Friday, 15 June 2018

Anzac Biscuits

I had a suggestion to make some Anzac Biscuits. I have a recipe already on my blog for these, but without a video.  So I decided to make them again, this time including a video, and slightly changing the recipe but still keeping within the spirit of those biscuits.

ANZAC is an acronym for Ausralian and New Zealand Army Corps.  This biscuit was invented during the First World War and the biscuits were sent over to the troops at Gallipoli. Because of the distance they had to travel and the time taken the biscuits were designed to keep for a good period of time.  To this end, and because of shortages, no eggs were included in the recipe.  They are still made today in both Australia and New Zealand and there are strict rules about how they are made, in terms of commercially manufactured ones.

The recipe is very simple and is made with oats and coconut, giving a great texture and a lovely flavour.  They can be crunchy or chewy, depending on the length of time they are baked for.  For mine I wanted a chewy centre, so I baked them for 12 minutes.   10 to 12 minutes is good for chewy ones, with the longer time giving some crunch too.  Baking for even longer will make them even crunchier, though be sure they don't burn.

Mine turned out very well, though I one point I wondered if they would spread as expected and gave them a tap with a spatula to flatten them a little.  I needn't have worried as they spread very well and baked perfectly.  The taste was very good indeed, with the texture of the oats and the flavour of coconut with golden syrup.

I will keep some to eat with a cup of tea during the France vs Australia match in the World Cup tomorrow.

Update:  When I first published the recipe here I forgot to include the sugar, so I apologise if anyone made the recipe without sugar.  I have included it now.

Anzac Biscuits

                                                     Anzac Biscuits - Video

  • 90g(1 cup) rolled oats
  • 70g/(1 cup) dessicated coconut
  • 125g(1 cup)plain flour
  • 200g(1 cup)caster sugar
  • 112g(1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 40g(2 tbsp)golden syrup (corn syrup is fine, though with a different flavour)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) boiling water
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350 F.
  2. Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper.
  3. Place all the dry ingredients, except the baking soda, into a large bowl and stir around to mix in thoroughly.
  4. Place the butter and golden syrup into a saucepan and heat, stirring, until melted completely.
  5. Add the baking soda to the boiling water and stir quickly.
  6. Then add that water to the melted butter.  It will froth up instantly.  Stir to mix in.
  7. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the frothing butter mixture in.
  8. Stir the mixture until everything is well combined and there are no dry patches remaining.
  9. Divide the mixture into clumps about 27g in weight(1 oz) and form into balls.  
  10. Place the balls on the baking sheets, leaving a good space between each, so they can spread during baking.
  11. Press the top of each ball to flatten slightly and then place the trays in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on how chewy you want them.  If you want them very crunchy bake for a little longer.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Brownie Butter Cake

I saw a few recipes for a Brownie Butter Cake and spotted a few pics on Pinterest as well.  It looked like quite a nice idea, so I thought I would make one to see how it turned out.

Most of the recipes I saw were basically the same, a layer of chocolate brownie on the bottom of a loaf pan and topped with a thicker layer of butter cake.  Those recipes all called for a loaf tin of 8 inches by 4 inches.  That is not a common size in the UK.  2lb/900g loaf tins tend to be slightly larger than that and they also vary in size depending on brand.  So I chose to use one of my 2lb loaf pans, with a less marked slope on the side, and to adjust the recipe to make a larger version.

The recipe itself is very simple, it just requires two different mixes to be created, but the butter cake one can be mixed while the brownie level is baking.

None of the recipes indicated letting the brownie cool down before putting on the cake batter, which concerned me a little.  But in the event I simply let mine cool for two minutes and then added the batter.

Although my butter cake was a plain one if might be nice to add the zest from an orange, as that flavour goes very well with chocolate, as in the brownie layer.

I am very pleased with how mine turned out, it tasted very good indeed and had the two distinct textures and flavours.  This is definitely a cake I shall be making again.
Brownie Butter Cake

Brownie Butter Cake - Video

for the brownie layer:
  • 180g/6 1/4oz) dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
  • 65g(4tbsp_2tsp) unsalted butter
  • 65g(5 tbsp) light brown sugar
  • 65g(2 1/4 oz) beaten egg(this is 1 1/3 medium UK/large USA)
  • 45g(5 level tbsp)plain flour
for the butter cake layer:
  • 156g unsalted butter, softened
  • 156g plain flour
  • 125g(5/8 cup) caster sugar(or granulated)
  • 130g(4 1/2 oz) beaten egg(2 2/3 medium UK/large USA)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F
  2. Grease a 2lb loaf tin and line with parchment paper or aluminium foil.
  3. Melt the chocolate with the 65g butter and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add the brown sugar and mix until fully combined.
  5. Add the 65g eggs and mix until fully combined.
  6. Add the 45g plain flour and mix until fully combined.
  7. Pour into the loaf tin and shake slightly to level off.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, until the mixture is just about set(if necessary bake for a little longer).
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 160C/140C Fan/320F
  10. Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat with a mixer, or by hand, until pale and frothy.
  11. Add the eggs and beat until fully combined and slightly thickened(don't worry if it curdles it will all come together in the end, when the flour is added).
  12. Add the flour and fold in with a spatula until fully combined.  Set aside until the brownie layer is baked.
  13. When the brownie layer as cooled for two or three minutes spoon the cake batter on top and spread all over, levelling on the top.
  14. Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.
  15. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then carefully remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Almond Oatmeal Cookies - Wheat Free

This is a first for me, baking cookies/biscuits without wheat flour.  But I must say the results are very rewarding.  This is a very simple cookie, or biscuit, where some of the oats are ground with the almonds to make a sort of flour and then mixed with the other ingredients and more oats before baking.

Flavoured additionally with lemon zest and cinnamon these easy cookies are great with a cup of tea.  They also take very little effort to make.  I rolled the mixture into balls for baking, but then once they had been in the oven for a couple of minutes I used a spatula to flatten half of the cookies,  so I ended up with some that were domed and others that were flatter and wider.  That was just to see what the difference would be.  Either version is good, so it is just a matter of choice.
Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Almond Oatmeal Cookies - Video
  • 300g/10 1/2oz rolled oats
  • 50g/1 3/4 oz almonds(I used ground almonds but whole is ok since they will be processed)
  • 125g/5/8 cup  caster sugar
  • 125g//1 stick+scant 1 tbsp softened butter
  • 1 medium egg(large in USA)
  • 1 medium egg yolk)large in USA)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8g/1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • zest from one lemon
  1. In a food processor(I used an immersion blender) mix 150 g rolled oats and the almonds and process to a fine powder is achieved with the oats.
  2. Add the butter and process until combined.
  3. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and add all the other ingredients and mix together, using your hands, until all is combined well.
  4. Place the mixture onto some plastic wrap and form into a disc.
  5. Wrap it up and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
  7. Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper.
  8. Take the cookie mixture from the fridge and divide into 15g portions, rolling each one into a ball.
  9. Place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between each.
  10. Bake in the oven for between 15 and 20 minutes until they have turned a golden colour.  The longer the bake the more crunchy the cookie will be.
  11. If you wish, once they are in the oven, after a couple of minutes use a spatula to flatten the cookies so they spread further with a wider diameter.  Otherwise leave them and they will bake as a domed cookie.
  12. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

I had a request, from one of my sisters, to make some mini cinnamon rolls as her grand-daughters really enjoy them. She currently buys them from a supermarket but wanted to see how easy it might be to make them.

For mine I decided I would make the dough, but I have seen many videos of people using shop bought croissant/crescent dough or pie crust dough.  That certainly works quite well so it is an easy way to do it.

For mine I wanted an enriched dough, so I went ahead and made that. Although it takes a while to make, as it has to prove for quite a while, it is a very relaxing way of doing it. My dough took 2 hours, actually less than that, to double in size so it isn't very arduous.

It fact for me the most difficult thing was that I only have a 12 hole mini muffin tin and the recipe will make 48 mini rolls.  So I had to roll out and bake 4 times.  Although the dough can be saved in the fridge for later use if you don't need 48 all at once.

The mini cinnamon rolls turned out very well indeed, cooked through, but still nice and soft inside with the lovely flavour of the brown sugar and cinnamon.  These little two bite rolls are ideal for snacking.

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

Mini Cinnamon Rolls - Video

for the rolls:
  • 315g(2 1/2 cups) plain flour + extra if needed during kneading.
  • 7g(2 1/4 oz/1 packet) active dried yeast
  • 2 medium egg yolks(large in USA)
  • 60ml(1/4 cup) lukewarm water(43C/110F is ideal)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 80ml(1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 50g(1/4 cup)caster sugar
  • 168g(12tbsp) softened unsalted butter
  • 150g(3/4 cup light brown sugar(I actually used less than this and the sweetness was fine)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
for icing(if required)
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  1. Place the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar into a bowl with the lukewarm water, stir and allow to sit and activate for 10 minutes.
  2. Put the white vinegar into the milk.
  3. Place 154gram/11 tbsp softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the remaining sugar.  Beat until it is pale and fluff, with the whisk or paddle attachment.
  4. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and mix to combine.
  5. Add the salt and the milk mixture and mix until all is combined.
  6. Add the activated yeast mixture and mix to combine.
  7. Change the attachment the dough hook and add the flour, a small amount at first and mix to combine, the the remainder.
  8. Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.  
  9. If that doesn't seem to happen add a little more flour, until it does(I added a couple of table spoons full).
  10. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, forming the dough into a ball.
  11. Place in a greased bowl, coating the ball in the grease, and cover.
  12. Allow to prove until doubled in size(mine took slightly less than two hours, but it could take longer depending on room temperature).
  13. When the dough has doubled in size it is ready to roll out.
  14. Depending on how many mini muffin holes you have you can divide the mixture and roll and bake, refrigerating the remaining dough.  If you have 48 holes you can do this all at once.
  15. Roll the dough out to a width of 12 inches(30cm) and a depth of 4, 8 or 16 inches(10, 20, 40cm) depending on whether you are making a batch of 12, 24, 48.
  16. If making more than 12 cut the dough to leave you with 4inch strips which are 12 inches long.
  17. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over the surface of the dough.
  18. Sprinkle the brown sugar all over, leaving a margin of about 1/2 along one of the 12 inch sides.
  19. Sprinkle the ground cinnamon all over the sugar.
  20. Starting at the opposite side to the margin you left roll the dough up carefully, but not too tightly, into a 12 inch long sausage shape.
  21. Cut into 12 one each wide pieces and place them cut side up and down so the swirl can be seen, into the mini muffin tin.  Repeat for the remaining strips.
  22. Cover the mini rolls with a clean towel or some plastic wrap(loose) and leave to rise a little as you heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350f.
  23. Place the mini rolls into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rolls have attained a light brown colour.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  24. Place the icing sugar, if using, into a bowl and add a tablespoon of water, then mix to a thick paste consistency.  Use a little more water until the mixture is a nice dripping consistency that you can pipe, or drizzle with a spoon.
  25. Drizzle the icing over the mini rolls and allow to set a little before serving.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Bolillos - Mexican baguettes

I had a suggestion from a viewer to make some Bolillos, which I hadn't heard about before.  So I did some research.  Bolillos are bread rolls, which are very popular in Mexico.  They are based on French baguettes those lovely crusty loaves which are nice and soft inside.  From what I read, and saw in videos, Bolillos are very similar, though maybe not as crusty as the French baguettes.  Several recipes I saw definitely had a nice crust but some were 'squeezy' soft on the outside.  Which is the authentic version I am not sure, though I tend to the view that to be like a baguette there needs to be some crispness to the crust. 

Bolillos have a specific shape which is similar to a rugby ball or an American football, an oval which is thicker in the middle and goes to a sort of point at the ends. 

To achieve that the bread is steamed whilst baking.  A pan of water in the bottom of the oven provides steam and spraying the rolls before they go in the oven starts them off nicely.

The process is fairly straightforward, but does take a little time as the dough needs to prove after kneading and then again after shaping.  But it is certainly worth the effort if you end up with fresh baked rolls.  They will be perfect for lunch in my case.   These are definitely rolls which are best eaten on the day they are baked. They can also be frozen either before baking, or after ,if you dont intend eating all of them on the day.  They can also be refreshed the next day by putting them in a heated oven for a few minutes.

Gladly mine turned out very well, they were nice and crusty when they came out of the oven and softened as they cooled down.  I think that is how the ones I saw in videos appeared to work too. As for taste, I really enjoyed them, very much indeed with butter and ham. for my lunch.

Note:  I did some research on how to maintain the crispy exterior and came up with a solution from the KingArthurFlour blog.  They suggest baking the items, then turning off the oven.  Then transfer the items from the baking tray onto the wire rack in the oven.  Then wedge open the door of the oven and allow the items to cool in that position.  That will, apparently, allow any residual moisture inside the bread to be released without softening the crust.
I will be trying that very soon.

Bolillos - Mexican Baguettes

Bolillos - Mexican Baguettes - Video
  • 500g(4 cups) strong white bread flour
  • 7g(1/4 oz or 1 packet) active dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp(12 g) caster sugar
  • 300ml(1 1/4 cups) lukewarm water(not hotter than 43C/110F)
  • 56g(4tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Place the yeast and half the sugar into the water and stir, then leave for about 10 minutes for the yeast to activate and the mixture will become frothy.
  2. Place the flour, salt and remaining sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer(you can do all this by hand if you wish) and add the yeast mixture and the butter.
  3. Knead with the dough hook, on medium speed, for about 5 minutes until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, leaving the sides clean.  Scrape down the bowl early on to help the flour get mixed in.
  4. If the dough is not coming away cleanly from the sides of the bowl add a little more flour as the dough needs to be tacky not sticky.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl, to a lightly floured work surface and turn it in on itself a few times in the process of forming into a ball.
  6. Place the dough into a greased bowl, ensuring the whole ball of dough is lightly covered in the oil, and then cover and allow to prove in a draught free environment for about 1 to 1.5 hours and the dough has doubled in size.
  7. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 equal pieces.
  8. Shape each piece into a ball, using a cupped hand to roll it into that shape.
  9. Cover with a damp tea towel, or plastic wrap, and leave for 15 minute to rest.
  10. After 15 minutes flatten each ball into an oval shape, then roll one long edge up onto the dough and pull the other long edge up on top of it.  Roll to seal the dough edge, with hand angled to create a point at each end and the middle to be thicker.  The dough should be about 6 inches(15cm) in length.
  11. Place each rolled dough onto a baking sheet, leaving a good space between each(I used two baking sheets.
  12. Cover with loosely with plastic wrap,or a damp towel and leave to double in size again(about an hour).
  13. While they double in size preheat the oven to 230C/210C Fan/450F and place a metal pan on the bottom of the oven.
  14. When the rolls have doubled in size take a very sharp knife and cut a slit along the top of the rolls, from 1/2 in from each end, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.
  15. Spray the top of the rolls with water.
  16. Place the baking sheets into the oven and pour 1/4 cup of water into the pan on the floor of the oven.
  17. Bake for 20 minutes, until the rolls have formed a nice crust and the base sounds hollow when tapped.
  18. Remove from the oven and allow to cool of a wire rack. If you want to try to maintain the crisp crust see the note above, on that subject.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Lemon Kladdkaka - Moist or Gooey Swedish Cake

Kladdkaka is a Swedish cake that is very moist or gooey, so that in some instances the centre is almost runny.  I have made Chocolate Kladdkaka in the past and enjoyed it immensely.  Since I had been using a lot of lemon zest I had a surfeit of lemons, so after making some lemon cordial I decided to make Lemon Kladdkaka as well, with just a little of the remaining lemon juice.

It is very simple to make, and it all happens very quickly as everything is mixed together into a runny batter.  Then it only takes up to 25 minutes to bake.  Baking time is dependent on how moist or gooey you want the cake to be. For me I like it to hold together but still be moist so I err on the longer, 25 minutes than the shortest time of 18 minutes.  This cake is thin, it doesn't rise much at all. If it does rise it will probably settle back as it cools.

My Lemon Kladdkaka turned out very well indeed, just exactly as I hope it would.  As you can see from the photo below the top has a slight crust and the cake itself is still very moist indeed, but it is still cooked through.

As for taste, it is hard to beat anything with lemon in so this is delightful.  

Kladdkaka never looks very pretty, so a dusting of icing sugar on the top helps in the presentation.
Lemon Kladdkaka

Lemon Kladdkaka

Lemon Kladdkaka - Video
  • 150g(11 scant tbsp)butter
  • 250g (1 1/4 cup)caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs(large in USA)
  • 150g(1 cup + heaped tbsp) plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest from one lemon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Icing sugar for dusting when cooled.
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C/155C Fan/347F
  2. Grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm springform or loose bottomed cake tin. (larger is fine too it will be a thinner cake). It may be ok to just grease and flour the tin but i prefer to line it.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar, stirring it in.
  5. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice and stir in.
  6. Add the eggs and stir in.
  7. Add the flour and stir all together until the batter is smooth.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
  9. Bake in the oven for between 18 and 25 minutes.  The length of time will depend on how 'wet' you want the cake to be.  The longer you bake it the less gooey the centre will be.  It the c
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  11. When cooled sprinkle with a little icing sugar if you wish.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Tosca Cake - Nordic Almond Praline Cake.

I keep come across some great cakes and desserts as I search various websites.  One such is this Tosca Cake.  It is very popular in the Nordic countries such as Sweden and Finland.  In two layers, or totally difference textures and flavours it appeals greatly to me.  I have never seen or tasted Tosca Cake, but I love a basic cake, in my case flavoured with some vanilla, and I love almonds.  So to have a cake which is topped with a crunchy almond praline seemed perfect to try.

My recipe is quite simple, and I derived it, after looking at several different versions, from a Spanish website, recetasdemama, but I made a few small changes to suit my needs.

The cake turned out very well, nice and moist and then the lovely almond praline on the top gives a completely different taste and texture.  I can quite understand why it is so popular in those Nordic countries.  I enjoyed mine very much indeed.

It is also very simple to make.
Tosca Cake

Tosca Cake - Video

for the sponge:
  • 150g(1 cup + 2 tbsp) plain flour
  • 150g(1 cup + 2 tbsp) icing sugar
  • 3 medium eggs(large in USA)
  • 75g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 10g(2 1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 70ml(1/4 cup_2 tsp) milk
  • 1 tsp white vinegar(or lemon)
  • seeds from 1 vanilla pod(optional)
for the topping:
  • 150g(5 1/2 oz) flaked almonds(or whole almonds roughly chopped)
  • 125g(2/3 cup) soft light brown sugar
  • 100g(7 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 50ml(3 tbsp+1 tsp) white vinegar, or lemon juice.
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/365F.
  2. Grease a 9inch/23cm springform pan and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  3. Place the vinegar into the 70ml milk and stir to mix.
  4. Add in the seeds from the vanilla pod(if using).
  5. In a large bowl place the eggs and icing sugar, then whisk together until pale and frothy and thickened somewhat(I used a hand mixer and it took 5 minutes).
  6. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together to combine.
  7. Gently fold 1/3 of the flour into the egg mixture, then fold in 1/2 the milk mixture.
  8. Fold in another 1/3 of the flour and then the remaining milk mixture.
  9. Fold in the remaining flour until all is combined.
  10. Add half the butter and fold that in.
  11. Add the remaining butter and fold that in too.
  12. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
  13. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  14. After 20 minutes have elapsed place the butter and brown sugar into a saucepan and start to melt.
  15. After 30 seconds add the milk and mix in.  
  16. Stir the mixture until all the ingredients have dissolved and the liquid starts to boil.
  17. Add the shaved almonds and stir in,
  18. Continue to stir, letting the mixture simmer until the 30 minutes for the cake to bake have elapsed.
  19. Removed the cake from the oven and pour over the almond praline mixture.
  20. Spread all over the cake, evenly.
  21. Return the cake to the oven and reduce the heat to 170C/150C Fan/325F and bake for 25 minutes.
  22. Remove from the oven and place the cake, still in the tin, on a wire rack to cool for at least ten minutes.
  23. Then run a thin knife, or spatula around the outer edge of the cake to ensure it is released from the sides of the tin.
  24. Allow to cool completely then remove the springform cake ring, carefully in case the cake sticks still.
  25. Remove the base and parchment paper and place the cake onto a plate for serving.