Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My First Daring Bakers Challenge!

A French Yule Log

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.

They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

Whew, what a project! The log had six elements, made from scratch, with some of the scratches also made from scratch. :o) I am not a huge connoisseur of heavy desserts like this, but it was definitely impressive, and I enjoyed making all of it (read: I only swore at it a little and did not drop it in transit).

My favorite element was the Praline Feuillete, which is the third layer from the bottom. It is made of milk chocolate, praline paste, and gavottes. I made the praline paste out of almonds, and it turned out lovely, as displayed on this spoon:

Gavottes are lace crepes, which require a lot of spreading and watching the oven carefully. But they were worth it in the end.

The decor of my log was minimal at best. But by Christmas Eve morning (my last day at home before going to my future in-laws'), I was out of time, out of chocolate, and out of ideas anyhow. Next challenge I would like to bring it old school. I have been so impressed by the veteran bakers in this group! I think I will learn a lot from them.

My photos aren't the best for this (sweaty log, anyone?); I took them at night because that was when the log was going to be eaten and slicing it early would have been weird to me. Next time I will definitely take the photos in the daytime... which lately in Scotland has been in short supply, but I'll see what I can do, wink!

Thank you, Hilda and Marion! It was a challenge o' fun.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Angry Apple Spice Cake

The name of this cake comes from a story my mom was telling me and my friend Kathleen earlier today about my brother saying that some Yankee-style sweets, such as hermits or gingerbread, taste "angry." Then we started talking about other old-man desserts, and spice cake started to sound pretty good. It is so often overlooked and underrated, but we're bringing spicy back... to cake... in this one.

Angry Apple Spice Cake

For the apples:
3-4 apples (we used Cox)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1/2 tablespoon sugar
Melt butter in skillet, then add the apples, syrup and sugar. Stir around and cook until soft and the apples have some color. Set these aside while you make the cake, unless your friend is over to make them at the same time!

For the cake:
310 g plain, all-purpose flour
30 g cornstarch
20 g baking powder
3 g salt
3 g ground cinnamon
3 g ground nutmeg
1 g ground cloves
100 g granulated sugar
125 g soft or slightly melted margarine
235 ml milk
3 large eggs
10 ml vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated ginger
100 g Bramley apple sauce (or regular)
190 g light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius, 160 for fan oven. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through granulated sugar) in a large bowl. Add the margarine to that and mix.

Lightly beat the eggs and add the milk and vanilla to that, followed by the ginger. Fold half of the liquid into the dry mixture, then add the apple sauce and brown sugar. Fold the other half of liquid into the batter until just blended.

Pour half of the batter in the pan, then evenly drop the apples on top of them. Then cover those apples with the other half of the batter and bake for 30-40 minutes (my oven has a fan, so it bakes quite fast, but it might take longer in other ovens).

For lemony cream cheese drizzle:
50 g light cream cheese
20 g golden syrup
2 tablespoons icing sugar
squeeze of lemon
Combine the cream cheese and syrup until smooth, then add some icing sugar (more or less to taste). Finish with a squeeze of half a lemon and stir. As the name states, it should drizzle (not plop) off the spoon, so if it doesn't, add a tiny bit of water at a time until it does. Then drizzle over the cake while it is still warm (cooled for about 10 minutes).

Serve warm (hot and bothered?) if possible. Like all angry cakes, it is great with tea. We had it with rooibos chai.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ginger Bite Scones

I made these scones using Ginger Nibbles, which I bought to prevent carsickness but found them way too sweet to do any good in that department. You could also chop up regular crystallized ginger and use that, since I don't know where to buy Ginger Nibbles other than Lakeland stores.

Ginger Bite Scones
(makes 12 small scones, or 8 bigger ones)

225 g whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
pinch or two of salt
50 g butter or Flora (Smart Balance, etc)
75 g crystallized ginger, chopped up (or Ginger Nibbles)
125 g plain non-fat yogurt (I used FAGE Greek Style 0%)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F/220 C/gas 7/fan 200
  2. Mix the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl
  3. Cut up the butter and smoosh it with *clean* hands into the dry ingredients until it looks crumbly
  4. Add the ginger, then make a little hole in the middle of the mixture
  5. Put the yogurt in the hole and cut it through the rest of the dough with a butter knife until it gets too heavy to work that way
  6. Use your (clean) hands to smoosh it together into a ball, and knead it a few times. The mixture should not be sticky like a cookie dough-- if it is, then add more flour.
  7. Pat the mixture into a flat rectangle about one inch thick, then cut into 12 equal pieces.
  8. Flatten each piece by half (to 1/2 inch thick) and place on a cookie sheet. Since my sheet was small, I baked the dough in two batches. Brush with milk for some shine, if desired.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they are the browner side of golden.
These can be frozen, but they're better eaten.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Meet The Tasty One

This blog shall be called The Tasty One because for each recipe developed for this blog, the chosen "Tasty One" will be posted above all others for its superior flavor and appeal.