Monday, May 3, 2010

Treacle Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

As I may have mentioned before, my husband is a Brit. I was very excited to make him a traditional pudding! I've been putting it off because I wanted to get a proper pudding mold and this finally pushed me over the edge of buying a $10 bowl that could easily be replaced by something else. :)

It turned out great!! I even made the custard, had no idea how easy it would be. He greatly prefers the baked to steamed pudding. I could have messed something up with the steaming, as I've never done it before, but he said the baked was more like what he gets when we're in Britain.

The recipe for the preferred, baked, pudding was Tea & Symphony's Treacle Pudding:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
A few drops of vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups Tate & Lyle Golden Syrup (a little extra will do no harm).

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, along with the vanilla.
With a spatula, fold in the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Butter and flour a 10-inch round Bundt pan.
Pour the syrup into the pan, then spoon in the sponge batter, gently smoothing the top with a spatula.
Bake for about 30 minutes; the sponge should be golden on top.
Remove the pudding from the oven and let it cool for 2-3 minutes. Place a plate on top of the Bundt pan, then quickly but firmly turn the plate and pan upside down to release the cake onto the plate.. You may need to loosen the edges very slightly with a knife before you flip it.
Serve with hot custard.


3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg yolks

Heat cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat, whisk in egg yolks.

As I said, I used individual pudding molds. I put four tablespoons of syrup in the bottom of the mold and filled it to about an inch below the rim. The first one I baked for the recommended time and when I tumped it over the bottom inch was not baked. I put another in and baked it for 48 minutes and it came out just right. Don't know if it was my oven, that I used a ceramic mold rather than a tin bundt cake, or what.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daring Bakers

Life has very much gotten in the way this month, so I haven't completed the challenge. I did however successfully defend my MA thesis today! I have a few corrections to do, but it will be done no later than Friday and I will have the challenge done this weekend. And then I will rededicate myself to baking and blogging!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lemon Bundt Cake

Baking has not gone just fantastic lately. I made mini-cupcakes out of the previously used PW recipe so that I could give the "Best Frosting Ever" a try. The batter produced over 100 mini cupcakes and I felt like it was such a waste. This is so so so much better as the cake...and so so so much better with the chocolate frosting. And let me tell you what, this was not the best frosting ever. I didn't even ice all the cupcakes with it. I used some store bought instead (it was almost 1 am and I didn't want to make my own).

Tonight I tried a lemon bundt cake recipe I came across. The glaze was quite nice, though thinner than my favorites. The cake was a real disappointment. The lemon was so faint it can hardly be called a lemon cake. We're going to throw it out. No need to take in all those calories for a sub-par dessert. I'll throw on the recipe anyways, but I would not recommend it unless you were really in a pinch.

Getting a bit disheartened though. The first month was one lovely recipe after another...since then it's been hit or miss. I guess that's what happens when you're pulling recipes from various sources on the internet. :)


· 1 cup butter

· 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

· 1/3 cup lemon juice

· 5 eggs

· 3 cups all-purpose flour

· 2 teaspoons baking powder

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· 2/3 cup milk


· 1 cup confectioners' sugar

· 2 tablespoons lemon juice


In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the 1/3 cup lemon juice until well blended. Bet in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the first mixture, a little at a time, alternating with the milk. Pour batter into a greased 12-cup Bundt cake pan. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched with a finger. Also, cake will slightly pull away from sides of pan. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan; invert and cool completely on a rack.

Blend confectioners' sugar with 2 tablespoons lemon juice until smooth; drizzle over the cake.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Playing Catch Up

I've kept up with my one a week challenge, but not posting. SO! Let me run through my reactions.

Last week I made the Car Bomb Cupcakes. These were a bit of work. I was working in the kitchen non-stop for about two and half hours to make the batter, filling, and icing, and then putting them together. Let me tell you what, these smelled strong. I'm not a fan of Bailey's so I didn't try them. I could tell just from the scent that they would be too strong for me to be a fan. My husband thought they were fine, but said he would have preferred them without the filling. He thought that pushed them a bit over the top. They were really well received at work and by a few others that tried them though. It seems if you like Bailey's you will love these.

Before that I made my first batch of Triple Chocolate Biscotti using a recipe from my favorite Better Homes and Gardens cook book. This was a really easy recipe. My only issue was that the batter was so ridiculously sticky!! I tried just flouring my hands...not good enough. I ended up adding flour, though I don't remember how much because I did it just a bit at a time. The final cookie was great though. :)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white baking pieces
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Stir in white baking pieces and semisweet chocolate pieces.

2. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 9-inch-long roll. Place rolls on prepared cookie sheet; flatten each to about 2 inches wide.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

4. Transfer rolls to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut each roll diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the 325 degree F oven for 8 minutes. Turn slices over and bake for 7 to 9 minutes more or until dry and crisp (do not overbake). Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool. Makes 32 cookies.

Before that was the already mentioned Chocolate Caramel Espresso Chews. These were fantastic. Be careful not to overfill the cups or they will bloom into a muffin top which just loves to rip off the top...and they're so puffy they want to destroy themselves when you push in the rolo. The second set I filled less and they were perfect! I ate one or two warm, but they were sooo much better the next day when then became really chewy which I love!

I feel I'm forgetting a week, but can't think of what I made. Hmmmm. I'll go back through and see if I can't find what it was.

The PW chocolate cake is still our favorite, with the chews being a close second. I have a feeling I'll be making a repeat of the cake soon as graduation is coming up and we'll have people over. I think I might do cupcakes with it this time.

March Daring Bakers' Challenge

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

You can't even see the cookie in my picture and that was my favorite part. I grabbed the wrong size cutter when molding these and didn't realize it until I put the cookie on top so they were kind of overwhelmed by the whip. :) The whip actually looks quite nice in the finished product...I was worried when I pulled it out of the fridge because it was quite pocked, but it smoothed out quite nicely!

I was terribly disappointed that this was my first Daring Baker's Challenge. I don't like oranges...I love the smell...peel them for people whenever I get the chance...but hate the matter how hard I try, I just can't like them. I was going to do lemons, but I thought it would be lemon overload, and my husband prefers oranges.

The actual making of this dessert was not enjoyable in the slightest. None of the steps were particularly difficult, but the whole thing was just finicky. A lot of stirring and beating and careful work all for a dessert neither I nor my husband was very interested in eating. I was especially frustrated with making the marmalade. Spring may have officially hit, but it is still cold and the produce section of my markets is still pitiful. The oranges I could get were pitiful! These would have turned out better with store bought marmalade. I made some of them up with plain old cool whip rather than the homemade whipped cream with orange marmalade. I have a feeling the husband will prefer that.

Oh well! It is done! Haven't tried it yet as my husband is away on business. He'll eat it tomorrow...or try to. I hope next month is more fun! :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

I've been MIA

I know, I'm super lame. I have a hundred computer go a virus, I am WAY behind on my thesis and have been trying to catch up, my mother in law flew in from England, my camera batteries died and I packed away all my spares. All true, but still lame.

Despite this lameness, I am still on track baking something new every weekend. and I even have pictures ready to create posts with. But today is for thesis work only. I will start posting again throughout the week though.

To get ready for St. Patrick's Day (possibly my weekend baking trial) I think you should take a look at car bomb cupcakes over at Annie's Eats. What's more Irish than Guinness and Bailey's? I'm thinking a bit of green food coloring might really push these over the top.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Give it a shot

Well, I tried this Brownie Pudding from Annie's Eats this evening.

Mine was not nearly so gooey as her's, and I haven't the slightest idea why. I followed the recipe and I even under cooked it. I knew something was wrong before I even put it in the oven as her recipe said pour the batter in the dish and my batter was in no way pourable.

It was okay. VERY rich. My husband liked it. I won't be having a second helping. I can't imagine it without a scoop of ice cream.

Give it a go though.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Daring Kitchen - Nanaimo Bars

About a week ago I signed up for Daring Bakers. I won't get to participate until March. I had a bit of trouble finding something I wanted to make this weekend, so I decided to attempt this months Daring bakers' challenge.

Since it wasn't officially a challenge for me, I didn't use their recipe. I am mildly allergic to coconut, so that had to go. I also wanted mine to have a bit of mint. I thought I'd add mint extract to the filling, but my husband thought that might be a bit much. Instead we ditched chocolate chips for the topping and used Andes Mints baking bits.

My base:
1/2c butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbs cocoa powder
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1.5c graham cracker crumbs
1/2c almonds, chopped

My filling:
1/3c butter
1/4c milk
1 pack vanilla pudding mix
3c powdered sugar

My top:
2tbs butter
Most of a package of Andes Mint baking bits

Base Instructions:
Melt butter in sauce pan
Mix in sugar and cocoa
Let mixture cool
Whisk in egg and vanilla
Add crackers and almonds
Mix well
Spread into 9x9 pan
Chill (I did about 30 minutes, the time it took to clean up from the base)

Filling instructions:
Whip up the butter
Mix in pudding powder and milk
Add powdered sugar (I did a cup at a time into a medium bowl)
Spread over the base evenly
Chill (Maybe 15 minutes for me?)

Topping instructions:
Melt butter and mint pieces in double boiler
Pour and smooth over filling
Back in the fridge

I left it in the fridge for an hour or so.
To cut it up I used a tip I read somewhere, though I don't remember where. Fill a glass with HOT water. Stick two thin knives in the water. Pull one out after about 30 seconds, dry and make a cut, put it back, use second knife, switch, and so on and so forth.

It gave me pretty clean cuts. The only issue was that I probably should have let the dish come to room temp. It was so cold and hard that it got some thin cracks over the top.

Here are the bars after step one. Not really pretty. The layer for this mixture was shiny, not real sticky...easy to press into the dish.

Here it is after layer two. This mixture was a bit rough on my hand mixer. I can't even imagine doing this by hand. Again, very easy to move around...a little hard to smooth out. It wanted to go with the spoon.

And the final layer. Just work the chocolate around as you pour so you don't have to move it much. My recipe called for a cup of chocolate and it seem like barely enough to be the top layer, but once it set up it made for a nice solid layer.

And here is the final product. I think the middle and bottom layers could have stood to set up a bit longer. They wanted to fall apart on me (from each other more than anything).

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fabulous! Chocolate Caramel Espresso Chews

Well, I already decided what my baking adventure for this weekend is, but let me tell you what. Had I come across these sooner they would be my weekend treat. They are definitely scheduled for next weekend. I LOVE chewy treats!

Check it out on Culinary in the Desert.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I am jonesing for warm weather!

I am a southern girl. I love warm weather. Driving with the windows down, fresh cut grass, and FRESH FRUIT.

I know that baked fruit is typically a fall treat, but I am making a batch of baked pears as soon as nice ones start showing up in the store.

I think I'll do Riesling Baked Pears
4 ripe pears (Bosc) washed & dried
2 cups Riesling
1/4 cup honey
4 cinnamon sticks
4 bay leaves
4 strips orange zest

1. Preheat oven 400F
2. Cut a SMALL slice off the bottom of the pears so that they stand
3. Arrange pears upright in a baking pan.
4. Whisk together wine and honey and pour over pears
5. Add sticks, leaves, and zest to the pan
6. Roast the pears, basting every 15 minutes
They'll be wrinkled and tender; should take 45 min - 1 hour
7. Transfer to dessert bowls
8. Put wine mix in a pan and boil until thickened
9. Pour over pears

These are great right away or chilled!

Since my husband doesn't like cinnamon I've been looking into options that exclude this ingredient. This simple one does the trick
4 Pears
2 tbs honey
3tbs butter
dash ground ginger
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Peel pears and scoop out bottom core
3. Melt butter
4. Drizzle pears with butter and honey and sprinkle with ginger
5. Bake for about 1 hour; baste occasionally

Sweet kisses

Rice Krispie Kisses! I can't wait to give these a shot. They are just too sweet!

Find out how to make them with Home Making Fun!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Perfect comfort food

Today is a day where comfort food is desperately needed...and this is just about perfect. I'm not a fan of cherries, so I think I'll try just a chocolate chip bread pudding.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Bake or Break featured this Nick Malgieri recipe for Blueberry Crumb cake that looks pretty fantastic. It includes cinnamon, so typically that would put it on a back burner for me, but she says it's pretty simple, so maybe I'll give it a go this weekend...or maybe I'll wait till I can use fresh blueberries since it won't be something I can do often.

The book this came from is on the top of my Amazon wishlist. I'm trying to avoid getting anymore cookbooks until after the big move though. I wish they would put all these fantastic books on the Kindle. Then I wouldn't have to feel badly about ordering something new when we're trying to declutter!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mardi Gras!

Just over a week from Mardi Gras so, of course, it is time for a King Cake!
King Cakes are a traditional Mardi Gras party treat. A small plastic baby jesus is baked into the cake and whoever gets the baby in their piece of cake is in charge of next year's cake/party.

I have to admit, I am not actually fond of King Cake. I typically opt for appropriately colored/decorated cupcakes.


½CupWarm water (110 degrees F.)
2PkgActive dry yeast
½CupSugar (plus 2 tsp)
CupsAll purpose flour, un-sifted
1TspNutmeg, ground or fresh grated
1TspLemon zest
½CupWarm Milk (110 degrees F.)
5EachEgg yolks
1StickButter, (plus 2 Tbsp) softened
1EachEgg and 1 Tbsp milk beaten (egg wash)

1.In a small bowl add the warm water and sprinkle in the yeast with 2 teaspoons of sugar. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for 5 minutes then mix well. Set the bowl in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until the yeast bubbles and mixture almost doubles in volume.
2.Combine 3½ cups flour with ½ cup sugar, nutmeg and salt, then sift into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the lemon zest.
3.Create a “hole” in the middle of the bowl with the flour mixture on the sides of the bowl. Gently pour in the yeast mixture and the warm milk into the flour mixture. Add the egg yolks and combine the dry ingredients with the wet mixture. When the dough is smooth cut in the stick of butter 1 Tbsp at a time and continue to fold and combine until the dough can be formed into a soft ball shape.
4.Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead adding up to another cup of flour in small tablespoon portions at a time. Continue to knead the dough until smooth, shiny and elastic, about 10 minutes or so.
5.Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with 1 Tbsp softened butter. Place the dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place in a draft-free place for about 1½ hours, or until the dough doubles in volume. Using a pastry brush coat a large baking sheet pan with 1 Tbsp of butter and set aside.
6.Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Using your fist punch down the dough with a heavy blow. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top and roll the dough into a cylinder or tube shape. (Fill and roll if you're so inclined) Twist the dough to form a curled cylinder and loop it onto the buttered baking sheet pan. Pinch the ends of the dough together to complete the circle.
7.Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and allow to rise again in a draft-free warm location for about 45 minutes or until the dough circle doubles in volume.
8.Brush the top and sides of the dough with the egg wash and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool cake to room temperature on a wire rack. Now is the time to hide the bean or plastic baby.
Colored Sugars
CupsGranulated sugar
¼TspPurple food color
¼TspGreen food color
¼TspYellow food color

1.While the cake is cooling prepare the tinted sugars by taking three separate bowls with ½ cup of sugar in each. Then take the purple food color and slowly drop a dot or two at a time into the sugar. Using a spoon stir to mix and spread the color around until all sugar is tinted. Add more food color as needed. Repeat the process for the green and then the yellow in their own bowls as well. Set the tinted sugars aside.
3CupsPowdered confectioners sugar
¼CupFresh lemon juice, strained
3 to 6TbspWater

1.Combine the sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water in a deep bowl whisking until smooth. If icing is too stiff whisk in 1 tablespoon water at a time until spreadable.
2.Place cooled cake onto a serving platter or heavy cake cardboard and coat the top and sides of the cake with the icing. I like to dip my fingers into the icing and then drizzle it over the top of the cake. While the icing is still fresh immediately sprinkle the tinted sugars in individual rows about 2 to 3 inches wide of the purple, green and gold (yellow).

If preparing in advance allow the icing and tinted sugars to set up a bit then cover with a plastic bag or plastic wrap. Typically a King Cake can last 2-3 days un-refrigerated.

Need a filling?

Cream Cheese and Fruit Filling
1CanCherry, apple or apricot pie filling (16-ounces)
8OuncesCream cheese, softened
2EachEgg yolks
1TspVanilla extract

1.Using a floured roller on a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 30-by-9-inch rectangle as thin as pie crust. Let dough rest.
2.If necessary, drain extra juice from pie filling. Mix the softened cream cheese with the sugar, flour, egg yolks and vanilla. Spoon an inch-wide strip of fruit filling the length of the dough, about 3 inches from the edge. Spoon the cream cheese mixture alongside the fruit, about 3 inches from the edge. Brush the exposed dough with egg wash.
3.Fold or roll one edge of dough over the cream cheese and fruit in jelly roll fashion, and continue to roll the dough to the end, then brush with a little egg wash. Gently place one end of the filled rolled dough onto the buttered baking sheet pan, and then ease the rest of the roll onto the pan, joining the ends to form the loop or circle. Add more egg wash to “glue” the ends together. And then pick up from step 7 in the dough procedures above.