Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lemon Friands (Authentic French Friand)

Friands are becoming increasingly popular. I like to think of them as cupcakes for adults, as they have a bit more of an elegant look about them. Friands originate from France, and are called "financiers" in French. This recipe is very lovely, and the lemon is not very overpowering for those who aren't huge fans of lemon flavoured recipes.

190g butter
60g plain flour
1 1/3 cup icing sugar
120g almond meal
5 egg whites
grated zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan-forced. Melt butter and let cool slightly while preparing friand tin. Sift flour, sugar into a bowl and then stir in the almond meal with a wooden spoon. Place eggwhites in a small bowl and lightly froth with a fork. Add to dry ingredients, along with melted butter and zest, stirring until comletely combined. Fill each friand hole 2/3 full and bake for 25/35 minutes until golden or skewer is clean. Leave in pan for 5 minutes before cooling on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar or vanilla bean sugar.
(Will keep for 2-3 days in airtight container, even though they are best eaten that day!)

Note: If you don't have a friand tin, pour the batter into a cupcake/muffin tin. I bought my tin from Baker's Secret which has an adorable little flower mould in the bottom of it. To buy it or look at it, simply click here

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Upside down Pineapple Cupcakes

I can absolutely guarantee that this recipe will impress! It is very moist and delicious.. a fool proof dinner party recipe. Serves nicely with icecream or cream, or simply plain. Thanks to the wonderful "JustJenn" for this recipe who describes a friend 9 years later still remembering this recipe!

Top Ingredients
1 can thin pineapple rings
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Batter Ingredients

1 cup flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, or 180 fan-forced. Grease a non-stick cupcake pan. Do not use cupcake liners, remember, these are to be inverted as they are 'upside down pineapple cupcakes.'
Drain the pineapple rings, and reserve 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice for the batter. Lay the rings on paper towels after they've been drained. Whilst leaving the rings to dry a bit, melt the 1/3 cup of butter. Then mix in the brown sugar. Divide this mixture evenly amongst the cupcake pan (about 1-3 generous spoons each). Now lay the pineapple ring on top. The bottom of the cupcake pan is smaller than an average pineapple ring, so cut a chuck out of the ring to make it fit. Use the leftovers to fill other cups. Then, in a mixing bowl, mix very well the flour, sugar, cinnamon and baking powder with a wooden spoon. Then, using an electric mixer/beaters add the 1/2 cup butter, pineapple juice and milk. Continue to mix. Then add the egg and vanilla. Spoon the batter over the pineapple rings. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

After they've been cooked, let them rest in the pan for a few minutes. Then place a wire rack on top of the pan, flip it over, and the cakes should just come out. Let them cool, or serve them warm as they are extremely yummy just out of the oven.

Alternative way of decorating:
When placing the brown sugar and butter in the cupcake pan and then the pineapple ring, you could also add a glacé cherry for decoration so when the cake is inverted there is a nice colour contrast.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chocolate French Madeleines

This recipe is always a winner, and its quick too. It's perfectly chocolatey, not too sweet, and still light but moist. They are a French tea cake, called Madeleines. Often, they are described as being a cross between cake and soft biscuit. Either way, they're delicious and you should defintely try this great recipe. However, it does require a Madeleine tray. You can easily pick one up online, or your nearest baking shop. For Aussie buyers, buy one here (I recommend this brand).

125g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup good quality cocoa (not hot chocolate mixes or weak, it should be a dark coloured cocoa and rich in smell)
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees fanforced. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. In anotherbowl, combine flour, cocoa, powder and salt and mix through with a wooden spoon. Then, stir this flour mixture into the butter mixture. Don't over mix. Bake for 10 minutes or until the madeleines spring back when lightly touched. Cool in tin for around 15 minutes. Serve with icing sugar, or even cream!
Note: Usually, madeleines are sprinkled with icing sugar, but this picture is plain so you can see the madeleine shape.

Lemon Tea Cupcakes (and Cholesterol Free!)

These are made on olive oil, so they're very low in cholesterol. Also, as there is no butter they have a low fat content. The result is a deliciously light cake that is perfect for afternoon tea, or even a little indulgent breakfast! Thanks to "JustJenn" for this great recipe.

3/4 cup virgin olive oil
1 large lemon
1 cup flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
(Optional: icing sugar to dust cakes)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan-forced. Prepare a regular cupcake tray, if you have a smaller one or a mini cupcake tray this is also suitable. Grate zest of lemon and put in a bowl. In the same bowl, add 1 cup of flour and set aside. This will infuse the flour before you've even started baking. In a seperate bowl, squeeze the juice out of the lemon and set aside.

Now, with a electric mixer and yet another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Slowly add the flour mixture, then the olive oil and then the lemon juice. This will create a glossy batter. Bake until skewer comes out clean, approx 15 minutes.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Zesty Coconut Biscuit Slice

I made this recipe up myself. It is a huge lunchbox hit at my house! And very easy too.

2 and 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
250g butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 (or more) coconut essence
1/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup desicated coconut


Preheat oven to 190 degrees (fan forced). Mix flour and salt together. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, until blended. Add zest, juice, vanilla and coconut essence. Mix in flour salt and salmond meal. Mix in coconut. Spread into tray and sprinkle some extra coconut on top before bake for 20/30 minutes or until golden brown.

Impossible Pie....Is now quite possible!

As the weather gets colder here in Australia, I've been in a real pudding mood! But, I've also been extremely busy and haven't had as much time for baking. So when I want a really beautiful, yummy dessert that is very quick and easy - I turn to the "Impossible Pie." The taste it similar to a rice pudding, but instead of rice there is coconut. It's lovely served cold or hot and all up I'd say it takes a grand total of 10 minutes preparation! Then you leave it in the oven for 45 and voila! You have an impressive dessert.

1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 cup butter, softened (but not melted)
4 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup coconut
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla

Beat ingredients together in a bowl. Bake for 45 minutes in a pie dish on 190 degrees (fan forced). Serve!

Fruit Tart (Tarte aux Fruits)

Mixed fruit to cover top of pie dish (I recommend 1 red apple, 1 orange, some strawberries and some blueberries)
125g plain flour
125g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (fan-forced). Cream butter and sugar. Add flour, powder and salt and mix well. Add beaten eggs and vanilla and mix until blended together. Grease a flan/pie dish and pour in the batter. Smooth evenly in the dish. Slice all fruit (I usually leave the skin on the orange believe it or not when I slice it) and lay it in circles or your desired pattern. Gently brush top with some lemon juice to prevent burning. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Then take out of oven and brush some egg yolk on it for extra glaze. Continue baking for another 20 minutes. You may want to put more egg yolk on 10 minutes before taking it out - depending on how fast/slow your oven cooks. Keep an eye on it at the end - you don't want burnt fruit.

Authentic and delicious French tart! Enjoy plain or with icing sugar sprinkled on top or cream! People are very impressed when in reality, it's a simple recipe!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Vanilla Butter Biscuits

125g butter, softened
1/3 caster sugar
1sp vanilla
3/4 cup self-raising flour
2/3 plain flour
2 tbsp milk

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla. Sift self-raising flour and plain flour and add half of the flours to the butter mixture. Mix and add milk with wooden spoon. Add remaining flours, and use hands/spoon to mix. Add 1 more tbsp of milk if necessary (there should be no dry bits of dough in the bottom of the bowl). Put cookies on a tray for 20 minutes to chill in the fridge. Preheat oven to 160 (fanforced) and bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until golden.

Serve plain, or if you want it like the picture simply melt some chocolate and smooth over the cookie. Before the chocolate sets dip it in 100's and 1000's or other sprinkles of your desire.
Another serving option is to put some choc chips in the batter and use cookie cutters to shape to your desire before baking.

Chicken and Prawn Paella

1.25L chicken stock
1/2 tsp saffron threads
200g chicken
8 green tiger prawns, peeled, deveined, heads removed
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
1 green capsicum, finely chopped
400g medium-grain rice
2 ripe tomatos, finely chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup frozen peas
2 carrots, finely diced, microwaved cooked
1 clove garlic, crushed

Combine stock and saffron in medium saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and hold at a simmer, covered. Meanwhile, heat large frying pan over medium heat, cook chicken and transfer to covered bowl. Cook prawns and transfer to covered bowl. Increase heat to medium high. Add onion, capsicums and cook, stirring for 5 min/until onion is soft. Add rice, tomato, paprika and cool stirring, for 1 min or until just combined. Reduce heat to medium low. Add 1/3 cup of the stock and stir till combined. Add chicken and garlic and simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed. Add 1/2 remaining stock and cook for 5 min/until almost absorbed. Add remaining stock and cook for 5 min or until all the stock is absorbed. Sprinkle with peas, carrots and add prawns. Remove from heat. Cover with clean tea towels, set aside for 10 minutes for a crust to form. Spoon paella among plates and serve immediately.

Basic buttercupcake

Butter cupcakes serve as a versatile and delicious base to create unique cupcakes. Try this recipe and decorate in whatever way you want. Add fruits, nuts, choc chips and so on to the batter or change the icing colour or style to your needs. View the attached photos for some inspiration! And enjoy :)
Butter cupcake
2 cup self-raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 milk
125 g butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to around 180 - 200 delgrees (fan-forced). Combine flour and sugar. Make a well in the center. Add milk, softened butter, egg and vanilla to flour mixture. Stir gently to combine with a wooden spoon. Spoon into patty cases generously and bake for 12- 15 minutes.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing
1 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vnailla
1/8 tsp salt
In a bowl, beat butter, sugar and salt. Add milk, vanilla and beat for additional 3/5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.

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