Thursday, 21 September 2017

Salted Caramel Pie with Chocolate Sauce!

This Salted Caramel Pie is very easy to make & doesn't require a sugar thermometer.  The yin-yang flavour combination of the salted caramel is further enhanced with the dark chocolate pieces peppered through the biscuit base and the 2 ingredient chocolate sauce to serve.  It can be made ahead of time making it the perfect dessert for dinner parties!
An easy Salted Caramel Pie recipe, served with a dark chocolate sauce.

This week's GBBO episode centred around the sweet luscious treat of caramel, a first for the series.  There were enough millionaires slices with thick layers of homemade caramel to keep those with a sweet tooth very happy!

The bakers in the GBBO tent were charged with making a caramel for their signature bake of 18 millionaires slices which were firm enough to hold their shape, but not too firm for it to become chewy when eaten.  It was clearly quite a technical challenge with the vast majority of them using a sugar thermometer, waiting for the mixture to reach soft ball stage.

But what if I tell you that the caramel in this Salted Caramel Pie recipe is really easy to make, and that it holds its shape without having to boil the sugar and cream mixture to a precise temperature, with your fingers crossed hoping that the caramel filling doesn't ooze out in front of your dinner guests once it's sliced into!

Are you ready to learn the secret of this easy homemade Salted Caramel Pie?  And when I tell you, feel free to share it with your friends and family, or even shout it from the roof tops!

How to make a salted caramel pie

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Cottage Loaf with Pesto

The Cottage Loaf is a British classic.  The dough is shaped with one ball positioned ontop of the other and is baked in a hot & steamy oven to create a wonderful crust.  This Cottage Loaf  recipe with added Pesto contains the delicious flavours and aromas of pesto making it perfect for cheese sandwiches, or even served with a tomato soup, for instance.

How to make a cottage loaf flavoured with pesto, perfect used in cheese sandwiches or with a tomato soup for instance.

With a blink of an eye week 3 of GBBO has passed.

I have to confession.  No, I'm not warming to Neil Fielding, but rather I was in two minds whether to bake along with the show this week!  You see, as much as bread is very much a staple in our household, particularly for Mr E, and despite the fact that I love making our own homemade bread by hand feeling the change in the dough as it morphs from a craggy lump of flour and water to a glossy and stretchy dough, my increasingly unstable & painful wrists have other ideas.  And as for the stand mixer which was bought specifically to help me make bread, let's just say it definitely needs some lessons from Mr Paul Hollywood despite arriving with a dough hook!

Cottage Loaf is a British Classic recipe

My bread making efforts this past year have largely been restricted to no-knead loaves, so just as I was beginning to think that I would be watching fellow bloggers bake from the side-lines my knight in shining armour (rusty!), Mr E, took hold of the bread making reins to make this Cottage Loaf flavoured with pesto.

Cottage loaf recipe

Over to Mr E.

I made sure I fingered my loaf well!  😀

Seriously though, even though there was a lot of hilarity about this in the episode on Tuesday night as well as An Extra Slice, Angela explained that it helps to secure the two balls of dough together.   It turned out to be a really tasty loaf with a wonderful crust and I must admit it wasn't particularly difficult to make.  Though, a bit of extra practice fingering my loaf would probably make it sit up straight!

How to shape a cottage loaf

A couple of tips and thoughts when make homemade bread:

  • Don't be afraid to allow your bread to proove in the fridge, either overnight or throughout the day.  Although most recipes state to place the kneaded dough in a warm place to encourage the yeast to work, creating carbon dioxide and therefore allowing the dough to rise, by placing it in the fridge this process still happens.  Yes it's a much slower proove, but that extra time not only allows you to get on with other tasks as well as producing a much tastier loaf!
  • Use something other than clingfilm to cover your dough when it's set aside to proove. We all know that plastics are causing serious harm to our planet, so why not use one of the many other alternatives.  A shower cap, purchased just for making homemade bread which can easily be wiped clean and used time and time again, can be used to cover both small and large bowls.  Alternatively use a plate to cover the bowl or even a clean teatowel.  A large upturned mixing bowl is also a great item to cover a shaped round loaf, like this cottage loaf, during its second proove.   
  • Be aware that it's entirely possible that you may need to knead your bread dough for longer than 10 minutes (or what ever your recipe suggests).  It all depends on your technique and speed.  Use the windowpane test to check that the dough is ready to be prooved.
  • The windowpane test checks to see if the bread dough is ready to be prooved.  Simple take a lump of dough a little smaller than a golf ball and begin to gently stretch the dough between both of your hands.  Turn the dough a little as you do so. If the dough becomes paper thin without tearing, almost thin enough to see through, just like a windowpane, it is ready to be prooved .  Check out this Youtube video showing the windowpane test in action.  And this Youtube Video takes the windowpane test to another level, explaining the role of gluten in breads and other baked products.


Thursday, 14 September 2017

Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers

You may know these Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers as hand pies or even parcels.  They're easy to make, and the lightly spiced apple filling is encased in a delicious cream cheese pastry. They're the perfect bake for the autumn months.

Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers recipe with a cream cheese pastry

Now that the seasons are changing and it's becoming clearly more autumnal as each day passes, with the chillier, shorter days and the leaves beginning to turn all shades of red, many of us are starting to be drawn towards comfort foods.

For me, being a girl with an obvious sweet tooth (just check out my recipe index and I'm sure you'll soon agree), comfort food can be anything from pies, crumbles, steamed puddings to rich fruit cakes.

How to make Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers

The great thing about autumn as I see it, other than the fact that it's a whole lot of fun to walk through piles of crisp, freshly fallen gold and russet leaves (I know, I'm such a big kid!) is the huge range of seasonal fruit and vegetables available.  From blackberries and pears, to pumpkins and squashes, and beets.  And of course it's the start of the apple season too!

If you're looking to rustle up a few seasonal bakes, here are some ideas from the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen for inspiration (just click on the image to be taken to the recipe).  If beetroot is your thing do check out this collection of 14 brilliant beetroot recipes too, but if you're looking for ways to use apples, then keep reading as I will not only share with you my Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnover recipe but a further 13 apple recipes from some top food bloggers.       


Saturday, 9 September 2017

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Inspired by the popular Oreo biscuit, this Chocolate & Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie recipe is certainly one to try!  The recipe produces a cookie style biscuit which is packed with peanut butter and chocolate flavour, they're easy to make, and will satisfy the fussiest of cookie fans!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies recipe

It was biscuit week in the GBBO tent this past week and the signature bake of 'sandwiched biscuits' was far more appealing to Mr E & I than the fortune cookies and the biscuit board game the bakers were challenged with making. 

After all a double biscuit, or sandwich biscuit, is effectively two for the price of one!

How to make Chocolate and Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Continuing to bake along with the Great Blogger's Bake Off hosted by Jenny at Mummy Mishaps, I spent a few too many minutes perusing the biscuit aisle of our local supermarket searching for inspiration for our sandwich biscuit bake.  There were so many sandwiched biscuits to choose from. Custard Creams.  Bourbons.  Jammie Dodgers.  But the one which caught my attention the most was Oreo's peanut butter flavour biscuits!

I mean, who doesn't love a peanut butter and chocolate flavoured biscuit?

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Homemade Blackberry & Pear Jam

This Blackberry & Pear Jam uses nature's free bounty to make a tasty preserve for just a few pence.  Not only is homemade jam easy to make and can be used in lots of ways, this blackberry jam recipe uses 25% less sugar than most!

Homemade Blackberry & Pear Jam recipe with reduced refined sugar

If you're at all familiar with my blog, Only Crumbs Remain, I'm sure you will have noticed that I like nothing more than a spot of baking!  Whether that's rustling up a few cupcakes, a melt in your mouth pastry, a cookie or two, or even to challenge myself by baking along with the GBBO series, it often means additions like jams, curds and frostings are made to finish a bake.

Just a week or two ago I made a batch of Blackberry and Pear Cupcakes.  They were a fairly simple cupcake filled with a homemade and seasonal blackberry and pear jam, and topped with a delicious mascarpone and white chocolate frosting.  They were so tasty largely because of the fresh fruity taste of the jam.  It seemed such a shame to leave the jam recipe scurried away in the cupcake post, it was certainly crying out for its very own printable recipe!

Blackberry & Pear Cupcakes made with homemade jam

Of course, this blackberry and pear jam is super yummy in cupcakes, but it's also amazing in all the other ways that we traditionally use jam:  spread onto toast or in sandwiches may be with a slice of cheese, dolloped into a warm comforting bowl of creamy rice pudding and of course used in other bakes such as jam tarts, swiss rolls or a Victoria Sandwich cake.  The list goes on, but of course it makes a great gift too when presented in a nice jar and perhaps finished with a pretty ribbon and tag!


Saturday, 2 September 2017

Box of Chocolates Cake

Perfect for special occasions, this Box of Chocolates Cake is shaped to resemble a box of chocolates!  It's made with a simple vanilla flavoured batter, sandwiched together with raspberry jam and buttercream and covered with white chocolate ganache and fondant before being filled with the all important homemade chocolate truffles!

How to make a cake resemble a box of chocolates

And GBBO is back!  Despite the migration from the Beeb to channel 4 resulting in the loss of Mary, Mel and Sue, the introduction of adverts, and new hosts for our nation's favourite baking show, the new series of Great British Bake Off is still rich in all that we love: baking!

As with the past two series of GBBO I shall endeavour to bake along with the competition, sharing my interpretation of some of the challenges here on Only Crumbs Remain.

A box of chocolates illusion cake

Just like in previous years, week 1 was cake week and saw the 12 bakers face 3 challenges.  The signature bake asked the bakers to make a fruit cake (made with fresh fruit rather than the dried stuff), the technical bake set by Prue challenged the bakers to make a dozen Chocolate Mini Rolls and the showstopper challenge was an illusion cake, which saw cakes look like anything but cake.  There was a rather inventive BLT, a handbag, and a champagne bottle in a bucket - all made out of cake!

How to easily model a vanilla cake to resemle a box of chocolates with fondant icing

In recent months I've become a huge fan Zoe's Fancy Cakes and her YouTube channel.  As her name suggests, she's a whizz at making fancy cakes (do check out her channel if you've ever wondered how they're made!)  It was through watching her helpful videos that I learnt how to make some fondant Christmas cake character toppers, like a penguin, choir boy and Santa.  But until now I'd not tackled anything more intricate.  The GBBO challenge was the perfect excuse to push myself a little more and attempt an illusion cake.

Wanting to keep things relatively simple we decided to harness the square shape of our cake and fashion it into a box of chocolates, complete with a selection of handmade chocolate truffles (and lid!).  After all, who doesn't love a box of chocolates!


Friday, 1 September 2017

Baking Crumbs - September 2017

Welcome to September's #BakingCrumbs linky!  This is the place for bloggers to share their baking recipes, and non-bloggers to find new recipes to whet their appetite.  This post contains a full round up of August's entrants where I also highlight my favourite!  

Delicious baked goods for #BakingCrumbs linky, August round up

Firstly can I say a huge thank you to everybody for the incredible support given to the #BakingCrumbs linky, both through linking up and on social media.  It's truly been amazing to see so many fabulous recipes linked up, helping to make the first month so much fun!  I look forward to you joining in this month too, & the coming months, making this a great community of baking fans.

There was an amazing 23 bakes entered into #BakingCrumbs in August, from loaf cakes, tray bakes and even an amazing patisserie bake!  And with this year's GBBO series starting soon I'm imagining that there will be even more baking antics as people bake along with the show - I know I certainly will be.  For that reason, during the Bake Off, feel free to add up to 3 of your fabulous bakes (ordinarily it is 2).  

At the start of each month I shall share a round up of the bakes linked up the previous month.  In addition I shall highlight my favourite bake from that collection.  From the wealth of amazing bakes in this first month alone I know that it'll be quite a challenge to select a favourite!

But first the round up.  And what a round up it is!  Grab a pot of tea (or coffee if you prefer), and marvel (or should that be drool) at the tempting bakes that were linked up last month. As always, if any of the bakes catch your eye do click on the green recipe title to be taken to the blogger's post and grab the recipe.

If you're a blogger, the linky for September's #BakingCrumbs is now open (you can find it towards the bottom of the post), where, for the duration of GBBO, you're welcome to add up to 3 bakes!

And if you're not a blogger, do check out the bakes which whet your appetite!   


Sunday, 27 August 2017

Blackberry & Pear Cupcakes

These delicious Blackberry and Pear Cupcakes make great use of autumnal fruits.  Making a refreshing change to the traditional blackberry and apple pairing, these cupcakes are filled with a homemade blackberry and pear jam, and topped with an easy mascarpone and white chocolate frosting, a drizzle of seasonal coulis and a fresh blackberry finishes the presentation. 

Blackberry and Pear Cupcake recipe, topped with a mascarpone and white chocolate frosting

We all know how great blackberry and apple is together but why not ring the changes and team those seasonal blackberries with pears!

Cupcakes with autumnal fruits


Monday, 21 August 2017

Raspberry & White Chocolate Traybake Cake

Essentially an upside-down cake recipe, this Raspberry & White Chocolate Traybake Cake tastes amazing.  The beautiful slightly sharp raspberries balance well against the sweet creaminess of the white chocolate, which can be found both drizzled over the raspberries and in the sponge cake.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Tray bake cake, a twist on an easy upside down cake using seasonal fruits

I'm sure if you're a regular to Only Crumbs Remain you may have noticed that I've fallen under the spell of upside-down cakes this summer with an aromatic strawberry and basil, and a dark moody bilberry upside down cake made in recent weeks.  Both were so well received by those we shared them with, and were an absolute doddle to make.

So having seen some wonderful fresh raspberries for sale in our local supermarket this past week I instantly knew how we'd use them - in another version of an upside down cake!  Not only are they a doddle to make, and there's no worry about the fruit sinking to the bottom as can often happen when it's mixed into the batter, but turning the cake out to reveal the colourful fruit beneath is always exciting!