This beautiful brunch loaf is packed with flavour and best of all, gluten free. Full of delicious olives, sundried tomatoes, cheddar cheese and sweet potato, it's a welcome addition to any lunch or brunch table :)Read More
The weekend was so lovely. Mostly sunny, a little rainy and packed full of family fun. And an extra (bank holiday) day is always an added bonus :) And then today one of my boys felt too poorly for school so we decided to make something yummy to cheer him up!
The first time I made Monkey Bread it was a complete success in our house. All of the boys asked when I was going to make it again so I knew it was definitely a winner! Today we made a slightly different version and played around with one from the Australian Women's Weekly. It made me giggle that's it's in the category for "The Lazy Baker"! I'm not sure I agree it's for the lazy baker but it's a version of monkey bread that doesn't contain any yeast and you don't have a wait for a rise so I guess that could be considered a kind of lazy :) What I love about this is that the balls are filled with spiced apple making them soft and yummy on the inside whilst they have a crunchy sugary outside. Then once it's baked you top it with a delicious caramel sauce. Doesn't that all sound like absolute heaven?
I used a bundt tin to bake my bread. To ensure that it's baked all the way through, we need a pan with a tubular centre so a kugelhopf or bundt tin is ideal for this. The tin needs to be greased and then floured VERY well. As with all bundt tin bakes, I find the success is all about the greasing of the tin otherwise it's almost impossible to get it out of the tin in one piece. Once the tin is prepared, we make the apple. After peeling, coring and cutting up the apple into small pieces, it's brought to a simmer with water, cinnamon and allspice and then heated for ten minutes to become soft. Then set aside to cool down.
The dough is simple to prepare. We mix the flour and sugar and then rub in cold butter with your fingertips to get the consistency of breadcrumbs. Then add the buttermilk and cut it through the mixture until a dough is formed. We gently knead it for five minutes until it's a soft dough. Then weigh the dough and divide it into 14 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten it until it's an 8-10cm circle. Then we place a teaspoon of cooled (if it's too hot it melts the dough) apple sauce into the centre and pull the sides up around it, pinching them closed at the top. Each ball needs to be rolled in melted butter, then a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon and finally arranged in the tin in 2 rows - depending on your tin, around 6 balls at the base and then 7 on top.
No proving is required for this bread, so we pop it straight into the oven for 20 mins and then after covering it with foil, bake it for a further 15 minutes. When it's finished baking, it needs to be left in its tin for 30 minutes and then gently removed. You will need to loosen it from the sides with a palette knife and then gently turn it out onto a plate.
For the caramel sauce, I used the same recipe as for my Anzac Biscuits with Salted Caramel. We melt the golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan and then stir in the butter, cream and salt. This is then drizzled over the top of the bread.
This is a lovely bake that is especially yummy straight from the oven. The little balls taste like delicious doughnuts (with a gorgeous cinnamon sugar exterior) and are light inside with an extra special surprise of spiced apple. They are perfect for breakfast and brunch but would also be a great pudding for supper with friends.
I suspect that Monkey Bread will be staying a firm favourite in this house for years to come - and am looking forward to trying new flavour combos :)
Apple and Caramel Monkey Bread
adapted from Australian Women's Weekly Pecan & Apple Monkey Bread
Spiced Apple Ingredients
- 3 GRANNY SMITH APPLES
- 55G CASTER SUGAR
- 1 TBSP LIGHT BROWN DEMERARA SUGAR
- 1 TSP GROUND CINNAMON
- 1/4 TSP GROUND CLOVES
- 1 TBSP WATER
Monkey Bread Ingredients
- 450G SELF-RAISING FLOUR
- 2 TBSP CASTER SUGAR
- 40G COLD BUTTER (cut into little bits)
- 310ML BUTTERMILK
Cinnamon Sugar Coating Ingredients
- 90G BUTTER, MELTED
- 165G LIGHT BROWN DEMERARA SUGAR
- 1/2 TSP GROUND CINNAMON
Caramel Sauce Ingredients
- 100G LIGHT SOFT BROWN SUGAR
- 50G GOLDEN SYRUP
- 75G UNSALTED BUTTER
- 75ML DOUBLE CREAM
- 1 TSP SEA SALT
- First of all, grease your Bundt tin with butter and then a coating of flour over the top of the butter - it's very important to grease all the nooks and crannies of the bundt tin otherwise there's a good chance your final bread will stick to the tin and not come out in one piece!
- To make the Spiced Apple, peel, core and chop your apples into small pieces
- Place them in a saucepan with the sugars, spices and waters and bring to a simmer
- Cover, reduce the heat and cook for around 10 mins until soft
- Drain the liquid away and leave to cool
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (fan)
- To make the Monkey Bread, put the flour and sugar into a bowl and stir to combine
- Add the cold, cubed butter and rub the butter into the flour until you have a breadcrumb texture
- Add the buttermilk and stir it through the flour with a knife until it comes together in a dough
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough the 5 minutes
- Weigh the dough and divide it equally into 14 pieces
- Take each piece, roll it into a ball and then flatten it into a disc around 8-10cm in diameter
- Place a teaspoon of cooled apple into the centre of each disc, pull the sides up around the apple sauce and then pinch the dough together at the top to seal the ball
- Do this for the rest of the balls
- To make the Cinnamon Sugar, mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small ball and also have your melted butter in another bowl next to it
- First dip each ball completely in the melted butter and then roll it in the cinnamon sugar so it's fully coated
- Arrange the coated balls in the tin in 2 rows - probably around 6 in the bottom and 7 on top
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes
- Place tin foil over the top of the tin and then bake a further 15 minutes
- Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 30 minutes
- Using a palette knife, gently loosen the sides of the bread from the tin and gently turn out onto a plate
- To make the Caramel Sauce, place the sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan with a tablespoon of water
- Bring it just to the boil and then simmer for 3 minutes
- Add the butter, cream and sea salt in one go and stir for another minute until everything is melted and fully incorporated
- Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature
- When you're ready to serve your Monkey Bread, drizzle it with the caramel sauce and then dust with icing sugar
- And enjoy :)
There are times when I wish our senses could transcend the written word. Like right now. If you could smell the warm, sweet, maple syrupy smell coming from my kitchen at this moment, you'd be in love. Just like me. And it doesn't just smell good - the taste is even better!
This Maple Syrup Monkey Bread is gorgeously squidgy. It has its first blanket of maple syrup when it's just out of the oven and then another one a few minutes later when it's turned out on the plate. I think mine looks like it's swimming in it :)
The recipe comes from James Martin's Sweet which I highly recommend if you're looking for lots of sweet delights to bake. I love James Martin and his recipes (whether from this book or his other savoury ones) always turn out brilliantly. They're easy to follow and always work. Win win. And there are lots of beautiful photos to inspire you!
This is simple to make but, as with all bread, you do need a little patience for the proving. The dough itself is straightforward - the milk is warmed in a saucepan, the yeast is added and then it's mixed with breadcrumbs made from flour, sugar, salt and butter. I mixed the breadcrumbs by hand but then I used my standalone mixer and dough hook to combine all the ingredients. You can work the dough by hand if you don't have this equipment - it will just take you 15 minutes rather than the 5 minutes with the dough hook. But you get bonus points for giving your arm muscles a workout!
When the dough is tacky to the touch, it's put into a bowl, covered and left for around 2 hours in a warm place until doubled in size. When it's ready, butter a 23cm savarin mold. I didn't have one of these so I used an 8 inch cake tin. You're going to make 30-35 dough balls with your dough so weigh the dough and then work out how much each dough ball should weigh. I kept my scales to hand and weighed out each amount of dough and then formed it into little balls. Then each ball is dipped into melted butter and rolled in a mixture of demerara sugar and cinnamon. By the time I formed my last ball the sugar was a complete gunky mess, clumped together with the butter, but keep going. Then place the balls into your cake tin. My bottom row was 2 balls wide (leaving a hole in the middle as it would have with a savarin mold) and then 1 circle of balls on the top layer.
The dough is left to prove again, lightly covered with some oiled clingfilm, for around 45 minutes. I generally leave my dough to prove for the second time overnight which I did with this bake but you need to ensure that you don't leave it in too warm a place as the butter will melt. I found that happened a little with mine (it didn't affect the final outcome as far as I can tell) but I suggest you place it on a baking tray when proving otherwise you might get a sticky trail when you come to pick it up!
When you're ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Bake it on the baking tray for around 25 minutes until it's golden brown. I did find that the the middle hole disappeared as it baked and because I wasn't using a savarin mold, the middle dough balls underneath aren't cooked quite as well as the outer ones, so a savarin mold is preferable if you have one to hand, but not absolutely necessary.
When it's out of the oven, it's coated with 100 ml of maple syrup, left for 2 minutes and then turned out on a plate. Mine was pretty sticky and did try to come apart when being lifted from the tin to plate but I managed to get it there in one piece. It's crucial that you remove it from its tin this quickly. Then it's bathed in another 100ml maple syrup.
It is a thing of beauty. Simply delicious and especially good straight from the oven.
I'm looking forward to trying other variations of Monkey Bread but wanted to try this one first. We are firm maple syrup lovers in this house so I know it will be a big hit when the boys come home.
If there's any left by the time the boys come home ;-)
Maple Syrup Monkey Bread
from James Martin's Sweet
- 300ML MILK
- 500G STRONG BREAD FLOUR (plus extra for dusting)
- 75G CASTER SUGAR
- 5G FINE SEA SALT
- 50G SOFTENED BUTTER (plus extra for greasing your tin)
- 2 TSP FAST-ACTION DRIED YEAST
- 200ML MAPLE SYRUP
- 250G DEMERARA SUGAR
- 1 TBSP CINNAMON
- 200G MELTED BUTTER
- Gently warm the milk in a saucepan until it's warm but not boiling
- Place the flour, sugar and salt in a standalone mixer with a dough hook and mix to combine
- Add the butter and mix together until you have the consistency of fine breadcrumbs - I did this by rubbing it between my fingertips
- Then sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and add to the breadcrumb mixture
- Mix together with a dough hook on your standalone mixer on a medium speed for around 5 minutes
- The dough should be soft, sticky and shiny and tacky to the touch but definitely not dry
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave it to prove for 1-2 hours until it's risen, spongy and doubled in size
- Then butter your savarin mold (23cm) or cake tin (20cm)
- Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute
- Weigh the dough and divide it by 35 and then make 35 dough balls of equal size
- Mix the demerara sugar and cinnamon in a bowl
- Dip each dough ball into the melted butter and then coat in the sugar mixture
- Place it in the mold/baking tin - I had enough for 2 circles (one inside the other) on the bottom of the tin, leaving a hole in the middle, and then another circle on top
- Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to prove in a warm place (not too warm though otherwise the butter will melt) for 45 minutes until the dough is well risen - I left mine overnight
- When you're ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 180 degrees
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the balls are golden brown
- Remove from the oven and immediately coat the balls with 100ml maple syrup
- After 2 minutes, remove the monkey bread from the tin and place onto a plate - it's important to do this now otherwise the bread will stick to the tin and be very difficult to remove without breaking
- Once on a plate, bathe the monkey bread in another 100ml maple syrup
- And enjoy (but not so much that you eat the entire thing in one sitting!!)
It's Friday. It's half term. It couldn't have come sooner.
What better way to celebrate a week off together than with Chocolate Doughnuts. The boys had a playdate so I thought I'd make these doughnuts that I've had my eye on for a while. I made Pumpkin Doughnuts not long ago and both these and the chocolate ones are baked rather than deep fried (I will get to deep frying doughnuts at some point but these seem just that little bit healthier).
This recipe is adapted from one by Manuela Kjeilen who has the most fabulous blog called Passion 4 Baking. Think pink. Think retro kitchens. Think complete inspiration. I've looked through most of her recipes and there are so many things I'd love to make, but one bake that stuck in my mind was her doughnuts.
One of the main ingredients is Jell-o Instant Pudding Powder which is an American product that I dug out in the supermarket when I was in Canada over the summer. I adapted Manuela's Delicious Baked Vanilla Donuts recipe to make a chocolate version so I used the Chocolate Jell-o Pudding Powder in mine. It's fair to say that my baked doughnuts don't look that chocolatey and flavour-wise weren't that chocolatey either so after going to great lengths to get this pudding mix, I think cocoa powder would work well next time. But I'm pretty happy with the results from this first batch.
The doughnuts have yeast in them and their texture is very bread-like. They're left to prove twice which means they need a little longer to make but this really helps give them their fluffy texture. The first batch I made looked like Manuela's but I found that after they'd proved and been in the oven, they expanded so much that they almost joined together and the hole all but vanished. So the ones on the right below were my second batch which don't look as pretty pre-baking, but give the customary hole in the middle and much better post-baking look.
I would say that the doughnuts themselves don't have a huge amount of flavour (which I think would be enhanced by the addition of cocoa powder) so the toppings are really important and I decided to use a rich dark ganache and a helping of sprinkles. I love the flavour of the really rich chocolate ganache and the crunchy little non-appareils.
They take a little more time because of the proving but these are a fun little bake.
And if you're looking for ways to allay half term boredness, then kids would love to be chief decorators :)
Chocolate Doughnuts with Chocolate Ganache Makes 20 (adapted from Passion 4 Baking's Delicious Baked Vanilla Donuts)
Chocolate Doughnut Ingredients
- 30G BUTTER, MELTED
- 350ML WARM MILK
- 7G FAST ACTION BREAD YEAST
- 150G CASTER SUGAR
- 1 PACKET JELL-O CHOCOLATE INSTANT PUDDING POWDER
- PINCH OF SALT
- 2 EGGS
- 625G PLAIN FLOUR
- 100g WHIPPING CREAM
- 100G DARK CHOCOLATE, CHOPPED
- Firstly, melt the butter and put aside
- Heat the milk so it's warm but not hot and place in a mixing bowl
- Sprinkle the yeast over the top
- Add the melted butter and mix together
- Add the sugar, instant pudding powder, salt and flour
- Mix these ingredients together with a dough hook until the ingredients are combined
- Add the flour and continue to mix with the dough hook until smooth and elastic (around 8-10 minutes)
- Turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to double in size for around 1 hour
- Lightly flour a work surface and then roll out the dough until it's around 1 cm thick
- I used the Wilton Mini Doughnut Pan so found that a 6cm cutter and 3.5cm piping nozzle were the right sizes for this
- Put these doughnuts into the pan, cover with a clean cloth and leave for an hour
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (fan)
- Bake the doughnuts for around 8-10 mins until golden brown on the outside
- When ready, turn out the doughnuts onto a cooling rack
- Make the ganache by heating the cream until it's just boiling and then pour over the chocolate slowly
- Leave for few minutes and then stir together until all the chocolate lumps have disappeared
- Hold one of the doughnuts upside down and swirl it in a circular motion in the chocolate until you have an even coating on the top (use a spoon to help spread this if needed)
- Top with your favourite sprinkles :)
So I loved the last, my first, brioche that I made. But I've read about other ways of proving this lovely sweet dough and wanted to try a different recipe. I saw a Pin for this lovely Raspberry Swirl Brioche from Hint Of Vanilla which drew me in and although it has more stages than my last brioche, I knew I wanted to try this one next.
This recipe uses very exact quantities of ingredients, in particular the eggs which need to be weighed. The first addition was around 2 eggs. The mixing of initial ingredients is all very straightforward, but then it came to full gluten development (* this is when you stretch a little dough between 2 fingers and it should be so elastic that you can see through it without it breaking) I wasn't sure how long this would take and it actually took around 15 - 20 minutes in a mixer with the dough hook to get there. This heats up the mixture so after the final egg addition, I measured the temperature and it was 25 degrees (needs to be less than 27 degrees).
The fermenting was again pretty straightforward and then I transferred the dough to the fridge. The recipe suggest between 1 and 12 hours - I left mine for around 1.5 hours. When it came out of the fridge it's rolled into a rectangle and covered with a gorgeous Raspberry Smear. Now this smear is absolutely delicious. A raspberry flavoured butter that is rich and creamy. Megan made her smear with powdered raspberry and since I didn't have any of this I used a tube of freeze-dried raspberries that I blitzed in the food processor (then sieving the powder to remove the remaining raspberry seeds) and mixed this with butter, sugar and lemon juice. I also didn't have vanilla sugar so I just used regular caster sugar.
Then it came to the plaiting. I was to leave 2 inches at the top (which I measured!) but I think I should have cut it a little higher as I didn't get the raspberry ribbons successfully through that part; and also I should have plaited it much tighter as Megan's raspberry ribbons are really visible and mine not so much. When it proves again for the final time, Megan suggest 1.5 - 2 hours until it's doubled in size. I check mine after a few hours and it hadn't risen too much so I left it overnight and it had a lovely rise by the morning. I also see the added benefit of this is that you can bake it fresh for breakfast and eat it warm from the oven. Yum :)
I also forgot to glaze the brioche with egg wash before going in the oven. Doh! (or should that be *dough*!!) I didn't get the usual lovely shiny top customary of a brioche but I will not forget my egg wash next time! Also a warning that you do really need to let it cool a little before trying to get it out of the tray. If mine (tin-less) looks a little misshapen it's because I decided I needed it out of the tin the moment it was from the oven which also meant it collapsed a little...
This brioche was absolutely delicious. So delicious that I'm thinking of making another one this week. Hmmm...what flavour combinations to try next? Or maybe just a plain simple brioche that everyone can dress as they like. The possibilities are endless.
In my quest to perfect my bread-making, I am going to keep reading up on brioche recipes but this one is definitely a keeper :)
Raspberry Swirl Brioche (from Hint Of Vanilla)
- 335G BREAD FLOUR
- 9G SALT
- 50G SUGAR
- 4G INSTANT DRIED YEAST
- 78G WHOLE MILK AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
- 135G EGGS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
- 2G VANILLA EXTRACT
- 170G UNSALTED BUTTER (this needs to be softened slightly so it's pliable, but if it's too soft you should refrigerate it again)
- 100g UNSALTED BUTTER AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
- 7G RASPBERRY POWDER (I used a tube of freeze dried raspberries that I blitzed in the blender although this only made 5g raspberry powder)
- 30G VANILLA SUGAR (or regular caster sugar)
½ LEMON, JUICED
- Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a bowl
- In a mixer, combine the milk, vanilla extract and 117 g of the eggs and stir to combine
- Pour the dry ingredients on top and mix on low speed until just incorporated
- Add 1/3 of the butter and switch the mixer to medium speed
- Ensure the butter is fully incorporated and add the next 1/3 butter
- Repeat with the final 1/3 butter
- Continue to mix until full gluten development is achieved*
- Add the remaining 18g of egg and mix until just incorporated (keep the remaining egg for the egg wash before baking)
- Check the temperature doesn't exceed 27 degrees (insert a thermometer in the middle and check this)
- Remove the dough and place on a lightly floured surface, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it to ferment for 45 mins
- Transfer the dough to a baking tray lined with silpat or greaseproof paper, wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 - 12 hours.
- To make the Raspberry Smear, mix all the ingredients together until you get a smooth pinkish butter
- Grease a bread tin
- Roll out the brioche into a rectangle 12 inches by 6 inches, keeping it all as straight as possible
- Cover the whole surface with the Raspberry Smear
- Tightly roll the brioche from the long side and trim both ends
- Cut the dough in half along the length leaving around 2 inches at one end
- Twist the two lengths so the cut sides are facing up
- Gently braid the dough by putting the left-hand one over the right, then keep repeating until you get to the end of the dough and press the end together
- Carefully tuck the ends of the loaf under and put it in the bread tin
- Cover with plastic wrap and let it prove the bread for 1.5 - 2 hours until doubled in size (or leave overnight) in a cool place
- When you're ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius
- Brush the top of the brioche with eggwash
- Bake the loaf for 16 minutes then lower the temperature to 160 degrees and bake for around 30 minutes until the loaf is golden all over
- Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes
- Transfer to a cooling rack and let it cool completely
- Try not to eat it all at once!!
I really wanted to make brioche. It's one of my favourite breads. But I'm always a little nervous of bread. Making it, that is. I've faced my inner demons and made this and this but I still take a deep breath every time I embark on a new bread project. Still, I decided I wanted to make brioche and found this delicious Chocolate & Hazelnut Pull-Apart Brioche from Butter and Brioche. Thalia photographs her bakes perfectly and has really detailed instructions on how to make everything so I just love following her blog.
The dough recipe is pretty straightforward. Making the initial dough is a 2 step process and then the butter is added giving it the richness you'd expect from brioche. I used my standalone mixer and dough hook to get me to the stage when I was ready to roll out. The brioche dough looked as I expected it to but I found it really sticky when I was to roll it out. Thalia suggests that the work surface should be lightly floured but I found that I needed much more flour (probably too much) to be able to keep the dough moving. When the dough is shaped into a rectangle, it is then spread with Nutella (yum) and sprinkled with hazelnuts. The original recipe adds extra chocolate chips here which I didn't use, but I think it would work with and without.
The cutting of the dough requires some precision but is at the same time fairly forgiving. You cut the rectangle into long strips and place them on top of each other. Then cut this thin tower into equal squares and stack them in the tin. I had a little bit left over which I squeezed down the side and as it's tear and share bread, it just merges into the one loaf (why I say it's pretty forgiving). Then we leave this to prove and then bake it in the oven. Now the original recipe says that it will increase in volume during proving until it's above the top of the tin. Mine didn't rise that much but I decided that I would still put it in the oven after the 1½ hours so mine looks a little flatter than Thalia's lovely loaf.
There are other brioche recipes I'd like to try but this was a great recipe to start with. I love naked brioche with jam for breakfast but the Nutella adds an extra richness. I'm not a huge fan of the chocolate spread but I think it works really well here. I might, in fact, reduce the amount of hazelnuts and add in the chocolate chips next time as well as the Nutella.
I love tear and share bread. It's really convivial to have sharing platters of food and long lunches or dinners with good friends. I haven't had a sharing sweet bread before and this is a wonderfully yummy one for my initiation.
This would be a lovely (naughty) addition to the breakfast table but I would love to share this for brunch with family and friends. Can't wait to make this again :)
Chocolate and Hazelnut Brioche (from Butter and Brioche)
- 240G PLAIN FLOUR
- 25G CASTER SUGAR
- 5G SALT
- 7G INSTANT YEAST
- 70ML MILK
- 2 EGGS + 1 EGG YOLK (these need to be at room temperature)
- 125G BUTTER, CUBED (this needs to be at room temperature)
- 160G (½ CUP) NUTELLA
- 75G CHOPPED HAZELNUTS
- 1 EGG YOLK WHISKED WITH 2 TBSP MILK
- Optional: 90G DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS
- Place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a standalone mixer with a dough hook
- Combine the ingredients on a slow speed
- Add the milk and eggs and mix on slow for 2 minutes
- Increase the speed to medium and mix for 6-8 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth and elastic
- Add the cubed butter piece by piece and mix until it's all fully incorporated in the dough which should take around 5 minutes
- Make sure that the butter is properly distributed throughout the dough, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure it's all mixed together well
- On a lightly floured surface, place the dough and roll into a rectangle, roughly 30cm by 40cm (you need to be able to move the dough around so ensure it's not sticking to the surface by dusting the surface with more flour if necessary)
- Spread the Nutella across the dough and then sprinkle the hazelnuts across the surface - this is where you would add the optional chocolate chips from the Ingredients list
- Cut the dough into 6 long strips (lengthwise) and then place them on top of each other so you have a long, tall stack
- Cut the stack into 6 even squares
- Place the squares side by side in the baking tin, filling it 2/3 full
- Brush the surface of the loaf with the egg yolk mixed with milk
- Leave it to rise in a warm area for 1½ hours until the dough has puffed up and risen above the top of the tin and there should be a "skin" when touched lightly
- Once risen, pre-heat the oven to 180C degrees and bake for 20 to 30 minutes (mine took around 25 mins) but you want a skewer inserted in the middle to come out clean (if during baking, it looks like it's browning too quickly, you can cover the top with foil)
- When it's cooked and out of the oven, leave for 5 mins in the tin and then turn it out onto a rack to cook
- Enjoy :)
I know it's not Easter. It should, in fact, be summer but you could be mistaken for thinking it was autumn going into winter most days here in London right now. So back to Easter. Or rather not being Easter, but these lovely little buns that are traditionally served at Easter in Sweden should be served all year around. Doesn't the name sounds romantic "Bollos de Pascua suecos"? Much nicer than "Swedish Easter Buns"!
I hadn't tried these before, but saw a photo on Pinterest that stayed somewhere in the back of my mind for a day such as this one. When we were recently in Canada, out in the Algonquin National Park, we made many visits to our favourite bakery, Henrietta's Bakery, where they had lots of traditional buns filled with jam and cream, fresh cakes and pies and somewhere amongst all of this I was reminded of these little buns. Incidentally, if you ever find yourself in the Algonquin National Park with a craving for something sweet, I thoroughly recommend a visit to that lovely bakery for their amazing sticky buns :)
But back to my Semlor buns which are in essence bread flavoured with cardamom. The cardamom is freshly ground so it has a really vibrant flavour and smell. I'm not a huge cardamom fan (especially if you find me accidentally chewing on one in my pilau rice) but the 1 teaspoon in these buns is not too overbearing and adds a rather pleasant flavour.
Once they are baked and cooled, it's time for their little hats to come off. Then a small amount of the insides are scooped out ready to be mixed with almond paste and then layered back inside the bun. I made my own almond paste which meant I could make it to my desired consistency and as sweet as I liked it. This is then topped with a generous swirl of the most delicious mascarpone cream mixed with vanilla paste, icing sugar, milk and cream. Its little hat goes back on top and then it's dusted with icing sugar. There. Easy, right?
There are a few different sources that inspired these which found me translating Swedish recipes (and as such missing important stages!) but my recipe was in the main adapted from Swedish Food and Mercaditas Bakery. These buns do have a few different stages but it's totally worth the effort. The freshly ground spice really does give this a lift and transforms it from just a bread bun whilst pairing really well with the almond and mascarpone cream.
They're lovely enjoyed with a cup of coffee - but in my world it's always a hot chocolate :)
Semlor "Bollos De Pascua Suecos"
- 75G BUTTER
- 300ML MILK
- 10G FAST ACTION DRIED YEAST
- ½ TSP SALT
- 55G SUGAR
- 1 TSP FRESHLY GROUND CARDAMOM
- 500G PLAIN FLOUR
- 1 EGG
Almond Paste Ingredients
- 125g GROUND ALMONDS
- 60ML MILK
- ICING SUGAR TO TASTE
Mascarpone Cream Ingredients
- 250G REFRIGERATED MASCARPONE
- 120ML WHIPPING CREAM
- 60G ICING SUGAR
- 1 TSP VANILLA PASTE
- Melt the butter in a saucepan
- Add the milk and heat until it's lukewarm and mixed well
- Add the yeast and mix until it's all dissolved
- Put the salt, sugar, cardamom and flour in a mixer and make a well in the centre
- Add the buttery milk mixture and egg and then mix for 5 mins with the dough hook (or alternatively knead it by hand)
- The mixture should be sticky but not stick to your hands when it's ready
- Place in an oiled bowl covered loosely with clingfilm and leave to prove for a half hour
- Gently turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth
- Divide the dough into equal balls (I wanted 8 so just calculated what each ball needed to weigh and used the weighing scales to make sure they were all even sized at around 95g)
- Put the dough balls onto 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper, cover with a tea towel and leave for another 40 mins
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (fan)
- Bake for 25 mins until the tops are browned and then allow to cool
- If you're not filling the buns immediately, store them in an airtight container as they tend to dry out quickly
- Make the almond paste by mixing all the ingredients together - the icing sugar is at your discretion until the paste is sweet enough for you, but as a guide, I added 3 tablespoons
- Cut a small hat off the top of each bun and place aside
- Then scoop out a little of the bread from inside each bun and add this into the almond paste, then mix together
- At this stage, I added a little more milk until I had a creamy paste
- Divide the paste between each of the buns
- Then beat the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla paste until mixed together
- Add the whipping cream and beat on high until it holds its shape and forms stiff peaks
- Using a star nozzle, pipe the cream onto each bun
- Then replace their hats
- Sprinkle liberally with icing sugar!
I've never had much success making dough. So many people tell me it's really easy, but for some reason, mine never seems to work out that well. I love eating it, so I guess I'm just going to have to knuckle down and practice a lot to get good at creating it too! I found this pin on Pinterest from Cakelets and Doilies with these gorgeous Swedish Cinnamon Buns. Belle's blog is full of delicious bakes that look simply stunning. And I LOVE cinnamon buns! Win, win. I've put aside my fear of yeast to give these little buns of delight a go.
The recipe is very straightforward and instructions clear. I really like each little bun in its own wrapper, but this would also work if you popped them into a round baking tin and cooked them together as a pull-apart round. The biggest skill you need to learn is patience whilst the dough proves twice, but it's definitely worth the wait. I was a little concerned about the cardamom as I'm not a huge fan especially when you get a bite of one in a curry. However the cardamom enhances the flavour of the milk without being overwhelming so it's definitely worth keeping this in. Even though I had my trusty tape measure to hand, my buns were a little uneven in size but that's just more practice needed and doesn't affect the taste of them at all. They are definitely best served warm and for me, are enhanced by the addition of maple syrup soaked through to keep them a little more moist.
These really are delicious and I'm delighted to say this is my most successful yeast bake EVER. Yay! Can't wait to try them out on the boys later :)
Swedish Cinnamon Buns Makes 12 (from Cakelets & Doilies)
- 300ML WHOLE MILK (I used semi-skimmed milk as this was what I had to hand)
- ¼ TSP GROUND CARDAMOM
- 50G BUTTER, CHOPPED
- 425G PLAIN FLOUR
- 7G FAST ACTION YEAST
- 60G CASTER SUGAR
- ¼ TSP SALT
- 1 EGG, BEATEN LIGHTLY
- 75G BUTTER
- 50G DARK BROWN SUGAR
- 2 TSP CINNAMON
- ½ TSP SALT
- 1 EGG, BEATEN LIGHTLY
- SLIVERED ALMONDS
- First of all, to make the buns, put the milk and cardamom in the small saucepan and heat it until it's almost but not quite boiling
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, then leave to infuse until it's just warm
- Put all the dry ingredients into a mixer fitted with a dough hook and then add the milk and egg
- Combine all the ingredients with the dough hook on a slow speed for around 10 mins (the dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl by now)
- Lightly grease your hands and a bowl - shape the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, then cover it with clingfilm
- The dough should be left somewhere warm and draught-free and you want it to double in size which should take around 30 mins to an hour (mine took around 45 mins)
- Press the dough with your fingertip and your finger should leave a slight indentation when it's ready
- Now make the filling, by melting the butter and then setting the bowl aside
- Combine the dark sugar, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl
- When the dough is ready, punch the middle of it to deflate the dough and then cover it again with clingfilm and leave it for 5 mins
- Then roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to make a rectangle roughly 60cm x 25cm
- Brush the dough with butter and then evenly sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top
- Roll the dough from the long end tightly like a swiss roll and you should end up with very long sausage shape where the seam is underneath
- Cut off the ends and discard
- Cut the roll into 12 equal slices
- Put 12 muffin wrapper into a cupcake | muffin tin and then pop a slice into each one, side up so you can see the swirl of the cinnamon on the top
- Cover the muffin tin loosely with clingfilm and proof for the second time, again until the dough has doubled in size which should take another 30 mins to an hour
- Press the dough with your fingertip and your finger should leave a slight indentation when it's ready
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
- Brush the top of each cinnamon bun with the beaten egg and then the slivered almonds
- Bake for 25 mins or until golden brown
- Enjoy with a drizzle of maple syrup :)
Half term holidays are my most favourite kinds of school breaks - only a week long, it feels like you have to pack in the fun quickly before it's time to go back to school and they always leave you wanting more - which is a nice way to enjoy family time. This week, the weather has been mixed. Pouring with rain some days and then beautiful sunshine but cold days the rest of the time. Today we have been making bonfires and climbing trees in the winter (I should be saying springtime, but we're most definitely still feeling the chill of winter) sunshine.
A week with grandma and grandpa always leads to far too many treats and sweeties so I've been looking for a bake that's secretly packed with superfood goodness. For many years, I've been an avid fan of Donna Hay - of her cooking, baking and styling - but she doesn't always cook the healthiest of food. Although about a week ago, a post popped up for her new magazine Fresh & Light which is geared towards a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. There's lots of recipes I plan to try in here, but being half term, I wanted something for the kids that didn't take too long to make (having both children in tow).
Now who doesn't love banana bread? In this healthy magazine, a few variations of the classic bread are included so I decided to pack my little loaf with blueberries and chia seeds as well as the banana. This is so easy to make and completely gluten free. The ingredients mean a trip to the health food shop rather than the local supermarket, but it is whipped together in no time and the longest part of making it is the baking - which is great when you want a lovely home-made treat but don't have hours to spend in the kitchen.
The resulting loaf is very moist and packed full of fruit. Regular sugar is switched for coconut sugar and the other sweetness comes from the maple syrup and bananas. At this time of year, the blueberries, not quite in season, are a little tart, but this works well. We're not traditionally a gluten-free family, but this is yet another recipe that shows me that gluten-free baking can be just as yummy as the alternative and doesn't even feel like a compromise!
Banana, Chia & Blueberry Loaf (from Donna Hay's Fresh & Light)
- 1½ CUPS (225G) BUCKWHEAT FLOUR
- 1 CUP (220G) COCONUT SUGAR
- 1 TSP GLUTEN-FREE BAKING POWDER
- ½ TSP GLUTEN-FREE BAKING SODA
- 2 TSP GROUND CINNAMON
- 1 CUP MASHED BANANAS (APPROX 3 BANANAS)
- 1 EGG
- ½ (140G) CUP NATURAL YOGHURT
- ¼ (60ML) CUP GRAPESEED OIL
- 1/3 (80ML) CUP MAPLE SYRUP (PLUS EXTRA FOR BRUSHING OVER FINISHED LOAF)
- 2 TSP VANILLA PASTE
- 1 CUP (150G) BLUEBERRIES
- ¼ CUP (45G) CHIA SEEDS
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees.
- Place the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon) and stir to combine.
- Add the banana, egg, yoghurt, oil, maple syrup and vanilla paste, then mix to combine.
- Stir through the blueberries and chia seeds.
- Pour into a 1½ litre loaf tin, greased and lined with baking paper.
- Bake for 1 to 1 hour 10 mins until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave for 5 mins and then turn out carefully onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.
- Brush the top with maple syrup and serve!