Posts Tagged ‘Ginger’

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D is for Demerara Sugar (Raw raw raw ahh ahh)

February 5, 2011

That’s just fancy talk for raw sugar. It probably seems like a rather simple ingredient, and while it is, it is a welcome addition to a recipe IMHO.

Demerara sugar typically has a light golden brown color, similar to that of brown sugar but its texture is actually more like that of regular white granulated sugar. It has a much nicer crunch factor though. So what makes demerara sugar so different (I kind of want to call it D-Shugg)? Well, I’ll tell you <(^_^)> ! All sugar is not created equal. D-Shugg comes from pressed sugar cane juice that is steamed and then becomes a thick syrup. This syrup is dehydrated and voila! in its wake it becomes crunchy, slightly molasses-y, and delicious. Fairly simple and natural process right? It’s sad that it is generally more expensive that refined white sugar <(T_T)>.  Wamp wamp. On an interesting note, its name comes from the Demerara colony in Guyana where it was originally sourced. Use this tidbit to impress that special someone at the next party you go to. <(^_~)>

Also, here in the U.S. we have our own version of raw sugar referred to as turbinado. For this type, the cane juice is spun in a turbine or centrifuge. It has a slight taste difference than demerara but they are pretty interchangeable. Regardless of your choice of sweetness, raw sugar has a higher moisture content so try and store in an airtight container like you would brown sugars.

This is a large granule raw sugar my parents bought me on a trip to Hawaii.

This is the more commonly available sugar in the raw. It has much smaller granules and is lighter in color.

Raw sugar is excellent way to play with the texture of a recipe that may need a little extra something to break up its uniformity. Enter baked goods! Lots of sweet baked goods such as cookies, muffins, and scones benefit greatly from the power of D-Shugg. Give it a chance. Oh hey—look I’ve even included a simple recipe that is amazing with our new found friend! Yah!

Thoughts:

-I got this recipe from my friend Kelly via Josie. Be careful. They are addicting.

-One of the most widely available brands of turbindo is “Sugar in the Raw” if you can’t find Demerara anywhere.

-If you want a heartier cookie, substitute 1 c whole wheat flour+ 1 c all purpose for the flour.

They're just so Sparkly! ❤ <(^_^)^

Kelly’s Molasses Ginger Chews

  • ¾ c butter, softened at room temp
  • 1 c light brown sugar
  • ¼ c molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ¼ c flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • Raw Sugar (demerara or turbinado) For Rolling

Preheat the oven to 375°.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. My favorite method of doing this is using a large wooden spoon and mixing and smashing until it is light in color and combined ^_^ Alternately you can use a mixer and cream together. In another bowl sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

Stir in molasses and egg into creamed butter until well combined. Then add 1c flour mixture. Stir then add in remaining flour.

Rolling on the mix of the two raw sugars I had.

Chill for 15 minutes in the freezer. Scoop out dough and shape into balls and roll in raw sugar.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until “lovely”.  Should make about 2-3 dozen depending on the size of your rolled scoops.

They really are lovely! So good! Om nom nom.

This cookie has it all. Sweet, spicy, chewy, crunchy. Noms.

~Erik <(^_^)>

 

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Swirly Sweet & Spicy Goodness

January 5, 2011

Happy New Year! It’s a few days late but had to still declare it. I can’t believe that it is 2011 already!? A new decade has arrived woot woot! Anyways, enough of that.

Today I wanted to share a fun recipe that I had the urge to make on New Year. I think I’ve mentioned before that I am not a huge fan of cinnamon. Sure I enjoy it occasionally but there are other spices and flavors I’d rather indulge in. (One of my favorite longtime and current go-to spice being ginger). For New Year’s Eve, I made a ginger butter cake from the Williams Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook. It had three types of ginger (crystallized, ground, and freshly grated). The batter tasted great, but the consistency seemed a little off. I let it slide due to my partiality to the star ingredient. I took a bite post midnight. I felt whelmed, maybe even a little under-so. The cake just wasn’t what I had imagined it to be. Now, I had a taste for ginger and it needed to be satiated appropriately.

So when Sunday rolled around I had a battle of the ginger round 2. A favorite recipe of mine is for cinnamon rolls. I just love them (cinnamon aside). I mean how can you not love sweet dough with a slathering of icing. I ended up tweaking my recipe and throwing in a few additions to combat the potential spicy pungency of the ginger. Overall, these were some pretty sweet rolls.

Thoughts:

-I’ve always used soymilk in this recipe but you can use whole or skim if you are so lacto-inclined.

-Next time I might try adding some chopped up macadamia nuts to give it a more tropical flair.

-If you are not a fan of the pineapple, maybe try adding some peach preserves to the ginger and cut back on some of the sugar. Mmm peachy ginger. Oh or maybe even some crushed frozen raspberries. Or BOTH! Heyyoo!

-The dough is a great launching point for any sweet roll your heart desires!

So Swirly. These are the extras I froze as "place and bakes" for a future sweet ginger craving.

Sweet Pineapple-Ginger Swirls

Dough:

  • 2 packages yeast  2 scant tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup soymilk (warmed)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups flour

Dough filling:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granular sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • A dash of nutmeg (fresh is best)
  • 1 can crushed pineapple (squeeze out all liquid from pineapple and set aside)

Frosting:

  • ¼ c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons pineapple juice

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar and set aside.

Melt the butter and combine with the milk. Using an electric mixer with a dough hook mix dissolved yeast and butter/milk mixture on low. Slowly add the sugar, then the egg. Add salt and 2 cups of flour on low, blend until smooth. Now slowly add 1/2 cup at a time, the rest of the flour.

Continue to work the dough with the mixer for a few more minutes until elastic-y or put dough onto floured counter top and knead until it doesn’t stick to your hands (I enjoy the zen of the latter method).

Place in a greased bowl. Cover with damp cloth and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it doubles in size. (I let it rise in a cooled oven where the air and temperature is consistent).

Buttered and sprinkled with sugars. Also, I rolled out on plastic wrap to make the rolling part easier (and use less flour).

Remove from bowl and place on a floured counter. Roll out in a 12 by 24-inch (approximately) rectangle, not too thin (okay you need a number ¼ inch thickness). In a bowl mix together sugars, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread melted butter over dough, sprinkle with sugar mixture evenly. Then sprinkle the crushed pineapple that has been purged of excess liquid.

Sprinkled with the squeezed crushed pineapple.

Slowly roll dough into a log. Using a very sharp knife, cut into thumb-width slices or 1-inch widths. Place in round cake pan, casserole dish or foil pan. Recover with damp cloth and let rise to desired height (20 min or so).

To make frosting, using a whisk cream the butter until smooth then keep adding powdered sugar alternately with the reserved pineapple juice. The resulting frosting will look very similar to the stuff that comes in the Orange Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls, (which I love by the way) only with a hint of pineapple-ness. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 15 minutes, then watch for desired brown-ness. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute. Using a knife frost generously (or sparingly boo!) with pineapple frosting. Enjoy with some hot tea or coffee.

Yum! <(^_^)>

~Erik <(^_^)>

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Sweet or Savory Pie: An Age Old Dilemma

December 7, 2010

Mmmm Pie. Just the word itself can bring delicious memories swirling to the surface (or fun math equations). Now I love sweets, but sometimes I have a hankering for something savory. This past weekend was a sometime. <(>.>)>

I had been seeing pies everywhere (i.e. magazines, stores, tv, my inbox, blogs…) and I absolutely had to have some. I really needed more buttery, flakey, crusty, goodness in my life. Also, I wanted to try making handpies for the first time. This way I could have hot pocket-esque meals in the freezer, ready to go the next time a craving struck. In my head I was imagining pies with an Asian flair. Something with a filling that was slightly creamy, spicy, and cilantro-y. I found the perfect jump-off recipe in my Best-ever Curry Cookbook.

Thoughts:

-I added turmeric & ground coriander for color and flavor to the pie dough. You can add any spice/color combo your heart desires.

-The original recipe called for a fresh Indian cheese, paneer (which is absolutely delicious) but I substituted tofu because I had it and needed to use it up.

-Garam masala is a spice blend that has become more readily available in larger chain stores and international stores. If unable to find you can easily make your own.

So delicious with sour cream.

Cilantro-y Tofu Mushroom Handpies

Crusty-crust (lol <(^_^)>)

  • 3 ¾c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 ¼ cups cold salted butter (2 ½ sticks), cubed
  • 4 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4-6 tbsp cold water

Filling (Adapted from Best-ever Curry Cookbook by Mridula Baljekar)

  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 oz. firm tofu, in small ½ inch cubes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 1 fresh spicy green chili of choice, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch piece ginger, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3 c. button mushrooms (an 8oz. pkg)
  • 2 c. frozen peas, thawed (again 8oz. bag)
  • 1 c. chopped radishes
  • ¾ c plain yogurt mixed with 1 tsp cornstarch

To make crust:

Stir together the flour, coriander, and sugar with whisk or fork to “sift” it. Using a nifty pastry blender or two knives cut in the cold butter and shortening into the flour mixture. You want the consistency to be crumbly with the fats all nicely encased in the flour. Once all the flour has been blended in, stir in the egg, vinegar and a few tablespoons of water to the mixture. I like using my hands at this part to make sure everything comes together into a nice dough. Add more water if dough is dry, but you may not need it all. Don’t overwork the dough as your warm hands can make the dough melty. Form a disc and wrap in plastic. Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer to set up.

To make the filling:

Heat oil in a wok or large pan. Fry the tofu cubes until they are golden brown on all sides. Remove and drain on paper towel.

In a food processor grind onion, cilantro, chili pepper, garlic, and ginger until it is a fairly smooth paste. Remove and mix in turmeric and garam masala. Remove the excess oil from the pan, leaving behind about a tablespoon. Heat and fry the paste over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the raw onion smell disappears and the oil separates.

Add in the mushrooms, peas, and fried tofu. Mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes allowing the mushrooms to cook. Bring heat down to low and gradually fold in the yogurt. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool, the cooler the filling the easier the pies will be to make. Fold in the radishes right before filling the pies.

To roll out dough:

Flour your workstation and rolling pin. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Using a large bowl (7-8” diameter) cut out your dough circles. Re-roll and cut as necessary. You should be able to get around 12-14 circles depending on size.

Finally, making the handpies:

Preheat your oven to 400°. Take a crust and fill with a heaping spoonful or two (well 3-4 tablespoons if you need an exact-ish measurement) a little off-center. Then using a wet brush dipped in water, or just your finger, moisten the edge of the pastry and fold over the dough to make a half-moon (think tacos). To seal, take a fork and using the tines press the dough together. Cut two slits on the top for steam to escape.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until crust is golden browned and filling is bubbling. Serve with sour cream and nom away!

~Erik <(^_^)>