The Great British Bake Off Christmas- Cinnamon and Raspberry Whirl Wreath.

Saturday 2nd December 2017.

Although I love baking and people say I’m good at it, the same can’t be said about my breadmaking and patisserie skills.  It’s only because I’ve not had enough practice or also that I don’t have enough knowledge.  Next year I hope to go on a couple of courses but in the meantime I’m going to practise at home.  It’s as if any recipe contains yeast, it suddenly pushes me into panic mode!  But surely if I followed the recipe to the letter like I do with cake and biscuit recipes?

Cue the reasoning for my second bake from The Great British Bake Off Christmas book.  I saw the photo which accompanied the recipe for the Cinnamon and Raspberry Whirl Wreath and my mouth started to water.  It looked like a giant Danish pastry.  As the recipe introduction says, it’s a “delicious wreath made from a sweet, enriched dough coated in fruity jam.”  Not only that but the dough is infused with cardamom and the raspberry filling is accompanied with the tantalising aroma of cinnamon sugar.  I couldn’t wait to try it out.

Plain flour was sifted into a large bowl along with some salt.
In a small saucepan I warmed whole milk with ground cardamom, caster sugar and melted butter.

When the milk had cooled sufficiently, I made a well in the centre of the bowl containing the flour and salt.  I then poured the milk mixture into the well and then formed a dough.  I had to add a little  more flour so that the dough was easy enough to knead.

After kneading for 10 minutes I put the dough into a bowl and covered it with a teatowel. I usually put bread to rise in my utility room on the work top as it was warm in there.  I left it there for about an hour or so.

Before proving…
After proving.

After the dough had proved for about an hour I knocked it back and then turned it our onto the work top.  I had to roll the dough into a rectangle which was easier said than done!  It was the most  wonky rectangle I’d ever seen though.

The dough was rolled out into a large oblong shape. I trimmed it to tidy the ends up.
To make the filling I spread raspberry jam with sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top.

The next bit was extremely fiddly.  I had to roll up the dough like I was making a Swiss Roll.  It had to be a very tight roll but that was easier said than done.  Once it was rolled up I then had to cut the roll in half lengthways so that the raspberry jam layers were easy to see. Unfortunately because of the red colour it looked more like a nasty wound or something my daughter might have created on her make up and special effects course! I twisted the dough round to form a wreath but it ended up more like a swirly lump with hardly any gaps in the middle like a wreath should have.

Back into the utility room it went, once again under a teatowel but this time on a baking tray.  Another hour of proving and then the wreath had doubled again in size and was now ready to be baked.  The wreath went into the oven while Mr SmartCookieSam and I were eating dinner and came out of the oven just before I went to pick my son up from work.  The gap in the middle of the wreath had closed up even more and it looked a lot messier than the picture in the book.  The thing was, did it taste good?  I couldn’t wait to try some.  As I’m typing this, it’s 10pm and I can still smell the cinnamony aroma wafting through from the kitchen.  Guess what I’ll be eating for breakfast tomorrow, then!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Brunch Burritos- John Whaite Bakes At Home.

Over the past few Saturdays we’ve been so busy with one thing and another I thought it would be nice if we could all sit down together as a family for our lunch.  It’s always a quick snacky lunch on a Saturday as we’re so busy doing jobs and going here, there and everywhere.  But it wasn’t meant to be.  My son went out with his mates round town, my daughter went off with her Dad on another errand and I was left at home alone.  Was I enjoying the quiet freedom of being at home by myself? Well at least I got the bathrooms cleaned and the hoovering done.

I’d planned to cook the Brunch Burritos from John Whaite Bakes At Home for our lunch.   I don’t think I’ve ever had brunch in my life.  Maybe before I had children I would have a late breakfast at the weekend over the Sunday papers.  Now when people are eating brunch, I’m eating lunch as I’ve got up so early! The recipe serves one person but I’d quadrupled the quantities when doing my shopping. So at least I could work out how to cook it for one person and what a delicious and filling meal it was!

Here’s how to make the Brunch Burrito:

I chopped half a red onion, a quarter of a yellow pepper, about 50g of chorizo sausage and sprinkled some dried chilli on top of it. These were softened gently without oil in a frying pan.
In another frying pan I heated up a spoonful of oil.
To this I added two beaten eggs and cooked them as if I was making a plain omelette.
The cooked omelette is put on top of a warmed tortilla wrap.
I added half a tin of baked beans to the chorizo mixture and warmed it through. Then I put the beany mixture on top of the tortilla.
There was a lot of filling in the burrito so I had to eat it with a knife and fork!

I was so impressed with the burrito, it was tasty and filling.  So a couple of days later on the Monday night I cooked four of them for us for our tea to use up the remaining ingredients.  I’m so glad I did as even my fussy son enjoyed it.  My hubby asked if I could grate cheese over it next time or add some sour cream.

Thankyou once again to John Whaite for such a delicious and speedy recipe, not just for brunch but for lunch and dinner too!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess- Christmas Morning Muffins.

Nigella’s Christmas Morning Muffin recipe from her Domestic Goddess Cookbook is just one of those recipes I’ve been keen to try ever since I bought the book nearly 10 years ago.  In the introduction Nigella suggests that these muffins are good as part of establishing your very own Christmas morning traditions or rituals.  To us in our house, we have our own traditions but I’ve never bothered with traditions for food on Christmas morning. We usually have something light and quick like tea and toast. About 11 am we’ll have a glass of Champagne or Prosecco with a mince pie to put us on until dinner is ready, usually about 2 o’clock.  Then again things are never set in stone in our house.  But I was keen to try out the Christmas Muffin recipe, it looked simple enough to bake the night before as I didn’t want to be baking on Christmas morning and the ingredients sounded festive and delicious.

Instead of the cranberries Nigella suggested I chose to use the same quantity of dried fruit.  I had some mixed dried fruit left over in an open bag.  I thought I’d save the cranberries for something else.

Here’s how the Christmas Morning Muffins were made:

I used these pretty Nordic inspired Christmas muffin cases from Waitrose. I bought them last year and loved them.
All the “dry” ingredients were weighed out into a large bowl. This was flour, baking powder, mixed spice, cinnamon, ginger and some brown sugar.
The “wet” ingredients went into another bowl: orange juice, milk, eggs and some melted butter.
Everything was combined carefully in one bowl with the dried, mixed fruit added into the wet ingredients right at the end.
The muffin mixture spooned into the cases and all ready to go into the oven.
Fresh out of the oven. Some muffins rose better than others!

Nigella suggests sprinkling the muffins with demerara sugar and cinnamon before baking.  I totally forgot to do it so I ended sprinkling icing sugar on the top of mine.  However, I was a bit heavy handed as you can see in the picture below!

Ready to be eaten dusted with a little icing sugar on Christmas Day.

So, will this be a tradition to come in my family?  I don’t think so. Sadly I was the only one who ate a muffin!  It was just the four of us on Christmas morning and my hubby said no to a muffin.  As soon as the kids noticed there was dried fruit in the muffins they turned their noses up at them. Bet it would have been different if it was chocolate.  So it was toast all round.  It did taste lovely though.  The rest ended up being used as the trifle sponges towards our Boxing Day Trifle!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas Day. It would be lovely to know if anyone reading this also has their favourite baking traditions over Christmas.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Apple and Oat Muffins- The Great British Bake Off Everyday

Last Wednesday I woke up feeling in a baking mood.  I think the excitement of the Great British Bake Off starting back on TV and everyone talking baking on Twitter made me want to get my apron on.  I didn’t need to bake anything, I just felt like it.  It was a day when we were staying at home (apart from getting my son’s hair cut ) it was all about catching up on jobs for me.  My daughter was stuck up in her room doing Art coursework and my son had his friend round.  So apart from the usual, I needed something exciting to do!  So what did I do- well baking, of course! What else?

I’d had my eye on the Apple and Oat Muffins in the Great British Bake Off Everyday book.  I love making muffins.  Did you know my nickname was Muffin when I was little? My Dad called me that because I couldn’t say Samantha properly when I was little, it came out as Muffind!  Mind you, I was dead clumsy as a child and still am very accident prone, I wondered if it was because I was like Muffin The Mule!

These gorgeous muffins were easy to make and ideal if you want to make something in a hurry. They took just under an hour from start to finish and tasted delicious with a large mug of steaming hot coffee. They’d be lovely for breakfast or a snack and I’m sorry to say but they do taste much nicer than the ones you get in chain coffee shops!

So, here’s how I made them :

First of all i made the crumbly topping for the muffins.  This is made in the same way as a crumble.  Flour, porridge oats, demerara sugar and butter were rubbed in together to form the topping.
First of all i made the crumbly topping for the muffins. This is made in the same way as a crumble. Flour, porridge oats, demerara sugar and butter were rubbed in together to form the topping.
Some unsalted butter was put into a bowl and melted gently in my microwave for about 30 seconds.
Some unsalted butter was put into a bowl and melted gently in my microwave for about 30 seconds.
In another bowl I combined flour, porridge oats, caster sugar, baking powder and lemon zest. These were mixed together with a wooden spoon to combine them.
In another bowl I combined flour, porridge oats, caster sugar, baking powder and lemon zest. These were mixed together with a wooden spoon to combine them.
In another container I measured out some milk and added two beaten free range eggs.
In another container I measured out some milk and added two beaten free range eggs.
I used two large Braeburn apples in these muffins. It didn’t say whether to peel them or not but I did. I kept the chunks quite large as I didn’t want them to reduce to nothing and go all mushy while baking!
The batter all ready to be spooned into paper muffin cases.
The batter was carefully divided between 12 muffin cases. I used plain brown ones which are fab. They are from my local Morrisons and they are ideal, they do not discolour or peel away from the muffins. Also they are a very reasonable price.
The crunchy crumble topping is then carefully sprinkled on the top of the unbaked muffins.
And half an hour later or so they were ready to come out of the oven.
Displayed on my new cake stand bought in the Lakeland sale for only £7.49 the other day.
I know I shouldn’t but the smell was too inviting! I just HAD to have a muffin with my elevenses!

When I told my kids I had made muffins and they asked what flavour they were, they said “Urgh, gross!” and “What did you have to put apple in them for?”  Funny how they all disappeared very quickly.  Either that or we have a cake ghost in our house!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx