Saturday, February 25, 2017

[ Jam Filled Muffins ]

Jam Filled Muffins


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 cup jam or preserves


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with non- stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt with a wire whisk. In a medium bowl, beat the milk, melted butter, egg and vanilla extract with a fork until well blended. Add the milk mixture to the the flour mixture and stir until just combined (the batter will be lumpy.)
  3. Fil the muffin-pan cups one-third full with batter. Drop a teaspoon of preserves on top of the batter. Top with the remaining batter. 
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for 1 minute, then remove muffins from pan. Allow to cool on a wire rack. 
  5. Store leftovers in a sealable container. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

[ Honey Wheat Brown Bread ]

Prep Time 30min
Cook Time 30min
Total Time 4hr30min

11⁄2 cups warm water (105oF)
1 tbsp sugar
21⁄4 tsp instant dry yeast (1 package)
2 cups bread flour
13⁄4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp espresso powder (or coffee)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, softened
1⁄4 cup honey
2 tbsp molasses
caramel colouring, or dark brown food colouring (optional)
1⁄4 cup cornmeal, for dusting the bottom of the shaped (not baked) loafs (optional) oats, for dusting the top of the shaped (not baked) loafs (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix together the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes to proof (it will be foamy on top at the end).

Using the paddle attachment in your stand mixer, whisk together the bread flour, whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt. Add the yeast mixture, butter, honey, and molasses. Also, add your food coloring here if using. You can adjust the colour while it's kneading, so just add a little at a time. Mix on medium-low speed until combined. The dough will be fairly thick and a little tacky.

Swap out to the dough hook, and knead on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes. This dough is thicker than your standard white bread, so it will be a little tacky, but will not pull or stick to the bottom of the bowl while kneading (but will when the mixer is stopped).

Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise is a warm spot for two hours, until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 6 equal sized pieces, and shape into mini-baguette style logs, roughly 6" long and 2" wide. See below notes for directions on this.

Place the cornmeal on a plate (if using), and set the loafs in it to lightly coat the bottom. Place the loafs on a lined baking sheet, with lots of space between them. Lightly wet the top of the loafs with your hand and some water, then sprinkle on a light dusting of oats. Spray the tops of the loafs with Pam (to keep the wrap from sticking), then cover VERY loosely with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place and let rise for another 60 to 90 minutes, until nearly doubled in size again.

Bake in a 350oF oven for 25 to 35 minutes. The crust will be soft and squishy to the tough. Bread is cooked when the internal temperature is 190oF, so feel free to use an instant read thermometer to check.

Let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. If baking ahead of time, store tightly wrapped in plastic wrap once completely cooled, for up to 2 days, though it's best eaten the day baked. Gently warm in the oven before serving.

With the flour - Some days I find that I need to use more flour (probably depending on the weather, or how packed my cups are). the key is to have the dough feel tacky, but NOT sticky - none of it should stick to your fingers when you give it a squeeze.
For shaping mini-baguettes:
Use your fingertips to pat the dough into a rectangle, about 4" across. Fold the top 1/3 down, like a letter, and press the seam into the dough with your fingertips. You'll see that you're creating some friction at the top, this is good!
Fold the bottom up over the top, tightly, and press to seal again.
Here's a great video that shows this. Skip to the 1:15 mark for the shaping to start. Note that she's making true mini baguettes, that are more than double the size of these, so she needs to do a lot more folds. These loafs are just fine with only two.
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[ Avocado Egg Rolls ]



makes: 8 EGG ROLLS

1 cup vegetable oil
3 avocados, halved, peeled and seeded
1 Roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 egg roll wrappers

3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
1/3 cup sour cream
1 jalapeno, seeded and deveined, optional
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the cilantro dipping sauce, combine cilantro, sour cream, jalapeno, mayonnaise, garlic and lime juice in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat.  In a medium bowl, gently mash avocados using a potato masher. Add tomato, red onion, cilantro, 
lime juice, salt and pepper, to taste, and gently toss to combine.

Working one at a time, place avocado mixture in the center of each wrapper. Bring the 
bottom edge of the wrapper tightly over the filling, folding in the sides. Continue rolling until the top of the wrapper is reached. Using your finger, rub the edges of the wrapper with water, pressing to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers and avocado mixture.

Working in batches, add egg rolls to the Dutch oven and fry until evenly golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.  Serve immediately with cilantro dipping sauce.

Friday, February 3, 2017

[ The Best Chocolate Cake ]


The Best Chocolate Cake 
8 to 10 servings 8 to 10 servings


2 cups (300 g) unbleached all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 cups (420 g) sugar

1 cup (250 ml) buttermilk
1/2 cup (125 ml) canola oil
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (75 g) cocoa powder
3/4 cup (180 ml) strongly brewed coffee, warm


1 3/4 cups (430 ml) 35% heavy cream 2 tbsp (30 ml) corn syrup
16 oz (450 g) dark chocolate, chopped


1. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and line two 8-inch (20 cm) springform pans with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil and vanilla with a whisk. Set aside.

4. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and coffee with a whisk. Add to the egg mixture. Add the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely before unmoulding.


5. In a saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil.

6. In a bowl, pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. Let melt for 2 minutes. Stir until the ganache is smooth. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until it has thickened and is still spreadable, stirring four or five times.


7. On a work surface, cut and remove the rounded tops of each cake. Cut each cake in half horizontally to make four slices. With a spatula, spread the ganache evenly over the surface of each slice. Layer the four slices and place on a cake stand.
Note :: This cake keeps well for up to 3 days at room temperature under a cake dome. 

[ Chocolate Cake in a Mug ]

This was the PERFECT thing to try on a snowy night with Lu out of town ... the kids made their own, and it was literally made in less than 5 minutes (plus the 45second cook time lol).  A real keeper for Sunday afternoon treats when the kid's friends come over ... 

Chocolate Cake in a Mug
Preparation 5 MIN
5 MIN Output 1


3 tablespoons (45 ml) unbleached all-purpose flour 
2 tablespoons (30 ml) brown sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) baking powder

3 tablespoons (45 ml) milk
1 tablespoon (15 ml) canola oil
1 drop vanilla extract
10 semisweet chocolate chips (5 ml / 1 teaspoon)

1. In a 250 ml (1 cup)-capacity coffee cup, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Add the milk, oil, and

2. With a fork, gently stir until the batter no longer has lumps. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips.
3. Cook the cake in the microwave for 45 seconds. Let cool for 5 minutes to allow for the cake to finish cooking.

If you want to do more, triple or quadruple the recipe and combine the ingredients in a bowl. Then spread the mixture into three or four cups or 125 ml (1⁄2 cup) ramekins. Remember, you have to cook the cakes one by one in the microwave for uniform cooking. 

[ Cinnabon Clone ]



1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast


1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened


1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt


Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.

After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough into a 16x21-inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

* NOTES BY A REVIEWER // You don't need a bread machine to make them. Just use an 8 gram pack of dry active yeast instead of the bread machine yeast and knead the dough with your hands and a rolling pin. Then heat the oven to 200 degrees and then TURN IT OFF. COVER the dough with a moist paper towel over the bowl, and put in the oven for around 1 hour (the dough will almost double in size) then roll out and fill. Use dental floss to cut buns into 12 pieces (1 and 3/4 inch thick).  When you bake them, line your pan with wax paper that has been greased with butter or margarine, and remove them immediately after baking, or they will stick. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.