Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chocolate Chip Bread Rolls

Chocolate Chip Bread Rolls

I recently received a small  recipe booklet from a local yeast company. I must say, most of the recipes look really good and it was just a matter of which one to start with. Bread is one of my favorite foods and I'm a chocolate freak so the combination of the two of them together sounded like a winner. Hard to decide if they are a roll or a glorified muffin, but whatever, they're darn good!
Easy to make, delicious ( and addicting!) to eat; I highly recommend giving them a try.

Chocolate Chip Bread Rolls
makes 20 rolls
3 1/2 cups self- raising flour ( 500 g.) ( I didn't have any so I made my own)
8 grams active dry yeast
50 grams butter
1 cup milk ( 250 ml)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup brown sugar ( 50 g.)
1/2 package chocolate chips ( 150 g.)
How to:
Place all ingredients except the milk and butter in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix together thoroughly using the kneading hook, and slowly add in the milk. Add butter and knead for 4 minutes on high speed until the dough is soft and flexible.
On slow speed, add the chocolate chips  until blended in thoroughly. Form a  large ball of dough and place in a bowl. ( I just used the same one.) Sprinkle lightly with flour and cover. Let rest for 30 minutes.
Form small balls of dough ( about 50 g. each). Place on two parchment covered baking sheets. Make two diagonal slices on top of each ball with a sharp knife or blade. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes.
Brush with a beaten egg and bake 15 - 20 minutes in  a 200C ( 190 F) preheated oven.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 Things

This is a list of ten things about me that no one,or at least, very  few people, know about me. I was driving to work this morning and this thought came to me about something to write (don't worry, I was still paying attention to the road!) Just one of those things I felt like doing- no great reasons, just because. So here they are, not in any particular order of importance:

1. I was the star of my highschool musical performance - we did "Funny Girl" and I played Fanny Brice.
2. I originally majored in Drama in college, thinking I was going to be the next Barbra Streisand ( yeah, right- that faded rather quickly!)
3. I love to drive in the car by myself, put on my favorite music full blast and sing my heart out (and I don't care who's looking either!).
4. I'm a closet eater-I mean I don't really eat in the closet-I  just  eat ( more than I should) when no one is home or no one is watching.
5. I hate folding clothes.
6. I feel guilty about many mistakes I think I made with my children.
7. Believe this one or not- I have a very difficult time spending money on myself. Not sure why- just do.Can't remember the last time I bought myself a new piece of clothing.
8. This has to do with the previous one- I HATE clothes shopping! Hate trying things on, nothing looks good on me anyways.
9. I was an exchange student (AFS) in high school- went to the Philippines and loved each and every minute.
10. Without my glasses or contacts , I am considered legally blind. See fine with them, but without- can't go from the bed to the bathroom!

So there you go- some not so earth -shattering tidbits about me.
Here's a picture of a few little animal cookies  I did. If you didn't guess from some of my previous posts- cookie decorating is one of my favorite pasttimes.
 Have a good one!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Join the Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

I am joining in on this Ultimate Blog Party for the first time. I'm not exactly sure if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing , but I'm giving it a try. If this is your first time visiting my blog "Welcome"!
A little bit about me:
My name is Yael , originally from Syracuse, N.Y. and have lived in Israel for the past 30 years. I have three grown daughters, have always loved to bake but only in the last few years taken it on as my true passion.
I teach elementary school and as much as I enjoy my profession, would love to take a new direction in my life, with baking and cookie decorating as my avenue. But the bills still have to get paid, so for now, I leave it as my free time activity and look for any opportunity and occasion to bake for someone!
Last year I took a professional pastry chef course and had the time of my life, learned an amazing amount and realized that this is really what I want to do. How to do it is another story and I'm working on that all the time.
I'm looking forward to visiting other blogs participating in this party. Would love to read any comments , short or otherwise, just to let me know you've been visiting. Have a look around - anxious to meet some new friends!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Lime- Basil Macarons

I love the way these cookies look. The variety of possibilities for color and taste is amazing to me. I 've read endless blogs and articles about the secrets of making them and although once in the past I tried, I decided that Passover was the perfect time to give it another go seeing as they contain no flour. In our house, it is a tradition to bring each other a little gift for the holiday and this year my daughter gave me a beautiful cookbook "Ottolenghi" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. It is a book I would not necessarily have pulled off the bookshelf on  my  own, but boy am I glad she did! Wonderful recipes, beautiful pictures and great explanations. After spending the whole holiday leafing through the book ( over and over again!), I knew I had to try something. Being restricted by what I had in the house at that moment , I went for the macarons. They have three choices- salted nut and caramel, chocolate and lime/basil. I thought the lime/basil sounded different and interesting so I gave it a try. I followed the directions to the tee, and I think for a beginner, they came out quite well. A cute little foot formed on them and the insides were soft and chewy while the outside was just crunchy enough without falling apart when you bite into it. I loved seeing the bits of basil throughout the cookie itself and the filling as well. The combination of the lime and basil is unexpected but quite delicious. Reactions here were positive.

Lime- Basil Macarons  from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

about 20 macarons

110 grams powdered sugar
60 grams ground almonds
2 egg whites ( 60 grams)
40 grams sugar
5 basil leaves, finely chopped
lime zest from 1 lime

Basil Lime Filling
100 grams butter at room temperature
45 grams powdered sugar
juice and zest from 1 lime
5 basil leaves, finely chopped

Make the filling :
Cream the butter and powdered sugar together ( the recipe says to do it with a rubber spatula, but I did it in the mixer) until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the lime juice, zest and basil leaves and mix together until all are well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a cool place but not the refrigerator.

Make the macarons:
Heat oven to 170C. Sift powdered sugar and ground almonds.
Place egg whites and sugar in mixing bowl and whip on high speed  until the whites become thick and full of air- stable but not dry.
Fold a third of the meringue mix into the sifted almonds and sugar until fully incorporated.
Add the rest of the meringue mix and fold until the mix is smooth and shiny.
Fill a disposable piping bag with the meringue mix and pipe small, equal-sized ( I  draw circles in advance and then turn the parchment paper over.) circles onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Tap the entire baking sheet on the counter to even off the circles and let them sit  in the open air for anywhere from 15 -30 minutes.
Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven for 12 minutes- depending on your even, you may need more or less time. The macarons are finished when they separate easily from the parchment paper without sticking. Be careful not to overbake them.
Fill a disposable piping bag with the filling and squeeze a small amount on one cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Leave at room temperature to set for about 2 hours. They can also be refrigerated for a shorter amount of time, but they should be removed in ample amount of time to serve them at room temperature.