Sunday, April 26, 2009

Light Chocolate Muffins

Wow, what a week. I mean really. If anyone had told me a week ago what the week would have entailed I would never have believed them. I mean just crazy crazy stuff happening.  In 4 weeks I am moving from my lovely comfortable life here in Australia, where I have lots of friends, a good job, great apartment and all my family, to the other side of the world.  In 4 weeks I am starting a new job in Missouri. Yes, Missouri!  I told you it was crazy.  Why? you ask, well the last two northern summers I have worked at a beautiful summer camp in Rolla, MO.  This place is my favourite place in the world, working there has been my greatest experience in life.  This year I had resolved myself to not going back, it was too hard, I couldn't keep giving up my life here in Sydney to work for 3 months in the US.  Then this week I got an email. The owner/director of the camp asked me if I would like to be the Assistant Director. All year. What?! Really?! This is my dream job, I've been wanting this for two years. I couldn't turn it down. But I have to be there the 25th May, that's 4 weeks away. 4 weeks!! It has been an emotional week, lots of thinking and decision making. Very mixed emotions, lots of excitement, but telling all my family and friends I'm moving across the world, for a long time, not exciting. The next few weeks and months will be interesting.  As far as the baking and blogging are concerned, I don't know.  In the short term there won't be much baking or blogging happening.  After the summer I will have much more time for baking, but I don't know how good my kitchen and baking supplies will be.  This blog may turn into a story of my journey, with some food and baking mixed in when I can. Only time will tell. 

Onto this weeks recipe. It is one I baked a while ago. I can't say they were great, but still a nice snack. When judging these muffins keep in mind that they are a light muffin, so the texture and flavour is different from your regular muffin. 

This weeks Sunday Baking round-up is back to basics. In light of my recent run of baking disasters I wanted to keep it simple.
Light Chocolate Muffins
recipe from

1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder
1/4 cup (30g) hot water
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 egg white
1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
200g skim milk natural yoghurt
140g apple fruit puree
1/3 cup (80ml) reduced fat milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
50g good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups (265g) self raising flour
icing sugar, to dust

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Brush twelve capacity muffin pans with melted butter to lightly greased.
2. Combine cocoa and hot water in a bowl and stir until smooth.  Add the egg, egg white, sugar, yogurt, apple puree, milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined. Stir in the chocolate until combined.
3. Sift flour over the mixture and use a large metal spoon to mix until just combined. Spoon evenly among prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres of the muffins comes out clean. Remove from oven. Set aside in the pans for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
4. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I've lost my baking rhythm. I'm in a funk. Its been one disaster after another.  These cookies, they look great and I'm sure they are.  But when i made them, well I'm not sure what happened exactly.  All i know is that the bottoms were burning, and the middle was raw.  First of all I left out half of the flour mixture and the first batch in the oven were flat, very flat.  Then I realised my mistake, added the rest of the flour, and still not a great success.  Maybe someone can give it a try and let me know.  As for me, I think I'm going back to baking basics til I have some more success.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipes from Taste and Tell


1 1/2 cups flour

1 3/4 cups rolled old-fashioned oats

1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

170g softened unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mashed ripe banana

1 cup chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Sift the flour, oats, bicarb soda, cinnamon and salt together. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. 

3. Add half the flour mixture, mix, and then add the banana and mix. Add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Mix in chocolate chips.

4. Drop tablespoon-sized balls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

I think its important to document the disasters.  Not that this was a huge disaster but its not the pretty picture I would like it to be.  I haven't been doing this blog thing for very long but already I am caught up in the visual, the pretty, the popular.  I sometimes forget that I started to blog to help me learn. And we can't learn without making mistakes.  And we can't learn from others if we don't share those mistakes.  So in an effort to share the ugly truth, here are my hot cross buns.  They tasted good (or so i was told) but certainly don't look that great.  The very squished hot cross 'cake' resulted from me using a pan that was smaller then the one called for. I tried to squash it all in, it didn't work.  And the crosses, well I piped them too thick.  So what did i learn? Use the pan the recipe calls for, and hot cross bun crosses spread when baking.    

Hot Cross Buns
Recipe from AWW Bake

1 tablespoon (14g) dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups warm milk
4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
60g butter
1 egg
3/4 cup sultanas

Flour paste
1/2 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1/3 cup water, approximately

1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon gelatine
1 tablespoon water

1. Combine yeast, sugar and milk in small bowl or jug.  Cover; stand in warm place about 10 minutes or until mixture is frothy.
2. Sift flour and spices into large bowl; rub in butter. Stir in yeast mixture, egg and sultanas; mix to a soft sticky dough. Cover, stand in warm place about 45 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
3. Grease 23cm square slab cake pan or deep 23cm-square cake pan.
4. Turn dough onto floured surface; knead about 5 minutes or until smooth.  Divide dough into 16 pieces, knead into balls.  Place balls into pan; cover, stand in warm place about 10 minutes or until buns have risen to top of pan.
5. Meanwhile , preheat oven to 220C/430F.
6. Make flour paste for crosses; place in piping bag fitted with small plain tube, pipe crosses on buns.
7. Bake buns about 20 minutes. Turn buns, top-side up; onto wire rack.
8. Make glaze; brush hot buns with hot glaze.  Cool on wire rack.

Flour paste: Combine flour and sugar in cup. Gradually blend in enough of the water to form a smooth firm place.
Glaze: Stir ingredients in small saucepan over hear, without boiling, until sugar and gelatine are dissolved.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Baking Recap

Here is the complete list of my Sunday Baking round-ups

Last updated 12/4/09

Jan 4th 2009
Annies Eats - Pineapple Muffins

Jan 11th 2009
Tartelette - Brioche des Rois
Ambers Delectable Delights - Honey Yeast Rolls
Amanda's Cookin - Fudge Puddles
Baked Perfection - Personalised Cupcakes

Jan 18th 2009
Happy Home Baking - Wholemeal Banana Bread
Simply Daily Recipes - Banana Oat Cookies
Technicolor Kitchen - Banana and Hazelnut Coffee Cake
Evil Chef Mom - Banana Crunch Bread

Jan 25th 2009
Sunday Baker - Cheddar Snack Sticks
Bunny's Warm Oven - Raspberry Roulade
Confections of a Foodie Bride - Strawberry Cake
Joy the Baker - Lemon Souffle Pudding
Dine and Dish - Baked Alaska

Feb 1st
Coffee and Vanilla - Beetroot Brownies with Walnuts
Wolf's Den - Spiced Chai Cake

Feb 8th
Nobel Pig - Italian Love Cake
Simply Recipes - Chocolate Truffles

Feb 15th
Cream Puffs in Venice - Oven Crespella with Nutella Sauce
The Decorated Cookie - Dot Cookies

Feb 22nd
Culinary Cory - Coconut Raspberry Cake
Good Things Catered - Lady Strawberry Cake
Culinary Concoctions of Peabody - Baileys Irish Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

March 1st
Dinner and Dessert - Apfelstrudel
Use Real Butter - Chocolate Hazelnut Torte
Tiny Banquet Committee - Cornmeal Cake with Honey Syrup
Two Spoons - Three Sugar Cake

March 8th
At the Bakers Bench - Pineapple Stir Cake
Cafe Chocolade - Lika Pie

March 15th
Coconut and Lime - Chocolate Hamantashen
Gluten Free Day - Princess Cake
Peanut Butter and Julie - Donut Cookies
The Repressed Pastry Chef - Apple Turnovers
Smitten Kitchen - Layer Cake Tips

March 22nd
Culinary Concoctions of Peabody - Peanut Butter and Jelly Shortbread Wedges
Technicolor Kitchen - Apple Cake with Toffee Crust

March 29th
Canelle et Vanille - Lemon Cream Cookies
Tracey's Culinary Adventures - Pumpkin Pie Muffins
Chaos in the Kitchen - Perfect Yellow Cake
Confessions of a Tart - Honey Madeleines

April 5th
Elle's New England Kitchen - Chocolate Glazed Donut Muffins
Passionate About Baking - Apple Spice Cake
Pie of the Tiger - Rainbow Cookies
Ruth's Kitchen Experiments - Rainbow Cake
Bilateral Haze - Birthday Cupcake Bites

April 12th
The Gourmet Foodie Blog - Kahlua Cupcakes
Sweet and Saucy - Deathcakes
How to Eat a Cupcake - Milk Chocolate Malt Ball Cupcakes

April 19th
Don't Forget Delicious - Fastest Cinnamon Rolls
The Bitten Word - Tres Cocoas Leches Cake
Dirty Kitchen Secrets -Gateau ZaZa
Brownies for Dinner - Coca Cola Cake

April 26th
Sugarlaws - Buckeye Cookies
The Hungry Mouse - Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake
Beantown Baker - Homemade Oreos
In Good Taste - Mom's Banana Muffins
The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch - Yoghurt Brownies

May 10th

May 17th
The Cooking Photographer - WWII Caramel Refrigerator Cookies
Ezra Pound Cake - Edna Lewis' Busy-Day Cake
Good Things Catered - Chocolate Oreo Cake
Dunkin Cooking the Semi-Homemade Way - Baklava

May 24th
Baked Perfection - Cinnamon Sugar Scones
What's Cooking in the Orange Kitchen - Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
The Curious Blogquat - Homemade Pop-tarts

May 31st
Latest Addictions - Whole Wheat Pizza Muffins

June 7th
Savory Sweet Life - Fortune Cookies
Smells Like Home - Boston Cream Pie

June 14th
Megan's Cookin - Rainbow Cake
The Kitchen Sink Recipes - Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Cake
A Little Owl in the Kitchen - Tiramisu Tartlets

June 21st
Angie's Recipes - Coconut Peanut Squares

June 28th
Mommy? I'm Hungry - Sour Cream Pumpkin Bundt Cake
A Kiss and a Cupcake - Cinnamon Cappucino Cookies
Delightful Dessert - Chocolate Raspberry Tarts

July 5th
Let Her Bake Cake - Butter Tart
Le Table De Nana - Crumble Top Muffins
Little House - Chocolate Chiffon Cake

July 12th
Purple Foodie - Black Forest Cookies
Dana Treat - Coconut Bars

July 19th
Pham Fatalie - Crumpets
Spicy Icecream - Apple Crumble Slice
Natalie's Killer Cuisine - Banana Bread Cake Pops

July 26th
The Cutting Edge of Ordinary - Root Beer Float Cake
Domestic Delight - Prettied Up Shortbread

August 2nd
La Cuisine d'Helene - Fudgy Mocha-toffee Brownies
Culinary Concoctions by Peabody - Giant Ginger Cookies
Elizabeth's Edible Experience - Pecan Pie Cookies

August 9th
Pete Bakes - Strawberry Cupcakes
Sweet Sensations - Chocolate Raspberry Cake
Greedy Gourmand - Walnut Orange Cake
The Apartment Kitchen - Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

August 16th
Tortatebukura's Blog - Pantry Chocolate Cake
The Cooking Photographer - Cake Mix Chai Spice Cookies
A Bowl of Mush - Brioche Buttons
The Repressed Pastry Chef - Coconut Cake with Pineapple Filling

August 23rd
Bringing Home the Bakin' - Homemade Thin Mint Cookies
Mochachocolata Rita - Chocolate Carrot Cake
Coconut and Lime - Homemade Sno-balls
At the Bakers Bench - Real Coconut Cake
Lets Get Stupid Together - Surprise Muffins

September 6th
My Recession Kitchen - Mocha Tart
Zoe Bakes - Ice Cream Cake
Annie's Eats - Brownie Cookies

Cloud Cupcakes

I've never really understood the fuss about cupcakes.  Don't get me wrong, I think they're great and have made them before, but what's with all the extra fuss and hype?  What makes them better than a normal cake, or brownies, or cookies? These answers I cannot find but feel free to enlighten me.  

These cupcakes I made for a friends birthday. They are a simple vanilla cupcake with strawberry jam swirled through them. They are delicious. And the frosting? WOW! Its the first time I'd made frosting like this and had no idea what it would be like. AMAZING.  They were applauded by all.  I made the entire batch of frosting which was about twice as much as you really need. 

I'm also highlighting cupcakes in this weeks Sunday Baking.  Here are just some of the cupcakes seen around the blog world this week.

Cloud Cupcakes
From AWW Bake 

90g butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons strawberry jam

Fluffy frosting
1 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
food colouring

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
2. Beat butter, extract, sugar, eggs, flour and milk in small bowl with electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium; beat until mixture is changed to a light colour.
3. Divide mixture among cases; smooth surface. Divide jam over tops of cakes; using a skewer swirl jam into cakes.
4. Bake cakes about 20 minutes. Turn cakes, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
5. Make fluffy frosting. Spread frosting over cakes.

Fluffy Frosting
Stir sugar and water in a small saucepan over heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring about 5 minutes or until syrup reaches 116C /240F on a candy thermometre. Syrup should be thick but not coloured. Remove from heat, allow bubbles to subside.  Beat egg whites in a small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. While mixer is operating, add hot syrup in thin stream; beat on high speed about 10 minutes or until mixture is thick and cool.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

You have to make this bread!  Its beautifully moist and super easy to make.  I whipped it up  one afternoon in the very short time I have between finishing work and racing off to class.  Took it into work the next day and it didn't last long.  It was described as the 'best cake ever' but I think that was a bit of an exaggeration!  Seriously though, try it, you won't be disappointed.

And back to Sunday Baking. I'm so glad I can share with you again my favourite recipes of the week.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
found on all recipes

1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.  In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon; set aside.
2. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1 cup sugar. Combine egg, milk and oil; add to flour mixture.  Stir until just moistened.
3. Pour half of the batter into pan.  Sprinkle with half the reserved cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Repeat with remaining batter and cinnamon/sugar mixture. Draw a knife through batter to marble.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into centre of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in foil and let sit overnight before slicing.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Wow, I'm finally online using my own internet! Can you believe it has taken 6 WEEKS and 4 technicians to get my internet working.  It has been a tough ride, with many  frustrating conversations to call centers in India, New Zealand and across Australia.  But I move past it and on to the blogging.  Oh how I have missed it.  So many recipes to share.  I start with these lovely cookies.

I was in the mood for baking and this was one of the few recipes I had all the ingredients on hand.  They are nice and crispy and crumbly with a hint of peanut butter taste alongside the chocolate.  My co-workers and taste testers were impressed.

** Sunday Baking round-up will resume tomorrow and sometime this week I will post all the round-ups from the weeks I missed!**

Recipe from cadbury

125g butter
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda (baking soda)

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Cream butter, peanut butter and sugar together until light in colour.
2. Sift the dry ingredients and add. Mix well to form a dough.
3. Roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls. Place on greased or lined baking trays. Flatten each ball slightly with your hand or the back of a fork.
4. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Dust the discuits with a little caster sugar on their removal from the oven. Cool for a few minutes before removing from the tray.