#Recipe #Pumpkin Patch Cookies

Following up on my previous post with three delicious ways to use this season’s favourite, the pumpkin, here a couple of other recipes in the form of the humble “cookie”. Snickerdoodles are everyone’s favourite. The addition of pumpkin elevates them to another level of seasonal Fall goodness.  Autumn in a cookie! With the oatmeal cookies you a a much more rustic baked treat. These are a handful (literally!) and you’ll be all the better for it! The combination of soft-baked oats, pumpkin and Autumnal spices just begs for a tall glass of milk!

The recipes are ideal for baking with the little ones, however as always leave the oven work to the grown-ups. Get them rolling, scooping, drizzling and in no time at all you’ll have some very happy little tummies.

I hope you have fun baking and wish you and your families a very happy Halloween full of spooky, fun-filled goodness!

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Cookie Dough

Makes 36

  • 3 1/4 cups All-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (make sure it’s 100%)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Sugar Crust Coating

  • 1/4 cup fine (caster) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  • In a bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and mixed spice. Mix until well combined
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment), cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl
  • Mix in egg yolk, followed by pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.
  • On a low speed,  add in dry ingredients (I usually do it a couple of heaped tablespoons at a time) then mix until combined.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap in cling warp and chill in the refrigerator for 30- 60 minutes
  • After the chilling time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie baking sheets with baking parchment
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  • Scoop dough out 2 tablespoons at a time and shape into a ball
  • Roll the dough ball in cinnamon sugar mixture to evenly coat then transfer to prepared cookie sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart.
  • Bake in preheated oven 14-16 minutes
  • Remove and leave cool on baking sheet about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

For the cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup Quick Oats
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 sticks  unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups pumpkin purée (make sure it’s 100%)

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons Ice-wine syrup (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie baking sheets with baking parchment paper
  2. In a bowl combine the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg and mix until well combined
  3. Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until lightened in color and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl
  4. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium until incorporated
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour/oats mixture and mix until incorporated. Add half of the pumpkin puree and mix until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour/oats mixture and pumpkin puree
  6. Using a 1/4 cup, drop scoops per baking sheet (approximately 6-8) spacing them 2 inches apart on the prepared sheets. Reserve the remaining dough until needed
  7. Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back and continue baking until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and around the edges, about 12 minutes more
  8. When baked remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Using a flat spatula, transfer the cookies to the wire racks to cool completely.
  9. Repeat with the remaining dough (you can use the same parchment paper). Leave all the cookies to cool completely before glazing

 

For the glaze:

  1. Place all of the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth
  2. Place all of the cooled cookies on the baking parchment. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies in a pattern of your liking
  3. Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the glaze has set, about 20 minutes
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#Recipe #Pumpkin Three-ways

Let’s get one thing outta the way. I kinda love October…in a BIG way! New food becomes seasonal, leaves turn amazing colours and  the temperatures become a little bit more bearable. Oh and there’s Halloween! If you’re a Halloween-hater or nay-sayer then I’m afraid we can’t be friends. It just ain’t gonna happen. It’s become my family’s steadfast tradition at this point – December belongs to reindeer, candy canes and Father Christmas; October is ghosts, vampires and all things nocturnally unspeakable! The Season of The Witch reduces me to giddy school-kid levels of excitement and anticipation. The opening staccato of John Carpenter’s Halloween theme giving me bats in my tummy (you see what I did there?) In the space of a couple of days I’ll transform our house from a 2.4 family dwelling in to a suburban Gothic haven.

However enough about that- you’d didn’t come here to read of my penchant for ghouls, ghosts and creatures of the night. It’s impossible for me to think of October and Halloween without thinking of pumpkin. Image can be a powerful thing and as soon as the calendar turns to October 1st, scenes of those orange orbs of rustic goodness flood my brain- pumpkin patches; Jack O’Lanterns; pumpkin pies. So it only seems fitting to present to you some recipes as an homage to the humble Cucurbita Pepo. As always I try to give you something a little different not so much in the Pumpkin Pie variety of recipes! All of these recipes use canned pumpkin. I have enough labour what with all the carving and excavating of pumpkins for Jack O’Lanterns  so I try to avoid it in other areas. When using canned pumpkin be sure to use those which are 100% pure pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin Madeleines (2)

Brown Butter & Tonka Bean Pumpkin Madeleines with

Chai Caramel Dipping Sauce

Madeleines
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon mixed spice
  • 1 Tonka bean, grated
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/4 cups cooking cream (35%)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chai spice mixture

Pumpkin Madeleines (1)

To make the madeleines

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 12-shell madeleine pans with baking spray or cake release. (Or brush with melted butter and coat with flour, tapping out the excess flour)
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is a brown color, It will now start to have a “nutty” smell. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool (You’ll notice small brown/black particles. Don’t worry these are all part of brown butter!)
  3. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, mixed spice and tonka bean. Mix to combine and set aside until needed.
  4. In a stand mixer bowl add the eggs and sugar and with the whisk attachment mix on medium-high until the mixture is light in color, thick, and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and mix on slow until combined.
  5. After removing the bowl from the mixer, fold in the flour mixture gently by hand. Once the flour is completely added, gently pour in the cooled melted butter and fold it into the mixture until completely incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure no pockets of unmixed ingredients
  6. Pour the madeleine batter into a large piping bag (fitted with plain circular nozzle, or snip the end of the bag off)
  7. Fill the prepared trays with batter in each mould to 3/4 depth
  8. Bake the madeleines for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and golden
  9. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack

*Keep in an airtight container for up to for 2-3 days. The madeleines can also be frozen for up to 2 months and then reheated in the microwave or in a 350F oven before serving.

To make the dipping caramel

  1. In a heavy-based saucepan combine the brown sugar and water. Heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase the heat and allow the sugar mixture to deepen in color, approximately 240F (Soft Crack on sugar thermometer)

*excercise care in these next few steps!

  1. Remove the saucepan with the melted sugar from the heat and add in the salted butter. Whisk briskly and carefully so that it melts and becomes incorporated into the sugar mixture. It may hiss and spit so please take care!
  2. Next add the cream in a steady stream and stir to fully incorporate. Again take care at this point.
  3. Stir in the chai spice mixture
  4. Pour into the small ramekins or mini-milk bottles to serve with the pumpkin madeleines

*The final caramel sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator. I find it’s best if removed from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving to allow it the return to full “saucy goodness”. If you prefer it warmed, heat in a microwavable container in 10-15 second bursts until it at desired temperature

IMG_0035


Pumpkin Bread (1)

Cinnamon Cheesecake stuffed Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf

Pumpkin Loaf
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground gloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups (caster) sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Cinnamon Cheesecake Filling
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup (caster) sugar
  • 4oz Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Pumpkin Bread (2)

To make the cheesecake filling

  1. In a bowl beat together the filling ingredients until fully combined and smooth
  2. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside until needed

To make the pumpkin loaf

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F.
  2. Prepare two 1lb loaf tines with cake release or grease with butter
  3. In a bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices
  4. In a stand mixer combine the sugar, butter and eggs and mix for at least 10 mins
  5. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix on slow until just combined
  6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the flour mixture by heaped tablespoon at a time. Keep  the mixer going until just combined – make sure there are no white flour pockets. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at regular intervals
  7. Remove the bowl and fold in the chocolate chips
  8. Pour the mixture equally between the two prepared tins to 1/2 level
  9. Pipe a stripe of cheesecake mixture from the piping bag into each tine. Ensure that the cheesecake mixture doesn’t touch the sides of the loaf tin
  10. Once all the cheesecake mixture has been used, use the remaining pumpkin batter to fill up the loaf tins. Level the tops of the mixture
  11. Bake in the oven for 60-70mins until a skewer comes out clean
  12. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the tins until fully cooled. When cool wrap in clingfilm until needed

*These loaves get better over time- after a couple of days wrapped they develop a fudgy, sticky texture.

Pumpkin Bread (6)


Pumpkin Cookies (3)

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons ice-wine syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Pumpkin Cookies (4)

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside until needed
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 10 mins)
  3. Add the egg, vanilla, ice-wine syrup, pumpkin puree and continue to mix until well combined
  4. Add the flour mixture a heaped tablespoon at a time until well combined, with your mixer set to low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Remove the fully mixed cookie dough from the bowl, divide into two and wrap in cling-wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours or preferably overnight
  6. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F, line two cookie trays with baking parchment, and dust a work surface with confectioners (icing) sugar)
  7. Remove one of the batches of dough from the fridge and on the dusted work surface, roll to a thickness of 4-6mm. Cut out shapes using dusted cutter cutters. Lift the cookies with a spatula or palette knife and place on the lined cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking. I find it works best baking them a tray at a time, so that whilst one tray is in the oven you can cut and place the cookies for the second tray
  9. When baked remove the tray from the oven and let cool for 1 or 2 minutes before again using a spatula or palette knife transfer the baked cookies to racks to cool. Be aware that the baked cookies will be soft but they will firm up upon cooling

*The cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.

Pumpkin Cookies (2)

There you have it- three wonderfully, tasty ways to use the season’s stalwart staple…and not a pumpkin spice latte in sight. Enjoy!

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thankgiving and a sookily fun and safe Halloween from here in The Kitchen.

#Recipe #ChocolateChip Day

A food lover’s calendar is choc-full (pardon the pun!) of days on which to celebrate, indulge and extol the virtues of food stuffs galore. In fact I’m pretty certain that if you research hard enough you’ll find that every single day is bequeath to some food or ingredient somewhere in the world. Not that I’m complaining! On that note, May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Day here in North American waters. And without further ado I present not one but TWO culinary efforts in homage to that humble morsel of cocoa goodness.

My “Triple Chocolate Peppermint Cookies” are chocolate, chocolate, chocolate lovers dream! Crumbly mint chocolate cookie studded with chocolate chips, enrobed in a smooth, dark chocolate case. Absolute perfection with a glass of ice-cold milk. Girl scouts eat your hearts out!

The second cookie that we have, “Choc Chip Short Oat Cookies” are a wonderful hybrid between buttery, crumbly shortbread and a classic oatmeal cookie. Easy to bake they’re also a handy one to have ready should you be looking for an afternoon activity with little hands.

Triple Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Peppermint Cookies 1

Ingredients (makes apx 50)
Chocolate Cookies:

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet

Chocolate Peppermint Coating:

16oz chocolate, semi-sweet, broken into pieces

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Method:
Making the cookies:
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar until well combined (apx 10 mins) Add the vanilla extract, peppermint extract, salt, and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is well combined and there are no pockets of cocoa dust
  • Add the flour and mix until you have crumbly dough
  • Gather the dough into a ball, and knead it together on a counter for about 3-5 mins It should become somewhat smoother. (Don’t worry if it’s still a little crumbly)
  • Divide the dough in 2, flatten into disks, and wrap in cling wrap. Chill in a refrigerator for 15-20 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line two baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment
  • Roll dough out to a thickness of 6mm. I used a rolling-pin with guides to get a consistent thickness. A trick I found that works really well is to roll the dough out between two sheets of baking parchment. Not only are the cookies easier to lift, it also saves on counter top mess and cleaning up!
  • Cut out cookies (I use a 2 “ cutter) and place, spaced apart, on the pre-lined baking sheets
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the trays for 3-5 mins. Then careful remove to wire racks and allow to cool completely
  • When your cookies have cooled completely prepare your chocolate coating

Peppermint Cookies

Making the coating:
  • In a bowl set over hot water in a pan, slowly melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally
  • Add in the peppermint extract and stir to combine. It may look like it’s caused the chocolate to separate and become grainy but fear not! Keep stirring and it’ll come right in the end.
Finishing the cookies:
  • With a fork in each hand, gently drop the cookies one at a time into the chocolate coating
  • Using the forks, flip to coat all sides. Lift the cookie out of the chocolate with one of the forks and allow any excess chocolate to drip off the cookie back into the bowl
  • Place the freshly coated cookie on a parchment lined counter, and repeat
  • Allow the cookies to cool at room temperature until ready. They’ll be ready in a couple of hours but I find it best to leave them overnight. They can be stored in an airtight tin for 3-5 days. (Use baking parchment to separate the layers and prevent sticking)

Peppermint Cookies 3

*When dipping the baked cookies you’ll get to a point where it becomes too awkward to flip and properly coat the cookies in the melted chocolate. I transfer the remaining chocolate to a piping bag and drizzle it over the remaining cookies.

Peppermint Cookies 4

Choc Chip Short Oat Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients (makes apx 48)

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups cake flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup quick-cooking oats

12oz chocolate chips, semi-sweet

Method
  • Heat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment
  • In large bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and powdered sugar until light, fluffy and well combined
  • Add in the flour, baking soda, vanilla and oats., and mix until well combined
  • Stir in chocolate chips
  • On pre-lined baking sheets, drop dough by teaspoonfuls. Space them apx 2 inches apart
  • Bake in the preheated oven for between 11 to 13 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays for 5 mins
  • After 5 minutes carefully transfer the baked cookies to wire racks and allow to cool completely
  • Enjoy!

#Recipe Baking with kids…not literally!

Montage

We’ve now been resident here in Toronto for 5 months and things have pretty much settled. My husband has found his pace with his job, our kids have made a smooth transition to a new school, heck we even seemed to have navigated the whole “Daylight saving hours” thing without too much trouble. The only fly in the ointment is me trying to start Mr. Mom’s from scratch again. Whilst a brand new audience awaits from my take on baked goods, it also means a whole bunch of people who no NOTHING about you. And that’s an uphill climb! (If you do happen to work in the foodie sector and would like a food writer, or baker to work with  please do check out my Collaborations page here.)

Anyhoo I digress! As I mentioned above, our kids have (surprisingly) takenthe move to a new country in their stride with little or no tears and tantrums. This week had them on their “March Break” from school- seems to be the equivalent to a UK mid-term break. As well as taking them to the obligatory art galleries and museums (I don’t know who enjoyed it more!) I decided to introduce them to the world of baking. Now I’m not talking anything major- they’re not quiet ready for the cook’s torch or bain maire yet! However you’d be amazed how some simple stirring, cutting, and participation can ignite eagerness.

Here are some of the recipes that took place in Mr. Mom’s kitchen this week. Whilst they range from the sweet to the savory, they are all big on fun, flavour and involvement from little flour-caked hands. I’ve  also included some tips on getting kids involved in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not including this because I consider myself some kind of childcare expert and these are rules by which you should abide. They’re simply meant from the point of my being a dad who wanted to get his children involved in baking and these ways worked for me. I’ve left where to get your kids involved to your discretion as you know them best after all.

Some tips/tricks:

  • Put on some music. Not loud enough that you have to shout over it but loud enough for background. It helps to have something to pass lengthy tasks like kneading or blending. Also think sing-along or random exclamations of “Knead to the beat!”
  • Get the children to find and fetch the ingredients. Framed as a “Baking Treasure Hunt” I’ve seen it help reading skills and memory.
  • Weighing is a surprisingly enticing activity which always draws willing volunteers.  If they overshoot the mark when pouring, it’s no biggie (despite their possible panic!)

So now on to the fun stuff- the recipes! These are a selection of what ended up on the cooling rack…

No Bake Chocolate Cookies

Pumpkin Bread

Sugar Cookies

Simple White Loaf ( and how this can be used to make Pizza)

 

Mud Puddles (aka No Bake Chocolate Cookies)

pic 4

 

Ingredients

200g caster sugar

125ml semi-skimmed milk

115g salted butter

4 tablespoons cocoa, unsweetened

1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

120g gram crunchy peanut butter

225g Jumbo Oats

225g Quick Oats

Method
  • Line baking sheets with baking parchment
  • Bring the sugar, milk, butter and cocoa to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then keep on a rolling boil for 1 minute
  • Remove from the heat. Add the oats, peanut butter, vanilla and salt, and stir to combine
  • Drop spaced tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet
  • Leave to cool at room temperature for min 1 hour. After this they’ve set enough tp pick up and eat. I find they usually taste better and are easier to handle the next day
  • These can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days

 

Pumpkin Bread

pic 3

Ingredients

250g all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

400g caster sugar

170g unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

1 can (425g)  pumpkin (make sure it’s 100% pumpkin puree)

pic 2

Method
  • Preheat your oven to 160c or 325F.
  • Prepare two 1lb loaf tines with cake release or grease with butter
  • In a bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices
  • In a stand mixer combine the sugar, butter and eggs and mix for at least 10 mins
  • Add in the pumpkin puree and mix on slow until just combined
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the flour mixture by heaped tablespoon at a time. Keep  the mixer going until just combined – make sure there are no white flour pockets
  • Remove the bowl, pour the mixture equally between the prepared tins and level the top
  • Bake in the oven for 60-70mins until a skewer comes out clean
  • Remove from the oven, remove from tins and leave to cool on a wire rack. When cool wrap in clingfilm until needed.
  • These loaves get better over time. After a couple of days wrapped they develop a fudgy, sticky texture which goes really with the warming spicy flavor (similar to McVities Jamaican Ginger Cake for those of you who know it?)

 

Sugar Cookies

pic 5

Ingredients

350g unsalted butter, softened

400g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

620g all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Icing sugar for dusting and rolling

 

 

Method
  • Preheat oven to 200C or 400F
  • Line cookie sheets with baking parchment
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl
  • In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth (mix for at least 10 mins)
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time,and vanilla
  • With the mixer on a slow speed, stir in the flour mixture one heaped tablespoon at a time until well combined and a dough formed
  • Tip the dough onto clingfilm and wrap tightly
  • Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight)
  • Dust a surface with icing sugar, sprinkle the dough with icing sugar and roll out the dough to a thickness of apx 5mm (*use icing sugar to prevent sticking to surface and rolling-pin)
  • Cut out shapes using cookie cutters and transfer to prepared baking sheets
  • Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 mins
  • Remove and use a wide spatula or palette knife to transfer the soft cookies to wire rack to cool. They’ll firm up upon further cooling.

* I made 50/50 blend of vanilla and chocolate sugar cookie by removing half the dough when refrigerating it and leaving half in the bowl. To this I added 50g unsweetened cocoa powder and 100g unsweetened chocolate chips. Mix until well combined then refrigerate and make as per the rest of the recipe.

 

Simple White Loaf

pic 12

Ingredients

500g Bread flour

12g fast action yeast

10g salt

40ml light olive oil

320ml warm water

pic 10

Method
  • In a bowl combine the flour, yeast (to one side) and salt (to opposite side)
  • In bowl combine olive oil and water
  • Pour the water/oil mixture into the flour bowl in a steady stream
  • With your hand in a “Claw” shape mix from outside of the bowl towards to centre. Continue until all the mixture comes together into a dough ball and the bowl sides are clean
  • Lightly oil a surface with olive oil and tip out the dough onto it
  • Knead the dough for 10 mins until it becomes smooth and elastic
  • Transfer the kneaded dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with some lightly oiled cling film. Leave to rise until doubled in size
  • Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and dust with bread flour
  • Again lightly oil a surface and tip out the risen dough
  • Punch and knead the dough, for about 5 mins, until all the air has been expelled from it (called “Knocking Back”)
  • Shape with your hands into a long oval shape and transfer to the prepared baking sheet
  • Cover loosely with some damp kitchen paper or oiled cling film and leave for 40-60 mins until risen
  • Preheat your oven to 225c or 435F
  • Once the dough has risen, lightly spray with water, slash the top of the loaf, dust with all-purpose flour and place it in the preheated oven. After doing this place a dish filled with 1 pint of water in the bottom of the oven (this creates a crust)
  • Bake for 25mins, at which point reduce the temperature to 200c or 390F and continue to bake for a further 15-20mins
  • Remove the loaf from the oven (careful of the steam!) and leave to cool

Pizza adaptation

I’ve also used this recipe to make pizzas which the kids absolutely go crazy for. I’m not sure that it’s as much for the taste of it as it is for the whole “I’ve made this!” boost to their confidence. To use this for pizza making follow the steps until the “Knocking Back” stage.

pic 9

  • After knocking back the dough divide into equal pieces (I usually get 4-5 good size pizzas from this quantity of dough).
  • Preheat your oven to 250C or 475F (with baking sheets or pizza stones in)
  • Sprinkle a surface with a 50/50 combination of all-purpose flour and semolina
  • Dust the dough with some of the flour/semolina mixture. Flatten and stretch the dough until thin into which ever shape works best for you- circle, oval or rectangular. It just depends on what fits with your oven
  • Dress to your (and your kids!) taste with toppings. All of the following are good- tomato passata (as sauce); cheese shreds; bacon; tuna; pepperoni; chicken; fresh herbs; fresh mozzarella; thinly sliced figs…thre list can go on!
  • Carefully remove and dust your baking sheets or pizza stone with flour/ semolina mixture
  • Transfer your pizza(s) to baking sheets or pizza stone and bake for 10-12 mins until ready
  • Remove from oven, brush the exposed sides with extra virgin olive oil and servepic 8

So there’s a brief selection of some o the tasty goods from my kitchen. I hope you enjoy baking them, getting your kids to pitch in and tasting them as much as we have.

 

 

 

 

 

#Recipe Sweet ‘n’ Salty Upside Down #Cheesecake

sweet-n-salty-upsidedown-cheesecake-4

I recently ran a poll on my Twit-stream in connection with #NationalPopcornDay asking for votes for which recipe people would like to see from a selection of three. Each of the recipes used popcorn in an alternative way. Not that there’s anything wrong with just munching on a bag in front of a good movie! But you know me and how I like to mix it up a bit!

Think of this, if you will, as a “deconstructed” cheesecake. Literally flipping everything your familiar with about cheesecake on it’s head. “Salty taste in a cheesecake?”, you say, “That’s a bit unusual”. “The crumb layer is ON TOP!?!…well that’s just crazy!” Welcome to my world.

 

sweet-n-salty-upsidedown-cheesecake-1

Sweet ‘n’ Salty Upside Down Cheesecake

Cheesecake

200g Feta Cheesecake

300g Cream Cheese

130ml whipped cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Caramel sauce

210g of sugar

85g butter

120ml double cream

 

Crumb topping

14g Sweet and Salty popcorn, crushed

90g digestive biscuit crumb

50g unsalted butter

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

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To make the cheesecake:

  • In a stand mixer bowl, beat the feta cheese until smooth.
  • Add in the cream cheese, half of the whipped cream and the salt, and mix until combined.
  • Add in the remainder of the whipped cream and mix again until fully combined.

 

To make the caramel sauce:

  • In a large saucepan, heat the sugar over a moderate heat. Continue to heat until the sugar turns a deep amber color. DO NOT STIR! If needed you can swirl the pan.
  • When the deep amber color has been reached add in the butter and stir until melted.
  • Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream. Take extra care here as adding the cream will cause the mixture to foam up and steam. Continue to whisk until the foaming subsides and the sauce is smooth.
  • Leave to cool fully before proceeding.

 

To make the crumb topping:

  • Over a medium heat melt the unsalted butter in a frying pan.
  • Add in the biscuit crumb and crushed popcorn. Toss to coat in the melted butter.
  • Mix in the brown sugar and stir to evenly coat.
  • Continue to stir until the crumb mixture gently browns and caramelises.
  • Remove the crumb mixture from the pan and allow to cool on a plate or bowl until needed.

 

To assemble:

  • In an oblong pie dish, spoon the cheesecake mixture and smooth.
  • Pour over the caramel sauce and spread to smooth.
  • Liberally sprinkle over the crumb mixture and lightly press down.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Serve and enjoy!

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