The Frustrating Facts about Measuring Flour

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

flour for The Frustrating Facts of Measuring FlourA question in a food group I belong to about measuring flour by weight has sent me on a quest to find out how much a cup of flour weighs. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, no one answer fits all.  And yet, correctly measuring flour is essential for the best outcome of baked goods.

The problem with measuring flour by volume is flour can be aerated differently. It can be sifted, stirred and fluffed, all of which yield a different weight.

What makes recipes particularly frustrating is that everyone seems to have their own way of measuring flour. And they are all correct because it depends upon how each person measures  flour. The reason for stirring the flour is that, although it is pre-sifted, it becomes compacted in the bags as it is packed and shipped. However, how much it is stirred can alter the outcome. Continue reading

Easy Lightened Creme Brulee

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Lightened Creme BruleeCreme Brulee in French means “burned cream”. As much as I love rich foods, the thought of eating heavy cream and egg yolks (more fat) is too much even for me. However, loving everything of the brulee/flan/pudding family I wanted to find a way to still enjoy this dessert. The cream brulee under the crackling sugar coating can still be enjoyed but with a lighter touch. If you can find Tahitian vanilla, use it by all means for an unforgettable flavor. It can be found on the internet. If not, look for Madagascar vanilla to get the most flavor.

I have seen recipes that talk about creme brulee as being a mystical, magical recipe to follow.  I’m not sure what they are talking about.  This is so easy, I didn’t even provide how to photos.  Basically you whisk everything together, put in in a waterbath, bake and chill.  However, my post “Milk Chocolate Creme Brulee” post has photos to guide you should you wish. Continue reading

Make Ahead Breads For Easter

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Easter is a special time of year bringing joy to so many people around the world and Easter breads are distinctive.  Breads are of particular interest during this holiday with many nations having their own bread associated with this holy day.  I have collected these breads, sweet and savory from previous blogs that should fit right in.  There are breads for breakfast, brunch and dinner and there is time to make any of them.

All of them can be made ahead and frozen to ease the time crunch for Easter Day.

Cream Biscuits with Strawberry Balsamic JamCream Biscuits with Strawberry Balsamic Jam for Five Make Ahead Breads for Easter are a quick to make treat that fits right into any part of the day.  With only four ingredients, this is the easiest, most tender biscuit you are likely to encounter.  The Strawberry Balsamic Jam is a fast, refrigerator version that serves as the perfect foil for the biscuit.

Southern by region, beloved by the country, these biscuits and the jam can be made ahead.  The biscuits can be frozen and reheated by placing on a tray and heating in a 350°F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.  The jam can be stored in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before serving. Continue reading

Cocoa Fundamentals Natural vs. Dutched

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Cocoa Fundamentals Natural and DutchedOne of my readers and I got into an interesting conversation about the fundamentals of cocoa. It dawned on me I don’t have a post about the difference between the dutched and non-dutched or natural cocoa.  They can be confusing but understanding them will help.

In a single sentence, the difference between the two is the natural cocoa is acidic and the dutched cocoa isn’t. However, there is more to know than that. Because of the acid content or lack of it, which leavening is used makes all the difference. Continue reading

Gluten Free Turtle Cake with Salted Caramel

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Turtle CakeThis Decadent Gluten Free Turtle Cake was supposed to posted last week.  But I ran into a problem.  Actually six problems.  Six gluten free chocolate cakes later, here is the recipe.

I have a son who was recently diagnosed as celiac.  Although he lives about 300 miles away, I try to think of things for him.  I was determined to make this chocolate cake gluten free.  I had a recipe in mind but I had to ditch the flour.  Easier said than done for sure!  To make it more of a challenge, I didn’t want to use a gluten free flour substitute. In the end, I used cocoa which gives the cake an edge, but a delicious one. Continue reading