Sunday, June 29, 2008

Facts about flour

Flours differ considerably and can affect one's baking significantly. A recipe tested with one type of flour can be a total disaster if done with another, yet recipes rarely mention which flour one should use.
One very important fact about flour is the protein content. As a package label this will be listed as grams of protein per cup of flour. It is important to read the nutrional facts listed in the label.

The main protein components in white flour after milling are gelatin and glutenin which, only with the addition of water and the mechanical action of mixing, come together to form gluten. Milk, eggs and other liquids can also act on the glutenin of flour.

What is gluten?
It is an elastic network of molecules that gives the dough its springy structure, and more importantly, gives dough the ability to retain the carbon dioxide gas produced by the action of yeast.

What are the different types of flour?
  1. Bread flour - contains 13% protein, about 14 g protein per cup of flour. It is used for making bread.
  2. All-purpose flour - 9-13% protein, about 10-13 g protein per cup of flour. |It is also best for bread, short pastry and chemically leavened doughs.
  3. Cake flour - It weighs 2 g of protein per cup of flour which is just 1.8%. It is best for cakes.

Notes on Flour:
  1. Measure by weight. If you do not have a weighing scale, spoon ingredients into a dry measuring cup and sweep off excess with a knife or spatula. Do not tap it against the working surface.
  2. Use a low-gluten flour with 11% of protein or less.
  3. Sift flour to remove lumps and aerate it.
  4. Substituting shortening for 1/4 cup to 1/3 of the butter will give a flakier dough. This is good for using with a high-gluten flour. However, the taste will be inferior to that of a pure butter crust.
  5. Flour kept in a freezer yields a flakier pastry.
Notes on adding liquid:
  1. The less liquid and more fat used, the shorter the dough will be;
  2. The more liquid and the more you knead the dough, the more elastic and tougher it will be. You are turning it into a tough dough or maybe bread.
Source: Gene Gonzales and Jill Sandique. THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROFESSIONAL COOKING AND BAKING, Anvil Publishing, 2002

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Emergency Substitutions

There are instances when we ran out of ingredients.We are already in the middle of preparing the ingredients when only then we realized one or two of the required stuff are not available in our pantry. It would be a DISASTER! What if ingredients are not readily available? What shall we do?
I'm giving you a few of the suggested substitutes in case of emergency.

Ingredients Substitute
1 teaspoon baking powder......... 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup buttermilk.......................... 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice + enough milk to make a cup
1 cup dairy sour cream .............. 1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup honey.................................. 1 1/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup liquid
semi sweet chocolate 1 oz........... unsweetened chocolate + 1 Tbsp sugar
unsweetened chocolate cake .......... 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa + 1 Tbsp shortening or margarine
(1 oz)

White chocolate cookies with chocolate chunks

I would like to share with you one of Mrs. Fields mouth watering drop cookie recipes. Debbi Fields is surely the most celebrated cookie-baker of all time. Although her recipes today are loved by the whole world over, they actually began right at her home, in her own kitchen, with her family members as taste-testers. The words "rich" and "delicious" become synonymous with "Mrs. Fields".

YIELD: about 3 dozens

1 cup unsalted butter softened
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
100 g finely chopped white chocolate
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
50 g semi sweet chocolate, cut into chunks
  • Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C). Cut 4 tablespoons of the butter into 1/4- inch cubes.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt
  • In a double broiler, melt the white chocolate with the butter, stirring until melted and smooth, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the remaining butter with the white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time (30 sec interval), beating well after each addition.
  • Beat in the melted white chocolate mixture and vanilla. On a low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the semi-seweet chocolate chunks.
  • Drop the dough bu rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies begin to brown lightly (the cookies will still be soft lightly in the center). Cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Apple Mystery Dessert

Yield: 8 servings

I have stumbled upon this recipe a couple of years ago, and I was astounded of its great tasting sauce, which turned out to be more of an icing, so "yummy". Many think that this dessert falls under the category of cake and others would classify it as pie or a pudding. Let others debate while you diginto slices of the moist dessert, topped with a pat of sweet Cinnamon Hard Sauce.

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teasepoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups chopped peeled tart apples
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat ovento 350°F and grease 9-inch pie pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon.
  3. Stir in vanilla and eggs and blend well.
  4. Add apples and walnuts, mix well.
  5. Pour into greased pan.
  6. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350°F or until firm to the touch.

Cinnamon Hard Sauce
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a separate small bowl, combine all hard sauce ingredients.
  2. Beat at high speed until well blended.
  3. Shape into 2-inch thick roll or spead into butter molds.
  4. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm.
To serve, slice the hard sauce into pieces and top each serving of dessert.

What are different types of cakes?

Of the many recipes that are posted in the website, you might be wondering which cake do you really prefer to bake? What type of cake are you really fond of? Listed are the types of cakes you often find in recipe books and websites:
  • Butter cake - it is moist, light, fine-textured cake commonly made with butter, but sometimes made with margarine or solid shortening. There are two common forms of butter cake, namely layer cake and sheet cake. The former is an old-fashioned birthday favorite, consists of rounds or squares of cakes stacked on top of each other with filling or frosting in between. The latter on the otherhand, is a flat rectangular cake typically baked in a 13 x 9 inch pan which is a good choice for a crowd because it's easier to serve.
  • Angel Food Cake - a light-textured and fat-free because it is made only from egg whites. It is an especially good choice for those who try to limit their fat intake and to those who cannot tolerate milk products. It comes with a variety of topping, i.e. fruits, dessert sauces, whipped cream, and frostings.
  • Pudding Cake - is a homestyle dessert in which the batter separates while it is baking to create a cake layer and moist layer thats serves as a sauce for the cake.
  • Fruit Cake - is a Christmas holiday favorite which uses relatively large amount of fruits (fresh or dried) to make the cake very moist with natural sweetness and flavor. Carrot cake, banana cake, Zucchini bread and the like belong to this genre. It is one of the richest desserts.
  • Chiffon Cake - is similar to angel food cake which relies on beaten eggs to achieve its lofty height but the batter also includes some fat.
  • Sponge Cake - the batter also includes eggs but no butter, shortening, or oil. It is generally less rich than many desserts, but it is richer and higher in fat than the angel food cakes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Equivalent measures and weights

Dash=less than 1/8 teaspoon
3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup or 1 fluid ounce
4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
5 1/3 tablespoons = 1/3 cup
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup
12 tablespoons = 3/4 cup
16 tablespoons = 1 cup
1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
2 cups = 1 pint or 16 fluid ounces
4 cups = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
16 ounces = 1 pound

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Angel Food Cake


This is one truly delightful melt in the mouth dessert. The recipe is so simple and takes about 55 minutes to prepare.

INGREDIENTS

* 355 ml egg whites
* 5 g cream of tartar
* 2 g salt
* 200 g sugar
* 5 ml vanilla extract
* 180 g confectioners' sugar
* 145 g cake flour

GLAZE
* 75 g unsalted butter
* 240 g confectioners' sugar
* 1 g ground cinnamon
* 45 ml apple juice

DIRECTIONS
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt at medium speed until soft peaks are distnctly formed.
  1. Add 2 tablespoonful of sugar at a time, beating well after each addition; Continue beating until smooth and stiff peaks form.
  2. Add vanilla extracts while beating at low speed.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine confectioners' sugar and flour; Fold into egg mixture.
  4. Pour into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan.
  5. Bake at 200°C for about 40 minutes or until top crust is golden brown and cracks feel dry. Immediately invert cake in pan to cool completely.

For glaze, melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon. Add apple juice slowly until glaze is thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over cake.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ganache frosting

Ganache, which is a wondrous combination of chocolate and heavy cream is said to have originated in Switzerland, where it is used as base for chocolate truffles. Because of its glossy effect and its creamy taste it is my favorite of all chocolate frostings. The proportion of chocolate to cream can vary widely. When using a higher proportion of cream, a bitter chocolate is recommended since the cream has its natural sugar already.

How to make ganache frosting and filling?

To make 4 cups just enough to fill and frost two 9 inch by 1.5 inch layers, you need 227 grams of bittersweet chocolate.( You may use 50% bittersweet chocolate and 50% semi sweet chocolate.) Add 464 grams of heavy cream (about 2 liquid cups) and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Break the chocolate into smaller pieces (less than a square inch).Using a double broiler or a microwave oven on high power, melt the chocolate pieces with 2/3 cup of the cream. (NOTE: stir every 10 seconds if a microwave is used)
Remove from heat before all the chocolate is melted and finish melting by constantly stirring. Set aside until cool.

Beat the remaining cream in a chilled bowl and beater until traces of beater marks just begin to show distinctly.

Add the chocolate mixture and beat just until soft peaks form when the beater is raised.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bitter Sweet World.

The Alternative Food Lane.

Old Fashioned Whipped Cream

Ingredients:
232 g Heavy cream ( 1 liquid cup)
57 g Unsalted Butter ( 1/4 cup)
vanilla
13 g sugar (1 Tbsp)

Refrigerate the beater alongside with the mixing bowl for at least 30 minutes.
In a saucepan melt together 1/4 cup cream and the butter with constant stirring until the butter is fully melted.
Pour into a heatproof measuring cup and cool to room temperature. Add vanilla.
In the chilled mixing bowl beat the remaining cream and sugar until traces of beater marks begin to show. Add the butter mixture on low speed in a steady stream with constant beating.
Continue beating until stiff peaks form distinctly when the beater is raised.

HINT FOR SUCCESS:
Pour the butter mixture gradually to produce the smoothest whipped cream.
This old fashioned whipped cream will begin to soften if the cake to be served will sit at room temperature for more than 30 minutes. So I suggest you add gelatin into the cream . The gelatin must be in liquid form but must not be warm when added to the cream.

How to prepare the gelatin mixture?
Dissolve 1 teaspoon of gelatin powder in 4 teaspoon water. Place inside the microwave on high power, stirring once or twice. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Whipped Cream - Perfectly classic

Hints for Success:
Everything should be well chilled before beating. Avoid OVER BEATING. Chill the frosted cake for at least 1 hour (preferably overnight) before allowing it to stand at room temperature.

INGREDIENTS:
232 g Heavy cream ( 1 liquid cup)
13 g sugar (1 Tbsp)
Vanilla

PROCEDURE:
In a large mixing bowl place all the ingredients and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. You may include the beater)
Beat until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.
Frost and decorate the cake and chill for at least 1 hour.

To make some mocha flavored variations, increase the sugar to 2 tablespoons and stir in 1 tablespoon of Dutch chocolate powder and 1 teaspoon of instant coffee.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Banana cake recipe


This banana cake recipe is frosted with sinfully delicious cream cheese, is incredibly moist, and its aroma combined with vanilla will diffuse through your kitchen atmosphere. A recipe that everyone loves, banana cake recipe.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten
Pinch of salt
1/2 cups butter
1/2 cups milk
2 tsp. baking powder
3 pureed bananas, very ripe
1 tsp. baking soda (add to pureed bananas)
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 stick butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 box powdered sugar (1 lb.)
2 tsp. vanilla extract



Directions:
  • Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Sift flour several times, then add the salt and baking powder to the flour.
  • Add the milk and flour (alternating, beginning and ending with flour) to the cream butter mixture.
  • Add vanilla and mashed bananas (with the baking soda added to the bananas) to this mixture.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Frosting Directions:
  • Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth, add sugar and vanilla and blend well. Spread on cooled cake.

Death by Chocolate Mousse Cake Recipe

This is one chocolate mousse recipe which I truly love. Everytime I use this to serve my guests, I always hear the same comments from them, "Share me your recipe!" , "What cake recipe is this?'', and Where in the cake recipe book have you found this?"
Yield: 16 servings

Ingredients
8 egg whites
1 cup (200 g) sugar
10 oz (280 g) hazelnuts or walnuts, finely ground
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
--------
18 oz (500 g) dark semi or bittersweet chocolate (60-70%)
8 egg yolks
2/3 cup (120 g) sugar
1/2 cup + 2 cup whipping cream

Cake

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F / 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Line a 2 9-inch grease proof cake tins or lined with non-stick paper.
3. Using an electric mixer, Whisk the eggs whites until stiff and in peaks, gradually add the sugar and whisk well each time sugar has been added.
4. Mix with finely ground hazelnuts or walnuts and cocoa powder.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Cool the cake.


Filling

1. Melt finely chopped dark chocolate over hot water.
2. Beat the egg yolks with 2 oz sugar until white.
3. Heat 1/2 cup whipping cream to the boiling point, and whisk in beaten egg yolks.
4. Fold in melted chocolate. The mixture will immediately thicken. Cool to approx. 100 deg F / 38 deg C.
5. Whisk 1 cup of whipping cream. Fold with the egg and chocolate mixture, one tablespoon at a time until the filling becomes soft, then the remaining part of the cream.
6. Transfer to the cake tin, and place in the refrigerator for several hours.

If served cold the filling appears more like chocolate truffle than mousse. If you prefer a more sweet flavor of the filling you can use semisweet chocolate (40-45%) instead of the recommended type.
Variations

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tips in making the right pastry dough


1. Chill the ingredients. It makes the dough flakier.
2. Chill before rolling. Refregirate the dough for at least an hour or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator, and let it stand until just softened. Do not let the dough to get too soft. It should be soft enough to roll, but cold and firm.
3. Cutting in butter. It is easy to incorporate the butter by hand. First, cut very cold butter into little pieces. Then, add the bits to the dry ingredients, and use two knives or pastry blender to cut them until they are the size of peas.
4. Pat the dough into the shape called for in your recipe. Then, to preserve the dough’s shaped and to prevent cracks from forming, press around the edge of the dough with your thumb, making distinct indentations around the perimeter.
5. Before you begin rolling, press out the dough. Place hands on the rolling pin about an inch from either side of the dough’s edge. Press down until your knuckles touch the work surface. Start at the center, and make indentation all over, until the dough is an even thickness.

Some useful tips in baking

Read the recipe and look over the ingredients and directions beforehand to make sure you have everything needed.

Warm the oven 20-30 minutes before use.

To ensure even baking, place pans in the center of the oven.

Use spacious bowls because it gives you plenty of room for mixing and prevents your ingredients from spilling.

Always begin and end mixing with dry ingredients. Blend at low speed and mix just until smooth.

Scrape the bowl often with a spatula as you mix to incorporate all ingredients.

In measuring the correct amounts of ingredients, use the appropriate measuring tools. Pair the right toll with the right ingredients. Use clear measuring cups for liquid and scoop for dry ingredients. Employ the “dip and sweep” method in transferring flour from the bag to the measuring cup. Dip a dry measuring cup directly into the flour, then use a straight edge to level the top in order to remove any hidden air bubbles and to ensure accurate measurement.

When a recipe calls for a “firmly packed” brown sugar, compress the sugar tightly with your fingers so that it’s level with the top of the measuring cup.

When measuring liquid sugar like honey or corn syrup, lightly coat the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray.

When working with eggs bring the eggs at room temperature. The faster way of bringing the eggs to room temperature is by placing them in a bowl of warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.

The best way to separate eggs is to use cold eggs. The yolks will less likely to break. Extra egg whites can be kept in airtight container and refrigerated for up to five days or frozen for up to two months.

When recipe calls for a soft butter (room temperature), test its firmness by pressing your forefinger into the top. When the indentation from your finger remains while the butter still hold its shape, it is ready. To soften butter quickly, put it in microwave for 5 second intervals, rotating often or slice ¼ inch thick pieces and lay them flat on a stainless steel surface for about 10 minutes.

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