Monday, January 24, 2011

Snickerdoodles Recipe



It's no surprise that what attracts one to food is the look of it, and what indeed attracts me to a certain recipe or the other is its photograph, how it looks in the picture. It's unfortunate that I severely suck at taking pictures. As much as I'm almost daily amazed by the wonderful pictures I find posted online (there are so many talented photographers blogging about food!) I still can't bring myself to be interested in Photography. I really never was interested in that, and it's unfortunate that I've decided to blog about food because obviously the pictures of the recipe is what really sells it. I wish I took better pictures, maybe by time they will become slightly better.
I've always wanted to try Snickerdoodles, as I've never tasted them before, but I've never gotten around to them. Until I found the photographs of these cookies at ZoomyYummy, they screamed at me to make them and I did. Snickerdoodles have become my second favorite cookies.



Snickerdoodles Cookie Recipe:
Source: ZoomyYummy via Joy of Baking

Ingredients:

1 1/3 Cup (180 grams) All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 Cup (110 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp Vailla Extract

For Coating:

1/5 cup (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon




Instructions:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together til smooth (about 3 minutes).
4. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and beat well.
5. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.
6. Shape the dough into a log, refrigerate it for fifteen minutes if the dough is too soft to work with.
7. Cut it into equal pieces, and form a small ball from each piece.
8. Mix together the sugar and the cinnamon to make the coating, and roll each ball of dough into it.
9. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
10. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten the cookies gently.
11. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove from oven and leave on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack.
12. Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for two weeks.

Devour!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sugar Cookies


Like a lot of folks out there, I searched high and low for the perfect Sugar Cookie recipe and for a long time not everybody liked my sugar cookies. Especially my mom, her comment has always been "A little too much baking powder, no?"
And baking powder it was. I found this baking powder-less recipe at this amazing blog created by an extremely creative lady called Louise. And this has been my go-to Sugar Cookies ever since. I made those cookies for my Arabic Calligraphy class.

Adapted from CakeJournal

Vanilla sugar cookies:
-Makes 25-30 medium sized cookies.

300g granulated white sugar(OR 200g granulated sugar and 100g of confectioners' sugar)
300g cold unsalted butter, diced
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
500g All-purpose flour, sifted

Extra flour for kneading and rolling.


Steps:

1. In a bowl with a hand mixer and paddle attachment, mix the two types of sugar, vanilla and the eggs.
2. Add the flour and the butter and keep mixing just until the dough comes together or gather it together by hand.
3. Knead the dough lightly by hand on your flour dusted kitchen counter.
4. Wrap it well in cling film. Chill the dough for 2 hours or overnight.
5. Roll out the dough on the unwrapped cling film, lightly dusted with flour.
6. Line a baking sheet parchment paper, preheat the oven to 325F (170C)and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
7. Cut the cookies in the shapes you desire. And place on Baking sheet.
8. Depending on Cookie size, bake them from 15-20 mins. Or until edges turn light
brown.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Red Cabbage and Apple Coleslaw Salad


I'm not a big fan of fruit in salads, or of Coleslaws generally. But I love red cabbage, and I was really impressed by the photograph of this salad on this wonderful blog, it really is such a pretty salad. So I decided I had to give it a go.
I made quite a few changes of my own, and we both loved it.


Red Cabbage and Apple Coleslaw Salad
Adapted from CookingHow

For the Honey-Sesame Dressing:

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbs Black Sesame seeds, toasted
1 Tbs White Sesame seeds, toasted
2 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbs Honey
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions:
1. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing, and set aside.

For the Red Cabbage and Apple Coleslaw:

Ingredients:

1 Small Red Cabbage, washed
1 Large Carrot, peeled
1 Apple
1 tsp Lemon juice

Instructions:

1. Thinly slice cabbage. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
2. Grate peeled carrot. Add to the bowl and set aside.
3. Add lemon juice to a small mixing ball.
3. Slice apple into quarters and cut into matchsticks, and toss with lemon juice. Then add to the large bowl.
4. Pour dressing on the salad. Toss gently until coated evenly. Cover and chill in for at least 1 hour.

Devour!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cafe Au Lait Cake



I had a guest coming over early in the morning and I had next to nothing to serve them.
So I decided to make use of this very fast Betty Crocker Dark Choclate cake-mix box lying in the cupboard, that I had only bought at the super market because it was on offer accompanied with a Betty Crocker Recipe Booklet that I simply couldn't resist.

So I opened the Booklet and found out that I could also make use of an Espresso Jar that's been lying around unopened.

This is how I came to make this wonderful Chocolate cake with a hint of coffee, that Mr.WD40 declared the best chocolate cake he's ever had. Unfortunately, it wasn't completely homemade! Sad face..

Cafe Au Lait Cake Recipe

Ingredients:


For Cake:
Adapted from Betty Crocker,

1 Tbs instant Espresso Coffee (Dry)
1 1/3 Cup Water
1 box Dark Chocolate Cake mix (18 oz)
3 Large Eggs
1/3 Oil

For Chocolate Whipped Frosting:
Adapted from Joy of baking,


1 Cup (240 ml) Heavy Whipping cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 1/2 Tbsp (15 grams) granulated white sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

For the Filling:

1/2 Cup (120 ml) Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Tbsp Espresso Powder
1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Sugar

Instructions:

For the cake:
1. Heat over to 350 degrees F., Grease and flour two 8-inch/20cm round pans.
2. Dissolve coffee into water.
3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, add cake mix, water, oil and eggs and beat on low speed until mixture is combined.
4. Beat for two minutes on medium speed, pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until spoon inserted in the middle of cake comes out clean.
6. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

For Frosting:

1. In a bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, cocoa powder and sugar.
2. Cover and chill the bowl and wire whisk in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
3. When chilled, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.

For Filling:

1. In a bowl place the whipping cream, espresso powder and vanilla sugar.
2. Cover and chill the bowl and wire whisk in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
3. When chilled, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.

Cake Assembly:

1. Place one cake layer, rounded side down on serving plate.
2. Spread with filling, smoothing it out, if any filling remains you can decorate top of cake with it.
3. Top with second layer, rounded side up.
4. Frost side and top of cake with Chocolate flavored Whipped Cream, you can also garnish with shaving of chocolate.


Devour!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Egyptian Vegetable Soup



Winter in Egypt is mild, it's not stormy or rainy. We get rain a few times each winter, and it never snows in Egypt.
I make this soup very often all winter, it's healthy, and if I catch a cold that's usually all I could eat.
It's easy to make, delicious and you can add or omit any vegetables you don't eat. for instance, I hate zucchini, I think my Aunt has something to do with it. But that's another story.


Egyptian Vegetable Soup Recipe:


2 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Large Tomato washed, unpeeled , seeded and cut into large cubes
3-4 Small Onions, peeled and left whole
3 Large Potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 Cup frozen green beans
1/2 Cup Frozen peas
2 Large Carrots washed, peeled and diced
2 Green Chili Peppers or to taste, washed and finely chopped
3 Celery Stick, diced

A bunch of celery leaves
1 Dry Bay Leaf
1 Cardamom pod
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 Lemon


Instructions:


1. In a large saucepan bring chicken stock, Bay Leaf, Cardamom Pod, tomatoes and onions to a boil.
2. Add Peas, Carrots, celery and chili. Cover and let simmer.
3. After 5 minutes, add rest of vegetables, celery leaves and season with salt and pepper.
4. Cover pot and let simmer about 10 minutes, until vegetables are softer and cooked through, but not too soft.
5. Serve in soup bowls with half a lemon on the side.

Devour!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sweet Potato Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting



One of the things I don't eat is Sweet Potato, I'm not sure why exactly, but I grew up not eating it. And since I started cooking I've been trying -like a grown up- to try food that I don't like. And what other way to do so than trying it in a dessert form?
I bookmarked this recipe a long time ago when I found it in the Top 9 on Foodbuzz, I had to wait until Sweet Potato were in season in Egypt, my mum got me a pound of Sweet Potatoes and I had took my hand at my first Sweet Potato Pie which my in-laws loved, so I finally had enough leftover sweet potato puree for these good looking bars.
This recipe is adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen, I find that blog to be fascinating, there are great recipes to be found there.



Sweet Potato Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen, originally from Paula Deen

Ingredients:

For the Sweet Potato Bar:

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

For the Bars:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F., and grease a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
2. In the bowl of your electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, oil and sweet potato on medium speed until light and fluffy.
3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
4. Mix the dry ingredients into the sweet potato mixture with your hand, until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
5. Pour batter into the prepared 13 by 9-inch baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
6. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cool.

For the Frosting:

1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
2. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until incorporated.
3. Stir in the vanilla and mix.
4. Spread on cooled bars.
5. Decorate with crushed walnuts.

Devour!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Baked Stuffed Mushrooms



Mushrooms are a staple at home. Put mushrooms on anything and Mr.WD40 will instantly devour it. We buy Mushrooms in bulk, our guy sells a box of ten 250g packets for 75LE.
It's only a tad cheaper than the stuff you get from the supermarket, but way fresher. Unfortunately the only types I've found here in Cairo are buttons, and Portobellos. I'd love to someday have the opportunity to taste wild mushrooms.

The first time I made this recipe we went crazy over it. I've adapted it to our tastes and it's been a basic side dish on our menu ever since.

Stuffed Mushrooms:
Adapted from Rookie Cookie

Ingredients:

10 large whole mushrooms
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup fresh shredded Parmesan
2 oz cream cheese (I use Kiri sometimes.)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 Tbs oregano
1 Tsp Thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
A few grinds ground pepper
A few sprays of olive oil


Instructions:

Set oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl add Parmesan, Mozzarella, cream cheese.







Mince garlic, bread crumbs then add them to the cheese Mixture.





Add Oregano, thyme ,salt and pepper. Mix well using a rubber fork.




(At this point it could be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge without adding the mushrooms' minced stems, so they don't get darker in color.)

Scrub mushrooms with a dry towel and remove stems from mushrooms. Finely mince stems and add to the bowl.





Once combined, use your fingers to add heaping amounts of cheese mixture into mushroom caps. Being careful not to tear the cap.
Sprinkle a small amount of mozzarella cheese on top of each mushroom. Lightly sprinkle a shallow baking dish (I use my Pyrex lid) with olive oil and all over the mushrooms.



Bake stuffed mushrooms for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Strawberry Curd Recipe




I had only made Lemon Curd once before I thought of looking for a Strawberry Curd recipe. In Egypt we're only familiar to Jams, not Curds. So when I tasted Lemon Curd for the first time I was hooked on the idea, and since I had 3 Kilos of Strawberries, courtesy of my Grandmother, I thought that's a great way to try Strawberry Curd. Mr.WD40 and I love strawberries so very much.

I tried to find a recipe that didn't use so many egg yolks, I found two that appealed to me, and came up with my own adaptation.

Strawberry Curd Recipe:

Ingredients:

250g Strawberries, washed and hulled
100g (3 1/2 oz) White granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
60g (2 oz) unsalted butter, roughly chopped
Sterilized large Jar

Instructions:

1. In a food processor, puree strawberries.
2. Press Strawberries through sieve to remove pulp.
3. In a heatproof bowl, add strawberry puree, sugar, eggs and lemon juice and place over a saucepan of simmering water on medium heat. Make sure that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk to combine the ingredients.
4.Continue to stir constantly for about 10 minutes, so the mixture does not curdle. It will take a while for it to thicken.
5.Turn the heat up and continue to stir for another 10 minutes until mixture is thick.
6. Place butter in a bowl, pour mixture through sieve over butter and stir until butter is fully incorporated.
7. Transfer to jar and enjoy on toast, cakes or by spoonfuls!

Devour!