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4 Nov 2014

Maple Bacon Doughnuts

I bloody love doughnuts, to be honest who doesn't?!  These little sweet rings of delight are the treat I always fall back on.  Sad, drown your sorrows in a  doughnut.  Happy, celebrate with a doughnut. Hungover, eat your weight in doughnuts.  There is nothing in my life that can't be improved upon with the addition of doughnuts.  

With all of this in mind, I must admit that I have never actually made a doughnut in my life.  I needed something epic to break my doughy virginity, something truly awesome.  I think these maple bacon doughnuts hit the nail on the head perfectly! 

The sweet, smokey maple syrup paired with the salty bacon made the perfect accompaniment to my favorite snack.  I have to admit, owning a deep fryer makes this process a whole lot easier but you can always use a big old heavy pan if you aren't as into kitchen gadgetry as me.  I treated myself to this little bugger a few month ago and have been resisting the urge to deep fry everything since.

You will need:
For the doughnuts:
200ml full fat milk, lukewarm
3tsp dried active yeast
1tsp caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
325g plain flour
3tbsp vegetable fat
1tbsp maple syrup
1/tsp salt
1 large egg
Vegetable oil for frying

For the glaze:
250g icing sugar
60ml pure maple syrup
8 rashers of streaky bacon
50g brown sugar

In a large glass jug mix the warmed milk, caster sugar and dried yeast together.  Leave for around 5 minutes till the mixture begins to look frothy.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the remaining doughnut ingredients and mix together on a low speed.  Slowly add the yeast mixture to the bowl and continue mixing until the dough forms.

Coat the inside of a large mixing bowl with vegetable oil and place the dough inside, cover with an oiled sheet of cling film and allow to prove until doubled in size.  This should take around 30-40 minutes.

While your dough is rising, cook your bacon.   Lay the rashers of baking on a prepared baking tray, sprinkle each side of the bacon with the brown sugar and grill until crispy.  Set aside and once cool chop into shards.

Once your dough has risen line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and set aside.  Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to 1/2 and inch thick.  Using a round cutter (you can choose to make your doughnuts as large or small as you please) cut out rounds and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.  Take a piping nozzle or a small round cutter and cut small circles out of the center of your doughnuts. Re-roll out your remaining dough until you've cut out as many doughnuts as possible, you should get around 10 - 12.

Allow to rise again on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat your oil in a deep fat fryer or in a large heavy bottomed pan until it reaches 175°C, use a candy thermometer for best results. (I use this one)

Fry the doughnuts for 2 minutes on each side, ensuring not to over crowd the pan.  Remove and allow to cool on a tray lined with kitchen roll.  Continue until all your doughnuts are cooked. 

To make the glaze simply mix the maple syrup and icing sugar together in a bowl.  If it's too thick add a little water until it reaches your desired consistency.  Dip the doughnuts in the glaze and sprinkle with shards of bacon. 

Enjoy your epic doughnut!


28 Oct 2014

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Brownies

Where has the time gone, dear friends?! I certainly didn't intend to take a five month blogging hiatus, it just kinda happened.  To be perfectly honest I think I feel into the same trap many bloggers fall into, I became disillusioned.  Bigger and better blogs began popping up in my home city of Newcastle and I felt there was no longer room for my little Katiecakes.  Then I snapped back and thought screw it!  I'm reclaiming my corner of the internet and promise never to neglect it, or you again... that is if I still have any readers.

Halloween is almost upon us and what better way to get back into this blogging business than with a kick ass autumnal brownie adaption.  Sticking with my trusty brownie base I added a spiced pumpkin cheesecake layer studded with crunchy chopped pecans. 

You will need:
150g full fat cream cheese
1 large egg
200g caster sugar
220g canned pumpkin
1tbsp plain flour 
1tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
handful of chopped pecans

250g good quality plain chocolate (70% solids are best)
250g unsalted butter
350g light brown sugar
5 large free range eggs
150g plain flour

Preheat the oven to 175C and line a 13" by 9" brownie pan with baking paper or do what I do and use a disposable foil tray!
First make your cheesecake layer.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment whisk together the cream cheese, sugar and egg.  Once the cheesecake is thick and creamy add the canned pumpkin, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Whisk again and set aside while you make your brownies.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large saucepan over a low heat, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture catching.  Once the mixture is fully combined and smooth take the pan off the heat and add the sugar, mixing with a large balloon whisk.  Once sugar is combined whisk the eggs together in a large bowl and add to the brownie mixture, mixing till smooth. 
Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan.  Drop spoonfuls of the cheesecake mixture on top and swirl together with a knife.  Pour the remaining brownie batter into the pan and top with more spoonfuls of cheesecake, swirling together when finished.  Sprinkle with the chopped pecans and bake for 30 - 40 minutes until the brownies are set with a slight wobble in the center.
Cool completely before serving.

27 May 2014

Rhubarb and Custard Cupcakes

I love rhubarb season, it's probably the only seasonal produce that I really get excited about.  Well, that and asparagus, but who doesn't get a jolly on for asparagus? 

I was visiting a local farm shop recently, picking up some bits and bobs for lunch when my eye was caught by a massive tub of the beautiful rosy stalks.  The lovely lady who worked their informed me it had just been picked from their fields that morning.  That's all I needed to hear, so I loaded up my basket with the pink stems and off I trotted. 

Sadly Kris isn't as much of a fan of rhubarb as I, claiming it's too tart, so all ideas of rhubarb crumble went right out the window.  After much deliberation I decided to create a rhubarb compote to fill some custard flavoured cupcakes, genius.  The best thing about owning a cake shop is I get to bake as many cakes as I want and they never go to waste, there's always a bustling crowd desperate to try out any experimental sponges.

Rhubarb and Custard Cupcakes

175g butter, softened
150g self-raising flour
50g custard powder
175g caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

3 large, free range eggs
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract

For the compote:
450g rhubarb, cut into chunks
150g caster sugar
150ml water
1tsp vanilla extract 

For the frosting:
125g unsalted butter, softened
250g icing sugar
50g custard powder
50ml milk

For the compote place the rhubarb, sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat.  Simmer for around 20 minutes or until the compote is thick and smelling delicious, add the vanilla extract then remove from the heat.  Set aside while you make the cupcakes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
Place all of your cake ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix to combine.  Once all of the ingredeints are blended together, using an ice cream scoop divide the mixture between the cupcake cases.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden and spring back with touched.  Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out to finish cooling on a wire rack.

When the cakes are cool cut a hollow out from the middle of each sponge, this is easiest with an apple corer, and fill with the rhubarb compote.

To make the frosting place the butter, vanilla, custard powder, icing sugar and half of the milk into your electric mixer and mix to combine.  If your frosting is looking too stiff add a bit more milk until you reach a pipable consistancy.

Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with an open star nozzle the pipe tall swirls of the icing on top of each cupcake. Top with a fondant flower or pink sprinkles to finish.

9 May 2014

S'more Bars

Growing up in the chilly North East of England means I was never introduced to the wonders that are s'mores.  Where American pre-teens were toasting marshmallows in the evening breeze I was licking a 99 on a drizzly pier somewhere in Whitley Bay.  As I grew I started to notice the sticky treats on TV, I yearned to try them but never really got around to it. 

Last year I was gifted a chimnea for my garden, my first thought was "S'MORES!" closely followed by "finally, I can drink beers in the garden without freezing my arse off".  We grabbed a six pack of Blue Moon and all the fixings for a s'mores party and fired up the chiminea.  I was underwhelmed, the digestives were too fat, the chocolate didn't melt and the marshmallow was just too damn small.  I guess it's just not in my blood.  That'll teach me for not hitting up the ludicrously expensive American isle in my local Tesco.

I gave up on s'mores, with my first experience tainted with sticky disappointment I cast them from my mind and focused on cupcakes and cookies instead.  That was until I came across this recipe nestled within my new American themed cookbook.  I simply had to give them another shot, and boy was I glad I did.  I tweaked the recipe to give me two large trays so I could share them with the customers of Pet Lamb, the recipe I have included below will give you enough for one tray of bars.

 S'mores Bars

125g melted butter
200g soft brown sugar
4 large eggs
150g digestive biscuits, crushed to 'breadcrumbs'
75g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp cinnamon
300g mini marshmallows, white
350g plain chocolate, broken into small pieces
250ml double cream
1tsp sea salt flakes

Grease and line a 9" by 13" brownie tray, or use a disposable one.  Preheat the oven to 180C.

Whisk the butter and sugar together until creamy, add the eggs one at a time until everything is incorporated.  Add the flour, baking powder, crushed biscuits and cinnamon, stir to combine.  Pour the batter into your prepared tray and bake for 30 minutes.

To make the ganache melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the bowl does not touch the water below.  Once melted whisk in the cream to make a thick ganache.  Pour over the cooled biscuit base and sprinkle with the sea salt flakes.

Tumble the marshmallows over the ganache liberally, you want the whole thing to be covered in snowy mallows.  Place the tray into a preheated grill for a few minutes, do not take your eyes off your bars as they will burn quickly.  Once the marshmallows have turned golden remove from the grill and allow to cool for 30 minutes.  Chill the bars for 1-2 hours before cutting.

5 May 2014

The Best Sweet Potato Fries

In my humble opinion sweet potato fries will always kick normal fries square in the backside.  Why have a plain old potato when you can have its creamy, tastier and downright healthier little brother?! Surely this means I can eat twice as many... right??

For years I have been searching for the perfect recipe and finally I think I'm there.  This is an amalgamation of tips and techniques I've picked up from friends and recipes galore.  Get these in your life and say no to the boring old potato!

First of all make your 'rub'.  This will give your fries a delicious flavour as well as adding to the crispiness.  Combine 1tbsp cornflour with 1/2tsp paprika, cayenne pepper and garlic granules.  Add a good pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.

Chop your sweet potato into chips, around one medium potato per person.  Once chopped plop them into a plastic freezer bag and drizzle with oil.

 Twist the bag closed and give it a good shake to ensure all of your fries are evenly coated in the oil.

Throw in your 'rub' and shake again.  Take a baking tray with a grate or line a baking tray with parchment and line your little chips up making sure they don't touch, this is essential to the crisping.

Bake at 180C for 35 minutes.  Enjoy with your favorite dish and thank me later.  

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