Cannoli Cake

A flavor-filled cake soaked in a rum syrup and coated with a light cannoli filling. Let’s hope it is someone’s birthday today.

INGREDIENTS

Cake:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
zest of one orange
Juice from half an orange
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup finely chopped chocolate
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted pistachios

Frosting:
175 g ricotta
3 tablespoons candied citrus peel finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Syrup:
Juice of half an orange
3 tablespoons rum
1/2 cup sugar

Topping:
1/4 cup finely chopped chocolate
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted pistachios

DIRECTIONS

Cake:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 9-inch round baking pans.

Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl until well combined.

I’m bowl of stand mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Then beat in orange zest and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract until well combined.

Combine the milk and orange juice.  Alternate adding the dry ingredients an the milk/orange juice into the butter/sugar mixture, beating after each addition until just combined.

Fold in chocolate and pistachios.

Pour cake batter into prepared pans, spread to form even layers. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.

Cool cakes slightly then remove from pans and finish cooling completely on wire racks. Level cakes before frosting.

Syrup:

Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil until sugar is melted.  Let cool.

Frosting:

Pour cream into stand mixer.  Whip to medium peaks. Add ricotta, candied citrus peel until blended.

Assembly:

Take the first layer and brush with syrup. Add a layer of frosting. Top with second layer and brush with syrup.  Cover the rest of the frosting and scrape frosting on the sides. Sprinkle chocolate and pistachios on top. Refrigerate.

 

 

 

 

Happy Cookies

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These cookies will put a smile on anyone’s face.

INGREDIENTS

370 g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup yogurt
215 g sugar
Zest from 1 orange
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sprinkles

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking large sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk to blend. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat yogurt, butter and sugar, and zest until fluffy. Add egg and extract and blend again. Add flour mixture and beat just until flour disappears. In some cases, this dough will feel too soft to roll into balls in your hands; if so, let it chill in the fridge for 20 minutes or so before using.

Use a small ice cream scoop to make balls of dough and roll them briefly in the palms of your hands before dropping them in a bowl of rainbow sprinkles and gently rolling to coat them evenly. Place the sprinkle covered balls to the fridge for 20 minutes.

Transfer balls to baking sheets at least two inches apart. Use the bottom of a glass to press down on the cookies until they are about a 1/2-inch thick. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they look underbaked but lightly golden underneath.

Let set on the baking sheet on a rack for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks to cool the rest of the way.

Granola

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I modified Blue Bottle’s Recipe with what I had in the cupboard.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup water
4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, coconut oil, and water.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly while sugar dissolves and begins to boil.  Set off heat and add vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.  Add the room temperature oil/sugar mixture and coat evenly. Transfer to a rimmed 13″x18″ inch baking tray. Pat down to an even layer and bake for 75 minutes, break up granola into a few big pieces and flip halfway through. Make sure it is all dried out and not sticky.  Let dry completely before storing.

Black Sesame Pumpkin Pie

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This is what you do when you have extra black sesame paste.

INGREDIENTS

Crust
1 1/4 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup refrigerated black sesame paste
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Filling
2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 eggs beaten
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut the chilled black sesame paste into the dry ingredients.  Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork. Form a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges.  Freeze for 30 minutes while you preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove pie shell from freezer. Line pie shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack for about 20 minutes. Remove parchment paper with pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes more until it is slightly browned.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes while you make the filling. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, heavy cream, spices, and salt until smooth. Return the pie shell to the baking sheet and pour in the filling.

Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges of the filling are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 50 to 60 minutes.

Lemon & Black Sesame Rolls

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I love anything that can be made the night before and taste this good. I borrowed tips and tricks from every baker I know.

INGREDIENTS

Tangzhong
71 g water
71 g milk
28 g flour

For the Dough:
500 g all-purpose flour
100 g sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
7 g kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
115 g unsalted butter
115 g milk
115 g unsweetened yogurt
Zest of 2 lemons
approx. 10-12 tablespoons of heavy cream to pour on top of rolls before baking

Filling:
1 cup toasted black sesame seeds, finely ground
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
Zest of 1 lemon

Frosting
225 g  cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
250 g powdered sugar
20 g fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Tangzhong: Combine all of the starter ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan (about 1-2 minutes). Remove from the heat, and set it aside to cool.

Dough: Whisk together flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and baking soda until thoroughly combined. Add tangzhong and stir.

Melt butter over low heat, then stir in milk, yogurt, and lemon zest. Add this to flour mixture and stir to combine. With the hook attachment, knead on low for about 15 minutes.

Cover bowl and set aside until it doubles in size.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 12-inch square. Spread the black sesame filling evenly over dough to form a log with seam side down.

Using twine (so you don’t mush the roll) cut it into 1″ slices and arrange in a 9″ x13″ pan lined with parchment. Cover with foil and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.

Filling: Toast sesame seeds slightly.   Let cool and grind in a spice grinder or food processor. Add the sugar and pulse again.  Place the sugar and sesame seeds into the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment and add softened butter and lemon zest.  Mix until smooth and combined.  Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. You can refrigerate this in advance. Before using, bring to room temperature to ensure it has a spreadable consistency.

Frosting: Add softened cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add vanilla, lemon juice and powdered sugar.  Mix on low and then increase speed until smooth.   Should take about 5 minutes.

Bake: In the morning take rolls out of refrigerator and let come to room temperature while you preheat oven to 350F.  Pour heavy cream over rolls before baking (1 scant tablespoon over each)/ Bake for about 30 minutes with aluminum foil on and then remove and bake for another 15 minutes until browned. Frost when they are still warm and serve as soon as you can.

 

Birthday Cake

All of these birthdays just give my obsession some legitimacy.  The cake is from Amy Sedaris. and the frosting is from Emma Laperruque and Food52.

INGREDIENTS

Cake

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk

Chocolate Frosting

3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup (85 grams) natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cups (513 grams) powdered sugar
1/2 cup strong, cold coffee, plus more as needed

DIRECTIONS

Cake

Put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth. Pour in sugar and beat well. Add 2 eggs. Mix well. Add: vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and milk. Beat until it looks like it is supposed to and pour into two 7″ cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Frosting

Make the chocolate frosting. Combine the butter and cocoa in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix until smooth, scraping down as needed. Add the vanilla and salt. Mix again. Alternately add the powdered sugar and coffee, beating until light and fluffy. (If it doesn’t start to fluff up, it may be too warm. Chill for a little while until thicker, then beat again.) 

Set the first layer on your serving platter or a rotating turntable if you have one. Add about 1 cup frosting on top and spread evenly (I like an offset spatula best here). Top with the second cake layer. Add another 1 1/2 cups frosting to the top and spread evenly over the top, then the sides. Add more frosting as needed. Use the offset spatula or a spoon to create swooshes. Slice and eat or refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

 

Concha Pan Dulce

I love baking treats from different cultures.  I can’t believe it has taken me this long to make these Mexican sweet breads. I used this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

Concha Dough

3 tablespoons warm water

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup melted butter

1 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/3 cup white granulated sugar

3/4 cup evaporated milk (you can also use regular whole milk)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 large eggs, at room temperature

4 cups all-purpose flour

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup white granulated sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Food Coloring Gel

DIRECTIONS

Concha Dough
To the bowl of a stand-up mixer with the hook attachment (you can also do this in a large bowl and knead it by hand!), add the warm water. Pour the active dry yeast on top and mix in into the water. Allow to stand until foamy, about 5 to 7 minutes. If it doesn’t get foamy then you’ll need to do it again.
When the active dry yeast is foamy, pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, granulated sugar, evaporated milk, salt, vanilla, ground cinnamon and eggs. Break up the eggs with the back of a spatula and allow the dough hook to mix it up a bit, about 30 seconds.
Next, pour the flour in all at once and run the machine for about 5 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is soft and smooth. If you’re doing this by hand, once the dough comes together, you’ll want to dump it out onto your floured counter and knead it for about 10 minutes, until it’s nice and smooth.

Rub a large bowl with oil or spray it with cooking spray and place the dough in the center of the bowl. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Topping
In the bowl of stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment (you could also mix this by hand if you don’t have a mixer), add the butter, sugar, flour and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth, about 1 minute.
Divide the dough in two. To one part of the topping, add a drop of food coloring gel. To the other topping, add the cocoa powder and knead until it’s cohesive.

Assembly
Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Or better yet, weigh them into balls of 100g. Form the balls of dough into rounds. Repeat until you’ve worked through all of the dough.
Take about 2 tablespoons of the topping and rollout using our palms, flatting it into a thin round. Drape it over the round of dough, patting down lightly. Using a knife, cut grooves in the topping like a clam shell. You can also do other types of cuts like criss cross, circles, etc. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool. Serve with hot chocolate or coffee.

Coconut & Macadamia Muffins

Because it’s Monday and it’s been a while since I’ve made some muffins.

INGREDIENTS

212 g flour
100 g sugar + 25 g sugar for topping
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
227 g milk
50 g vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425F.  Spray muffin tin with baking spray.

Chop coconut and macadamia nuts and toast them until browned. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, salt, & baking powder in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Fold in half of the toasted coconut and macadamia nut mixture.

Fill muffin cups.

Combine the 25g of sugar with the rest of the nut mixture and sprinkle on top of muffins before baking.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

On The Fence Brownies

Thanks to my friend, Helen from Bakers Anonymous for turning me on to this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (227g) unsalted butter
2 ¼ cups (525g) sugar
1 ¼ cups (155g) Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups (180g) flour
1 cup (170g) chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine.

Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot (110°F to 120°F) but not bubbling; it will become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth, then add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies for 28 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The brownies should feel set on the edges and in the center. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

 

Black Sesame Milk Bread

I made two loaves of Japanese Milk Bread from Food 52 with some black sesame paste from Studio Baked.

Tangzhong:

6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons bread flour

For the rest:
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
320 grams bread flour, plus up to 30 grams more
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk or milk powder (optional)
2 eggs, 1 for the dough and 1 for the egg wash
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 splash milk or water, for the egg wash

For the black sesame paste:
½ cup toasted black sesame seeds, finely ground
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened

INSTRUCTIONS

Tangzhong
In a small saucepan, whisk together 6 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of bread flour until no lumps remain. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. It should thicken to a gel-like consistency after just a few minutes. As soon as lines appear in the mixture when stirred, remove it from the heat and transfer it to a small, clean bowl. Let cool to room temperature.

Next, heat the milk briefly to just above room temperature, about 110° F or lukewarm to the touch. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.

In the meantime, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the bread flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl or a measuring cup, whisk together the tangzhong, cream, condensed milk (or milk powder), and one egg.

When it’s ready, add the yeast mixture to the wet ingredients, and whisk gently, just to incorporate. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in all of the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a loose, shaggy dough, then switch to using your hands. Knead for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough forms a semi-smooth ball. The dough will be quite sticky — sprinkle the extra 1/4 cup flour, a tablespoon or so at a time, over the dough and your hands as you knead to keep it from sticking too much. I usually use at least 2 tablespoons and often up to the full amount, but you may not need it all.

Add the butter to the dough, one tablespoon at a time, kneading after each addition. Add the second tablespoon of butter only after the first has been evenly incorporated. The dough will be slippery and messy at this point, but just keep kneading and it should eventually form a soft and pliable dough that’s easy to work with. Knead for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a large bowl with plenty of room and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until well doubled.

Once the dough is doubled gently deflate the dough and divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each piece into a ball and roll them out into an oval using a rolling pin on a well floured surface. Fold the right side (lengthwise) over to the middle and then fold the left side (lengthwise) over to the middle so both sides meet but are not overlapped. Roll the dough out into an oval again and then spread with black sesame paste. Starting from the edge of the short side, roll the dough up into a cylinder like you would roll up a sleeping bag.

Place each piece seam side down in the prepared loaf pan and repeat with the remaining dough. Cover and let rise for another hour or so. After about 40 minutes, preheat the oven to 350° F. When the dough seems ready, test it by pressing it gently with one finger; when the indentation bounces back slowly but remains visible, the dough is ready to bake.

Whisk your second egg with a splash of milk or water, and brush the egg wash over the dough. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden-brown on top. Internal temp should be 200 degrees F.

For the black sesame paste: 
Finely grind the black sesame seeds in a spice grinder or small food processor. Add the sugar and softened butter. Pulse to make a paste. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside.

You can refrigerate this in advance. Before using, bring to room temperature to ensure it has a spreadable consistency.