Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Daring Bakers: The good, (the bad) and the UGLY!!

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Milan Cookies

For the Milan cookies I used a the DB recipe with a few aterations.

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

(I halved the recipe)

• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (oil)
• 1 cup and 2tbsp powdered sugar (xylitol + 2 tbsp cornflour)
• scant 1/2 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs) (egg replacer)
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon lemon extract (orange extract)
• 3/4 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour (W/W pastry + 2tbs cornflour to make 3/4 cup)
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/4 cup heavy cream (soy milk)
• 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (bitter chocolate)
• 1 orange, zested (1 tsp orange extract)

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.


I quite liked how these turned out but I would add less xylitol next time as they were a bit overly sweet.

Chocolate covered mallow cookies.. except mine weren't mallow!

Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies

• 1.5 cups all purpose flour (W/W pastry flour)
• 1/4 cup white sugar (xylitol)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt (accidentally omitted)
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (omitted)
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3 tbsp oil, 3 tbsp blended silken tofu)
• 1.5 eggs, whisked together (flax eggs)

1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.
2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.
3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.
8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.

For my mallow alterantive I made a tofu type mousse with agar flakes, I didn't have half the equipment needed to make vegan marshmallows or the money to buy any so.. make do! I used most of a packet of silken tofu, blended it then heated up some soy milk, about half a cup and dissolved 3 tbsp agar flakes.. this took a while.. when they were almost disolved I sweetened the mixture with xylitol. I halved the tofu mixture and added a strong espresso shot to one half and some peppermint extract to the other half the mixed half the soy milk mixture to each bowl. I set them in silicon bread tins.. I tried to cut star shapes out to match my biscuits but it wasn't terribly succesful, hence the ugly!

peppermint flavour

Mocha money shot!

3 mocha flavoured biscuits

I much prefered the mocha flavour biscuits, the peppermint ones were a bit too.. er.. pepperminty... ohh well! fun challenge though, I sent most of the milan cookies to my brother and he liked them, as did my dad, my mum thought they were a bit rich like me.. must be girly looking manly tasting cookies haha.

I'll try and do a fitness update soon, I joined a boxing gym last week, I'm pretty sore but it's a really good workout and I'm enjoying learning all the technical moves, I'm off there now on my bike with my boyfriend :-)

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Strawberry picking

I was going to bake some lovely strawberry cupcakes... but we just ate them all!! Maybe next time!

fitness bits!

Finally I've got round to writing a workout update! I've been doing my usual running intervals, taken my boyfriend's sister's dogs out a couple of times which is loads of fun, I'll try and remember my camera next time! The best (or worst..) workouts I've done lately have been the jokers from the crossfit hopper deck of workout cards! We had to slightly modify them to be able to do them in the flat with the equipment we have here but they were still really tough, don't worry!! The first one was the 'filthy fifty' - appropriate name! I finished this in just over 20 minutes - ouch!
  • 50 box jumps
  • 50 band slams
  • 50 dumbell swings (10kg)
  • 50 lunge jumps
  • 50 v-ups
  • 50 pushpress (used 12-15kg sandbag)
  • 50 medicine ball slams
  • 50 burpees (HELL)
  • 50 double unders
This workout was really tough, but I love tough workouts, definately going to get my time under 20 mins next time!

The other joker workout was 'fight gone bad' we modified this quite a lot as we did this workout the day after an impromptu run with the dogs - it's amazing how much difference good footwear does! I was wearing flat plimsole converse type shoes and I was on the way to developing shin splints but luckily I took it easy and didn't do too much leg work the few days after and it subsided... anyway.. the workout!

You do three rounds with a minute on each station and the idea is to beat your score next time... I tried to beat Mike but he beat me as usual.. I did unintentionally do a harder move for the push press.. I was only supposed to take the sandbag to my chest but I did it above my head each time.. that was tough!
  • Burpees 19 18 18
  • High Pull 23 24 29
  • Crunches 50 49 50
  • Push Press 11 10 15
  • Shadow Boxing -- -- --
  • Totals 105 103 112 320
So next time I need to beat my scores! And maybe Mike... although as he scored 395 that is doubtful, but I always try, he's very fit so he's a good marker to aim for even if the only thing I ever beat him on is out sitting him on a wall sit!

We've been doing some fun static hold finishers lately, we both hold a position for as long as we can, wall sit, plank, bear hold, weights etc... The person who drops the hold first has a punishment from the other person, so when I dropped the plank first Mike gave me 50 crunches to do.. But when I beat him on a wall sit I gave him 50 lunge jumps... had to get him back for the crunches!