Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chewy Brownies from Cooks Illustrated



I am not a snob when it comes to brownies and I will happily eat them as long as they fulfil two criteria - they must be super chocolatey (not a real word, I checked) and they must not be too sweet. These chewy brownies qualify on both counts and they are super easy to make. I first made them to go in the Frozen Brownie Sundae and then once more because I wanted to eat more brownies. One small change on my part was on the type of chocolate used, not because of any personal preference but more because of what is available here in Dubai. It is very difficult to find good affordable baking chocolate so I usually stick to Lindt as it is good quality and reasonably priced.

Recipe Source - Cook's Illustrated via Brown Eyed Baker (My changes in red)

Ingredients - Makes one 9x13 pan

1/3 Cup Dutch-processed cocoa (used regular cocoa)
1½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional) (used instant coffee)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (used Lindt 80% dark chocolate)
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (used sunflower oil)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups (17½ ounces) sugar
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces (used semi sweet chocolate
 
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.
3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.
4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
 
Happy Eating!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Frozen Brownie Sundae Cake


Summer is here in full force and we need lots of ice cream to cool down. I made this brownie sundae for dessert at our monthly potluck. The recipe for the brownie and sauce is amazing and I loved both the elements. Instead of making the recipe as given I made it as a cake in a spring form pan. I also made mini sundaes which are perfect to serve at a dinner party.


Recipe Source - Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients
One 9 inch round layer of Brownies (I used half of this recipe)
1/2 Litre Vanilla Ice Cream (Keep outside for 5 minutes before using)
1/2 Litre Strawberry Ice Cream (Keep outside for 5 minutes before using)
1/2 Cup Salted Peanuts (Chopped)
Chocolate Sauce for topping (Recipe below)
Maraschino Cherries for Decorating
One 9 inch spring form pan

For The Chocolate Sauce
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk or Heavy Cream
1/3 Cup Semi sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Essence

Method
1. Line the spring form pan with plastic wrap and place the brownie layer inside.
2. Put the vanilla ice cream in an even layer and place in freezer till ice cream is firm.
3. Remove from fridge and put the strawberry ice cream. Keep in freezer till ice cream is firm (covered, at least 2 hours)
4. Prepare the Sauce - Add all ingredients except vanilla to a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium high heat. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring constantly till mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
5. Cool the sauce for 30 minutes.
6. Remove the cake from the freezer and pour the sauce over the ice cream.
7. Top with chopped peanuts and decorate with the cherries. Cover with plastic wrap and return to freezer until ready to serve.
8. Let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Happy Eating!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


If you are the type of person who loves a good chunky carrot cake with lots of icing, then you have come to the right place. This carrot cake is full of flavour with the most dreamy icing ever. After assembling the cake you need to chill it in the fridge for sometime and then you get this amazing cake.

The recipe on Brown Eyed Baker calls for 3 round pans but next time I would prefer going with two pans as the layers are quite thin and difficult to handle. I have made this previously in a 9X13 inch pan and it was equally good with a think layer of frosting on top.

Recipe Source - Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients

For The Cake
2 cups All-purpose flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Tsp Baking Soda
2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ground Cloves
1 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
3/4 Tsp Salt
3 Cups Grated Carrots (Approx. 4 Carrots)
1 Cup Coarsely Chopped Walnuts (Toasted)
1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Sunflower Oil (Or any neutral tasting oil)
4 Eggs

For the Frosting
226 Gms (8 ounces) Cream Cheese (At room temperature)
113 Gms (4 Ounces) Unsalted Butter (At room temperature)
300 Gms  Powdered Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence

Bake The Cake
1. Preheat oven to 325 degree F (162 degree Celsius). Grease two 9 inch baking pans and line with baking paper.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg and salt. Whisk to combine well.
3. In another bowl mix together the grated carrots, coconut and walnuts.
4. Beat the sugar and oil till smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
6. Fold in the carrot mixture.
7. Divide the batter equally among the two pans and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and remove the baking paper. Cool on a wire rack with right side up till cake comes to room temperature. (Cooled cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen or kept in fridge if not using immediately).

Make the Frosting
1. Beat the cream cheese and butter till smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat till frosting is fluffy and smooth. Add in the vanilla and beat till combined.

Assemble The Cake
1. Place one cake layer on a cake board and spread half the frosting on top.
2. Place the second layer and frost completely with remaining icing.
3. Cover and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Happy Eating!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cheesecake Brownies



 
This recipe from David Lebovitz is super simple with no fuss ingredients. Rich cheesecake is combined with a dark chocolate brownie giving you the best of both worlds. I didn't have a lot of chocolate chips in my pantry so I substituted them with white and peanut butter chips. I took them to work as treats for my colleagues and everyone was delighted by the cute little packaging.



 
Recipe Source - David Lebovitz
 
Ingredients
6 Tbsp (85 Gms) Unsalted Butter (Cut into pieces)
115 Gms Semi sweet Chocolate (Chopped)
2/3 Cup (130 Gms) Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs (At room temperature)
1/2 Cup (70 Gms) All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/8 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
1/4 Cup White Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter Chips 
200 Gms Cream Cheese (At room temperature)
1 Large Egg Yolk
5 Tbsp Sugar
1/8 Tsp Vanilla Essence 
 
1. Line a 9-inch (23cm) or 8-inch (20cm) square pan with foil, making sure it goes up all four sides. Use two sheets if necessary. Mist with non-stick spray or grease lightly.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180C).
3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the 2/3 cup (130g) sugar, then the eggs.
4. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
5. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 tablespoons (75g) of sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
6. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife or spatula and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter.
7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set.
Let cool, then lift out the foil and peel it away. Cut the brownies into squares (Chill brownies before cutting to get clean pieces).

These taste best when served at room temperature.

Happy Eating!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mango Yogurt Mousse Layer Cake

 


This light and refreshing cake is a perfect end to any lunch or dinner party. Two layers of sponge cake are filled with a delicious Mango Yogurt Mousse and fresh mangoes.  I used a recipe from Epicurious for the mousse and loved the outcome. The recipe calls for fresh mango puree and I would definitely recommend using the best mangoes you can find as it does affect the taste. I used a tin of mango pulp and this gave a slight after taste to the mousse. Next time I will use fresh Alphonso mangoes to make the puree. I used low fat yogurt in this recipe which I hung in a cheesecloth overnight to remove all the excess water.

Recipe Source - Mousse recipe from Epicurious

Ingredients

For the Cake
Two layers Vanilla Sponge Cake
2 Mangoes (Chopped)
1/2 Cup Unsalted Roasted Pistachios (Roughly Chopped)
Simple Syrup

For the Mousse
1 Tbsp Unflavoured Gelatin
1/4 Cup Cold Water
2 Cups Mango Puree (Made with fresh mangoes)
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
1 Cup Thick Yogurt
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Make The Mousse

1. Pour the cold water in a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Keep aside for two minutes and then place the saucepan over low heat to dissolve the gelatin.
2. Put the mango puree, sugar, vanilla and gelatin in a blender and blend well.
3. Place the yogurt in a big bowl and whisk to remove lumps. Add the blended mango mixture and whisk.
4. Beat the whipping cream to stiff peaks and fold in the mango yogurt mixture. Keep aside.
Do not wait too long to assemble the cake as the mousse will set and it will be difficult to layer it on the cake.
 
Assemble the Cake
 
1. Line the inside of a cake ring with a 6 inch wax paper collar. Place one layer of cake on a cake board and place the cake ring around the cake. Apply simple syrup all over the cake to make it moist.
2. Arrange the mango pieces all around the cake ring.
3. Fill the space between the mangoes with the mousse and cover them completely. Add a layer of chopped mangoes.
4. Add the next layer of cake, syrup and mousse. Using an offset spatula spread the mousse evenly to get a flat surface. This is important as the mousse will set in the fridge.
5. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill for 4-5 hours in the fridge or till the mousse is set.
6. Remove from fridge and gently loosen the cake ring. Remove the wax paper.
7. Sprinkle the crushed pistachios all over the top of the cake. Serve Chilled.

Happy Eating!!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Orange Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting


Hello folks! Today I bring to you a light and refreshing orange cake filled with orange whipped cream. I got the recipe and decoration idea from Sweetapolita who has the most romantic and whimsical looking cakes.
 
While the original recipe has a whipped butter frosting I opted to go with stabilized whipped cream as I don't like butter based frostings. I also added a bit of orange tang to the filling as I wanted it to have a pronounced orange flavour.


Overall I was very pleased with the final outcome and would definitely make this cake again.

Recipe Source - Orange Cake and filling recipe given as is from Sweetapolita.

Ingredients

For the Orange Cake:
4 Whole Eggs (Room Temperature)
2 Egg Yolks (Room Temperature)
1 Cup (240 ml) Whole Milk (Room Temperature)
1/4 Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice (Strained)
3 Cups (345 g) Cake Flour (Sifted)
2 Cups (400 g) Sugar
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp (19 g) Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon (4 g) Salt
3/4 Cup (170 g) Unsalted Butter (cold and cut into small even pieces)
Zest from 2 Medium Oranges
 
For the Orange Whipped Cream Filling:
2 Tbsp (30 ml) cold water
2 tsp (10 ml) Unflavoured Gelatin (such as Knox brand)
2 Cups (500 ml) Whipping Cream (35-37% fat), cold
1/4 Cup (30 g) Icing Sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) Vanilla Essence
Zest from 1 Medium Orange
4 Tbsp Orange Flavored Tang (you can use any tropical flavor)
Pinch of Salt
 
For The Stabilized Whipped Cream
2 Tbsp Unflavored Gelatin
4 Tbsp Cold Water
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Icing Sugar
 
Make The Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment round and dust sides with flour.
  2. In a medium measuring cup with a spout, lightly break up the eggs and yolks. In a separate measuring cup, combine the orange juice and milk.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With the mixer set to low speed, add the cold butter one piece at a time, about 10 seconds apart. (You can keep half in the fridge while you add the first half of butter.) Continue mixing on low speed until all of the butter has been blended and there are no clumps. Mixture should have a fine crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
  4. Gradually add the milk/orange juice mixture to these dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the egg mixture; once the mixture has been added, increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute, but no more. Gently fold in the zest.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans (use a kitchen scale to ensure 3 even layers--cakes should weight ~ 460 g each). Place two of the cake pans on a baking sheet and bake until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs but no batter, about 23 minutes. Repeat with the final layer. Let the layers cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then loosen sides with thin metal spatula or knife, and carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel of the paper liners, and let cool completely.
 
Make the Orange Whipped Cream Filling
  1. In a small stainless steel bowl, place the cold water and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup of the cream just to a simmer, then stir into the gelatin mixture until the gelatin has dissolved. Refrigerate, stirring frequently, until cool but not set, about 8 minutes.
  2. In a chilled stainless steel mixer bowl with a chilled whisk attachment, beat the remaining whipping cream, icing/confectioners' sugar, vanilla and salt until it thickens just slightly and soft peaks begin to form, about 1 minute. Very gradually add the gelatin mixture and continue beating until medium-firm peaks form (should be thick enough to spread). Fold in zest and tang powder. Keep covered and chilled until ready to use.
Make the Stabilized Whipped Cream
 
  1. Place the gelatin in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Heat on low heat till the gelatine is completely dissolved. Keep aside to cool but make sure that it does not set.
  2. In the bowl of stand mixer place the whipping cream (chilled) and whip till soft peaks are formed. Add the cooled gelatin and whip till stiff.
Assemble the Cake
 
  1. Trim the tops of all three cake layers. Place one cake layer on a cake board and add 1/2 of the filling. Repeat with two more layers.
  2. Using the stabilized whipped cream crumb coat the cake and place in fridge to chill.
  3. Tint the remaining whipped cream into colours of your choice and frost the cake completely. For the pastel swirl technique and video please check this post on Sweetapolita.
Happy Eating !!
 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


This year Latif and I had decided that we would not celebrate our birthdays anymore and there would be no cake cutting or decorations. I had agreed to this without thinking much but when my birthday rolled around (mine comes first in November) I started having cake withdrawal symptoms and promptly announced that no cake birthdays suck.


Latif celebrates his birthday in December and I could not bear the thought of not making him a cake so I decided to make his all-time favorite Pineapple Upside Down. As I was assembling the ingredients I realized I didn’t have any pineapple at home. With a sad face I started keeping everything back inside when I spotted a packet of mini chocolate chips in the cupboard. What better way to cheer yourself up than making home made cookies!

I am a big fan of these cookies as chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal are my idea of cookie heaven. I quickly mixed up a batch and baked them, all thoughts of a birthday cake forgotten.

Recipe Source - Given as is from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients

1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Salt
113 Grams / 1 stick / 1/2 Cup Unsalted  Butter (At room temperature)
1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract (I used vanilla essence)
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats (I used quick cooking)
1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. On medium speed, cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat to combine. On low speed, gradually add the flour until just combined. Stir in the oats, and then the chocolate chips.
4. Use a large cookie scoop (3 tablespoons) and drop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden. Cool completely on the baking sheet and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Happy Eating!!