Wednesday, September 14, 2011

October Cider Cake
Makes one 3-layer cake 
3/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • Cider Filling (recipe below)

  • Creamy Cider Frosting (recipe below)
Chopped pecans (optional)
Cream shortening; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves; add to creamed mixture alternately with cider, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in lemon juice.
Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove layers from pans, and cool completely in fridge.
Put a thin band of icing along the perimeter of each later, and then pool the Cider Filling inside. Put back in fridge to let it set completely or the filling will ooze out from the weight of the cake (trust me).
Spread top and sides with Creamy Cider Frosting. Garnish top of cake with pecans, if desired.

Cider Filling
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy saucepan; gradually stir in cider. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and butter; cool in fridge.

Creamy Cider Frosting
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apple cider
1/4 teaspoon salt
About 4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Combine first 3 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat; cool. Gradually add sugar until spreading consistency; beat until smooth.

Baked Chicken with Apricots and Currants
Serves 4, source unknown
3-1/2 to 4 lb. chicken, quartered
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 tsp. ginger
1 c. orange marmalade
¼ c. apple juice
¼ c. orange juice (can be canned)
4 oz. dried apricots
4 oz. currants (or raisins)
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
Preheat oven 375.
Place chicken, skin-side up in shallow roasting pan – can use disposable.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and ginger. Spread on jam, pour on 2 juices. Bake 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and add fruit, mixing to incorporate. Sprinkle brown sugar over all. Return to oven and bake, basting frequently, until golden and shiny, about 40-45 minutes.
Remove to platter. Pour some juice over meat and serve.

from amy @ elephant eats

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mooncake recipe - A recipe for mooncakes, the Chinese snack traditionally served during the Moon or Mid-Autumn Festival.
Learn More about Mooncakes and the Mooncake Festival
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Filling:
  • 1 pound red azuki beans
  • water
  • 3/4 cup lard or oil
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • Water-Shortening Dough:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 5 tablespoons lard
  • 10 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Flaky Dough:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 tablespoons lard
  • red food coloring for design
Filling Instructions: Soak red beans in water to cover 2 hours. Drain and discard the water. Cover with 8 cups fresh water and bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat 1-1/2 hours or until skins open. Strain the beans and discard the skins. Place the strained beans in several layers of cheesecloth and squeeze out any excess water.
Place in a saucepan with the lard or oil and the sugar. Cook, stirring continuously, until almost all the moisture has evaporated. Let cool.

Dough Instructions: You will need 2 cups of filling for the mooncakes. Divide this into 20 portions and shape into balls.Mix ingredients for the water-shortening dough and the flaky dough separately until smooth. Divide each dough into 20 equal portions.
Wrap one portion of flaky dough inside each portion of water-shortening dough. Roll out each piece of dough, then fold in thirds to form three layers. Roll out again, and once more fold in thirds to form three layers.
Flatten each piece of dough with the palm of your hand to form a 3" circle. Place one portion of filling in the center. Gather the edges to enclose the filling and pinch to seal. Place the filled packet in the mold, gently pressing to fit. Invert and remove the mold.
Dilute red food coloring with water and pour onto a damp paper towel on a plate. Take some food coloring onto the cookie-design stamp, then press on top of the mooncake.
Repeat process for remaining mooncakes. Arrange mooncakes on a baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool before serving.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fresh Peach Tartlets

Fresh Peach Tartlets
You can easily turn this into one large tart (a 10-inch would work best), but it's fun to make dainty little tartlets every once in a while -- especially if there are little ones around.

The tartlet shells:
  1. Pulse the almonds in the bowl of a food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs (careful not to over-grind, or you'll end up with almond butter).
  2. Add the flour, sugar and salt and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the largest pieces of butter are about the size of small peas.
  3. Lightly beat the egg yolks and add to the mixer, pulsing a few times just to combine. As you continue to pulse, gradually add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just starts to come together. (It should stick when you pinch a bit of it between your fingers.) Do not over-mix!
  4. Remove the dough from the mixer and put it on a lightly floured surface. Pat it gently into a disc, wrap it tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. **Alternatively, you can press the just-mixed dough into the tart tins at this stage and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  5. Heat the oven to 350F. Roll the dough between two floured pieces of plastic wrap until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Put your tartlet tins upside down on top of the dough and cut shapes around them, leaving about half an inch on all sides. Press the dough pieces gently into the tins and level the tops with a rolling pin, removing any excess dough from the edges. Dock the tartlets several times with a fork and fill any larger shells with parchment and baking weights. Refrigerate the tartlet shells for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Bake the shells for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden in color, removing the parchment and baking weights about five minutes before the shells are done. Cool on a rack and then turn the shells out of their tins.
The peach tartlets:
  1. Put 1/2 cup of the jam in a small heavy saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Warm gently over medium-low heat as you assemble the tartlets.
  2. Spread a small spoonful of jam over the base of each cooled tartlet shell -- you just want a thin coating. Add a dollop of mascarpone to each and spread gently over the jam.
  3. Wash and dry the peaches, and then cut them into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange them prettily among the tart shells, covering the surface of the mascarpone.
  4. Use a pastry brush to glaze the peaches with the thinned jam. Serve immediately!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

hell yeah!...

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches

Snickerdoodle cookies are essentially sugar cookies dusted with cinnamon. In this frozen treat, mimic them by combining cinnamon ice cream and sugar cookies. If you want extra cinnamon, use snickerdoodle cookies instead of plain sugar cookies. Want less? Swap out the cinnamon ice cream for vanilla.
Special equipment: A 3-tablespoon ice cream scoop such as this one makes quick work of assembling these sandwiches. If you don’t have one, you can use a larger or smaller scoop or a spoon, but watch for fast-melting ice cream and don’t overstuff the sandwiches.
Game plan: Using this recipe as your guide, dabble with other colors, textures, and flavors. Use different ice creams, drizzle the edible pucks with caramel organache, roll the edges in toasted nuts, coconut, or toffee, or slather the ice cream sandwiches with marshmallow or Nutella. Shape them into mini sandwiches for one-bite party treats. If you have leftovers (an unlikely outcome), store them in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 1 week. This recipe makes 36 cookies, so you’ll have 16 extra for your cookie jar. Time to meet the neighbors.
This recipe was featured as part of our ... read more

For the cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

To assemble:

For the cookies:
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine the butter and the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the yolks, vanilla, and salt and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Reduce the speed to low; add the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar; and mix until the dough just comes together.
  3. Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoons and roll it into balls between your hands until smooth. Coat in the reserved sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart, for a total of 12. Bake until golden brown around the edges but still soft in the center, about 15 to 16 minutes. Immediately transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

To assemble:
  1. Set aside 20 cookies for the sandwiches. Using a 3-tablespoon or 1-1/2-ounce ice cream scooper and working with 6 cookies at a time (3 bottoms and 3 tops), place a scoop of ice cream on each bottom cookie and top with another cookie. Firmly press the cookies together to evenly disperse the ice cream in the center (be careful not to break the cookies). Immediately wrap each sandwich with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Repeat with the remaining cookies and ice cream.
thanks to Lezerlee Lancaster for posting one of my favorite flavor combinations...

lemon lavender cookies

they are a simple sugar cookie with hints of lemon and lavender.  it is great as a tea cookie.

lemon lavender cookies
3 tbsp soy milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 c sugar
1/2 c earth balance (or other vegan margarine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 c flour
1/4 c sugar (for rolling)
2 tsp lavender
add the soy milk, lemon juice and lemon zest together and set aside to let thicken.  this works as a egg replacer in cookies or cakes.
meanwhile, work on creaming together the sugar and margarine. i find that using a fork helps a lot, but use an electric mixer if you have one. once the mixture is even you can add the vanilla extract and soy milk concoction and continue to mix.
in a large bowl sift the flour, baking soda and salt. add the wet ingredients to the dry and work until the dough is even and slightly firm. leave the dough in the the refrigerator for a few minutes before rolling into balls, and whenever you aren’t using it.
grind the whole lavender before mixing with the remaining sugar.  i do this with a mortar and pestle, but you could use a spice grinder, food processor or even a blender.  if you have none of the above you could roll the cookies in whole lavender, the flavor just won’t be as even.
mix the ground lavender and sugar on a large plate for rolling the cookies in.
spoon small, even amounts of the dough into your hands and roll into a ball, then roll evenly in the lavender sugar and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper or aluminum foil. repeat for 6 cookies per pan, then press the dough flat with your hand, the bottom of a glass, or the back of a fork.
bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes. they should no longer look fluffy but make sure to get them out before they brown too much around the edges. let them cool for a minute on the pan before you remove them to cool further on a cooling rack.
yields 24 cookies

Lemon Tart

Lemon tart is one of those classic desserts that hasn’t really changed much over time, and thats good because a classic lemon tart is a thing of beauty, fresh zingy and tart, totally delicious.  I think it is best served on its own if you want to turn into something a bit fancier you could serve it with fresh fruit and vanilla whipped cream, or if you want to create a fab retro lemon meringue pie than top it with the white stuff and hit it with a blow torch, or a creme brulee burnt sugar top. 
Lemon Tart
150g plain flour
50g ground almonds
30g icing sugar
pinch of salt
75g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp ice water
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
FillingFinely grated zest of 4 lemons
125g natural golden caster sugar
125ml lemon juice
4 eggs
150ml double cream
For the pastry place the flour, almods, icing sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolk, water and vanilla bean paste together and add to the food processor. Pulse until the dough just starts to come together. Tip out onto the worksurface and gently knead until the dough comes together into a uniform mass. Press into a flat disc, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour.
Lightly grease a 9-inch fluted tart tin (preferably with a removable base) and preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Roll out the pastry and line the prepared tart tin. refrigerate for 15 mins until the pastry has firmed up again. Line the tart shell with parchment and fill with a layer of baking beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes then remove the parchment and baking beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the pastry has started to turn golden. Allow the pastry case to cool whilst you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 160C/140C fan.
Place the zest, lemon juice, sugar and eggs into a medium bowl and gently whisk together until smooth. pour in the cream and again gently whisk to combine. You dont want to incorporate air so be careful to whisk nice and gently. Pour the filling into the part baked tart shell and bake for 30 minutes or until the filling has just set. Allow to cool before serving.
Tip: If you worry about a tart with a soggy bottom then  allow the part baked tart shell to cool completely then brush with an egg yolk and allow to set. This creates a seal to prevent moisture from the filling making the pastry soggy.