Monthly Archives: January 2012

How To Tuesday: Run Of The Mill.

There are way too many different kinds of flour out there. All purpose flour, whole wheat flour, almond flour, bread flour, rice flour, self-rising flour, semolina flour, buckwheat flour, and, of course, cake flour.

Cake flour is just a bleached soft wheat flour with a high starch content and low protein. It is best suited for delicate baked goods like cakes and pastries because it creates a light fluffy texture and tender crumb.

When you’re down to the crunch on your daughter’s birthday cake, don’t panic when you read cake flour in the ingredients. Before you rush out to the store for yet another bag of flour to cram in your pantry, here’s a quick and easy substitute.

All you’ll need is…

Bleached all purpose flour
Corn starch.

To make 1 cup of cake flour measure 2 tbsp of corn starch into a 1 cup measuring cup. Level it off the rest of the way with the bleached all purpose flour. Just make sure to whisk it thoroughly before adding it to the wet ingredients. Keep it on hand for when the occasion calls for it or make it as needed.

Aaaand done.

Crisis averted. Wasn’t that easy?

Tea Time.

Recently I tried to take up tea drinking. Ever since the great teatastophe of ’97 I made the informed decision to henceforth swear off tea in all its guises. Iced tea. Green tea ice cream. Long Island iced tea. Matcha cake. It was just awful. I sipped a bit of my mom’s green tea and made a funny face. I was traumatized.

Despite my tainted past with tea, over the years I have acquired a handsome collection of tea related things. Tea towels, tea cups, saucers, tea spoons, cream and sugar sets, cute napkins. It got me thinking, maybe I like tea after all.

I was going to give tea another chance. Maybe we could get reacquainted and become fast friends. I’m sure we just got off on the wrong foot. Perhaps it was high time for some high tea.

I had it in my head I was going to throw tea parties with all my civilized tiny hat wearing buddies. We were going to sit in my dining room all prim and proper with our ankles delicately crossed. We were going to sip fancy earl grey and chamomile out of dainty pink cups with our pinkies out. We were going to gossip and giggle and nibble on petit fours.

I mean what better place to show off my Royal Wedding worthy feather fascinator right?

Alas it was not meant to be. Tea and I just don’t get along. I made the face again. It wasn’t pretty.

There is one part of tea time I think we can all agree is the very best part. The treats. The tiny individual cakes, the gooey squares, the cute cookies, the powdery truffles, the glazed tarts. Because if you take away the tea isn’t a tea party just a swanky buffet?

And none of that roast beef and shrimp crap. The good stuff. The end of the buffet we all save ourselves for. Let’s all just admit it. You might have stuffed yourself with more than your money’s worth, but you just can’t refuse that spread of sugary bliss on top of everything. Even if it means that you don’t feel physically capable of eating another bite for at least another week.

Here’s my contribution to tea time. The best part. The star. The crowd pleaser. The treat. Cardamom Clementine Cookies. They’re light and airy with the floral scent of cardamom and the subtle brightness of citrus. I’m guessing they’d go well with a steaming cup of chai tea, but I’m certainly no expert. You’ll have to let me know!

Cardamom Clementine Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Source: My imagination.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp clementine zest
1 tbsp clementine juice
2 eggs
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the clementine zest, juice and eggs then mix until they’re just blended.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder and salt. Add it to the butter mixture and combine it well.

Separate the dough into 2 even balls and wrap one in plastic wrap to save it from drying out before you need it. On a floured surface, roll out the unwrapped dough ball. Using a medium round cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Dip the flat bottom of a glass in the reserved sugar then very lightly press the sugar into each cookie. A little tip to get the sugar to stick to the glass, first press the glass into the unused cookie dough. Bake them for about 7 – 10 minutes until the edges start to turn a light golden brown. Transfer them to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

How To Tuesday: Epiphanies And Polka Dots.

Hi there! Long time no see!

Have you missed me? I’ve sure missed you! I hope that you all enjoyed your holidays. I am happy to report that I have thoroughly enjoyed mine. It was filled with turkey, hugs, warm pie, smiles, presents, twinkle lights, shopping bags and even a few epiphanies.

Remember when I said that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up? Well now I do! I realized that I’ve always known, but I tried to convince myself otherwise. I thought about it in depth these last couple of months and I have decided that, without a shadow of a doubt, I want to be a writer.

This scary sort of clarity washed over me the instant I made up my mind. There’s nothing more frightening than knowing exactly what you want in life and not being able to achieve it. This fear was accompanied by another feeling. Determination. The only way to be certain of failure is to avoid trying altogether. I’m going to try. When it comes to dreams you have to try your best.

I used to lock myself in my bedroom when I was an angst-filled teenager and scribble in stacks of spiral ringed notebooks. I pulled story after story, character after character out of my imagination and brought them to life on the page. I was certain then that I wanted to be a writer, but somewhere along the road I’d forgotten.

Where does Hot Polka Dot fit into all that? Well you see, there’s more to me than just flowery words, metaphors and similes. There’s also a lot of demerara sugar, sewing needles, light metres, paint brushes, and needle-nose pliers rattling around in my brain. I’ve realized that Hot Polka Dot is about exploring all the facets to myself. It’s about self-expression and self-growth.

Just the fact that you all find it enjoyable and come back for more is so very flattering. I am so thankful for all your support and all the wonderful friends I’ve made here.

On that note I have a super cute post over on my new favourite blog, Fiesta RĂ©sistance. I show you how easy it is to make your own napkins with mitered corners like that adorable pink one up there. Perfect for adding some texture to your food photography, jazzing up your dinner table or giving as a thoughtful and creative housewarming gift. Check it out!