WE'VE MOVED

Hello!

Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!

Sincerely,
Syl

Sunday, August 18, 2013

5 Years

It has been five great years of baking, eating, and blogging! We want to thank each and every one of you for visiting our blog. We hope you're enjoying our culinary journey and we love hearing from you!

We celebrated in a bake-ly manner. The kitchen was a busy, crowded space this weekend. We tried new recipes for this blogiversary and made almond cupcakes with green tea frosting. Then, because there was so much frosting leftover, we also made macarons to use up the rest.

The almond cupcakes and the green tea frosting didn't turn out as beautiful as it did in our minds. It just shows you, even when you're celebrating, you win some and you lose some!
So we're very sorry that we can't share the recipes, the cupcakes turned out dry and the frosting was much too soft (even after multiple chilling attempts). But at least we can secretly enjoy them because they're celebratory treats.
Until next time, we hope you eat cake for breakfast, too!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Baking with Robin Hood

Ha! We probably got you wondering with the title of this post. But no, there are no men in tights or outlaws here. We're talking about  Robin Hood Flour and their range of products, which we've made various yummy treats (snowmen macarons; dulce strawberry, peach, and mango cobbler; and buttermilk biscuits). Robin Hood has been working hard on redesigning their website and we wanted to share with you that it's here! The new website is live and ready for you to explore!
We were lucky enough to be sent a preview of their Bake Class feature during their construction stages. We watched this lovely video (also available in French) about making pie crust. There's this charming and leisurely mood about the instructions and it'll surely calm any baking trepidations you may have.
We also like this page on tips and tricks. Just a few basics and secrets about pie crusts that will help you along the way. If you're anything like Howard's sister-in-law, having photos for every step of the way is highly appreciated. Or if you deem yourself a seasoned baker, you might still learn a few things. We didn't know that chilling your pie crust before filling it would help prevent soggy pie crust!
One of the great sections of the website is the one where you make memories with your family. We started baking with my lil cousin once he was able to handle and operate an ice cream scoop (to help divide the batter into the cupcake liners). Now that we have a goddaughter, we can't wait for her to be old enough to bake with us in the kitchen!

Included in the recipes are tips and activities for the kids to learn and experience. There are so many easy ways to include kids in the kitchen! Have them pick out cupcake liners and line the baking pans, have kids count the number of stirs it takes for the batter to be well-mixed, or have them roll dough in sprinkles or cinnamon sugar.
The recipe collection is categorized into useful lists so that you know which ones are the most viewed by the community, or if you're looking for something seasonal.
We also like that all of their recipe booklets are available for downloading and printing. So this was just a brief introduction, take a look the new Robin Hood Baking Centre website and let us know what you think!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Robin Hood®. All opinions are our own.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Peach Cinny Buns

Good afternoon friends! I hope you're enjoying the Civic holiday long weekend, I always feel extra lucky when I can sleep in on a Monday and make breakfast.

We've been spoiling ourselves with the lovely peaches that have come in. Last night, we grilled some with pound cake and served it with ice cream. A simple but flavourful dessert, not to mention, easy to assemble. This morning, we chopped some up to lay over a spread of cinnamon paste and then wrapped it in a soft and chewy dough.

Peach Cinny Buns
Makes 24 cinny buns

1 1/3 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups of milk
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon of salt
6 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
Chopped peaches from 3 peaches
  1. In a saucepan, add 1/3 cup of unsalted butter, milk, granulated sugar, and salt over medium heat. Stir until the butter has completely melted. The mixture shouldn't reach a boil or bubbling.
  2. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, add in 5 1/2 cups of flour and the yeast. Give it a quick and short mix so that it's all incorporated. Then add the warm mixture from the saucepan in. Mix on low until the dough starts to form. 
  3. Add the eggs and mix on low until the dough is smooth.
  4. Place the dough in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Set the bowl aside in a warm spot in your kitchen. Allow the dough to rise - about an hour.
While you wait, dice up the three peaches. Clean a few bowls and utensils because it's time to make the filling!

If like me, you only have one stand mixer, you're going to need that bowl clean. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and cream the remaining 1 cup of unsalted butter and dark brown sugar on medium until it's light and fluffy. Add the cinnamon and the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and mix on low until it becomes a soft paste.

Once the dough has risen, remove the plastic wrap and give the dough a few punches. Go ahead. Don't be afraid to show to the dough who's boss. Take it out onto your work area and knead it down. If you have limited table-top space like yours truly, divide the dough in half. Use a rolling pin to flatten it into a large rectangle about 1-1.5 cm thick.

Using a knife or spatula, spread the cinnamon paste on top of the dough. Go right up to the edges and even out the layer. Top it up with some diced peaches.
Then, take a deep breathe, put on a brave face, and roll the dough. I found it easier to roll away from myself. Pinch the openings so that you seal everything inside. Try to flatten it too so that it doesn't taper out into a point.

Take a sharp knife and cut the dough into equal rounds about 4 cm thick.
Place them in a deep baking pan as shown above. Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Then bake the cinny buns for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow the cinny buns to cool. Take them out of the pan after 10-15 minutes and serve warm.
Now that's a glorious morning. But you can make it even better!
Taking some icing sugar and mix it with milk (or water or heavy cream) until you get a nice runny glaze.
Proceed to pour it over your peach cinny bun. Only share the icing if you have to. Enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Osmanthus Macarons

Hello, friends! I hope you have wonderful long weekend plans ahead of you. It's almost frightening how fast this year has gone by. Sometimes I still feel like we've just all returned from the Christmas holidays. But it's now more than halfway through the year. Yikes! I don't think I've been blogging as much as I like to be. The other day I wistfully browsed through all my cookbooks to find inspiration and energy and excitement again. I think it worked and I feel like flexing my fingers this weekend.

I made some Osmanthus macarons back in the spring and realized that I didn't share these yet! So I did some quick photo editing and posted the recipe below. To some of my local readers, you might recognize the macaron box - saved from a bakery in Toronto! Any guesses?
Osmanthus Macarons
(Makes about 50-60 shells for 25-30 filled macarons)

1 cup of egg whites (from 7-8 eggs)
2 3/4 cups of almond flour
2 3/4 cups of powdered sugar
3 tablespoons of dried Osmanthus flower
A pinch of salt
3/4 cups of granulated sugar

Separate your eggs and leave the whites out in room temperature while you prepare the flour.
In a food processor, combine the blanched almond slivers, powdered sugar, and Osmanthus flowers together. Pulse until the almond and Osmanthus flowers has been grounded to a fine flour. Be careful and do not grind it to the point where it becomes a paste.
Here comes the tedious task of sifting. I take a large deep pan and gently tap a sieve over it to sift the mixture (try that while also holding a camera). Any bits and parts that don't pass through the sieve are placed back in the food processor for some more blade action.
After, when your arms are aching from sifting, place the egg whites in your stand mixer's bowl. Using the whisk attachment, give it a low whirl to loosen up the egg whites - about a minute. Add in a pinch of salt and up the speed to medium. Pour in the granulated sugar in three parts. When it's all combined, turn the speed up again and wait for stiff peaks to form. To test, remove the whisk attachment and flip it to see if the tip of the egg whites hold or if they droop over. The mixture should feel thick and heavy.

(An aside, the brackets make this an aside, right? I recently read The ACB with Honora Lee and it inspired me to have "O is for Osmanthus" in this post. See photo above.)
Once you've achieved stiff peaks, pour about a third of the almond flour mixture in and give it a good mix so that there isn't a pile of dry almond flour in the bowl. Then add the next third, fold the mixture, and add in the final flour mixture and fold it into the mixture. You want the batter to be firm enough to hold it's shape after piping and runny enough that any lumps and bumps smooth out by itself. Almost like the consistency of yogurt or honey.

Fit your pastry bag with a large-round tip and fill it with the macaron batter. Squeeze small amounts onto your parchment paper to form 2 1/2 inch circles. You can also make them slightly smaller or larger, it's up to you! Just be consistent so you have pairs with the same size. And leave at least 1 inch of space between the piped macarons. Give the tray a good strong tap to smooth out the batter.
Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C (325°F/162°C for non-convection oven, but we highly recommend using a convection oven). Let the macarons rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Then pop them into the oven and bake for 14 minutes. When ready, take them out to cool before lifting them off the parchment paper.
Osmanthus Pastry Cream
(Makes enough to fill the 25-30 macarons)

2 cups of milk
3 tablespoons of dried Osmanthus flower
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of cornstarch, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  1. In a small pot, bring the milk and Osmanthus to a boil, set it aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Fill a large bowl with cold water (or ice). In a medium sized pan or small pot, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together. Gradually whisk in the hot milk. Place the pan over high heat and bring it to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Set the bowl in the ice bath or cold water and stir until the temperature reaches 140°F (60°C) on an instant-read thermometer. 
  3. Stir in the butter. Cool, cover, and refrigerate.
  4. Once the pastry cream has cooled and set, you can fill a pastry bag with it and pipe it to fill your macarons.
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