Saturday, 29 October 2011

Basic Bagel Recipe

The first time I had a bagel was when I went to the Birmingham NEC (I can not remember what age but I do know I was a kid) for the good food and wine show and I have been hooked ever since, I love to have them toasted with either just philli or with fried egg and bacon (messy I know but so worth it first thing in the morning)
With this recipe you can add almost anything - you could do cinnamon and raison, chilli flake, chilli and chocolate chips. - If you wanted to add seeds or nuts you could sprinkle them on and pat down just before you put them in the oven.

What you need:
1 sachet of easy bake yeast
12 fl oz of lukewarm water
10g sea salt crushed
4 tbsp of caster sugar
500g strong white bread flour

What you do:
In a large bowl combine the flour ,Yeast, salt and 1 tbsp of sugar.

Mix in the water a little at a time until you have a dough.

lightly oil a worktop and place your dough on to this and knead for 10 minutes, your dough should smooth and elastic.

oil your bowl and place your dough in the bowl cover with cling film or a damp towel
 and leave in a warm place to prove. this should take an hour, you need your dough to be doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and gently knead for a few minutes.
Divide the dough into balls they want to weigh about 3oz each.

This is the fun part, there is 3 ways you can do this.
the first one is roll it into a sausage and then stick them together buy lightly rolling the ends together

the second way is stick your finger in to make a hole and then gently pulling at the dough out so you have a hole

or the third way which is my favourite way stick a wooden spoon into the centre creating a hole and then spinning the spoon.

place them on a baking tray and cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove again for 20 minutes

Place a large pan of water and 3 tbsp of sugar on a hob bring it to the boil, preheat your oven to 190o'C and grease your baking trays with oil.
Place your dough in the water and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes on each side until they have puffed up.

 Only do a couple at a time as they will puff up big.
Remove from the pan, place on a wire rack to drip and pat dry.

If you wanted to add seeds to these now would be the time.
Place on your baking trays and bake on the middle shelf for 30 minutes or until golden and sound hollow when tapped.

Place on a wire rack and cover with a clean tea towel until cool.

As you can see I have not quite perfected the holes but the are getting better

Happy baking 

Friday, 28 October 2011

plain chocolate whoopie pie

You may have noticed recently that the shops have started selling boxes of Whoopie mixes in the baking isle, I can not say I have tried one nor do i intend to as I prefer to make my own. It seems these little beauties are starting to become a hit over here in the UK, About time to as they are fantastic. My favourite one is a snicker one but my Son choose to make these the other day so as he has been so good while his baby sister is poorly I let him.
So far all the recipes I have come across say that you need an electric whisk well you dont, I know this because I do not own one, I do most of my mixing by hand unless it is some thing like egg whites then I will nip across to my mother in law and borrow hers. Personally I think the finished product taste better.

What you need:
80g butter
60g soft brown sugar
90g caster sugar
1 egg beaten
140g plain flour shifted
40g cocoa powder ( i use Bournville) shifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp of extract (use a flovour of your choice I used lemon)

40g soft butter
100g icing sugar sifted
140 soft cheese ( i used Philadelphia)
1 tsp of vanilla extract

140g icing sugar sifted
1 tsp extract (use a flavour of your choice I used lemon)
a few drops of food colouring, I tend to use gel as it does not mess with your icing consistency, I also use bright colours as I like the contrast between the sponge and the icing)
2tbsp of cold water
decorations of your choice i.e sprinkles

what you do.
preheat your oven to 200o'C and line your baking trays with grease proof paper
cream your butter and your icing sugar together so that it is just starting to combine, mix in your extract and cheese. be careful not to cover mix as it will end up runny, mix until thick and smooth. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge.

Cream the butter and the sugar together until creamy,
slowly beat in the egg.

Once the egg if fully incorporated fold in your flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, buttermilk  and extract until fully combined and an even colour.
 Be careful not to over mix as you want to keep in the air.
You can either pipe or spoon the mix onto your baking trays. I tend to spoon my mix onto the trays, I find that 1 tbsp make a nice adult size one and 1 tsp makes a good size for the kids (my oldest is 5 so I tend to make a mixture of both) make sure they are spaced apart as they will spread.

 once you have place the mix on the tray just lightly tap down so that you do not get to much of a dome shape.  Place in the oven on the middle shelf.
If you are baking small  (tsp) ones bake for 5 - 7 minutes.
If you are baking large (tbsp) ones bake for 8 - 10 minutes.
To checked the are cooked you can do the skewer test or they should have a cracked top and spongy/springy to touch.
Leave to cool on your tray for a few minutes just so that they can firm up then transfer onto a wire rack.

In a bowl put your icing sugar, water, extract and colour and mix until fully combined. Your icing sugar should be thick and spreadable, not runny.
You want it so that is will hang from the spoon but not drip.
Once your whoopies are cool line them up so you have the base and the top facing each other.
Place your icing on the top and put on your decorations.

Remove your filling from the fridge and place a divide between your bases.
Once all your bases have the filling on them place the tops on.

Store in an air tight container in a cool place.

Happy baking

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


just to let you know i have not stopped blogging, my baby is ill so i wont be able to blog  for a while, hoping her new meds kick in soon

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Soft white bread rolls

After many attempts at getting my bread not to have a crusty top and be nice and soft. I have finally managed to get the recipe just how I have wanted it to be. I have spent many a day looking at my note book with this recipe and playing about with the recipe. Finely this morning I have managed it so I thought I would share this with you.

What you need:
500g strong white flour
1 tsp salt
1 packet (7g) dried yeast
1 tbsp of soft brown sugar
50g unsalted butter (put it in the microwave and heat it so that it is just starting to melt)
6 floz cold milk
6 floz cold water

What you do:
Grease your baking trays and then lightly flour
Put your flour, salt, yeast and sugar into a bowl and then mix.

Put in the butter, water and milk and mix using your hand until you start to form a dough

Place your dough onto a lightly floured worktop and Knead for 10 minutes so that you have a nice smooth dough

flour your bowl and place you dough back into it. Cover it and leave it to rise in a warm place so that it is double its size.

Place your dough back onto a floured surface and knead again but only for a couple of minutes. Divide your dough into balls (the amount and size is up to you)

Place onto your baking trays cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise. Again they want to be double their original size.

Near the end of the second proving time preheat your oven to 170oC
Place your trays onto your middle shelf and bake for 10 - 13 minutes. Check they are cooked by tapping the bottom of the roll they should sound hollow and be a nice golden colour on top

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack and cover straight away with a dry clean tea towel.

Happy Baking

Chewy Cookies

I for one love chewy cookies, like you can buy at Millie's cookie shops, You can not get better than a nice crunchy outside and a really chewy centre.
I have had this recipe for ages and when I moved to my present home I lost the recipe much to my friends disappointment, then all of a sudden this morning it came to me while making the dough for my bread and so I gave it a go and low and behold it is so much better than I remember so before I forget it or loose my note book ( I use these as I get told off for writing in cook books, sorry but I can not help but play about with recipes. To me they are only guide lines waiting for you to put your touch in them)
Today I used chopped up chocolate but you can use smarties, jelly tots, skittles, rolo the list goes on, you don't even have to use anything sweet you could add mixed dried fruit.
You can also make them any size you want, for big cookies 1 tbsp for small cookies 1 tsp. I tend to go for the small ones.
What you need:
190g unsalted butter, give it a couple of seconds in the microwave so it is just starting to melt
200g Brown sugar (use any that you like)
100g caster sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp of extract (I tend to go with vanilla or lemon but use any that you want)
190g plain flour shifted
60g self raising flour shifted
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
150g chocolate (use any filling you want)

What you do:
Preheat your oven to 150oC and line your baking trays with grease proof paper
Cream you butter and sugar together until creamy

Beat in your egg, egg yolk and extract until it is fully incorporated

Fold in your flours, salt and Bicarbonate of soda
Fold in your chocolate

Take a spoon full of cookie shape it into a ball, this does not have to be a perfect ball and place onto your baking tray. DO NOT PAT DOWN. make sure they are spaced well a part

Place your tray on the centre shelf and bake for 10 - 15 minutes, they want to be just turning golden on the outside. They will look raised

but when they cool the flatten completely. Leave them on the tray for a few minutes then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.

store in air tight containers.

Happy Baking

Thursday, 20 October 2011


This recipe is a labour of love and takes a few days to do but the end result is so worth it. It has even converted my hubby, finally managed to get him to try one and he loved it he even asked if I would make some more, these are great because you can put any filling in them - cheese and ham, chocolate, cheese and onion, chocolate and chilli flakes - you would be surprised at what you can do, they don't even have to be the normal triangle shape you could do rectangle which I tend to do with the chocolate.
I will admit mine do not rise the way the shop brought ones do but they taste a lot better.

What you need:
500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet fast action dried yeast
3 tbsp of caster sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
12floz cool milk
250g unsalted butter

to glaze 1tbsp milk.

What you do
In a large bowl put the flour and mix in the yeast
Stir the sugar and the salt into the milk until dissolved, pour into the flour and mix with your hand

Turn out onto a lightly floured work top and knead lightly for a few minutes just until it is soft and slightly sticky.

Place back in the bowl cover with cling film and leave to rise until it has doubled its size
Gently punch down the dough and recover place it in the fridge over night, this is so that it can toughen up and rise a bit more
take your block of butter and place it between two sheets of baking paper ( I had to use cling film as I had ran out) Flatten it so it is half its orginal size then fold it up and flatten again, you may need to do this again as you want it is soft but stil cold and firm. shape it into a square. Put it back in the fridge.

remove your dough from its bowl onto a lightly floured work top and cut a cross in the top enogh so that you can pull out the triangles.

From the centre of the dough roll out the traingles so that it starts to look like a cross.

Once your dough it flat put your cold butter in the enter of your cross and fold the flaps over the butter, like you would if you was making an envelope, try to make sure that the butter is completely covered so that the butter does not ooze out when you roll.

Turn it over so that the folds are on your work top
Roll it out so that it is a very long thin rectangle then fold it in on itself

Place it on a floured plat and cover with cling film and place it in the fridge for about 30 - 40 minutes, this is so that the butter does not get to soft and start oozing and so that the dough can toughen up.

Remove from the plate onto a lightly floured work top, make sure the folds are on the outside before you commence rolling and roll out to another long thin rectangle again fold this in on its self and place on a plate, cover it again and place back into the fridge for another 30 - 40 minutes
Remove from the plate onto a lightly floured work top, make sure the folds are on the outside before you commence rolling and roll out to another long thin rectangle again fold this in on its self and place on a plate, cover it again and place back into the fridge for another 30 - 40 minutes
Remove from your plate onto a lightly floured worktop and roll out to another tin rectangle

Cut out your triangles (you want them to have a 12cm base ant the sides to be about 20cm, if you have any card lying around make up a template as it save you meassering and also save you using another traingle which you may actually cut)
Place you  trangles on a tray or a plate and cover (I placed some on a tray and the rest I pilled ontop of each over on a plate, cover with cling film and place in the fridge so that they can toughen up. They will need at least 20 to 30 minutes

( you can leave them in there longer as I did with the ones on the plate, these I rolled up before I went to bed covered in a plastic bag and left to rise over night)
Place a traingle in front of you with the tip facing you and roll from the base to the tip, place onto your floured baking tray. repeat this with your triangles.

If you are putting ham and cheese in them cut you ham in half so that it is a trangle shape place this on your traingle dough and then sprinkle over some cheese (the amount of cheese is upto you) fold over the edges of your ham and the roll the dough as you would if you was doing a plain croissant

For the chocolate ones,which I shaped like a rectangle, place 1 or 2 bits of chocolate at the base and roll as you normally would.

Leave your rolled croissant dough to double its size in a warm place, not to warm as the butter will melt. Near the end of the rising time preheat your oven to 230oC
Brush your croissants lightly with the milk and place on the bottom shelf (if they are on the middle shelf they go alot darker in (not burnt) colour instead

of the nice golden colour you would expect)

and bake for 15 minutes then turn down the oven temperature to 200o'C and bake for 5 - 10  minutes, remove and place on a wire rack to cool. Can be eaten warm.

As you can see mine are small that is because if I did the the size required my kids would find them to big.

Happy baking

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Pastry Tips

It has happened to all of us, well I like to think it has happened to all of us, Soggy bottom, pastry to thick in some parts, patch work pastry need I go on.
Getting the pastry right is halfway to a delicious dessert. When working with pastry, it does not matter which, you need
 (1) COLD HANDS so run your hands under cold water.
(2) You need to let your pastry rest before using it, unless the recipe states otherwise, so wrap it in cling film and let it sit in the fridge for a while
(3) Roll it out on lightly floured baking paper. If you have a loose bottom tin place the base on to the paper

then pace your dough in the centre
(4) When you are rolling out use a heavy rolling pin and use that weight instead of yours
(5) Roll from the centre of the dough out to the edge using short deft strokes
(6) Keep turning it so that you get an even shape (no need to lift the dough up just turn the paper)
(7) Try not to stretch the dough with your hands, unless your recipe tells you to, as it may shrink when cooking
(8) brush off any excess flour
 (9)to put it in the tin fold it in on itself place it in its tin then unfold
(10) use an extra bit of dough to help push it into the tin, help prevent nail marks

(11) Prick the base of your pastry as this will help prevent air bubbles during baking 
(12) Leave it to rest again in the fridge before baking, it needs to be covered.
(13) If using the using a pastry that is uncooked (that is in a flan tin) put a baking tray in the oven at its highest temperature. Put the flan/pie/tart onto the tray and turn the temperature down to the required setting.
(14) If the flan/pie/tart is ready baked, brush the base with beaten egg and allow the egg to dry before putting in the filling.

I will do a step by step for puff pastry next time I make some (which will hopefully be this weekend)

Hope this helps.

Happy baking 

Monday, 17 October 2011

My Chocolate cake with Nutella Buttercream

This cake is a very yummy rich moist cake, especially with Bournville cocoa powder. This cake mix can be bake in a deep round cake tin, 2 small cake tins or a square cake tin, at the minute I tend to be using my new square cake tin well its not really a tin its one of those silicone ones which I am starting to fall in love with.
One of the reason I love this cake is because you can make it then freeze it for up to two months
To make it extra naughty I have topped it with Nutella Buttercream but you can decorate it with any icing, glaze, ganache or buttercream that you want, the amount of nutella you put in this is up to you but I tend to go for 4 heaped tablespoons. The amount of buttercream is enough for either a generous layer on the top of your cake and down the sides or some in the middle and then on top.
Again I have not used a whisk ( I dont own one any more it seems they can blow up after to much usage and I tend to find that you get better results by hand plus you get to know more when your mix is ready.)

What you need:
6 oz soft butter
11oz caster sugar
3 tsp Strawberry extract/flavouring (you can use a different one as any extract/flavouring goes)
3 eggs
3 oz self raising flour sifted
7 oz plain flour sifted
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 oz cocoa powder
1 tub buttermilk (484ml tub)

13oz icing sugar sifted
5oz soft butter
1tsp milk
4 heaped tbsp nutella

what you do:
Preheat your oven to 170o'C  grease and line your cake tin/tins
In a large bowl cream your butter and sugar until it is nice and creamy,
 beat in your extract/favouring then beat in your eggs.
Fold in your flours and bicarbonate of soda then stir in your buttermilk. mix until fully combined and smooth
Spoon you cake mix into your tin/tins and smooth so it is level.
Bake on the middle shelf for 50 - 60 minutes or until the skewer comes out clear.
Leave in your tin for 5 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack.
Once it is cool I tend to slice the top off then decorate it.

In a large bowl cream the butter and icing sugar
Mix in the milk and nutella until smooth, thick and creamy. I do mine so that it will hold its shape. If you find it is to thin just add a little more icing sugar or if it is to thick add a little more milk. Do this until you have a consistency that you like. You are now ready to decorate
For the cake I tended to spoon blobs around the top the smoothed it out.

Happy baking

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Pear Tart

This pear tart is yummy with cream or ice cream. It can also be eaten hot or cold. Any excess pastry can be kept in cling film and an air tight container then frozen or you can do what I do store it in the fridge over night and make mini tarts the next day (just not today as I am not well and Amelie has a party to go to)

What you need:
Short crust pastry (this make just under 1lb)
8 oz plain flour
Pinch of salt
4 oz butter chilled and diced
4 tbsp of chilled water
1 egg beaten (this is for an egg wash)

2 oz butter
2 oz caster sugar
3 to 4 pears (depending on the size of your pears) peeled and cut in half

8 oz butter 
8 oz caster sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
8 oz plain flour

What you do.
pastry - Sift the flour salt into a large bowl and add the butter, with your fingers rub the butter until you have a bread crumb mixture, do this with a lifting action as it help aerate the mixture,

Add the water and using your hand mix until you have a dough, once the mix starts to form into a ball
 give it a bit of a knead so its nice and smooth. ( I do this while it is still in the bowl that way you dont add any extra flour)
 Only knead for a couple of minutes don't over knead as you will end up with a tough pastry.
Place your ball of dough into cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Grease the sides of your tin
Place a sheet of baking paper on your work top and the base of your fluted flan tin. Lightly flour your work surface , place your dough onto the centre of your base (this technique was shown to me by Rising to the berry, normally I would struggle lining the tin with the pastry)
and Roll out your dough
 fold your dough in on itself
 and the place you dough and tin base into your flan tin
unfold the dough and press into your tin, to do this use a bit of pastry that way you wont get any nail prints. cut off any excess (I did forget to do this). Prick the base all over to prevent air bubbles.
Cover with baking paper and put in your baking beans
(if you dont have any baking beans use any dried beans once used place them in a bowl as you can use them again but not for eating) and chill for 10 minutes. 
preheat the oven to 220oC bake your pastry for 15 minutes on the middle shelf, remove the baking paper and beans. Reduce your oven temperature to 180oC and brush the base of your pastry with and egg wash bake for another 10 minutes on the middle shelf remove and allow to cool. If you have any pastry that is over hanging your tin trim it away.

Pears - In a Large saucepan melt your butter and sugar until it is starting to boil add your pears and cook until soft they will only need turning once. Remove from heat and sieve the excess juices leave to cool. ( I tended to leave my pear in the sieve)

Filling - preheat your oven to 160oC
 In a large bowl cream your butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy,
 add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.
Mix in your extract. Then fold in your flour.
Spoon your filling into your pastry case and add your pears (this bit is up to you) you can either push your pears in so that they are covered by the filling or push them in so that they are slightly submerged.

Bake for 50 minutes on the middle shelf (yo may need to check yours after 30 minutes as I have a really old cooker). It wants to be a nice and golden brown on top and set. You can do a skewer test but avoid the pears.
Once cooked allow to cool in its tin. Once completely cool remove from the tin.

Happy baking 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

toffee and Chocolate bars

This is one of my two contributions to chocolate week, my next contribution will be a chocolate cake which I am baking at the weekend as my youngest step son is coming for a few days.
If you made a meringue lately and you are wondering what to do with the yolks you could try this.
I have used 74 % cocoa plain chocolate as I think it complements the toffee bar but you can use any that  you like, you can also use more chocolate but I like a thin layer.

what you need:
10oz light brown sugar
2oz light brown muscovado sugar
1 lb butter ( I use stork)
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb plain flour
200g chocolate

What you do:
Preheat your oven to 170 O'c and grease and line your trays ( I used a normal baking tray and a square tin)
In a large bowl cream your sugar and butter until pale and creamy.

Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract the fold in your flour a little at a time.

divide the mix between the tins a spread out, try and make it level

place in the oven on your middle shelf and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is springy and golden brown

5 minutes before it is ready melt your chocolate. If you are having to do this in two batches like me then only melt half your chocolate then the other half 5 minutes before your next tin/tray is due out
spread your melted chocolate over your toffee, use a spatula and try and level it out.

leave to cool completely in your tin/tray. Once the chocolate is set cut into bars. Do what ever size you want as I tend to do a mixed as we have little children.

Happy baking

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Butterscotch and Meringue bars

Not sure where I got this recipe from.
This recipe is a love me or hate me recipe, a bit like Marmite (YUK)  it combines two of my favourite things and its a right comfort food (well it is for me). I never tend to get the meringue quite right so I sometimes end up with the topping a bit like marshmallow. I don't think it matters either way because they both taste really yummy. 
You don't get a lot out of the one mix as it is based on a small tin, about the same size as a brownie tin approx  20cm.  If you don't like golden syrup you can leave it out and just fold in some nuts instead.

What you need
2 oz butter
6oz dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz sifted plain flour
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 tbsp golden syrup
4oz fine caster sugar

What you do:
In a sauce pan combine the butter and sugar and heat on a medium heat until the bubbling.

You will need to keep stirring it to prevent it sticking to your pan. Set aside to cool, give it a stir every now and then.
Preheat your oven to 180o'C and butter and line your tin, I use my brownie tin its just under 20cm.
Beat in your egg and extract until fully combined.

Fold in your flour and nutmeg and transfer to your tin, spread it so it is nice and level.

For the meringue your need a nice clean dry bowl put your sugar and egg white into the bowl and beat until you have soft peaks.
 beat in your Golden syrup and then beat in your caster sugar gradually until you have what looks like melted marshmallow, you should be able to drop a line of your meringue from the whisk onto your meringue and it will not merge. If you have stiff peaks that is fine.

Spread the meringue on top of your butterscotch and place on the middle shelf of your oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

Leave to cool completely in your tin. Once cool cut into bars.

 I cut this one a bit to early as it was still a bit gooey but still yummy.

Happy baking

Monday, 10 October 2011

Fudge Biscuits

No Gibber Jabber from me today just going to post this recipe then hunt down another recipe, it has to be special as my Gran is coming visiting all the way from Manchester.
One thing I will say though is this biscuit does work with out the nut in, just replace it with vanilla paste approx 1 tbsp. depends on how strong you want the taste to be.

what you need:
2 1/2oz ground almonds
5 sticks of fudge chopped

7oz plain flour
2oz self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4oz unsalted butter
pinch of crushed sea salt
5oz light muscovado sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp almond extract/essence
1oz ground almonds (you can use flaked but crumble them slightly)
2 sticks fudge sliced

What you do
Sift the flours, salt and Bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and add the butter. Use your hand and rub them all together until it looks like bread crumbs

Add the sugar, almond, extract and fudge give it a quick mix.
Add the eggs (still using your hands, if you don't want to use a wooden spoon) combine until you have a dough
Tip it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until it is smooth.

Wrap the dough in cling film and store in the fridge for 10 minutes, this helps stiffen it up.
Preheat your oven to 180o'C and line some baking trays (if you have 4 trays line them if not just keep using the one you have got)
Take it out and remove cling film.
Place your dough onto a lightly floured surface and and roll it into a cylinder it wants to be about 34cm in length.

Cut into 23 rounds (approx 2cm thick) you may need to shape it back into shape, don't worry they don't have to be perfect, place them onto your baking trays.

Make sure you have space between them as the will spread. I managed to get 6 biscuits on 3 trays and 5 on another tray.
Sprinkle on your ground almonds and them place your sliced fudge on the biscuits. Pat down so they end up about 1cm thick.

Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 10 - 15 minutes (you may want to check your biscuits after 5 minutes as my oven is old and some times takes longer to bake things) they want to be a nice pale brown colour.

Leave them on the tray for 5 minutes and then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Baking

Sunday, 9 October 2011


One of my friends came round on Friday so I thought I would make something special,  since I normally make brownies, cup cakes or whoopie pies for her, I went hunting in my cook books and decided on elcairs, I had never made these before and to be honest I am a little bored of doing the same thing so I am trying new things, all of which will get posted when I make them or within a couple of days making them ( I made the coffee cream for these, I did leave some with out the coffee so my kids could try them, seriously do not need my children having anything with coffee in as they have far to much energy as it is). You will need an electric mixer for this (at this point I send my other half to his parents to borrow theirs. Still have not replaced mine since I blew it up, but I have found things taste so much better and you get more of a feel for what things look  and feel like)

what you need:
Choux Pastry
100g plain flour sifted into a bowl
1/4 tsp crushed sea salt
3oz unsalted butter diced
175ml water
3 eggs at room temp (crack them into cup and give them a whisk)
100g dark/milk chocolate (use dark if using the coffee cream)
2 tbsp double cream

what you do:
choux pastry
Preheat your oven to 200o'C and line your baking sheets ( I used 2)
Put the salt, butter and water in a sauce pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. DO NOT LET IT BOIL.

Add the flour and mix, Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.

Remove the pan from the heat and beat it with a wooden spoon until it turns into a smooth heavy dough. Put the pan on heat to cook the dough (this only takes 2 mins) It should come away from the sides.

tip the mix into a large bowl and allow to cool. I gave it a mix every now and then to help it cool on the inside.

using an electric whisk gradually beat the eggs (a little at a time as you might not need all of them)

into the dough. You do this until you have a nice shiny paste like dough. You need it stiff enough to hold its shape.
I tended to lift the whisk up and tap any dough that was on the whisk and see if it held it shape when it fell into the bowl.
Pipe onto your prepared baking trays, to get big elcairs pipe them about 10 cm in length, I just pipe odd sizes.

Place in the oven (middle shelf) and bake for 15 minutes. Leave them in the oven but reduce the temperature to 180o'C  and open the door (this is to let the steam out) cook them for another 15 minutes.
take them out of the oven and pierce them so that they all have a hole in the ends and place back into the oven for 10 minutes. This drys the inside out.

Cool on wire Rack
Put the chocolate and cream into a bowl and place on top of boiling water. Once the chocolate has melted remove from heat and mix until smooth. Spread or pipe on to the top of the eclairs.

Happy Baking


Coffee cream filling (elcairs)

This recipe I originally got from the great British bake off book but since I am not a great big fan of coffee I reduce the amount of Coffee granules so I had a nice hint of coffee. If you like strong coffee flavour add more granules.
I did this all with a wooden spoon.

what you need:
2 large eggs yolks at room temperature
5 tbsp caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp double cream
2 tsp coffee ( I used nes-caffee)
200ml boiling water

What you do
Mix the coffee into the boiling water.
In a saucepan beat the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and cream until smooth. Gradually poor in the coffee while stirring the mix.

Place onto the cooker and bring to a boil. Do this on a medium to high heat.
Remove from heat and beat in the butter until the butter as combined into the mix
Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film, pressing down so that there are no gaps, this prevents a skin forming, leave to cool and then store in the fridge until you have a nice firm mixture. This takes just over an hour.

When you are ready to assemble you can pipe it into your elcair (or what ever it is you are doing) or spoon it into your ecair.

Happy Baking

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Apple and Pear muffins

If you follow the pink whisk you will know she is doing a challenge this month (  to do with apples, so I thought hey why not its not going to hurt, I have apples in my fruit basket (from a friends garden I have no idea what type they are they are small and sweet, and the kids like them)

and I also had some pears going so I thought I would try them in a muffin, so I looked on line and I could only find ones with soured milk which I did not have  so I thought I would experiment and here is what I got, a nice soft muffin and soft apple and pear with a nice crunchy topping

What you need:
2 heaped tbsp of butter softend
1 tbsp granulated sugar
9 small apples peeled cored and chopped into bit size pieces
3 pears peeled cored and chopped into bit size pieces
400g self raising flour
250g granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch crushed sea salt
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
150g soft butter
100ml milk room temp
100ml vegetable oil
2 eggs beaten

What you do:
Preheat your oven to 180 o'C and line you muffin tin with your cases ( I did not have any big muffin cases so i used large cupcake cases and ended up with 18 muffins, so the amount you get depends on the size of case and how full you fill your cases)
Put you 2 tbsp of butter and your tablespoon of sugar into a medium saucepan and allow the butter to melt, once the butter has melted add your chopped apples cook the for a few minutes continually stirring the add your pears. Cook these until they are soft, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Mix your flour, sugar, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon and butter with your hand so that you get a crumb type mixture.

Make a well and add your milk, oil and egg and mixed until combined.

Drain your apples and pears using a sieve and mix in your apples and pears into your muffin mix ( I tend to drain them as this help prevent soggy muffins)
Place your muffin mixture into your muffin cases (if you want to get the mushroom effect then fill the cases to the top) if you have an ice cream scoop use that to fill the case. Sprinkle them with some granulated sugar, just a pinch on each.

Place in the oven on the middle shelf and cook for 20 - 30 minutes, they should look a nice dark golden colour. if you are not sure take them out and pull one muffin apart ( I know it sounds like a waste but you do get to eat it plus there is no point in doing the skewer test as it will come out with moist on it from the fruit)
Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool.

Store in an air tight container

happy baking

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Fruit Monkey Bread

I got the original recipe from the great British Bake off book - how to bake, The original recipe has nuts in it and since my children will be taking this to school I thought I would swap the nuts for fruit, I did not want to run the risk of one of my children sharing the bread with a friend who might be allergic to nuts.
Before I start I always make sure I have all the ingredients weighed out into bowls especially when I have my little boy helping me

What you need:
900g loaf tin buttered
500g strong white bread flour
1 1/2  tsp sea salt crushed
7g sachet of fast action dried yeast
90g mixed dried fruit
1 heaped tbsp cinnamon
50g unsalted butter - melted
200ml lukewarm milk
1 large egg
100g unsalted butter - melted
75g light muscovado sugar

What you do:

put all the dried ingredients for the dough into your mixing bowl and give a little mix
Make a well and pour in your wet ingredients
Use your hand a mix until the dough is smooth and soft, if you find that your dough is to wet add some more flour but do this a table spoon at a time , if it is to dry add some milk again a table spoon at a time.

Put your dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes so that you have a nice elastic smooth dough.

Lightly flour your bowl and put your dough in it, cover with cling film and place in a warm place to rise, it need to be double its size this takes about a hour
Once your dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, lightly punch it down and divide the dough into balls, the amount and size is not important

Dip your balls into the butter and then the sugar
Place the dough into the tin, if you have some big balls and place them into the tin first then the little ones don't worry about gaps.
Place the tin into a large plastic bag and place in warm place so that it can rise, again this should take an hour
Near the end of your rising time, I tend to do this after 50 minutes, preheat your oven to 200o'C
uncover your tin and place it onto a baking tray. Place this onto your bottom shelf and bake for 30 minutes (if you r not sure it is cooked try a skewer test)
Run a knife round the loaf to loosen the edges
remove from the tin, do the tap test to make sure the loaf sound hollow, and place on a wire rack to cool.

this is fantastic as it is or toasted.

Happy baking