Friday, July 30, 2010

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

A little something different this month for the Barefoot Bloggers. We got to pick between two different Barefoot Contessa Blueberry Muffin recipes. We could either make her Blueberry Coffee Cake muffins or her Blueberry Struesel muffins. I decided to go for the struesel version because - well because there is struesel on them.

I had a bunch of blueberries in the freezer and almost used them but it is blueberry season and they were on sale very cheap so I decided to go for the fresh ones. I kind of doubt it makes much of a difference in muffins but might as well. The recipe went together very easily and the muffins were delicious. I could have used more struesel but maybe that is just me. The copy of the recipe I was using didn't say how many it made and I started it late at night so I currently have half the batter in the freezer and will probably attempt to make that in a day or two. I'll post a comment on how that goes.

Thanks to Maria of Close to Home for this pick. Looks like she one upped me by picking her own berries. I'll have to do that soon since I know my 3 year old would enjoy it. I'm hoping for less desert this month - as you can see from this months posts I have been eating too much of it.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
(Source: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, page 244)
Makes about 24 muffins

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (2 half-pints)
For the Streusel Topping
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in to a large bowl and blend with your hands. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, lemon zest, and eggs. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a fork, mixing just until blended. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Don’t overmix! With a standard (2 1/4″) ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared cups, filling them almost full.
  3. For the topping, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until the butter is in very small pieces. Pour into a bowl and rub with your fingers until crumbly. Spoon about 1 tbsp of the streusel on top of each muffin. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

I might be crazy but I have decided to try something new. I started this blog mainly as a way to force myself to do something a little challenging in the kitchen and to try some new things I might not try otherwise. I have been doing Barefoot Bloggers for a while now and have been able to try lots of new things with that but I have always wanted to try a more dessert focused challenge. I have decided that Daring Bakers is the right challenge for me. It is only once a month so it won't give us too many extra calories and a lot of the recipes look like they might end up being quite challenging. A lot of the challenges give a lot of room for creativity - we will see how I do with that since I normally have a hard time doing much different than the recipe.

At least for this first month I am not being particularly creative or "daring". I can already see a lot of the other bakers with very unique flavor combinations (Chili chocolate fudge Swiss swirl cake with sour cherry, coffee ice cream, pistachio nut butter ice cream, and vanilla ice cream or prickly pear, boiled chocolate treacle and vanilla sugar swiss rolls with Mixed Berries ice cream, saffron ice cream, honey and candied fig ice cream, and blue champagne ice cream). I am pretty sure you are never going to see that kind of creativity coming from me.

The idea for this recipe challenge came from the Taste of Home magazine. The recipe was very simple - you just stick together swiss cake rolls with ice cream and hot fudge. Our hostess Sunita made this into much more of a challenge since for Daring Bakers we had to make all the components.

I did decide to change things up slightly. In Sunita's version the ice cream recipes were nothing like ice cream recipes I am used to. They were both very simple and contained no eggs and you did not cook them. I decided to make the vanilla using Sunita's recipe but I made a more traditional chocolate where you cook a custard and freeze that for the ice cream - that way I could compare the very quick and easy version with a more traditional ice cream.

The recipe was not very hard, except maybe getting the swiss cake rolls to not fall apart while putting them in the bowl. It did take a lot of time though making it. I took a little over one day putting it together and freezing all the layers. For some reason the hot fudge layer took forever to freeze. I used the cake at a forth of July party and everyone loved it. It looked fantastic too. As far my ice cream experiment goes - I think the traditional ice cream was the winner but the quick version wasn't bad at all. Was kind of interesting that on the one piece that wasn't finished the vanilla ice cream didn't seem to ever melt but the chocolate sure did.

Thanks to Sunita at Sunita's World for being this months hostess. She has a beautiful blog with a lot of good looking stuff to try.

Swiss roll ice cream cake (inspired by the recipe of the same name from the Taste of Home website)

The Swiss rolls-

Preparation time- 10 minutes
Baking time- 10-12 minutes
Rolling and cooling time- at least 30 minutes
Filling-5-8 minutes
Filling and rolling- 5-10 minutes

  • 6 medium sized eggs
  • 1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
  • 6 tblsp / 45gms/ a pinch over 1.5 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /a pinch under 1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
  • 2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
  • a little oil for brushing the pans
For the filling
  • 2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar
  1. Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.
  3. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.
  4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
  5. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.
  6. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
  7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
  8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.
  9. Repeat the same for the next cake as well.
  10. Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.
  11. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
  12. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
  13. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).
  14. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

The vanilla ice cream-

Preparation time-5 minutes+freezing

I have made the ice cream without an ice cream maker.

  • 2 and ½ C / 625 ml / 20 fl oz of whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, minced or 1 tsp/ 5 ml/ .15 fl oz vanilla extract
  • ½ C / 115gms/ 4 oz of granulated sugar
  1. Grind together the sugar and vanilla in a food processor. In a mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla –sugar mixture and whisk lightly till everything is mixed together. If you are using the vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then and the sugar along with the vanilla extract to the cream.
  2. Pour into a freezer friendly container and freeze till firm around the edges. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

The Hot fudge sauce-

Preparation time-2 minutes
Cooking time-2 minutes

  • 1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
  • 3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
  • 1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
  • 1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.
  2. Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

The chocolate ice cream-

Preparation time- 5 minutes + freezing

  • 2C/ 500 ml whipping cream
  • 1 C/230gms/8 oz caster sugar
  • 3 tblsp/ 24 gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. Grind together the sugar and the cocoa powder in a food processor .
  2. In a saucepan, add all the ingredients and whisk lightly.
  3. Place the pan over heat and keep stirring till it begins to bubble around the edges.
  4. Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container till firm around the edges. If you are using an ice cream maker, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instruction, after the mixture has cooled completely.
  5. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

  1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).
  2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.
  3. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).
  4. Soften the vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)
  5. Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)
  6. Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set .
  7. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.
  8. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing, depending on how hot your region is. Slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday Victor!

I know everyone says how fast they grow up but it is true. Victor's third birthday was on July 22nd and we had his party on Saturday at one of the local parks. One of his favorite TV shows right now is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so I decided to attempt a cake using that as the theme. Everything you see here - except for the candles is edible and made with a marshmallow fondant. It was a fun time and Victor enjoyed himself very much. It totally makes the hard work of making a cake like that worth it when you get that kind of smile back.