Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pain Au Lait / Milk Bread


I know..my kids were asking me.."why spikes on the bread".  Hmmm I dont know but it looked nice. Nevermind about the outside but my goodness this recipe is a keeper.   I thought it tasted almost like the hokkaido milky loaf but this one does not contain that much of fat.  The dough itself was a challenge to knead since I do not have a bread machine and so when it was time for me to add the fat into the dough, it was all like a big mess but all the effort of kneading, kneading, kneading was worthwhile.

“Pain au lait” literally translates to “milk bread”, but such a humble name hardly describes the elegant things.  As might be expected, the only liquid used in the dough is milk.  Butter too is added, in a moderate amount that tends toward generosity but stops well short of extravagance.  The resultant texture is not nearly as rich as one would think; in fact, I’d say the word “rich” would be inappropriate here.The word “light” is more to the point.

Inside, they are soft and very nearly flaky (due to the slightly unusual rolling and folding technique used), while outside, they are almost crackery; the combination of textures is delightful. i also added some sprinkle of coarse salt and this complemented the sweet buns really well with a little hint of salt.

Ingredients

230g all purpose flour
60g bread flour
125g milk ( preferably whole milk)
4g yeast ( I used 1 package-7g)
1 egg
38g sugar
5g salt ( 1/4 tsp)
63g butter

Method

  • Sprinkle the yeast into the lukewarm milk in a small bowl, leave for 5 minutes for the yeast to froth.
  •  Melt the butter and set aside.
  • Then beat in the egg until combined.
  •  In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt together.
  • Make a well in the center and pour in the yeasted milk and egg. Stir with a wooden spoon till it comes together.
  • Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead for about 2 minutes then slowly add in the butter. Everything will look like a big mess but keep bringing the dough together and push away with your knuckle. Keep doing this for at least a good 10 minutes and you will notice the dough will be smoother and coming together.
  •  Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size for about 1 hours.
  • Knock back and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 16 pieces or however many pieces you want.
  • Roll each piece either into a 30cm rope and form into a coil, tucking under the end or just like a bun.
  • Place on a baking pan lined with baking paper, cover with a tea towel and prove for about 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  • Brush each roll with melted butter and snip the top with a scissor. Sprinkle with some coarse salt.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Check your oven temperature.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack and brush again with a little melted butter.


Easy Peezy Chicken Pot Pie

I just love to eat chicken pot pie but I have stopped myself from getting those prepackaged frozen pot pie's since it would be better to do on your own so that we will know what is going inside the pie's.  I got this wonderfully easy recipe from Allrecipes. It also uses the store bought puff pastry which is a time saver. Along to go with it I made super simple salad which has mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, salami, bacon bits, onion, mozarella and italian dressing.




Ingredients

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • dash of worchestershire sauce,optional
  •  
  • 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts or 1 Puff pastry sheet

Method

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
  • In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  • In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cajun Chicken


Ingredients


  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning  (recipe below)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Chicken drumsticks or chicken breast
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
Method

  • Place chicken in a large self closing plastic bag and pour in marinade.
  • Marinate chicken for 20 minutes or for up to 3 hours.
  • Grill chicken 14 minutes turning once. Cut through the thickest part of the drumstick and if juices run clear, it is done.
  • To make Cajun seasoning combine all ingredients thoroughly.
  • Store any left over seasoning in an airtight jar


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pecan and Butterscotch Chip Blondies


One bite of these and you are in heaven....hmmm I am sure there are other snacks with chocolate in them which are heavenly but these babies are truly something.  Each bite has a surprise in them..coconut, chocolate chip, butterscotch chip and pecan. These blondies are super easy and fast to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semisweet white chips
  • 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecan
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened/unsweetened coconut

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with butter; line pan with a piece of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk butter and sugars until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix just until moistened (do not overmix). Fold in 1/2 cup each  chips, coconut and walnuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and walnuts.
  • Bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Using parchment overhang, lift cake from pan and transfer to a cutting board; cut into 16 squares. Store blondies in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.



Smores Granola


One bite of these delicious S'more Granola Bars and you will be hooked. They contain all the necessary S'more components - chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers. But instead of sandwiching the chocolate and marshmallows between two graham crackers, I sandwich them between a yummy mixture of graham cracker crumbs, rolled oats, flour, coconut, ground cinnamon butter sugar, and maple syrup (or golden syrup). To keep these bars soft and chewy make sure to bake them only until lightly browned. Cut the granola bars into rectangles or squares while they are still warm. The S'More Granola Bars will be crisp and crunchy just after baking, but will soften when covered and stored. They  can be stored at room temperature for about 10 days, if they last that long.




Ingredients


6 tablespoons (3 ounces) (84 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup/honey
1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
2 cups (190 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (100 grams) graham cracker crumbs (or crushed digestive biscuits)
1/4 cup (25 grams) sweetened or unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Filling
1 cup (170 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups (90 grams) mini marshmallows

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or use a non stick vegetable cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) square baking pan. 
  • Melt the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup (golden syrup) in a medium sized saucepan, placed over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a large heatproof bowl. 
  • Stir in the flour, oats, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, salt and ground cinnamon, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated with the butter mixture.
  •  Press about half of this mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan and leave to cool (about 5-10 minutes). Once the mixture has cooled sufficiently, evenly sprinkle with the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Top with the remaining crust mixture.
  •  Bake in the preheated oven for about15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 20 minutes. Cut into squares while they are still warm.
  •  Can be stored at room temperature for about 7-10 days.




Monday, March 28, 2011

Caramel Custard with Dulce de leche


I know that I am going overboard with all this Dulce de Leche....oh lord I just cant help the taste of this milk.  Its so contagious......if its possible, I think I will bathe, use it as a lotion or just mix and drink the whole milk. The smell and taste is simply out of this world.  I was so happy to come across this recipe and immediately I thought that this recipe should be done right away. Took it over to a friends place and got thumbs up for it. Glad they loved it ...

I like to make creme caramel in individual ramekins because it makes them very easy to serve (and easy to serve to yourself if you only want to eat one at a time!). I used 6 ounce ramekins for this recipe, but the recipe can be doubled if you want to make more servings or use larger ramekins. If you are going to use smaller 4 ounce ramekins, you will want to check the custards early to make sure that they don’t overbake in the oven.

Ingredients

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups milk (pref. whole milk)
1/4 cup dulce de leche
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
large saucepan or kettle of hot water

Method
  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • In a small saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring sugar to a boil and cook over medium heat until sugar turns a deep amber color, about 7-10 minutes. Divide into four 6-ounce ramekins, coating the bottom of each. Set ramekins aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine milk, dulce de leche and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and just comes to a simmer.
  • While the milk comes to a simmer, lightly whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl. When the milk reaches a simmer, remove it from heat and temper the eggs by very slowly streaming the milk into the eggs while whisking constantly. Add the hot milk a few tablespoons at a time to ensure that you don’t curdle the mixture. Whisk in vanilla extract, then strain mixture into a large measuring cup or bowl with a pouring spout.
  • Arrange ramekins in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Divide custard mixture evenly into the ramekins. Place baking dish in oven and pour hot water into it until the water reaches approximately halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake custards for 25-30 minutes, until just set. Remove from water bath and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight.
  • To serve, run a sharp knife around the sides of each ramekin and invert onto a serving plate or bowl.
  • Serves 4.



Pumpkin Muffin





  • I know its a long way before October...but i just had cravings for pumpkin muffin and came across this recipe in Taste of Home.  It is really moist muffin unlike the usual muffin which are a little hard and dry.  It keeps really well. I made them into mini muffins.
Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • TOPPING
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

Method


  • In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in pecans. Fill into  greased or paper-lined  muffin cups three-fourths full.
  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.
  • Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dulce de Leche Cupcake

I love making cupcakes. I feel it is so much easier to decorate each one of them instead of just dolloping the frosting onto one whole cake. This cake's are made with Dulce de Leche milk.  Dulce de leche is very similar to caramel.  It’s sweetened condensed milk that has been cooked down until the sugars have darkened to a rich caramel.  It’s sweet and thick and perfectly acceptable to bathe in. The aroma and smell is totally awesome.


Some people make their own dulce de leche by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk…. literally, in the can.  While many have had success with this technique, I’m convinced that I would both injure an eye and burn my house down… so I just buy my dulce de leche.  I got this particular can at the local grocery store in the aisle where the regular condensed milk are. I have to try the one sold at Whole Foods. This brand of Dulce de Leche is kinda bit thick , probably need to try other brands.

The cake themselves are a buttermilk and brown sugar combo. The cake's are more of a pound cake consistency and not too much of a fluffy cake mix cupcake. The frosting is the best part of this cake, its made with cream cheese, butter and Dulce de leche.
Ingredients For Cupcake 
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
For the Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup dulce de leche, plus more for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar


Method
Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper or foil liners.  Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add butter and sugars.  Beat on medium speed until fluffy and pale brown, about 3 minutes.   Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add one egg.  Beat on medium for one minute.  Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute between each addition.  Stop the bowl and scrape down the sides as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract.
Add half of the flour mixture to the egg and butter mixture.  Beat on low speed and slowly drizzle in the buttermilk.  Beat until just incorporated.  Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients.  Beat on low speed until just incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and finish incorporating with a spatula.  Try not to over mix the mixture.
Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake pans, filling each liner about two thirds full.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.  Let rest in the cupcake pans before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Cupcakes should be completely cooled before frosting.
To make the frosting:
Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until very soft and pliable.  Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the butter and dulce de leche.  Beat on medium speed until well incorporated.  Stop the mixer and add the salt and powdered sugar.  Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy and lighter in color.  Generously spoon frosting on top of cupcakes, or use a large frosting tip to pipe on frosting.




Ricotta Pancake

This is a slight different version of our regular buttermilk pancake.  It is fluffy with a slight hint of ricotta cheese. Ricotta cheese adds both lightness and richness to the pancakes, giving them a more tender texture and a slightly richer flavor than plain pancake batter. You can use any variety of ricotta cheese. Low fat and full fat tend to give the best results, but even a fat free ricotta will work well. But ricotta isn’t the only secret to these pancakes. The eggs are separated before going into the batter and the whites are beaten to soft peaks. This adds a lot of air and keeps the pancakes soft and fluffy.

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs, separated
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup ricotta
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar

Method

  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, melted butter, vanilla extract, ricotta cheese and milk until smooth. Add in flour mixture and whisk until just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
  • In a medium bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks, beating in the sugar as the egg whites become foamy. Fold into ricotta mixture.
  • Heat a griddle or skillet (nonstick or lightly greased) over medium-high heat until a drop of water placed on the surface skitters around (if it evaporates instantly, reduce heat slightly).
  • Drop batter in 1/4 cup dollops and cook until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Serve immediately, with butter and maple syrup.