Vanilla cupcakes

When I asked Willa what she wanted for her birthday cake she said pink cupcakes. I could have easily used my Butter cookie vanilla cake recipe to make the cupcakes but I wanted something different. See, I have the perfect cupcake in mind. It is light and fluffy and  not at all dry with a delicate crumb. So I searched…

And then I found this recipe. It looked great so I had to try it…

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose flour, took out 2 tbsp of flour and replaced it with 2 tbsp of cornstarch)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup oil (light tasting)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup soy milk with 1tsp lemon juice)

 

Directions-

  • Preheat oven to 350*F.
  • In a medium bowl, add  flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.
  • In another bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds until they are pale in colour.  Add sugar and continue to beat for about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil and beat again.
  • Slowly add about half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and fold. Add half of the milk, fold and then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk. Mix until just combined but do not overmix.
  • Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners and bake for 12-14 minutes.
  • Let cool before adding icing.
For the icing I used my vanilla bean buttercream and added some beet juice into the cream to give the icing the beautiful pink colour that Wilhelmina had asked for.

The cupcakes were delicious and baked perfectly. But if I am honest, it still was not what I am looking for, but they could easily be someones perfect cupcake.

So I am still on the hunt for the perfect vanilla/white cupcake recipe. Any suggestions?

By |February 20th, 2013|Cakes, Recipes|1 Comment|

Homemade Vegetable Bouillon Powder

I have been wanting to make this for ages. I love the convenience of a bouillon cube or broth powder to add to soups, stocks, sauces or many other dishes. What I don’t like about the commercial powders are the ingredients. Too much sodium, to many preservatives, too many products with miles long lists of chemicals and artificial ingredients. The natural products are of course better ingredient wise but they are so expensive and I can’t justify paying the steep price for so little amount of powder.

In the past I have made stock that I have frozen in ice tray cubes and have used them from frozen but they are not the most convenient and they are not concentrated enough so they add water along with the flavour. I have also tried a variation of Annie’s recipe  but it wasn’t what I was looking for which was something dry and easy to store and use and with flavours that I enjoy more.

While looking through the Blendtec recipe book that I got with my blender I found the perfect recipe. I of course adapted it to my liking but it is exactly what I was looking for. It is made with dehydrated vegetables, nutritional yeast, herbs and aromatics. It adds a wonderful depth and the perfect amount of saltines without the salt overpowering the flavours.

You can start with fresh vegetables that you already have around the house and dehydrate them on your own or you can buy dehydrated vegetables from the store (often sold in bulk near the soup broths etc) . I have a dehydrator, so of course I used it, but instead of starting from fresh, I bought a bag of frozen vegetables. All you need to do is put them on the tray still frozen and dehydrate as usual. This mix had peppers, onions and asparagus and I added some leftover raw broccoli that I had in the fridge. I also dehydrated my own mushrooms but you can also buy them dried if you wish and use a bit less in the recipe.

I love how little space dehydrated veggies take and thought I would store the extra, but Willa decided to snack on them and I didn’t have an extras afterwards.

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  • 1 c nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup Kosher or Sea salt
  • 1/3 c dehydrated mushrooms
  • 1 c dehydrated mixed vegetables
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried green onion
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp dried lemon zest
  • 2 tsp of poultry seasoning
Of course, these herbs and aromatics are what I like to use, but you can change it up to make different flavours. Have fun with it!
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Add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend to a fine powder.
Store in a tight closed container (I use a mason jar)

Use a tsp of powder for each cup of water to use as broth, or add it directly to foods for a bit of seasoning. 

 

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

I love lemons, they are fresh and tart and slightly sweet and delicious.

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I also love desserts made with lemons, especially when they retain the qualities of the lemon that inspired them. These cookies are just that.

They are sweet, fresh, slightly tart and simply lemony all in a soft chewy cookie. What more could you ask for?

Oh, I know…  They are also one of the quickest cookie recipes and come together in minutes.

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Lemon Crinkle Cookies

makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter, softened
  • 1 cup  sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 drop of natural lemon zest extract (optional… use it if you have it on hand)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cups powdered sugar

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Excluding the powdered sugar, Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined. With the powdered sugar in a plate, take a heaping teaspoon of dough, make into a ball and roll in the powdered sugar and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the bottom barely browns and cookies look dull. Remove from oven and let sit on pan for about  3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Enjoy!

 

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By |January 19th, 2013|Cookies, Recipes|1 Comment|

Vanilla Bean Scones

This is a variation of the simple scone recipe that I recently shared.

I wanted to make scones one weekend morning I wondered how I could make everyone happy since not everyone has the same likes, so I came up with these…

 (Vanilla bean scones with a simple vanilla icing)

I used the same simple base that I used in my other scones with a few small changes.

(makes 12)

Ingredients:

  • 400g flour, plus more for handling the dough
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold or frozen butter
  • 280g-300g milk (I used coconut almond milk)
  • 1 Vanilla bean, split and scraped

For the Icing:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp butter (room temp)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla (I make my own)
  • milk
(Vanilla bean)
vanilla goodness

Directions:

  •  Preheat oven to 425° F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

With a food processor:

  • First pulse the flour, baking powder, sugar (if using) and the salt a few times until well mixed.
  • Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add them to the dry ingredients and pulse four or five times until the butter is mixed in and the largest pieces you can see resemble small peas.
  • Mix the scraped seeds of the vanilla bean into the milk and stir so that it there are no clumps of vanilla and then slowly add the cold milk to the dry/butter mixture and pulse again just until the dough comes together. There should be no longer spots of flour and the dough should not be too wet.

By hand:

  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar (if using) and the salt.
  • Get your cheese grater out and grate the butter into the flour and just mix. You could also go the longer way and cut the cold butter into small cubes use a pastry cutter or two forks as you would with pie dough. The important thing is to not handle the dough too much and to not smoosh the butter into the flour too much.
  • Mix the scraped seeds of the vanilla bean into the milk and stir so that it there are no clumps of vanilla, Add the milk and stir in quickly just until the dough comes together and doesn’t show big spots of dry flour anymore.

Dump onto a well floured surface, sprinkle with flour and knead just 2-3 times if needed. If the dough looks good already, just pat it out on the floured surface. Over-kneading the dough will make the texture tough and they will not rise right, so you want to be very gentle with the dough!

When you pat the dough out you want it to be about 3cm thick (about an inch) and then using a round cookie/biscuit cutter, or a glass or any other round object, cut out the scones. Make sure you don’t twist your cutter but use a simple up/down motion. Twisting the cutter will fuse the sides a bit and they may not rise.

Place the scones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 13-15 min until the are golden in colour. Let them cool a bit.

While the Scones are baking, you can make the Icing.

Place the powdered sugar in a bowl and add the tsp of butter and mix the butter in with a fork until there are no clumps of butter left, add the tsp of vanilla and mix well. Slowly add the milk about 1/2 tsp at a time and mix until smooth. I don’t give a quantity of milk because it depends on how thin you want it but however you want it takes a very small amount of milk.

Spoon the icing over the scones and serve.

 

Vanilla scones with Vanilla icing

By |November 26th, 2012|Breakfasts, NaBloPoMo, Recipes, Sweet Breads|Comments Off on Vanilla Bean Scones|

Beef and Udon Noodles

This is a very easy and quick meal that can be made in about 15 min which is great for a midweek meal on our house when I don’t feel like cooking that much.

You need to start with a good cut of beef that will be tender without being cooked long.. Sometimes I will use tenderloin (Filet Minion) or sirloin, but this time I asked my butcher for what was best and he gave me a great 2 pound roast that I was able to slice up when I was ready to use it and it was absolutely perfect. Talking to the butcher is always a good idea.

 

 

Ingredients:

For the Beef:

  • 2 lbs of sliced beef
  • 2 tsp of Tamari (or dark soy sauce)
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 tsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp hoisin
For the rest of the meal:
  • 2 Sweet Red Peppers sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 knob of ginger chopped
  • 2 tbsp Hoisin
  • 2 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp Tamari
  • 800g of Udon Noodles
  • bunch of green onions (roughly chopped)
Start by Marinating your beef… Just throw the ingredients together and massage it into the beef a bit. You can marinate the meat for a few hours or a few minutes, it is up to you and how much time you have…
Heat up a skillet to a high heat and add a tsp of oil and stir fry your beef. Don’t overlook it, you want it still a bit red as it will continue cook after it is out of the pan and will be added back and will cook a bit more after. You do want to get nice brownish bits on it though.
Take the meat out of the skillet and set aside.
In the same hot pan, add a bit of oil if there is none left.
Add most of the green onion to the pan (reserve some for garnish), add the garlic and the ginger and stir fry until fragrant. Add the red peppers and cook until soft but still slightly crisp.
Add the Udon noodles. I couldn’t Udon noodles before unless I went to a grocery store closer to Montreal, but now I can easily find them at most of the grocery stores around me now. They come packaged like this and  are pretty cheap and are delicious. And this comes from someone who does not like pasta.
So add the noodles and then add the Hoisin, Oyster sauce and the Tamari. Stir around quickly and lower the heat and add the beef.
Let it all cook together for another minute or two and it is done.
That is all…
Doesn’t it look delicious?
 it is… it really is…

 

 

 

By |November 22nd, 2012|NaBloPoMo, Recipes|2 Comments|