September 20, 2013

The Cake Slice Bakers September 2013 - Butterscotch Cream Roll-Up

As The Cake Slice baker's are nearing the end of baking from Julie Richardson's Vintage Cakes, I am finding myself a little melancholy. We have baked some wonderful cakes from this book and so far my favorites have been the Honey Bee Cake and the Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake. We still a couple of cakes to go, so who know which one will end up as my ultimate favorite. There were a couple of great choices this month, but the cake with the winning vote was the Butterscotch Cream Roll-Up. You have probably seen a traditional Swiss Roll/Jelly Roll but this cake flips the cake so that the roll is facing up.  How does she do that? Well it is easier than you think.

When I first saw the recipe for this cake I was a little intimidated as there seemed to be so many steps.  To my surprise all of the components of this cake came together very quickly, and before I knew it I was ready to attempt the roll. There was a short period of time when I thought I may just make a Jelly Roll out of the cake, but I am glad that I thought "no guts, no glory" and tackled it.  There is no easy way around it - your hands are going to get messy, but they are the best tools for the job. Once you have the center roll complete, the rest just seem to connect around it, and before you know it you are going to have a beautiful cake that all of your family and friends will ooh and aah over.

September 16, 2013

Melting Moments - #CreativeCookieExchange

Melting Moments how do I love thee, let me count the ways - melt-in-your-mouth, buttery, rich crumbs that shatter on the first bite, sweet vanilla buttercream, tart raspberry jam.  This cookie is definitely a match made in heaven, and that is why I choose it as my first post for the Creative Cookie Exchange.

The Creative Cookie Exchange was established by Laura (The Spiced Life) and Rebecka (At Home with Rebecka), with the idea that we will all have fun baking cookies together. Each month an ingredient or theme will be selected and then we will all be baking some amazing cookies and sharing them with you on our blogs.

The theme selected for this month is Back to School.  Whether it is a cookie that I have packed in their lunch boxes, or a special after school treat I just love making cookies for my girls.  They are in high school now, and have very busy schedules, but I just love the idea that I have sent them to school with a little treat that will remind them that I am thinking about them.  It is also a lot of fun to make a double batch and send the cookies to school for them to share with their friends (and it removes the temptation from me ;)).

The Melting Moment is a cookie that is very popular in Australia, where you will find them in grocery stores, cake shops, and cafes.  There appears to be two schools of thought with regards to the addition of jam, with some people stating that if you add jam it is actually called a Monte Carlo.  I saw this cookie being made on MasterChef Australia (which in my opinion is far superior to the format of the US MasterChef - the contestants are much nicer to one another and the judges more supportive) and I decided to add the raspberry jam as per the recipe, and I am glad that I did.

The only change I made to the original recipe (besides converting it from metric to imperial) was to make the cookies a bit smaller, although after sandwiching them together, I realized that I should have flattened them just a little more because they tended to roll around the plate. Next time I would flatten half of the cookies, and use a fork to indent the rest.  Also, I choose to make the raspberry jam, but you could certainly use store-bought, or even change the flavor if you wanted.  The recipe for the jam does produce more than enough to fill the cookies, so if you do not want leftovers, cut this in half. The recipe made about individual 22 cookies, so 11 when sandwiched together.

Melting Moments
(Printer Friendly Recipe)

Biscuits ~
  • ¾ cup butter (1½ sticks)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup custard powder (or cornstarch)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • powdered sugar, to serve
Vanilla Buttercream ~
  • 7 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Raspberry Jam ~
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon gelatin powder

Biscuits ~
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two oven trays with Silpats or parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter for two minutes.
  3. Add powdered sugar and custard powder (or cornstarch) and mix until combined. 
  4. Sift the baking powder and flour together then add to the dough and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. 
  5. Roll dough into 1 tablespoon-size balls, place on a baking paper lined baking tray and press each ball with a fork to leave an indent. 
  6. Bake biscuits for 14 minutes or until light golden. 
  7. Stand on trays 5 minutes to cool then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Make buttercream and jam while waiting for the cookies to cool.
  9. Place a spoonful of cooled jam on the base of half the biscuits. 
  10. Pipe buttercream in a circle onto the base of the other half of the biscuits. Gently press one of each biscuit together to form a melting moment.
  11. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Vanilla Buttercream ~
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer add butter and vanilla paste and mix until smooth. 
  2. Add powdered sugar and beat until mixture forms a paste, the consistency of thick icing. 
  3. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle.
Raspberry Jam ~
  1. Place raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook for 20-30 minutes on medium heat until thickened. 
  2. Mix gelatin powder with one tablespoon cold water together. 
  3. Remove the jam from the heat, stir through gelatin mixture. 
  4. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cool in the fridge.
Recipe from MasterChef Australia

Here's how you can be part of the Creative Cookie Exchange:

  • Write a blog post with recipe and original photo (please include some language here specific to that month's theme). We would like the recipe to be one you’re making for the first time, and photos must be original.
  • Post the Cookie Exchange badge somewhere on your blog so others can join in the fun ~

Creative Cookie Exchange

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes - be sure to check out our Facebook page, our Pinterest Board, and our monthly posts. You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration for this month's theme, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made so far ~

  • Pecan Chocolate Bars by Laura at The Spiced Life
  • Chocolate Chip Skillet Brownies by Rebecka at At Home with Rebecka
  • Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip by Stacy at Food Lust People Love
  • White Chocolate Oat Cookies by Renee at Magnolia Days
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies by Becca at It's Yummilicious
  • Fortune Cookies by Holly at A Baker's House
  • Whole Wheat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by Karen at Karen's Kitchen Stories
  • Orange Cookies by Kathya at Basic N Delicious
  • Melting Moments by Felice at All That's Left Are The Crumbs
  • Pumpkin Oatmeal Pecan Cookies by Sophie at If I Ever Owned A Bakery...
  • Peanut Butter No-Bakes by Miranda at Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt
  • Banana Apple (Banapple) Spice Cookies by Kim at Liv Life

  • September 10, 2013

    Double Chocolate Cherry Biscotti

    A few days ago I was doing my regular sweep of my favorite blogs and saw on Roxana's Home Baking that it was the 1st anniversary of the #chocolate party. I knew that I needed to join in on this fun event.  To celebrate we were asked to bake our family's favorite chocolate dessert.

    Is it weird that one of our favorite desserts is biscotti? I know that when most people think of their favorite chocolate dessert they don't necessarily think of cookies. Now don't get me wrong, I love an ooey, gooey, decadent chocolate dessert as much as the next person - for example these Mexican Chocolate Crunch Brownies - but I don't always have time for them during the week. Biscotti on the other hand is something that I can bake over the weekend and then enjoy with my coffee after dinner, or even crumble it over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. It is also the perfect treat for my girls to enjoy when they are craving something sweet, but not too big, as they finish off their homework.

    This biscotti is double the chocolate fun - cocoa and chocolate chips - and has dried cherries added to give them a little tartness.  I love chocolate and cherries together, as you would guess if you saw my secret stash of Cherry Ripe candy bars.  I can't tell you where I hide them because they are a prized possession in this household.  They are only available in Australia (or via mail-order which can be pricey) so I don't get them very often and I treat them like rations - open only in case of an emergency.

    I based my recipe on one that I use from The Craft of Baking. The original recipe contained walnuts which are great, but I subbed them out for dried cherries. Be warned that the dough for these biscotti is quite wet so you may look a little like you have been playing in mud by the time you have them shaped them on the baking sheet. Just make sure you have everything set up before you put your hands in the bowl. Also, I find that mini chocolate chips work best in this recipe, but I only had regular on hand so I went with that.  These biscotti will last up to three weeks in an airtight container at room temperature, but they are gone in our household well before then.

    The Chocolate Party is going on for the month of September and it is so easy to join in the fun.  All you have to do is bring your favorite chocolate dessert to Roxana's Home Baking #chocolate party and win amazing prizes from OXO, Calphalon, Keurig, Imperial Sugar, Honey Ridge Farms and Land O'Lakes Butter.  I can't wait to go and check all of the amazing chocolate treats that have been brought to the party.

    Double Chocolate Cherry Biscotti
    (Printer Friendly Recipe)

    • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
    • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
    • ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and at room temperature
    • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • ¼ teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup dried cherries
    • ½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

    1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
    2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cocoa, both sugars, butter, baking soda, and salt. Beat on low speed until all ingredients are well combined and the butter is no longer visible (about 4 minutes).
    3. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla.
    4. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on low speed to combine.
    5. Add the dried cherries and chocolate chips and beat to combine.
    6. Turn out the dough on a generously floured work surface and divide in half. Shape each portion into a 16x2-inch log, and carefully transfer each one to the prepared baking sheets.
    7. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the logs are firm to touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer the logs, still on the parchment paper, to a wire rack and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300℉.
    8. Transfer the warm logs to a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into ⅓-inch-thick slices.
    9. Arrange the slices, cut side up, on the parchment covered baking sheet.
    10. Bake for 30 minutes and remove baking sheets from the oven and flip each biscotti piece over.
    11. Return baking sheets to the oven and continue to bake for another 30 minutes and the biscotti are dry and firm to touch.
    12. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the biscotti cool completely.

    Recipe adapted by ATLATC from The Craft of Baking.

    September 05, 2013

    Banana-Caramel Bundt Cake #BundtaMonth

    I am so excited that I have been able to join the BundtaMonth group.  This group formed out of the love of bundt cakes and, seriously, who doesn't love a good cup of coffee and a slice of bundt cake? It would seem that I joined right at the right time as they are celebrating their anniversary so the theme is "fancy". I look forward to both baking along with the group and getting to know everyone a little better.

    To be honest I was a little nervous about what I should bake to celebrate this occasion. You know, kind of like the first day of school or a new job where you want to make a good impression and fit in with everyone?  Since I had recently purchased a new cookbook, The Australian Women's Weekly 100 Classic Cakes, and I am originally from Australia, I thought it would be fun to see if I could find something there that might work.  There were a couple that caught my eye but I finally settled on the Banana-Caramel Bundt Cake. Splitting a bundt into three layers and smothering each one with banana and dulce de leche seemed to suggest a special occasion.

    If you have not had the pleasure of tasting dulce de leche I suggest you immediately go out and find it, and then try not to just stick your spoon in and eat it straight from the can.  Dulce de leche has only recently become available in my area, but if you cannot find it there is a method to make it from a can of condensed milk.  One time I even made it without even knowing as I left a can of condensed milk in the back of a warm cupboard and when I opened it I found it had become dulce de leche.

    The original recipe for this Banana-Caramel Bundt Cake did include whipped cream in the layers too, but I was not intending to eat the cake the same day so I omitted this. After slicing a small piece I will say that I found the cake a little on the dry side.  To alleviate this problem I will probably substitute the milk for some buttermilk to see if it can add some moistness to the cake. Other than that it was quite decadent.


    Here’s how you can be a part of Bundt-a-Month:
    • Simple rule: Bake us a fancy bundt
    • Post it before September 30, 2013
    • Use the #BundtaMonth hashtag in your title. (For ex: title could read – #BundtaMonth: Fancy Bundt)
    • Add your entry to the Linky tool below
    • Link back to our announcement posts

    Even more bundt fun! Follow Bundt-a-Month on Facebook where we feature all our gorgeous bundt cakes. Or head over to our Pinterest board for inspiration and choose from hundreds of Bundt cake recipes.

    And don't forget to check out the wonderful "fancy" bundts baked by my fellow BundtaMonth bakers in celebration of our anniversary.

    Banana-Caramel Bundt Cake
    (Printer Friendly Recipe)

    • 6oz butter, softened
    • 1¼ cups sugar
    • 3 eggs, at room temperature
    • 2¼ cups self-rising flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1¼ cups mashed banana
    • ⅓ cup milk
    • 1 13.4oz can dulce de leche
    • 1 large banana, thinly sliced
    • powdered sugar to dust

    1. Preheat oven to 350℉.  
    2. Spray a bundt pan with baking spray.
    3. In a large bowl place flour, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine.  Set aside.
    4. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
    5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
    6. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour.
    7. Using a spatula, gently fold in the banana.
    8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Rap the pan firmly on the counter to release any air bubbles. 
    9. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until the cake is a deep golden color and a wooden skewer poked in the middle comes out just barely clean, about 50 minutes.
    10. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
    11. To assemble the cake thinly slice the banana.  Split the cake into three layers and spread the bottom layer of the cake with half of the dulce de leche and top with half of the banana slices. Place the middle layer of the cake on top and repeat with the next layer using the remaining caramel and banana slices.  Top with the remaining layer and dust with icing sugar before serving.

    Recipe slightly adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly 100 Classic Cakes.

    September 04, 2013

    Peanut Butter Pretzel Chubby Tates

    Heaven help me if there is an open container of peanut butter filled pretzels in my household. They sing like a siren beckoning me to them and I am just not able to resist their sweet-salty deliciousness.  I don't buy them all that often, but when I do it is usually because one of my girls has been shopping with me and somehow they end up in my cart. The safest thing is not to have them around for too long so they are bagged as snacks for school, taken to the movies (shhhh!), and in this case used in baking cookies.

    One of my favorite cookie recipes is the Chubby Tates from Tate's Bake Shop - Baking for Friends.  I decided to add one of my favorite snacks to one of my favorite cookies, and the Peanut Butter Pretzel Chubby Tates were born.  In the cookbook, the author Kathleen King suggests that you eat them while they are still warm and I would definitely second this.  One bite of the a warm cookie fills your mouth with crumbly cookie, melted chocolate, and gooey peanut butter and sends your taste buds into another universe.  Add an ice-cold glass of milk and I am set.  Another option would be to sandwich these cookies around some ice cream.  Flavors such as vanilla, peanut butter, chocolate, or banana come to mind and all would be excellent choices.

    These cookies freeze very well, and with the holiday season fast approaching I think I just may bake another batch and do just that.  I discovered that if I scoop them out onto a cookie sheet and freeze them individually and then store them in a plastic freezer bag - rather than placing the the whole dough in the freezer - I will be able to grab as many as I want to bake quickly if friends drop by.

    Peanut Butter Pretzel Chubby Tates

    • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour or bread flour 
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
    • 1 teaspoon salt 
    • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) salted butter, at room temperature 
    • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed 
    • ½ cup granulated sugar 
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 large egg, at room temperature
    • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
    • 2 cups chocolate chips
    • 1 cup peanut butter filled pretzels

    1. Preheat oven to 325℉. Line two sheet pans with Silpat liners or parchment paper. 
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt, set aside. 
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, brown sugar and sugar and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. 
    4. Beat in the vanilla, egg yolk and egg. Scrape down bowl and turn the mixer to low speed. 
    5. Add the flour mixture and mix till just combined.
    6. Mix in the chocolate chips and the pretzels, and turn the mixer up to high for about 30 seconds to break up the pretzels.
    7. Using an ice cream scoop or two tablespoons, drop cookie dough onto prepared sheet pans 3 inches apart. 
    8. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown.
    9. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
    10. Repeat with the remaining dough on cool baking sheets.

    Recipe slightly adapted from Tate's Bake Shop Baking for Friends.