The Girls Who Bake – September Edition

It’s here! I finally got the balls (hah!) to sit down and actually type out the recipes from handwritten ones, to share with you guys. Last weekend was our second installment of Baking-and-Drinking-Day, hosted by my future sister-in-law. The host gets to pick what to make, and her choices were Crème Brûlée and Almond Biscotti. I bought some beautiful ramekins, since she had six, but we wanted to make twelve. (Any excuse to buy goodies for the kitchen, right?) My man was also in a very good mood, so I didn’t get in trouble, and he even posed for a picture with his sister without pulling a face! It’s a wonder it didn’t start snowing immediately!

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The boys had another PlayStation day, but this time, it was much more active. And loud. And hilarious. There is a video, but I suspect I might be ‘mysteriously’ killed in a ‘freak accident’ if I share it with you. It does not paint either of them in a flattering light. I do have a picture though!

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I don’t really want to get into the Crème Brûlée, since we failed. Miserably. As South Africans, we use different measurements than what American recipes call for – so let’s just say our conversion was a horrible miscalculation. Horrible. Which we only realised when we finished baking the damn things. Let’s just say, instead of using the almost 2 litres of cream required, we used 500ml of cream. Yeah. Instead of converting a quart into millilitres (which is 946ml, by the way), we just kind of glossed over the word quart and somehow thought it meant cup. All THREE of us missed that! (Maybe we should stop drinking and baking at the same time…? Gasp! What am I saying?!)

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In short, we doubled the recipe, but instead of using almost 8 cups of cream, we only used 2. Hilarity ensued. We couldn’t figure out why we could only fill 9 ramekins 3/4 of the way up, when we should have been able to fill 12 all the way to the top. When we took it out, it looked…. spongy. And cakey. And as it came out of the oven they started deflating almost immediately. It was NOT pale and custardy. It was yellow and squidgy. We decided not to even bother with the sugar burning bit, and rather move on. We also learned how NOT to separate eggs…

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We did taste it though. It wasn’t bad. The texture was very odd. But it didn’t taste bad. We will however try again. And then it will be gorgeous!

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Onwards! The Almond Biscotti. We doubled this recipe too, since we share the spoils between three couples. Let’s start with the recipe (I’ll post the doubled quanitities, but you can halve it if you want less). It will yield about 40 large fingers of biscotti.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 6 large Eggs
  • 4 Tbsp Amaretto (or 4 Tbsp Rum + 2 tsp Almond Extract)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Anise Extract (Optional – we skipped it)
  • 2 cups whole Almonds, toasted and chopped a few times

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F)
  • Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper
  • Combine dry ingredients
  • Whisk eggs, Amaretto (or Rum mix), Vanilla and Anise (if using) until well blended
  • Add dry ingredients and mix well – You WILL need at least a hand mixer with the dough kneader attachment for this. We tried using a wooden spoon, it’s too difficult.
  • Dough should be thick and sticky – DO NOT ADD FLOUR AT THIS POINT. It is extremely thick. Really. DON’T ADD FLOUR.
  • Divide dough in half, and scrape each half onto a lined baking tray.
  • Flour your hands and shape into a long flat loaf – 25 cm long and 13 cm wide (10 inches x 5 inches)
  • Bake for 50 mins, until firm and dry
  • Remove from oven and cool for 10 mins
  • Using a long serrated knife, slice the loaves. You should get about 20 slices per loaf. We made each about 1.5 cm by 13 cm
  • Lay the slices cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 20 mins
  • Turn the slices over and bake for another 20 mins, or until slices are light brown
  • Cool biscotti on a rack
  • Wait until completely cool before storing
  • Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea (or wine…)

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It is VERY sticky. Don’t worry. It’s going to be fine.

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It’s a long process, but well worth it. The almond is fragrant and envelops every sense. I should mention that we didn’t have Amaretto, and we weren’t going to buy it just for this! So we used the rum and almond extract substitute, and it works a charm. It even smells exactly the same!

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Now, since the Crème Brûlée failed, we were quite disappointed with only having one treat. So we decided to whip up quick chocolate cupcakes. This is my grandmother’s recipe. The recipe is actually for a super easy, moist sheet cake. And it’s totally delicious like that. But this recipe also makes great (super easy) cupcakes. Now, let me tell you: when I say this is easy, it really is. Promise. The recipe as is, makes about 30 cupcakes. Here we go:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 tsp Bicarb
  • 4 Tbsp Cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 cup Cooking Oil
  • 2 Tbsp White Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F)
  • Mix dry ingredients
  • Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl
  • Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients
  • Spoon into lined muffin tin (or greased cake pan if you’re doing the sheet cake)
  • Bake for 30 mins (or 35 mins for the cake)
  • Cool on a rack

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That’s it! Easy, right?! Told ya! You can ice with whatever you like. You could do a deep chocolate ganache, or some coffee buttercream. Or whatever you want! Since this recipe wasn’t really planned for, we didn’t have anything to top the cupcakes with. But, my sister-in-law did have a tin of Condensed Milk. And I remembered from my childhood that you could put a tin of condensed milk in a pot of boiling water and boil it for 2-4 hours and it transforms into caramel (the time you boil it depends on how deep you want the caramel)! So that’s what we did! We then ‘iced’ our cooled cupcakes and topped with chocolate sprinkles. Because we’re fancy like that!

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Let me know if you try one of these recipes! I’d love to know what you think. The October Edition of Bake Day is at my darling sister’s house. She has yet to decide what we’re making, but I’m excited!

Also, I will be sharing a recipe for homemade mustard that my father’s mother used to make soon. It’s so good.

Much Love

 

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