Irish Soda Bread buns

I have posted about Irish Soda Bread before but it never really worked well and was always tough in texture. This time it turned out delicious!

I was going to make the Martha Stewart Irish soda bread buns I saw in her magazine, but I didn’t have half the ingredients she wanted..so I improvised. 

buttered

Irish Soda Bread Buns

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp coarse salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

4 tbsp cold butter

1/3 cup ground flax seed/chia seed (I had this on hand, you could use wheatbran, or just ground flax, just something to give it colour)

2 tbsp caraway seeds (this can be omitted if you don’t like caraway)

2 cups whole milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup currants (raisins or any dried fruit is good)

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and ground flax.

Mix cold butter into flour mix until crumbly. Then add caraway and currants.

sodamix

Mix milk and lemon juice and let stand for 5 minutes for it to curdle. This is homemade buttermilk!

curdlemilk

 

Mix flour mixture with milk and combine until you have a sticky ball of dough.

Do not knead!

stickysodadough

Flour counter and cut into 16 pieces. Place on baking sheet, each piece touching. 

bundough

Slash top of each bun.

slashdough

Bake for about 35min (until golden brown). I used a toothpick to make sure it was baked through. Everytime I made soda bread, the middle would still be gooey, but with buns you are guaranteed baked through!

bakedsoda

Rip open and slather with butter (as seen above). It’s hard to stop eating it… 

Happy St.Patrick’s day!

Posted in Baking, No yeast, Savory, Wheat | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Whoa

It’s already March! In my mind I thought I at least wrote one new post since Halloween..   with my mommy brain I can’t remember a thing anymore!

finnlego

I haven’t made much bread lately but I have baked a few things over the holidays. Bread is an all day thing and I just can’t get a schedule down yet to make and experiment. I do have a sourdough starter pack that’s just sitting there waiting to be used, hopefully soon!

So let’s start with thanksgiving, the essential baking holiday!

Mini pumpkin cheesecakes with candied pepitas on top.

pumpkincheesecake

I dislike making a normal sized cheesecake, it takes so long and easily cracks on the top. Minis are super easy and fast.

First thing is to grease the muffin tray (I use Pam) and throw in the cupcake liners. I mixed about a cup of graham cracker crumbs with 2 tablespoons melted butter and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. You still want it sorta crumbly but can stick together in the liner. Flatten mix in liners and bake at 350° until slightly golden (8min?)

crust

I don’t have the cheeseckae recipe with me at the moment but I will put up a page with the recipe later on. Pour batter into cups and bake until firm, maybe 15min. When done, let cool then place in fridge; covered, for at least 4 hours.

For the candied pepitas, I just dumped 1/2 cup pepitas, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons maple syrup into a skillet on medium heat, stir until pepitas absorb the syrup and become sticky. Let cool.

Sprinkle pepitas and a little cinnamon on top and serve!

pumpkincheesecake2

I also made this apple tart with stevia for my diabetic grandma.

sugarlesstart

I turned out great and had enough sweetness from the apples to work fine! I think I used about a 1/4 cup stevia for a 9″tart.
stevia

And moving on to Christmas, I did bake more but documented this one treat: pistachio turtles.

inside

Grab a cookie sheet, lined with parchment and make clumps of pistachios.

clusters

The hardest part is making the caramel. Mix 1 cup sugar with 1/4 cup water in a small pot and set burner to med-high. Let it cook. Do not touch it! And do not touch temperature. In this picture, the syrup is almost done.
boiling-sugar

Get a 1/4 cup heavy cream ready.

cream

If you see one focused golden spot, you can swirl the syrup but for a second! When the whole mix turns gold I take it off right away (it will continue to cook and darken) and pour the heavy cream in while whisking frantically! When it stops spitting at you, you can whisk in a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Pour into bowl and let cool. You don’t want it to cool down too much so you can’t pour it anymore.

finished-caramel

The less cream you use, the harder it gets. And the more you leave it on the heat, the darker and more bitter it gets. Whatever you like! Though hard caramel does not work for turtles, more for brittle.

Pour caramel on pistachio clumps and put in fridge for an hour (you want them cold and hard to dip in the melted chocolate so the caramel won’t dissolve).
pouring

While waiting, chop up chocolate and melt on double boiler.
chopping

Dip them in, place on parchment and back to the fridge.
dipping

It’s best to let them sit out for the caramel to soften and enjoy!

That’s about all I have to offer for the moment but coming up next; Irish soda bread for St. Patrick’s day!

Posted in Baking, No yeast, Sweets, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy Halloween!

halloweencookies

 

Thanks to my mom babysitting, I made some halloween sugar cookies! The chocolate ones turned out yummy, just adding 1/2 cup of cocoa. 

Yum!

Posted in Sweets | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fancy Sugar Cookies

With a baby crawling around (and on the brink of walking), I haven’t done much baking personally.

finn

But I have had a couple of orders for sugar cookies, so let me give you the skinny on that:

I get my recipes from this website.

It takes a lot of practice to get the right consistency with icing and dough, but once you get it your cookies should look great!

My first order was for a bridal shower and this was the first time I made stackable wedding cake sugar cookies. Seems easy enough, making round cookies and only icing every second one but it took a lot longer then I thought.

weddingpacked

And if you don’t want them leaning and crooked, all your cookies must be exactly level. I don’t see how that’s even possible!

wedding2

But they looked pretty anyways. My sister-in-law bought the candy flowers for the top (very cheap on etsy) and I finished them with glitter painted on with lemon extract.

weddingboxed

My second order was to make 150 sunflowers for a wedding. That was a little more complicated in the icing techniques.

Here’s a rundown:

Let cookies cool.

Outline cookies with icing and let dry for an hour. This helps the flooding stay put.

outline

flooding

Flood cookies and let dry for 24 hours.

flooding2

Outline again for the center of the flower.

circle

Flood then sprinkle with raw sugar. Let dry for 24 hours. Dust off the sugar.

dusting

Add details and let dry again. You don’t even need to pack them away until a little later.

sunflowers

I also put the air conditioning on to keep the air dry, sometimes they go soggy with the humidity.

sunflower3

And I did make 2 dozen gluten-free cookies. I just used cup for cup gluten-free all purpose flour (king arthur) and tasted a little sandy but still pretty good! They crumble easily though, so be careful!

sunflower2

Then I had a little vacation in Canada. This was a great bakery, Art-is-in, with a good breakfast sandwich:

canada

I’ll be baking more in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned!

Posted in Baking, Sweets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Babies take your time

I noticed the last post was 4 days before Finn arrived in the world! Now he’s about 5 months old and I barely have time to bake.

finn

I did however bake this for Mother’s day. I call them cherry lemon explosion cupcakes.

cherryontop

Start with a vanilla cupcake which I got a random recipe off the internet, it was ok..

cupcake

Then made some lemon curd. Very easy to make and delicious! I used the Flour recipe which consists of lemon, butter, cream, sugar, eggs and salt. Making a curd is quite easy but needs a little practice. You need to heat up the lemon juice, cream and butter in a pot until just boiling (meanwhile the sugar, eggs and salt should be whisked together and ready), then you add the hot lemon mix to the egg mix, pouring very slowly while whisking like mad. Then add that back to the pot and whisk until it thickens. This can take 10 minutes or more, and you cannot leave the pot!

After it’s thickened up, let it cool (stir periodically) and then put plastic wrap on the top so its touching the curd (no skin will develop on the top then) and refrigerate overnight. Then add to anything!! yum.

lemoncurd

So I added this lemon curd to the middle of my cupcakes.

cupcakeholes

 

filledcupcakes

Then I made a cherry buttercream, I got the recipe from this book Vintage Cakes. They used dried cherries and a little vanilla, it worked well! Before I used fresh cherries, maybe a pound and the cherry flavour was lost in the buttercream.

driedcherry cherrybuttercream decoratingtip

cherrycupcake1

These cupcakes are so pretty, yet monstrous! It was hard to eat and can give you a sugar high. I need to cut the size by half!

inside-cupcake

These pretty cupcakes went well with the pretty weather and all the Cape Cod flowers blooming.

rhodadendras

 

lilyofthevalley

I will try to keep on baking but this kid just never sleeps!

Posted in Baking, Sweets | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pumpkin coffee cake muffins

Ok. Not sure how to call this one. It bakes in a muffin tin but tastes more like a coffee cake dipped in cinnamon sugar. Muffin to me equals somewhat healthy, but this one could be almost like a pumpkin donut. Though most muffins have a ton of sugar in them, just to warn you!

I told you I wouldn’t be posting for a while but I’m waiting for this baby to appear, and he’s being a little stubborn; so I am still baking to keep myself occupied.

These are addictive. 

baked

Pumpkin coffee cake muffins (makes around 22)

1 1/2 cups butter (room temp)

1 3/4 cups sugar

4 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

4 cups flour

2 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cardamon

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 cups buttermilk (I used non fat)

 

Cream butter and sugar. Make sure to scrape down the bowl before adding your eggs.

cream

Add one egg at a time. (See how the sides are scraped down)

egg

Add pumpkin. (This might separate a little, but it still worked for me).

addpumpkin

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices together.

spice

Then alternate between adding the flour mix and the buttermilk.

mixed

Chill in fridge for 3-4 hours or preferably overnight.

Spray or grease a muffin tray. Preheat oven at 375 and bake for about 20-25 minutes. 

tray

I was impatient and chilled it for 3 hours. The first batch got a little melty in the oven (had to put a tray underneath it to catch any overflow) but they still turned out yummy. 

melty

When you press on the top of the muffin, it should be firm and they should look a little cracked. 

Let completely cool on rack. If they are still warm and you dip them in butter, they will fall apart.

chillin

When cooled, dip in butter then in cinnamon sugar. I kept mine in a ziplock bag and they actually softened up a bit and tasted even better! Also, if you want to save some, don’t dip them and just freeze the muffins. Thaw and dip for later!

insidepumpkin

They are so good with coffee!!

Posted in Baking, No yeast, Sweets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Goodies

Ok, so I lied. I didn’t post up any more fall desserts.. it’s been terribly busy getting ready for a new person! I have about a month left, so this might be the last post for a little while.. oh, here’s some shoofly pie I made from Thanksgiving. I make it with a very gooey bottom. For those who don’t know, it’s basically molasses pie; very delicious.

shooflypie

Well I’ve been baking up a storm, like everyone, for Christmas. Maybe I made a little too much for being almost 9 months pregnant… but it’s so fun!

The easy cookies first: Ginger cookies and Chocolate hazelnut with orange zest.

christmasgoods

These cookies I got from the book Flour, but added candied ginger and orange zest on my own. It gives it a little more character.

Then, from the Martha Stewart magazine (it’s online too), I made some caramels. They turned out great… the second time. It’s actually pretty easy, you just can’t let it burn on the bottom and you have to watch the candy thermometer really close. The first batch of classic caramels I didn’t stir a lot and it burned slightly on the bottom. The second batch was perfect. Also, caramels are super sticky. The first batch I cut up and decided to put them all in a dish to transport over to the table for wrapping.. big mistake! They all stuck together. I tossed them.. after eating a few..

caramels

The other caramel I wanted to make was chocolate coffee. This one I followed a different recipe. I melted the chocolate with heavy cream, but didn’t heat up the rest of the ingredients to 248°, just to medium heat and then added the mix. It worked. At the end I added the 1/4 cup of  instant espresso like Martha said, but man, now it just tastes like coffee. Not really any chocolate to be heard of! Next time I’ll try half as much. It’s still a nice caramel if you like coffee.

Next on the list, sugar cookies of course! Love decorating them. Now this is a secret recipe; but a hint: shortening and flour in the recipe keeps the cookies from spreading. And add lots of lemon zest and extract, yum.

sugarcookies

They only take 8ish minutes to bake, let them cool completely and flood them first. The icing should dry for 24 hours and then you can add details. Details are always hard to do.. and it’s good to have a steady hand! I use a 1.5 – 2 tip for decorating.

And finally I wanted to make marshmallows for Christmas. Love homemade marshmallows, they taste so much better. They don’t have many ingredients but they are a slight pain to make. Let me talk you through my experience..

I made marshmallows from the book Sugar Baby. They didn’t really work out well.. hard and sticky. If it gets super sticky, it’s impossible to put on a cookie sheet.

So I tried another recipe online, and it worked the first time however I made a mistake and it turned out great!

First you put the gelatin in your mixer bowl with some water; you want it all to dissolve.

gelatin

Then in a pot, you put in the sugar, water, salt and corn syrup. At this point I wasn’t thinking and poured about a 1/4 cup of corn syrup into the gelatin but I said oh well and continued..

sugarmix

I heated up the sugar to a lower temperature (238°) than Sugar Baby (250°) and poured it into the gelatin mix while the whisk was slowly stirring.

sugarsyrup

After that, you crank it up to high. From the Sugar Baby book, it gets light and fluffy in 5min (though she does add egg whites too but then they only last about 2 weeks which I opted out of), but with the other recipe it takes about 10-13min.

fluff

I did 10min and right at the end added peppermint extract (at this point you can add whatever flavour you want) and a little red food colouring.

With your spatula all goobed up with shortening and your cookie sheet ready with icing sugar covering every inch, this batch was easy to scoop out.

icingsugar

marshmallowsheet

Usually it’s so sticky, I lose a quarter of a batch and it gets stiff really fast. This peppermint batch was perfect, a lot softer and pourable. This makes the marshmallow super fluffy, soft and melt in your mouth.

After pouring it in, sift icing sugar over it and let it sit room temp for 4 hours or overnight (longer the better).

marshicingsugar

When it’s ready, I cut it with scissors (so much easier) and have a little bowl ready with icing sugar to dunk the pieces because all the edges will be sticky.

marshmallows

The second marshmallow I made was vanilla and they didn’t turn out as fluffy.. I did everything the same but I might have went over my 10 minutes at the end. I think the more you mix, the tougher your marshmallow will be. And hey, some people like it like that. It almost becomes like a normal marshmallow.

marshmallowsvanilla

Hot chocolate and marshmallows, so Christmas!

hotchoc2

Those were my Christmas adventures. Now for something healthy to eat, I’m hooked on steel cut oats. So much tastier then mushy oatmeal.. the secret is to brown the oats first like you would do with nuts, then cook them up with water. I added apples, cranberries and cinnamon too. Yum!

oatmeal

Merry Christmas and see you in the new year, with an extra person!

hotchoc

 

Posted in Baking, Sweets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some baking adventures

The last couple of weeks I’ve been trying a couple of new recipes and some old.

I usually make granola each week and it’s very easy to make!

I use 4 cups rolled oats (not the quick stuff), 1/2 cup of almonds or any other nuts, a tbsp of sesame seeds, I started adding chia seeds. You can really add anything, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, whatever you have. Then I add a little cinnamon and a dash of salt.

Next whisk up a 1/3 cup of oil, 1/2 cup of applesauce, 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup, 2 tbsp of brown sugar and a dash of vanilla.

Mix that up in the granola. Bake at 325 until brown.. maybe 30min? I just watch it. Then let it cool and add all the dried fruit to it. I add raisins, cranberries and cut up apricots.

Good healthy breakfast!

Late September was my husband’s birthday, so I needed to make a cake. He loves malt milkshakes so I decided to try that malt ball cake from the Baked book. It was delicious, very milk chocolaty. It also melts pretty fast, so try to keep it cool!

A couple of tips if you want to make this cake:

The actual cake part is very delicate and sticky.

A good tip is to spray your cake pan and cut out a parchment paper round for the bottom of the pan.

Let it cool completely or it’ll break apart (and it stuck to my cooling rack).

I only made 2 layers instead of 3 and it still looked good. It doesn’t taste much like malted milk but it’s very moist and yummy.

The icing was a little tricky. They tell you to whip the icing until smooth and silky. That doesn’t really tell you much. It looks smooth and silky right away, but it’s very liquidy.

What I did after putting the crumb icing layer on, was whip it until it looked like the same colour in the picture of the book.

That turned into a fluffy light coloured icing. See the dark icing compared to the flufflier lighter one on the right?

The cake does taste like a big malt ball with the milk chocolate icing.

Now it’s October and it’s time for fall desserts!

Canadian thanksgiving, I made some pumpkin pie and bread pudding.

The bread pudding was made with my croissants, cut into 1″ pieces and toasted. I cut up some apples and poured the custard on top.

Unfortunately I baked it a little too long and it had a slight scrambled egg texture. It was still tasty. I drizzled maple syrup caramel over top.

Next was pumpkin pie chocolate brownies. They were a very moist brownie but no pumpkin flavour. I used Martha Stewart’s peanut butter brownie recipe (without the peanut butter) and Donna Hay’s pumpkin pie recipe ( a very tasty pumpkin pie – same one from thanksgiving).

The brownie actually absorbed all the pumpkin pie.

Next time I’ll try to make pumpkin cheesecake brownies, that might work better.

More fall desserts next post!

Posted in Baking, Breakfast, No yeast, Sweets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Too long of a break…

Sorry everyone! wow I haven’t been on since April.. a lot has been happening in life as usual. My job as a baker went a little haywire and I’ll be a new mom in 4 months, so it’s been hectic; baby shower (winnie the pooh theme) and all!

With the summer over in Cape Cod, everything slows down (phew) and now I have some time to write again!

I’ve been trying to perfect my croissants, and they are becoming easier.. A major issue I have sometimes is not letting them rise enough (sometimes it takes 3 hours..). They need to look really puffy or when you bake them they won’t bake all the way through and will be heavy and doughy in the middle. It’s hard to tell, but the trick is, if the outside look matte and dull and not shiny, then they didn’t rise enough. Can you tell?

Also I’ve been baking all sorts of things other than bread.. cookies, cakes, muffins.. I’ll be posting some of those up too!

Well I missed the 2 year mark of this blog.. maybe I’ll do a little something special in October!

I’ll be writing more often now, so please be patient with me!

Posted in Baking, Breakfast, Sweets, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easter baking!

Phew, Easter was crazy with baking. Not even just bread baking, all kinds of baking… I’ll break it down for you:

Brioche bread with pastry cream and chocolate ~

Spreading the pastry cream.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Squares of Brioche bread, pastry cream and chopped chocolate..


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Yum, brioche..


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From the Flour cookbook. Turned out pretty good, the brioche didn’t rise as much as I wanted it to.. I probably didn’t knead it enough.

Gluten-free chocolate cake~

Not sure where I got this recipe from.. It’s like all the other gluten-free cakes but I add finely ground almond. It was yummy with my canned rhubarb and honey compote.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Then while munching on these, we smoked some of our own pork belly with apple wood!


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Chocolate cupcakes with blackberry buttercream and candied pansies ~ Meyer Lemon curd on Hazelnut shortbread and topped with meringue

For Easter I wanted to make some pretty things, some chocolate cupcakes (recipe from Martha Stewart) with blackberry swiss buttercream icing (I just added blackberry jam) topped with candied pansies. It was delicious!
Also made a tray of meyer lemon curd on top of hazelnut shortbread bars, topped with meringue and garnished with a lemon balm leaf! Phew.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Then I thought I’d take a break after Easter.. but when I get the urge to bake something…

Coconut Raspberry macaroons~

(pretty much Barefoot Contessa recipe) but I added raspberries and it was a beautiful pairing!

Stiffen egg whites:


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mix coconut and raspberries (pint) together! Fold in the rest of the ingredients:

And bake! (Takes a little longer, the raspberries give it a lot of liquid). They are a pretty pink.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Flakier Croissants!

Then I finished up with croissants. These were particularly crispy and flaky.. I changed the timing a bit. I stuck the first 2 folds in the freezer and the third fold I stuck in the fridge for 2 hours. Then the last step I stuck it in the freezer for overnight and took it out in the morning to bake it up in the evening. Rolled it out, got my trusty Enterprise cutter and sliced it into little triangles.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Rose for 3 hours.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Baked until deep brown and lightweight! Yummm!

Posted in Baking, Breakfast, No yeast, Savory, Sweets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments