Brownie Fudge Cookies

I love brownies and I love cookies so thought I would mix them up and create a brownie cookie!   I like a cookie that’s got a gooey or soft centre and a crispy edge and these are definitely that.  I’d call these an American Style cookie but if you prefer them fully set just add an extra 3 to 5 mins to the cooking time.   The children will love helping with this recipe as lots of stirring and bowl licking to be done. 

What you will need:

A lined baking tray

Ice cream scoop 

150g of muscovado sugar

2 eggs

100g of melted butter

100g of melted dark chocolate (or half dark half milk)

1tsp vanilla extract

125g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

100g dark chocolate chips

100g white chocolate chips

  1. Add the sugar and beaten eggs into a bowl and mix well. I find using a whisk helps combine it best
  2. Then add the melted butter, the vanilla extra and melted chocolate and whisk again

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3.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and gently stir/fold in with a wooden spoon until well combined then add in the chocolate chips.  I used block chocolate cut into small chunks/pieces and added this to the mix

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4.  Once all combined add to the fridge to chill for 30 mins so you get a thicker/set mixture

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5. Take your lined baking tray and add 5 level scoops, no more so that they have enough room to spread out then add to the oven at 180c for 12 mins.  If you like them a bit gooier 10 mins or a crispy cookie 15 mins

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6.  Once removed from the oven add to a wire rack to cool then they are ready to eat!  They will keep in an airtight tin for around 5 days

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Enjoy x

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Banana Loaf cake with a sweet icing drizzle

I always have some bananas around that haven’t been eaten and have gone brown so rather than throw them away I decided to make a banana loaf cake.   I admit I am not a fan of bananas, never have been but in a cake they are delicious!   So if you have some over ripe bananas laying around don’t throw them away.  Take a look at this very easy recipe for a way of using them  

What you will need:

  • 140g/5oz of butter softened (salted or unsalted)
  • 140g/5oz caster sugar
  • 140g/5oz self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 50g/2oz icing sugar
  • 2lb loaf tin greased and lined
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

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  1. Heat oven t0 180c, 160c fan, gas mark 4 and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add one egg and a little flour and mix well and repeat until eggs and flour used.
  3. Add the baking powder and mix well
  4. In a separate bowl mash up 2 bananas with a fork then stir into the cake batter until well combined

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5. Pour into the cake tin, level and 30 cook for around 30 to 40 mins.  If it starts to look brown on top that’s ok as banana loaf cake is naturally darker from the sugar in the bananas.  You can cover with foil if you feel getting to brown.  To check if cooked put a skewer down the centre and if it comes out clean it’s ready.

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6. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove and place onto a cooling rack

7. In bowl add the icing sugar 2 or 3 tsp of water until you get a runny icing

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8.  Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake and leave to set

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Enjoy x

Christmas Cake

It’s never to early to make your Christmas cake! In fact the earlier the better.   There are so many recipes out there for Christmas cake but a lot of them is down to personal taste. You can have lots of different fruits, alcohol or make it alcohol free, add some nuts, zest/peel of orange.  So feel free to adapt the recipe below to your taste.  As long at the main cake mix is the same the rest is your choice!   For the cake you will need:

Ingredients:

8oz Butter

8oz Soft dark brown sugar

8oz flour (6oz plain/all purpose and 2oz self raising)

1 1/2 to 2lb of dried fruit ( I used currants, raisins, sultanas and dried cranberries)

7oz glace cherries (syrup rinsed off, cut in half and dusted in flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of your cake)

2tsp mixed spice

1 tbsp of treacle

6 tbsp of rum (can also use brandy, whisky, port or sherry)

23cm/9in cake tin, lined and greased

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  1. Soak the fruit in the alcohol overnight in a bowl which will plump the fruit up 
  2. Preheat the oven to 140c/275f/Gas mark 1
  3. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until smooth

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   4. Whisk the eggs then add the treacle to them and mix.    Add to the butter and sugar and mix really well.   Sieve in the flour and ground spice and combine

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 5. Add in the fruit and mix again.  The mixture will feel very stiff and heavy due to the amount of fruit but it will come together

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 6. Add to the greased cake tin and level out the top to get an even finish then add to the oven and cook for 4 to 4/12 hours.  I check mine after 2 hours and if the cake the perfect colour I cover the top of the cake with a round piece of grease proof/parchment paper (foil will work too).   To check when cake is done put a skewer in the centre and it should come out clean.    Leave the cake in the tin to cool

   7. When cool prick the cake in several places and feed with a little alcohol. I drizzle a few spoonfuls over the top.   When the cake is completely cold double wrap it in grease proof paper then wrap in a layer of foil an put in a cake tin in a cool dry place.  You can store it like this for upto 3 months.   Weekly unwrap and feed with alcohol.   You ice it a week before Christmas so check back mid December for how to marzipan and ice the cake

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Gravestone Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween is all about ghost, ghouls, spooks, eating way to many sweets, chocolate and most of all having fun.  I had to get in the kitchen and create something on the Halloween theme and I decided on a couple of cupcakes.  The main ones I made were gravestone cupcakes.  Very simple to do and you can get the kids in the kitchen with you.  They will have so much making these and just as much fun sampling along the way.   What you will need:

For the cupcake mix

6oz self raising flour

6oz unsalted butter or margarine (I used Stork)

6oz caster sugar

3 eggs 

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

For the topping

4oz unsalted butter

8oz of icing sugar

50g of plain chocolate

Rich tea fingers or Biscoff biscuits

White writing icing 

1 pack of oreos made into a breadcrumb texture (I used a pack of oreo crumbs)

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  1. Preheat oven to 190c, gas mark 5, 375 Fahrenheit and add bun cases to a 12 hole bun tin
  2. In a large bowl add the butter or margarine at room temperature to the bowl and the sugar and cream together until smooth then add the eggs one at a time along with the sifted flour and slowly stir in until you get a creamy smooth mixture then add the vanilla extract and stir in

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3.  Fill each bun tin about 2/3 of the way up the cases.  I use an ice cream scoop as you get a round finish and a level amount in each one

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4. Bake in the  middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and when you gently press the centre they should spring back. Remove from the tray and and put onto a cooling rack

   5. In a microwavable bowl add the plain chocolate and put into the microwave for 10 second blasts and keep stirring well between each one until melted and set aside to cool slightly.  In a separate bowl add the butter and icing sugar and mix until smooth and creamy then add the melted chocolate and combine

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6. Take a palette knife or a rounded knife and add some of the mixture to the top of your cooled cupcakes and repeat till all buns covered.  Make sure a good amount of buttercream is used as this is what will be used to support the biscuits

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7. Now add lots of the crushed up oreos until the top is covered in crumb to give the soil look.   Snap in half a rich tea finger or biscoff like I used and on the plain side use your icing pen and write RIP on the back then push down into the buttercream

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As a bit of extra fun I made a 12oz mix instead of a 6 oz mix and I made another 12 vanilla cupcakes, buttercream the same way but instead of adding chocolate I added orange food colouring (any bright colours you have).  I bought some jelly eyeballs and stuck to the centre of the cupcake with a little of the buttercream then piped using the star nozzle around the eyeball to make monster eye cupcakes.

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Happy Halloween x

Devilishly Decadant Chocolate Eclairs

With Halloween just around the corner what better way to indulge than with a delicious treat and these chocolate eclairs sure hit the spot.  No tricks here!   This was my first try at choux pastry and it’s not quite as tricky as I was expecting.   I am still practicing my piping so this was done free hand as only realised half way through I didn’t have the right nozzle for my piping bag so I just  cut the end off and prayed haha!    I am pretty pleased with the outcome and I may have sampled one or 5!    My recipe makes 12 – 14 but as mine  a bit fatter I made 10. What you will need:

For the Choux pastry

60g/2 1/2 oz plain flour

50g/ 2 oz unsalted butter 

150ml/ 1/4 pint of water

2 medium eggs beaten

For the filling and icing

300ml/ 1/2 pint double cream

2 tsp icing sugar

1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla essence (depending on how strong you prefer the vanilla flavour)

150g of dark chocolate (I prefer it not as dark so used 75 dark chocolate and 75g milk chocolate

15g 1/2 oz unsalted butter

Extras

Piping bag

Large round nozzle (or freehand if confident enough)

Large baking tray

Non stick pan

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  1. Preheat the oven to 200c, 400f, gas mark 6 and lightly grease a large baking tray
  2. Add the 50g of butter and water to a pan and heat gently until the butter melts. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat

 

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3. Tip in the sifted flour and beat until the mixture forms a ball and comes away from the side of the pan then leave to cool for 2 minutes

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   4. Gradually beat the eggs a bit at a time into the dough.  I use my Kitchen aid with the paddle beater on it but you can mix by hand too.  Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy20161016_155121.jpg20161016_155533

5. Put the pastry into a large piping bag fitted with a large round 1cm nozzle or you can try freehand by cutting off the edge of the piping bag like I did on realising I didn’t have a 1cm nozzle

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 6. Pipe 12 – 14 7cm/3in fingers leaving a couple of inches space between each one as they will expand when baking.   You can also make profiteroles if you prefer round shapes.   As I was trying freehand I made around 10.   The ends where you get that flick, just dab your finger into some water and gently tap the edges down so you get a smoother finish.  Sprinkle the baking tray and eclairs with a little water which will help them steam for a crisper finish

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  7. Add to the preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until well risen and crisp.  Remove from the oven and make a slit down the side of each eclair and add back to the oven for 3 minutes to allow them to dry out then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool

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8. Whip together the cream, icing sugar and vanilla essence until the mixture begins to just hold it’s shape the pipe or spoon cream into the eclairs until each one puffs out a little

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9. For the icing melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water (or 10 second bursts in the microwave) then stir in the butter until smooth

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10. Dip the eclairs into the chocolate mix or drizzle over with a spoon and leave to set.  Will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for around 3 days

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Enjoy x

 

Frozen Cream shapes

It’s that time of year where we all love those coffee shops hot chocolates, festive lattes or to come home and curl up in front of the fire with a hot drink.   I’ve done a very simple fast and cute topping for your hot drinks which adults and kids alike will love!   

What you will need:

300ml double cream

A baking tin

And that’s it!!!   It really is a very simple recipe.

  1. Whisk the cream until set, not to firm but not runny either.    Line a baking tin with parchment paper and pour the cream in, you’re looking for around 1/3 inch thickness and then level the cream using a pallet knife or spatula to get as smooth a finish as possible and put into the freezer for approx 30 mins.   The cream should be set but not frozen solid.

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  2.  Take your choice of shapes, gingerbread men are great for this time of year!  Have a bowl of warm water to dip your shapes in between each cut and this will help them slice through the frozen cream.  If the cream starts to crack leave out the freezer a little longer as still to firm.    

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 3.   Return to the freezer until ready to use.  Kids will love making these and drinking the hot chocolate after.  You can also use these to add to lots of other things such as creamy soups, curry sauces.

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Enjoy x

Pink Lemon Macarons

Macarons is one of those things I have always wanted to make but always been afraid to as they are notoriously tricky!  I looked at various recipes, flicked through all my recipe books and watched videos online and thought right I am going to give it a go.   My photos you will see 2 batches done on the same day.  The ones that turned out well and the ones that didn’t but with a small adjustment 2nd batch worked.   

What you will need:

100g (3 1/2 oz) icing sugar

75g (2 1/2 oz) ground almonds

2 large egg whites at room temperature

75g (2 1/2 oz) caster sugar

food colouring (I used pink gel)

For the filling

125g icing sugar

50g of room temp butter

2 tbsp of lemon juice (more if you prefer it a bit more tart)

lemon zest (optional)

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  1. Preheat the oven to 150c, 300F, gas mark 2
  2. Line to baking sheets with parchment paper.  If you want before hand you can draw 3cm circles leaving 1 inch between each.   10 per sheet.   I didn’t I attempted piping free hand as wanted to practice my piping
  3. Sieve the almonds and icing sugar into a bowl leaving any bigger bits of almonds in the sieve.  You can also if you want a really fine mix whizz them up in a food processor but sieve works fine and what I used
  4. Separate the egg whites into a different bowl or your electric mixers bowl making sure no egg yolk gets in at all as this will stop the egg whites setting. Set your mixer on medium/high and mix until stiff 

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  5.  Add the caster sugar one spoonful at a time until the egg whites have a stiff peak and have a lovely glossy shine.   Now you can add your colouring of choice and mix again 

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6. Now fold in the almond mixture one spoonful at a time with a spatula.  To fold you don’t beat it or stir it hard you cut through it, then fold over, cut and fold.  Do this till you have used all the almond mix and you have a well combined batter.    This is where it could all go wrong.  If you mix to far the macarons won’t work and if you don’t mix enough they will end up more like cracked meringues (see pic below).  It should be a ribbon type texture. 

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7. Transfer the mix to a piping bag and snip off the end.  If you’ve already marked out circles put piping bag in the centre and press till the mix reaches the end of the circles.  Don’t move the piping bag, just keep in centre and the mixture will flow out to the edge.  If piping without the markings as I attempted do the same until you 10 even sized circles on each baking tray.     Now holding tight tap the baking tray hard against the kitchen surface until you see air bubbles popping in the macarons.  I do it around 10 times.   Then set aside and leave the mix to dry out for 40 minutes

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 8. Put one tray at a time in the oven so they aren’t fighting for space and get a level bake.  Bake for 15 – 18 mins in the middle of the oven then remove and leave on the tray to cool for 10 mins,  very important as they will break if trying to remove now.  You are looking for a top with no raised bits or cracks and the edges to have be nice and rough.  Add the 2nd batch and repeat.  When cooled move with a pallet knife and add to a cooling rack so until cold. 

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9. I chose a lemon buttercream but they work with so many flavours, raspberry, chocolate, lavender etc.     Add the sieved icing sugar, softened butter and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to a bowl and mix well till a pale colour with no lumps.  If you prefer it a bit more tart use a little more juice and add some lemon zest

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 10. Put a blob of buttercream in the centre of one half of the macaron and sandwich with  another pressing down gently until the mix reaches the edges.  Repeat till all used.  The  macarons will have a soft chewy centre and a crisp outside.

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Enjoy x

P.S  I don’t usually do a PS but remember I said my first batch went wrong?  I didn’t leave it to set long enough.  I left the first batch just 20 mins and didn’t hit them hard enough against the side.  The ones above I left for 45 mins and hit them hard against my side to make sure all the air bubbles out.  I also reduced cooking time to 14 mins.  Here’s the ones done out of the same mix as the ones above but with a few simple adjustments all turned out ok.  Not bad for my first ever attempt at macarons

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Buttery Viennese Whirls

Being an avid viewer of the Great British Bake Off I spotted these being made a couple of weeks ago and thought I had to give them a try.  Having never made them before and my piping still needing work I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out but I am actually quite pleased for a first attempt.     These are a buttery short biscuit filled with a rich butter cream and raspberry jam.   I apologise for missing out a few pictures, I got carried away with my creating and forgot to take them, whoops!   Hopefully though you will get the gist if you fancy having a go yourself.     My recipe will make 10 Viennese Whirls.   What you will need:

Biscuit Ingredients

200g of slightly salted butter (unsalted works just as well)

50g icing sugar

200g of plain flour

2 tsp of vanilla extract

2 tsp of cornflour

1/2 tsp of baking powder

For the filling

170g icing sugar

100g of butter (at room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Raspberry or Strawberry jam (I use seedless raspberry jam)

Extras

A piping bag

Large star nozzle

Spatula

Large bowl

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180c, 160c fan or gas mark 4 and line to baking trays with grease proof paper (parchment paper)
  2. Put the butter into a bowl add the icing sugar and with a hand whisk or electric mixer whisk for approx 3 mins until the butter becomes a pale fluffy texture then add the vanilla extract and mix in    

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3. Sift in the flour, cornflour and baking powder, using a spatula fold in until left with a slightly tacky dough.   Don’t worry if you think it’s not going to combine and looks too dry, it does come together.    Spoon the dough into the piping bag with large star nozzle attached and push down till almost coming out.  Twist the piping bag around so got a tight close otherwise you’ll find it shooting out the top

4.  Pipe swirly circles approx 5cm in size leaving 3cm between each one.   You will make 20 in total  

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5. Bake in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes.  The biscuits should be just changing colour.  They will feel soft when removed from the oven but will firm as they cool.   Leave on the tray for a few minutes then using a palette knife remove from the tray and add to a cooling rack

 

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6.  While cooling you can start on the buttercream filling.   Use soft room temperature butter and add the icing sugar, mix really well till soft , smooth and creamy texture then stir in the vanilla extract

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7.  Make sure the biscuits are fully cooled then pipe one half of the biscuits with buttercream and the other half add the jam.  Jam you can add as much as you like depending on how jammy you like your biscuits.  I use around half a teaspoon of jam per half.   Then add the jam half to the buttercream half and press down.   Dust with icing sugar and enjoy!  They will keep in a biscuit tin for around 5 days

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Beef Enchiladas

This week I had a craving for something slightly spicy, I say slightly as I am the biggest wuss when it comes to heat!  Searching through my cupboards and fridge to see what I could make for that nights dinner I decided on Beef Enchiladas.   My recipe has a little kick of heat of but if you want to make it spicier just add more chilli powder or chopped up chilli peppers.    This recipe is one of those simple throw it in one pot to make the sauce then assemble and put in the oven.  A quick and easy simple dinner/tea.   My recipe serves 2 adults or 4 children size portions and has around 300 calories per wrap as I made the lower calorie version but feel free to use full fat mince or even works well with turkey mince, chicken pieces and lots of cheese

What you will need:

350g of lean minced beef (less than 5% fat)

1 medium sized onion

1 400g can of chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp of tomato puree

1tsp of dried oregano

2 garlic cloves chopped or a tsp of lazy garlic

1tsp of mild chilli powder (if you like it hot use hot chilli powder or fresh chills chopped really fine)

1/2 tsp of salt

Chicken or vegetable stock cube or stock pot

150ml of cold water

4 mini corn tortillas (I had none in so I used 4 mini wheat tortilla wraps)

100g of cheddar cheese (I watching my calories used Babybel grated and some small bags of cheddar cubes but add as much cheese as you want to your taste) 

Sour cream 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200c, fan 180c, gas mark 6 or the highest grill setting

      2.Chop an onion into slices and brown the mince, garlic and onion together in a pan (excuse the picture, my camera kept steaming)20160919_183402.jpg

3. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, stock cube/pot, chilli, water and oregano and leave to simmer for 15 mins 

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4. Once thickened season with salt and half the mixture to the side

5.Lay out one tortilla wrap and using a spoon with holes as we don’t want a lot of sauce add a heaped tbsp of the mixture the middle of the  tortilla or corn tortilla and a little of the grated cheese (mine was cubed cheddar)

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6. Fold over and tuck in sides then lay into a small roasting tin.  Don’t worry if it leaks a little, it will still taste just as delicious.   Repeat until all tortillas are use

7.  Now spoon over the rest of the mince and a little of the sauce.  If you prefer a slightly crispy tortilla use just the mince drained then sprinkle with the remaining cheese and add to the preheated oven for 20 mins.

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8.   Remove from the oven, warning they will be very hot! The cheese should be melted and and the edges of you enchiladas crispy

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9.   Serve with a side salad of choice and a spoonful of sour cream

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Enjoy x

 

 

Mini Baked Doughnuts (Donuts)

Today’s recipe is something I have been toying with making for a while.  Living by the seaside I always smell doughnuts cooking somewhere but also being deep fried not exactly something I can eat regularly.  So an alternative and not as unhealthy alternative is a delicious baked doughnut.  I made mini ones so I don’t feel as guilty eating them and at around 50 calories each everyone can indulge.  

What you will need for the batter

95g of plain flour (in the US this is all purpose flour)

50g of caster sugar (golden caster sugar if you prefer your dough to look a little darker)

1 egg

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

25g of unsalted butter melted and cooled

4tbsp of milk

pinch of salt

For the icing

100g of icing sugar

water

food colouring 

sprinkles

You will also need a small doughnut tin

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Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c, fan 160c, gas mark 4 and lay the doughnut mould on a baking sheet
  2. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl then stir in the sugar
  3. Beat together the milk, egg, melted butter that has been allowed to cool but still liquid and the vanilla extract

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4. Add the wet mix to the dry and whisk until no lumps and you have a nice smooth batter

   5. Using a piping bag or 2 teaspoons use half the mixture to make 12 mini doughnuts and put the rest of the mixture aside. Fill each tray so it’s not quite full leaving room for the dough to rise

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  6. Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until the doughnuts have risen and are firm to the touch

  7. Leave in the tray for 5 mins until started to cool then remove the doughnuts with a knife or if using a silicone tray pop out onto a cooling rack.   Wash the inside of the tray and then add the remaining mixture and bake

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 8. Once the doughnuts are cool add some icing sugar to a bowl then add water one teaspoon at a time until you get a smooth texture.  Not to runny as you want it to set and not to thick.   At this point if you want you can add some food colouring.  I added red to make some red icing and pink icing

9. Stand a tray under the cooling rack to catch any drips and sprinkles.   Take one doughnut, hold upside down and dip in the icing then add to back to the cooling rack.  If the icing closes the holes you can poke them through with the end of a wooden spoon.  Do about 5 at a time then add your choice of sprinkles while the icing is still wet and repeat until finished.

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You can try chocolate doughnuts to by replacing some of the flour with cocoa so use 65g of plain flour and 2 tbsp of cocoa powder.   Would love to see your bakes so feel free to add your pictures below on, on facebook or tweet me 

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Enjoy x

I came up with the idea thanks to Bake Box who are a new subscription box based on baking.  I bought this months box which was all New York themed!  Worth checking out here:  https://the-bake-box.com/