Monday, 31 August 2015

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookie Pie

I found a delicious sounding recipe on The English Kitchen for Blueberry Oatmeal Cookie Pie.  I had intended to make some Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies, but when I saw this recipe, and the photos that accompanied it, I just had to try it out.

Now there are lots of ingredients in this one, but luckily I had everything, including cardamom which I had ground myself a while back. So I was all set to get baking.  Everything is very straightforward in making the pie, the only messy bit being applying the icing, and as that doesn't need to be applied neatly, there is no issue there either. 

The aroma emanating from the oven as the pie bakes is lovely.  The end result also turned out very well.  The English Kitchen certainly wasn't exaggerating when commenting that this pie is delicious, so I urge you all to give it a try, I guarantee that you will enjoy it enormously.

The only change I made to the recipe was to sprinkle a few extra dried blueberries on the top of the pie, and to press them in slightly, before I put it in the oven to bake. It wasn't really necessary as the icing covered them anyway.
Blueberry Oatmeal Cookie Pie

Ingredients:
For the cookie pie:
  • 105g of plain flour (3/4 cup)
  • 150g of rolled oats(1 1/2 cups)
  • 110g unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 85g of soft light brown muscovado sugar (1/2 cup packed)
  • 100g of golden caster sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 1 large free range egg1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g dried blueberries (1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the icing:
  • 70g of icing sugar, sifted (1/2 cup)
  • 20 ml of double cream
  • pinch ground cardamom
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C160C Fan/350*F/ gas mark 4. 
  2. Butter a 9 inch round spring form pan, or a pie plate. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the flour, ground cardamom, salt, soda and oats. Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and both sugars together until light and creamy. 
  5. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. 
  6.  Stir in the dry ingredients, just to combine.
  7. Fold in the dried blueberries. 
  8. Dump the batter into the prepared pan and press it out evenly. 
  9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until set and golden brown on top.
  10. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before releasing the sides and moving to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  11. To make the icing, whisk together all of the ingredients until you have a smooth drizzle. 
  12. Drizzle over the cold pie and allow to set. Cut into wedges to serve.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Chocolate & Ginger Brownies

What can be nicer than a moist and chocolatey brownie?  Well I think taking that and adding some ginger might just be.

Having decided that I wanted to try it I came up with the recipe, culled from various brownie recipes, and with some ginger and nutmeg added. Keeping things nice and simple it is a quick and easy recipe, using only a couple of bowls.

As they baked the kitchen was filled with a lovely aroma, and when removed from the oven it was difficult not to dive straight in and start eating, before they even had the chance to cool.  But common sense prevailed and I let the bake cook completely before removing from the tin and cutting into 16 pieces.

Then it was time to taste and, boy do they taste good. 


Chocolate & Ginger Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 112g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 75g dark chocolate chips, or broken into small pieces(I used 70% cocoa solids)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 30g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 medium eggs (in US that would be large eggs)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Method:

  1. Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin and preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/340F
  2. Place the chocolate and the butter, diced, into a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to gently melt.
  3. Stir to mix the chocolate and butter together, then allow to cool slightly.
  4. In a separate bowl sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, ginger and nutmeg, and mix together.
  5. Beat the eggs and add the vanilla to them.
  6. Pour the eggs/vanilla and the chocolate and butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until fully combined.
  7. Pour the mixture into the lined baking tin and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the top has firmed up nicely, but the centre is still nice and moist.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin before removing and cutting into squares.




Friday, 28 August 2015

Cranberry & Orange Sweet Soda Bread

Catching up on The Great Briitish Bake Off, having recorded the show while I was on holiday, I saw this bread being baked by one of the contestants.  It looked quite delicious, so I thought I would try to make it.  The recipe is on BBC Food.

The instructions were easy to follow and since it is a soda bread it doesn't need to be rested for proving.  I set too and soon had it made and ready for the oven.

It is important to make rather deep cuts in the rounded loaf before baking, to allow the bread to open up nicely as it cooks. One tip I gleaned from the show was that the dough shouldn't be overworked or the texture will become tight and rather tough.

My attempt seems to have turned out quite well and it tastes very good indeed, so I am very pleased with the result.
Cranberry & Orange Sweet Soda Bread

Ingredients:
  • 400g/14oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 100g/3½oz dried cranberries
  • 1½ unwaxed oranges, zest only
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 175ml/6fl oz buttermilk
 Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, caster sugar and caraway seeds. 
  3. Using your fingers, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Mix in the cranberries and orange zest.
  5. Mix the egg and buttermilk together then stir into the dry mixture using a wooden spoon.
  6. Use your hands to bring the dough together, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Don't overwork the dough or the texture of the baked loaf will be too tight.
  7. Place the dough on the prepared baking tray and cut a cross into the top using a sharp knife. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. 
  8. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Sultana & Orange Muffins

Apologies for not posting for the past couple of weeks, but was away on holiday. I am back from Canada, where I had a great time visiting with family.  Now I am getting back onto the baking treadmill.  Starting slowly at first, I decided on some muffins.  Sultanas and Orange is the flavour I decided upon.

As with most muffins they are quite easy to make.  This recipe should make 12 muffins, if using a muffin tin or cases.  I decided to use some card cups that I bought in Ottawa.  They are larger than the muffin cases, so shared the batter between nine cups only.

Topping the muffins with some orange flavoured icing adds a nice hit of sweetness as well, making these a most enjoyable treat. They are a really lovely muffin, the orange flavour, and the sultanas work well together and they are nice and moist too.  I thoroughly recommend that you try to make some.
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Sultana & Orange Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 240g plain flour
  • 114g sultanas
  • 113g unsalted butter,
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 1/2 half oranges
  • 120ml milk
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 120g icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190c?170c Fan/375 F
  2. Line a muffin tin with cases, or grease the tin.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat into the mixture.
  5. Add the orange zest and the vanilla extract and mix in.
  6. Add the flour, in three parts, adding the milk in between each part and stir in gently.
  7. Stir in the sultanas, after coating them in a little flour.
  8. Divide the mixture in even amounts into the muffin cases.
  9. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before moving the muffins onto a wire rack to finish the cooling.
  11. As they cool make some icing by mixing the orange juice and icing sugar together, until you achieve a thickened, dropping consistency.
  12. When the muffins are cooled drizzle some icing, in stripes, over them and allow to set before serving.




Saturday, 8 August 2015

Oat & Hazelnut Date Bars

Having some dates waiting to be used, as I bought too many when making sticky toffee pudding I decided to use them up by making some Date Bars.  I wanted a nice crumbly bar with a layer of soft and sticky dates in the middle.   So to accomplish this I decided to use some oats and chopped hazelnuts.

The recipe below is not overly complicated but it does have quite a few ingredients. It also takes a while to make, since you need to allow the dates to cool after boiling them with some other ingredients to get the nice soft and sticky texture.  

The resultant bars are very tasty and nice and crumbly too.  I am very pleased with them, despite the fact that they don't look to be the prettiest things.
Oat & Hazelnut Date Bars
Ingredients:
For the date mixture:
450 g pitted dates, chopped
200 g caster sugar
125 ml water
zest of one lemon finely grated
zest of one orange finely grated

For the crumble mixture:
225 g plain flour
120 g rolled oats
220 g dark brown muscovado sugar
225 g butter, melted
110 g chopped hazelnuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
Icing sugar for dusting the tops.

Method:
In a medium saucepan bring the dates, sugar, water, lemon zest and orange zest to the boil. 
Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 170 C /150 C Fan Gas 3/340 F. 
Grease a 20x30cm baking tin.
In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, bicarbonate of soda, dark brown soft sugar and cinnamon. 
Stir in the hazelnuts and melted butter until you have a crumbly mixture. 
Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared tin. 
Spread the date filling evenly over the base. 
Crumble the rest of the crust mixture over the filling and pat down slightly.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven. 
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes.
Cut into bars while warm and then allow to cool completely
Carefully remove the slices from the tin.
Dust with icing sugar.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Mini Orange Spongecakes - with Orange buttercream and Icing

I love sponge cake and wanted to produce some individual ones, so I started searching to see if there were any recipes out there.  I found one on baking mad, which seemed ideal for my purposes.  

So that is the recipe I used, except that I couldn't find orange blossom water, so I had to improvise somewhat, using orange extract, orange peel and juice.

The recipe is quite straightforward to follow, and I have a cake pan with 12 straight-edged holes, and removable bottoms, so I was all set to bake.

It doesn't take long to make the sponges, and they turned out very well.  Once cooled it is simply a question of cutting into two layers, filling with buttercream and then icing.  All very simple.

I am pleased with the results, a lovely soft and light sponge with a very nice filling.
Mini Orange Sponge Cakes

Ingredients:
For the Sponge:
  • 250g Unrefined golden caster sugar 
  • 250g Butter (unsalted)
  • 4 Medium eggs(in US this would be large eggs)
  • 1tsp Orange blossom water (I used 1/2 tsp orange extract with water added to fill the spoon)
  • 250g Self-raising white flour
For the Buttercream Filling:
  • 300g Icing sugar
  • 150g Butter (unsalted)softened
  • ½tsp Orange blossom water ( I used the zest of 1/2 an orange and 2 drops of orange extract)
For the Icing:
  • 100g Icing sugar
  • Zest from half an orange
  • Juice from the orange.
 Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C, gas mark 4), and grease and base line a 12 hole loose bottomed cake tin with baking parchment. 
  2. Place the butter and caster sugar in a bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs one by one beating well in between each addition, then add the orange blossom.
  3. Finally carefully fold in the flour until evenly mixed.
  4. Spoon the batter into the cake tin until each hole is 2/3 full. Then place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the sponges are golden brown and springy to the touch.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool then use a small round ended knife to loosen the sponge from the side of the tin, then carefully remove each sponge from the tin and leave to cool on a cooling wire.
  6. To make the buttercream place the icing sugar and butter in a bowl and start slowly beating together, then turn the speed up and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the orange blossom water and beat again.
  7. When the cakes are cool cut each one in half widthways and spread a layer of buttercream on the bottom half of each one then place the lid on top.
  8. To make the icing place the icing sugar in a small bowl and add enough of the orange juice to get an icing with a thick pouring consistency. Drizzle a bit of the icing over each cake, letting it dribble over the edge. Finally sprinkle some orange zest on top to decorate.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

I had some dried cranberries that needed to be used, so I came  up with this recipe, for a shortbread cookie with chopped cranberries in them.

Shortbread is a lovely, buttery biscuit, and in this instance they simply melt in the mouth, so they are ideal with a cup of tea.

The recipe is very simple indeed, with only 4 ingredients, and quite simple to make. They also taste great so I am very pleased with the results.
Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 280g unsalted butter,
  • 280g plain flour
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 150g dried canberries, chopped
  • Granulated sugar for the tops of the cookies

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160c/325F.
  2. Line some baking trays with parchment paper.
  3. Cream the butter and icing sugar together until it is nice and fluffy.  
  4. Gradually add the flour, mixing until all combined.
  5. Add the cranberries and mix until combined.
  6. Take a very heaped teaspoon of the mixture and roll into a ball
  7. Place the ball on the baking tray and repeat the process, making sure you leave a couple of inches between each ball, until all the mixture is used.
  8. Take a glass and dip the base into the granulated sugar and press down each ball of dough until flat and round.  Make sure you keep the base of the glass coated with the sugar or it may start to stick to the dough when pressing down.
  9. Bake the cookies in the oven for 14-18 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to brown.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.


Sunday, 2 August 2015

Chocolate Banana Muffins

Looking around for some tasty muffin recipes I found one on Nigella's website for a chocolate and banana muffin.  It sounded very interesting, so I thought I would try it out.  I did read the reviews on the site, and it seemed that some found them a little bland, so I made a few changes to the recipe to try to ensure they tasted great.  My changes are reflected in my version of the recipe, below.  But you can see the original on Nigella's site by clicking on the link above.  

I upped the sugar content by 25%, added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and some milk chocolate chips. Those three simple changes have resulted in a very tasty muffin.  

Easy to make, as are most muffins, it is just crucial that you dont overmix when adding the dry ingredients to the wet. Just stirring the dry ingredients until fully combined is all you need to do.

I am very pleased with the results, as they cooked nice and evenly, being moist with a lovely chocolate flavour, enhanced by the milk chocolate chips, and then the wonderful flavour of banana too. 

The recipe will make 12 nice large muffins.  If you try this recipe I am sure you wont be disappointed.
Chocolate Banana Muffins

Ingredients:
  • 3 very ripe or overripe bananas
  • 125 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125 grams soft light brown sugar
  • 225 grams plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons best-quality cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda(baking soda)
  • 75 grams chocolate chips(I used milk chocolate but dark would be fine)
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180C Fan/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a 12-bun muffin tin with papers or cases. 
  2. Mash the bananas by hand or with a freestanding mixer. 
  3. Still beating and mashing, add the oil followed by the eggs. vanilla extract and sugar.
  4. Mix the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda together and add this mixture to the wet ingredients folding it in gently until combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, trying to ensure an even distribution.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes, by which time the muffins should be dark, rounded and peeking proudly out of their cases. 
  8. Allow to cool slightly in their tin before removing to a wire rack.