Bake

There is no particular order to this page and when I figure out how, I hope the recipes will be catalogued.  For now though, the most recent will be at the top of the page.

MUESLI
Random placement which will alter in time but this word press  is causing me huge angst in my not understanding how to use it. Stay tuned as one day this blog will look more ordered!

I made two batches of this side by side, one with golden syrup and butter and the other with agave syrup and plain oil.  The latter is the winner in taste and texture.  Amazing and thrilling really as it is not often that the healthy way is preferable!

80g roughly chopped almonds (very small pieces, easiest in blender)
65g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, linseed etc)
70g dessicated coconut
20g plain oil (vegetable sunflower, rapeseed, hemp)
20g agave syrup (calorie free. I have seen it in Tescos and Waitrose)

1. Mix all of the ingredients togther in a bowl.
2. Spread it on a baking sheet in the oven at 180 degrees C.  Bake until golden (up to 20 minutes).  Be careful to check often after 12 minutes as it is easily over done.
3. If you like, add dried fruit such as apricots, prunes, sultanas.
Leave to cool. I like it with greek yoghurt and honey.

BEST CHOCOLATE BISCUITS IN THE WORLD

This is not my recipe, sadly, as I would truly love to claim responsibility for the pleasure they bring.  I got them from www.dessertfirstgirl.com, who got it from someone else!  All I did was convert the quantities from cups to grams….

175g all-purpose flour
30g  Dutch-process cocoa powder (I ordered Valrhona on Amazon)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
165g butter at room temperature
133g  light brown sugar
50g cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
138g  bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Callebaut 53%)

– Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking powder together in a bowl.
– Beat the butter in a mixer until it is soft and creamy. Add in the sugars, salt, and vanilla extract and beat for a few more minutes to combine.
– Add in the flour and combine on low speed just until the flour is combined. This is probably the trickiest part because the texture of the cookie depends on as little mixing as possible. The dough will be very crumbly; resist the urge to keep mixing until it all comes together because then the cookies will be too tough when baked.
– Add in the chocolate bits and mix just to distribute them.
– Tip the mixture onto a large piece of clingfilm and wrap it into a log.  Put it in the fridge for half an hour or up to 3 days. (Freeze for a month)
– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
– Take out the logs and let them sit for a little while to soften up, otherwise I find they shatter into pieces when I slice them.
– Slice the logs into rounds about 1/2-in thick or thinner.
– Place the cookies on the sheets with about an inch between them. Bake them one sheet at a time in the oven for 12 minutes. They will not look done but that’s ok – again, overbaking will give the m a crispy texture instead. Let them cool on wire racks until just warm.

CHOCOLATE FOCACCIA
For me, there is no better time than breakfast or with a cuppa in the morning, to eat this bread, best served warm so the chocolatey bits ooze.  I failed in taking a photograph of the completed bread so watch this space.

Ingredients
450g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
3tbsp olive oil
1 x 7g sachet yeast
2 handfuls of dark chocolate chips (I use 53% callabaut.  70% is good but quite rich for our Cadburys poisoned British palates!)
300mls tepid water  DO NOT add it all at once.  The amount you need is dependent upon room conditions

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the olive oil and gradually, the water, until the dough comes together and is damp.
Knead the dough until it is not sticky, adding a little more flour if you need to.  It is better to be too wet than too dry, for a soft bread.
Roll the dough out and sprinkle the chocolate chips on to it.

– Roll it up like a swiss roll or a roulade and then roll it out again onto a baking sheet (oiled if it is not non stick).
– Poke any bits of chocolate that are on the surface, under the dough.  If the focaccia bakes with the raw chocolate visible, the chocolate will burn.

– BY FAR the best thing to do now is to put the prepared focaccia into the fridge to rise over night.  This allows for a slower rise and a subsquently far more tender texture.
After about 8 hours or more, remove the focaccia from the fridge and allow 15 minutes or so to come nearer to room temperature. This is not vital if you are in a rush for your breakfast!
or
Let it rise for 1-2 hours in a warm place.
– Before you put it in the oven, make indentations with your thumb all over the focaccia and drizzle lightly with olive oil and a little water. Sprinkle with some maldon sea salt or course salt for more of a salty kick (I prefer maldon flakes).
– Place it in the oven at 200 degrees C or so, and bake for 10 minutes or until it is a very light golden colour.
– Remove to a cooling rack. Leave it for a few minutes to settle as it will continue to cook for a little while it cools.
I like to dip it in a bit of jam.  Soon I will add a finished picture – it was eaten by the hoards before I remembered to take a pic….

AUTUMN CAKE
This was made on a last minute whim when our lovely lady who used to help, Lynda, came to see us.  The children and I picked the blackberries, and the two apples were about the only two on the tree this year.  It was delicous. I happened to have some butterscotch sauce in the fridge, the recipe for which I include.  If you do not have any, replace with demerara sugar.  There is not a significant difference in taste between the two.  However, if you add butterscotch sauce at the end, you may drift to heaven for just a moment.

Butterscotch Sauce
Having flung the ingredients in a pan and somehow come out with butterscotch sauce, when it came to writing it down, I found this failsafe recipe of John Torode and Gregg Wallace to be both the simplest and tastiest.  They add lemon juice and use a vanilla pod. Do as you wish.

50g butter
50g golden syrup
50g sugar
75ml cream
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract if you wish, or add a vanilla pod at the beginning, split in two.

–  Put equal quantities of butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan over a low heat then turn it up when melted and bubble for about 5 minutes.  Bubbling it for a bit makes it a little richer and a little yummier.  Add cream.
– Take off heat.
–  Add vanilla extract if you like.

Cake
100g blackberries
2 English apples such as Cox
115g butter
125g sugar
60g ground almonds
170g self raising flour, or Italian 00 flour with 1tsp baking powder, or plain flour with 1tsp baking powder (all will be yummy but the 00 flour is just a bit lighter and bit special)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
milk to soften the batter to dropping consistency (so that it drops off the spoon when you hold it up and is easily spreadable for the tin).

– whip the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.
– add the egg and vanilla and mix.
– add the flour and almonds.
– Put a piece of baking parchment on the base of the 8inch baking tin – use a high sided one.
– Put the butterscotch sauce over the baking paper so that it just covers it, about 0.5cm high.  If you are using demerara sugar, sprinkle it liberally over the top, about 2 or 3 tabelspoons.
– Lay the apples segments around the circumference of the tin and if you have enough, make a flower shape in the middle.
– Sprinkle the blackberries in the spaces and pour the batter on top.
– Bake in the oven at 180degrees C for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  Check it after 25 minutes and if it is browning too much, put foil on top to stop it from over browning, and also this will allow it to cook through.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing it from the tin.  Peel off the baking paper.  If it does not look as you like due to unlucky removal, it will surely taste as you like.

Serve warm or at room temperature with butterscotch sauce, custard, cream  and perhaps a cup of tea. (photo to be added this evening)

BREAD
I will start with this basic white loaf.  I make it all the time.  There are just so many uses for it from the obvious in the form of toast and sandwiches, to crisp olive oil drizzled bread with aioli, or a crusty loaf alongside a bouillbase or a hearty casserole.

I must admit that here, while I did knead it by hand in part for the sake of photographic instruction, I do not usually knead.  There is something enormously theraputic about doing so, and one day, as I once did, I’m sure I will again.  But right now my life is busy and while time out for kneading would be a good thing, that time out for me is spent walking dogs, ironing, or whatever other exciting duties have befallen me in recent years.

I make two loaves at once, because one will go into the freezer and by using my magical kitchen aid mixer, it will happily knead enough dough to make two at once, as can you, just with a little more effort for those muscles.  So I will give you a recipe for one loaf, and by all means do as I do and double it.

500g strong white bread flour
1tsp salt (inedible without it)
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
250ml tepid water
1tbsp olive oil

The water measurement is approximate as how much you need to add is dependent upon the conditions in the kitchen.

– Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
– Add the olive oil then the water gradually, stirring it with a knife to combine.

– Tip the bread onto a clean surface.  It is useful if the height of this surface is worktop height because otherwise this can be back-breaking work.
– Now knead away for 10 minutes or until it is springy and smooth.  We all have our own technique but pull and push and stretch and don’t be too soft with it.  You may find that swaying your hips from side to side while kneading will help you achieve a comfortable motion and even make you feel as if you are vaguely exercising!

– now place the dough back in the mixing bowl with a tea towel on top of it for two hours in a warm place in the kitchen until it has doubled in size. (photo will be added)
– Knock it back, i.e. punch the air out of it and shape it into whatever shape you want, or put it in a loaf tin and leave it to rise for an hour, sprinkled with flour if you like (I like the rustic look this gives to the finished loaf).

– When it has reached a decent size, bake it at 200 degrees for 20 minutes.  I have a two door aga and bake mine in the top oven. It is hotter than this so with two loaves in the oven the top one on the shelf comes out rather dark (pictured above) and the other on the bottom comes out lighter (pictured below).  Both are good, just different.  The lighter is better for toasting and the darker for casseroles, sandwiches, anything that calls for fresh bread.

SWEDISH BULLAR

I have been to Sweden a couple of times to visit my husband’s family, but I have not actually had a bullar, or I am told I have but was pregnant at the time and I really can’t remember so I am guessing that it was not as memorable experience as I hope eating these will be!  I have made soooo many batches of these and I hope that finally I have a recipe that is near perfect.  On comparing it with my mother in law’s Swedish cook book, it seems I have managed to achieve just about exactly what it recommends without looking at it!

You will see in the photograph that the less sweet and buttery bullar in the background are neat and pretty while the sweeter more buttery bullar in the front is squidgy and messy and, in my opinion, delicious.  Tessa Kiros in her book, “Falling Cloudberries”, says that one of the reasons she loves a similar recipe for cinnamon and cardamon buns, is that they are not too sweet.  My recipe is on the sweeter side.  By all means, do reduce the butter and sugar as suggested in the less sweet bullar recipe below.

Making this in a hot kitchen may not be effective so be warned!  Kitchen conditions can impact hugely on the end result.  If you find that the dough is sloppy after you have added all the ingredients, add a tablespoon of flour.  You need to have a dough that will come away from the sides of the bowl when being kneaded in a Kitchenaid mixer, or will not stick to you when you are kneading it by hand.

If you make sweeter bullar, making them in muffiin cases is essential to stop them spreading, seen in the final photograph at the end.  It also makes them a little more squidgy through their confinement.  These are so good, I promise!

          Less sweet dough                                                   Sweeter Dough
300g plain flour                                                             300g plain flour
1 x 7g sachet                                                                    1 x 7g sachet plus 1 tsp sachet dried yeast 1/2 tsp salt                                                                       1/2 tsp salt
50g caster sugar                                                            70g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter                                                      70g unsalted butter
1 tbsp egg                                                                        1tbsp egg
150mls milk                                                                     150mls milk

Filling                                                                                                                                            125g softened unsalted butter
2 1/2  tsp ground cinnamon
100g caster sugar

Topping                                                                                                                                        You can find Pearl Sugar in Ikea.  It is perfect for sprinkling on top of the bullar.  If you do not have any, sprinkle with a teaspoon of demerara sugar after putting the egg wash on at the last minute before baking.

–  Put the milk on the heat.  When it is warm add the butter and when almost fully melted (you do not want it to be too hot as heat kills yeast at this stage), add it to the dry ingredients and knead for 10 minutes or until glossy and springy.
– Set aside in a warm place with a tea towel on top of it for two hours until it has increased in size.
– Mash the filling ingredients together and roll out the dough into a rectangle shape. – Spread filling evenly over the rectangle.  If you would like to add sultanas or raisins (chopped nuts, citrus peel, diced apple, plum, blackberries, stewed apple, the list goes on), this is the point at which to do so. Sprinkle them on top of the filling and roll it from the long side so  you have a long swiss roll shape.  I made some with and some without sultanas….

– Slice 3 cm thick slices and place them in cup cake cases, or simple on a baking sheet for the more free form shape.  Leave to rise for an hour.

– Before baking, egg wash with a beaten egg and then sprinkle pearl sugar or dememara on top.  Do make sure you egg wash first as I stupidly did this in the wrong order which made it pretty impossible!  I did not put egg on the last batch and they are just as good, or perhaps preferable to some.

Bake in the muffin tin for about 17 minutes at 180 degrees C or until golden brown. If you are baking them on a baking sheet or baking paper, 12 minutes baking should be enough. Let them cool in the tin as this makes them just a little bit yummier.

You may also mix icing sugar with water and ice them when baked and cooled for an even more unbelievably  indulgent treat.

They freeze well.  We have them for breakfast from time to time.  They are extremely filling so if you have them for a tea break, you may not be hungry for the next culinary event…..

Leave a Reply