Tag Archives: baking

Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

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Pecan Cinnamon Rolls – a soft, chewy, sweet and light bun filled with chopped pecan nuts and cinnamon. Delicious and really easy to make at home, you’ll be making these bakery-perfect in no time.

One of my aims for last year was to continue to expand my bread making skills. Suffice to say that by the time Summer came, I had gotten a bit lazy. Apart from the odd focaccia and pizza base, I hadn’t made bread in quite a while, and then I saw these in a bakery whilst walking around our town centre. Well, how could I not be tempted to try and recreate them at home?!

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I’ve only once made anything similar – these Christmas Chelsea Buns – so although I was familiar with the concept of making an enriched dough, I’m by no means an expert. The end result should be a dough that is richer and sweeter than normal bread, softer and more buttery, and lighter from lots of tiny airholes. However complicated that might sound to achieve you really don’t need bread making experience to get these perfect. The main thing is just to knead until your arms hurt. And then knead some more!

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The end result is definitely worth the effort – a soft, chewy, ever-so-slightly sticky bun, with layers of sweet cinnamon and chunks of crunchy pecans throughout. Surprisingly not too sweet, but sweet enough to have alongside a strong coffee – Perfect for a mid-morning treat. As you can prove them overnight in the fridge, you can treat yourself to some freshly baked goods for a late breakfast, ideal on a lazy day.

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The buns get their classic shine from a little drizzle of sweet, sticky, maple syrup. It just begs to be put with warm spices like cinnamon, and used sparingly, the flavour doesn’t overtake the rest. It just makes for an irresistible bun, where eating them one at a time is certainly not an option!

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Filed under Bread, breakfast

Salted Caramel Nuts

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Salted, caramelised nuts; a great skill to have up your sleeve – use to top desserts or bakes, or even just eat straight as they are!

These nuts are simply delicious. They are dangerously moreish and unfortunately simple. Sugar work is made out to be an extremely complex thing- but as long as you have plan white caster sugar and a thick bottomed, scrupulously clean pan it’s a doddle.

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I first made these with Christmas in mind, but now find myself fantasising of all sorts of bakes which could involve these. You could use any nuts; I tried hazelnuts and pecans and both were brilliant. Think of the hazelnuts with delicious, vanilla ice cream. Think of pecans on a stack of pancakes!

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I’m not going to give you the best step-by-step instructions of making caramel in this post. Perhaps I will at a later stage when I can master taking photos and watching the sugar like a hawk at the same time! If you’ve never done it before, I would take some time to google making caramel, so you get a feel for what to do – but the best thing you can do, by far, is practice. Be prepared that it might be slightly over or under caramelised the first time – but trust me, perfection will come quickly, and it is so worth it once you get there.

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Filed under Gluten Free, Sweet treats, vegan

Chocolate & Amaretti Cake. Dairy, Wheat & Gluten Free!

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A dense chocolate cake, filled with amaretti biscuits and lots and lots of chocolate! This is a perfect dessert cake for a special occasion; rich, decadent, and chocolatey in every mouthful!

This dessert was stumbled upon by accident, and I’m so glad I did! In search of something to give a chocolate fix, I came across this recipe on the Food Network. Full of ground almonds, amaretti biscuits and orange zest it just sounded too good not to try. I’m now a real convert to using chocolate and almond as a combination ever since these delicious Raspberry & Amaretti Brownies, and it never disappoints.

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Not only do the ground almonds and amaretti biscuits provide a lot of flavour, they also replace any flour you would normally need in a cake. That means not only is this cake dairy free, it is also gluten and wheat free too! You really wouldn’t know it though – the cake slices beautifully and has a dense cake-like texture.

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Now although this is a cake, and you could, of course, eat it at tea time – I think this cake really deserves to be eaten as a dessert. As rich and decadent as it is, it just cries out for a light drizzle of chocolate sauce on top, and is delightful with a small scoop of ice cream. It’s not heavy as such, but a small slice will go a long way after a big meal!

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I’m making this cake to take to my brother’s house for Christmas as the chocolate dessert – so one of the absolute best things about it is that it genuinely tastes better a day or two after baking. The amaretti flavour seemed to come out a lot more, and you could taste more of the orange zest. I’m a firm believer that everyone needs a repertoire of recipes from the quick and instant to the make in advance; and this recipe would fit that second category perfectly.

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As a side note, if you’re making this for an adults only group, I would highly recommend adding a small amount of Disaronno. The amaretti-flavoured liqueur gives a slight alcoholic heat to the chocolate sauce, and really helps the almond flavours stand out. Trust me – once you’ve tried this sauce, you’ll start to think of the many other things it would go with….

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Filed under cakes, Chocolate, dessert, Gluten Free

Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti

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A delicious, Christmas-y bake! Of course these would be appropriate at any time of year, but adorned with red and green jewels, it is hard not to associate these with Christmas! These would make an ideal last minute gift or treat for unexpected visitors!

So Christmas is very almost here, and I’m breaking with tradition of a Sunday post to give you an early present! These Cranberry and Pistachio biscotti are the perfect thing if you are still in need of a present for someone. I promise they’re fool proof, and the great thing is if you don’t have cranberries or pistachios, then you can easily substitute them for another fruit and nut combination.

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December always flies by, and this year has been no exception. I’m therefore really quite pleased with myself for having made the plethora of home baked gifts this year. That was what inspired this post – I wanted to make a Christmas worthy biscotti. Biscotti in Italian literally means twice baked, and in Italy, there is no association with Christmas at all. However, here in the UK, biscotti have become a sort of ‘only at Christmas time treat’, and to be honest, I can see why! Versatile in the sense you can use lots of different flavourings (read – whatever you have lying around the house!) and they last really well. They can easily go a week in an air tight tin with no issues at all, which is also partly what makes them such a great gift to give.

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I decided to use cranberries and pistachios for flavours here – there I was thinking “how original” until I googled it and found everyone has already done it! But, original idea or not, this is a great flavour combination. The slightly sweet and soft pistachios contrast with the sharp cranberries; the small amount of orange zest just lifts the whole biscuit and makes it perfect to go alongside a black tea or coffee (or do like the Italians and dip them in wine!!).

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So, if you find yourself in need of a simple bake with household ingredients, or worse still, need a quick present you can rustle up for an unexpected visitor, look no further! I can promise these will be ever so gratefully received.

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Merry Christmas!

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Filed under baking, Biscuits & Cookies, Christmas, Fruit