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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

As a fan of baking, I collect cooking magazines...Actually, I can't stay away from them! I try not to go to the bookstore, because I want ALL of them, and then I end up spending tons of money, on something I'm probably never going to use! Why not use? Well because I have soooo many magazines and cookbooks, that if I were to cook 1 new thing every day, I'd probably turn 70 and still be cooking from what material I have at home. Therefore I decided to try something new from the magazines I already have for a while, until I get bored of the same ol' pictures, and then I can treat myself with a new magazine!

So this past week, I baked something out of GoodFood: Peach, Pistachio and White Chocolate Pound Cake. I saw the picture, forgot it's not really PEACH season just yet, and read the reviews. I am a sucker for bad reviews. I always want to "fix" the recipe. Or pretend that I did. If I ran across a not-so-good-recipe, I always try it twice! Just to make sure that it wasn't me, it was the recipe.

This is how the story went:
I looked for peaches. EVERYWHERE! There aren't any at the moment, duh! So I broke my most basic rule: The first time you make the recipe, follow it EXACTLY! There goes that. I went for nectarines. See, once I had picked out the recipe, I couldn't let it go for a later month. Nope! I had to bake it NOW! So I found some really expensive nectarines that were imported from Africa and started out my recipe.
The reviews on the website keep repeating that this was a very VERY dense cake. I thought to myself...maybe they didn't beat the butter until it was really fluffy? Or maybe they measured wrong? So I made sure I beat my butter until really pale and fluffy, I made sure I measured everything precisely.

I baked to the last second according to the instructions of the recipe. And voia-la!! A good looking cake! I let it cool, and while it was cooling, I beat the frosting. Yogurt with white chocolate and pistachios sounds just like heaven slathered on a cake!
Meanwhile, my husband was smelling all the good smells and whining "Must I really wait until it COMPLETELY cools to eat?" So I gave in...I told him we could have some.
As soon as it was safe for the frosting to go on top of the cake, I spread it and sprinkled with the pistachios.

Looking goooooood!!! Aham. It also tasted great and not dense at all! I was happy with the results...only...the next evening I tried to eat a slice? Well, that's when it was dense. Like, SUPER dense! My husband ate the rest of the cake within the week, but I found it too dense. The reviewers were right, but I still had to give it a try!

I also must mention that I don't see the point of the grated white chocolate INSIDE the batter. It was completely lost by everything else.

But what I will tell you is that the icing of the cake tasted great. What I will do is use that as a dipping sauce for fresh fruit. I think that is the best use I could get out of this cake!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It's been a looooong time!!!

Ok everyone! I know.. it has been forever since I last posted like, anything! No-Thing!
I will catch you up on what I'm doing, and share a yummy recipe with you!

For many reasons, I have discontinued selling my yummy baked goodies! I know, it is sad. The most prominent reason for that is that there was a dramatic raise to my ingredients' cost, but I decided that for the moment, I didn't want to raise my prices. And because of that, I would be left with a dent in my pocket instead of a profit, so I stopped selling for a little while. Just a bit ;)
BUT! That doesn't mean I stopped baking all together!!! On the contrary! Since I stopped baking for orders, it means I have more time to experiment with new delicious recipes!

The latest one is a Peanut Butter Cream Pie! I love PB and my husband loves bananas. So I whipped this up:

Yummy, right? I know! I was pretty amazed myself. 
Now for the newcomers to this blog, I must re-state that I live in Cyprus. A tiny island with little resources. So when the recipe called for Honey Roasted Peanuts for the crust and there were nowhere to be found in the grocery stores I shop, I had to make them! I'm pretty sure if I went to a nuts and dried fruit place I could find some, but they are usually too flavorful and would overpower the crust. 
Therefore, I made some at home. Pretty easy I must say (recipe to follow). 
But to give you an explanation of what you are looking at, it is a crust with digestive cookies and honey roasted peanuts, a layer of chocolate ganache, topped with sliced bananas, only to be covered with whipped peanut butter and heavy cream. I thought I'd give an effect to the picture by adding some chocolate syrup and some of my homemade peanuts ;)

I made some other pretty things during this time (not only to the eye, but also to the tummy). I told myself I will try my best to post once per week with a new recipe I tied. This way I can share pictures with you and also share my thoughts, like a diary :)
I also want to share some tips and things, like substituting ingredients with others that are easier to find in small countries or small towns, or how to prepare things at home. 

For example, I haven't found graham crackers in Cyprus!! I know! No s'mores for me :(. I did find some graham flour though. I have it on my to-do list to bake some graham crackers from scratch, but that list is veeeeery long. So hopefully I will get there one day. But that's the reason my crust has digestive cookies instead of graham crackers. Digestive cookies don't always work, but in this case, they were great. 

Here is how you can make Honey Roasted Peanuts at home:

This is what you'll need:
  • 2 cups peanuts (cooked and peeled-you can find them already peeled, so no worries on that)
  • 2 tbsp or 30 grams butter (I use salted for these)
  • 2 tbsp honey (you can use 3 tbsp if you want to, depending on how sweet you want your peanuts to turn out)
  • 1 tsp salt (optional, I will explain why)
It's easy as 1-2-3. Melt the butter with the honey on a small pan on the stove top. Toss with the peanuts. Place the covered peanuts on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350F/175C for about 10 minutes, stirring at 3 minute intervals (just to make sure you don't burn the peanuts!)

Now for the salt.. the reason I said it is optional is: If you are going to eat these with a nice iced cold glass of beer? Salt is a must! But since I were to use these ground in a crust, I didn't want to add salt to them since the peanut butter is already salty. So it really depends what you are going to use them for, or according to your taste. 

There are 2 ways you can incorporate the salt:
1. You can add it while the honey and the butter are being melted, or, 
2. You can toss the peanuts after you baked them. 

And the last step is, once you take the peanuts out of the oven, to keep stirring them occasionally while they are cooling, until they don't stick to each other anymore. OR, you can do what I did: let them stick together, and have the leftovers as a big chunky "praline" looking thing of peanuts :)

Don't forget to check out my Facebook page for more pretty pictures ;)