August: Rony – GBBO’s Chelsea Buns

Such an exciting recipe! Restarting the baking challenge at the scones and then yeast categories is very rewarding. Technically we did the August unveiling 4 years ago, but thanks to the magic of time and memory it was a “unveiled” to me this time as well.

You can find the recipe here.

And there was a note from 2016!

This dough was different than yeasty doughs I’ve tried before. You start with only mixing a little less than half of the flour with the sugar and all of the wet ingredients (warm milk and vanilla extract into the sugar and yeast mix into the flour and egg mix).

A side note about sugar: the recipe calls for “Caster sugar” which google tricked me into thinking it was “Icing sugar” but it is not. It’s just a finer sugar. I would have probably used regular every-day sugar if I didn’t have some caster sugar leftover from another recipe. It’s also great for cold drinks since it doesn’t need heat to dissolve.

After a one hour rest.

After you let that very wet dough rest, you can mix the rest of the flour to create something more “dough” like, and start a rest and knead routine.

I was ashamed of how bumpy the dough looked at first and I didn’t want to knead it too much, especially since it goes through a “knead and rest” a total of three time, so I lived with its bumps and eventually (spoiler alert) it worked out.

Keeping track of how many times I kneaded and let it rest.

Once I finished the knead and rest it was time for the fat. “Work the butter into the dough” was a puzzling statement. Do I fold a sheet of butter and laminate the dough? Do I melt it? I decided to commit to the role of a human mixer and “mix” it in.

The process could be described as a “buttery explosion”: the butter kept trying to make a run for it through cracks in the dough, but I powered through and was rewarded with a smooth gorgeous dough.

After another hour rest.

I took some liberties with the filling, not necessarily in a good way. The recipe mentions two different ginger options, fresh or crystalized, and I went with a third – grated fresh ginger. Which always reminds me of my dad, so it was a nice nostalgic moment.

I let them proof one last time in a cool oven for 30min before taking them out and starting to heat my oven to 355F.

The recipe is a little bit like a technical challenge since it doesn’t say for how long to bake them. I used Babish’s recipe to try and fill some of the gaps:

  1. I let it proof for 1h
  2. I spaced them out so they wouldn’t touch before I started the final proofing
  3. I aimed on baking them for 25min before nervously checking on them

25min proved to be just the right time! I left them for 3 more min while I made the orange juice and powdered sugar glaze, which I poured generously while they were still hot.

Conclusion

What went right:

  • That dough was so fun to work with and the end result was soft and not too dry
  • The orange juice and powdered sugar glaze made them so sticky, citrusy and yummy. I made three times the amount (total of 6-8 table spoons of orange juice, 3-4 cups of powdered sugar).

What went wrong:

  • The fresh ginger was undetectable and I would probably skip it next time
  • I spaced them out too much and didn’t get that lovely tray bake (they did touch, but they kept their distance)

I think next time I make these, I’ll use the same dough but convert them to old school cinnamon buns. I might keep the orange juice glaze though since it really elevated them.

July: Rony – Blueberry Ricota Scones

Back in 2016, my Bake Off challenge was cut short: In July I was wrapping up my thesis film for my BFA, and in August I was already starting my Master’s. I was optimistic and took the sealed envelopes with me from Israel to Pittsburgh and then to Baltimore when I started my first job.

The stayed in my closet until now. I just started a new job, not as stressful as the one before and definitely not as packed as my Masters, especially during these work-from-home COVID times, and thought it would be a good time to dig up the envelopes from the bottom of the “important documents” box and crank up the oven.

So 4 years later, I present to you the July Bake Off challenge of 2016/2020: Blueberry Ricotta Scones.

These turned out more cake-like with a hard exterior and less crumbly than I would expect from scones but the fresh blueberries make them so delicious.

The fun thing about making this in the US was that I didn’t need to convert anything to either Celsius or from sticks to grams. Look at the cute half sticks of butter!

A very unappealing photo of the dry ingredients and butter mixture just before mixing in the egg, ricotta and milk mixture.

Blueberries and dough

The interesting addition to this egg wash was the sprinkle of sugar on top of it. I can’t say I tasted or felt the sugar once they were cooked but it felt fancy to sprinkle it.

For some reason I refused to buy some kitchen appliances, like a pastry brush, when I first stocked my kitchen when I got to the US, and every time I make do with dabbing the egg wash on with a paper towel. Being an international student brings with it a high level of uncertainty and I wanted to avoid throwing things away in case I have to go back. It has been 4 brush-less years.

For the glaze I used superfine sugar which I had left from another recipe. It had more of a grainy texture than powdered sugar, but, once on the scone, it wasn’t noticeable.

All in all, a very easy and yummy recipe that’s possibly worth the 4 year wait.

August: Noga – Swedish Cinnamon and Cardamom Bread

We’re falling behind a bit with posting, with Rony starting school and myself finishing it, but we have been baking.

In August, we did the SHMARIMZ challenge!

Actually, I’m quite proud of this bake. I don’t handle yeasty stuff very well, and it could have gone a bit better, but all in all my swedish cinnamon and cardamom bread – recipe from Saveur was quite delicious, and it was a learning experience.

First of all the cardamom smell is AMAZING. I had to try to crush it DIY style since I didn’t have mortar and pestle or any usable grinder. It went.. okay.

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I don’t think my handling of the dry yeast was very good. In the few times I did yeast dough I used the non-dry kind, and I think these may have been old or something, because the dough didn’t rise that much. You’re supposed to let it sit twice, once as a dough ball and then after you arrange the bread shape with the filling, and it didn’t double in size in any of the times.

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There it is, just sitting there

So it was more dense than it could have been.

Arranging it according to the recipe was super fun though. It’s a pretty easy way to really enhance the cake’s look. No plaiting or anything.

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Plus, yay for finding pearl sugar!

As it baked the whole house filled with an incredible aroma and I wished smell was something you could send on the phone because I was all by myself with no one around to appreciate it.

It came out looking beautiful, albeit not very symmetrical, and as mentioned, not as airy as it should have been. But still – woah.

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some filling had spilled out and caramelized around it. and as you can see I ended up with kind of a snake.IMG_1483.JPG

But man, was it delicious. The cardamom taste is strong but so unique and interesting and the cinnamon is also great. Next time I make it I’ll definitely be kinder to my yeast and dough and hopefully it’ll rise better.

July: Noga – Roasted Grape and Thyme Scones

Tea Time! the recipe is Roasted Grape and Thyme Scones from Joy Love Food.

I love that this recipe is straight off the list I gave Rony of Do’s and Don’ts regarding the recipes she gives me. Specifically, I asked for bakes that include herbs. (I also asked to be kept way away from marzipan and bananas. Thank you Rony)

I’ve made a lot of plain scones in the past, I love them and they make me nostalgic for my British holidays. The roasted grapes and the thyme were a refreshing addition.

The recipe was pretty straight-forward.

I roasted some grapes in the oven:

And then whisked all the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, combined them and added the grapes and thyme:

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Only problem I had was that the combined dough is still very very sticky and not that firm.

I ended up adding quite a lot of extra flour to the surface as I tried to knead the dough.

The result was not very clean-cut rectangles..

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After 20 minutes in the oven, the inside was underbaked. I freaked out over unbaked dough inside my scones and opted for over-baked crispy golden scones.

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I like them like that. I like my bakes on the side of crispy.

The roasted grapes and thyme really work together nicely, and I really recommend the recipe, these could be awesome for a starter in a party.

July & August Unveiling

First of all, an apology to the few readers we have (hey there!). July was so intensely busy for both of us we didn’t even get around to unveil the recipes till now.

Secondly, this is the last joint unveiling ceremony as Rony is leaving us to the states, and from now on unveilings will be done remotely. And we’ll not get to taste each others bakes 😦

Thirdly – we combined celebrations and actually did this double unveiling during Tal’s birthday party.

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These are all the announcements. Now on to the unveiling itself!

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Beginning with a ceremonial bow

 

July’s theme is TEA TIME!

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It’s ALWAYS tea time!

August’s theme is YEAST RECIPES!

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For july –

Noga – Roasted grape and thyme scones from Joy Love Food

Rony – Blueberry Ricotta Scones from Baker By Nature

 

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And for August:

Noga –Swedish cinnamon and cardamom bread from Saveur

Rony – GBBO Chelsea Buns

 

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on your mark, get set, bake!

June: Rony – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Bad news: I am late with my June challenge. Good news: the cake was amazing. 

You can find the recipe here: chocolate peanut butter cheesecake 

I’ve always wanted to try something from Smitten Kitchen but thought it was all too complicated. However this recipe (even though it has a bunch of layers) was really easy and I think it is my favourite recipe in the challenge so far.

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First, crust. The original recipe has a link for different biscuit options but I just went with the first thing I found that was chocolate flavoured.

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Butter + biscuits + chocolate bars + magimix = cake crust which is ready to go cool in the fridge.

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Second layer: chocolate ganache with a hint of peanut butter.

This went to the freezer to cool down before the next layer.

Third layer: peanut butter cheesecake.

+eggs+vanilla extract+sugar+ Kitchen aid.

Now for an important lesson in baking: don’t put a cheesecake in the oven at 23:00 pm and go watch TV since it usually takes about an hour to bake. I fell asleep and the cake spent too much time in the oven. The top of it turned brown. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I removed the burned bits with a knife (I recommend cooling the cake in the fridge first) and moved on the the last layer which will hide my shame.

Forth layer: chocolate ganache once more.

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I put a double layer to hide the atrocity of my slightly butchered cake. Beside it’s awkward appearance it was very moist and very yummy.

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June: Noga – Raspberry Swirl White Chocolate Cheesecake

Cheesecake! chocolate! Raspberry swirl!! Recipe from Girl.Meets.Sugar

This was a fun bake. Delicious and impressive looking while being easy to make.

It was pretty straight forward. Step 1, cook the raspberries with sugar, cornstarch and water until they become a thick sauce, then run through a sieve.

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Step 2, crush digestive biscuits, mix with butter and spread across the base.

I really wish we had digestives here, they’re an obsession of mine from my time in the UK (especially the chocolate covered kind.. yum). I had to settle for another  kind of grain biscuit.

Step 3, the filling. Once you mix all the ingredients, you spread half of it on the base, then spread 2 tablespoons of the raspberry sauce.

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I went for ‘Murder Scene’ drizzle

 

This layer is later carefully covered with the rest of the batter, and swirled with a toothpick. I was extra careful not to let any of the sauce show.

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And then, my favorite step of all, decorating. I had my little brother play camera man while I did it so obviously it’s already on Instagram.

 

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Making a #raspberry swirl #cheesecake ! #shavuot

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I must say for a first ever attempt it’s pretty nice! Not geometrically perfect, but it’ll do.

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It came out of the oven looking gorgeous, and I cut one piece to try and it’s delicious too, but I think a few hours in the fridge will make it even better, so all that’s left to do now is wait.

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Another challenge done! half way through now! I must say I’m having a blast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June – Unveiling

June is cheese month! Or specifically cheesecakes.

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It’s GOUDA be good

 

I Camembert when I was this excited

And so on.

Anyway!

Rony – Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Noga – Girl.Meets.Sugar’s Baked White Chocolate & Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

 

Thoughts:

Rony – Sounds like crazy fun. In comparison to last month this will be a challenge but a yummy one.

Noga – June’s gonna be a good month… Oh so pretty! I really want to try decorating it like this-

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May: Rony – Beijinho de Coco

I’m cutting it real close this time – technically it’s not May anymore. But in some areas of the world it might be!

Luckily this recipe from bloggingfoods.com is a simple and easy one. It only includes three ingredients: shredded coconut, butter and condensed milk.

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I really like condensed milk, you can make a simple chocolate sauce with it.

SPOILER ALERT: it will also be an ingredient in a future challenge (Noga, you can find it in the coffee section of the supermarket).

The recipe I used said to put everything (1 can condensed milk, 1/2 cup coconut and 2 tbs butter)  in a pan and stir constantly for 12 minutes. I stirred for about 17 because I wanted it to really separate from the pan like in this video: Quick Kitchen – Beijinho Coconut

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Once it was done I put it in the fridge to cool and toasted some coconut flakes for the coating.

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I heart you too, flakes!

Done! Another challenge is over. They were super easy to make and are super sweet with a hint of caramel and a lovely roasted coconut flavour.

Boa noite!

May: Noga (For Bonus Points) – French Macarons

While not technically in the challenge, but they are *international*, macarons are a new obsession of mine so I thought I might as well post about it.

This is my second time trying them and I’m still not 100% sure on the correct way to do them with the oven/ingredients I have. The first time was last week just after the pretzels, and then I threw away almost half the batch. I got the shape right (smooth top, feet and all) but they burnt a bit, and they were too close together so some stuck together in a big mess. Also the color was dull and sad, and I decided to try again this week.

I’m using a recipe that lists 110 gr of almond meal, 200 gr of powdered sugar, 90 gr of egg whites, and 2 table spoons of granulated sugar (gradually added to the egg whites while mixing).

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I used the print out template provided by yumarama to get more uniform macarons with proper spacing so at least I got that one right this time. With the template and that recipe I got two full batches and a few more shells for a third.

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The food coloring used was a gel color in Burgundy

The first batch cracked, and had no feet at all. I read this was due to over-mixing in one blog, and due to under-mixing in another blog. *sigh*. I also think the meringue could use a bit more beating and more stiffness. This could also be about temperature and under-baking so who knows, really.

(I did not take photos of the cracked ones, I was too angry with myself)

The second batch was slightly better, had a few pretty good ones, beginnings of feet. still a few cracks.

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The best ones made it to the photoshoot

On the third batch I tried a different oven setting (heat from above only and not from both above and below), but this time I gave it a bit more time and while the shape was perfect, I over-baked them and they burnt 😦 At least it was only 7 shells but I used them for practice and it was heartbreaking to see them end up burnt, when in the middle of baking when I turned the mat around, they looked really good.

(no photos of these either, they went straight to the bin..)

Oh well, you live and learn. No one said this would be easy. In fact, they said it’s hard.

I used cream cheese filling for most and blueberry jam for some, as I want to give some to a lactose-intolerant friend.

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