Archive for the 'Cakes & Cookies' Category

Jan 15 2010

Zucchini Bread

Published by under Cakes & Cookies

Last Sunday at Church, after the service a kind lady offered me a small loaf of her home made Zucchini bread as a Christmas gift. I was very touched by the gesture. We always sit in the same pews (she in front of me) every Sunday and she never forgets to wish me whenever we meet at church. The irony is, I don’t even know her name! The Zucchini bread was scrumptious. It had chocolate chips, walnuts and raisins and it was soon gone. The best Christmas gift I got this season.

Her Zucchini bread reminded me that I had always wanted to try making it, but had never got to it. So in honor of my dear friend from Church I decided to make my own Zucchini bread.

Zucchini Bread
Ingredients
1 and 1/2 cup wheat flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup shredded Zucchini
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp Salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Sieve together wheat flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Beat the sugar, essence and oil on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add the flour slowly while mixing. Do not over beat. Fold in the Zucchini, chocolate chips and walnuts. Bake in a 9 inch loaf pan for about 45 minutes.

Notes:

  • To prevent the chocolate chips and the walnuts from settling to the bottom of the bread, toss them in a tablespoon of flour before adding to the batter.

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Dec 28 2009

Christmas Sweets 2009

Published by under Cakes & Cookies,Holidays,Sweets

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It brings back memories of Christmases past and its a time  when you can reminisce about all the things that have happened throughout the year. Its been more than 10 years since I have spent Christmas with my parents. I never get a chance to visit them during the holidays.

The fondest memories I have of my childhood is the time when we would all gather around the kitchen table to help mom make all the Christmas goodies. Santa rarely visited our house back then and it didn’t matter to us. We looked forward to adorning our new clothes and staying awake till we got to the midnight mass on Christmas eve. After coming home from church, mom would have a feast prepared for us. We would all eat, drink and sing Christmas carols.

I try to keep some of the traditions alive, especially where food is concerned 🙂 . I try to make at least some of the traditional sweets that my mom used to make and also include some quick cooking goodies that I have learn over the years. This year I wasn’t sure if I was going to get around to making the Christmas goodies, but somehow I found the time to make some with the help of my dear hubby.

Christmas Sweets

From left: carrot cake, kul kuls, maple pecan cookies, chocolate fudge, milk toffee, donuts, mava cake

I cannot share all the recipes with you in this post. Here are a couple of simple ones. Enjoy!

Chocolate Fudge with Nuts and Fruit
The recipe is derived from the Eagle brand Condensed milk recipe. I find that adding semi sweet chocolate makes the fudge a bit too sweet. Here is my variation..
Ingredients
1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk
2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsalted cashews
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Prepare a 8×8 or 9×9 square cake pan, by lining the bottom and sides with some parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Place all the nuts on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Cool and coarsely chop the nuts.

In a non stick pan, add the condensed milk and the chocolate. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly until all the chocolate is melted. Take it off the heat and add the chopped nuts, cranberries, raisins, salt and vanilla. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared cake pan. Refrigerate for about 4 hours. When the fudge is firm, remove it from the pan and cut into desired size pieces.

Use any nuts and fruits that you like in the fudge.

Maple Pecan Cookies
Ingredients (makes 3 dozen cookies)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
36 pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 375F.

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the egg and maple syrup. Mix until combined. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour to the wet ingredients a little at a time, while beating it on low speed. When all the flour is mixed in, stir in the chopped pecans.

Drop the dough on parchment lined cookie sheets by rounded teaspoons. Press a pecan half on top of each cookie. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove on cooling racks and allow to cool.

The recipe for the carrot cake can be found here.

2 responses so far

Dec 03 2009

Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies

Published by under Cakes & Cookies

I have a subscription to the Bon Apétite magazine and almost every issue has an ad for the Ghirardelli chocolate. The November issue had an ad with these scrumptious double chocolate cookies. The cookies looked so decadent that a chocoholic like me could not resist trying them out. So I made a batch yesterday and decided to share some with a friend and her sweet daughter.

I have tried to stay as true to the recipe as I could. Just reduced the sugar by a third and added some extra flour (recipe called for 1/3 cup) to make the batter a little more thick. The cookies came out great. They require a little more effort than the regular chocolate chip cookies, but they are worth it. Nothing beats the aroma of fresh baked cookies, especially during the holiday season. Santa will be very happy to find these waiting for him when he climbs down that chimney!

Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients (Makes 2 dozen cookies)
1 bag Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips (11.5 oz)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 eggs
2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 bag Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips (12 oz)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Melt the bittersweet chocolate and the butter in a double boiler. Combine the flour and the baking powder in a small bowl. In a large bowl beat the eggs and sugar until thick (approximately 5 mins). Stir in the melted chocolate. Slowly add the dry ingredients and stir until well combined (do not over mix). gently fold in the walnuts and the semi sweet chocolate chips.

The dough will be a little wet compared to other cookie doughs. Place the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 mins. Then divide the dough in half and roll into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and 8 inches long using some plastic wrap. Refrigerate the logs for another hour or until firm.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Unwrap the dough and cut each log into 3/4 inch slices. Place the slices on parchment lined baking sheets about 1 & 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 13 – 15 minutes.

Notes:

  • When melting chocolate in a double boiler, make sure that the water is just simmering and not boiling. Also make sure that the water does not touch the bowl in which you are melting the chocolate.

3 responses so far

Jul 31 2009

Cranberry-Oat Ricotta Muffins

Published by under Breakfast,Cakes & Cookies,Sweets

This one is one of my absolute favorites. The ricotta creates a nice crust on top. This muffin is a cross between a muffin and a scone. Can be served with morning coffee or afternoon high tea!

Cranberry-Oat Ricotta Muffins
Ingredients: Makes 12 muffins
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick butter at room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Sieve together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Beat the sugar, butter and oil. Add the egg and beat well for about 3 minutes. Add the ricotta cheese and vanilla extract and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the flour slowly and mix well. In a small bowl combine the cranberries and about 1 tsp all purpose flour. Toss the cranberries with the flour to coat. This prevents the cranberries from sinking to the bottom when baking. Add the cranberries and oats and stir to mix. Using an ice cream scoop, drop the mixture into a muffin pan lined with paper cups. Bake for about 25 minutes.

4 responses so far

Aug 01 2008

Cranberry Walnut Scones

Published by under Cakes & Cookies

Cranberry Walnut Scones
Ingredients
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup of dried cranberries (or raisins)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt (or use regular yogurt and 1 tsp vanilla)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp half and half or whole milk
2 Tbsp raw sugar (coarse grained sugar)

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a food processor; add the butter and pulse it until the mixture resembles coarse meal (This can also be done in a bowl using two knives to cut the butter). Transfer it to a mixing bowl. Add the cranberries and walnuts; toss well. Add the yogurt and the egg whites, mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened (dough will be sticky).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; with floured hands, knead lightly 3 to 4 times. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle and cut into 10 wedges. Transfer each wedge carefully to a baking sheet greased with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Brush each scone with the half and half and sprinkle with the raw sugar. Bake at 350° for 22-25 minutes.

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Jul 03 2008

Banana Bread

Published by under Cakes & Cookies

BananaBread
Ingredients
2 Eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 very ripe bananas
4 tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with some butter.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter. Add the eggs one at a time. Mash the bananas and add them to the mixutre along with the vanilla. Beat for 1 minute.

In a seperate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Alternately add the flour and the milk into the banana mixture, mixing just until blended. Reserve one tablespoon of the flour and toss the walnuts in it. This prevents the walnuts from settling at the bottom of the bread while baking. Fold in the walnuts. Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean. (50-60 mins). Remove bread from pan and let cool.

One response so far

May 29 2008

Chocolate Espresso Cake with Frosting

Published by under Cakes & Cookies,Deserts

Chocolate Espresso Cake
Ingredients: makes 2 dozen cupcakes
For the Cakes:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or other fine ground wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Low fat Mayonnaise
3 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup cooled espresso (mix 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder in 1/4 cup of of water and cool)

For the frosting:
1 (8-ounce) bar Neufchatel cheese (reduced fat cream cheese), softened
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp espresso powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water and cooled
1 Tbsp chocolate syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.

Prepare the muffin pans, by lining with paper cups. Sieve together wheat flour, all purpose flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Combine the water and espresso and set aside. Beat the sugar, vanilla essence and eggs at high for about 3 minutes until smooth. Reduce the speed and add the mayonnaise. When completely blended, add the dry ingredients slowly alternately with the water-espresso mixture and mix well. Bake for 35 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes before frosting.

Frosting:
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until soft and creamy. Frost the cupcakes using an offset spatula or a butter knife.

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Apr 23 2008

Almond Biscotti

Published by under Cakes & Cookies

Almond Biscotti

Ingredients: Makes 2 Dozen
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup fine ground whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 whole egg + 2 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Add the whole egg and the egg whites one at a time while beating the mixture until it is light. Add the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl combine the flours, baking powder, almonds and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. Do not over mix. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 parts. Shape each half into a 12 inch log and place it on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes till they are light brown.

Take the logs out of the oven and allow them to cool for 10-15 minutes. Do not turn off the oven. When the logs are cooled slice them diagonally into 1 inch wide slices using a serrated knife. Place the cut pieces on the baking sheet with one of the cut sides facing down. Return the biscotti to the oven and turn the oven off. Allow the biscotti to dry out in the oven for 2 hours. Store in an airtight container.

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