Biscoff Traybake

I’m a real sucker for those quirky recipes, where you think really?  Will that work? And equally currently I am just looking for easy.  I want to bake bread, all the bread, but I don’t have the energy to do it.  And cheesecake, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes……I want to do these, but they will have to wait.  I found this recipe in Good Housekeeping magazine and decided I had to try it.

The quirk, and the appeal is that this recipe only has three ingredients, no weighing, no fuss, minimum effort.  Hey, what’s not to love?!

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I was expecting the finished product to have a texture somewhere between a brownie and a large cookie – dense, slightly crumbly, maybe crisp on the edges but soft inside.  How wrong was I.  This recipe works so well, and comes out like a cake, light and fluffy. I didn’t spread any Biscoff on the top as was recommended in the recipe, but I think a light Biscoff buttercream would work well, but it is equally good just as it is.

Ingredients:

400g jar Lotus Biscoff Spread

3 medium eggs

2 teaspoons baking powder

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) and line a 20.5cm square tin with baking parchment.

Lightly whisk the eggs to mix them well and add the jar of Biscoff spread and baking powder.  Stir well with a sturdy spoon, it will all amalgamate in a thick mixture.

Spoon the mixture in the baking tin and put in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until just set.  Leave to cool before slicing.

And, there you are! This is so quick and easy, and with so few ingredients, one of those handy recipes to have in the event of a sudden need for cake!

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Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

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Cinnamon Buns

Following my eventual success last year with baking sourdough bread, I felt more confident to try to bake other types of bread.  My next challenge I decided would be an enriched dough bread, possibly a brioche or some other type of sweet bread.

Fast forward to April this year and I saw this recipe for Hot Cross Cinnamon Buns.  I am not overly keen on raisins in bread or cakes – with the exception of Christmas cake – and nor did I want the bother of making the “cross”.  I decided (surprise!) to adapt the recipe slightly and just bake cinnamon buns.

I was halfway through and began to have doubts in my ability.  Maybe trying this new recipe with my head clouded by chemo fog was not such a good idea.  But, oh, how glad I am that I persevered!  This is my version of the recipe:

Dough:

250ml semi-skimmed milk

zest of one orange

25g butter

500g strong white bread flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

85g golden caster sugar

7g sachet fast -action dried yeast

1 medium egg, whisked

Filling and topping:

125g softened butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

50g light muscovado sugar

1 medium egg, whisked

Warm the milk with the orange zest until steaming.  Remove from heat and add the butter, stirring until melted.  Put to the side to cool slightly.

Mix together the flour, caster sugar, yeast, cinnamon and one teaspoon of salt in a large bowl.  Pour in the milk mixture and the whisked egg and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic – approximately 10 minutes.  Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm room to prove for approximately 2 hours, until doubled in size.

For the filling, mix  the cinnamon with the softened butter, and light muscovado sugar until well combined.

Tip the dough onto a work surface and knock the air out.  Roll it out into an oblong shape approximately 30 x 40cm.  Spread the cinnamon butter mixture all over the dough.  Starting at the long end of the dough, roll it tightly into a long sausage shape.  Cut the dough into 12 even pieces. Lightly dust a baking tray with flour and place the pieces with a small gap between each one, making sure the open end of the scroll faces inwards so that it doesn’t unravel during baking.  Lightly cover the tray and leave in a warm room to prove for approximately 1 hour until almost doubled in size – their sides should be just touching.

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Heat the oven to 180°C / 160°C (fan).  Brush the top of the buns with the beaten egg, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until deep golden brown.

Once the buns are baked, leave them on the baking tray for 10 minutes.  I brushed a thick glaze of icing sugar, water and vanilla over the top.  Remove to a rack to cool.

Well, my first time baking sweet buns, and baking with an enriched dough.  And, I am so impressed with myself!   I was concerned that the cinnamon might be overpowering, but it wasn’t. The buns are lovely, soft and fluffy.  I couldn’t have hoped for better.  Definitely a success!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

 

Biscoff Cheesecake

Well hello!  Yes, I know it’s been a while. How have you all been?  I’ve had a chaotic few months with various stressful life events, as happens to us all.  Then some health issues cropped up, and, long story short I have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  This has – once the fog of shock lifted – knocked me for six.  I am in the early phase of this and have yet to cope with my chemotherapy.  One step at a time.  I am trying now to do things that help me feel that my life is a bit more normal.

I finally turned my thoughts to food again, and have been wanting to make or bake something but didn’t know what.  I wanted easy, and so I settled on a no-bake cheesecake, and I decided to adapt (who me, interfere with a recipe?!!) a recipe I’d used before. Luckily this time it worked 🙂

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Inspired by Krispy Kreme’s Lotus Caramalised Biscoff doughnuts (very delicious!!) I thought I’d try a cheesecake using the Biscoff spread as the flavouring.  I was torn between using Marshmallow Fluff in the mixture, and melting marshmallows into the mixture.  I settled on the latter.  Here follows my recipe:

For the cheesecake base I used a biscuit crust.  If you have a preferred recipe for this, please use that, I know I prefer to use Hobnobs for the biscuits because their taste and the oats in the mixture help with the texture.  I also prefer my crust to be slightly on the crumbly side, rather than rock solid, and so I use slightly less butter and slightly more biscuits – I want the mixture to look like damp, rather than wet sand.

Take 300g Hobnobs and crush them, leaving some pieces slightly bigger.  Melt 80g to 100g  butter and mix bit by bit into the crushed biscuits until the mix is the desired texture.  Press gently into the base and sides of a 22cm cake tin, and put this all in the fridge to set.

Put 180g marshmallows (I use the mini marshmallows; if you have large ones, cut them up, they melt quicker) in a non-stick pan with 185ml of milk. Melt this slowly over a low heat, stirring regularly to mix and making sure the marshmallows melt.  Once melted, pour the mixture into a bowl and put to one side to cool down.

Put 500g cream cheese into a bowl and mix well with a spoon to soften.  Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Stir in half a jar of Lotus Biscoff spread, mixing well.

Pour the melted marshmallow mixture into the cream cheese mixture, and mix well with a sturdy spoon or spatula.  Finally, whip 150ml double cream into soft peaks and fold this into the cheesecake mixture.  Pour this all onto the prepared biscuit crust and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.  Don’t forget to lick to bowl!

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And there you have it- easy-peasy!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Chocolate & Coconut Cake

Chocolate?  Yes! Coconut?  Yes!  In a cake?  Yes!! This recipe for Chocolate & Coconut Cake in Sainsburys Magazine caught my eye.

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It is a chocolate cake batter, but with coconut milk, plenty of desiccated coconut, and ground almonds which really work well and give it a lovely texture.  The method is standard – cream butter and sugar, add eggs, fold in dry ingredients.

The resultant batter was quite stiff but I put it in the baking dish and into the oven.  The recipe suggested to bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  At 35 minutes I checked the cake but it was still wobbling, nowhere near done!  I added 10 minutes to the time and checked again, inserting a skewer into the cake, but it was not cooked through, I left it in for another 10 minutes and finally, it was cooked.  Unfortunately the top was quite cracked – I think this is either an oven temperature issue, or too much sugar?  In any event, ingredient-wise I had followed the recipe exactly.  You can see the flecks of coconut in the cake.

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I left it to cool for 15 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

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Cracks?? What cracks?!!  Yes, I turned it upside down (crafty move).

Once the cake was cooled I set to work on the fudge topping.  With ingredients of chocolate, butter, cocoa powder and icing sugar, it seemed it would be a fudgy buttercream style icing.  Once it was all mixed the recipe said “…pour over the cake…

Pour???? Something has gone wrong….

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This was more like chocolate cement…I felt like giving up.  I added a bit of milk as the recipe suggested but this didn’t help significantly.  I had no more chocolate, so the option of making a second batch of fudge icing was out of the question.  Out of desperation I mixed up a small batch of chocolate buttercream, using the cocoa powder and mixed this with the stodgy mess I had created.  It was marginally better.  I was determined to somehow ice the cake and take photos.  I spread the icing on the cake, but the texture was awful.  My guess is the chocolate had split, which would explain the “graininess”.  Not to be outdone, I remembered I had some edible glitter.  Let’s be honest, there is not much that cannot be improved by a little glitter!!  And so I sprayed the surface with gold glitter.

And, so, there we have it.  The glittery chocolate and coconut cake.  The taste test? The cake is good, nice flavour and texture.  The icing?  No.  It is perfectly edible, but it is not what it should have been (though I suspect this is not the recipe’s fault, but rather my own).  I’m disappointed about that.  Would I make it again?  No, there are too many other options which I prefer.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Orange & Walnut Shortbread

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This is really just an update on last week’s post where I baked Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread.

I mentioned that I’d like to try a version using orange and walnut instead of the chocolate.  And so I did! I tweaked the recipe slightly (you knew I would!!) and I have to say, I am happy with the result. So here follows my new version:

Ingredients:

250g room temperature butter (I used salted butter, but unsalted would be fine too)

110g demerara sugar

45g light muscovado sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Zest from a large orange

80g Walnut halves, broken into small pieces (unless you want larger chunks)

355g plain flour

20g rice flour

Method:

Using an electric mixer / whisk, beat together the softened butter, sugars and orange juice until light and fluffy.  With a spoon, mix in the orange zest and walnuts, and then fold in the flours until well combined.

Divide the dough into two, placing each half on a separate piece of clingfilm.  Fold the clingfilm over and gently roll the dough into a log shape with your hands so that it is about 5 cm in diameter.  Place in the fridge until firm (approximately an hour).

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Slice the cooled dough into rounds about 1.5cm thick and place on the baking tray about 3cm apart (they won’t spread much during baking). Bake for 12 – 20 minutes, keeping an eye on the cookies.  They are ready when the edges are just slightly turning brown.

Remove, and cool on a rack before eating.

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I find the addition of rice flour really helps with the texture, it keeps it light, and crumbly, yet not falling apart.  The orange flavour is subtle and the walnuts add good texture.  This can be baked in batches, or you can keep the extra dough in the fridge for up to a week.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

I have seen this recipe mentioned in various magazines and online.  Everyone (everyone) raved about it.  I love recipes that are not complicated, and, to be honest, you had me at “salted”…………..if you don’t get that salt/sweet thing, you are really missing out!

I got this in Sainsburys Magazine, but the recipe (see here)  was originated by Alison Roman.

I don’t have a free-standing mixer, or a mixer with a paddle attachment, and so whilst I could mix the sugars and butter well, and I could add some of the flour, I had to give up at some point and mix in the rest of the flour and chocolate with a wooden spoon, and eventually my hands (I couldn’t get the  mixture to stick together….)

Sugars, butter, and vanilla are whisked until light and fluffy and then the flour and chocolate chunks are added.  The dough is then divided in half and covered with clingfilm and rolled into a log shape.

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The recipe says this makes 24 cookies.  I couldn’t see how I would be able to get 12 cookies out of my dough. Anyway, onwards and upwards, so I put the dough in the fridge to firm up.  I decided to only bake half the dough this time, leaving the other half for another day.  I like that about cookie dough, once you’ve gone this far, it’s so easy just to bake a fresh batch of cookies with minimum effort whenever the need arises – just slice and bake!!

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I didn’t roll my dough in sugar.  Personal preference, just like my intolerance for rolling doughnuts in sugar……….I think it’s not necessary.  On slicing my rounds, I had problems with some of the dough “breaking away” because of all the chocolate pieces.  Strange as it is for me to say, I actually think there is too much chocolate………..(please don’t shoot me).  As a result once the dough rounds were on the baking tray, I ended up mashing some pieces of chocolate into the rounds, rather than throwing away the bits that had broken off.  I managed to get 7 slices from the piece of dough that I used.  I realise that in fact my estimation of 5-6 cm was somewhat out (no jokes please) and I should have rolled the dough out into a thinner log.  This too, will explain why I ended up cooking it for almost double the recommended time.

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The finished cookies are delicious.  I do love the sprinkling of sea salt on the top.

Would I do anything different next time?  I would form the dough into a thinner roll, I would add less chocolate.  I would love to try it with orange zest and walnuts instead of the chocolate. I definitely think there are plenty of options!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

 

The “not quite” White Russian Tart

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I haven’t blogged in a while, and I haven’t baked.  Life has been somewhat challenging.  I keep looking at recipes and in between all life’s goings on, struggle to find time to actually make anything.  And, this heat…..oh! My! isn’t it hot?!! Lack of energy is a deciding factor here as well.

But, finally, here I am today.  Sadly it is with a “fail” rather than a success, but, hey, I’m not too proud to say when things didn’t work out right.  It happens!

I love Emma Freud’s food columns in the BBC Good Food magazine, and had an eye on her recipe for a White Russian Tart for ages.  Named after the cocktail, of course, it looks delicious.

It is made with, amongst other things, marshmallows, which are melted, and mixed with milk, cream, vodka and coffee liqueur.  I have made a few puddings involving melting marshmallows and it gives a lovely texture, so I was quite confident this would be a winner.

I did (honestly) follow the recipe to a “T”.  I made the base first, which consists of crushed biscuits and butter, and left it in the fridge to set.  I melted the marshmallows with the  milk, added the alcohol (breathe deeply!!) and left it aside to cool.  I whipped the cream and added the melted marshmallow mixture.  But……the mixture had separated…..I ploughed bravely on, hoping it would somehow be okay, but it was far too thin and runny to pour into the crust to set.  I put the bowl in the fridge, hoping that it would thicken a bit on cooling, but an hour later it was still too liquid. Urgh, how frustrating. But…..light-bulb moment, I thought I’d whisk in some extra cream, maybe that would thicken it.  It didn’t.  Instead I managed to spray myself and most of the kitchen in a white Russian marshmallow splatter (got carried away with the electric whisk).  I couldn’t bear to give up (crazy lady, huh!) so I grated some dark chocolate and mixed that into the marshmallow mixture….then I remembered the base.  I had used chocolate chip Hobnobs, so they are crunchy, oaty, chocolate-chippy biscuits.  It was death or glory…..I broke up the base and mixed it in as well, gritted my teeth and put the bowl back in the fridge to cool.

An hour later, I took the bowl out – it had actually “set” (whoop, whoop!!!).

So, dear reader, my botched pudding ended up not as intended, but instead it was a delicious boozy, moussey, crunchy mixture……and no, tasty as it was, I will NOT be making it again!

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Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂