BASIC BREAD ~ BAKING PARTNERS CHALLENGE #8

BakingPartnersButton2-1BreadWe are going to try two method of bread making one is Asian method Tangzhong and other is Scandinavian method of Scald flour. These are two are really easy to put together. For this challenge you have to try one of the methods and make bread, if you want to try both methods that are also welcome. Tangzhong method gives very soft bread. Scalded flour method usually is used to try whole grains like rye, millet, buckwheat etc… You can make white bread with that technique too.  I made the White bread Scandinavian method of Scald flour.

Scalded flour bread Adapted from Cornercafe via Baking Partners

Makes one 23cm x 10cm x 10cm loaf

[Ingredients] Scalded Flour: 100g bread flour 100ml boiling water

Main Dough: 350g bread flour 20g (2 tablespoons) milk powder 35g caster sugar 5g (1 teaspoon) salt 8g instant yeast 200ml (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary 35g butter, chopped into small pieces at room temperature http://cornercafe.wordpress.com/

[Preparation] Scalded Flour: Pour boiling hot water all at once over the flour and stir quickly with a pair of chopsticks (or fork) until combined with no more visible dry flour. It should be a doughy clumpy mixture at this stage. Set aside for 5 minutes for the dough clusters to fully absorb the heat and the moisture. Then cover with cling film and let cool to room temperature, about 1/2 hour, or up to 1 hour.

For the Main Dough: 1. Prepare a 23cm (L) x 10cm (W) x 10cm (H) loaf tin. Sift bread flour, milk powder, caster sugar and salt onto the working surface. Add instant dry yeast and mix well. Form the flour mixture into a well. Add scalded flour mixture, then gradually add just enough lukewarm water to form into a slightly sticky, soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. During hand kneading, the dough also needs to be thrown onto the working surface once every few minutes between kneading to improve the dough structure. (I usually just pick up the dough to about head-high and throw it down onto the working surface 10 to 20 times every few minutes between kneading.) 2. Knead in butter until incorporated. Form the dough into a round ball and let it rise until double in size in a large greased bowl, cover with cling film (should take about 1 hour in warm weather, longer in winter months). To test if the dough has risen properly, dip a finger into bread or plain flour and poke down into the centre of the dough as far as your finger will go and pull out again – the hole should remain if it is ready. If the dough springs back, then it is not ready, continue to prove further. 3. Punch down, knead briefly and form into a ball shape. Then let rest for 15 minutes. 4. with a rolling pin, roll out into a long oval shape. Then roll up from the short end like a Swiss roll. Rest 10 minutes and repeat the rolling process, then place the roll-up dough into the tin. 5. Cover loosely and let rise until the dough has risen to almost the top of the tin. 6. Bake in preheated 175°C oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Taste: Soft white bread loaf that stays soft for at least 2-3 days Consume: Best within 3-4 days Storage: May be frozen to keep longer, defrost before serving

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TASTE & CREATE ~ MARCH 2013 ~ RED VELVET CAKE

Taste and Create was started as a food event by Nicole from For the Love of Food.  The whole purpose of Taste and Create was, and has been, and continues to be to create a community of bloggers who test each others’ recipes and share links. The participants of the event are paired together and try a new recipe from one another’s blog.
This month I was paired with Roz Ka Khana.  I love being paired with someone I’ve never been paired with before I inevitably learn sooooooo much, and find great new recipes.  I love her blog and the recipes are so unique, but alas many were too spicy for my tummy while still learning to eat again so I chose her red velvet cupcakes and turned them into a layer cake for my brother’s birthday (sorry you never got to eat it Chris).
Taste & Create March 2013 Red Velvet CakeVERDICT? DELICIOUS!!!
hubby approved 2
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LIVING YOUR DREAM LIFE

WEEK 1:  SELF DISCOVERY

  • ACHIEVEMENTS 10-20
  • TALENTS/STRENGTHS/ABILITIES
  • HOBBIES/INTERESTS/ACTIVITIES/FUN
  • 5 PRIORITIES IN MY LIFE
  • 5 THINGS THAT MAKE ME SMILE
  • VALUES
  • OBITUARIES

WEEK 2:  DESIGNING MY DREAM LIFE – DETAILED DESCRIPTION IN PRESENT TENSE USING YOUR VALUES, PRIORITIES, TALENTS & GIFTS FROM LAST WEEK’S SESSION AND FOCUSING ON THE POSITIVE

  • DREAM BIG
  • MONEY IS NO OBJECT
  • LIVING HOW YOU WANT
  • LIVING WHERE YOU WANT
  • DOING WHAT YOU WANT

DESCRIBE:

  • WHERE YOU LIVE – ATMOSPHERE, FURNISHINGS, LANDSCAPING, LOCATION, ETC…
  • YOUR JOB
  • HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME
  • WHAT YOU DO FOR FUN
  • HOW YOU VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME
  • YOUR FAMILY LIFE
  • ETC…

WEEK 3: UNDERSTANDING MY DREAM LIFE – PROS & PROS LIST

  • MAKE 2 COLUMNS – TITLE THEM DREAM LIST & WHY
  • TRY TO GET TO THE UNDERLYING “WHY”,  NOT JUST THE SURFACE
WEEK 4:
  • Look at your  WHY  list and see if you are already doing something that answers that why. If you are, CONGRATULATIONS! YAY FOR YOU!  Begin to see this in a different way beginning NOW. Give yourself a pat on the back and start appreciating and seeing this part of your life in a NEW WAY! WOW!  You are living part of your DREAM LIFE! How does that feel? Can you embrace the feeling that you are living part of your dream life NOW?  I’ll be talking a bit more about this in another session.
  •  Take your list of “WHYS” and find a way to make each dream happen NOW by simplifying it and/or creating it in a different way. This is going to take brainstorming and lots of creativity but YOU CAN DO IT! If you are really having a difficult time coming up with a different way to answer the “WHY”, you can e-mail me for thoughts and ideas or put out a comment for others to give suggestions.  Don’t give up on this assignment. For some of you this may come easily and others it might be difficult. Keep at it and let me know how it’s going. Don’t get “stuck” on your original list. There is a reason behind that dream that you can modify and accomplish NOW.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE! What are you waiting for, head over to sign up too!
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DESIGNING MY DREAM LIFE

I found this great opportunity over at Seaside Simplicity and jumped at the chance to join Martha and Sandy over at Hob Nobbers.  Sandy is hosting a great little workshop, Live Your Dream Life Now. I really needed the motivation to start off 2013 right!

WEEK 1:  SELF DISCOVERY

  • ACHIEVEMENTS 10-20
  • TALENTS/STRENGTHS/ABILITIES
  • HOBBIES/INTERESTS/ACTIVITIES/FUN
  • 5 PRIORITIES IN MY LIFE
  • 5 THINGS THAT MAKE ME SMILE
  • VALUES
  • OBITUARIES

WEEK 2:  DESIGNING MY DREAM LIFE – DETAILED DESCRIPTION IN PRESENT TENSE USING YOUR VALUES, PRIORITIES, TALENTS & GIFTS FROM LAST WEEK’S SESSION AND FOCUSING ON THE POSITIVE

  • DREAM BIG
  • MONEY IS NO OBJECT
  • LIVING HOW YOU WANT
  • LIVING WHERE YOU WANT
  • DOING WHAT YOU WANT

DESCRIBE:

  • WHERE YOU LIVE – ATMOSPHERE, FURNISHINGS, LANDSCAPING, LOCATION, ETC…
  • YOUR JOB
  • HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME
  • WHAT YOU DO FOR FUN
  • HOW YOU VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME
  • YOUR FAMILY LIFE
  • ETC… 

WEEK 3: UNDERSTANDING MY DREAM LIFE – PROS & PROS LIST

  •  MAKE 2 COLUMNS – TITLE THEM DREAM LIST & WHY
  • TRY TO GET TO THE UNDERLYING “WHY”,  NOT JUST THE SURFACE
    IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!
    What are you waiting for, head over to sign up too!  
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    UPSIDE DOWN APPLE PIE & TOURTIERE du SHACK aka PORK POT PIE- BAKING PARTNERS #6

    We are a group of home bakers helping each other to achieve baking perfection.  Baking partners was begun by Swathi at Zesty South Indian Kitchen.   In order to achieve the best results, a perfect recipe and the right techniques are required.  We are a small group of home bakers, who love to bake and want to learn more about the tips and secrets of baking and baking well.  We are planning to try out recipes from books/magazines and cooking shows.  Every member gets a chance to present their choice of recipe and share important points with the rest of the group. The main purpose of this group is to learn the techniques, critic procedures if there are ways to improve and to eat delicious food.  

    This month we had 3 choices and I found the time to make 2 of them.  I also got to pick one that I’d been dying to make, Upside Down Apple Pie.  We LOVED it!! The one thing I am going to do different next time is make them all individual pies – more crust and gooey wonderfulness that way.

    UPSIDE DOWN APPLE PIE Yield: 8 servings.
    original recipe from Taste of Home

    CRUST:
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    6 tablespoons shortening (Crisco stick)
    2 tablespoons cold butter
    5 to 7 tablespoons orange juice

    FILLING:
    6 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
    1 cup Imperial Sugar
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour (sifted)
    1/2 teaspoon rum extract (optional)
    1/2 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    8 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (I like honey crisp or Granny Smith) (about 1/8-inch thick)

    GLAZE:
    1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
    2 to 3 teaspoons orange juice

    • In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening and butter until crumbly.
    • Gradually add orange juice, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.
    • Divide dough into two balls. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
    • Line a 9-in. deep-dish pie plate with heavy-duty foil, leaving 1-1/2 in. beyond edge; coat the foil with cooking spray.
    • Combine 4 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and nuts; spoon into prepared pie plate.
    • In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining butter; toss gently.
    • On waxed paper, roll out one ball of pastry to fit pie plate.
    • Place pastry over nut mixture, pressing firmly against mixture and sides of plate; trim to 1 in. beyond plate edge.
    • Fill with apple mixture.
    • Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie; place over filling. Trim to 1/4 in. beyond plate edge.
    • Fold bottom pastry over top pastry; seal and flute edges. Cut four 1-in. slits in top pastry.
    • Bake at 375° for 50-55 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown (cover edges with foil during the last 20 minutes to prevent over browning).
    • Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Invert onto a serving platter; carefully remove foil. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over pie. 

    TOURTIERE du SHACK aka PORK POT PIE

    note: I made these as individual pies and they were a HUGE hit.  I also made a few changes based on what I had on hand or available locally.  One of my changes was to hide the mushrooms from hubby.  He swears he hates cooked mushrooms, but I’ve gotten quite crafty at disguises them visibly while keeping their flavor.
    adapted from http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2012/01/tourtiere-du-shack

    Crust

    • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups (4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

    Filling

    • 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
    • 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped, divided I used 1 large onion
    • 4 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
    • 5 whole black peppercorns plus freshly ground black pepper I used Indonesian White pepper
    • 5 sprigs thyme I used Penzeys French thyme, 1 teaspoon
    • 2 bay leaves I omitted
    • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 2″ pieces
    • Kosher salt I used Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • 8 medium button mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped I used Marx Foods dehydrated Chanterelle rehydrated in the white wine
    • I added a celery stalk, sliced and
    • I added a large carrot, sliced to disguise the mushrooms from hubby
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine I used Savignon Blanc
    • 1 1/4 pounds ground pork
    • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 3/4 cup grated, peeled russet potato I used Yukon Gold
    • All-purpose flour (for surface)
    • 1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend

    SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:

    • A 9″-diameter deep-dish glass or ceramic pie dish
    • Directions:

    Crust

    • Pulse flour, butter, and salt in a food processor until pea-size pieces of butter form. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add 1/4 cup ice water and stir just until shaggy clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD:Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

    Filling

    • Preheat oven to 325°. Combine broth, 1/2 chopped onion, 1 chopped garlic clove, whole peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaves in a medium pot. Add pork shoulder; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
    • Cover pot. Transfer to oven; braise until pork shoulder is tender and shreds easily, about 2 hours. Remove from oven; let cool.
    • Transfer pork shoulder to a work surface. Shred meat with your fingers and transfer to a medium bowl. Strain pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve; add 1/2 cup juices to pork; discard solids in strainer.
    • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 chopped onion and 3 chopped garlic cloves; cook, stirring often, until soft, 5–7 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until almost all liquid is evaporated, 5–7 minutes. Add wine; stir, scraping up browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook, stirring often, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.
    • Add ground pork, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook, stirring to break up into small pieces, until pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add potato. Cook until potato is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in shredded pork with juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper; let cool slightly. Chill until cold, about 1 hour.DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
    • Roll out 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface into a 12″ round. Transfer to pie dish, leaving overhang. Fill with cooled meat mixture. Roll out remaining dough disk into a 10″ round. Place dough over meat filling. Fold overhang over top crust and crimp edges. Brush crust with egg yolk. Cut three 2″ slits in top crust. Chill for 1 hour.
    • Preheat oven to 400°. Bake tourtiere for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 40–50 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

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    Peanut Cocoa Spread + Twisted Cinnamon Wreath = HEAVEN ~TASTE & CREATE

    Taste and Create was started as a food event by Nicole from For the Love of Food.  The whole purpose of Taste and Create was, and has been, and continues to be to create a community of bloggers who test each others’ recipes and share links. The participants of the event are paired together and try a new recipe from one another’s blog.
    This month I was paired with Joey at Little Accidents in the Kitchen.  I love being paired with someone I’ve never been paired with before I inevitably learn sooooooo much, and find great new recipes.  I combined 2 of her recipes for an awesome outcome. 

    Peanut Cocoa Spread + Twisted Cinnamon Wreath = HEAVEN


    Joey was craving Nutella, but didn’t have the ingredients to make any so used what she did have on hand and made Peanut Cocoa Spread. I don’t think I’ll ever buy Nutella again since it’s so easy to make.

    Peanut Cocoa Spread

    80g dark chocolate, chopped
    100g peanut butter
    30g icing sugar (adjust according to taste)
    90ml milk

    • Melt chocolate in a double boiler, stirring frequently.
    One rectangle of ready rolled puff pastry, about 1/8 inch thick
    1 tbsp cinnamon powder
    2 tbsp sugar
    1 egg, beaten
    • Whisk together cinnamon and sugar.
    • Sprinkle over the pastry and roll up the long side.
    • Cut the roll lengthwise into 2 halves.
    • Pinch the top together. Twist the 2 halves together, keeping the cut side exposed.
    • Pinch the 2 ends together into a circle.
    • Brush with egg wash.
    • Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on you puff pastry, until golden brown.

     

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    LIVE YOUR DREAM LIFE NOW

    I found this great opportunity over at Seaside Simplicity and jumped at the chance to join Martha and Sandy over at Hob Nobbers.  Sandy is hosting a great little workshop, Live Your Dream Life Now. I really needed the motivation to start off 2013 right!

    I too love things like this, and it came along just at the right time for me. I have been feeling completely stuck lately. My mind has been constantly racing in a big giant circle as to what to do, what choices and changes to make, and how it will affect my life and my family.  For those who know me well you probably already know I’m talking mainly about our adventure with VA red tape and my health. The VA paperwork has become all consuming. I’m not enjoying anything about it at all! It’s leaving me with almost zero energy to do any of the things I want to do, or even the things I need to do. Many areas of my life are suffering because of it.

    Sandy’s workshop is going to help get me and my mind off this roller coaster ride. I’m  still looking for that epiphany I talked about last week.  The desire to get all the crap out of my life is overwhelming and  I’m more than ready to live a happy and fulfilling life.

    What are you waiting for, head over to sign up too!  
    We’re just beginning so there’s still time to sign up on the ground floor so to speak.
     Have journal ready – raring to go!
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    BAKING PARTNERS #5 – SHAPED DINNER ROLLS & HOLIDAY CAKES

    We are a group of home bakers helping each other to achieve baking perfection.  Baking partners was begun by Swathi at Zesty South Indian Kitchen.

    Baking a homemade bread, cake or cookies will give the best outcome. However in order to achieve the best results, a  perfect recipe and the right techniques are required.

    We are a small group of home baker friends, who love to bake and want to learn more about the nook and corners of baking.  We are planning to try out recipes from books/magazines and cooking shows.  Every member gets a chance to present their choice of recipe and share important points with the rest of the group. The main purpose of this group is to learn the techniques, critic procedures if there are ways to improve and to eat delicious food.

    I’m making up for last month, which was shaped dinner rolls and we had to choose 3 shapes, and I failed to post during the move.  This month’s theme is holiday cakes and I chose the Brazil Nut cake. 

    For the dinner rolls I chose Lion House, Clover Leaf and small braid knots.  I loved the Lion house and small braid knots, but my clover leafs were embarrassing.

    Loved the Brazil Nut Cake!

    Faye Levy Chocolate Sensations, HP Books Inc., USA, 1986, p.22-23
    Chocolate –Brazil Nut Cake
    1-1/2 cups Brazilian nuts (about 7 oz)
    6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    ¾ cup Sugar
    ¼ cup all purpose flour
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
    ¾ cup (6 oz) unsalted butter slightly softened
    6 eggs separated, room temperature
    ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
    Chocolate Honey Frosting
    ½ cup whipping cream
    6 oz. semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
    6 tablespoons (3 oz.) unsalted butter, slightly softened but still cool
    3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey
    Garnish
    ¼ cup Brazil nuts chopped
    • Preheat oven to 350F(175C). 
    • Toast nuts in a shallow baking pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Transfer nuts into large strainer. Rub nuts against the strainer with a towel and remove most of the skin and keep aside.
    • Melt chocolate in double boiler or heatproof medium bowl over hot, not simmering, water over low heat, stirring occasionally until smooth, remove and set aside to cool.
    • Butter 9”x3” springform pan, line base with parchment paper and grease and flour the sides of the pan.
    • Grind the nuts with 2 tablespoons sugar into a fine powder. Transfer into a bowl and sift flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly.
    • Cream butter and 6 tablespoons of sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add one egg yolk at a time and beat till all 6 are blended and pale. Stir in the melted chocolate.
    • In another bowl beat egg white and cream of tartar in medium speed until it forms soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat till white are stiff and shiny but not dry.
    • Gently fold in 1/3 of the white into the chocolate flour mixture, repeat folding in batches until batter is blended.
    • Transfer batter into prepared pans and bake for 40 minutes or till the tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    • Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Using a spatula go around the cake gently and invert onto a cake rack and allow cooling completely.
    Frosting
    • Bring cream to a full boil in a small saucepan remove from heat and immediately.
    • Add the chopped chocolate. Stir quickly till the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature. 
    • Whip this at high speed till it thickens and becomes pale.
    • Cream butter in a medium bowl until it is soft and smooth, gradually add the chocolate mixture and honey and beat well
    • Using a long spatula spread frosting evenly on the side and top of the cake. 
    • Fill the center with chopped Brazil nuts.
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    TASTE & CREATE – HAWAIIAN COFFEE & CELERY SOUP

    Taste and Create was started as a food event by Nicole from For the Love of Food.  The whole purpose of Taste and Create was, and has been, and continues to be to create a community of bloggers who test each others’ recipes and share links. The participants of the event are paired together and try a new recipe from one another’s blog.
    This month I was paired with PJ from SEDUCE YOUR TASTEBUDS. I love being paired with someone I’ve never been paired with before I inevitably learn sooooooo much, and find great new recipes, but PJ and I have been paired several times and I still find lots of great new to me recipes.  I chose her HAWAIIAN COFFEE and CELERY SOUP recipes this time. It was really getting cold here so the combo of the coffee and the soup really appealed to me.

    PJ’s HAWAIIAN COFFEE

    Instant coffee powder – 1 teaspoon dissolved in a little hot water
    Thick coconut milk – 1 cup
    Sugar to taste

    1. Take coconut milk in a sauce pan and put in sugar. 
    2. Simmer for a few minutes till it bubbles on the side.Stir a couple of times in between.
    3. In a serving mug put in the dissolved coffee powder.
    4. Pour the coconut milk over it. Stir gently [ That way you will have a foamy and bubbly coffee]
    5. Enjoy your cup of Hawaiian coffee…….
    Note :

    • Instead of instant coffee powder, freshly brewed coffee can also be used
    • This coffee can also be served with a garnish of toasted / roasted [grated] coconut.
    • Another method of preparing this coffee is to simmer milk with grated coconut for 10-15 minutes. It is filtered into the mug.Add coffee and sugar. Mix and serve.

    PJ’S CELERY SOUP

    Celery- 5 stalks, chopped
    Potato-1, peeled and cubed
    Onion-1, chopped
    Garam masala- 1 teaspoon
    Vegetable stock-4 cups
    Coriander leaves- 1 tablespoon, chopped
    White sesame seeds-1 teaspoon
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Oil- 1 teaspoon
    Black sesame seeds – to garnish

    • Heat oil in a pressure cooker and put in onion, white sesame seeds, garam masala and sauté till onion is transparent.
    • Put in potato and celery and sauté for a minute. Add stock and pressure cook for 10 minutes.
    • Cool and puree.
    • Transfer the puree onto a pan and bring to a boil. Adjust consistency by adding more stock / water.
    • Put in coriander and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

    Serve hot garnished with black sesame seeds. I didn’t have any sesame seeds, but did add some ham pieces for my meat loving husband.

    Each month,it is fun creating dishes for  Taste and Create …Would you like to join ? Just email Min @ cowgirlmin07@gmail.com with your name, blog name and a link to your blog to sign up.
    Hope to see you in the next edition of Taste and Create…. 

     

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    CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN CAKE with ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING – BAKING PARTNERS CHALLENGE #3

    We are a group of home bakers helping each other to achieve baking perfection.  Baking partners was begun by Swathi at Zesty South Indian Kitchen.
    Baking a homemade bread, cake or cookies will give the best outcome. However in order to achieve the best results, a  perfect recipe and the right techniques are required.
    We are a small group of home baker friends, who love and want to learn more about the nook and corners of baking.  We are planning to try out recipes from books/magazines and cooking shows.  Every member gets a chance to present their choice of recipe and share important points with the rest of the group. The main purpose of this group is to learn the techniques, critic procedures if there are ways to improve and to eat delicious food. 

    This month’s theme is Pumpkin.  We were given 3 recipes to choose from; Reshmi of Easy Cook suggested Pumpkin chocolate chips Muffin from Joy of baking  which is  adapted form This Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe is adapted from Baking from the Heart, a collaborative cookbook with Michael J Rose or Priya R of Cook Like Priya suggested Chocolate pumpkin cupcake with orange cream cheese frosting from Country living (which is what I chose) or Julie of Erivum Puliyumm suggested a vegan pumpkin cup cake EGGLESS PUMPKIN CUPCAKES WITH SPICED BUTTER CREAM & CANDIED PECANS.

    BAKING PARTNERS CHALLENGE #3

    As with anything I cook, bake or create I base it on my families likes and dislikes along with what I have on hand that needs to be used up.  In this recipe I substituted lemon for orange because I have this amazing Lorann Professional Kitchen Lemon Bakery Emulsion. I also added a square of Baker’s semi-sweet baking chocolate. Good choices as this frosting turned out like eating candy.

    Chocolate Pumpkin cupcakes with orange lemon cream cheese frosting from Country living.  You can see the adaptation of this recipe here also.

    Serves: 18 Edit
    Yields: One 8-inch 3-layer cake or 36 cupcakes
    Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
    Oven Temp: 350˚

    2 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
    1 cup(s) good-quality cocoa
    2 tablespoon(s) good-quality cocoa
    1 tablespoon(s) baking powder
    1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
    2 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
    3/4 teaspoon(s) fresh-grated nutmeg
    3/4 cup(s) buttermilk
    1 1/2 cup(s) pumpkin purée
    1 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
    2 1/4 stick(s) unsalted butter, softened
    1 1/2 cup(s) (firmly packed) dark brown sugar
    1 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
    5 large eggs
    Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting, (see link below)

    • Prepare cake pans: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter three 8-inch cake pans and fit each bottom with an 8-inch circle of parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment paper. Set aside.
    • Make the batter: Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, blending well after each addition.
    • Bake the cake: Divide the batter among the pans and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean — about 35 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 20 minutes. Remove cakes and cool. (For cupcakes: Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in standard cupcake tins and fill each with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 22 minutes.)
    • Assemble the cake: Trim each of the layers. Place one layer on a cake plate and top with one third of the frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers. (To ensure that the cake layers do not shift, cut three skewers to 1/4 inch shorter than the full height of the cake and insert them before icing the top layer.) Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting (I used the frosting below)
    1 package(s) (8-ounce) cream cheese softened
    1/4 cup(s) (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    1 tablespoon(s) fresh orange juice
    1 teaspoon(s) grated orange zest
    1/2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
    4 cup(s) confectioners’ sugar
    1/4 teaspoon(s) orange food coloring

    Directions
    Blend the cream cheese ,butter, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla in a large bowl, using an electric mixer set at medium speed, until smooth.
    Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy — about 3 more minutes.

    CHOCOLATE LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING – this frosting turned out fabulous – like eating fudge!
    1 package 8-ounce cream cheese softened
    1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1 (1 ounce)  block Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate
    1 teaspoon Lorann Professional Kitchen Lemon Bakery Emulsion

    3 cups powdered sugar

    •  In a medium bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
    • Add lemon emulsion and vanilla.  Beat until well blended.
    • Add powdered sugar gradually until well blended and smooth.
    • Refrigerate 1 hour to set icing before serving.

    Tips & Techniques
    Start with chilled frosting and ice the layers to 1/2 inch from the edge to prevent too much dripping.

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