24 July 2015

DARK CHOCOLATE ICE-CREAM

If you can't have (or don't want to have) eggs for any reason, this is the perfect treat for you. I love ice-cream, but as many have a lot of yolks, I usually tend to avoid them, but not this one. This is a delicious and rich dark chocolate ice-cream that you can easily make at home, all by yourself, without any yolks. Essentially, it is a Ganache recipe, enriched and frozen. The taste is deep and rich, as dark chocolate is itself, so if you do not like the bitterness of the chocolate, use a regular cooking chocolate, to balance it more.

Dark chocolate egg-free ice-cream recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients:
500 ml whole milk
150 grams sugar
50 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
60 grams powdered milk
200 ml heavy cream
200 grams extra dark chocolate

Preparation:
Finely chop the dark chocolate, and place it in a large bowl. Pour the heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat it over medium high heat until it starts to steam and gets close to the boiling point. Remove it from the heat just as it is about to boil and pour it over the chocolate. Let it stand for a minute or so and mix it well with a wooden spoon or a spatula, until the chocolate melts completely.
In a large bowl, sift together the cocoa powder and powdered milk twice, so there are no lumps in the ice-cream. Add the sugar and mix well. Take the saucepan you heated the cream in, pour in the milk and heat it over medium heat, until almost boiling. Take the hot milk and gradually pour it over the cocoa powder mixture, stirring constantly. Do this slowly, so the sugar melts and everything blends well.
To this mixture, add the Ganache and mix it very well, so there are no lumps. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, then pour it into your ice-cream machine and let it churn. It will probably take about 30 minutes or so, depending on your machine. Once the ice-cream is ready, you can serve it right away, if you like it soft-served, or put it in the freezer for 4 hours so it firms up. Yields about 1 litre of ice-cream.

18 July 2015

HONEY YOGURT BREAD

Freshly baked bread is one of the best things to have for breakfast, especially if it's buttered, toasted and covered with homemade jam. This pillowy soft bread rises overnight in the refrigerator, giving you the opportunity to shape and bake it in the morning. Although it has honey, the bread isn’t overly sweet; the flavour is well-balanced and just right for sweet and savoury breakfasts. It toasts well and it’s lovely to serve with dippy eggs and sweet spreads. As with all breads, you can brush it with butter as soon as you take it out of the oven, to give it a shinier and softer crust.

Honey yogurt bread recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients:
450 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons dried yeast
200 grams plain yogurt
120 ml milk
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons runny honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing

Honey yogurt bread recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Preparation:
Make sure the yogurt and the milk are at room temperature. Sift the flour twice and set it aside. Take a large bowl, add the yogurt, milk, oil and salt and whisk it well. Add half of the flour, whole quantity of yeast and mix very well with a wooden spoon, until a creamy batter forms. Then, start adding the rest of the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon at first, then kneading with your hands, until all of the flour is used up. The dough should be very tacky, but shouldn't stick to or remain on your hands. Wrap the top of the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about 12 hours (best overnight). Make sure the bowl is tightly wrapped, so the dough does not dry out during the night.
Once the dough is risen and ready, take it out of the bowl and gently knead it, on a well floured surface, for a few minutes, just to warm it up a bit. Roll the dough on the surface until a long rope shape forms, then coil it around to make a spiral. Transfer the dough spiral to a large baking sheet lined with baking paper. If it is easier and more comfortable that way, you can form the spiral right on the baking sheet. Let the dough rise, at room temperature, for about an hour or so. Once risen, brush the dough generously with oil and bake it, in a preheated oven, at 200˚C (400˚F) for about 25 minutes.

12 July 2015

GIANT CHOCOLATE FUDGE COOKIES

Baking cookies is always a fun activity, because you can create new flavours with only a few ingredients and, you can absolutely adjust them to suite your sweet tooth. These lovely giant fudge chocolate chunk cookies are fantastic for more than one reason. First of all, chocolate, lots of it. Second, they are so soft and fudgy that they can easily be mistaken for a piece of brownie. And third, they don't have any butter, only Greek yogurt and a bit of oil.
A very deep chocolate flavour comes from unsweetened cocoa powder, as well as from dark chocolate chunks. If you like your chocolate cookies slightly sweeter and with a more mellow chocolate flavour, use milk chocolate chunks. As always, choose a good quality cocoa powder and chocolate, as they will determine the taste of the baked cookies.

Giant chocolate fudge cookies tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients:
200 grams plain flour
50 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
150 grams icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
200 grams plain Greek yogurt
200 grams chocolate chunks

Preparation:
Take a large bowl and sift the flour directly into it, then sift in the baking powder and cocoa powder. Set the bowl aside. In another bowl, whisk together the egg with the vanilla and sifted icing sugar, for about a minute, until smooth and creamy. Tip the dry ingredients into the beaten egg and mix it with a spatula or a wooden spoon. Mix until the ingredients are moistened, then add the yogurt and oil. Continue mixing with a spatula until combined. Finally, gently fold in the chocolate chunks.
Take out five tablespoons (¼ cup) of batter and drop it on a large baking sheet lined with baking paper, with at least 5 cm (2") of space between them. Make sure you flatten them down a bit (to about  15 cm; 6" in diameter), because they will not spread that much on their own. Bake them in a preheated oven, at 180˚C (350˚F), for about 5-8 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Yields 4 extra large cookies.

06 July 2015

STRAWBERRY CHOCOLATE CRESCENT ROLLS

Baked goods have always been a favourite of mine as far as breakfast goes. Freshly baked crescent rolls, with a cup of tea or coffee may easily be the number one. These are very rich, with sour cream dough, and a sweet chocolate and strawberry filling. Choose a good quality dark chocolate to compliment the sweetness of the strawberries. I recommend Lindt Excellence 70%, as that is one of my favourites. You can even use a darker chocolate bar if you wish, it will pair perfectly.

Strawberry chocolate crescent rolls tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients:
For the dough
450 grams plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons dried yeast
100 grams granulated sugar
200 grams sour cream
50 grams powdered milk
50 ml vegetable oil
120 ml boiling water
For the filling
300 grams fresh strawberries
100 grams dark chocolate
For the brushing
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparation:
Sift the flour into a large bowl, take out about 4-5 tablespoons and set it aside. Add the yeast and sugar to the large bowl and mix well. Take a medium-sized bowl and whisk together the sour cream and the powdered milk. Add the oil and the boiling water and combine well. Make a well in the centre of the flour, pour in the wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead it for about 10 minutes, adding the reserved flour as you knead. It will become smooth and elastic. Transfer it to an oiled bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise for about an hour and a half.
For the filling, wash and clean the strawberries, chop them up and put them in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook them over medium heat, stirring often, until all of the juice evaporates and they cook down to a jam consistency. My advice is to cook it until it's thick enough so it doesn't leak out of the rolls while baking. Remove the filling from the heat and let it cool down. Chop up the dark chocolate and set it aside.
When the dough is ready, gently knead it and roll it into a large circle, about 5 millimetres (¼-inch) thick. Cut the circle of dough into 12 equal triangles, then cut a slit in the centre of each triangle's wider side (like you would cut it when making croissants). Place a bit of the jam on the wider side of the triangle, add some of the chocolate, and roll it up tightly towards the pointy end. Repeat this with all the triangles and arrange them on a large baking sheet, lined with baking paper. Let them rest and rise for 30 more minutes. Just before baking, brush them generously with vegetable oil, and bake them, in a preheated oven, at 200˚C (400˚F), for about 15-18 minutes. When you take them out of the oven, you can brush them with a bit of butter, for a softer crust.

30 June 2015

STRAWBERRY CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Cupcakes are generally very easy to make, and almost everyone loves them. Especially if there’s chocolate. These tasty little chocolate treats are filled with homemade strawberry jam and topped with rich strawberry buttercream. Since they are in season, they are a fantastic accompaniment to desserts. The flavour is well-balanced between chocolate and strawberries, and they are perfect with afternoon coffee.

Strawberry chocolate cupcakes recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients:
For the cupcakes
120 grams plain flour
100 grams sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
⅓ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
6 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons oil
For the filling
50 grams strawberry jam
For the frosting
100 grams butter, softened
3 tablespoons strawberry jam
200 grams icing sugar, sifted

Preparation:
Sift the plain flour right into a large bowl, sift the cocoa powder over it, then add the baking soda and the sugar and whisk everything very well. Add the boiling water, oil and the vanilla bean paste and mix with a spatula until combined. Do not overmix it, because it will make the cupcakes tough. Immediately pour the batter between in 6 standard muffin cups lined with paper liners and bake them, in a preheated oven, at 190°C (375°F), for about 12-15 minutes. Let them cool completely on a wire rack before filling and decorating.
To make the strawberry buttercream, place the softened butter in a large bowl and beat it with an electric mixer on high for about 2 minutes. Add the strawberry jam and blend really well. Finally, sift in the icing sugar in three additions, blend well and beat until smooth and creamy. If you want a thinner buttercream, add another tablespoon of the jam.
When the cupcakes are baked, take out about a teaspoon out of each cupcake (use a teaspoon or an apple corer), then add a heaping teaspoon of the jam. Place the buttercream in a decorating bag fitted with a large nozzle (Wilton 1M or 1G) and pipe a generous swirl on top of each cupcake. Yields 6 cupcakes.