Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gingerbread Pineapple Upside Down Cake

It's been a sucky day. This heavy feeling of moroseness and downness? is inexplicable, my classes went smoothly today, with the students eager and curious. So I bake. I love the constant rhythm of motion in the kitchen, the precise measurements of ingredients, greasing my elbows and the warm sugary scent of baked goods wafting from the oven. Other than running, it's one of the few times when my mind is emptied of other neurotic thoughts, and focused solely on the essence of dessert. 

In this case - sticky gingerbread upside down pineapple cake! The flavours are spicy but not overwhelming and I under baked them slightly for a gooey, moist interior.The sweet creaminess of white chocolate pairs surprisingly well with the autumn spices. All in all, not a bad way to drown my troubles, no? 

Baker's Notes
  • It's important to let the cake rest before serving, this allows the brown sugar to form a caramel topping!
  • I added extra nutmeg and cloves to give the cake an extra oomph! 

Gingerbread Pineapple Upside Down Cake
(Serves 5) Recipe adapted from The Seasonal Baker

·        3/4 cup all-purpose flour
·        1/2 teaspoon baking soda
·        3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
·        1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
·        Pinch of nutmeg
·        Pinch of cloves
·        1/2 teaspoon salt
·        3/8 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
·        1/4 cup molasses
·        1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
·        1/4 cup white sugar
·        1/4 cup buttermilk / sour cream
·        1 large eggs
·        1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·        100g chopped white chocolate
·Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt ¼ cup of the butter and put in the muffin moulds
·  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the moulds and level with a fork. Arrange pineapple slices in the pan on top of the butter sugar mixture. Fill in the open spaces of the pan.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Chunkies

This is for saying goodbye

These batch of cookies are for my Primary 6 students, a parting gift of sorts, for our last lesson together. I'm not a fan of peanut butter (actually LOATHE the stuff), but I know my kids love them. Oats, chocolate and peanut butter make for a fantastic, kid friendly, protein rich snack for them. Crispy on the outside, chewy inside, perfect to wash down with a glass of milk! 

The older my students get, the snarkier their comments can get. But ultimately, this is my way of thanking them for being so hardworking, thoughtful and driven. For being my inspiration and motivation for coming to work to teach, for teaching me how to listen, for showing me what it's like to look through the world through another pair of eyes. 

At times, the best part of the job is learning from them as much as they do from me. 

Chunky PB & Chocolate Chip Cookies (Adapted from Baking, from my home to yours)

Wrapped airtight or piled into a cookie jar, the cookies will keep at room temperature for about 4 days. Wrapped and frozen, theyll be good for 2 months. Makes 20 big cookies 

·        1.5 cups old-fashioned oats
·        1/2 cup all-purpose flour
·        1/2 teaspoon baking soda
·        1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
·        Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
·        ¼ teaspoon salt
·        4 ounces (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
·        ½ cup (125g) peanut butter (not natural)
·        1/2 cup white sugar
·        1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
·        1 large eggs
·        1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·        130g chopped bittersweet chocolate

1.) Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. 

2.) Whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, spices and salt.

3.) Using a hand mixer, in a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Mix in the chips.

4.) If the dough is not chilled, drop rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets. If the dough is chilled, scoop up rounded tablespoons, roll the balls between your palms and place them 2 inches apart on the sheets. Press the chilled balls gently with the heel of your hand until they are about ½ inch thick.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake with Caramel Apple Topping

Phew. That title is a mouthful, yes. But I baked this cheesecake because

1.) Cheesecake is my FAVOURITE, to go cake even though it is technically a custard. 

2.) It is autumn SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD, where the leaves turn all shades of beautiful golden red hues. These autumn spiced cheesecakes seemed perfect to comfort myself for missing out on Mother Nature's fall splendour, heh heh heh. 

3.) I love browsing baking blogs, and this stunner caught my eye. On a side note, doesn't The Candid Appetite's Bourbon Banana Cheesecake looking TO DIE FOR? 

Cinnamon Swirled Cheesecake (Serves 5)
Recipe by The Bakerlily

For Crust
  • 80g crushed oat cookies ( I used Quaker Oats )
  • 40g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350°F (175c).
Blend all ingredients in bowl. Press mixture over bottom of baking pan. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes. (My muffin tins took 6 minutes)

Transfer to rack to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. (160c)

For Cheesecake Filling
  • 2 8-ounce (225g) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Zest + Juice of 1 lemon
  • 90g cup sour cream

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest.

Transfer filling to cooled crust. Dollop on cinnamon mixture and swirl with a toothpick. 

Bake cake until top is dry-looking and the middle jiggles slightly when tapped (20 minutes in giant muffin moulds, 1 hour in springform pan).

Let cool and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving.

Cinnamon swirl filling
  • 3/8 cup light brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. The mixture should be grainy but spoonable. 

Gooey Apple Filling
  • 2 green medium apples (chopped / sliced)
  • 40g packed light brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

On medium heat, Cook apples with lemon juice and sugar for until soft but not mushy. About five minutes. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon and salt until combined. Optional : Mix in caramel sauce and spoon apples onto each individual cheesecake. TA - DAH! 

Baker's Notes
1.) I prefer to bake my cheesecakes in giant muffin pans, makes for easier serving. It is an extra hassle because I have to line and butter each tray with parchment paper for easy removal.

2.) Caramel is super easy to make once you get the hang of it, plus you can freeze extras! I mixed my apple filling with leftover caramel sauce and it was diviiiine.

3.) My top cheesecake tip - jiggle the pan when the done time is near. It's done when it jiggles in the centre, it will continue to cook when you take it out of the oven.