Category Archives: Pastry

Mini Zucchini Brownies

Perfect little squares.  Just enough chocolate and nuts.

(I must admit, I was busy making zucchini muffins so my sister Steph did most of the work)

I love sweets but nothing too sweet. I like frosting but only if they’re not too sweet. My friend Calvin makes fun of me and my sisters because we always say “Mmm, this is good! It’s not too sweet!”. So very true. Hahaha.

I found this recipe on-line somewhere and swapped out oil for butter. This brownie is just moist enough,  just sweet enough with just enough crunch. It goes great with a cup of soy latte.

Ingredients: Makes about 32 mini brownie squares
1/2 cup unsalted butter – melted
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

 
Guide:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 mini brownie pans.
In a small bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla. In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt. Combine wet into dry. It will get pretty tough to mix but it’s ok. It’ not supposed to look like the regular brownie batter.  Fold in the zucchini and walnuts and divide evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of brownies) – Until brownies spring back when gently touched.
Take them out of the oven; let them sit for 2 minutes before moving the cookies onto a cooling rack.

 
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If baking in one big pan, bake for 25-30 minutes.
Store them in an airtight container for up to couple days – room temp

Ham & Cheese Puff Pastry – Easy!

Do you love your house smelling like a bakery in the morning? I DO! This is another great recipe from “The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook” by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day.  Mmm mmm mmm.

Ingredients for the spice blend:
(I ended up having a lot left at the end but how much you use it up to you)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp ground allspice
1/3 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Fine sea salt to taste

1 17.3 oz package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets) – defrosted for 30 min in the fridge
1/2 lb thinly sliced black forest or smoked ham
1/2 lb sharp white cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
1 egg beaten w/ 1 Tbs water for egg wash
1 tsp fine sea salt

 
Guide:
Preheat the oven to 400F
Line a baking sheet w/ parchment paper

Spice Blend:
Combine all spices in a small bowl and mix well

Pastries:
Unfold the pasty sheets on a lightly floured surface. Cut each pastry sheet into 4 squares.
Place 4 pasty squares on the baking sheet.
Arrange the sliced ham and cheese on the centers of the pasty squares and sprinkle some of the spice blend lightly over each one.
Fold two opposite corners of each square over the filling and press the edges to seal.
Brush each pastry evenly with the egg wash. (if you don’t have a brush, use your fingers)
Sprinkle the tops with more spice blend to taste. Sprinkle sat evenly over the pastries.
Bake them for 12-14 minutes until the pastries are golden brown and puffy.
(Don’t get antsy and take them out too early or they won’t have the puffed up look)
Let it cool on a wire rack for a few minutes and serve warm or room temp.

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You can have many variations by switching up the cheese and deli meat inside. So simple!

Mini Nutella Scones

Nutella, can we say YUMMY?! I LOVE Nutella so when I saw this recipe in “Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, I just had to try it. I knew my friend Tracy would love it too so I made two batches to share! Didn’t change a THING and they turned out amazing.

Yields: About 15 Mini Scones (just depends on how small you cut it)

Ingredients: (this is exactly from their book except for things I put in parenthesis)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder like Valrhona (I used a generic brand unsweetened cocoa)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Nutella

Directions: (I usually have it listed as a “Guide” but their directions worked VERY well!)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place the rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until combined.
Add the butter. Use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until the butter is pea size and the mixture is coarse.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and cream. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the dough just comes together. Gently and briefly knead the dough with your hands. Add the toasted hazelnuts and knead gently to incorporate. Flatten the dough into a rectangle approximately 6 by 12 inches. ( it doesn’t need to precise) and spread 1/4 cup of the Nutella on top in a criss cross pattern. Roll the dough up to make a cylinder about 6 inches long, turn it on its end, and gently flatten it into a disk about 1 3/4 inches high. Do not overwork the dough.

Cut the dough into 6 or 8 wedges (cut wedges in half for mini scones) and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the scones for 18-20 minutes (12-15 minutes for mini scones), rotating the baking sheet halfway through, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Do not overbake.
*Baked Note*
Matt & Renato’s advice: Do Not Knead Too Much. Stop working the dough the minute it comes together and don’t worry if there are a few dry bits scattered throughout.

Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool completely. Place the baking sheet with the parchment still on it underneath the rack.

Assemble the Nutella Scones:
Heat the remaining 1/4 cup Nutella in a microwave until pourable, about 10 seconds on high. Pierce the tops of the scones a few times with a fork. Use a spoon ( or two spoons-one to scoop, one to scrape) to drip the warm Nutella in a zigzag pattern over the tops of the hot scones. Transfer them to a refrigerator to set for 5 minutes, then serve immediately.

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Store in an air tight container (best eaten same day as baked – still good next 2-3 days too)

Jamaican Beef Patties!

Beef Patties, Jamaica me crazy! (Sorry had to do it, I LOVE Jamaica!)

My boyfriend’s Mom side of the fam (which I LOVE & ADORE) is from Jamaica so fell in love with their food when I visited JA.

Of course the fact his cousin cooks like a magician of Food World inspired me to cook Jamaican food too!

Couldn’t have made this without our friends’ recipe though!

Took their recipe and added a tad bit more. (Thank you Jones fam!)


Ingredients: Makes 20 patties or so

FILLING:

1.5 lb ground beef (or turkey or pork)

dash of black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbs thyme

1 beef bouillon cube (or vegetable or chicken bouillon)

1 Tbs curry powder

1 tsp sugar

1 habanero/ remove seeds for less heat – minced (or scotch bonnet pepper if you have)

1 onion – diced small

3 garlic cloves – minced

water enough to cover meat

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 tbs butter

 

DOUGH:

4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup cold butter

1 cup ice water

Oil to brush on the dough before baking

Guide:

FILLING:

Heat a deep pan on medium high and brown the beef

Add all the spices  (pepper, salt, thyme, bouillon, curry, sugar, scotch bonnet/habanero)

Add in onions and garlic

Stir well and cook until onions are translucent

Cover meat mixture with enough water and bring to boil

Simmer for 30 minutes or so until beef is tender

Once beef is tender, add in bread crumbs and stir

Add in butter and stir

Mixture should be moist, not runny

Let cool before handling

As the filling cools, move onto making the dough

 

DOUGH:

Heat oven to 350F

Combine 1/2 of the flour, salt and turmeric together

Cut in butter using a dough blade or 2 knives until you have tiny bits of butter

Mix in rest of the flour and continue cutting butter

Add in ice water and mix w/ a spatula so you don’t melt the butter

Dump the dough out on a floured surface and knead until it no longer cracks

Break them up into 20 or so balls and flatten them out into a circular disk using a rolling pin

Fill each sheet with a Tbs or so of the filling and crimp closed using a fork

Brush the top with a little oil and bake in the oven for 45minutes

Serve warm with Jamaican Pickapeppa sauce! (you will find this in any store in the spice or Intl cuisine section)

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If you don’t roll out the dough super thin, it becomes more like an empanada which is still yummy!

Mini Lemon Blueberry Scones

I used to be in love with Starbucks’ mini vanilla bean scones BUT, I feel they’re a tad bit more on the dry side than before, and I got bored of just having vanilla. I know scones are meant to be dry, but I personally like them more on the moist side so I came up with this recipe.

Ingredients: 40+ mini scones
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup dried blueberries (whole)
1/3 cup dried blueberries (chopped – knife will get sticky!)
2 sticks of cold butter diced up (keep them cold until it’s time to use it)
1 cup butter milk (add 1 Tbs of fresh lemon juice into a measuring cup, and fill it up with milk up to 1 cup line)
1/4 lemon zest (about 3 lemons)
1 egg beaten
Small amount of milk to brush the scones with prior to baking

Ingredients: Lemon sugar glaze
2 cups confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
6 Tbs fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1 stick of vanilla bean (optional)

Guide:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Combine flour, baking power, baking soda, sugar, salt, blueberries, lemon zest in a standing mixer bowl
Attatch the paddle and mix on slow until combined
Add the cold butter into the dry mixture and mix on slow until butter is pea sized (or a tad bigger is ok too!)
Whisk the egg and buttermilk together until combined, pour into the dry mixture slowly
Mix just until the dough is combined, almost on the flaky side, do not over mix
Put some flour on your hand, dump the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface and press it together so it forms a ball (don’t’ handle it too much since the heat of your hands will melt the butter)
Press down on the ball and make it into a big 3/4″ thick disk
Cut it into long rectangular strips, then cut it across to make small triangles
Place 1/2 of them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and brush the top with milk
Pop them in the oven, and bake for 18-22 minutes, just until the edges are light brown
Once their done, place them on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes

Make the lemon sugar glaze by combining confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice
Scrape the vanilla bean out and add beans in the sugar mixture (discard outer case)
Dunk the top of the scones into the sugar mixture and let it sit for 30 minutes or so until the sugar glaze hardens

Store in an air tight container (best eaten same day as baked – pretty good next couple of days too)

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These scones are perfectly delicious without the glaze too – just not as sweet!

You can also make big scones out of this recipe. It’s up to you! Just increase the the length of baking time by a few minutes and check occasionally until you see the edges turn light brown

You can also use fresh blueberries instead of dried ones but I like the chewiness of the dried ones. If you’re going to use fresh ones, reduce amount of buttermilk since the berries contains a lot of moisture and can make the dough too wet

Try using dried cranberries in place of blueberries to change things up a bit too!