Recipe – BAGUETTES

There is nothing like freshly baked home-made baguettes. Easy, delicious, crusty, soft chewy baguettes are a delight for breakfast slathered with butter or jam; also makes a great accompaniment for any meal.

A simple recipe with available ingredients at home. The dough is very sticky; lightly dust your fingers with flour and use as much flour you need to keep it from sticking but stop when it does not stick to your hands any more. Overworking the dough will make it tough. Rest the dough depending upon the warmth of your room. Baking time may vary due to oven temperature variances. Traditional baguettes are very long; however, it does not fit the size of home-ovens.

yields : 2 loaves

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all purpose or bread flour

2 tsp instant yeast

3 tbsp raw sugar

1 tsp fine sea salt

1 cup lukewarm whole milk or water

1 egg (lightly beaten)

25 gms melted butter

Method

Measure flour, salt and combine together nicely in a large bowl. Now, making a well at the centre, add sugar, yeast, melted butter and egg.

Using a wooden spoon, mix to combine. Gradually, add milk or water; mix until the dough comes together to form a round ball.

Rub your hands with flour as required; begin to knead the dough for a longer duration until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Place it in a greased bowl, cover and proof at room temperature in a warm spot for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Gently punch the dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface.

Divide into half; roll it into a baguette shape about 10 to 12 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide, seam side down. Repeat with the other dough ball and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Score diagonal slashes with the help of a sharp knife and place it in a baking tray. Spray warm water all over the baguette, using a spray bottle.

In the meantime, pre-heat oven 220º C/400º F and bake the baguettes for 30 minutes or until golden brown in colour. Allow it to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe – DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE

Today is a special day as ‘plateituprecipes’ celebrate its 1st Blog Anniversary. A big thank you to all my subscribers, followers, readers who take time in visiting and motivating me for further progress. It has been a truly amazing journey and a great learning experience. As I embark on my second year of blogging journey, I ask for your continued support and encouragement.

For the celebration, I baked Nigella Lawson’s Devil’s Food Cake. This cake is incredibly delicious, rich with tender crumb and luscious frosting; ah! so very chocolatey.  Combine the batter and do not overbeat it.  The icing takes little time to thicken; in case if you are short of time, do the icing first. Also, it thickens faster in warm weather.

Yields : 10-12

for preparing the cake batter :

50 grams best-quality cocoa powder (sifted)

100 grams dark brown muscovado sugar

250 ml boiling water

125 grams soft unsalted butter (plus some for greasing)

150 grams caster sugar

225 grams plain flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

for the frosting :

125 ml water

30 grams/2 tablespoons dark brown muscovado sugar

175 grams unsalted butter (softened)

300 grams best-quality dark chocolate (finely chopped)

decorative sugar (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Line the bottoms of two 20cm / 8inch round sandwich tins with baking parchment and butter the sides.

Put the cocoa and 100g dark muscovado sugar into a bowl and pour in the boiling water. Whisk to mix, then set aside.

Cream the butter and caster sugar together, beating well until pale and fluffy.

Stir the flour, baking powder and bicarb together in another bowl, and set aside for a moment.

Dribble the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and sugar – mixing all the while – crack in 1 egg, quickly followed by a scoopful of flour mixture, then the second egg.

Keep mixing and incorporate the rest of the dried ingredients for the cake, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture, scraping its bowl well with a spatula.

Divide this batter between the 2 prepared tins and put in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Take the tins out and leave them on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes, before turning the cakes out to cool.

But as soon as the cakes are in the oven, get started on your frosting:

Put the water, muscovado sugar and butter in a pan over a low heat to melt.

When this mixture begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan so that all the chocolate is hit with heat, then leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.

Leave for about 1 hour, whisking now and again – when you’re passing the pan – by which time the cakes will be cooled, and ready for the frosting.

Set one of the cooled cakes, with its top side down, on a cake stand or plate, and spread with about a third of the frosting, then top that with the second cake, regular way up, and spread the remaining frosting generously over the top and sides, swirling away with your spatula. Sprinkle with decorative sugar, if using.

My observations/notes :

  • can use brown sugar if muscovado sugar is unavailable

 

Recipe – 100% WHOLEWHEAT BREAD (atta bread)

Baking your own bread is therapeutic and rewarding experience; the smell of a warm freshly baked bread wafting through the room is divine.

I love making bread and trying out different variations. It is easy to get a fluffy and soft texture with flours but when it comes to making a 100% wholewheat bread (atta bread), it is a challenge.

Since I want to bake a sugar-free bread using 100% wholewheat flour (chakki atta) for hubby dear, this recipe is simply perfect. I love to do it in the old-fashioned way. It does not have all purpose flour, eggs or sugar. I have made this bread recipe with sugar too; add 1 tbsp (if using it); the bread was more fluffy and light. The gluten powder was given to me by one of my friends; thought to use it for this bread recipe.

My toddler loves to baste the bread as he has done in all my previous bread recipes. You can baste with water or plain milk, however, it is optional. I basted my bread to keep my little chef happy.

The bread had a soft, light and pleasantly chewy texture.  You can tell the bread is cooked by tapping underneath. If it sounds hollow then it is cooked and if it doesn’t you have to put it back in the oven for little longer. Uncover the bread and allow it to cool completely; it is hard to resist cutting a slice of fresh warm home-made bread – so go ahead and enjoy!

Have a peep to my other bread recipes 4 braid bread, Simple Irish Soda bread and Turkish bread.

recipe source : my own

total prep time : 3 hrs/20 mins, cooking time : 25 mins, serves : 1 loaf, author : gloria

Ingredients

400 gms + 50 gms for dusting wholewheat flour*

2 tbsp gluten powder

1/4 tsp ground ginger

3 tsp milk powder

1 ½ tsp fine salt

2 tbsp vegetable oil

350 ml lukewarm water or milk of your choice

basting with plain water or milk (optional)

Method

Combine wholewheat flour, gluten powder, ground ginger, milk powder and salt in a large bowl.

Make a well in the centre and add vegetable oil and lukewarm water or milk.

With the help of a wooden spoon, mix everything nicely. At this stage, the dough would be sticky. Dust little wheat flour onto the surface area and transfer the dough.

Using the extra wheat flour*, rub your hands and begin to knead the dough for a longer duration until it becomes silky and elastic.

Place it in a greased bowl, cover and allow it to rest in a warm spot for 2 hours to leaven.

After the 1st rise, remove from the bowl and gently punch the dough down.

Shape into a loaf tucking the edges and place seam side down in a generously greased loaf pan (9×3 inches).

Cover loosely with a plastic wrap and allow it to rise further for a second time undisturbed for 60 minutes. Baste it with plain water or milk.

Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 220º C and bake for 25 mins or until golden brown.

Once slightly cooled, remove it from the pan and place it on a wire rack uncovered to cool completely.

Enjoy your home-made freshly baked atta bread slathered with butter or in your meals.  Makes a great sandwich too.

Recipe – BRAZILIAN STYLE CARROT CAKE (bolo de cenoura)

Brazilian style carrot cake also known as Bolo de Cenoura is a very simple, easy to prepare cake, with available ingredients at home. It is moist, tender, soft, rich in flavour and texture. A popular Brazilian dessert; this plain cake is topped with chocolate sauce and is incredibly delicious.

Carrot cake is a great kid’s snack too; it can be served plain or dusted with icing sugar/powdered sugar and can also be topped with chocolate sauce (here, I’ve skipped it). Vegetable oil is added to keep the cake moist and prevent dryness. Carrots, being the star ingredient; it is best to use fresh and organic.  Also, it gives natural sweetness to the cake and an appealing look with rich golden colour once baked.

total prep time : 55 mins, yields : a large bundt cake, cuisine : brazil, author : gloria

Ingredients

3 nos medium sized carrots

3 nos large eggs

1½ cup vegetable oil

1½ cup granulated sugar

2 cups unbleached flour

3 levelled tsp baking powder

1 tsp orange extract

1/8 tsp salt

Method

Pre-heat oven 180º C/350º F and grease a large bundt pan.

Peel and roughly chop the carrots. Keep aside.

In a bowl, stir unbleached flour and salt. Reserve.

Into a blender or food processor, add chopped carrots and oil; break in the eggs and add the orange extract; blend until smooth for 4 minutes.

Tip in the granulated sugar and continue to blend for 2-3 minutes.

Now, combine the reserved flour and salt mixture, little by little and blend everything together nicely.

Transfer the blended mixture into a large bowl; add baking powder and with the help of a wooden spoon, stir slowly for a minute.

Pour the batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes or until the tooth-pick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool cake completely on the wire rack. Dust with icing sugar on top or enjoy it plain with coffee / tea.

Recipe – FRENCH MACARONS

My 100th Post – French Macarons are light, crisp and delicate cookies with a crunchy texture on the outside and slightly chewy inside. Enjoyed with any delicious filling of your choice or plain (we love it this way). It needs lot of practice (am still doing it), patience (just like doing the puff pastry), time, gentle handling and cool environment. It is not easy and can be very challenging. Recipe adapted from the Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz.

Before embarking on my macaron journey, I researched thoroughly with my chef buddies and found using right techniques and science play an important role in making these delicious pastries.

The key to make good french macarons are : all ingredients should be at room temperature; weighed correctly and separately. I used store-bought almond meal for easy convenience and also it is readily available in the supermarkets. It can be made at home too, by blanching raw unsalted almonds, peeling the skin and grounding super fine. The cocoa powder, ground almonds or almond meal and powdered sugar or icing sugar should be combined well and sifted nicely number of times if using a strainer to remove any lumps; the texture here should be superfine. While making french macarons, I separate the egg whites in a bowl, covered loosely, overnight and keep it in the fridge or on the counter-top (depending upon the weather); next day bring it at room temperature and beat it on an ungreased clean dry glass bowl till stiff peaks are obtained; do not over beat, it will become clumpy. Slowly and gently, fold to make a smooth batter, scraping the bottom once in a while; do not overmix; it should form a ribbon when dropped from a spatula. To secure the baking sheet while you pipe, put tiny bit of batter on all the corners and middle of the parchment sheet. After piping them into circles, rap it on the counter-top to flatten and remove air bubbles; allow it to rest uncovered depending upon the humidity till a skin is formed at the top and dry when touched; immediately put it in the oven. Once the macarons are baked – oven temperature varies, let it cool completely so that it peels off. You can use silicone baking mat or parchment paper for easy removal. I mostly do the filling few hours before serving either with chocolate ganache, nutella or a simple raspberry/strawberry jam. Do not serve macaroons cold as it tastes bad.

It is important to develop little ridges (feet) for a good authentic french macarons – that’s the beauty. Nail it right and you get the most delicious and expensive cookie made at your home. Don’t forget to give a pat on your back for a job well done!

Boy! I still remember that when I made french macarons for the first time though the chocolate filling was kept ready, as soon as it cooled down a little, my little kiddo and  yours truly wolfed down a bunch of plain macarons in a blink of an eye. It tasted truly amazing and so hard to resist!!!

Delicious, delicate, soft, melt-in-the-mouth french macarons enjoyed with family or perfect gift to friends.

cuisine: french, yields: 15, author: gloria

Ingredients

for the macaron batter :

100 gms icing sugar or powdered sugar

50 gms almond meal or ground almonds

25 gms unsweetened cocoa powder

2 large egg whites (room temperature & preferably aged overnight)

65 gms granulated sugar

for the chocolate filling :

125 ml heavy cream

2 tsp light corn syrup (optional)

120 gms semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate (finely chopped)

15 gms unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)

Method

Preheat oven to 180º C/350º F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag fitted with 1/2″ tip.

In a food processor, blend powdered sugar, almond meal and cocoa powder; combine nicely to mix well. Sift them in a bowl, a little at a time, in a fine-mesh sieve and discard away the lumps.

Place egg whites in an ungreased bowl and begin to beat till foamy; gradually, add the granulated sugar, a tablespoon at a time and continue to beat until it becomes glossy and stiff peaks are formed.

Slowly and gently, fold in the dry ingredients in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag.

Pipe batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets or silicone baking mat in 1-inch circles evenly spaced one-inch apart.

Holding the baking sheet with both hands, rap it firmly few times on the counter-top to flatten the macarons and allow it to rest for 1 hour uncovered until a skin develops on the surface and the batter is dry when touched.

Bake the cookies for 15-18 minutes, depending upon the oven temperature. Allow it to cool completely before removing the cookies from the baking sheet.

for the chocolate filling:

Heat cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan; when it just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a minute; stir until smooth.

Add the pieces of butter and give a quick stir; allow it to cool completely before using.

Assembly:

Spread a bit of the filling on the inside of the macarons and sandwich them together.

Let them stand at least one day before serving, to meld the flavors.

Serve these delicious macarons at room temperature.

Enjoy!