Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July '10 Daring Baker's Challenge: Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

The weather this summer has been tolerable but not very pleasant. Yes, the summer sun is out in full force and wrecking havoc upon those of us who dread the sunlight. I'm not a cold-blooded monster per se, just more of a fall/winter girl. Yes, I rather enjoy the cool, damp Autumn showers as well as the blisteringly frigid breeze that December brings. But that's not to say that summer doesn't have it's positive notes; one thing is for certain, during the summer-time nobody can give you the "glarey-eyes" if they catch you eating ice cream for dinner :P. And if they do give you the "glarey-eye" you know it's only because they're jealous that you're enjoying a frosty treat whilst they are left to suffer in the sweltering heat, without the reprieve of their own tasty sweet. Okay, maybe some of you health-nuts and parents out there don't condone ice cream as a meal... but when you're desperate and sweaty you must admit that nothing beats ice cream.

Anyways, all this banter is simply leading into this month's Daring Baker's Challenge which was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

So... on with the recipe... and the pretty pictures

Swiss Rolls

- 6 medium sized eggs
- 1 cup caster sugar + extra for rolling
- 6 tbsp, a pinch over 1.5 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tbsp/a pinch under 1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
- 2 tbsp of boiling water
- a oil for brushing the pans

- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of ~ ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 5 tbsp caster sugar

1. Pre heat oven to 200C or 400F.
2. Brush baking pans ( 11 x 9 in) with a oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake. 3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs and sugar until very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.
4. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.
5. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
6. Place a pan in the center of the pre-heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the center is springy to the touch.
7. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
8. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
9. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.
10. Repeat the same for the next cake as well.
11. Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.
12. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
13. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
14. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).

15. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

Vanilla Ice Cream

- 2 ½ cup whipping cream
- 1 vanilla bean, minced or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup granulated sugar

1. Grind together the sugar and vanilla in a food processor. In a mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla –sugar mixture and whisk lightly till everything is mixed together. If you are using the vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then and the sugar along with the vanilla extract to the cream.
2. Pour into a freezer friendly container and freeze till firm around the edges. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

The Hot Fudge Sauce

- 1 cup caster sugar
- 3 tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
- 1 ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water
2. Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
3. Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

The Chocolate Ice Cream

- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 3 tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Grind together the sugar and the cocoa powder in a food processor .
2. In a saucepan, add all the ingredients and whisk lightly.
3. Place the pan over heat and keep stirring till it begins to bubble around the edges.
4. Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container till firm around the edges. If you are using an ice cream maker, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instruction, after the mixture has cooled completely.
5. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely

1. Cut swiss rolls into 20 equal slices (~2 cms each)
2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.
3. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).
4. Soften the vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)

5. Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)
6. Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set .
7. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.
8. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing, depending on how hot your region is. Slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water.

I decided against making the hot fudge part and the chocolate ice cream part because I had gone a little overboard with the chocolate-ness of my swiss rolls. The over-zealousness of my frosting and my decision to make the frosting chocolate flavored versus vanilla flavoured was probably my downfall. The frosting kinda oozed out, and since it was a similar color to the cake it didn't really create that nice color-differentiation that would have added a lovely finesse to the Swiss Roll. Oh, well... there's always next time.

Also, I didn't have enough whipping cream to make a separate batch of chocolate ice cream, so I simply used up all of my vanilla ice cream to fill the bombe. I'm sure if I used the hot fudge and chocolate ice cream, the bombe would have looked ultra-fantastic... but my sisters and my parents were just so happy that I had made a cold treat for them to enjoy that had both the deliciousness of cake and the refreshing creaminess of ice cream. I really enjoyed making this recipe, and will definitely do it again sometime... probably sticking closer to the original recipe than I did this time.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Butterless Cookies

Living on my own, and trying to manage my budget for only the necessities (i.e. cds, comics, trading cards and other collectibles :P), I've noticed that butter has not become one of my regular staples in the house. I don't use butter all that often, opting to spread my toast with banana spread, kaya, pb or jam, and the only butter I have in my condo are those individual packets that I've kept from my late-night Tim Horton's runs ^_^
These mini-packs of butter are clearly not sufficient to make baked goods with; so, now when I feel compelled to bake a batch of cookies I've learned that I can be pretty savvy with my ingredient substitution. This morning, I think I may have found the perfect recipe for soft and tender butterless cookies!

Butterless Cookies (Yields 30 cookies)


- 1 1/3 cup flour

- 1 cup dry oats

- 1 tsp baking soda

- 1 tsp baking powder

- 1/4 tsp salt

- 1/4 tsp each: cinnamon and allspice

- 1/2 cup granulated sugar

- 1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely packed

- 1 egg

- 1 tbsp maple syrup

- 1 tbsp caramel sundae syrup

- 2 heaping tbsp fat-free miracle whip

- 2 tsp water

- 1/2 cup of whatever mix-ins you like (I went with rum soaked raisins, cranberries and almonds)


1. Combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, sugar, syrups, water and miracle whip.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

4. Add in the desired mix-ins.

5. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake at 350degrees for 8-10minutes. Cool on wire rack and serve.

These cookies were simply delicious and so moist that you wouldn't have believed there was no butter added. I don't know why I decided to add the miracle whip... I guess I just looked in my fridge and thought "Well, this is the most butter-esque thing I have in my fridge and I do like the taste of miracle whip... so why not?" And I'm glad I did, because it added so much life to these little cookies. Mmmmmm... now I shall go and share the goodness with the world (or my world anyways... aka my family).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vietnamese Salad Rolls

With the summer heat making it almost unbearable to use the oven and stove without causing one to go into a gross sweat, I decided upon making a dish that would be quick, fun, easy and anti-diaphoretic. I'd always wanted to try making Vietnamese Salad rolls, as I often buy them for a quick lunch at my favorite Asian supermarket T&T. They usually come 3 to a pack and are accompanied by a delicious satay-peanut sauce. However, since I'm trying to save money (what with the crazy HST kicking in and making everything 12% more expensive then necessary) I thought I should try to save money by making my own salad rolls. Also... it's more fun making your own food :P
Vietnamese Salad Rolls (Yields 14 rolls)

- 14 pieces of Rice Paper Sheets

- 21 pieces of shrimp, cooked
- 115g rice noodles
- 2 cloves garlic, minced very finely
- 2 tbsp ginger, grated finely
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp soy sauce, or more to taste (add slowly - a little goes a long way)
- Pinch of sugar, to taste- 1 tsp white vinegar or rice wine vinegar- 1/3 cup carrots, shredded
- 1/3 cup snow peas, diced
- 1 cup lettuce, shredded
- Hoisin sauce, Sweet Chili sauce, or Spicy Peanut Sauce (see recipe below) to serve
1. Prepare the shrimp by cooking them and cutting them in half lengthwise; set aside.
2. Prepare Rice Noodle Filling: Place rice noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 2 minutes, strain, rinse with cold water, strain again to remove any access water and set aside in a large mixing bowl. To the noodles, add the grated ginger, garlic, onion, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, carrots and peas. Toss well with tongs to combine the ingredients and set aside.

Adjust the flavor of the filling to your liking by adding soy sauce (to increase saltiness), sugar (to alter sweetness) or vinegar (to adjust sourness). Other vegetables may also be used in lieu of or in addition to the carrots and peas. Examples: shredded cucumber, green onions, sliced red pepper, sweet corn niblets and any other summer vegetable you enjoy!
3. Prepare Your Work Station: Arrange your work station so it is easy to wrap your salad rolls.
- Soak a clean cloth in warm water and ring until all excess water is removed, place on your work station.
- To the right of your cloth-covered wrapping area have the filling (noodles, shrimp, lettuce) ready to go.
- To the left of your wrapping area have a shallow pan of lukewarm water ready for soaking the dry rice paper sheets.
- Have a dish ready to place your completed salad rolls.
My poorly drawn illustration of what my wrapping-station looked like.

Rice noodle filling atop a sheet of rice paper

4. Ready to Wrap: Quickly dip 1 sheet of dry rice paper in the pan of water, wetting one side and then flipping it over to wet the other side. Place the rice roll on the damp cloth on your wrapping area, fold cloth to cover the rice wrap and let it remain covered for ~30seconds. Unfold cloth, place 3 half-pieces of shrimp onto the lower 1/3rd of the rice sheet, cover with some lettuce and place some noodle filling on top. Fold the lower portion of the rice sheet to cover the filling, fold in the left and right sides of the rice sheet and then roll the rice sheet to make your salad roll. Repeat process for the remaining salad rolls.

5. Can be stored in the fridge, but is best served the say of preparation. Serve chilled, with Hoisin Sauce, Sweet Chili Sauce or Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Spicy Peanut Sauce (Yields 1/3 cup sauce)

- 3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1/2 tsp sambal oelek
- 1/2 tsp sriracha (adjust to spice preference)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
- 1 to 2 tbsp warm water

1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.

I more or less guesstimated how to make these salad rolls, but a friend of mine liked this dish so I'm trying to standardize my ingredients list and the method. I think I've recreated the recipe to be almost exactly like the rolls I made yesterday, so if there are any issues with it please let me know and I'll try and touch it up a bit.

I will most definitely be making these salad rolls again sometime soon, especially if the weather continues to be unbearable warm. Well, since the weather is so nice, I should probably go out and enjoy it... so, bye bye computer :P