Summer is here at last and not only does it bring light and warmth, it also brings us a wealth of juicy fruit. When you’ve had your fill of fresh berries and stone fruit, you’ll probably be looking for other ways to eat them. This recipe for poached peaches and apricots in a spiced lemon & thyme syrup is simple to make and utterly delectable.
Now Twelfth Night has passed, I’m feeling it’s time to Jumpstart January. Whilst these vanilla almond cookies aren’t exactly healthy, they aren’t too bad for you either. They contain freshly ground almonds and wholemeal spelt flour and the sugar content is relatively low. I’m also trying to eat more vegan meals than usual this month to celebrate Veganuary, so I’ve made them vegan.
Just in case you hadn’t noticed, Great British Bake Off is back. The whole country is watching, it seems. Last week, the bakers were given Viennese whirls as their technical challenge. Piping is the name of the game for these bakes and I hate piping. It was time for me to move outside of my comfort zone, however. Of course I had to do something a bit different, so I give you my Chocolate Viennese Whirls.
Christmas is traditionally a time for baking biscuits and I usually make the most of it. I tend to make an old favourite or two, but also use the occasion to try out a some new recipes. One of them, this time, was to be Christmas Butter Biscuits.
Far from putting me off them forever, judging the Liskeard Bun has reignited my love for all things bun. Yeasted or not, plain or fancy, there is something rather wonderful about the British bun.
When Karen over at Lavender and Lovage chose vanilla as the ingredient for this month’s We Should Cocoa, I knew immediatley I wanted to make biscuits. Vanilla is such a sweetly fragrant spice and it somehow seems to become more potent when combined with sugar in biscuits. Sandwiching the biscuits with a rich chocolate vanilla filling was no sooner thought of, than executed.
Yesterday, I made the most delicious dessert I’ve ever eaten. Well that may be a slight exaggeration, but this raspberry syllabub with Chardonnay vanilla biscuits was up there with the best. It was cool and creamy, but warming at the same time with bursts of intense summery tartness and accompanied by crisp vanilla biscuits with fruity tones. And it was all thanks to Lindeman’s.
As some of you may have gathered by now, I’m in thrall to my Froothie high speed blender. It gets used virtually every day and makes a wonderful job of finely blending the most unlikely of ingredients and making them silky smooth. Have a look at my nettle smoothie if you don’t believe me.
Ages ago, I saw a fabulous post for a fruit dessert pizza over at Peaches Please and was immediately struck by the idea. I had been sent some plums from South Africa so the time was right to try a plum pizza. Some of you may recall the plum and amaretto ice-cream I made with these very same plums way back when, so I had high hopes. I was also keen to try making pizza dough with white chocolate which I thought would suit this fruity delight very well.
This is how I made:
Plum and Walnut Pizza
- Mixed 250g flour (half wholemeal, half white) in a bowl with 1 tsp instant yeast, ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp maca powder (not necessary, but makes me think I’m being healthy).
- Stirred in 150ml warm water and 1 tbsp olive oil until the mixture came together in a ball.
- Kneaded for about 10 minutes on an oiled surface, adding 30g of finely chopped vanillary white chocolate towards the end (I used G&B).
- Placed into an oiled bowl and left to rise for an hour or so.
- Divided the mixture into 4 balls and rolled as thinly as possible into rounds.
- Placed on lined baking sheets.
- Warmed 3 tbsp of plum jam (homemade) and 1 tbsp marsala in a small pan.
- Sliced 4 large purple plums into thin slices.
- Roughly chopped a handful of walnut halves.
- Spread a tbsp of the jam mixture over the base of each pizza.
- Laid the plum slices over the jam then scattered some walnuts over the top.
- Dusted a little vanilla sugar over the top.
- Baked in the middle of the oven at 200°C for 12 minutes.
- Served immediately (apart from the odd photo or two).
Gosh these were good. The dough was soft and sweet and combined beautifully with the tart juicy plums and the fragrant vanilla. The walnuts gave a delightful crunch and added bitter notes which contrasted nicely with the caramel undertones from the bits of white chocolate that had caramelised in the dough. These were also a visual feast with the strikingly coloured purple plums. This is a dessert I can see us having again and again – maybe with peaches or nectarines by way of a change.
Alpha Bakes is P this month and I have three of them. P is for Purple Plum and Walnut Pizza. It is hosted this time around over at Caroline Makes and is alternately hosted by Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker.
And this is my second entry to Bookmarked Recipes this month with Jac over at Tinned Tomatoes.
Being rather pleased with this fabulous bake, I am submitting it to Emily’s #recipeoftheweek over at A Mummy Too.
Plum is the chosen ingredient for the monthly Rix Aga Inspired Recipes, so I am sending this over to them as well in the vague hope I might win £100 Waitrose voucher.
Father’s Day will soon be here, falling on Sunday 15th of June this year. Baking something for dad is a gesture many people are keen to make. Dr Oetker have come up with a few chocolate recipes they feel would be suitable for the occasion. The recipes focus less on the sugar and more on the chocolate – of the dark variety. They include a chocolate Guinness cake and an ale chocolate layer cake – hmm, I think I can see a theme developing here. I opted to try out the recipe for Coconut Chocolate Bars which I knew would appeal to CT.
I didn’t, of course, stick entirely to the recipe as given. For a start, I didn’t have any powdered egg white, Dr Oetker or otherwise, but I did have two egg whites sitting in the fridge leftover from making raspberry muffins. I used wholemeal spelt flour for the base along with vanilla sugar. I added a little butter and maple syrup to the chocolate at the end as I opted for the 72% and thought this might be a little too hard to work on its own. I also wanted a nice shiny top and as I still haven’t really got to grips with tempering chocolate properly, this seemed a good way of achieving it. You can find the original recipe here.
This is how I made:
Coconut Chocolate Bars
- Creamed 100g unsalted butter with 50g vanilla sugar (golden caster sugar) until the mixture was smooth and creamy.
- Sieved in 115g wholemeal spelt and 15g of cocoa powder and mixed until just combined.
- Pressed into an 8″ sq silicone mould trying to make it as evenly spread as possible.
- Baked at 180℃ for 15 minutes then reduced the oven to 140℃.
- Whisked two egg whites with a pinch of cream of tarter until peaks formed.
- Slowly whisked in 100g golden caster sugar until stiff peaks formed.
- Gently stirred in 1 tsp of vanilla paste and 150g desiccated coconut.
- Spread this over the biscuit base and baked for 25 minutes at 140℃.
- Melted 150g Dr Oetker 72% dark chocolate in a bowl over hot water together with 20g unsalted butter and 1 tbsp of maple syrup.
- Stirred gently until smooth.
- Poured over the coconut spreading it into the corners and ensuring all was covered.
- Left to set, removed from the mould and cut into 18 bars.
If, like us, you are fond of the UK confectionery Bounty bars but find them too sweet, you will love these. They have all the flavour and texture of a Bounty and more and they are not tooth achingly sweet. They weren’t as pretty as I was hoping; I was unable to cut them cleanly, but they held together well and still looked quite striking with the alternating layers of dark, white and dark. They were light in texture but quite rich, so we found ourselves unable to gorge on them as we thought we might.
I’m sending some of these off to Nayna over at Simply Food for her Let’s Cook for Father’s Day event.
Likewise I’m sending some bars off to Made with Love Mondays over at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/Luv.
There should be just a few of these chocolate coconut bars to send off to #recipeoftheweek with Emily over at A Mummy Too.
Chocolate was a very rare treat when I was a child. Bounty bars were allowed on rare occasions as they were deemed to be less unhealthy because of the coconut. So I am sending these adult versions off to Treat Petite where the theme is childhood memories. CakeyBoi and The Baking Explorer host this monthly event.
Thanks to Dr Oetker for the baking chocolate selection and recipes. I was not required to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.