Soured Cream Coffee Cake w/ Walnut & Oat Streusel and Smoked Maple Glaze

I used to find coffee cakes confusing. Well at least I did when I first moved to Canada. To me a “coffee cake” was exactly that- a cake with coffee IN it. Possibly a symptom of a childhood growing up heavily influenced by Mary Berry, Delia Smith and Darina Allen, a coffee cake came in one format alone – Coffee and Walnut cake. Reminiscent of weekend baking with my mother and lazy Sunday afternoon teas, it smacked of luxury and thrillingly contained that most adult of ingredients – Coffee! Or more precise that stalwart ’80s cupboard staple “Champ Coffee essence”. Thick, syrupy it was bottled black magic to a kid with a blossoming interest in baking.

Fast-forward 30 or so years and imagine my confusion reading recipes for coffee cake and wondering where the heck that smoldering caffeine hit was? Yes, yes I know- hindsight now makes me see how short-sighted and literal I was. Lateral thinking was called for. A simple mistake in my defense I’ll plead. Almost as simple as the recipe for this cake here. Soured cream gives a moist crumb hiding a streak (and topping!) of oaty, cinnamon goodness and finished with a drizzle of smokey maple sweetness. This really perfect accompaniment to your caffeine rush no matter what the tine of day. 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup soured cream
  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Streusel topping

  • 1/2 cup All Purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats

Drizzle

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked maple syrup (if you can’t get smoked maple syrup, traditional maple syrup will do just fine)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10” tube (angel food) pan
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This may take up to 10mins.
  3. While the butter and sugar cream together, make the streusel. In a bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and butter pieces. Rub the mixture together with your fingertips until a pea-sized sand texture is achieved and a crumble is formed. Mix in the toasted walnuts and set aside until needed later
  4. To the creamed butter/sugar add the eggs one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before moving onto the next
  5. When all the eggs have been mixed in, add the vanilla and soured cream and mix until just incorprated
  6. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk well the break down any lumps
  7. On low speed add the flour mixture to your wet mixture gradually, I usually do it 1/4 cup at a time, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before adding the next
  8. Continue adding the flour until it is all used and just combined into the mixture. Lightly fold using a spatula to make sure the batter is completely mixed
  9. Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan and spread/level with a knife spatula. Sprinkle on 1 cup of the streusel mixture evenly.
  10. Spoon the remainder of the batter on top and spread evenly. Finish with a final layer of the remaining streusel mixture on top
  11. Bake in preheated even for 50- 60mins, until a cake tester comes out clean
  12. Let cool on a wire rack for 30mins. After this carefully remove the cake from the baking tin, streusel-side up, and set aside to cool further
  13. While the cake cools, in a jug combine the icing sugar and maple syrup. Stir until a smooth pourable is achieved. If the mixture is still a bit stiff add a few drops of milk to make it runny. Drizzle the glaze over to top of the cake to your desired amount  and leave to fully cool before slicing and serving
  14.  This coffee cake will keep at it’s best in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Avoid storing the cake in the refrigerator as this will dry it out.

Snickers style peanut butter cookies

Well these seemed to go down pretty well when I posted about them on my social media feeds. For a while I’ve been trying out recipes looking for a good reliable peanut butter cookie, something classic and tasty that wasn’t too crispy. However- me being me I wanted to add layers of flavour. Before I knew it I had ended up with a cookie reminiscent of one of my favourite candy bars – Snickers.

A handy hint here is that dependant on the baking time a different texture of cookie will be achieved. Longer and lower for a chewier cookie. The time I give in the recipe below is for my personal preference, feel free to play around with it. If all else fails and the finished cookies are too crisp on their own you can always crumble and use as a tasty ice cream topping.

You can use either smooth or crunchy peanut butter based on your personal taste. As expected smooth peanut butter will yield a smoother cookie. I personally prefer to use the crunchy butter variety as it gives a rather nice smattering of nutty pieces through the finished cookie.

Makes 24

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy to personal taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 Caramel candies, cut into pieces
  • 4oz semi sweet chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Method

  1. Chop the chocolate in chunks. You don’t want too fine a piece- irregular and varied sizes look a lot better in the finished cookie. Set aside until needed
  2. Using a scissors, carefully cut the candy pieces into 3 or 4 pieces each and set aside until needed as well
  3. Beat the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until creamy (about 10 mins)
  4. Mix in the peanut butter, followed by the egg until fully combined
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the combined dry ingredients into the sugar/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated
  6. Fold in the chocolate chunks, the caramel pieces and peanut butter chips. Mix until thoroughly mixed through the dough (I find here it easier to fold by hand rather than using a spatula or spoon. It just depends on what you’re comfortable with)
  7. Cover the dough with cling wrap and refrigerate the dough for between 20- 30mins
  8. Preheat your oven to 325°F
  9. Using a medium cookie scoop shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Place the balls of dough about 3 inches apart on un-greased cookie sheet
  10. Bake at 325°F until light brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool in their baking sheets for a minute. After a minute, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely

*For chewier cookies, bake at 300°F for additional 5 to 10 minutes.

The baked cookies will keep for up to a week in an airtight container

Enjoy!

Brazilian bakes & candies

Think of Brazil and no doubt the usual plethora of images will spring to mind- sundrenched beaches, feather-bedecked soca dancers and copious churrascaria. What doesn’t come to mind is a wealth, and often unexplored world, of baking. From breads to cakes to sweet treats there’s no shortage of tasty culinary treats to try.

So you may be asking yourself how does a Irish native, now resident in Canada, come to be waxing lyrical on all bakes Brazilian? I recently made the acquaintance of a native Brazilian via the wonders of a social media. A mutual bond over adoption matters, cultural appreciation (makes a change to hear those two words together huh?) and adventures in food was formed, and here we are! Insight from someone who grew up in a culture always trumps even the best research you can do. There is something satisfying about knowing that this is how “it” actually is, in everyday life, rather than some interpretation of “it” from the vaults of some Lonely Planet-esque archives.

The recipes here are essentially in two parts- bakes and sweets. The Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheesebread) is definitely worth trying out. Served warm from the oven they are an ideal breakfast morsel, or even snack through the day. Freezer-friendly and gluten-free they are also a handy reserve should any gluten intolerant friends swing by. The Pudim de Queijo and Bolo de Fuba Cremoso share a common theme in that they are both prepared making use of a tall blender. Apparently this is a common feature in Brazilian baking as stand mixers are not that common. For the Pudim de Queijo think creme caramel and Catalan flan. To be honest though to hold it in comparison is to do the Pudim injustice. The addition of the cheese to the flan mixture rescues it from the overpowering (and somewhat cloying) sweetness to which it’s European counterparts often fall prey. Cheese also a feature in the recipe for Bolo de Fuba Cremoso. When baked the combination of cheese, cornmeal and coconut result in veritable kitchen alchemy that allows for a crispy topping, smooth interlayer and deliciously crumbly base. Believe me, once you try a slice of this alongside a strong coffee, breakfast will never be the same again!

The Dochinos de Leite Moca here are all variations on a theme of Brazilian candies. Made using boiled sweetened condensed milk they are sure to prove popular not only with the little ones in your life but all the grown-ups. The final sweets will usually keep for a week in a container in the refrigerator. These dainty mouthfuls of scrumptuous sweetness look  (and taste) like they required hours of kitchen toil instead of the mere minutes needed in reality. The longest part is the cooling time! I cannot emphasis how much these candies are worth the minimal effort.


Pao de Queijo (8)

Pao de queijo

Makes approximately 40

Ingredients

  • 500g cassava starch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 400g grated cheese (150g Gruyère; 150g mozzarella; 100g sharp red cheddar such as Red Leicester)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line 2 cookie baking trays with baking parchment
  2. In a bowl mix the Gruyère and mozzarella cheeses, Set aside until needed
  3. Combine the water & oil in a pan and bring to boil over heat
  4. Place cassava starch in a bowl of a stand mixer
  5. With the mixer running, carefully pour over boiling liquid in stages and mix to combine
  6. Leave to cool, until you can touch the side of the bowl
  7. With the mixer running, add in eggs one at a time
  8. Add in the Gruyère/ mozzarella cheese mix in thirds and mix until combine.
  9. Remove the dough from the bowl and fold/lightly knead in the sharp cheddar.
  10. Roll dough into 3cm wide sausage shape
  11. Cut into smaller 1 inch pieces and roll into balls using wet hands
  12. Place the dough balls on lined baking trays, spacing about 2 inches between
  13. Bake at 400F for 20mins until puffed and lightly golden

– The baked rolls/ puffs are best eaten straight away, after cooling slightly.

*Once the dough had been shaped into balls, they can be frozen in a bag or under cling wrap and baked from frozen. Bake in a 400F preheated oven for 30 mins until puffed and lightly golden

Pao de Queijo (1)


Pudim de Queijo (3)

Pudim de queijo

Makes 1, serves 12

Ingredients

Caramel

  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Pudding

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can whole  milk (use the same can as sweetened condensed milk to measure)
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a pan over a medium heat combine the water and fine sugar.
  3. Increase heat and bring to the boil, without stirring, for about 10mins. The liquid should thicken and turn a deep amber color
  4. When the liquid has turned deep amber, remove from heat and pour into an 8inch circular baking pan
  5. In a blender mix the condescended milk and milk for 2 mins
  6. Add in eggs and mix to blend again for 2 mins
  7. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix for a further 2 mins
  8. Pour into prepared caramel pan and place the filled baking pan in deep roasting tray large enough to take the pan
  9. Cover the filled pan with aluminium foil, and fill the roasting tray with water to at least 3/4 level with the pan
  10. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 50 mins
  11. After the aluminium foil from the pan and continue to bake for a further 10 mins
  12. Remove the baked pudding from the oven and the roasting tray. Leave to completely
  13. Turn the cooked pudding out by placing a large plate on top of the pudding and quickly inverting. It may requirement a gentle shake for it to come out
  14. Keep the turned out pudding refrigerated until serving

Pudim de Queijo (6)


Bolo de Fuma Cremoso (3)

Bolo de fubá cremoso

Makes 1 , serves 12

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups fine sugar
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. In a large bowl add the fine sugar, cornmeal, flour, shredded coconut and mix to combine
  3. In a large blender combine the eggs, milk, melted butter, and baking powder, Parmesan cheese and mix until well combined
  4. Pour the liquid mixture in to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir/whisk gently to combine well
  5. Pour to cake batter (which will be quite running into a 9inch spring-form cake pan
  6. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 mins until the top of the cake is golden brown and the sides pull away from the pan
  7. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely in the pan before removing the pan collar
  8. This cake goes particularly well with a strong, early morning coffee

Bolo de Fuma Cremoso (1)


Dochinos (2)

Dochinos de Leite Moca

Each recipe makes between 15-20

This little sweet bites were traditionally served at children’s parties, are astoundingly easy to make and even better to eat!

Brigadeiro

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 egg yolk

To finish

  • A selection of chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles to finish

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a round ball shape in your hands
  4. Roll the ball of mixture in sprinkles of your choice to coat and place on a lined baking sheet
  5. When all the brigadeiro have been rolled transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

 

Beijinho

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 1egg yolk

To finish

  • 100g unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Whole cloves (optional)

Method

  1. Combine the milk and egg yolk in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a round ball shape in your hands
  4. Roll the ball of mixture in the shredded coconut to coat and place on a lined baking sheet. Stud each beijinho with a whole clove
  5. When all the beijinho have been rolled, transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

 

Cajuzinho

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 30g unsweetened shredded coconut

To finish

  • Fine sugar
  • Roasted peanut halves

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a “horn” shape in your hands
  4. Roll the cajuzinho in fine sugar  to coat, stud the larger end with a peanut half and place on a lined baking sheet
  5. When all the cajuzinho have been rolled,  transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

Dochinos (5)

 

More ways with Mustard

These recipes began life as part of quest to use locally produced goods in my recipes whilst at the same time peddling for some coverage (I am a “struggling artist” after all!) Using unexpected ingredients in unexpected places is something that I love doing- creating a talking piece as well as something delicious. The recipes here take mustard, an ingredient traditionally confined to the realms of condiment and served in unadulterated accompaniment with (mainly) savoury dishes and use it an ingredient in ways elevated beyond that of a cold cuts sidekick.

From the outset I wanted to include a “sweet” dish or bake in this bunch of recipes. The turnovers drew inspiration from that quintessential combination of pork, apple and mustard. What would happen if I removed the pork element of the dish? A juicy fruit pocket with a comforting earthy taste and slight sweetness. Lightly warm them and you have a great coffee break treat.

My cheese, herb & mustard biscuit recipe is my take on that stalwart recipe of any Canadian baker- the savoury biscuit. The flavour of the mustard adds a depth of flavour so that it’s like sampling the most perfect cheeseboard in each bite. By sheer coincidence (and luck?) they go very well with the last recipe for Dutch Mustard Soup.

This soup is based on a traditional soup from the Netherlands that I came across in the course of researching uses for mustard as an ingredient. Don’t be put off by the name. It is no way pungent or strong flavoured like you might imagine. The dairy elements of the soup give it a mildness and creaminess that help to highlight the mustard seeds flavours, without letting it take over.

Apple & Cranberry Turnover (2)

Apple & Cranberry Turnovers

Makes 8

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups chopped Granny Smith apple (peeled) (2-3 apples)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Maple flavor mustard (I used Kozliks Amazing Maple)
  • 1 lb puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg white
  • sugar for sprinkling

Apple & Cranberry Turnover (1)

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Once melted add apples, sugars and mustard. Fry until apples are softened and other ingredients start to thicken. Remove from heat and cool
  2. Line two baking trays with baking parchment
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  4. Make an egg wash with one large egg white and 1 tablespoon of water by whisking them together
  5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one sheet of puff pastry into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into four equal rectangles measuring 5 x 6 -inches each. Place 2-3 Tablespoons of cooled apple filling on one side of the rectangle and brush edges with egg wash. Fold the dough over the filling to make a 5 x 3-inch rectangle. Press to seal the edges and using a fork to crimp and seal the edges. Use a sharp knife to cut a few slits in the top of each hand pie for ventilation
  6. Repeat with the second sheet pf pasty
  7. Brush pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar
  8. Place 4 turnovers on each baking tray
  9. Bake for 15 before rotating trays and swapping shelves minutes. Bake for a further  or  minutes until golden brown and puffed up
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 20 mins before trying

Apple & Cranberry Turnover (3)


Cheese & Mustard Biscuits (1)

Cheese, Herb & Mustard Biscuits

Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cubed
  • 1 cup strong cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons mustard (I used Kozliks Balsamic Fig & Date)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

Method

  1. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C)
  2. In bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until in coarse crumbs
  3. In a separate jug whisk together the buttermilk, egg and mustard
  4. Stir into flour mixture with fork to make soft doughWith lightly floured hands, press dough into ball. On lightly floured surface, knead gently to a maximum of 10 times
  5. Pat into 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick round. Using floured 2-1/2-inch (6 cm) round cutter, cut into rounds
  6. Place on lined baking tray and bake in oven until golden, 12 to 15 minutes
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack

Cheese & Mustard Biscuits (2)


Soup & Biscuits (3)

Dutch Mustard Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces streaky bacon, chopped
  • 2 TB unsalted butter
  • 2 TB all-purpose flour
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 TB coarse grain mustard (I used Kozliks Triple Crunch)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

Dutch Mustard Soup (1)

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, and cook until the fat is rendered and the pieces are crispy. Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside, and drain pan of all bacon grease
  2. In the same pan, add the butter and the onion. Melt the butter butter and saute the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and coat the onions, stirring until the flour is a cooked, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and mustard, and bring to a boil
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and, using a stick blender, puree until smooth. Add the cream and the cheese and stir constantly until the cheese is melted and well incorporated
  4. Top with a sprinkling of the bacon, and serve

Soup & Biscuits (2)


I’d like to state that although these recipes use Kozliks Canadian Mustard, this post was in no way paid for or sponsored by the people at Kozliks.

If you are interested in collaborating with me at Mr. Mom’s on a project, whether it’s food, baking, photography or writing,  you can contact me at chef@mrmoms.kitchen

Tidings of Comfort & Joy

And here we are our second Holiday season in Toronto, Canada. Thankfully this one is a LOT less hectic than last years’ where it wasn’t so much Rudolph & Co. dashing around as it was me, trying to get unpacked and set up in our new home. As you could imagine not much time was left for baking the traditional festive wares, never mind experimenting and trying out new recipes!

This year however I’ve allowed myself the pleasure of being ahead of the game. A slew of expected visitors may have something to do with that. As crazy as it sounds having the tree trimmed and house decorated in November DOES free you up to do so much more. Or at least plan it!

The last Christmas spent in the UK, I created some food gift hampers to gift to friends and included some of my favourite festive foods. “Twinkling” caramel sauce (subtly spiked with rum); Crunchy spiced cookies; Christmas cake (with the emphasis more on chocolate than fruit) to name a few. This got me thinking as to what I would gift this year if given the opportunity. The first three recipes here would make ideal food gifts for those nearest and dearest to you.

Biscotti make such a great alternative to the stalwart festive cookie. Enjoy their crunchy texture studded with roasted hazelnut and cranberries with a hot cup of coffee while you put your feet up, taking a break from the looming festive onslaught. Stollen has always been my preference to the traditional Christmas fruit cake- maybe the inclusion of sublime marizpan has something to do with it? Here I’ve omitted the usual mixed peel in favour of apricots and cranberries- for no reason other than I personally hate the stuff. I find it too bitty and chewy for my liking. Fudge has always been a favourite of mine. Smooth, creamy and sweet it never fails to warm me. Bringing my ever present twist to things I’ve added some liquid smoke to lend a subtle smokiness which works so well with  the maple flavour of the fudge. Finishing it off with a gentle sprinkling of Kosher salt gives it a lip-licking quality that sings of pure indulgence. Not to mention making the finished treat visually reminiscent of the coats of baby deer in winter snow.

The fourth recipe I’ve included is not so much a food gift for other people but rather for yourself. I  know too well how frenzied and manic Christmas morning can be so I wanted to make something that might help alleviate some of the culinary pressure of that time. Preparing them the evening before is a massive shortcut that helps no end on the big day. Packed full of filling and flavours of cinnamon, apples, cranberries and pecans  they’re an extra special treat that’s sure to get the day off to a wonderful start.

I do hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have, both creating and tasting them, and I’d like to wish you and yours a wonderful, peaceful  holiday season and happy new year. (Wow! never thought I’d be writing that so soon!)

Biscotti (3)

 

Hazelnut & Cranberry Chocolate Biscotti

Makes 20-24

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cups of hazelnuts (filbert) , toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • All-purpose flour for dusting

Method

  1. Heat your oven to 150°C/300F
  2. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and dust lightly with flour
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with balloon whisk attachment,  beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and doubled in size.
  4. Fold in the vanilla and almond extracts
  5. Sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder
  6. Add in the nuts and fruits and fold thoroughly until the mixture comes together a dough
  7. Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and lightly roll out into a log shape. Divide the log into two, halfway along it’s length
  8. Place the logs on the lined baking sheet and with your hands lightly flatten logs to approximately 40mm wide x 20mm high
  9. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes or until firm
  10. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. After this time cut the logs into slices (10-15mm thick) and  lay  them flat on a baking sheet (with cut-side uppermost) and bake again for 10-15 minutes or until crisp
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack
  12. These can be kept for up to a week in an air-tight container

 

Biscotti (6)


Stollen (4)

Alternative Stollen

Makes 1

  • 4 cups white bread flour
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fast action yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 almond extract
  • 2/3 cups almonds nibs
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lemon zest
  • 8 oz marzipan

To finish

  • 1/4 stick butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp icing (confectioners’)  sugar

Method

  1. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and lightly dust with bread flour. Set aside until needed
  2. Put the flour and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and stir to combine. Add the yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt on the other
  3. In a pan combine the milk, butter, lemon zest, orange zest and heat gently until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool and infuse. Stir occasionally to prevent the zests clumping
  4. With the dough hook attached and on a medium speed, add the cooled milk/ butter liquid in a steady stream. Leave the machine to knead for 6 minutes until smooth and pliable
  5. Whilst the dough is kneading, mix the nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and almond extracts, dried fruits and almond nibs together in a bowl
  6. Remove the dough from the stand mixer bowl and place the dough on top of the fruit mixture and knead from the outside into the centre. When everything has been fully incorporated, return to the bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for 1-1 ½  hours in a warm place, until doubled in size
  7. Flatten the dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 45cm x 35cm. Shape the marzipan to about 25 x 15cm and place on top of the dough. Wrap the dough so it encloses the marzipan and place the full loaf on your prepared baking sheet, with the joining seam at the underside. Cover and leave to rise for 45mins – 1 hour until risen and doubled in size
  8. Preheat the oven to 190C /375F and bake for 40mins. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Brush the baked loaf liberally with melted butter, and dust with icing sugar. Leave to cool completely before serving
  9. This will keep for up to a week, wrapped and stored in an airtight container

 

 

Stollen (2)


Fudge (4)

Salted Smoky Maple Pecan Fudge

Makes 36 pieces

  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 3 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, chopped
  • 1 cup icing (confectioners’) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure Maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves, roasted and roughly chopped
  • Kosher Salt, to taste

Method

  1. Line and butter an 8-inch square baking pan or silicone pan with baking parchment, allowing the parchment to extend over sides of pan
  2. Mix the evaporated milk, brown sugar and butter in large saucepan. Bring to boil on medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 236°F on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage). (Be patient- this will take about 30 minutes. Also DO NOT leave it unattended!)
  3. Remove from heat and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer. (Careful! The sides of the bowl will become VERY hot)
  4. Add the icing sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract and liquid smoke and beat together with on low speed. Increase speed to medium; beat until thickened and smooth.
  5. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the chopped pecans. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle the top of the fudge with kosher salt to your taste. (I usually use 2 good pinches, evenly sprinkled)
  6. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Use baking parchment to lift out of pan onto cutting board.
  7. Cut into 36 squares and enjoy!
  8. If stored at room temperature this will keep for up to a week in an air-tight container, if stored in the fridge it will  last for up to two

Fudge (1)


Cinnamon Rolls (5)

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Buns

Makes 12

For the dough

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, plus extra for greasing pan
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lemon zest
  • 4 cups white bread flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon fast-action yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup fried cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup apple butter

For the glaze

  • 2 cups icing (confectioners’) sugar
  • 1/4 cup eggnog

Method

  1. Put the milk, butter, cinnamon, orange zest and lemon zest in a small saucepan and heat very gently over the lowest available heat until the butter has melted. Set aside and leave it to cool to a lukewarm temperature
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour and sugar. On one side of the bowl add the yeast, and on the opposite side add the salt
  3. Into the flour bowl add the cooled milk/butter mix and the beaten egg.
  4. With the dough hook attachment, knead this on medium for 8 minutes. It should become smooth, pliable and come together in a ball
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, large bowl and cover tightly with lightly oiled cling film. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 1- 1 1/2hrs
  6. Grease with butter a 23cm x 33cm high sided baking tin and set aside until needed
  7. Prepare the filling by mixing together the brown sugar, cinnamon and softened butter in a bowl. Beat until well combined. Set aside until needed
  8. When your dough has risen, tip it out into a lightly oiled surface and roll out to 40x50cm
  9. To fill , spread the cinnamon butter (as evenly as you can) over the surface of the dough. Next spread the apple butter in an even layer. After this sprinkle on the dried cranberries. Once this is done, finally sprinkle on the chopped pecans
  10. Starting at the long edge, roll the dough into a tight log shape
  11. Trim the ends off the roll and then cut into 12 even pieces*
  12. Arrange the rolls in a 3×4 formation (cut side up) in your prepared baking tin. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and pop into the fridge. Leave to slow-proof overnight
  13. On the morning of baking, remove the tray of risen cinnamon rolls from the fridge 30 minutes prior to baking
  14. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F
  15. Bake the rested rolls in the oven for 30 mins. If the edges start to brown too soon, lightly cover the pan with foil
  16. When baked, remove the rolls from the oven and set aside to cool while you prepare the glaze
  17. To prepare the eggnog glaze, combine the icing sugar and eggnog in a bowl or jug. Whisk until well combined and smooth
  18. Drizzle the glaze over the still-warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy

A word of warning- these are very sticky and moreish…unwrapping gifts at the same time is not recommended!

*To cut the cinnamon rolls I use a length of either dental floss or fish-line. Loop it around the dough log where you want to make the cut, pull in opposite directions and there! You have a perfectly cut cinnamon roll ready for baking. Failing this of course, feel free to use a knife!

Cinnamon Rolls (2)


Mother Pic

This post is dedicated to my mother, Anne, who passed away earlier this year. The lady who inspired a thousand cupcakes and so much more.

“But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begins”

Mitch Albom