Spiral Bread

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be invited on two masterclass sessions ran by Luis Troyano (finalist in last years GBBO) at work. In one session I joined a number of food bloggers in a watch and follow for a chocolate hazelnut and orange tart. The other session was a cookery demonstration with fellow colleagues on bread making where Luis showed us how to make some flavoured spiral muffins. It was this session that I enjoyed the most and was the recipe that I wanted to try and make at home. Well, this weekend was the chance I got to do exactly that.

Last month, I suggested that me and the girls should have a girls night in where we each brought a cocktail to make and some food to go with it. Straight away, the flavoured spiral muffins mentioned above came to mind. But instead of putting them in muffin tins, I wanted to make as a share and tear style loaf. The cocktail choice was easy. Mai tai.

Here’s the recipe that I used Spiral Bread Muffins – Luis Troyano

You might think it a bit strange to put bread in the fridge overnight for its first proving but it works. I normally find that my bread never doubles in size when I follow the traditional method of leaving it out for a couple of hours. It just isn’t warm enough. But following the method for this recipe worked a treat. Being able to start it the night before was also a bonus. When preparing the olives and peppers for the filling, dry them out on some kitchen roll as you want the filling to be as dry as possible or it will hinder the second proving. It does take a bit of time to prepare the filling (chopping up the olives, peppers and cheese) but let me tell you, it’s worth it. The saltiness from the serrano ham, manchego cheese and olives is complimented by the sweetness of the peppers. The melted manchego cheese adds a gooey texture and seems so naughty. The filling could easily be changed for something else. I’m considering using pesto or sun-dried tomatoes next time so that Mr W will try some (he’s not a big cheese fan). It was a big hit with the girls and I was able to give some to my parents for them to try (they shared with friends before a Chinese takeaway. Weird combination but it still went down well).

Spiral BreadCocktails and Tapas

I just wanted to include some pictures from the girls night. Of the food and cocktail combinations. The first drink of the night  was sangria. This tasted like the sangrias I remember from my holidays to Spain. Imagine my surprise when I was told that they had added Pimms to this batch!! This was paired with some crispy chicken kebabs. By the way, that’s the serving bowl, not my glass!!

Sangria with chicken kebabsUp next was my serrano ham and manchego cheese with olives and peppers spiral share and tear bread (bit of a mouthful). As mentioned above, my cocktail of choice was a mai tai. Boy, was this lethal. The recipe I was using didn’t included any fruit juice to dilute it down. Although, the more you drank the more it grew on you.

Spiral tear and share

Round three involved two dishes and two cocktails. The first pairing was a paella with a rum punch. The rum punch was my favourite cocktail of the night. It was a mixture of pineapple juice, orange juice, white rum, dark rum and coconut rum…holiday. The second pairing was patatas bravas with a bramble. A tapas dish that always goes down well. The cocktail, for me, was a bit too heavy on the gin but still managed to finish it.

Paella Patatas Bravas

And the grand finale, chocolate fondue with a raspberry Bellini. Can’t go wrong with chocolate and cava. Only thing missing was marshmallows but I don’t think we would have had enough room for them.

Chocolate Fondue


Maple Walnut Muffins

Sorry for the lateness of this post. I’m now helping Mr W with the decorating (fair play to him for painting all the high bits) and was too tired last night to write anything. A number of people have been asking where my latest post was (I didn’t realise anyone was paying such close attention), so, this is for you.

Yesterday was quite a busy day. Mr W took me out for a lovely Sunday lunch at Northcote, which we would recommend to anyone. This was then followed by an evening of decorating. This meant that I didn’t have much time to bake anything fancy. Instead, I decided on muffins which, I think, are one of the quickest bakes to make (bonus being that you don’t need to decorate) and are ready to eat straight from the oven.

Again, I adapted a recipe from one of my cook books (Baking Magic). The original recipe was for Maple Pecan Munchies but I had walnuts in so used these instead. Baking these was easy with only a few steps. Minimal washing up which is always a bonus. Although the end result was acceptable, there is definitely room for improvement. One suggestion was filling the centre with a maple buttercream which would give it something extra. I also don’t think they look too great…

Maple Walnut MuffinsMaple Walnut Muffins Makes 12

300g self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

125g caster sugar

1/2 tsp mixed spice

75g walnuts, roughly chopped, plus extra for topping

2 eggs, beaten

75ml milk

100 ml natural yogurt

4 tbsp maple syrup, plus extra for topping

85g butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 170C. Grease or line a 12 hole muffin tin.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice together into a large bowl. Add the walnuts.
  3. In a separate bowl or jug, combine the eggs, milk, yogurt and maple syrup, then stir in the butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir together until just mixed. Spoon big dollops of the mixture into the prepared muffin tin and sprinkle over some more chopped walnuts.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Brush the tops of the muffins with some maple syrup whilst still warm,

Orange Cream Biscuits

A couple of months ago I made my first attempt at home made custard creams. Mr W’s initial impression on seeing these ‘well they don’t look like custard creams’. Of course they didn’t look like your standard custard cream that comes out of the packet. I wasn’t going to stand there etching the words onto each side and putting in little holes. But the taste was better than a custard cream. They were a hit at work but not such a hit with Mr W. On trying them, his feedback was ‘would be better if it was an orange cream’. Well, today’s the day I took on this challenge.

So, last week I did a little research on orange cream biscuit recipes. Some used orange zest in the cream filling, others also used orange zest in the biscuit itself. From my experience with orange cream biscuits (only tried them once as prefer your normal custard cream) I knew that they didn’t have zest in the filling. I asked Mr W if the biscuit was flavoured, which it isn’t. So, I decided to adapt the custard cream recipe that I used originally (from my Biscuit cookbook by Miranda Gore Browne). I added orange water and orange food colouring to the filling to try and replicate the flavour/look that Mr W was wanting.

Custard creams aren’t as difficult to make as I thought. The hardest part is trying to pair up the biscuits ready for sandwiching together. Mr W has just tried the tasting sample from the batch I made this afternoon. He thinks that I’ve done well in trying to replicate it. There is an orange flavour coming through however it is not as intense as the shop bought variety (though when he thought about it, he concluded that their flavour was more artificial). However, I have lost this round as he prefers the shop bought. He did point out that it was my first attempt and it was one of his favourite biscuits I was trying to copy. Below is my adaptation of the recipe.

Orange Cream Biscuits

Orange Cream Biscuits

Makes about 12

60g icing sugar

170g softened unsalted butter

175g self raising flour

60g custard powder

icing sugar for dusting

For the filling

50g softened unsalted butter

125g icing sugar, sifted

1 tbsp orange water

orange food colouring

  1. Preheat oven to 15oC and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Sift icing sugar into a bowl and mix with the butter until creamy. Sift in the flour and custard powder and mix until a dough forms. Place walnut-sized dollops of the dough on the baking trays, spacing at least 3cm apart. Roll into a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand. Bake for about 15 minutes until they look yellow and dry, not golden brown. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. To make the orange cream, put the butter and icing sugar into a bowl and mix until creamy. Add the orange water and mix. Add more icing sugar if the filling is starting to look too wet (I found this happened). Add the orange food colouring, adding a little at a time and mixing in between each addition until you get the desired colour.
  4. Sandwich the biscuits together using a teaspoon of the orange filling. Leave a cm gap round the edge and press the biscuits together gently. Dust with icing sugar.

Caramel and chocolate cupcakes with honeycomb topping

As promised, the second part to my Sunday baking session. I’m going to keep this short as I’m full of a cold (therefore feeling sorry for myself) and Mr W is annoying me and keeps asking for the computer (grr).

So, this bake was one that I was quite looking forward to. I’d found some liquid glucose in the baking cupboard and, after a bit of googling, decided to make some chocolate honeycomb. But then, what could I do with this? Then I remembered the leftover chocolate ganache in the fridge. Result. Chocolate filled cupcakes with honeycomb decoration. Yummy. On Sunday morning I pulled the chocolate ganache out of the fridge and left at room temperature to soften up.  Whilst waiting for Mr W to get dressed, I decided to crack on with the honeycomb. I’ve never made this before and was quite excited. I found the recipe on the Dr. Oetker website as this was the brand for my liquid glucose. At first I thought my sugar syrup would never colour but, with a bit of patience, it did and then I was able to create my foaming lava (so cool). Once it had hardened, I covered it with melted milk chocolate and left to set.

Caramel & chocolate cupcakes

For my cupcakes, I followed a standard vanilla cupcake recipe that I have in one of my many baking books but instead of vanilla extract I used caramel flavouring. Once the cupcakes had cooled I used my cupcake corer (best gadget ever from Lakeland) to remove the centre of the cupcakes. I beat my chocolate ganache so that it was a softer consistency and added teaspoons of it into the centre of my cupcakes. I then squished there little hats back on. For the buttercream, again I used a standard vanilla buttercream recipe from the same book but substituted the vanilla extract for caramel flavouring. I then piped this on top of the cupcakes ensuring I covered the centre. Once the chocolate had set on my honeycomb, I cut it into pieces and placed on the cupcakes (with extra pieces going in some Tupperware for work).

The result, a light yet moist cupcake (didn’t get much caramel flavour coming through but never mind) with a slightly caramel flavoured buttercream. The hidden ganache filling added a little indulgence (made using 85% dark chocolate). The honeycomb pieces were slightly addictive. They did melt slightly overnight due to the moisture from the buttercream but it created some artistic ‘honey drops’ on top of the cupcakes.

Caramel & chocolate cupcake

I would normally write the recipe for people to try but, to be honest, I’m not in the mood for all that typing. You can admire the pictures instead 🙂

Fudge Cookies

What did I tell you? Sunday has come around once again and I spent a bit of time baking. This weekend I did actually bake two different things but I’m only going to talk about the one I’ve tried (the other I won’t be eating until tomorrow and want to get a ‘cut’ picture). With the number of people available to try my baking getting bigger, one batch of baking wasn’t enough (so you might find me talking more about two bakes). I let Mr W decide what this bake was going to be (well I gave him three choices to choose from knowing he would go for this).

Now you see, Mr W and I do like our cookies. In particular, cookies made using our favourite recipe (I do let Mr W bake sometimes). It’s a recipe that I’ve got in an old Good Food cookbook. It is actually for Smarties cookies but we’ve adapted the recipe depending on what we’ve fancied. Particular favourites have been made using Daim bars and dolly mixtures (jelly sweets removed and long before Asda released their version). Last month I asked Mr W to bake me a giant cookie for my birthday using some Twix Mix (yummy). This time round it was made using fudge. Not Fudge chocolate, or proper fudge that you can buy when you go anywhere touristy in Britain, but a bag of fudge chunks that you can find in the baking aisle. I admit, not very exciting (not like the other bake) but they were what I had in the cupboard.

The great thing about this recipe is that they are so quick and easy to make. The quantities of ingredients are quite easy to remember as well. Although they are meant to have Smarties (or other chocolate/sweet in them), I think they will taste delicious without these in them. The use of light brown sugar gives it a subtle toffee like flavour and combined with the addition of a little golden syrup, a moist, chewy texture. A winning cookie in my opinion. My only negative on this bake was that I didn’t spread the cookies out far enough meaning that 3 of them merged together slightly. Although this did mean I had ‘reject cookies’ so got a taster today. Also, try to let them cool slightly before transferring to the wire race. In the past when I transferred them straight away I’ve found that they’ve fell apart.

Fudge Cookie

Fudge Cookies

100g butter, softened

100g light brown sugar

1tbsp golden syrup

150g self raising flour

85g fudge chunks (or any other addition you fancy. Chop into small pieces)

1. Pre-heat oven to 160C. Set out two baking sheets.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in golden syrup. Mix in half the flour and ensure combined together (will be getting to a dough consistency). Stir in the fudge chunks and the remaining flour. Use your hands to ensure all the dough comes together. Divide the dough into 14 balls and place on the baking sheets. Make sure there is enough space in between them as they will spread. Flatten slightly.

3. Bake in the oven for around 12 minutes until the edges are golden. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.