Monthly Archives: May 2013

15. Multiseed Crackers

Hi readers, sorry I missed a week – too much going on!

This week I was feeling a bit over-sugared and unhealthy so I decided to cook something healthyish – shock horror! I went with multiseed crackers from the GBBO book that I’ve been meaning to try for a while but put it off a bit because I thought they might be a bit difficult. They were actually a lot easier that expected.

I started by adding wholemeal flour, semolina and a mix of seeds (some whole and some crushed). The recipe called for flax seeds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds but I couldn’t get hold of any pumpkin seeds so went for sunflower seeds instead. Seeds a pretty much all the same to me anyway!

Dry ingredients

Dry ingredients

I then added a mix of water, oil and honey to the dry ingredients. I then mixed this together with my hands to make a dough and kneaded in the bowl for five minutes until the sides of the bowl were clean. I then left to rest for 20 minutes.

Oil, water and honey

Oil, water and honey

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Dough

Dough

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I then split the dough into three batches and rolled them out on an oiled surface. The recipe said to roll it as this as a credit card – I’m not sure I quite managed that but I went as this as I could. Then came the complicated bit of cutting them into crackers! After some impressive (if I say so myself) manoeuvring of a ruler, a pizza cutter and a palette knife I managed to shop all the dough into crackers and place onto lined baking trays.

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I then sprayed the crackers with water, sprinkled with spare seeds and put in a medium oven for 20 minutes et voila!

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I think they came out really well, a few at the back of the oven may have been a little too dark. They have much more depth of flavour than crackers you buy and were very crunchy. I thought that would be the hard part getting the ‘snap’.

I bagged a few up to fob off on friends and sampled them later with butter and cheese which worked very well. I also felt less guilty about scoffing five in a row. Seeds are good for you right?!

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14. Chocolate and Orange Cupcakes

I went with something a bit more technical this week, filled chocolate and orange cupcakes, or to give them their official title ‘Dark chocolate cupcakes with orange cream filling and burnt orange buttercream’. Catchy.

I started by making a batch of dark chocolate cupcakes that were pretty standard. Although the recipe did call for (optional) chocolate essence which I have seen for sale before but never seen in a recipe so as I didn’t have any I missed it out on this occassion, but I did wonder what other recipes it might be used in.

The cupcakes came out ok (pretty dense but the mixture was a batter rather than a cake mix) but the cases fell off as they cooled and I’m not sure why – tres annoying!

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I then made the cream filling which was a mixture of double cream, mascarpone and orange zest. I was very careful not to overbeat the cream like I did for the eclairs!

Cream filling

Cream filling

While that was in the fridge and the cupcakes were cooling I made the burnt orange buttercream. This started with making a sort of orange caramel from butter, orange zest, orange juice and caster sugar, heated in a pan until it started to caramelise.

Orange 'caramel'

Orange ‘caramel’

Whilst leaving this to cool I mixed icing sugar butter and cream and added the orange mix in last.

Burnt orange buttercream

Burnt orange buttercream

Once that was mixed I put it inside and started the fiddly bit! I cut a circle out of the top of each cake, trimmed it to make a lid and carved out the rest of the centre of the cake. Was quite tricky to do without it all falling apart! On the plus side, the insides were surplus and could be nibbled on!

Carved out cakes and lids

Carved out cakes and lids

Then using a piping bag I piped the orange cream into the cakes and put the lids back on. This was really oddly satisfying… I think there may be something wrong with me.

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Then I piped on the orange buttercream in a spiral with a round nozzle and voila, all done!

 

All boxed up and ready to go

All boxed up and ready to go

 

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I thought these were very good! Rather sickly but as the cream in the centre wasn’t sweet (more tangy), it balanced them out quite well. I ate them straight from the fridge because of the cream which I wouldn’t usually do but it seemed to work. The burnt orange buttercream was lovely especially and even more so with a cuppa!

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13. Brown(ie) Owls

This week I was in a bit of a childish mood and didn’t fancy doing anything technical so I decided to make brownies! Nom noms! These technically still qualify for this blog as I had never made chocolate brownies this way before (but I must try harder next week!).

I started with a basic chocolate brownie mix (nothing unusual) and in case there wasn’t enough chocolate in it I added some chocolate chips.

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I then put in in my brownie pan and baked until it came out like so:

Cooked brownie

Cooked brownie

As these were going to be brown(ie) owls I need some feathers (chcolate button halves), eyes (giant white chocolate buttons, milk chocolate buttons and milk chocolate chips) and beaks (fudge bar triangles) which looked like this (spending my Saturday cutting chocolate buttons in half – crazy):

Preparing my decorations

Preparing my decorations

I then made the icing with a method I had not come across before: I put a mixture of dark and milk chcocolate in a bowl and then boiled up double cream and golden syrup. I then poured this over the chocolate and mixed until it melted together, no additional heat required. I was a bit dubious to start with as it looked like the picture below but I got there!

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Once the brownie had completely cooled in the tin, I cut out 12 rounds with a cutter and trimmed off the tops to make them level.

Cutting out brownie rounds

Cutting out brownie rounds

Then it was time to decorate!

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I covered the top and sides in icing…

Covered in icing

Covered in icing

…and then added the prepared eyes, beaks and feathers until they looked like this:

Iced and decorated

Iced and decorated

So cute! I think even Mr Hollywood wouldn’t be able to resist their little faces!

Twit twoo!

Twit twoo!

They were very sickly but very nice! Probably at bit too big but I couldn’t have made them any smaller otherwise they eyes wouldn’t have fit on. Obviously.

The icing was good, I’d like to experiement with that method more as my icing was still a bit lumpy (I think maybe the chocolate was a tad too cold when I started). These went down a treat with friends and colleagues – definitely a crowd pleaser if nothing else!