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Tag Archives: cranberries

White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondies Revisited

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This is what I was cooking this time 3 years ago, in May 2013. It’s an ultra rich blondie inspired by a Gordon Ramsay recipe. I thought it worth revisiting – it’s easy to make, really fudgy, and the cranberries give a nice, slightly tart note to offset the caramel sweetness.

Ingredients

1 cup dried cranberries
2  x 100g white chocolate bars
225g plain flour
226g butter
1 pinch of salt
300g sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 free-range eggs

Method

Line a 23cm x 23cm tin with baking paper.

Melt butter, add sugar to mixing bowl. Add salt to sugar.
Add melted butter to sugar and whisk well. Add vanilla and eggs, whisk well.
Add baking powder and bi-carbonate of soda, mix well.
Whisk in half the flour. Once incorporated (no lumps), add the rest of the flour and mix well until there are no lumps.
Add the dried cranberries, changing from a whisk to a spoon.
Slice the bars of white chocolate into  thick matchsticks and mix in gently, trying not to break up the chocolate.
Spoon into baking tin (previously lined with baking paper (butter or non stick spray the tin to hold paper in place).
Spread mixture into the tin, using a spatula to make sure the mixture is even.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 35 -40 minutes.
Leave to cool, then remove from tin.
Cut into squares. Blondies will keep for a week and also freeze well.

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Jamie Oliver Inspired Hot Cross Buns

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So it’s Thursday night, before Good Friday 2016. I’m making hot cross buns AGAIN! This time I’ve gone back to a Jamie Oliver recipe I made last year. I really like this version, as Jamie includes stem ginger in the original bread mix, plus cranberries as well as sultanas in the fruit. I used an apricot jam glaze instead of honey, as I prefer the slightly tart taste of the apricot.

I tweaked of course: adding a larger quantity of fruit because I like my hot cross buns jammed pack with fruit; and I used the fridge proving method for both the first and second proves. This was more for convenience  – I could go to bed knowing my buns were happily proving over night! I usually prove my bread baking in the fridge, as James Morton, in his book Brilliant Bread, is in favour of the retarded fridge prove.

So here is Jamie’s recipe, with my additional fruit quantities and an apricot glaze. I leave tinkering with fridge proves up to you.

Oh, and once they’re made, I “snap” freeze any hot cross buns that won’t get eaten straight away. They freeze really well and can be heated in the microwave or conventional oven when required.

Ingredients

200 ml semi-skimmed milk
55 g unsalted butter
2 x 7 g sachet dried yeast
455 g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ whole nutmeg
55 g caster sugar
2 pieces stem ginger
1 large free range egg
2 tablespoons plain flour
100g sultanas or raisins (55g in original recipe)
60g dried cranberries (30g in original recipe)
2 tablespoons mixed peel
1 tbls apricot jam for the glaze

Method

Add the milk and 50ml water to a small pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until slightly warm – you should be able to dip your finger in without scalding it.

Meanwhile, add the butter to a separate pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until melted, then set aside.

Transfer the warmed milk mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the yeast. Set aside.

Sift the flour into a large bowl, then add the salt, spices, a few good scrapings of nutmeg and the sugar. Finely chop the stem ginger and stir it into the mix.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, followed by the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add it to the bowl.

Using a fork, mix well until you have a rough dough, then transfer to a clean flour dusted work surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until soft.* Return the dough to a flour dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.

Transfer the dough to a clean flour dusted work surface. Knock the air out by bashing it with your fist, then sprinkle over the dried fruit and mixed peel and knead into the dough for 1 to 2 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.  Grease and line a large baking tray.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into balls. Evenly space them out on a lined baking tray as you go.

Cover with the tea towel and leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, place the plain flour and 2 tablespoons water into a small bowl and mix to a thick paste.

Gently pat down the risen buns then use the batter to carefully trace a cross over the top with a piping bag or spoon.

Place the buns into the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack, and brush with the apricot jam that has been mixed with a little warm water.

Serve warm with butter.

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* You could do this first knead in a mixer using a dough hook. I have done the knead by hand and in a mixer – the latter method just saves arm work!

Cookie Sampler

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This selection of cookies, presented as a cookie sampler, comes from a recipe from Annabel Langbein for Butter Cookies:

http://www.annabel-langbein.com/annabel/blog/one-clever-cookie/

Annabel suggests making a quantity of dough and dividing into portions, flavouring each portion in whatever way you fancy!

I chose Carnival Cookies with hundreds and thousands, Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate with Chocolate Chip Cookies and Sultana and Cornflake Crisp Cookies.

The quantities I have used are half those mentioned in Annabel’s recipe. I ended up with about 3 dozen or so cookies.

Ingredients

250 gms butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
A few drops of vanilla extract
21/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

Flavourings of your choice (see below)

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, then stir in the flour and baking powder.
To make Cookie Sampler, divide dough into 4 portions. Mix flavourings (see below) into each portion.
Chill mixture for 15 minutes. Roll into walnut-sized balls, place on baking trays and flatten slightly. Decorate according to instructions for different flavourings. Bake until lightly golden and set (about 20 minutes).
Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the tray then transfer to a rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container or jar. They will keep for several weeks – if they become a little stale simply refresh for 5 minutes in an oven preheated to 180 degrees C.

Cookie Sampler
Once you’ve made a batch of Butter Cookie dough, divide it into 4 and mix a different flavouring into each portion (you’ll get about 8 -12 cookies in each flavour).

Carnival Cookies
Roll 1 portion of dough into balls, dip each ball into hundreds and thousands then flatten onto tray.

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Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies
Add ¼ cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries and ¼ cup coarsely chopped white chocolate to 1 portion of the cookie dough.
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 Chocolate with Chocolate Chip Cookies
Add 3 tsp dark cocoa, 3 tbsp milk or dark chocolate chips to 1 portion of dough.
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Sultana and Cornflake Crisps
Add 3 tbsp sultanas and 4 tbsp lightly crushed cornflakes to 1 portion of the cookie dough.
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White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondies

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This ultra rich blondies recipe (heaps of butter and white chocolate!)  I discovered while viewing Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course on Foxtel… this recipe is adapted from something I sourced on the internet, but seems to be an American version – sticks of butter are mentioned which of course is a  US measurement. I have changed the quantities to metric.

Ingredients

1 cup dried cranberries
2  x 100gms white chocolate bars
225g plainflour
226 gms butter
1 pinch of salt
300 gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 eggs

Method

Line a 23cm x 23cm tin with baking paper.

Melt butter, add sugar to mixing bowl. Add salt to sugar.
Add melted butter to sugar and whisk well. Add vanilla and eggs, whisk well.
Add baking powder and bi-carbonate of soda, mix well.
Whisk in half the flour. Once incorporated (no lumps), add the rest of the flour and mix well until there are no lumps.
Add the dried cranberries, changing from a whisk to a spoon.
Slice the bars of white chocolate into  thick matchsticks and mix in gently, trying not to break up the chocolate.
Spoon into baking tin (previously lined with baking paper (butter or non stick spray the tin to hold paper in place).
Spread mixture into the tin, using a spatula to make sure the mixture is even.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 35 -40 minutes.
Leave to cool, then remove from tin.
Cut into squares. Blondies will keep for a week and also freeze well.

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