Daring Bakers February 2012: Quick bread


The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

Quick bread! Yay! I love  Quick bread.  I make zucchini bread a lot, and my mother used to make “babovka” all the time (which is a marble  quick bread but she bundt’s it).  So many options.  I was determined to take this baking challenge by storm, and I made THREE different flavours of quick breads.  One turned out well enough, one flopped horribly, and the last was magnificent.  I have no pictures of the flop, and I was very upset with it, but I will share my experiences anyways.

Lemon Loaf (Adapted from Recipe Girl’s Meyer Lemon Loaf)

  • 2 and 2/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees

flour and baking powder in one bowl. Thank you Sous- chef!

Sugar, eggs, lemon peel, whisk! You'll know when its ready, it will be a delightful sunshine colour

Add the Flour and baking powder in groups until mixed well, then add the butter in parts and mix well again. Put in greased loaf pans

bake for 50-55 minutes. Start checking on it around 45 minutes just incase. When the knife comes out clean from the center you're done!

  • SIMPLE SYRUP:
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    ½ cup (120 ml) water
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon

bring water and sugar to a boil until sugar is noticeably dissolved, take off heat, add lemon juice, glaze your hot loaves that are cooling on a rack

What did I think of my lemon loaf?  It tasted fantastic.  I had the same problem with it though, that I always have with loaves.  Density.  My baking powder is old, and therefore less potent, but I’ve watched my mother use baking powder that could be up to years old and still get super fluffy Babovky.  Hmmm….

Audax Artifix Pizza Quick bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar (I omitted. Sugary pizza?? In hindsight maybe it would have helped)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (I omitted)
  • 1/4 chopped Sun-dried tomatoes (+ 2 tbsp oil)
  • 2 tbsp italian herbs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 sausage fried
  • few strips of pre-cooked, chopped bacon (I added that on my own)

Pre-heat to 325, do the usual.  Mix flour and Baking soda, set aside.  Fry your onion with your sausage, and bacon, mix those with the tomatoes, eggs, buttermilk, herbs, sour cream.  Then sift in the flour mixed and bake for around an hour.  My fail was this: It was the super bowl.  I thought my husband and his friends would enjoy a nice, strong, pizza flavoured quick bread.  He had chilli on the stove.  My oven cannot multitask. Half the burners only work at half power if the oven is on, and half won’t even work if the other two are on.  One hour passed, not done.   One and a half hours passed, it looked done, passed the knife test because the outside was so crispy so I took it out and allowed it to cool.  The moment I flipped it on to my rack it broke in half and the middle, completely raw, oozed out, and in a panic I tried to get it all back in the pan and back in to the oven.  That’s when my husband said I looked like a child because I was sulking and stomping my foot, honestly I don’t blame him. LOL! So, after another I dunno, another Hour? I finally took it out for good and though it did taste quite good, it had the texture of my mothers thanksgiving stuffing.  Over moist and super dense.  Fail fail fail!!  I need redemption.

Pumpkin Loaf with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

Makes three 8”x 4” (20 x 10 cm) loaves
Adapted from Dana Ramsey’s recipe

filling:

  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Pumpkin Bread

  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (NOT PIE FILLING!!)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cloves

Pre-heat your oven to 350, grease THREE loaf pans

First things first, make the filling.  Beat the cream cheese with the sugar, egg, milk until creamy (you know, when it no longer resembles cottage cheese lol!) then add your syrup, blend it, and put it away.

beat sugar, eggs, pumpkin oil and water

mix all your ingredients, MINUS THE BAKING SODA AND BAKING POWDER**

in groups, add the dry to wet

when it's all blended, THEN add your baking powder and soda, and just stir gently until incorporated. Pour in your loaf pans, 1/4 full. Spoon cream cheese down middle, put more batter on top to cover it.

Bake it for 50 minutes – 1 hour. Keep and eye on it, my oven made me keep it in longer, but my oven is on its last legs.  Now if you want to know why I left the lifters (baking powder, and soda) til the end, it’s because I finally listened to my mother.  That is how she does it with her cakes, and no matter how old her baking powder is it always seems to work perfectly.  She attributes it to using it as late as possible in order to keep it from “wearing off”.  She doesn’t know the actual science to it, obviously I don’t either, but that’s just how she was taught so that’s how I did it.   How did it work out for me?

You tell me!

My loaves SWELLED up.  I have never had this kind of lift in ANY of my baking before! and the crumb? Well… Hello Breakfast!

mmmmm. No filling on the first slice, awww

What a wonderful challenge.  I can’t wait to use what I learned in my other baking ventures!

Daring Bakers – January 2012 – Scones!


With a new year comes a new spark and new motivation to cook! I can’t wait to get right back in to the swing of the Daring Chefs/Bakers! So excitedly I went as fast as my googlefingers could take me and have taken up the challenges already. This month? SCONES!

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens! The challenge scone (biscuit) recipe has been especially formulated by Audax Artifex after a large amount of research and experimentation. It is designed to help you master the techniques involved in making scones (biscuits) exactly the way you like them.

I found this note on the instructions to be very interesting. Who knew? Well Audax did, and now I do too!

Chemical raising agents – always use fresh raising agents, baking powder deteriorates within two months once the jar is opened, the recommended dose is about 2 teaspoons per cup of flour. Baking powder nowadays is double action – there is an initial release of gas once the dry and wet ingredients are combined and there is another release of gas from the high heat of the oven. If you are using acidic ingredients (such as buttermilk, soured milk, cream, honey, cheese, tomato sauce etc) then use an additional ¼ teaspoon of baking soda per cup of liquid to help neutralise the acid and make the final baked product raise correctly. Baking soda is four times stronger in raising power than baking powder. You can make you own single action baking powder by triple sifting together one part baking soda and two parts cream of tartar store in an airtight container.

Well, enough talk, I chose to make the variation with cream.  I love cream.

Cream Scones

  • 1 cup  plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons  fresh baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
  • ½ cup Cream
  • optional 1 tablespoon cream, for glazing the tops of the scones

Preheat oven to very hot 475°F.  I was actually a little scared about doing this. My stove is very old, half the lights don’t work, and its never been taken to 475 before.  I wonder why canadian ovens are in fahrenheit.

A labour of love. Sift dry ingredients.. THREE times. Without a sifter? I must mean business.

grate your butter in with the sifted stuff and rub/cut it til it has the texture of beach sand*

*need an example of beach sand?

add the cream. All of it.

on a floured surface, flour the top of the scones too, and kneed them. Cut them with a biscuit cutter OR just slice them in triangles

Bake for 10 minutes at 475. Check them at 8 to make sure they're not burnt. Place on cooling rack.

Top appropriately. Mmmm Jammm. Serve them warm!

Kid approved!

Petite Fours with vanilla ice cream


The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Petite fours! Yippie!!! I’ve always loved these elegant little cakes, and the brown butter pound cake sounded delicious. I was very happy to recieve this challenge!   My original idea was to make the brown butter pound cake, with David Liebovitz pumpkin ice cream because I so love pumpkins.  I made the ice cream and it was fantastic!!! It tasted like the best pumpkin pie ever.  But that turned in to a bad idea, because it was so delicious a friend and I devoured it.  So I went with the vanilla ice cream the DB recommended, slightly modified for what I could find in the store, and after an undenyable urge, I added 1/4 tsp cinnamon and the results are delicious!

Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 1 cup (250ml) 2% milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup (165g) sugar
  • 3 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (500ml) light cream (5%)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams,  then let cool to room temperature

Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the light cream.

In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cupof the warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.

Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract  and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2007/07/making_ice_crea_1.html

Brown Butter Pound Cake

  • 19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” square pan.

Place the butter in a 10”  skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze (For the Ice Cream Petit Fours)

  • 9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract

Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.

Assembly

To put the petite fours together, I took a leisurely three days so that I could make sure I had ample time to correct any errors.  On the first day I made the ice cream, on the 2nd day I made the cake, and froze the ice cream for the middle, and assembled the cake with the ice cream to freeze overnight, and the 3rd day I made the glaze, and assembled it all.   Everything was quite easy and straightforward with the assembly.  Except, when it came to cutting my cake in to the squares.  When you take it out of the freezer you have to trim off the ends, then cut in to squares.  My cake started seperating from the ice cream.  Then dipping them in to the chocolate completely failed for me.  It reminded me of christmas baking with my mom when she fussed over the peanut-butter snow balls in a flurry of curse words and a delicious “not good enough” pile.  So I just put them on my parchment paper, and my daughter and I had a drizzle party.  then we sprinkled them up and put them back in the freezer so the chocolate could set (atleast an hour)

It’ll be a wonderfully tasty welcome home present for my husband when he returns from calgary the day I finished them!

Swiss roll bombes


finished Swiss Roll Bombe

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.

This is my first Daring Bakers entry.  I love baking, always have.  Just ask my mother, she could never get me away when she was baking.   Then when she virtually stopped baking I just started making her dorty myself.  Being czech, her cakes were always very yeasty, or they were bundt’s.   I stuck to the bundt’s.      I’m so happy to start this.

Now to be completely honest when I saw this months baking challenge I thought, I’ll start next month.  My husband saw it over my shoulder, asked what it was and when I told him I’m challenged to make that he told me the inevitable.  I am now demanded to make it, and to wipe his drool off the floor while I do so.

When I see swiss rolls, I always think of black forest cake.  I think the reason for that is the swiss rolls I’ve eaten in my life always have the cherry sauce layer.  So I decided to incorporate some of that idea in to this.   I made my swiss roll bombe with cherry ice cream, and chocolate ice cream.  I used a rum sauce between the ice creams rather than fudge because I thought it would just be chocolate overkill. I chose rum sauce over a cherry liquer sauce because of the cherry ice cream.  My ice cream managed to leak out of the swiss rolls but I believe this is because i didn’t pack them tight enough, I left some tiny gaps between my rolls allowing ice cream escape!

I must admit.  This recipe turned out to be a LOT easier than I could have ever thought it would be looking at the finished product!  Everything turned out perfectly for me.  I would like to warn you readers now though,  it is best to take this project slow and make sure everything sets well.  So give yourself two days, as was recommended to me and turned out to be exactly what I needed.  Make the cake and ice creams on the first day, do the sauce and setup the next day.   This will ensure that the ice creams are frozen, the cake is chilled enough to cut without crumbling, and you won’t be ripping your hair out over stress and confusion! Happy eating!!!!

The Swiss rolls

  • 6 medium sized eggs
  • 1 cup of Caster Sugar
  • 6 tbsp all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water
  • a little oil for brushing the pans

Pre heat the oven to 400 deg F.  Brush the baking pans ( I used 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper (I used wax because my brain doesn’t function well in the morning lmao. Kitchen smokeout!)  If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.

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.

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

Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.  Easy as that!

Place a pan in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch. 12 minutes worked out perfectly for me.

Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it to prevent sticking.

Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper gently.  I lost some tiny bits of cake in the process by my garbage disposal husband managed to get them all. Trim any crisp edges.

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.

Repeat the same for the next cake as well.

For the filling-

  • 2 Cups of whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp of caster sugar

I don’t have a food processor.  If you do, grind the sugar, then grind it with the vanilla.  I just mashed up the vanilla and sugar with a hard plastic ice cream scoop. It worked.

In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.  This took 5- 10 minutes.  You don’t want to over whip.  Over whipping creates butter.

Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges or you’ll get run out.
Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

Cookin the pre-cherry ice cream!

Cherry ice cream

  • 350 g cherries (i used Glace.. because I sent my husband to get the groceries.)
  • 5 medium egg yolks
  • 3 cups heavy table cream
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar

Puree the cherries until they’re a delightful little red mashy paste. Put aside for later!

Separate 5 eggs, keeping the yolks in a midsized sauce pan and save the whites for breakfast one day.  Whisk the yolks together until they are well beaten.

Now add the rest, minus the cherries and heat on a medium heat, stirring frequently until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is almost at the boil.

Remove from the heat and pour into a cold bowl or jug, and leave to cool fully.

Once the mixture is cool, stir in the pureed cherries thoroughly

I don’t have an ice cream maker.  So if you’re like me, and don’t have an ice cream maker, when the ice cream is fully cooled put it in the freezer, and regularly visit every half hour or 45 mins  to mix it again until it’s set.  Thats it really!

Chocolate ice cream! SOO EASY. tastes store bought.

Chocolate ice cream

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

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

In a saucepan, add all the ingredients and whisk lightly. Then place the pan over heat and keep stirring till it begins to bubble around the edges.

Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container till firm around the edges.  You’ll run this the same as you would the cherry ice cream if you’re like me and ice cream makerless.   On a side note, if you DO have an ice cream maker, follow its instructions!

Rum sauce! double yum!

Rum Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.5 tbsp rum extract (or 3 tbsp light rum)

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mix together the sugar and cornstarch, and stir into the butter. Pour in milk, and cook stirring frequently until the mixture begins to boil. Continue cooking until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in rum.  Let cool completely!

Assembly:

Swiss roll pieces, ice cream, sauce, ice cream!

Cut your swiss rolls in to slices, not too thick but not too thin.  Starting at the bottom of your chosen bowl (pre-chilled, and the inside of the bowl plastic wrapped all the way up) add the first 2 swiss roll slices crease to crease.  From there, add slices all the way up the sides of the bowl.  Cover the top with plastic wrap aswell, and freeze  for atleast 30 minutes to an hour.  Add softened cherry ice cream, freeze for an hour, add sauce, freeze for atleast an hour.  The rum sauce will not freeze, but it will become very thick, so give it atleast an hour to hour and half to do so.  Then softened chocolate ice cream.  Now that all the elements are together, freezer it for 4-6 hours (or as long as you want I suppose).   To get it out of the bowl, take off the covering layer of plastic wrap, gently flip it on to a serving dish, or whatever you’re going to serve it on,  and pull the bowl off super softly.  It should go relatively easy because of the plastic wrap inside but if its giving a bit of trouble just get a cloth, dampen it with hot water and rub it on the bowl to release it.   Pull of plastic wrap, and eat!

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by this entire recipe and I think I’m going to start making home made ice cream a lot more often!   Challenge done.  Time for a nice pat on the back.