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

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes nothing in the world can beat a simple, homemade chocolate chip cookie.  These cookies are the soft, chewy kind which I think are my favourite.

This recipe is adapted from William-Sonoma's Bake Good Things

Preheat your oven to 350

you will need:
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt 
1/2 cup room temp unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar - firmly packed
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate chips

in the bowl of a stand mixer add the sugars and butter and beat on medium speed until smooth

in another bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda until well combined. Add the vanilla and the egg to the butter mixture and beat them until well blended, then slowly add the flour mixture to the bowl and beat on low until just combined

Then add in the chocolate chips.  The recipe actually called for 2 1/2 cups of chocolate but I found it was way too much, and I always like adding more than called for in a recipe,NEVER less! not sure if this was a typo but really just add as much as you like, I just mixed it all in the kitchen aid but you could do it by hand if you're up for it

I love using a medium ice cream scoop for cookie dough. It ensures all the cookies are uniform size so they bake up beautifully even

I slightly flatten the mounds of dough with the palm of my hand, I like to add a few more chocolate chips just on top and a little sprinkle of kosher salt.  I think flaky Maldon salt would be incredible sprinkled on top but I didn't have any on hand

I baked the cookies for 14 mins 1 tray at a time, I first start checking the cookies at 10 mins to see how they were doing, then transferred them to a cooling rack once they came out

The recipe says it makes 30 cookies, I got 24 from mine. I guess it just depends how big you scoop your cookies out.

Click here to take you to Williams-Sonoma Taste Food Blog for the original recipe

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Lemon Pavlova

Here is what I made with the leftover 8 egg whites I had from the lemon curd.  I had to make this pavlova after seeing THIS episode of Simply Nigella.  It's soooooooo good, like lemon meringue pie but more light & airy.

Whisk the whites with a pinch of salt until foamy 

Wait! Don't forget to first set the oven to 350!

Slowly add 2 1/2 cups of sugar to the foamy whites a spoonful at a time, if you can find it super fine sugar is best 

Whisk until the whites are stiff and glossy and hold a stiff peak

Next add 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp vinegar and 1 Tbsp corn starch to the bowl and fold gently into the whites 

Dollop the meringue onto a baking sheet lined with parchment

Smooth it into a round disk about 20cm in diameter

place the pav into the oven and immediately turn it down to 300, this is done so that the outside will form a crisp crust from the immediate blast of hot air and as the oven comes down in temperature it allows inside to bake up soft and pillowy, like a giant marshmallow with crispy shell

Bake the pav for 1hr 45min. When it's done open the oven door and let it cool completely like this, don't worry if the pavlova caves in the centre, mine did. Sometimes it happens when the oven door is open too quickly I think next time I would just prop it open slightly with a wood spoon so that it can release the hot air more gently. It will still look and taste amazing though!

when you're ready to serve place the pavlova on a serving platter, spread the lemon curd all over the top and then softly whipped cream over that.  I forgot to take a pic of it before I served it to guests I had over the weekend, here is what a slice of it looked like. It's so good it was all I had left and that didn't last long either.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook

A few weeks ago a fellow co-worker was stunned when I confessed that I never seen an episode of Downton Abbey.  She insisted that I had to start watching.  This was only 3 weeks ago and thanks to Netflix, my husband and I binged watched SIX seasons in that time!!! I know I may not want to be proud of this fact but honestly it was that good, like the Lays Potato chip, each night we could never just stop at one.

For me, one of the most fascinating parts of the show was Ms. Patmore's kitchen, to me that kitchen was gorgeous! All those copper pots and vintage Grip Stand bowls and all the food she was preparing every single show was so intriguing.  Every time there was a  scene with a fancy dinner, tea or luncheon I wanted to know exactly what they were eating and how Ms. Patmore and her kitchen maid Daisy prepared it, so when I found this gem of a book I HAD to have it!

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary's Crab Canap├ęs to Daisy's Mousse Au Chocolat More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs.  By: Emily Ansara Baines, 2014

I ordered mine from Chapters and it was a nice surprise when I got home from work to find it had arrived today :)

CAN'T wait to start reading, cooking and baking Downton style!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lemon Curd

I never really appreciated lemon curd until I made this recipe.  It is seriously delicious!! Especially if you love citrus.  You could do so many yummy things with it.  

I found this recipe on Martha Stewart's website: www.marthastewart.com  I LOVE watching the Kitchen Conundrums videos from her site.  They are so helpful and informative! Click HERE if you would like the recipe & video demonstration with Thomas Joseph

You will need 8 egg yolks for this recipe.  I have yummy plans for the whites but you could always freeze the whites for later use

so pretty

1 cup of sugar, 1 Tbsp lemon zest, 10 Tbsp Butter

Cut up the butter in cubes

Make sure you use only fresh lemon juice, not the bottle stuff, otherwise it won't be as tart, I needed about 3 medium size ones 

This recipe couldn't be simpler, just throw in the ingredients in the pot, whisk it all up...

turn the stove to medium-high

Add in the butter

And whisk constantly until all the butter is melted and the mixture starts to bubble slightly around the edges and has thickened. 

Pour the lemon curd through a fine mesh sieve into a glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap directly over the top so that it doesn't form a skin. Let it cool down then refrigerate until cold

As I mentioned above you could use lemon curd for so many different things.  Use it as a cake or tart filling, cupcakes, on scones, or how I'm going to use it.  Which I'll post about next time... now the dreadful part - clean up :S

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Toasty (and Addictive) Olive Oil Granola

There is not much I can say about this granola other than I'm totally obsessed and truly can't get enough.  You just have to make it.

This recipe comes from the lovely Nigella Lawson's Simply Nigella cookbook.
It's not as sweet as other granola recipes I've tried, which I like and you can play around with the ingredients, which I have done here and omit or add whatever you like.

First, you'll want to preheat the oven to 300 and line a full sheet pan with parchment paper

In a large bowl I added 3 cups rolled oats - Please don't use the instant kind - 1 cup of slivered almonds, 1 cup pumpkin seeds, 4 tbsp sesame seeds, 1 cup sunflower seeds, 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, 1 tsp kosher salt and 2 tsp of cinnamon.

Nigella suggests flax seed but I forgot to buy them while at the store. She also adds 2 tsp of ginger in her recipe and suggests whole almonds. My quantities of some of the ingredients are also a bit more than suggested, but you could add or omit whatever suits you. You could even add different kind of nuts than almond and once the granola is cold you could also add in dried fruit or chocolate chips, the possibilities really are endless

Next you will need to measure 1/2 cup of olive oil (extra-virgin) and 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup - not the fake stuff!!

Mix the oat mixture really well before adding the maple syrup and olive oil mixture

Whisk the olive oil and maple syrup until nicely combined 

Pour the maple syrup mixture over the granola mixture and mix until everything is evenly coated, toast in the oven for 30mins, take out the granola and give a gentle toss on the sheet pan, place back in the oven for another 30mins

Let it cool on the pan, then store in an airtight container

Friday, April 8, 2016

Raspberry - Sour Cream Crumb Cake

One of the biggest things I took for granted while living at home was the seemingly never ending supply of food in the pantry and refrigerator that were continuously well stalked by my parents.  I never really had to worry about grocery shopping and whenever I needed to cook or bake a recipe we always seemed to have the majority of ingredients.  

I also never really paid attention to how much my mother made an effort to ensure that things didn't go to waste and now that I'm finally married and happily cooking and baking for myself and my new husband I realize now more than ever how much food costs and how achingly sad it is when we have to throw food away that has gone past its expiration date.  

Being a newly wed has all kinds of unexpected surprises, especially since we did not live together before we were married.  One of the most difficult things for me right now is learning how to grocery shop.  I know that might sound weird, it's just food shopping right?   For me i've learned that it takes a lot of consideration and planning and going through recipes I want to try so that not only do I remember to get all the stuff I need but that I don't over buy and end up wasting food and money. 

So I had some sour cream that I did not want to go to waste and while looking through my cookbooks I came across this recipe for Raspberry Sour Cream Crumb Cake in one of my favourite books - Bake Good Things: Simple Techniques & Foolproof Recipes for Everyday Eating from the Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen line.  

The book describes this cake as three tempting tiers of buttery vanilla cake, tangy fresh raspberries and crumbly lemon scented top...after reading that I had to make it.  

1 cup of Sour Cream - don't use low fat :P

Add the sour cream with 1 tsp Vanilla and 3 eggs and whisk until well combined

Mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt and whisk together well. In another bowl you will mix the ingredients for the crumbly top: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup of melted butter and the zest of 1 lemon - mix well with a fork and set aside

Add the flour mixture to the sour cream mixture 

Whisk until nice and fluffy about 2-3 mins

Next pour the batter in a 10inch buttered and floured round cake pan. Sprinkle 1 pint of fresh raspberries over the batter

Sprinkle the crumbly mixture all the over the top

Bake at 350 for 40mins