Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding is a classic British dish. It’s usually seen as a side dish served with a roast beef dinner.

Paul brought me home some braised beef and mashed potatoes from his job. He ate his when he got home, but I wanted to save it for lunch the next day. As I was contemplating this awesome meal, I had a really strong craving for Yorkshire puddings.

I have been contemplating making Yorkshire puddings for a long time. I found a Jamie Oliver video where he breaks down how to make proper Yorkshire puddings. After watching the video and keeping Jamie’s tips in mind, I found a Jamie Oliver inspired recipe.

These babies bake up in less than an hour, and are so good! I don’t have a popover or Yorkshire pudding pan, so I just used a muffin tin, and it still worked just fine.

They are also super easy to make, and only have four ingredients! If you have eggs, flour, milk, and salt, you can make these Yorkshire puddings!

Ingredients

Yield: 12 Yorkshire puddings

1 c. milk
3 eggs, at room temperature
4 oz. (approx. 1 c.) flour
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 450°F. In a 12-sectioned muffin tin, fill three of the muffin tins on the end with oil. Tip the muffin tin so that the oil flows into the rest of the sections. There should be about 1 centimeter of oil in each tin.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together until lightly frothy. Add in the salt and milk, and whisk again. Add the flour, and whisk again until there are no lumps, and the batter coats the back of a spoon.

Let the batter rest for 15 minutes. Put the oil-filled muffin tin on a baking sheet, and place in the preheated oven while the batter rests.

After resting the batter, take the muffin tin out of the oven, and very carefully pour the batter into the oil-filled cavities. Use a spoon to minimize spills between muffin tin cavities.

Once the muffin tin is full, place back into the hot oven for 20 minutes, or until dark golden brown and puffy.

Serve immediately.

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Sourdough Focaccia

I love sourdough! There are so many things that you can do with it. I’ve made focaccia bread before on the blog, and loved it! It’s a really incredible bread with tons of olive oil in it, but a beautiful, crisp exterior.

You can top it with tons of different things. I’ve heard of peppers, olives, cheese, garlic, herbs, or just plain sea salt. That’s the great thing about focaccia. It’s completely customizable.

I originally found the recipe for this sourdough focaccia here. I didn’t change the base recipe, but I put my own spin on the toppings. I kept it simple with a little bit of olive oil, some sea salt, thyme, and a little sprinkle of parmesan.

We all know I’m a carb lover at heart, and this bread is no exception. It is absolutely phenomenal. I love how each time you make it, it can be different. You can change the toppings to match what you are craving, or making for dinner. It goes well on its own, as a side, and as a base for a kick-butt sandwich.

This is a bread that takes some time to make, but the payoff is so worth it.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 – 11×17 pan or 2 – 9×13 pans

For the sponge:

1½ c. sourdough starter
1 c. warm water
¼ c. olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 c. flour

For the dough:

½ c. olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
4 c. flour
Herbs, salt, olives, etc. for toppings.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, warm water, honey, olive oil, and flour. Leave in a warm spot to rise for 1-2 hours, until the surface is bubbly.

To continue making the dough, add the olive oil, salt, and flour (a cup at a time). Stir with a wooden spoon, until you get to the last cup of flour. For the last cup of flour, sprinkle it across your work surface. Turn out the dough onto the flour, and knead until the last cup of flour is incorporated. Dough should be smooth and supple, and slightly moist because of the oil.

Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, and place the dough inside, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm spot to double in size, about 2 hours.

Oil a large 11×17 pan, or two 9×13 pans, with ¼ – ½ cup of olive oil, spreading oil over the pan evenly.

Punch down dough, gently, and press into the oiled pan, into the corners. If the dough is pulling away, leave for 5 minutes to relax, and try again.

Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave to rise and double in size, about 1 hour. If there is excess oil, do not pour it out! Allow it to cover the top of the dough.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

When dough is ready, and oven is heated, press fingers over the dough to create dimples. If the dough is a little dry on top, brush with extra olive oil. Sprinkle desired toppings (I used sea salt, parmesan, and thyme) across dough, and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Brown Sugar Shortbread

Well, when summer comes to a close and fall starts rolling in, my mind starts thinking of warm, cozy flavours. Brown sugar is one of those flavours. It has a very fall-esque quality to me, and I find I bake with brown sugar a lot more come autumn.

Even though I don’t have a regular shortbread recipe on the blog yet… maybe Christmas time? I saw these and had to make them. The list of ingredients is mercifully short, and they were so easy to throw together. About five minutes of prep work, then through the dough in the fridge and wait.

Slice and bake cookies are always so handy. You can usually make the dough in advance, and they are hard to mess up. These were no exception. They are soft, chewy, and have that warm brown sugar flavour.

I found the original recipe here, and the only things I changed were to add all light brown sugar (as I didn’t have any dark brown sugar on hand), and to roll the cookie dough log in plain granulated sugar, because I didn’t have any turbinado or demerara sugar either.

Still, these cookies turned out beautifully, and they are a great way to welcome in the Autumn season!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 2 dozen cookies

2¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. butter, room temperature
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. dark brown sugar, packed (use more light brown sugar if you don’t have dark)
1½ tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. Turbinado or Demerara sugar, for garnish (or can use granulated)

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugars until smooth. Add in the vanilla, and mix again.

Add the dry ingredients, and beat on low speed to combine. Turn up to high speed until dough is cohesive and sticks together.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll dough into a log (if you want a smaller, more manageable log size, divide dough in half). Tightly wrap the dough logs in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, and up to 5 days.

**Chilling the dough is MANDATORY. If you don’t chill the dough, you will get a monster cookie the size of your cookie sheet. I chilled mine overnight, and it worked just fine.**

To bake the cookies, preheat oven to 350°F, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

On a clean work surface or large plate, spread the garnishing sugar, unwrap dough logs, and press the dough into the garnishing sugar to adhere.

Slice logs into 24 cookies, arrange on cookie sheets, and bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until just golden brown around edges.

Let cool on pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love a good chocolate chip cookie. Who doesn’t? For years, I’ve tried finagling Paul into letting me post this recipe, and he finally relented and let me! I guess it’s a closely guarded secret, even though he told me that his family originally found it in Good Housekeeping.

So, I don’t know where this original recipe came from, so I can’t post a link, but I got it from Paul, and he says he got it from Good Housekeeping. That’s the best I can tell you.

But friends… this is the inimitable, unparallelled, and incomparable chocolate chip cookie. Now, I’m not saying it’s the best cookie in the world, but for a classic chocolate chip cookie (none of those add-in’s or fancifying ingredients like chocolate chunks, browned butter or flaky sea salt for garnish) this cookie, in my humble opinion, is about as good as it gets.

It’s a classic. It’s easy to whip together, it’s loaded with chocolate chips, they bake up in less than 15 minutes, and they are soft and chewy, with just the right amount of crisp texture on the bottom. What can’t this chocolate chip cookie do?

So, grab a big glass of milk, turn on your favourite movie, and bake these puppies up. They are one of my ultimate comfort foods, because I can never feel anything but happiness when I eat one of these. Trust me, you’ll like them too!

P.S. If you are anything like me, bake a double batch.

Ingredients

Yield: About 1½ dozen (18) cookies

½ c. shortening
½ c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour, sifted
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the shortening, sugars, egg, and vanilla until well-combined and smooth.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, and blend well again. Add the chocolate chips, and fold in.

**This is an optional step, but it works well to make sure your cookies don’t spread too much.** Refrigerate the cookie dough for 15-20 minutes.

Drop by the tablespoon, about 4 inches apart, onto your prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until the edges are slightly golden brown.

**Important!!! Keep an eye on your cookies as they are in the oven. I mean SLIGHTLY golden brown. If they get too brown, the cookies will end up tougher and not as chewy. The slight golden colour means that the bottom has set up. The cookies may not look “done” on top, but I promise, the residual heat from the oven sets up the cookies and turns them into delicious, chewy, soft masses. Trust me!!!***

Remove from cookie sheet immediately and cool on a wire rack. Eat warm or cooled to room temperature.

If you are feeling daring, or you like a bit of crunch in your cookies, feel free to add ½ c. chopped nuts to your cookies when you fold in the chocolate.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Rhubarb is a classic summer flavour, and thanks to my parents, I have a pretty much never-ending supply. They have an absolutely massive rhubarb plant that seems to produce twice as much rhubarb than the year before!

I feel like I never know what to do with it all, so I freeze it, so just in case inspiration strikes in the middle of winter, or early spring, I have rhubarb on hand so I’m not left waiting six months to make a recipe.

When I called my parents for a visit, my dad said, slightly menacingly, “Bring a cooler”. Apparently, they have upwards of 10 bags of rhubarb for me. That’s a heck of a lot of rhubarb. I’m going to have rhubarb coming out of my ears for the next few months.

Either way, I knew I was going to be getting a lot more rhubarb soon, so I figured I should try and use up the rest of the rhubarb I currently have. This cake hits the spot exactly.

I made a few changes to this original recipe, but they were small. I used both vanilla and almond extract, and I added some cinnamon to the cake so it had a bit of a spice cake feel, and I also left out the strawberry jam called for, because Paul is allergic. I have reflected these changes in the recipe below, and the cake still turned out beautifully.

If you are a rhubarb fan, and have some rhubarb to spare, make this cake! You won’t regret it.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch cake

For the rhubarb layer:

3-4 c. fresh or frozen and thawed rhubarb
¼ c. sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon

For the cake:

1¼ c. flour
½ c. ground almonds (almond meal or almond flour)
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ c. butter, softened
¾ c. sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
¾ c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

To make the rhubarb layer, in a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the bottom of the pan, then add the rhubarb, spreading in an even layer.

To make the cake, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract, and beat again.

Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. You should begin and end with the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the rhubarb, spreading the batter smooth on top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack, in the pan, for 30-40 minutes. Run a knife along the sides of the cake pan while cooling to make sure the cake will pull away from the sides of the pan. Once cooler, invert onto a serving platter or cake stand, lift off the cake pan, and peel off the parchment paper.

Slice, serve, and enjoy!