I found this recipe over on Joy of Baking and knew it was just perfect for what I wanted. It was very simple to prepare as it’s essentially a muffin mixture and it would keep very well for a week, in fact getting better over the week, so perfect for posting for Christmas presents. It also looks so very Christmassy!
I wanted to use rectangular foil ‘takeout’ containers so as to ship and transport it easily and these were smaller than the 9″x5″x3″ tin the recipe called for so I doubled the recipe thinking may be I’d get 3 out of it, nope, got 4! Yum, one spare! It’s a really interesting flavour too, you have the sharpness of the cranberries with hints of fruity and nuttiness. The crust also forms this delicious sugary crunch. A surefire winner this one. My test subjects of my mum’s office were begging for the recipe!
Makes 2 8″ x4″x3″ ‘loaf tins’
460g plain flour
700g golden caster sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
zest of 1 orange
1 large egg
56g butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g fresh cranberries (Dried if fresh not available)
90g mixed peel (I used whole preserved orange peels chopped up)
60g chopped mixed nuts
– Heat your oven to gas mark 4 and grease your tins.
– In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest.
– In a large jug mix together the butter, vanilla and milk.
– Mix the two together and stir well to combine. (Doesn’t matter if there are some lumps in there.)
– Add the fruits and nuts and stir through.
– Pour into the tins and bake at the top of the oven for 1 hour. Cover the top with foil if it gets too brown.
– Test with a skewer to see if it’s done then remove from the oven and cool completely.
– Wrap in foil to store for up to a week.
I’ve been putting off making fudge for a while now but it’s only a few days until christmas and it could wait no longer. I made 2 types, White Chocolate and Bailey’s Fudge and regular Chocolate Fudge The basic recipe is the same you just add different stuff at the end. The possibilities are endless!
I didn’t think I liked fudge for some reason but this stuff is delicious! Especially warm scraps out of the pan at the very end. The Bailey’s flavour develops really well as it cools and the regular chocolate is very very tempting. So tempting in fact that when I went out leaving the very last slice I’d kept back for myself on the table the dog jumped up and ate it! So I had a sugar high puppy and no fudge. 😦
I admit I burnt the first batch (White Chocolate and Baileys, below) I made as I didn’t know what I was doing. Well, it wasn’t actually burnt, that’s the odd thing. It just developed brown caramel pieces in it as I had it on too high a temperature. It tasted absolutely fine, in fact I rather liked the texture, and the pan had nothing stuck to it at all so I’m not quite sure what happened. So “caramel bits” they shall be!
Makes 1 8x8x8 cake tin
405g tin condensed milk
450g demerara sugar
115g unsalted butter
Flavourings of your choice:
200g white/plain/milk chocolate (break into small chunks first)
50ml alcohol (Bailey’s, Cointreau, etc.)
– Line your cake tin with foil.
– Put everything in a large, deep pan and gently heat until the sugar is dissolved. (It will no longer feel grainy on the bottom.)
– Raise the heat and bring to a boil.
– Lower the heat again and very gently simmer for 10-15 minutes stirring constantly. The liquid will bubble up (watch it doesn’t boil over) and then die back down again. Keep stirring constantly and briskly. Once it starts to thicken, or if you see any hint of brown flecks forming, remove from the heat.
– To test the fudge drop a small spoonful into a jug of cold water. It should form a soft ball, not ribbons. (I was using a sugar thermometer but my fudge didn’t get to soft ball on the thermometer but still formed a soft ball in practice so best to do it the old-fashioned way here.)
– Here is where you add any flavourings and stir until thoroughly melted/combined.
– Pour the hot fudge into the prepared tin, smooth down a little if necessary, and then leave to cool completely.
– Turn out and lightly score where you want to cut then cut the fudge into chunks.
I first had these on holiday as a child and I still love them to bits. I have such a sense memory of the first bite with soft pancake, crisp apple and sweet icing sugar dust. I didn’t appreciate it then but because of the natural sweetness of the apple and the dusting of icing sugar these are so much better for you than smearing pancakes with jam or butter. It’s still something of a nursery tea dish for me, best enjoyed on a crisp Saturday afternoon, or a Thursday like today, I’m not that picky! The basic batter is for drop scones or scotch pancakes and you can add other things such as dried fruits like sultanas or even chocolate chips! The crispness and sweetness of the apple is always a winner for me though!
Makes 6-8 saucer sized pancakes, 12 smaller drop scones.
2 tbsp caster sugar
100g self raising flour
1 apple, cored and sliced
First measure out your ingredients into a jug. I measure the milk, add the egg then add the sugar and weigh the flour. As you see pinpoint accuracy is unnecessary!
– Beat everything together with a whisk or fork until smooth.
– Heat a frying pan on a medium low heat and grease lightly with a little oil or butter.
Pour the batter onto the hot pan. How big is up to you! Place an apple slice in the centre.
When bubbles have risen to the surface and the first ones have burst flip the pancake over with a spatula or palatte knife.
Leave the pancake to cook for a minute or two on this side then put on a plate covered with a teatowel to keep them warm. Repeat until you have used all of the mixture.
Sprinkle with icing sugar and eat!
I’ve been having good successes with bread for a while now but I usually stick to the same recipe because it works and makes excellent bread. However, while excellent, I was after a bread roll with a soft crust instead of a nice crusty one. While sometimes a crusty bread roll is exactly what you need at others you really need something easy to bite, for example a bun to go round a burger. I had thought I was going to have to find a completely new recipe to get this softness in my rolls. Luckily I stumbled upon a tip that was so ridiculously simple it was brilliant. Brush the bread rolls with melted butter when they come out of the oven. So simple and it works!
I changed the recipe from my usual a little bit as I’ve been experimenting with a few different things with my bread recently I find using milk instead of water makes a very nice bread and the top comes out slightly darker. On a crusty loaf it seems to make a delicious chewy blistered crust with nice flavour. But essentially this is the same as my regular bread and a doddle to make.
Makes 6 small rolls, 4 large
250g strong bread flour
4g fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
150ml milk, warm
2 tbsp olive oil
a little melted butter
– Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a medium sized bowl.
– Make a well in the centre and add the milk and oil.
– Mix until it forms a dough then turn out onto a floured worksurface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and soft.
– Lightly oil a bowl using your hands and then continue to knead the dough with your oil hands until the oil is worked in.
– Put the dough in the oiled bowl and move around so it’s covered in oil.
– Place in a warm place to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size. *
– Knock down the dough and knead it for a minute.
– Divide the dough into the portions you want and shape into round balls by pinching the bottom sides together until you have a smooth top.
– Place on a baking tray and gently flatten a little with the heel of your hand.
– Repeat for each ball of dough.
– Leave to rise in a warm place for at least 30 minutes until the dough has roughly doubled again.
– Bake for 10 minutes at gas mark 7.
– Remove from the oven and immediately brush the tops generously with melted butter.
– Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
* I’ve started to rise bread in front of the fire now that it’s getting frosty. I place it on the hearth with a glass bowl over the top to keep out the drafts. Seems to work very well!
Yay! This is my 100th recipe posted here! To celebrate I made a cake. Chocolate cakes and I have a tricky relationship. I’m very demanding when it comes to chocolate cakes. I am after perfection! I’m not sure I’m quite there yet but this is the best chocolate cake I’ve made yet. It’s moist and fudgey and squishy but not too rich. It’s quite dense but stops just short of being called brownie-like. The best thing about it is that it can be thrown together in a blender or mixer if you don’t want to do it by hand. It was ridiculously easy. All in all this cake was a success.
I was going to do fantastic things icing this cake. I made fondant icing from scratch, well, a box of fondant icing sugar. But I had to get the Kenwood out to mix it and spent over an hour rolling it out. Blood, sweat and tears went into this icing, literally. Then I finally had it rolled out to the right size. I went to pick it up to drape it over the cake and… DISASTER. It stuck to the plastic sheets I’d been rolling it out between and then it stuck to itself and then it fell apart. I honestly don’t know if it was too wet, sticky, or too dry, cracked into pieces. But I cried.
So I just stopped with the buttercream icing and decided that may be I should practice with ready rolled a bit first. Learn to walk before I try running if you will. As for the decorations… well, I have the artistic ability of a drunken ferret. I love edible ball bearings and all baked goods should be blessed with them. Strawberries or raspberries would look great on this but they’re out of season at the minute so I used raspberry jelly sweets instead. A layer of fresh fruit inside would be nice too.
Makes 1×8″ cake
For the cake:
225g granulated sugar
200g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
60ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
120 ml boiling water
For the buttercream*:
180g plain chocolate
225g unsalted butter, softened
240g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
– Heat your oven to Gas Mark 4 and prepare two 8″ sandwich tins.
– In a large bowl mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa**, baking powder and salt.
– Add the egg, milk, oil and vanilla essence to the dry ingredients and mix well. It make seem very dry but keep at it. It will come together to form a dough. Keep mixing until it is a smooth, even consistency.
– Add the water and mix thoroughly.
– Pour the batter into the two tins. If you want completely equal layers you can weigh them but I usually do it by eye.
– Smooth the batter out so it is even.
– Bake for 25-30 minutes. You will be able to see if the centre is uncooked and a skewer inserted will come out clean.
– Make up the buttercream by melting the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Allow to cool.
– Cream together the butter and the icing sugar and then add the vanilla essence.
– Mix well then add the melted chocolate and stir thoroughly until everything is combined.
– Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
– Once completely cool fill between the two cakes and ice all over with the buttercream using a palette knife to smooth it over the cake.
– Decorate as you wish.
* I only made 2/3 this amount and it needed more so expect better coverage than seen in the photo.
**Sift this in or you will get lumps.
I meant to post these last night but I’m sick with the most awful sore throat so I went to bed early last night. Interestingly in the last 12 hours of ill I’ve gone off these. Last night I was in love with them, this morning they make me feel a little sick. They are incredibly sweet and sticky so may be that’s it, my body seems to crave protein when I’m ill.
I have to say that even if I weren’t sick I probably won’t be making these the same way again. The dough was brilliant. Easy to work with and it was very tasty. I’ve been looking for a sweet dough for doing things like this with and this one is a keeper! I did have a bit of a problem getting it to rise but that was just one of the joys of trying to cook in the winter. The kitchen is freezing and nothing ever cooks the same as it does over the summer. Eventually I moved the dough through by the fire and thankfully it did its thing there.
My problem with this recipe came from the filling. Not only are pecans ridiculously expensive (£4 for 250g!) but the filling just wasn’t all that great, and at that price I expect great! I think that in the future I wouldn’t put the sticky stuff all over the bottom but inside the rolls themselves, which may make this a little tidier. It was an incredibly messy process in places and the original recipe had the cooking timings totally off so I took it out of the tin, tested it, found it was still dough in the middle then re-tinned it and put it back in the oven! unfortunately they ended up a little too brown as a result, see the bottom pic. I hope I’ve fixed that problem with my recipe here but do keep an eye on it.
450g strong bread flour
50g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
7g sachet fast action yeast
2 eggs, beaten
a scant 150ml milk
1 tsp cinnamon (original recipe said 2 tsp, I don’t like cinnamon)
85g light brown sugar
125g melted butter
125g maple syrup
50g light brown sugar
100g pecans, roughly chopped
– Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
– Rub in the butter with your fingers.
– Add the yeast, egg and gradually add the milk, mixing until you have a soft dough.
– Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and soft.
– Place in a buttered bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
– In a food processor or blender blend together the cinnamon, light brown sugar and pecans to powder.
– Butter a large springform cake tin or a large square one.
– Once the dough has risen knock it down and roll it out into a large rectangle.
– Brush the dough with melted butter.
– Mix together the rest of the butter, the maple syrup, the brown sugar and the pecans and spread over the bottom of the cake tin.
– Scatter the powder all over the dough, leaving a 2 cm strip on one of the narrow sides.
– From the opposite short side roll the dough swiss roll style.
– Pinch together the seam.
– Cut the roll into 9.
– Arrange these slices in the tin.
– Cover and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
– Bake at gas mark 6 for 30 minutes.
– Either turn out or slide onto a plate, whichever you like, and leave to cool for a few minutes before serving.