Sunday, 30 September 2012

Cinnamon swirl loaf

Argghh, everything getting on top of me since coming back from holiday, have not been able to bake much , let along blog about it. A broken washing machine and flooded kitchen meant I could not get to my oven even if I wanted to. Still I have a couple of things I made before my holidays so now seems a good time to tell you about them.

One of them is a yummy cinnamon swirl loaf.

This is another recipe from The Great British bake off: how to turn everyday bakes into showstoppers.

This is a yummy bread that is good by itself, toasted and, my personal favourite, toasted and topped with sliced banana. It is perfect for breakfast but just as good as that got in from work snack before dinner!

It is not too difficult to make and just requires a little forward planning to allow the bread to rise.

Cinnamon swirl loaf

Makes one loaf

500g white bread flour
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsps caster sugar
7g sachet fast action yeast or 15g fresh yeast (I actually used the dried stuff that needs activating to no ill affect)
125ml milk
50g butter
1 large egg at room temperature

For the filling

50g caster sugar
tsp plain flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Mix together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl, if using dried yeast stir it in. If using fresh yeast stir it into 7 tablespoons of the measured milk.

Gently heat the milk (either all or the remaining) with 125ml water and the butter until lukewarm an the butter melted. Remove from the heat and beat in the egg with a fork until combined, add to the flour mix, along with the fresh yeast if using.

Work the ingredients together with an electric mixer on low until a soft dough is formed. Turn on to a ightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and pliable. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with cligfilm, leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or so until double in size.

To prepare the tin, cut  strip of baking paper the same width of your tin and long enough to cover the two short sides. Lightly grease the tin and then line with the paper.

Punch down the dough then pat into a rectangle about 2 cm thick, cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for 5 minutes. 

Roll out the dough to a rectangle as wide as the length of your tin and 48cm long. Keep the sides as straight as you can. 

Brush the dough liberally with milk, mix the filling ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the dough leaving a 1cm border at one short end.

Roll up the dough nice and tightly from the short end without the clear border, pinch the seam to seal it. 

Lift the rolled dough into the tin, folding the ends under to make it neat. 

Slip the dough into a plastic bag, inflate the bag slightly then tie the ends. Leave the loaf for about an hour again until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN. Take the dough from the bag and brush with milk. Bake in the preheated oven for ~35 minutes until golden brown, It should sound hollow when tapped on the base. If it does not sound hollow return to the oven (straight on shelf not back in the tin) for a further 5 minutes. 

Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and rub with a knob of butter to create a shiny top. 

This bread will last up to 5 days in an airtight tin, ours did not make it past day 3!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Pumpkin and poppy seed crispbreads

Phew scraping in by the skin of my teeth with a final, slightly more inventive, alpha bakes entry.

I made these to go with my lunches during the week. Me and M had one each to sample them and straight out he offered to pay me to bake a batch just for him. They are delicious and have a very satisfying crunch.

I have adapted a couple of recipes to make a mismatch.

Pumpkin and poppy seed crispbreads

makes 24

60g plain flour
110g wholegrain spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
40g butter
115g 2% fat greek yoghurt
2 tablepoons milk
30g pumpkin seeds
15g poppy seed
1 egg
extra pumpkin seeds for decoration

Mix the flours and baking powder in a bowl, rub the butter in with your fingertips util the mix resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Lightly whisk the yoghurt and milk together with a fork. Add the yoghurt mix and the seeds to the bowl, mix together, then bring the dough together with your hands.

Divide the dough into two and wrap tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN, and line two baking sheets with baking parchment. 

Take a piece of dough and divide it into twelve even pieces, pat into a rough oblong. Flour a surface, cover a piece of the dough with the clingfilm used to wrap the dough, and roll out as thin as possible.

Transfer the pieces to the baking parchment, glaze with beaten egg and sprinkle on a couple more pumpkin seeds.

Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then store in an airtight tin. 
I can confirm that these are exceedingly moreish, they are excellent as a nibble with a glass of wine and are a lovely accompaniment to soup, I cannot wait to try them with hummus.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Peanut butter and chocolate cookies

These are my entry for this months alpha bakes. Peanut butter is perhaps not the most original thing beginning with P but time was limited as my holiday was looming! Having said that I have a plan forming and there may be time to squeeze out a slightly more inventive offering before the deadline tomorrow.

I am not, however, going to apologise too much as I love these cookies and they are a regular guest in the biscuit tin. If you do try them I am sure they will become a favourite of yours too.

Peanut butter and chocolate cookies (adapted every so slightly from the hummingbird bakery cookbook)

makes 24 (big cookies!)

225g butter at room temperature
175g caster sugar
175g light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
240g crunchy peanut butter
340g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 170C/150C FAN and line baking sheets with baking parchment. 

Combine the butter, sugars and vanilla in a bowl and beat until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add the peanut butter to the bowl and beat on slow until combined. Add the flour and bicarbonate of soda to the bowl and mix until a smooth dough is formed. There is a lot of cookie dough, I had to stir in the flour by hand as my handheld whisk could not cope with the volume! 

Finally add in the chocolate chips and stir until evenly dispersed.

Arrange heaped tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared sheets. Space them well apart to allow for spreading as they bake. I had to bake my cookies in lots of batches. Bake for 10-12minutes until flattened and golden brown, they will continue to flatten as they cool. 

Leave the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These are a soft and chewy cookie with a fantastic salty sweet peanut flavour.

Twix Brownies

Hi, sorry for the lack of posts of late, I have been on holiday! I was in Europe and got to sample some delicious European baking whilst I was away.

I have a backlog of posts and hopefully will get them all up in the next few days.

When I went away my flight was from London. There was no way I could make it from Edinburgh on the day I was due to fly and so I stayed with my sister overnight. In return for letting me stay I took brownies. After a little discussion it was decided that she wanted twix brownies, so twix brownies it was.

To make the brownies I simply made up some brownie mix (see recipe here, just omit the oreos). I poured half of this mix into my greased and lined brownie pan. 

I then chopped fun sized twixes in half. 
I layered the twixes on top of the batter
I then poured the rest of the batter on top.

The brownies were baked at 170C/150C FAN for 25 minutes and allowed to cool in the tin before transferring them to a wire rack. 
I did get to sample one of these, quality control you understand, and they were really good. Fudgy in the middle with the lovely crunch of the twix. I will have to make them again so I can have more then one, just to make sure they are as good as I remember!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Peach Melba cupcakes

The peach melba is a classic if not often forgotten ice cream sundae. Whether you have had one or not who could argue with the grouping of vanilla, raspberry and peach? Certainly not me, especially when presented in the form of a cupcake.

This recipe is from the fabulous love bakery book. Just tweaked ever so slightly to suit personal tastes.

I do admit that pink raspberries would have made the inside of the cupcake look very petty but I was seduced by the amber raspberries I saw, golden colour with a hint of blush combined with a reduced sticker meant it was a done deal!

I also utilised peaches from a tin, I needed the syrup from the tin and did not see the point of buying a fresh peach when I had all the segments sitting there.

I added a little vanilla to the cake and the frosting, to bring the ice cream flavour to the cupcake.

I am not going to copy out the recipe word for word.

However it is a vanilla cupcake base with 2 tablespoons of peach syrup added. When cooked and cooled a cone is removed from each cupcake and the middle filled with crushed raspberries and peaches before the cone is replaced.

Each cupcake is frosted with a mascarpone cheese frosting, which used 250g mascarpone, 80g icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla paste all beaten together until thick and creamy. This amount frosts 12 cupcakes.
These were lovely and it was nice to enjoy them in the September sun before raspberries are out of season.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Raisin and chocolate biscotti

So this is perhaps not your traditional biscotti, as it contains no nuts, but not eveyyone likes nuts and indeed many people are allergic and I see no reason why they should not delight in these yummy treats.

They are however twice baked in the traditional way and are still very crunchy indeed, so perfect for dunking in your choice of hot beverage.

They are very quick to whip and do not require any strange ingredients, I had all I needed in the cupboard and made them after they were requested without any extra shopping trips.

Raisin and chocolate Biscotti

makes ~24

140g plain flour
150g caster sugar
tsp baking powder
2 eggs
tsp vanilla paste
50g raisins
50g dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 150C/130C FAN and grease and flour a large baking sheet.

Mix the flour sugar and baking power together. Whisk together the eggs and vanilla and add to the bowl. Mix until it has all just about come together. Add the raisins and chocolate and mix until they are well distributed and everything is incorporated.

Spoon the dough into a log shape on the baking sheet, about 20cm long and 5cm wide. It will spread so do not make it too wide, it does not spread length ways so much.

Bake for 35 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and using a sharp knife cut into slices 1cm wide.

Lay the slices baking on the baking sheet and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and turn the slices over. Put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

As I said these are very crunchy and so perfect for dunking in the drink of your choice, They are very moreish though and 24 lasted a grand total of two days with only two of us in the house...  

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Aztec cookies

Are we all excited about the return of the great British Bake off? I know I am. I am just as excited by the new book to go with the series, Great British Bakeoff: How to turn everyday bakes into showstoppers.

I came home from work on bank holiday Monday, yes in Scotland  its not a holiday, well it is for M he works at a bank and holiday have to be the same, and waiting for me was this book, a present for me! Mind you as M says its not really a present all for me, he knew when he was buying this book that he was going to get to eat all the treats from it, so everyone wins!

I sat and red this book from cover to cover, which can take a while as it is satisfactorily huge book. I wanted to make everything immediately but sadly last week was super busy at work and so I was limited on time.

I was less sad once I had made and tasted these aztec cookies. The book does exactly what it says on the tin turning these quick to make cookies into show stopppers with the addition of gold dust (yes I already had gold dust lurking in my baking cupboard...)

Normally I am not a fan of cakey cookies, I like them crisp or chewy, not soft. However the flavour of these is so lovely that I shall make an exception. Deep chocolate and coffee make for a lovely rich biscuit, complimented by nice large chunks of white chocolate. They are just the thing after a long day.

The book features recipes from the current show plus plenty of others. And don't worry it does not reveal the winner.