Salted Caramel and Chestnut Mini Loaves

Light and fluffy loaf cakes, made with nutty chestnuts, topped with a sticky salted caramel glaze.

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The recipe for these cakes came from a new cookbook I got for christmas called Honey & Co; Food from the Middle East. I saw this recipe in the desert section and decided that I just had to make it, as the combination of chestnuts and salted caramel sounded so delicious!

These cakes were as delicious as I expected. The flavours went together beautifully, and the texture of the cakes was beautifully light, so its easy to eat quite a few cakes in one go!

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The original recipe used a large cake tin, and poured the caramel sauce over each serving, but I wanted to try out another on of my christmas presents, which was a mini loaf tin. So you could definitely do this recipe as one large cake, and just increase the cooking time to 25-30 minutes.

These cakes were really easy to make, so they would a a great desert to make for a dinner party!

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Variations: You could use a chocolate sauce instead of the salted caramel, which would probably be equally as delicious.

Ingredients: Makes 10 Mini Loaves

The Cakes:

  • 150g chestnut puree
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • caster sugar
  •  ground almonds

 

The Salted Caramel

  • sugar
  • honey
  • double cream
  • generous pinch of sea salt

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To Make:

Grease and line your cake tin(s) and preheat the oven to 180C.

Whisk together the egg yolks, chestnut puree, and sugar in a small bowl.

In a separate, clean bowl, which up the egg whites until stiff peaks from.

Fold in the egg yolk mixture to the egg whites, one heaped tbsp  at a time until fully combined. Then fold in the ground almonds.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tins until 3/4 full and level off.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Meanwhile make the salted caramel sauce.

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Combine the sugar honey and water in a small pan and cook over a medium heat, until the mixture turns a deep golden brown colour, then pour in the double cream and add the sea salt. mix to combine and leave to cool before using.

Once the cakes are cooked turn onto a wire rack to cool and top with a few tbsp of the sated caramel sauce.

Sprinkle over some more sea salt and serve!

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Christmas Swirls

Sweet bread rolls swirls, with a festive apple and mincemeat filling.

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It’s nearly Christmas! I can’t believe it has come round so fast!

I love Christmas, as there are so many parties and get togethers, which present the perfect excuse to bake some delicious treats, so I will be posting a LOT of christmassy recipes 🙂

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Mince pies are the ultimate Christmas treat, but I wanted to see if I could come up with any alternatives, so I had a think and came up with mince-pie cinnamon rolls!

They make a delicious breakfast or afternoon treat, and they are a fun change from mince pies!

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Variations: You could try alternative Christmas’s fillings if you don’t like mincemeat. I think a marzipan and apple filling would be delicious, or white chocolate and cranberry!

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Ingredients: Makes 12 Rolls

The Dough:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 10g yeast
  • 250ml milk
  • 100g butter, melted.

The Filling:

  • 500g mincemeat
  • 1 green apple
  • 50g chopped almonds
  • 1 tbsp stem ginger

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To Make:

Warm up the milk in a small pan until it has just reached body temperature. Stir in the sugar butter and yeast.

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, making a well in the centre. Pour the milk mixture into the well and mix the dough until it begins to come together.

Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl, cover and leave to prove for 1 hour.

Meanwhile make the filling. Grate the apple into a large bowl and mix in the rest of the filling ingredients to form a homogeneous mixture, set aside.

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn out into a clean, floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll to stretch out into a large rectangle, about 2cm thick.

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Spoon the filling onto the rolled out dough and spread out evenly, making sure to each righto to the edges.

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Roll the dough into a long sausage shape, then cut into twelve 5cm thick rolls.

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Place on an oiled baking tray and cover. Leave to prove for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Once the rolls have proved, bake them in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked though.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve while still warm for a delicious Christmas treat!

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Christmas Cake

Rich, dark, spiced cake, filled with a mixture of sweet dried fruits and chopped nuts.

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I LOVE fruit cake – especially Christmas cake, but unfortunately I am in the minority in my family, so I’ve never really been able to justify making one. However this year I have decided that I will make one, even if I end up eating the whole thing to myself!

I’ve followed Delia’s recipe for a Classic Christmas Cake, but I have changed the fruit combination a little bit, and I have used Grand Marnier and Cointreau rather than brandy.

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I was a bit worried when I made this, that my cake tin wasn’t tall enough, but the lining of foil-backed greaseproof paper did a wonderful job!

I would recommend starting this in the morning as it takes quite a while to cook! I started at 8PM (stupidly) so I was up past midnight making this cake! Dedication!

I’m enjoying ‘feeding’ my cake every so often and I can’t wait to eat it! I will put up an updated post it is all iced and finished 😀

I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#97 this week hosted by Angie. Happy Friday everyone!

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Variations: Change the combination of fruits to suit your taste!

Ingredients:

The Pre-soaking:

  • 450g mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants, candied peel)
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 175g glace stem ginger
  • 175g chopped glace cherries
  • 200ml Grand Marnier

The Cake:

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1/4 of a nutmeg, grated
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 225g dark brown soft sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1tbsp black treacle
  • 225g butter
  • zest of one orange and one lemon
  • Cointreau for feeding

To Make 

Grease and side-line a 20cm cake tin with foil-backed greaseproof paper.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Place all the dried fruits in a large bowl and submerge with the Grand Marnier. Cover and leave to soak for at least 12-16 hours.

Combine all the other cake ingredients (except the almonds) in a large bowl and mix with an electric whisk, until light and fluffy.

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Slowly add in the fruit and almonds, 1tbsp at a time until fully combined.

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Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the preheated oven for around 4 hours. Remove from the oven once a skewer sunk into he middle of the cake comes out clean.

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Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Poke holes in the top if the cake using a skewer and pour over a few tbsp of Cointreau.

Wrap tightly in greaseproof paper and foil and store in an airtight container. Keep feeding win Cointreau a few times a week until you are ready to ice the cake.

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Lemon, Mascarpone and Almond Cheesecake Crumble

Crisp pastry case, filled with a creamy mascarpone and lemon cheesecake, topped with a sweet crunchy almond brittle.

 

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For the month of November Krista & Nicole of “Two Cups of Sugar.”challenged us to make our own version of cheesecake crumble pie.

I was really intrigued by this daring bakers challenge, as I have never had cheesecake in a pie before, but it sounded delicious!

 

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The original recipe used a crumble topping, but I decided that I would prefer a crunchy almond topping to keep it light.

I’ve never actually made a baked cheesecake before, so I was a bit worried, but this was surprisingly easy, so I will certainly be making cheesecake again!

 

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I had a lot of fun with this challenge, so I’m looking forward the next one!

Variations: You could easily change the flavour of the cheesecake to orange or lime. Another option would be to make a chocolate baked cheesecake and top it with peanut brittle!

 

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Ingredients: Serves 10

The Pastry:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 120g butter
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp water

The Cheesecake:

  • 500g mascarpone
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • zest and juice of three lemons
  • 4tbsp ground almonds
  • 200g caster sugar

The Almond Brittle

  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 150g flaked almonds

 

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To Make:

The Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a loose bottomed tart tin.

Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar, until it forms a fine bread crumb-like consistency. Then stir in the water 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture comes together into a ball of dough.

Turn out onto a floured work surface, and roll out until half a centimeter thick. Place into the tart tin, and press into the edges. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until just beginning to turn golden brown, then remove from the oven and set aside.

Cut 12 small hearts out of the leftover pastry and stick to the edges  of the pre-baked tart case with egg wash.

The Cheesecake Filling:

Whisk together all the cheesecake ingredients in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Pour into the tart tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until just set, there should still be a wobble in the centre when you shake the tin.

Leave to chill in the fridge for a few hours.

 

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The Almond Brittle:

Line a baking tray with oiled grease-proof paper.

Place the sugar and water in a small plan and cook over a medium heat, until the mixture forms a caramel.

Turn off the heat and stir in the almonds.

Pour onto the prepared baking tray and spread into a thin layer. leave to cool completely.

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Once cool, blitz in a small blender to a breadcrumb like consistency.

Pour over the top of the cheesecake.

Serve and enjoy!

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Toffee Apple Cupcakes

Apple cupcakes topped with a caramel buttercream and a slice of toffee apple.

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Toffee apples are on of my favourite autumn-time treats, I love the mixture of sweet toffee and tart apple. So as its the right time of year, I wanted to try and get their flavour into a cupcake.

I have used the recipe for caramel icing from the primrose bakery cook book, as I have used it before in banoffee cupcakes, so I knew it would give the right flavour.

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To make these look a little ore special I have made some toffee apple slices to top them with, which give you a lovely crunchy surprise.

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#94 this week hosted by Angie! . Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: You could use a different fruit such as pear. You could also use banana in the cupcakes for a banoffee flavour.

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Ingredients: Makes 12 Large Cupcakes

The Cakes:

  • 2 brambly apples
  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour

The Icing:

  • 45g butter
  • 60ml semi skimmed milk
  • 160g soft brown sugar
  • 200g icing sugar

The Toffee Apple Slices:

  • 12 slices of cooking apple
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 1tbsp water

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To Make:

The Cakes:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a cupcake tray with muffin cases.

Peel, core and finely chop the apples, place in a large pan with a nob of butter and 50g of soft brown sugar. Cook over a medium heat for around 15 minutes, until the apples begin to break down and form a compote. turn off the heat and leave to cool.

Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk, until light and fluffy. Then fold in the eggs one at a time, followed by the cooled compote and self raising flour. Stir until everything is combined.

Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases until 2/3 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

The Toffee Apple Slices:

Combine the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a medium heat, until the sugar melts and turns a dark golden brown colour, this should take around 5 minutes.

One the sugar has a caramelised remove from the heat, and dip each apple slice into the caramel, making sure it is completely coated. Leave to set on a tray lined with grease proof paper.

The Toffee Icing:

Combine the milk, brown sugar and butter in a small pan, cook over a medium heat, until the mixture melts together and begins to bubble.

Boil the mixture for two minutes, then remove from the heat. pour into a large bowl along with the icing sugar, and beat to a smooth consistency. Leave to cool and firm up before using.

Assembling:

Cover the top of each cupcake with a smooth layer of the toffee icing, Then top with a toffee apple slice.

Serve and enjoy!

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Biscotti di Mandorla

Sweet, chewy almond biscuits, coated in sesame seeds, flaked almonds, or filled with a drop of raspberry jam.

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This the the second recipe I have tried out from sicillian desert cookbook. I chose to make these little biscuits because the recipe was so simple and I love almonds so I knew they would be delicious.

The biscuits turned out really nicely, although I think I probably should have made them about half the size as they are supposed to be tiny little mouthfulls, whereas mine are slightly gargantuan!

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I really like the way you can change how the biscuits taste and look just by rolling them in a different topping or adding a tiny little bit of jam. I will definitely be making them again to try out a few different variations.

I know it’s a bit early to be talking about Christmas, but when I made these I couldn’t help but think about how lovely they would be as a small Christmas gift, if you wrapped then up nicely.

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I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#90 this week, hosted by Angie, and co-hosted by Effie @ Food Daydreaming and Lindy @ Lindy Mechefske. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: Any kind of nut would work as the coating, I might try pistachios next time. I also think dipping a few in chocolate would be delicious!

Ingredients: Makes 20 Biscuits

  • 300g ground almonds
  • 100g plain flour
  • 4 egg whites
  • vanilla
  • zest of one lemon

Optional:

  • flaked almonds
  • sesame seeds
  • crushed pistachios
  • raspberry jam

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a few baking trays.

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a large mixing bowl and beat until it forms a smooth, stiff dough.

Coat your hands in flour, take small pieces of dough, and roll into balls. Then roll in the coating of your choice and transfer to the prepared baking trays. Making sure the biscuits are a few cm apart, allowing them to expand slightly.

To make the jam filled biscuits, take small pieces of dough, roll into balls and place on the baking tray. Use your thumb to press a dent in the top of the ball, and fill with 1/2 a tsp of jam.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until cooked though and golden brown. Transfer to a wire ack and leave to cool. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve!

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Biancomangiare alle Mandorle

Set puddings made of sweetened almond milk, covering a layer of tart raspberry jam.

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This is the first recipe I tried out of my new cookbook; Sweet Sicily. I bought the cookbook as soon as I got back off holiday as I loved the food in Sicily so much, and there were loads of things I didn’t get to try!

One of the desserts I missed out on when I was on holiday was a Biancancomangerie, which is basically like a pana cota, but made using almond milk rather than cream.

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The recipe was really really easy, and it worked really well first time round, so hopefully that will be the case will all the recipes in my new book!

These desserts have a really unusual taste, I don’t think I’ve ever had almond milk before so it was a completely new flavour for me! But it has a really nice light but nutty and flavourful finish. It’s also gluten and dairy free, so a great one to have in your repertoire!

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My only disappointment in how this dessert turned out is the colour. I should have splashed out and bought a better quality of almond milk, as the one I used had a light brown colour,meaning the dessert is not the pure white colour it should be, but at least I know for next time!

I don’t own any pana cota moulds so I made them in ramekins with some lemon curd or raspberry jam at the bottom, but to my surprise I could actually tip them out of the ramekins and they kept their shape beautifully.

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Variations: I think this would taste really good with some chocolate chips or caramelised nuts on top. You could also a try a mixture of cream and almond milk for a richer finish.

Ingredients: Makes 6-8 puddings

  • 1 litre of almond milk
  • 200g sugar
  • 90g cornflour
  • 1tsp vanilla essence

optional:

  • raspberry jam
  • lemon curd

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To Make:

In a small bowl combine the cornflour with a few tbsp of the almond milk. Whisk into a smooth paste.

Transfer the rest of the almond milk into a large pan and slowly bring to the boil.

Pour in the cornflour mixture, along with the sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract, and whisk continuously untill the mixture thickens. This took about 10 minutes when I made it!

Meanwhile place a tsp of jam in the bottom of some small ramekins.
Once the mixture has started to thicken, immediately remove from the heat and continue to whisk until it has stopped thickening.

Pour into the prepared ramekins and leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to set.

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