Baking Bootcamp: Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread

IMG_5504

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that over the past few months I’ve been participating in Joy the Baker’s baking bootcamp partnership with King Arthur Flour. This bread is the fourth and final challenge and oh man, is it a good one!

IMG_5517

For the last 7 weeks, I’ve been taking a breads class at culinary school so making this bread just made total sense. I got to put everything I’ve learned in class to good use and my inner food science nerd is totally excited by fermenting and proofing dough, making me one happy girl :)

IMG_5521

This bread couldn’t be easier to make. Oats, honey and whole wheat flour. Could it get any better? I don’t think so.

IMG_5525

School has been stressing me out a little lately (my capstone is kicking my butt, but that’s a story for another post) so having to knead this dough for 10 minutes was the absolute perfect stress-reliever.

IMG_5526

IMG_5530

The bread is so, so delicious. You can pair it with butter, jam, basically anything your heart desires. This bread can do no wrong.

IMG_5531

IMG_5537

Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread:
via Joy the Baker

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (16 oz.) boiling water
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp.) butter
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. active-dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, oats, brown sugar, honey, butter, salt, and cinnamon. Let cool to lukewarm, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add the yeast and flours, stirring to form a rough dough. Knead (1o minutes by hand, 5-7 minutes by mixer) until the dough is smooth and satiny.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.
  4. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a loaf. Place the loaves in two greased bread pans.
  5. Cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow loaves to rise about 60-90 minutes.
  6. Bake the loaves in a preheated 350°F oven for 35-40 minutes, tenting them lightly with aluminum foil after 25 minutes to prevent over-browning.
  7. Turn the loaves out onto a rack to cool. Store at room temperature, well-wrapped, for several days.

IMG_5539

IMG_5543

Chocolate Strawberry Macarons

IMG_5368

Confession: My macaron making game has been off recently.

So off that other than some of the lemon macarons I made to give the crew at my physical therapy clinic, I haven’t made them since last July.

IMG_5302

I had tried developing a new recipe using some seasonal Oregon berries and it did not go well. At all. Like one big, giant mess. So I hopelessly gave up. I don’t want to call myself a quitter, so I’m going to say I went on a self-imposed macaron hiatus. That sounds much better.

IMG_5304

Okay, maybe it doesn’t sound better but it makes me feel better so that’s what we’re gonna go with.

The good news is, this hiatus is officially over!

IMG_5315

We’re doing “heart-shaped” foods for our weekly dinner party this week. One of my friends might have a gluten allergy so she’s going gluten-free for a month to determine whether or not she is. Most things I bake are full of gluten, but fortunately for us, macarons are gluten-free and 100% delicious!

IMG_5318

I wasn’t quite ready to tackle trying my own macaron recipe again, so I did some googling and found Ladurée’s world-famous macaron recipe. I haven’t been to Paris and had these cute little guys, but I’ve heard nothing but good things so I decided to try making them myself.

IMG_5323

Success!

I may have squealed when I pulled the first sheet out of the oven. They were perfect pink little shells with the cutest feet you could possibly think of.

IMG_5361

I didn’t actually pipe them in a heart shape because I just wanted to make sure they actually came out how they were supposed to but after piping I did put some little heart sprinkles on them.

IMG_5370

I paired them with a chocolate-strawberry ganache which is pretty much to die for. You’re going to have extra ganache. Freeze it for later, put it on a cake, eat it off a spoon. No judgment here.

IMG_5364

These little guys will be perfect for sharing with your Valentine, a group of friends or just eating by yourself. It does make a lot though, so be sure to not overindulge. Macarons are too good to eat so many you never want to see them again.

IMG_5368

Hope you all have a great Valentine’s Day weekend, I know I will :)

IMG_5372

Chocolate Strawberry Macarons: 

Ingredients:

Shells (Recipe from Ladurée): 

  • 275g (2 3/4 cups + 1 tbsp) almond flour
  • 250g (2 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp) confectioners’ sugar
  • 210g (6) egg whites
  • 210g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) sugar
  • Few drops red food colouring gel

Chocolate Strawberry Ganache: 

  • 200g dark chocolate (chips or chopped)
  • 1 box fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Shells: 

  1. Combine almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor and blend thoroughly. Sift to remove any lumps.
  2. In a large, clean, dry mixing bowl, beat your egg whites until foamy and then slowly add sugar, beating on medium speed. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase speed to medium high and beat until a thick glossy meringue forms. Add food colouring and beat briefly to combine (your mixture should form stiff peaks).
  3. With a large, flat rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of almond flour/confectioners’ sugar mixture into egg whites until combined. Repeat until all of the almond mixture has been added. Fold to combine until you see no streaks of almond flour in the batter.
  4. Pipe cookies onto parchment or silicone lined baking sheets (if adding sprinkles/decorations, do it know), and allow to sit 10-15 minutes before baking.
  5. While sitting, preheat oven to 300°F with a rack placed in the lower third of your oven. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 15-17 minutes (I had to do 17 minutes). Allow cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet.
  6. Once cool, pair up shells and fill with ganache. Sandwich together.

Ganache: 

  1. Hull and puree the strawberries. Pour puree through a strainer to get rid of any seeds.
  2. Place puree and cream into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth.
  3. Let cool to room temperature, or cover & refrigerate until ganache is at a piping consistency. Fill piping bag with ganache and pipe onto one half of each macaron pair.

IMG_5366

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

IMG_5245

Last week, my best friend turned 25. We’ve known each other since we were 10 years old and have been celebrating our birthday’s together ever since.

This girl is the ultimate chocaholic. I genuinely don’t think I know anyone who loves chocolate as much as she does. It’s kind of the best.

IMG_5214

I can’t take any credit for this recipe. I didn’t have time to test and tweak anything so I turned to Joy the Baker for a cake recipe and she did not disappoint.

IMG_5218

This cake was lick the batter off the spatula good.

IMG_5225

Mary loves Maltesers (because England makes great chocolate) so I decorated her cake with those and plenty of colourful sprinkles. Because let’s be serious, you can never have too much chocolate or too many sprinkles.

IMG_5228

This is a three (!!!) layer cake with the fluffiest most delicious buttercream. I made the cake layers the day before I frosted the cake. When they had cooled down after baking, I wrapped them and put them in the freezer. {Pro tip: icing/frosting a cake when its frozen is wayyyy easier}.

IMG_5234

IMG_5236

If you have a large offset spatula to use for frosting the cake, that would be ideal. If you don’t, your cake will just have some character and there is nothing wrong with that!

IMG_5237

IMG_5238

IMG_5244

Three-Layer Chocolate Cake and Classic Frosting:
Recipe from Joy the Baker’s Homemade Decadence

Ingredients:

Cake: 

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Frosting: 

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5-6 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • About 1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Cake

  1. Put oven racks in the centre and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and instant espresso powder, if using.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add half of the flour mixture, and beat until flour mixture is incorporated. Add the buttermilk in a slow stream and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish stirring with a spatula. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared cake pans.
  4. Bake until golden brown on top and a wooden pick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 20 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.
  5. If you’re not frosting the cake right away, double-wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. Will last up to 7 days in the freezer. When ready to frost, remove from the freezer, unwrap and frost frozen!

Frosting

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, the salt, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated. Add another 2 cups sugar and the cream. Add remaining two cups of sugar as needed to thicken the frosting. Beat on medium speed until the frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Assembling the cake

  1. Place first layer on cake stand and spread some of the frosting over the top. Cover with sprinkles, if desired (I did. Best decision ever).
  2. Place 2nd layer on top of 1st and add more frosting/sprinkles. Place 3rd layer on top and repeat.
  3. Scrape out the rest of your frosting and put it on top of your top cake layer. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting, pushing it off the cake onto the sides. Spread the frosting around the sides of the cake, pushing more off the top if needed.
  4. Once frosted, pour sprinkles on top and decorate sides with Maltesers.

IMG_5242

IMG_5254