Thursday, 31 October 2013

Toffee Apples

Toffee apples are my favourite treat at Halloween...and best of all they count as one of your five a day! 

It's important the apples are dipped into a bowl of boiling water beforehand to make sure all the wax is removed - this way the toffee will stick to the apples better.

It was my first time making them and I was a bit worried about burning the toffee but the BBC Good Food recipe shows how you can test when the toffee is done (before it begins to burn).

To make the toffee, simply place the sugar and water in the pan until the sugar has dissolved, add the golden syrup and vinegar and leave it to form a toffee. Then dip the apples in and make sure they are coated well.


Leave the apples to cool on a sheet of baking parchment and they will form a yummy crunchy shell. 

And here's a quick round-up...

Happy Halloween!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Halloweeny Chocolate Fudge Muffins

It was quite hard trying to find something Halloweeny to bake this week as most recipes looked so gross there were very few that I actually wanted to bake (let alone eat). So instead I choose to bake something that actually looks as good as it tastes!

The BBC Good Food's Spiderweb Muffins seemed a good compromise. The muffin recipes, which requires soured cream, is different to any I've made before. As you can see it makes a very airy mixture - you have to be careful not to over mix once you've added the melted chocolate. 

The muffins are very quick to make but its the decorating that's the fun bit as it involved lots of chocolate. You simply need to melt the two bars of chocolate - I did this in two separate mugs in the microwave (but it only needs short blasts - don't forget how quickly it burns in the microwave).

You can choose to alternate both (half with white chocolate webs and the other with dark chocolate webs) but I kept it simple by spreading the dark chocolate onto the muffins and using the white chocolate to make the circles/webs.


The webs are a lot easier to do than you'd think, draw 3 or 4 circles of (white) chocolate on top of the (dark) chocolate covered muffin and drag the tip of a sharp knife from the top circle down to the bottom circle and continue this process around the muffin.

I thought I'd include a 'how not to' decorate the you can see the one on the left (above) looks much more like a flower than a spiderweb, this is because I drew the knife inwards instead of outwards (one on the right).

And that's how to make a yummy looking Halloween muffin less scary and more delicious.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Berry Blondies (White Chocolate and Berry Brownies)

As mentioned in my last post, this week at the Baking Society we made Berry Blondies - which by the way are absolutely delicious, especially when served hot.

The recipe isn't that different to the normal (milk) chocolate brownie recipe but it does have a few different ingredients, including; ground almond, a selection of berries and white chocolate obviously. Those who had nut allergies changed the ground almonds for rice flour.

We used a selection of mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries and blackcurrants) in this bake but as the berries were from frozen they were quite sharp and juicy. Therefore, as the recipe suggests, I would probably use just fresh raspberries next time. 

As you can see (above) the berries are mixed into the brownie mixture but only just - you need to make sure you don't over mix the berries as they will start to turn the mixture pink as you squash all the juice out of them. So try to keep the berries as whole as possible by folding the mixture.

Once the blondies are cooked they should be nice and crisp on the top with a soft centre of gooey white chocolate chunks and berries.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

University Baking Society

This week I joined the Baking Society at University. It's the first time I've ever joined the society (or any society for that matter) but as it's my final year at Bournemouth University, I thought it was about time I signed up to at least one society and what better than the baking society.

It was only a taster session, practicing icing and decorating skills (definitely not my strongest point), but in the following weeks there will be a series of different bakes, savory and sweet. Next week is 'Berry Blondies', an alternative white chocolate brownie, I've never baked (or even tried these before). So i'll let you know how I get on...but I have a funny feeling I'm going to like them!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

It's National Baking Week! So I figured a bake would be compulsory this week, something I hadn't tried before.

That was when I came across the #nationalbakeoff, a competition which you enter by baking one of five given recipes and sending in the picture, where I discovered John Whaite's (previous GBBO winner) Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes recipe.

I've never tried Peanut Butter and Jelly together before, nor have I ever used them in a cake batter, but the cupcakes were a scrummy alternative to the usual vanilla sponge. 

 It's a very simple recipe which just requires you to weigh out all your ingredients and mix them together in the bowl at once.

Once you've baked and cooled your cupcakes, the icing is simply butter, (smooth) peanut butter, icing sugar and raspberry jam mixed together.

I'm not the best cupcake decorator that ever existed but I thought this week was as good a time as ever to give it a go. 

So fingers crossed! 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Spiced Apple Pie Samosas

I know what you're thinking, apple samosas? I thought the same thing before trying them out.

The BBC GoodFood recipe I used only has six simple ingredients; cooking apples, caster sugar, mixed spice, sultanas, filo pastry and margarine/butter. I used up left over eating apples but I would reckon you use cooking apples as the recipe suggests, as eating apples tend to be a lot softer and sweeter to begin with.

Once you've peeled, chopped and stewed the apples (with the mixed spice and sultanas), add a tablespoon (roughly) to each strip of filo pastry before folding them into triangles.

To make sure they're extra delicious and crunchy, lightly coat the top of the samosas with the melted margarine/butter and sprinkle with sugar before placing them in the oven.

Delicious served with a big scoop (or two) of vanilla ice-cream.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

(Hidden) Heart Centred Cupcakes

These cupcakes were inspired by an episode of the Great British Bake Off, which saw each contestant bake a celebration cake with a hidden centre. I wanted to try this out myself but on a smaller scale...that was when I stumbled across this 'hidden shape cupcakes' recipe.

You might think that is a lot of faff for a cupcake but you'll find it is surprisingly simple and makes for an impressive cupcake at the end (my Nan rang me especially to let me know just how much a lovely surprise it was). There are two steps to making these cupcakes.

Firstly, to make the hearts in the centre, mix all the ingredients together (caster sugar, butter, two eggs, self-raising flour, corn flour, milk, vanilla extract and pink food colouring), then place the mixture into a square tin until baked. Once cooled, place it in the fridge to allow it to set further, then use a heart cutter to cut the hearts out of the sponge with.

These can then be put to the side whilst you make the cupcakes, which are made the exact same way as the first batch, only they are put into individual cupcake cases. However, refer back to the recipe for the quantities as they vary from the heart mixture. 

Add two tbsp of the mixture to each cupcake case and then place a sponge heart in the centre (this may be easier to do one at a time as they tend to fall over) and pour the remaining mixture into each cupcake case - make sure you cover the tops of the heart shapes.

A top tip to make sure that the heart is facing forward when you cut into the cupcake is to mark each cupcake case on the sides with a pen. Then once out of the oven and cooled, decorate the cupcakes with butter icing to disguise any sign of something hidden inside and then wait for the surprised faces when people cut them open!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I'd never actually tried red velvet cake before making this batch of cupcakes, but I'd seen a number of different recipes online. So I thought I'd try it out...turns out they are delicious rich cupcakes with a chocolatey aftertaste. In fact they were so delicious...I forgot to take any other photos than the one below (once I'd taken a bite first).

I used a Hummingbird recipe from the Goodtoknow website to make this batch. I noticed a number of the reviews were from people questioning which brand of food coloring to use as some didn't give a deep enough (red) color and some didn't taste as nice as others. I personally found the Silver Spoon red food coloring to be the best as it gave the perfect colour but with no added taste.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Chelsea Buns

I wasn't sure how well these would turn out, or if they would even resemble Chelsea buns, but they must have been good as they didn't survive it past teatime. 

As you'd expect with any dough recipe, a majority of the preparation time is leaving it to prove. Therefore this BBC Food Chelsea Bun recipe doesn't require much from you at all (not as much as you'd think anyway).

To make it all the yummier, when sprinkling on the brown sugar, cinnamon and dried fruit, I also sprinkle on a little bit of nutmeg too.

Best served with a cup of tea.