Archive for the ‘Sweet treats’ Category

Holiday baking!

Posted on: December 5th, 2011 by admin 2 Comments

The last couple years we put together a bunch of our favorite cookies to make around the holidays.  Personally I think a box of mixed cookies is one of the best presents ever.  It’s thoughtful and personal, home-made, waste-free, and delicious!!  Because the Gas-man never showed up to restart the gas in our building this weekend (boo). Here are some links to our favorite cookies for the holidays – paying special attention to the fact that they need to be strong enough to withstand someone shaking the box!  No delicate cookies!!  More to come very shortly.

Amaretti – Wonderful Italian almond cookies.  Crunchy and perfect with coffee.

Anzac biscuits – Although these are usually made on Anzac day (of course- ha), they really are too good not to make more often. They are my favorite cookies.

Biscotti – Another delicious crunchy Italian cookie – these are a little more time consuming, but well worth it.

Chocolate Christmas cookies – These ones are great for decorating.

Florentines – They look so festive to begin with.  The fruity nutty mix is a good crowd pleaser.

Real mint and Chocolate chip cookies – An eatpress favorite.  This recipe is our most popular cookie ever!

Pfeffernüsse These cookies are made in Germany at Christmas time. Spicy and a little chewy, they are our Dad’s favorite.

Shortbread – two recipes – traditional and spiced.  Perfect holiday tea-time biccies.

Snickerdoodles – The most ridiculously named cookie ever.  But the cinnamon-ny crust makes it one of the best.

For more ideas, have a look at our recipe index under cookies.  Happy holidays.

Dutch Spice Cake (Ontbijtoek)

Posted on: November 27th, 2011 by admin 4 Comments

I was inspired this chilly weekend to make a spice cake, especially after reading Emma from A Splash of Vanilla’s recipe for buttermilk spice cake.  Also I’ve been thinking a lot about my lovely distant friend Sarina lately, who I thought would enjoy this cake.  My choice of spiced cake this weekend is an old Dutch recipe for Ontbijtoek, which translates to breakfast cake. It’s an interesting one because it has no eggs or butter.  It has a dark, moist, but springy texture almost like bread, is wonderfully fragrant with spices and perfect slathered with butter for afternoon tea – or breakfast, for that matter.

  • 2 c white flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom, cloves and salt
  • 1/4 c golden or maple syrup
  • 1 c milk
  • Walnut halves on top are optional.
  • Also optional use half white flour and half rye flour for a more traditional flavour.

Preheat the oven to 150ºC (300ºF) and grease a loaf tin.

In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, brown sugar, salt and spices.  Make a well in the middle and add the syrup and then stir in the milk bit by bit.  Mix until smooth, it should pour into the pan in a thick ribbon.

I like to top the cake with walnut halves and a little brown sugar for a little crunch, but this is not traditional.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, but check at 50 minutes with a toothpick that should come out clean.  Let cool in the pan and eat slices regularly!  Best served with unsweetened whipped cream and honey.

This recipe is a combination of a few, primarily it is from the Dutch association of Australia’s website with inspiration from Milkmansion.

Song for this recipe:

“I Can Show You” – Tim and Jean I Can Show You - I Can Show You - Single

Sometimes I really feel like some synthpop, not often, but if the weather is gloomy, I find it lifts my spirits.  You have to wait a while for this cake to bake too, so I figure getting a little dance workout in before I pig out can’t be a bad thing.  Tim and Jean are a great indie-pop duo from Western Australia.  They have a bunch of catchy dance tunes, maybe they’re a bit similar to MGMT or Passion Pit, but this tune in particular and Come around are great fun.

Cinnamon rolls

Posted on: November 14th, 2011 by admin 1 Comment

I guess most people love these – I know I do.  You can’t go wrong with yeasty sweet bread and cinnamon EVER in my book.  But I don’t love them gooey like most – So I ice them differently (don’t worry I’ll give you the gooey option too).  I’ve made many different recipes, but this one is by far the best and luckily – easiest.  I wouldn’t mind making a difficult recipe for these, because they are worth it, but happily, this recipe is so easy, I can make them all the time.

  • 8g (1/4 oz) package yeast
  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 1/2 c scalded milk*
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 c butter or shortening
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 to 4 c all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1/2 c melted butter, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 c sugar, plus more for pan
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 c raisins, walnuts, or pecans – optional

Icing:

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese (or you can use 3 T butter instead)
  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1- 2 Tbsp milk

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with a teaspoon of the sugar and set aside.

*to scald milk (this makes for a more soft bread) heat the milk in a pan just until the edges bubble (before boiling) and then turn off the heat and let cool. You can also skip this step and use regular milk.

In a large bowl mix milk, remaining sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in a large well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 2 hours (it always takes me about 2).

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 40cm x 25cm (15 x 9 in) rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the long side, roll up dough into a long log, pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15  roughly 5cm (2 in) slices.

Grease the bottom of baking pan with butter. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about another hour. Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix butter, cream cheese, icing sugar, and vanilla. Add milk a little at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.  If you want gooey rolls, make the icing more runny and pour over the rolls while they are still warm in the pan.  I like mine iced with a thicker frosting, which I spread over when the rolls are almost cool.

Recipe for the buns – Paula Deen from the Food Network.  Frosting eatpress’ own.

Song for this recipe:

“Swallowing the Decibels” – Yeasayer Swallowing the Decibels - End Blood - Single

Yeasayer are a great band, self described as Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel.  But it’s pretty psych pop really, they have lots of great songs on their most recent album, Odd blood.  This song is from a 2 track release that came after the album, called End blood, apparently they didn’t fit on the full album, but in my opinion they are two of their best.

Apple and pear crumble

Posted on: October 30th, 2011 by admin 3 Comments

I am one of those weird people who likes slightly unripe fruit.  I hate mushy anything including peaches, mangoes, pears etc…  I just cannot stand softness and juice.  Which means, once fruit has ripened in my house, I usually cook with it!  Crazy I know.  I’ve been trying to bake more crumbles and crisps this year, because they are so easy and so delicious.  Warm stewed fruits with a crunch ontop, what’s not to love?  I didn’t think I would enjoy the pears stewed, just because I thought their flavor would be slightly overpowering for the apples, but I was wrong.  The combination is fantastic.

For the crumble

  • 1/2 c plain flour
  • 1/2 c ground almonds
  • a handful of crushed macadamias (optional, but so good!
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (brown is best but use whatever)
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 30 g butter

For the fruit filling

  • 2 apples, cored, peeled and cut into chunks (use any apples, but Granny Smith or Cortland are a good go to)
  • 2 pears, cored, peeled and cut into chunks (use any kind you prefer)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF)

In a saucepan on the stove on low heat, add the fruit filling ingredients. Let stew gently for about 10 minutes.

While your fruit is simmering, mix together the crumble dry ingredients – flour, nuts, cinnamon and sugar and then use your hands to rub in the butter.  You should be able to press the mixture together so it loosely holds together in clumps.

Grease 4 individual ramekins or one 20 cm (8 in) ceramic baking dish.  Load in all the fruit and then top with the crumble mixture. Bake in the oven for 20 -30 minutes, or until the crumble is browned and the fruit is bubbling.   The smaller ones will cook faster than the bigger one.

I like this fall favorite served with unsweetened whipped cream.  Just be careful not to eat then straight from the oven as they’ll be super hot.

Song for this recipe:

“If the shoe fits” – The Dead Leaves If the Shoe Fits - Single - The Dead Leaves

The Dead Leaves are a newish Australian band, with the lead singer Matt Joe Gow hailing from NZ originally.  The band first served as his backing band on an earlier album, but their upcoming new release (Cities on the Sea) homogenizes the band and singer into one.  Their sound is a good mix, clear vocals and washy guitar, but not all-together unique, I see some major influence from the National and maybe Grizzly Bear and Joy Division.  I look forward to hearing the whole album, but in the meantime this single is perfect for my Sunday baking session.

Inspiration for this recipe came from food and style

Ginger cookies

Posted on: October 16th, 2011 by admin 3 Comments

Ginger is definitely in the top 10 ingredients in our house.  So when I saw this recipe for chunky chewy ginger cookies, I knew we had to have them.  After making a few batches, I realise now they will forever be a part of our house.  These will be making their way into our Festive season cookie gift bags also.  The zesty ginger is so cozy for chilly nights. The original recipe is from our new favorite food blog – Form V Artisan, we like to add some fresh ground ginger, for an added kick.

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger)
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 c packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line two large baking sheets.

In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (but not the sugar) flour, ginger, clove, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl (either by hand or electric mixer) until light and airy about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and beat for about a minute more. Again scrape down the sides and add the egg and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated, about another minute. Add half of flour mixture and mix on low just quickly then add the remaining flour and mix for about 15 seconds more.

Roughly roll walnut sized balls of dough and place on the prepared baking sheets, placing them 2 inches apart and flattening slightly.  Pop the cookie sheets in the refrigerator for 15 minutes and then bake until golden brown on the bottom and top, about 10 minutes.

Song for this recipe:

“Pure gold” – Kelli Scarr Pure Gold - Piece

Definitely a lot of crooning young ladies around these days – of course there always has been, but I’ve noticed a real shift of late.  Kelli Scarr just has one album (Pieces) released, but an Emmy nomination for the score of the documentary “In a Dream”.  She is from California and I feel like she is when I listen to her.  I can feel a calm warmth and salt from the sea, perfect for enjoying a Ginger cookie on a chilly Montreal Sunday imagining I was relaxing in a hammock on the beach out West.

Zucchini bread

Posted on: September 27th, 2011 by admin 5 Comments

I’ve been making this zucchini bread for years and lately I’ve been making it weekly. This is one of those wonderful family recipes that gets passed along, it was my Grandma’s and then my Mum always made it. Personally the taste is so familiar and ‘homey’ that it’s hard to explain this loaf as anything but the best! Pass it along in your family today, pretty healthy but still cakey, zucchini bread is a real treat.  I love it for an afternoon snack with tea, or a slice on the go for breakky.

We have to thank our lovely Vietnamese neighbours, who I can’t speak to, but they generously give zucchini’s and more from their amazing garden.

  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 c plain flour
  • 1 c grated zucchini (or apples or carrots)
  • 1/2 c sultanas or raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 c walnuts (toasted taste best)

 

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and grease a loaf pan.

Beat the oil, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the wet. Finally add the zucchini, sultanas and nuts, mixing until just combined and pour into loaf pan. Bake for about 45 min – 1 hour depending on your oven.

(Love you Mum)

Song for this recipe:

“Rain Rain” – Bill Frisell Rain, Rain - Good Dog, Happy Man

Bill Frisell is an American Jazz guitarist.  He is known for using an array of effects to create unique sounds from his instrument.  With almost 30 albums to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find you recognize some of his music, there’s a lot to choose from.  The rain here has been going all day, days like this I like to bake a comforting family recipe, listen to some beautiful tunes and call my Mum.

Peach, almond and cardamom crostata

Posted on: September 5th, 2011 by admin 12 Comments

I’ve been wanting to make a rustic tart like this for ages.  They look so easy with their folded pastry and juicy fruit.  This one is a version we invented, but the lovely thing about crostata’s (basically free-form pie) is that you can, like pies, use any fruit you like.  Right now the Ontario peaches are in season and they are to die for.

I’ve always loved cardamom and love the fact that spices are still so valuable and precious.  Cardamom has such a lovely subtle flavor I knew it would go nicely with the fragrant peaches.  And this crostata has an almond fragipane between the crust and the fruit, which gives a delicious cakey layer.

When I ate it, I declared it one of the best thing’s I’ve ever baked.

Pastry

  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1 Tbsp icing sugar
  • 110 g (1/2 c) butter, cold
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2-4 Tbsp ice water

Fragipane filling (optional)

  • 1/4 c almond meal
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • Milk as you need it (if you use a large egg you might not need it)

Topping

  • 3 ripe peaches

To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar and butter in the bowl and rub in the butter until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs or use a food processor and process.  Add the egg BUT – save a tiny bit (about a teaspoon or two) for brushing over the crust later) add a tablespoonful of iced water and process until pastry just comes together adding more water if you need – just be careful not to over-process.  Shape dough into a disc and wrap in plastic, then place in the fridge for 1 hour to rest.

Preheat oven to 200°C (400ºF). Line an oven tray with baking paper. Roll out pastry to form roughly a 35cm (14 in) disc. Place on the tray.

Combine all the frangipane ingredients together in a bowl, but don’t add any milk yet.  It should form a thick paste, add a little milk now if you need to.  Spread the paste evenly out ontop of the rolled out pastry leaving about an inch of pastry around the edge (if you aren’t doing this layer for a fast peach tart, skip to the next step).

Now place your sliced peaches in any formation ontop of the fragipane layer, also leaving the same amount of pastry not covered.  Finally fold the pastry edge in onto the peaches to make a rough crust that will hold in all the juices.  Brush the crust with remaining egg.

Pop into the oven for about 30 minutes – or until golden.  Dust with icing sugar and serve with unsweetened whipped cream.

Song for this recipe:

“Peachy” – Missy Higgins Peachy - On a Clear Night

After being ‘Unearthed’ by Triple J radio – Missy Higgins really didn’t take long to become a recognizable voice in the Australian music industry.  Probably in part because of her unaltered Aussie accent, which was a refreshing (some found annoying) new sound.  I like her album – On  clear night and the fact that she writes all her own music. She’s actively involved in raising awareness about mental illness and the environment, not just in a token popstar way.   I remember her most for straddling the Hoff while accepting her Aria award in 2005.  Gold.