Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Hazelnut, brown sugar and vanilla Shortbread

One of my fav baking books is 'British Baking, Peyton and Byrne',  it is a beautiful book full of amazing recipes, some classic some a bit different.  I really love it.

Yesterday I made shortbread based on a recipe from this book, my children had it with stewed apple (bramley apple, sugar, cinnamon and sultanas) and custard- this was yummy, here it is....

250g soft unsalted butter
100g soft light brown sugar
350g plain flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste/extract
75g toasted chopped hazelnuts
2 tablespoons demarera sugar to sprinkle over

20cm lined tin

Preheat the oven to 170

cream the sugar, butter and vanilla together until very soft, light and fluffy

sift over the flour and salt

add the hazelnuts

cut the mixture together with a metal table knife until it comes together, do not 'over work' *said in a Paul Hollywood like fashion*

pour into prepared tin (good to have paper over the tin edges to lift shortbread out later)

pat down

prick all over with a fork

chill in the fridge for 15-30mins

sprinkle with demarera

bake for 40mins

remove from the oven and cut into triangles, (mine were all sorts of sizes, some smaller for lunch boxes, others larger for bribes/rewards/treats!)

when cool, lift out the tin with the paper

can be kept up to 10days in an airtight container



The Cake and Bake show

So...on Saturday we were so very lucky to be allowed to attend The Cake and Bake show at Earls Court!  It was a truly amazing day.  So many people wanted to have pics with us and we signed lots of 'autographs'...needless to say this was unbelievable, so unexpected and flattering, we couldn't believe it! If you were there and saw/spoke to us..."hi, and thank you" such an overwhelmingly wonderful response from people

We met up with our gorgeous fellow baker John for a little potter around! 

It was a spectacular show, with so much going on.  Highlights included seeing the very very lovely Paul Hollywood (sadly we didn't see Mary as she was there on the Sunday) who cheekily watched a little of one of our demos from the sidelines (this added to the nerves but was a huge honour).  We also met and saw so many other amazing people.

We did two demos, one for The Grain Chain:
grainchain.com is a curriculum linked education resource for teachers and parents to inform school-aged children about the story of grain-based food - from the farm to mill to plate. Find tailored teaching materials, worksheets, videos, quizzes, recipes and activities about farming, milling and baking.

We showed some recipes great for baking with and for children and here they are.....

Monkey Bars

Ingredients for the base:
16 plain digestive biscuits
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
75g unsalted butter

For the filling:
6 large ripe bananas
50g milk chocolate chips
50g white chocolate chips

For the sponge:
170g unsalted butter
170g caster sugar
170g Self raising flour
3 eggs
1tbsp milk
80g desiccated coconut

For the topping:
50g white chocolate
50g milk chocolate

You will need a Swiss roll tin lined with greaseproof paper.

Preheat the oven to 160 °

First make the base by crushing the digestive biscuits, either with a rolling pin or in a food processor.

Sprinkle in the cinnamon.

Melt the butter and pour over the crushed biscuits. Mix well until all the crumbs are coated with butter.
Press the crumbs into the base of the tin in an even layer and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the base is cooking, chop up the bananas.
When it’s baked, take it out and arrange the bananas in an even layer over the whole thing.  Sprinkle over the white and milk chocolate chips.

Make the sponge by first creaming together the butter and caster sugar. In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour and baking powder, set aside.
Add one egg at a time to the butter and sugar mix with one tablespoon of the flour mixture.  When all the eggs are incorporated add the remaining flour and the milk.  Stir until just combined.  Carefully fold in the coconut.

Spoon the sponge batter over the top of the bananas and chocolate chips and spread flat with a palette knife.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, melt the milk and white chocolate. Then drizzle over, first milk and then white and leave to cool and harden completely.

Cut into bars and serve.

Pizza and flat breads

For the base/breads:
500g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
300ml warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce:
1 carton Creamed tomatoes
1 onion
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Pinch of sugar

For the toppings:
Grated mozzarella
Mozzarella balls
Cherry tomatoes
Red and yellow peppers
Fresh basil
*or any other preferred

For the flat breads:

A large handful of raisins
A knob of butter to griddle
Sugar and cinnamon to dip in when hot

Preheat the oven

Put the flour, sugar and yeast in a bowl and mix

Dissolve the salt in the warm water, add the oil and then add this to the flour

Bring together, knead for 10mins, put in an oiled bowl, cover and leave for an hour or so (until doubled in size)

Make the sauce, prepare the toppings

When the dough is ready, divide in half.  One half to use for pizzas and the other which will be used for the sweet flat breads

For the pizzas

Pat, press and pull the dough into shape on baking paper

Turn oven up to maximum with trays in ready

Top the pizzas

Transfer on the paper to the hot trays and bake for 15mins

Add some fresh basil and serve

Meanwhile for the flat breads

Knead in the raisins

Divide and shape

Heat large flat griddle pan

Add a little butter

Shape and cook the flat breads for 2mins each side

Dip in cinnamon and sugar

We then went onto the even bigger stage 'Cake Kitchen' where the most incredible people had been giving demos all day.  we had an incredible turn out! We made a (slightly disastrous) very delicious Autumnal apple cake with pecan praline and mini toffee apples


after this demo I note the '5 P's'....Planning and Preparation Prevent a Pants Performance!!!!!

Here is the recipe

Autumnal apple cake

For the cake:
3x 8inch sandwich tins, lined with baking parchment

5 Bramley apples
1 lemon
6 eggs
350ml sunflower oil
200g caster sugar
200g soft light brown sugar
400g plain flour
200g dried apple
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of ½ an orange

For the icing:
350g cream cheese
100g unsalted butter (very soft)
500g icing sugar
100ml maple syrup

For the pecan praline:
250g caster sugar
100g pecans

For the miniature toffee apples: *optional as quite fiddly
5 granny smiths (melon baller needed, which we can bring)
Icing sugar

Caramel (x2 one for toffee apples one for praline)
200g catser sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoons water
Few drops of vanilla extract

Cocktail sticks

Preheat the oven to 170˚c

Core and roughly chop the apple, pop in the processor along with the dried apple, put in a bowl and squeeze over lemon juice

Beat the oil and sugar until combined and smooth

Gradually add the egg

Squeeze most of the juice from the apples and stir this, orange zest and chopped dried apple through the mixture

Sift the flour, b.powder, bicarb and cinnamon into the bowl and fold through with large metal spoon, making sure its all incorporated

Divide into the three lined tins and bake at 170 for 35mins

Meanwhile make the praline and icing

To make icing, cream the sugar, butter and syrup until light fluffy and smooth, then add the cream cheese and beat until just combined (don’t over beat or it goes runny)

Now make mini toffee apples, ball the apples popping into lemon water

Dry, and pop in the freezer briefly, make the caramel, bring out the apple balls spear, coat in icing sugar and dip, pop on greaseproof paper to set

Cool cake

make caramel by putting ingredients in a heavy based pan, stir ONLY UNTIL SUGAR DISSOLVES, then leave to heat to 'hard crack' stage (if no sugar thermometer just until a golden caramel colour is fine!!! and pour over pecans on a lined baking sheet, allow to cool/harden

using the same caramel method dip the apple balls in when ready and pop on greaseproof paper to harden

Blitz praline

Ice and layer the cake, covering top, middle and sides

Pat the praline around the sides

Finish with mini toffee apples and icing sugar dusted pralines!

The Cake and Bake show will be in Manchester on the 5-7th April 2013...don't miss it!


Friday, 14 September 2012

The infamous reese's peanut butter cup pie

The infamous American Pie!!!

 Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Pumpkin pie/ Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup inspired Pumpkin pie

20cm fluted loose bottom tart tin
For the Pastry
175g Plain Flour
50g icing sugar
50g Cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
150g Cold Unsalted Butter cubed
3 medium Free-Range Egg Yolks
For the Filling
One small pumpkin  or squash to have 300g when cooked and scooped out
150g Smooth Sunpat Peanut Butter
125g Full Fat cream cheese
100g light brown sugar
1 large Egg Yolk
½ Teaspoon vanilla extract
¼  teaspoon cinnamon
¼  teaspoon ground ginger
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
For the topping
100g milk chocolate
50g dark chocolate (around 50% cocoa)
25g butter

For the Peanut Brittle
100g salted peanuts
100g caster sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 220˚C
  • Cut the Pumpkin/Squash in half and place cut side down on a baking tray and bake for 50mins
  • Meanwhile make the pastry, firstly sift the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt into the processor and pulse to combine, add the cold butter in cubes and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs, pour in the 3 beaten Egg yolks and mix until it just comes together and forms a ball of dough
  • Wrap this in cling film and chill for 30mins
  • Now make the peanut brittle by putting the 100g caster sugar in a heavy based pan over a medium heat until the sugar is a golden caramel (swirl the pan to ensure all sugar is dissolved and doesn’t catch round the edges)
  • When caramel is the correct colour (a nice dark golden brown) add the peanuts and then carefully pour onto a greaseproof paper lined baking tray and leave in a cool place to harden
  • Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll thinly between sheets of cling film until thin and then line the flan tin using the cling film to assist.  Push into the edges gently and then remove the cling film and trim the edges (fill in any holes with the excess pastry)
  • Fill with greaseproof paper, then a layer of baking beans and bake blind for 15mins. Remove from the oven and then remove paper and beans
  • pop back in the oven for 5-10mins until the bottom dries out be careful the edges don’t colour too much
  • Remove and leave to cool
  • When the pumpkin has cooked, remove from the oven and turn it down to 180˚, then remove the pips and then scoop out the soft flesh with a spoon
  • Weigh out 300g of the scooped out flesh and then puree this in the food processor until very smooth
  • Put the puree in a bowl and sit in another bowl of ice cold water to help it to cool more quickly
  • Once cooled add this to the other filling ingredients (except the eggs) and beat in the freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth and combined, then add the eggs and mix in
  • Pour into the cooled chocolate case and bake in the oven for 30mins
  • While cooking break up the peanut brittle ready for decorating
  • When cooked, remove from the oven and cool (in the fridge if needed)
  • Using a pan and bowl melt the chocolate and butter
  • Pour the chocolate onto the cooled pie in a thin layer and leave this to set
  • Now serve with the peanut brittle
so if you're brave enough to give this a go, let me know what you think...
you pea-nutters!!!

C xxx 

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Bounty Cake

This recipe is for a tender soft white coconut sponge, covered in a rich deeply chocolaty icing enticingly decorated with more coconut... if you like bounty bars and cake...I promise you'll like this (if I'm wrong, you're coco-nuts, don't sue me)!

2xdeep 10inch round tins


For the cake
500g Soft unsalted butter 
8 Free range eggs (4 whole, 4 whites)
150ml buttermilk
450g caster sugar
75g desiccated coconut
450g self raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking powder

For the icing
150g Dark Chocolate
50g milk chocolate
80g soft Butter
4tbsp milk
1 teaspoon instant coffee
150g icing sugar
50g cocoa powder

to decorate.....do whatever you like with the leftover icing, extra coconut and bounty bars...i hate to restrict creative flair...get out your piping bag even should you so choose

I simply used:
toasted shredded coconut and chopped Bounty bars

- preheat the oven to 170c
- line the tins
- (for the cake) cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
- mix together the whole eggs, whites and buttermilk lightly in a bowl with a fork
- add this a tablespoon (or a tiny bit more) at a time alternately with spoonfuls of the flour (this stops it curdling)
- when all the egg mixture is added, add the rest of the flour and the coconut and mix until just combined
- pour into the tins and bake for approx.35-40mins (until light brown, lightly springy to the touch, and a skewer would/does come out clean)
- allow to cool while making the icing
- for the icing, melt the chocolate milk, coffee powder and butter in a bowl over simmering water until melted and combined
- remove from the heat and beat in the icing sugar and cocoa, leave to cool a little then beat again until a nice spreadable consistency
- fill the cakes and cover with icing
- decorate however you fancy!

I hope you will try this and enjoy it, sorry it's taken a while to get it on here!

Happy Baking as always!