Sunday, September 25, 2011

cinnamon breakfast bites

I have been wanting to make homemade baked donuts forever now, but I lack a few key pieces to make said donut.  A donut cutter or donut pan for starters.  So when I saw this recipe for teeny bite size donuts that don't require any extra tools except your hands, I whipped up a batch for breakfast.  These are  "healthier" than a fried donut and are so very easy to make.  Needless to say, Mike and I polished them off.   I think these may become a weekend favourite in my house. 

source:oh my! sugar high

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup crisp rice cereal, coarsely crushed
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted


1. Mix flour, crushed cereal, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.

2. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Add milk and stir just until moistened.

4. Roll dough into approximately 2 1/2 dozen 1 inch balls.

5. Mix cinnamon and remaining sugar in a small bowl. Drop balls into melted butter and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.

6. Place balls onto greased 8 or 9 inch round pan.

7. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in pan on wire rack before removing.

bon appetito!

Friday, September 9, 2011

autumn and triple chocolate cake

And there you have it.  With the flip of a calendar page and the passing of a few days, summer's heat has evaporated like dew in the morning sun. 

I've noticed in the land of blogosphere there are many who are embracing this cooler autumn weather and joyfully baking all things pumpkin and apple. But not me.  Nope, I'd rather bake a cake.  Growing up I remember every Sunday my mom or dad would bake a banana walnut snackin cake.  Remember these?  So good! 

I made this triple chocolate cake for a labour day get-together this past weekend.  It was incrediby moist  and not over the top sweet like so many cakes can be.  It's layered with dark chocolate pudding and dark chocolate buttercream.  So, no pumpkin or apple desserts for me. Not just yet.  I'll pass for now and just eat cake. 

Triple Chocolate Cake
adapted from Ina Garten

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.

Chocolate Filling
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup water
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 oz bittersweet/semisweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk the yolk mixture into the hot cream mixture in the saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to boil, whisking for 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until completely melted.  

Pass the filling through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl. Stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.  

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
4 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
11 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp.
1 2/3 cups confectioners (icing) sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place the chocolate in a double broiler. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate is completely melted.

Remove the bowl from the pot and set the chocolate aside to cool until tepid.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add confectioners sugar and beat at med-high speed for 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat until well blended and creamy, about 1 minute.

Assemble the cake
Using a long serrated knife, cut each later in half horizontally, to make four layers. 
Place one layer cut side up on a serving plate. Spread 1/3 of the filling over this layer. Repeat with two more layers. Top with fourth layer cake, smooth side up.

Using a flat spatula, frost the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting. This is the crumb coat. Refridgerate for about an hour. Frost cake with a final coat and top with grated chocolate.

This may all seem a tad labour intensive, but this cake is worth the effort. Enjoy!

Monday, September 5, 2011

labour day

Happy Labour Day to all who are celebrating this long weekend.   Labour Day typically means an end to summer with family bbq get-togethers before the hectic back-to-school activies start for many.
But for me, I am simply not ready to usher in the crisp, chilly fall weather requiring one to wear layers of clothing, closed toe shoes and pack away the sundresses and flip flops.  No, summer is not over.  Not as long as there's blueberry pie. 

Blueberry pie is a family favourite. And if blueberry pie means summer, then I'm baking pie daily until next June.  I generally make my own crust, but this time I used the pie dough I picked up from a recent trip to St. Jacob's Farmer's Market.

blueberry pie
adapted from apt2bbakingco

2lbs blueberries (8 cups)
1/2 cups sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries
1/4 cups cornstarch 
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla 
pinch of nutmeg
1 egg for egg wash
coarse sugar for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 500º

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece of the dough into a circle and place it in your pie pan.
2. Roll out your other piece of dough into a circle.
3. Pour the berries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and vanilla into a medium bowl and stir to combine.
4. Pour the berries and their juices into the crust lined pie pan. Drape the second crust over top. Trim the edges so there is about 1/2'' of overhang. Tuck the rim of dough under itself and crimp it with your fingers or a fork. Then, brush the top with a beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut a few vents in the top before placing the pie in the oven.
5. Lower the oven temperature to 425º, place the pie on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown. Then lower the oven temperature again to 375º and bake until the crust is a deep golden brown and the juices bubble, 25-30 min longer. Cool the pie for at least 2 hours before serving.