Sweet Potato Brownies

So I decided to try something new. A member of my household has decided to become vegan… what a hassle. How is one to bake without eggs and milk?! Well while procrastinating, I decided to peruse the inter web for some vegan blogs. I wanted to look for something sweet to make. Stumbled upon Deliciously Ella’s blog for some Sweet Potato Brownies! The hell?! I was straight up baffled! Vegans are so damn crafty, with the absence of animal products and byproducts, I’d guess you’d have to be crafty. To replicate the chewiness and fudginess of the original so called “cruel” brownie, would be replaced with dates and sweet potato. Damn… who knew.

Ing

Ingredients:

500 g or 2 medium – sweet potatoes
200 g – oats
12 – Medjool dates
6 tbsp – pure maple syrup
pinch – Salt
6 tbsp – raw cacao powder
1 cup – roasted pecans
300 g – chopped dark chocolate

Method:

This recipe is pretty quick and easy. Rather then a one pot meal its a one blender brownie. Soak your pitted medjool dates (don’t use those gnarly dry brick dates, live a little, get the good ones), if they’re already pretty soft, you won’t really have a problem. I find that if I process dates, it tends to be easier if I soak them for a couple hours. Peel and steam your sweet potatoes.steam

I feel steaming is a little better than just boiling your sweet potato because it tends keep the potatoes a bit dryer. Having the control of your moisture level will benefit you in the long run in the case that you end up with a goopy brownie… but you do you, I ain’t a babysitter. Drain your dates well and process them in a food processor or a high speed blender. Grind your oats in a coffee grinder till it’s finely milled. Add all the remaining ingredients in except for your pecans and chopped chocolate… I guess I won’t be lazy and type it out for you… (oats, salt, maple syrup and cocoa powder). Mix all of this real well. Pour ur mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the pecans and chocolate chunks. I say pour as if the batter was actually runny, at this point if your batter isn’t the constancy of Play Doh, you’ve done something wrong.

Ready to bakne

Put your completed “mixture” into a greased 9″ square pan and level it out with an off set spatula. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Seems pretty long for a “chewy” brownie, but it surprisingly it worked!

Baked

Overall The brownie wasn’t bad, I cut the brownie in 14 pieces and it really did have the consistency of a brownie, as advertised. It tasted like the healthiest brownie I’ve ever eaten, I’m not sure if thats just a mental thing, knowing it was made out of sweet potato… but meh. I would probably make it again if I had a guest with some dietary restrictions. Myself? I’ll probably stick with Two Bite Brownies from Costco.

 


Braised Short Ribs

A long time coming, my first post of the New Year! My New Years resolution is to post more often and have a blog to reference my recipes from when I’m old, decrepit and can’t remember my own name! Here’s my recipe for some braised short ribs!  Something rich and decadent to warm you up on a chilly winter evening! This recipe is influenced from my training in french cuisine. Therefore, this ain’t a diet food… it’s loaded with tons of fat and wine !

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The main flavour profiles I used in this recipe is:

  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

These three in my opinion are the holy trinity combination for a heartier meats like short ribs. Thus it’s best to get fresh rosemary and thyme rather than dried. When shopping at the grocery store, there are two kinds of short ribs to choose from, ones for grilling and ones for braising. The grilling ones are cut thin and the braising ones are larger and are cut between the ribs and not against the ribs. I prefer braising ribs more because they’re really hearty and usually end up being a bit cheaper. I got three good sized short ribs for about $12, not too bad!

Ingredients:

  • 3 braising short ribs
  • 1 cup red wine (any red wine you prefer)
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 pc celery
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, rinse off your meat to make sure there isn’t any bone fragments. Dry them thoroughly with paper towel and season them generously with salt and pepper (when I say generous, I really mean it!). Now heres the most important part, sear your meat on a heavy bottom pan. Have a really hard sear on all sides of the meat so that you can lock in the flavour. Place your ribs into a small pot just enough to fit them in with the rest of your ingredients. After the sear, deglaze your heavy bottom pan with red wine and reduce it 1/2 of the way.

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Place the chopped carrot, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary and half a teaspoon of salt into the pot along with your beef stock and the remainder of the wine in your pan. Bring the braising liquid to a boil. Put a lid on it, turn the heat down to low, now set it and forget it.

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Let the ribs simmer for 2.5 hours and check periodically to make sure that there is still enough liquid in the pot. If the liquid evaporates to less than 3/4 full, top it up with some more beef stock.

At this point your short ribs are done! To finish it off strain your braising liquid into a large sauce pan and reduce till it becomes a glaze and add 3 tbsp of butter. Mix well. Place your ribs into the pan when you’re ready to serve and baste your ribs until they’re warm.

I served mine with mashed potato and sautéd green beans with garlic!

Enjoy!


Chicken Stock!

Stock is one of the first things you learn how to make in culinary school, it’s the base to many more complex dishes from soups and consommés to risottos and pastas! A very diverse item yet it is so easy to make! A home made stock will elevate your dish from just alright to amazing!

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 lbs of chicken bones
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 small onions halved
  • 1 lemon
  • leftover herbs
  • 6 litres water

Method:

Stocks are one of the easiest things to make! Chicken bones can be found in your local grocery store, they usually come frozen, any kind of chicken bones will do but the neck and breasts are the best. The neck and breast contain a lot of gelatine which will give your stock body. You can even use bones of an already roasted chicken! As for herbs, you can add as much or as little as you want, I would stay in the range of thyme, oregano and parsley. Nothing too strong in flavour that may change the flavour of your dish. Put all our ingredients in a stock pot and bring it to a boil.

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You want to start off with cold water, if boil your water first and add in your ingredients than your stock will be cloudy. When everything comes up to a boil, skim off the access fats and impurities. Turn your stock down to a medium low simmer. Cook for 3-4 hours skimming periodically (every 30 minutes or so).

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Keep the stock uncovered to ensure a nice clear broth! After you’ve cooked the stock for 4 hours, you cannot gain any more flavour or body from the bones or other ingredients, so strain it and pass it through a cheesecloth (optional if you want a clear broth). Cool overnight and use within a week. If you have leftover broth, place the remainder in jars and freeze. They will last months and be ready for use immediately!

Enjoy!!


Korean Short Ribs!

Well everyone it’s officially spring! Clean off the BBQ’s and get your grilling on! This recipe for Korean Short Ribs or “Galbi” in Korean will definitely start your spring off right!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs of short ribs (for grilling not braising)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 korean pear
  • 1  1/2 onion
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp monosodium glutamate (optional)

Method:

First I like to wash my short ribs off with cold water just to make sure there are no bone fragments on the meat. This will also help extract some blood so that you can marinate it easily. While the short ribs are soaking, in a food processor or blender (I just used my magic bullet, took a little longer but it works!), process your onion, Korean pear and garlic into a puree.

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Put the mixture into a mixing bowl and add your soy sauce, honey, corn syrup, vegetable oil, sesame oil, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and MSG (optional, it helps bring out the umami flavour as well as tenderizes the meat). There are many misconceptions with MSG, from what I’ve read it is not actually linked with any heath risks! All that I have seen is that MSG leeches water, so it links to just dehydration which can cause headaches. Drink a big glass of water and you can enjoy! Anyways, mix all of the ingredients throughly. Drain your short ribs as well as possible and submerge your short ribs in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Over night is best! When barbecuing turn your barbecue to the hottest temperature possible and grill for 2 and a half minutes on each side or until you get some nice grill marks on the ribs! This recipe is best prepared ahead of time and will freeze just as well. 
Enjoy!


Festive Easter Carrot Cake!

So this Easter I decided to step it up and make a cake! I always had this amazing carrot cake recipe and what better time to make it than Easter! You know, carrots… bunnies… Easter… theres a link somewhere in there right?! I modelled this cake after one I saw in Pinterest, just changing the cake base to carrot instead of vanilla! This is a time consuming project so if you’re free this Easter weekend, this is the perfect thing to make! All you’ll need is:

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cup grated carrots
  • 1  14oz can crushed pineapple
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Butter and flour 2 9″ cake pans and line them with parchment. Grate your carrots in a large mixing bowl with your drained crushed pineapple. Mix your carrot and pineapple mixture with all of your wet ingredients: buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift together your dry ingredients: all purpose flour, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda and salt.  Mix thoroughly with a whisk and make sure every thing is evenly distributed (better to mix well before it makes contact with wet ingredients, the more you stir when everything is wet, the tougher your dough will get). Incorporate your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour your batter in your prepared cake pans evenly! Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 30 minutes. While the cakes are in the oven I like to make my cream cheese frosting!

Ingredients:

  • 1  8oz package of soft cream cheese
  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 4 cups of confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • yellow food colour gel

Method:

Whip together your butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for 4 minutes. Your goal is a soft fluffy consistency. When you believe you have the right consistency add your sifted confectioners sugar and stir on low for 2 minutes gradually increasing the speed to high. Now whip your icing high for another 4 minutes to make sure you have an airy frosting! If your frosting is too thick or hard to spread, feel free to add 1-2 tablespoons of milk and mix for another few minutes until creamy. I took out about 1/4 of the icing for the inner layers of my cake and left the remainder in the mixer. Now add a few drops of yellow food gel and vanilla and mix till combined.

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Poke the centre of the cake with a toothpick and if it comes out clean you’re all set. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes and transfer them to a cooling rack. A tip is to never ice or cut your cake when its warm, the icing will just melt off and the cakes will be too soft to cut cleanly. Patience is key! When your cake is fully cooled, I like to trip off the top with a serrated bread knife so you have an even surface to work with. Ice your cake and decorate however you desire! I put a pattern on mine with Cadbury Mini Eggs, I thought it turned out pretty good!

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Enjoy!


Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes!

This is my favourite cupcake recipe! It’s the moistest cupcake you’ll ever make, but yet it’s so easy! You’ll just need to get your hands on some good cocoa powder and some dark chocolate, 70% cocoa or more is best!

Ingredients:

  • 350 g all purpose flour
  • 60 g cocoa powder
  • 350 g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 150 g dark chocolate 70% cocoa or more
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 240 ml cold coffee
  • 240 ml buttermilk
  • 210 ml vegetable oil

Method:

Sift together your all purpose flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Chop your dark chocolate roughly and mix into your dry ingredients (I used 70% Cocoa Lindt Dark Chocolate). Now in a separate bowl, mix your wet ingredients: eggs, cold coffee (make sure your coffee is cold, you don’t want to cook your eggs), buttermilk and vegetable oil. If all of these ingredients are at room temperature your cupcakes will turn out better, there will be less of a temperature change when you put them into the oven. Pour your dry ingredients into your wet and mix well. Put this mixture into a measuring cup or pitcher so you can pour out your batter easily. This batter is a lot more liquid than other cupcake batters so don’t be worried!

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Pour the batter into your cupcake parchments 3/4 of the way. This recipe will make exactly 24 cupcakes! Bake at 340 degrees fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted through the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean. While your cupcakes are baking I find the perfect opportunity to make the buttercream.

Ingredients:

  • 300 g soft unsalted butter
  • 520 g icing sugar
  • 150 g salted caramel

Method:

In a stand mixer on a medium-high speed cream your unsalted butter until it becomes a pale yellow colour. Add half of your sifted icing sugar and mix on low until it has combined. Add the remainder of your icing sugar and again on low mix until its combined. When all of your icing sugar has incorporated, beat on the highest setting for 5 minutes. When the air has been incorporated in the buttercream, add 150g of salted caramel and mix on a medium speed for a few more minutes! If your icing consistency is a bit too thick, add a couple tablespoons of milk to loosen it up. Prepare all of your icing by putting it into piping bags and put the rest of the salted caramel into a piping bag with no tip.

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Hopefully by this time your cupcakes should be done! Let them cool in the cupcake tins for 5 minutes, then to the cooling rack they go!

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When the cupcakes are fully cool, insert a chopstick or something similar through the middle of your cupcake. This is where the salted caramel piping bag comes in! Fill a generous amount of salted caramel inside the hole you created with the chopstick. Pipe your icing any way you like and there you go! A moist salted caramel chocolate cupcake!

Enjoy!


Salted Caramel!

A super easy salted caramel recipe! This sweet and salty topping is great on ice creams, desserts and even better inside cupcakes (recipe for cupcakes sometime this week)!

All you’ll need are some basic kitchen essentials and you’re set to make this yummy topping!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tbps water
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 candy thermometer

Method:

First of all make sure you have everything ready. Measure out your ingredients and have everything prepared. Caramel isn’t very lenient, the time frame from perfect to burnt is about 60 seconds. There is no time for fumbling! A good tip is to have a damp kitchen towel ready so when you stir your ingredients together the pot doesn’t slide around. Have your vanilla and cream premixed for your convenience as well.

In a heavy bottom pot (choose one with higher sides because it will bubble quite a bit) add your sugar and water. Try not to get any sugar on the sides of your pan and just in the middle. This will avoid any sugar crystals forming and your caramel will be nice and smooth. Turn on your heat to medium and add your sugar thermometer. The mixture should boil, starting off with large bubbles, but the longer it boils the bubbles will decrease in size, thats when you know you’re close! This process should take about 4 minutes.

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Your sugar should start to turn a brown/caramel colour when you get around 170 degrees celsius, it’s important not to stir this mixture. If you want to mix it, just slowly swirl your pan around. !!DISCLAIMER!! Be very careful, sugar is extremely hot and will stick to you if you get any on you. I like my caramel to be around 190 degrees celsius, it has a complimentary bitter tone, but if thats not your thing, you can stop your caramel around 180-185 degrees celsius. Put your pot on your already prepared dampened towel and slowly drizzle in  your whipping cream. A slow steady stream will ensure that everything stays smooth! The mixture will bubble up a lot, but everything is ok, just keep stirring and adding your cream. When you finish, add your teaspoon of salt and stir until dissolved. Do not try the caramel at this point, it is still very very hot. Cool on your kitchen counter for a couple hours and it will keep in an air tight container in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.

There is your recipe for an easy salted caramel! After you try this recipe out, I think it will definitely be a favourite! A recipe using this salted caramel making it into chocolate cupcakes with a salted caramel centre and salted caramel buttercream will be posted later this week!

Enjoy!