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Tag Archives: cinnamon

Plum and Cranberry Soda Bread Muffins

 

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I wasn’t quite sure what to call these muffins! They are inspired by the recipe for Irish soda bread but, like all good muffins, are fruit filled and quite moist.

They came about when I was researching soda bread and found this great recipe from Jack Monroe for Rhubarb and Ginger Soda Bread from her blog Cooking on a Bootstrap. I was very impressed with her helpful suggestion about how to make a buttermilk substitute, by adding lemon juice to ordinary milk. I also liked that she added rhubarb to the traditional soda bread recipe.

So I decided to make muffins, using the main ingredients for soda bread – flour, bi-carb and lemon juice soured milk as the buttermilk substitute. I added an egg, as muffin recipes really need that enrichment.

My recipe has both fresh fruit and dried fruit. I think both are good – I suggest you go with whatever is seasonal for the fresh fruit, and any fried fruit would work well.

These muffins have no butter or oil, so are quite healthy. You could cut right down on the sugar if you really wanted a super-good-for-you muffin.

The result was moist, full of gorgeous spices and delicious on its own. A little yoghurt with the muffin would be nice, or even butter…!

Ingredients

200mls semi-skimmed milk
Juice of half a lemon
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 free-range egg lightly beaten
3 plums (chopped) or any other stone fruit or other fruit such as apples or pears
2 tbls dried cranberries or other dried fruit
100gms brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Demerara sugar for sprinkling.

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan forced. Line 6 silicon muffin moulds with muffin papers. If you don’t have these moulds, use an ordinary 6 hole muffin tin. Or you can use a smaller 12 cup muffin tin for daintier muffins.
Pour the milk into a jug or a cup and squeeze in the lemon juice. Leave to stand for a minute or two to allow the milk to curdle. Add the beaten egg.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and bicarb and briefly mix through. Add the chopped plums, with the dried cranberries. Stir in the sugar and spices.
Make a well in the centre of the flour/fruit ingredients and pour in the curdled milk, lemon and egg mixture.
Stir together, remembering not to overmix as muffins definitely need only rough mixing.
Spoon the mixture into muffin cases in your moulds or tin. Just before putting into the oven, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with demerara sugar for added crunch.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
Serve warm on their own or with yogurt or butter.

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Carrots

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I found this recipe in a fabulous cook book of mine, the Silver Palate Cookbook. This book, plus the follow up The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, are treasure troves of stunning recipes; some hearty, some fancy, some healthy, some decadent!
The carrot cake recipe is unusual is that it contains cooked carrots. These give the cake a deep, slightly caramelized, flavour.
I have added ground ginger as well as cinnamon, as ginger works well with carrot. You can omit the walnuts, as I did in the pictured cake, for your nut free friends.
The candied baby carrots were my addition, and they looked really pretty and tasted great!
Ingredients
Carrot Cake

3 cups plain flour
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tbl bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp each ground cinnamon and ground ginger
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbl vanilla extract
1 1/2 walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 1/3 cup pureed cooked carrots
3/4cup drained crushed pineapple

Cream Cheese Frosting

250gms cream cheese, at room temperature
100gms reduced salt butter, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla pate
Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Grease two 23 cm springform tins.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Fold in the walnuts, coconut, carrots and pineapple.

Pour the batter into the prepared tins. Place on the centre rack of the oven and bake until the edges have pulled away from the sides and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, about  50 minutes.

Cool on a cake rack for 3 hours. Fill and frost the cake with the cream cheese frosting.

Cream together cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl. Slowly sift in the icing sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated. Mixture should be free of lumps. Stir in vanilla, and lemon juice if desired.

Decorate with candied carrots and sifted icing sugar.

Candied Carrots

Take 6 baby carrots, trim, leaving some green tops.
Keep smaller carrots whole and slice larger carrots in halves or quarters through the length of carrot.

In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil, brushing the sides of the saucepan with cold water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Add carrots, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until carrots are translucent, about 25 minutes.

In another small saucepan, combine 1.5 cups of sugar with .5 cup water. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil, brushing the sides of the saucepan with cold water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. When the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer candied carrots from the syrup in which they boiled to this new sugar syrup. Let stand until completely cooled; discard the old syrup.

Transfer carrots to some baking paper, gently pat dry with kitchen towel. The carrots can be used to decorate the cake or stored for a couple of days in an airtight container.

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Jamie Oliver’s Hot Cross Buns

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I am very excited to have – almost – mastered hot cross buns! In previous years when Easter approached I have sought out hot cross bun recipes looking for the “perfect” bun. Spiced, fruity and not too difficult to achieve. I have ended up with clunky door stops or miserable shriveled little balls. I even tried using a bread machine with little success…the machine is safely stowed away, gathering dust, in the back of a cupboard now.

So I thought I would give Mr Oliver a go and see what he came up with. This is from Jamie Magazine Issue 18:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/magazine/recipes-view.php?title=hot-cross-buns

I am very happy with the result! They taste good and even look like hot cross buns!

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I tweaked a little: the 220 degrees C temperature seemed very hot, so I took it down to 200 degrees C.

Also, I halved the “cross” ingredients : 50g instead of 100g flour and 25 ml water rather than 50. You can make plenty of crosses from the smaller quantities.

After tasting, I think that the fruit quantities need increasing and the spice quantity definitely needs to be more. I used cinnamon and nutmeg instead of mixed spice, too.

These latter comments are a matter of taste  – I have left Jamie’s fruit and spice quantities as is in this version, but I will be putting more of each in next time I bake hot cross buns.

Ingredients

Dough
50g sugar
7g sachet dried yeast
450g flour
2 tsp mixed spice or 1 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg.
100g mixed dried fruit
25g chopped mixed peel
Zest of 1 orange
1 egg, beaten
50g butter, melted
50ml milk, warmed

Decoration
50g flour mixed with about 25 ml water to make a dough  + 1 beaten egg for brushing

Sticky glaze
2 tbsp sugar
Juice of 1 orange

Method

Mix 1 teaspoon of the sugar with the yeast and 150ml tepid water in a jug until frothy.

Sift the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and the mixed spice into a large bowl, then add the dried fruit, peel, orange zest and remaining sugar.

Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture, then add the beaten egg, melted butter and 40ml warmed milk. Using a fork or wooden spoon, stir in a circular motion until you have a dough. Add a little more milk if the dough is too dry.

Place the dough on a clean surface dusted with flour and knead until it is smooth and glossy, about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a large mixing bowl and cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to prove until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

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Knock the dough back and knead again to its original size. Divide the dough into 12 evenly sized pieces and shape into round buns. Place on a lightly greased baking tray, spaced well apart. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise again until doubled in size, about 35–40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.  For the decoration, place the dough or shortcrust pastry on a clean surface dusted with flour and roll into a sausage about 1cm thick. Cut the sausage in half, and cut each half into 6 pieces. Roll out each piece again to make 2 thinner, 5mm strips of about 8cm long. You should have 24 strips in total. Brush the risen buns with some of the beaten egg and lay the dough strips on top in the shape of a cross.

Brush with the rest of the beaten egg and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.

Meanwhile for the glaze, place the sugar and juice in a pan and gently heat until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is bubbling. Brush the buns with the glaze.

Eat immediately with lashings of butter, or serve toasted the next day.

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Christmas Spruce Cake

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This beautiful cake owes it all to the mould! I have sung the praises of the fabulous Nordic ware in a previous blog:

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/07/10/fancy-individual-butter-cakes/.

This Nordic ware mould called Holiday Tree Bundt Pan is like a Christmas spruce tree.

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I found this recipe in Nigella Christmas, a cook book full of exciting Christmas treats! It’s also on Nigella’s website: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/spruced-up-vanilla-cake

It’s a simple vanilla butter cake, which can be spiced up with Christmas flavours of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

But beware – you must grease the mould really carefully as the cake is very tricky to remove from the tin!

Ingredients
225 gms soft butter (plus more for greasing)
300 gms caster sugar
6 large eggs
350 gms plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250 gms plain fat-free yoghurt
4 tsps vanilla extract and/or
1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
2 tbls icing sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced or 170 degrees C non fan forced and put a baking sheet in at the same time.
Butter or oil the Nordic ware spruce tree mould very thoroughly. Alternatively, you could use a large 2.5 litre capacity tin.
Put all the ingredients except the icing sugar into a food processor and blitz together. Pour and spoon the mixture into the greased tin and spread evenly.
Place the tin on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and cook for 45–60 minutes until well risen and golden.
After 45 minutes, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Rest the cake out of the oven for 15 minutes.
Gently pull away the edges of the cake from the tin with your fingers, then turn out the cake.
Once cool, dust with the icing sugar pushed through a small sieve.

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Cinnamon Scrolls

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Ingredients

Dough
2 cups plain flour
1tbl caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 1/4 cups thickened cream

Filling
1 tbl butter, melted
1/8 cup caster sugar and 1/8 cup brown sugar
2 tsps cinnamon

Icing
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbl milk

Extra caster sugar and cinnamon for dusting

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C non fan forced, 160 degrees C fan forced.
Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the cream until just combined. If the dough is a little dry, add a little more cream carefully.

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Lightly flour a board and turn the mixture onto the board.
Knead the dough on the floured surface until only just incorporated.
Roll the dough into a large rectangle.

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Combine sugars and cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the dough rectangle with melted butter.
Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the dough.

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Roll the dough from the longest side to form a scroll. Cut into 10 fat slices or 16 smaller slices slices.

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Place slices onto a baking tray.

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Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden (the bigger the slices, the longer the cooking time).
Place on a wire rack and dust with the additional cinnamon and sugar while still hot.
Make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and the milk in a small bowl.
Pour the icing over the scrolls.
Serve warm or room temperature, but do not refrigerate.

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Red Wine, Pear and Almond Cake

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This is essentially an upside down pear cake. The recipe is based on Valli Little’s recipe from Delicious Home Cooking: http://shop.abc.net.au/products/delicious-home-cooking-hbk.

The recipe is very similar to my own Frangipane Tart: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/04/01/quirkys-frangipane-tart/

Ingredients

375 mls red wine
300 gms caster sugar
2 cinnamon quills ( I used cassia quills instead)
3 Beurre Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
150 gms butter
3 free range eggs
75 gms plain flour
150 gms almond meal
1 1/2 tsps baking powder

Method

Place the red wine and 150 gms of the sugar in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cinnamon/cassia and the pears, making sure all the pear slices are submerged in the red wine.

Cover the surface with a piece of baking paper cut to fit the pan. Cook for a minimum of 10 minutes or until the pears are tender.  I found that the pears needed 20 minutes or so to cook. You can cook the pears the day before, leaving them to steep in the poaching liquid for a richer, deeper flavour and colour.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (less if your oven is fan forced – I suggest 160 degrees C). Grease a 22 cm springform tin.

Beat butter and remaining 150 gms sugar in a food processor until pale and well creamed.

Optional: 1 tsp almond essence and 1 tsp vanilla paste can be added to the creamed butter and sugar at this point for more depth of flavour.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour, almond meal and baking powder, by pulsing carefully.

Drain the pears, reserving the poaching liquid. Arrange the pears slices in the springform tin in a circular pattern, slightly overlapping. Spread over the cake batter, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover the top with foil to prevent burning.  When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Place your poaching liquid in a saucepan over medium high heat and cook for 6 – 10 minutes until reduced and syrupy.

Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Brush the warm cake with the poaching syrup, using a pastry brush. You can brush the cake with more syrup just before serving, if desired.

Serve with lashings of whipped cream, custard or ice-cream!

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