Tag Archives: vanilla essence

Best Oatmeal Cookies!

I’m that kind of person who gets inspiration from just anything. The other day as I was doing some shopping in the supermarket, I saw a packet of oats and there and then I knew I wanted to buy some.

The oats I used
The oats I used

 

Disclaimer: Prior to this, I had never had oatmeal cookies and the only oats I’d ever  tasted were part of my breakfast cereal.

Now to the recipe, since I was venturing into the unknown and we all know that Google is your friend, I researched on a recipe and settled on this one with some few tweaks.

Ingredients:

3 eggs well beated – I only had two

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup mixed peel – my own addition

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup margarine

1 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups oatmeal

For the desired best results start by combining the eggs, raisins, mixed peel and vanilla essence and let it stand for one hour.

The eggs and raisins
The eggs and raisins

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One hour later…

Cream the margarine and sugar.

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Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and mix well.

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after mixing well
after mixing well

Blend in the eggs raisin mixture and oatmeal and mix well.

the egg, raisin, mixed peel mixture
the egg, raisin, mixed peel mixture
the oats
the oats

The dough will be stiff. Don’t be alarmed. Roll them into balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet and flatten slightly.

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Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly browned.

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I used only half the dough. The rest I wrapped in some cling film then put it in the freezer. For the frozen cookie dough, always remove it about an hour before using to allow it to thaw.

crunchy
crunchy

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Very delicious and crunchy, a favourite of hubby’s.

Variations: You can also add desiccated coconut or chocolate chips.

 

 

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Buttermilk Pancakes

It’s been a while since I made pancakes. I have been a bit swamped with both school and work so these days we mostly have muesli or brawn sandwiches for breakfast.

This is a very simple recipe and other than the buttermilk which is a bit foreign the rest of the ingredients are easy to get. Essentially one can buy buttermilk but I’m yet to discover where 🙂 . In case you don’t manage to buy the buttermilk, you can do what I did, make some yourself.

Note: I have recently learnt from Lydz that you can use fermented milk (mala) which is the same as buttermilk. Also Cici reminded me that you can substitute the lemon juice with white vinegar. Thanks Cici and Lydz

For the buttermilk

2 scant cups milk

4 tablespoons lemon juice

Method

In a jug, pour in the milk then stir in the lemon juice. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes.

For the pancakes

1 egg

2 cups buttermilk

1/3 cup orange juice – freshly squeezed (you can use water)

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons sugar

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons chocolate shavings, optional

Vegetable oil for frying

In bowl, mix in all the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, cinnamon and baking powder.

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In the jug with the buttermilk mix in the wet ingredients, egg, vanilla essence and orange juice.

Make a well in the dry ingredient mixture then pour in the wet ingredients.

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And we are ready to cook these babies, oh sprinkle over the chocolate shavings.

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Pre heat your skillet, then add a tablespoon of oil.

Gently pour in the batter and cook.

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It’s worth noting that, my batter was a bit viscous. In case you prefer crepes you can thin the batter by add more water/orange juice till you achieve your desired consistency.

Done
Done

Ready for breakfast. You can serve as is or drizzle over some honey or maple syrup.

Verdict:

Super soft and fluffy.

Black Forest Cake

If you like my page on facebook or follow me on twitter you must have seen my previous complaints about my black forest cake backfiring. It got so bad that I decided not to try again. I resulted in getting my brother to bake the cake then I do the frosting.

This past weekend we were having a bridal for a good friend of mine and I offered to bring a black forest cake. At first I had requested my brother to do the baking but on second thought I decided to ask him for his recipe. I needed to face my fears. I normally hate it when cakes back fire, though my friends think otherwise since they enjoy eating my backfired cakes, ha!

This recipe is a bit different from others that I have tried. The great thing is that it worked.

Before I go on, be warned this will be a very long post full of many photos so if you are yet to have lunch I suggest you eat first :-). Oh and another thing, making a black forest is a bit tedious, not the baking part but the layering and frosting so patience is key.

Ingredients:

For the cake;

7 medium sized eggs

220 g all purpose flour – about 1 3/4 cups

23o g sugar – about 1 1/2 cups

160 g margarine – about 3/4 cup

5 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon coffee

2.5 teaspoon of baking powder

2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 teaspoon of passion flavour essence – optional

For feeding the cake

2 tablespoons of icing sugar

4 tablespoons of water

Some juice – optional

For the frosting

Whipping cream

Strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered

Chocolate

Equipment

Electric mixer

wooden skewer or toothpick

Start with baking the cake.

Pre heat the oven at 180°C. Grease the baking tins and line them with grease proof paper. I used 2 9 inch round tins since I wanted the cake to have four layers.

the main culprits
the main culprits

Baking this cake is pretty easy since you just dump in all the ingredients then using an electric mixer you combine the ingredients and the cake batter is ready.

All the ingredients
All the ingredients

Using the handy mixer…

Cake batter
Cake batter

Divide the batter between the two tins. Ensure they are more or less the same.

ready to be baked
ready to be baked

Bake for twenty minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. I said a prayer as I put the cakes in.

Excitement!!! I was jumping up and down. The cakes had not backfired. Thank you God.

Fresh from the oven
Fresh from the oven

Let the cakes cool for about ten minutes then remove them from the tins to cool further.

chilled out
chilled out

It’s advisable to let the cakes cool completely, this will come in handy when layering the cake. The crumbs won’t be as many.

I wrapped my cakes in clear cling film them I put then in the fridge.

Same day evening…

Layering and frosting.

Take one cake, I put mine on top of an overturned baking tin. This is to aid in layering the cake.

Start by leveling the cake.

Leveled, I guess
Leveled, I guess

Then slice the cake in half to form two almost equal layers.

tada
tada

Repeat the above steps for the second cake.

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leaning tower of black forest

Now for the fun part.

the whipping cream
the whipping cream
strawberries and whipping cream
strawberries and whipping cream

To make the sugar water, combine the icing sugar, water and juice if using. I used some orange juice that I had in the fridge. For the extra kick I guess you can put a tablespoon of rum in the mixture instead of juice.

food for the cake
food for the cake

Place the bottom layer of the cake on a board, then using a wooden skewer or toothpick poke the surface of the cake.

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Then drizzle about a tablespoon of the sugar water over the cake. This will feed the cake to ensure it continues to be moist and spongy.

Put a dollop of whipping cream on the surface of the bottom layer.

bottom layer
bottom layer

Spread it evenly on the surface of the cake.

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Spread the strawberries. I had some leftover cherries so I threw them in.

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Repeat the steps for all the layers.

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After filling in all the layers, coat the entire cake with the whipping cream.

white cake...
white cake…

It doesn’t need to look perfect since you will pile on chocolate.

When it comes to putting the chocolate, you can be as creative as you want to be. You can choose to grate the chocolate and sprinkle it all over the cake. If you are in a hurry, like I was, you can cut the chocolate into chunks and stick around the cake. Don’t worry they won’t fall off, the whipping cream acts as the glue.

Decorate the top with smaller pieces of chocolate then make a border on the cake with whole strawberries that are slightly dipped in whipping cream.

talk of abstract art
talk of abstract art

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the cake
the cake

By the way I used homemade chocolate.

The cake looks so huge, I guess it’s a 1.5kg.

When it got to cake time, I was anxious to see how the layers would look. Then the bride to be sliced the cake.

Need I say more?
Need I say more?

This cake may take long to prepare but, trust me it’s worth the wait. So go on try it out, in case you don’t succeed on the first attempt don’t give up there’s always a second, third or fourth try.

Choc-nut cookies

I’d missed eating cookies and since I had some chocolate chips and roasted groundnuts on hand I thought why not? Plus hubby being the cheer leader that he is encouraged me 🙂

Ingredients

2 cups baking flour

6 teaspoons of cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee powder

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

1/8 teaspoon of salt

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup margarine

Zest of one lemon

3 eggs

1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

Chocolate chips

A handful of roasted groundnuts, peeled.

Start by pre heating your oven at 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix the sugar and margarine and using a wooden spoon or electric mixture cream.

In a separate bowl break the eggs, add vanilla essence and the lemon zest.

One by one add the egg mixture into the creamed sugar and margarine, stirring after each addition.

The mixture will curd but it’s ok

the green things are the lemon zest

In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients

flour,baking powder,cocoa powder,coffee,cinnamon powder,salt

Fold in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients in three parts,

Then add the chocolate chips and groundnuts.

Line your baking sheet with some parchment paper, then using a teaspoon spoon the batter on to the tray. Remember to space them, since they’ll spread out while baking.

assembly line

Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are hard on the edges and still soft at the middle.

Allow them to cool completely and you’ll notice they harden.

tada

Verdict:

Tasty and chewy too.

The nuts felt a tad soggy though, I wonder how I can remedy that. Put them in while raw?

This recipe yielded 40 cookies.

Fruit Pancakes

My love for pancakes always drives me to try out new ways to make them even sweeter. Some weeks back on a weekday, I prepared these pancakes, I have to say that was pretty ambitious of me since it was a work day #superwoman (as if).

The recipe is just like for the cinnamon pancakes, except instead of the cinnamon I used apples, sultanas and some lemon zest.

So in a bowl,mix all your dry ingredients, flour,baking powder,sugar and lemon zest.

the dry ingredients

Then fold in the chopped apples and sultanas.

in goes the apples and sultanas

In a separate jug mix the wet, eggs,vanilla essence.

Make a well in the dry ingredients then pour in the wet ingredients. The amount of water to put is dependent on the consistency of batter desired. I like when my batter is a bit viscous.

On a hot skillet heat some oil and you are ready to fry the pancakes.

always saves time to fry many at a go 🙂

Serve while hot, sprinkled with some honey or your favourite syrup.

Delicious

Verdict:

Very sweet. I even carried some for lunch that day and they were pretty filling.

Hubby suggested that the next time I should try grating the apples instead.

If I could do it over again:

Grate the apples 🙂 .

close up look of the sultanas and apples in the pancakes

These pancakes can be easily prepared for a light dinner or brunch.

What do you add in your pancakes?