Saturday, 25 February 2012

Marshmallows/ Marshmallow Fluff

I found this recipe on The Boy Who Bakes blog, but the recipe comes from French Laundry Cookbook. To make marshmallow fluff, use about half the amount of gelatin. The ingredients listed yields over 220g- probably about 300-400g.


180ml cold water
3tbsp gelatin
200g granulated sugar
5tbsp golden syrup
30ml water
tsp salt
¼tsp vanilla extract
icing sugar, for dusting

1. In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, pour the cold water and sprinkle over the gelatin.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar, golden syrup and water and and boil for 1 minute.

3. Once the gelatin has been sitting for at least 10 minutes, turn on the mixer and pour the syrup down the side of the bowl, avoiding the whisk. Continue whisking on high speed for 12 minutes and add the salt and vanilla extract- the mixture should fluff up and look like a meringue.

4. Pour the mixture into a pan lined with oiled cling film and leave to set for at least 2 hours before dusting with icing sugar and slicing into cubes.

Pistachio Whoopie Pies

Mmm... pistachios

This is the first recipe I have tried from the Hummingbird Bakery recipe book I bought a couple of weeks back- all the recipes in there seem so inviting, but I had to go with the pistachios- I was also curious to try out a batch of whoopie pies, as I have never made them before.

The recipe calls for Marshmallow Fluff, but I find it very difficult to track down- I remember getting some from Tesco a few years ago, but since then I haven't been able to find any. I will put the recipe for marshmallows I used (but with less gelatin) to make the fluff in another post.


Pistachio Whoopie Pies
Makes 8-10

1 egg
150g caster sugar
125g plain yoghurt
25ml mik
2tsp vanilla extract
75g unsalted butter, melted
275g plain flour
¼tsp baking powder
¾tsp bicarbonate of soda
60g pistachios, finely ground 
170g unsalted butter
280g icing sugar
220g marshmallow fluff

1. Whisk the egg and sugar until pale and fluffy using an electric whisk or freestanding electric mixer (paddle attachment). In a separate bowl, mix together the yoghurt, milk and vanilla, then mix into the egg and sugar on medium speed until fully incorporated. Pour in the melted butter and mix again.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the creamed mixture in two batches. Add the ground pistachios by hand, ensuring even distribution. Refrigerate the batter for 20-30 minutes to cool and set.

3. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3, and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

4. Spoon the batter on to each tray in 16-20 mounds (each half a whoopie pie), each about 3-5cm/1¼-2in in diameter and leave at least 2-3cm/ ¾-1¼in space between each blob. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until the sponges are springy and lightly golden on top. Leave to cool on wire racks before removing from the baking trays and assembling.

5. For the filling, cream together the butter and icing sugar. Add the marshmallow fluff and beat until the consistency is light and fluffy. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before use.

6. Sandwich the halves together by spreading about 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the flat side of one of the halves and topping with another half, so both flat sides are touching the frosting.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

White Chocolate Crepe Cake

So this is what I made on Pancake Day this year. I'd found a recipe similar to this before, and then a little later I found one on Always With Butter's blog. I have been waiting to make this for quite some time.

I used a different crepe recipe from the one I found on Always With Butter's blog. I also only made half the amount of ganache- I think that this was sufficient, but the whole quantity wouldn't necessarily be over-doing it, either.

It would be wise to begin making this a while before the time at which you plan on serving, as the batter ideally should rest, and so should the ganache. Once assembled, the cake actually tastes better after a sit in the fridge to firm up.

I found this a really great way to eat crepes- the ganache is incredible. I did think that perhaps the dessert might be rather large, but serving sizes of twelfths (more sufficiently sizeable than it sounds) consist of only about a pancake and a quarter. However, my mother did disagree ("did you not find that a little too rich?").. after eating over a quarter of the cake...

White Chocolate Crepe Cake
Serves 8 large/ 12 modest slices


125g plain flour 
3 eggs 
360ml milk
2tbsp caster sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
3tbsp butter, melted 
Ganache: (this can be doubled)
240ml double cream
30g icing sugar
pinch of salt
200g white chocolate

1. For the crepes, sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the well and whisk lightly before gradually whisking in the milk, sugar and vanilla extract, incorporating the flour from the sides. Pour in the melted butter and whisk to combine. Leave, covered for at least an hour.

2. For the ganache, stir together the cream, icing sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the white chocolate. Leave for a minute, without stirring, then whisk until smooth and refrigerate for an hour, stirring occasionally.

3. Fry the crepes by pouring about a ladle of batter into an oiled/buttered, hot frying pan and swishing quickly around the pan for even coverage- the layer should be as thin as possible. Once the crepe has cooked on one side and is beginning to lightly brown, flip and cook the other side. Repeat until all the batter has been used- about 16 pancakes should be made.

4. Once the ganache has set, spread about one and a half tablespoons on top of a cooled crepe and layer another crepe on top. Repeat this process until all the crepes have been used. Spread the remaining ganache on top of the cake and let it slide down the sides. Refrigerate for about an hour before topping with fruit and serving.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Millionaire's Shortbread

Shortbread, caramel and chocolate. Of course you'll like this. I must say, though, this tastes much better once it has been refrigerated- patience is, as with cheesecake, a virtue.

This recipe is adapted from The Farmhouse Kitchen Baking Book, which uses 125g of chocolate- that is how much I used, but I upped this in the ingredients list I wrote up, because I think it would be better with a little more. The caramel at first seems to be insufficient, but is actually enough for a thick-enough layer.

Millionaire’s Shortbread


125g unsalted butter

50g caster sugar

150g self raising flour


125g butter
125g caster sugar
2tbsp golden syrup
200g condensed milk
180g milk chocolate
20g white chocolate


1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C/ 350F/Gas 4. Grease a 28 x 18cm/ 11 x 7 inch tin.

2. For the shortbread, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift in the flour and mix well.

3. Spread the pasty-consistency dough into the tin, pushing it into the corners. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the shortbread is golden all over and risen slightly up the sides of the tin.

4. For the caramel, heat the butter, sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk in a heavy based pan over a low heat and cook gently until the mixture reaches a rich toffee colour and begins to leave the sides of the pan (soft ball stage).

5. Once the shortbread is cooled, pour over the caramel and spread evenly.

6. Once the caramel has cooled a little, melt the milk chocolate and pour over the caramel layer. Melt the milk chocolate and drizzle over the milk chocolate- swirl with a toothpick or knife. Slice into pieces and leave to cool until the chocolate has solidified, then cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Cocoa Hazelnut Granola

Granola is probably my favourite kind of cereal. This is a bit of a mash-up of cocoa pops and granola, due to the cocoa powder, and I'm not quite sure what I think of it. If you enjoy both cereals, then this is probably for you, but I think my preference lies with cereals that don't leave the milk chocolatey, despite this being a heavily marketed attraction.

I like this cereal, the fruit and nuts work really well but I would like to try it without the cocoa.

I found this recipe on Always With Butter's blog, though it was adapted from Food In Jars.

Cocoa Hazelnut Granola

140g hazelnuts
55g cranberries
300g rolled oats
2tbsp cocoa
¼tsp salt
4tbsp sunflower oil (or other unflavoured oil)
8tbsp golden syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Roast the hazelnuts in a small roasting tin for about 10-12 minutes, tossing half way through to ensure even roasting. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little. Lower the temperature of the oven to 175C/335F/gas mark 3.

2. Pour the oats into a large bowl with the cocoa, salt and cranberries. Add the oil and stir through, then add the golden syrup and mix well. Pour into a large roasting tin and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

3. Once the granola is done, take it out of the oven and push it towards the centre of the tin. Leave to cool and break into small(ish) clumps.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Asian Pancakes

I wasn't sure about these pancakes at first, as they are considerably thicker than the ones you generally get from Chinese restaurants and take-outs. However, I had these with the  Asian- Inspired Crispy Chicken Salad with Pancakes and they worked really well. This recipe is from Ken Hom, but I found it from this blog.

Asian Pancakes
Makes 18
275g plain flour
250ml hot water
2tbsp sesame oil
1. Mix the flour and water together in a bowl, adding more water if the mixture seems too dry.

2. Knead the dough on a flour-dusted work surface for about 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and return to the bowl, covered with a damp tea towel to rest for 30 minutes.

3. Knead the dough for another 5 minutes. Roll into an 18 inch log and cut into inch-wide pieces to form 18 blobs.

4. Shape the pieces into balls and dip one side of half the pieces into the sesame oil, then pair up and sandwich the dry and oily blobs together, oily-side in and press together so there are 9 pieces in total. Roll the pieces into 6 inch diameter discs and dry-fry over a low flame for 1-2 minutes, or until the pancakes seem dry.
5. Once the pancakes are cooked and cooled, peel the pairs apart and reheat in the microwave for about 10 seconds on full power.

Asian- Inspired Crispy Chicken Salad with Pancakes

This recipe is so amazing- somehow, leftover chicken seems to be transformed into crispy duck. I have actually been waiting for over a year to make this, ever since I saw Jamie do it last Christmas, and I'm so glad I finally got round to it.

I wasn't sure this would be enough for a main course, but as long as you use a fair amount of chicken, you won't feel like you're eating just a salad. Apart from the volume of chicken, I think the range of flavours also contribute to making this a more substantial dinner- the dressing is really packed full of flavour, and the pomegranate seeds, mint, cashews and cranberries add little packets of extra taste (and texture) throughout.

This works well served with pancakes- the recipe is included in a separate post. The dressing makes quite a lot- enough for at least 12 people, so freeze it for the next time you want to make this (because there will be a next time).

Asian Inspired Crispy Chicken Salad with Pancakes

Serves 4


4 handfuls brown cooked chicken meat

1 large handful cashew nuts

1 large handful dried cranberries

2tsp five spice
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves
mixed salad leaves
1tbsp runny honey
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced 
1 clementine’s juice
1 lime’s juice
1 pomegranate
½ red onion, peeled and coarsely grated
extra virgin olive oil
1tbsp soy sauce
1tsp sesame oil
1-2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely grated


1. For the dressing, squeeze  the clementine and lime juice and the juice of half the pomegranate into a bowl. Add the onion and extra virgin olive oil to taste- the ratio should be about 1:3 acid to oil. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil and the juice from the ginger- discard the pulp.

2. Shred the chicken meat and add to a dry frying pan over a medium heat, then add the cashew nuts, cranberries and five spice. Shake the pan occasionally as it cooks.

3. Put the salad leaves, mint and most of the coriander into a salad bowl and dress with enough of the dressing to lightly coat.

4. Once the chicken has heated through, add the honey and increase the heat. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes to crispen- up.

5. Toss about half the chicken through the salad and sprinkle the pomegranate seeds from the other half and the chilli over the salad. Serve the rest of the chicken, coriander and some of the dressing individually, alongside the salad with the pancakes.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Cherry Cupcakes

It has been a while since my last post... revision. Anyway, I will compensate by posting more than one recipe this week- we may be looking at a triple feature over this weekend...

In my last post- the White Russian Cupcakes, I wasn't totally satisfied with the texture of the cakes, but these are exactly what I was yearning for. I will usually favour a simple yellow cupcake, nice and springy and light, over a more heavily-flavoured dense cupcake, including chocolate- they seem to defeat the point of a cupcake. These cupcakes have a lovely taste of almond throughout the sponge, with sweet maraschino cherries folded in. I found this recipe from the Always With Butter blog and love it.

Cherry Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes


225g unsalted butter

400g caster sugar

4 eggs, separated
240ml milk
¼tsp almond extract
480g plain flour
3tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
4 tbsp maraschino cherry juice
180g maraschino cherry halves 
Vanilla Buttercream:
225g unsalted butter
350g icing sugar
½tsp salt 
4tbsp vanilla extract
4tbsp milk 

1. Preheat the oven the 180C/350F/gas mark 4, and line a couple of muffin trays with cupcake cases.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then add the egg yolks and continue beating until it is fully amalgamated.

3. Add the almond extract and sift in about a third of the dry ingredients, then add about a third of the milk, alternating until all has been added and evenly combined.

4. In a separate clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the rest of the cake mixture. Fold in the cherry-halves and juice.

5. Bake for about 18-22 minutes in the centre of the oven, or until the tops are bouncy and a skewer inserted through the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave in the trays for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. For the buttercream, sift the icing sugar into the butter and cream together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, salt and half the milk. As required, sift in additional sugar or milk to required consistency.

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