Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

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Strawberry Shortcakes

July 24, 2011

Finding time to sit down and add some strawberry recipes hasn’t been easy lately. Between the garden, a baby ‘on the move’ and having the flu I haven’t had much ambition but have no fear; I’m on the mend, my house is babyproofed and my husband is a garden/housework superstar!!! I was hoping to have this posted before strawberry season is over and I think I’m just making the cut. Today is my favorite Strawberry Shortcake recipe and later in the week, strawberry popsicles!

Strawberry Shortcakes

This is adapted from another one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes. I LOVE it!!!!! The biscuits are delicious, just the right amount of sweet!

FOR THE SHORTCAKES:

  • 325g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, frozen (1 stick + 1tbsp.)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 1 quart of strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Few drops balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup prepared whipped cream

 METHOD: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl. Grate the butter into these dry ingredients and use your fingertips to finish crumbling  it  into the flour. Whisk the egg into the cream, and pour into the flour mixture a little at a time, using a fork to mix.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll gently to a thickness of about 2cm. Dip the cutter in flour and cut out as many rounds as you can. Work the scraps back into a dough, re-roll and finish cutting out. Brush the tops of the shortcakes with the egg white, and sprinkle them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. If it helps with the rest of your cooking, or life in general, you can cover and refrigerate them now for up to 2 hours.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden-brown, and let them cool for a short while on a wire rack. Meanwhile, crush half the strawberries with the spoonful of sugar and the few drops of balsamic vinegar and halve or quarter the remaining strawberries, depending on their size.
  5. The shortcakes should be eaten while still warm, so split each one across the middle and cover with a spoonful of the crushed strawberry mixture, a few halved or quartered strawberries, then dollop some whipped cream on top.

Sorry for not including a photo; they’re just so good they didn’t stick around long enough to snap one!<!–

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Happy Red & White Strawberry Squares

June 29, 2011

Canada day is just around the corner and I’m sure all of you are looking for a special red and white treat to take to your long weekend BBQ. These squares are always a winner in my house, and whenever I take them to a gathering. I was given this recipe by a friend I worked with in university and have made it every strawberry season since. It is light and yummy!! To travel, I usually cut and freeze the squares so they stay as cold as possible.

Strawberry Squares

Shortbread Crust

1 ⅓ cups flour

2/3 cup butter

3 tablespoons brown sugar

          – Mix, press into a 9” pan & bake at 350˚ for 15 minutes

 Filling

2 cups strawberries

½ cup sugar

1 package strawberry jello

1 package Dreamwhip

      – Heat 2 cups strawberries until hot. Add  ½ cup sugar and 1 package strawberry jello, let cool. Make 1 package Dreamwhip. Add ½ to strawberry mixture, reserve other ½ for topping. Pour strawberry mixture over the shortbread crust and let cool. Top with remaining Dreamwhip, Refrigerate. Top with sliced strawberries.

I’m off to make some strawberry popsicles… be prepared for more yummy strawberry recipes!! 🙂

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Coca-Cola Cake

June 6, 2011

Don’t think that I am advocating taking up a Coke drinking habit by posting this recipe. I am not a pop drinker nor do I think it is a good idea to become one. However, everything in moderation right?! So, my baby sister turned 16 at the beginning of May. I gave her a stack of cookbooks and asked her to choose which cake she would like. This is what she chose…  it was so good that since then I have made it for another family birthday (see  52 Weeks of Happiness: Week 2 post). It is moist and crumbly and everything you’d ever want in a deliciously chocolatey cake. It is another one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes which I have ‘tweaked’ a little to make my own.

Coca-Cola Cake

for the cake:

     200 g. plain flour (1¼  c. less 1 tbsp.)

     250 g. brown sugar (1 c. packed)

     ½ tsp. baking soda

     1 large egg

     30 g. yogurt (1/3 c.) + 100 ml milk OR 125 ml buttermilk – I used the yogurt mixture

     1 tsp. vanilla extract

     125 g. butter (¼c. + 2 tsp.)

     2 tbsp. cocoa powder

     175 ml Coca-Cola

for the icing:

     225 g. icing sugar (1¾ c.)

     2 tbsp. butter

     3 tbsp. Coca-Cola

     1 tbsp. cocoa powder

    ½ tsp. vanilla extract

for the pan:

     22-23 cm Springform pan, lined with foil to prevent the batter from leaking, then buttered

Preheat the oven to 350° and put a baking sheet in at the same time.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking soda. Beat the egg, milk-yogurt (OR buttermilk) and vanilla. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, add the cocoa and coke, heat it gently.

Pour into the dry ingredients, stir well with a wooden spoon, and then add the liquid ingredients, beating until well blended (I do all this in my stand mixer).

Pour into the prepared springform pan and bake on the warm sheet for 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Leave to stand for 15 minutes in the springform before unmolding. Then unclip, unwrap and turn out on a wire rack. Line your cake plate with strips of wax paper (2″ W X 5-7″ L) around the entire edge of the plate (lengthwise so that they are not too far into the middle). This will make for easy clean up when icing the cake – Martha Stewart taught me this!!

Sieve the icing sugar and set aside (or just run a whisk through it in a bowl, thanks again Martha).  In a small sauce pan (I just rinsed out the one I used earlier) combine the butter, Coke and cocoa. Stir over low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spoon in icing sugar, beating as  you do so, until you’ve got a good, spreadable but still runny icing (I used all the icing sugar).

Pour this icing over the cake, while the cake is still warm, and leave it to cool.

Serves 8-10

To Decorate: Nigella recommends sprinkling the top with chopped walnuts when the icing is still warm, I will probably do that next time. This time, I made chocolate decorations by melting some good quality semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler. Once it has melted put it in a zip-lock bag and give it a few minutes to cool. Then simply cut off the corner and drizzle it onto wax paper in whatever shape you prefer  and refrigerate until hardened.

 

 Decorate the cake right before serving.

This icing needs to be kept cool. This cake travelled in the car for over an hour and the icing started melting… it was much prettier before I left it out in the heat!!