Holidays Baking-Cinnamon Morning Buns w/Orange Zest and Pecans

1 Jan

Happy New Year!!!!! What a way to ring it in. Dim sum with family. Actually today was rather quiet. New Year’s Eve was better. Why? I spent the last day of the year snow shoeing on Cypress Mountain. It would be my first time and I enjoyed it. There was something about the glistening snow covered trees and the crunching of snow underneath my feet that brought me smiles. Perhaps it was the serenity and peacefulness that only nature could bring. I didn’t even mind the cold. All that was missing was a cabin in this winter wonderland.

The night before the actual adventure, I was all in a tizzy. Being a beginner, my mind was racing in all directions. Would I cramp up and have an accident? My nerves were a bit calmer on the day of. I was excited as my friends and I started up the trail. It was absolutely spectacular being on the mountain. The air was crisp, clean and cold and I marveled at the beautiful surrounding. Up and down we went admiring nature’s wonder. When we reached the look out point, the view was breathtaking

Nothing could be complete than something to nibble on the way to re-energize. In this case, it was my favourite bread of all time, the cinnamon bun. I had remembered a recipe that captured my attention before and decided to make it. Unlike most cinnamon buns whose components were fresh brioche, cinnamon and sugar and cream cheese frosting. This recipe added a warmth to it. It called for orange zest and honey. The orange zest added complexity to the brioche’s flavor profile and honey made the brioche less sweet. One bite and I was in love.

Cinnamon Morning Buns w/ Orange Zest and Pecans (adapted from here)

2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup honey
4 large eggs and 1 egg yolk
4 cups flour (I used all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter

Filling
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 sticks butter
find sanding sugar for sprinkling

Notes: I had used a mug to measure the milk thus had a softer liquidy dough. As a result I increased the flour to approx 7 cups and by doing so, I approx. doubled the other ingredients with the exception of the eggs. For the filling, the butter was only softened and mixed with the honey, cinnamon, cardamon and sugar to make a creamy mixture in order spread onto the dough. Proofing required approx 3 hours. Results were fabulous. ***Make sure the dough is pliable and not sticky. A keeper of a recipe!

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Christmas Cookie Project II-Pecan Turtle Cookies

26 Dec

I dream of a White Christmas!!! What a lovely Christmas it has been. I have been praying for a White Christmas over the last few years. I finally got my wish yesterday. Tired eyes opening from a hectic week filled with chocolate making, cookie baking, I was pleasantly surprised by the seeing little white flakes gently floating down. Clothed in a flash, I hurriedly made my way to the living room window. There I felt my heart scream with joy. The entire street almost white, YIPPPEEEE!!!! My prayers were answered. Weeks and weeks of praying finally paid off. I know I may sound looney but nothing thrills me more than a beautiful peaceful white landscape with Christmas trees and ornaments glistening. When I was young, my happiest days where celebrating Christmas with family and gift exchanging. I remember skating on the ice in Central Park. It was fabulous as those holidays were filled with love and laughter. Not that these days weren’t. White Christmas were also frequent. Nowadays, family get togethers are less frequent and with individuals getting older and passing away, it became a quiet Christmas. Not that it was bad but I still remember those Christmas days when spent throwing snow balls at each other. Now can you see why I love White Christmas? Ha ha.

This Christmas has indeed been a special one, I got to share it with friends and family. My friends and I went to events like the Singing Christmas Tree. This year marked its 50th Anniversary which made it especially worthwhile to go.

Broadway Singing Christmas Tree 014

A few friends and I also went to see Star Wars-“The Last Jedi.” To culminate it was the Christmas Party in which I made some chocolates and cookies to share.

Speaking of cookies, I made some Pecan Turtles.

Voila!!!

DSC_0004

Cookie Recipe:

1/2 cup toasted pecans (plus more for rolling in)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter (softened)
1 large egg

Caramel Recipe:

Sugar
Whipping Cream
Butter

Results: These are a fantastic addition to any cookie exchange. Buttery and crispy and gooey. A keeper.

~Happy Holidays~

Christmas Cookie Project-Chocolate, Cinnamon and Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

16 Dec

Christmas Season is in full swing. It all started with the Christmas Cookie Exchange organized by the Ladies Team Members at our church. Cookie making is always fun for me as it is the simplest way to enjoy a dessert. Sad to say I do not have the luxury to make them too often. When the idea of participating in a cookie exchange occurred, I literally jumped at it. The event was hosted by the church and 14 friends participated, cookies as well ha ha. We all had a great time socializing with each other. Sipping on tea, munching on cookies, playing games and sharing stories of Christ. The highlight of course was the exchange. I had brought 3 dozen cookies there to share and trade and came back satisfied with 2 dozen cookies.

For this cookie exchange I made chocolate cinnamon and hazelnut thumbprint cookies. They were fun to make and I enthusiastically shared them with everyone.

I first made the dough and then rolled it in sanding sugar and 1tsp. cinnamon.

Once the cookies were baked, a melon baller was used to create the indent on the cookies.

Ganache was filled in the indented cookies.  Ganache was made of chocolate and cream.

Hazelnut Cinnamon Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Recipe (found Here)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of hazelnuts ( I toasted and ground them finely)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (I used 1 cup butter)
1 large egg
1/2 cup sanding sugar
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
*** Instead of combining the chocolate with 1/4 cup butter. I opted to make a ganache instead using chocolate and cream.

Result:  This cookie was excellent.  It had the right balance of sweetness and bitterness from the cocoa.  The ground hazelnuts and cinnamon added complexity to the taste while the sanding sugar added a texture to the cookie.  It is a keeper and I would gladly be making this cookie again.  As a side suggestion, perhaps substitute the ganache with either caramel or caramel chocolate ganache.  Happy Holidays and Cookie Baking!!!!

A Friend and Vanilla Eclairs-Christophe Adam

25 Nov

This week has been a blur. I have been busy doing absolutely nothing :). Actually that is not true. Yesterday, I had went to a church group to record festive songs. It was fun. While there was laughter there is also sadness.

A member of our church community/friend will be heading back to her hometown to follow up on some preliminary results of a recent MRI scan. It’s tragic that within the few months I have known her, she has been through many trails and tribulations. All of which met with laughter and bravery. Despite the adversities she has faced, she always bounced back up to face the world again with renewed courage, tenacity and vivacity. This friend always looked toward the Lord for grace and support and as always the Lord never ceased to provide for her and to be her rock. It was very encouraging to witness it. She radiated energy and joie de vivre on our gatherings and won the hearts of many in our church community. You will be missed by many, SMJ Choi.

My friend had a knack for sweets and good company, not saying that I am good company ha ha. I hope to make some pastries (Christophe Adam) for her on our next meeting.

Christophe Adam’s Vanilla Eclair is comprised of a choux paste, Vanilla Cream, Caramelized Pecans and a Vanilla Glaze. I opted out the vanilla glaze and decided to do a white chocolate coating instead.

Vanilla Glaze
1 3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
2 tbsp cold water
2 vanilla beans
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 1/2 tbsp glucose syrup (I will use honey)
300 g white chochocolate
1 1/2 tsp rice starch

Vanilla Cream
2 vanilla beans
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
7 tbsp butter

Choux Pastry
150 ml water
150 ml whole milk
8 ml pure vanilla extract
7 ml sugar
175 ml unsalted butter
3 ml salt
295 ml all purpose flour
5 large eggs

Caramelized Pecans
175 ml chopped pecans
90 ml icing sugar

Results: Christophe Adam is known for his eclairs. In fact this recipe was one of his top ten recipes. It so goes to say, the eclairs did not disappoint. Light, crispy, velvety, fragrant and rich in vanilla, it is a symphony on the taste buds. Another winner of a recipe.

Birthdays-Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

20 Nov

October has been a busy month filled with birthdays. It so happens that the young adults pastor birthday is in October. Events like this always give me an opportunity to show my creative side as well as try new recipes.
For this birthday, I am making a Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake. The cake consists of chocolate chiffon sponge cake, milk, white and dark chocolate mousses.

Method:

I first made the chiffon cake and baked it. With the cake resting, I then proceeded to make the dark chocolate mousse. To make the mousse, the gelatin was first bloomed in cold water to soften it. Next, whipping cream was whipped and set aside in the fridge. I then made the sabayon which was basically warming up the sugar/egg mixture over a double boiler till luke warm when touched. ***Make sure not heat up the mixture too much as it would start cooking. Once the sugar/egg mixture was luke warm, beat the mixture till light and fluffy. Fold in the melted chocolate until combined. Add the gelatin and then incorporate the whipping cream making sure it is fully blended and homogenous. Once the mixture was well folded and mixed, it was poured onto the cooled cake.

Next came the milk chocolate mousse. I made the milk chocolate mousse in the same process. First blooming the gelatin, then melting the chocolate in a double boiler. While the chocolate was melting, I made the sabayon and whipped up the whipping cream. I then folded the melted chocolate into the sabayon and added the gelatin. Lastly whipping was folded in. Pour onto the cooled cake and set in the fridge.

The white chocolate mousse was to be the top layer on the cake before the glaze. Same steps were done as before. The key is not to let the gelatin become too cool before folding in the whipping cream. The final step prior to decoration was the chocolate glaze. When looking at the ingredients for the glaze, it resembled a ganache topping. The ingredients consisted of whipping cream, honey, sugar, chocolate, milk and butter. To make the glaze, first boil the whipping cream, milk, sugar and glucose. Then pour the mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Add the butter lastly and stir until the mixture is mixed well.

Assembly:
To assemble to decorate the cake, I ladled the glaze onto the cooled set mousse cake while making sure it was covered evenly. It was necessary to work fast as once the glaze cools down, it would set. A handy tool to use was the spatula. Next I caramelized some hazelnuts and almonds to top the glazed cake as a garnish. While it was not necessary, I had made some chocolate stenciled squares. With them handy, I decorated the sides with them.

Voila.

Dark Chocolate Mousse
200 g Dark Chocolate
2 Eggs
40 g Sugar
240 ml Cream

Milk Chocolate Mousse
200 g Milk Chocolate
2 Eggs
40 g Sugar
4 g Gelatin Sheet
240 ml Cream

White Chocolate Mousse

200 g White Chocolate
2 Eggs
40 g Sugar
4 g Gelatin sheet
240 ml Cream

Chocolate Glaze
200 ml Cream
60 ml Milk
110 g Sugar
300 g Dark Chocolate
110 g Glucose Syrup (I used honey)
110 g Butter

Results: The cake was a hit. The mousses were dreamy and complimented the light chiffon cake. I would make this cake again. However for next time, consider using streusel to decorate the sides. ~Happy Baking~

Cake Project I-White Chocolate Mango Mousse Entremet with Raspberry Jelly

13 Nov

I have been away from blogging for a few months now due to the summer season. Having said that it was an amazing summer. Vancouver hardly had any rain which on the other hand prompted forest fires in BC’s interior. Nonetheless it was gorgeous. Not having to work for a few months, I had time to rest up and involve myself in a few activities. Some of the activities included hiking at Quarry Rock with my church group, going to Emma Lea and Krause Berry Farms and the beach. I always enjoyed going to the farms during summer despite the long drive. It brings rest and peace to the soul. As well, this year had a bountiful harvest. My mom, friend and I went to Krause Berry Farms one week to pick blueberries and came home with buckets filled of large saucer like plump blueberries. We were amazed by the quality of them. It will definitely be a motivational factor to go again next year for blueberries. Unfortunately, nothing lasts for forever and now we are in the fall. October had just past with Halloween being the last hoorahhh. I had been busy also during the fall as well. I volunteered to make cakes for a few occasions which included a couple of birthday parties and a going a way surprise party for a church friend, J.Wee.

I quite enjoy making cakes for these events as it allows my creative side to show. Furthermore, there are not restrictions when making them. While it can be a bit time consuming, I had enjoyed making them immensely. Which brings be to the topic of this little story, White Chocolate Mango Mousse Entremet. Not entirely sure of what kind of cake the J. Wee liked, I had asked his house mates opinion. Mango it was. With this knowledge I set out to make the cake.

Assembly: To make the entremet, I first made the chiffon cake and baked it. While the cake was cooling, I proceeded to make the white chocolate mousse. The gelatin was soaked first in cold water for it to soften. Then the cream was whipped and set aside in the fridge. The sabayon was maded next. In a baine marie, I whisked the sugar and raw eggs to mildly warm and then beated it until light and fluffy. I then melted the white chocolate and folded it into the sabayon. With the gelatin softened, I heated it up to melt it and combined it with the chocolate mixture. When the mixture had cooled a bit, the mixture was then folded into the whip cream. Time was of the essence so fold fast. Once the mixture was thoroughly mixed, the mousse was poured into the cake and set the in fridge to set.

The jelly was the next step. First bloom the gelatin. Then puree the fresh raspberries and add sugar for tasting. Combine the gelatin and the puree and pour onto cake and let set.

The final step was the mango mousse. I decided to follow the mousse recipe from a pastry school I had gone to a few years back. To make the mousse, first soften the gelatin by placing it in cold water. Next whip the whipping cream and set aside in the fridge. Combine the mango puree and sugar for taste. Warm up the soften gelatin until it becomes a liquid and pour into the puree mixture. Finally, fold in the whipped cream and pour onto the cake and put into fridge to set.

Decoration:
Mangoes were arranged in a flower like pattern and then whipped cream was pipped in the middle.

Voila!

Bavaroise Mango
160 ml Mango Puree
1 Lemon juice
60 g Sugar
5 g Gelatin (I used a gelatin sheet)
200 ml Cream

White Chocolate Mousse
200 g white chocolate
2 eggs
40 g sugar
4 g gelatin sheet
240 ml cream

Result: The cake was a hit and liked by member of the group members. The cake was light and sweet but no too sweet. The white chocolate mousse complimented the mango mousse and the raspberry jelly had a tangy sweetness that completed the cake. This recipe is a keeper.

~Happy Fall Baking~

Danish

30 May

It has been a while which I posted. School is over and work is done. I am relaxing these days getting over a nasty cold. The weather was gorgeous over the past week that I went out to bask in the warmth of it. Now with some free time I decided to blog again.

I have been taking a baking course called Basics 8 at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. My intention was to home in my skills with tips from the instructors there. Indeed, I did get some tips. On the second week we made danishes. Danishes were quite similar to croissants in which it is a laminated yeast dough but richer as it contains eggs and sugar. They are time consuming to make but well worth the effort.

Keys to Laminating the dough:
-make sure the beurrage is pliable and at the same consistency with the detrempe
-3 turns is optimal
-Resting the dough for 1 hour in the fridge between turns or 30 minutes in the freezer. This allows the gluten to relax
-once shaped allow to relax again prior to proofing, 45-1 hour
-proof at 84F in the oven
-preheat the oven to the 400F to 425F this allows butter to melt creating steam and puff up the dough
-create steam when placing the danishes in the oven by spraying water on the bottom of the heated oven



Danish

Detrempe
650 g all purpose flour
80 g sugar
13 g salt
40 g fresh yeast
20 g butter
345 g milk, cold
70 g eggs

Beurrage
310 g butter soft
25 g flour

Pastry Cream
500 ml whole milk
120 g egg yolk
100 g sugar
2.5 g salt
30 g cornstarch
4 g vanilla extract

Result: When baked you do see layers in the danishes. Resting was crucial in laminating the dough. The baked product was nice, light and buttery and perfectly paired with pastry cream.

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