You know, sometimes all we need is something that is simple, but looks complicated, complex, sophisticated. Or something that has a fancy name!
This recipe, from Technicolor Kitchen, fulfilled an old desire of mine: I always wanted to make Lamingtons, but was too lazy to make the traditional ones!
125 g unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup flour
1 ¼ rsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup whole milk, lukewarm
1 cup of sweetened coconut flakes – I must confess I didn’t really measure! As I can’t find sweetened coconut flakes in Uruguay, I used shredded coconut.
For the icing, you’ll need:
¾ confectioner’s sugar, passed through a fine mesh sieve – can I use regular sugar? Probably NOT.
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, passed through a fine mesh sieve
1/3 cup boiling water
1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
As in brownie recipes, start by preparing the baking sheet (i used a 9 x 13 inch one): line it with aluminum foil and butter the foil – do so CAREFULLY, to prevent tears. I ran out of aluminum foil that day (the horror!), so I used parchment paper – make sure you butter it as well!
In the stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition – remember to use the silicone spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl!
Turn off the mixer. With your silicone spatula, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt, until it’s all well incorporated. Mix in the milk. You’ll get a reasonably thick batter. Spread it over the baking sheet, making sure to smooth the surface with your spatula.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. This cake doesn’t raise or color much, don’t worry. Let it cool COMPLETELY in the pan over a cooling rack.
When the cake has cooled, cut it into bars – cutting before pouring the icing makes the bars look pretty on the sides! 🙂
It’s time for the ridiculously complicated icing. Ready? Mix all icing ingredients in a bowl. There. With a spoon and a little bit of patience, spread the icing over the bars. Top them with coconut and serve!
Another great thing about these bars is that they freeze PERFECTLY! Wrap individual portions in plastic wrap. When you really need something sweet, just remove from the freezer and let it thaw a little bit – they’re pretty tasty cold! 🙂
On the early days of Tertúlias de Forno e Fogão (the Portuguese version of this blog), I posted on Facebook a recipe for vegetable stock – it’s funny to think of the time when this wasn’t even a blog! Veggie stock is a very easy recipe, any makes all the difference when making a soup, a risotto… much better than bouillon cubes!
Although I still make vegetable stock, the truth is I’ve been using meat stock for most of my soups lately. When I started photographing for the Soup Tertulias, Sky asked me if I had already translated the stock recipe − and was shocked to learn that I hadn’t even posted it! “But the stock is the star of your soups”. I took the hint and finally photographed the process. 🙂
There are several ways of making meat stock. I usually follow Chef John’s recipe (with some of the hints by Pat Feldman). It’s not a difficult process, but it takes a while: the stock needs to cook for at least 12 hours! I generally cook it for 24 hours, though. Then, I reduce it significantly, so I can freeze in single-use portions.
You will need:
Approximately 2.5 kg of meaty bones − Pat Feldman and Chef John List the kind of bones you should use, but to be honest I simply ask for meaty bones at the butcher’s and that’s it!
Celery leaves − you can use the stalks if you prefer, but it’d just be a waste of a perfect peanut butter dispenser!
One big onion, cutting into fours
Two carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks − when I was taking the pictures, there were no carrots in the house, so I didn’t use it this time! 😀
Two big (and thick) pots, with lids − mine can hold up to six liters, but if you have a bigger pot, double the recipe and make more stock! 🙂
Containers for freezing the stock − I prefer glass ones, with hermetic lids, as they are way easier to clean, but feel free to use plastic containers.
Stock starts with a step that generally marks the end of a recipe: place all the bones on a baking sheet, and bake them in a preheated oven for 60 minutes, turning them every now and then, so they brown evenly. Be careful not to let them burn!
When the bones are browned, transfer them to a big, thick pot − if there’s anything stuck to the baking sheet, scrape and place it in the pot as well! Cover with COLD water, then add the celery, onion, and carrots. Cover the pan and bring it to a boil over high heat. I prefer to put the vegetables on top, so it’s easy to remove them later!
Once the water has started boiling, remove the foam with a spoon and place the pan over the lowest possible temperature in your stovetop. As the stock will cook all night, it should simmer, not boil, so that it doesn’t evaporate. Here, I put the pan on the smallest burner, at the lowest setting.
One or two hours after the stock has started simmering, I remove the vegetables. Chef John doesn’t do that, but since I use celery leaves rather than stalks, I think it’s better to remove it.
Throughout the entire cooking process, the bones should always be covered by water. If you using the thick pan, covered, and in the lowest possible heat, that shouldn’t be a problem. However, if it is, just add more water!
When the bones are clean (with no meat attached to them, and with the little holes where the marrow has leaked from), which usually takes about 12 to 15 hours of cooking, you can remove them from the pan. If you want to cook for longer, there’s no problem − and the flavor will be more intense! I generally cook for 24 hours.
Remove the bones from the pan − I always let them drain over the sieve, so I don’t waste any stock. After removing all the bones, strain the stock into the second pan – you want to make sure that there are no mini-chunks of meat, or anything other than pure stock! 🙂
Take the second pan back to the stove, to reduce the stock over high heat − “reduce” sounds like a fancy process, but it just means “make the water evaporate” 😛 I generally have about 3.5 L of stock at this point, which I reduced to 1.5 L − the more concentrated the stock, the less room it will take in my freezer! 😀
Let the stock cool in the pan. Then, transfer them to the containers. I usually divide into five containers of 300 mL each, which is the base for five big soups, as this is really concentrated!
When it’s fully cooled, you’ll notice a layer of grease over the surface of the stock. I usually freeze with this layer on, and I only remove it when it’s time to cook – it’s much easier that way!
The stock will last in the freezer for up to six months. For soups, I simply thaw it a little bit, remove the grease layer, and dump it in the pot, adding more water as necessary. For risottos, you need to dilute the stock first, as it needs to be heated first. A 300-mL container will yield about 2 L of stock!
Before I decided which would be the last recipe of the Dinner Rolls Tertulias, I was stumped, reading a bunch of recipes and not finding anything that screamed “bake me!”. This lasted for a while, until I decided I’d narrow my search to vegan breads. I found this recipe, I had a sweet potato in the fridge that hadn’t made its way into the last soup we made, so it was a no-brainer!
These were the easiest rolls to knead in the entire series. I almost always use the stand mixer, but by the time I finished kneading this one, I was thinking “AFFF, I should have kneaded that by hand, it’d be one less dish to wash!” 😀 I tried a roll as soon as they came out of the oven, and loved it. Later that day, I had them with cheese and started thinking about how they’d be great as a burger bun! As usual, I froze part of the recipe. Yesterday, we thawed the rolls and used them for sliders – they were perfect!
For the sponge:
2 1/4 tsp dry instant yeast
1/2 cup water, lukewarm – as in “if you can stand to keep your fingers in there for 10 seconds, it’s good”
1/2 cup all purpose flour
For the dough:
1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
2 tbsp maple syrup – I used honey, as maple syrup is a treat here! Not to be used casually!
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp baking powder – yeah, I too thought it was weird to use both yeast and baking powder in the same recipe, but it worked! 🙂
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour – if you are making this recipe on a humid day, you may need a bit more flour. I didn’t have to add any!
Start by making the sweet potato purée. Peel and cube a medium-size sweet potato, and boil it until soft. Then drain it, mash well, and set aside to cool.
While the sweet potato cools, make the sponge. Mix all sponge ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a big bowl, that you’ll also use to knead!), cover with a dish cloth, and let it rest for 20 minutes or so, until it bubbles.
To the sponge, add all the dough ingredients. Knead in a stand mixer with a hook attachment (or with your hands) for 5-7 minutes, until the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers. If you’re using a stand mixer, you’ll notice that the sides of the bowl become practically clean – you’ll still have to wash it, though. 😀
Now the method is the same as for all other rolls in this series: cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size. When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it to deflate and transfer to a floured surface.
I divided my dough in 24 pieces, but you can divide it into 8 portions to make burger buns; I think this dough would be great for that! Shape the portions into balls and place them on a buttered (or simply covered with a Silpat) 9 x 13 inch baking sheet. This video shows the technique I use – it looks time-consuming, but when you get the hang of it, it’s pretty quick!
Loosely cover the pan with a plastic wrap or dish cloth (don’t use terrycloth!), and let them rise again, until they are almost doubled in size.
Now all you have to do is bake the rolls in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes (add a little more oven time if you’re making burger buns), or until they are golden brown and you hear a hollow sound when you tap the surface.
Let them cool on a wire rack and serve!
FREEZER: As with all the rolls in this series, these freeze beautifully. All you have to do is put them in a Ziploc bag once they are cooled!
When I lived in Brasília, my friends from work and I would just say “screw this!” and have a nice long lunch at Texas Roadhouse Grill, where they had these lovely rolls. I would threaten to just eat the bread rolls (and drink beer, obviously) instead of ordering lunch! I’ve never got around to actually doing that, though. But I will someday!
To continue the Dinner Roll Tertulias, I decided to bake a recipe I had pinned on Pinterest. It didn’t look like a big deal: a soft roll, the end. Easy. When they came out of the oven, I brushed the honey butter over the top, grabbed a roll and gave one to Sky. We tried it and said, almost at the same time: “it’s the bread roll from Roadhouse!” 😀
240 mL (1 cup) whole milk, lukewarm
2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
80 g (1/4 cup) honey
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
60 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 tsp salt
450 g (3 1/2 cups) bread flour – I used half bread flour, half all-purpose flour. I ended up adding another ¼ cup, because the weather was very humid. Start with the amount on the recipe and, if necessary, add more.
For the non-optional topping:
60 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp honey
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or simply in a big bowl), place the milk, yeast, and sugar. Mix and set aside. After five to ten minutes, the mix should be foamy, just like the top of a thick beer. If not, it means something went wrong: either your yeast is bad or the milk was too hot. In any case, discard the mixture and start over!
Add the honey, egg and egg yolk, melted butter, salt, and flour, and knead with the dough hook attachment (or with your hands) for about five minutes, until the dough is not-too-sticky and you can shape it into a ball. If you need to, add more flour, but beware: the dough is a little sticky, and we want to add as little flour as possible, so the rolls don’t get tough! 🙂 I ended up adding a ¼ cup one Tbsp at a time.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. Here, it took 1 hour.
When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it to deflate and transfer to a floured surface. I divided my dough in 32 pieces, to make mini rolls, but you can divide it into 12-16 portions for conventional-sized rolls. Shape the portions into balls and place them on a buttered (or simply covered with a Silpat) 9 x 13 inch baking sheet. This video shows the technique I use – it looks time-consuming, but when you get the hang of it, it’s pretty quick!
Loosely cover the pan with a plastic wrap or dish cloth (don’t use terrycloth!), and let them rise again, until they are doubled in size.
Meanwhile, prepare the topping: mix the butter and honey thoroughly, and set aside at room temperature, so it doesn’t harden.
Bake the rolls in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and you hear a hollow sound when you tap the surface.
As soon as they come out of the oven, GENEROUSLY brush the sides and the top with the honey butter (I used over half of the mixture). Let them cool for a few minutes and serve with the leftover honey butter!
FREEZER: If you manage to have leftovers, place them in a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed that, but I’m a crazy garlic lady. I usually double the amount of garlic on every recipe I make, and complain that there’s not enough garlic… For these rolls, Jaime Oliver called for 1 head of garlic to 500 g butter, but we only use 125 g in this recipe. I didn’t see any reason to reduce the amount of garlic proportionally! 😀
When I read this recipe, I thought it was going to be tasty, but nothing too new. However, this recipe has a trick I had never used: the rolls are baked on a baking sheet that has been buttered with garlic butter and covered in breadcrumbs. This “bed” gives the rolls a very crunchy bottom that is simply amazing!
Here, we ate them with a soup, but I can totally see this going great with a big salad, chili, pasta, etc, etc…
For the bread:
800 g bread flour – I used a mix of all-purpose and bread flours
7 g yeast
1 tsp salt
500 mL lukewarm water
Breadcrumbs, to cover the baking sheet
For the butter:
If you’re a normal person, 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped – I used almost an entire head
125 g butter, room temperature
Zests of 1 lemon
1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper
If you’re using unsalted butter, 1 tsp salt
Start by making the dough: in a big bowl, mix the flour, the salt, and the yeast. Add the water, in increments, and knead (by hand or using the stand mixer with the hook attachment) for about 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball, place it back in the bowl and cover. Let it rise for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.
Meanwhile, prepare the garlic butter: all you have to do is mix all the ingredients carefully! Set aside at room temperature, because we want it to be soft.
Spread 1/3 of the butter on a 10 x 14 inch baking sheet. Dust a generous amount of breadcrumbs, covering the entire surface of the sheet. Set aside.
When the dough doubles in size, portion it into 35 equal parts and shape them as rolls – yes, this is when you want to multitask, making those little rolls and watching a show… 😀 This video shows the technique I use – it looks time-consuming, but when you get the hang of it it’s pretty quick!
Place the rolls on the baking sheet, cover them, and let them rise again for another hour and a half, or until they double in size.
After this time, pre-heat the oven and brush the top and sides of all the rolls with 1/3 of the garlic butter. As it was a cold day, I had to warm the butter on the stovetop for a few seconds!
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until they are golden brown. As soon as the rolls come out of the oven, brush the remaining butter on them and, theoretically, let them cool down a bit before serving!
FREEZER: like most breads, these freeze pretty well – all you have to do is place the cooled rolls in a Ziploc bag!
It’s COLD!!!! (Remember, I’m in the Southern Hemisphere). With this cold weather, any excuse to turn on the oven is valid and, let’s be honest, is there anything better than hot bread, fresh out of the oven?
To start the Dinner Roll Tertulias, I decided to photograph one of the first breads I’ve ever tried to bake! It’s important to use a GOOD parmesan – don’t use the pre-shredded one! Ideally, it should be grated on a Microplane (a great investment if you like to cook, especially if you like to add zests to everything! #notheydon’tsponsorme #unfortunately), but if you don’t have it, you can use the fine side of that box grater everybody has somewhere in their kitchen… 😀
This time, I shaped it into 12 balls, but next time I’ll shape it into 24, for a more delicate format. Or maybe I’ll shape it into 6, and use them as burger buns… #homekitchenproblems
2 tsp active dried yeast
1 tsp honey or sugar – I used honey
160 mL (2/3 cup) whole milk, lukewarm
350 g (2 ½ cups) flour + 2 Tbsp, to sprinkle over the dough
50 g (1 ½ cups) of parmesan cheese, finely grated + some extra, for decoration – the original recipe called for 37 g, I went rogue and used 50 g 😀
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
70g (5 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg yolk, to brush the rolls
In a large bowl (I used the stand mixer’s), combine the yeast, honey, and 1/3 cup of the lukewarm milk. Set aside until it foams – if it doesn’t foam in 10 minutes or so, it’s a sign that your yeast has gone bad (or that the milk was too hot). Discard and start over! :S
When it foams, add the flour, the cheese, the salt, and the remaining milk. Knead with the hook attachment of your stand mixer (or the heavy dough attachment of the hand mixer, or your hands!). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. If you’re using a mixer, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl every now and then. Continue to knead until you have a soft dough – roughly 3 minutes on the mixer. Don’t get scared: this is a sticky dough. Bravely resist the temptation of add more flour, trust me. Add the butter, one Tbsp at a time, kneading well, and work the dough until it’s elastic – roughly 3 more minutes. Once again: don’t freak out; this is sticky, but it’ll work!
You won’t be able to shape this into a ball, but you can scrape down the sides of the bowl and place the batter in the center. Dust with the 2 Tbsp of flour, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for 1 ½ hour, or until it doubles in volume.
When it’s doubled, butter an 8 x 12 inch baking pan, if it’s not non-stick. Lightly punch down the dough, so it de-inflates, and transfer to a lightly floured working surface. Divide the dough into 12 parts (or 24, or 6, you name it) and shape it into balls. This video shows the technique I use – it looks time-consuming, but when you get the hang of it it’s pretty quick!
Place the balls in the baking pan, leaving some room between them. Cover with a clean dishcloth – don’t use the terrycloth ones! Let it rise again until it doubles in volume (here it took another 1 ½ hour, because it’s cold!)
Brush the rolls with the yolk and dust some more grated parmesan. Bake for 20-25 minutes – I always look at the bottom: if it’s golden-brown, it’s ready!
Let them cool in the baking pan for 5 minutes. Then, use a spatula to loosen the sides and remove the rolls from the pan. The right thing to do would be to let them cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, but who does that? 😀
FREEZER: If you manage to have leftovers, place them in a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
For the third recipe of the Summer Tertulias, I decided to make the first drink of the blog! 🙂 While researching “summer recipes” on Pinterest, I came across “agua fresca,” a very refreshing Mexican drink – the middle point between juice and flavored water 😀
Among the several options of agua fresca, I decided on this Epicurious version, which has an interesting detail: homemade mint syrup. I had never made syrup before, and was surprised at how easy it is! The coolest thing is that you can use the same syrup to make pineapple agua fresca!
For a big pitcher of agua fresca, you’ll need:
5 cups of watermelon, seeded – I used half a medium-sized watermelon and decided that was 5 cups 😀 For the pineapple version, I used roughly 2 cups of fresh pineapple, chopped.
1/4 cup of lemon juice
A LOT OF ICE (I used two trays)
For the mint syrup:
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
In a small saucepan, place all the ingredients of the syrup and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and let it chill completely.
While the syrup cools down, remove the seeds of the watermelon and chop it. When I was done chopping, I remembered I had a pineapple that needed to be used as well. As I had doubled the syrup recipe, I decided to make pineapple agua fresca – the method was exactly the same, but I only used 2 cups of chopped pineapple.
Place the watermelon, the lemon juice, and the mint syrup in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the contents directly over the pitcher. Add two cups of water, mix well, and add plenty of ice. Serve ice cold!
Freezer: Place the agua fresca in a popsicle mold and freeze – it will be a hit! 🙂
Have you checked out the new blog sections? 😉
To continue our Muffin Tertulias, it was time to try a special recipe I had found (by chance) on Pinterest! Theoriginal recipe said that this muffin was just like Starbucks’, but I disagree. Starbucks’ muffins are always too dry! 😀
These were an absolute hit – they disappeared as soon as they came out of the oven, and I had to “hide” these two for the picture!
For 12 muffins, you’ll need:
250 mL milk
10 g instant yeast
250 g all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Black pepper and oregano
200 g parmesan, coarsely grated – save a bit for decorating the top of the muffins
100 g melted butter
As this recipe calls for instant yeast, the process is a bit different than normal muffins. But it’s still quick! 🙂
Mix the yeast with the (warm) milk and let it foam. In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt, black pepper, and oregano.
Meanwhile, melt the butter and let it cool down a bit. When the butter has been cooled down, mix in the egg and the milk with yeast. Add the flour mix and most of the grated cheese. As always, the idea is to mix with a rubber spatula just until you can’t see any more flour – don’t knead! 🙂
Divide the dough into the cups, always filling only up to 3/4 of the capacity, and cover with the reserved grated cheese.
Now the process is different: as this is a yeasted dough, let it rest for 1 hour – it didn’t reeeeally rise much during that period, but I didn’t worry about it.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until it turns golden and passes the toothpick test.
Cool it down a little bit and eat!
In the unlikely event of leftovers, just place them in a ziploc bag and freeze!