Pinwheel Cookies

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IMG_20150930_085150[1] 30/09/2015

A really simple but impressive looking biscuit recipe here for shortbread biscuits. One is flavoured with vanilla, the other with chocolate. Can’t decide which one to have? Roll them up into funky looking wheels and have both!

Makes about 20

Ingredients:
Vanilla biscuit dough:

  • 50g softened butter
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 25g cornflour
  • 50g plain flour
  • ½ large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate biscuit dough:

  • 50g softened butter
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 25g cornflour
  • 40g plain flour
  • ½ large egg
  • 15g cocoa powder

Method:

1. Firstly, make each of the doughs by creaming the butter and sugar together, mixing in the egg, sifting the dry ingredients over the top and mixing until the dough comes together.

2. Wrap each dough separately in glad wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.

3. Flour your work surface lightly and roll each dough out (separately) to a piece 25 x 18cm . Place the vanilla dough on top of the chocolate dough and roll up tightly. Re-wrap the roll in glad wrap and place back in the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes.

4. Pre-heat your oven now to 180°C and remove the dough from the fridge, cutting 20 slices and placing them on a lined baking tray. Make sure the dough is very firm before you start cutting the biscuits or else, again, they may become misshaped.

5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the vanilla biscuit is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and serve, warm or cool, with a cuppa.

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Conchas – Mexican Sweet Bread

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IMG_20150923_160440[1] 23/09/2015

Conchas are Mexican sweet breads that can vary in flavour but the traditional version is lightly spiced with cinnamon. I first tried these little buns on my travels in El Paso, TX. We were literally meters from the Mexican border but may as well have been in the heart of the country as the flavours and treats on offer in the little Mexican bakeries there just seemed so homely and authentic. Here is my version of rich, buttery, sweet breads for you to enjoy.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Method:

  1. In a large bowl stir together yeast and warm water, let stand for ten minutes. Stir in evaporated milk, sugar, melted butter, egg, and salt. Stir in 2 cups flour. Gradually stir in remaining 2 cups flour and the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to make the dough.
  2. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead 3-5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and transfer to a greased bowl, turn the dough to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 60-75 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, for the topping, in medium bowl, beat softened butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until well mixed. Stir in 1 cup flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and vanilla.
  4. Punch down the dough then cover and let stand ten minutes. Divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place 3 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Press balls down slightly. Divide topping into 12 balls, pat each ball flat. Place one round of topping onto each dough ball.
  5. Use a sharp knife to cut grooves in the topping to resemble a scallop shell. Cover rolls and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Bake rolls 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on wire racks.

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This bread is awesome eaten just warm from the oven. I recommend warming any rolls that you don’t eat immediately in an oven for about 5 minutes to refresh.

Lamingtons

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IMG_20150920_085312[1] 20/09/2015

Lamingtons are an Australian sponge cake filled with a layer of strawberry jam then covered in chocolate and coconut. What’s not to like?

You can cut the sponge to any size to suit your occasion. I made really big Lamingtons because if I made smaller ones then I would only go back for seconds so in a way, that’s a healthy version if I only have one, right?

Either way, try this recipe. These are really tasty little cakes.

Yield: 24 two-inch pieces

Ingredients:

Cake ingredients:

  • 340g plain flour, plus additional for dusting pans
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 225g unsalted butter, room temperature, plus additional for greasing pans
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 240ml milk

Chocolate icing ingredients:

  • 240ml milk
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 960g icing sugar, sifted
  • 90g cocoa powder, sifted

Additional ingredients:

  • 240ml approx strawberry jam
  • 455g desiccated coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Lightly butter two 9″ x 13″ baking tins, line the pans bottoms with parchment paper, then butter the parchment. Dust the tins with flour, tapping out the excess flour.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes (don’t shortcut the time – the beating of air into the butter is important to the cake texture).
  4. Beat in the vanilla and then the eggs, one egg at a time until incorporated. Fold the part of the flour mixture into the batter, then the milk, and then fold in the remaining flour into the batter until just incorporated.
  5. Divide the batter between the two baking tins, spreading even, and then bake for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean in the middle of the cakes. Cool slightly in the tins then lift out of the tins and finish cooling completely on wire racks.
  6. After the cakes have cooled completely, spread the jam over the top of one of the cakes. Place the other cake on top, and then using a serrated knife, trim the edges of the cake and then cut into 24 two-inch squares (or whatever size you prefer. The size stated makes pretty massive lamingtons).
  7. Make the icing. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and milk, heating until butter is melted. Remove from heat then stir in the vanilla extract, icing sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir until combined. Pour the icing into a Pyrex bowl and then place over the top of a saucepan filled with at least 2-inches of gently simmering water.
  8. Put the coconut in a bowl and set aside. Dip a cake square into the bowl of chocolate icing, using forks to turn the square, coating all sides. Allow excess icing to drip off then place the square in the bowl of coconut. Using clean forks, turn the square to coat all sides with coconut (I find it easiest to place it in the bowl of coconut, sprinkle coconut on the top, then start turning in coconut to get all sides coated). Place the square on a wire rack and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes to set. Repeat with all of the remaining squares.

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Dark Chocolate Ganache Pie with Biscoff Cookie Crust

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IMG_20150914_184706[1] 15/09/2015

Ganache – simple, satisfying indulgence! This pie is so easy to make but pushes all the right buttons. Smooth, creamy and rich chocolate filling encased in a crunchy, buttery crust of Biscoff. Need I go on?

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground Biscoff cookies
  • 6 Tbsp room temperature unsalted butter
  • 2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Raspberries for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl combine butter and cookie crumbs with a fork.
  2. Press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate or tart pan.
  3. Bake at 180C for about 10 minutes or until the crust is crisp and has browned a bit.
  4. To prepare the filling, add chocolate, cream and salt to a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
  5. Whisk over medium heat until the mixture is smooth and chocolate is fully melted.
  6. Pour into cooked crust.
  7. Cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until the filling has set. Slice and serve with fresh raspberries.

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Salted Dark Chocolate Fudge

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IMG_20150914_184819[1] 14/09/2015

Do you like the combination of sweet and salty? Then you will love this Salted Dark Chocolate Fudge. And it is super easy to make.

I love having little sweet treats to hand for when you want that little something special that you can keep as a pick me up at the end of a tough day or just to enjoy with friends and this recipe is perfect for providing little chunks of chocolate loveliness that do just that.

Makes 64 1″ fudge pieces.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 450g dark chocolate
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • salt flakes for sprinkling

Instructions:

  1. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with grease-proof or foil that overhangs on all sides (for lifting out later).
  2. Chop dark chocolate into small pieces. Stir sweetened condensed milk and salt together in a bowl. Add chocolate pieces and butter.
  3. Place the bowl on top of a double boiler and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally until the mixture is melted and smooth and has thickened.
  4. Pour melted mixture into lined pan. Sprinkle with salt flakes. Let the fudge set in the fridge for at least 2 hours, then cut into 1” pieces.

Lemon Bakewell Tarts

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IMG_20150904_180736[1] 04/09/2015

Makes 12-24

In case you hadn’t already gathered from looking through my blog, I like lemon curd! Here is another recipe for the wonderful stuff incorporated into a sweet, sticky, nutty cake encased in a rich, buttery pastry case that is the perfect bite-size to enjoy with a brew.

Ingredients:

For the sweet pastry:

  • 85g butter, at room temperature
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the filling:

  • zest 2 lemons
  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 25g plain flour
  • 6 Tbsp lemon curd
  • 25g flaked almonds
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180C. To make the pastry, place the butter and lemon zest in a food processor and blitz until soft. Sieve in the icing sugar and blitz again until light and creamy. Mix in the egg yolk with 1 tbsp water, then add in the flour until it’s just combined.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, bring the pastry together into a ball, then wrap in cling film and flatten lightly to form a disc. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
  3. Roll out the pastry and cut out 12 rounds with a pastry cutter. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with the circles. Put in the fridge while making the filling.
  4. To make the filling, beat together the lemon zest, butter and caster sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, including a spoonful of the ground almonds with each addition. When all the egg has been added, mix in the remaining ground almonds and flour.
  5. Spread the lemon curd into the pastry cases. Spoon over the filling and smooth over gently. The tarts will be full to the top, which is fine. Scatter over the flaked almonds, sit tarts on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the tin and serve warm or cool, dusted with icing sugar.

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As you can see from the final picture, this mix can also be used to make transportable little Bakewell slices. Just place the ingredients into a greased and lined 20cm x 20cm baking tin and bake as instructed.

So good!