27.3.14

Daring Bakers - Nougat

The March 2014 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Rebecca of BakeNQuilt. She challenged us to learn to make classic nougat and to make it our own with our choice of flavors and add-ins.

I decided to keep it simple but was very glad to complete this one too, since my baby wasn´t born by the time I did it.
Now she is already beside me and I´m sure she'll be a partner of many challenges.

I couldn't find some of the ingredients such as corn syrup, edible paper, cream of tartar, cocoa butter, but still insisted in giving it a chance and it worked, but it has to be stored in the fridge and eaten right away.
Next time I'll buy those missing ingredients online and prepare a true nougat. Thanks for the challenge!


Nougat Torrone:

Recipe Source: Chocolates and Confections by Peter P. Greweling
Servings: one 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) slab
Prep time: approximately 45 minutes
Cook time: approximately 30-45 minutes
Cool time: approximately 45 minutes

Ingredients

4 sheets edible wafer paper, 8x11 inches (20x28 cm) (optional, see Recipe Notes)

For the Meringue:

2 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ cup (60 ml) (50 gm) (1¾ oz) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon (3 gm) cream of tartar

For the Syrup:

1½ cups (360 ml) (500 gm) (18 oz) honey (preferably light in color and flavor) [used a bit more to compensate the lack of corn syrup]
3 cups (720 ml) (600 gm) (21 oz) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 ml) (170 gm) (6 oz) light corn syrup
½ cup (120 ml) water
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Add-ins:

2 tablespoons (30 ml) (25 gm) (1 oz) cocoa butter, melted [used butter]
5 cups (1.2 litre) (680 gm) (24 oz) toasted whole unblanched almonds

Recipe Notes:

Edible wafer paper is nice to have if you’re giving nougat as gifts as it helps with the stickiness issue. However, it’s not essential. If you can’t find it, grease the pan and then line it with parchment paper. Grease the parchment as well. You should probably wrap each cut piece individually to keep them from sticking together. [my option was to use the parchment paper and wrap each piece individually].
Fat (cocoa butter in this case) is added to nougat to give it a shorter texture and cleaner bite. I’ve tried the recipe without it and it still comes out tasting good, it’s just chewier. Any fat added to nougat should be one that is solid at room temperature.

Directions:

1. Place the toasted almonds in a heat safe bowl and put in an oven at 250°F/121°C until needed.
2. Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) pan with wafer paper, cutting it to fit. I like to put plastic wrap or parchment under the wafer paper just for extra insurance that I’ll be able to get the nougat out of the pan.
3. Combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar for the meringue in a 4.5 or 5 quart (about 5 litre) mixer bowl fitted with a whip attachment but do not begin whipping.
4. Heat the honey in a small saucepan or in the microwave until nearly boiling
5. Combine the remaining ingredients for the syrup (sugar, corn syrup, water and vanilla bean) in a 2 quart (2 litre) saucepan.
6. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and then lower the heat and boil for 3 minutes, covered.
7. Remove the lid and attach the candy thermometer. Continue to cook uncovered on high heat without stirring until the syrup reaches 290°F/143°C.
8. When the sugar mixture reaches 290°F/143°C, start whipping the egg whites on high speed and move the sugar mixture off the heat and slowly pour the heated honey into the sugar mixture. The mixture will foam up initially.
9. Put the pan back on the heat and continue cooking until the mixture again reaches 290°F/143°C.
10. Remove from the heat and use tongs to take out the vanilla bean pods.
11. Slowly pour the hot syrup into the whipping whites by letting it run down the inside of the mixer bowl. Don’t pour it directly on the whites or they may collapse.
12. Whip on high speed for 3 minutes.
13. Add the cocoa butter and whip JUST until the mixture is smooth again. Do not over mix. If you have a 4.5 quart (4.5 litre) mixer like I do, you may need to initially lower the speed of the mixer while pouring in the cocoa butter as it will try to slop out.
14. Remove the bowl from the mixer and dump in the hot nuts from the oven. Mix quickly with a heat-safe spatula until the almonds are evenly distributed.
15. Immediately pour the hot nougat into the prepared pan, on top of the wafer paper. Cover the top of the nougat with more wafer paper and press to smooth and even out the nougat.



16. Let the nougat cool at room temperature until just warm to the touch, about 45 minutes. Don’t let it go too long or it will be very difficult to get out of the pan and difficult to cut. You want it to still be a little flexible when you remove it but not so soft that it loses its shape.
17. Pry the nougat out of the pan with a spatula and dump it out onto a cutting board. Trim the edges and cut the nougat with an oiled knife into the size pieces you want.



18. Wrap the nougat individually or store at room temperature in an airtight container. The texture of the nougat will soften a bit after a few days, especially if you have added dried fruits in with the nuts.




27.2.14

Daring Bakers Beautiful Bread

Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?

I chose the cinnamon sweet bread and it is beautiful and delicious.
The only thing I didn't do was to drizzle with condensed milk (I'm pregnant and I don't need the extra calories, but I would drizzle). It is wonderful to eat with tea and hot milk for breakfast. Next time I'll bake it and try to freeze some slices, for a rainy day ;)

Thanks for the challenge!!!

Check out some other bread shapes ideas and tutorials below. Have fun!


Cinnamon sweet bread:


Ingredients

For the dough

1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water
3/4 cup (180 ml) warm milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup (60 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) butter, softened
1/4 cup (60 ml) (50 gm) (1-3/4 oz) white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt
3-1/4 cups (780 ml) (450 gm) (16 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, approximately
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (8 gm) dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon (1 gm) cardamom, optional

For topping

1/4 cup (60 ml) of milk
1 tablespoon (15 gm) (1/2 oz) sugar

Between the layers

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) (1/4 cup) (60 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) butter
4 tablespoons (60 ml) (25 gm) (1 oz) cinnamon
1/2 cup (120 ml) (100 gm) (3-1/2 oz) sugar

For drizzling

1 can (400 gm) (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

1. In a bowl whisk the egg with milk, water, sugar, butter and yeast. Set aside
2. In another bowl sift the flour with the salt and the optional cardamom.
3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead until you get a smooth dough.
Note: This recipe requires between 3-1/4 and 3-1/2 cups of flour depending on the weather, humidity and the flour brand. Start with 3-1/4 cups and if you feel that the dough is too soft, add the extra 1/4 cup
4. Place the dough in a bowl you have brushed with some oil and cover it with a wet cloth and leave it in a warm place to double
(If you are tight on time you can heat your oven to 390°F/200°C then turn it off and place your dough in a glass bowl and place it in the warm oven with the wet cloth covering the bowl)
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface
6. Divide the dough into 4 parts
7. Roll each part into a circle at least 20 cm (8 inch) in diameter
8. Brush the first layer with butter then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon
9. Place the second layer on the first layer repeat the brushing and sprinkling and then do the same with the third layer.
10. Top with the fourth layer, this time only brush it with butter.
11. Using a knife make cuts that divide the dough circles into 8 triangles
12. Make cuts that go 2/3 of the way in the middle of each triangle. The cuts should not reach the base of the triangle nor the tip as you can see in the picture
13. Take the tip of each triangle and insert it into the cut you made and pull it from the underside
14. Arrange the triangles on your baking sheet
15. Pinch the two angles at the base of the triangle together
Note: If you would like to add the little bread coil that you see in the center of the baked cinnamon bread in the first picture, simply roll a piece of dough into a rope then form it into a little coil and place it in the center where the heads of the triangles meet
16. Brush the dough with milk
17. Allow to rest for 15 minutes during which you would heat your oven to very hot 500°F/240°C/gas mark 9 (rack in the middle). (Go for the hottest your oven will do).
18. Bake for 5 minutes on very hot 460°F/240°C/gas mark 9, then lower the temperature to moderately hot 390°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and bake for 15-20 more minutes
Note: ovens do differ greatly, so the time may differ,what you want is to bake it until the under side is golden brown and the bread is baked all the way to the center. If the top of the bread is not golden brown by that time and you have a broiler (grill) in your oven. Turn on the broiler (grill) for a couple of minutes until the bread is golden brown on top. If on the other hand the top is getting too dark, consider lowering the oven temperature and covering the top of the bread with foil to stop it from over browning
19. Take it out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rick and drizzle with sweetened condensed milk while it is still warm.


18.2.14

Carta de Amor

Estava agora mesmo a pesquisar poemas para uma tarefa profissional e descobri uma carta de amor de François Chateaubriand para a Condessa de Castellane. Achei que devia partilhar. :)


Dava a Vida para te Apertar Contra o Meu Peito

Nunca te vira tão linda e sedutora ao mesmo tempo como ontem à noite. Dava a vida para te apertar contra o meu peito. Diz-me, era o amor que eu te inspiro que te fazia assim tão bela? Seria a paixão que me abrasa que te tornava tão atraente a meus olhos? Bem viste: não podia deixar de olhar para ti, nem de beijar a candeiazinha de oiro. Quanto tu saíste tive vontade de me prosternar a teus pés e de te adorar como a uma divindade. Ah! Se tu me quisesses metade do que eu te quero! Deste volta à minha pobre cabeça; repara no mal que me fizeste querendo-me como me queres. Às oito, esperar-te-ei numa ansiedade.

François Chateaubriand, in 'Carta à Condessa de Castellane (1823)' via Citador

14.2.14

Uma pitada de amor todos os dias | A pinch of love everyday

Sou fã do Pinterest e lá encontro inspiração para muitos dos desafios do meu dia a dia.

Estive a organizar os meus quadros temáticos com sugestões "amorosas", não só para hoje mas para todos os dias. O fator surpresa é essencial e há sempre um tempinho para o romance, mesmo ocupados a organizar a chegada de um bebé e com uma barriga a crescer a olhos vistos ;)

12.2.14

Tarte de Chocolate

Esta tarte de chocolate, só a fiz duas vezes, mas é deliciosa.

Tudo começou assim...
Eu e o meu marido costumamos frequentar uma casa de chá com uma carta de chás muito completa, assim como apetitosos bolos, tartes e scones. Ele pede sempre tarte de chocolate e todas as vezes diz que está ótimo.
Foi aí que pensei que não tinha nenhuma receita de tarte de chocolate e seria um excelente desafio encontrar uma à altura.
Encontrei-a no Pinterest e decidi experimentar.
Não é difícil e é muito saborosa. Veio para ficar.
E é claro que continuamos a ir à casa de chá comer tarte de chocolate (que é ótima e bastante diferente desta) e não só ;)


Tarte de chocolate (de chorar por mais)

Base da tarte
1 chávena e 1/2 de bolacha moída (cerca de 35 bolachas) - eu escolho as de chocolate ou com pepitas de chocolate
5 colheres de sopa de margarina derretida

Recheio
1/2 chávena de margarina em cubos
225g de chocolate preto em pedaços
1 chávena e 2/3 de açúcar
2 colheres de chá de essência de baunilha
4 ovos (3 se forem XL)
manteiga de amendoim a gosto

Pré-aquecer o forno a 180ºC. Untar uma forma de tarte.
Juntar a bolacha moída e a margarina. Forrar com a mistura o fundo e os lados da forma de tarte, pressionando bem. Cozer 7 a 8 mins. Retirar do forno e deixar arrefecer.
Derreter o chocolate e a margarina em banho maria num recipiente não muito pequeno. Retirar do calor e adicionar o açúcar, seguido da baunilha. Juntar os ovos, um a um até ficar uma mistura suave.
Espalhar manteiga de amendoim na crosta de bolacha que já arrefeceu (opcional). Despejar a mistura de chocolate e levar ao forno por 40 a 50 minutos, ou até a massa estar cozida, mas ainda um pouco mole no centro. Deixar arrefecer e desenformar. Depois, levar ao frio por cerca de 2 horas.

___________________________________

I've already tried this recipe twice and it is a keeper. Found it on Pinterest and it is really delicious. Highly recommended.

Chocolate Pie (source: Love and Olive Oil, via Pinterest)

Ingredients:

For Crust:
1 1/2 cup chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 8 ounces or 35 cookies)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For Filling:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 ounces good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/2 cup creamy salted peanut butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan or spray with nonstick spray. Combine cookie crumbs and melted butter until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press crumb mixture into prepared pan. Place pan on a cookie sheet (to prevent any butter from leaking onto your oven floor) and bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water (the bowl should sit over, but not touch the water). Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, followed by vanilla and salt. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until smooth.
Spread peanut butter in an even layer in the bottom of the cooled crust. Pour in filling and bake (again setting the pan on a cookie sheet) for 40 to 50 minutes or until the pie is set and shiny on top, but still slightly jiggly in the center. Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate for at least 2 hours until fully set. Slice and serve with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

27.1.14

Daring Bakers - Baumkuchen (Tree Cake)

The January 2014 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Francijn of "Koken in de Brouwerij". She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake).
I was delighted with the recipe. It is delicious!

Baumkuchen (Tree Cake)
Ingredients

Batter:

6 large eggs (room temperature)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) (4-1/4 oz) (120 gm) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (5-1/3 oz) (150 gm) marzipan
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons (1-3/4 sticks) (7 oz) (200 gm) softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup (180 ml) (3-1/2 oz) (100 gm) confectioner's (icing) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (1 package) (8 grams) vanilla sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (3-1/2 oz) (100 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour (sifted)
Glaze:
1/3 cup (80 ml) (3½ oz) (100 gm) apricot jam
2 tablespoons (30 ml) orange liqueur (optional)
1 cup (240 ml) (7 oz) (200 gm) dark chocolate couverture chunks
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure coconut oil
oil to grease your pan
parchment paper
10-inch (25 cm) spring form pan / 8x10 inch (20x25 cm) cake tin
Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to hot 450°F/230°C/gas mark 8.
2. Line your cake tin with parchment paper, grease both paper and tin.
3. Divide the eggs. Beat the egg whites with the salt until nearly stiff, add the sugar and beat until really stiff.
4. Crumble finely the marzipan. Beat it with the softened butter, confectioner's (icing) sugar and vanilla sugar until soft and creamy. Add the egg yolks one by one and beat well between each addition. Add the stiff egg whites and flour and gently fold it into the batter. Trying not to lose too much air.
I had to prepare my own marzipan - not available at the supermarket (so used a recipe form BBC Food) and made 1/2 de amount and it was more than enough (so you can do 1/4).

5. Smear 1/12th to 1/10th of the batter on the bottom of the pan, keep the sides of the pan clean, and bake for (about) 4 minutes in the oven, until it is cooked and brown. Take the pan out of the oven, smear the next portion of batter carefully over the first, and bake for another 4 minutes or until cooked and brown. Repeat until all batter is used. If you need to flatten a bubble insert a tooth pick or similar to deflate the bubble.

I divided the batter in two and added some cocoa powder to one and baked alternate layers. I have also decided to put a layer of apricot jam for each 2 layers of cake. 

Let the cake cool down for a few minutes, take it out of the pan, remove the parchment paper and let the cake cool completely on a wired rack. Trim the edges.

6. Heat the jam a little, pass it through a sieve, and add the orange liqueur (optional). Cover the cake with the jam and let it cool.


7. Melt the couverture with the coconut oil in a bowl above warm water. Pour it over the cake to cover completely, move the cake to a cool place and wait until the glaze is dry.



Freezing and storage : The tree cake tastes better when you wait one day before eating it. Eat within a week. Store in an airtight container, but not in the fridge. Freezing is possible: cut into portions, wrap tightly in cling film and freeze up to two months.


23.12.13

Um Feliz Natal | A Merry Christmas