Lemon Curd Tart (Tarte au Citron)

Lemon Curd Tart (Tarte au Citron)

Lemon lovers rejoice!
A lemon curd tart is a rich sweet and tangy curd nestled inside a flaky buttery crust.
Topped with
fresh whipped cream, this dessert is absolute perfection!

What is a Lemon Curd Tart?

A lemon curd tart, also known as tarte au citron, is a classic French dessert. In the 19th century, this dessert was served to the King of France as a symbol of wealth and goodness. Today, this tart is made all over the world. It’s a delicious change of pace from chocolate tarts. It is light and refreshing, with a pop of sour. I love this dessert in the spring in summer. However, it tastes great all year long.

Looking for a perfect meal? This lemon curd tart pairs perfectly with my strawberry, dried apricot, and pistachio salad recipe. It’s the perfect light and fruity combination for spring or hot summer days. If you make this tart, be sure to post a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook. I am always so excited to see how your bakes turn out!

Three lemons and the a bowl of lemon zest on a black background.

Lemon Curd Tart Ingredients

The great thing about a lemon curd tart, you only need eight ingredients, and most of them you probably already have! Here is a quick rundown of the ingredients you will need.

  • Flour – I use all-purpose flour for the tart crust. Flour is the foundation of your tart.
  • Butter – I recommend using unsalted butter and, if you can, European-style butter. The European butter has a higher fat content and is richer in flavor than the American version. This butter will make your recipe pop!
  • Salt – Preferably, use coarse salt instead of table salt.
  • Vinegar – Use just a couple of tablespoons when making the crust. Vinegar stops the gluten from forming and results in a flaky crust.
  • Water – Always use cold water when making pastry.
  • Sugar – Stick with standard granulated sugar.
  • Heavy Cream – Gives the curd a rich flavor.
  • Lemons – I recommend Meyer lemons if they are in season. If not, I use 4 – 6 standard lemons.
A picture representation of the ingrinets needed to make the lemon tart (flour, eggs, egg yolks, lemons, salt, sugar, heavy cream and butter).

How to Make The Tart Crust

When it comes to crust, your first step is to decide if you will make a crust or if you are going to buy a pre-made crust. The decision will come down to time and personal preference. If you are using a store bought crust, skip this section and go to how to make the lemon curd section.

If this is your first homemade pie crust, I recommend reading my post a perfect pie crust recipe. In that post, I walk you through the steps of making your first pie crust.

This recipe is for two 9-inch tart pan/crust. A standard 9-inch pie plate will work as well. To make the crust, you will need:

  • 1.5 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 8 ounces butter (cold and diced)
  • 1/2 cup (4.5 oz) cold water
  • 3 teaspoons (.5 oz) vinegar

Step One: In a medium or large sized bowl, use a whisk to evenly distribute the flour (1.5 cups/12 oz) and salt (1 teaspoon).

Step Two: Take the butter (8 ounces) and cube it into small pieces. Then using your fingers, combine the butter into the flour. Always use your fingertips. This ensures as little contact as possible and helps keep the butter from melting. The result should look rough like bread crumbs, some large and some small. But nothing fully combined like bread dough.

Step Three: Combine the water and vinegar. Then slowly drizzle about 1/2 of the water-vinegar combination and gently work the dough. Continue to add water a little at a time. You might not need all of the water, and that is ok. The dough is ready when it is in a cohesive but rough-looking ball.

Step Four: Divide the dough in half, flatten each half into a disk and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour or up to three days.

Step Five: Roll the dough to a 12 inch circle. Use your rolling pin to go over the top of the baking dish to create a clean cut.

Step Six: Dock your pie crust by taking your fork and piercing the dough all over, including the sides. Then place your pie crust in the freezer for 30 minutes. During this time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Step Seven: Once the oven is heated and the shell is ready to come out of the freezer, you are almost ready. The next step is to line the surface with parchment paper and then fill it with pie weights. You can purchase pie weights at a baking store or use beans, rice, or lentils. I have an old set of kidney beans that I use and reuse.

Step Eight: Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes with the beans (note, if using a tart pan, place the tart pan on a baking sheet). Remove the beans and paper and continuing baking until the crust is just turning golden, about another 15 – 20 minutes. However, keep a close on the crust as baking times vary. Once baked, allow at least thirty minutes to cool before filling.

How to Make Lemon Curd

A lemon curd tart is filled with a rich, smooth and tangy lemon curd. Lemon curds are so easy to make and are busting with flavor. The curd comes together in only ten minutes. Watch it closely towards the end, as the thickening happens quickly.

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 lemon zests
  • 3/4 cup butter, cut into slices
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Step One: Start by preheating the oven to 350°F

Step Two: In a saucepan over low to medium heat, whisk the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and zest together. Add the butter slices and whisk until the mixture thickens about ten minutes. Note that the thickening all seems to happen in the final 90 seconds. You will want to watch the curd closely so that it is not overcooked.

Step Three: Pour the lemon curd into the tart shell and bake at 350 for 6 minutes. Once done, allow the tart to cool.

Step Four: Right before serving, dust with confectioners sugar and top with whipped cream.

1
Start with your tart shell, either homemade or store bought.
2
Place a heat proof bowl over hot water and whisk together 4 eggs, 4 egg yolks, 2/3 cup of sugar, 1 cup fresh lemon juice and the zest of two lemons.
3
Add 3/4 cup of sliced butter and whisk.
4
Continue to whisk until the curd thickens and you see traces (about 10 minutes)
5
Pour the curd into the tart shell. Bake at 350f for 6-8 minutes. Cool, then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
6
Dust the top with confectioners sugar. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.
Visit my site for an ingredient list and instructions. Life on Westerly Creek (lifeonwesterlycreek.com/lemon-tart)
Check out my other content @lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.


Why is Your Lemon Curd Tart Orange?

Instead of yellow, my tart looks orange because of the eggs I use, organic and free-range. The sunlight and natural diet result in a healthier chicken. The healthier chicken then lays a richer egg, which you can see in the orange yolk color. There are many articles on this, and I recommend this one. It’s short and sweet.

A slice of lemon tart with a bite on a fork.  Both the slice and the bite have whipped cream and powdered sugar on top.

How to Store

Once baked, you can refrigerate the lemon tart for up to three days in the refrigerator. Wrap tightly in cling wrap before storing. However, wait to top with confectioner’s sugar and whipped cream until serving. I do not recommend storing this tart in the freezer.

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 2, Episode 2, Technical Challenge – Tarte au Citron

In this bake, participants baked a Tarte au Citron. I have lots of experience making lemon curd. However, I had never heard of a lemon tart before. This dessert is very straightforward, consisting of a crust and curd.

I have lots of practice with curd; however, I am relatively new to crusts. My only real struggle with the dough was adjusting to the higher altitude in Denver. It took a few tries, and the solution was simple, add more water. It was a learning experience and worth the extra effort.

GBBO Count: 22 down, 258 to go!

Lemon Curd Tart, entire tart with lemons

Lemon Curd Tart (Tarte au Citron)

Lemon lovers rejoice!  A lemon curd tart is a sweet and tangy curd nestled inside a flaky buttery crust.  Topped with fresh whipped cream, this dessert is absolute perfection!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Resting Time 2 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Tart pan or pie dish
  • Medium saucepan
  • Whisk

Ingredients
  

Tart Crust

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces butter, cold and diced
  • 1/2 cup water, cold
  • 3 teaspoons vinegar

Lemon Curd

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • zest of two lemons
  • 3/4 cup butter, sliced

Instructions
 

Tart Crust

  •  In a medium or large-sized bowl, use a whisk to evenly distribute the flour (1.5 cups/12 oz) and salt (1 teaspoon). 
  • Using your fingers, combine 8 ounces of butter into the flour. The butter should remind in pea-sized chunks and resemble bread crumbs.
  • Combine the water and vinegar. Then slowly drizzle about 1/2 of the water-vinegar combination and gently work the dough. Continue to add water a little at a time. You might not need all of the water, and that is ok. The dough is ready when it is in a cohesive but rough-looking ball. 
  • Divide the dough in half, flatten each half into a disk and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour or up to three days. 
  • Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Use your rolling pin to go over the top of the baking dish to create a clean cut. 
  • Using your fork, prick the pie crust all over, including the sides.
  • Place your pie crust in the freezer for 30 minutes. During this time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • The next step is to line the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes with the beans. Remove the beans and paper and continuing baking until the crust is just turning golden, about another 15 – 20 minutes.
    Keep a close on the crust as baking times vary.
  • Once baked, allow at least thirty minutes to cool before filling. 

Lemon Curd

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F 
  • In a sauce pan over low to medium heat, whisk the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and zest together.
  • Add the butter slices and whisk until the mixture thickens about ten minutes.
  • Pour the lemon curd into the tart shell and bake at 350 for 6 minutes. Allow the tart to cool then store the tart in the refrigerator for two hours before serving. 
  • When ready to serve, dust with confectioner's sugar and top with fresh whipped cream

Video

Lemon Curd Tart (Tarte au Citron) by lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.

Notes

Recipe Notes:
If possible, use European-style butter. The European butter has a higher fat content and is richer in flavor than the American version. This butter will make your curd pop with richness.
Lemon curd can be tough to judge when it’s ready. The best way is to let the curd coat the back of a spoon. Then draw a line with your finger down the middle of the spoon. If the line stay s without dripping, the curd is ready.
This dessert is very tart.  I recommend topping it with whipped cream to balance out the flavors. 
If you made this dessert and liked it, please rate it and comment.  You can also post it to my Instagram and/or Facebook pages.
Keyword Lemon Curd Tart, Tarte au Citron
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Sunday Morning Cookie (Milk Bar Style)

Sunday Morning Cookie (Milk Bar Style)

If cozy Sunday mornings conjure up thoughts of espresso, cinnamon, toasted sugar, and chocolate chips then the Sunday Morning Cookie is you!

Cozy Sunday mornings are a thing of magic. Whether it’s breakfast in bed, French toast in PJ’s, or brunch with family and friends, I think we can all agree Sunday mornings are magic. It’s the smell of French toast, cinnamon, coffee, and sometimes chocolate that makes me think of a cozy Sunday morning. It’s the other six days of the week that make me long for Sunday. But if I smell cinnamon, in my heart I am back on Sunday. My goal with designing this cookie was to capture the magic of cozy Sunday mornings.

As soon as you bite into this Sunday morning cookie, you will taste espresso and cinnamon, quickly followed by toasted sugar and chocolate chips. There is a sight cereal crunch giving this cookie texture and sweetness.

We loved these cookies so much that we ate 20 over the course of three days. Once we were done we decided to detox and ate my favorite vegan salad, Strawberry, Dried Apricots, and Pistachios Salad (Spring Mix Salad Recipe).

Stack of seven Sunday morning cookies with espresso chips and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal scattered.
Sunday Morning Cookie Stack

Sunday Morning Cookie Origins

The inspiration from this cookie comes from the Corn Flake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie sold by Milk Bar. The Sunday Morning Cookie is based on the same technique used in the Cork Flake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie (that’s a mouthful). I have to admit, this technique is mind-blowing good!

Techniques to Make your Cookies Great

Making this cookie follows the same technique as most cookies, but with a couple of extra steps (or lack of). These techniques take this cookie from good to great and are worth the extra work.

Technique #1 – Cinnamon Toast Crunch -crunch: To give these cookies an extra edge, the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal is tossed with milk powder, cinnamon (yep, I added more), sugar and butter. The mixture is then baked for 20 minutes. By following this step, you are creating a crunch texture and intensifying the flavor within your cookie. This step might seem too extra, but trust me, it is worth it!

Technique #2 – Creaming butter and sugar for 10 minutes: When making cookies it is important to cream the butter using a stand-up mixer and sugar for 2-3 minutes, then add the liquid (egg and vanilla extract) and continue creaming for another 6-7 minutes. This step is key to creating a lighter cookie. Because the Sunday morning cookie is heavy in flavor, this step is very important for the overall texture of the cookie.

Technique #3 – Mix the dry ingredient until just barely mixed: This technique is true for all types of baked goods. By just barely mixing the flour you are restricting the stretching of gluten in the flour. Something we all want (right?)

Sunday Morning Cookie, two cookies stacked and one tipped on the side.
Sunday Morning Cookie Close Up

Specific Ingredient Notes

Cinnamon Toast Crunch – This cereal contains the Sunday morning flavors I wanted to capture within this cookie recipe.

Espresso Chips – These chips have a strong espresso flavor. I love it, however, it might be too much for some. If that is the case, increase the number of grams of mini chocolate chips and reduce espresso chips in equal portions.

Mini Chocolate Chips – I strongly recommend using mini chips to ensure equal distribution of chips within the batter. These chips will help to sweeten and offset the bitterness in the espresso chips.

Unsalted Butter – Two things about butter and baking…. 1. Always use unsalted butter. This will allow you to control how much salt is in your recipe. 2. Use cultured, also known as European, butter if possible. This butter is slightly more expensive, however, it adds a richness to your bakes that is unmistakable.

Non-Fat Dry Milk – Milk powder or powdered milk is milk in its most concentrated form. This powder allows you to add all the extra flavor, without changing the liquid content in a cookie. 

  • This excerpt from Epicuirous sums up why using non-fat dry milk makes a BIG difference…. Chef Christina Tosi, author of Momofuku Milk Bar and Milk Bar: Kids Only, says she can’t think of a dessert that milk powder wouldn’t improve. “Milk powder has an amazing way of adding a terrific baseline flavor,” she explains. “It can make ice creams milkier, denser, silkier—and cookies chewier.” It’s the sort of “secret weapon ingredient” that doesn’t taste like anything special straight out of the container, but works magic when it’s included in a recipe. Tosi says you can experiment, adding a tablespoon of milk powder to your dry ingredients in any baking project: “It just makes things taste better.”
Cinnamon Toast Crunch - crunch ingredients. A bowl of cinnamon toast crunch, butter, salt, cinnamon and non-fat dry milk
Cinnamon Toast Crunch – Crunch Ingredients
Cookie dough batter ingredients.  Sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, flour, baking soda, baking powder, espresso chips, mini chocolate chips and egg
Cookie Dough Batter Ingredients

Sunday Morning Cookie Video

Sunday Morning Cookie (Milk Bar style) by lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.

Storage

There are a couple of different ways to store this cookie and its components. The first is the crunch, the dough, and then the baked cookie.

  1. The Cinnamon Toast Crunch.- Crunch should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for one week or the refrigerator or freezer for one month. 
  2. The cookie dough should be stored in an air-tight container in your refrigerator for three days or in your freezer for one month. If you freeze the cookie dough, roll the cookie dough into balls and store the balls in a sealed ziplock bag. Place that bag in an air-tight container in your freezer. When you’re ready to bake, place the cookie dough balls in the refrigerator overnight to bring to the correct temperature before baking.
  3. Baked cookies stay fresh at room temperature in an air-tight container for five days. If you want to freeze the cookies, place them in an air-tight container and store them for up to one month. (Warning, we tried that at our house and we ate them frozen. They are that good.)
Sunday Morning Cookie up close with a cup of coffee off to the side.
Sunday Morning Cookie and Coffee



Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 2, Episode 4, Signature – Biscuits

If you’re reading this and wondering why I am crediting a cookie bake as a biscuit bake, it is because a biscuit in England is a cookie in America. To make things more confusing a scone in England is a biscuit in America. But we all agree that cake is cake.

About this bake: At the start of April, I began taking a Milk Bar baking class. My first assignment was a cookie. To create this cookie the class focused on creating a “flavor story”. The story can be about a day, date, or period in time and associated flavors. I wanted to capture Sunday morning because I have always loved brunch or breakfast in bed. In this cookie, I set out to create those flavors.

What I loved/learned about this bake: Through the class, I feel like I grew and stretched myself to expand my options. I am so excited about how this cookie turned out because it is unlike any other cookie I have ever had.

GBBO Count: 20 down, 260 to go!


Sunday Morning Cookie stack of seven cookies

Sunday Morning Cookie

If cozy Sunday mornings conjure up thoughts of espresso, cinnamon, toasted sugar, and chocolate chips then the Sunday Morning Cookie is you! 
No ratings yet
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Cookies, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 20 Cookies

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer
  • Baking Sheets
  • Kitchen Scale
  • Small and medium bowls or mixing containers
  • Spatula
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie Scoup (I used 2 ¾ oz sized for large cookies)

Ingredients
  

Cinnamon Toast Crunch – Crunch

  • 130 grams Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  • 30 grams non-fat milk powder
  • 30 grams sugar
  • 3 grams salt (1/3 teaspoon)
  • 100 grams butter

Cookie Dough Batter

  • 225 grams unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 250 grams sugar
  • 150 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 grams vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon)
  • 260 grams all purpose flour
  • 2 grams baking powder (1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1.5 grams baking soda (1/2 teaspoon)
  • 5 grams salt (1½ teaspoon)
  • 125 grams mini chocolate chips
  • 75 grams espresso chips

Instructions
 

Cinnamon Toast Crunch – Crunch

  • Preheat the oven to 275° F (135° C).
  • Pour the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal into a medium bowl. Using your hands crush the cereal into small pieces (about ½ to ? of the orgional size).
  • Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and stir to evenly mix the ingredients.
  • Melt the butter and evenly coat througout the mix.
  • Spread the mix across a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. The final product should be a golden brown and smell buttery.
  • Set aside and allow to fully cool.

Cookie Dough Batter

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C).
  • Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a pabble attachment cream together on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the egg and vanilla. Continue to beat on high for 7 to 8 minutes.
  • While the butter and sugars are mixing, prepare your dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, using a whisk combine baking powder, baking soda, and salt together to ensure all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Add your dry ingredients and set mixer speed to low. Mix just until the ingredients are evenly distributed, or for about 15-45 seconds. It is critical here not to over mix. In fact, the dough should look shaggy.
  • Add the Cinnamon Toast Crunch, mini chocolate chips, and espresso chips to your batter. Mix on low speed until mix-ins are just barely incorporated, no more than 30 to 45 seconds.

Preparing your Cookies

  • Scoop your cookie dough onto parchment-lined sheet pans 3 inches apart.
  • Using your palms, pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat.
  • Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 1 week. I

Baking your Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C).
  • Bake cookies for 12 – 14 minutes. Cookies should be golden brown when done. There might be some caramelization from the brown sugar.

Notes

Recipe Notes:
  • The Cinnamon Toast Crunch.- Crunch can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for one week or the the refrigerator or freezer for one month. 
  • The cookies are placed in the refrigerator to help with shape.  If cookies are baked from room temperature they will spread and flatten. 
Credit:  This cookie was adapted using the recipe from Milk Bar’s Corn Flake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow cookie.
 
Keyword Chocolate, Chocolate Espresso Macarons, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cookie, Cookies, Milk Bar
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Mexican Chocolate Tart Topped with Pecans

Mexican Chocolate Tart Topped with Pecans

A rich dark chili Mexican chocolate tart made with a gluten-free almond crust and topped with cinnamon pecan crunch. One bit of this spicy smooth chocolate and you will be reaching for another one!

Something about the smoothness of ganache and the heat of Mexican chocolate that is the perfect marriage of texture and flavor. If you have not had Mexican chocolate you are in for a surprise. The subtle heat mixed with cinnamon is a distinctive flavor rich in tradition.

What is Mexican Chocolate

Without stepping on toes (I really don’t want to) the easiest way to think of Mexican chocolate is chocolate fused with chilies and cinnamon. By adding these elements, Mexican chocolate perfectly marries sweetness and heat.

However, that is the simplest way to think of Mexican chocolate. The truth is there is so much more to it, dating all the way back to the Aztecs. Mexican chocolate history and details are much richer than my very brief explanation above. To learn more about it, I recommend reading one of these articles from The Atlantic or from Spruce Eats. Both The Atlantic and Spruce Eats provide a much more detailed, and deserved explanation.

How do I make Mexican Chocolate?

Mexican chocolate is made from ground roasted cocoa nibs, sugar, chili, and cinnamon. The cocoa nibs give this chocolate a granular texture and a distinctive flavor. While you can make it, I find that the heat in red chilies can vary quite a bit. So to ensure a consistent amount of heat and sweetness, I think it is best to purchase a chili chocolate bar. There are several companies that make chili chocolate, however, my favorite is the Lindt Chili Chocolate bar.

Cinnamon Pecan Crunch (Optional)

This Mexican chocolate tart is made with a chocolate chili ganache. The ganache is smooth and perfect. However, sometimes I like a little crunch on top, giving the tart texture. For this I chose cinnamon pecans, bringing all the flavors of traditional Mexican chocolate into this tart.

This pecan crunch is super easy to make. All the ingredients are tossed together and baked in the oven. Once done, break the pecans into smaller pieces, either by hand or pulsed in a food processor. If you prefer, you can buy a premade praline pecan at the store. Those are also delicious and very easy!

Top down view of Mexican chocolate tart with pecan crunch and whipped cream on top.
Mexican Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon Pecans

Crust – To Gluten or Not?

When deciding what type of crust you want there is a ton of flexibility. A traditional crust can be made with pastry or flour. In America, we tend to love super sweet crusts made from crushed cookies or wafers. I made this particular dessert for my beloved niece Molly who is gluten-free. This request was easily met by using almond flour as the crust base. The almond flour provided an excellent flavor and I would choose it again regardless of diet. It was that good.

Tart vs. Tartlet

  • A tart is an open pastry, normally made of shortcrust pastry. The filling can vary from sweet (like this recipe) or savory (like a quiche). Very common in the US are custard tarts with berries on top. This type of tart is common for a good reason, they are totally delicious!
    • Tart pans come in all types of sizes but are normally round or rectangular.
    • Tart pans normally have a removable bottom. This makes it easy to remove the tart from the pan.
  • A tartlet is a single serving tart pan. One notable difference is the tartlets used in this photo do not have removable bottoms. That was a massive purchase error on my part.

Ingredient’s

  • Almond flour — is used in the crust of this recipe as a gluten-free alternative. Feel free to use the crumb of your choice or stick with almond flour, it is delicious!
  • Cocoa powder — A little cocoa powder was used to flavor the crust chocolate. Omit cocoa powder if you prefer a non-chocolate crust.
  • Butter and salt — Butter is used to bind the crust together and a pinch of salt is used for flavor.
  • Chili chocolate — You can make chili chocolate from scratch, however, for this recipe, I chose to use Lindt chili chocolate. I prefer buying a pre-made chocolate bar to ensure the chili to chocolate ratio is perfect and not too overwhelming. (It is something that can easily go awry).
  • Bittersweet chocolate — The ganache is made by melting chili chocolate and bittersweet chocolate. This provides just the right amount of chili heat in each bite. It’s more of a subtle heat that is not overwhelming.
  • Heavy whipping cream – This is a must for making ganache. In fact, I would not try making ganache without it.
  • Butter – When baking always use non-salted butter. By using butter without salt, you are allowed to control how much salt is in your recipe.
  • Vanilla extract – Use this to add flavor. It always boosts whatever you’re cooking.
  • Cinnamon – Is a classic flavor used in traditional Mexican chocolate. Cinnamon adds a sweet and woody flavor to the pecan crunch.

Visual Steps

1
This recipe will fit a 9 inch tart pan or 6 tartlets.
2
Create the Crust: Combine 2 cups almond flour, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup butter, 3 tablespoons maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
3
Press the crust into the tart or tartlet pans. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Allow to fully cool before next step.
4
Mexican Chili Ganache: Start with 1 cup of warmed heavy whipping cream.
5
Add 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and 4 ounces of chili chocolate. Whisk until smooth.
6
Add 4 tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon at a time. Whisk until smooth.
7
Add one tablespoon of vanilla extract, one teaspoon of cinnamon (optional), a dash of salt. Whisk.
8
Pour ganache into tart or tartlets.
9
Allow ganache to cool and top with whipped cream.
Like and visit my site Life on Westerly Creek.
Check out my other content @lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 2, Episode 2, Show Stopper – Miniature Sweet Tarts

This was such a fun challenge. I was so happy at how the ganache and tart turned out. If I made this again, I would make it exactly the same!

GBBO Count: 19 down, 261 to go!

6 Mexican Chocolate Tarts topped with whipped cream. One in front and five behind in a v.

Mexican Chocolate Tart

A rich dark chili chocolate tart made with a gluten-free almond crust and topped with a cinnamon pecan crunch. One bit of this spicy smooth chocolate and you will be reaching for another one!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, French, Mexican
Servings 6

Equipment

  • 9 inch tart pan or 6 individual tart pans
  • Food processor (optional)
  • Heatproof bowl
  • Hand Mixer

Ingredients
  

Crust

Dark Chocolate Chili Ganache

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 ounces dark chili chocolate
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 dash salt

Cinnamon Pecan Crunch (Optional)

  • 2 cups pecans
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • tablespoons water

Whipped Cream (Optional)

Instructions
 

Crust

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine almond flour, cocoa powder, butter, maple syrup, and salt to form your crust
  • Press the crust into the tart pan or tartlets.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Once baked allow to cool before moving to the next step.

Dark Chocolate Chili Ganache

  • Warm whipped cream.
  • Add the bittersweet chocolate and the dark chili chocolate. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add the 4 tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon at a time. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk.
  • Pour ganache into cooled tart/tartlet pans.

Cinnamon Pecan Crunch (Optional)

  • Add all ingredients to a large skillet and cook over medium-low heat.
  • Stir all ingredients together and continue to stir as the sugar melts.
  • Cook for five minutes and then remove from heat.
  • Pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to cool.
  • Break the pecans into small pieces either by using a food processor or placing the pecans in a zip lock bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin.

Whipped Cream

  • Pour the cream into a mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix the cream until stiff peaks are about to form.
  • Add in sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Spoon whipped cream onto the tart/tartlets or fill a piping bag and pipe the whipped cream.

Video

Mexican Chocolate Tart/Tartlets by lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.

Notes

Recipe notes:
  • Making the crust: I used almond flour to make a gluten-free crust. If you prefer a crust made out of another ingredient substitute at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Making the ganache: Whipped cream only needs to be above 100 degrees to melt chocolate. Use caution, not to overheat and burn the cream.  
  • Ganache chili heat:  The chili heat is mild to me, however, heat is a personal preference. You can adjust the heat by increasing the bittersweet chocolate and reducing the chili chocolate or vise versa. If you prefer no heat, you can substitute the chili chocolate for a high percent of chocolate bar (60% – 70%).
  • Both the pecans and whipped cream are optional. The tart/tartlets are great with or without them. You can also buy these pre-made if you prefer.
Keyword Chocoloate, cinnamon, Mexican Chocolate, Pecans, Tart
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Cadbury Mini Egg Chocolate Cake

Cadbury Mini Egg Chocolate Cake

Cadbury Mini Eggs – the greatest candy on earth — meet the best chocolate cake on earth
and you have the greatest dessert ever made. I promise!

Cadbury Mini Eggs

If you have never had Cadbury Mini Eggs you need to stop reading this and head directly to the store. They are really THAT good. I can tell you about the first time I had Cadbury Mini Eggs, about my addiction, and how I dragged three generations of my family into addiction. And guess what, I don’t feel bad about it. Yep, we all share in the same Mini Egg obsession. They really are that good!

I am going to let you in on a little secret, you can in fact get these eggs almost year around in America. Yep, that is right. I have found them in the seasonal candy section at Target throughout the year (4th of July, Check. Christmas, Check. Halloween, Check). But if you’re reading this and you are unable to find any eggs, no worries, I have lots of other chocolate recipes to meet any craving you might have. I recommend my banana chocolate cream pie or chocolate cupcakes with espresso buttercream.

Cadbury Mini Egg Cake Up Close
Cadbury Mini Egg Cake Eggs Up Close

Chocolate Cake

There is only one type of chocolate cake that is worthy of Cadbury Mini Eggs, the moistest and rich chocolate cake I can bake. To meet the expectation I am pulling out all my favorite tricks to make this cake. Below are the ingredients that I used. While you can use substations, I do not recommend them. Every ingredient was carefully planned. Trust me, it’s worth it.

All Purpose Flour – This is stronger than cake flour, but not as strong as bread flour. Combined with the cocoa powder, this flour is strong enough to hold up two tiers, buttercream, and lots of mini eggs.

Cocoa Powder This cake is very sweet. Use an unsweetened cocoa powder to provide balance. My go-to is Hershey’s, but use whatever you have on hand.

Baking Powder and Baking Soda – Both of these ingredients contain bicarbonate. There is a whole lot of science behind bicarbonates, but really all you need to know is that bicarbonates provide the lift that makes this cake-like and fluffy!

Espresso Powder – This is my favorite secret ingredient when it comes to making chocolate cakes. Used in small amounts, espresso powder amplifies the chocolate flavor. Espresso powder is different from instant coffee. It is made from darkly roasted coffee beans that have been brewed, dried, and then ground to a fine powder.

Buttermilk – is naturally acidic and it reacts with leavening agents (bicarbonates) to produce lighter and fluffier textures in a cake.

Vegetable Oil – This is actually the best oil for making cakes. The reason? Vegetable oil contributes to moistness more reliably than butter. This is due to vegetable oil remaining liquid at room temperature, whereas butter wants to solidify. As a result, the cake will be more consistent and moist than if you use butter.

Eggs – First use room temperature eggs. Room temperature allows the egg yolks to break down and makes it easier for them to incorporate into other ingredients. Eggs create structure and stability within a batter and add moisture.

Vanilla Extract – Is the best supporting actor in baking. A few drops enhance all the other flavors in the cake. I am not exactly sure how it does it. I just know if you leave vanilla extract out, you will regret it. The flavor will be meh.

Boiling Water – Boiling water is key to achieving a rich and moist chocolate cake. Boiling water combined with cocoa powder causes the cocoa powder to bloom. What that really means is the hot water maximizes the chocolate flavor. As a bonus, the hot water also dissolves any cocoa powder clumps.

Chocolate Buttercream

This buttercream is the best buttercream you will make. I know that is a big claim and I promise, this buttercream will hold up to that claim. The texture is light, it is full and it is perfect between the cakes.

Cadbury Mini Egg Cake Slice
Cadbury Mini Egg Cake Slice

Cadbury Mini Eggs

First, let’s talk about egg chocolate type. These eggs come in three varieties: white, milk, and dark chocolate. For this cake, milk chocolate is the perfect flavor. It is rich and not really all that milky. The result is a perfect flavor to match with the cake and buttercream.

If you’re tempted to use the dark mini eggs, I recommend trying them before using them. As a dark chocolate lover, this is hard for me to write, the dark chocolate is too rich and fudge-like. It is not like the typical dark chocolate used in baking and it just won’t taste right in this cake.

Next, let’s talk about the hard shell coating. For this cake, I used two different types, the normal coating, and the shimmer coating. That was a mistake on my end, I had bought the normal coating preparing for this cake. Then the day I was baking I noticed the shimmer coating and decided to try it. I love the way the shimmer looks. However, know that only one type of coating is needed, and use the one you like the most.

Finally, after applying the buttercream, add a texture layer of broken Cadbury Mini Eggs. This provides depth and texture in every bite and is absolutely amazing. To do this I followed the tried and true technique of half a cup of Mini Eggs placed in a plastic bag. Once in the bag, go over the eggs with a rolling pin. Simple and effective. The best part, the eggs tasted even better this way. I swear. It was a pleasant surprise!

Cadbury Mini Egg Cake with Missing Egg (Great British Bake Off Nod)


Make ahead

Both the cake and the buttercream can be made and stored in advanced.

  • Chocolate cake – Allow the cakes to fully cool. Wrap each cake individually in cling wrap.
    • Refrigerator – Can be stored for up to one week in an air-tight container.
    • Freezer – Can be stored for up to one month in an air-tight container.

  • Buttercream frosting – Can be stored in both the refrigerator or freezer.
    • Refrigerator – Can be stored for up to one week in an air-tight container.
    • Freezer – Scoop the buttercream into a freezer bag and remove the air. Buttercream can be stored for up to three months. Before using freeze buttercream, remove it from the freezer the night before and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. Then place it on the counter for an hour or two before using to allow it to come up to room temperature.

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 2, Episode 1, Show Stopper – Chocolate Tiered Cake

This bake was a show-stopper bake. Honestly, there is not too much to say about it. It was right up my alley and I had been planning it for months. I was excited to break out my cake stand and tools. My initial intent was to cover the cake in ganache, but in the end, I decided to do a semi-naked cake. I think that was the right choice given how sweet the cake is.

I did remove one of the outer yellow eggs. It was my nod to the cake at the opening of every show. If you noticed, let me know. I would love to just know someone is following along:)

On a personal note, I did sign up for the Milk Bar baking class. Starting in April by blog will cover some of what I learned in these classes. I am excited to up my baking game and share it with you!

GBBO Count: 18 down, 262 to go!

Cadbury Mini Egg Cake Top Down

Cadbury Mini Egg Chocolate Cake

Cadbury Mini Eggs – the greatest candy on earth — meet the best chocolate cake on earth and you have the greatest cake ever made. I promise!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Cooling and Assembly 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Mixer (hand or stand)
  • 2 – 9 inch cake pans
  • Piping bag
  • Cake stand (optional)
  • Cake scraper (optional)

Ingredients
  

Cake

Chocolate Buttercream

Cadbury Mini Eggs

  • ½ cup Cadbury mini eggs crushed
  • 2 cups Cadbury mini eggs (top decoration)

Instructions
 

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350º F and grease two 9-inch cake pans.
  • Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder in a large bowl or stand mixing bowl. Use a whisk to ensure the mixture is mixed well and the baking powder and baking soda are evenly distributed.
  • Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to the flour mixture and mix at medium speed. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter until well combined.
  • Distribute cake batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Remove and allow to fully cool.

Chocolate Buttercream

  • Add cocoa powder to a large bowl or stand mixer mixer. Using a whisk, work through the cocoa powder to remove any clumps
  • Add butter to the bowl and cream the butter and cocoa powder together.
  • Add sugar and milk to the cocoa mixture by alternating the sugar and milk. I recommend adding one cup of sugar and then one tablespoon of milk at low speed. After each addition has been combined, turn the mixer onto a high speed and mix for about about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  • Add vanilla extract and espresso powder

Assembly

  • Fill a piping bag with the chocolate buttercream using a round tip
  • Place the first cake on the stand and pipe the buttercream filling. Once piped, top with 1/2 cup of crushed Cadbury mini eggs.
  • Place the second layer of cake on top. Pipe buttercream on the top and sides of the cake. Arrange the 2 cups of Cadbury mini eggs on top as desired.
Keyword Cadbury Mini Egg, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Cake, Chocolate Cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Pear, Grape and Blue Cheese Focaccia Bread

Pear, Grape and Blue Cheese Focaccia Bread

Focaccia bread is a think Italian bread with a chewy airy interior. The top is layered with oven-roasted pears, red grapes, and blue cheese. This is perfect as an appetizer, as a side, or topped with arugula as a light meal. Either, way it tastes great!

What is Focaccia Bread?

Focaccia is an Italian flatbread that varies from region to region, but common trademarks include a thin crisp top, tender crumb inside that is filled with large holes (this is a really good thing in bread making) and baked in a rectangular shape.

In Northern Italy pizza is known as focaccia. In America, we know it as an appetizer or a bread to go with a meal. We commonly put all kinds of herbs (oregano, rosemary, etc.), salt, and olive oil on top. Occasionally you might find this bread with a side of marinara to dip it in. Focaccia is also used as sandwich bread in some stores. I personally think all ways are great. This is a super versatile bread!

Focaccia
Focaccia

Focaccia Bread Ingredients

The ingredients to make the dough are simple and pretty standard for bread making.

Dough

  • Bread flour – Has a higher amount of protein and gluten than all-purpose flour. The result is an airy and chewy bread that is the trademark of focaccia bread.
  • Yeast – For this recipe use dry active yeast.
  • Olive oil – Extra virgin. Is there any other kind?
  • Salt – I used sea salt from my table grinder. Use what you have on hand.
  • Water – Focaccia has very high water content. I use regular tap water. However, you will want to ensure the water is cold. This is very different from most bread recipes — and you read it correctly, use cold water per Paul Hollywood.

Toppings Used in this Recipe

Below are the toppings I used to make this bread. The toppings are very flexible and you can interchange with different ingredients.

  • Grapes – I recommend using red grapes. Once in the oven, they become roasted. The flavor intensifies and when you bite into the grape it will be between a grape and jam. Afterward, you will want to oven roast grapes all the time!
  • Pear – I selected an Asian pear because they are my favorite and they were in stock. I recommend using your favorite variety. Once the pear has been roasted in the oven, much like the grapes, their flavor will intensify and the pear will soften. It is amazing!
  • Blue cheese – There are many varieties of blue cheese. I used a smokey blue cheese, but that was because it was on sale. (The only better than blue cheese is affordable blue cheese!) For this, you can use any variety of blue cheese including gorgonzola or Stilton. I would pick the variety you prefer.
  • Onion (optional)- I used red onion in the first batch of focaccia I made. When the onion is caramelized, the color is deep and I like that. However, all onions caramelize and I recommend using the variety you prefer or happen in your pantry.
  • Honey – Provides a pop of sweetness to this bread and takes it to the next level.
  • Arugula (optional) – The bitterness of the arugula balances out the sweetness of the bread. I put arugula on top of the bread and made it a light meal.
Pear, Grape, Blue Cheese Focaccia Ingredients
Pear, Grape, Blue Cheese Focaccia Ingredients

Detailed Description on How to Make Focaccia Bread

For this bread recipe, I followed Paul Hollywood’s dough recipe from the BBC site. This recipe is a great introduction to focaccia bread. However, once the dough was made, I modified the bread to make what I envisioned a great bread with wine would be.

I wrote the recipe with details here.

Ingredients:

  • BREAD
  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 grams dry active yeast
  • 14 ounces cold water
  • Olive oil and salt for drizzling
  • TOPPINGS
  • 1 pear thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red grapes
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese
  • 1 red onion caramelized (optional)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary (optional)

How to make the dough…

  • Place the flour, salt, dry active yeast, and olive oil in a large bowl. Note: Always place the salt and yeast on opposite sides before mixing. If placed next to each other the salt will kill the yeast.
  • Add about half of the water and gently stir with a spoon. Gradually add in the rest of the water and begin mixing with your hands. In this stage, the dough is very wet and messy. Because of this, it is easier to work the dough in your bowl.
  • Once the dough comes together and is less messy, remove it from the bowl and place it on a lightly oiled surface. Knead the dough for 7 – 10 minutes. It will be challenging at the start due to the water content. Note, that focaccia is a very wet bread (75% water to flour ratio). This wetness makes it messy to deal with in the early kneading stages.
  • Return the dough to the bowl, cover, and leave to rise until doubled in size. The rise will take 1 – 2 hours. However, do not exceed two hours of rising.
  • I recommend using a 9 x13 rimmed baking sheet or glass dish. It is important to note whichever dish you use will impact the baking time. When I used a sheet the baking time was 20 minutes. When I used a glass dish, the baking time was over 30 minutes. Whichever dish you use, grease with olive oil.
  • Tip the dough out of the bowl and flatten the dough onto the prepared tray or dish by pushing the dough into the corners. Cover the dough with cling wrap or a shower cap. Let the dough proof for one hour.
  • Once proofed, run your fingers over the dough creating dimples. Then drizzle the focaccia with olive oil and salt. The olive oil will fill in some of the bubbles that were created with your fingers. This is a good thing.
  • Spread with your desired toppings. I made this bread a couple of times and each time I always use pear, grapes, and blue cheese. One time I used caramelized onions and another time I used rosemary. Honestly, they both tasted great and I think if you have a penchant for either one of those ingredients it’s a great idea to add them.
  • Once you have added the toppings, bake at 425 in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes. You will know when it is done by the golden brown color.
Pear, Grape, Blue Cheese Focaccia With Arugula
Pear, Grape, Blue Cheese Focaccia With Arugula Baked on a Large Baking Sheet

Visual Steps

1
Make the dough by combining flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and water.
2
Knead the dough for 7 – 10 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover and proof until doubled in size (1-2 hours).
3
Oil a baking sheet or dish, spread the dough . Proof for one hour.
4
After the second proof, spread desired toppings and bake at 425 for 25 – 35 minutes.
5
Cool, drizzle with honey, balsamic vinegar reduction or olive oil.
For more details visit: Life on Westerly Creek
Check out my other content @lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.

More Bread Recipes From my Site

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 2, Episode 3, Technical – Focaccia

I am here at season 2! I am so excited to be continuing on this journey!

About this bake. Honestly, it was pretty straightforward. The bread was pretty easy to make (I have made quite a few different styles by now) and I loved the toppings. Once I designed the recipe I could not wait to make it. Then I ate it for days. It was that good!

One thing to note, last season I made the bakes in sequential order. At the time it made sense because I was just trying this out. However this season I am going to bake things in any order. I think this will help to align what I am baking with holidays and family get-together. The one exception will be the final episode. I would like (although I cannot promise) to complete those bakes at the end.) Hopefully, someone is reading this and following along in my journey. I am trying to make it as fun as possible, introduce new flavors, and deviate where it makes sense.

GBBO Count: 17 down, 263 to go!

Pear, Grape, Blue Cheese Focaccia Baked

Pear, Grape and Blue Cheese Focaccia Bread

This bread can be eaten as an appetizer, as a side, or topped with arugula as a light meal. Either, way it tastes great!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Proofing Time 2 hrs
Course Appetizer, Bread
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6

Equipment

  • 9×13 baking dish or rimmed sheet

Ingredients
  

  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 grams yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 14 ounces cold water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pear
  • .5 cup red grapes
  • .5 cup blue cheese

Instructions
 

  • Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil, and 1/2 of the water into a large bowl. Stir to combine the ingredients. (I like to start with a spoon and finish with my hands)
  • Continue to work the dough in the bowl. As it starts to come together, add the remaining water a little bit at a time to help pick up any flour remaining in the bowl.
  • Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for seven-ten minutes. You will know your done when the dough is smooth and no longer stick to your hands.
  • Lightly oil a bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and cover until the dough has doubled in size. This step takes one-two hours, but should not exceed two hours.
  • While the dough is proofing, lightly oil a baking sheet or dish.
  • Place the dough in the baking sheet or dish. Using your fingers, work the dough into all four corners of the sheet. Dimple the dough with your fingers. Cover with plastic and proof for one hour.
  • While the dough is proofing, preparing your toppings.
  • Preheat the oven to 425. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt on top. Top with grapes, thinly sliced pear, and blue cheese. Bake for 20 – 30minutes. You will know when the bread is done baking by the rich golden color.

Video

Grape, Pear and Blue Cheese Focaccia Bread by lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.

Notes

Recipe Notes:
Baking Dish:
This recipe will fit best into a 9×13 baking dish. I recommend using a rimmed baking sheet or dish. However, the baking time can vary depending on the baking equipment. You will know when the bread is complete by the golden color. 
Storing:
* Focaccia will keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Cover the bread with plastic wrap, for 2 days. If you would like it warm, reheat in the oven at 375 for ten minutes. 
* To freeze, wrap in cling wrap and place in a zip lock freezer bag. The focaccia will store in a freezer for up to one month. 
Additional toppings:
* I like to have this bread with arugula on top and eat it as a meal. Other popular toppings include herbs (rosemary), goat cheese, and thinly sliced meats. Have fun experimenting with different toppings.
Keyword Bread, focaccia
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Mini Red Velvet Cakes (Petit Fours)

Mini Red Velvet Cakes  (Petit Fours)

Note: This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

Four – six mini red velvet cakes sandwiched between sweet cream cheese frosting and filled with fresh strawberry jam.
It’s the perfect cake for any occasion.

Red velvet is the perfect choice for Valentines day, Christmas or any occasion. In my opinion, red velvet is always the perfect choice!

If you’re new to red velvet, it is actually a chocolate cake made with cocoa powder. The difference between a red velvet cake and a chocolate cake is a red velvet recipe uses about half as much cocoa powder. The result is a lightly flavored chocolate cake.

As I write this post, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. These little cakes are perfect to cap off a romantic dinner at home, which is probably where most of us will be for Valentine’s Day 2021. Here is my perfect COVID — stuck at-home — Valentine’s dinner:

I know, It’s a lot of shameless self promotion. But on the other hand it will be an amazing dinner!

Mini Red Velvet Cakes
Mini Red Velvet Cakes

Mini Red Velvet Cake Specific Ingredient Run Down

Flour – For this cake, I used good old-fashioned all-purpose flour. I tried making this cake with a cake flour substitute. Each time the result was an epic fail. In the end, I use standard old-fashioned all-purpose flour, from which I will never stray again.

Jam – In the middle of the cakes, I used homemade strawberry jam. It does not take very long to make and the flavor is very fresh. If you prefer, use jam purchased at the store. It’s really all about what you will enjoy the most as a filling.

Red Food Coloring – Red velvet cakes were originally made with beetroot to achieve a red color. Nowadays most bakers use food coloring, including me. There are two types of red food coloring, gel and regular. The gel food coloring is much more concentrated than the regular version. If you use the regular food coloring, you will need to double the amount used.

Mini Red Velvet Hearts
Mini Red Velvet Hearts

Let’s talk Mini Red Velvet Cakes

Size – I wrote this as a small cake recipe that will make 6 – 8 mini, petite, cakes depending on how you cut the cake. If you would like to increase the batch, simply select 2x or 3x in the recipe below. This recipe will automatically be calculated for the larger size.

Frosting – I created a small frosting recipe that matches the size of the cakes, minus any exterior frosting. If you prefer a larger batch, simply select 2x or 3x in the recipe below.

Choosing the correct pan – I recommend using a small cake pan or pan with individual pans. The individual pans would reduce waste and ensure a consistent size.

Choosing the shape and mold – You will most likely want to cut the cake into the desired shape. I used two shapes, a heart, and a circle. For the heart shape, I used a cookie cutter and for the circle, I used a small biscuit cutter. If you do not have a cutter, you can use a mug or small bowl to achieve the round shape.

Cake scraps – After you cut the cake there will be lots of scraps leftover. Rather than throwing away the cake scraps, you can freeze them for up to 30 days. There are many different ways to use leftover cake scraps that taste and look delicious. Below I listed a couple of my favorite ways to use leftover cake scarps that are easy and family-friendly.

  • Cake Truffles –
    • Place the cake scraps in a mixer using the paddle attachment.
    • Add a small amount of frosting to bind the scraps together.
    • Mix at a low to medium speed until all the ingredients are mixed together.
    • Use an ice cream scooper or a spoon to scoop out the batter, then roll the batter into a ball. The is the foundation of your cake truffle.
    • Prepare bowls, one with chocolate and one with something crunchy, to roll the cake truffle in (ex. nuts, sprinkles, etc.)
    • Melt the chocolate in the microwave on low power in 20-second bursts. (Always use low power and short bursts to avoid burning the chocolate.)
    • Wearing gloves, roll the cake truffle in chocolate and then in something crunchy.
    • Set the cake truffle on parchment paper and place it in the refrigerator for at least one hour to set.

  • Cake Shake –
    • Place the pieces of cake, ice cream, milk, and other shake ingredients in a blender.
    • Blend.
    • You know have a cake shake!
Mini Red Velvet Cakes
Mini Red Velvet Cakes

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 6, Show Stopper – Petite Fours

YEA!!! One more bake to go and I have completed the first season!

About this bake… I have made many red velvet cakes and I love them! For this bake, I planned to use a sheet pan to maximize the number of cake cut-outs and to reduce the amount of cake wasted. I used a recipe from Milk Bar that called for ‘cake flour’. While I searched, I could not find cake flour at the stores near me. I searched and found a workaround to remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and replace it with 2 tablespoons of corn starch. This was supposed to be the equivalent of cake flour. However, three failed attempts later (not bitter), I decided to go with good old-fashioned all-purpose flour. The result was a perfect red velvet cake.

I am not exactly sure why the corn starch did not work. I think it could have been the age of the corn starch or the altitude in Denver. Someday, when I am less frustrated, I research what happened. However, for now, I am just going to stick with good old all-purpose flour.


Count: 15 down, 263 to go!

Red Velvet Mini Cakes

Mini Red Velvet Cakes (Petit Fours)

Two mini red velvet cakes sandwiched between sweet cream cheese frosting and filled with fresh strawberry jam, an Americana twist on petit fours. (I don't know about you, but my mouth is already watering.)
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Cooling/frosting Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

Strawberry Filling

  • 4 oz strawberries
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon

Frosting

Decoration

  • Chocolate heart, square, etc. (Optional)

Instructions
 

Strawberry Filling

  • Quarter each strawberry. Place the strawberries and lemon in a heavy bottom saucepan. Cook over low heat for a few minutes to soften the strawberries.
  • Add the sugar and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved into a clear liquid, bring it to a boil and boil for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Refrigerate to set.

Red Velvet Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square pan.
  • Mix the buttermilk and vinegar and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix well the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. These are your dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the oil and sugar until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the red food coloring.
  • Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk/vinegar mixture, ending with the dry ingredients. In this step, mix the ingredients just enough to incorporate. Over mixing will flatten the cake.
  • Pour the batter into the baking pan. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. When done cooking removes the cake and allow it to fully cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the vanilla extract, salt, and powdered sugar and whip to combine, about 2 minutes more.

Assembly

  • Once the cake has cooled, use a cookie cutter or template to cut into the desired shape. Then, carefully, cut each cut piece in half. Use caution not to cut your hand.
  • Prepare the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a dot tip. (I used a size similar to Wilton 10 round tip).
  • Pipe a tight ring of dot tips around the perimeter of each mini cake.
  • Fill the center, inside of the frosting, of each mini cake with the strawberry jam.
  • Place the top, the other half, of each mini cake on top.
  • Pipe decoration on top of each mini cake and place decoration on top as desired.

Notes

Recipe notes:
  • I made this recipe small and makes 4 – 6 small cakes. If you would like a larger batch, select to multiply the recipe in the upper right-hand corner. You can increase the size by 2x or 3x.
  • When mixing the dry cake ingredients, spend extra time mixing very well.  All ingredients should be blended and there should be no cocoa clumps. Use a sifter if you prefer.
  • I used 1 full tablespoon of red gel food coloring to achieve this color of red. If you’re using regular red food coloring you will need to at least double the amount used, maybe more, depending on the manufacturer 
  • I used homemade jam, however, it’s easy to swap out with store-bought jam if you prefer. 
  • For the jam, I used measurements vs volume. I chose this method because strawberries and sugar are very different in terms of volume. The measurement method ensures you get a great result every time. 
  • When making the jam if you want to test if the jam has set, spoon a little onto a cold plate, leave for a minute. Move the jam with your finger and if the jam crinkles and separates without flooding back, the setting point has been reached.
Keyword Cake, Mini, petit fours, Red Velvet
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream

Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream

Note: This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

If you like coffee and chocolate you are in for a delight!
These chocolate cupcakes with espresso buttercream are moist, rich and the perfect marriage of flavors.

Chocolate cupcake. Doesn’t that bring a smile to your face? Cho-co-oooo-late cupcake. I just had to do it. 🙂

The nice thing about cupcakes they are made in 30 minutes from start to finish, the only kitchen special equipment required is a mixer and a cupcake tin. If you are looking for either option, click here for a handheld or stand-up mixer. Click here if you need a cupcake tin.

One more thing, I just realized I have a chocolate and espresso fascination. Or is it the perfect flavor combination and I just can’t get enough of it? If you want more chocolate and espresso treats, check out my chocolate macarons with espresso. They are amazing!

Ok, on to making cupcakes….

Tricks to Making a Great Chocolate Cupcake

These chocolate cupcakes are so rich and so moist by design. To achieve this, I used my three favorite secrets for baking anything thing chocolate: espresso powder, hot liquid, and vegetable oil. I use these three secrets every time I bake a chocolate cake or cupcake, and every time they come out perfect!

Trick One: Add a little bit of espresso powder to enhance the chocolate flavor. I know what you’re thinking, we’re making espresso buttercream so is that really a secret? Yes! It is the secret to achieving a rich chocolate flavor in baked goods. Not espresso flavor, but chocolate. Espresso powder adds a deep and complex flavor that enhances the chocolate flavor but does not taste like espresso (or coffee).

Trick Two: Two minutes before placing the batter in the oven, add boiling water. When hot water is stirred well into chocolate batter and dissolves any cocoa powder clumps. During this time, the liquid thickens and releases flavor particles within the powder. This is called “blooming”. This technique only works with cocoa powder and will take your chocolate cupcakes to the next level. (Pinky swear!)

Trick Three: Vegetable oil, yep, you need it for a super moist cupcake. As a bit of a food snob, it’s a really hard thing for me to buy. However, vegetable oil is a must for a moist cupcake. I actually feel better now, like I said that out loud better.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream

Beginner Tips to Frosting a Dramatic Cupcake

Let me start by saying I am not an expert on frosting. In fact, far from it. For most of my life, I just scrapped frosting off because I did not like it. However once I tasted homemade frosting, I liked it so much better. While I like frosting, turns out I am really bad at using a pasty bag. To improve my skills, I watched many, many videos and practiced before I took these pictures. Below are the lessons I learned to get to this point. If you are needing help read along.

Also, when I designed the recipe I decided on a mild espresso flavor. I wanted the frosting to compliment the rich chocolate cupcake and not detract from it. If you prefer a stronger flavor, just add more espresso powder.

For these cupcakes I went for a dramatic look. To achieve this I did the following:

Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream with Sprinkles

Steps for Frosting a Dramatic Cupcake

  1. Start with placing the tip inside the piping bag (yeah, really, I did know that when I first used a piping bag).
    • If you’re using a coupler, place the coupler base inside the piping bag, place the tip on the outside of the bag and screw the ring into place.
  2. Place the unfilled bag into a tall drinking glass or a jar. Then fold the top of the piping bag around the glass and fill the base with frosting.
  3. Push the icing all the way down, work any air bubbles out and twist the bag closed. This step purges the air from the bag and forces the frosting into the tip.
  4. Place your dominant hand around the top of the bag. Use this hand to squeeze the frosting. Because the frosting is stiff you might need two hands to squeeze the frosting out. However only squeeze the bag from the top. Squeezing from another place could result in air bubbles.
  5. Because we are going to use the flower tip, use a 90-degree angle, meaning hold the bag straight up.
  6. Using your dominant hand from the top of the bag, squeeze a dollop of frosting in the center of the cupcake. Without breaking the stroke, move the frosting bag to the outside of the dollop and frost the perimeter of the dollop.
  7. Using a continuous movement, continue to pipe in a circle slightly inward. Continue piping, moving inward with each rotation for three full rotations. Once you reach the tip, place a small dollop to close the circle. Then release the pressure and pull the bag away.

    For additional resources, I recommend visiting the Wilton website. This video really helped me learn techniques and improve my piping skills.

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 6, Signature Cupcakes

I loved this challenge, but mostly because it did not hurt my brain. It was a lot of fun to make cupcakes, super simple and super good. However, during the process, I learned a lot about frosting. Being someone who is a stronger cook than a baker, I tend to just add ingredients. I think this is the solution to any kitchen recipe. However, with frosting, adding just a teaspoon of one ingredient can change the consistency from thick to medium. Another teaspoon with changing the consistency from medium to thin. Turns out with frosting, just adding ingredients was not my smartest move.

While not my smartest move, I am glad I learned something as easy as a cupcake. It was very simple for me to make another batch and start again. Three times to be exact.

Count: 14 down, 264 to go!

Chocolate Macarons with Espresso
Chocolate macarons with espresso are melt in your mouth nuggets of French perfection!
Check out this recipe
Chocolate Macarons with Espresso
Chocolate Cupcakes

Rich Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream

Rich chocolate cupcakes with espresso buttercream are the perfect marriage of flavors. The buttercream has just a hint of espresso, providing a perfect subtle complement.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes

Equipment

  • Mixer (handheld or stand)
  • Two mixing bowls
  • Muffin Tin
  • Muffin Cups
  • Whisk
  • Piping bag
  • Large flower drop piping tip (Ex. Wilton 2D)

Ingredients
  

ESPRESSO BUTTERCREAM

Instructions
 

CUPCAKES

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare the cupcake tin with liners.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Using a whisk, mix all the ingredients well. These are your dry ingredients.
  • In a separate mixing bowl whisk the egg, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla together. These are your wet ingredients.
  • Combine the wet and dry ingredients together. This is your batter.
  • Add the boiling/hot water to your batter, mix well, and let stand for 1- 2 minutes. Your batter will be thin.
  • Pour the batter into the tins and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. While the cupcakes are baking you can begin making the frosting.
  • Remove and allow cupcakes to fully cool before adding frosting.

ESPRESSO BUTTERCREAM

  • Using the mixer, beat the butter until it is fluffy.
  • Add the confectioner's sugar, slowly, one cup at a time.
  • Add the vanilla and espresso powder.
  • Add the buttercream to the piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes.

Notes

When making the cupcakes:
  • You will want to add very hot water or boiling water and allow the batter to stand for one to two minutes.  This step helps to dissolve any cocoa powder clumps and helps make a moist cupcake.
  • When I wrote the recipe, I added a long cooking time. This is because I live at a high altitude and the cooking time is slightly different. To see if your cupcake is done you can try one of two methods:
    • Insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, you’re done.
    • Gently tap the top of the cupcake and if the cupcake springs back with no indentation, you’re done.
 
When making the espresso buttercream:
  • I increased the buttercream to accommodate a dramatic frosting. If this is more frosting than you would like, feel free to adjust the recipe down. Here is an adjusted down recipe I recommend:
    • 1 cup butter
    • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
I hope you enjoy it! If you like this recipe, please let me know and give me a good rating. 
Thank you!
Ruth
Keyword Buttercream, Chocolate, Chocolate Cupcake, Cupcake, Espresso
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Vegetarian Pot Pie with Mushrooms and Thyme

Vegetarian Pot Pie with Mushrooms and Thyme

Disclosure: Some of the posts on this blog may contain affinity links. Meaning at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase I will earn a small commission.

This rich and wholesome vegetarian pot pie is filled with a mushroom gravy in a homemade flaky crust. It’s so good, it’s worth all the carbs!

To me, winter is all about warm cozy comfort foods and I can’t think of many foods that are more warm and cozy than a vegetarian pot pie! This particular pot pie is filled with rich mushroom gravy and served in a flaky crust. The flavors are warm, wholesome, and certainly not low carb. But I promise it is worth all the carbs!

You can make this recipe over the course of an afternoon or in stages throughout a couple of days. It’s really up to you and how much time you have. I chose to make this over a couple of days and I loved the slower process.

Also, this vegetarian pot pies recipe might look longer and more complicated than it really is. That is because when I write out the instructions I try to be very detailed and take them step by step.  This is how I like to read instructions. If you are reading this and you feel the instructions are too much or unnecessarily long, kindly let me know.  I would love your feedback! 

Vegetarian Pot Pie Variations

I made this pot pie as part of my personal Great British Baking Show challenge. Within that challenge, I made the pie dough from scratch. It’s not as much work as you might think, but I totally get why you would prefer an alternative. Below are a couple of variations on crusts and bakeware that you can use to modify the recipe to fit your lifestyle.

Variations Crusts

When it comes to baking pies there are several different ways to crust a pie. For these instructions, I am writing out two basic pot pie variations, double-crusted and top-crusted.

  • Variation #1, Double crusted – the bottom and the top of the pie are crusted. A traditional American apple pie is an example of double-crusted pies.
  • Variation #2, Top crust – Just the top of the pie has a crust. A skillet meat or pot pie would be an example.

I chose to make to my mushroom pot pie double crusted. The upside was I had the rich pot pie I was craving. However the down side was it only made three pot pies. If you would like a larger pot pie I recommend making the gravy and adding extra fillings in a skillet. Than baking the pot pie with just a top crust in the oven.

Variations – Types of Crusts

Here are a couple of pie variations to choose from:

  1. Make the crust using the recipe below. The upside is this crust is homemade with no preservatives or funky ingredients.
  2. Buy a frozen pie crust at the store. If your a vegetarian check the ingredients. Often these crusts are made with lard.
  3. Use a phyllo dough as a crust. You can use phyllo dough on top or as a double-crusted pie. Be sure to use butter or cooking spray in between the layers for the full flake.
  4. Top with store-bought biscuits or my homemade Perfect Biscuit Recipe

Variations – Individual Pot Pie Bakeware Options

If you are like me you don’t have tons of random bakeware sitting around for that one time you bake something. In those instances, you have a couple of options.

  • Ramekins – Large ceramic ramekins work great for this. Depending on your preference you can top or double-crust your pot pie
  • Ceramic bakeware – There are many options on Amazon, such as these or these. You can also try your luck at a thrift store. The ceramic pots in the picture I found at Good Will for $2 each and I love them.
  • Enameled cast ironed dutch ovens – I would recommend using a 1.5-quart pot for this recipe. There are lots of cute options on Amazon.
  • Tinfoil – If your not sure you want to invest in bakeware I totally understand. There are always the tin foil options such as these.

Amazon Affinity Links

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 5, Showstopper – Pastry

I am so excited to reach the pasty point in the challenge. I have always wanted to make the pastry, but I was too afraid to try. After watching 10 seasons of the Great British Baking Show, I knew I could successfully make a pastry, I just needed a reason to try.

When this challenge came around I was so excited to roll my sleeves up. I spent weeks researching the perfect savory pie. Being a vegetarian I felt as though I was limited. Then, I decided to make a mushroom pot pie. I was so excited about this recipe that I no longer felt limited.

When I sat down to eat, I could not believe how good this mushroom pot pie was. Like as in the best thing I can remember eating in ages. It did take a lot of time to make, but that was because I had my heart set on trying a recipe I found in Bon Appetit. The recipe was complex. I took my time and made it over three days. I am glad I did because I thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Even better, no soggy bottoms!



Count: 12 down, 266 to go!

Baked Oatmeal with Banana and Nutella
Baked oatmeal with banana and Nutella is so easy to make, it just takes ingredients you probably already have, one bowl, and 25 minutes the oven. After that, you can enjoy oatmeal bars all week. How is that for easy meal planning?
Check out this recipe
Baked Oatmeal - four bars in rows of two
Mint Chocolate Lava Cake
This Mint Chocolate Lava Cake combines the warm gooey chocolate richness of a lava cake with a refreshing cool taste of mint. This recipe can be made for 2, 4, or 6 people.
Check out this recipe
Mint Chocolate Lava Cake Birthday Happiness 2
Two vegetarian pot pie's with Mushrooms and Thyme

Vegetarian Pot Pies with Mushrooms and Thyme

This rich and wholesome vegetarian pot pie is filled with a mushroom gravy in a homemade flaky crust. It is so good, it is worth all the carbs!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people

Equipment

  • Oven-safe skillet, ramekins, or other individual pot pie containers such as tin foil, small ceramic bowls, small enameled cast iron, etc.)

Ingredients
  

Pie Crust/Dough

Mushroom Gravy

Filling

  • 1/2 bulb fennel
  • 1 cup pearl onions – peeled
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter – divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 8 oz oyster or wild mushroom combination

Assembly

Instructions
 

Step One: Pie Crust/Dough

  • Whisk flour and salt in a large bowl to ensure even distribution of salt throughout the flour.
  • Work in butter with your fingers until only pea-size pieces remain.
    *You will want to do this quickly to ensure the butter stays cold. The cold butter creates the flakes in the dough.
  • Combine egg, vinegar, and â…“ cup ice water in a small bowl and drizzle over flour mixture. You will want to work quickly. the dough should be shaggy.
  • Move the shaggy dough to a work surface. Work just enough to form a ball with no dry spots. Be careful not to overwork the dough and fully incorporate the butter.
    Vegetarian Pot Pie with Mushrooms and Thyme, shaggy dough
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
  • The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Step Two: Mushroom Gravy

  • Heat oil and 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook until they are very soft, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste until the onions are completely coated. Cook for an additional minute.
  • Add button mushrooms and cook 12–15 minutes. During this time only stir the mushrooms 2 – 3 times, allowing them to brown.
  • Add sherry and cook for five minutes, until the sherry has almost completely evaporated.
  • Add the vegetable broth and porcini mushrooms and cook for one hour, until the liquids have reduced by half.
  • Pour the mushrooms into a strainer, separating the mushrooms from the liquid. Press down on the mushrooms to squeeze as much liquid as possible out of them. Then discard the mushrooms and save the liquid broth.
    Vegetarian Pot Pie with Mushrooms and Thyme, mushroom separate
  • Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Using a whisk, continually whisk in flour to avoid lumps until there is a nutty smell, about 4 minutes.
  • USE CAUTION HERE: Slowly add 1/4 mushroom broth. The flour and butter mixture will rapidly increase bubbling. Continue to add in the remaining mushroom broth slowly while whisking vigorously.
    *This step is similar to making caramel.
  • Simmer for one minute and then remove from heat.
  • Mushroom gravy can be in a refrigerator in an air-tight container for three days.

Step Three: Filling and Assembly

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine, fennel, pearl onions, 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 cup of water, a dash of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and cover for 5 minutes.
  • Uncover and cook for 15 – 18 minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Let cool
  • Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium.
  • Add thyme sprigs and mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and tender, 6–8 minutes. Let cool and remove the thyme.
  • Mix mushroom gravy in with the filling. This will be referred to as the filling below.

Variation #1 – Double Crusted Pot Pies

  • Beat the large egg and add a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  • Lightly dust a flat surface.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
  • Divide the dough and filling according to the number of pie dishes you wish to fill.
  • For each pie, roll the dough into two pieces, one to form the bottom and the sides and the other to go on top. The dough should be an 1/4 inch thickness and about 1/2 an inch larger for both pieces.
    Vegetarian Pot Pie with Mushrooms and Thyme, Pot Pie Dough
  • Place the dough around the inside of the individual pie dish and leave the 1/2 hanging over the side.
  • Fill the inside of the pot pie with the gravy mushroom filling mixture.
  • Top the the pie with the second piece of rolled-out dough and then pinch the sides together.
  • Cut the three to four vent slats in the top.
  • Repeat until all pies are filled.
  • Set pot pies on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crusts are golden brown and domed. About 25–35 minutes.
  • This recipe should make 2 – 3 double-crusted pies depending on the size of the bakeware.

Variation #2 – Top Crusted Pot Pies

  • Beat the large egg and add a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  • Lightly dust a flat surface.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
  • Roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Place the filling in an oven-proof skillet.
  • Top the skillet with the rolled-out dough. You can cramp the edges for a visual look.
  • Cut three to four slats in the top of the dough to vent the heat.
  • Bake at 425 for 25 – 35 minutes, until the top is domed and golden brown.

Notes

This recipe might look longer and more complicated than it really is. It is because when I write out the instructions I try to be very detailed and write it line by line. This is how I like to read instructions. If you are reading this and you feel the instructions are too much or unnecessary kindly let me know.  I would love your feedback!
There are shortcuts with the dough you can take (see the post above).
When making the top crust option you might need to add additional mushrooms to the filling.
Recipe credit: Bon Appetit. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/mushroom-thyme-pot-pies
Keyword bon appetit, mushroom and thyme pot pie, mushroom pot pie, pot pie, vegetarian mushroom pot pie, vegetarian pot pie
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Baked Oatmeal Bars with Banana’s and Nutella

Baked Oatmeal Bars with Banana’s and Nutella

Baked oatmeal bars with banana and Nutella is so easy to make, it just takes ingredients
you probably already have one bowl and 25 minutes in the oven.
After that, you can enjoy oatmeal bars all week. How is that for easy meal planning?

If you’re new to baked oatmeal it is just another way of cooking this amazing grain. Similar to overnight oats, the flavors are completely customizable to your personal preference. For this recipe, I used two of my favorites, bananas, and Nutella. However, if yore not a fan of Nutella, no problem, just swap it out for peanut butter. If your not in the mood for bananas, no problem. Just swamp 1/2 cup of applesauce for each banana. If you like nuts, go ahead and add them. The combinations are endless.

The best part about baked oatmeal, it can prepared the day before and can stored for up to a week in the refrigerator. So the next day when you wake up, a healthy oatmeal breakfast is ready to go and you do not have to wait! It’s also a great breakfast option for meal planning. It can easily be made on your meal prep day and eaten all week. I don’t know if it gets any better than a week’s worth of healthy breakfasts for less than ten minutes of work.

Let’s Get Started Making Baked Oatmeal Bars

First you will want to gather your ingredients. The best thing, most of these you probably already have in your home.

Ingredients for Baked Oatmeal Bars with Banana’s and Nutella

  • Nutella (1/2 cup)
  • Banana’s (2 mashed/2 for toppings)
  • Whole or Quick Oats (2.5 cups)
  • Brown Sugar (1/4 cup)
  • Milk (1/2 cup)
  • Vanilla (1 tsp)
  • Egg (1)
  • Baking Powder (1 tsp)
  • Salt (1 tsp)
  • Cinnamon (1/2 tsp)

Mixing Oatmeal with Banana’s and Nutella

To mix the ingredients start with the banana. In the pictures below I used my mixer, however for this recipe a mixer is not necessary. Here are the two different ways you can mash bananas.

  • To mash the banana’s in the mixer, turn the mixer onto a low to medium speed with the beater attachment for 1 – 2 minutes.
  • To mash with your hands, make sure the bananas are very ripe and squish between your fingers until you reach a smooth consistency.

Once the bananas have been mashed, mix in the rest of the ingredients either using your mixer or by hand with a spatula. After the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, pour them into a parchment-lined baking dish. The pour will be thick (see below). Once poured, bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 28 minutes.

Once baked, removed the oatmeal from the oven and allow it to cool for 30 minutes. Then place in the refrigerator for one-two hours. This will allow the oatmeal to become firm and easier to cut.

Because I prefer to bake oatmeal the day before, I leave this dish in the refrigerator overnight. Before eating top as desired with banana, strawberries, apples, peaches warmed Nutella, etc. (The strawberries I used below are dried.) Get creative here and have fun coming up with different toppings!

Baked Oatmeal - up close
Baked Oatmeal with Nutella and Banana’s


Recommended Products (affinity links)

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 4, Showstopper – Puddings

Hear me out, I know this is a pudding challenge. However, in this episode, the bakers could make a crumble, bread, or suet. Suet was totally out of the question, I would not make something out of animal fat. Bread always sounds good, but I have made a lot of that lately and wanted to bake something else. So that left me with crumble. I know I did take some liberties with the interpenetration of a crumble becoming baked oatmeal. But in all fairness, crumbles are made out of oats and this is a personal challenge. So I took the extra liberties and went with it.

On the upside, now that I am down with puddings I can move on to pastry! I have never made pastry before and I am very excited to try my first “rough puff”. So next up, mushroom and thyme pot pie! Even better, I don’t have to think about a pudding until season 3, episode 6.

Count: 11 down, 267 to go!

Festive Dark Chocolate Bark with Strawberries and Almonds
This festive holiday dark chocolate bark with strawberries and almonds is the perfect blend of rich, sweet and salty.
Check out this recipe
Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Bark

Baked Oatmeal - four bars in rows of two

Baked Oatmeal with Banana and Nutella

Baked oatmeal with banana and Nutella is so easy to make, it just takes ingredients you probably already have, one bowl, and 25 minutes the oven. After that, you can enjoy oatmeal bars all week. How is that for easy meal planning?
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Refrigerator time 2 hrs
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Take two bananas and mash them.
  • Add all other ingredients to the mashed bananas and mix well.
  • Line a 9×12 baking dish with parchment paper
  • Place dish in the heated oven for 25 – 28 minutes.
  • Allow the oatmeal to cool and then place it in the refrigerator for two hours before cutting.
  • Cut and top with the remaining bananas and/or other desired toppings.

Notes

Baked oatmeal with bananas and Nutella is very easy to make.  I used a mixer, however, you can easily mix the ingredients by hand.  There is no fancy equipment necessary.
The baking time is based on using a 9×12 baking dish.  The baking time could vary depending on the size of your baking dish.  This size produced bars that were about 1.25 inches thick
Keyword Baked Oatmeal, Banana, Nutella, Oatmeal, Oats
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Mint Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe

Mint Chocolate  Lava Cake Recipe

This Mint Chocolate Lava Cake recipe combines the warm gooey chocolate
the richness of a lava cake with a refreshing cool taste of mint.
This recipe can be made for 2, 4, or 6 people.

Lava cakes are the perfect cake. They are served fresh out of the oven with a flow of warm chocolate in the center. Even better, they are mixed and baked in 30 minutes! For this version, I added mint chocolate chips. The mint adds a cool refreshing twist to this classic cake!


Let’s Talk Mint

Mint has a cool refreshing taste that is good year-round, particularly in the winter. It just adds a nice cool pop of flavor that goes along with the season! However, mint is one of those flavors that can easily overpower or taste artificial. When baking, I avoid the liquid mint flavors. A little goes a long way and it’s very easy to overpower any recipe with just a couple of drops. Instead, I prefer to use baking chips. As I am writing this it is just before Christmas and Target is stocked with all kinds of fun baking chip flavors including mint chocolate.

For this recipe, I used Andres Mint Chips. They are currently in stock at Target and Walmart or you can find them year round on Amazon. I do have to warn you though, Andres Mint Baking Chips are addictive. If you buy a bag of them, you might just turn the corner and see this…

If your lucky to have enough mint baking chips leftover, you only need 2/3 of a cup for this recipe. I recommend adjusting how many chips to use based on your personal preference.

Deciding how Much Mint to Use

When I first made this mint chocolate lava cake I used a full 2/3 of a cup. However, between four people we were divided. Two thought it was just right and two thought the mint was overpowering and detracted from the overall flavor of the lava cake.

The next time I made the cake I used 1/2 of a cup of mint chips and 1/4 of a cup of chocolate chips. This combination gave the mint flavor without tasting artificial. I would adjust the use of chips depending on how strong you like the mint flavor. Here are some ratio’s you can use to adjust the flavor.

  • For a strong mint flavor use 2/3 cup of mint baking chips
  • For a medium mint flavor use 1/2 cup of mint baking chips + 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • For a mild mint flavor use 1/2 cup of chocolate chips + 1/4 cup mint baking chips


Getting Prepared to make Mint Chocolate Lava Cake

To get started you will want to gather your ingredients. the list below is for two people. Simply double or triple the recipe depending on how many lava cakes you are baking. (The recipe card below will calculate this for you. All you need to do is click on the correct number in the upper right-hand corner.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup of chips (mint + chocolate combo using the preference chart above.)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp coco powder or flour for dusting

Equipment:

  • Medium mixing bowl
  • 2 – 6 ramekins or muffin tin
  • Whisk

Once you have measured the ingredients, use the butter wrapper or cooking spray to grease the ramekins. Then using the cocoa powder or flour, lightly dust the ramekins. This step is necessary for the lava cake to release from the ramekin after baking.


Mint Chocolate Lava Cake Baking Steps (only four!)


Step one: Using the microwave, melt the butter and baking chips together in 20 – 30 second increments.

Once melted, use a whisk to fully combine the butter and baking chips


Step two: Whisk in the powdered sugar, egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and flour just enough to mix the ingredients.

Note: at this stage, it’s very easy to over mix. The result will be a flatter lava cake.


Step three: Pour mixture into ramekins or muffin tins and bake at 425 until the edges are firm and the center soft.

  • If you use the ramekins bake for 12 – 14 minutes.
  • If you use a muffin tin bake for 8 – 10 minutes.

Step four: Remove from the oven and allow lava cake to stand for one minute then serve.

  • If you used a ramekin invert and serve.
  • If you used a muffin tin use a spoon to remove it.

    No worries if your lava cakes fall apart in the process. Lava cakes are always delish and the smiling faces (like this one) are always worth it!

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 4, Technical Challenge – Puddings

Looking at my recent pages, I have written six non GBBO posts since my first pudding challenge. The current technical challenge is actually Mary Berry’s Lemon Souffle. I have been trying to find the desire to make this dish. However, there were two reasons I was dragging my feet on baking a lemon souffle.

1. It’s winter here (December 14th) and eating anything lemon just does not feel right with Christmas right around the corner.

2. If I am being honest, nothing about a soufflé sounds good to me. I know I should probably try to make one and give it a fair shot. However, it just sounds like something my dad would have paired with an ambrosia salad in the ’70s. That alone is enough to make me not want to make one.

In time I will try a souffle, but not today. So after much thought, I went with a lava cake. It does fall into the pudding category and is a semi-baked souffle. It requires much of the same skills and I knew I would enjoy baking it.

Count: 10 down, 268 to go!

In the mood for something else?
Try one of these recipes instead



Recommended Products (Affinity Links)

Mint Chocolate Lava Cake Birthday Happiness 2

Mint Chocolate Lava Cake

This Mint Chocolate Lava Cake combines the warm gooey chocolate richness of a lava cake with a refreshing cool taste of mint. This recipe can be made for 2, 4, or 6 people.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 14 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Ramekins or muffin tin

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup baking chips. Use one of these ratios for desired outcome: * 2/3 cup mint baking chips for the strong mint flavor

    * 1/2 cup mint baking chips +1/4 chocolate chips for the medium mint flavor

    * 1/4 mint baking chips + 1/2 chocolate chips for the mild mint flavor

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1tbsp cocoa powder or flour for dusting

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Melt the butter and baking chips in the microwave in 30-second bursts.
  • Once melted, use the whisk to fully incorporate the butter and baking chips.
  • Once incorporated, add the powdered sugar, egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and flour to the mixture.
    * Mix just enough to incorporate the ingredients and use caution not to over mix.
  • Evenly distribute the ingredients between the ramekins.
  • Bake at 425 until the edges are firm and the center still soft.
    * If you used a ramekin cook for 12 – 14 minutes
    * If your using muffin tins, cook for 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Remove and let stand for 1 minute.
    * If you used a ramekin, invert and serve.
    * If you used a muffin tin use a spoon to release
Keyword Chocolate Lava Cake, Lava Cake, Mint Chocolate Lava Cake, Personal Birthday Cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel

Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel

Butterscotch budino with salted caramel, is it a pudding or a custard?
There seems to be some debate about what this silky smooth Italian creation is.
What is not debatable is that budino’s are absolute perfection!

What is a Budino?

In the simplest of terms, a budino is a smooth pudding that is made with corn starch instead of gelatin. I prefer cornstarch because it provides a smooth texture whereas gelatin can be a bit chewy. Cornstarch is also vegetarian (YEA!)

If you’re new to cornstarch and gelatin they are both thickening agents. However, cornstarch thickens as it heats, whereas gelatin thickens as it cools. Gelatin is also a protein that is made from animal byproducts.

Budino History

It’s hard to find information on the history of the budino. We know its origins are Italian and budino is the Italian word for pudding. The first American reference of the budino was found in 1963 when it was served as a dinner course for the Wine and Food Society of the San Fernando Valley.

While it has been around for a while, probably centuries in Italy, it was not until 2007 that it became popular in the US. It was at this time famed chef Nancy Silverton put her signature Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel on the Mozza menu. I believe the salted caramel added a whole new layer of flavor that transformed the budino from ‘just a pudding’ to ‘a must have dessert’.

Since 2007, the Budino has been growing in popularity and can be found in every American city (just not every American menu).

Budino Options

For this budino I went with the classic Nancy Silverton butterscotch budino with a salted caramel top version. I also added a vanilla wafer cookie crust for some additional texture. The vanilla wafer cookie crust, and even the salted caramel top, are optional and a personal preference. Here are a few pros and cons of each:

  • Vanilla wafer cookie crust:
    Pro’s – added texture and looked great.
    Con’s – it did make the budino a little dryer.

  • Salted Caramel:
    Pro’s – Salted caramel, what else do I need to say?
    Con’s – Making caramel takes some practice and skill. If you are not ready to try making it, you can purchase it at the store. No judgment.
    Warm the caramel up just before putting it on the budino. If prepared too far in advance the caramel will harden and make it awkward to eat.

  • Flavor Options: There are many variations, here are a few ideas.
    • Butterscotch
    • Chocolate
    • Caramel
    • Apple

Ready to try? Jump to the Recipe

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 4, Signature Bake – Puddings

I honestly did not know where to start with this bake. I have always been a chocolate girl and I have never really interested in trying anything else. Further complicating the issue, I did not think pudding could be more than something sold in a plastic cup. Nothing more, nothing less.

Then my dear friend Autum suggested I try a Budino. I was like a what? She explained what a budino is, that her husband loves them and always orders one at a restaurant we both like. I did some research and learned budino’s became popular in the US through Nancy Silverton, who is someone I have a tremendous amount of admiration for.

So I took the plunge and started making budino’s. Turns out, they are truly worth the fan fair! It also turns out that pudding is so much more than a shelf-stable product sold by Bill Cosby. Mind Blown!

This challenge helped to reinforce why I am trying to bake my way through The Great British Bake Off. I am learning so much, new techniques, and expanding my pallet. (Sadly my waistline too). But along the way, I am growing so much and I am really enjoying the entire journey.


Count: 9 down, 269 to go!

In the Mood for Something Else? Try One of These Recipes Instead

Ready to try? Jump to the Recipe

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Recipe

Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel

Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel

Butterscotch budino with salted caramel, is it a pudding or a custard? There seems to be some debate about what this silky smooth Italian creation is. What is not debatable is that budino's are absolute perfection!
No ratings yet
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

Vanilla Wafer Crust (optional)

  • 1.5 cup vanilla wafers
  • 5 tbsp butter (softened)
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Butterscotch Budino

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 egg yokes
  • 5 tbsp corn starch
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 tbsp dark rum

Caramel Sauce

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup

Whipped Cream

Instructions
 

Vanilla Wafer Crust (optional)

  • In a food processor, grind the vanilla wafers to a fine crumb.
  • Mix well wafer crumbs with butter and sugar.
  • Press crumb into the base of the glasses you will be using for the budino.

Budino

  • Whisk the egg, egg yokes, and corn starch until smooth. Set aside.
  • Combine the heavy cream and milk and set the mixture and set aside.
  • In a large pot over medium to high heat stir the brown sugar, ½ cup water, and the salt combining all the ingredients.
  • Cook until the sugar is melted and smells caramelized, this normally takes about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Whisk in the cream and milk mixture. Note the mixture will seize, this is normal. Keep stirring and the mixture will become smooth again. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat to medium. This is the butterscotch.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the butterscotch to the egg and corn starch mixture while whisking constantly. Once mixed, then add another 1/2 cup of the butterscotch to the egg and corn starch mixture.
    This step is necessary to increase the temperature of the eggs, without cooking or curdling the eggs.
  • Add the egg, corn starch mixture to the remaining butterscotch in the pot and then bring to a boil while whisking constantly until the custard is very thick, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and rum.
  • Strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any lumps.
  • Distribute budino evenly in desired cups. Refrigerate for three hours to set.

Caramel Sauce

  • Make this just prior to serving the budino.
  • In a large saucepan, combine corn syrup and 2 tablespoons of water. Add the sugar to the center of the saucepan, being careful not to have the sugar splash on the sides of the pan.
  • Cook over medium-high heat without stirring until the sugar becomes a medium amber color, about 10 – 12 minutes.
  • Remove the caramel from heat and whisk the vanilla cream into the caramel a little bit at a time. Use caution here as the mixture will begin to bubble violently.
    Continue to whisk until completely combined.
  • Allow to cool and pour on top of the budino when still slightly warm, just before serving.

Whip Cream

  • In a mixing bowl, add the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip using a hand blender.
  • Top the budino with whip cream before serving.

Notes

I recommend making the four items in this order:
  1. Crust
  2. Budino
  3. Whip Cream (Set aside to top after the caramel)
  4. Caramel
Assemble in the following order
  1. Crust
  2. Budino
  3. Caramel
  4. Whip Cream
Also, when making the budino and caramel have all ingredients measured prior and read through the instructions at least twice. When making caramel always use caution, it becomes very hot and it can be dangerous  The best way to protect yourself is to know the process in advance.
 
Keyword Budino, Budino with Salted Caramel, Butterscotch Budino, Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel, Dessert, Pudding
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Nadiya Hussain’s Crown Bread (with a few twists)

Nadiya Hussain’s Crown Bread (with a few twists)

I am a huge fan of Nadiya Hussain’s and I am so excited to share her crown bread recipe with you, with a couple of twists (pun intented)

What is Crown Bread?

I first heard of crown bread while watching Cooking with Nadiya. In her show, she makes this bread filled with tapenade and blue cheese, two of my favorite flavors, and twists the bread into a beautiful crown shape. I was absolutely mesmerized by how delicious this bread looked and I could not wait to make it.

I could find very little information on crown bread. In America, we often call it wreath or couroone bread. What these breads have in common is that they are filled with goodies, rolled up, split down the middle, and twisted together into the distinctive crown shape.

This bread is perfect for any dinner table, especially at the holidays. However in my case, I could not wait and I enjoyed it with an old friend and a bottle of wine on a Sunday afternoon. Honestly, either occasion is perfect, as long as you savor this delicious bread.

Modifications from Nadiya’s original recipe

I made a couple of modifications to Nadiya’s original recipe based on personal preference and budget. As always, feel free to modify according to your preferences.

  1. Rosemary is a part of the original recipe. While I love rosemary, I preferred the bread without. Feel free to add rosemary back in if you feel differently.
  2. I made this bread twice. The first time I used goat blue cheese because it was on sale. A lot of the flavor baked out and this was a bad choice. The second time I used traditional blue cheese and the result was much better.
  3. Instead of an apricot jam, I made a quick apple jam. This was both to save money on jarred jam and apricots are out of season. However, this is baker-specific. Use the jam you prefer.

Let’s get started

Step 1: Put the flour, salt, yeast, and butter into a bowl, then rub the butter into the flour. The butter should be rubbed into small pieces. (If you do want to add rosemary, you can add 2tsp here.)

Step 2: Form a well in the center of the flour mix and then add the milk and beaten egg. Once mixed, take the dough out of the bowl and knead on a floured or oiled surface for 10 minutes. You are done kneading when the dough becomes stretchy and smooth.. If you prefer to use your mixer, attach the dough hook and mix at a low to medium speed for five minutes. When the dough is formed into a ball around the hook, you are done mixing.

Step 3: Place the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film or a shower cap until the dough is doubled. Between an hour and an hour and a half. While the dough is rising, line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Step 4: Once the dough has doubled, knock all the air out of the dough and place it on a lightly floured or oiled surface. Roll the dough into an 11x15in. (This is where the process is a lot like cinnamon rolls.) Evenly spread the tapenade and blue cheese across the dough. Once spread, roll the dough up like a cinnamon roll. You want this roll to be tight.

Step 5: Start about an inch from the top of the rolled-up dough and take a sharp knife and cut down the center. Because the top is intact, you should be able to make an A shape out of the dough. Then lift one side of the A and place it over the other A-side. Repeat the process, about five times. until you have formed a circle. Carefully place the dough on the tray, cover with cling wrap and allow to prove about 30 minutes.

Step 6: Once the second prove is complete, bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Let the bread cool. Warm up the jam in the microwave and brush the jam over the top of the bread.

Resources and recipe credit:

  • If you would like to see the original recipe click here.
  • If you would like to watch the video from Time to Eat click here.

Great British Baking Show Bake

Season 1, Episode 3,
Signature Olive Tapenade and Blue Cheese Crown Bread

I started watching Cooking with Nadiya at the start of the pandemic. I was on lockdown and our dog Hank was very sick. Because of these factors, I was watching more TV than ever.

Historically, I never watch cooking shows. Being a vegetarian I have never found a cooking show I enjoyed. However, in the preview, Nadiya made this egg sandwich that I wanted to know how to make it. Next thing I know I watched her entire series. I loved her sweet personality and I found her refreshing.

Flash forward two months and we said goodbye to our Hankie poo. Sad and wanting to tune out my feelings, I decided to watch Nadiya’s on The Great British Baking Show. One show turned into a season, the series, and now a blog. That’s how I came to think of Nadiya as my gateway drug into the world of baking.

For my first signature bread challenge. I am so excited to bake Nadiya’s Olive and Rosemary Crown Bread. I am happy to say that I loved this bread! It’s a rich, decadent, and show stopper for any table! (Or over a bottle of wine on a Sunday afternoon with one of my best friends. That’s how I enjoyed it). I hope you give it a try, it’s really worth the work.


Count: 8 down and 270 to go!

Crown Bread Ingredients and Equipment (with affiliate links)

Ingredients
* 250g bread flour
* 1tsp salt
* 7g instant yeast
* 50g unsalted butter
* 4.5oz warm milk
* 1 egg, beaten
* 4.5oz olive tapenade
* 5.5oz blue cheese
* 3 tbsp apricot or other fruit jam

Equipment
* “>KitchenAid Mixer (Optional)
* Baking sheet
* Pastry Mat (optional)


In the mood to bake something different? Try one of these instead.

* Perfect Biscuits
* Tres Leche Mango Cake
* Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

* Delicious Bread Bowls

Crown Bread

Nadiya Hussain’s Crown Bread (with a few twists)

Ruth Grindeland
Nadiya Hussain's delicious Crown Bread is easier to make than you might think. I will show you step by step how to make this savory and decadent bread!
4.8 from 5 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Rising Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g bread flour
  • 7 g yeast
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4.5 oz warm milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4.5 oz olive tapenade
  • 5.5 oz blue cheese
  • 3 tbsp jam

Instructions
 

  • Put the flour, salt, yeast, and butter into a bowl, then rub the butter into the flour.
  • Form a well in the center of the flour mix and then add the milk and beaten egg.
  • Take the dough out of the bowl and knead on a lightly floured or oiled surface for 10 minutes. When the dough becomes stretchy and smooth you are done kneading.
    If you prefer to use a mixer, attach the dough hook and mix at a low to medium speed for five minutes. When the dough is formed into a ball around the hook, you are done.
  • Place the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film or a shower cap until the dough has doubled. Between an hour and an hour and a half.
  • While the dough is rising, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has doubled, knock all the air out of the dough and place it on a lightly floured or oiled surface.
  • Roll the dough into an 11x15in a rectangle.
  • Evenly spread the tapenade and blue cheese across the dough.
  • Tightly roll the dough up on the long (15in) side of the dough.
  • Start about an inch from the top of the rolled-up dough cut down the center of the dough. The dough should form an A shape with the top intact.
  • Lift one side of the A and place it over the other side of the A. Repeat the process, about five times. until you have formed a circle.
  • Carefully place the dough on the tray, cover with cling wrap and begin the second prove, about 30 minutes.
  • Once the second prove is complete, bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Place the bread on a rack and allow it to cool.
  • Warm the jam in the microwave and brush the jam over the top of the bread.
Keyword Bread, Couronne Bread, Crown Bread, Holiday baking, recipe, Wreath Bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Homemade Bread Bowls

Homemade Bread Bowls

This bread bowl is so easy to make your family will think you’re a master baker,
but little did they know just how easy it is to make this bread!



On a cold day, there is nothing better than a fresh bread bowl filled with hot creamy soup. We use to go to the store to buy bread bowls, but they always fell short. The bread was soft, too soft, and made with words I cannot pronounce. That’s always a red flag.

Once I learned how to make bread, I realized just how easy it is to make a bread bowl. All you need is a few ingredients, elbow grease for kneading, and a little time. The process takes about three hours from start to finish. However, the hands-on work takes about ten minutes. Once the bread is done you can enjoy a creamy soup in a — fresh out of the oven — bread bowl.

Bread Bowl Post Bake
Bread Bowl Post Bake

What I love about this bread bowl recipe

  • It is super easy to make
  • The entire house smells like bread
  • My husband thinks I am a rock star and master baker when I am really only spending about ten minutes making this bread.

Let’s get started making bread bowls!

Start with your ingredients. Here is what you will need.

  • 12 grams of yeast
  • 1.5 cups of water
Bread Bowl Ingredients
Bread Bowl Ingredients

Step One – Combine the Ingredients:
Start with the flour in a large bowl, then add the sugar, yeast, and salt and mix. Place the salt and yeast on the opposite side of the bowl. If they come in direct contact the salt will kill the yeast.

Step Two – Form the Dough:
Add about half of the water and mix using a wooden spoon or spatula. Once the initial mix has occurred, use your hands and continue to add water a little bit at a time until the dough has picked up all the flour in the bowl.

Step Three – First Proof:
You might use all the water, or a little more or a little less depending on your climate. The key is to use as much water as needed in order to reach a rough dough ball. Your dough should look like this

Step Four – Knead the Dough:
Lightly grease your workspace with about a teaspoon of olive oil. Place the dough on the workspace and kneed the dough for four to five minutes. You are done when the dough will be smooth and shiny. The dough will also not stick to your hands. The dough will look like the picture on the left.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a warm damp towel. Allow the dough to proof until it has doubled in size, about one hour. Once the dough has doubled it will resemble the picture on the right.

Step Five – Second Proof:
Once the dough has doubled, lightly oil your work surface and place the dough on the surface. Cut the dough into the desired size/number of bread bowls. Then work the dough into balls. This is done by using your hands to roll the dough into a ball and then turn the dough by a quarter turn and tuck, turn and tuck. Repeat several times until you have a smooth ball.

Note, that the dough balls in the picture above were cut in half and then one half cut again. The result is one large bowl and two small bowls. I did this to help you determine which size bread bowl is best for you. If you want:

  • 2 bread bowls – cut the dough in half and roll into two balls.
  • 3 bread bowls –
    • If you want 1 large and 2 small bowls, cut the dough in half and cut one half again.
    • If you want 3 medium bowls cut the dough into 3 equal sizes
  • 4 bread bowls – cut the dough in half and then in half again.

Cover the dough with a clean towel or lightly oiled saran wrap. Let the dough rest until it doubles in size. This is known as the second proof or the second rise. While the second proof is happening, preheat the oven to 425 and line the baking sheet with parchment paper. The second proof should take about an hour.

Step Six – Baking the Bread:
Pour cold water into a roasting pan just before you place the bread in the oven. This step is necessary to create the crusty outer shell of the bread bowls. Place the dough in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The bread bowls are done when the outside is golden and it sounds hollow when you tap the under neigh. Transfer to a cooling rack and enjoy in about 30 minutes.

Step Seven – Making the Bread Bowl:
To make a bread bowl, simply cut off the top and pull out the bread from the inside of the dough. Then ladle in the warm soup of your choice and enjoy!


Bread Bowl Filled with Soup
Bread Bowl Filled with Soup

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 3, Technical Challenge

These bread bowls are actually made using Paul Hollywood’s Cob recipe cut into two and rounded into bowls.

I liked this challenge. It was pretty easy and I could tell I was becoming more comfortable baking bread. This time I read the recipe twice instead of twenty times:) One last thought on this challenge, I am still wondering why bread rolls are called Cobs. I did a quick search, but could not find the answer.

If you’re reading this and know the answer, please write it in the comments. I would love to know.

Count: 7 down and 271 to go!

Not in the mood for a bread bowl? Try one of these recipes instead!
* Easy bread recipe
* Perfect biscuit recipe
* Amazing Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls


Small Bread Bowl Hand

Delicious Bread Bowl Recipe – Perfect for Soup!

Using Paul Hollywood's Cob Recipe, you can create 2 – 4 soup-worthy bread bowls!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Rising Time 2 hrs
Course Bread, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people

Equipment

  • Baking sheet
  • Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g bread flour
  • 40 g butter
  • 12 g yeast (fast-acting)
  • 10 g salt
  • 1,25 cup water
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Start with the flour in a large bowl, then add the sugar, yeast, and salt and mix. Place the salt and yeast on the opposite side of the bowl. If they come in direct contact the salt will kill the yeast.
  • Add half of the water and mix well. Add the rest of the water a little at a time and combining well. During this stage, you should be mixing the dough by hand and picking up any remaining flour. The dough will be rough-looking in this stage.
  • Use a little bit of oil to grease a working area and begin to knead the dough. To knead dough form the dough into a ball. Using your palm push the dough away from you. Fold the dough in half. Turn a quarter turn and repeat for 4 -5 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap or a damp towel until the dough doubles in size. This should take about an hour.
  • Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has doubled, remove the dough from the bowl. Place the dough on a lightly oiled surface and knock the air out of the dough. Divide the dough by 2, 3, or 4, depending on the number and sizes of bread bowls you would like to make. Shape the dough and cover with cling wrap until the dough has doubled in size. This will take about an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place a roasting pan full of cold water in the oven.
  • Place the bread bowls on a lined baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the bread is a nice golden color.
  • Cool for 30 minutes.
  • When you're ready for soup, scoop out the inside of the bowl and fill it with soup.

Notes

Recipe Notes:
* By placing a roasting pan of cold water in the oven, you are creating steam which helps form a crusty bread bowl.
Keyword Bread, Bread Bowl, Bread Bowl Recipe, Cob Bread, Paul Hollywood Cob Recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Chocolate Macarons — with Espresso — So Good!

Chocolate Macarons — with Espresso — So Good!

Chocolate macarons with espresso are melt in your mouth nuggets of French perfection!

Baking macarons will test your patience, but learning how to get these little nuggets right is worth the work! Macarons are great on their own, as accents to your cakes and other deserts. While I am certainly not an expert on macarons, I learned so much baking these chocolate macarons with espresso that I feel like I can help you get started.

First, choose the flavor you like. I chose chocolate macarons with espresso because it’s the prefect flavor. I felt like I needed simplicity as a beginner. However it is important to note that macarons are versatile. You can use a variety of flavors, colors and fillings to create your perfect macaron once you get the basics down.

Let’s get started….

First, start with egg whites. These will need at least 1 hour to come to room temperature. However if possible give the egg whites more time, some sites recommend leaving them out overnight. I was not ready to take that leap and left mine out for 2 – 3 hours.

Tip: There are lots of ways to separate egg whites. I find that if I separate the yolk from the whites between my fingers I have a cleaner separation and I am able to have more whites.

Next, assemble the ingredients and equipment. The basic items you will need for this recipe are listed in the yellow block on the right. I have found that I like to have every thing out and measured. before I start. This way when I bake it’s more relaxing, organized and leaves less room for errors.

Speaking of measurement, for this recipe I used the volume method of measurement. While I prefer the weight method, I wanted to keep this recipe easy for beginners and I was not sure everyone would have a scale. When measuring, be sure your cups, tablespoons, etc are level. Macarons are temperamental and you will want your measurements to be accurate.

The next step is to combine the flour, powdered sugar, coco powder and espresso powder. What’s important here is that everything is blended in a food processor and sifted three times. Even though the almond flour might say “super fine” it still needs to be blended and sifted. This will allow you to achieve the super smooth dome macarons are famous for.

After blending and sifting, it’s on to your egg whites. Here you want to use a mixer and blend the egg whites until they are foamy. I mean really foamy. This will help you to achieve the stiff peaks.

Once foamy, add the sugar to your egg whites one spoonful at a time. Adding sugar slowly is necessary to form stiff peaks. (Whatever you do, do not pour it in all at once. Macrons are temperamental and there are no short cuts.)

The next step is to add about 1/3 of the sifted mixture to the egg whites at a time. You will want to use a spatula and gently fold together the ingredients. This is known as macaronage.

As with all things macarons, macaronage is tricky. You will want to fold together until you see a figure 8, roughly about 25 – 35 turns. Once the batter starts to form ribbons you are close. The ultimate test is to make a figure 8 with the batter and the shape holds while you hold your spatula stop there. However, if you see a figure 8 and it quickly disappears you have over mixed. If you cannot make a figure 8 keep mixing.

Photo Credit: Reality Bakes https://realitybakes.com/macarons-with-lemon-curd-buttercream/
(I was too excited when I achieved this and forgot to grab my camera)

Great British Baking Show Bake

Season 1, Episode 2,
Show Stopper

These chocolate macarons with espresso were my greatest baking challenge to date!

Background, the third bake of S1E2 consisted of three challenges (Petit fours; Meringues, Choux Pastry and Macrons), being realistic and wanting to enjoy the journey I made only one of the challenges, macarons.

These little chocolate macarons took me three tries to get close to the ideal.

* The first attempt I over mixed the batter and the chocolate macarons were runny. The result was no feet and just blobs. But they still tasted great.

* The second attempt I under mixed the batter and the chocolate macaron batter was too thick. The domes separated and the feet spread out.

* The third attempt was better, I had domes and feet. But the overall look was good, but not macaron perfect.

All and all I am happy with how the chocolate macarons came out and I am even happier I did not give up. I felt like this was something I would get better at over time. I also wanted to get better at making macarons in general. I always see them as accents on cakes and I want to be able to do that someday (soon)

Count: 6 down and 272 to go!

Chocolate Macarons with Espresso Ingredients and Equipment

Ingredients
* Almond flour
* Powdered sugar
* Coco powder
* Espresso powder
* Egg whites
* Sugar
* Butter
* Milk
* Vanilla

Equipment
* Food processor
* Mixer
* Cookie sheet
* Parchment paper

Now your ready to pipe! You have a couple of options here. You can purchase a silicone baking sheet with the macaron template on it or even an entire macaron kit. I opted to use a template printed from the internet and traced on to the parchment paper. I then turned the parchment paper over so that the cookies would not bake with ink on them. (Yep, I actually had to learn that the hard way on my second batch. I still ate them, ink and all.)

When it comes to piping use a 1/2 tip or something close to that size. Pipe the batter out at a slight angle, pressing into it a little so you form a dollop rather than making a circle (if you try to make a circle you will see the lines and it looks like, well you know). This took me several tries before I was better at it. After you have piped the circle you will have have a tip on each cookie. Simply dip your finger in water and gently rub over the tip. This will help to give you a smooth dome.

Once you are done piping, tap the tray on a hard surface five times. Don’t be gentle here, but don’t be violent either. This step will help to release air bubbles.

Let the macarons sit at room temperature until you can gently slide your finger over the top. By following this step, you are forming the dome that allows the infamous macarons feet to grow from underneath while baking. This step can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. I live in Denver where it is dry and it took about 35 minutes.

Than bake at 300 degrees for 17 minutes and allow to cool. Once cooled pipe in the butter cream in the center of a macaron and sandwich two sides together. It’s best to wait until the next day to eat the macaron. But if your like me, you will eat a few right away. In fact we ate half the batch of chocolate macarons with espresso right then and there — and we didn’t feel bad about it!

So good and Ella (my dog) is
praying for a crumb to drop:)

In the mood to bake something different? Try one of these instead.

* Perfect Biscuits
* Tres Leche Mango Cake
* Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

Chocolate Macarons with Espresso

Chocolate Macarons with Espresso

Chocolate macarons with espresso are melt in your mouth nuggets of French perfection!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 17 mins
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine French

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer
  • Hand Mixer

Ingredients
  

Macarons

Buttercream Filling

Instructions
 

Macarons

  • Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet.
    *I used parchment paper and a template from the internet to draw out 1.5 inch circles.
  • Combine the powdered sugar, almond flour, espresso powder and cocoa powder. This is the dry mixture. Than using a food processor, pulse the mixture. The goal here is to create as fine as a dust as possible. You cannot over due this step.
  • Than using a food processor, pulse the mixture. The goal here is to create as fine as a dust as possible. You cannot over due this step.
  • Sift the dry mixture 2 – 3 times. This step is necessary to have a smooth dome.
  • Using a mixer with a whip attachment whip the egg whites until foamy. Than slowly, one spoonful at a time, add the sugar.
    * Adding sugar slowly is necessary to form stiff peaks. (Whatever you do, do not pour it in all at once. Macrons are temperamental and there are no short cuts.)
    Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks forms, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add about 1/4 of the dry ingredients to the egg whites. Use a spatula to GENTLY fold until combined. Continue to fold slowly until the batter falls into ribbons and you can make a figure 8 while holding the spatula up.
  • Transfer batter into pastry bag.
  • Place 4 dots of the batter in each corner of the baking sheet, and place a piece of parchment paper over it. This will keep the baking sheet in place.
  • Pipe the macarons into the circles on the baking sheet.
  • Once pipped, tapped the baking sheet on counter three times to release any air bubbles trapped in the batter.
  • Let macarons rest for 30 – 60 minutes until you can gently glide your finder across the top.
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Bake the macarons for 17 minutes, until the feet have risen and the macarons don’t stick to the parchment paper.
  • Transfer the macarons to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

Buttercream Filling

  • Using a mixer, beat the butter on medium to high speed until creamy. This takes about 2 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to medium and add the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down side of bowl as necessary, until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add milk 1 – 2 tsp at a time as needed.
  • Add vanilla, and beat until smooth.

Assembly

  • Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag.
  • Add a dollop of buttercream to one macaron shell. Top it with another macaron shell to create a sandwich (like an oreo). Repeat with remaining macaron shells and buttercream.
  • Place in an air tight container for 24 hours. (if you can wait that long)
Keyword Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Espresso Macarons, Chocolate Macarons, Macarons
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Easy Bread Recipe

Easy Bread Recipe

This bread recipe is so easy that it will quickly become your go-to recipe any time you want to make crusty on the outside and soft on the inside bread.

The key to this easy bread recipe is an enameled covered cast iron pot also known as a dutch oven. The sizes of a dutch oven can span from .5 quart to as large as 15 quarts. in the picture above I used a 5-quart dutch oven. I have also made this recipe in a 7 quart. As long as your dutch oven is 2.5 quarts or larger it will work with this easy bread recipe.

Here are some tips I have learned along the way making this easy bread recipe.

  • To start making this super easy bread recipe, place all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Be sure to have the salt and the yeast on the opposite sides of the bowl. If the salt and yeast are placed together the salt will kill the yeast. If this happens your dough will not rise.
  • The next step is to add the water. The temperature should be between 95 and 105 degrees. I use a thermometer to ensure the water is at the correct temperature. This step is up to you. I have just had many bread failures so I always go the extra mile to ensure the water is at the correct temperature.
  • Once the water is added the dough will be sticky. This is a good thing.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place the dough in a bowl
  • Choose a cover (cling wrap or a shower cap) for the dough and spray the cover with cooking spray. Once sprayed cover the dough.
  • Place a warm damp towel over the cling wrap or shower cap. I like to think of this as tucking my bread in for the night. 🙂
  • I recommend placing a towel under the bowl if you have stone or tile countertops. This will help keep the bowl warm from the cold countertops.
  • When you’re ready to bake the bread, lightly flour the surface you will be working on. Take the dough out of the bowl and form it into a ball.
  • During this time your dutch oven will be warming up in the oven. I find that because the dutch oven is so hot it freaks me out a little. Because of that, I place the dough ball on parchment paper. However, the parchment paper gives it a wood-fired taste that you might not like.
  • Once your dough is in the dutch oven, place the cover on and put the dutch oven inside your oven.
  • By placing the cover on your creating a moist environment for bread to bake that is similar to professional ovens. This environment creates bread that is soft on the inside and crusty on the outside.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the cover and allow your bread to continue to bake for another 15 minutes. During the time your bread will turn a beautiful golden brown.
  • Now, this is the hard part. Once your bread is done, place it on a rack and allow it to cool for 30 minutes before you eat it. When you cut into your bread will see lots of amazing holes and great bread structure the yeast created
Bread Detail
Easy No Kneed Bread Structure

For those who are counting along with me on my quest to bake my way through the Great British Baking Show, this is the 5th bake. I leapfrogged the last bake from S1, E2. I will make macrons later this week. But for now, I have 5 down and 273 to go!


Bread Detail

Easy Bread Recipe – No Knead Dutch Oven

This bread is so easy to make. All you need is flour, water, yeast, salt, and a dutch oven and you will be able to make this great-looking bread!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Resting Time 20 hrs
Total Time 21 hrs
Course Bread
Cuisine American, French
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven
  • Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups Flour (all-purpose or bread)
  • 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1.5 tsp Salt (sea salt preferably)
  • 1.5 cups Water between 95 and 105 degrees

Instructions
 

  • Place dry ingredients in a bowl with the yeast on one side and the salt on the other side.
  • Add in the warm water and mix until the dough forms a ball.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a shower cap (it's reusable) and a damp towel for 20 – 24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with the dutch oven inside.
  • While heating takes the dough out of the bowl, place it on a lightly floured surface, and form into a ball. (I like to do this on parchment paper so that it's easier to place the dough into the dutch oven).
  • Carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven (it will be hot, so be careful) and remove the lid. Either spray the dutch oven with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper, then place the dough in the dutch oven and put the cover back on.
  • Place the dough in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to fully cool before eating.
Keyword Bread, Dutch Oven Bread, Easy Bread Recipe, No Knead Bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Perfect Biscuit Recipe

Perfect Biscuit Recipe

This simple homemade biscuit recipe makes a dozen biscuits in 30 minutes!

This morning I woke up and made great big perfect fluffy scones/biscuits! I tried the other day and they were good, but today I made them and they were great!!! I am so excited I might have to make biscuits everyday. I am thinking of all the ways I can make them… Biscuit pot pie, biscuits and gravy, biscuits and jam. I can’t wait to try them all!

Speaking of biscuits…. I am baking them as part of my attempt to bake my way through the Great British Baking Show. But in England what is known as a scone, is a biscuit here an America. From here on out, I will call them biscuits.

The other day when I tried making them I followed the BBC recipe. I liked that the recipe was small in size, perfect for our little household. The recipe also followed the metric system, which I also like for it’s precision. However, when the recipe called for a ML of milk I was lost. My scale does not measure a ML. I probably could have used Google, but in a panic I used another recipe and adjusted down the recipe. It worked. The biscuit were great.

Today I used an American recipe from the website ‘Mom on Timeout’ and it went so much better! I did make some minor changes to her recipe based on what I had in cupboard.

The biscuits were nice and fluffy! They are heaven!!! I paired them with some raspberry quick jam for breakfast and for dinner I made a mushroom pot pie with biscuit in middle. HEAVEN!!! Today I will post the recipe for the biscuit and in a few days I will post the mushroom pot pie recipe. I hope you enjoy!

RECIPE:

  • BISCUIT
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup COLD butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole mil
  • JAM
  • 200 g raspberries
  • 150 g sugar
  • 1/4 tsp lemon

Biscuit Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450.
  2. Chop the butter into small squares.
    • Tip: Keep the butter COLD and not to overwork it.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
  4. Add in butter.
    • Tip: Use a pastry cutter. You can use your hands, but it’s easier to warm the butter too much and over work it.
    • Tip: You should end up with small pea size bits of butter in your dough.
  5. Add in the egg and milk just enough to incorporate. The dough will be wet and sticky
    • Tip: Remove your wedding ring prior to taking the dough out of the bowl to keep your souse happy.
  6. Spread flour out on a dry surface and kneed 10 – 15 times.
  7. Using your hands, pat the dough out to about an 1 inch thickness. Using a round cutter, cut the biscuits into shape.
    • TIP: Brush the tops with melted butter for a tan look
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the biscuits on the sheet.
  9. Cook for for 12 – 15 minutes. 17 minutes for higher altitudes.

Jam Instructions

  1. Put the raspberries in a small deep-sided saucepan and crush them with a masher.
  2. Add the sugar and bring to the boil over a low heat until the sugar has melted.
  3. Increase the heat and boil for 4 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon.
  5. Remove from the heat and carefully pour into a shallow container.
  6. Leave to cool and set.

Judge (Kurt)

The first attempt was good, but not fluffy enough. The second attempt was spot on. Soft, fluffy and the correct texture.

GBBO Count: 5 bakes down, 274 bakes to go!

What is a Biscuit? No really what is it? (Sub-text: Epic GBBO Fail)

Cheddar and Chive Biscuit — GBBO S1, E2, Challenge 1

I have to ask what is a biscuit? In America they are great fluffy things that we drown in gravy. It’s heaven. But in England I thought they were crackers, so I choose a cheddar and rosemary biscuit from Season 1, Episode 2. I was going to pair it with a lovely tomato soup. I was so excited.

Than I noticed, that other “biscuits” were sweet. Confused I did a a quick google search and the results returned this:

“To most of the rest of the English-speaking world, a biscuit is what Americans would
refer to as either a cookie or a cracker. … A British biscuit is an American cookie and an
American cookie is a British cookie and an American biscuit is a British scone and an
American scone is something else entirely.”

Confused? So am I! If I am reading this right a British biscuit is an American Cookie. So I am wondering why would a contestant think Cheddar and Rosemary would be a good cookie? Maybe that is just me being very American, but I think a cookie should involve lots of sugar and chocolate.

However, remembering why I am doing this I followed the recipe as planned and came up with this golden little nugget (said sarcastically):

LOL, yep, that was my result. I am not sure how someone got 12 biscuits rectangle biscuits out of this recipe (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/cheese-rosemary-biscuits). I have gone over it a few times to see if I missed something important like Baking Soda, but nope, I did it right.

I can just see the look on Paul, Mary, and Prue’s faces — and I have to laugh. In the end, it was a good experience and I am glad I tried. I have a lot more baking to do over the next few years and I am sure I will get better. But my commitment on this journey is to share the good, the bad, the ugly and have fun along the way.

Next up, Scones. According to the description above a British Scone is like an American Biscuit? I was planning on creating my own flavor. I might have to rethink that learn the basics first.

4 down and 275 to go.

Ruth

Kit Kat Chocolate Bucket Cake with M&M’s and Strawberry Filling

Kit Kat Chocolate Bucket Cake with M&M’s and Strawberry Filling

GBBO Season 1, Episode 1, Show Stopper Challenge:

This challenge coincided perfectly with my grandson’s fourth birthday. He picked out this cake from a few pictures and I was so excited to try and bake it for him. To make this I combined a few recipes and I added in strawberry jam. My thought was this was a lot of chocolate and I wanted to break up the flavor. The strawberry jam is optional, however I highly recommend something to break up the flavor of so much chocolate.

In making this cake I learned a few important lessons that I can use in future bakes:

  • Espresso powder in chocolate cakes enhances the chocolate flavor.
  • By adding hot water to the batter it makes the cake even more moist.
  • Because the cake is so moist, it is best to line the cooling racks with parchment paper. If not it will stick (yep, this happened to me!)
  • I filled the bucket with as many M&M’s as I could. While it was a great visual, it was too much. Too much sugar and too much to handle when cutting the cake. The next time I make this cake I will use much less M&Ms.

Let’s get baking!

  • Strawberry Jam
    • 1 PD of Strawberries
    • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • Chocolate Cake
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1.5 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp espresso powder
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/2cup vegetable oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1cup boiling water
  • Filling
    • 3 sticks of butter
    • 1 cup cocoa powder
    • 5 cups confectioner sugar
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 2tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2tsp espresso powder
  • Decoration
    • 4 King Kit Kat’s
    • 1 Sharable M&M package

Strawberry Jam

  1. Cut the strawberry’s into a smaller size. Cook the strawberry’s over low to medium heat to soften.
  2. Add the sugar, lower the heat and and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Once the sugar has dissolved, allow the liquid to boil for about six – eight minutes.
  4. All the jam to cool.
    • I usually make this a day or two before.

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 nine inch cake pans.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients: Flour, sugar, coco powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder.
  3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix using an electric mixer.
  4. Once mixed add the boiling water.
  5. Divide the batter between the two pans and place in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Press the cake with your finger and if the cake springs back you are done.
  6. Once the cakes have completely cooled you can decorate.

Filling

  1. Place cocoa powder in a mixing bowl and mix out any clumps
  2. Add butter and beat together until creamed
  3. Add sugar and milk in small amounts until fully mixed
  4. Add vanilla and espresso powder

Assembling the Cake

  1. Place the Kit Kat’s in the freezer separated by paper towels. This will keep the Kit Kat’s free of finger prints.
  2. Place the first layer on a cake board flat side up.
  3. Fill a piping bag with the filling
  4. Create a moat around the cake about 1/2 in from the edge of the boarder.
  5. Fill the moat with the strawberry jam
  6. Pipe a layer of frosting above the layer of strawberry jam
  7. Place the second cake on top of the frosting flat side up.
  8. Frost the cake
  9. Place the Kit Kat’s around the cake. Use a string or ribbon to keep the Kit Kat’s in place
  10. Fill the bucket wit M&M’s

JUDGMENT:

Finally, because this is a GBBO bake I have to add in the judges responses. The first Judge, Kurt, loved the cake! He said it was moist and decadent. He also felt like it was a show stopper. The second judge, my grandson, I did not get his exact response because he was eating it so fast. But he did look very happy 🙂

Victoria Sandwich

Victoria Sandwich

GBBO Season 1, Episode 1, Technical Challenge

In all Great British Baking show competitions the second challenge is the technical challenge. The first ever was the Victoria Sandwich. I guess this is a sweet treat Queen Victoria liked with her afternoon tea. Being American I had never heard of it prior to the show and I was eager to try it.

All and all I would say it was an easy bake. I thought I had done a great job until I posted the side by side comparison. I think my cake, or sponge, was much lighter than the picture showed. But then again it’s a comparison against Mary Berry with perfect professional lighting so I am not sure that was ever going to turn out in my favor 🙂

Following the recipe I made a couple of changes and there is one thing I would do differently…

  1. I made homemade jam. It’s just too easy and so much better than the store bought.
  2. Instead of self rising flour I made my own by adding Baking Powder and salt. However I did use slightly less Baking Powder than was recommended to adjust to living in Colorado.
  3. Following Mary Berry’s recipe I would make twice as much filling. The amount the recipe called for allowed me pipe around the edge, but I could not pipe that well inside. I tried to spread it, however it was making too much of a mess so I just did the best I could.

Judge (Kurt)

It was a good bake. Cake pans were not even resulting in the bottom pan being a little dry. Jam as fantastic. A solid 8.5

RECIPE (from the BBC)

  • For the sponge
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 225g (8oz) caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 225g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • For the jam
  • 200g (7oz) raspberries
  • 250g (9oz) jam sugar
  • For the buttercream
  • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g/7oz icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line two 8in sandwich tins: use a piece of baking or silicone paper to rub a little baking spread or butter around the inside of the tins until the sides and base are lightly coated. Line the bottom of the tins with a circle of baking paper.
  2. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, flour, baking powder and soft butter. Mix everything together until well combined. Be careful not to over-mix – as soon as everything is blended you should stop. The finished mixture should be of a soft ‘dropping’ consistency.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins. Use a spatula to remove all of the mixture from the bowl and gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
  4. Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Don’t be tempted to open the door while they’re cooking, but after 20 minutes do look through the door to check them.
  5. While the cakes are cooking, make the jam. Put the raspberries in a small deep-sided saucepan and crush them with a masher. Add the sugar and bring to the boil over a low heat until the sugar has melted. Increase the heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour into a shallow container. Leave to cool and set.
  6. The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins. Press them gently to check – they should be springy to the touch. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Then run a palette or rounded butter knife around the inside edge of the tin and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.
  7. To take your cakes out of the tins without leaving a wire rack mark on the top, put the clean tea towel over the tin, put your hand onto the tea towel and turn the tin upside-down. The cake should come out onto your hand and the tea towel – then you can turn it from your hand onto the wire rack. Set aside to cool completely.
  8. For the buttercream, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Add the remaining tablespoon of milk if the buttercream is too thick. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
  9. To assemble, choose the sponge with the best top, then put the other cake top-down on to a serving plate. Spread with the jam then pipe the buttercream on top of the jam. Place the other sponge on top (top uppermost) and sprinkle with caster sugar to serve.

Tips/Techniques

For this recipe you will need two 8in sandwich tins, an electric mixer and piping bag fitted with plain nozzle. Note: This recipe contains U.K. measurements and may require conversions to U.S. measurements. It has also not been professionally tested.

Tres Leches Mango Cake

Tres Leches Mango Cake

GBBO Season 1, Episode 1, Challenge 1

I started my foray into the Great British Bake Off, or show as it is known in the US) with a simple cake.  Actually I was so excited to make this cake I could hardly wait.  I made a Tres Leche cake with mango Creme following a Spicy Perspective’s recipe for my friend Foua.

The cake was actually pretty easy to make and was perfect for a hot summer day.  I did make a few modifications to the cake. 

  1. The first was to reduce the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon to adjust for living in a high altitude
  2. I soaked the sponges overnight.  When I went to assemble the cake I thought I might have made a mistake by soaking them so long.  They just seemed heavy and really over the top.  However once I ate the cake it was perfect.  The entire thing cake together really well. 
  3. I diced up the mango for the top.  I wish I could have cut them in a flower design the way Spicy Perspective had, but I just could not get it right.  Props to Sommer Collier for her skill in cutting the mango!

I do have a lot of work to do on decoration and having it look cleaner.  However for my first cake I was really nervous.  I was afraid it would taste awful and I am happy at how it tasted.

Next up, Victoria Sandwich.   I will probably make mini ones in a week or so.

Recipe from A Spicy Perspective

For the Mango Cream:

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 ripe mangoes
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8- to 9-inch cake pans and set aside.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Then add the vanilla.
  • Crack the eggs into a measuring pitcher. Then with the mixer running, alternate adding the eggs and flour mixture until just combined. Scrape the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 20 minutes, until golden on top. Remove the cakes from pans and cool for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream together. Set aside.
  • Once the cakes are cool, place one on a cake platter and the other on a sheet of foil with the edges turned up to form a shallow bowl. Poke both cakes with a fork thoroughly, to help the milks absorb. Slowly pour half the tres leches mixture over each cake and allow them to sit and soak it all up while you make the Mango Cream.

For the Mango Cream:

  • Peel both mangoes. Slice one into thin strips and set aside as the garnish. Cut the second off the pit and place in the blender with 2/3 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Puree until smooth.
  • Pour the puree into a small sauce pan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. Stir and simmer for 3-5 minutes until thick. Then place in the fridge to cool.

To Assemble:

  • Using a clean bowl and electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until firm peaks form. Then gently fold in the chilled mango puree.
  • Scoop about half the Mango Cream on the cake that’s on the platter. Spread the Mango Cream evenly, then carefully flip the second cake layer on top and remove the foil. Spread the remaining mango cream on the top and decorate with fresh mango slices.

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 596kcal, Carbohydrates: 62g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 184mg, Sodium: 218mg, Potassium: 383mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 52g, Vitamin A: 1615IU, Vitamin C: 11.7mg, Calcium: 243mg, Iron: 1mg