Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Finding a recipe was a snap. I have Rose Reisman's Divine Indulgences which contains a lovely stovetop recipe called Rice Pudding with Dates and Apricots. I made a few changes to the actual recipe though. For one, it calls for light soy milk which I substituted with 1%. I have made this recipe previously with vanilla soy milk and it has come out great. There was a little soy aftertaste but it was hardly noticeable. I also left out the dates and apricots because I don't have any in the cupboard right now and I also like my rice pudding without add-ins. Sometimes a small handful of raisins get thrown in but on the whole, I like my rice pudding straight-up plain (with a hint of cinnamon). Today's pudding came out just right. Soft arborio rice with thick sweet milk. Yum.
I know many people who don't like rice pudding that much or even at all. I think it is because of the texture. Sometimes 'custardy' desserts don't have a pleasing mouth-feel that turns people off. Perhaps in rice pudding the rice is a detracting factor to some. They want their pudding to be completely smooth and velvety. As for those who adore rice pudding, the variations are endless. Some like more rice, some less. Some like it more milky, others like it thick. Rice pudding is the type of dessert that can be tailored to meet almost any need - the type of milk, rice and method of cooking can be mixed-up to get a swoon-worthy pudding.
To see other great recipes from Rose Reisman, check out her website.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Toffee Bars for the Girls
If you're interested check out Wanda's website and see what she's got. If I ever get to Yorkville, I would definitely want to check out one of her classes. A fantastic way to spend 3 hours, at least for me!
Thursday, January 26, 2006
SHF #15 - Honey Raisin Scones
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, cut up
1/2 cup raisins
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup whipping cream
Nutritional Information Per Serving (1 scone)
Calories: 343 Cholesterol: 71 mg Dietary Fiber: 1 g Protein: 5 g Sodium: 409 mg Total Carbohydrates: 46 g Total Fat: 16 g
Note: I baked my batch of scones for 12 minutes at 425 F. I usually use a high temperature for scones because the outside becomes crispy and the inside is still soft and fluffy. If baking them at a lower temperature achieves the same result, please let me know. Thanks!
Thanks to Jennifer at Domestic Goddess for thinking up this great idea and also thanks to Sam at Becks & Posh for hosting SHF this month. Enjoy!
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Tip 2: All About Sugar
- Recently, I've been wondering a lot about sugar. We really don't think about sugar, often just taking it for granted when we whip up a cake or bake a batch of cookies. Although there are many other sweeteners, sugar by far is the most popular. Let's take a closer look at these sugary granules and the many forms they come in.
- Granulated Sugar - Derived from sugarcane or sugar beets, this is the most common sweetener in baked goods.
- Brown Sugar - Brown sugar is granulated sugar with molasses added. It comes in two forms - light and dark, the latter containing more molasses than the former. Light brown sugar has a more delicate flavour. Brown sugar should be kept in an airtight container (preferably plastic) so that it will not dry out and become rock-hard. Another type of dark cane sugar is called Muscovado which has a fine moist texture and molasses undertone. Brown sugar is also referred to as yellow or golden sugar.
- Coarse Sugar - This is mainly a decorating sugar that is sprinkled over cookies before they are baked. The granules are larger than regular white sugar ones.
- Confectioners' Sugar - This is also known as powdered or icing sugar. It is granulated sugar that has been processed into a powder. Cornstarch is added to prevent caking and it is less sweet than white sugar. The texture is light and cannot be substituted in equal amounts for granulated sugar. It is mainly used for dusting baked goods and preparing icing.
- Sanding Sugar - This is a granualted sugar that comes in a variety of textures and colours. It is mainly used for decorating cookies and adding sparkle to finished baked goods.
- Superfine Sugar - This is also known as castor sugar. The grain is fine and dissolves very easily. It can also be substituted in equal amounts for granulated sugar.
- Turbinado Sugar - It is sold under the name "sugar in the raw" and has a coarse texture and molasses flavour. Turbinado is pale brown and is a great sugar to sprinkle on cookies before they are baked.
- Vanilla Sugar - This is granulated sugar flavoured with vanilla.
As I looked around for information about sugar I came across The Sugar Association where I found some interesting facts. Did you know that sugar helps to reduce the acidity in foods? Fascinating.
I also came across the Canadian Sugar Institute where you can read about the history of sugar, sugar production and nutritional facts.
So as we can see, sugar is more than something to stir into tea and coffee. I couldn't have done this post without the great book The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle, an indispensible source of information and super recipes. Playing a supporting role for this post was The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Chewy Milk Chocolate Cookies
These cookies came from the back of a Chipits milk chocolate chips package. It can also be found on their website under the name Chipits Chewy Milk Chocolate Cookies. One major methodical difference between these cookies and the traditional creaming of butter and sugar is that the butter is melted. This results in the cookies tasting like smooth buttery caramel. My friend Elizabeth said that she could really taste the cookie dough...it was flavourful and rich. They did not turn out too flat, nor were they too rounded. I baked them for 9 minutes and they came out crispy on the edges and chewy on the inside. The recipe was easy to make, kid friendly and fabulously tasty. A definite keeper.
Monday, January 23, 2006
I ordered tea and a cheese mana'ish - a Lebanese flat bread topped with cheese that came piping hot out of the oven. There are many varieties of this popular menu item including zaatar (a thyme, sumac, sesame seed and olive oil mixture), spinach, sausage, tomato and egg.
My friends tried a wide sampling of pastries including maamoul (date-filled cookies), nammoura (a semolina and coconut sweet) and baklava filled with cheese. The ingredients used in Middle Eastern baking are not expansive but come in an astounding array of variations. For example, baklava comes as bourma, balouria and kol wa shukr to name a few. There is a wide use of nuts, phyllo, honey, semolina and dates as well as knafi (Lebanese pastry), cream and cheese.
In addition to the amazing pastries, Paramount also serves fresh fruit drinks, kabobs, shawarma, hummus, baba ghanoush, Middle Eastern ice cream, nuts, dried fruit, coffee and pita bread. It is definitely a place to visit especially if you want authentic Lebanese cuisine in a comfortable, friendly setting.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Chewy Chocolate Brownies
The brownies I made today are from Robin Hood Home Baking called Chewy Chocolate Brownies. The method was straightforward and they baked for 20 minutes. Once cut, they were not dry nor underdone. They are dense but not so fudgy that they will stick to the top of your mouth. Overall, I'm pleased with the result and will be taking them over to Elizabeth's tonight for tea.
The icing is from the Treasury of Desserts which I received as a gift from a university roommate. It's a great book that has come in handy over and over again. The 'Simple Brownie Icing' was indeed easy and simple yet added pizzazz to the humble brownie.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Peanut Butter Munchies
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Baking and Getting a date for the Dance
How to woo a girl from one of the best movies ever, Napoleon Dynamite:
Napoleon Dynamite: Who are you gonna ask?
Pedro: That girl over there.
Napoleon Dynamite: Summer Wheatly? How the heck are you gonna do that?
Pedro: Build her a cake or something.
How great is that?
Monday, January 16, 2006
Tip 1: All about Fats
- butter adds flavour and influences the texture and moistness of baked goods-the "mouth feel"
- fat tenderizes by coating flour, preventing it from absorbing water and developing gluten
- creaming butter with sugar contributes to leavening - if mixing is kept to a minimum after the flour is added, the result will be a more tender product
- butter is only 80% solid fat and has a low melting point
- vegetable shortening is 100% fat and has a high melting point (great for pie crust)
- vegetable shortening has no flavour but cookies made with shortening hold their shape better than those made with butter
- butter should be at room temperature when baking because the "creaming" process is very important since this is when air is incorporated into the dough
- sugar crystals have sharp edges that cut into the solid fat and create air cells. If the butter is too soft, these pockets of air will have nothing to hang on to.
That's just a small synopsis of our friend Fat. I'm sure I could have added lots more information but I think you get the picture. If you're interested in reading more about butter (and who wouldn't be), I've listed the books I used for this post.
Beaver, Wanda Wanda's Pie in the Sky 2002
Boyle, Tish The Good Cookie 2002
Robin Hood, Home Baking 2004
Steel, Pamela Great Canadian Cookies 2000
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Lemon Cornmeal Cookies
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Butter Tart Squares
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Pina Colada Muffins
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
- anything by Canadian Living (everything comes out perfect)
- The Clueless Baker (easy quick treats when you don't have a lot of time)
- Wanda's Pie in the Sky (when you want 'wow' desserts)
- Treasury of Desserts (various desserts...some completely homemade and some that use packaged foods)
I 've been all the Internet and tried lots of different recipes. AllRecipes is too random - people may rate a recipe high but then make all kinds of substitutions that you really wonder if the original recipe was any good. Also, I'm not a big fan of packaged goods so a lot of their recipes don't appeal to me. Canadian sources for baking are amazing...even Rose Reisman's Divine Indulgences is fantastic and it is all low-fat baking. I don't usually bake low-fat but her recipes are sweet. One book I would like to buy is In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daly. I know it is reference book but I could read it like a novel.
Monday, January 02, 2006