Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hot Cross Buns

For Easter, I decided to make something festive. I came across this recipe on one of my new favorite blogs, WildYeastBlog. Her pictures always look amazing!

Since there is only 2 of us, I halved the recipe and made 6 delicious rolls. I had to let mine proof for an extra 45 minutes (Easter dinner was taking up the oven), but they came out great. They have just a hint of sweetness and spice, so they are good for breakfast, dinner, or maybe even dessert :)

The post with the recipe also has some great history about the buns, and she writes excellent directions so I won't even post them here. Take a look...

I'd definitely make these guys again, the recipe is pretty simple. Most of the time is just spent waiting. Here are some pics of my Hot Cross Buns.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Irish Soda Bread

Since I'm not going to be in town to celebrate St Patrick's day, I thought this weekend I would bake some Irish themed goodies. First up, a lovely bread that turned out much better than I had expected. Usually I am not a fan of raisins in bread, but it really works in this recipe with the texture and the caraway. I found this recipe on the Food Network site, and I would definitely make it again. This bread comes together in under an hour!

I'm trying to remember to take more pictures during the process, but I get too into the recipe sometimes :)

Raisin Caraway Soda Bread
(Food Network)

1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons treacle or molasses ( I used honey instead)
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the raisins in a bowl and cover with 1 cup boiling water. Let sit and rehydrate for 10 minutes, then drain well in a sieve.

Into a large bowl sift together the flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the butter into the dry ingredients and work with your fingertips until it resembles dry crumbs. Add the caraway seeds, treacle, buttermilk and raisins and work with your fingers until just mixed and a wet dough is formed, being careful not to over mix. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and form into a round. Press down on the dough with the palm of your hand and press to form a flat round about 1 1/2-inches high.

With a knife, cut a 1/4-inch deep cross in the center of the dough. With a pastry brush paint the dough with the cream and sprinkle the top with the oats. Place on a baking sheet and bake until light brown and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a wire rack before slicing. Serve warm with plenty of sweet butter.

I decided to use it in a corned beef sandwich, and it was delish!

I also entered this bread in the BreadBakingDay #8, check it out here.

BreadBakingDay #8 - celebration breads

Monday, March 10, 2008

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I had to make something sweet for St Patrick's day as well, and I had some bananas that I needed to do something with, so this recipe was born. I've made chocolate chip muffins before, but since I wanted to frost these, I wanted a more cake-like texture. They came out nice and moist, not crumbly at all. Here is the recipe I came up with:

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350ยบ
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy
3. Add the bananas and mix together throughly
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, until they are mixed well, then add the vanilla

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and oats

6. Add half the dry ingredients to the wet mix and lightly mix, then add the yogurt and mix, and the rest of the dry and mix.
7. Add the chocolate chips and stir in by hand.
8. Dish out the batter into 24 mini cupcake tins, or 12 regular size.
9. Bake 15 minutes for mini cupcakes, and 20 minutes for regular size (they should be golden and a toothpick comes out pretty clean).

For the frosting, I made a simple white chocolate cream cheese mix.

4oz white chocolate
4oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup powdered sugar (just to make it the right consistency)

1. Beat the cream cheese until it is smooth
2. Melt the chocolate and let cool slightly
3. Add the chocolate and lemon juice, beat until it is smooth.
4. If it is too soft, add the powdered sugar until it is the consistency you need.

I piped 3/4 of it on the cupcakes in white, then added a bit a green coloring to it and added the shamrocks...

Also, check out this neat event...

Key Lime Bars

Last week I was craving something healthier than a cupcake and included some fruit (some picky eaters I know prefer desserts with fruit in them). I came across this recipe on Martha Stewart's website and it not only fit the bill, but was very cute.

This was my first time making a custard type filling, so I was a bit cautious about making sure the eggs were the right consistency before adding the milk and lime juice. But, the recipe was pretty easy (except for squeezing 23 key limes!) These are the times that I wish I had a few of those uni-taskers (like a citrus reamer) that I don't have any room for...

The bars came out great and were easy to cut after they chilled for a while. This is definitely a recipe I'd make again.

Key Lime Bars
(Martha Stewart Living)
  • 1 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice , (about 23 Key limes total)
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk, (14 ounces)
  1. Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.(Leave oven on.)
  2. Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix until thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.
  3. Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula. Bake, rotating
    dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10
    minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at
    least 4 hours (or overnight).

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My First Blog!

I am very excited to write my first post ever! I plan to use this space to share my love for baking and hopefully get some community input to improve my craft. I try to spend a day a week making breads, pastries, or some other treats and will put my recipes along with some pictures of my triumphs (and hopefully not to many failures) up here after the tasting is done.