Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies

I am really excited to share this recipe with you. I love autumn baking and have been baking non stop with apples. There's something so comforting about apples and cinnamon and it's even better when paired with pastry. I love a good apple pie and I have to confess that I occasionally crave a McDonald's apple pie! I saw these salted caramel apple pies on Kelly's blog and have been wanting to bake them for weeks. I finally got a chance and they were well worth the wait. I used a different recipe for the pastry which has a high proportion of butter to flour and it tasted amazing! It is the best pastry I've made as it's so buttery and flaky almost like a puff pastry. I loved the cinnamon, caramel apple filling but was not a fan of the sea salt which I will omit next time. The pies were not as difficult to make as I originally thought and I will definitely be baking these again. We had them warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it was absolutely divine. It was equally good the next day cold for breakfast! I am now thinking of different fruit variations for these pies - apple and raisin, apple and berries, pear and ginger.... any other ideas? 

I'm sending this to a few blog challenges this month. 
The Pastry Challenge hosted by Lisa from United Cakedom and Jen from Jen's Food. The theme this month is pies and tarts. 

Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily from A Mummy Too. 

Bake of the Week hosted by Helen from Casa Costello.

Treat Petite hosted by Kat from The Baking Explorer and Stuart fromCakeyboi. The theme this month is Autumn.

Cook Blog Share hosted by Kirsty from Hijacked by Twins.

 I found some salted caramel sweets in France

 Make sure you chop the apples into little pieces so they cook properly

 I'm really proud of my pastry :) 
 Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre of a pastry circle

 add chopped caramels and sea salt flakes 

 Wet the edges of the pastry and place a pastry circle on top

 Press down gently and crimp with a fork 

 Brush with egg wash then cut some air vents and add a sprinkling of demerera sugar (I didn't have any granulated sugar) 

 You can see the soft, flaky pastry here - it resembles puff pastry!! 

Makes 12 mini pies

For the pastry
315g plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
285g butter, cubed and cold
6-10 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped into little pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g caster sugar
2 teaspoons plain flour
12 caramel sweets, roughly chopped
sea salt flakes

For the egg wash
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Note: I used a food processor to make my pastry but you can of course make it by hand.

  • Place the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor and mix briefly.
  • Add in the chopped cold butter and pulse until it resembles bread crumbs.
  • Add in a tablespoon of water at a time and continue mixing until a soft dough forms. I used 8 tablespoons of water. 
  • Knead the dough gently and wrap in cling film.
  • Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes but preferably a few hours. 
  • Next make the filling by mixing the chopped apple, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and flour in a bowl. 
  • Roughly chop the caramel sweets - I used 1 sweet per apple pie. 
  • Remove the dough from the fridge. Tear off a small piece and place the rest back in the fridge - the dough is best when chilled so work with a small bit at a time.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface.
  • Cut out circles using a round cutter - you need 2 pieces per pie. 
  • Place the circles on a baking tray lined with non stick baking paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Place 1 tablespoon of apple filling in the centre of each circle, keeping the edges free.
  • Add the chopped caramels and a sprinkling of sea salt flakes (optional).
  • Dip your finger into a bowl of water and lightly run your finger around the edge of each pastry circle.
  • Add a circle of dough on top of the apple pie and press down the edges gently.
  • Crimp the edges using a fork.
  • Brush the pies with eggwash.
  • Cut a few air vents in each pie and sprinkle with granulated or demerera sugar (optional). 
  • Bake in a pre heated oven of 200C for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Chocolate Mint Cake

I planned a little surprise birthday dinner for a friend recently. Luckily it went well and the birthday girl was indeed surprised and very happy! I asked the restaurant if I could bring a cake and started thinking about what to bake. I remembered that chocolate mint is her favorite so I thought of a chocolate cake with a minty filling. I had great success with my chocolate cake and Oreo cream cheese filling so I decided to adapt that into a chocolate mint cake. I used the same cake recipe but added 1 tablespoon of mint extract. The filling also had mint and green food coloring and chopped up mint aero. The cake was then topped with a chocolate ganache and mint aero balls. I forgot to take pictures at the restaurant so I only have a few photos to share. The cake was absolutely delicious! Light and minty but not overly so. My friend's dad really enjoyed the cake and I got more compliments about the cake later from her family! 

I'm sharing this with Alphabakes which I'm hosting this month. Caroline from Caroline Makes is my co host. The letter this month is M for mint. 

For the cake
350g caster sugar
220g plain flour
85g cocoa powder
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
250mls milk
125mls vegetable oil
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
250mls boiling water, cooled for a few minutes

For the filling
400mls double cream
225g cream cheese
85g icing sugar
green food colouring
2 large bars of Mint Aero, roughly chopped

For the ganache
200mls double cream
200g dark chocolate 

To decorate
Mint Aero balls

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Grease and line 2 x 18cm round tins. 
  • Place the sugar, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix briefly.
  • Add in the milk, oil, eggs, peppermint extract and finally the slightly cooled boiling water.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Divide the batter between the 2 cake tins and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
  • To make the filling, whip the cream until stiff then set aside. 
  • Beat the cream cheese with the icing sugar until smooth. Add in a little green food colouring and mix thoroughly. 
  • Stir in the whipped cream and chopped mint aero chocolate. 
  • Chill in the fridge if not using immediately.
  • To make the ganache, heat the cream gently until it's just starting to bubble - don't let it overboil.
  • Add in the chocolate in small pieces whilst stirring.
  • Whisk for a few minutes until it's smooth.
  • Allow to cool for 5-10minutes before using.
  • To assemble the cake, place one cake upside down on the cake board. 
  • Spread the cream cheese filling evenly on the cake, smoothing out the edges as you go. 
  • Add the second cake on top.
  • Pour the ganache from a height on to the centre of the cake and allow it to spread out until it's dripping down the edges of the cake. 
  • Decorate with mint aero balls. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Apple Rose Tarts

Yesterday we celebrated a month of marriage. It seems silly I know but I thought it would be nice to mark the occasion with something special. In my world that usually means cake or chocolate. However, I've been wanting to bake apple rose tarts for a while now particularly as my mum and aunt made it recently with huge success. It's normally very popular around Valentine's Day and Mother's Day so I decided to give it a go. It really is much easier than it looks. This makes for a very impressive dessert with a little effort. Plus roses traditionally symbolise love. J was well impressed as was I! 

There are lots of recipes and videos available online and this is my interpretation. A little clumsy but still pretty and delicious. You can get 6 tarts out of 1 sheet of puff pastry but I made mine extralarge and only made 4! Most of the recipes used jam but I decided to go with melted butter and cinnamon sugar. Apologies for the poor quality photos but it was very late at night! 

 ready rolled puff pastry, 2 red apples, butter, cinnamon sugar and egg wash

 Slice the apples thinly and arrange on a plate. Makes sure you keep the skin on. Microwave it gently for 1-2 minutes until the apples are soft and pliable. 

 Cut the puff pastry into 4 using a pizza cutter (cut into 6 strips for smaller, neater tarts) 

 Roll each sheet slightly to widen and flatten it. Spread some melted butter on top

 Add a generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar

 Arrange apple slices, overlapping the ends on top of the puff pastry sheet 

 fold the bottom part over and add more melted butter and cinnamon sugar. Starting at one end, roll it up and the apple slices will look like rose petals

 How pretty does that look? I baked mine in a buttered ramekin dishes in a 220C oven for approximately 40 minutes. You can also use a muffin tin if you are making smaller roses.

 They turn out beautifully from the ramekin 

 serve with a dusting of icing sugar 

Monday, 9 November 2015

Banana, chocolate and walnut waffles

This month's theme for We Should Cocoa is bananas. Bananas and chocolate are one of my favourite combinations so my mind immediately went into overdive with ideas. I've baked cakes, cookies, muffins and cupcakes with this flavour combination. I wanted to do something a little different and my mind turned to breakfast or more specifically brunch. Weekend brunches are sacred in our house as we don't often have time to either be at home or sit and have a leisurely brunch. There are a few recipes that we always come back to for brunch and one of them is waffles. I have a waffle mould and I normally bake my waffles in the oven. However, I've always wanted to have a waffle maker but felt it was too indulgent.  We got married recently so I added it to our wedding gift list and was over the moon when one of J's friends bought it for us. I finally own a waffle maker and it was put to use the day after we received it! We had basic waffles with fruit and maple syrup and it was delicious. 

Waffles made with a waffle maker turn out light and crispy whereas the baked ones taste a little more cake like. This weekend we had time to have a leisurely brunch at home so I started experimenting with recipes and came up with this banana, chocolate and walnut waffles. The waffles were chocolatey with a hint of banana and the walnuts added crunch and texture. I served them with sliced bananas, chocolate chips and maple syrup. I debated about a chocolate sauce but decided that maple syrup would be better. The batter made 9 waffles so I have lots in the freezer to be toasted for breakfast during the week. 

I'm sending this to We Should Cocoa hosted by Choclette from Tin and Thyme. The theme this month is banana which of course has to be paired with chocolate. 

I'm also sending it to Brilliant Breakfasts hosted by Made with Pink. These make for a very filling breakfast especially with the bananas and walnuts. 

It's also going to Cook Blog Share hosted by Kirtsy from Hijacked by Twins. 

Finally to Bake of the week hosted by Helen from Casa Costello.

My new waffle maker! I sprinkled some chocolate chips on top of the batter before cooking. There's way too much batter in this as it was the first one but I learnt quickly after that! 

 Lovely chocolatey waffles with banana and walnuts baked in. 

 served with sliced banana, chocolate chips and maple syrup

Makes 9 large waffles in a waffle maker

240g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 bananas
2 eggs
90mls vegetable oil
150g sour cream
200 mls milk
80g walnuts
sprinkling of chocolate chips

To serve
Sliced banana
Chocolate chips
Maple syrup

  • I used a food processor to get a nice, smooth batter.
  • Place the eggs, vegetable oil, sour cream, milk and whole banana and whole walnuts and blitz gently.
  • Add in the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. 
  • Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  • Allow to sit for a few minutes. 
  • Pre heat the waffle maker. When ready, add the batter but be careful not to put too much or it will spill out. Sprinkle some chocolate chips on top.
  • Cook as per manufacturer's instructions. Mine took about 5 minutes. 
  • Serve warm with sliced banana, chocolate chips and maple syrup. 

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Apple, toffee, raisin and butterscotch muffins

This is a variation on the toffee apple muffins that I posted earlier in the week. They were so popular I baked them three times in a week! I had further requests but had run out of ingredients. I decided to use up leftovers that I had to create a variation of the muffin and it worked beautifully. Personally I prefer this version as it has butterscotch chips and raisin. J prefers the toffee apple muffins.

I'm sending this to the No Waste Food Challenge guest hosted this month by Tracy from It's Not Easy Being Greedy on behalf of Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. This recipe uses up the bits of ingredients in my cupboard - raisin, butterscotch chips and 4 toffee sweets.

It's also suitable for the Credit Crunch Munch challenge guest hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary on behalf of Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla from Fab Food 4 All.

Makes 14 muffins

2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 pot of 165g fat free yoghurt
150mls milk
100g brown sugar
100g butter, melted
300g plain flour
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
4 toffee sweets, chopped into quarters
100g raisins
100g butterscotch chips

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • In a large bowl, mix the yoghurt, milk, eggs, sugar and butter.
  • In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients.
  • Stir into the wet ingredients until just mixed.
  • Stir in the chopped apples,toffee sweets, raisins and butterscotch chips.
  • Divide the mixture between the muffin cases.
  • Bake for approximately 25-28 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.