Monday, 7 November 2011

To satisfy a little craving

I've not been able to get THIS ice-cream anywhere at home, and yet was craving the boozy flavours of rum and raisin. The next best thing was to bake a cake with these flavours. However, I didn't want slices of anything... more like moist little morsels to pop into the mouth with a cup of hot tea on the side. So here's what I baked-up.

Moist and boozy on the inside

RUM, RAISIN & VANILLA BUNS

170g Butter, room temperature
115g Caster Sugar
225g Self-Raising Flour
3 Eggs, large
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
Vanilla Beans scrapped from 1 Vanilla Pod
125g seedless Raisins, chopped small
8 tablespoons dark Rum

Chop Raisins, place in a container and pour in 7 tablespoons of the Rum. Let it soak overnight. Preheat oven at 120 Celsius. Line a medium-sized cupcake tin with cupcake cases. With an electric mixer, cream Butter and Sugar with both types of Vanilla until pale. About 2 minutes. Mix in Eggs one by one beating well after each addition. Fold in Flour by hand until just absorbed into the mixture. Fold in the soaked Raisins, including the Rum from the container as well as the remainder 1 tablespoon of Rum. Half fill the cupcake cases with the cake batter. Place the cupcake tin into the oven and increase temperature to 160 Celsius for about 20 - 25 minutes once a skewer inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Repeat with the next cupcake tin until all the cake batter is used up. Let it cool in the tin. Store in airtight containers.


Brown Butter Shortbread



After my success with the other shortbread, I made this recipe which I found on Lottie + Doof. I'm not sure yet how Toad liked this one, but it was a hit with K from the office. K said it would be lovely to eat dipped into a cup of strong, hot coffee. He also said that it was better than the other one. I'll let you be the judge of that. As for me, this is another winner from Alice Medrich.

BROWN BUTTER SHORTBREAD
Adapted from Lottie + Doof

180g unsalted Butter
90g Dark Muscovado Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
180g Plain Flour
Turbinado, Demerara or Granulated Sugar for sprinkling

Melt Butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Let it simmer on low fire until the butter turn a little brown and you can see some light brown specks at the bottom. The liquid should smell like toasted nuts and caramel. Once it does, remove saucepan from the heat and immediately place on a wet cloth to stop the cooking.

Remove from heat and stir in Salt, Sugar and Vanilla Essence. Fold in Flour with a wooden spoon. Mix gently until a soft dough forms. Pat into a round or rectangular fluted baking tin with a removable bottom and leave to stand overnight. When ready to bake, switch the oven on to 150 Celsius.

Place the baking tin on a baking tray (just in case some of the butter leaks out from the bottom during baking). Bake the shortbread for about 45 -50 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the extra Sugar and let it cool for about 10 minutes. 

Remove shortbread from the tin carefully to avoid breaking it and cut the shortbread into squares or wedges. Place on a lined baking tray apart from each other and return to the oven for 15 - 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Note
Making brown butter can take a little time. As long as you remember to melt the butter on low heat and just allow the butter to take its' time to brown you should be alright. Do NOT leave the butter on the stove unattended. Once the butter has melted, it can very quickly burn.

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Saturday, 5 November 2011

And then there was shortbread...

I have shortbread baking in the oven right now and the smell is... (inhaling deeply) intoxicating to say the least. Tonight I've tried an Alice Medrich shortbread recipe. After the well-received Cocoa Brownies which I adapted a little to suit Toad, I've been keen on trying out more of her recipes.  I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen.


Here is the recipe, adapted to metric measurements.

TWICE-BAKED SHORTBREAD
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

180g unsalted Butter, melted and still warm
5 tablespoons Castor Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
Vanilla Seeds scrapped from 1 Vanilla Pod
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
180g Plain Flour
Turbinado, Demerara or Granulated Sugar for sprinkling

Melt Butter in a heavy-based saucepan.

Remove from heat and stir in Salt, Sugar, Vanilla Essence and Seeds. Fold in Flour with a wooden spoon. Mix gently until a soft dough forms. Pat into a round or rectangular fluted baking tin with a removable bottom and leave to stand 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, switch the oven on to 150 Celsius. Place the baking tin on a baking tray (just in case some of the butter leaks out from the bottom during baking). Bake the shortbread for 45 minutes or until lightly golden.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the extra Sugar and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the shortbread from the tin carefully to avoid breaking it and cut the shortbread into squares or wedges. Place on a lined baking tray apart from each other and return to the oven for 15 - 20 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Note
I only left it to stand for 1 hour. I was impatient. Alice is right in saying to leave it as long as overnight because when I made the Brown Butter Shortbread recipe later, it made all the difference. The 'long' leaving allows for the butter to absorb completely into the flour, which 'shortens' and dries-out the dough which in turn makes for a delightfully crunchy, crumbly and melt-in-the-mouth texture.