I hope you all had a great January and that, if you made any, your resolutions are going well. I haven’t made any that I’ve set in stone, but I definitely want to move more this year. As in, get off my butt and do some exercise! I also want to do better with meal planning so I don’t have to reach for treats or processed foods as last minute options. Some of the tasty fruit and veg filled treats below will certainly help with this! Look out for February’s challenge on United Cakedom who is guest hosting!
I realised when clearing out my cupboards for the food bank before Christmas that the packet of fast action yeast I owned was very out of date. It had been a lot longer than I realised since I last made any bread! It’s quite a time consuming thing to make, and unfortunately I don’t often have the time for it. So I decided to make time this weekend and I made myself get up early to get started on the dough. I was happy I did as when these Cranberry & Apricot Cinnamon Rolls were baked I had a big smile on my face and eating one felt all the more satisfying!
I started by warming 125ml water, 125ml milk and 100g butter in a pan until the butter melted. I removed it from the heat and added one packet of fast action yeast and 1 tbsp sugar and covered it with a pan lid. I left it for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl I measured out 550g strong bread flour, 40g sugar and 1 tsp salt and stirred them together.
I poured the butter and milk mixture into the flour, followed by 2 beaten eggs. I mixed it all together to form a dough.
I kneaded the dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface, then put it in an oiled bowl, covered it with cling film and left it to prove for 2 hours.
After 2 hours it had doubled in size.
I knocked the air back out of the dough and rolled it out into a rectangle approximately 40cm long by 30cm wide.
I melted 25g butter and brushed it all over the dough.
I got sent some dried fruit from Whitworths recently and I thought cranberry and apricot would go perfectly together in the rolls. They come in convenient resealable packs too which made storing the leftovers so much easier for me.
In a bowl I mixed together 100g of the dried apricot, 100g of the cranberries, 75g light brown sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon and the zest of 1 orange.
I spread the fruit and sugar mixture out evenly over the dough, leaving about a 1cm strip empty at one end.
I rolled the dough up like a swiss roll, and then sliced it into 1cm wide pieces. I got 13 pieces from the dough. I arranged them in lined baking trays (not very neatly!) and covered them with cling film. I left them in a warm place for their second prove for 1 hour.
I baked the buns on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes. I forgot to take a photo when they came out of the oven, but as soon as they were cool enough I pulled one apart and I was thrilled to see beautifully baked soft dough. This was a really great moment as I had put so much time into making the rolls!
I made icing using 200g icing sugar and about 2/3 juice of the orange I zested earlier for the filling. I wanted to drizzle the icing, but for it not to be too runny, so I added a little bit of the orange juice at a time. I then drizzled it over the buns using a piping bag.
Eating these buns felt so good! When I sat down to eat one and all the waiting was over it felt so satisfying to dig in! The dough was lovely and soft, and the fruity filling gave them real flavour and character. I definitely won’t leave it so long again before I make more bread!
Warm the water, milk and butter in a pan on a low heat until the butter melts
Remove it from the heat and add the fast action yeast and tbsp of sugar, cover it with a pan lid and leave for 10 minutes
In a large bowl stir the strong bread flour, remaining sugar and salt together. Pour the butter and milk mixture into the flour, followed by the eggs. Mix together to form a dough
Knead the dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface, then put it in an oiled bowl covered with cling film and leave it to prove in a warm place for 2 hours
Knock the air back out of the dough and roll it out into a rectangle approximately 40cm long by 30cm wide
Brush the melted butter all over the dough
In a bowl mix together the dried apricot, the cranberries, light brown sugar, cinnamon and the orange zest. Spread the mixture evenly over the dough, leaving about a 1cm strip empty at one end
Roll the dough up starting at the opposite end from the 1cm gap, then slice into 1cm wide pieces. Arrange them in lined baking trays and cover with cling film. Leave them in a warm place for their second prove for 1 hour
Bake the buns on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack
Once they are completely cool, make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and about 2/3 juice of the orange, add a little bit of the orange juice at a time until you have a thick but spreadable consistency. Drizzle it over the buns using a piping bag or a spoon
I’ve heard about baking with avocado for a long time and I’ve always wanted to try it out. I thought January would be the perfect time for it as being more healthy is on everyone’s minds. Avocados are so nutrious and are filled with vitamins and healthy fats, they have been shown to lower cholesterol and are also full of fibre. There is nothing bad about avocados that’s for sure! Alternative ingredients are all the rage right now and I’ve become even more aware of other options to dairy products since my sister became vegan. Unfortunately these brownies aren’t vegan friendly, but the frosting is! So you could easily add it to a vegan bake.
I started by mashing up 2 ripe avocados. As they are so popular now you can buy them ready and ripe, or ripen at home. I use a stick blender to make sure I got it as smooth as possible, you could also use a food processor. I mixed 200g sugar into the avocados.
I melted 260g dark chocolate. I used these 70% dark chocolate chips from Chocolate Trading Co. Dark chocolate is also another great ingredient as it is full of minerals and antioxidants.
I mixed the melted dark chocolate into the avocado mixture, then added 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition. I also added 2 tsp vanilla extract.
Finally I mixed in 30g cocoa powder, 80g plain flour and 1/2 tsp salt. I poured the brownie batter into a lined baking pan.
I baked the brownies on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes. I left them to cool completely on a cooling rack.
To make the chocolate frosting I again mashed up 2 ripe avocados and used a stick blender to get them super smooth and lump free.
To the avocado I added 325g icing sugar, 5 tbsp cocoa powder and 1/2 tbsp vanilla. It went very glossy and smooth. I spread it over the brownies and cut them into squares.
When I took the brownies into work I told everyone they were healtheir brownies and there was a secret ingredient in them. No one guessed correctly and everyone was so surprised to find out these had avocados in them! I got some amazing feedback and everyone really liked the brownies, they were very fudgy and dense, and the frosting was so delicious – a close competitor to regular buttercream I think!
I am entering these into myself and Cakeyboi‘s monthly baking challenge Treat Petite. This month’s theme is fruit & veg.
I am also entering these into Belleau Kitchen’s challenge Simply Eggcellent, this month’s theme is healthier recipes.
I generally don’t like to use cake mixes, but if one takes my fancy I do like to try it out and see what the results bring. I also like to support smaller independent companies because I feel can you trust the quality of their products more. Little Sins Cupcakery is located near Bedford and they sell cupcakes to local residents and businesses. They have launched these mixes to bring a taste of their cupcakes to a wider audience. They currently have four flavour options on offer – Vanilla, Red Velvet, Double Chocolate & Carrot – and they sent me all four to try out.
All of the cupcake mixes come in a cardboard tube which details on it all the ingredients contained, the recipe instructions, and the extra fresh ingredients (butter, eggs etc.) that you’ll need to add. It even details nutritional information and allergy advice, altogether very informative!
Inside each tube I found cupcake cases, bags of ingredients and a recipe card which had all the buttercream options detailed. I liked how the ingredients for the cupcakes were only in one or two bags, so it made it very easy to follow the recipe. The only thing I found problems with were the cupcakes cases. In some of the tubes they were a bit squished.
All of the mixes were very straightforward to follow and I was able to make them all by hand. The vanilla mix involved putting everything in a bowl and mixing together. The carrot mix had some dried carrot in it which had to be rehydrated with boiling water. And the double chocolate mix had chocolate chips which were sprinkled onto the batter before baking. I didn’t get round to trying the red velvet mix for this review and I am saving it for a party I’m having later this month.
In all the mixes I found that there was always excess mixture. With the carrot mix I managed to make 17 cupcakes, and with the chocolate I made 14. For the vanilla I just made quite big cupcakes, but it could’ve stretched to 14 cupcakes too I reckon. This wasn’t a problem necessarily, but if you didn’t have extra cupcakes cases in the house like I do it could be a waste of mixture.
I was really pleased with the results after baking the cupcakes, they all rose very well and baked evenly. As you can see above the squished cupcake cases did cause a bit of an issue, but if you’re just baking these for friends or family I’m sure no one will mind! I was also impressed that the chocolate chips stayed on top of the chocolate cupcakes and didn’t sink.
I decided to decorate all of the cupcakes with my own buttercream recipes, but as I mentioned before the mixes all come with recipe cards for different options. I also added a sprinkle of cinnamon on the carrot cupcakes, some sprinkles on the vanilla and some Dr Oetker chocolate hearts on the chocolate ones.
Now onto the most important bit, the taste! I enjoyed eating all of the cupcakes and I could only tell with the carrot one that it was a mix (although no one else could). I also got fantastic feedback from my colleagues and boyfriend, they had no idea it was from a packet mix and everyone was surprised when I told them. I think these mixes would be a fantastic gift to give to someone who is interested in baking, but is perhaps not very experienced. It would also be a great gift for children as the instructions are easy to follow and I think they would really enjoy making the cupcakes.
If you’re interested in purchasing the mixes or learning more about Little Sins Cupcakery you can check out their Facebook page and their website.
Ever since I saw Nancy Birtwhistle at the BBC Good Food Show I’ve wanted to try out her recipe for a Sage & Onion Tart. As luck would have it, Christmas left me with some onions that needed using up. It also left me with leeks and brie, so I decided to add those in too because yum! This is a great recipe because it’s easy to make, it’s low cost, a vegetarian friendly dish, and it makes a delicious lunch or dinner. I ate it cold with salad and sweet potato fries, but you could also serve it hot, either way you’re going to enjoy a tasty meal!
I recently got sent this quiche tin from Boswells & Co, who are a large department store in Oxford. The tin is the 20cm Masterclass Crusty Bake Quiche Tin, which has holes all over it to allow moisture to escape and ultimately aid you in avoiding the dreaded soggy bottom! It’s also non stick and comes with a 20 year guarantee, so they must be pretty confident about it’s long lasting ability.
I started by making the pastry. I didn’t follow Nancy’s recipe as I have my own pastry recipe that always works for me. I rubbed 85g butter into 175g plain flour, then added 1 egg.
I combined the mixture until it came together into a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge while I got on with preparing the filling.
I made less filling than Nancy too as the Masterclass tin is 20cm and Nancy’s recipe was for a 22cm tin. I cooked a 525g mixture of leek and onion (use whatever you have, I had 2 onions and 1 leek) in a pan on a medium heat along with 2 tbsp of butter, 1/4 tsp allspice and a pinch of salt. Once the onions and leeks were soft I took them off the heat to cool slightly.
In a bowl I whisked up 3 eggs, 1 tbsp parmesan and 95ml single cream.
In a food processor I whizzed up the cooked onions and leeks along with 100ml single cream.
I added the onion mixture to the egg mixture, and then added 1 tbsp freshly chopped sage leaves.
I set the filling aside while I rolled out the pastry between two sheets of cling film. This stops your pastry from drying out, and saves on cleaning up all that flour from the work surface!
I lined the tin and trimmed the edges.
I baked the pastry case for 10 minutes on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 with baking beans. Nancy had a great tip about screwing the baking paper into a ball then flattening it out first, as it’s easier to line the tin with it once it’s been wrinkled.
I removed the baking paper and beans and baked the pastry case again for 7 minutes at the same temperature.
I filled the pastry case with the filling, then arranged slices of brie on top and sprinkled with some more fresh sage. I baked this on 180C350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes until golden brown.
The quiche came out of the tin extremely easily, and the pastry had a lovely golden colour.
The quiche was very tasty, with a milder onion flavour than I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised. The melted brie on top was my favourite bit, and the crisp pastry came a close second! This is a very economical recipe due to the cheap ingredients used, and this quiche would feed 4 people. If you’re not a brie fan you could top it with cheddar, or some parmesan.
Happy New Year everyone! December’s Round Up is up over on Cakeyboi. The theme was Red & Green (aka Christmas), check out the post for the superbly festive entries! Cakeyboi is having a brief hiatus from blogging for the next few months, but don’t worry Treat Petite will continue!
This month’s theme is… Fruit & Veg. So anything you make that includes fruits or vegetables is suitable, January is all about being more healthy after all, so why not get part of your 5 a day in a cake?!
Treat Petite is for all of those delicious bites, which can be individually portioned. Tray bakes are fine, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, macarons and so on. No cakes, puddings, whole loaves – you get the idea…here are those all-important rules:
1. Add your petite treat to the Linky Tool at the bottom of the current month’s post by the 25th of the month, midnight at the latest