Swedish Cardamom Buns

 

If your first thoughts were: “this looks complicated”, then think again. Because once you read through the step by step guide below, you will be tying knots (albeit the dough kind) like a sailor. They are so much fun to make!

This recipe reminds me of the brioche loaves I made last year because of the light buttery texture of the bread. These buns take less than half the time it takes to make brioche and has a lot more flavour: I brought them into the office the next day and before I got back to my seat they were all gone!

Not all recipes use egg but I find adding it here helps give the dough a soft, cakey like texture that you expect from a cinnamon roll. I love the generous use of cardamom, one of my favourite spices. It was back breaking having to grind it by hand in a mortar and pestle; very few places sell the seeds grounded. Be generous with the spice measurements, about 1/4 of it will melt away in the baking process anyway.

And yes I have to admit I played around with the recipe – I added orange rind, nutmeg and almond essence to the mix. This is all optional.

Bon appetit!

 

Swedish Cardamom Buns

INGREDIENTS

CARDAMOM DOUGH

  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. (250 ml) milk, lukewarm temprature
  • 1 envelope dry active yeast (7 g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond essence
  • 1/3 cup (67 g) light brown sugar
  • 3 1/4 cup (406 g) all-purpose flour, plus more to flour surfaces
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. (75 g) butter (at room temperature)
  • Oil/cooking spray (to grease bowl)

 

CARDAMOM FILLING

  • 4-5 Tbsp. (about 63 g) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup (65 g) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. ground cardamom seeds
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp almond essence

 

CARDAMOM GLAZE

  • 1 egg – whisked

 

CARDAMOM DOUGH

  1. Pre-grease/oil a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, add yeast to the lukewarm milk with 1 tsp. light brown sugar and stir until yeast has dissolved. Let activate for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, grind/crush cardamom seeds with spice grinder or mortar and pestle. In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, mix together flour, light brown sugar (less 1 tsp.), cardamom, and salt.
  4. Change the attachment to the dough hook attachment.
  5. After yeast has been activated, add almond essence to your yeast/milk mixture, then add to the flour mixture and mix on low until dough begins to come together. Increase speed to medium-low and add cubed butter in handfuls. Once all the butter has been added, increase speed to medium/medium-high and knead for about 5 minutes. You want this to be a fairly loose dough, so whatever you do, don’t over knead.
  6. Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a bun, tucking the edges toward the centre.  Place in your greased bowl, seam side down and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place bowl in a warm place and let it rise for at least 40 minutes.

 

CARDAMOM FILLING

  1. In the bowl combine butter, dark brown sugar, and freshly ground/crushed cardamom seeds and the remaining spices until creamy and smooth.

 

FORMING

  1. Line baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Roll out dough into a 13” x 21” rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Spread filling onto the rolled out dough rectangle with a spatula so that it covers the entire area from edge to edge.

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  1. Mark 7″ sections on the 21″ side with the back of a knife so that you have three equal sections. Fold left side to the middle, than fold the right side over the left side. Turn the dough so that the openings are on the left and right sides and roll out the dough slightly.

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  1. Using your ruler and sharp knife or pastry wheel, cut 2 cm strands. You should have 15-20 strands.

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  1. Starting from the end, wrap one strand around the tips of your thumb and four fingers (three if you have big hands) twice, twisting slightly as you wrap, then slip your thumb out of the roll, loop the strand around one last time then tuck the end and your thumb loop into the bottom. If you’re having trouble, please re-watch this link. Repeat with all strands.
  2. Place buns on your pre-lined baking sheets, (giving enough room for dough to rise and spread during proofing and baking), cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes.

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  1. While proofing, preheat oven to 435°F (at least 30 minutes before baking)

 

BAKE

  1. Brush the surface of each bun with the whisked egg
  2. Bake proofed rolls for 7-8 minutes or until tops are golden brown
  1. When they have cooled down completely, you add a dollop of orange infused cream cheese, (a mixure of orange peel, juice, icing sugar and cream cheese) to each bun.
  2. Serve and enjoy!!

 

Quick Golden Multi-seed Bread

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There is nothing more appealing than the smell and look of fresh bread from straight out the oven. It sends you drooling, scrambling for the bread knife or the first opportunity to rip a piece out of its side to smother it with cool butter, jam or chocolate spread. In this case chocolate spread won: it was a delicious combination of Nutella with the crunchy seeds and malty taste of the fluffy bread that made my midday brunch most satisfying.

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And to think that only a couple of hours earlier this loaf of bread was merely a packet of bread mix, olive oil and a bit of water away from becoming delicious! This is probably the most surprisingly tasty bread mixes I have made: the dough turned into deep caramel the moment I started to add water to the mix. I was also tempted at some stage to add honey to the mix, in fear the bread would be bland, but it wasn’t necessary. The bread was fluffy and had a slight sweetness to it.

The following day the bread was a little firmer, probably because I put it in the fridge wrapped in cling film. This actually made it good for toasting. Every once in a while it’s nice to treat yourself to some home made bread, the downside is you feel obliged to eat it all yourself so I would recommend making rolls so that you can share it among your friends and family.

Golden Multi-Seed Bread

Ingredients:

1 packet of Sainsbury’s Golden Multi-seed Bread Mix

15 ml Olive Oil or 25g butter

320 ml luke warm water

Method:

(to bake by hand0

1. Rub the bread mix with the butter or oil in a bowl with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Gradually add the water to form a soft dough.

2. Knead well on a floured surface for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then place it back in the bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film. Leave the dough in a warm place for one hour to rise and double in size.

3. Knead well again on a floured surface for a few minutes, place in a greased 2lb loaf tin. Or shape the dough into 8 equal sized balls and placed in a round tin (as pictured above).

Cover with lightly oiled cling film. Leave the dough in a warm place for half an hour to rise again and increase in size. Preheated oven 230oC/450oF/Gas mark 8

4. Remove cling film and bake in the top of the ovenfor 30 minutes or until golden brown. Then brush with melted butter to give the warm bread a glossy shine and buttery taste.

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie

 

Someone once said that the best things in life come in threes like friends, dreams and memories. I would like to stick this cake at the end of that quote, because the three layers that make up this sweet sandwich will be a close memory I hope to never wake up from.

This cake has something for everyone: when I brought this cake into work Monday morning, the winning layer appeared to be the soufflé type raspberry cream topping. Others favoured the dense texture of the brownie and a small minority enjoyed the fluffy and  slight saltiness of the layer of cheesecake.

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My eyes are immediately drawn to the creamy top if I’m honest; I’m not one for things being symmetrical and in order, but I have to say I love how the contrasting textures hold together forming this perfectly layered square.  I was a little nervous baking the brownie and the cheesecake together,  fearing one would bleed into the other forming some kind of marble effect. But as long as you keep the cake in the fridge, the cream will keep on top of the cake and keep its shape for a good 6 hours.

 

Rasberry Cheesecake Brownie

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

For the Brownie 

200g Sainsbury’s Belgian dark chocolate chips

200g unsalted butter (softened)

250g icing sugar

3 eggs

110g plain flour

 

For the Cheesecake

400g cream cheese

150g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

 

For the Cream topping

300 ml whipping cream

100g icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

150g  fresh raspberries, plus extra to decorate

 

For the brownie:

Preheat the oven to 170°C (or Gas mark 5)

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Stir occasionally until the chocolate is  melted.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and with a spoon or electric whisk beat until you have a fluffy light cream.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.

Gradually beat in the flour until you get a smooth mixture. Do this for about 2 minutes on high speed with an electric whisk.

Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared baking tray and smooth over with a palette knife.

 

For the cheesecake:

Put the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix until smooth and thick. Add one egg at a time, while still mixing. The mixture should be very smooth and creamy.

For a little lighter and fluffier mixture, beat the cream at high speed for 1 minute with an electric or manual whisk, but be careful not to over-mix, otherwise the cheese will split. Spoon on top of the brownie and smooth over with a palette knife.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges. The centre should still be pale. Leave to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours at least.

For the cream topping:

Put the cream, sugar and in a bowl and whisk or beat until firm but not stiff.

Mince up the raspberries with a fork (keeping 12 or so back for decoration) and stir into the cream.

Turn the brownie out onto a board and turn the right way up.

Spread the topping evenly over the brownie, cut into portions and decorate with more raspberries.

Adapted from the  Humming Bird Bakery Cookbook 

 

Crispy Sweet Potato Chips…Every time!

I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy crispy sweet potato chips until now. Sweet Potato has a very high water content which is why it can’t naturally achieve the crispy status of a regular chip…without some help from its little friend corn starch.

The key to achieving ultimate crispiness is to eliminate moisture, so make sure you pat the potato sticks dry before adding the corn starch and seasoning and more or less toss them straight into the oven soon after that with only a drizzle of oil.

Crispy Sweet Potato Chips


Method

* Pre-heat oven to 425 F. (Gas Mark 7)

1. Cut sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch sticks leaving the skin on.

2.  Soak your fries in cold water for around 45 minutes to an hour for maximum crispiness! This draws  out the excess starch from the sweet potatoes, helping them to cook all the way through better so they are crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside without burning.

3. Drain the fries and allow them to dry on kitchen towel absorbing all the excess moisture.

4. Mix together cornstarch, rosemary, garlic salt  and salt. Add the fries to the mix and  seal the container and shake!

5. Place fries on baking sheet.

6. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt

7. Spread chips out on baking tray. Make sure they are not touching to achieve ultimate crispness.

8.Bake for 15 minutes. Turn over if necessary. Bake for a further 5 minutes.

Recipe inspired by Southern Fatty 

Pecan Caramel Monkey Bread

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The moment you slowly remove the bundt pan from this bread. Its like watching a child open a birthday present, in small motion and to find that it was exactly what they had hoped and wished for.

This was my experience unravelling the monkey bread. I had searched high and low for the recipe that reflected the image in my head of how this was all going to turn out, but nothing met my credentials. So I took a few ideas from here and there and put together a recipe which tastes so good! I wish you could hear me say this out loud…it is unbelievably good, the whole process of making this bread really therapeutic, I don’t know why. The process and ingredients are very similar to that of Brioche, so I felt a lot more confident putting it together. Not all monkey breads require eggs, but I wanted to the rich texture of the brioche in this one and it paid off so well.

A couple of tips: be generous with the caramel. If you find you need to make more, do so. Secondly don’t fill the bundt pan to the brim with these dough balls. Remember the dough still have to prove after you have formed it in the pan, I found during that time the mixture expanded so much that when it reached the oven, some of the balls dropped off like cinnamon golf balls! Pleasant to my quick fingers…not so good a look when your bread has holes in it!

This bread is made for sharing and makes sharing fun. I’ll let you know how my colleagues at work get on with this one tomorrow!

 

Pecan Caramel Monkey Bread

  • Servings: as many as you like!
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the Dough

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (room temperature)

1-1/4 cups warm 2% milk (room temperature)

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

5 cups Canadian Strong Bread Flour

 

For the Caramel

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp almond essence

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

 

For the Dough Balls

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, melted

 

Method

The night before

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, butter, sugar, eggs, salt and 3 cups of flour. Beat on the medium speed (with a dough hook) for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough.IMG_7401

Keep ‘kneading’ in the food mixer until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Or turn the mixture on to a floured surface and knead by hand for the same amount of time.

Place in a greased bowl or container. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

 

 

The next day

The next day, take the dough of the fridge and leave it for 1 hour to get to room temperature.

For the caramel, in a saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter and cream to a boil. Cook and stir for 3 minutes. Pour half into the bundt pan; sprinkle with half of the pecans.
Punch the dough down and cut it into long strips, then cut it again into 2″ squares.  Shape each square into 40 -50 balls

Then take two bowls: in one combine white sugar and cinnamon in another melted butter. Dip the dough balls in butter, then roll in sugar mixture.

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Place balls in the pan one by one; top with remaining caramel and pecans, only fill to 3/4 of the pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool for 10 minutes before turning it into a serving plate. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Scones

IMG_6458I was hunting around as I usually do, looking for something different to do with Blueberries. I normally throw them into smoothies, and I remember once making a blueberry drink for a friend’s dinner. And now come to think of it I also made a blueberry sauce to go with some quick pancakes when my Uncle came down to spend some time with us (you know those pancakes you make and they turn out so nice…but you can’t remember how you did it? It was one of those days).  Ok so I’ve kind of lost the argument: I have done a few things with Blueberries, but I have to say these scones excite me the most. Not only are they really quick and simple to make but extremely tasty!  To speed up the process, this can be made in a food mixer.

Blueberry Scones

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 stick cold unsalted butter, grated
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
extra heavy cream for brushing the tops
raw sugar for sprinkling the tops
Method

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl  mix 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, the baking powder, orange zest, and salt. Then add the cold butter and mix well. In another bowl, combine the egg, vanilla and heavy cream and whisk well.  Slowly pour cream into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until you see no more lumps.  Now add the blueberries to the dough, together. You might want to use your hands it this point to avoid the berries bursting prematurely.

Spoon out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball.  Then with a rolling pin roll the dough about 3/4-inch thick into a circle shape.

Cut the dough into quarters then cut again into eighths, diagonally, making triangles.

Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch.

Adapted from recipe by La Petite Brioche

Authentic Brioche

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Brioche can be enjoyed any day of the week. But it tastes so much better freshly baked on a Sunday morning. While the loaves were baking in the oven, their buttery scent has a way of drifting upstairs and filling the house with warmth. So nice! I wanted to bake this bread weeks ago but time wouldn’t allow me to do it. Brioche demands patience. People often ask me how do I find the time to cook/ bake ? The simply response is day and night: first thing in the morning, last thing at night. So for the Brioche and Jelly this is how I squeezed it in: I got home late Saturday evening and mixed the dough as it needs a good 7 hours or more to rest.

Then I woke up early this morning after spending a few moments connecting with my Creator; and took the dough out the fridge for an hour for it to get to room temperature. I shaped the dough and then went to the park and did an hour run (as I knew the dough would need at least 3 hours to rise).

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When I came back I started on the grape jelly. Then I did some domestic tasks and  returned to the kitchen to put the loaves in the oven.  At the end of the day you just have to maximise the time that you have. And in the end the reward is great: crusty buttery bread with a fluffy texture served with sweet black grape jelly and spicy hot chocolate. Now to the park to catch up on some reading…

Recipe taken from How to Bake by Paul Hollywood published by Bloomsbury.

Brioche

  • Servings: Makes 2 medium loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting 7g salt

50g caster sugar

10g instant yeast

140ml warm full-fatmilk

5 medium eggs

250g unsalted butter,softened, plus extra for greasing

1. Put the flour into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the milk and eggs and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for a further 6–8 minutes, until you have a soft, glossy, elastic dough. Add the softened butter and continue to mix for a further 4–5 minutes, scraping down the bowl periodically to ensure that the butter is thoroughly incorporated. The dough should be very soft.

2. Tip the dough into a plastic bowl, cover and chill overnight or for at least 7 hours, until it is firm and you are able to shape it.

3. Grease two loaf tins.

4. Take your brioche dough from the fridge and tip it onto a lightly floured surface and fold it in on itself a few times to knock out the air. Divide it into 2 equal pieces. Then divide each piece into three more pieces.

Take each piece of dough and roll into 12″ tubes. With three on the tubes, start plaiting the dough starting from the centre working your way to the end, sealing the end. When you have plaited one side, flip the plait over and plait the other side to the end. Then moisten along one side of the plait with water and join the ends together.

Then place the folded plait into the loaf tin. Repeat the process again with the other piece of dough.

5. Cover the loaf tins with a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 2–3 hours, or until the dough has risen to just above the rim of the tin.

6. Heat your oven to 190 c (gas mark 4-5)

7. When the brioche is proved, bake for 20–30 minutes (in the middle shelf) or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Bear in mind that the sugar and butter in the dough will make it take on colour before it is actually fully baked. Remove the brioche from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

Copyright © Ranette Prime and Love Loretta’s Kitchen, 2014. All rights reserved.

Red Onion Fougasse Bread

IMG_4167This flat, round fougasse loaf is very popular all over France and is a very similar to the Italian focaccia. Here I decided to make a mustard/ garlic butter which I brushed over the bread once baked, if I’m honest I was trying to mimic the fougasse garlic bread I love so much which is served at the restaurant Cafe Rouge, which came drenched in this garlic butter sauce which tasted like none other.

But I digress, this bread is as enjoyable and fun to share and tear over some soup! I strongly recommend using a strong white bread flour for this recipe, it will make such a big difference to the to the texture: the bread turned out really nice and fluffy on the inside and with a light crust.

I also found it expanded in size quite a bit, so make sure you leave a lot of space in the pan between breads. This recipe is adapted from the BBC Good Food website if you want to see other versions of the bread.

 

Red Onion Fougasse Bread

  • Servings: Makes 3 large loaves
  • Difficulty: medium
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1 red onion – finely sliced

1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra

coarse sea salt

For the Dough

7g sachet easy-blend yeast or 15g fresh yeast

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

For the Garlic Butter

3 garlic cloves, minced

50g butter

1 tsp english mustard

few fresh thyme sprigs – chopped

Tip the flour into a mixing bowl. For easy-blend dried yeast, stir this into the flour. For fresh yeast, crumble it and rub into the flour as you would with butter when making pastry. Add the salt and sugar. Boil the kettle and measure 100ml into a jug. Top up with cold water to the 300ml mark. Test the temperature with your finger – it should feel perfectly hand-hot. Add the oil. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid all at once. Mix quickly using your hands or a wooden fork to make a soft and slightly sticky dough. Wipe the dough around the bowl to pick up any loose flour. Sprinkle the work surface with flour and tip out the dough.IMG_4159

Knead by stretching it away from you, then folding it in half towards you and pushing it away with the heel of your hand. Give it a quarter turn and repeat, developing a rhythm.

When the dough is smooth, put it back into the mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 1 hr (no need to find a warm place). The dough is ready when it springs back when you press it with your finger. Thinly slice the onion and gently cook in the oil until softened, about 5 mins. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead in the onion. IMG_4161

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half. Roll or press out one piece of dough to a rectangular shape about 20 x 25cm, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with non-stick paper.

Make a large diagonal cut across the centre of the dough almost to the ends. Make three smaller diagonal cuts either side of the large cut to make a leaf shape.

Then with your fingers, gently pull the bread where you have made the slits creating an inch gap. The bread should resemble branches at this point (see baked image above)

Repeat with the other piece of dough. then sprinkle with a little flour and sea salt.

IMG_4172Heat oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 8. Leave the loaves to prove for 20 mins then bake for 13-15 mins until golden.

In the meantime melt the ingredients for the garlic butter in a pan gently.

When the loaves leave the oven, brush them with the butter a few times over and then leave to cool.

White Chocolate & Lemon Viennese Whirls

IMG_1761Viennese Whirls growing up and pretty much as they are today, are made with a combination of jam and cream. What separates them from your average jammy dodger is the light crumbly shortcake texture of the biscuit. For this recipe you don’t have to keep to the classic ‘mountain peak’ or Swirl shape, why not experiment with shortcake fingers or squares?

The real reason why you should go to the trouble of squeezing the dough through a piping bag is because it’s aesthetically pleasing and makes you look like a pro. So why not give it a try?

White Chocolate and Lemon Viennese Whirls

  • Servings: Makes 32 sandwiches
  • Difficulty: medium
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Biscuit

250g/9oz very soft unsalted butter

50g/2oz icing sugar, plus extra to decorate

250g/9oz plain flour

50g/2oz corn flour

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Filling

1/4 cup double cream

150g white chocolate chopped coarsely

1/4 cup (or more) lemon juice

1 tsp grated lemon rind

Yellow food colouring (optional)

For the Biscuit

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Put the butter, icing sugar, plain flour, corn flour and vanilla extract in a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape the mixture down a couple of times with a rubber spatula.

Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe 16-18 in rosettes or swirls of the dough, spacing well apart.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 13-15 minutes or until pale golden-brown and firm. Cool on the baking tray for five minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 32-36 biscuits.

For the filling

Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan.

Remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir until completely smooth

Add food colouring and lemon juice to taste (you want to be able to taste the lemon, don’t let the chocolate be overpowering).

Refrigerate until spreadable (roughly 1 hour +)

With another piping bag swirl on the cream to one of the biscuits, sandwich the other biscuit together gently and dust with the icing sugar to finish.