Monday, January 31, 2011


It was my turn to choose the main ingredient for this week, and from my gi-normous list of possible things to bake I decided upon coconut. As far as I know we haven't made anything with coconut so I was excited to bake something with it. So this week I made Coconut Cranberry Cookies. Pretty funky huh? The recipe that I used is a mishmash of different recipes and I changed it up a bit so basically this recipe is something that I made up. I like my cookies to have three components 1: big; 2: soft; and 3: chewy and these coconut cranberry cookies definitely fulfilled my requirements but if you prefer them crunchy you can always bake them a bit longer.


Coconut Cranberry Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries (if cranberries are unavailable then substitute raisins)
1/2 cup shredded coconuts ( I used sweetened coconuts but you can use unsweetened if you desire)


1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a medium bowl mix the shortening, brown sugar, egg and vanilla.
3. Add the flour, baking soda and continue mixing.
4. Fold in dried cranberries and shredded coconuts.
5. Roll tablespoons (I use a regular spoon if you want them big) of dough into balls and flatten them unto baking sheet a few inches apart.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool before devouring them-cause you will!
This week's challenge was to make something with coconut so I've decided to make Coconut Shortbread. This shortbread is amazing! Crunchy with a subtle sweetness that makes you wanna eat the whole batch by yourself. Uh-oh so dangerous.
I adapted this recipe from here. It's supposed to be  Toasted Coconut Shortbread, but I skipped the toasting the coconut part because it's so hot around this parts these days that we use the oven only when extremely necessary. 
Below, you will find the halved recipe. 

Coconut Shortbread

1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened desiccated coconut - I used sweetened coconut
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup (75g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (25g) confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract - I used essence
1 2/3 cups (185g) all-purpose flour - I used a little more than that


1. Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl until blended.
2. Mix in salt and vanilla.
3. Beat in flour in 2 additions. I thought my dough was a little soft so I added about 1/4 cup extra flour.
4. Stir in coconut.
5. Gather dough together; divide in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Put in the fridge to chill - about 30 min.
6. Preheat oven to 165ºC. Roll out dough in floured surface and cut into desired shape.
7. Bake for 20 min. or until light golden. Mine took 25-30 min. Cool on baking sheets for 10 min then transfer to racks and let it cool completely. Can be made ahead. Store airtight at room temperature up to 1 week.
8. Drizzle some with melted white-chocolate.

Yields 24.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


This week's Challenge: Yogurt. Let's see what both of us came up with.

Yogurt Blueberry Muffins
Taken from Canadian

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon grated orange rind**
1/4 cup orange juice**
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries*
*I used frozen berry mix instead
** Substituted lemon rind and juice

1. In a large bowl stir flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, yogurt, orange rind and juice, and oil. Pour over dry ingredients. Sprinkle berries and stir until dry ingredients are moistened.
3. Spoon into greased or lined tin. Bake in centre of the oven at 375ºF for about 25 minutes.

Ann's Thoughts

I've wanted to bake yogurt berry muffins for a very long time, so when Ana suggested that we use yogurt I knew I had to do this recipe. Honestly, it wasn't my favourite. The muffins were not as sweet as I would have liked them so I would either increase the amount of sugar from 3/4 cup to 1 cup, or I would use a flavoured yogurt like mixed berry. I did like the lemony taste with the berries. These muffins were a hit among my family, so if I'm in the mood to be nice in the future, I know what to make.

Lime Yogurt Cakes
Adapted from here
Yields 8 mini cakes

125g butter, softened
165g super fine sugar - I used 130g
2 tbsp lime zest
3 eggs - I used 2 1/2 large eggs*
120g plain yogurt or sour cream
150g flour

* My eggs were a little on the large side and after the second egg I thought my batter seemed to be very liquid, so I decided to add just 1/2 of the third egg. If you're using small eggs I recommend using 3 eggs.

Preheat oven to 170ºC or 335ºF. Beat butter, sugar and lime zest until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Mix in plain yogurt - don't freak if the batter curdles at this stage. Mine did and it turned out okay. Add flour and mix well. Put in mini tins and bake for 15 min - mine took 25 min.

Lime Glaze

3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
Lime juice

In a small bowl, put the confectioner's sugar. Add the lime juice, 1 tbsp at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.

Ana's Thoughts

Pretty easy and straight-forward recipe. It might look a bit oily when right out of the oven, but it will be normal when cooled down. I liked this recipe a lot. Not overly sweet - the way I like it - complementing well with the thin tangy-sweet lime glaze. I'll definitely make this again.
Hope you all liked the new format of the blog. I did. ;)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

[Updated: We forgot to add 1/2 stick of butter to the recipe, sorry! It's already been corrected.]
This entry from Oh So Sinfully Delicious is super, extra, sweet! Why? Because we've made the next recipe in Brazil! All week long under the hot, hot Brazilian sun, we thought long and hard about what recipe we should do next. We wanted to do something that was totally different, so what did we come up with? Doughnuts! Okay, so they aren't Brazilian, but a) we've never made doughnuts on this blog before and b) we wanted to make doughnuts with a South American twist. The recipe is taken from the blog Joy the Baker, who retrieved this recipe from Gourmet magazine December '06. We made two batches of doughnuts, the first was a variety of regular doughnuts such as chocolate dip, and chocolate dip with rainbow and chocolate sprinkles (that's probably the first time we've typed "chocolate" so many times in one sentence!) The second batch were jelly filled doughnuts but instead of jelly we used dulce de leche (that's the South American twist). If you can't find dulce de leche, refer to this entry to make your own stash.


1 (1/4oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons) or 30g of fresh yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (105-115f)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup Chocolate dip
1/2 cup dulce de leche
1/4 cup of rainbow/chocolate sprinkles (optional)
About 10 cups vegetable oil for deep frying

1. Stir together yeast and warm water in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (This is an absolute must. If this does not happen discard and start a new batch.)

2. Mix together flour, milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture in a mixer at low speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes more. (This step can be done with a spoon and bowl)

3. Scrape dough down side of bowl (all around) into center, then sprinkle lightly with flour (to keep a crust from forming). Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in bowl in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours)

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round (1/2 inch think). Cut out as many rounds as possible with 3-inch cutter, then cut a hole in center of each round with 1-inch cutter and transfer doughnuts to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Cover doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes (45 minutes if dough was cold when cutting out doughnuts). Do not re roll scraps.

Now we must confess that after cutting the doughnuts we did not wait for another 30 mins for them to rise (they were already super puffy), and we did re roll the scraps, and in our opinion they came out perfectly fine. That could be because we used fresh yeast.

5. Heat 2 1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350F on the thermometer. Fry doughnuts, 2 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain (Return oil to 350F between batches). 

Chocolate Dip

7 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp chocolate powder, such as Nesquick
1 tbsp margerine
2 tbsp milk

Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan at medium heat. Stir constantly until it  comes to a boil. Keep stiring until it thickens slightly - aprox. 1-2 min. Do not overcook or it will become very hard and impossible to dip the doughnuts in.
Start dipping the doughnuts imediately. If it starts to harden,  reheat it until it softens.

Dulce de Leche Filled Doughnuts

1. Repeat steps 1-4, however in step four do not cut a 1-inch hole in the center.
2. Put the dulce de leche in a pipping bag attacched with a small round tip.
3. Plunge the tip into the side of the doughnut, less than 1 inch deep. Squeeze the bag gently  and start withdrawing the tip slowly.
4. Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Ann's Thoughts:

First of all I want to say that Brazil was amazing!!!! I tried so many different Brazilian foods and baked goods, I was in heaven. It's funny that in Brazil we ended up making doughnuts which is so American but I've never made homemade doughnuts and before going back home Ana had purchased a doughnut book, which inspired us to make them. The only draw back to making doughnuts is that they are time consuming. It needs yeast to rise and that could take up to one and a half to two hours to rise. What was great about these doughnuts is that without the extra ingredients (the chocolate dip or dulce de leche) they are not sweet at all, which is a plus for those who cannot or not a fan of super sweet things. Out of the two batches that we made, my favourite was the dulce de leche, they were irresistible, it was hard to control myself not to eat more than just one!

Ana's Thoughts:

First post of the year! What a better way to start than by baking homemade doughnuts. Super yummy, soft, delicious doughnuts. My mouth is watering just thinking about it...I think I need another batch. =p
I've had this doughnuts before but this was the first time I've actually made them myself. First time I've made any kind of dough, actually. And it was so easy! So far, this is one of the best doughnut recipe, in my opinion. But I still have to try my doughnut book. I'll keep you posted. ;)
Go (dough)nuts and make some right now.