Sunday, November 08, 2015

Coconut Marshmallows - Home Sweet Home Bake Along 47/100

I'm getting rather behind in my blogging at the moment. Life seems to have suddenly sped up and five minutes to sit down and blog seems to be a fantasy. Still, that's the way it goes sometimes.

This is the second time I've made marshmallows, and these were rather nice. The coconut stopped them sticking together without making the harsh crispy edges that a cornflour-icing sugar mixture does.

They disappeared pretty sharpish too, when presented at work. They are rather good for topping hot chocolate, the coconut and the chocolate go well together.

250g desiccated coconut
sunflower oil, for greasing
30g powdered gelatine
300g caster sugar
125g golden syrup
2 large egg whites
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

I'm entering this in #CookBlogShare, hosted this week by Kirsty at Hijacked By Twins



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Next up: Chocolate Praline Cupcakes

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pumpkin Bars - - Home Sweet Home Bake Along 46/100 #CookBlogShare

Hello, my name is Beckie and I am a Pumpkin Spice Addict. Blame the recent trip to the USA, or the general lack of Pumpkin Spice in the UK, owing to an absence of Autumn (Fall) celebrations (Holidays.) Indeed, with the exception of a PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte, obvs) in Starbucks, Kings Cross, I haven't seen any commercial versions of Pumpkin Spice since returning from across the pond. However, whilst over there, I almost certainly drove the American School Friend nuts by consuming my bodyweight in pumpkin scones, spiced caramel apple drinks, PSLs, pumpkin scone cookies, pumpkin spice chai lattes, pumpkin macarons and pumpkin spice ice cream (oh yes, that's a thing - they have it in Trader Joe's - the one supermarket I would bring to England if I could.)

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is these bars were extremely well timed in order to reduce withdrawal symptoms (although the sad lack of self-serve Froyo in the South East of England must be remedied posthaste.) They are moist, and light, and beautifully spiced, and went down a treat once my poor, English, Bible Study Group got to grips with a cake containing pumpkin! Apologies for the lack of photographs, I think the brain was still in the USA when I was baking these.

Also - bonus, I'm hosting #CookBlogShare this week, so welcome if you've joined us for the first time, or welcome back if you're a regular! Do scroll down to link up your recipe.

Recipe (makes one 28x23cm baking tray):
4 large eggs
250ml sunflower oil
360g soft light brown sugar
425g pumpkin puree (from a can)
340g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp salt
120g full-fat cream cheese
50g unsalted butter, well softened
200g icing sugar
(they also suggest 30g of toasted dessicated coconut, which I omitted, and just lightly dusted with powdered cinnamon)
Pithy instructions:
Preheat oven to 170C, line baking tray with parchment. Mix together wet ingredients, sieve in dry ingredients, stir well. Pour batter into tin, Bake for ~30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Cream together cream cheese and butter, mix in icing sugar and beat until fluffy.
Remove cake from tin, smother with icing, slice into squares. Devour.

#CookBlogShare Linky:



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Monday, October 12, 2015

Millefeuille (Great British Bake Off #GBBOBloggers2015)

The astute amongst you will notice a picture of a bowl of jam, and then a millefeuille with a distinct absence of raspberry jam. Unfortunately, the brain was left behind in the USA, the body having only returned from there yesterday morning (hence blog silence for a couple of weeks.)

Still, I made all the component parts, as they did on bake off.

These are incredibly sweet, rich and creamy - no wonder these were the last technical bake - I imagine even Paul and Mary would have struggled to test more than three.

Anyway, here they are, millefeuille for the 2015 Great Bloggers Bake Off Final (recipe here), which is hosted this week by the Boy Who Cooked.

Mummy Mishaps

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chess Pie - Home Sweet Home Bake Along 45/100 #CookBlogShare

This week I am once again hosting #CookBlogShare, and really looking forward to seeing what everyone makes. I am continuing baking through the Hummingbird Bakery book, Home Sweet Home, and we are finally coming up to halfway through! Please read on for more details, or scroll to the bottom of this post for the linky.

Somehow I managed to only take the one photo of this bake - I think I was overly distracted by the Charlotte Russe. Chess Pie is a Deep South pie - the origins of the name are somewhat disputed.

Essentially it is a tooth-achingly sweet custard (I thought I'd done something wrong until I read a few blurbs online) with a little cornmeal to make a caramelised crust, all stuffed in a pastry case. It contains diabetes inducing amounts of sugar and is the opposite of anything "clean" or "healthy" - and my goodness me, is it good.

110g cold unsalted butter, cubed
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
80g caster sugar
1 large egg
100g unsalted butter, softened
400g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
60ml double cream
1 tbsp fine cornmeal
1 tbsp white vinegar.
Pithy instructions:
Pastry: Rub butter into flour, stir in sugar, stir in egg. Bring together into a dough, then into a ball, do not overwork. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30mins, then use to line a 23cm diameter pie dish. Chill for another 20 minutes, then bake blind at 170C for 10 minutes, then remove paper and beans and bake for a further 15 minutes. Leave to cool
Filling: Once the pastry is cool - cream together butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time and beat in. Stir remaining ingredients together in a jug, then add to butter mixture. Pour filling into pie crust. Bake at 200C for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 150C and bake for a further 40-45 minutes, until the pie is just set, with a very slight wobble. The top will crack as it cools - this is okay. Chill in the fridge overnight before serving.

Next up: Pumpkin Bars

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Edited to add: if you tweet me @Beckie_A I will retweet your #cookblogshare link.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Charlotte Russe - Great British Bake Off (#GBBOBloggers2015)

After last week's deviation from the technical bake, I've done it again! I'm afraid I lack a rectangular tin, and had no need in my life for a fruitcake with a tennis court on top. Sorry.

Charlotte Russe, however, sounded far more exciting, more stretching, and more likely to be educational. I was intrigued to note that none of the bakers used a traditional Charlotte mould (looks kind of like a squat metal flowerpot.)

Having spent some time back in Practical Cookery, I was also amused to learn that apparently a Charlotte Russe has sponge fingers at the bottom of the mould (so they appear at the top of dish when it is turned out,) and is just a bavarois surrounded by sponge fingers.

The inclusion of a 1/2cm layer of red jelly on top of the bavarois instead of sponge fingers instead is a Charlotte Moscovite. The creations featured on bake off didn't really fit either category!

I, therefore, have made a Charlotte Moscovite - the jelly is raspberry and the bavarois is vanilla.

Jelly (adapted from here):
325g fresh or frozen raspberries
100ml cold water
2 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
7g gelatine
1. Put raspberries, water and sugar into a pan, heat gently, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the raspberries and stop them sticking (do not blend them or the jelly will be cloudy).
3. Pour the raspberry pulp through a sieve into a jug, and leave to drain briefly. Top the juice up to 300ml, if necessary, with water.
4. Dissolve the gelatine in the juice, then pour the mixture into the base of a charlotte mould, lined with clingfilm, to a depth of about 5mm. Place into fridge and leave to set.
Sponge Fingers (From Practical Cookery by Ceserani and Kinton)
4 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
100g plain flour
1. Cream the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until creamy and almost white.
2. Whip the egg whites stiffly.
3. Add a little of the whites to the mixture and cut in.
4. Gradually add the sieved flour and remainder of the whites alternately, mixing as lightly as possible.
5. Place in a piping bag with 1cm plain tube and pipe in 8cm lengths on to baking sheets lined with silicone paper. (I actually piped mine into a lady finger mould tin that I inherited from my grandmother)
6. Sprinkle liberally with icing sugar. Rest for 5 minutes,
7. Bake in a moderate hot oven (200-220C) for approx 10 min.
8. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Once cool, and once the jelly is set, line the charlotte mould edges with the sponge fingers.
10g gelatine
2 eggs, separated
50g caster sugar
250ml whole milk
125ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
1. If using leaf gelatine, soak in cold water.
2. Cream the yolks and sugar in a bowl until almost white.
3. Whisk on the milk which has been brought to the boil and the vanilla essence, mix well.
4. Clean the milk saucepan which should be a thick-bottomed one, and return the mixture to it.
5. Return to a low heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. The mixture must not boil. (Interesting tip: If the custard goes too far and starts to scramble, it can be rescued: remove immediately from the heat and blitz with an immersion/handheld blender - this breaks up the protein chains, and restores the mixture to wonderful smoothness again. This may or may not be from experience.)
6. Remove from the heat, add the gelatine, stir until dissolved.
7. Pass the mixture through a fine strainer into a clean bowl, leave in a cool place, stirring occasionally until almost setting point.
8. Then fold in the lightly beaten cream.
9. Fold in the stiffly beaten whites. (This bavarois is not suitable for infants, the elderly, pregnant ladies, those with a weak immune system nor the paranoid)
10. Leave until the mixture is very nearly set, then pour into the charlotte mould.
11. Chill in the fridge until completely set.

I'm entering this in #GBBOBloggers2015, which this week is hosted by An Organised Mess

Mummy Mishaps

I'm also entering this in #CookBlogShare, which this week is hosted by Snap Happy Bakes


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Peanut Butter and Jam Pinwheel Cookies - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (44/100)

Despite conceding that these are rather good when dunked in hot chocolate, and acknowledging that they were all consumed when presented at work, I am somewhat underwhelmed by these cookies.

The peanut flavour was lacking and only the cloying taste came across, rather than a good punch of peanut, and the jam was so thin as to be barely there.

I am a fan of the pinwheel concept, and wonder if this could be adapted to make a vanilla cookie with a speculoos swirl, or even a chocolate cookie with a hazelnut spread swirl?

60g smooth raspberry jam (I used strawberry, because that is what i had in the cupboard)
1 tsp cornflour
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g smooth peanut butter
180g caster sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp whole milk
340g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp of salt

Next up: Chess Pie


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 I am entering this in #CookBlogShare, which this week is hosted by Hayley at SnapHappyBakes


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chocolate Malt Cake - Home Sweet Home Bake Along (43/100)

Well, this went down a treat. Rich and decadent, this cake is basically what a Malteaser would taste like if it became a cake, but better (if such a thing is possible.)

I found the cake layers themselves a little dry, but the fudge sauce and the thick frosting (which was naturally present in profligate quantities) more than made up for this.

The fudge sauce is a nice thing to have up the sleeve - I'm pretty sure it would make an amazing ice cream sauce!

It disappeared faster than almost any other cake I have presented to my colleagues, which is high praise indeed. A Hummingbird star, this one.

Chocolate Fudge Sauce:
30g dark chocolate
20g cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
100g golden syrup
25g caster sugar
60ml double cream
120g unsalted butter, softened
300g caster sugar
3 large eggs
115ml buttermilk
40ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
160g plain flour
70g cocoa powder
1&1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Frosting (far too much)
900g icing sugar, sifted
150g unsalted butter, softened
300g full-fat cream cheese
240ml double cream
120g malt powder (horlicks)
70g Malteasers, roughly crushed, plus a further 25-30g whole malteasers

Next up: Peanut Butter and Jam Pinwheel Cookies


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I am entering this in #CookBlogShare, which this week is being hosted by Hijacked By Twins

 I am entering this in #CookBlogShare, which this week is hosted by Hayley at SnapHappyBakes


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bakewell Tart - Great British Bake Off (#GBBOBloggers2015)

In a break from tradition, I have controversially not made the technical bake this week! I'm afraid I wasn't prepared to pay £6 for the mastic and then some more money for the mahlepi, since I very much doubt they will be required for anything else I would want to bake (pine disinfectant isn't a flavour I am fond of)

I was also (controversially) rather unimpressed with the technical this week - there was no testing of skill, just a really random item to make, with no interesting techniques, just weird ingredients.

Anyway, I decided to make the Signature Bake instead - a frangipane tart. The most well-known of the frangipane tarts, is of course, the Bakewell Tart. I'm a big fan of Bakewells, and had never made one, so it was a perfect opportunity.

The recipe is from "Practical Cookery," which is technically a text book for professional cookery that my dear grandmother gave me before I went off to university - and it has stood me in much better stead than all of the "student cookbooks" I had.

Sugar Pastry:
1 egg
50g sugar
125g butter (softened)
200g flour
pinch of salt
1. Taking care not to over soften, cream the egg and sugar
2. Add the butter and mix for a few seconds
3. Gradually incorporate the sieved flour and salt
4. Mix lightly until smooth.
5. Allow to rest in a cool place (ie the fridge) before using.
50g raspberry jam (I actually used homemade 'hedgerow' jelly)
100g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
80g ground almonds
30g flour
1/2 tsp almond essence
50g apricot glaze
35g icing sugar
1. Line a flan ring using three-quarters of the paste, rolled to 2mm thick.
2. Pierce the bottom with a fork and spread with the jam.
3. Cream the butter and sugar, gradually beat in the eggs. Mix in the almond essence, followed by the ground almonds and flour, mix lightly. Spread this over the jam.
4. Roll the remaining paste, cut into neat 1/2cm strips and arrange neatly criss-cross on the frangipane, trim off surplus paste.
5. Brush with eggwash.
6. Bake in a moderately hot oven (200-220C) for 30-40 minutes.
7. Brush with hot apricot glaze, then leave to cool.
8. When cooled brush over with very thin water icing.

I am entering this into #GBBOBloggers2015, which this week is being hosted by Stacey

Mummy Mishaps

I'm also entering this into #CookBlogShare, which is being hosted by Kirsty