Category Archives: Cakes

Mars Bar Cheesecake!

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Base 

200g digestive buscuits
 70g melted butter 

Filling 

500g cream cheese (Philadelphia, Kiri etc)
1/3 Cup sugar 
2 eggs 
1 tablespoon cocoa powder 
300g (about 1.5 cups) sour cream  
100g Good quality dark chocolate melted
150g Mars bar (about 3 bars) melted

Topping:

60g white chocolate
40ml single or double cream
1 sliced Mars Bar

Method

Brush a 23cm round springform tin with melted butter/oil and line the base and sides with baking paper.

Place biscuits into a food bag and bash with a rolling pin until they firm a fairly fine crumb. This can also be done in a food processor.

Mix together the biscuit crumbs and butter, press firmly into the base of the tin and refrigerate while preparing the filling.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Beat the cream cheese and sugar with electric beaters until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the cocoa and sour cream until smooth. Beat in the cooled (make sure its cool otherwise the eggs will cook) melted dark chocolate and Mars. Pour over the base. Smooth surface and bake for 45 minutes. The cheesecake may not be fully set, but will firm up.

Refrigerate, overnight if possible, until cold.

Remove the cheesecake from the tin and place on serving plate.

Melt the white chocolate and cream together in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then mix until it’s all melted and creamy. Allow to cool a little before pouring over the top of the cake.

Decorate with Mars slices.

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Ramadan Day 4

Basmala

Felt rather tired today but personally I find keeping busy in the kitchen helps the time to pass quicker so I am happy to stay there making a few things.

Today there was Algerian shorba again, vegetarian as it was last time but this time with tiny Orzo pasta (or Tli-tli as the Algerians call it) instead of burghul or vermicelli. There were some leftovers as well as mini pizzas that came out soft as little pillows, vegetable samosas as I made a double batch yesterday and cheese and potato Borek. A tip for the potato borek that I picked up from my dear sister-in-law is to use instant potato! Yes… the powdered stuff in boxes – remember the adverts for Smash in the 1970’s or early 1980’s??! “For mash get Smash!” So, I used about 120g of Tesco instant potato and about 550ml of boiling water, stirred well with a wooden spoon and then added a knob of butter and about 150g grated cheddar. I used this to fill the spring roll pastry and folded into logs. I slightly over-cooked them as you can see in the photo. 🙄

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Dessert was Eve’s pudding but made with strawberries and raspberries instead of apples – this was served with rich chocolate ganache. It didn’t turn out quite as planned because I took a shortcut and used a supermarket cake packet mixture which was a bit too runny for this recipe. It was very tasty though with the tart, tanginess of the raspberries and the soft, sweetness of the cake. I didn’t think it really needed the rich chocolate sauce but my 15 yr old and 13 yr old daughters disagreed. Nice to have pleased someone!

Ramadan day 3 – Cheesy Chicken Roll Ups

Basmala

Another day, another fast and alhamdu lillah everyone got through the day in one piece! It was a bit of a cooking fest today – I made chicken noodle soup, vegetable samosas and cheese and garlic stuffed chicken breast slices and also cooked up some shop bought tortelloni. In addition of course, there was leftover couscous salad and tuna rolls.

The chicken rolls are very simple and require only a few ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 75g medium strength Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • breadcrumbs
The chicken breasts I used made 9 slices, the remaining bits of chicken I used for the chicken noodle soup.
Mix the cheese and garlic together and then divide between the chicken slices and roll. Dip in the egg and then the breadcrumbs and then hallow fry in a little oil until lightly golden. Bake in the oven at 190C until golden and cooked through (about 25-30 mins).

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A bit later in the day I had a sudden urge to try making a chocolate sundae, all from scratch. Needless to say, it was a hit. Recipe to follow another day but it consisted of chocolate fudge brownie, raspberries, homemade chocolate mousse, homemade chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Chocolate heaven!

I have to add that making brownies AND mousse when fasting is torturous as you can’t lick the bowl out afterwards! 😯

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Daring Bakers – Donuts

Basmala

I joined The Daring Bakers quite some time ago with all good intentions of diligently making the monthly challenge but as everyone knows, life has a habit of getting in the way and then I forgot all about it until this month. I decided to jump on in and see if I can keep up from here on.

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious. Download the printable .pdf file with all recipes here.

It seemed that a lot of people were raving about the Alton Brown recipe so I decided to pick that recipe. I have followed a couple of his recipes in the past and they were successful so I had full confidence in this recipe also!

Instead of milk in this recipe I used laban which I believe is similar to buttermilk. It is a Middle Eastern yogurt drink; it seems to me that it is thinned down unflavoured, unsweetened yogurt for drinking. I also increased the sugar to 1/2 cup as 1/4 didn’t seem adequate for sweet doughnuts.

I omitted the nutmeg since I am unsure about whether this spice is Islamically acceptable (search here).

Overall I was very pleased with the results and so were the children. They are very fond of Krispy Kreme donuts but decided that these were actually nicer!

Recipe from the Foodnetwork website:

Ingredients

Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil depends on size of vessel you are frying in – you want three inches of oil (can substitute any flavourless oil used for frying)

Directions


Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.

Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

(I did all of the above steps in the breadmaker instead)

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center whole.

Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

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Myself and many other Daring Bakers are particularly grateful to Audax at Audax Artifex for his tips in making the Alton Brown’s doughnuts – check out his post and the information he has provided.

After having looked at the blog posts of fellow Daring Bakers who made this months challenge I loved the idea over at Candied to add orange zest into the dough. When I make brioche I add lemon zest into the dough so I am sure that orange zest would be a delicious addition.

I found it messy filling some of the fried doughnuts with jam/Nutella/lemon curd but Marcellina over at Marcellina in Cucina filled her doughnuts when shaping (before frying) and they turned out perfect.

Wholemeal brownie

Basmala

I’ve discovered that you can use all wholemeal flour in brownie and there is absolutely no difference in taste. With all that sugar in there, it’s nice to add something slightly healthy into the mix! I’ve also reduced the sugar that was required in the original recipe.

You need:

  • 200ml melted butter or margarine (190g)
  • 1 cup sugar (220g)
  • 150g chocolate – milk or dark (or 1/2 a bag of Hershey’s chocolate chips)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup wholemeal all-purpose flour (140g)
  • 150g chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Melt the sugar, butter and chocolate together – I use the microwave – and mix well.

Allow to cool slightly and then beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Finally stir in the sifted flour.

Transfer to a 9″x9″ (23cmx23cm) square baking tray and bake for 30 mins or until a skewer comes out of the centre clean.

Gluten Free Brownie

Basmala

I don’t suffer from gluten intolerance or coeliacs disease although my grandmother does so I know about all these special gluten free flours and the addition of ingredients such as xanthan gum into doughs when making breads and cakes. That’s all very well if you are gluten intolerant and use these ingredients on a regular basis but most people don’t have such ingredients lurking in the pantry. This recipe is an excellent stand-by if you happen to have a guest who is unable to consume gluten as it contains no unusual ingredients but normal things that most people will have in the pantry.

The original recipe stated a cooking time of 55mins but I found that that is really too much – check after 30mins and then keep an eye on it thereafter otherwise it will dry out and not be fudgey enough – I slightly overcooked mine and if I make this again will certainly reduce the cooking time.

Ingredients

  • 150g butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 60g cornflour
  • 75g roughly chopped walnuts (optional)

– Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. If using the microwave, keep checking and stirring at 15 second time intervals to ensure that the chocolate doesn’t overheat and burn.

– Melt the butter and sugar together in a large saucepan or a bowl in the microwave. Allow to cool a little before beating in the egg yolks and vanilla essence.

– Mix in the cornflour and ground almond and the walnuts if using.

– Mix in the cooled chocolate.

– In a ceramic bowl (not plastic) whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

– Carefully fold the whisked egg white into the chocolate mixture.

– Grease a 7″ square pan, pour the batter in and bake at 180C/350F/Gas4 until a knife comes out of the centre clean. Recipe recommends 55mins but start checking from 30 mins.

Coloured sugar

Basmala

coloured sugar

Coloured sugar… what a simple and easy to make at home decoration for cookies and cupcakes! I never thought of colouring sugar until I was browsing some websites and stumbled across the Wilton homebaking and cake decorating website where there was mention of decorating Spritz cookies (which I have also never heard of until now!) with coloured sugar. I learned how easy this is to make after a quick internet search and now have 5 bowls of coloured sugar ready to use in decoration! I did go a bit overboard in the excitement! 😳

All you need is a thick plastic food bag, sugar (say 1 cup) and food colouring. The small dropper vials of food colourings are best because it is easier to regulate the amount of colouring that you use and it can be measured drop by drop.

For candy pink sugar, place 1 cup of sugar into the bag, add 3 drops of red food colouring and then keep scrunching the bag and moving the sugar around the bag until you see that the colour has been evenly distributed and you have evenly tinted sugar. Pour into a bowl and leave overnight to dry. When you come back to the sugar break up with a spoon if it has stuck together a little. Transfer to storing jars or bags and use it in any of your cookie or muffin decorating.