Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Wholemeal Maple and Blueberry Scones

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Scones are an essential part of my life. Whether they contain raisons, chocolate chips, raspberries or cheese, or are just good old fashioned plain, they will always put a smile on my face. Served with clotted cream and strawberry jam (ok, maybe not so much with cheese scones, yuck!), they are a necessity when it comes to my spring/summer.
This recipe is one from Joy the Baker; her recipes are just too good for me not to make them over here. Plus it's a recipe for scones, and I'm English, so that means I had to make these scones at least once.
Because it would be blasphemy not to. scones 2
Adapted from Joy the Baker. Makes approx. 12 scones.
2 cups Plain Flour
1 cup Wholemeal Flour
2 1/2tsp Baking Powder
1/2tsp Baking Soda
1/4tsp Salt
3/4 cup Butter, cut into cubes
1 Egg
2tbsp Maple Syrup
3/4 cup Buttermilk + 3tbsp for brushing the tops
1 cup Fresh Blueberries

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/400F/200C, and cover a baking tray with greaseproof parchment.
In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the flour, and rub the butter into the flour, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
In a separate smaller bowl, mix together the egg, maple syrup and buttermilk, and add to the dry ingredients, stirring together to form a soft dough. Then fold in the fresh blueberries.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for a minute. Roll the dough out to 1 inch thickness, and cut out the scones using a 2-inch round cutter. Place the scones onto the baking tray, and brush the tops of the scones with the remaining buttermilk, before sprinkling with some sugar.
Bake the scones in the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.
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Serve warm with clotted cream and a jam of your choice. And tea. Always serve them with tea.
Sophie x

Monday, 7 April 2014

Wholemeal English Muffins

I love love love english muffins; I've been eating them since I was a little girl. I would always get excited when I saw my mum had bought some home from shopping, because I just knew I would be eating them for breakfast the next morning. There is nothing better than a freshly toasted muffin smothered in melting butter. That's a bit of heaven right there.
Obviously over the past couple of years as I've been getting into baking my own bread, I decided to have a go at making english muffins myself. And they are so easy, I've made them so many times, especially in the past few months. The only problem is that I never make enough, because they never last more than a day or two.
muffins 1
Normally I make english muffins with just white flour, but I thought it would be a nice change to use some wholemeal flour. There really isn't that much of a difference between them in texture, and they are just as delicious.
muffins 4
Recipe from Savory Simple. Serves 12.
2 1/4 Cups Wholemeal Flour
2 1/4 Cups Strong White Flour
1 1/4 tsp Salt
1tbsp Sugar
1tsp Baking Soda
2tsp Dried Yeast
1 3/4 Cups Milk
3tbsp Butter
1 Egg
Cornmeal or Semolina

In a large bowl, mix together the wholemeal and white flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and yeast.
In a saucepan, heat the milk and butter over a medium heat until the butter has melted.
Add the milk/butter mixture to the dry ingredients with the egg, and mix until the dough comes together. If using a stand mixer, leave to mix on medium speed for a few minutes, otherwise knead the dough slightly.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and roll out to an inch thickness, and using a round cutter, cut out the muffins, re-rolling the dough as needed. Dust a baking tray with the semolina or cornmeal, and place the muffins on the baking tray. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 3/165C/325F. After the 30 minutes, have a skillet pan ready on a medium heat to cook the muffins for 4-5 minutes on each side. Then finish the muffins in the oven for 15 minutes.
muffins 2
muffins 3
Serve warm with butter and jam, and you're all set for the best breakfast ever.
Sophie x

Monday, 24 March 2014

My First Attempt at an Ombre Cake

I'm really loving the ombré trend in cakes right now. There's some sort of mystery surrounding them, don't you think? From the outside you could have a completely normal cake, but then you cut into it, and suddenly you see a slice of colour in different shades. And you're just like 'What?! Where did that come from?'
I frequently see ombré cakes all over Pinterest, and they always look so pretty. And then I saw this post, which then lead me on to this white cake recipe. I admit I've never really heard of white cake, and really it just looks like a normal vanilla cake, but I had all the ingredients to hand so I figured it was worth a try. Plus it did look like a good base for making an ombré cake.
So on I went to make my first ever ombré cake. And because sometimes I can be an actual girly girl, I thought I'd make my cake pink.
Pink Ombre Cake Pink Ombre Cake
Recipe adapted from Add a Pinch
334g Butter
3 Cups Caster Sugar
5 Eggs
3 Cups of Plain Flour
2tsp Baking Powder
1/4tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
2tsp Vanilla Extract
Food Colouring

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/350F/180C, and grease and line three 8-inch round cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, adding the sugar a cup at a time. Once fully mixed, add the eggs one at a time, making sure the eggs are fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next one.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, while in a second bowl or jug, mix together the buttermilk, milk and vanilla extract. Add the flour and milk to the butter mixture a bit at a time, mixing alternately. Gently mix all the ingredients together until all combined.
Add a third of the cake mix straight to one tin, while to the remaining two thirds add a few drops of food colouring to achieve a light shade of your chosen colour. Add half of that mixture to a second cake tin, while to the remaining cake mix add some more food colouring, until it reaches a darker shade. Pour the remaining cake mix into the third cake tin.
Bake the cakes in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until an inserted cake skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes, before transferring over to a wire rack.
When completely cool, assemble the cake, starting with the darkest shade at the bottom, and ending with the lightest at the top, adding some buttercream and jam between each layer.
Cover the cake with buttercream, and decorate with your choice of toppings (I used some freeze-dried raspberry pieces).

If you are stuck for a buttercream recipe, the same website had a pretty good recipe for vanilla buttercream here.
Pink Ombre Cake
This cake really was delicious; it had a really great moist crumb, and was just scrumptious. I have since made the cake again, but with lemon juice instead of vanilla extract, and using lemon curd between the layers, and it was even better. This is definitely a recipe to keep going back to.
Sophie x

Friday, 7 March 2014

Homemade Churros with Chocolate Sauce

So I realised one day while browsing through Pinterest, as you do, that I was 21 years old, and I've never eaten a churro. I've wanted to of course, but they've just never made themselves available to me. You can't get them in supermarkets; the local fairs sold doughnuts instead; and my mum didn't really do a lot of baking when I was a kid. So when I came across a photo of some yummy looking churros, I figured it was about time I made some for myself, and see what all the fuss is about.

Oh. My. God.

I thought I liked fried doughnuts. I now love churros.
churros 1
Who knew these little sticks of sweet cinnamon-y dough, that just melt in the mouth, would be like eating heaven. I forgot I'd even made a chocolate sauce to go with them, they were just so delicious.
churros 4
I actually found this recipe in Lorraine Pascale's 'Baking Made Easy' book, so I decided to give her recipe a go, because her book has never let me down before. However, I did find that the dough was too liquid-y when I put it into the piping bag, and it didn't really hold its shape when going into the oil pan. I ended up adding a bit more flour to see if it helped, and it did a little bit, but I'm still going to be looking out for a better churro's recipe.churros 2
Sunflower oil for frying.

60g Butter
150ml Buttermilk
120g Plain Flour
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
2 Eggs

Caster Sugar and Ground Cinnamon for coating.

Chocolate Sauce:
100g Dark Chocolate
150ml Double Cream

In a saucepan, heat the butter and buttermilk on a medium heat, until the butter has melted. Then increase the heat until the mixture is boiling. Turn off the heat and add the flour, cinnamon and salt, mixing it all together until the mixture form a soft dough and starts to form away from the sides of the pan.
Leave the dough to cool to room temperature, before adding the eggs one at a time, until the mixture is glossy and smooth.
Meanwhile, fill the oil pan with sunflower oil until the pan is a third full, and turn on the heat. You know the oil is at the right temperature when you put a cube of bread in the pan, and it takes around 45 seconds to brown.
Using a piping bag with a large star nozzle, spoon the churro dough into the piping bag. Holding the piping bag a few inches above the oil pan, pipe the dough into the pan to the desired length, and cut off with some scissors. I think you can do 2-3 strips of dough in the pan without the oil cooling too much.
Keeping an eye on the dough, fry the churros until they are a light golden brown colour on both sides, before removing with a slotted spoon. Make sure to have some kitchen paper ready on a tray to put the churros onto.
Have a plate ready with a mixture of sugar and ground cinnamon, and when the churros are cool enough to handle, roll the churros around in the sugar until completely covered.

To make the chocolate sauce, boil the double cream in a saucepan over a medium heat. When it starts to boil, turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Leave the chocolate to melt, stir together, and serve in a pot.
churros 3
Overall, it wasn't a bad first attempt, and it was enough to make me fall in love with them. So I suppose it was a bit of a success.
If anyone has a go to recipe for churros they'd like to send me, it would be most welcome :)
Sophie x

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Doughnut Muffins a.k.a. The Duffin

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So is anyone else really bad at keeping up with the latest news and trends, like I am? Seriously, if I don't go on twitter occasionally to see what's happening, I end up missing out on a lot of what's currently going on.
Example: it took me months to find out about the Starbucks Duffin. I felt like such an idiot, I'd been missing out on this yummy cake! And then when I did some research, I found out about the Duffingate scandal. I was just like 'What?! How have I missed this?' If you haven't heard of this, go look online, it was all over the newspapers back in October.
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So, because these duffins are so delicious, I obviously had to have a go at making them myself. We all know that it's cheaper to make a dozen or so muffins yourself instead of buying one from a coffee shop. And for the majority of the time they taste better too.
duffins 3 photo 5cd7a908-59d2-4802-80b7-238e3a50ec32.jpg photo 37b3d2b0-a53a-4521-a4aa-02908f147df3.jpg
Makes 6
125ml Milk
85ml Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
1/2tsp Vanilla Extract
100g Caster Sugar
200 Plain Flour
1/2tsp Baking Powder
Raspberry Jam

100g Butter, melted
150g Granulated Sugar
1tsp Ground Cinnamon (optional)

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, and grease 6 holes of a muffin tray. You can use paper cases if you want, but I wanted to cover the whole duffin in sugar, so I went without.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the milk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla extract, before adding in the sugar. Add in the flour, and mix together until it's just combined. Over mixing can make the batter a bit stiff.
Spoon a bit of batter into the muffin tray until almost a third full, add a teaspoon of your chosen jam, and then top with more cake batter until the muffin tray is almost full.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
While the cakes are cooling, melt some butter, and pour the sugar into a shallow bowl. I added some cinnamon to the sugar, but that is completely optional. Allow the melted butter to cool slightly.
When the cakes are cool enough to handle, dip into the melted butter enough to cover, and then transfer over the sugar bowl. Roll the cake around until completely covered, and leave to cool.
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These are seriously some of my favourite muffins. I love it when cakes have a crunchy topping and a soft inside. It's like a guilty pleasure for me.
Sophie x