Anyways, despite everything, the doughnuts turned out really nice. I really didn't know how to dress up a doughnut, so a sprinkle of powdered sugar did the trick well..

I think this is a very solid recipe which would give consistent results and even after so many drawbacks, I got it right! I'm happy to be back, and that too with some handsome doughnuts!




Yeast Doughnuts:

Preparation time:

Hands on prep time - 25 minutes
Rising time - 1.5 hours total
Cooking time - 12 minutes
Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Ingredients

Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard) Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil
(can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)





Directions:

1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)

2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.

5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.

7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).

9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.

11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).

12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.




Bomboloni


Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 35 minutes
Rising time - 1 1/2 hours plus overnight
Cooking time - 10 minutes
Yield: About 32 Bomboloni

Ingredients

Water, Lukewarm 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon
Active Dry Yeast 3 ¼ teaspoon (1.5 pkgs.) / 16.25 ml / 10 gm / .35 oz
Honey 1.5 Tablespoon / 22.5 ml
All Purpose Flour 3 cup / 720 ml / 420 gm / 14 ¾ oz
Milk 3 Tablespoon / 45 ml
Egg Yolk, Large 6
White Granulated Sugar 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 75 gm / 2 2/3 oz + more for rolling
Kosher (Flaked) Salt 2 teaspoon / 10 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
Butter, Unsalted 3 Tablespoon / 45 ml / 42 gm / 1.5 oz
Canola Oil 3 cup / 720 ml / (Or any other flavorless oil used for frying)
Raspberry Jam, Seedless ¾ cup / 180 ml / 300 gm / 10.5 oz (or any flavor jam, preserves, jelly)

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, mix the water, yeast, honey and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (160 gm) of the flour. (Alternatively, whisk the ingredients by hand.) Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 1 hour.

2. Return the bowl to the mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons (260 gm) of flour, along with the milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and the salt. Mix at low speed until blended, then add the butter and knead at medium speed until silky but sticky, about 5 minutes; the dough will not pull away from the side of the bowl.

3. Using an oiled spatula, scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

4. In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil to 360°F/180°C. Line a rack with paper towels. Fill a shallow bowl with 1/2 inch (12 mm)of granulated sugar. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough a scant 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick. Using a 2-inch (50 mm) round biscuit cutter, stamp out rounds. The original recipe said to not re-roll the dough, but I did and found it to be fine. Fry the rounds, 4 to 5 at a time, until they are browned, about 4 minutes (mine only took about a minute each – try to go more by sight). Be sure to keep the oil between 360°F and 375°F 180°C and 190°C. Drain the bomboloni on paper towels.

5. Roll them in the granulated sugar.

Filling Directions:

Fit a pastry bag with a plain donut tip (or a 1/4-inch (6 mm) tip) and fill with the preserves (you can also use a squeeze bottle). Poke the tip three-fourths of the way into the bomboloni and squeeze in the preserves, pulling the tip out slightly as you squeeze to fill them as much as possible. Serve warm.



Thanks for visiting me today! Have a great day!

July 27, 2010

Swiss Swirl Icecream Cake for DB Challenge!



The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.


I finally got around to attempting this challenge last weekend. I was disappointed that I couldn't do last month's challenge, so I made sure that I did this one.. The baking part with the two swiss rolls went fine. I should say that never before have my swiss rolls been this soft and tasty. I particularly loved the fact that the filling was light Chantilly cream and not the heavy over-sweet buttercream or jam! The only thing that I felt I would change was the amount of cream used because I felt that the recipe given kind of over-stuffed the roll. But nevertheless, it was delicious and light! I guess since I used a smaller bowl to assemble the icecream cake, almost the whole second roll was excess for me (no regrets there, anyways!!).


I didn't get to go too creative with the icecream flavors. I went with the recipes given kind of "settling" for the vanilla icecream and chocolate icecream as the two flavors (eventhough my longing was to make rose-flavored and pistachio flavored icecreams!!). I used icecream maker to make both icecreams! I really didnt like the taste of the fudge sauce alone, but everything came together in the end. I felt that it tasted just like it was- sweetend water with cocoa! Maybe it would have been better if we had made some chocolate ganache for the filling!



I assembled the cake slices and the vanilla icecream on Sunday. I also made the Chocolate icecream. I was planning to make the fudge sauce and assemble the rest of the cake on the evening before the challenge reveal date. Unfortunately, when I came back home I found that the freezer wasn't closed properly and that the cake/vanilla icecream was soft!!! I still made the fudge sauce, waited a while for it to cool down and keeping my fingers crossed added the slightly warm sauce on top the vanilla icecream! Ofcourse, there is a reason for every instruction in the recipe, the sauce melted the icecream a bit and kind of became gooey. But I just hoped that too much damage wasn't done. I waited for an hour, but the icecream/fudge had still not set, but I added the softened chocolate icecream on top and just hoped that I would still have the three separate layers when I cut into the icecream cake.



I had to wait till evening today so that the cake could harden and I could take pictures once I came back from work. The unmolding was quick, and I decorated the cake with some cherries, shaved chocolate and sugar-frosted cherries on top. My cake slices were not clean - maybe I should have partially frozen the swiss roll before cutting into slices which would have made lesser smearing of cream on the cake. But other than that everything looked good and I was happy with the icecream cake.





VERDICT: Today was the best day for this icecream cake because the weather was unbearably hot in MN and there even was a heat advisory!! The thought of the icecream cake got me through the harsh evening commute! The icecream cake was perfect for this hot day. It was delicious, sweet and cold, everything you would expect from an icecream cake. Maybe its just me, but I wasn't "wow"ed by it though! I felt that the cake was a little bland tasting once it absorbed a bit of moisture or maybe it was because of freeze thawing!? Who knows, maybe it was because my swirl slices almost completely thawed because of the freezer mishap! A delight for sure for the eyes because of its layers, but somehow didn't rise to my expectations. I honestly felt that the individual elements worked better for me separately... We would give a 7.5/10 for this cake..



But one thing is for sure, it was a hit with my daughter! She rarely asks for seconds (be it any kind of food, including desserts!) but she wanted an additional piece of the icecream cake!



Swiss roll ice cream cake



inspired by the recipe of the same name from the Taste of Home website)

Swiss rolls - Recipe

Preparation time- 10 minutes
Baking time- 10-12 minutes
Rolling and cooling time- at least 30 minutes
Filling-5-8 minutes
Filling and rolling- 5-10 minutes

Ingredients-

6 medium sized eggs
1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp / 45gms/ a pinch over 1.5 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /a pinch under 1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans

For the filling-

2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar

Method-

1. Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.

3. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.



4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.

5. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.

6. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.

7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.

8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

9. Repeat the same for the next cake as well.

10. Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.

11. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.

12. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.

13. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).

14. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.




Vanilla ice cream

Preparation time-5 minutes+freezing

Ingredients-

2 and ½ C / 625 ml / 20 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, minced or 1 tsp/ 5 ml/ .15 fl oz vanilla extract
½ C / 115gms/ 4 oz of granulated sugar

Method-

1. Grind together the sugar and vanilla in a food processor. In a mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla –sugar mixture and whisk lightly till everything is mixed together. If you are using the vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then and the sugar along with the vanilla extract to the cream.

2. Pour into a freezer friendly container and freeze till firm around the edges. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

Hot fudge sauce

Preparation time-2 minutes
Cooking time-2 minutes

Ingredients-

1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract

Method-

1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.

2. Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).

3. Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .


Chocolate ice cream

Preparation time- 5 minutes + freezing

Ingredients-

2C/ 500 ml whipping cream
1 C/230gms/8 oz caster sugar
3 tblsp/ 24 gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder

Method-

1. Grind together the sugar and the cocoa powder in a food processor .

2. In a saucepan, add all the ingredients and whisk lightly.

3. Place the pan over heat and keep stirring till it begins to bubble around the edges.

4. Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container till firm around the edges. If you are using an ice cream maker, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instruction, after the mixture has cooled completely.

5. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.



Assembly

1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).

2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.

3. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).

4. Soften the vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour).

5. Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour).

6. Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set .

7. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.

8. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing, depending on how hot your region is. Slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water.




Thank you Sunita, for a wonderful and interesting challenge!



style="font-family:trebuchet ms;">Thanks for visiting me today! Have a great week ahead! I will be back soon with the decorating details of a cake that I made for a dinner party!!

June 6, 2010

Croquembouche or Piece Montee for Daring Baker's Challenge


First of all, let me apologize to all my readers for posting late for May 2010 Daring Baker's challenge. We decided to take a vacation without much advance planning and so I was away on my vacation!! I totally forgot about preparing the post eventhough I completed the challenge well ahead of time this month! Thanks, Twinsy Rachel for your message of support! :-) I really appreciate it!

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

I was really excited about the challenge because eventhough we have made pate a choux eclairs before for Daring Bakers, this challenge involved stacking them up into a piece montee and creating awesome caramel art! The initial pictures on the forum was so encouraging I just couldn't wait to start my attempt. The challenge was amazing also because it took me about 4-5 hours to complete the whole thing, including the baking!!

The batter was a breeze to prepare although it involved some serious stirring!! The choux baked excellent and were beautifully browned on the outside with a sheen because of the egg wash! The chocolate pastry cream filling was amazing and again easy to prepare. I should've doubled the recipe of the pastry cream, because in the end I couldn't fill the choux to the full.

I assembled the croquembouche using hard caramel glaze which gave me some serious burns!, but still it held the pieces together beautifully. The caramel art completed my croquembouche and I was proud of my creation eventhough it isn't as elaborate as some of the other ones my fellow DBers came up with!!!

VERDICT:

I took this to a party with my friends and they were all really impressed, to say the least!! The only downside was that I didn't have enough for everyone, so we had to share, which nobody was happy about! :-) The filled choux tasted amazing!! I decided that I would try this again before the posting deadline, but finally didn't get enough time! I would love to make this again with chocolate mousse filling and chocolate ganache glue, but I would definitely double the choux recipe so as to make a towering piece montee!!

This challenge one of my most favorite Daring Baker Challenges of all times for sure!! Thanks to Cat of Little Miss Cupcake again for this amazing challenge!



Ingredients:

For the Vanilla Crème Patissiere (Half Batch)
1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.

Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.

Return the remaining milk to boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, continuing whisking.

Continue whisking (this is important – you do not want the eggs to solidify/cook) until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.

Pour cream into a stainless steel/ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately and until ready to use.


For Chocolate Pastry Cream (Half Batch Recipe):

Bring ¼ cup (about 50 cl.) milk to a boil in a small pan; remove from heat and add in 3 ounces (about 80 g.) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, and mix until smooth. Whisk into pastry cream when you add the butter and vanilla.

For Coffee Pastry Cream (Half Batch recipe)
Dissolve 1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder in 1 ½ teaspoons boiling water. Whisk into pastry cream with butter and vanilla.

Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)


¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

For Egg Wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Preparing batter:
Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.

Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly.

Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny.

As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes.

It is at this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs.



Piping:

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I piped directly from the bag opening without a tip). Pipe choux about 1 inch-part in the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high about 1 inch wide.

Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top.

Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt).

Baking:

Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.

Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.

Can be stored in a airtight box overnight.

Filling:

When you are ready to assemble your piece montée, using a plain pastry tip, pierce the bottom of each choux. Fill the choux with pastry cream using either the same tip or a star tip, and place on a paper-lined sheet. Choux can be refrigerated briefly at this point while you make your glaze.

Use one of these to top your choux and assemble your piece montée.


Chocolate Glaze:

8 ounces/200 g. finely chopped chocolate (use the finest quality you can afford as the taste will be quite pronounced; I recommend semi-sweet)

Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Stir at regular intervals to avoid burning. Use the best quality chocolate you can afford. Use immediately.


Hard Caramel Glaze:

1 cup (225 g.) sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice

Combine sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with a metal kitchen spoon stirring until the sugar resembles wet sand. Place on medium heat; heat without stirring until sugar starts to melt around the sides of the pan and the center begins to smoke. Begin to stir sugar. Continue heating, stirring occasionally until the sugar is a clear, amber color. Remove from heat immediately; place bottom of pan in ice water to stop the cooking. Use immediately.



Assembly of your Piece Montée:

You may want to lay out your unfilled, unglazed choux in a practice design to get a feel for how to assemble the final dessert. For example, if making a conical shape, trace a circle (no bigger than 8 inches) on a piece of parchment to use as a pattern. Then take some of the larger choux and assemble them in the circle for the bottom layer. Practice seeing which pieces fit together best.

Once you are ready to assemble your piece montée, dip the top of each choux in your glaze (careful it may be still hot!), and start assembling on your cake board/plate/sheet. Continue dipping and adding choux in levels using the glaze to hold them together as you build up. (You may want to use toothpicks to hold them in place – see video #4 below).

When you have finished the design of your piece montée, you may drizzle with remaining glaze or use ribbons, sugar cookie cut-outs, almonds, flowers, etc. to decorate. Have fun and enjoy! Bon appétit!


Do try this recipe out and I am sure you all would love it!!! Thanks for visiting Tasty treats and have a great week ahead!!



May 16, 2010

"Devilish" Deviled eggs - Quick and easy appetizers!

I am back today with a simple and quick appetizer recipe for deviled eggs that I came across on the internet. I sincerely want to post regularly and keep my blog going, but since I started working, its been crazy. I thank all of you who have been extending their support and love to Tasty treats all these time!! I have many recipes to share with you - I have the pictures ready, but its just that I need to find the time to put together a post! :-)


Devilled eggs are one of the easiest and elegant looking appetizers that can be whipped up in no time! Ofcourse I never knew this until I tried the "Devilish" Deviled eggs recipe from deviledeggs.com, wonderful website dedicated for deviled eggs! I was web-hunting for an easy recipe for our Easter lunch (I know, its been a month since Easter!) and I came across their recipes for deviled eggs. I chose this particular recipe because it had a little spicy twist to it and it seemed really easy.


The website for deviled eggs cover everything from boiling an egg to some wonderful recipes for deviled eggs! So all the 'deviled egg' novices like me can relax and go through their posts and be an expert the first time around! Here is the recipe for the ones that I made!

Verdict:

The eggs were amazing! The filling was really smooth, creamy and had a bit of kick to it! I had never made deviled eggs before and this recipe made me fall in love with them!! They are really easy to make and would be a great appetizer to any party! Moreover they look really elegant and would be a hit! Do give these deviled eggs a try!


See you soon with another recipe!! Once again, thank you for your continued support for Tasty treats!

Have a great week ahead!

April 27, 2010

Marmalade Pudding for Daring Baker's

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

Initially, when I read about the challenge I was overwhelmed by the details of the savory pudding. Somehow it stuck to my mind as being a very difficult challenge. I was really busy this month with work and I thought I wouldnt be able to attempt this month's challenge. But yesterday I was just reading through the posting once more and I saw the sponge type pudding can be actually completed in an evening! So I decided to go ahead with the attempt.

All the ingredients were readily available and was quick to put together! Instead of suet, I used equal amounts of butter to make the sponge type pudding. I was able to complete the challenge in just about 2 hours!! The batter was real easy to whip up and the steaming took me about an hour. I just used a regular bowl as my mold. I finished the pudding with piping of melted chocolate and orange marmalade left over from last month's challenge.
The pudding isn't much to look at, but like many other DBers said, it tastes much better than it looks! :-)



VERDICT:

Even though I didn't feel that this pudding was anything to rave about, I feel that Esther's primary objectives were to introduce the traditional English ingredient suet and to incorporate the method of steaming into our challenge. I would say she succeeded in her ways! I did not try the suet, but I am happy that I successfully steamed my first English pudding, to perfection. The pudding was perfectly steamed, light and fluffy. I had thought that the pudding would turn out to be dense, but I was completely wrong. The marmalade was the perfect accompaniment to the pudding and enhanced the flavor multifold, even more than the chocolate! It was amazing - the combo of marmalade and pudding!! Thank you Ester for making us do something different for the challenge this month!

Type 1 Puddings — suet crusts.

Pudding Crust for both Savory Pudding or Sweet Pudding (using suet or a suet substitute):

Ingredients

(250 grams/12 ounces) Self-raising flour (Note* If you cannot find self-raising flour, use a combination of all-purpose flour and baking powder.)
(175 grams/6 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(a pinch) Salt and pepper (Note* If making a savory dish, can be replaced with spices for sweet if wished.)
(210 milliliters/a little less than a cup) Water (Note* You can use a milk or a water and milk mix for a richer pastry.)

1. Mix the flour and suet together.
2. Season the flour and suet mixture with salt and pepper if savory and just a bit of salt and/or spices if sweet.
3. Add the water, a tablespoonful at a time, as you mix the ingredients together. Make up the pastry to firm an elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. The liquid amounts are only an estimate and most recipes just say water to mix.
4. Don’t over handle the pastry or it will be too hard.
5. Reserve a quarter for the lid and roll out the rest and line a well-greased bowl.
6. At this point add your filling.. a couple of options are give below but have fun and go wild!
7. Roll the final piece of pastry out into a circle big enough to cover the top of the basin, dampen the edges and put in position on the pudding, pinching the edges together to seal.
8. Seal well and cover with a double sheet of foil – pleated in the centre to allow room for expansion while cooking. Secure with string, and place it in a steamer over boiling water.
9. Steam for up to 5 hours, you may need to add more boiling water halfway through or possibly more often. There is a lot of leeway in this steaming time and different recipes give different steaming times. Delia Smith says 5 hours for Steak and kidney where as Mrs Beeton says 2.5 for a similar dish! One way to tell that it is cooked is when the pastry changes colour and goes from white to a sort of light golden brown. It is also hard to over steam a pudding so you can leave it bubbling away until you are ready.

This one is a steak and onion one cooked for 1.5 hours.

This sort of pastry can also be used as a topping for a baked meat pie and becomes quite a light crusty pastry when baked.

Savory Pudding Filling options: steak and kidney pudding.

1 full amount of suet crust (see recipe above)
(450 grams/about 1 pound) Chuck steak
(225 grams/about 1/2 a pound) Ox kidney
1 medium-sized onion
2 teaspoons well-seasoned flour
splash of Worcestershire sauce

1. Chop the steak and kidney into fairly small cubes, toss them in seasoned flour, then add them to the pastry lined basin.
2. Pop the onion slices in here and there.
3. Add enough cold water to reach almost to the top of the meat and sprinkle in a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.
4. Follow the rest of the instructions in the crust recipe to finish pudding.
5. Cook for at least 2.5 hours (Mrs Beeton) up to 5 hours (Delia Smith).


Sweet Pudding Options: Sussex Pond Pudding

1 amount of suet pastry (see recipe above)
(120 grams/4.2 ounces) Demerara Sugar
(120 grams/4.2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 large lemon

1. Cut the butter into small pieces and put half in the basin with half the sugar.
2. Prick the whole lemon (preferably one with a thin skin) all over, using a thick skewer.
3. Place on top of the butter and sugar in the basin.
4. Cover with the rest of the butter and sugar.
5. Finish building the pudding as per the pastry recipe.
6. Steam for 3 ½ hours, or longer (for a really tender lemon), adding more water if needed.
7. To serve, turn the pudding into a dish with a deep rim, when you slice into it the rich lemon sauce will gush out.
8. Make sure each person is served some of the suet crust, lemon and tangy luscious sauce.



Type 2 puddings – Steamed Suet Pudding, sponge type.

(100 grams/4 ounces) All-purpose flour
(1/4 teaspoon) salt
(1.5 teaspoons) Baking powder
(100 grams/4 ounces) breadcrumbs
(75 grams/3 ounces) Caster sugar
(75 grams/ 3 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(1) large egg
(6 to 8 tablespoons) Cold milk

1. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into bowl.
2. Add breadcrumbs, sugar and suet.
3. Mix to a soft batter with beaten egg and milk
4. Turn into a buttered 1 liter/ 2pint pudding basin and cover securely with buttered greaseproof paper or aluminum foil.
5. Steam steadily for 2.5 to 3 hours
6. Turn out onto warm plate, Serve with sweet sauce to taste such as custard, caramel or a sweetened fruit sauce.

Variants:
Spotted Dick - Add 75g/ 3oz currants and 25g/1 oz of mixed chopped peel with the sugar.
Syrup or Treacle or Marmalade Pudding – put 2 Tablespoons of golden syrup, treacle or marmalade at the bottom of the bowl before adding pudding mix.
My Fair Lady Pudding – Add finely grated rind of 1 medium orange or lemon with the sugar.
Ginger Pudding – replace the sugar with 100g/4oz of treacle, and add 1/2 tsp ground ginger.



Thank you for visiting Tasty treats!! See you soon with another recipe..

Have a great week ahead!

March 27, 2010

Orange Tian for DB challenge


I am back after a month of inactivity, with the Daring Baker challenge for the month of March! The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Unfortunately I couldn't do the challenge last month because I was extremely busy. I just lost track of time and finally realized that I wouldn't be able to make the deadline for the challenge. So I was all the more excited about the challenge this time around. The challenge seemed simple enough, with about 4 components which were easy to whip up.

I decided to do the challenge split between 3-4 days.. I started with the orange marmalade and made it with pectin as mentioned in the recipe. The recipe was perfect and I finished up the prep without any problems. On the second day I was planning to do the Pate Sablee, I made the dough, but was too tired to do the baking. So it went in the fridge overnight. On the third day, I put the dough (which had hardened) in the microwave for 30s which left the dough just right for rolling out. I used the 5" tart/pie pan to cut out the dough (since I was planning to assemble the dessert in that), baked the dough at 325F for about 18 min, to get the golden brown dough circle. The circle was stored at room temperature till the next day. On the fourth day, I cut the orange segments, made the orange-caramel syrup and poured it over the orange segments. I also made the stabilized whipped cream with gelatin and folded in the marmalade.

Since we were impatient by then, I decided to go ahead with the assembly. I strained the segments, and finished the assembly according to instructions. About 10 minutes in the freezer made the dessert ready to be served!



VERDICT:

We all liked the Orange Tian! It looked so fresh, vibrant and beautiful. The assembly was a breeze with no glitches. The dessert had so many different elements and textures which came together very well. The marmalade was amazing, as was the marmalade-whipped cream. The orange segments were a bit sour for my taste (because I didn't put the segments in the orange-caramel overnight, but just for 30 minutes). But the thickened caramel syrup compensated for that amazingly well!

I would say my favorite part was the thickened orange-caramel syrup which I drizzled on the wedge of tian. It would also make an amazing icecream topping. The second favorite part was the whipped cream with marmalade folded in... It would make a great filling for pastries or mini-tartlettes as well.

For the Pate Sablee:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients


2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Directions:
Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.




For the Marmalade:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients


Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.

Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.

Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).

Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.

In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:

For this step you will need 8 oranges.

Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.



For the Caramel:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]




For the Whipped Cream:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.
[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]



Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.

Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.

Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.

Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.

Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.

Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.

Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.

Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Thank you for visiting Tasty treats! Have a great weekend ahead! See you soon...

January 27, 2010

Graham Crackers and Nanaimo Bars for Daring Bakers Challenge!

After missing the Daring Baker's Challenge in December, I'm back in the new year with White Chocolate Nanaimo Bars!! The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and http://www.nanaimo.ca/.

I wanted to be creative this month and try some amazing combinations of flavors but again, I didn't get enough time to put my ideas into action. Lauren encouraged us to try gluten-free graham crackers, but unfortunately in the end I had to go with what I had at home. I used a mix (half each) of wheat flour and all-purpose flour for my graham crackers. I halved the recipe for the crackers as it was advised in the forum that we just need 1/4 recipe for making the nanaimo bars given for the challenge. The dough indeed was very soft and was kind of loose, so I added probably 1/4 cup more flour to make it into a dough.

The dough was not super bad to work with but I should say it was very soft and delicate. Since I knew I am going to use the crackers for the bars, I didnt bother to cut them out of rolled dough. I just cut the rolled dough and baked as is. My crackers didn't need to be baked for even 20 minutes because I opened the oven around 20 minutes and the edges had actually started to burn! (Lesson: Keep an eye on the crackers!!). So there's no picture of the baked crackers! ;-)


I made the rest of the nanaimo bars according to the recipe given. Eventhough initially it felt like there wasnt enough of the custard middle layer to cover the bottom layer, it gradually gives away and spreads nicely. After reading a comment about how the chocolate top layer wasn't enough to cover the top, I doubled the amount of chocolate (white) but used the amount of butter specified in the recipe. There was more than enough to spread on top. A bit of butterscotch chocolate garnish on top finished off my nanaimo bars!!

VERDICT: Nanaimo bars sure are delicious!! The combination of all three layers work perfectly. My favourite is the bottom layer which is a mixture of all different textures. The soft cracker crumbs along with chewy shredded coconut and crunchy (yes, they stay crunchy!!) almonds are awesome! I could eat them all the time :-). I think I should not have used any more chocolate for the top layer than what was given in the recipe because taken together, the three layers would work the best (perfect sweetness) at the proportions given.

I have made Nanaimo bars before, and both times I found it too sweet for my tastes, though that doesn't mean that I wouldn't eat them!! JM loved the nanaimo bars too, lil LM was happy licking the butterscotch chips! ;-)




Preparation time:

• Graham Wafers: 30 to 45 minutes total active prep, 2 ½ hours to overnight and 45 minutes inactive prep.
• Nanaimo Bars: 30 minutes.

Equipment required:
• Food Processor
• Bowls
• Parchment paper or silpats
• Cookie sheets
• Double boiler or pot and heatproof bowl
• 8 by 8 inch square pan
• Hand mixer or stand mixer (You may use a wooden spoon, but this makes it much easier!)
• Saucepan

Gluten-Free Graham Wafers

Ingredients
1 cup (138 g) (4.9 ounces) Sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
3/4 cup (100 g) (3.5 ounces) Tapioca Starch/Flour
1/2 cup (65 g) (2.3 ounces) Sorghum Flour
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract



Directions:

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.

2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.

3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.

4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.

5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).

6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.

7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.

8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.

9. When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.



Nanaimo Bars

Ingredients:

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Icing Sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter



Directions:

1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.

2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.

3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

-------------------------------
Additional Information:

These bars freeze very well, so don’t be afraid to pop some into the freezer.

The graham wafers may be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Mine lasted about that long.

If making the graham crackers with wheat, replace the gluten-free flours (tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, and sorghum flour) with 2 ½ cups plus 2 tbsp of all-purpose wheat flour, or wheat pastry flour. Watch the wheat-based graham wafers very closely in the oven, as they bake faster than the gluten-free ones, sometimes only 12 minutes.

For the Nanaimo Bars, if making with wheat, replace the gluten-free graham wafer crumbs with equal parts wheat graham wafer crumbs!


Have a great day everyone!!! Hoping to see you soon here on Tasty treats!


January 23, 2010

Cheese balls - great party appetizers!!


Happy New Year, everyone!! I know its been almost a month since the new year, but better late than never I guess! I have been meaning to share this recipe with you since after Christmas but finally today, I got to make this post on Tasty treats! Yes, things are really hectic over here, I just dont know how to manage my time. Its totally weird that even now, I cant really say that I have adjusted to having to work, spend a chunk of my spare time in commute and still having to be a mom and a wife, all the while wishing to keep my blog going!! I had to skip the Daring Baker's challenge for December becuase I just couldn't figure out a time to do it! All the working food bloggers out there, please give me pointers!! :-)

Anyways, we had a quiet but nice Christmas meal with just the three of us. I had tried roasting Cornish Hens for the first time, along with a few other new recipes, which I am hoping to share with you soon. We had these amazing cheese balls as appetizers. These are very quick to put together, but they would definitely impress your guests in their looks, not to mention its wonderful taste. The texture of the soft, melting cheesy balls add onto the great appeal of these easy appetizers. Make sure to serve them warm, so as to keep the cheese melted.

I found this recipe in the Food Network Magazine at work, in a small ad for Viva Paper towels. The recipe has been shared by Jeannine Williams. I really didnt make any changes to the recipe except for that I didnt have garlic powder (I thought I had it, but it turned out on the day of cooking that I didnt!! - should have checked first!). So ours were probably lacking the flavor, which we absolutely didnt notice, because they were delicious!! The tomato ketchup dip is definitely the perfect accompaniment for these golden-brown fried cuties!



Recipe (Makes approximately 44 balls) :

Ricotta cheese (15oz. container) - 1
Eggs - 2
Shredded Mozarella Cheese - 2 cups
Seasoned bread crumbs - 2 cups, divided
Garlic powder - 1/4 tsp
Vegetable oil - for frying
Tomato sauce - for dipping

Method:

Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large pot or deep fryer until the termometer registers 360F.

Mix together ricotta and eggs.

Add mozzarella cheese, 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs and garlic powder.

Roll cheese about the size of golf balls, toss in remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs.

Carefully place in oil.

Fry a few at a time, about 1 minute 30 seconds.

Drain on paper towels (Viva ofcourse!!) and serve warm.

Tips:
  1. We got about 20 big cheese balls (not golf ball sized for sure!!)
  2. Serve warm so that the cheese is still melted.
  3. Coat the balls well, with bread crumbs. If the cheese portion is exposed, it might melt and stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. I used plain toasted bread crumbs and not seasoned crumbs.
Have a great week ahead!! See you soon with more recipes...