Tag Archives: baking

Christmas baking, hamper goodies

In the last couple of days, I have had the opportunity to take it a little easy…..and in my usual style, that does not mean, I did nothing :-).  I decided to catch-up on Christmas baking for the family + hamper gifts (gift baskets) for our two neighbors.

First, was my Pineapple Fruit Cake (my version of Christmas Fruit Cake, since I am not a fan).
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Second, Orange Lightening Cake (as muffins).
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Thirdly, Star Wars Sugar Cookies, with green and red sugar sprinkles for a Christmas flare. The forms, we purchased at Williams and Sonoma, while they were on special for $4.95. For these, I used this recipe, but found I had to add 1 additional egg, and 1/2 stick of additional butter as it was very dry.
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Lastly, something for my husband to remind him of home, German Christmas Cookies (made with almond meal)….recipe below. IMG_9069

German Christmas Cookies

Ingredients
1 egg (separate egg yolk and white)
60 g (1/2 cup)  Almond meal
180 g (1 1/2 cups) All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
pinch salt
80 g + 40 g (1 cup) icing sugar (confectionary sugar)
80 g (3/4 stick) butter (softened)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp water

Mix the yolk, almond meal, flour, baking powder, salt, 80g icing sugar, butter, vanilla and milk in a large bowl. NOTE: I start mixing with a fork and then use my hands as the dough starts to form). Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F (200 degrees C). Once dough has chilled, place it between two layers of plastic wrap and roll out the dough. Cut out your cookies using your forms and place on a tray that is covered with baking paper (cookie sheets).

Mix the rest of the icing sugar (40g), egg white and water in a bowl and whisk to dissolve the icing sugar. With a brush thinly coat the top of the cookies with the glaze-mixture. Bake cookies for ~12 minutes or until golden.

Remove from the oven, leave on tray to cool for 5-10 minutes. Place on cooling rack thereafter until completely cooled.

What have you been baking for Christmas? I would love to hear.

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Baking with Citrus: Orange Lightening Muffins + Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

This weekend,  I took two recipes I previously posted and made a couple of modifications. These modifications were so well received the boys have almost eaten it all in 24 hours.

Modification one was using the Orange lightening cake recipe and making Orange Lightening Muffins. I made the recipe exactly the same but instead of putting it in the cake tin, I placed it in a muffin tin. I baked them at the same temperature – 325 degrees F, for 30 minutes.

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The second modification was to the Vanilla buttermilk pound cake, making it a Lemon buttermilk pound cake. I switched out the vanilla essence using one lemon.

  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • heat lemon for 10 seconds in the microwave and add to the mixture the juice from the squeezed lemon.

Everything else was the same including the Lemon icing.

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Double chocolate banana bread

I have been seeing a lot of banana bread and nutella recipes. I decided to modify my banana bread recipe so it included chocolate chip and nutella. Boy, it was amazing – very rich though, one slice was enough 🙂

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Modifications to the Original Recipe:

Additional Ingredients

  • 1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup Nutella

Additional Directions

Follow the directions in the Original recipe but add the 1 cup of chocolate chips to the banana mix before adding the dry ingredients. Pour batter into tin as described.

Melt Nutella for 20 seconds on high in the Microwave. Pour the nutella on top of the batter. Use a knife to mix in the nutella slightly into the top of the loaf. Bake as stated in the original directions.

Serving suggestions: Serve warm with whip cream and a coffee

Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake

I have brought buttermilk several times over the last month and have thrown it out unused, something I really don’t like doing. This time determined to use it before it expires, I found a great recipe in the Cooking Light Magazine (November 2008) for Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake.

The recipe makes two 8×4 loafs, which I iced with a lemon icing. Next time though I would either make a plain butter sugar glaze with the vanilla buttermilk loaf, or switch out the vanilla in the loaf for lemon. Also in my oven, it did not require the full hour of baking.

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Ingredients (Vanilla buttermilk pound cake)

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup of butter (softened)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups low-fat buttermilk

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place the first 4 ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk. Put aside.
  • Place sugar and butter in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the sugar mixture in stages, beginning and ending with flour.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly into the two greased and lined loaf tins. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from tins. Cool completely on a wire rack.

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Ingredients (Lemon Butter Icing)

1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 lemon (finely grated lemon peel + juice from one lemon)
1 1/2 cups icing sugar (confectionary sugar)

  • Place butter and lemon ingredients into a bowl
  • Add the icing sugar in stages, so you can ensure the thickness you want for your icing. Mix together with a knife until blended
  • Apply icing to the cooled loaves with a  knife
  • Serve 🙂

My Christmas pineapple fruit cake

I am not a big fan of fruit cake however, I love this pineapple fruit cake.IMG_0674 I make it every Christmas – and I get a lot of folks wanting the recipe. This recipe is all made in one large pot so clean-up is also really easy. So, here it is – it is one of my Mum’s recipes.

Ingredients

1 can of pineapple – crushed or chunks (~450g) including the juice
12 oz mixed fruit
125 g butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs

1. In a large sauce pan, place the first seven ingredients.
NOTE: I use pineapple chucks as I prefer the bigger pieces of pineapple – I do cut them in half though.
NOTE: For the mixed fruit I use 1/2 a container of mixed peel/glazed cherries, 1/2 – 3/4 cup of raisins (golden raisins + raisins). You can include currents if you want.
NOTE: For the mixed spice, if you do not have this I use 1/4 tsp ginger, a pinch of nutmeg, pinch of cloves and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.

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2. Heat, and boil for 10 minutes. As the mixture rises, stir and to ensure no boiling over occurs.
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3. Take off heat, allow mixture to cool. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F (106 degrees C).

4. Grease and line a cake tin.
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5. Add the two cups of flour, baking powder and 2 eggs to the fruit mixture, mix with a metal spoon until just blended.

6. Place into the mixture into the cake tin. Put into the oven and bake for 1 hour.

7. Take out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, remove from tin and place on a cooling rack.

Pumpkin Bread – Great recipe for freezing

I found an amazing recipe for pumpkin bread in a Cooking Light magazine (November 2008 page 176) that the whole family loves. It is very moist and it freezes great.

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Ingredients

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup flaxseed
2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 canola oil
2/3 cup honey beer (room temperature; NOTE: I use a dark beer if I do not have honey)
1/2 cup egg substitute + 2 eggs (NOTE: I use 4 eggs instead of the egg substitute)
1 can pumpkin (14-15 oz)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Combine flour, salt and next 4 ingredients (through pumpkin pie spice) in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk
  3. Combine water and flaxseed in a small bowl
  4. Place sugar and next 4 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add flaxseed mixture and pumpkin, beat at low-speed until blended. Add flour mixture, beat just until combined. Divide the batter between two 9×5 inch loaf pans coated with cooking spray. (NOTE: We use silicon pans and do not require spray….also for taste you can opt for a greased time with butter).
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center and comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and place on wire rack.
  6. To freeze, wait until cold, place into a Ziploc bag and store for up to two months.

I think the flavor of this loaf fresh, is better the second day. Serve by slicing the loaf – great as for afternoon tea/snack.

 

My favorite Banana Bread recipe

This weekend I made the family Banana Bread (banana loaf), which is already gone – yes, in 36 hours (with 2 adults and one 5-year-old devouring it). It was perfect with a latte (or hot chocolate) on these colder days. This recipe easily doubles and you can make two loaves and store one in the freezer in a Ziploc bag.

 

Ingredients (from the Edmonds Cookery Book)

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
75 g butter (melted)
1 cup of mashed ripe banana (~2-3 banana’s)

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Mix in sugar. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Add milk, butter and banana into egg mixture with a spoon. Quickly add the dry ingredients stirring until just combined. Place mixture in a loaf tin (greased and lined if not using silicone). Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 50-55 minutes (until top is golden brown). Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack.

NOTE: I use very ripe banana’s that I basically have to turn out of the skin for the really banana’ery taste.

NOTE: Once cool store in a Ziploc bag or air-tight container to retain freshness. I usually wait a few hours so you first get the bread with a slight crunch on top.

Serving suggestions:
1. I have eaten as is just as a slice with a cup of coffee or
2. You could try it as a dessert with a hot chocolate ganache and whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Both are great!!!