playing with flour

Month: March, 2013

Hot Cross Buns

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I’m not above a little bribery. As previously mentioned we recently moved in order for me to start my new job. Very quickly it seems we’ve come around to needing to renew our lease and there’s a small amount of doubt as to how easy this will be to do. It’s not that we aren’t good neighbours but more so that our landlord may want to sell our unit. So, in hopes of persuading them that we should really be staying here I decided to make some appropriately timed hot cross buns.

I absolutely love any baking that involves having to use my hands – bread, pizza dough, pasta, even shortbread where you have to crumble butter into flour. It makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable (and yes, so much more messy). I’m still not that confident when it comes to using yeast but after buying a pizza stone and using it frequently I’ve learnt some tricks and can confidently make some basic doughs. The good thing about this recipe is it’s hard to get wrong.

The awesome thing about hot cross buns is the endless varieties that can be produced. I chose to go with a somewhat traditional sultana and mixed peel rendition but also added some dark chocolate to break it up. I used 85% cocoa chocolate which is bitter and not very sweet as the fruit already has some sweetness but if you’d prefer you can use chocolate with less cocoa.

My tip for this recipe is to make your paste for the crosses quite thick. As you can see from my pictures my crosses spread considerably and don’t have quite the classic look. When you pipe, do one row at a time and stop the flow of paste with your finger before moving on to the next row. There is a lot of waiting involved in this recipe but it is simple and easy to make and the buns are perfect gifts for anyone you feel like putting in a good mood 😉

Happy Easter x

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Hot Cross Buns

14g dried yeast
¼ cup caster sugar
1.5 cups milk
4 cups plain flour
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sultanas
1/3 cup mixed peel
40g dark chocolate
1 egg

Warm milk in saucepan over low heat, do not let boil. Combine with yeast and sugar and cover with cling wrap. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or until frothy.

In a large bowl sift in the flour and spices then rub the butter in with your fingertips. Add the yeast mixture, egg, fruit and chocolate and mix well until you have a soft dough. Cover and let sit for 1 hour until doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 200° and grease a 23cm square baking tin. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth (4-5 minutes) then divide into 16 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball then place in tin. Once all pieces are arranged allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Paste

½ cup plain flour
2 tsp caster sugar
Approx 1/3 cup water

Make your paste by mixing just enough water into the flour and sugar. Ensure the mixture is smooth before piping onto buns. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Glaze

1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp gelatin
1 tbsp water

Combine the above ingredients in a small saucepan and heat slowly without boiling until completely dissolved. Brush onto still warm buns. Allow to set and cool before eating.

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Espresso Mud Cupcakes

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There is nothing wrong with super sweet cakes and cookies but sometimes you need a grown up dessert. Something rich and sexy to share with a loved one or hide away and eat for a few secret minutes of self indulgence. These cupcakes fit that description perfectly.

Full of dark sinful flavours of chocolate and espresso, instead of being overly sweet they have a slight bitterness to them that may not sound appealing but is actually delicious. These are an adults only treat with Kahlua and coffee, so wouldn’t recommend giving these to children!

Initially I had planned to pair these cupcakes with a peanut butter or Nutella frosting but upon doing so found they lost some of their complexity and sexiness (don’t worry I taste tested thoroughly for you to make sure). All they need to be perfect is a light dusting of icing sugar.

I would recommend making these in small sized cupcake liners as they are seriously rich, and be sure not to overcook them to ensure a moist cake. If you wanted to convert into one large cake I would recommend doubling the recipe.

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Espresso Mud Cupcakes

125g unsalted butter
100g quality dark chocolate
½ cup hot water
2 tbsp espresso powder
50ml Kahlua
1 cup brown sugar
150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa
1 egg

Preheat your oven to 160° and prepare your cupcake liners. In a medium saucepan combine the chocolate, butter, water, Kahlua and espresso. Melt over medium heat, stirring until combined. Stir in the brown sugar and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder and stir through. Add the egg and ensure the mixture is thoroughly combined. I would recommend pouring into a jug with a pouring lip before filling your cupcake liners to save on mess. Fill to 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until just cooked through. Allow to cool before dusting with icing sugar.

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