The Girls Who Bake – February 2014

Hi guys,

Sorry it’s been SO long! No excuses, I know. Bad blogger! Let’s move on though, okay? Let’s talk about our Baking Day! This time, it was my sister’s turn to host – and we had a blast! Her choices of treats to bake were Nutella filled rolls with an Espresso Glaze, and Triple Chocolate “Skinny” Muffins. The skinny muffins was a choice very cunningly made to soothe our guilty consciences, because, you know…it’s skinny! Before we started, my sister and I went to a group yoga session on the beach at Blouberg. We were very nervous since we’re new to yoga, and have never done a group session – we just do yoga at home. It was such an amazing experience though (except for the minor back injury I got)! My future sister-in-law joined us later that afternoon to help as well. Although, the two “helpers” generally mostly sit and drink wine… 😉

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Back to baking! We should have just made full-blast fattening triple chocolate muffins…Because the skinny ones were not so good. (That’s an understatement) I’m not entirely sure where we went wrong, but they were the most bland thing I’ve ever eaten! We tried one after they came out of the oven and we were shattered! Ugh. We ended up dousing them with some of the Espresso Glaze just to add some moisture and sweetness… Ah well, you win some, you lose some, amiright?!

As much as I disliked them, I’ll still post the recipe. If you try it and they come out well, let me know!

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TRIPLE CHOC CUPCAKES

Adapted from: http://dashingdish.com/recipe/triple-chocolate-chunk-muffins/

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup Oats
3 Egg whites
3/4 cup Unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup Unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Plain greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
1/2 tsp Cream of tartar (or 2 tsp. vinegar)
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Hot water
1/2 cup Baking stevia OR 1 cup sweetener of choice that measures like sugar – we used honey
1/2 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips – we used dark chocolate, which might have affected the taste, so go for semi-sweet…
Tip Foil cupcake liners, remove the inner paper lining (because paper liners tend to stick to muffins!)

Method

THE ESTIMATED TOTAL TIME TO MAKE THIS RECIPE IS 35 MINUTES.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil cupcake liners, or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, (or food processor), mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth.
  3. Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips (set the rest aside). Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pans.
  4. Place muffins tins in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (but don’t shut oven off), and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin.
  5. Place the muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. We had to bake them an additional 5-10 minutes longer to finish cooking.
  6. Cool muffins before removing from pan. ENJOY!!! Here is where we drowned them in Espresso Glaze to at least try to impart SOME flavour. You’ll find the Espresso Glaze recipe in the Nutella Rolls recipe.

Now, let’s get to the good part. Nutella Rolls with Espresso Glaze. You could even stop reading after Nutella and you’d know that it was going to be fantastic. Because who doesn’t love Nutella? Who??? So, let’s go!

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RECIPE: NUTELLA ROLLS WITH COFFEE GLAZE

Adapted from: http://heatherchristo.com/cooks/2013/12/15/nutella-rolls-with-coffee-glaze/

For the dough:

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk

½ cup canola oil

½ cup sugar

4 1/2 cups AP flour

1 package yeast

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons butter

Instructions

1. In a large pot, heat the milk, oil and sugar to a simmer. Then set aside to cool to luke warm.

2. When the milk mixture is luke warm, add 4 cups of flour and the yeast and stir well. Cover the pot with the lid and let sit somewhere warm for 1 hour.

3. When the dough has risen, stir in the last ½ cup of flour and the baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Let sit another 30 minutes.

Devide dough in half and roll out into approx. 30x40cm rectangles.

Filling:

13 ounces nutella

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Coffee Glaze:

3 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons Espresso (or strong coffee)

2 tablespoons cream

pinch of salt

Instructions

1. When the dough is finished rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper.

2. Dust the countertop with a tiny bit of flour and roll the dough out into a big even rectangle.

3. Spread the nutella evenly over the top of the dough.

4. Gently roll the dough and nutella up into a log.

5. Slice the log into 12 rolls. Place them on the sheet pan and brush them all with the melted butter.

6. Drape a kitchen towel over the top of the nutella rolls and let them rise for 30 minutes.

7. Bake the Nutella rolls for about 15 minutes or until golden.

8. Take them out and transfer them to a cooling rack. While they are cooling make the Coffee Glaze.

9. Whisk the coffee glaze ingredients together in a small bowl and drizzle the glaze over the rolls. Let them set up and then serve immediately.

How good do they look?! They were amazing. Gooey and oozy and sweet and sticky and all the things you want from a baked good. As per usual the wine was flowing, and we were barely snacking, much less eating, so after our day of baking we were ravenous and somewhat tipsy. Which led to us going out for a beer and then getting fast food… Yes, I know. You can shake your head at us. We deserve it. But this had led me to the following conclusion: We must find time to eat properly in between  baking. So, I have decided that from this month forward – which incidentally is my month to host – there will be food to feed us all… Not just sweets, but real food too, although who could say no to a life lived on sweet delights?!

If you make these, let me know how it went! I’d love to know about your baking adventures too!

Much Love

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Acceptance is a Double Edged Sword

Hi kids,

I’d like to get serious here for a minute. Brace yourselves.

I recently stumbled across a website, xojane.com. While I am completely obsessed with it, and all the articles, but especially reading through the comments of the articles, I am getting a slightly uneasy feeling from spending so much time on the website. You see, the website is mainly aimed at women, their by-line being “xoJane.com is where women go when they are being selfish, and where their selfishness is applauded.”, which is fine by me. We all know (and don’t have to pretend otherwise) that I am gloriously selfish. Sometimes that’s okay. But, and here’s the thing, this website is aimed at women. Almost exclusively. And these women are also (mostly) feminists. Which is okay too. I’m all for being a strong-willed, independent woman. But on the website they make a very LOUD point of not judging fat women, fat people, fat in general. They will tear you a new one if you so much as whimper a slightly judgemental comment about a fat person. They will come at you with pitchforks if you dare utter disapproval at a fat woman. Which is fine. Nobody wants to be judged by their physical appearance. (It happens though, whether you like it or not.) They form this community of acceptance, not judging, or as they refer to it, “Body Shaming” each other for being fat. Cool. BUT…

They ferociously despise the desire to be skinny. It’s okay to be fat, and not want to change, but it is NOT okay to want to be skinny. They pretend like being skinny, or the want or even NEED to be skinny rivals leprosy. And that, my friends, is definitely not okay. It feels very much elitist. It also feels a lot like hypocrisy. You’re not cool if you’re not down with being fat. Go sit in your corner and dream about being skinny while eating your salad alone. We’ll be here eating cake and laughing at you. Ugh. Just, BLEGH.

You know I have spent the last couple of years obsessed with losing weight. Not trying to lose weight, mind you, but succeeding. And I am damn proud of that. I work very hard not to fall back into old habits, and gaining weight. I work out. I do Jillian Michaels‘ 30 day Shred. I weigh myself every day. I punish myself when I slip. I torture my soul with thoughts of cake and sweets, and all treats sugary, warm and gooey. I very rarely let myself have that. But that’s what I choose. It’s this obsessive compulsion that has allowed me in succeeding in my journey to lose weight. And I will NOT have an elitist, hypocritical “accepting” culture take that away from me.

And if I want to be skinnier, that’s MY business. Just like if you want to be fat, that’s YOUR business. The need to be accepted is universal. Not just fat people feel it. Not just skinny people have it. (Clearly) So, next time you feel like whining because people are mean to you because you’re fat, think about whether you are mean to skinny girls.

Yeah. Thought so.

Redefining Shape

Round is not a shape I want to be. No thank you mister!

I can not for the life of me understand why anyone could be content with being fat. Why would one choose that? Being fat is easy. But life is not easy. So yes, I have worked hard in losing a lot of weight. But it really does not feel like an accomplishment when I am standing in front of the mirror in underwear. Because even though I have lost the weight, if I don’t do any exercise, I still have flab. And dreaded cellulite. Blegh. And there is no point in being happy with what the scale says if I can’t get into a bikini and feel good about myself.

So now, I will embark on starting an excercise routine. Shocker, I know. I am probably one of the laziest people ever, so this is going to be hard. Very hard. But I am determined. We are now moving into autumn, which gives me a couple of months before beach season is back. It gives me some time to get into the routine so that I can change my shape. Into a fierce delicious lean mean envy-inducing shape. 

The plan is to buy a spinning bike at the end of the month. ( I saw a special on a spinning bike, so it won’t be that expensive)  The plan is to spin myself into a frenzy of endorphins and sweat. Yeah! I will keep track of my progress, and bar me failing, I will keep you posted.

On a side note, I am going to have my camera serviced, and maybe (hopefully) it will solve the focusing problems I have been having.

Much Love