Friday, January 30, 2015

Fudgy Lime Curd Brownies

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I've been dying to post this recipe! I had it all ready to post about a week ago, and I just had some editing to do. And then I got sick. And really sick. It took me a week to get back on my feet, and so, here I am! Better late than never, huh?
These brownies are phenomenal! They happened because I got this weird craving (no I'm not pregnant again!) for something with dark chocolate and lime or lemon. I don't know why and how I craved this unusual combination, but I was just determined to do something about it. I have this awesome baker friend whose opinion I like to get. When I told her what I had planned, she said "Don't do it!" Gosh. I was confused and almost didn't make these. But, I'm happy to report that for once, she was wrong. And she rarely is! 
This recipe totally, totally rocks! The base recipe for the brownies is one of my favourite cocoa brownie recipes - Alice Medrich's best cocoa brownies. For the lime element, I used my favourite homemade lime curd recipe. I'm sure this would work just as well with good quality store-bought lime or lemon curd too. Orange curd would work too, if that floats your boat. And the rest is history.

Fudgy Lime Curd Brownies
Adapted from this recipe by Alice Medrich
1 1/4 sticks or 140g of unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups or 250g of sugar
1 cup or 120g cocoa powder 
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup or 63g all-purpose flour
1/3 - 1/2 cup lime (or lemon) curd 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 7" or 8" square tin and line with parchment paper covering the base and all the sides. To do this, cut out two long pieces of paper. Press one into the tin, leaving an overhang on opposite sides. Press it in well so that the paper is sticking to the base and the two opposite sides. Now do the same thing with the other paper, covering the base and the remaining sides. Again make sure you leave an overhang on the sides. I've done this with plain old aluminium foil, and it works just as well. 
2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter along with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir until the butter has completely dissolved and the mixture has heated through and is feels hot when you stick your finger in the mixture. Set aside to cool until warm - about 15 minutes.
3. Stir in the vanilla and beat well to incorporate.
4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure you beat well after each addition. Spend some time on this step and beat for at least 3-4 minutes vigorously. 
5. Add the flour to this mixture and stir until you can't see flour streaks anymore. At this point. Alice Medrich recommends beating the mixture with forty vigorous strokes. So really get those arm muscles working and beat the batter at least 40 strokes. I think we may have gotten in 60-70 strokes.
6. Pour half the batter into the prepared tin. Smooth out to make sure you get the batter into the corners.
7. Dollop the lemon curd all over the surface of the batter. Gently spread the curd so it is a fairly even layer. Don't beat it in but try to keep it as a distinct layer.
8. Top the lemon curd layer with the remaining brownie batter and smooth the surface.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with gloopy lemon curd and a slight moist brownie batter. 
10. Allow to cool completely before using the overhanging paper to lift out the brownies onto your work surface. 
11. Cut into 16 (or 25) squares. 
The combination was really awesome. This base brownie recipe is one of my favorites and gives you really deep, dark and fudgy brownies. This combined with the tart, oozy lemon curd cutting through the rich chocolate was just perfect. As always, I intentionally undercooked them. So getting perfect squares was impossible. But my husband said it best when he said "If you could cut the brownies into perfect squares, I probably wouldn't like them as much!" I guess we sacrificed looks for something totally decadent! 

I think some white chocolate chips would work great in the recipe. I'm not sure about what nuts would work here. Personally, I don't like any nuts in my brownies. I feel like ruins the fudgy texture I so crave and enjoy. If you try this recipe and decide to use nuts, please let me know if it works! 

You should try this recipe. I am sure you won't regret it!

Until next time! :) 
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pecan Monkey Bread

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope 2015 is a good year for all of us. 

I've been so bad at posting! And here I was, resolving to post more regularly in 2015! It has been a hectic year so far. We've been barely cooking and eating at home. For the last few days, things have become slightly less crazy, and we've all grown tired of eating out. So here's my first post for this year. 

This recipe is from a book I got as a Christmas gift. It's a compilation of baking recipes by Martha Day. The book has tons of awesome sounding recipes from all over the world! Unfortunately I'm unable to find a link to an online store that's selling this particular book. 
This morning for breakfast we ate this delicious Monkey Bread. It was really, really good! I made the dough, finished the first rise and assembled the bread last night and left it in the fridge overnight. This morning, I took it out of the fridge at about 5am and let it sit out on the counter till around 7:30. We had fresh Monkey Bread for breakfast, and lots of smiles all around!

Pecan Monkey Bread 
Adapted from "Baking" by Martha Day
4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
30g unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup soft light brown sugar
1/4 cup soft dark brown sugar
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup melted butter

1. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter. Heat gently until the butter has almost dissolved completely. Set aside for 5 minutes and stir in the egg, and the egg yolk and whisk well to combine. Check the temperature and allow it to cool until the mixture is slightly warm - about 105-110F. 
2. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together the flour, instant yeast, salt and sugar. Set aside.
3. When the milk mixture is warm, create a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the milk mixture in. Stir will a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Then knead the dough using the hook attachment on your stand mixer or by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic. This will take about 7-8 minutes on your stand mixer at medium speed, and about 10-15 minutes by hand.
4. Coat a large bowl with oil, and place the ball of dough into the bowl, giving it a turn in the bowl to coat it lightly with oil. Cover the top with clingfilm and set aside for about 1-1.5 hours. You want the dough to double in volume during this time. 
5. Prepare the coating ingredients by combing the sugars, pecans and cinnamon powder in a small bowl. Keep the melted butter in a separate bowl. Prepare a 9 or 10inch fluted baking tin by greasing it generously. I used a 10" angel cake tin. 
6. At the end of the proofing time, deflate the dough and divide it into 32 even sized pieces. 
7. Roll each piece of dough into a tight ball. Drop each ball into the butter and using a fork, fish out the ball and drop it into the bowl with cinnamon sugar. Roll the ball in this mixture until it is well coated, making sure that some pieces of pecan have stuck on to the ball. Drop the ball into the prepared tin.
8. Continue rolling and layering the balls of dough in the baking tin until you've used up all the dough. 
9. Cover the pan with clingfilm and set aside for about 45 minutes or until the dough is risen and puffy.
10. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Bake the Money Bread for about 30 minutes or so or until the bread is golden brown.
11. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, loosen the sides using a knife and flip the bread onto a plate.
12. Serve warm and let people rip off a ball or five and enjoy!
The original recipe contained 1/2 cup of raisins that are sprinkled over the balls of dough about halfway into layering. My husband isn't a great fan of raisins in cinnamon bread, and so I decided to omit.

What the recipe doesn't suggest is drizzling the bread with decadent cream cheese glaze before serving. I high recommend this. I tried it after the pictures were taken, and it was just divine! And that's not even the best part! The best part of this recipe is those little pecan halves that drop off the bread and are sugar roasted to perfection. Crunching on those candied pecans was just bliss!
I'll be back again soon (I hope!), with more delicious recipes to share for this year! God bless you all! :)

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