Sunday, November 27, 2011

Easy Layered Banana Semolina Cake Recipe

Easy Layered Banana Semolina Cake
This is without any doubt one of the most unusual cake recipes I have ever come across. What makes this cake most unusual is that you don’t need to prepare a batter before baking, the batter is made automatically during the baking process. The moisture from the fruits goes into the dry mixture, hence forming the batter. Amazing. 

The cake has 5 layers. The top and bottom layer of the cake is crispy and crumbly while the middle layer has a cake like texture. The other two layers are banana mash. It is a delight to eat, almost like a cookie sandwich with crispy outers and soft creamy filling. 

A 5 layered cake with different textures looks more sophisticated than a regular cake and generally requires a lot of effort to make. But not this cake, it is incredibly easy to prepare.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crispy Caramel Chip Cookies Recipe

Crispy Caramel Cookies
This is the most weird and unusual recipe I have developed. It results in a delicious crispy low fat cookie with a caramel flavor. And the recipe only requires sugar, flour, butter/oil and water.

Before I go any further, I should say that because the recipe is unusual, you may not get it right the first time. You may require a few practice runs, depending on your luck, patience, skill and other unexplained factors. If you have never made cookies before or don’t make cookies often perhaps this is not a good recipe for you. Its better to spend your time and resources on a more conventional recipe.

I was a bit hesitant in posting the recipe. I have tested this recipe many many times, the cookies turn out different every time, but always delicious. Thats why the cookies in the photos all look different. The first time I tried it the cookies turned out to be one of the crispiest I have ever had. That never repeated again, though it has been crispy every time. 

The recipe uses water which is an unusual ingredient for a cookie. Water does not add any flavor but it is used for bringing the dough together and for the crispiness. When water evaporates it acts as a raising agent, creating a crispier cookie.

- I have tried the recipe with vegetable oil and coconut oil. I prefer vegetable oil, it gives a more crumbly texture, its easier to work with and it is cheaper. If you use vegetable oil definitely use vanilla to mask the vegetable ‘oily’ flavor
- The recipe suggests making a simple caramel. The caramel does not need to fully develop in the first step. The caramel will develop further during the baking process
- Sometimes the dough will be lumpy and sometimes it will be crumbly. However it turns out, do not be concerned. The lumpy bits are hardened caramel and it will melt during baking.
- The third step in the recipe involves mixing caramel and butter/oil. The caramel and butter/oil will not mix together but mixing vigorously will help to make the caramel slightly softer and it will also unstick it from the bottom of the pan

Crispy Caramel Cookies

1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 cup water or milk (you will need more)
3 cups flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
Vanilla essence (optional)

1. Boil water (or milk) and sugar in a saucepan, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until the mixture starts to turn brown
2. Remove from heat, add butter or oil and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the caramel softens and unsticks from the bottom of the pan. 
3. Add flour and baking powder and immediately mix vigorously. At this point the dough will be either crumbly or lumpy. If there are big lumps break it into smaller piece. These are the caramel chips. As the mixture cools it will harden slightly
4. Add just enough water (or milk) to bring the dough together. Work quickly to prevent the dough from absorbing too much water. If you add too much water by mistake don’t worry it will evaporate.
5. Form into balls, flatten and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes.

Crispy Caramel Cookies

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Brownie Cookies (Kladdkaka Cookies) Recipe

Brownie Cookie
Chocolatey, rich, soft and crispy, that’s what you get when you combine a brownie and a cookie into one.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sekespare cookies recipe

Sekespare Cookies
Shakespeare spelt his name many different ways. One article notes 20 different spellings, however sekespare is not one of them. Sekespare, which is a Turkish cookie, has nothing to do with Shakespeare. Sekespare is no ordinary cookie though, even if it is made from ordinary standard ingredients. The cookies are soaked in syrup, just like baklavas. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coconut Semolina Macaroons with Nutella Recipe

Coconut Semolina Macaroons
First of all a small confession. I didn’t use Nutella even though it says it in the title. The ‘thing’ in the photo looks like Nutella but it is Nöt-Crème, a Swedish product similar to Nutella. I haven’t tasted Nutella and Nöt-Crème side by side but I would say Nöt-Crème is better because it has higher hazelnut content. I know most of you are probably Nutella fans and probably have never heard of Nöt-Crème. Just to keep peace, I will say that Nutella is also good, but not better than Nutella.

Anyway, now that the Nutella issue is sorted, lets move on to the main item, the macaroons. The macaroons are light, crunchy and chewy. Semolina gives it a nice crunch. It is not overly sweet. If you prefer a sweeter macaroon, please increase the sugar content. 

As you can guess from the photos I was in a great hurry to test drive these macaroons, hence the reason I didn't decorate the macaroons neatly with Nöt-Crème. Next time I will be more patient and try to make these macaroons look prettier. They tasted delicious though.

Adopted with modifications from epicurious and allrecipes

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons semolina
2 egg whites
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Nutella or Nöt-Crème (optional) 

1.      Toast the coconut. I prefer to do this on the stove top. Toss the coconut in a pan placed over medium heat and roast until golden brown, stirring continuously. Alternatively place the coconut on an oven tray and bake at 170°C/340°F for 3-4 minutes until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. 
2.      In a small bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, semolina and salt. Stir in egg whites and vanilla; mix well. 
3.      Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 160°C/325°F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Herring Beetroot Potato Salad with Caviar Recipe

Herring Beetroot Potato Salad with Caviar
This is an excellent recipe that I took from With a Glass who got the recipe from a cousin who in turn got it from someone else. I don’t know where this recipe originally comes from but it is most likely from Eastern/Central Europe or Russia.

History can sometimes be boring and irrelevant, what is important is that the salad is simple to make and delicious. It is quite a heavy salad, I had it as a meal rather than as a salad.

This recipe seems versatile and you can substitute ingredients according to your taste. Variations of this recipe exist, in many forms. Sometime ago I posted the recipe for Swedish beetroot herring salad which has some similarities and differences.

The recipe suggests using herring in oil. I used pickled herring instead and soaked it in water for many hours. If you don’t like herring you can substitute any other fish, it should work fine. 

Using caviar is optional. I placed caviar on one side only since I was unsure whether caviar would go well. It did, thankfully.

It is best to chill the salad for few hours, or even overnight. Like good wine the taste gets better with age. And then the taste deteriorates quite rapidly so don’t let it age for too long. I don’t know how long it can be kept for, I am guessing a few days only.

The amounts below come from With a Glass. I did not follow the amounts exactly as the recipe says, instead I rebelled and used my own estimates.

Herring Beetroot Potato Salad with Caviar
250 grams herring in oil, drained 
2 medium onions (I used less)
4 large potatoes
2 large beetroot
4 – 5 eggs
150 - 200 ml mayonnaise
Caviar (optional)

1.      Cook the potatoes, beetroot and eggs and let it cool
2.      Coarsely dice the herring, and finely dice the onions, potatoes, beetroot and eggs 
3.      In a serving bowl or dish place the herring, making sure to spread it evenly 
4.      Place onions on top of the herring, followed by potatoes. Season with salt and pepper
5.      Place the beetroot, followed by eggs and mayonnaise.
6.      If you are using caviar, now is the time to place it right at the top
7.      Cover and chill the salad in a refrigerator for many hours, or overnight.

Herring Beetroot Potato Salad with Caviar

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Crispy Coconut Cupcake with Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Crumble Recipe

Crispy Coconut Cupcake with Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Crumble

This looks nothing like a cupcake. It used to be a cupcake but it was converted into a crispy cupcake. I am not sure what I should call this thing so lets just stick with crispy cupcake for now.

You will probably not believe me if I say that this is really simple to make and requires few basic ingredients that are most probably sitting in your pantry. Trust me, my pantry is usually empty and I have all the required ingredients. The cupcake has just 4 ingredients, and cake mix is not one of them, neither is butter or eggs.

The process for making it is quite different. First I made a regular cupcake using this recipe. I then removed the inside of the cupcake, make this into crumbs by drying it out in the oven and then filled the cupcake with the crumbs. As a result the cupcake has a completely different texture from a regular cupcake. It is crispy on the outside and the inside. 

While the recipe is really simple it does take a bit of time to dry out the cupcake.

Crispy Coconut Cupcake with Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Crumble

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup dessicated coconut (toasted - optional)
¾ cup milk
Different ingredients for the crumble – I used peanut butter, banana and chocolate (butter, sugar and cocoa)

1.      Heat oven to 180C/360F 
2.      Mix milk and sugar
3.      Add shifted flour and coconut and mix well
4.      Bake for around 30 minutes
5.      Once the cake has cooled cut off the top and using a knife and spoon remove the inside of the cake, leaving just a thin outer layer of the cake. The cake will look like a pastry shell (“shell”)
6.      Break or cut the inside of the cake into small pieces (crumbs). Put this on a baking tray together with the shell. 
7.      Bake at 85C/185F degrees until the shell and crumbs are crispy, about 40-60 minutes. Keep the oven door open 
8.      Mix the crumbs with different flavours and layer then inside the shell.
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