Apricot slice

A slice dense with apricot and coconut, delicious.

My admiration of Annabel Crabb is well established so I will not revisit it due to it bordering on embarrassing and inappropriate. But her first cookbook Special Delivery is fabulous. There are myriad recipes I have bookmarked but keep coming back time and time again to this apricot slice recipe. I’ve made it four times. FOUR.

Dense dense dense dried apricot goodness
Dense dense dense dried apricot goodness

Apricot slice
 
A wonderful cakey slice dense with dried apricots
Author:
Ingredients
For the slice
  • 200g dried apricots, finely diced
  • 125 g butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • ½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup milk
For the icing
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Instructions
For the cake
  1. Put the apricots in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to seep for 30 minutes and then drain well
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 20x30cm slice tin (I tend to make it in a 20cm square tin because I like the slice quite high)
  3. Mix together the sugar, coconut, flour and almonds
  4. Mix together the apricots and the butter
  5. Mix dry with wet and then add the milk to loosen it all up
  6. Pour into your tin and bake for 30 minutes or so (a bit longer if doing in the smaller tin option)
  7. Leave to cool then ice, although I've been known to ice it hot because I can.not.wait.any.longer
For the icing
  1. Add the lemon juice bit by bit until you get a relatively thin paste, drizzle over the slice.

 

IMG_20160202_153305
Apricot slice with lemon icing

Onward!

Blueberry Crumble Slice

So I finally recently bought Smitten Kitchen‘s cookbook which is as good as I had hoped. I have followed her blog for as long as I can remember and have never ever had a recipe of hers fail. In the cookbook is a version of this using cranberries for the festive season.

This slice is divine, plain and simple. A basic shortbread base that is also scattered over the top of the blueberries. I’ve made this with apple and rhubarb (that I’d stewed previously) and blackberries and every time it turns out a treat.

This is @smittenkitchen's blueberry crumble slice.
This is @smittenkitchen’s blueberry crumble slice.

Blueberry Crumble Slice
 
Blueberries encased in a shortbread biscuity base and top
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 225 g butter
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tsp cornflour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 20x30cm pan
  2. Using a pastry cutter (or your fingers) blend the sugar, baking powder, plain flour, lemon zest with the butter
  3. Then add the egg
  4. Mix the juice, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl then toss through the blueberries
  5. Press half the dough into the baking tin
  6. Top with the blueberries
  7. Scatter over the remaining dough
  8. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, until the top is nice and golden and the blueberries are bubbling.

 

onward!

Honey Pecan Cake

A wonderful light cake fragrant and sticky with honey and pecans

Possibly one of the best cakes I've ever made. Quite something.
Possibly one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. Quite something.

Possibly the best cake I have ever made and I think my dedication to cake is well established.

For a few weeks I’ve had a hankering for a honey-scented cake, similar to my quest for a decent honey ice-cream, even though ice-cream and my stomach don’t see eye-to-eye.

Honey pecan cake.
Honey pecan cake.

Food52’s Baking book delivered. Honey AND pecans, we were onto a winner.

There are steps, there are bowls, just work with it.

The caramel pecan base
The caramel pecan base

Food52 uses a 23cm round springform pan with baking paper that comes up above the join but this sounded like a doomed plan to me so I used a 20cm square tin, which I lined with one piece of baking paper with no joins in it whatsoever (so the caramel can’t escape)

Honey Pecan Cake
 
A stunning combination of honey and pecans in a delicate cake
Author:
Ingredients
For the topping
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves
For the cake
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 110g butter
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C and line your prefered pan
For the topping
  1. Melt the butter with the honey then pour over the bottom of the pan
  2. Evenly spread the pecans over it
For the cake
  1. Blitz the pecans into a flour, add to the plain flour and set aside
  2. Whisk the eggwhites to stiff peaks and set aside
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale
  4. Then add the egg yolks, then the honey, vanilla and buttermilk
  5. Gently stir in the flours
  6. Gently fold through the egg whites and then spoon into the pan over the pecans
  7. Bake for 35-40mins
  8. Let it cool a little then flip onto a serving platter
  9. It'd be divine with ice-cream or cream. Or both.

 

Onward!

Espresso brownies

I have just finished my (paid) work and am bracing for school home time. It’s been a mixed bag of a week which saw me in tears last night at the thought of making dinner AGAIN (#everyfuckingnight, I swear to God people, every.fucking.night). Sure, there may have been some hormones involved but let’s just put that day to bed.

These are on the front cover of Food52’s baking book from which I want to bake every single recipe. Hey, maybe that’s a challenge I can set myself? And are so very good.

You need a big baking pan – 33 x 45cm, 13 x 18 inch – so get onto that. You could of course just split the mixture between two smaller ones but as to what size they’d be don’t ask me because, well, numeral.

It makes a lot – 24 large brownies, 36 smaller ones. It uses eight eggs. EIGHT EGGS! When I started cooking as a kid and then with a fair amount of gusto as a teenager I’d show mum a recipe and without fail there’d be an exclamation about how many eggs were in it. Were eggs expensive back then? Was there some sort of price collusion in the 80s I was unaware of? Anyway, it uses eight eggs.

Now, even though in the recipe’s intro it talks about how this is the 35th version of  these brownies the recipe creator June Jacobs has created, I still didn’t follow it exactly. Just follow it exactly OK?

Espresso brownies.
Espresso brownies.

Espresso brownies
 
Rich, fudgey brownies with icing on top, as if that's even allowed.
Author:
Ingredients
Brownies
  • 3 cups lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 225g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 eggs (EIGHT eggs!)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder (use a strong espresso kind)
  • 2 cups toasted nuts (I left these out, totally fine without it)
  • 2 cups choc chips
Icing
  • 1½ cups caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • ¼ cup cognac (I KNOW! Fancy like)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup choc chips
Instructions
For the brownies
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C and butter the sheet pan
  2. In a mixer beat the butter and sugar together but you don't want it all fluffy - these are brownies remember, not a cake, you don't need a heap of air in the mix
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping as you go
  4. Then add the vanilla and salt
  5. Mix the flour with the coffee and cocoa powder and nuts
  6. Add to the butter mixture
  7. Pour the batter into the pan and spread it out THEN sprinkle over the choc chips
  8. Swirl the choc chips in a bit (I ignored this and added them with the flour and all the choc chips sunk to the bottom, so yeah, maybe the recipe is right)
  9. Bake for 23½ minutes (don't you love the precision! I did mine for a bit longer because I didn't have the right sized tin and was winging it)
For the icing
  1. Combine everything except the chocolate in a saucepan and stir fairly constantly until it comes to the boil
  2. Let it boil for a a minute or two.
  3. Take off the heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth
  4. Pour over the cooled brownies
  5. Drown your troubles.

 

Wholemeal apple and cinnamon muffins

School’s back today. We’re on the homestretch to Christmas people. We’re in for a scorching couple of days which somehow seems appropriate.

But let’s take a moment to talk about lunchboxes. There are parts of the world where you don’t need to pack your kids a lunch. CAN YOU IMAGINE!? I hate it with the heat of a thousand suns.

The worst part is trying to not become pray to food brand marketing but once you say no to the snack packs, back off to the muesli bars and no way jose to anything with sugar you’re basically sending your kids to school with twigs and bark.

I know more virtuous people than I who make up batches of things on the weekend, freeze them then pop them in lunchboxes but whenever I’ve done that the kids never eat it. WHAT IS WITH THAT?

Anyway, I made this Smitten Kitchen recipe the other day and three of the four of them ate them. Into high rotation they go!

Go well my friends, Term 4 awaits!

Wholemeal apple and cinnamon muffins.
Wholemeal apple and cinnamon muffins.
Wholemeal apple and cinnamon muffins
 
Fantastic muffins full of apple and cinnamon
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 115g butter
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • ¼ cup brown sugar - extra, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 220C and line a 12 cup muffin tray
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together
  3. Cream the butter and the sugar
  4. Add the egg
  5. Add the buttermilk - it will probably curdle so don't fret
  6. Fold in the dry ingredients and then the apple until it's all just combined (it's a chunky batter)
  7. Put big heaping spoonfuls into the twelve muffin cups
  8. Sprinkle the extra brown sugar over the top
  9. Bake for 10 minutes then turn the heat down to 200C for a further 10 minutes
  10. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes or so and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
The inner workings. They have wholemeal flour in them, they're practically a health food.
The inner workings. They have wholemeal flour in them, they’re practically a health food.

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