Vanilla cake pops

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As well as other baking goodies, Rien’s sister bought me a cake pop making kit for my birthday. Included in the kit was a silicone cake pop mould to make it even easier. The other way to make cake pops is to make a normal cake and then crumble it up with frosting and shape into balls – like I did in my cake ball recipe. I really liked how simple the silicone mould was to use and that it kept the cake moist and light. You can buy silicon cake moulds very cheaply at supermarkets and Poundland; I recommend buying one to make your life easier!

I decided to make these when my friend Tasha was coming over so that we could both decorate them. You can use any flavour cake mix that you want, but I definitely recommend using Candy Melts for the icing. Candy Melts are chocolate coins which when melted give a lovely creamy consistency. What is really great about them is that they come in a wide variety of colours so there are lots to chose from. You will also need cake pop sticks to insert into the cake. You can buy both online or in Hobby Craft and Lakeland.

For the cake:
75g margarine
75g caster sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
75g self raising flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC (160ºC fan assisted). Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix again. Add the flour and mix until combined
  3. Fill the mould with the cake mix – I did this using a teaspoon. Fill them so that the mix is just below the top of the mould. If you overfill them, the mix will seep out and you won’t have the shape you need

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  1. Put in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool

For the icing
1 pack of Candy Melts
vegetable oil

  1. Melt the Candy Melts in the microwave for short periods of time making sure you stir in between each melt. This will help ensure it doesn’t become grainy
  2. Once melted, add enough vegetable oil to get a smooth consistency that will coat the back of a spoon. It needs to be runny enough to coat the cake evenly so there isn’t a set amount of oil to use, just keep adding a little as you go

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  1. Dip each stick in the melted chocolate so roughly 2cm of the stick is covered. Insert the stick 1cm into the cake ball and put in the fridge to firm up

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  1. Once the chocolate has hardened, dip each cake pop into the remaining Candy Melts so that the cake is completely covered. Tap the stick against the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate – this is where your cake will fall of the stick if it hasn’t hardened long enough. If this happens, you will be forced to eat it to hide the evidence and put the rest of the cake pops back into the fridge to chill for longer
  2. When you have iced each cake pop in the Candy Melts, decorate them however you would like

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New York Cheesecake

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I made this cheesecake quite a while ago for Rien’s birthday. He absolutely loves New York Cheesecake so I first made this recipe for him roughly 3 years ago. I still lived at home so was able to use all of Mum’s baking equipment which was very useful. Even so I managed to get myself really stressed and worked up making it. Rien loved it, but I said I would never make it again.

3 years later and after lots of nagging from Rien, I decided to attempt it again. There was no way I could make a cheesecake for my brother in law (the chocolate ripple cheesecake) and not make one for Rien. I was now in my own kitchen with my own equipment so I thought it was time to try again! It went so much better than last time and I was a lot more calm and relaxed. Don’t tell Rien though because he’ll be asking me to make it every week!

For the base:
85g butter, melted
140g digestive biscuits, crushed into fine crumbs
1 tbsp caster sugar

  1. Set an oven shelf to the middle of the oven and preheat it to 160ºC (fan) or 180ºC. Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin with parchment paper
  2. Melt the butter in a pan or in the microwave and then stir in the crushed biscuits and sugar until it is evenly coated. If like me you don’t have a food processor, put the biscuits in a sealed bag and bash them with a rolling pin. Press the mixture into the bottom of the tin making sure it is an even layer – it might be easier to do this with clean hands. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and then allow to cool while you make the filling

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For the filling
900g full fat cream cheese
250g caster sugar
3 tbsp. plain flour
pinch of salt
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ tso lemon juice
3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
200ml soured cream

  1. Increase the oven temperature to 200ºC for a fan oven or 240ºC for a conventional oven. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at a medium-low speed for approximately 2 minutes until it is creamy. Reduce the mixer to a low speed and gradually add the sugar, flour and a pinch of salt
  2. Change the paddle attachment to the whisk. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice to the cream cheese and mix. Whisk in the eggs and yolk, one at a time making sure you scrape down the bowl. Add the 200ml soured cream and mix on a low speed making sure you don’t over beat. The mix should be light and smooth
  3. Brush the sides of the springform tin with melted butter and put on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the tin – if there are any lumps push them into the mix with a knife. Bake for 10 minutes

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  1. After 10 minutes, reduce oven temperature to fan 90ºC or 110ºC conventional and bake for 25 minutes more. If you gently shake the tin, the filling should have a slight wobble. Turn off the oven and open the oven door for a cheesecake that’s creamy in the centre, or leave it closed if you prefer a drier texture. Let cool in the oven for 2 hours. The cheesecake may get a slight crack on top as it cools – don’t panic about this, the topping will cover it later

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For the topping:
226ml soured cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp lemon juice

  1. Combine the soured cream with the sugar and lemon juice. Spread over the cheesecake right to the edges. Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight

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  1. Run a pallet knife around the sides of the tin to loosen any stuck edges. Unlock the side, slide the cheesecake off the bottom of the tin onto a plate, then slide the parchment paper out from underneath. Or if you’re too scared to do this like me, just cut it on the base of the tin – doesn’t look as professional but its easier!

If you aren’t very confident but would like to try a cheesecake, start with the chocolate ripple cheesecake and work up to the New York cheesecake. The original recipe can be found at http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2869/new-york-cheesecake

Goat’s cheese and pepper tart

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This post is inspired by Week 5 of GBBO which was tarts and pies. Although the tart they made in the show was sweet, I wanted to try a savoury one. I have been wanting to make a tart for a while now as my Mum bought be lots of baking bits for my birthday; including a tart tin and ceramic baking beans. I’ve only ever used shop bought pastry before because it is so convenient. I was slightly nervous about making it myself but it was very simple to make and turned out well. Goat’s cheese, peppers and thyme are a few of my favourite flavours so I knew I wanted to use them in my tart. I adapted a recipe from delicious magazine (http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/roasted-tomato-and-creamy-goats-cheese-tart) and used a BBC Food recipe for the shortcrust pastry.

For the shortcrust pastry
250g plain flour
pinch of salt
110g butter, cubed
5-6 tbsp cold water

  1. Put the flour and salt in a bowl and add the cubes of butter
  2. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Try to work quickly so it doesn’t become greasy
  3. Using a knife, stir in just enough water to bind the dough together
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 10-15 minutes before you roll out

For the tart
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 peppers

2 tbsp fresh thyme
pinch of salt 

150g creamy goat’s cheese
200g low-fat crème fraîche

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cut 2 peppers into strips and put them on a baking tray. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and scatter with thyme leaves and salt. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes

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  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a circle about 4cm wider than the tin. Carefully lift the pastry into the tin (23cm tart tin) and gently press into the base and sides, taking care not to stretch the pastry. Trim any excess pastry and prick the base with a fork. Chill for 20 minutes

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  1. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Scrunch up a sheet of baking paper then smooth out to fill the pastry case and then fill with baking beans. Make sure they completely cover the base in a single layer. Bake for 15 mins

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  1. Remove the baking beans and paper and bake for a further 15 minutes, until golden and crisp. Leave to cool slightly
  2. Beat the goat’s cheese and crème fraîche together in a bowl until creamy. Season to taste. Spoon evenly into the tart case and arrange the peppers over the top. Spoon over any cooking juices

2014-09-06 15.34.43   2014-09-06 15.41.00 For my first attempt at a tart I was very happy – I was just happy I didn’t have a soggy bottom! The flavours were delicious and went really well with onion chutney. Please visit http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/ to see other people that are joining in with The Great Bloggers Bake Off. GBBO

Apple and sultana chutney

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I made this chutney for two reasons – I had cider wine vinegar in the cupboard that I had bought but couldn’t remember why and Rien’s Nan gave me some cooking apples. This was my first time making chutney and I was surprised with how simple it was. After you’ve peeled and chopped the onions and apples (this does take a while), you can chuck it all in a big pan and let it bubble away.

The original recipe I used said to let is simmer for 30 minutes or so. I let mine cook for over an hour because I wanted a thick, syrupy texture with soft apples. Personally I think this chutney goes really well with pork; I’ve had it with sausage rolls, ham and the pulled pork I made in the previous post.

The chutney is quite sweet which isn’t to everyone’s taste so you can always add less sugar if you would prefer. I adapted the original recipe slightly but it can be found at http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2646/classic-apple-chutney.

For the chutney:
1 ½ kg cooking apples, peeled and diced
750g light muscovado sugar
500g sultanas
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
700ml cider vinegar

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large pan and bring it to a boil over a medium heat

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  1. Simmer uncovered for 1 – 1½ hours or until it is thick and syrupy
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cooled transfer to steralised jars and seal
  3. Once opened store in the fridge and consume within 4 weeks. You can leave it in a dark cupboard for 2-3 months

Get the jars as clean as you can and then steralise them. Place the jars on a baking tray in an oven set at 180ºC for 10 mins. For the lids, put them in a pan of boiling water for 10 mins. leave to try on a clean tea towel.

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Pulled pork

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I am obsessed with pork – especially pulled pork. If I’m in a restaurant and it’s on the menu, it is almost certain I will order it. I’m not sure where my love of pulled pork came from, but recent trips to America are where I’ve had the best pulled pork! I loved having pulled pork as part of a traditional Hawaiian breakfast, it was amazing with eggs and rice. Also by starting the day with pulled pork means you can have it for every meal of the day!

I put off trying to make my own because I thought it would be a long process. After looking around I found this recipe by Simon Rimmer on BBC Food which seemed quite simple. A lot of pulled pork recipes include a sauce of some sort, usually BBQ. This one doesn’t which meant it was perfect to go with my apple and sultana chutney I made (look out for the recipe soon).

The recipe was incredibly simple so even if you aren’t a confident cook, this is something that you can definitely try. It’s perfect for a lazy weekend meal because you prepare the pork and then let it cook away in the oven for a few hours without you having to pay it much attention.

For the pork:
2kg pork shoulder
1 tbsp chilli flakes of chilli powder
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper
200ml white wine vinegar
250ml cider
3 onions, finely sliced
6 garlic cloves, sliced

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC
  2. Put the pork in a baking tray. Mix together the chilli, mustard, salt and pepper and rub it into the pork
  3. Pour the vinegar and cider over the pork and scatter with the onion and garlic

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  1. Cover with parchment paper and then wrap in foil. Put in the oven for thee hours. Remove the parchment paper and foil and return to the oven for another hour
  2. Using two forks, ‘pull’ the pork by shredding it into strands

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I served the pork in soft floury rolls which I dipped in the cooking juices before adding the pork. The cooking juices have such an amazing flavour from the cider so you really don’t want to let them go to waste! The onions that cooked alongside the pork make a great accompaniment to go in the rolls with my apple and sultana chutney. To go with the rolls, I made a few ordinary and sweet potato wedges with a small amount of oil, salt and pepper. An extra added treat is the beautifully salty crackling that this provides.

This recipe was a delicious and simple recipe to start with and I will definitely be making it again as well as trying different pulled pork recipes. The photos might not look as pretty as something like a cake, but when I look at them it makes me want to cook it all over again!

The original recipe can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pulledporkwithsausag_88807.

Honey cupcakes with mascarpone frosting and figs

Cat Cupcake(photo by me)

This is the second recipe I made for my photography session with @GreedyBetty. As soon as I saw this recipe I thought it looked beautiful, and to me it sounded more sophisticated and unusual compared to a lot of cupcakes. When I told people I was making these cupcakes, some people weren’t instantly excited by the idea. To my surprise this was because they hadn’t actually tried a fig before! These cupcakes managed to convert them – not only did they like the honey cupcake with the mascarpone, but they really liked the fig!

They also photographed beautifully – obviously with the help of Betty and her fantastic photography skills!

For the cupcakes
1 3/4 cups plain flour 
½ cup honey
½ cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup soured cream
2/3 whole milk
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line 2 cupcake tins with 16 cupcake cases and set aside
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and set aside
  3. In a different bowl, beat together the butter, honey, soured cream, vanilla paste and extract
  4. Add one egg at a time, mixing after each addition. With the mixing speed on low, alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the milk and beat until just combined
  5. Spoon the batter into the cases filling them 2/3 of the way

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  1. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in their tin for 5 minutes and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack

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For the frosting
8oz mascarpone cheese
1 cup double cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

  1. Whisk the mascarpone cheese with the double cream, granulated sugar and vanilla extract on a low speed
  2. Beat for 2-3 minutes gradually increasing the speed to medium-high until it forms soft peaks. Be careful to not mix too much or the mix will curdle
  3. Frost the cooled cupcakes

You can either simply decorate the cupcake with half a fig like I did, or do as the original recipe suggested and caramelize the figs. The original recipe can be found at http://www.stylemepretty.com/living/2012/10/28/fall-recipe-honey-cupcakes-w-marscarpone-frosting-carmelized-figs/

These cupcakes are the perfect combination of sweet, followed by a slight savoury flavour from the frosting and the burst of freshness from the fig. They really were delicious and I was so proud of how the photographs turned out.

Cat Fig 1

(photo by me)

Fig Cupcake 1 copy

(photo by Betty)

Cupcake B

(photo by Betty)

Cupcake A

(photo by Betty)

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Soft pretzel bites

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Week 3 of The Great British Bake Off was Bread. Initially I was going to make a hot cross bun loaf but when I came to baking one evening I decided against it because the recipe required a couple of hours to prove. I wanted to get to bed that evening so instead I decided to make a bread recipe that was a little different. I’d seen the recipe for soft pretzel bites on Sally’s Baking Addition and knew I wanted to try it so decided to bake them for week three of #GreatBloggersBakeOff2014. I love pretzels, especially soft salted pretzels. I haven’t made them before so I thought these bites would be a good place to start without having to worry about shaping them into the usual pretzel shape.

For the pretzels
1 ½ cup lukewarm water
1 packet of instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 ¾ – 4 ¼ plain flour
Spray oil

2/3 cup bicarbonate of soda
1 large egg, beaten
Coarse sea salt 

  1. Stir the yeast in the warm water so it starts to dissolve. Add the salt, sugar, melted butter and stir. Add the flour 1 cup at a time in a bowl or in a mixer with a dough hook until it makes a thick, sticky dough. Add ¾ cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add up to ¼ cup more
  2. Lightly flour your surface and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough for approximately 3 minutes and then roll it into a ball. Put the dough in a large bowl sprayed with oil and cover with cling film. Let the dough prove in a warm area for 20 minutes

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  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Line two large baking trays with baking parchment and set aside
  2. Cut the ball of dough into 6 sections. Roll each section into 20 inch long ropes

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  1. Cut the ropes into approximately 1.5 inch pieces to make bites

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  1. Boil 9 cups of water and add the bicarbonate of soda. Drop 8-10 pretzel bites into the water and leave for 20 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on the baking trays. Make sure they don’t touch
  2. Brush each pretzel bite with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sea salt. Repeat this for all of the dough

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  1. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown

These pretzel bites are best eaten on the day you make them. They can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days but they become softer. You can also freeze them – defrost them and heat them through in a 150ºc.

I was very pleased with how these pretzel bites turned out, they tasted exactly as a bought soft pretzel would. They are quite simple so if you haven’t made much or any bread before, these would be a great place to start.

Original recipe – http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/07/20/soft-pretzel-bites/

GBBO

 

Check out www.mummymishaps.co.uk for the rest of the entries.

Chilli con carne

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Chilli was the first meal I remember my Mum teaching me how to cook so it will always hold sentimental value. The way I learnt to cook with my Mum was by watching how she did things and then copying them. She never wrote any measurements or processes down, it was always a pinch of this, a glug of that. I think this made it more interesting for me because there weren’t strict rules of how much of each ingredient had to go in. It also influenced what type of cook I turned into – I am always adapting recipes by leaving out ingredients I don’t like and adding more of what I do. Cooking has a lot more freedom than baking which sometimes requires exact measurements so I find recipes easier to adapt.

After a while chilli became ‘my meal’ that I would make for the rest of the family. I remember getting a bit annoyed if Mum would suggest she would be making it because even though I love my Mum’s cooking, I got very particular about how I would like things to be done. As well as being particular about how food is made and prepared; I have no shame in admitting I am a food snob. To me food is something to enjoy so it has to be tasty and I believe good ingredients and cooking from scratch (where possible) are key factors. My friends at work love hearing of the little disputes I have with Rien because he has bought the wrong chicken or the ham has water added to it. In his defense I realise I am a little demanding and he does get it right most of the time.

I have been brought up in a family that if it could be made from scratch, it was. I wasn’t brought up by lasagne being made with jarred sauces and that being classed as home made. The flavours in jarred sauces is not comparable to a home made sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I understand people are busy but most thing don’t take too much longer to make yourself and taste so much better! I fully believe that by being brought up with great food and being encouraged to cook as influenced my love for food today.

I have made some small changes to the recipe over the years but this was my Mum’s original recipe for chilli. Today using chocolate in Mexican cooking is becoming more well known but 10+ years ago this was slightly unusual. Mum always referred to the chocolate as her secret ingredient. Personally I think she was ahead of the times with the chocolate. She always insisted on kidney beans in chilli sauce and this is essential! I only use the kidney beans for the chilli sauce they come in because I’m not a massive fan of them. You really do need the chilli sauce because it gives the chilli a fantastic flavour. If you don’t have the different chilli powders I have used, just use normal chilli powder which is what we did for years and is very tasty. Feel free to add more chilli if you like more heat.

Rant over – onto the chilli! My friend at work, Abi asked me for my chilli recipe. So this one is for you.

Serves 4
spray oil

1 large onion, diced
3 fat garlic gloves, finely chopped
500g lean beef mince
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp worchester sauce
1 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ancho chilli powder
1/4 tsp chipotle chilli powder
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tin chopped plum tomatoes
2 OXO cubes
1 tin kidney beans in chilli sauce (has to be in chilli sauce)
30g dark chocolate 

  1. Put the oil in a pan on medium/high heat and add the diced onions and garlic. Sweat for 5 mins stirring occasionally. Add the mince making sure it is broken up – I do this by using a wooden spoon. Cook for a further 5 mins or until the mince is brown all over

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  1. Add the salt, pepper, mustard powder, tomato puree, spices and oregano and stir to mix. Add the tin of tomatoes and stir. Turn the heat down so it is bubbling gently. Using the chopped tomato tin as a measure, fill it with boiling water and pour over the mince (careful the tin can be very hot!). This acts as a good way of measuring how much water to use, but also helps rinse the tin and catch the last of the tomato juices (one of Mum’s great tips!)

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    1. Add the 2 OXO cubes (Mum would always tell me to crumble these in but I always seemed to make a mess so now I chuck the whole thing in and make sure I stir it well!). Allow to bubble away gently for 15 minutes or so, stirring every so often. You can leave it longer just make sure you remember to stir it!
    2. Next add the kidney beans in chilli sauce. This time I fill the empty tin not quite half way with water from a recently boiled kettle and add this to the pan and stir. Leave to gently bubble for a further 15 mins
    3. Break the chocolate into squares and add to the pan. Mix through and allow to bubble for 5 mins, then serve

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We always had our chilli with rice, soured cream and salad. For some reason the salad was always in these same little bowls and was separated so each item had its own bowl. When I moved out, Mum gave me these bowls which can be seen in the photo.

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Chilli freezes really well if you don’t want to eat it all. Just defrost in the fridge and make sure it is piping hot. This makes a really quick and easy mid week meal. It isn’t the prettiest of food – especially when I mix it all together, but it has such a comforting flavour with a little kick.

Carrot cake sandwich cookies

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As you are all aware, The Great British Bake Off is back! Before it started I thought it would be a nice idea to bake something inspired by the show each week and blog about it. Week 1 was cake and although I had the best of intentions, I didn’t get round to my GBBO inspired bake because I was baking ready for my photography session with Betty last weekend.

While I was searching through endless cooking blogs (which is what I seem to spend hours doing without realising these days), I came across a blog called Mummy Mishaps (http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/) by @JennyPaulin. She is running a little competition where food bloggers are baking an item inspired by that week’s show and then there will be a star baker each week. This has been appropriately called The Great Bloggers Bake Off.

I decided to move on from cake week and join in with week 2 – biscuits! I came across this recipe months ago and wanted to try it because everyone raves about the carrot cupcakes I make, so I wanted to see if these would be as popular. They have the same key ingredients as the carrot cupcakes but are in cookie form instead. The original recipe is one by Martha Stewart but I have tweaked it slightly.

I took these into work and they went down very well! I think they are a great alternative to cupcakes but have the same flavours that people seem to love. Sometimes I find biscuits a little bit boring so the filling in these add something a little bit special.

For the filling
2oz full fat cream cheese
2oz unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup icing sugar
1tsp lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and put to one side while you make the filling
  2. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add sugar and lemon juice and mix until combined
  3. Cover and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes until firm. Meanwhile, make the cookies

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For the cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup packed finely grated carrot

  1. Whisk together butter, sugars and egg yolk. In another bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until combined. Mix in the oats, carrot and sultanas
  2. Spoon level tablespoons of mix onto the baking trays leaving enough room to allow for the cookies to spread. Flatten the mix down slightly

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  1. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, turning the trays half way through, until the edges are crisp. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
  2. When cooled, turn one cookie upside down so the flat side is facing upwards. Spoon about 1 tsp of the chilled filling onto the cookie. Put another cookie onto and gently press down so that the filling spreads to the edges

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Before being filled, the cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. The filling can be made ahead and chilled for up to five days.

The original recipe can be found at – http://www.marthastewart.com/341124/carrot-cake-cookies

GBBO

Monkey bread

Monkey Bread 2

(photo by Greedy Betty)

This is the first of three posts that will include photographs from my photography lesson with Betty. I started talking to her on Twitter and was blown away by her fantastic photography on her website www.greedybetty.com. When we realised we both lived in the same town, she very kindly invited me over so I could get some photography tips. Photographing food is something I would really like to improve on.

It was fantastic to learn about lighting, how to create a scene for a photograph and tips on how to use my camera on the manual setting which had always scared me! It was great to meet up with someone who was as passionate about food as I am. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn, and also meet such a lovely person. I hope in future posts you will be able to see small differences as my photographs improve (go easy on me though!). Photoshop is top of the list followed very closely by a light box!

This recipe is the first I decided to make for the photography session. I saw it on one of my favourite blogs – Sally’s Baking Addiction (http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/). She has so many delicious sounding recipes, but when I saw her recipe for Monkey Bread I knew it would be the first recipe I tried. The recipe is little cinnamon balls baked in a bundt tin with the idea of picking the individual balls off, like monkeys do when they groom each other. Bundt cakes seem to be very popular at the moment, and this recipe is another way of using your bundt tin but for something a little different.

I know I say you should make a lot of the recipes I feature on here, but if you love cinnamon rolls, this is the recipe for you. It is absolutely delicious! Personally, I think American recipes are great for cinnamon based food because American’s seem to love their cinnamon and know how to use it. It makes a big old portion which makes it perfect for a party or a family occasion.

This recipe needs to be left overnight. Please read the whole recipe before starting.

For the dough
1 package of yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 & 1/4 cups warm milk (semi skimmed or higher)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp  salt
5 cups plain flour
Spray oil

  1. Put the yeast in a bowl and add the warm water. Stir it around a let it sit for a couple of minutes. Add the milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, salt and 3 cups of flour. Beat using a dough hook for 3 minutes (or mix by hand)
  2. Add enough flour to form a firm dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Keep adding enough flour until it forms a firm dough, this will be about 5 cups in total. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, this should take about 5 minutes. Don’t over knead or else you will have a tough chewy dough. Form the dough into a smooth bowl and put it into a large greased bowl and cover with cling film. Put it in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight to allow the dough to prove

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For the coating
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

  1. Melt the butter in a small bowl. In another bowl mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon together
  2. Spray a 10-12 cup bundt tin with spray oil and set aside. Punch down the dough and then pull small pieces of dough off and roll them into balls approximately 2.5cm in width. You need approximately 40-45 balls in total so don’t roll them too big or too small!
  3. Dip each dough ball into the melted butter and then roll in the sugar and cinnamon until generously coated. Do this with each ball and arrange them neatly into the bundt tin. Depending on how generous you are with the sugar and cinnamon mix, you may need a little more sugar

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  1. Once all of the balls are assembled, cover with cling film and leave for 45 mins for the dough to prove

For the drizzle
1/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar (I used 1/3 cup of each)
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the butter and whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla extract. Pour this over the dough balls in the bundt tin

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  1. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. If the top looks like it is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil
  2. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out

For the glaze
1 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp cream or whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together and pour over the bread. You may need to add a little bit more cream/milk to get to a nice pouring consistency

This recipe is so tasty you won’t be able to stop yourself going back for another gooey, sticky cinnamon ball! You have been warned!

Cat Minkey Bread

 (photo by me!)

Please visit www.greedybetty.com for more of Betty’s amazing work.