Monday, 29 July 2013

Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins

It's here, it's finally here - blueberry season, what else?  So many blueberries, so little time.  First up, a recipe from the impossible to disappoint Joy the Baker.  I meant to try this one out last summer and never managed it.  And these need to be made with fresh berries.  These are easy, and so so good.  I don't know if it was the browned butter or the streusel topping but these are irresistible, and best fresh out of the oven.

I actually only had 1 cup berries left - so I tweaked the below recipe and made 8 muffins - and they are already all gone.  I left out the extra egg yolk (shhh!) and I also substituted the milk with half and half with a tidbit of water.  It's all good.  It's Saturday morning and we forgot to buy milk.

Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins
adapted from Joy the Baker

7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh blueberries

Streusel Topping
3 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until little brown specks appear in the pan. Watch it closely - seriously.  The butter will be crackling and sizzling, but this will subside and the butter will begin to brown. Pour into a small bowl and set aside to cool slightly.

Combine milk, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl. Once butter has cooled a bit, add it and stir.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add the milk and butter mixture all at once and continue to stir.  Gently fold in the blueberries.  Divide the batter among muffin cups. Batter will be quite thick.

For the streusel topping combine butter, flour, and sugar and crumble with your fingers. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the cups.  Be generous. It's tasty.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 18-20 minutes (or 25 if you bake it at 350 because you didn't read the recipe properly).  

Enjoy warm, with hot coffee, the paper, and a little dog snuggling on your lap. 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Pretty In Pink: Vanilla Ombre Birthday Cake

I was waiting for the perfect excuse to try out this beautiful cake...Happy Birthday Mom!

Pink Ombre Birthday Cake
recipe from Chatelaine, tips from Java Cupcake

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour                            
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

2/3 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
pink gel food colouring

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
pink gel food colouring

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 3 8-in. round cake pans* and line bottoms with parchment.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a
separate bowl, cream softened butter together with granulated sugar using a hand mixer. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in 1 tsp vanilla.  Add one-third of flour mixture, then add half the milk. Repeat, ending with flour mixture.

Divide batter into 3 bowls (about 1 1/3 cup each). Set 1 portion aside (do not colour). Using a toothpick or cake tester, add a tiny amount of gel food colouring to one bowl, and slightly more to the third bowl.  Add more, bit by bit, until desired colours are reached.  Pour each into a cake pan. 

Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted in centre of cakes comes out clean, about 16-18 minutes.  Cool in pans on a rack for 10 min, then turn cakes out onto rack. Remove parchment. Cool completely, about 30 min.

Cream 1 cup butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium.  Add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup icing sugar. Beat for 1 min. Reduce speed and beat in remaining sugar in 3 parts, alternating with milk (in 2 parts) and ending with sugar. Beat on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until fluffy and smooth, 1 to 2 min.

Assemble cake by setting the darkest pink layer on a cake stand.  Spread with 1/2 cup icing. Continue with remaining layers and icing, with white layer on top. Spread a thin layer of icing on sides and top of cake. This is called the crumb coat, and makes the ombre icing easier to apply.  Refrigerate until icing is firm, about 15 min.

Divide remaining icing into 3 bowls. Set 1 portion aside (do not colour). Using a toothpick or cake tester, add a tiny amount of gel food colouring to one bowl, and slightly more to the third bowl.  Add more, bit by bit, until desired colours are reached.  Spread the darkest pink icing around the bottom half of the cake. Spread the next-darkest shade of icing on the top half.  Spread white icing on top of the cake. With a spatula or icing knife, smooth the side of the cake, slightly merging the two colours of pink icing.  Smooth the top white icing over the edges, merging slightly with the lighter pink icing. 

*Original recipe calls for 4 round 6in pans, and 4 colours of cake and icing.  I couldn't find any 6in pans, so used 3 9 in pans.  If you are hoping for a big splashy sort of cake, I would recommend doubling the recipe as my cake layers came out quite thin. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


I have a weakness for sprinkle doughnuts......especially Hawaiian ones. You know, the vanilla yeast ones with white icing and the rainbow sprinkles.....apparently the addition of rainbow sprinkles makes anything Hawaiian.

I bought this doughnut pan a few weeks ago and finally got around to trying it out.

I googled some baked cake doughnut recipes - found one that sounded ok, made a few adjustments and hoped for the best.  I wasn't actually all that confident as I was spooning the batter into the pan, but.....These. Are. Amazing. Result is a light, fluffy cake doughnut with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg.

The sad fact of the matter is I didn't plan in advance to make doughnuts at 5pm on a Sunday so I didn't  have any rainbow sprinkles....gasp.  But I did have a multitude of other types of sugary sprinkley bits so pink and yellow it was, and they are darn pretty.  Next time, rainbow, next time.  And there will be a next time, these were so good.  I have to try chocolate ones next, and then pumpkin glazed, and then......

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk or cream
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1 1/2 tsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp hot water 

Makes 6 doughnuts - simply double the recipe for a dozen. 

Grease a doughnut pan and preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir in milk or cream, egg, vanilla and butter or margarine.  If the batter is too thick, add 1-2 more tbsp of milk, or if using cream, 1-2 tbsp of cold water. 

Spoon equally into 6 doughnut cups - mixture will be thick and sticky.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until doughnut spring back when touched.  Cool for a few minutes before turning doughnuts out of pan onto a rack.                     

For glaze, mix together icing sugar and water until desired consistency is reached.  Once doughnuts are cool, dip in glaze and then into sprinkles or sugar. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie

Happy July!  Whether you live in Canada or the United States, this is a week of summer festivities.  My parents traditionally host a Canada Day BBQ and this year I wanted to make something with strawberries.  I almost made a strawberry rhubarb crisp, but that kind of felt like cheating or slacking somehow.  Then I considered my Heavenly Strawberry Rhubarb pie, but some of the guests avoid dairy, so that wouldn't work. I settled on a crumble topped pie with a butter crust.  Never having attempted a butter crust before - no time like the present!

In the end, it turned out well (at least, my small sliver was tasty) and every last scrap was demolished. The consensus was that while this was delicious, the family favourite continues to be the Heavenly pie. The butter crust was different....I think I might have to try it out at least once more, but it was less fluffy and light than a crust made with shortening.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie
slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

Butter Pastry Crust
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
I was only able to snag this sad
picture of the last remaining sliver...
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup plus 1 to 2 tbsp cold buttermilk

2 cups rhubarb, sliced into small pieces
2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt

Crumble Topping
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup white sugar
large pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your
fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Mix together with a fork.  Add more buttermilk bit by bit as needed - the mixture should be moist but not wet.  Form a ball and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll out the pie crust on a well floured surface and place into a 9 inch pie pan.  Trim edges and make it all pretty.  Refrigerate for another 30-60 minutes. This is a good time to make the filling and topping.

Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, cornstarch and salt in a bowl and mix until the fruit is covered in the sugar and cornstarch mixture. It will start making its own juice.  (The original recipe calls for lemon juice, I didn't have any and didn't notice anything amiss).

Crumble Topping:
Combine flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Add the cold butter chunks and incorporate by hand, breaking down the chunks into smaller bits and pieces.   Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once the pie crust is chilled, mix a half cup of the crumble topping into the fruit mixture and fill the crust.  Top with the rest of the crumble topping.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 35 minutes or until topping is golden brown and pie juices are bubbling around the edges.
Make sure to place a baking sheet underneath the pie to catch the drips!

Let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.  Store covered in the fridge.

Can you spot my dog's little feet?