Baking: How To Lighten Things Up

We all love baked goods, and when they are homemade they are that much more special. Homemade implies that someone cared enough to make them for us. There are times when we may wish to lighten up our homemade baked goods. Learn how to substitute key ingredients with healthier options to create a baked good that is just as delicious as the original.    


Baking With The Magnificent Mango

Mangos are one of the most flavorful and colorful tropical fruits you can find. Learn about the mangos’ origin and its’ healthy nutritional profile. Chef Gail will teach you how to choose the best mango for your needs, and how to cut it up safely. She shares a wonderful, fruity dessert using the mango.


Strawberry Shortcakes with Mango Sauce

Makes 6 shortcakes

Shortcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 cup of whole milk

2 tablespoons granulated sugar for sprinkling over shortcakes

Strawberries

4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Mango Sauce

2 mangoes, peeled and the flesh cut into small cubes

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Zest from 1 lime

Assembly

Sweetened whipped cream

Confectioners’ sugar

Make the shortcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is pea-sized.
  3. Using a large spoon, blend in the milk and stir just until a dough forms.
  4. On a sheet pan covered with parchment paper, drop 6 tablespoons of dough leaving a space between each.
  5. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar over each biscuit.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until biscuits are nice and brown. Cool.

Make the Strawberries

  1. Combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and allow to sit in the refrigerator for one hour.

Make the Mango Sauce

  1. Purée the mango cubes and lime juice in a food processor or blender until almost smooth, with only a few small pieces of mango.
  2. Pour into a bowl and stir in zest.

To Assemble

  1. Split each biscuit and place the bottom half onto a dessert plate.
  2. Place a dollop of whipped cream, some strawberries and some mango sauce. Cover with the top half of the biscuit.
  3. Dust with confectioners’ sugar through a sieve and serve at once.

Baking Radio Episode 47: One Brownie Recipe, Four Delicious Variations

So many people love brownies. Discover that Chef Gail is a diehard brownie lover as well, and always on the look-out for the perfect brownie recipe. She will give you one of her favorite fudge brownie recipes, and then give you four incredible variations. Learn how to change flavors and dress up the simple little brownie.  


Fudge Brownies

Makes 9 Brownies

½ cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 ½ ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped semisweet chocolate

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a medium heatproof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, melt both the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates until melted. Allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk the granulated sugar, the eggs, and the vanilla into the melted chocolate. Mix well.
  4. Add the all-purpose flour and salt.
  5. Fold in the semisweet chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into a greased 8-inch square baking pan lined with foil and greased again.
  7. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a small knife inserted into the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached. Do not over bake. Cool.
  8. Chill the pan of brownies in the refrigerator for a few hours. Lift the foil out of the pan and peel it off. Cut brownies into squares.

Baking Radio Episode #46: How to Add Texture and Crunch to a Plated Dessert

After plating and decorating your beautiful dessert with sauces and/or powdered sugar, learn how to elevate your creation to a multi-dimensional experience using the thinnest of cookies known as wafer cookies or tuiles. Tuile is the French word for “roof tile”. Add texture and crunch to the plate by learning how to make a simple wafer cookie that is most versatile in how it can be shaped, and then placed on top of your dessert. 


Wafer Cookies

Makes about 18 thin wafer cookies

2 large egg whites

½ cup superfine sugar

1/3 cup cake flour

2 tablespoons melted butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, blend the egg whites and sugar together on medium speed until just foamy.
  3. On low speed, add flour and melted butter.
  4. On a parchment-lined or silicone mat-lined sheet pan place a teaspoonful of batter.
  5. Using a small spoon or offset spatula, spread the batter into a three-inch circle.
  6. Repeat the above procedure with more batter leaving a space around each circle.
  7. When the sheet pan is covered with circles of batter, bake them for 6-9 minutes or until the cookies are light brown around the edges.
  8. After baking, allow the cookies to cool and crisp up to form circular wafer cookies. Or when still warm, you can roll each cookie around the handle of a greased wooden spoon to make a pirouette. As the cookie cools gently slide it off the handle and place it onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
  9. If the cookies cool and become hard before you can roll them, return the sheet pan to the oven to soften them for a few seconds.
  10. Repeat the above procedure making circular cookies or pirouettes, until all of the batter is used up.

Baking Radio Episode #45: Plating Your Desserts

A slice of chocolate cake or a fruit tart on a plate looks nice, not very exciting, but nice. Learn some easy ways to elevate your desserts to a new level using powdered sugar, cocoa powder, dessert sauces and toothpicks. Picture the dessert plate as your canvas and you are the artist. Listen to Chef Gail’s tips on how to create gorgeous plates on which to place your beautiful desserts.  


Baking Radio Episode #44: Twelve Steps to Yeast Bread, Part 3

The last episode of the series explores exactly what occurs when yeast bread goes into the oven to bake. Learn whether or not your bread needs a wash brushed over it before baking, and find out what washes are made of. Discover how yeast bread develops their structure, and what happens to the proteins and starches within the dough to create that structure. Proper cooling is discussed as well as proper storage techniques to prevent staling.