Monthly Archives: January 2012

February Issue

I received my Sisters Magazine February issue this week and was delighted to see my cakes got a page all to themselves. I love the monthly themes the editors have me doing they are all so different and unique. 

Olive Bread

It’s weird that I grew up never trying an olive. Olives are just not something Southern people eat that is unless you count the canned ones. Actually the canned ones were the only olives that I had ever tried and the reason that I hated olives. Olives are popular pretty much everywhere else in the world including here in Saudi. About a year ago I took the plunge and tried real ‘fresh’ olives. I mean it was pretty weird that I loved the taste of olive oil yet did not like olives, right? I instantly fell in love with green and black olives from Spain, Black olives from Greece. Saudi has olive bars everywhere and you can try and buy all of them. Long story short I now LOVE olives and I love using them in recipes hence this crispy yet soft golden Italian loaf.

12 ounces all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 ounces warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 black olives, stoned and quartered

1. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, yeast and thyme. Make a well in center and add water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

2. Mix to a dough consistency and knead for 10 minutes. Place the dough in a large oiled plastic bag. Seal and leave in a warm place for one hour or until doubled.

3. Turn out the dough on a floured surface and knead lightly. Flatten with your hands. Sprinkle over the olives and knead in top. Shape dough into a long oval and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and leave to rise for 45 minutes.

4. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Drizzle over remaining oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden.

Yields: 1 loaf

Al Zalabiyah

Al Zalabiyah is a popular gulf favorite
especially during Ramadan. This sugary sweet is served with Arabic coffee. Many
people add a few drops of food color to obtain a bright color. Red, orange and
yellow are the traditional colors used. Fresh saffron can be used to obtain a
natural golden color. 
 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups + 2 tablespoons warm water
Pinch saffron
3 tablespoons rose water
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Sunflower oil for frying
2 cups sugar syrup
In a small
bowl add yeast, sugar and 2 tablespoons of warm water. Allow to sit for 5
minutes until frothy. In another small bowl add rose water and saffron and
allow sitting for 5 minutes as well.
In a large
mixing bowl add flour and cardamom. Add rose water and yeast mixture. Carefully
add water until a buttermilk consistency forms. The mixture should not be too
thick or thin. Mix well removing any lumps. Cover with a damp towel and allow
sitting in a warm place for 1 hour.
In a large
sauté pan on medium heat add 6 cm of oil, enough for frying. Meanwhile, pour
sugar syrup in a medium sized bowl and prepare a large platter or strainer. In
a small spout or funnel pour batter into small spiral circles quickly. Allow to
cook until golden on each side.
from oil, roll in sugar syrup and allow excess syrup to drain.
Yields: 2 dozen

Rocky Road Cupcakes

The combination of chocolate, marshmallows and almonds in these sweet cakes is a taste of pure indulgence. I wanted to make these cupcakes grown up on the inside yet fun for my son on the outside. We worked together making the homemade flag toppers. I used a saved bag, glue and some toothpicks. And the great thing is that you can save them to use over again.

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self rising flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk
1 ounce white chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
2 tablespoons silvered almonds

3-1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture and fold in. Stir in the milk, followed by the chocolate chips, marshmallows and almonds.

3. Spoon the mixture into the paper liners and bake for about 8 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

4. To decorate, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan until almost boiling, then pour in the chocolate and let melt for about 5 minutes. Stir until smooth and creamy, then let cool for about 30 minutes until thick and glossy.

5. Spread the chocolate mixture over the cupcakes and decorate.

Yields: 12

adapted from Cupcake Heaven