Baking Amy

A year of baking disasters and triumphs

A cheats week

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I thought about making a huge chocolate malt cake this weekend, but as it is my birthday tomorrow I am expecting my husband to buy me a cake. Two cakes in a few days is just too much cake for me so I did something that I NEVER do. Living in my pantry for at least the last 12 months was a Zumbo box kit for salted chocolate macarons. I’ve never made macarons and box kits really don’t appeal to me, which is why its been in my pantry for so long. But, I really couldn’t be bothered making anything else and I thought it would be a good thing to make with my boys. It was actually really easy and they don’t taste too bad. Now I’m keen to make them from scratch but that will have to be another weekend.

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So as I made a cheats desert I thought I would share with you a couple of bread recipes from Quirky Cooking that I have made recently. If you haven’t discovered this blog yet then you really should make your way over there. Yes, she has a wonderful machine called a thermomix which she uses for most of her recipes, but don’t let this deter you, if like me you don’t have one.

Spelt Tortilla

  • 300g white spelt flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2tsp baking soda
  • 2tsp olive oil
  • water

I make these every week, they are incredibly yummy and really easy to make (if I can make them without it turning into a disaster then so can you). Just put the first four ingredients into a food processor, blitz for a few seconds and then drizzle in the water until it forms a ball. The dough will be quite sticky. then you pinch some off and roll it out as thin as you can on a floured surface. Shake off the excess flour and put into a hot, dry frying pan. Cook for a few seconds either side and its done! If you want them to stay nice and soft, put them straight onto a plate and cover with a tea towel.

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Quinoa & Chia Seed Flatbread

  • 150g white quinoa
  • 2tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 180g water

Toast the quinoa in a dry pan for a few minutes and then grind to a flour along with the chia seeds. I used my Magimix for this but it didn’t do too well at grinding to a flour, the result was half flour have whole seeds, I must find a better way! Add the salt and water and mix together. The dough is incredibly sticky and not dough like at all. Line a baking try with baking paper, drizzle on a bit of oil, put some of the dough on top, add a little more oil to the top of the dough (to stop it sticking to your fingers) and pat out to about 3mm thick. make them as large or as small as you like, then bake in a 200 C oven for 30 mins for a crunchy flat bread of less if you like it softer. Mine where pretty crunchy, maybe a little too crunchy for my liking but my fussy three year old loved it and keeps asking for more. Apparently if you use less oil they will be less crunch so that is what I will try next time.

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Chocolate Banana Zucchini Bread

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At last, a triumph!! This week I wanted to use up some of the ripe bananas in my freezer. Every time I have a banana that is starting to turn brown, I throw it in the freezer with the intention of making something with it one day. I currently have around 20 bananas in my freezer, so it was time to use them, but I also had a zucchini in the fridge that wasn’t going to last much longer. After trawling the internet, I managed to find a few banana and zucchini recipes and settled on this Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake, only problem was, I had no idea what instant pudding mix was, or if we can get it in Australia. It didn’t matter anyway, because it doesn’t sound like something I would normally eat, so I was going to omit it from the recipe and hope for the best. Then at the last minute, I changed my mind and decided to make this Chocolate Banana Zucchini Bread instead. I’m not much of a chocolate fan but I’ve had a bar of dark chocolate in my pantry for about 12 months, so time it was used.

Recipe

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup freshly pureed zucchini
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 170 C then grease and flour a loaf pan
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together
  3. Beat the sugar and butter together, add the egg and beat again
  4. Add the pureed zucchini (my mixture curdled at this point, hardly surprising because its so wet but I wonder if adding puree slowly would have prevented this) beat, then add the mashed banana and beat again
  5. Next, add a third of the dry ingredients at a time and beat in between each addition
  6. Fold through the chocolate chips (I didn’t have any so I chopped up a bar of chocolate instead)
  7. Pour into loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
  8. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack

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From my recent over baking disasters, I was determined to get this one right, it looked done, it smelled done, now to keep my fingers crossed and hope that it was done and didn’t stick to the pan.

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I did it!!! No over baking today, this Chocolate Banana Zucchini Bread is very moist and has a lovely, strong banana and chocolate taste. You would never suspect zucchini was in there. Its nice eaten when its still warm as you get chunks of molten chocolate, and I’m sure its just as good when its cooled down, I will find out later, as mine is still warm!

Thank you Frugal Foodie Mama for the recipe!

Next week I’ll be making a yoghurt cake as I bought a tub for the pudding cake I was planning to make. If you have any yogurt cake recipes please send them my way!

Sweet Dough Lemon Loaf

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A few days ago I was given a bag full of home grown lemons so it only seemed right to make something lemony this week. For months I’d been looking at the Sweet Dough Lemon Loaf in the Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home so I decided to give it a go. I’ve never made bread with yeast before so I wasn’t expecting my first effort to be overly successful. I used my stand mixer to make the dough which was so quick and easy (I love this machine after only using it twice!):

The sweet dough after kneading

The sweet dough after kneading

I loved watching it rise, don’t know why I thought it wouldn’t:

It rose!

It rose!

Next job was to roll out the dough and cut it into four equal strips:

Erm, sort of equal strips

Erm, sort of equal strips

Then brush a mixture of melted butter, sugar and lemon zest onto the strips:

Lemon Loaf

Yummy lemony buttery goodness

Then the tricky bit was to pick up each strip and lay them on top of each other and cut into six equal squares:

Sort of square and of equal size

Sort of square and of equal size

Next, place each stack into the loaf tin (I wasn’t sure if my loaf tin was the right size, the recipe asked for a 900g tin and I have no idea what size mine is), with the cut side facing up.

Lemon Loaf

Seemed to fit ok

Then set aside and let it rise again for 30 mins or so:

Lemon Loaf

Looking good (I think)

Next it’s oven time! Now I have a hate-hate relationship with my oven, I can’t stand it, I think its rubbish and I blame it for all my baking disasters. A few months ago I bought an oven thermometer and discovered that it cooks about 40 degrees C under. So I started turning the oven up and going off what the thermometer said, but that didn’t seem to work either as things were now cooking too quickly. Then two days ago I realised that I should be reducing the temperature by about 10% because its a fan assisted oven. So this was the first time giving that a go. My loaf seemed to brown pretty quickly and after 30 mins I took it out (the length of time specified in the recipe). It was a nice even golden brown so according to the recipe it was done! But, it seemed very soft in the middle and a bit doughy. I wasn’t sure what to do so I asked my husband. Big mistake! He went and stuck his big sausage fingers right into the middle and it sank, grr. oh well, never mind, it wasn’t too bad. I ended up sticking it back into the oven for 5 more minutes but took it out again as it was getting a bit too much colour. When it had cooled slightly I “drizzled” (or rather slopped, as the mixture was much too thick for a nice drizzle) the lemon topping over it, which was a mixture of cream cheese, icing sugar, milk, lemon juice and zest. And the result:

Lemon Loaf

Not the prettiest looking loaf

Hmm, didn’t look too appetising and looks nothing like the picture in the book but I couldn’t wait to dig in while it was still warm.

Lemon Loaf

It’s cooked!

Oh my! That lemon topping is amazing! Not sure if it was due to the home grown lemons but that topping has heaps of zing which is just the way I like it. Without the topping this loaf would have been just ok, but with it, I can’t stop eating it!

It is a little dry around the outside so I probably should have taken it out 5 minutes earlier (when I first thought it was ready) but apart from that I am pretty pleased with my first bread making effort.

Next week I think I might make something with either bananas, as I have about 20 in my freezer, or rhubarb, which is growing incredibly well in the garden.