Date Ginger Iced Buns

Easter seems such a long time ago now and yet I still find myself missing the adventure of creating new hot cross bun flavours. So, instead I took one of my favourite flavour combinations this year, the Ginger Date Hot Cross Bun and played around with it. The result is these utterly yummy Date Ginger Iced Buns.

FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Date Ginger Iced Buns full of fruit and flavour.

A sweet yeasted bun packed with medjool dates, stem ginger and freshly grated nutmeg. Baked until golden brown and then slathered with thick glacé icing.

These Date Ginger Iced Buns are sticky, not overly sweet, finger licking portions of loveliness.

I adored the flavour combination when I made the hot cross buns, but knew I needed to vamp up the recipe. When toasting hot cross buns, the heat enhances the flavour, as these buns were to be eaten cold I knew I’d have to pack more flavour in. After making these three times I am finally happy with the recipe.

FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Date Ginger Iced Buns with a hint of nutmeg.

Playing around with recipes is part of the fun of being a food blogger. When Waitrose ran a competition on Twitter for new hot cross bun flavours I was absolutely in my element and went on to make a couple of my suggestions, including the Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns.

Over the recent months, experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes, carrying out reviews and writing this blog, has really helped me. My body is still completely messed up, with me having around sixty seizures a week, yet focusing on my blog, although not easy at times, has definitely given me a sense of accomplishment.

It is hard not to become frustrated and I frequently do, that is when I re-read all of the lovely comments you leave. Today I am really struggling with pain, which means it’s hard to concentrate on writing these words – yet this recipe is so good, so delicious, that I really want to share it with you so that you can make the Date Ginger Iced Buns over the weekend.

I write this not to elicite sympathy from you, simply to explain what my reality is – see Adapting to a new normal. Sometimes life isn’t all sunshine and roses. Usually the kitchen is my retreat, somewhere to escape to as a distraction, yet today my bed is my sanctuary.

On a more positive note, one of the most enjoyable reviews has been using the delicious medjool dates from The Medjool Date Co. This recipe has used the last of the dates, sob. They are completely addictive and utterly divine. I might have made more recipes had I not snaffled so many whilst cooking and baking with them!

I will definitely be getting more of these delicious medjool dates. Their sticky, not overly sweet flavour is so versatile in cooking/baking and they are wonderful to snack on too. I highly recommend them.

Recipe: Makes 12 Date Ginger Iced Buns

550g/1lb 4oz Strong White Bread Flour

160ml Whole Milk – warmed to body temperature

120ml Tepid Water

2 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tbsp Honey

10g/1.5 Sachet Fast Acting Dried Yeast

10g/ approx 1tsp Salt

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter

200g/8oz Medjool Dates – pitted and chopped to medium dice

3 Balls of Stem Ginger – removed from the syrup and finely diced

1/2tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

For the glace icing:

400g/14oz  Icing Sugar

2tbsp Syrup from the stem ginger jar

Method:

This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer, if you wish to make by hand please do, the quantities are the same, make sure you knead the dough for 10 minutes before adding the fruit.

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

  • Add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the honey and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the chopped dates, finely diced stem ginger and nutmeg. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

When the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the chopped dates, finely diced stem ginger and nutmeg . Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky – don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Once the stand mixer dough has doubled in size, lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

Shaping the buns:

  • Tip the dough out on to a clean, floured surface.
  • Divide the dough in half and then divide each half into 6 portions. You can use scales if you want to be absolutely accurate.
  • Flour your hands well, this dough is sticky.
  • Form each portion of dough into a ball shape.
  • Place on to a buttered baking tray, leaving space in between each bun to allow it to rise.
  • When all the buns are shaped cover the baking tray with a clean tea towel. Leave in a draught free place until the buns are doubled in size – approx 1 hour.
  • When the buns are almost doubled, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6.
FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Beautifully risen buns ready for the oven.
  • When the buns have doubled in size place the baking tray into the centre of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Enjoy the smell of these delicious buns baking in your oven. There’s a reason, during the build up to Easter, that you smell Hot Cross Buns as soon as you walk into a supermaket!!!
  • The buns are baked when they are golden brown and sound hollow whe rapped on the base with you knuckle.
  • Once baked remove the buns from the oven and immediately transfer them to a cooling rack.
FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Golden baked, fruit filled buns.
  • Leave the date and ginger buns to cool completely before icing.

To make the glace icing:

  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the syrup from the stem ginger jar.
  • Add just enough water 2-3tsp to the bowl to make a very thick, but still spoonable paste.
  • Using a dessert spoon, carefully swirl some of the thick icing on to each of the buns. The icing will drip very slightly.
  • Allow the Date Ginger Iced Buns to set on the cooling rack.

Now it’s time to put the kettle on as all of your neighbours will soon be knocking at your front door, drawn in by the tantalising aroma of freshly baked fruit buns!!

FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Date Ginger Iced Buns sweet fruit filled delights that you want to bite!

A quick tip, if these aren’t all to be snaffled straight away, is to pop half of them into a freezer bag – un-iced. They can be frozen for up to a month. Defrost fully before icing, or skip the icing and enjoy the buns toasted. with lashing of butter.

The freshly iced buns will keep for 24 hours in an airtight container. I use an old biscuit tin.

FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Date Ginger Iced Buns perfect for afternoon tea!

Do let me know if you try this recipe. I love getting feedback on my recipes.

If you have enjoyed these yummy Date Ginger Iced Buns you may also like these other recipes using dates:

Coconut Almond Date Flapjacks

VC Coconut Almond Date Flapjacks
Coconut Almond Date Flapjacks a slow release energy bar wherever you are.

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

RT Ginger Gate Hot Cross Buns
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns a complete taste sensation.

Morrocan Lamb Stew

FF Morrocan Lamb Stew
Morrocan Lamb Stew flavored with middle eastern spices and medjool dates.

 

The Medjool Dates were truly a feast in themselves, yet I also found them so versatile in the kitchen. Keep your eyes open for more delicious date recipes on Feasting is Fun!

Whatever you make or bake in your kitchens this weekend,I reallythat hope you have fun and enjoy sharing your feast with others.

Sammie xx

The Medjool Date Company provided me with the dates for this recipe. All views, opinions and content contained within this post are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Raspberry Almond Cream Cake

Welcome to a New Year and what better way to celebrate than with my Raspberry Almond Cream Cake.

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake perfect as a celebration cake and for sharing www.feastingisfun.com
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake perfect as a celebration cake and for sharing www.feastingisfun.com

This cake was made on December 31st 2015 and was taken to our very good friends, for their New Years Eve party.

It has been so long, too long, since I have been out of the house for anything other than a Doctors or Hospital appointment. We were invited to our friends, ages ago. Having missed out on other family gatherings, I really wanted to see the year out on a positive note.

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake moist, fruity cake www.feastingisfun.com
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake moist, fruity cake www.feastingisfun.com

Taking this Raspberry Almond Cream Cake, as a gift, to our friends house, was also a massive achievement. The cake looked festive, without being too Christmassy. I resisted the urge to sprinkle some edible glitter on the top. Setting the cake on a gold plate seemed beautiful enough.

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake moist sponge layered with cream, jam and fresh fruit www.feastingisfun.com
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake moist sponge layered with cream, jam and fresh fruit www.feastingisfun.com

The almond flavour in the moist sponge, pairs really well with gorgeous, plump, deep crimson raspberries. I tend to find frozen raspberries hold their flavour and shape and are excellent to keep on hand, in the deep freeze, for the winter months. On this occasion, fresh raspberries were available, but I would totally make this again with frozen fruit!

An extra layer of raspberry jam, brought additional flavour and made all the ingredients in this Raspberry Almond Cream Cake ‘sing’.

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake I wish I had a slice of this now www.feastingisfun.com
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake I wish I had a slice of this now www.feastingisfun.com

Usually when baking a layered cake I bake separate sponges, this time however, I baked one gorgeous, almond sponge and cut it in half. The result was an extra moist cake that kept people going back for another slice!!

If making this cake for only adults, I woud certainly have brushed the inside of the cut sponge with some Framboise (raspberry liquer), or alternatively added a splash of delicious almond liquer to the cream!

Here’s how to make this luscious cake!

Recipe: Makes 1 large 10″ Raspberry Almond Cream Cake serves 12

10oz/275g Unsalted Butter – at room temperature

10oz/275g Caster Sugar

8oz/225g Self Raising Flower

2oz/50g Ground Almonds

1/2tsp Baking Powder

1tsp Vanilla Extract

1tsp Almond Extract

1/4tsp Salt

4 Large Free Range Eggs

2floz/50ml Whole Milk

3oz/75g Almond Flakes – very lightly toasted

2 packets Fresh or Defrosted Raspberries 14oz/400g

15floz/400ml Double Cream

3Tbsp Raspberry Jam

Method: Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan oven

Grease and line the base of a 10″ springform cake pan.

In a large bowl whisk the butter, sugar and salt together until pale and fluffy.

Add one third of the dry mix (flour, ground almonds and baking powder), 2 eggs, half the milk and the vanilla and almond extracts.

Mix until just combined.

Repeat the last step.

Finally add the last third of the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Place the cake batter into the springform pan.
Place the cake batter into the springform pan.

Bake in the oven for approximately an hour. The cake is baked when it is golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly in the centre.

Once baked remove the cake from the oven and place the pan on a rack to cool for 15 minutes.
Once baked remove the cake from the oven and place the pan on a rack to cool for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes turn out the cake from the pan and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
After 15 minutes turn out the cake from the pan and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Once the cake is cooled, carefully slice the sponge in half.

Use a serrated bread knife to slice the sponge in half.
Use a serrated bread knife to slice the sponge in half.

Whip the double cream until it just holds a peak.

Spread the raspberry jam over one half of the sponge.
Spread the raspberry jam over one half of the sponge.

Sort through the raspberries and reserve 12 of the largest, plumpest fruits for the top of the cake.

Spread half of the whipped cream on the other half of the sponge. Add half of the raspberries.
Spread half of the whipped cream on the other half of the sponge. Add half of the raspberries.

Place the sponge, spread with jam, on top of the cream and raspberry filled sponge.

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake - spread the remaining cream on top of the cake, decorate with Raspberries and sprinkle over the toasted almonds slices. www.feastingisfun.com
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake – spread the remaining cream on top of the cake, decorate with Raspberries and sprinkle over the toasted almonds flakes. www.feastingisfun.com

Keep the cake chilled, removing from the fridge 20 minutes before eating.

Invite round some friends, or alternatively take this cake to your friends house.

You are certain to be a very popular guest if you turn up with this Raspberry Almond Cream Cake!!

All food tastes better when it is shared, none so more than cake, in my humble opinion 😉.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2016. May your friendships grow closer over a cup of tea and slice of cake.

If you enjoyed this Raspberry Almond Cream Cake here are some other bakes that you can enjoy sharing –

Strawberries and Cream Cake

Victoria Sponge Cake

Chocolate Sparkle Cake

Sammie xx

 

 

 

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Chocolate Madness Muffins

Well hello lovely people. I’ve got mayhem happening in the kitchen today, in the form of Chocolate Madness Muffins!

Chocolate Madness Muffins chocolatey deliciousness in every bite! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins chocolatey deliciousness in every bite! www.feastingisfun.com

 

Yep see what I did there? Got straight into the photos of these chocolate masterpieces. Amazingly light chocolate sponge, studded throughout with milk and white chocolate chunks and chips.

Ooh then I pressed extra chocolate chips into the top of the batter before the Chocolate Madness Muffins hit the oven.

Just in case there is any doubt about how madly, chocolatey, delicious these muffins are, I scattered a few extra chocolate chips over them, after they are cooked, because, why not??

Bring the Chocolate Mayhem on!!!

Chocolate Madness Muffins for the chocoholic in you!! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins for the chocoholic in you!! www.feastingisfun.com

 

It’s good to shake things up once in a while, well not fizzy water – but that’s another thing entirely!

Chocolate Madness Muffins the ultimate chocolate treat www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins the ultimate chocolate treat www.feastingisfun.com

 

Traditional muffins are quite dense and usually quite good for you. These Chocolate Madness Muffins don’t tick either of those boxes (RECIPE REBEL!). I was aiming for the cafe style muffins, but better. Big, beautiful, light-as-air sponge, enveloped in these gorgeous tulip style cake wrappers.

As you unwrap your own moment of madness, it really is like having a special chocolate present all to yourself. Unless, of course, you bake these Chocolate Madness Muffins and then invite lots of friends round. Ooh imagine sharing the Madness Mayhem. Now that sounds like my kind of party.

Chocolate Madness Muffins delicious chocolate packed treat! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins delicious chocolate packed treat! www.feastingisfun.com

 

Incredibly easy to make, the only difficulty with these Chocolate Madness Muffins is waiting for them to cool. Beautiful though these tulip cake cases are, the trick to them not peeling off as they cool, is to leave the muffins to cool completely in the pan. Once they are room temperature they can be removed from the pan.

I love the tulip cases, but they can be pricey. I’ve found buying online is much cheaper than any of the supermarkets. Also, unless you are going to make huge cupcakes, these tulip wrappers make piping icing pretty tricky. If you want to add frosting it’s easier just to dollop it on with a spoon see my Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes.

Please don’t worry if you haven’t got these tulip cake wrappers, this recipe will make 18 regular sized muffins instead of 12 Mega Chocolate Madness Muffins.

Recipe : Makes 12 mega or 18 regular Chocolate Madness Muffins

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

1/4tsp Salt

1tsp Vanilla Extract

4 Large Eggs – I use free range

200g/7oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut powder and chocolate chips/chunks

2tsp Baking Powder

100ml/4fl oz Whole Milk

150g/5oz Milk Chocolate Chunks or Chips

150g/5oz White Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Optional – extra chocolate chips for decoration after baking

Method : Preheat oven to 185C/170C fan

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add 2 eggs, vanilla extract and then whisk together.
Add 2 eggs, vanilla extract and then whisk together.

 

Place your flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl. These are your dry ingredients.

Sift in half of the dry mix. Mix until just incorporated.
Sift in half of the dry mix. Mix until just incorporated.

 

Repeat, adding first the eggs and milk. Then sift in the rest of your dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.

Add in 100g/4oz of both the white and milk chocolate. Fold gently into the batter.
Add in 100g/4oz of both the white and milk chocolate. Fold gently into the batter.

 

Line a muffin pan with 12 tulip cake wrappers. Using a large ice cream scoop, add a large rounded scoop of batter into each wrapper.

And so the madness commences.
And so the madness commences.
Chocolate Madness Muffins sprinkle over the remaining 50g each of milk/white chocolate chips.
Chocolate Madness Muffins sprinkle over the remaining 50g each of milk/white chocolate chips.

 

If using standard muffin cases, scrape the scoop against the side of the bowl. Add the smoothed off scoop to each case. Then sprinkle with the chocolate chips.

These muffins are now ready for the oven.

Bake for 20-23 minutes (15-18 minutes for standard muffins) until the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.

Chocolate Madness Muffins remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.
Chocolate Madness Muffins remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.

 

Once cooled sprinkle over a few extra chocolate chips.

Chocolate Madness Muffins maxing out chocolate mayhem! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins maxing out chocolate mayhem! www.feastingisfun.com

 

To make the most of these Chocolate Madness Muffins I suggest sharing them. If you have chocoholic friends invite them round for a chat and a treat. Once they see these muffins the mayhem will commence. These muffins are most definitely FUN FOOD!

I don’t suggest eating one of these every day, but once in a while, why not let loose?? All food is much more fun when shared.

Do you have a favourite recipe you like to share?

If you’re in the mood for fun, you may also like these Extreme Chocolate Cookies

Sammie x

 

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Cranberry Oat Cookies

Hi, there. How are you today? I woke up and felt the need to bake – it’s been too long. Then I checked my posts and realise it’s been ages, I mean like a gazillion seconds, since I’ve posted a Cookie recipe!! So, today I bring you my Cranberry Oat Cookies.

Cookies - I need Cookies!!!!
Cookies – I need Cookies!!!!

 

Now that doesn’t mean I haven’t baked Cookies since the last Cookie post, just that I’ve baked Cookies I’ve already posted. Confused yet??? Any how I baked a a batch of Cranberry Oat Cookies. Oh my!! I think these may be my favourite Cookies today!!!

 

These Cookies are a mash-up of two previous recipes I’ve posted – Cranberry and Almond Cookies and Apricot and Oat Cookies!

So these delish Cranberry and Oat Cookies also have Almonds added!
So these delish Cranberry Oat Cookies also have Almonds added!

 

I really fancied Cranberries, Oats and Almonds. So I made these Cookies throwing in all the ingredients hoping they would turn out ok. Oooh they are so much more than ok they are scrumptious.

 

Scrumptious Cranberry and Oat Cookies - yum x
Scrumptious Cranberry Oat Cookies – yum x

 

Recipe :  Makes 18-20 Cranberry Oat Cookies

150g/5oz  Caster Sugar

225g/8oz  Unsalted Butter – room temp

1  Large Egg Yolk

1tsp  Vanilla Extract

1/2tsp  Almond Extract

1/4tsp  Salt – I use Kosher (no additives)

175g/6oz  Plain White Flour

175g/6oz  Oats – not quick cook

50g/2oz  Flaked Almonds

Method :

Preheat the oven to 175C (160C fan).

Into a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt.  Beat together until pale and fluffy – I used an electric whisk, a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fixed is fine.

Add the egg yolk and vanilla/almond extracts and thoroughly mix in. Next add the flour, oats, cranberries and flaked almonds.  Mix until just combined.

Take about a heaped tablespoon of the Cookie dough and roll into a ball using your hands.  Place the Cranberry Oat Cookie dough balls onto baking sheets (line with parchment paper if not non stick).

Cookie Dough Balls
Cranberry Oat Cookie Dough Balls

 

Gently press down on the cookie dough balls so they just become flattened.
Gently press down on the cookie dough balls so they just become flattened.

 

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Then remove from the oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Then remove the Cranberry Oat Cookies from the oven.

 

Once golden, remove from oven and allow to fully cool on the baking sheets.  This allows the Cranberry Oat Cookies to firm up.  These Cookies are particularly scrumptious with a nice, cold glass of milk.

Cookies and milk - the perfect combination.
Cookies and milk – the perfect combination.

 

One of my best friends has been unwell recently, a fresh delivery of Cookies will be just the boost she needs.

Who will you share your Cookies with?

Remember, food always tastes better when it’s shared.

Sammie x

 

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Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova chewy, brownie inner to a crisp chocolate meringue, topped with softly whipped Cream and ruby red raspberries.

 

Hello, I’m writing this blog with fond memories of our week spent in the heart of Devon during half term – this Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova was made, at the barn, with minimal equipment and only my memory for the recipe! I’d call that a challenge!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova made again at home.

Physically it was a bit of a struggle for me, but that was more than compensated by the time we spent as a family: hanging out together, all 5 of us on a trampoline ( trust me I wasn’t jumping !!!!) that I thought was going to collapse at any second, being rowed around the pond, discovering semi-wild farm cats and their kittens in the hay barn – sooo cute, spending time with our Devon Families, both in church and on the farm.  But most of all being together Feasting and Having Fun!!!!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova perfect for dessert or afternoon tea.

Firstly I have to give complete credit to Nigella for inspiring this scrumptious Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova.

Whilst staying in our gorgeous Barn in the middle of nowhere Pip had invited us to share a meal with her and her wonderful hubby Sailor Man and their daughter Leggy Lou!

Pip would be cooking Lasagne and I offered to do pudding!!

We’ve been staying on the same farm, in the same barn at least 10 years, I was pretty confident, given the restricted equipment available in the barn, that  I could ‘easily’ whip up a Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova!!

This is one of those puds that not only has the WOW factor visually but tastes even better than it looks. So simple to do then??

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova a delicious combination of flavours.

Whilst out shopping I remembered ALL the ingredients (I may have made this a few dozen times before!!!) but couldn’t remember the quantities!!

Back at the farm, in a rare moment of actually being able to get a signal, I successfully popped onto Nigella’s website  and got the recipe.  Fortunately I had not forgotten anything – boy was I relieved!!

Recipe:  Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova,

You will need a good sized baking sheet that can take a 30cm diameter circle of meringue, lined with parchment paper.

Recipe: Rapsberry Chocolate Pavlova

6  Egg whites. (Pref free range) at room temp

300g  Caster Sugar

3 tbsp Cocoa Powder (not drinking chocolate!!)

1 tsp Balsamic vinegar (your just gonna have to trust me on this one???!!)

50g  Chopped Dark (70%) Chocolate + an extra 25g Dark (70%) Chocolate chopped very fine, for sprinkling over before serving

450ml Double Cream

300g – 500g Raspberries – Fresh if poss, but I’ve used decent thawed frozen ones in the midst of winter and it worked!

Method:  Preheat the your oven to 200C/180C fan (350F, gas mark 4).

Firstly if you have any kind of electric whisk PLEASE use it!! You can see from the photo below that I did not have one and it was VERY HARD WORK!!!

Oh yes - I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!!
Oh yes – I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!

Once the egg whites form satin peaks slowly add the  caster sugar and keep whisking (oh the joy, what was already a hard job became much more difficult as the sugar mixed into the whites) the mixture will become much thicker.

Once all the sugar is fully incorporated whisk until the meringue mixture is glossy, satiny and holds a stiff peak!

Next add the sieved cocoa, chopped chocolate and balsamic vinegar (stay with my guys it’s really worth it in the end!!!)

I'm not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!
I’m not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!

Using a metal spoon gently fold in the chocolate, cocoa and balsamic vinegar until the ingredients are fully combined. This was challenging for me, as you can see from the photos I’d used a straight sided, flat bottomed casserole dish as a mixing bowl!!!!

Still I’m nothing if not adaptable!

When at home I draw round a 12″ (30cm) round cake tin, with pencil, onto parchment paper. On holiday I had to ‘guesstimate’!

Flip the paper over, so that the pencil marking is on the underside. At this point, you can attach the parchment to the baking sheet with little dobs of meringue mixture. This acts like glue and stops the paper moving around.

Using the drawn circle as a guide, gently pile on the meringue mixture into the centre using a metal spoon. Then using a palette knife (or butter knife if on hols!!!) gently spread the mixture into an even circle shape approx 30cm across.

I’ve found it helps the cooked Pavlova not to crack if you build the sides up slightly so the centre is approx 1-2cm lower than the edge. It doesn’t matter if it does crack as later on you will be smothering it in whipped cream and raspberries! Using your knife smooth out the centre and create swirls around the outside of the Pavlova – let your creative, fun side run free!! It’s soo much fun and you can swirl to your hearts content!

The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x
The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x

Place the beautiful Pavlova on the middle shelf of the preheated oven (180C – 350F or gas mark 4), immediately turn the oven temperature down to 150C (300F gas mark  2) and bake for  1, 1/4 – 1, 1/2 hours.

If you are confident about the eggs you have used, gather the children around the bowl and let them lick the bowl clean – making sure you’ve had a little taste first. It’s GORGEOUS!!  I think it tastes like the lightest chocolate mousse.  You are eating raw egg so please do not taste if you are pregnant, unwell or elderly – I also wouldn’t  have let my children taste it when they were very young.  Our youngest is 12 now so he was allowed to try some!

The Pavlova is cooked when the outside looks lovely and crisp and you can see the dark, fudgey inside through the natural small cracks in the surface.

Turn the oven off and leave to cool completely in the oven.

Once the Pavlova is completely cool remove from the oven and peel off the Parchment paper (I’ve never yet had one stick using Parchment, if you use greaseproof paper I can’t guarantee it will peel off as easily).

Place the Pavlova on a flat cake stand, cake board or metal tray if that’s all you have to hand!!

Whip the cream until thickened but still floppy (adding a teaspoon of caster sugar if you prefer to sweeten the cream) and smother the top of the Pavlova with it leaving a cream free edge.

Just waiting to be adorned.
Just waiting to be adorned.

Tumble (or carefully place it’s your choice!) the raspberries over the cream topped Pavlova.

Now finally sprinkle over the remaining 25g (about a tablespoon) of finely chopped dark chocolate.

 

Soo beautiful, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!
Soo beautiful,Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova. the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!

We shared this with our dinner hosts who were extremely complimentary about the combination of flavours, but mostly the hidden, almost brownie like middle of the Pavlova. The contrast between the crunchy outer layer, the sublime tartness of raspberry enveloped in velvety whipped cream and then the surprise, almost fudgey centre with nubs of chocolate work to create a TASTE SENSATION! Thank you Nigella for inspiring this recipe.

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova the perfect sweet treat to take to take to someone’s house.

 

The perfect dessert for Sharing, Feasting and Having Fun!

Sammie x

 

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Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello there, if you love peanuts, chocolate and cookies this is the recipe for you!!!  I’m in serious trouble – literally – I made the mistake (cos it was on offer – I’m shallow  & I’m good with it!!!) of ordering, Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. Nuf said! So I made these Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Double Peanut and Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Well maybe not!! But it’s soooo scrummy. I know I mentioned about having more of a savoury tooth, well, peanut butter is savoury. Funny thing is I’m not actually a ‘get a spoon & eat it outta the jar’ crazy fan of Peanut Butter! But when you mix it with something sweet, like in Cookies with a generous sprinkle of Chocolate Chips/Chunks- ooooh – it’s seriously good.  Same goes for Chocolate covered Peanuts and Snickers bars!  I mean, for all my chat about sharing, I confess, I hid the Peanut Butter Cup ice cream in the back of the freezer & whilst I’m in confessional mood, just to doubly make sure, I bought my 3 not so lil ones, their fav ice cream so they wouldn’t take mine.

Such a bad, bad mother – yet I feel no guilt!!!!

Now I’m sad cos the tub is empty. I’m going to be working on a homemade version – but meantime I had a revelation : Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

 

A thing of beauty - well to me anyway!!!!!
Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies – where’s my cuppa?

Oh yes people – I did not fail you (or me). Even my daughter Snugs (nickname didn’t want you to think I was completely nuts – she loves her real name Sparkle, Twinkle, Tooth Fairy!!!).

This is one of my favourite made up Cookie recipes in like, EVER!

Recipe : Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies makes 25-35

You will need 2 baking sheets lined with Parchment Paper

160g/5 oz Caster Sugar

225g/8 oz Unsalted Butter – room temperature

1 x Egg Yolk (pref free range) at room temperature

1 tsp Vanilla Extract I use Nielsen-Massey

1/4 tsp Salt I use Maldon

3 tbsp  Smooth Peanut Butter

275g/10 oz Plain White Flour

100g/4 oz Milk Chocolate Chips (or chunks) plus approx 1 oz extra for topping

100g/4 oz Peanut Butter Chips ( I use Reece’s – bought online)

Method :

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

First of all, place the sugar & butter into a large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment), using either an electric whisk or vigorous effort with a wooden spoon (for those of you who are watching your diet, A : This probably isn’t the recipe for you or B:  You will feel less guilty later on when eating the cookie – that is if you haven’t fallen asleep on the sofa due to over exertion!!!).

This beating (or creaming) lark is actually very important – not quite sure why – not sure I even care!! What I do know is that if you, in the words of MJ himself “Beat it, beat it”,  until it is pale yellow & fluffy, then the finished cookie is much, much better.

Next add the egg, vanilla extract, peanut butter, salt and resume beating, with your preferred method and background music of choice!

Ready to be whipped!
Ready to be whipped!

When all the above ingredients are beautifully mixed, add the flour, peanut chips & chocolate chips/chunks. Using only a spoon (wooden or otherwise), gently combine all the ingredients, slowly stirring them together – if using a stand mixer, mix on slow, with the paddle a attachment until everything is just combined.

I was not paid by Reece's to advertise their product!!
I was not paid by Reece’s to advertise their product!!
If you can't stop yourself eating this straight from the bowl, that fine - there will be fewer cookies to bake though!!! Don't say I didn't warn you!!!!
If you can’t stop yourself eating this straight from the bowl, that fine – there will be fewer cookies to bake though!!! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!!!

Using a teaspoon & clean hands remove a large teaspoonful of mixture and roll gently into a ball – approx 1 inch across & place on the lined baking sheet. Continue as above until you have 16 balls, 8 evenly spaced apart on each sheet.

Ready to be squished!!
Ready to be squished!!

Now comes the fun bit ( if you liked making mud pies in the diet when you were younger, you’re gonna lurve this!). Place a few 5-8 choc chips/chunks in your hand, remove a ball from the baking sheet, place it on top of the extra chocolate in you hand & squish down. You want the cookies to be about 1 1/2 – 2″ across. Repeat with remaining balls until you have 16 super chocolately topped cookies, on the baking sheets begging to be cooked.

Put me in the oven NOW!!!
Put me in the oven NOW!!!

Make sure the cookies are evenly spaced apart as they will spread a bit more during cooking.

Place both sheets into the preheated oven. Start to check if they’re done after 10 minutes. DON’T TOUCH! Since these cookies harden up as they cool, once baked they should have a lovely golden brown colour. In my oven these take about 13-15 minutes to cook.

A thing of beauty - well to me anyway!!!!!
Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies. A thing of beauty – well to me anyway!!!!!

Remove the sheets from the oven & allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets completely, or if you are very careful transfer the parchment paper, with the cookies on to a cooling rack – the cookies will still be very soft & you run the risk of breaking a few this way (as I did earlier today!).

With the remaining dough you can either bake the rest of the cookies, rolling into balls & cooking on fresh parchment paper, as before, or you can place the dough onto cling film, form it into a log, wrap tightly & refrigerate for up to 4 days, or double wrap & freeze for up to a month. Defrost the frozen cookie log overnight in the fridge & then with either log, remove from the fridge for 15 minutes before slicing into discs & baking as before.

Cookie dough log, ready for fridge or freezer.
Cookie dough log, ready for fridge or freezer.

Ooh I bet two of the cooked disc shaped Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies with the ice cream sandwiched in the middle would be scrumptious, messy & definitely something to share with friends & family alike!!!

One of my bestest friends in the whole wide world is on holiday at the mo! She’s gonna love me so much more when she tastes one of these!!

Ooh yummy, cuppa coffee and cookies
Ooh yummy, cuppa coffee and cookies

 

If you have enjoyed the recipe for these Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies then you may also like these:

Cherry Bakewell Cookies

FF Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

Chocolate Heart Cookies

FF Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Heart Cookies

Monster Mint Chocolate Cookies

FF Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Monster Mint Chocolate Cookies

 

Just to be clear, I’m not seeking applause, just a smile! Knowing I’ve put a lil smile in someone’s heart makes me feel loved & all soft & squishy inside. Try it – cos it’s a really nice feeling.

Until next time have fun, feast and give thanks for all the opportunities that are about to come your way when you start to share. It’s so much FUN!

Sammie xx

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Super Easy Shortbread Cookies.

Hello again. I’m really enjoying this blogging lark, I hope you are enjoying my thoughts & recipes too? Please leave a comment if you try any? I’d love to hear how you got on. So let me bring you my Super Easy Shortbread Cookies.

Today’s the day…..all the children back at school. My mind is buzzing with all the possibilities that today holds! All the things I put off during the summer hols to spend time with our 11, 13 & 15 year old children.

I love having them home, they all get along pretty well (not bad for 2 older girls & my boy!) & I shall miss their music/chatter/mess… Well maybe not the mess. But they do fill our home with energy & fun. Still tomorrow is the weekend, so today I shall enjoy the peace knowing chaos is only a day away.

Hmmm there’s jam to be made, not really in the mood for that, tidying – but it’ll only need doing again on Monday!! Cookies! I have nothing really against shop bought biccies but you really can’t beat homemade & these are a doddle!!

SUPER EASY SHORTBREAD COOKIES

You will need :

2 x baking sheets with parchment paper on them.

Cling film (I’ll explain later!)

Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature : it really makes a difference.

Recipe:

5 oz Caster Sugar (plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling on top)

8 oz Unsalted Butter

1 tsp Vanilla Paste, or 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp Salt (I use Kosher Salt)

1 Egg Yolk (I use large free range eggs

8 oz Plain White Flour

2 oz Corn Starch

Method:

Place butter & 5 oz sugar into a bowl (if using stand mixer use the paddle attachment). The next part is going to be much easier (but not impossible!) if you have an electric mixer, or stand mixer. Whisk or beat (using a wooden spoon) until the mixture is very pale yellow. Now mix in the egg yolk & vanilla paste/extract. Sift in the flour, salt & corn starch. Mix thoroughly, but gently until all the ingredients are combined. Now take a big, deep breath. The smell is scrummy & will help you recognise later when the Super Easy Shortbread Cookies are nearly cooked!

Set the mixture to one side so that you have a clear work top in front of you. You will need a clear 2 ft of space in front of you. Wipe this space with a clean, slightly wet, dish cloth. Taking the clung film unwrap about 12 inches, laying it over the damp work surface as you do so. Magically the cling will lay flat & not become a tangled mess!!!!

Place half of your cookie dough on the cling film in a rough log shape. Using your hands & the cling mould the dough into a log, with a diameter of approx 1 1/2″. Wrap tightly making sure the cookie dough is as even as possible along the log.

Dump half the dough out onto the cling film...
Dump half the dough out onto the cling film…
Using the sides of the cling, alternately shape into a rough log...
Using the sides of the cling, alternately shape into a rough log…

Carefully transfer this to the fridge laying it on a flat surface (the dough will still be quite squishy – I usually lay it lengthways across my palm!). Repeat this process with the rest of the cookie dough. Leave the dough to rest & harden up for at least 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 180C (165C fan oven) just before you remove the cookie dough log from the fridge.

Remove 1 log from the fridge & leave to warm slightly for 5 minutes (I find leaving it for this time makes the dough easier to cut & not crack!). Using a sharp knife cut regular discs approx 1/4″ (1/2cm) wide. You should end up with 6-10 cookie discs. Place these on the parchment paper lined baking sheets, making sure there is at least 1″ gap each way between the discs.

Cut the through the dough log with a sharp knife - don't make the slices too thin as the cookies will spread on baking.
Cut the through the dough log with a sharp knife – don’t make the slices too thin as the cookies will spread on baking.

Sprinkle each cookie with a little sugar,  reserving half of the sugar for a final sprinkle over the shortbread cookies once they are baked.

I can only fit 2 baking sheets in my domestic oven & leave the other dough log in the fridge, tightly wrapped for up to 4 days. The logs can also be frozen, tightly wrapped in a double layer of cling film for up to one month.

Bake the Super Easy Shortbread Cookies for 8-15 minutes (it really does depend on how thick you have cut the discs & your oven).

When you start to smell the scrumptious buttery, vanilla smell it’s time to check on your cookies. DON’T PROD THEM – however tempting!!!! They will still be soft & firm up on cooling. These cookies are cooked when they turn a light golden colour. Remove from the oven, careful they are hot!

Leaving the cookies on the baking tray give them a final sprinkle of sugar & leave to cool completely.   Once cool place in an air tight container (I use a large, clip lid Kilner jar, as the sugar makes them sparkly & I like to show them off!!!!!). If you can wait they actually taste better the next day – but who am I kidding?

Yummy - someone put the kettle on? Now where's Polly when you need her?????
Yummy – someone put the kettle on? Now where’s Polly when you need her????? Super Easy Shortbread Cookies.

Pop the kettle on & try one, just to make sure they’re ok!!!    These cookies travel well & I like to pop some in cellophane bags tied with pretty ribbon & pass them onto friends & family. They are also scrummy when shared with a close friend over a cuppa & a heart to heart.

REMEMBER FOOD ALWAYS TASTES BETTER WHEN ITS SHARED!

For lemon shortbread add 1 tsp of finely grated lemon zest to the sugar/butter mixture. I only use Vanilla Extract NOT paste when I make lemon shortbread – I find the vanilla bean paste competes with the lemon flavour. Mix, prepare dough logs, bake & store as above.
JUST A QUICK NOTE: I have found that, when I want to bake some more Super Easy Shortbread Cookies, it’s better to remove the dough log from the fridge 15-30mins (depending how warm the air is. After letting them warm slightly not only are they much easier to slice ( a small serrated knife is good for this), but they are also much less prone to cracking, splitting, falling apart, than if you try to cut them when they are fridge cold!!! I learnt the hard way!!!!

Until next time happy baking & have fun feasting.

Sammie x

 

 

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