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Bringing Home the Bakin'

bake my cake and eat it, too

Monthly Archives: January 2010

For the past month, I’ve been living a life with (mostly) no refined sugar.  I resolved this New Year’s to eat for health, and I didn’t see where all of this refined sugar fit in, so I made a drastic lifestyle change.  It was hard at first, but after a few weeks it now seems pretty normal.  Unfortunately, avoiding refined sugar is difficult in the life of a baker.  However, I made some delicious vegan cupcakes that are made without refined sugar (sweetened with agave nectar), so I had a bite.  There is a little bit of a taste difference, but I thought they were delicious, as they were rid of the cloyingly sweet flavor that many cupcakes have.

Simple Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcakes – Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Ingredients:

2/3 cup soy milk

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners and preheat oven to 325° F.
  2. Mix the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl; allow to sit for a few minutes to curdle. Beat in agave, oil, vanilla and almond extract. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until smooth. Fill liners two thirds full. Bake 20 to 22 minutes until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean; don’t over bake or cupcakes will be dry.
  3. These cupcakes need to cool at least an hour before topping or filling, and also to develop the flavor and texture properly. Makes a dozen cupcakes.

Chocolate Mousse Topping – Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Ingredients:

  1. Put the tofu, soy milk, agave nectar and vanilla in a blender; puree until completely smooth.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Let the melted chocolate cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chocolate to the tofu in the blender and blend until combined.
  4. Put the mousse into a covered container and chill for at least an hour.
  5. When the cupcakes are completely cooled, use a large decorating tip on a pastry bag, and put a mountain of mousse on each cupcake.
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I celebrated my birthday this year with a fabulous, home-cooked meal, courtesy of the chef of the house, my mom.  I’m not a huge fan of typical “winter food” (think hot, rich, creamy, etc.) so my mom tried her hardest to prepare a summer-y meal — what a success :).  We dined on lobster rolls, coleslaw, oven-baked french fries, and asparagus.  If anyone is interested in a recipe, let me know and I will post it.

Yes, today is my birthday.  Luckily for me, my mom is the best cook ever and she woke up especially early this morning to make me breakfast before my 8 AM AP French midterm.  Thanks Mommy!  Posts coming soon!

I’m in the midst of studying for my midterm exams, but once my exams are over, I promise I’ll put up some new things, but in the meantime, Bringing Home the Bakin’ has a facebook!  So, if you’re on facebook, please become a fan!  Thank you for the support!

Happy Birthday to BHTB’s biggest fan — my dad.  I love you!

I can’t even think of what to say for this blog entry — all I can think about is going back to school tomorrow.  No longer will I be able to leisurely roll out of bed after 10, or go to movies on weeknights.  Instead, I will be up just after 6, followed by an appearance at school, as well as musical rehearsal after classes have ended.   With mid-term exams coming up, my return to school is especially daunting.  Nevertheless, I thought I’d share my third experiment with yeast: Bubble-Top Brioches.  These rolls were soooo good.  They were buttery, but not too buttery. They had a nice, golden brown color, and though tasty right out of the oven, they were enjoyed most at room temperature.  I will definitely be coming back to this recipe in the future.  Enjoy!

Bubble-Top Brioches – Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water (110°F to 115°F)
  • 1/4 cup warm whole milk (110°F to 115°F)
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast (measured from two 1/4-ounce envelopes)
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)

Preparation

  • Combine 1/4 cup warm water and warm milk in bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Sprinkle yeast over and stir to moisten evenly. Let stand until yeast dissolves, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
  • Add flour and salt to yeast mixture. Blend at medium-low speed until shaggy lumps form, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in sugar. Increase mixer speed to medium; beat until dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to low. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until blended after each addition, about 4 minutes (dough will be soft and silky). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and climbs paddle, 8 to 9 minutes.
  • Lightly butter large bowl. Scrape dough into bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • Gently deflate dough by lifting around edges, then letting dough fall back into bowl, turning bowl and repeating as needed. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill, deflating dough in same way every 30 minutes until dough stops rising, about 2 hours. Chill overnight. (At this point, use the dough to make 12 brioches, or 6 brioches and 1 tart, or 2 tarts.)
  • Butter 12 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces; cut each piece into thirds. Roll each small piece between palms into ball. Place 3 balls in each prepared cup (dough will fill cup).
  • Place muffin pan in warm draft-free area; lay sheet of waxed paper over. Let dough rise until light and almost doubled (dough will rise 1/2 inch to 1 inch above top rim of muffin cups), 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Place muffin pan on rimmed baking sheet. Gently brush egg glaze over risen dough, being careful that glaze does not drip between dough and pan (which can prevent full expansion in oven).
  • Bake brioches until golden brown, covering with foil if browning too quickly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to rack. Cool 10 minutes. Remove brioches from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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A special reader of BHTB, my cousin Julia, suggested that I make donuts in honor of Hanukkah.  I guess they’re a little late, but I finally made some Israeli Sufganiyot (jelly donuts).  They were so much easier than I had expected, but certainly took a while to make (I watched two movies that night…).  I will say, though, that these donuts are well worth the wait, and are best if served immediately.  Funny story:  Minutes after waking my family up, raving about how good they were, and imploring my family to try them (as if I needed to beg — they smelled and looked delicious!), I noticed that my lips felt kinda funny.  Obviously I didn’t give it a second thought, until my neck started to itch, and my tongue started to swell.  Luckily I could still breathe, so it wasn’t too serious, but it looks like someone has an allergy to something in the donuts… 😦  I took some Benadryl, and was fine, but unfortunately I won’t be able to eat these again.  Though these were a success, my favorite yeast treat that I made is coming up….Stay tuned!

Hanukkah Sufganiyot – Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS
Makes 20.
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more for rolling
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups vegetable oil, plus more for bowl
1 cup seedless raspberry jam

DIRECTIONS
In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center; add eggs, yeast mixture, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, nutmeg, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir until a sticky dough forms. On a well-floured work surface, knead until dough is smooth, soft, and bounces back when poked with a finger, about 8 minutes (add more flour if necessary). Place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch-round cutter or drinking glass, cut 20 rounds. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise 15 minutes.
In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until a deep-frying thermometer registers 370 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, carefully slip 4 rounds into oil. Fry until golden, about 40 seconds. Turn doughnuts over; fry until golden on other side, another 40 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Roll in sugar while warm. Fry all dough, and roll in sugar.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #4 tip with jam. Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, make a hole in the side of each doughnut. Fit the pastry tip into a hole, pipe about 2 teaspoons jam into doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

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