Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sticky Toffee Pudding Tart

Happy New Year!!  I don't think that I would make it to the new year with a new post but here I am, making an effort to sit down and write the recipe to share :D

This dessert was actually made last year but I made the toffee sauce twice within two weeks time because it went nicely with another baked item that I created with leftover bananas.  Now I've let out a little hint of what will be the next post ;)

We all loved this tart; it had amazing flavor and the right crispness of the crust.  The toffee sauce was as lovely as the tart, I would think that it would be good with ice cream as well.

So here is the recipe!

Sticky Toffee Pudding Tart

Makes one 9-inch tart

For the crust:
1 batch simple tart dough, recipe follows

For the filling:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup hot brewed coffee
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the sauce:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
Pinch of salt or more, to taste

Make the crust:  Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.  Roll the dough into a rough 11-inch round.  Line a 9-inch round tart pan with the dough and dock.  Freeze the dough for 20 minutes.  Line the dough with parchment, fill it with pie weights or dried beans, and blind bake it for 20 minutes.  Remove the weights and parchment and bake the crust for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the bottom no longer looks raw and wet.

Make the filling:  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

Chop the dates into very small pieces.  Place them in a small bowl and add the hot coffee and baking soda and stir.  Set aside until cooled.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and then the lemon zest and vanilla; beat until blended.  Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Remove the mixing bowl from the machine and fold in the date mixture by hand, using a rubber spatula.  Pour the filling into the prepared shell.  Bake until the pudding is set, 30 to 35 minutes.

Make the sauce:  Combine the butter, cream, brown sugar, and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir constantly until the sugar has completely melted, then raise the heat to medium and simmer gently until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

How to serve:  Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the top of the tart.  Serve it immediately, drizzling a little more toffee sauce over each piece.

Simple Tart Dough

Makes 2 1/2 pounds dough, enough for 3 to 4 (8- to 9-inch) tarts or 12 to 16 mini tarts

4 cups all purpose flour, cold
2 cups unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, butter, and salt until the mixture resembles cornmeal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the condensed milk and egg.  While pulsing, slowly pour this into the flour until the dough just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently turn over a few times until it is smooth, the dry ingredients have been completely integrated, and the dough holds together.  Take care not to overwork it.

Shape the dough into a loose circle, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

For this recipe, I divide the dough into 4 portions.  Each portions will weigh about .625 pounds or 5/8 of a pound.  Then I flatten each portion and double wrap it with plastic.  These will freeze for about a month.

Source:  adapted from Pie It Forward by Gesine Bullock-Prado

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Orange-Cranberry-Nut Fruit Cake

Are you all ready for Christmas?  I am!  We always have a mellow Christmas celebration and my husband and I always emphasize the importance of the birth of Jesus instead of having lots of gifts under the tree.  It helps with all the craziness that's going on around the season.  It really doesn't matter if we have many gifts or only one.  We tell our son that the important things is to be with family and enjoy the season by doing something good.  I digress.

Every Christmas I try to bake a fruitcake.  I have a couple of favorite recipes but this year I wanted to try something new.  This recipe is a keeper.  As it stated in the original King Arthur Flour website, this is more of a cake than a traditional fruitcake.  I do like the light version of fruitcake but I don't mind the dark one if it's being offered to me :)

My family likes fruitcake as well so they're looking forward to it every year.  And even my son commented that this was a good one!

Orange-Cranberry-Nut Fruit Cake

2 cups dried cranberries
2 cups dried fruits (I chose a combination of golden raisins, dried currants, dried apricots, and candied citron)
1/2 cup orange liqueur
1 3/4 cups candied red cherries

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon orange oil
4 large eggs
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup orange juice
2 cups diced pecans

1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup suagr

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Enough milk to make a thick but pourable icing

Prepare the fruit:  Combine dried fruits with orange liqueur in a bowl.  Cover and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, stir, then set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 325 degree F.

Prepare the cake:  In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light-colored and fluffy.  Beat in the baking powder, salt, and flavors.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat again briefly, to incorporate any sticky residue.

Stir in the flour alternately with the orange juice.

Stir in the undrained fruit, the candied cherries, and pecans.

Lightly grease two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans.

Spoon batter into the lightly greased baking pans, filling them about three-quarters full.

Bake the cakes for 50 to 70 minutes.  When done, the cakes will be a light golden brown all over, and a long skewer inserted into the center will come out clean.  If cakes brown too quickly during baking, cover lightly with aluminum foil.

Make the glaze:  Stir together the orange juice and sugar while the cakes are baking.  Warm briefly in the microwave; about 45 seconds.  Stir to help dissolve the sugar.  Set aside to rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally to continue dissolving the sugar.

Remove the cakes from the oven, place on the cooling rack.  Let cool for 10 minutes then turn them out onto the rack.  Brush the warm cakes all over with the glaze, continuing to brush until you've used it all.

When completely cooled, wrap well and let "age" at least 24 hours; the cake improves with a 24-hour rest.

Drizzle with icing just before serving.

Store cake, well wrapped, at room temperature; it should keep for a couple of weeks.  Freeze for longer storage.

Source:  adapted from King Arthur Flour website

Monday, December 11, 2017

Pumpkin Walnut Cake

I made this cake when I had a break, that is over Thanksgiving break :)  I know I'm way behind posting related recipe according to the season; but I've given up trying to follow the trend because it's just not enough time in my life to do that anymore.

I thought this cake is delicious all around; it was a moist and has tender crumbs.  It reminded me of my mom's pumpkin roll cake--flavor-wise--but hers uses no eggs while this has.  This year I'm in love with pumpkin spice all over again.  My favorite beverage right now is chai tea latte with lots of pumpkin spice; it's a nice drink to have when the weather is dropping down to the 30's.

The caramel whipped cream is equally good, I actually have never made it before and thought, why didn't I try this sooner?  Combining caramel and whipped cream is simply divine.  The original recipe doesn't use salt but I did put in a generous pinch of it because I really thought it needed it.

The recipe came from my favorite book in my book shelves, The Cake Book by Tish Boyle.  There are numerous recipes that I haven't even tried and all sounds very yummy.

Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Walnut Cake

Makes one 9-inch square cake

1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup safflower oil or other neutral vegetable oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degree F.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt into a medium bowl.  Whisk to combine well, and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs with both sugars at medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes.  Add the oil, pumpkin puree, milk, and vanilla extract and mix until blended.  Add the flour mixture at low speed in three additions, mixing just until blended.  Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and stir in the walnuts.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack.

To serve, cut the cake into squares, and top each with a large dollop of the cream.

Caramel Cream

Makes about 3 cups

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
Generous pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extra

In a small heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat to high and cook without stirring, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, until the syrup caramelizes and turns a golden amber color, about 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add 1/2 cup of the heavy cream (the mixture will bubble up) and sea salt, stirring until smooth.  Carefully pour the hot caramel into a heatproof glass measure and loosely cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate the caramel until chilled, about 2 hours.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the remaining 3/4 cup cream with the mascarpone cheese and vanilla at medium speed until blended.  Add the chilled caramel and beat at a high speed until the mixture forms soft peaks.  Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate.

Source:  The Cake Book by Tish Boyle

Friday, December 8, 2017

Whole Wheat Apple Cake

A whole wheat apple cake that's moist and choke-full of apples.  I love making easy cake like this because it's flavorful and light enough for after weekdays after dinner desserts.  We eat it for breakfast, of course, because the recipe said that it was for that time of day :)

Any apples will do for this cake, I had some homegrown Fuji and Gala that I used.  It's a recipe that uses spices that are so wonderful this time of year.  The house smells so fragrant while I baked this cake.

The cake is slightly darker here because I didn't cover it after 45 minutes of baking.'s something that I missed, as usual, for not reading too carefully towards the end.  The color is pretty dark on top but the inside is still moist. 

So here is the recipe for your enjoyment!

Whole Wheat Apple Cake

Makes 1 9-inch cake

3 apples, Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plain whole-milk yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.  In a medium bowl, combine apples, 1/2 cup light-brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves; set aside.  Sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, until well combined.  Add vanilla extract, and combine.  Add reserved flour mixture and yogurt; stir until well combined.  Fold in two-thirds of the reserved apple mixture.

Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan.  Sprinkle remaining apple mixture evenly over batter.  Top with remaining batter; smooth with a spatula.  Sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar.

Bake cake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes.  Cover with foil after 45 minutes of baking.  Let cool 20 minutes before releasing cake from the pan.

Source:  adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mini Chocolate-Cinnamon Rolls

I'm so excited with a week break I have from work.  Yes, it is a Thanksgiving break for me and what do I have in mind?  My plan is to bake and cook!  I'm trying to squeeze in as many baking activities in a week, plus some cooking for Thanksgiving day for my family.

So far, I've managed to make these mini chocolate-cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  They're bite-sized morsels that I don't think it is a sin that they are categorized as desserts.  I slather these buns very well with butter and cinnamon-sugar.  Then chocolate chips were added liberally all over.  Then I rolled them as tight as I can, not an easy feat because the dough is pretty thin, but it can be done!  When it's still warm, the melted chocolate is a delicious addition to these buns.

When they're this small, my family can eat about 5 at once for breakfast.  I'm surprised that I only ate 3 but then I ate another 2 for desserts :D

The week will get busy so I better share this today!

Mini Chocolate-Cinnamon Rolls

Makes about 40 small buns

1 cup water
1/4 cup dry milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 teaspoon bread machine or instant yeast

1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened; divided
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons milk, more if needed to make a flowing consistency

I used bread machine to make my dough so place the ingredients for the dough into the bread pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer.  Select Dough Cycle.

For the filling:  combine ground cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt in a small bowl.

Once the cycle is done, remove dough to a lightly floured board; cover with a large bowl and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.

Divide the dough in half.  Roll out each half to a 20-by 7-inch rectangle.  Spread one rectangle with 3 tablespoons soft butter to within 1/2 inch of the edges.  Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture then scatter half of the chocolate chips over the dough. 

Beginning at the long side, roll jellyroll-style.  Pinch to seal seam.  Cut into 20 1-inch pieces.  Place these, cut side up,  on a large baking sheet lined with parchment or sprayed with cooking spray.  Repeat procedure with remaining dough.  Cover and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in volume.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degree F.

Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until buns start to brown around the sides.  Allow to stand for a few minutes while preparing the glaze.

For the glaze:  combine all the ingredients for the glaze in a bowl and whisk until well-combined.

Drizzle the glaze onto the buns while they are still warm.

Source:  adapted from 300 Best Bread Machine Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt