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Easy Foccacia!

I subscribe to the King Arthur baking blog so I get emails daily and this one was called Blitt Bread.  I’ve never made foccacia before but I’ve always wanted to.  This was was fairly quick and easy since it was only a 2 hour rise time.  I didn’t have the pizza dough flavor or cheese powder on hand but it still turned out great!

No Fuss Foccacia by King Arthur

Ingredients:

Directions

1) Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.
2) Combine all of the ingredients, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.
3) Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it’s become puffy.
4) While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
5) Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.
6) Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with pizza seasoning, and/or the dried herbs of your choice, if desired.
7) Bake the bread till it’s golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
8) Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

My favorite dim sum item!

So I’ve been trying to find the perfect recipe for char siu bao.  I have tried many, many different recipes and have tweaked each one to get it perfect.  I really don’t know what the secret is but I think this recipe I have comes pretty close.  They are nice and fluffy right out of the steamer and even after they’ve cooled down, it’s still good.

I’ve come across recipes that don’t require a starter and some that only take about an hour of rise time but those never come out quite fluffy enough.  This is not an easy task, it takes about a couple of days because there are two rises to it.  I recommend making these when you have time, like during the weekend.

Make Starter Dough:

3 cups all purpose flour

1/8 c sugar

11 oz warm water

1/2 tablespoon yeast

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon shortening

Mix everything together in a mixer and mix it until dough becomes smooth and elastic.  I used a kitchen aid mixer and mixed it for about 20 minutes.  Put the dough in a warm, draft free place until it double in size, about 3 hours or so.

After starter have doubled in size, divide into 4 oz dough and leave in fridge overnight.

Part 2:

4 oz starter dough

3/4 cup water

2 cups flour

Dissolve the 4 oz starter dough with water and mix in 2 cups of flour.  knead the dough until everything is incorporated.  Place the dough in a bowl and let it double in size, about 8 hours or overnight.

Part 3:

All of the start dough from part 2

1 tablespoon baking powder

140 g sugar (2/3 cup)

2 tablespoon shortening

3/4 cup water

2 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 cup cake flour

Mix everything together until smooth and elastic, dough will be a bit sticky, add a bit more flour if it is too hard to handle.

Shape into balls if not using filling and let it rise a bit more, about two hours or so.

Get the steamer ready and once the water is boiling, place the steamer in the pot and steam for 10 minutes.

If you add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar in the water, the baos will come out whiter.

Loh Bak Goh

Daikon cake served at Dim Sum

Raspberry Crumb Bar

Raspberry crumb bar

Brownie Bites

Yummy brownie bites

Rich and moist and the inside

Oreo Cupcakes

Mmmm...yummy Oreo cupcakes!

It’s been such a long time since I’ve blogged!  I had made a few new items but haven’t had the chance to update my blog with it yet.

We had a super bowl party earlier this year and I decided to make these cupcakes for the party.  They were such a hit!  Not one cupcake was left over!  They were fairly easy to make and tasted very yummy!  I would make these again for any party!

I found these cupcakes from one of my favorite bloggers, Annie’s Eats, everything on her site is so yummy!  You should definitely check it out!

Oreo Cupcakes by Annie’s Eats

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them)

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. heavy cream

For garnish:
Oreo cookie crumbs
24 Oreo cookie halves

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners.  Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired.  Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves.

Full of oreo goodness!

The Bao

Who doesn’t love Char Siu Bao???  It’s my favorite thing to order whenever we go for Dim Sum.  I have always wanted to make it at home but it’s so hard finding the right recipe…until now.  I have attempted these long time ago, I think I was still in high school.  I had found a promising recipe but being a novice baker, I didn’t have much experience with baking.  The first time I tried to make the bao, it was hard as a rock.  After several attempts, I just gave up.  I didn’t think I could replicate the same texture as the ones you find at the dim sum places.

I was surfing one day looking for a cake recipe and I found a site that had the char siu bao recipe.  The pictures on the blog drew me in, it looked so nice and fluffy, I had to try it out.  I decided to just try to make the bao first since I didn’t want to waste the filling in case it didn’t turn out right.  I am glad I did because this recipe turned out great!  I am still going to experiment a bit with the recipe to perfect it even more.  The taste was perfect but the texture wasn’t exactly what I wanted.  I think I will work on it a bit more and see if I can make it just as fluffy as the ones you find at dim sum.

I will post my tweaks once I’m happy with it.

Here is the link to the recipe that I used:

Char Siu Bao

The texture is almost there...it's still fluffy, but not as fluffy as I would like.

Soft Dinner Rolls

I am always trying to perfect my rolls.  I’ve tried a few recipe that are still pretty good but still not quite the texture I was looking for.  So I scour the internet, trying to find something that I like better.  I keep coming across this Hokkaido Milk Bread recipe all over and there are just different variations.  I actually tried the original recipe and then tweaked it a few times with different proportions and that’s how I came up with this one.  The bread is just so soft and the texture is so fine.  It’s still soft the day after!  I love this bread and so does my family.

Soft Dinner Rolls

200 grams bread flour

50 grams cake flour

3 grams salt

4 grams instant yeast

60 grams sugar

1 egg

75 ml milk (i used 2% but any will do)

75 ml heavy whipping cream

Directions:

If you have a bread machine, you can actually just put all the ingredients into your bread machine and just follow the instructions for your machine.

Put everything into a mixer bowl and start the mixer.  The mixture will be quite sticky and looks more like batter than dough in the beginning.  You might have to scrape the side of the bowl in order to get all the flour incorporated.  Let the mixer do it’s thing for about 40 mins, after that time you should see it come together into a ball and look more like dough.  Once the dough is thoroughly mixed, put it in an oiled bowl and let it proof for about 2 hours.  Once it has doubled in size, turn it onto a floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds.  Take a section and roll it into a ball and put into a baking dish.  Let it rise and double in size again, about an hour.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.

Look at the texture! Really soft and yummy!

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite holiday cookies!  I have made them almost every Christmas since I found the recipe.  It’s a great recipe and really easy to make.  These were a hit during Christmas and by the end of the night, there wasn’t a single crumb left!

Snickerdoodles by Gale Gand

Ingredients

For the topping:

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cookie dough:

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

To make the cookie dough, stir together the dry ingredients.

In a bowl with a paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add the sugar and continue to mix, then add the eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla, and mix thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Chill dough 1 hour if it’s sticky or difficult to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll balls of dough about the size of a walnut then roll them in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Place on an un-greased sheet pan 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until puffed up and the surface is slightly cracked. Let cool on the sheet pan a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Turtle Brownies

For Christmas this year, I wanted to do a big spread of different desserts and one of them was a brownie.  I’ve already done a peppermint brownie for Thanksgiving so I didn’t want to do that again.  Since my hubby loves caramel, I’ve decided to do a turtle brownie.  I went to one of my favorite site, Joy of Baking and found a recipe that looked yummy.

The recipe included homemade caramel sauce.  I’ve never made it from scratch before so I decided it try it out.  It was actually pretty easy, but be careful because it really does sputter and steam on you.

It looked really good but I found it to be a bit too sweet.  It could’ve been the caramel sauce that made it too sweet or it’s just meant to be a really sweet brownie.  The brownie did come out very chocolatey and more cakelike than fudgey.  I also substituted walnuts for the pecans since that is what I had on hand.

Turtle Brownies from Joy of Baking

Brownies:

3 ounces (90 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) (170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 large eggs

1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Caramel Topping:

40 Kraft caramels (10 ounces) (280 grams), unwrapped

1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream

2 cups (200 grams) pecan halves, toasted

or

Homemade Caramel Topping:

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 cup (120 ml) light corn syrup

5 tablespoons water

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups (200 grams) pecan halves, toasted

Ganache Topping:

2 ounces (55 grams) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 13 inch (23 x  33 cm) rectangular baking pan.
Brownies: Melt the chopped chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and set aside while you make the brownie batter.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs and sugars until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract and then the melted chocolate mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and, on low speed, beat in the flour and salt.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or just until the brownies are barely firm to the touch. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
Caramel: Place the unwrapped caramels and cream in a saucepan and melt, over low heat (stirring frequently), until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the toasted pecans, making sure all the pecans are coated with caramel. Spread the caramel topping evenly over the still warm brownies and let cool to room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate brownies for about an hour or until the brownies are firm.
If making Homemade Caramel Topping: In a three quart heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, stop stirring, and cook the mixture until it turns a golden caramel color, about 10 – 12 minutes. (Swirl the pan as needed so the caramel cooks evenly.) Remove from heat and carefully add the cream and vanilla (the mixture will sputter and steam so be careful). Stir in the pecans and immediately pour over the still warm brownie layer, spreading evenly. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate brownies for about an hour or until the brownies are firm.
Ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat (alternatively, heat the cream in the microwave). Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
Remove the brownies from the refrigerator and, using a fork, drizzle the Ganache over the brownies in a zigzag pattern. Cover and refrigerate until the chocolate is set. Using a sharp knife, cut the brownies into 48 bars.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days, or in the freezer for longer storage.
Makes about 48 brownies.
Note: To toast pecans – Bake in a 350 degree F (177 degree C) oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant.