Tea for Two and Two (Teas) for Tea: Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Loaves are, in my humble opinion, the underrated hero of the cake world. They often appear understated but, ooo baby, can they ever pack a flavour punch! This little earl grey number is one of my go-tos for tea time when I want to amp up a classic tea loaf just a bit.

It’s pretty darn easy to make and decorate and even easier to unwittingly polish off.

I mean, I can’t be the only one who continually goes back for “just another sliver” only to realize I’ve eaten half a loaf, right?


Earl Grey Tea Cake

 Makes 1 loaf

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Earl Grey tea leaves, very finely ground
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup Earl Grey infused milk, room temperature, recipe follows
Earl Grey glaze, recipe follows
Loose leaf Earl Grey tea, for decorating
Lemon zest, for decorating

Preheat your oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9- by 5-inch standard loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in the tea leafs and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  This should take about 2 minutes using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add the eggs, one at a time, then add in the vanilla and mix well to combine. 

With the mixer running on low, add in 1/3 of the flour followed by ½ of the earl grey infused milk and repeat until all of the flour and milk are used up.  Mix just until combined.  Scrape the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool slightly in the pan then turn the cake out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. 

Once cool, drizzle the top of the loaf with a generous helping of Earl Grey Glaze and a scattering of loose leaf Earl Grey tea and some lemon zest. 

Earl Grey Milk

1 cup 2% or whole milk
1 Earl Grey tea bag

Heat the milk in the microwave and add the tea bag.  Allow this to steep for 10 – 15 minutes to infuse the milk then remove the tea bag.


Earl Grey Glaze

2 ¼ cups icing sugar
1 bag Earl Grey tea, cut open
3­–4 tablespoons milk or Earl Grey Milk, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon lemon juice

In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, tea leafs, milk, vanilla, and lemon juice.  If the glaze seems a bit thick, simply add a bit more milk to thin it out.  If it is too thin, add some more icing sugar.

Churros: The french fries of the doughnut world

Churros

Churros

Churros are, in my humble opinion, the world's most overindulge-able doughnuts.  

I mean, when was the last time you ate just one churro?!

They should always come in servings of at least 3!  Think about it.  Wouldn't you be so jazzed if churros were served in those little fast food french fry cup things with a side of chocolate sauce, caramel, or chocolate hazelnut spread!?  It'd be like dessert fries!  

Dream.

Come.

True.


Churros

Serves 8

1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Store bought chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or chocolate hazelnut spread

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, salt, sugar, and butter.  Bring this mixture to a boil, add the vanilla, and dump in the flour all at once.  Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball.  Remove from the heat and continue to stir for about 30 seconds.

Allow the mixture to cool and heat 3 – 4” of vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot to 375F.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

Spoon the slightly cooled churro mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a few churros at a time into the hot oil by piping and snipping with scissors.  Fry the churros until golden and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

While still hot, place the churros in the cinnamon sugar and toss to coat.  Allow them to cool slightly and serve warm with store bought chocolate sauce.

Insert Corny Pun Here... Honey Roasted Peanut Caramel Corn

Honey Roasted Peanut Caramel Corn

Honey Roasted Peanut Caramel Corn

If there were such a thing as a buffet that served literally every single type of food, you would most definitely find me near the popcorn.  Whether it's  plain, that almost hypnotic movie theatre yellow, snazzed up with cheese, or coated in a thick layer of sweet, treacly caramel, I will, without hesitation, polish off every little kernel in sight.  

While all and any flavouring will do, this here is kind of a show stopper in my books.  The combination of sweet honey roasted peanuts and an almost flowery honey-infused caramel just makes this oh-so addictive snack that much more gobble-able!


Honey Roasted Peanut Caramel Corn

Makes around 10­–12 cups

10~ cups popped plain popcorn (3~ bags or 1/3 cup kernels, popped)
½ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup honey
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups honey roasted peanuts

Preheat your oven to 250F and line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil, dull side up, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

Pour all of the popcorn into your largest mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Once melted, add in the sugar, honey, and salt and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium low and allow the caramel to bubble away for 4­­–5 minutes.  Remove the caramel from the heat, stir in the baking soda and vanilla being careful of boil over, and quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn.  Quickly and carefully mix everything together until the popcorn is nicely coated with the caramel, scatter in the peanuts, and continue to stir until well combined and everything is evenly coated.

Divide the caramel corn between the two baking sheets and spread into an even layer.  Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes and rotating the pan halfway through.

Allow the caramel corn to cool completely then break it up and serve!

It's January soo... Doughnuts

Vanilla Glaze Cake Doughnuts

Vanilla Glaze Cake Doughnuts

January can pretty much be summed up in one word: blah.  

It's the month when Mopey Mary rears her ugly head to make every day feel drawn out, dull, and dreary.  The holidays are over, the glow of the new year has started to fade, and all I really have to look forward to are the short, chilly days of winter.  Every year I tell myself to plan a holiday for mid-January but, instead, I spend my days drudging through work and my evenings lazing about on the couch watching mainly murder shows because, well, murder shows are pretty great and why the heck not?
(ps how am I only watching Fargo now?!)

In my mind, there is only one thing that can help spurn that grumpy gal to the sidelines and that is doughnuts.  Sure, any sweet would do and I sure have had my fair share of chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and brownies these past two and a half weeks but doughnuts!  Oh baby, doughnuts are the answer to my forlorn prayers!

Draped with a Simpsons-esque pink glaze and scattered with a few little sprinkles, nothing brings a smile to my face and a spring to my step quite like a classic vanilla dip!  As I tend to be a bit lazy this time of year, these little puppies are a classic cake doughnut rather than a yeast risen because when I want doughnuts, I don't want to have to wait on yeast!

So, what are you waiting for?  Banish those January blues and get to frying!


Vanilla Cake Doughnuts

Makes 12 doughnuts and 12 doughnut holes

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla.  Pour this wet mixture into the well and mix just until a soft dough forms.  Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the fridge and heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat until a thermometer registers at 350F.  On a generously floured work surface, roll out your chilled dough to a ½ inch thickness and, using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible.  Using a 1-inch round cutter, remove the very centre of each circle, giving you doughnuts and doughnut holes! 

Feel free to bring the remaining dough together to reroll and cut out more doughnuts but only do this once as rerolling the dough a third time might make the doughnuts a bit tough.

Before frying, prepare a draining station for your doughnuts by lining a cookie sheet with paper towel and a cooling rack.

Now, it’s time to fry!  Gently lower four or five doughnuts into the hot oil and cook, flipping once, until all the doughnuts are golden brown and lovely.  Remove the cooked doughnuts to the rack-lined cookie sheet and continue to fry until all of your doughnuts and doughnut holes are done.

When cooled, dunk each doughnut and doughnut hole in classic vanilla or chocolate glaze and leave to set for at least 30 minutes.

 

Classic Vanilla Dip Glaze

1 ¾ cups icing sugar
2–3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8–12 drops red food colouring
Sprinkles, for decorating

In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, milk, vanilla, and food colouring until smooth.  Dunk your doughnuts into the glaze followed immediately by a scattering of sprinkles and allow the doughnuts to set up for at least 30 minutes.