Strawberry-Basil Sauce

Great on pound cake or strawberry shortcake.

  • 200g strawberries
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 6 basil leaves

Put the strawberries, jam sugar and lemon juice in a medium pan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes, until the strawberries have softened and started to break down. Add the basil leaves, then use a hand-held blender to blitz until smooth. Pour the jam into a bowl and leave to cool.

 

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Curry powder 1

  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or ground chilies)

 

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Millionaire Bars

A buttery pecan shortbread topped with caramel and a thin layer of chocolate. 

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Shortbread base:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • ¾ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Caramel layer:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water (I used whiskey but the flavor did not come through at the end)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate layer:

  • 6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 11” tray/pan.

Toast pecans in oven 7-10 minutes. Let cool. Blitz until finely chopped.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Mix in pecans. Dump into prepared pan and spread out evenly. Press or roll flat in the pan, about ½” thick. Chill for 30 minutes.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Make caramel. Follow these directions and read the notes. Steps are repeated below, but the notes on the link are really helpful. I used a bit more cream and heated to 260°F.

  1. Melt the butter in the cream.Place the cream, butter, and salt in the 2-quart saucepan and heat over low heat until the butter melts. Remove from the heat, but keep the pan close by.
  2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water.Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in the larger 4-quart saucepan. Stir until the sugar is evenly moistened and it forms a thick, grainy paste. Wipe down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush so there are no sugar crystals above the surface of the sugar mixture. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan so that the heat sensor is immersed in the sugar. Do not stir the sugar after this point. Note: The large saucepan is necessary because the sugar will bubble up and triple in size when you add the cream. Do not use a smaller pan.
  1. Cook the sugar syrup.Place the sugar mixture over medium to medium-high heat. Let the sugar syrup come to a boil without stirring. At first, you will see small bubbles around the edge of the pan, which will eventually move inward. Around 250°F, the sugar syrup will turn transparent and boil rapidly. Around 320°F, the syrup will darken slightly and smell caramel-like. You can proceed to the next step any time after the syrup reaches 250°F and before it reaches 325°F. Note: If your instant-read thermometer isn’t quite submerged into the sugar, you may need to tilt the pan to get an accurate reading. Simply tilt the pan by the handle until the thermometer is submerged a few inches in the sugar syrup. If the syrup hasn’t reached 250°, wipe down the sides with a pastry brush again. If it has, there’s no need.
  1. Whisk in the cream and butter.Turn off the heat under the sugar syrup. While whisking gently, slowly pour the warm cream and butter mixture into the sugar syrup. The sugar syrup will bubble up and triple in size. Stop whisking once all the milk and butter mixture has been added.
  2. Heat the caramel to 245°F to 250°F.Return the pan to medium to medium-high heat. Let the caramel come to a boil without stirring. It will start off as a soft buttery yellow and eventually darken to reddish-brown caramel. Remove from the heat when the caramel reaches 245°F to 250°F.
  3. Whisk in the vanilla.Quickly whisk the vanilla into the caramel.

Pour caramel over shortbread base. Let set until firm.

Melt chocolate in bowl over simmering water. Remove from heat and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.
Spread chocolate over the cooled caramel. Allow to set. Cut into bars.

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Marzipan Pound Cake

  • 125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 65g marzipan, coarsely grated
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder

 

Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4.

 

Make the sponge. Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in a stand mixer fitted with the beater, on medium speed until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition, then add the grated marzipan and beat again to combine.

 

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder, then add this to the mixture in the stand mixer and beat to combine.

 

Spoon sponge mixture evenly into the loaf. Tap the tin to level the mixture, then bake for 35 minutes, until firm to the touch.

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Turkey-Spinach Korma

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon homemade “curry powder”
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (original recipe called for yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound 99%-lean ground turkey
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for topping (optional)
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, for serving

Puree half of the onion, 2 tablespoons water, the ginger, garlic, curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until almost smooth; set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the remaining onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and tender, about 3 minutes. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Add the onion-spice mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until dry, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the spinach and the sour cream (or yogurt). Cook, stirring, until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Serve over rice with more yogurt and topped with cilantro.

 

 

 

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Eclairs!

This was lifted from the Great British Bakes — I didn’t want to lose it.  I was concerned about the lack of any salt but when all done it is perfect. The only change I made was to halve the icing and omit coffee in icing.

METHOD

Step 1
Make the crème pâtissière. Heat the milk and cream together in a pan over a low heat until simmering.

Step 2
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla, caster sugar and cornflour, then pour the hot milk mixture over, whisking continuously until smooth.

Step 3
Return the mixture to the pan, then whisk it over a low heat until thickened. Pour the crème pâtissière onto the baking tray and cover with cling film. Leave to cool completely.

Step 4
Make the choux pastry. Pour 250ml of water into a pan and add the butter. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and stir to combine. Add the plain flour, then remove from the heat and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan.

Step 5
Spread the mixture on a plate and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6. (400 °F)

Step 6
Return the choux mixture to a bowl and add the beaten eggs a little at a time, until you reach a dropping consistency (the mixture will fall easily from the spoon in a blob).

Step 7
Draw 18 lines, each 10cm long, on the paper lining your baking sheet. Turn over the baking paper so that the lines are on the underside.

Step 8
Spoon the choux mixture into the large piping bag with the 1.25cm nozzle. Pipe 18 lines of choux on the lined baking sheet, using the pencil lines as a guide. Flatten any pointed ends with a damp finger. Bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and golden.

Step 9
Skewer a hole in the end of each bun to allow the steam to escape and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 10
While the buns are cooling, make the icing. Put all the ingredients in a bowl, then add enough water, a little at a time, to form a glossy, firm icing.

Step 11
Spoon the crème pâtissière into the medium piping bag with the small nozzle. Insert the end of the nozzle into the steam hole and evenly fill each bun.

Step 12
Use a spoon to spread icing over each bun and allow to set, then serve. (I dipped the top in.)

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Five Minute Chocolate Cake

Modified from “Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake!” by Deanna F. Cook

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  •  A few drops vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  •  A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Microwave the butter in a microwave-safe mug in 10-second increments until melted, 20 to 30 seconds. Crack the egg into a small bowl; add the vanilla and whisk to combine using a small whisk or fork. Pour the egg mixture into the mug over the butter and whisk to combine.
  2. Add the sugar, cocoa powder and salt and whisk until mostly smooth (a few lumps are O.K.). Scrape down the sides the best you can with a spoon or a small silicone spatula. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, if desired.
  3. Cook in the microwave on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.

Top with a little confectioners’ sugar  or ice cream, if desired.

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Chicken Posada

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 dried ancho chili, reconstituted in boiling water, then pureed
  • 1 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 3/4 cup Mexican cheeses, shredded, divided
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can (15 ounces each) golden hominy, drained
  • white meat from a roasted chicken, shredded
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  • In a small skillet, cook onion and green pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, sour cream, half of the cheese, milk, all the chilies and cumin. Stir in hominy. Stir in chicken. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Pour into a greased 2-qt. baking dish. bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
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Dutch Apple Pancake

  • 2 large or 3 small apples (peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons butter (melted)
  1. Heat the oven to 425 F. Put a cast iron or oven-proof 9- or 10-inch skillet in the oven.
  2. In a bowl, combine the apple slices with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; toss gently to coat well.
  3. In another bowl, whisk flour with salt.
  4. In a large cup or small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.
  5. Carefully take the hot cast iron pan from the oven, set it on a cooling rack, and add remaining butter; swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Careful – it may spatter.
  6. Arrange apple slices over the bottom of the pan.
  7. Pour batter over apple slices.
  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned.

This would make a great dessert with a little ice cream on top.

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Thin and Crispy Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups (195 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (70 g) natural, unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick, 110 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 egg (size large)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon molasses

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne.

In a stand-up mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and molasses. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a third at a time. When well mixed, remove the dough from the mixer, and form it into a ball. Dough will be stiff; if it is unworkable, add 1 tablespoon of water .  Then wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175° C). You can either roll the dough out and use a cookie cutter to make the cookies, or, if you refrigerated it in a log, slice off very thin slices. You are aiming for an even 1/8-inch thickness to make a crispy cookie.

Place cookies on a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet, allowing 1/2 inch between cookies on the cookie sheet.

Bake in the middle rack for 8 to 10 minutes, less or more, depending on the size and thickness of the cookies. The cookies should bounce back when you press on their centers. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing the cookies from the tray to cool completely on a rack.

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