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Category Archives: Baking

Homemade Granola Crunch

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We made a trip to Canada not long ago and while I was out and about I came across a local bookstore. I don’t know if people tend to visit bookstores while on holidays but I do sometimes, especially the cook book section. I came across this book called Secrets of a Skinny Chef by Jennifer Iserloh. If you visit her website, you will find various guilt-free recipes and one of them is the Cashew Granola Crunch. Now, just for the record…I am not being paid by the Skinny Chef to say all these. Anyway, I tried the recipe and we love it. I’ve made them so many times now with a bit of change in the ingredients here and there.

Recently I made some with dates and almonds. This is not something you prepare before breakfast, well I suppose you can if you have the time and willing to wake up early in the morning but I don’t think anyone in the right frame of mind would make that sacrifice. I would normally make them a day or evening before. It takes about an hour to bake but it is worth it.

Homemade Granola Crunch
(Adapted from Jennifer Iserloh)
Makes 8 cups

Ingredients

4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flake
1/4 cup fresh dates, chopped
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoon grape seed oil

Method

1. Preheat oven to 120°C. In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients and toss well to combine. Drizzle over the maple syrup and oil. With a wooden spoon, mix until well coated.
2. Coat two large baking sheets with some nonstick cooking spray. Spread the mixture evenly onto the baking sheets and bake for about 1 hour, stirring very 20 minutes until they are toasted and evenly browned.
3. Remove from oven to cool. Transfer the mixture into an airtight container.

I love the taste and its crunchiness. If you would like something different from your everyday breakfast cereal, why not try make some today!

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French Bread Rolls

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When I first saw the post from Mels Kitchen Cafe on these beautiful French Bread Rolls, I knew that I just have to try to make them. Not just influenced by how appetizing they look but the statement that Mel made in her blog saying that this is “one of the easiest, no-fail roll recipes around”. Well, I know they are just bread rolls but they are not “just” bread rolls you see. If I have found a recipe where I can bake scrumptious bread rolls at home than buying some doughy, store-bought ones, well… have a guess.

I followed the recipe but with a slight change in the ingredients. For example, I used bakers flour instead of all-purpose flour, glucose powder instead of sugar and grapeseed oil. I would remind you to read Mel’s notes about the amount of flour use in the recipe, it is an excellent tip.

French Bread Rolls
(From Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)
(Makes about a dozen)

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons glucose powder
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups bakers flour, give or take a few tablespoons

Method

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Begin mixing and continue to add the rest of the flour gradually until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft and smooth but still slightly sticky to the touch (see Mel’s tutorial on working with yeast here).

2. Using a stand mixer, knead the dough until it is very smooth and elastic (you can knead the dough by hand but it might take a bit longer). Place the dough in a large bowl that is slightly greased. Cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. While waiting for the dough to rise, you might want to watch Mel’s tutorial on shaping perfect rolls.

3. Lightly punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly greased countertop. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form the dough into round balls. Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet about an inch or two apart. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap without pinning the plastic wrap under the baking sheet. This is to allow the rolls to fully rise. Let the plastic wrap gently hang over the sides of the pan to fully cover the rolls but not press them down. Let the rolls rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.

As soon as the aroma starts to fill your kitchen, this is the moment when you just cannot wait to take the rolls out of the oven and have your first bite…though it is advisable to wait until it cools down slightly.

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It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would have been to make these rolls. Thanks to Mel, I think this could be my new found favourite. These gorgeous, golden bread rolls not just look good but taste delicious.

Do you have a favourite bread roll recipe?

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Paprika Roasted Mixed Nuts

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My first post on roasted nuts was just a simple, basic one. I remember the first time we visited a local farmers market and there was this man who roasted various types of nuts at the market with different sorts of flavour. His stall was very popular and I understood why as soon as I tasted the samples he had on hand. Caramel, honey, tamari, hot and spicy, wasabi and more. However, I cannot remember if he had any that is with paprika. My intention was to use smoked paprika but then I realised that I didn’t have any in my pantry, except just the normal paprika. Well…normal it is.

Paprika Roasted Mixed Nuts

Ingredients

500 gm Raw Mix Nuts
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 tablespoon Grapeseed Oil
Salt

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. In a large bowl, toss mix nuts, paprika, oil to combine and season with salt.
3. On a baking pan, spread the nuts evenly. Place them in the oven and stir occasionally. Roast for about 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
3. While it is still hot, sprinkle some salt and let it cool. Store the nuts in an airtight container.

The paprika is very mild to the taste, while the salt covering these roasted nuts gives that expected crunchiness with freshly roasted nuts. What I enjoy with this blend is that the flavour is not overpowering but enough to give that pleasant taste.

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Homemade Wholemeal Bread

Do you know the feeling when you enter a house and the first thing that catches your attention is the aroma of freshly baked bread? Or sitting in the living room typing away the next post (just like what I am doing right now) and the only thing that is ‘distracting’ me, in a good way of course is the same scent coming from the bread that is sitting in the bread machine, at this very moment baking it’s way to scrumptious wholesomeness!! The bread machine was kindly given to us by my mother in law and we love it! We’ve made many types of breads and jam too (which I will share the recipe in my next post). Beep! Beep! Well that sounds like the bread machine calling me…

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Yes, this is the item in question. We shall wait “patiently” for the bread to cool down before we can have a slice.

Alison from Alison Amazed asked me if I have a favourite bread machine recipe. Well Alison, so happened that I was planning to bake one anyway. We have tried so many different recipes; through trial and error, tweaking here and there, we came to a conclusion that this is our favourite.

Homemade Wholemeal Bread
(Using Breville Ultimate Baker’s Oven Series 2)
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

350ml Warm Water
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups Bakers Flour
2 cups Wholemeal Plain Flour
3 tablespoon Gluten Flour
2 teaspoon Bread Improver
2 teaspoon Instant Yeast
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Sunflower Seeds
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Seeds

Method

1. Add water and oil into the bread pan followed by the salt, flour, bread improver, yeast and salt. Finally, add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
2. Return the bread pan to the machine, close the lid and select your preferred setting. (The settings we used with our bread machine is whole wheat, crust control set to dark and loaf control set to 1,250g).
3. Sit back, relax and wait patiently.

The result is…

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Soft, wholesome and need I say more…

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‘Beurre Bosc’ Pear Yoghurt Muffins

On my recent visit to our local Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets, I can’t help but noticed an abundance of good-looking ‘Beurre Bosc’ brown pears. I’ve eaten them before and they are good to snack on. With their soft and buttery texture, they taste so sweet and juicy. It has always been on my mind to try something different with these pears but I never get around to doing it. What a timing…with a tub of yoghurt sitting in my fridge, I thought let’s try baking some Muffins!

I must admit that I cannot remember when was the last time I used yoghurt in baking muffins and as I was searching for some recipes, I came across this recipe on Taste.com.au , I thought, well, with some tweaking I could use this recipe.

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‘Beurre Bosc’ Pear Muffins
(Makes 12)

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup plain natural yoghurt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2/3 cup grape seed oil
3 ‘Beurre Bosc’ Pears, roughly diced
Cinnamon, to sprinkle on the top of muffins (optional)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare 12 muffin cups in a 1/3 cup-capacity muffin pan. Sift flour and sugar into a bowl.
2. Combine yoghurt, egg, vanilla essence, oil and chopped pears in a large bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
3. Spoon mixture into muffin holes (do not fill it up to the top as the muffin will rise) and sprinkle with some cinnamon powder. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
4. Stand muffins in pan for a few minutes and then turn them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Serve them warm or at room temperature.

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I was very pleased as how they turn out. The pears hold its shaped quite well, overall the muffins were soft and fluffy as the clouds!

Have you cooked or baked something using these brown pears? I would love to try out different recipes using pears.

Fruit and Nut Loaf

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As beneficial as it is to have carrot sticks for morning tea, if I am given a choice between carrots and raisin toast, I would choose the latter. Don’t get me wrong, I love carrots but I think most people would agree that a slice of warm raisin toast with butter makes a great accompaniment to your favourite cup of tea or coffee.

Just so happen that I didn’t have much planned for the day, what better to way to spend time in the kitchen making bread! We do have a bread machine but at times I enjoy kneading the bread myself. I didn’t have much raisins in the pantry but with other ingredients available I am sure I can make something else. So, Fruit and Nut loaf it is…

Fruit and Nut Loaf
(Adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly)

Ingredients

2 teaspoon dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon warm water
160 ml warm milk
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 egg, beaten lightly
2 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1 cup plain flour, sifted (extra)
1 cup wholemeal flour (extra)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100 gram butter,softened
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 cup dried fruit mix
1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, roasted

For topping
A bit of milk for brushing
Mix 1 tablespoon sugar with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

1. Combine yeast, 2 teaspoon of the sugar and water in a large bowl, whisk until yeast has dissolved. Whisk in milk and the first cup of sifted plain flour. Cover and leave it to stand in a warm place about 30 minutes or until mixture is frothy.
2. Stir in egg and rind, then the extra cup of plain and wholemeal flour, salt, cinnamon and remaining sugar. Stir in butter, fruit and nuts. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth. Place dough into greased bowl; cover and leave it to stand in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.
3. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced oven. Oil 14cm x 21cm loaf pan, line base with baking paper.
4. Turn dough onto floured surface, knead until smooth and place it into the pan. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and leave it to stand again in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until the dough has risen slightly. Remove plastic wrap.
5. Brush dough with milk, sprinkle with combined sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan-forced; bake further 35 minutes. Turn baked loaf onto a wire rack to cool.

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That’s it. Toast sliced bread under a hot grill and serve it with butter or cream cheese. Also good for afternoon snack!

If you are not rushing to go anywhere, I would suggest you try this recipe. If there is any left, it keeps well in the freezer too. Just slice and wrap them in pairs before freezing.

Good luck!

What is your favourite morning or afternoon snack?

Traditional Scones

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What better way to kick off the blog with my very first batch of scones. I love scones and I am sure a lot of people can relate to that. I always thought that you ought to have special skills to bake scones but I was told that it is not that hard. Well, if I can make them, surely anyone can.

It was a day out at a friend’s house where we girls get together and stitch! What a great excuse to bring along some fresh, homemade scones. I know there are a number of scones expert out there but this is how I made mine…quick and easy. Literally, in just a few minutes they were out from the oven and seconds later they were in the car with me. The smell of freshly baked scones filled my car, what a pleasant drive. The scones were still nice and warm by the time I arrived. The girls enjoyed them as much as I did…deliciousness!!

Traditional Scones
Makes about 20

I served them with fresh-whipped cream and raspberry jam

Ingredients

4 cups self-raising flour
2 tablespoon sugar
60 gram butter
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup water (approximately)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced oven. Grease tray.
2. Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl; rub in butter with fingertips resembling fine breadcrumbs.
3. Make a well in centre of flour mixture; add milk and most of the water. Use a butter knife to mix through the mixture. Add more water if mixture is not moist enough. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth.
4. Press dough into 2cm thickness. Dip a 5cm round cutter in flour, cut as many rounds as you can from the dough. Place scones on tray, about 1cm apart.
5. Gently knead rest of dough and repeat process. Brush tops with milk, bake for about 15 minutes or until scones are just browned.

So, when was the last time you baked some scones? Appreciate your comments.

Enjoy!

 

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