Saturday, 27 September 2014

Kolach

The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!

Quite an interesting challenge considering I've never tried kolach before. So how was it? Well, as of posting time it is still cooling on a wire rack and I only tried a little portion without the cream filling. It was a bit bland though springy and soft which makes it perfect for some sweet or creamy filling. I was intrigued by the mayonnaise in the recipe but if you think about it mayonnaise is made up of oil, eggs, and vinegar or lemon juice. These ingredients are ubiquitous in cakes and breads so I was not surprised it worked.

A number of tweaks were done in the recipe such as reducing the size of the bread itself, added more baking time, and halved the streusel topping. Otherwise, it is a great recipe as an introduction to the world of kolaches!


Prague Kolach

Prague Kolach

*Cake:
250 g  [1 3/4 cups] plain flour
7 g  active dry yeast
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
5 Tbsp milk - warmed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 egg - slightly beaten
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

*Streusel topping:
3 Tbsp plain flour
2 Tbsp caster sugar (superfine)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter - chilled

*For finishing:
1 egg - beaten

*Cream filling:
2 cups full-fat milk - divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup custard powder (vanilla pudding powder)
1/4 cup unsalted butter - room temperature
5 Tbsp double cream - chilled

*For cake:
  1. In a large bowl, sift flour and make a hole in the middle.
  2. Pour the yeast, 1 tsp of the sugar, and 1 Tbsp of the warm milk in the hole. Lightly mix the yeast, sugar and milk with a fork and sprinkle the surface with a little flour.
  3. Cover the bowl with kitchen towel and let rise for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead with dough hook or by hand until you have a smooth dough (about 10 minutes).
  5. Lift the dough from bowl. Lightly flour the bottom of the bowl and set the dough on it. Cover with clingfilm or towel and let rise for an hour until double its volume.
  6. Punch dough and knead a little. Form the dough into a ball and place onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.
  7. Press the dough with your hands to shape it to a disc about 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter and 3/4-1 inch thick (2-2.5 cm). Cover with clingfilm and let rise for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C/fan 140°C.
  9. Brush top of the cake with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the streusel topping generously.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  11. Cut the cooled cake crosswise and spread the cream onto the bottom half. Cover with the upper half.

*For the streusel:
  1. Combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  2. Cut in the chilled butter in the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until crumbly.

*For the cream:
  1. Mix 1/2 cup of the milk with the custard powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan mix the rest of the milk and sugar and bring to a gentle boil.
  3. Add the custard powder mixture and simmer for 3-5 minutes while stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl of your electric mixer and cool completely while blending at low speed.
  5. Add diced butter and beat until well mixed in.
  6. Whip the double cream in a separate bowl into stiff peaks. Fold in the custard mixture into the double cream.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

White Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is more on the periodically running saga of using up ingredients about to expire. We had several bars of excellent Cailler baking white chocolate from my sister in Switzerland. It was expiring at the end of last month so we had to think of a way of using it very quickly! Fortunately, the cookie recipe we found in the Nestle website was really spot on. And it was so easy that my youngest was able to do all by herself. I think we just made a few adjustment on some ingredients and reduced the cooking time. Other than that it was really really good and delicious especially for a first time bake by a 13-year-old.


White Chocolate Chip Cookies


White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup [250 g] butter - softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups plain flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda [baking soda]
1/4 tsp fine salt
2 cups [350 g] white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  2. [Optional] Grease and line baking sheets.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Cream butter and both sugars in a bowl with an electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy - about 5 minutes.
  5. Add vanilla and the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Mix in the flour mixture in batches into the butter mixture.
  7. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the white chocolate chips until well combined.
  8. Form into balls, about 1-inch in diameter, then arrange on the baking sheets making sure to leave enough room between for it to expand.
  9. Bake for 11-12 minutes.
  10. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then remove and cool completely on wire racks.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Hummus

Hummus
With the aid of a food processor, this a very easy thing to whip up. Hummus is one of my all-time favourite snack dip. And now that I've got a recipe that I adapted from Angela Nielsen's The Ultimate Recipe Book you can be sure this will be a regular on our table.

As for the recipe, it was good as it is even without the yoghurt (I didn't have one at the time) but it would have been better if I reduced the garlic (too overpowering) and the reserved brine (to make it thicker). So all of these are reflected in the adjusted recipe below. Otherwise, it was simply delicious especially with crudites, tortillas, and pita breads.



Hummus

1 x 400 g  tin can of chickpeas
1 garlic clove - peeled and chopped roughly
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 Tbsp plain natural yoghurt (optional)
  1. Drain chickpeas from can and reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid.
  2. Transfer the chickpeas and reserved liquid into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Scrape the sides if needed.
  3. Add in all the other ingredients and process again until completely smooth. Taste then adjust salt and lemon juice according to personal preference.


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Mini M&M Cookies

Mini M&M Cookies
Look, a yummy cookie recipe with only 5 ingredients! How's that for simplicity? I was trying to find a cookie recipe that would include M&M chocolates instead of the usual chocolate chips. The allrecipes website turned up with this gem of a recipe that not only is simple to make but is scrumptiously delicious, too. Plus, it does not use eggs so perfect for those with egg allergies. It was a definite thumbs up from the kids. We did change the volume, however, as in cut it in half since we don't really need that much cookies.


Mini M&M Cookies


Mini M&M Cookies

250 g  butter - softened to room temperature
125 g  caster sugar (superfine)
200 g  condensed milk (half of a 397 g  can)
312 g  self-raising flour - sifted
250 g   chocolate M&Ms
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F. Grease baking trays.
  2. Beat together butter, sugar and condensed milk until light and creamy.
  3. Add flour and mix until well combined.
  4. Stir in the M&Ms with a wooden spoon and mix well.
  5. Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls (about 3/4 inch in diameter).
  6. Place on prepared trays and flatten slightly with a fork.
  7. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until lightly golden.
  8. Cool in the tray for 5 minutes then remove and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.