Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Amateur Salt Water Taffy!


So this one time, I was like, yup, I'm going to make salt water taffy, no big deal. (If you want to skip random babble, skip the next 2 paragraphs) 

I'll just put all the ingredients in a pan and heat until the correct temperature, pour into an extremely well buttered dish and when cool enough pull and stretch,  bam:) it'll be the best...

Well this one time, I did all that, but I forgot to put the water. Hmm salt water taffy sans water. Odd. Well it happened, I had even double checked the recipe. Perhaps I'm going blind. Who knows. 

So this is the story. I salvaged, my candy by reheating it, with the water and a bit more butter. So this is it. This treat should be pretty foolproof, (case and point) 

Here we have it. This recipe is found at http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2012/08/homemade-salt-water-taffy-in-one-hour.html

I have pretty much exactly copied this recipe excluding the sprinkles they put in, 

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup golden syrup
1 tbsp butter (extra for greasing dish, hands, and again and again. So sticky)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp vanilla

You will need a candy thermometer. 

Place all ingredients, excluding vanilla into a medium sized pot, heat and stir until the mixture boils and reaches firm ball stage or 250F-255F.

Immediately pour into a buttered heat proof dish, do not get burned! pour the vanilla in when the candy is not scolding and gently mix it with a well buttered utensil, in my case a bread scraper, then...

Let the mixture cool until you can handle, then pull the candy and stretch and stretch and stretch and twist and fold and bend and you got it, stretch.

Then stretch into a fairly consistent sized length. Let cool completely, then cut with a knife or scissors. My small size made approx 60 pieces. That I wrapped in wax paper. Here are the pics. 

Please try this, and let me know how it went. 













Sunday, 27 March 2016

Thin vanilla cheesecake



This cheesecake is what you want to make when you need the flavor, but not to break the bank:) 

Crust
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup white flour 
A few shakes of salt. 

Mix together and press into the bottom of a pie plate.

Creamcheese filling
1 8oz brick creamcheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg

Cream the creamcheese and sugar with vanilla and lemon until smooth, then gently mix the egg in, you want to stir the egg in slowly but still slightly puff or whip it. Once the mixture is combined pour into the pan onto the crust you've prepared. 

Bake for 25 mins at 350F 

Let rest for a few hours until cooled or over night for best texture and flavor. 

Yumm! 


















Monday, 21 March 2016

Spinach mango Smoothie



Today's post is brought to you by, man oh man, let's get some iron and a pick me up in the day. 

You will need a high powered blender:
2-3 cups fresh spinach (that you have frozen) 
1 cup frozen mango
1 banana 
1 tbsp grape juice concentrate
2 cups water

Blend until smooth and consistent. 

I generally use 1 tablespoon of orange juice concentrate, but I didn't have any. 

Enjoy the simplicity and taste. And if you are like me, you'll be done drinking your serving before you've read this.

My batch made about 1 liter, so 4, 1 cup servings .








Saturday, 12 March 2016

Chicken and Rice bake -survival time

Sometimes, you just got a bit better from the worst something or other, cold, flu, fever.

You are barely functioning but you know you're going to need dinner. So make this.

2 frozen chicken breasts
1 cup rice 
2 cups water

9 by 13 pan
Foil 

Method: place all ingredients into your pan, spread rice as flat and even as possible before putting the water. Top with a favorite spice. I used vegetable seasoning by clubhouse. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 55 minutes or until your chicken is completely cooked. Can take over an hour depending on the size of the chicken. 

Feel free to serve with a side of frozen veggies like peas or corn. And be grateful you are all doing as well as you are. 

You don't have to be sick to make this. Give it a try:) 

Enjoy!





Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Chewy Caramel, you've got this!





So here is the scoop or slice or what have you, this recipe is by far the most sought after dessert or candy I've ever made, this is a family recipe. So hopefully I'm not disowned for sharing. It's from a family cookbook called Down The Hatch.

This is half the batch:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup golden syrup
1 cup cream
1 cup brown sugar 
1/2 tsp vanilla. 

This will fill a very well buttered 8 by 8 pan or pie plate. 

Method:

Cook the first 4 ingredients on medium or med-low heat in a large heavy bottom pot (at least 4 times the size of ingredients measured) until the mixture has boiled, changed color from dark brown to different tones of Amber and when placed in cold water turns solid as it hits the water., (stir throughout the cooking process) 

As you'll see in my photos the bubble texture of the boil changes and the thickness does as well.

I pulled my caramel off the heat for less than 1 minute stirring rapidly and added my vanilla and the thickness is ridiculous. It is holding shape. This should be a great indicator you have cooked long enough, you could likely cook a bit less for a softer less chew caramel. (Which I've done many times) caramel is very forgiving, if you under cook it and the texture is not what you wanted grease a new pan and reheat the whole mixture until you are content. (I've done this plenty too.)

In the past I made this until it reached firm ball stage not hard ball stage which is when you drop it in cold water and it immediately firmed up. You can pull it out and taste and see if it's hardened and chewy. 

I recently got a candy thermometer and last time I made this I thought perfect, I'll just cook until it reaches hard ball stage on the thermometer. I will warn you now, this will not happen unless you cook on extremely high heat or burn it. Which neither have happened to me, so I can't say for sure. Today when I made it, the thermometer didn't ever go above 223F

Last but not least, one of the times I enjoyed my caramel most was. I had not quite enough cream. Like 3/4 cup, so I topped it up with 3.25% milk and it was really good. 

Don't be daunted by my long ramblings. This is a great recipe to try, with very little know how. Just give yourself 30-55 mins of uninterrupted time to stir vigorously!

Enjoy:) 


All combined and melted.

Beginning frothy bubble boil

Extreme mini bubbles

White froth when you stir bubbles

Getting thicker 

Thicker

Big huge bubbles

Hard and chewy passed the water test



Add the vanilla while stirring off the heat.
Holding shape

















Friday, 4 March 2016

Puff Pastry - take your time:)




Puff Pastry:) 

Here it begins.

This is my first time, so if your a pro, enjoy this delightful recipe from King Arthur Flour. 

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/classic-puff-pastry-pate-feuillete-recipe

Half the full recipe is below: which is what I did. 

1st bowl
1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 cup chilled butter
3/4 cup ice cold water 
1/2 tsp salt

Method, take the butter and mix with the flour until you have a coarse flour, add the salt and the ice cold water. mix until a very rough dough that pulls together. Roll into a 6 by 6 square and wrap in parchment paper. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes

2nd bowl
1/4 cup flour 
7/8 cup butter

Method, mix until completely combined.
Put in parchment paper. Place in the fridge 15 minutes shape into a 4 by 4 square. 

Take the first dough and roll until large enough to completely wrap around your 4 by 4 of butter. Wrap and seal edges, use a bit of ice water if needed.
Roll into a large rectangle and fold 3 times like a letter. This is called one turn, don't be afraid to use flour, if your dough is still chilled enough complete one more turn and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. You will do 6 turns before you are done with this pastry so keep a tally going:)

Once you have completed all of the turns and let your dough be in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight roll half of it out and shape however you like. I chose to make 8 mini croissants with one half and 8 mini strawberry puffs with the other. 

Bake at 425F for 10-15 minutes till nicely puffed 
And at 350 F for another 10 minutes.

My oven might be a tad hotter or it could be my elevation but I found 10mins at 425F and 8 mins at 350F was more than enough for my baked goods. 

Give these a try and send a pic or two along:) enjoy! 



This is where the butter was sealed into the dough


This was the first roll out


First completed turn. Above, you will see the second turn looks much nicer below. 


This folded towel appearance is after the 5th turn was completed.