Jalapeño-Cheddar Biscuits

  • 3 c soft white flour
  • 4 1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 1 7/8 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 lb very sharp cheddar, cut into small cubes or coarsely grated
    • plus an extra 1/4 c (opt.)
  • 2-4 jalapeños, minced, about 1/4-1/3 c total, depending on your preference

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Add in the cubed cheese and jalapeños. Be sure to check the chilies’ heat level and decide how much of the inner membranes you want to leave in, if any. Make sure the cheese and chillies are evenly distributed throughout the flour mixture. Add in the cream and mix with a large wooden spoon until it just comes together in a shaggy ball. Be very careful not to overmix or else they will become tough instead of tender and flaky. Using either a dough/batter scoop or a large spoon, scoop balls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with more shredded cheese if desired. Bake until golden brown at 450°F for about 12-15 minutes. Let cool and serve.

Makes 24 1 1/2″ small biscuits or about 12-16 large ones.

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Banana Nut Pineapple Cake

  • c flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • t salt
  • t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cardamom
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 2 1/4 c raw sugar
    • OR 1 c each white and brown sugar
  • 3/4 c yoghurt
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • large eggs
  • t vanilla extract
  • c crushed pineapple, drained
  • 4-5 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 c shredded coconut
  • 3/4 c chopped raw pecans

Icing:

  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 – 3 c icing sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1-2 T lemon juice

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a bowl and sift to combine. In another bowl combine the eggs, sugar, yoghurt, oil and vanilla until well mixed. Stir in the mashed banana, pineapple, and coconut. Mix in the dry ingredients in 3 batches until just barely incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Mix in the pecans.

Divide into 2 prepared 8″ round pans that have been greased and floured. Bake at 325F for 30-40 minutes.

Icing: Combine butter, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer until light and fluffy, about 7 min.

Once the sugar is mixed in add the cream cheese in pieces and combine. Don’t over-mix after adding the cream cheese else the icing may turn runny.

Cherry Chocolate Cake

  • 1 C white sugar
  • 1 C dark brown sugar
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 3/4 t almond extract
  • 1/2 C ground almonds
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 C very strong black coffee, freshly boiled
  • 1 24-28 oz jar sour cherries in juice
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 T icing sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • shaved dark chocolate, for garnish

In the large bowl of a stand mixer add the sugar and half of the butter. Mix until combined. Meanwhile chop the baking chocolate into rough chunks. Melt the remaining butter in a small bowl and then add in the baking chocolate, mixing with a rubber spatula until the chocolate has fully melted. Add to the sugar/butter mixture. Beat until the chocolate is fully incorporated and it has cooled down some. Next beat the eggs in one at a time. Add in the buttermilk and extracts, mixing slowly so it doesn’t slosh over the rim.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, and soda together. Slowly add to the batter, alternating with the almonds, mixing slowly after each addition until the dry ingredients are just barely incorporated.

Add in the boiling hot coffee and mix until a uniform consistency, making sure to use a rubber spatula to get any thick bits of batter up from the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Pour into 2 prepared (greased and floured) 8″ or 9″ round cake pans. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until just done in the centre.

Whilst the cake is baking, drain the juice from the cherries and pour into a small saucepan. Add water or another unsweetened fruit juice (cherry, cranberry, apple) to make about 1 C. Add in the sugar and bring to a boil, and reduce until a medium syrup is formed – it is noticeably viscous, but pours easily. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool.

Beat the cream in a very cold bowl until soft peaks form, add the sugar and extracts, and beat until stiff.

Once the cake is out of the oven, allow to fully cool. Once cool, trim the cakes so they are flat on top and then invert one onto a cake stand. Prick all over with a skewer and brush about half the cooled cherry syrup all over the cake. Add half the whipped cream spread evenly. Top with half the cherries. Place the next layer on top and do the same as with the bottom layer, prick with skewer, brush with syrup, add whipped cream and then add the cherries. You can either place them all in the middle for a more rustic looking cake, or arrange them in a pattern. Top with shaved dark chocolate.

Orange Cranberry Pound Cake

  • 1 1/3 c white sugar
  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/4 c fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 1/3 c all-purpose flour, double sifted
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t orange extract
  • 1/2 t almond extract
  • 12 oz whole, fresh cranberries (frozen is fine)

Cream the butter and sugar together until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one to add in as much air as possible. Add in the extracts, orange juice, and zest and mix until just combined.

Sift about 2 cups of flour into a bowl and then measure from that your 2 1/3 c of flour back into your sifter, Or you can whisk up your flour container to lighten up your flour and then gently measure from that your 2 1/3 c into your sifter. You want your flour to be as light and airy as possible or else you will add in too much flour and weigh down your cake.
Mix in your salt with your flour with a whisk.

In 3 batches, add your flour into your wet ingredients and mix until just barely combined, 15-20 seconds. Add in your cranberries. If they’re frozen you’ll probably want to mix them in with a wooden spoon because they will chill your batter and make it hard to mix in. If mixing in fresh berries, use a spatula so you don’t rupture too many of them.

Bake at 325°F for 60-75 minutes in a well greased loaf pan or small tube pan, or until a cake tester comes out clean (though you’ll get juiciness from the cranberries).

Sunflower Seed Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 2 1/4 t yeast
  • 2 3/4 c whole-wheat flour
  • 1 c bread flour
  • 2 T wheat gluten (optional)
  • 2 1/2 t kosher or sea salt
  • 1 c toasted, salted sunflower seeds

Mix 1 t of the honey with the water and yeast and allow to proof for 5-10 minutes. Mix flours, salt and gluten if using together in a bowl. Add remainder of honey to water and yeast mixture (assuming yeast is good), and whisk to combine. Add flour to liquid and mix on medium speed for 6 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic, adding either more water or flour as needed. Remove from bowl and flatten the dough out into a large rectangle. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the dough and then roll tightly, folding the ends up so the seeds don’t spill out. Slowly knead the dough roll to incorporate the seeds evenly throughout the dough, about 5 minutes.

Set dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise for 1 1/2-2 hours until doubled.

Punch dough down and allow to rise again for an hour until doubled again.

Remove the dough from the bowl, shape into a log and place in a greased 9″ loaf pan. Let rise for another hour (it will only rise a little).

Bake at 350F for 45 min-1 hour.

Chipotle Baked Beans

  • 2 c dry navy beans
  • 2 large white onions, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, divided
  • 4-6 sprigs thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lb bacon or salt pork
  • 3 chipotle chillies with sauce, chopped
  • 1 large 28 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped/crushed by hand
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1/2 t cayenne
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • 2 t dry mustard
  • 1/3 c cider vinegar

Soak beans overnight in lightly salted water. Contrary to popular opinion, salt does not make for tough beans. It actually helps them retain their shape and promotes a creamy final texture. Acid on the other hand, if added too early to older beans can cause the beans to not fully cook.

Drain and rinse beans. Put into large dutch oven and cover with cold water. Add in 2 smashed garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and the ends  and skins of the diced onions. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about an hour on low until the beans are nearly tender.

Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid, and put beans back in their pot. Discard the onion ends, bay leaves and thyme sprigs, but remove any thyme leaves and put with the beans. Meanwhile cut the bacon into lardons and crisp up in a cast iron frying pan. Add bacon to beans and drain all but 2 T of the bacon fat from the pan. Sauté the onions and 2 remaining garlic cloves in the reserved bacon fat, adding the cumin, cayenne, paprika and dry mustard during the last 30-60 seconds of cooking. Add to beans along with the chillies, crushed/chopped tomatoes, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Add enough of the reserved bean cooking liquid that the beans are just barely covered.

Bake at 275F for 5 hours or until the beans are very soft (but not falling apart) and the liquid has thickened. Depending on the amount of liquid you add, you may want to only partially cover the bean pot, or even leave it totally uncovered for the whole time. If needed, add more liquid if it becomes too dry. Once the beans are done, turn up the heat to 400F and bake for 30 minutes more until the sauce is very thick and has caramelised on the top.

Honey Oat & Sunflower Seed Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4  teaspoon yeast
  • 1/3 cup honey (or agave nectar if making this vegan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/2 cup oat groats
  • 1 cup rolled old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup roasted sunflower seed kernels
  • 2+ cups white bread flour (depending on how moist your groats are)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (white or hard red depending on your preference)

Boil 1 1/2 cups of water and pour over the groats and allow to soak for at least half an hour, or use cold water and soak in the fridge overnight. Add the rolled oats 10 minutes before you begin to make your bread dough.

To the warm water (95-105°F) add the honey and yeast. I drain what water is left over from soaking the groats and rolled oats and add enough extra water to that to make 1 1/2 cups so I keep the flavour and nutrients that have leached into the water. Add in the butter and mix well. Add in the groats, rolled oats, sunflower seeds and salt, and then slowly add in the 4+ cups of flour, all the while mixing with the dough hook attachment of your mixer or a sturdy wooden spoon. Only add in enough flour so that it barely comes off the sides of the bowl, this is supposed to be quite a moist dough.

I like to let my mixer knead the dough for about 4 minutes before turning it out onto a lightly floured surface and adding just enough flour so that it doesn’t stick to my hands or the counter. Knead for 5 minutes more until stretchy and it just barely sticks to the counter without a little flour.

Form into  ball, cover and place in a clean, oiled bowl to rise until doubled. Once doubled, punch down gently and allow to rise for a second time, being careful to watch it so it doesn’t over-rise.

Remove from the bowl and shape into whatever shape you choose, a boule, batard, baguette, or place into 2 loaf pans. Top with either a scattering of rolled oats or sunflower seeds (or both)  and allow to rise one final time.

Bake in a 375°F oven until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom/the internal temperature has reached 190°F.