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 🙂

 

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Banana & Chocolate Chip Muffins

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What a year it’s been.  Today’s bake is, to be honest, a guilt bake.  I feel bad that I have not posted much this year at all, but I feel I have to make an effort.  F for failure then!

Between having to rebuild my computer (thanks, Microsoft for destroying it with your update), scattering my mother’s ashes, being stuck in the middle of nowhere due to ice and snow, being completely felled by one of the seasonal viruses doing the rounds, selling the house, I could go on and on.  But I’m exhausted, I need sleep, I need a break, I need good things.  Don’t we all, though.  A year of good news, and happy events would do us all the world of good.

So I found myself wondering what to bake.  I had some over-ripe bananas, but I’ve done various banana bread recipes, how about cupcakes……no, how about muffins!  Of course the recipe I saw on the internet didn’t have the same ingredients as I remembered it having…..you can see where this is going now, can’t you!  I’d committed myself to baking, so there was no alternative but to tweak the recipe………but you all know by now, tweaking a recipe is something I do a lot of – not always successfully!  In this case I used two different recipes as a reference point.

Muffins are a fairly forgiving bake, the only thing to remember is not to over-mix, otherwise they end up rubbery.

This recipe was for 12 muffins.  Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven)

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas, mashed

125ml light oil (I used olive oil, but sunflower oil is fine too)

4 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

100g golden caster sugar

225g cake flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

220g chocolate buttons

Method:

Beat together the oil, egg, milk and vanilla extract.  Add the mashed bananas and the sugar and mix well.

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Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder, and add in the chocolate buttons, covering well with the flour mixture, in the hope that the buttons don’t sink to the bottom when you bake the muffins.

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Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, mixing gently to combine only. Don’t over-mix, it doesn’t matter if the batter is a bit lumpy.

Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Let cool on a rack before eating!

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

Smoked Salmon & Mackerel Parcels

I love smoked salmon.  Love, love, love it.  But it’s a luxury and so sadly I don’t get to eat it as often as I would like.  I have been eyeing up a recipe for ages, thinking I want to make this, but can I justify it?  Ummm…ah…yes…..no….should I?  Shouldn’t I?  Finally decision time!  Hell yes, because every now and then you just have to do something special.

I saw this recipe first in the Good Housekeeping Christmas Collection magazine in 2011, it is for a Smoked Salmon and Mackerel Mousse Ring.  I don’t have a ring mould, and don’t think I could justify buying one just to make this one recipe.  However, I have a crazy number of ramekins, so I decided to make parcels instead of one large ring.  Problem solved 🙂

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The recipe is easy enough, line the ring mould (or ramekins) with cling film.  Place layers of smoked salmon to line the mould, with the edges overlapping.

Mix together the cream cheese, crème fraîche, chopped parsley, flaked smoked mackerel, chopped capers and lemon zest.  I added a bit more lemon zest than the recipe asked for and I really liked that extra zing it gave.

Spoon the filling into the mould and level off, before covering with more smoked salmon.  Wrap tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate for a few hours.

Serve with some freshly ground pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, a fresh zingy salad and thin crisp toast slices.

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

Me and my shadow

It has been one of those weeks where it really feels like no good deed goes unpunished.

I feel “mind-blown”, my head is reeling with the events.  I try to do the right thing, but this week it has just slapped me hard in the face. Things don’t always work out for the best. People are unpredictable. I am left sad.

I went for a walk on the beach, just me and my shadow. It does make me laugh, at least,how huge my feet look!

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