Nutella Rock Drops Cookies

Yep, the apron is back on! What better way to start but with our favourite chocolate spread? This is my second time of making these in two days, they are soooo easy and it answers the question: convert or not convert (into grams)? The first time I did, only because my cup doesn’t fit in my flour tin and I didn’t want to make more washing for myself… This time, I didn’t….

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼cup oats
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground vanilla
  • 90g cold butter, diced
  • splash of vanilla extract *optional
  • ½ to 1 cup of nutella

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 190°C/170°fan/ Gas 5 and prepare a large baking sheet, greased and lined
  • I put buttermilk at the top of my list because: 1)In the UK, I never had any 2) It simply isn’t sold in France. So it has to be made first to be ready when required. Add 1 tsp of white vinegar or lemon juice to 250ml of milk. Do not stir.

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  • In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats, baking powder, sugar, soda, salt and ground vanilla.

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  • Cut the butter in and mix it in with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.
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OK, I use gloves, I hate when it goes in my nails…

  • Add the buttermilk and mix with a spatula until just combined and no more. Add the vanilla extract if used.

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  • With a knife, swirl the Nutella into the dough: first time I didn’t measure but this time I did. The boys liked them more with a “heavy hand in the jar”…

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  • Scoop the dough onto the prepared sheet. Makes 15 to 18 rocks

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  • Bake for 15 to 18mn, until golden brown

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And the answer? don’t convert, an extra bowl to wash won’t make that much difference. They came out exactly as I wanted in the first place, even if the boys asked for “more Nutella”. The first time, when I used a converter and measured all the ingredients, I found that it made for a wetter dough which spread out whilst baking and ended up with slightly burnt edges…

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Nutella Brioche Star

Otherwise known as “Pizza with a twist” revisited, on the sweet side! What can I say about it? 3 letters: OMG!

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Brioche dough:

As per the twist, in my bread machine, dough setting, mine is liquid in first:

  • 2 tbsp milk + 2 eggs
  • 225g strong bread flour, sprinkled over the liquid to cover it
  • ½ tsp salt + 1 tbsp sugar + 50g melted butter + 1½ tsp easy-blend dried yeast in separate corners

Once cycle over, I knocked it back gently onto a floured surface and divided the dough in 4 rolls, working one at a time, covering the others aside.

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This time I rolled the doughs and used a plate 20cm/ 8″ wide to cut them into neat discs, actually smaller than the pizza as not meant to be a meal onto itself!

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Make sure the chocolate spread is of a almost melting consistency to spread over each layer as you don’t want it to “move”. Layer them onto your baking sheet so you can slide it on your baking tray with ease.

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Cover with the 4th layer and centre a glass in the middle in order to make your first cuts. At that stage I put my pizza stone in the oven, preheating at 220°/ 200°fan, to warm up

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Remove the glass and using a pair of scissors, do the remaining cuts, 16 in all, then start twisting!

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Take 2 slices in each hand and twist twice, going opposite way ( right hand goes right and left hand goes left) and tuck in

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You should end up with something that looks like this:

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I baked it in the oven for 20mn the removed it from the stone and baked it on the sheet for a further 5mn

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It was a resounding success and disappeared in 10mn!

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In the end I had to save myself 2 “petals” in order to quality control the result, of course!

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Chocolate Crumble Square

I made these when the boys were on holidays. It ticked all the right boxes: chocolate, custard and crumble! And they look luscious! Not only that, they are dead easy to make!

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Ingredients:

  • Cold custard made with 200ml of milk
  • 175g softened butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 25g cocoa powder, sifted

Topping:

  • Rub together 50g flour+40g diced butter, at room temperature
  • Stir in 15g vanilla sugar (2 sachets) + 1tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a baking pan 30cm×20cm / 12″x8″
  • Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl and beat until smooth and creamy
  • Spoon into the prepared pan and level with a spatula
  • Drop small dollops of the custard over the top, swirling into the chocolate mixture
  • Scatter the topping over the top
  • Bake for 30 to 35mn and leave to cool in the pan
  • Dust with icing sugar and cut into 12 generous squares!

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Pumpkin Muffins

Well, they are in season! Who hasn’t got some pumpkin flesh lying around in their kitchen? there is only so much soup one can eat! I tried Pumpkin Pie once and it wasn’t really a winner….

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I won’t actually need to post the recipe because I have already…. You see, whilst scooping all the flesh out of our pumpkin, a mindless job in itself, my mind wondered to cakes and what I could try out. One thought popped out: carrot cake! It is the same colour after all!! So I followed my recipe to the letter

https://farandoleofcakes.com/2014/07/12/carrot-cake/

but instead of carrots, I used pumpkin! I made into a cake and it was so yummy, I made some more, this time into muffins… topped with a simple vanilla buttercream, enhanced by a drop of orange food colour. Enjoy!

Rhubarb and Vanilla Mincemeat

I won’t actually post a recipe today as I followed Nigella’s “Feast” recipe…. the only differences being adding ground vanilla and in my choice of dried fruits: as you know by now, I don’t like sultanas so I used cranberries, apricots and a “mixed” bought in the organic section which included figs and goji berries! I have tried to find a direct link to add to this post but I couldn’t find any although the recipe is out there, some even giving her the credit due…

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I was very pleased with myself as it is my very first attempt at any kind of mincemeat: it was delicious and promises some very nice mince pies indeed! I was worried about the rhubarb being a bit tart but not at all! Worth trying if you like making your own jams and preserves!

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And very nice, they were too! 1 jar (big one) made 24 generously filled mini mince pies:

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Biscuit Topping:

  • Beat together: 200g soft butter + 45g sugar + 2 yolks + 200g flour

And if it isn’t that time of the year, use Nutella instead as a filling: they won’t last a day!

Cinnamon Rolls

There is something about a warm, soft Cinnamon roll that I can never resist whenever I go to the United States: basically, I am addicted to them and here is my latest attempt at a healthier option…It is a real quick one too!

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Makes 9

Ingredients:

  • 180g/ 1½ cup plain flour { I advise against wholewheat as it will make the dough a little tough}
  • 50g/ ¼ scant cup caster sugar
  • 1 sachet/ 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 sachet/ 28g Vanilla pudding instant powder ( it does something to the dough, the Americans swear by it and I am lucky enough to be able to get some on my travels), 1 tbsp on the side
  • 125ml/ ½ cup warm milk (45°C or 110°F, it really needs measuring)
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • an additional 30 to 40g/ ¼ cup flour to get the dough just right, it will depend on the humidity in your kitchen on the day

Filling:

  • 1 large Tbsp Vanilla pudding powder (taken from the above sachet) + ground cinnamon (to taste) + brown sugar (2 or 3 tsp) + 1 tsp cinnamon extract and enough water to make into a paste ( could use melted butter if preferred)
  • For the boys: Nutella

Preparation:

  • In a stand mixer, combine all the dry ingredients (first 5)
  • Stir in the milk followed by the oil and the egg, slightly beaten. Beat on high for 3mn
  • Add the carrots
  • Add the extra flour, as required until you get a consistent dough
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface for a good 5mn ( use a timer!)
  • Put in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place for 10 to 15mn

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  • In the meantime, prepare your filling and a round or square pan, as preferred (8 or 9″/ 20cm)
  • Put the dough onto your floured surface and roll into a rectangular shape about 50x30cm/ 20×12″
  • Spread your chosen filling ( I used both) and roll the dough, not too tightly, starting at the shorter end

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  • Cut the ends (about 1cm) and cut into 9 even slices. Arrange them into your pan

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  • Cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place for about 1hr½ until it has doubled in size or no more space to spread out

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  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and bake for about 15mn, until golden
  • Let them cool in the pan for 10mn before frosting

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  • White frosting (used  for my cinnamon rolls top 2 on the right, and some chocolate ones): icing sugar+ 1tsp vanilla extract + milk, mixing it till you reach spreading consistency
  • Chocolate icing: icing sugar + 1tbsp cocoa powder + milk

 

Duffins

They seem to be all the rage these days so here is my version!

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Ingredients:

  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp ground vanilla
  • 60g unsalted butter, soft
  • 60ml apple sauce
  • 100g sugar (I like to mix 2/3 white- 1/3 brown)
  • 1 large egg + 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250ml buttermilk

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and lightly grease or line with cups a 12-hole standard muffin tin
  • Sieve the flour into a bowl, then add the baking powder, soda, salt and ground vanilla (separate corners)

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  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter with the apple sauce then cream together with the sugar with an electric whisk  (it might look curdled, not to worry)

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  • Continue to whisk adding the egg, whites and vanilla extract until well combined (about 2mn)

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  • Stir 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture until incorporated
  • Stir in half of the buttermilk, followed by another third of the flour, the rest of the buttermilk and finish with the last of the flour
  • Spoon about 2 tbsp of the batter at the bottom of each muffin hole ( I actually used my piping bag with a large nozzle, much easier)
  • Put 1 good tsp of your favourite spread (my boys love chocolate) and cover with batter

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  • It makes 12 and the holes should be over ¾ full
  • Bake for 15 to 20mn (lightly golden and clean toothpick)
  • Remove from oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack

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  • As soon as they are cool enough to handle, it is time to roll them into either cinnamon sugar or chocolate powder

001 I experimented with putting Maltesers in the centre

  • I personally use an homemade water spray before rolling but you can go the full fat version and melt some butter….

Notes:

  1. You can also use either just self-raising wholemeal flour or a mix with plain wholemeal flour

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  2. Never have buttermilk at home, it is too hard to find in France so I make my own before I start: mix 250ml milk with 1 tbsp of lemon juice or white wine vinegar and leave for 5 or 10mn

3.Made some more lately: you could if preferred just bake the batter plain and insert the filling once cool enough to do so

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