Tag Archives: #cinnamon

Shortbread SISTA’s… with some sisterly LOVE x

23 Jun

20130623-105240.jpgLast month I popped home… to the North, for a long weekend and we decided to have a family baking day.  My little sister was DYING to show me her shortbread recipe and as I had just purchased some cheeky little LOVE heart cutters, it seemed completely apt to get them out and make some sisterly shortbreads.

So, I do hope you enjoy the recipe, my little hand model and the abuse I got during this baking session… but we love each other really and its all part of the fun of baking!

We decided to play around with the shortbread recipe, so we made some plain shortbreads with cinnamon sugar on the top and then we made some chocolate shortbreads, which were wonderful and last but not least some almond and cinnamon shortbreads.  All of them were absolutely delicious and very quick / easy to prepare

PREPARATION TIME: 8 minutes (per batch)

COOKING TIME: 20 minutes (per batch)

MAKES: 8 shortbreads (per batch, we made 3 batches as per the below!)

INGREDIENTS:

Gemma’s basic shortbreads, which follow the 3 to 2 to 1 recipe…

  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 50g sugar

…We added cinnamon sugar to the top of these, so mix 50g brown sugar with 2 tsp cinnamon and then sprinkle over the top before baking.

Rebecca’s chocolate  shortbreads…

  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 50g sugar
  • 80g dark chocolate / milk chocolate /white chocolate (broken up into bits)

SallyAnn’s almond and cinnamon shortbreads…

  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

… you could add the cinnamon sugar to the top of these too, just for some extra tastiness.

HOW TO MAKE THE LOVELY SHORTBREADS…

You definitely don’t have to make all three batches of these shortbreads, you could just choose one and have a go.  They really are one of the most simple recipes I have ever made.  At first, when my sister suggested it I was concerned that they would take a long time to prepare as my perception was that shortbreads are quite a tricky, fiddly thing to make, but they really really are not and as we demonstrated you can play around with the ingredients and add whatever you like.  We did not follow a recipe for the chocolate / almond shortbreads, we just got a few ingredients out of the cupboard and had a go (which I think is the fun of baking).

I would urge anyone who is a keen baker to start experimenting with recipes and flavours, it really adds a new dimension to baking and I think its something that has really changed my baking style over the last year and using a new ingredient is not something that phases me.  When I next make these shortbreads I am going to play around with a home-made apple purée and apricots/almonds or even one batch with dates.

  1. Weigh out the butter and place this in a large bowl.
  2. To this add the sugar.
  3. Cream together the butter and the sugar.
  4. Weigh out the flour and add this to the mixture.
  5. Bring together into a smooth, thick paste.

If at this stage you have made a double/triple batch of this mixture then separate out and add whatever fillings you like either chocolate or almonds or apricots.  I am going to show you (with the help of my hand model) how to make these shortbreads.

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First, flour your worktop.

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Take your shortbread dough out of the bowl and then shape gently into a round.

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Pat down a little.

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Roll out…. Roll 3 times one way and then turn 90 degrees. Roll again and then rotate again.

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Roll out until the dough is about 1cm to 1.5cm thick.

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Now you can cut out your shortbreads into whatever shape you desire. We choose love hearts (to use my new cutters). If you don’t have a cutter, you could use a stencil like the one below…

heartpattern

Use this stencil if you want to make love hearts and don’t have a cutter!

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Cut out all your shapes and then gently remove from the dough. Bring the dough that is left together, but DO NOT PLAY WITH. Literally bring into a lump/ball and then place to one side.

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Place gently on your baking tray. Line the baking tray with a non-stick sheet, but if you don’t have one of these use butter to grease the tray.

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If you want to make chocolate ones, add the chocolate and then bring together into a dough.

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Roll to 1cm to 1.5cm then cut out…

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Space evenly on the baking tray and then, if you are sprinkling with sugar, do this at this stage, before you bake the shortbreads. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees / gas mark 4 for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden but not brown. You want them to be doughy/soft inside, not hard and crunchy!

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Now it is time to tidy up!!

I hope you shortbreads turn out well… I shall leave you with some of the silliness that happened whilst we were baking!  And no… piggybacking was not offered… I was JUMPED on.  When asked if I could have a piggyback I was told ‘Oooo no, really, but your the big sister who is supposed to give the little sister piggybacks.  Little sisters can’t give them to big sisters as they are BIG‘.  Charming.

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Nigella for breakfast anyone? Oh sorry… I mean a NIGELLA RECIPE MASH UP – Eggy Cinnamon Bread with Jam

30 May

20130529-071711.jpgTo say May has been a busy month would be a slight understatement! I have had family visiting for birthday adventures as well as friends each and every weekend. Although I would change nothing about the last few weeks, I do (after a while) start to run out of ideas of what to feed people as I start to become bored of the same repertoire – eggs and bacon every morning for breakfast. Now I fully understand that this is a ‘classic ‘ not to be messed with and certainly not a dislike, but there is only so much cholesterol one person should consume in a weekend.

Consequently I did a ‘Gemma’ and started to search around for something new… I knew I wanted to make some eggy bread as I love it, but I wasn’t sure how to vamp it up. Luckily Nigella had the inspiration I required and I started to play around with her recipe to create this little gem…

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes

COOKING TIME: 15 minutes

MAKES: 4 portions

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 eggs
  • 40ml full fat milk
  • 40ml single cream
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 nutmeg pod/seed and a grater/zester
  • 3 tsp icing sugar
  • 6 slices of stale bread – white or brown is fine, but obviously brown is best as it is healthier than white
  • 1/2 punnet of raspberries
  • 2 tbsp sugar

HOW TO MAKE THESE LITTLE GEMS…

We start by breaking 3 eggs into a measuring jug. To this add the milk and the cream and whisk well. You may be using your only measuring jug, if so, place this with the eggs in, onto your weighing scales and ‘zero’ them. Now you can pour in 40g or milk and 40g of cream. This is because ml and g are virtually the same – one is a millilitre, a measure of the volume of a liquid and the other is a gram which is a weight. Try measuring 10ml and then weighing this 10ml in grams. I promise you it will be the same….

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Next add the cinnamon and the icing sugar and whisk again. Now you can pour this mixture onto a plate ready to dip the eggy bread in.

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Cut the stale bread into half slices and then dip into the eggy mixture, allow to soak on one side for 30 seconds and then turn the bread over and allow to soak for 30 seconds. When the bread is completely eggy and gooey, you can pop it into a warm/hot frying pan do not use any oil (you just don’t need it) and cook for a couple of minutes (until the bread turns golden).

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Eggy cinnamon bread laid out in the frying pan, cooking on one side…

If you like nutmeg, this would be the time to grate a little nutmeg on the top of the eggy bread… Whilst one side is uncooked. Just use a little nutmeg, as eating nutmeg is toxic and eating a lot of this could be harmful to your health – especially for pregnant women.

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Grate the nutmeg onto the uncooked/eggy side of the bread before turning over.

Once the bread is cooked, and has turned golden on one side, turn over and repeat on the other side. Your bread should now look like this…

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… beautiful, golden eggy cinnamon bread!

Depending on how much eggy cinnamon bread you are making, it’s going to be best to do them in batches and keep the cooked batches warm. So place the cooked eggy cinnamon breads on a plate or baking tray and place in the oven on a low heat – approx 50 degrees will be fine.

HOW TO MAKE THE JAM…

In a large pan place the punnet of washed raspberries, to this add 1 tbsp of sugar. Cook this on quite a high heat for about 5 – 10 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves, the raspberries break up and the juice reduces a little bit. Place in a mug/jug/cup and serve on the side of your eggy cinnamon bread. Place the other 1 tbsp of sugar in a cup and allow your breakfast guests to sprinkle over there eggy cinnamon bread! YUM!

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Serve and ENJOY!

Alternatively you could serve the raspberries cold on the side of the dish and sprinkle over a little sugar. The choice is yours.

Alternatively (take 2) you could use a different fruit such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries or gooseberries!  You could use a selection of these, or just one or you could mix it up and use a different one each time you make this dish… it’s exciting isn’t it!

Most of all, enjoy your breakfast/brunch and ensure you get lots of praise and thanks from your dinner guests.

HOT CROSS BUNS… with a *CRANBERRY* surprise… {mixing it up}

29 Mar

IMG_4724[1]For the last week I have been pondering what to do with my next batch of HOT CROSS BUNS to make them different from my last batch and to deliver something to you (… my friendly audience) that will be a treat, something extraordinary.

My inspiration came when I was treated to the ‘BOSTON BROWNIE’ from Konditor & Cook in Borough Market.  It was a true taste sensation – so much so, that I (gemsfoodgems@twitter) had to tweet a thank you!

The secret, making these brownies a real taste sensation was the addition of cranberries.  Yes, seriously – little explosions of fruit flavour in the middle of a heavenly, luxurious, chocolate brownie.  My brain started whirring and I thought… cranberry, orange zest… in my hot cross buns… THAT’S IT.

Without further ado, I present to you my CRANBERRY & ORANGE HOT CROSS BUNS.

PREPARATION TIME: 2 hours (including the proving time and time to make the shortcrust pastry)

COOKING TIME: 20 minutes

MAKES: 12 Cranberry & Orange Hot Cross Buns

INGREDIENTS:

For the Bread Buns

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 250g strong wholemeal bread flour
  • 60g light brown muscavado sugar
  • 1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mixed spices
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 140ml luke-warm semi-skimmed milk
  • 130ml luke-warm water
  • 60g butter (melted and cooled slightly)
  • 1 large free-range egg (approx. 90g)
  • 100g raisins or currants (without seeds)
  • 60g dried cranberries

Shortcrust Pastry

  • 30g plain flour
  • 15g butter
  • water (cold, enough to bind together)

Sugar Glaze

  •  2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

HOW TO MAKE YOUR EASTER TREATS…

To make the bread buns…IMG_4725[1]

♥ Sift the flour into a large bowl, stir in  the sugar, yeast, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, and make a well in  the middle.

♥ Mix together the warm milk and water and add to the bowl with the melted and cooled butter, together with the whisked egg.

♥ Mix to a soft dough using a metal spoon.

♥ Knead the dough on a  lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.  You will know when it is ready when the dough ‘springs back’, so shape into a ball, gently push your finger in about 1/2 a cm, then take it out – if the dough ‘springs back’ it is well kneaded – if not knead some more!IMG_4726[1]

♥ Shape the dough into a round and then place in a large bowl.  Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm  place for 1-1½ hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

♥ Remove the dough from the bowl and ‘knock back’ using your fists – this removes all the air.

♥ Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 minutes  until smooth and elastic once again.

♥ Now add the orange zest, currants and the dried cranberries and knead for a minute until all the fruit is mixed into the dough.

♥  Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape into small  rolls.

♥ Perfect bun, now lets make the shortcrust pastry crosses!

To make the crosses…buns 3

I would make the shortcrust pastry whilst the dough proves.  Then you can wrap it in cling-film and keep it in the fridge until you need to use it.

Then…

♥ Roll out the shortcrust pastry to 5mm narrow strips – as you have 12 buns you are going to need 24 strands.

♥ Place one strip across the top of one of the bus, then place the other across this, to make a cross.  Press down lightly and if required, secure  with a little water and a pastry brush.  If you want to go a little crazy (like me) you could make some ‘shapes’ and place these on top – I have (as you can see) created little love hearts…buns6

♥ Lightly oil 2 baking trays, arrange the buns on the  trays and cover with oiled cling-film.

♥ Leave to rise in a warm place for 30  minutes or until doubled in size. Remove cling-film – it’s time to bake the buns!

♥ Bake buns in a  preheated oven at 220 degrees C / Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes (or until golden brown).

♥ Transfer the buns to a wire rack.

To make the glaze…

♥ Heat the sugar and water in a pan, until the sugar dissolves.  Do not let the sugar/water burn or begin to caramelise.  Make this whilst the buns cook.

♥  When you take the buns out of the oven and place them on the wire rack, you can brush them with the glaze and then serve warm or cold.

♥ If you let them cool, you can slice in half the next morning, toast and serve with a little butter!  YUM!

Baked, glazed and ready to eat! MARVELLOUS!

Baked, glazed and ready to eat! MARVELLOUS!

STORAGE:

The sugar glaze on these buns can make them go quite soggy, quite quickly and as they are fresh, with no preservatives the inside of the homemade hot cross bun can begin to go stale/dry quite quickly.  So, eat one or two fresh and store 2 or 3 in a large cake tin.  With the rest, chop them in half, put them in freezer bags and place them in the freezer for another day.

You know the days where its hard to get out of bed and there has to be something super special to make you get up and give you the start your day need.  I think these may just be that ‘kick start’.

HAPPY EASTER!

[SINGING] HOT CROSS BUNS, hot cross buns, one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns!

26 Mar

hot cross bunsIt is nearly Easter – which not only means that we get a 4 day weekend (wooo!), but also that we get to eat many HOT CROSS BUNS, Easter eggs, chocolate filled rabbits and the like!  Yum!

For me, Easter is a real treat in terms of my breakfast time habits.  I stop eating toast and/or porridge for a week (or two) and I treat myself to some delicious toasted Hot Cross Buns with butter each morning.

A couple of years ago my Nanna, who was a truly wonderful lady passed away.  She taught my mum all she knows about cooking and baking, who in turn taught me, so we decided to start a yearly tradition of making these Hot Cross Buns together; in time for Easter.  Hot Cross Buns are also something I vividly remember eating in a little cafe with my Nanna when she was looking after me.  We would go to town to get some shopping and treat ourselves to a toasted Hot Cross Bun with butter – just half each mind!  I loved it, and when I eat them now it takes me right back to the little cafe in the North.  There really is nothing like a ‘food memory’.

So, last time I headed to the North, my mother and I decided to take the opportunity to make some homemade Hot Cross Buns.  My mum (SallyAnn) is the proud owner of a ‘Mary Berry’ cook book, so this year we decided to try out her basic recipe – with a few of our own, family additions.

PREPARATION TIME: 2 hours (including the proving time and time to make the shortcrust pastry)

COOKING TIME: 20 minutes

MAKES: 12 Hot Cross Buns

INGREDIENTS:

For the Bread Buns

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 250g strong wholemeal bread flour
  • 60g light brown muscavado sugar
  • 1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mixed spices
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 140ml luke-warm semi-skimmed milk
  • 140ml luke-warm water
  • 60g butter (melted and cooled slightly)
  • 1 large free-range egg (approx. 90g)
  • 120g sultanas/raisins or currants (without seeds)
  • 40g chopped apricots (optiona – if you don’t want to use these, use more currants/raisins)

Shortcrust Pastry Crosses

  • 50g plain flour
  • 25g butter
  • water (cold, enough to bind together)

Sugar Glaze

  •  2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

HOW TO MAKE YOUR EASTER TREATS…

To make the bread buns…

The kneaded dough, without any fruit.  These needs to be left to rise and double in size.

1. The kneaded dough, without any fruit. These needs to be left to rise and double in size.

♥ Sift the flour into a large bowl, stir in  the sugar, yeast, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, and make a well in  the middle.

♥ Mix together the warm milk and water and add to the bowl with the melted and cooled butter, together with the whisked egg.

♥ Mix to a soft dough using a metal spoon.

♥ Knead the dough on a  lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.  You will know when it is ready when the dough ‘springs back’, so shape into a ball, gently push your finger in about 1/2 a cm, then take it out – if the dough ‘springs back’ it is well kneaded – if not knead some more!

Dough split into 12 and rolled into small rolls, with the fruit added. Yum!

Dough split into 12 and rolled into small rolls, with the fruit added. Yum!

♥ Shape the dough into a round and then place in a large bowl.  Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm  place for 1-1½ hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

♥ Remove the dough from the bowl and ‘knock back’ using your fists – this removes all the air.

♥ Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 minutes  until smooth and elastic once again.

♥ Now add the currants and the apricots and knead for a minute until all the fruit is mixed into the dough.

♥  Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape into small  rolls.

Perfect bun, with the shortcrust pastry cross.

Perfect bun, with the shortcrust pastry cross.

To make the crosses…

I would make the shortcrust pastry whilst the dough proves.  Then you can wrap it in cling-film and keep it in the fridge until you need to use it. Then…

♥ Roll out the shortcrust pastry to 5mm narrow strips – as you have 12 buns you are going to need 24 strands.

♥ Place one strip across the top of one of the bus, then place the other across this, to make a cross.  Press down lightly and if required, secure  with a little water and a pastry brush.

♥ Lightly oil 2 baking trays, arrange the buns on the  trays and cover with oiled cling-film.

♥ Leave to rise in a warm place for 30  minutes or until doubled in size. Remove cling-film – it’s time to bake the buns!

♥ Bake buns in a  preheated oven at 220 degrees C / Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes (or until golden brown).

♥ Transfer the buns to a wire rack.

To make the glaze…

♥ Heat the sugar and water in a pan, until the sugar dissolves.  Do not let the sugar/water burn or begin to caramelise.  Make this whilst the buns cook.

♥  When you take the buns out of the oven and place them on the wire rack, you can brush them with the glaze and then serve warm or cold.

♥ If you let them cool, you can slice in half the next morning, toast and serve with a little butter!  YUM!

Hot Cross Bun - baked, with cross and glazed with the sugar and water.  Stunning!

Hot Cross Bun – baked, with cross and glazed with the sugar and water. Yum!

STORAGE:

The sugar glaze on these buns can make them go quite soggy, quite quickly and as they are fresh, with no preservatives the inside of the homemade hot cross bun can begin to go stale/dry quite quickly.  So, eat one or two fresh and store 2 or 3 in a large cake tin.  With the rest, chop them in half, put them in freezer bags and place them in the freezer for another day.

You know the days where its hard to get out of bed and there has to be something super special to make you get up and give you the start your day need.  I think these may just be that ‘kick start’.