Friday, 21 July 2017

Apricot cookies

A very adaptable cookie recipe, I added in chopped dried apricots but you could use chopped glace cherries, sultanas, candied peel, lemon/orange zest, chocolate chips or even chopped nuts.

100g (3 1/2 oz) dried apricots, chopped
225g (8 oz) butter at room temperature
125g (4 1/2 oz) icing suger (confectioners)
2 medium egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g (10 1/2 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
Pinch of salt

Cream the butter and icing sugar together until pale and light.  Add the egg yolks one at a time mxiing well, then add in the vanilla extract.

Pop the salt and flour into the bowl and mix until almost combined.  Add in the chopped apricots and mix again until thoroughly combined.

Lightly flour your work surface and hands and then shape the dough into a log shape (you might need to do this in two batches, making two logs).  Make the log about 4cm (1 1/2 inches) in diameter.

Wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for at least one hour, until firm.

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Cut the log into slices, roughly 5mm (1/4 inch) thick and lay them on the baking sheets.  Bake in the middle of the oven for about 12 minutes until firm and pale golden brown.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Cinnamon or Chocolate Buns

Half our household loves cinnamon the other half hates it...solution?  Make half a batch of cinnamon buns and half a batch of chocolate buns.

Cinnamon or Chocolate Buns

125ml (4 fl oz) milk
175ml (6 fl oz) water
40g (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
7g sachet (heaped teaspoon) fast acting yeast
450g (16 oz) white strong bread flour
1 teaspoon salt

100g (3 1/2 oz)  unsalted butter, melted
100g (3 1/2 oz) brown/demerara sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 100g (3 1/2 oz)  milk chocolate (chopped)

Cup of icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g (3 1/2 oz) milk chocolate

Grease a 12 hole muffin pan with butter and set aside.

Warm the milk, water, honey and butter in a saucepan until the butter just starts to melt and the liquid is lukewarm.

Put the flour, yeast and salt into a mixer with a dough hook.

Pour the luke warm liquid mix onto the flour and mix with the dough hook for about 5 to 6 minutes. Or knead by hand for about 10 minutes - until the dough is soft and smooth.

Place in an oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap, leave for 90 minutes until dough is doubled in size.

Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knock back by kneading for 30 seconds.

Roll the dough thinly into a rectangle (about 1cm deep). 

If you are making half cinnamon and half chocolate cut the rolled out dough in half.

Brush all over with the melted butter then sprinkle over the sugar and cinnamon evenly over one half and the sugar and chopped chocolate over the other half.

With the longest edge farthest away from you, use both hands to carefully roll the rectangles towards you keeping the roll tight.

Divide each roll into 6 equal slices (so you have 12 in total). Place the buns into the buttered muffin pan with the cut side uppermost and cover loosely with oiled cling film or a tea towel and leave to rise for half an hour. 

Preheat the oven to 190c or gas mark 5.

Remove the cling film and bake the buns for 15-20 minutes until well risen and golden brown.

Transfer to a cooling rack and make the icing:

Mix the icing sugar with the vanilla extract and enough water to bring it to a stiff dropping consistency.

Melt the milk chocolate.

Spread the white icing over the cinnamon buns with a palette knife.   
Pour the melted chocolate over the chocolate buns and smooth out with a palette knife.

Inspired by a Jo Wheatley recipe from her Home Baking book

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Bread Pudding

I love bread pudding but sometimes the stuff you find in shops is really dry, this however is a lovely recipe and my 'go to'.  You can also vary the dried fruit you add in, dried apricot, dried pineapple and cherries also work well.

Lovely as it is but also good with custard or cream.

Bread Pudding

1lb/450g bread (can be white or brown)
1pt/550ml milk
4ozs/100g butter, melted
6ozs/150g soft brown sugar (use demerara or white if not available) + 2 tablepoons for topping
4 level teaspoons mixed spice
2 eggs, beaten
12ozs/350g dried mixed fruit (currants, raisins, sultanas, candied peel)
Two apples peeled and grated
Freshly grated nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4

2. Line an oblong baking tray with baking parchment.  12 x 9 x 2 inches (aprox 31 x 23 x 5 cm) but the exact size is not crucial as long as the container is big enough for the mixture.

3. Either tear the bread into small pieces or blitz to make breadcrumbs depending on how smooth you want the finished pudding, if the crust is particular tough you might want to discard them and just use the bread inside.   Pour over the milk, stir and leave for about 30 minutes so the bread is well soaked.

4. Add the melted butter, sugar,  mixed spice and beaten eggs. Beat the mixture well until there are no lumps. Stir in the mixed fruit and grated apple.

5. Spoon into the baking tray and sprinkle with the two tablespoons of sugar and grated nutmeg.

6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1¼-1½ hours.