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    Thursday
    Jul022015

    Prosciutto Ring

    proscuitto ring; a coarse rustic bread just waiting to be ripped apart. 

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    This is my first monthly post for 'The Bread Bible' by award winning cookbook author Rose Levy Beranbaum. 

    Excited by the opportunity to learn more about bread baking, my Grandfather and Great Uncle were both Master Bakers that owned their own bakery in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. The bakery sold cakes, pies, pastries but were especially known for their bread. My Great Uncle taught/lectured at the culinary university in Melbourne, particularly on the subject of wheat production. 

    I never met my Grandfather who died before I was born, some say that my love of baking is in my genes. I believe it's belng raised hearing about tales of the bakery from my Dad and Aunt that sparked my love of cooking. 

    20 years ago I ate some salami ... yep, and in 2009 my step son made chocolate bacon for a school exams and I tried that, but since this is my first bread bake from 'The Baking Bible' I'm commited to the "meat" for this loaf. Lets start with the lard. 

    Lard:  despite its reputation, lard has less saturated fat, more unsaturated fat, and less cholesterol than an equal amount of butter by weight. Unlike many margarines and vegetable shortenings, unhydrogenated lard contains no trans fat.  wikipedia

    With the resurgance of traditional British recipes for the last decade (which I love!!) and favour with chefs world wide, the demand for good quality lard continues. The neutral flavour, high smoke point, lower saturated fat product is produced from swine fat. Often combined with butter to produce light and crispy pastry, lard is tradionally used in fruit studded Welsh and Lardy cakes to crispy roast potatoes.

    Today's bread is a "lard bread" but is also brushed with bacon fat. Here I am making wet-rendered bacon fat, this is how you make lard too. Bacon fat is put in a saucepan (or slow cooker if you are making a lot) and boiled with water until the fat releases/melts. On cooling I skimmed the bacon fat off ready to be remelted to brush on the loaf. 

    wet-rendered bacon fat

    The prosuciutto loaf contains three meats, prosucitto, pepperoni and hot sopressata (a dry salami). Rose suggests baked ham or even turkey ham can be substituted if desired.

    I used prosuciutto, salami and bacon... because I had bacon meat left over from producing the bacon fat. 

    prosuciutto, probably should have been cut a little thicker than this

    salami I used... couldn't anything close to hot sopressata without going to the city to get it

    Flour, yeast, black pepper and barley malt syrup were combined before salt, warm water and lard are added. All done in the KitchenAid, but there is hand and food proceesor instructions in the book too. 

     lard brought to room temperature is spreadable and in fact is still used in parts of europe as alterative to butter.

    Dough once meat has been added.

    The dough is rested briefly before rolling into a sausage shape and formed into a ring and brushed with cooled melted bacon fat.

    Bake in a hot oven, before reducing heat and transferring directly to baking stone for further baking, the kitchen aroma reminded me of the local pizzeria. Once removed from the oven the loaf is then brushed with bacon fat again and left to cool.

    Taste, well it's surely "meaty"... the bread itself is fabulous, serve this rustic loaf as part of antipasto platter, accompany with a green salad and you have a picnic brunch, lunch for the family or a light dinner with a bottle of red to wash it all down. 

    Would I bake again? Yes, I can imagine using up leftover Christmas ham etc in this bread for a boxing day brunch perhaps.

    Would I change anything? Oh, I'd love to give a vegetarian version a try. Charred grilled veg, little pesto... maybe some pinenuts too. Sundried tomatoes, feta and kalamata olives would be good too... add a handful of fresh herbs. 

    How it works... now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a month I will post about what bread I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Bread Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

     The Bread Bible  available from Amazon and where all good books are sold.

    You might like Toblerone Dessert in 30 minutes. 

    Tuesday
    Jun302015

    Sugar, Sugar … White Sugar Chart

                                   Love bite 'The Simpsons' cupcake

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    Years have gone by since I last saw an episode of 'The Simpsons', yet I nevertheless felt a sense of melancholia at the news Season 27 will see Marge and Homer legally separate... but hopefully it won't be for long. 

    Homer made me think of donuts, donuts made me think of icing and icing made me think of white sugar... so here we are a white sugar chart.

    1. White sugar (granulated) 2. Caster/Castor (superfine) 3. Pure icing sugar (pure confectioners sugar) 4. Icing sugar mixture (confectioners sugar with corn starch) 5. Pearl sugar (sugar nibs, hail sugar) 6. Snow sugar (snow powder) 7. &  8. Sanding sugar 

    1. White sugar (granulated), the most commonly used and versatile sugar of the bunch and in a pinch you can process granulated sugar into caster or icing sugar. White granulated is the sugar that you will use in much of your cake baking. With an approximate granule size of 0.5mm (0.19 inch) white sugar is the perfect size to aerate you cake batters. Use it to make toffee/pulled sugar work, caramel, cookies, confectionary and to sweeten your latte when you have decorating fatigue! 

    white sugar is used to make dropped sugar work (how to make toffee toppers here

    2. Caster sugar (superfine), is a used extensively in UK, Australian, New Zealand baking. With an approximate granule size of 0.35 (0.13 inch) it's what you use when you need your sugar to dissolve quickly, don't want to develop a sugar crust or need to dissolve in a cold liquid such as cocktails or punch. Using caster sugar in pavlovas will prevent the weeping that can occur with undissolved sugar crystals. 

    caster sugar is used in the blackberry bash meringue (recipe here)

    3. Pure icing sugar (pure confectioners sugar). I use this the most in cake decorating, it's what I use to make my icings, for dusting, piping and for rolling fondant out on. Pure icing sugar is granulated white sugar ground to a powder, it has no additives so is perfect for royal icing work, and sets to a firm finish when making a heated glace icing. It is however "lumpy" without the additives to separate the tiny granules and will always need to be sifted.

    glace icing like I used today in the Love bite cupcake and this raspberry cupcake (recipe here)

    4. Icing sugar mixture (confectioners sugar). Hate sifting or have young cake decorating kids? This is the icing mixture for you with no lumps, fuss or need for sifting. Soft icing sugar mixture is comprised of 96% cane sugar and 4% tapioca or maize starch in Australia. You cannot use icing sugar mixture for royal icing work as the starches can develop mould. The starches also inhibit "setting" that you get with heated pure icing sugar. 

    pure icing sugar and soft icing mixture

    5. Pearl sugar (nibs, hail sugar), is a popular European sugar. Pearl sugar is resistant to melting so you will see it used topping brioches, choquettes and yeasted buns. My step son Daniel and I love this sugar for it's crunch and the touch of sweetness that it adds without being overly sweet. 

    6. Snow sugar (snow powder, everlasting sugar). Another popular European sugar, snow sugar is the sugar you use at Christmas for your stollens, snowy Christmas cookies and the like. Shipping your aunt a batch of cookies? snow sugar will ensure they will be as white and snowy as when you packed them. Perfect for stencilling too as your pattern won't disappear. Ingredients in snow sugar differ a little brand to brand, the one I use has a little cornstarch, dextrose and vegetable fat added to pure icing sugar.  It has a less sweet mouth feel than icing sugar alone. 


    pearl sugar used in recent brioche post 

    snow sugar is perfect for Christmas stollens and stencilled sugar designs

    7. and 8. Sanding sugar, coarse white sugar available in different grades. With a sparkly finish, sanding sugar is used for decorating cakes, cookies and sprinkled on raw shortbreads/butter cookies before baking. Sanding sugar comes in a wide range of colours to suit any occassion including Halloween!! 

    black sanding sugar glistens on Halloween cupcake

    Happy Baking :)  

    Monday
    Jun292015

    Praline Pecan Meringue Ice Cream Sandwiches Rose's Alpha Bakers

    Praline Pecan Meringue Ice Cream Sandwich 'The Baking Bible'

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    A quick, easy and gluten free go to ice cream sandwich biscuit (cookie) today. 

    I've made brown sugar meringues and meringue ice cream sandwiches before, but it's the combo of brown muscovado sugar and toasted pecans in these cookies that instantly turns a scoop of ice cream into a portable ice cream sundae.

    The recipe called for light muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar, my local Woolies had light and dark muscovado on special this week... and I thought I got one of each, but nah I grabbed two dark muscovado's by mistake so dark it is.  

    If you haven't used muscovado before, it has a wonderful aroma and unique treacle-y flavour that is unmatched in the world of sugars. 

    Start by toasting your pecans, then leave half whole and chop the rest into small pieces.

    Muscovado sugar and egg whites are whipped until thick and light, the cooled pecans are folded in. I divided the mixture as this stage and added choc chips to one half... just because, well "chocolate" hello!  

    Scoops are put on your lined baking tray and gently shaped to discs with a spatula. 

    Baked, cooled and filled with your favourite ice cream flavour, home made or store bought. Rose includes a recipe for 'Rose Blend Ganache Piping Glaze' for topping the ice cream sandwiches, a lovely white/dark ganache mixture that I didn't pipe I more did the "strewn" thing... delicious either way.  

    Think of pairing the biscuits with salted caramel ice cream, bourbon banana for a banana foster ice cream sandwich, chocolate (of course), burnt caramel fig ice cream, coffee (not the sweet Vietnamese coffee type, but rather an Italian espresso type to counter cookie sweetness) or just a scoop of classic vanilla. 

    The meringue mix can also be baked as cookies, just bake in scooped shape for chubby, light and crisp with squidgy centres.  

    Would I bake again? A definite yes!! Loved these cookies, with only three ingredients (or four if you add chocolate) we all need a quick pantry staple cookie. Fabulous they are gluten free.

    Would I change anything? Umm, if I added chocolate I would use a darker higher cocoa ratio variety to play against the sweetness... otherwise no.  

    How it works... now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a week I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

    Happy Baking :)

    The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum is available from Amazon and where all good books are sold. 

    And for something totally different...  Squid ink grisini recipe.  

    Monday
    Jun222015

    Double Damage Oblivion chocolate cake Rose's Alpha Bakers

                Double Damage Oblivion chocolate cake 'The Baking Bible'

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    Renowned chocolate cake lovers, the single dad with his eight year old autistic son picked up the Double Damage Oblivion cake that I baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible' today ... I just got the review back "You've got a good cake here".

    The guys review contradicts my opinion of the cake and once again illustrates different people have different likes and dislikes and it all comes down to personal preference and knowing your audience. 

    Today's bake calls for baking two different cakes, starting with the Chocolate Oblivion by first melting chocolate and butter together over a pot of hot water.

    Then with a long handled whisk, eggs were beaten over a pan of simmering until warm, before being beaten in a mixer until light and billowy. 

    The whipped eggs are folded into the chocolate mixture. 

    The tin was a springform, greased a third of the way up and base lined with baking paper. 

    The sides and base of tin were double wrapped in aluminum foil and the cake baked in a water bath until set but still wobbly in the centre. Then the cake was covered and popped in the refrigerator overnight.

    Cake two is the Deep Chocolate Passion. You can tell we are up to the second part of a recipe because I forgot to take photos :P

    A cake tin with greased bottom only, is then lined with baking paper. Cocoa and boiling water is beaten until smooth the cooled. Oil and eggs are added to the cooled mixture and beaten until smooth and shiny. Flour is added an resulting batter spread evenly into the tin and baked.

    Oh my... this next part made me nervous, after running a flat knife around the edge of the hot baked cake you have to turn out the hot cake!! Yep, nervous for no reason the cake came out easily and it was time to peel the away the baking paper and reverse cake so the top is ummm, on the "top".  

    Dang, don't take photos of the paper liner when your hot cake is the wrong way around on the rack... you will get this effect "a cross hatch cake".

    There is ganache; yes you make ganache and spread it on your chocolate oblivion, which is topped with the bottom layer of deep chocolate passion cake... then reversed... more ganache on the now top of oblivion and then the final layer of cake is laid on top.  

    Now you will see your chocolate oblivion layer needs trimming to be the same size as your cake... once you have trimmed, a hot knife is run around cake until you have a smooth and shiny finish. 

    Sprinkle sifted cocoa powder and eat!

    Here is the inside texture of cake, all the layers look super moist but what I found was it ate "dry", after a mouthful you felt like you needed a drink, second mouthful more drink, third mouthful maybe I'll just drink my coffee. The chocolate oblivion layer tasted like a ganache truffle but doesn't have the melt in mouth truffle feel.  

    Would I bake again? Not sure, there is other Rose's chocolate cakes I like more. 

    Would I change anything?  There was an option to use jam rather than ganache to join the layers but either way if I baked again I would have preferred the cake to be syruped. A coffee liqueur syrup, or orange or perhaps chambord would have been nice. A thin water gel or berry gel layer would be good too. 

    How it works... now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a week I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

    Happy Baking :) 

     

    Award winning author Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Baking Bible is available from Amazon and other good book stores worldwide.  

    You might also be interested in Baci chocolate Ice-cream recipe

    Monday
    Jun152015

    The Red Velvet Rose (cake) Rose's Alpha Bakers

    red velvet rose cake with raspberry sauce, served with ice-cream

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    What's in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;

    Romeo and Juliet  William Shakespeare 

    I didn't have the rose bundt pan needed for today's Red Velvet Rose cake from 'The Baking Bible' bake, but I baked in anyway in the heritage bundt pan. 

    There is a few different options for this cake colour/flavour wise, at Christmas I used beetroot juice to colour and the extra cocoa option.  Colour wise the resulting cake was a non descript "brownish hue". Today I went with less cocoa and red food colour.

    Ok, I can see the appeal of red velvet for valentines, weddings or even Halloween but really "I don't get it"...it's not on my list of favorite cake varieties. 

    Today's bake started with mixing egg whites, red food colouring and vanilla to combined.

    yep nice and red

    Butter, oil and sugar were beaten to fluffy. I liked this in the recipe, the taste of butter combined with moistness oil adds to cakes. A flour mixture including a small amount of cocoa was mixed in, then the red whites were added.

    tiny amount of cocoa powder

    resulting red batter once all the ingredients were combined

    Whilst the cake was baking I was defrosting frozen raspberries to gather to juice to make a reduction.

    The reduced juice was added to raspberry pulp, sweetened and sieved to make a brushing sauce.

    This sauce has a threefold action of moistening, adding a lot of fresh flavour plus adding more colour. The sauce seeps into the cake after a short rest period. 

    Cake after it has been entirely brushed with sauce. 

    I served the cake with ice-cream wedges spinkled with freeze dried raspberries and grated chocolate. I made an extra thick raspberry sauce using the leftover sauce as a base. 

    The cake has a great light texture, I loved the raspberry sauce. The red colour I found a little "frightening.

    Yes, there has been a lack of other blog posts... oh my goodness if there is a winter bug in the air apparently I'm going to catch it!! Thanks Jacinta for the homemade soup, medicine, gift and the rest :) I'm sure that will make me feel better.      

    Happy Baking :)                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

    Would I make again? No, unless family/friend requested which is possible, it's not my kind of cake but I have a family member who loves it. 

    Would I change anything? Hmmm, don't know really red velvet by it's very nature of intense colour is difficult to flavour.

    How it works... now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a week I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

    The Baking Bible  available from Amazon and all good book stores. 

     

    You might also be interested in a cocktail, cupcake style with a Japanese Slipper Cupcake 

    Monday
    Jun082015

    Classic Brioche Rose's Alpha Bakers

    Petite Brioche Nanterre Loaves  : Classic Brioche 'The Baking Bible' 

    Ban the Brioche Bun!!! Late last week our major talk back radio station called for a ban of hipster brioche bun hamburgers and brioche pulled meat buns. I don't think those people calling saying "enough is enough" with brioche buns have to worry, like the macarons before them the brioche bun craze has reached saturation point now McDonalds sells "build your own brioche burgers". 

    Really I've yet to come across a brioche burger bun that comes close to home made brioche! With today being the Queens Birthday public holiday in Australia it's apt that I'm baking the queen of breads the classic brioche from 'The Baking Bible'.  This buttery beauty is a stunner, for me the aroma evoked the memory of bakeries as a child... oh and as Dad worked for Sara Lee when I was a kid, it kind of reminds me of a fresh soft version of Sara Lee's pecan danish. 

    New to baking? There is a lot of steps in this recipe yet it's an easy recipe, most of steps you are "waiting" for the yeast to do it's thing. 

    You start by making the "sponge" (a yeast starter), I made mine in a mixer. 

    A flour mixture is then sprinkled over the sponge. 

    Two hours later you'll have bubbles rising through the blanket of flour in parts.  

    You'll need butter for buttery enriched bread, and here is what the rest of the world is perplexed about an American "stick of butter".  It's one hundred and thirteen grams for the rest of us... thanks Rose. 

    Eggs and well softened butter are added and beaten in.

    The resulting dough goes off for a rest in the fridge now, here I'm gently deflating before another hour in the fridge. Brioche, like other enriched breads has a refrigerator period to solidify the butter and make the dough easier to handle. 

    The dough is envelope folded, rolled, folded and I forgot to take pictures of this bit. 

    But I remembered to photograph when I wrapped my dough for it's overnight developing time.

    Just unwrapped the dough here after a night in the refrigerator. It needs to be deflated a little before working with it. 

    'The Baking Bible' uses a large loaf tin, I went with small individual tins.  I like the petite size, perfect for sharing and it does make really cute sandwiches for afternoon tea and the like. 

    Smooth balls: whatever shape you are using, your dough needs to nice and smooth. Any fault in your dough now will show in the end product. 

    Since I'm making Brioche Nanterre, there is eight balls in each lightly buttered tin to create the classic shape.  The tins are then covered with oiled plastic wrap and off to rise once again before baking.

    I had enough dough to make four petite loaves. I used pearl sugar on two and left two plain.  There was a small amount of dough left so I made a few bite sized parisienne (Brioche à tête) with the classic fluted sides and "tête" (head) on top. 

    Would I bake again?  Absolutely!! This recipe is incredibly versatile and can be used for sweet and savoury applications and yes, even for a batch of hipster hamburger buns. 

    Would I change anything? Nup. 

    How it works... now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a week I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

     

    Happy Baking :)  

    You might also like a recipe for making your own honeycomb 

    Sunday
    May312015

    French Orange Cream Tart Rose's Alpha Bakers

                                    french orange cream tart 

    Dad is running wild: always look forward to the 10pm phone call from the nursing home saying "your Dad is using his walker as a weapon". Dad's kept me busy this week with a trip to hospital plus two falls at the nursing home (he is fine... though I suspect his leaving a trail of staff and residents in his wake), soooo, I'm behind with my usual blog posts but I have finished my bake for Rose's Alpha Bakers. :) 

    I'm sure many of you are familiar with (or have eaten 402 slices) of the classic French Tarte Au Citron (Lemon Tart)... today's tart is a lovely alternative to lemon tart using oranges. 

    Started by making a template as per instructed by Rose to use as my pastry cutting guide. Hmm, The Simpson's ruler probably belies the sophistication of the tart... but I needed "inch" measurements. 

    Thought I should make it food safe, so wrapped in foil. 

    Pastry time started with processing the cold butter cubes with raw sugar until the sugar disappeared. 

    Flour, cream and egg are added and you have a crumbly mix ready to be turned out and pressed together.

    Pastry making always has a touch of alchemy to it, the crumbs from the food processor become "pate sucree pastry" with a few simple presses. 

    Ready to roll, between two pieces of lightly floured plastic wrap.

    Here comes the bit I have never done before, the pastry with the bottom layer of plastic wrap is draped over the back of a cake tin. 

    Then your loose bottomed tart tin is fitted on top and the whole thing is flipped. 

    I was wondering why I was doing this instead of chucking the pastry in the tin like I usually do (ok, not chucking, don't chuck... gently placing in the tin) but I "got it", the reason for doing it that is. What you end up with is a perfectly shaped pastry case, with flat bottom and neat corners.

    Case is blind baked as per normal. 

    The filling is a breeze to make and if you do get little air bubbles on top of your unbaked poured mix, use your gas torch to lightly go over the surface, it will pop all bubbles before it goes in the oven.   Ha, my filling is almost neon orange thanks to local free range eggs that had the brightest yolks I have ever seen!

    After baking and chilling it's time to fire up the torch it's time to brûlée. A local cafe uses the term "burnished" when they are talking about their lemon tart "burnished lemon tart" and that's really what the finish is like on this tart. Only a few teaspoons of icing sugar is used/brûléed to become a whisper thin burnished sugar finish.

    A small amount of icing sugar is applied and torched, after a brief chilling a second small amount is sifted over torched. I thought at first it the sugar wasn't going to caramelise, but it's just a matter of holding the torch a little closer and a little longer in one spot than you think.   

    I choose not the neatest tart slice today, but rather a shot of where the icing sugar was a little thick... you can see on slicing the sugar lifting. You don't want the pretty, delicate appearance of the tart spoilt ... although I did crave the "burnt sugar" crust that the word brûlée evokes. 

    The accidental misfire photograph of the tart shows the light shining through the pastry. Dang, this is the thinnest prettiest pastry case I have ever made!!! 

    Would I bake again? Yes, I'm going to bake for Christmas this year I do love "Christmas/oranges". I'll skip the torching and go for snow sugar and red currants to decorate. 

    Would I make any changes? perhaps check the bitterness or not of the zest before I used it. The recipe has a little lemon zest and I forgot how bitter my backyard lemons are! A little bit of bitter aftertaste in an otherwise perfect tart. 

    How it works... now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a week I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

    The Baking Bible

    Happy Baking :)

    You might also like Fruit Curd recipes 

     

     

    Sunday
    May242015

    Stilton Baby Blue Cheesecakes Rose's Alpha Bakers

    stilton baby blue cheesecakes 

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    "It's feeling a lot like Christmas" ... Well that is when I usually have blue cheese, instead it's just me alone with the baby blue cheesecakes today, I've been stomped on by a flu virus for the past eight days.

    Now, not that my family and friends want me to have the flu, but I kind of think a least a couple were relieved they weren't partaking in blue cheese cheesecakes taste testing this week.  Sheeeesh, more for me then... I love blue cheese, and these little cheesecakes were just what the doctor ordered ha ha.... I'm allowed a bad joke quota due to slight flu delirium!!  

    stilton cheese

    Savoury desserts have been a foodie trend for the last couple of years and these 'Stilton baby blue cheescakes' fit the bill perfectly, with a touch of sugar combined with the umami of stilton cheese.

    Started the cheesecakes in the same way as last weeks 'Double Chocolate Oriolos' by oven toasting walnuts and then rubbing the warmed nuts in a clean tea towel to remove the skins.

    Silicone cupcake pans or a metal muffin pan were suggested, but since I have a mini cheescake pan I thought I'd use that following the pan preparation method in 'The Baking Bible' for the metal cupcake pan. making parchment circles for the bottom on my pan

    Seven grams of finely chopped walnuts were pressed into the base of each hole. 

    Cream cheese was beaten with cornflour, sugar and pinch of salt until soft and creamy. Sour cream, stilton cheese and eggs were added before the mix was ready for baking. You do have the choice at this stage on how much stilton you add, depending on how savoury you want to go.  

    15 minutes in a low oven, turn and another 15 result in super creamy (and rather rich) small baked cheesecakes. 

    I topped mine with roasted walnuts, pear slice (love the green skin/ripe pear flesh of packham pears) and drizzled rosemary infused honey to keep playing with the savoury/sweet theme.  Consider plum, pear, fresh fig, rhubarb (poached or compote), red grapes, celery, walnuts or honey as toppings. 

    Would I bake again?  Yes

    Would I make any changes? I'd probably use a locally produced blue cheese rather than the imported Stilton but other than that no. I think just the sheer volume of toppings that compliment the stilton baby blue cheesecakes will keep this recipe "fresh" and in my repertoire. 

    How it works now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a week I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

    The Baking Bible


    Feel like making an Albert ??

     

    Monday
    May182015

    Double Chocolate Oriolos Rose's Alpha Bakers

                                                           double chocolate oriolos

    Hmm, two surprises with my second bake as an alpha baker from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. One: why is this cookie entitled "double chocolate" when the "chocolate" comes in one form from cocoa? Two: Never would I have guessed that such an unassuming cookie could be so feather light in texture.  

    The light texture of the double chocolate oriolos cookie is bordering on ethereal, it disappears in a cloud of buttery cocoaness (not a word but should be)... pair with milk or better still an icy cold kahlua milk shake. 

    Three:  ok I didn't mention a three... but I skinned my walnuts today, now this might not rock your boat but for me it was an "ahhh haaaa" moment. Many times I've skinned hazelnuts by roasting in the oven and rubbing the heated nuts between a clean tea towel to the remove the brown skin, but I had never thought of doing it with walnuts until I read Rose's recipe. The bitterness: it stops the bitterness you sometimes get when baking with walnuts. 

    That's how the recipe starts, skinning your walnuts. 

    Cubed chilled butter is processed through cocoa, walnut, sugar mixture until absorbed. 

    The resulting dough was divided into three parts. Chilling is an important step in this recipe to ensure your cookies keep their shape.  

    Working with one disc of dough at the time and keeping the remainder chilled, I divided and rolled 12gram balls of dough. On your lined baking sheet you press each ball with a flat bottomed glass/tumbler that has been sprayed with cooking spray and dipped in granulated sugar.  

    Brush away any excess sugar on your tray with a soft brush before going into to bake.

    Yes, they might look unassuming but these cookies are a taste/texture treat. I made a double batch as I promised step son Dan that I will make him bourbon pecan butter balls with a pulversied batch of these cookies. 

    Would I bake again?: Yes

    Would I make any changes?: Goodness, maybe a pinch of salt to accentuate cocoa flavour... but I think if you are looking for a plain cocoa biscuit/cookie these are pretty perfect as they are.

    How it works; now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a week I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

     The Baking Bible

    Happy Baking :) 

    Liquorice Lovers!! here is your ice-cream recipe

    Pink drizzle isomalt how to... isomalt drizzles pretty and versatile sugar finish. 

    Wednesday
    May132015

    Yoghurt Cheese, suspended Tim Tams and more

    Raspberry Tim Tam cupcake with biscuit/cookie pieces suspended in cake batter. 

    1. Yoghurt Cheese used in cheesecake to replace sour cream 2.Smeared to accompany Indian spicy potato curry puffs 3. Rolled into balls and drizzled with flavoured olive oil to pair with breads 4. Yoghurt cheese left to drain overnight is firm enough to cut. 

    Answering your emails today: some are from ummm, months ago... I swear I'm much faster answering questions on Facebook

    Eve wrote March 31st.. "where do you get your cupcake papers from I like the one where you have the raven on there"  

    Answer: Hi Eve, the cupcake papers in mention are an older style, unfortunately they have been discontinued by Wilton some time ago. 

    Karen wrote April 9th.. "Can I replace sour cream with yogurt cheese in cheesecake recipes" and "do I just strain it and does it matter what type of yogurt?"

    Answer: Yes Karen you can replace sour cream with yoghurt cheese in cheesecakes, cake batters, dips etc. Yes, you just strain bought or homemade yoghurt.

    The way I do it is using the little box thingy (also known as Cuisipro Donvier Yogurt Cheese Maker ) it's plastic box with a stainless steel mesh insert.

    You can also use food grade muslin double or triple folded, put the yogurt into the muslin lift the whole lot into a strainer suspended over a bowl, cover loosely and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight depending how thick you want your cheese. The muslin needs to be washed, sterilised in boiling water and throughly dried before storage.

    I do it this way, spoon yoghurt (plain Greek yoghurt in this case) into box, top with lid and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight. 

    Here you can see how the yoghurt has shrunk down forming the yoghurt cheese. In the bottom of the container is the liquid whey which you can pop in a smoothie, use in baking or even feed it to your dogs. 

    About two to three hours for the consistency needed to *replace sour cream and over night to make balls and for yoghurt cheese that can be sliced. Yoghurt cheese can be used in plethora of sweet and savoury applications. 

    Muslin is better for homemade, very thin yoghurt or large quantities of yoghurt, the box is convenient and easy to clean for shop bought thicker/Greek yoghurt, full fat or light, suits smaller quantities 3 cups of yoghurt will yield 1 cup of yoghurt cheese when drained overnight.  

    To salt or not to salt: some people salt their yoghurt before straining. I prefer to leave the yoghurt plain and salt/season or sweeten the finished cheese.

    *even though you may have thick yoghurt to start with, a short drain to rid some the whey will give you a better substitute to sour cream than using yoghurt with no draining. 

    Kim Cu`c wrote April 3rd.. "I am new baker and want strawberry oreos to not melt away" Kim supplied a photo of her cupcakes where the oreo pieces dissolved and sunk during baking time. 

    Answer:  Goodness, Kim Cu' c you were way to hard onself in your mail, your cupcakes looked awesome!! It's a tiny baking error that we all made at one time, easy to fix :) I've used an Australian chocolate cream biscuit the Tim Tam to demonstrate "cookie suspension". 

    Break your cream filled cookie/biscuit into a small bowl and pop into freezer whilst you make your cake batter.

    Remove cookies from freezer add a teaspoon or two of flour and toss your cookie/biscuit pieces in that. Alternatively toss in sifted cocoa if you are making chocolate cake. 

    Fold the floured, chilled cookie/biscuit pieces through the cake batter and bake as per usual. 

    The flour stops the sinking and pieces will be evenly distributed, the chilling keeps the filling relatively in place for a confetti like finish. 

    The Steamer: General answer to all that have asked about the "steamer" I use on cakes... I don't know if I have worded the post incorrectly for some countries? I call it a "clothes/clothing steamer", it was what you would steam business shirts, suits, wedding dress or your curtains with. I'm happy to recommend books to a yoghurt cheese box but I cannot recommend an electric appliance I have never used in another country, sorry :( Original post that has caused the "what is it" confusion here

    My steamer came from K-Mart in Australia.

    Cuisipro Donvier Yogurt Cheese Maker from Kitchenware suppliers and Amazon of course Cuisipro Donvier Yogurt Cheese Maker

    Happy Baking :) 

    Make a Matcha cupcake