Sunday, January 31, 2010

Peach Upside-Down (Spelt) Cake

This is a great variation of the classic pineapple upside-down excellent cake for a smaller family or if you don't want to have a huge cake around the house. It is very yummy and it happens to be wheat-free as well! I took it to my parent's house for a visit today and it was about 3/4 gone by the time we left...
I got the recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book, page 381. (I substituted canned peaches for the fresh nectarines it calls for, but I am going to use them this summer -- that would be amazingly good!)

Nectarine Upside-Down Cake
Yield: One 8-inch square cake, 9 servings
Baking time: 45 minutes

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 large ripe nectarines (or canned cling peaches, drained)
2 tsp lemon juice

1 3/4 cups whole spelt flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract or almond extract (I used almond)
1/2 cup milk

To make the topping: Place the melted butter in an ungreased 8-inch square baking pan, tilting it to evenly coat the bottom. Mix together the brown sugar and spices, and sprinkle evenly over the melted butter. Slice the nectarines (or peaches) 1/4 inch thick (don't peel them). Lay the slices into the prepared pan and sprinkle with lemon juice. Set aside.

To make the batter: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light in color and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla (or almond) extract; scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is evenly combined. Stir in half the flour mixture, then the milk. Add the remaining flour mixture, stirring until the batter is evenly moistened and there are no dry or wet patches in it. Gently pour the batter over the fruit in the pan.

Bake until the cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Invert the pan onto a serving platter, and let sit for 1 minute before removing the pan. If any fruit sticks to the pan, use a spatula to carefully scrape it pff and replace it on the cake. Serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. (I served it plain and it was fabulous!)

Calories: 273 for 1/9th of the cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

So I know I made a chocolate bundt cake last week, but I swear this one is different...Well, just as interesting anyway! This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book, aka the best baking book ever, pages 426-427.
I think this is a good way to get someone to eat their vegetables! You'd never know that there is zucchini in this yummy chocolate cake.
Two things I messed up on -- I didn't peel the zucchini before shredding it in the food processor (it made the texture a little more chewy than it should have been -- ha ha -- but it does add more vitamins that way!) and I added too many chocolate chips to finish off my bag and I think it was too much.
So...follow the recipe and peel the zucchinis and you will have a scrumptious, moist, chocolatey bundt cake that is pretty healthy!
Also, the KAF book adds an optional glaze for this cake -- but it uses heavy cream, chocolate chips, and corn syrup, so I skipped it. A dusting of powdered sugar is all it needs, if anything!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
16 + servings

2 1/2 cups traditional whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp tsp salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter or vegetable oil, or applesauce
1/2 cup buttermilk (I use buttermilk powder and water)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 10-cup bundt pan or a 9x13 cake pan.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together the sugars and butter (or oil or applesauce) in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add half the dry ingredients, stirring until evenly moistened. Stir in the zucchini, then the remaining flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until the top springs back when lightly touched, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. If you have used a tube pan, lightly loosen the cake around the edges and center tube by pulling it gently away from the pan with your fingers or running a thin, flexible spatula down the sides, then put the rack on top of the pan and flip everything over. Remove the pan and cool the cake completely. If you've used a 9x13 pan, you can either serve it from the pan or invert the cake onto a serving platter.
When completely cool, you can sprinkle with powdered sugar for a pretty display, if you like.

Maple Whole Wheat Muffins

These are a variation of a recipe in the Pillsbury Best Muffins and Quick Breads Cookbook. I made them a little (maybe a LOT) healthier...and my husband even liked them. I used imiatation maple extract, and I think maybe "real" maple extract or maple syrup (?) would be better...I must admit I didn't LOVE these, but they were okay...I'll have to experiment a bit more with them.

Whole Wheat Maple Muffins (Italics are my changes)
Prep Time: 15 minutes (ready in 40 minutes)
Yield: 12 muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup skim milk
3/4 cup applesauce
2 tbsp maple flavor
1/2 cup chopped dates (I didn't add)

1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp maple flavor
enough milk to make it spreadable

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with papers or spray with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix well.
In small bowl, beat egg until foamy. Add 1/2 cup milk, applesauce, oil, and 2 tbsp maple flavor; blend well. Add to flour mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in dates, if applicable. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake at 375 degrees for 19 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan.
In small bowl, blend all glaze ingredients, adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle (I brushed on the glaze with a silicone pastry brush) over warm muffins. Serve warm.

Calories per muffin: 170

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chocolate Barley Bundt Cake

My first thought when I saw this recipe online was "that can't possibly taste good and turn out like a real chocolate cake". (Besides the fact that I found it on a website called - yikes). As much as I like "Mother Earth" I can't say that just anything coming out of her would make a great chocolate cake (such as barley flour...) But I made this recipe yesterday for my sister, who is allergic to wheat and some dairy products...It is really awesome! The cake looks beautiful, is moist and spongy, and tastes great! My husband even said he couldn't tell it was different from a "normal" recipe.

I did make a few small changes -- added 1 tsp instant espresso powder to the ingredients (it enhances the chocolate flavor; doesn't make it taste like coffee at all), and 1/2 tsp espresso powder to the glaze.

I think next time I will experiment a little bit...add some almond extract in with the vanilla, and sprinkle some slivered almonds on top; add some maraschino cherries to the mix, and put some on top; Nutella glaze (!); coffee many yummy things to try!

Chocolate Barley Bundt Cake
Time: about 1 1/2 hours
Serves 12
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp instant espresso powder
3/4 cup boiling water
1 3/4 cups barley flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil (or vegetable oil)
7 large eggs, separated
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
For icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
3-6 tbsp milk

Generously spray a 10-cup bundt pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and take out a rack, if necessary, so the bundt pan can fit on the lowest rack.
In a small bowl, stir cocoa and espresso powder into boiling water until smooth, then let cool completely. In a large bowl, whisk the barley flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In the center of the bowl, make a well and add in order -- oil, egg yolks, the cocoa mixture, and vanilla. Beat with spoon until smooth.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. Fold a fourth of the whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest. Pour into prepared bundt pan. Bake on the lowest rack for 60-65 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes in the pan before running a table knife around the edges and then inverting the cake onto a cake plate.

When the cake is completely cooled, stir together the powdered sugar and cocoa (and espresso powder) in a bowl, then stir in the vanilla and milk. Add just enough milk to make a thick glaze that can be drizzled over the cake. Drizzle the glaze over the cake with a spoon. Let dry for a few minutes before cutting with a serrated knife.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Crab Cakes!

I'm really not much of a seafood person (pretty much the only type of food I don't like), but I like crab cakes...the handful of times I've had them. I found this recipe on Recipezaar (#143794) and SEVERELY altered it to make it more to my (and darling husband's) liking...the following is my version, which turned out GREAT, if I do say so myself!
Muffin-Tin Crab Cakes
Time: 45 minutes, 20 minutes prep
Serves 6
1 pound crab meat, preferably fresh-cooked and pasteurized, not canned or imitation crab meat
2 cups fresh whole wheat bread crumbs (see How to Make)
1/2 tsp onion granules
1/4 cup sour cream (fat-free is fine)
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F; generously coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray. Mix crabmeat, breadcrumbs, onion granules, sour cream, eggs, egg white, chili powder, celery salt, and pepper in a bowl until well combined.
Divide mixture evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake until crisp and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with tartar sauce...and oven-baked french fries!
How to Make Fresh Whole-Wheat Breadcrumbs:
Tear crusts from 5-6 pieces of whole wheat bread, tear into pieces and process in a food processor until they are coarse crumbs.

Cranberry-Orange Bread

Cranberry-Orange Bread...I wanted to try different flavor combinations and I found this recipe on Recipezaar (#4058) and just changed the flour to some white whole wheat and omitted the walnuts.
Time: 1 1/4 hours, 10 minutes prep (depending on how you chop the cranberries!)
Serves 20
1 tbsp orange zest
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 cup walnuts (optional, I didn't add them)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan and have it ready. In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another small bowl, beat eggs lightly with a whisk or fork, then stir in melted butter, orange peel, and orange juice.
Add the wet mixture to the flour mix, and stir with a spoon until the batter is just mixed, then fold in the cranberries and walnuts (if using). Batter will be stiff.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out fairly clean (a crumb or two can stick to it but you don't want wet batter.)
Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan to finish cooling on the wire rack.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf...

...counts as baking because it's made in a loaf pan! Ha ha. Well, I made this for dinner after I got home from work today and it turned out really well. And my picky husband even liked it (well, he will eat any meat known to man, so not that shocking, I guess)! I got the recipe from Recipezaar (surprising, I know), it's #8803. I would encourage you to try it even if you're not crazy about meat loaf (I'm not really), but it's very light and has a good flavor.

Time: 1 hour (15 minutes prep)
Serves: 7-8 (or a little more than 2 people's dinner and lunch the next day)

1 lb ground turkey (my package was 1.25 lbs)
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, any flavor (Our favorite is Jack Daniels Original)
1 medium onion (I used 1/2 tsp onion granules)
3 slices turkey bacon (FYI they're mainly for decoration, you can't cut through them...)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash hands before touching ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, onion (chopped in small pieces), and barbecue sauce.

Mix well with your hands.

Spray the inside of a loaf pan (I used 9x5) with non-stick cooking spray. Put the mixture in the loaf pan and mold it to form a loaf. Then spread a light coating of barbecue sauce over the top of the meatloaf and lay the bacon strips on top. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Best Banana Bread

This is another recipe I adapted from a Recipezaar original (#50022). It's probably so good because it has so much butter, but oh well. You only live once. This makes a great gift, perfect baked in aluminum mini loaf pans. The original recipe states that it yields 1-2 regular loaves (I'm assuming 9x5) or 3 mini loaves, but I just mixed it up and I used 4 of the disposable aluminum mini loaf pans.

Time: 1 1/2 hours; 10 minutes prep
Serves: at least 12-16, depending on your pan usage and slicing technique :)

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 overripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used powdered Baker's Secret buttermilk substitute and water)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar by hand. Mash bananas and add by hand to creamed mixture. By hand, add eggs, vanilla, baking soda, flours, and salt. Gently stir in buttermilk and chocolate chips.

Pour into greased loaf pan(s). Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 1/4 hours for large loaf pans, around 45-50 minutes for mini loaf pans.

Let cool in pan(s) for 5-10 minutes (5 for mini pans, 10 for larger ones). Then, run a butter knife around the inside of the pan and tip the loaf out onto the rack to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Another buttermilk substitute: Put 1 tsp vinegar in a 1/2 cup measuring cup and fill to the top with milk. Let rest for 5 minutes before adding to the recipe.

Nutella Swirl Ring

For anyone who loves Nutella! This recipe is adapted from one I found on Recipezaar (#63019).
This takes a bit of time but my partially whole-grain version turned out well. The texture is probably a bit different from the original -- it reminds me more of a scone -- but still delicious!

Time: 2 1/4 hours; 1 1/2 hours prep
Serves 12 (mine made 13 - oops)

1/2 cup warm water
1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast
4 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
1 cup nutella, warmed slightly
2 tbsp water, for brushing

In large bowl, with electric mixer, stir 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt. Add 1 cup all purpose flour and the butter, mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add the remaining flour (both kinds), mix for an additional 2 minutes.

Grease a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough in it, turning it over once. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 1/2 hours, or until almost double in bulk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

When the dough has risen fully, punch it down and transfer it to a floured surface. (I used a silicone baking mat on the counter for rolling it out.)

To warm the Nutella: put the one cup of Nutella in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 5 seconds

Roll the dough out to a 12x16 rectangle and spread evenly with the warmed Nutella, leaving a one-inch band around the edge bare. Beginning at the long end, tightly roll up the dough like a newspaper, forming a 16 inch log.

Brush the ends with water and bring them together to form a ring. Transfer ring to prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, slice the ring into 12 individual buns - being careful not to cut all the way through so that the buns are still connected, allowing 1 inch between each slice. Gently separate them, so they rest against each other like dominoes.

Brush the ring with 2 tbsp water (I used maybe half of it and they looked pretty soaked to me) and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tbsp sugar.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown (with whole wheat it will be a bit darker).

Let cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Lowdown on Types of Whole Grains and their Uses

I would imagine that traditional whole wheat flour is the most common whole grain used in baking today. But I have recently become aware of several variations of whole wheat flour, and other grains that are very healthy and taste great in all kinds of baking. Here's a little of what I have found out:

Traditional Whole Wheat Flour- is the all-purpose flour of the whole grain world. It can be used for anything from cookies to sandwich breads to pizza crusts. This variety may be a bit bold or "heavy" for some tasks, where white whole wheat flour might be better suited.

White Whole Wheat Flour- is not a mix of white flour and whole wheat flour, as I thought at first. It is flour made from white wheat, as opposed to red wheat that traditional whole wheat flour is made from. This flour is lighter in color and texture than traditional whole wheat flour. The brand I use is King Arthur Flour Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour.

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour - is made from soft whole wheat, and has a finer texture than traditional or white whole wheat flours, which are both milled from hard wheat berries. As its name implies, whole wheat pastry flour is great for...pastries (of course)...and muffins, biscuits, pancakes, and scones - anything where you want a more tender crumb and less chewy texture.

Oats and Oat Flour - Oats work very well in yeast breads, are excellent in cookies, scones, and streusels, and on their own as oatmeal. Oat flour is too dense to work in foam cakes like genoise or jelly rolls, but is fine in stir-together cakes and many other desserts.

Whole Cornmeal -works best with quick breads, flat breads, and tortillas. It combines well with rye and whole wheat, making excellent breads and cakes.

Barley Flour -Not much baking is done with barley alone; it is almost always paired with wheat flour in baked goods. It works well in goods not requiring a lot of structure -- cookies, sparingly in muffins, quickbreads, cakes, piecrusts, etc. -- and very sparingly in yeast breads that you want to rise quite a bit.

Rye Flour - can have a "gummy" quality that doesn't disappear by baking it. Rye can be used in crackers, waffles, and biscuits fairly well. Rye bread is challenging to make, but can be done successfully -- though it may take several tries to get a rye bread you like!

Spelt Flour - The key to working with spelt flour is letting it rest -- to soak in liquid, let it out, and re-absorb it again. With this rest (overnight in the fridge is sometimes necessary), spelt is excellent in cookies, muffins, cakes and yeast breads - with a little babying involved.

Buckwheat - has a strong flavor and no gluten in it, making it necessary to combine with another flour for baking. It is not suitable for cakes or quickbreads, but much better in biscuits and pancakes.

Rice and Rice Flour - is also gluten-free, so combining it with other whole grain flours is often helpful (unless you are on a gluten-free diet!) Baked goods made with rice flour do tend to be crumbly, but rice flour can be good in cookies and crackers.

Amaranth - another gluten-free grain, made of tiny seeds of a leafy plant. It is usually paired with other flours to help it out. It has a high oil content, and can go rancid if not used fairly quickly.

Teff -another gluten-free grain, long used as a staple grain in Ethiopia. In the US, it is generally used as an additive to other flours in a recipe, and not on its own.

Triticale - does have gluten, but is more delicate and decomposes faster. It can be used in breads and other baked goods.

Quinoa - another "seed-grain" that is gluten-free; but must be rinsed thoroughly before cooking (the seeds are covered in a bitter, soapy-tasting substance that repels birds and other potential pests). The flour can be used for gluten-free baking.

Millet - gluten-free and usually used in combination with other flours in baking, though it does give baked goods a soft, crumbly texture. It is usually prepared whole in porridge or pilaf, but sometimes in flatbreads.

Kamut - is a type of wheat, related to the durum wheat mentioned above, and can be used almost interchangeably for whole wheat flour. However, kamut has not yet caught on as a crop or as an ingredient, and can be considerably hard to find.

Source: King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking, 2006.

Well, since tomorrow is a holiday and I have neither work nor school, I expect to be back on here with another recipe or two and more pictures of my adventures in baking!

Good night!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lemon Poppyseed Bread

Good afternoon! I have started this blog to keep track of my adventures in baking, and also to encourage others to have their own. I hope to post at least once a week, with recipes and pictures of what worked and what didn't.

Today's recipe is Lemon Poppyseed Bread, from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book, pages 49-50.

Yield: One 9x5 inch loaf, 16 servings
Baking temp: 350 degrees F
Baking time: 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour (I didn't have any so I put some old-fashioned oats in the blender! It worked fine!)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp grated lemon zest (I only had 1 tbsp but it worked out fine, again)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup lemon yogurt
1/4 cup poppy seeds
Lemon glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp milk
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the flours with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions. Add the lemon zest, then one-third of the dry ingredients. Add the lemon juice, then another third of the dry ingredients. Mix in the yogurt and poppy seeds, then the remaining dry ingredients.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and cool in the pan 15 to 20 minutes. After that time, run a table knife around the edge of the pan, and tip the bread out. Return the bread to the rack to cool completely before glazing.
To make the glaze: Whisk together all the ingredients until smooth. Brush or drizzle over the top of the cooled bread just before serving.

Nutritional info: 204 calories per slice, 14g whole grains