Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Daring Bakers - February 2013

This month's challenge was mainly savory. It was about crackers and flatbreads. Our host was Sarah from All our fingers in the pie!

I, naturally, turned it sweet... Chocolate sweet, that is. What else?

So, I chose to make a flatbread with cocoa and brown sugar.

You can find the original recipe here, as was given to us by Sarah.

Cocoa Flatbread
the way I made it slightly adapted

240 ml warm water (about 43°C)
5 gm active yeast (not dry)
420 gm all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
50 gr cocoa
45 ml olive oil
coarse salt
50 gm white granulated sugar
1 large egg whisked with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) water, for egg wash if you like it

Place the water in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast. Let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, oil, 1 teaspoons coarse salt and the sugar. Stir until a dough forms.
I used the dough hook for my mixer.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Use as much flour as necessary so it is not a sticky dough.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl and roll the dough around in the bowl so that it is also lightly oiled on the surface. Cover with cling film and let stand in a warm place until it doubles in volume.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Divide dough into equal portions and cover with plastic wrap. Roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with the egg mixture (if using) and sprinkle brown sugar.
Bake, rotating sheet halfway through baking, until crisp 18-22 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Check the brown sugar....

I also made some flatbreads filled with brown sugar...
... and covered with dark chocolate, while they were hot from the oven.

I think I liked the chocolate covered ones better, much much better!

Thank you for this challenge Sarah!


P.S.: Since taking these photos, I made another sweet flatbread. I added a little more white sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon and no cocoa. Baked them and while they were hot, I drizzled honey on them... Can you imagine what that was like?

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Glazed moist orange cake!

Continuing on oranges, after that lovely spoon sweet, which we no longer have, as G ate it all.... we move to a cake!

I like all citrus desserts and the lemon cake is the one I make the most. It pairs nicely with white chocolate...
But I'm getting off the point.

In my files I had a recipe for an orange cake, which I wanted to taste for some time now. It is easy to make and really tasty!

Glazed moist orange cake

3 eggs
175gr granulated sugar
75gr cream
140gr self rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50gr melted butter
20ml rum (which ever you want)
orange zest from 1 orange

100gr confectioner's sugar
orange juice

Preheat the oven to 200o C.
Prepare a baking tin (butter and flour it).
Beat together eggs, sugar and zest.
Add the cream, flour, baking powder and mix well.
Add butter and rum. Mix well.
Pour the batter in the prepared tin and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to let it rest.
Bake at 200o C for 10 minutes and to 170o C for 40 minutes.

In the meantime prepare the glaze:
Mix the sugar with enough orange juice to produce a thick liquid, not paste, not runny.

As soon as the cake is out of the oven, poke it around with a skewer and glaze it. Let it rest for 10 minutes and glaze again.
After about 10 minutes take the cake out of the tin and glaze it again all over. I used a paint  brush to brush the glaze on..
You can do this every few minutes until you have used up all the glaze.

Decorate with some orange spoon sweet!!!

Trust me... You will love it!


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Orange spoon sweet!

Spoon sweets are a big thing in Greece.

You will find them in every house, every kitchen in the country. Every Greek woman knows how to make them, it is as if it is in the genes!

You can use fruit (almost every kind, I cannot think of one that is not suitable!), vegetables (some kinds, not ripe) and even flowers and nuts. Can you imagine the smell of lemon tree flowers spoon sweet? It is heaven!

And I know that vegetables may sound strange but unripe courgettes, eggplants, pumpkins, carrots and green tomatos.
Or chestnuts, walnuts unripe in their green shells, pistachios (this is produced in Aigina), you name it...

I make really often, depending on what I have in my fridge. This time I was given a lot of oranges, so an orange spoon sweet was in order!

It is a rather long process, but it is so worth it. The semi sweet/semi bitter taste is amazing!

Orange Spoon Sweet

recipe by Sofia Skoura "Νέα Ελληνική Κουζίνα" (new Greek cuisine)

5 Merlin oranges, preferably with thick skin
1250gr white granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
vanilla essence

Wash the oranges and scrape their skin here and there.
Fill a very large pot with water and boil the oranges for about 2 hours, until they are soft. Make sure there is always water in the pot.
Strain them and put them in a pot with cold water. Change the water every couple of hours, for about 8 hours total.
This while process will take some of the bitterness away.

Cut each orange in half, again in half, then in half once more (see the pictures for how the final pieces should be). This size is handleable and can fit in a jar better.
Try to remove some of the membrane with a very sharp knife, but you don't have to be very accurate!
Put the orange pieces on a large platter and sprinkle them with some sugar. Leave them overnight.

In a large pot put the rest of the sugar and any juice that has come out of the oranges. Add one cup of water and mix it until the sugar is dissolved. If you need to, add some more water, so that it boils to a thick syrup.
Remove from the stove and let it cool. Put the oranges in.

Boil again until the syrup and the oranges are "one". What I mean is that they must look homogeneous, the syrup should not separate and be thick around the oranges.

While the sweet boils, remove any foams and add the lemon juice.
Remove from the stove and add the vanilla.
Let it cool and then put it in sterilised jars.

Look at that colour.....


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Chocolate roll out cookies!

I have been trying to find a recipe for chocolate cookies that is good to roll out and cut and retain their shape NOT SPREAD!

After some attempts, I decided that Lilaloa's recipe is the one I will keep for ever....

Chocolate cookies

or as Lilaloa refers to them "the end - all for chocolate cookies".
slightly adapted

280gr butter
330gr white granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
150gr cocoa
380gr all purpose flour

Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla.
Add salt and mix. Then add the cocoa and mix well, but do not over mix!
Add the flour, one cup at a time and blend well, again be careful not to over mix it.
Roll it between two sheets of parchment paper and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Cut cookies with a cookie cutter and bake for anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies.

I don't make the recipe exactly as Lilaloa does:
I do not use shortening.
I do not add any leavening agents.
I use the 3 1/2 cup flour not the 3 cup flour rule, because it works better for me.
Also, sometimes I add a tad more cocoa......

Check out this deep deep colour!

These cookies are G's AND Ioanna's favourites. She always asks me when I will make these "dark" cookies!

Well, they are my favourite too... I like to eat them when they are still hot, right out of the pan!

I wish I had a couple now....

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

More cookbooks!

I have a lot of recipes. A couple of years back, I took all the recipes I had cut from magazines or books or the ones I noted on a piece of paper and scanned and printed them.
So everything is organised by theme and category!

I also have many books.

I keep on saying that I will not buy any more, that I have so many recipes yet to try in my files, that if I need to find a particular recipe I can visit my favourite blogs and all that stuff.

Want to guess what I got for my birthday (among other things)? Yep, cookbooks!

Both my sister and my cousin gave me books they knew I would love! To be quite frank, my sister asked me which I wanted and she ordered them on line.
My cousin had them brought from Qatar.... I know!

This "Jamie Oliver 30-minute meals" was actually my present to G., but I wanted to have it ever since I saw Jamie Oliver on TV preparing heavenly brownies!

Lakeland is an amazing store! My cousin's husband works in Qatar and knew I would like everything about it. He also gave me the store catalogue. Great things!
This is "Cupcakes & Cookies" cook book that features very pretty photographs, besides delicious recipes!
This is a fun one, "Dress your cupcake" by Joanna Farrow, also from the Lakeland store. I can't wait to decorate my cupcakes with my little one!
Cute ideas!
My sister's present 01:
I am the kind of person who likes to lick the bowl and taste the cookie dough. So naturally when I came across this book, I knew it was for me.
"Cookie dough lover's cookbook" by Lindsay Landis from Love and Olive Oil ...
Even the name is delicious!
I have already made "peanut butter cookie dough cups" as a Thank-You for my sister and lovely Blondies are sure to follow!

My sister's present 02:
"Sweet Designs" is a selection of Amy Atlas' projects and recipes. This lady is so talented! Her ideas are truly inspiring! I am so glad to have finally have her book on my shelf!

I love flipping through the pages and looking at the beautiful pictures!

Thank you for the presents!!!!