"if you wish to be glamorous, become a cake baker" -The Joy of Cooking

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas baking

I've been super busy baking...but a lazy blogger.

Here is what I have been up to.

I absolutely love Nigella Lawson and Nigella's Christmas is one of my favourite books of hers.   So I had to try this recipe for her easy fruit cake.

To prepare your pan you have to line the bottom and sides with a double layer of parchment paper, making sure the parchment comes up higher than the pan

The fruit in the fruit cake consisted of prunes..pitted and chopped



Put the fruit with the butter, sugar and spices, coffee liquor and cocoa powder in a saucepan then bring to a boil and simmer for 10 mins

Let the fruit mixture cool a bit then you add in the eggs, flour, ground almonds

The finished cake.  

Next I made some homemade vanilla bean ice cream.  I used the recipe from David Lebovitz's book Ready for Dessert, www.davidlebovitz.com for the recipe

vanilla bean

split lengthwise and then scrape out the beans

the beans, pod and milk infusing .....heaven

Beat the egg yolks while slowly adding the hot milk to temper them...then you add it back to the pot and cook until the mixture coats the back of your spoon/spatula 

I love hazelnuts and decided I would add them to some biscotti dough.  I toasted them in a dry pan and then roughly chopped the nuts

along with some chopped dark chocolate

This recipe comes from a very old copy of Homemakers magazine and we've been using it for years in my house.  To make the biscotti preheat your oven to 350, in a mixer beat 3 eggs with 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/3 cup  olive oil

Then in another bowl, mix together 2 3/4 cups flour, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt and add the flour mixture to the egg mixture to create a soft, sticky dough

I added chopped toasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate here.  The good thing about these cookies is you can add whatever you want to them.  Add almonds and lemon zest or just chocolate or leave them plain.  

next roll the dough into a ball

cut the ball in half

Then roll each half into a log and bake at 325 for 25-30min. Take the logs out of the oven and let cool for a couple minutes, then slice and place them back onto the cookie sheet and bake again at 300 for 20-25 minutes.

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