SLIDER

brown butter chocolate chunk cookies

9 May 2021

I lived in Canada in 1987 and when I returned home to Brisbane I brought some recipes with me including a small recipe book produced by Baker's chocolate. It contained a recipe for chocolate chunk cookies and I've been making a version of these cookies ever since. They're a good all round cookie filled with chocolate chunks and nuts and best of all they can be made with a bowl and a wooden spoon.

In recent times I've discovered Claire Saffitz, an American baker and recipe developer. I was watching an episode of Dessert Person in which Claire made her chocolate chip cookie recipe. I didn't need to make cookies but I decided to make a batch, inspired by Claire's recipe. I used my base recipe but browned the butter first before adding a dash of milk a la Claire. I added both milk and dark chocolate chunks to the mixture but left out the chopped nuts.

I made a half batch of dough then rested the cookie dough overnight. The next day I baked the cookies making some larger and some smaller, which I shared with my neighbours. I snaffled one cookie still warm from the oven, and it was pretty good. I'd never used two kinds of chocolate chunks before and it was a nice touch but next time I'd add some pecans to the cookies because I missed the crunch they produce.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 22 regular sized cookies. Remember you'll need to start this recipe the day before baking to allow time for the cookie dough to rest. If you decide to make larger cookies, you'll need to add a few extra minutes baking time. The recipe is adapted from Claire Saffitz's recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies from her book, Dessert Person.  For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.
 
Brown butter chocolate chunk cookies - makes 22 small cookies
Ingredients
112g unsalted butter cut into cubes
15 mls cream or whole milk
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup caster sugar
1 egg, cold from the refrigerator
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
75g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
75g milk chocolate coarsely chopped
Sea salt flakes 
 
Method  
Brown the butter in the microwave on high in a covered microwave safe bowl. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until deep brown and nutty. Pour the butter through a fine sieve removing the solids. You should have about 85g of browned butter. 
 
Allow the butter to come back to room temperature to solidify then stir in the cream or milk followed by the sugars, vanilla and the egg. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl then stir into the butter mix. Lastly stir through the coarsely chopped chocolates.
 
Portion out using a cookie scoop or tablespoon (I used a 15 ml cookie scoop) and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 48 hours, covered in the fridge. If you like, you can freeze the dough at this point.
The following day preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper or a silicone mat. Place the cookies on the tray allowing room to spread. Flatten each cookie a little before topping with a sprinkle of sea salt flakes.
 
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes (for regular sized cookie) until golden around the edges but still soft in the centre. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing from the tray and cooling on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
I've become a big Claire Saffitz fan and have just requested a copy of 'Dessert Person' from the library. I can't wait for it to arrive. 
 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen. 
 
Bye for now,
 
Jillian

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plum and ginger upside down cake

3 May 2021

I've not been lucky enough to dine at Fred's in Paddington but I do like head chef Danielle Alvarez's style of cooking. I borrowed her cookbook 'Always add Lemon' from my local library and I bookmarked a few recipes. This cake was the second recipe I made from the book.
Danielle's recipe was for a pineapple and ginger upside down cake but with plums still in the fruit shop, I decided to make a plum version. I played around with the proportions to make an 8 inch cake and also played around with the topping. Danielle's recipe calls for you to cook the butter and brown sugar to make a caramel but my caramel seized. I decided to go the easy route and one I've used before, where you just melt the butter before topping it with the brown sugar.

Once I'd overcome that hurdle the cake was pretty easy to put together. Next time I'd probably forgo separating the eggs. The cake has lots of rising agents and I'm not convinced separating the whites then folding in the beaten whites added anything to the finished cake except lots more washing up!  

Here's the recipe for you which makes an 8 inch cake, For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Plum and ginger upside-down cake, adapted from a Danielle Alvarez recipe
Ingredients
175 g unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
150 g caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
15 g grated fresh ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
165 g plain flour
Pinch salt
1¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100 ml full-cream milk
Ice cream, cream or yoghurt to serve 
 
Topping
20 g butter
¼ cup brown sugar
4-6 plums, halved, pitted and then quartered
 
Method  
Grease and flour a 20cm round cake tin then line the base of with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional.
 
Topping
Melt the butter in a small saucepan then pour into the prepared tin. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and use a knife or spoon to evenly distribute the brown sugar over the base of the pan. Arrange the plum slices on top of this caramel in any pattern you like. Try to cover as much surface area as possible so you can have a lot of fruit in each slice. 
 
Cake
Cream together the butter, sugar, ginger and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, then add the egg yolks and mix until well incorporated. 
 
Sift the dry ingredients into a small bowl. Add half the dry ingredients to the butter and gently mix and then with the machine still running, add all the milk and mix to combine. Carefully add the remaining dry ingredients and finish mixing with a spatula. 
 
In a clean dry bowl whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the cake batter. Pour the batter on top of the plums in the tin and spread out evenly. Gently tap the tin on your work bench to ensure the cake batter has dropped into place. 
 
Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning the cake out. To turn the cake out, place a flat plate on top of the tin, then holding the plate in place with your hand, flip the cake over quickly and carefully. Once inverted, simply pull the tin off and peel back the baking paper.
 
Serve warm or when completely cold with cream, ice cream or natural yoghurt.
I thought I'd bought red fleshed plums so I was a bit surprised when I turned the cake out to find they weren't red at all. It made no difference to the cake though which was absolutely delicious. 

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen. 

Bye for now,

Jillian
 
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iced lemon pound cake

23 Apr 2021

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know I love everything citrus. I found this recipe in a very old Philadelphia Cream Cheese cookbook whilst home in Brisbane over Easter and decided to give it a go with my own Jillian twist.
The twist? A layer of sharp lemon curd in the centre of the cake. I had some homemade lemon curd in the fridge so I decided to up the lemon quotient. I also had some candied lemon peel in the fridge so topped the iced cake with a few strands rather than lemon peel.
Here's the recipe for you which makes a small bundt cake. If you'd like to make a larger cake just double all the ingredients and the bake time should be unchanged. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.
Iced Lemon Pound Cake
Ingredients
125g full fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tps grated lemon rind
1 egg
1/2 cup neutral flavoured oil
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
Pinch salt
60 mls lemon juice
2 tbs lemon curd, home made or shop bought
 
Icing
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp melted unsalted butter
1 tbs lemon juice, extra
Lemon threads, for decoration if desired

Method
Grease and flour a small bundt pan and place in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 180°C conventional.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon rind in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the eggs and oil and whiz again until smooth. Add in the flour, salt and juice and continue to whiz until you have a smooth loose batter.

Pour 1/3 of the mixture into prepared pan then carefully spoon the lemon curd over the batter avoiding the sides. The curd will sink. Then gently pour the remaining mixture over the lemon curd. Tap the tin to level then bake in a moderate oven at 180°C for 35-40 minutes or until well risen and cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Icing
Combine the icing sugar with the melted butter then add enough lemon juice to form a thin icing. Drizzle over the cake and allow to set. Decorate with lemon threads if desired.
I took this cake over to a friend's house and she could really taste the lemon curd. The cake had a nice fine crumb and as it was so easy to make, I can see I'll be making this again.
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now, 

Jillian
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classic anzac biscuits

18 Apr 2021

 

Anzac Day is just around the corner and each year I like to make a batch of Anzac Biscuits. As they're a melt and mix biscuit, they're very easy to make. They were probably the first biscuits I learned to make and I think I baked them in a slice tin and cut them into squares.

This year I made not one batch but 3 batches, each of them a little different. I thought I'd share my version of the classic Anzac biscuit with you.
I made this batch using browned butter which is a completely optional step. If you want to make the brown butter version you'll need to use about 160gms of butter to make 125g of browned butter. I put my butter into a covered heatproof bowl and microwave on high for about 5 minutes until the butter smells nutty and is dark brown. Strain through a fine sieve to remove any dark solids leaving you with browned butter.
 
I've made these biscuits using both shredded coconut and desiccated coconut and I've found if you use shredded coconut you won't need to use as much liquid, so add it gradually until you're happy with the mixture. I decided to top each biscuits with a few strands of shredded coconut and a few flakes of sea salt.

Here's the recipe for you which will make around 30 small biscuits using a 15 ml tablespoon. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.
Classic Anzac Biscuits - make 30 
Ingredients
1 cup regular rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup plain flour
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup caster sugar
Pinch salt
125g (4 oz) unsalted butter, chopped or 125g of browned butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
 
To decorate
1 tbs shredded coconut
½ tsp sea salt flakes
 
Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C, conventional.
 
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and set them aside. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the oats, coconut, flour the sugars and salt. Put the chopped butter and golden syrup into a small saucepan over low heat (or you can do this step in the microwave) and stir occasionally until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat. Mix the boiling water and bicarb soda in a cup and add to the butter mixture. Add the vanilla extract then pour the butter mix into the oat mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
 
Scoop out tablespoons of the mixture onto the lined oven trays, leaving about 2 inches as the mixture spreads. Flatten the biscuits a little. If you like, top each biscuit with a pinch of sea salt flakes and some shredded coconut.
Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until they're a deep golden brown but still soft. I always rotate the biscuit tray halfway through the cooking time so the biscuits cook evenly.
 
Leave the biscuits to cool on the trays for a few minutes and then carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. The biscuits keep well in an airtight container for up to a week.
The cup of tea and the Anzac biscuit you see was yesterdays breakfast and it was delicious, a combination of both crunchy and chewy. I think this will be my go-to recipe from now on.
 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
 
Bye for now, 
 
Jillian

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fitzrovia babka

11 Apr 2021

I've been dying to transform Honey and Co's sour cherry and pistachio studded Fitzrovia buns into a babka so with some time on my hands one weekend, that's exactly what I did. I decided to Tangzhong the recipe first and the resulting dough was lovely and soft and very easy to work with.

Once rolled out, I refrigerated the dough for about 30 minutes before cutting and twisting it ready for proving.

If you want any instructions on how to prepare the bun dough, Honey and Co have made a videoThe babka takes a little longer to bake than the buns and once the babka is cooked, it's doused in a sugar syrup. The hardest thing to do is to wait a little for the babka to cool before slicing it.

Here's the recipe for the Tangzhong Fitzrovia Babka which makes one large babka. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.
 
Tangzhong Fitzrovia Babka
Yeast Mixture 
1½ tsp dried yeast
1 tsp flour
1 tsp sugar
1-2 tbl water

Tangzhong
1/2 cup (113g) whole milk
25g plain flour

Dough
70 g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
30 g caster sugar
300 g bread flour
A pinch of table salt
1 egg
1-2 tbs milk

Filling
100 g light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Seeds from ½ vanilla pod or 3 tsp vanilla sugar
50 g very soft unsalted butter
1 tbs almond meal
80 g dried sour cherries
60 g chopped pistachios, plus 1 tbsp for decoration
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a pinch of table salt)
1 batch base sugar syrup (recipe follows)

Base sugar syrup
100 mls water
100 g caster sugar
3 tsp light corn syrup or honey

Yeast Mixture
In a small bowl, combine the yeast with 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp sugar and sufficient water to make a paste. Cover and set to one side for about 10 minutes until the mixture froths up, then continue on with the rest of the recipe.

Tangzhong
Combine both the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until thickened, paste-like, and the spoon or spatula leaves lines on the bottom of the pan. This should take 1 to 3 minutes.

Dough
Remove the tangzhong from the heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and allow to cool a little. Place the butter, yeast mixture, egg and sugar in the bowl and then top with the flour and salt.

Use the dough attachment on your mixer or your hands to bring it all together to a smooth, shiny dough, adding the milk if it looks dry. Don’t worry too much if you still have some whole flecks of butter running through the dough; they will make your final bun super-light.

Once the dough has a nice texture to it (after about 2–3 minutes with an electric mixer or 5–6 minutes working by hand), wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. You can leave it there for up to 12 hours, but not much longer or it will start to double in size.

Babka
The following day, bring the dough to room temperature. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper, allowing some overhang. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon, vanilla, butter and almond meal so it is well combined.

Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a very lightly floured workbench to a rectangle about 15 inches x 11 inches. You may need to flip the dough over once or twice to get an even, smooth sheet, but try to work with as little flour as you can so as not to dry the dough out.

Lay the rectangle lengthways in front of you and spread the butter mixture in a thin layer to about 2 cm from the edge, then sprinkle the cherries and pistachios at regular intervals on top, so that each bite will contain a bit of everything. Brush the edges of the dough with some water.

Lift the long edge of the dough closest to you and start rolling it up away from you, keeping it nice and tight without stretching the dough, until you end up with a sausage about 15 inches long. If it comes out a little longer, push it in from both ends to condense it a little; if it comes out shorter, then use your hands to roll it out a little until it reaches 15 inches. Press to seal the dampened end onto the roulade and then use both hands to even out the roll into a perfect thick cigar. Rest the cigar on its seam.

Trim about ¾ in/2 cm off both ends of the roulade with a serrated knife. At this stage you can chill the dough for ½ hour to firm the filling. Now use the knife to gently cut the roll into half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing at the seam. You are essentially dividing the log into two long even halves, with the layers of dough and filling visible along the length of both halves. With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half. Repeat this process, but this time lift the left half over the right, to create a simple, two-pronged plait. Gently squeeze together the other ends so that you are left with the two halves, intertwined, showing the filling on top. Carefully lift the cake into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1½ hours. The cake will rise by 10 to 20 percent. 

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C, making sure you allow plenty of time for it to heat fully before the cakes have finished rising. Remove the tea towel then brush the babka with the egg wash and sprinkle the remaining pistachios over the top. Place the cake on the middle rack of the oven, and bake for about 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. If not ready, return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. My babka took 45 minutes to cook.
Remove the babka from the oven and pour over the sugar syrup. Allow to cool slightly before devouring.

Sugar syrup
Place all the ingredients in a small pan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, skim off any foam that comes to the top and remove from the heat. If you are making a larger quantity (a litre or more), bring to the boil, skim and cook for 3–4 minutes, then allow to cool. You can make this syrup in advance — just keep it in a jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
I have a few slices of the babka tucked away in the freezer. The babka is absolutely delicious still warm from the oven but in the end I think I prefer the look of the buns.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian

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raspberry coconut and lime bundt cake

5 Apr 2021

 

I know I'm posting a bit later than normal but I've only just returned from my Easter break. I iced this raspberry coconut and lime cake just a little while ago and it's still setting as I type this.

This is the second time I've made this cake which was adapted from a Julia Busuttil Nishimura recipe. The first time I made the cake was for a work birthday morning tea; it was a last minute thing and there was no time to photograph the cake. It was well received so I knew eventually I'd remake it to photograph for the blog.
Raspberry and lime are a perfect pairing and whilst I'm not a huge coconut fan, apparently my work mates are!

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small bundt cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Raspberry coconut and lime bundt cake adapted from a Julia Busuttil Nishimura recipe

Ingredients 
165g self raising flour 
a pinch of salt
50g desiccated coconut
135g unsalted butter, softened
135g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tbs grated lime zest
2 tbs lime juice
½ cup plain Greek yoghurt 
125g raspberries, fresh or frozen
 
Lime yoghurt glaze 
35g plain yoghurt
75g icing sugar, sifted
½ tsp lime zest and juice, if needed
Shredded coconut, to serve 
 
Method
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease and flour a small bundt pan and place in the fridge until needed.
 
Sift the flour into a small bowl with the salt then stir through the coconut. Set to one side. Cream the butter, sugar and zest with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy (around 3 minutes). Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour mixture one third at a time alternating with the lime juice and the yoghurt. Gently fold in the raspberries and spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer is clean when inserted or the top of the cake bounces back when pressed.
 
Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Cool completely before glazing.
Glaze
Make the glaze by combining the yoghurt in a small bowl with the icing sugar and lime zest. The glaze should be pouring consistency, but not too thick. Add in a little lime juice if needed. If it is too thin, add some more icing sugar. Pour the glaze over the cake and allow it to drip down the sides. Scatter with some shredded coconut and serve with extra raspberries, if desired. The glaze will be colourless once it sets.
I hope you all had a peaceful Easter break.
 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen. 
 
Bye for now, 
 
Jillian
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