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|

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|

Simple Scones

There are two things that I have had trouble making in the past. One, is pie dough. The other is scones. I think it has to do with getting the butter distributed evenly to provide that flaky texture that both of those possess.  Or maybe because they are two recipes that you really need to follow the instructions and have less give. (I am much more a cook then a baker!) I think I have solved my problem though. 

First, if you are doing it by hand, grating the frozen butter into the flour is a great way to get those pea size pieces without fighting with the dough and over-kneading it. When you have pieces of butter left in the dough they will melt and that is what will produce the flaky texture. Another important thing seems to the unsalted butter. I almost never buy unsalted and for most things it really doesn’t make a difference, but for scones, it seems to make a world of difference.

Scones are a current favourite in our home at the moment. Not only can I make them now with amazing results but they are so easy and quick to do.

I do use my food processor, because it makes it easy without any mess and by the time my oven is preheated,  they are ready to put in.

The following is the base of the scone, and to that you can add anything you want. The trick however, is that whatever you add should not be adding moisture or dryness to not upset the balance between the flour/milk/butter ratio. You also don’t want to add anything warm that would melt the butter. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, a quick google search will give you the amounts in cups, but using the scale, is in my opinion, the best way to get the right measurement in these types of recipes.

Simple Scone Base (make 6 scones but I usually double it)

  • 200g flour, plus more for handling the dough
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2.5 tbsp sugar (for sweet scones)
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 60g cold or frozen butter
  • 140-150g milk (I use almond or soy)

now to this you can add you choice of ingredients to make the flavours of your choice.

For a simple cheese scone that is great for lunch, supper or with a savoury breakfast simply:

  • omit the sugar in the base recipe or add only a small amount to add a bit of sweetness
  • add 1/2 cup of grated sharp cheddar
savoury cheesy scones…

One of our favourites has a taste that closely resembles pannetone:

To the base I add:

  •  two drops of lemon zest extract (or zest of 1 lemon)
  • the zest of one orange
  • 50g chopped raisins (or cranberries… or any other dried fruit)
zesty lemon-orange scones with raisins 

 

 Once you have decided what you will put in them, here is how to make them…

  •  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.
  • Add the other dry ingredients such as the zest, chopped dried fruit, cheddar etc…  and pulse once or twice.
  • Add the cold milk 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 in the chopped dried fruits, cheese or whatever other dry ingredients.
  • 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. Overkneading 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 before serving (we can never wait though!)
Savoury ones can accompany any dish and since they only take a few minutes to make they are great for a last minute meal. (Egg sandwich, next to a roast, with a curry… so many possibilities…)
Sweet ones a best (in my opinion) served with butter and homemade jam or honey…
zesty lemon-orange scones served with butter and homemade ground cherry jam…

 

Enjoy! and I would love to know what flavour combos you come up with!