Happy Saint Dwynwen’s Day! Or, for the uninitiated, Welsh Valentines Day! I went into a little bit more detail on why exactly we celebrate Valentines Day a little earlier than the rest of the world here in Wales in this post (along with a little recipe for Blood Orange Doughnuts 🙂 ) – but it’s basically a Game of Thrones-esque story about a time when Kings had 24 daughters and princesses routinely ran off into the woods and turned their lovers into blocks of ice. As you do. 😉
For me, I celebrate it in much the same way I’d celebrate Valentines Day; I hunt down a non-soppy card and hand it to him first thing in the morning along with something sweet that I’ve baked. This year we’re heading off on a little road trip for the weekend so I wanted to make something bite-sized that we can scoff in the car – so I made these sweet little Palmiers filled with Nutella. They’re as easy to make as rolling some puff pastry and cracking open a jar of Nutella (something I’m very, very good at…) and almost look like hearts… well, I tried! 🙂
Mini Nutella Palmiers
- Ready-made Puff Pastry
- Plenty of Nutella
- Icing Sugar
- Roll out your puff pastry until it’s about half a centimeter thick and then cut off the rough edges so your sheet is shaped like a rectangle. Thinly spread (and rarely do I use the word “thinly spread” when Nutella is concerned…) your Nutella over the sheet, making sure you go right up to the edges.
- To roll your palmiers, think scroll; carefully roll each end into the middle until you’ve got what looks like a rolled up scroll. Pop it in the fridge to chill for an hour, and then cut it into rounds about a centimeter thick with a sharp knife.
- Spread the palmiers out evenly on a baking tray and then bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 220°.
- Leave to cool, then dust with icing sugar.
Happy St Dwynwen’s Day! ♡
Hands up then, who’s planning on putting their tree up this weekend? I’ve got Sunday set aside purely for de-tangling fairy lights, rummaging through our decorations (Sunny and I collect decorations from all the places we’ve travelled to) and then hoovering up pine needles. I can’t wait! But hey, it’s a knackering job innit? There’s nothing better than crashing onto the sofa afterwards with a hot cup of tea and something sweet! Well, I’ve got the perfect Christmas Decorating Fuel for you; this Orange and Nutella Babka.
I spotted a few of these on Social Media before I went off to the States on Holiday and had never heard of them before, and then I saw even more out there in supermarkets and bakeries. They’re an Eastern European invention and are basically a sweet loaf that’s stuck somewhere between bread and cake. The dough is filled with whatever sweet filling you fancy, rolled up, snipped down the middle and twisted to form swirls. It’s best eaten straight out of the oven warm; perfect for baking while you’re buried up to your neck in tinsel. 😉
Orange and Nutella Babka (makes one beast of a loaf, or two smaller loaves)
- 250g strong white flour
- 250g plain flour (and a little extra for dusting)
- 15g fresh yeast (dry active)
- 200ml soda water (a neat little trick to give your loaf a little extra rise)
- 100ml boiling water
- 2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 50 ml melted butter (plus a little extra for greasing)
- 1 egg (whisked)
- 1 small jar of Nutella
- Zest of one Orange
- 50g Chopped Hazelnuts
- 50g Chopped chunks of chocolate
- A little milk to wash.
- First things first, you’re going to need to activate your yeast. Pour the soda water and boiling water into a bowl. Dissolve the sugar into the water and then sprinkle over the yeast. Whisk and then leave the bowl somewhere warm for 15 minutes (I use my airing cupboard!) until the yeast begins to froth.
- Once the yeast is ready, pour in the melted butter and then add the salt, flour, cinnamon and orange zest. Stir it together to create a sticky dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
- Once the dough’s been kneaded, pop in a lightly oiled bowl and leave it to prove somewhere warm for one hour.
- After an hour, the dough should have doubled in size. Turn it onto a floured surface and roll it out into a rough square shape that’s about 1cm thick. Spread the Nutella – taking it as close to the edges as possible – then sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts (hold some back to decorate) and chocolate on top. Roll it up like a swiss roll and seal each end.
- Now to shape the Babka. Take a sharp knife and cut the dough right down the middle leaving a space at the top (it should look like a pair of legs once you’re done). Take each leg and turn it so the sticky inside layers are facing upwards. Now twist one leg over the other until you get a tight plait from one end to the other – making sure you keep those inside layers facing up.
- Grease and line a loaf tin and then fill it with your twisted dough. There’s a knack to this bit; you want to make sure the ends are folded under, while the middle is on top. Cover it with a damp tea towel and leave the dough to prove for another hour.
- Set your oven to 200°. Give the surface of the babka a little wash with milk and sprinkle with a few extra chopped hazelnuts and orange zest, then bake it for 30 minutes – covering the top with foil after 15 minutes to protect those layers from burning.
- Scoff warm with some extra Nutella! 🙂
Happy Weekend (and happy decorating!)! ♡
My love for Cinnamon Buns isn’t exactly a secret. I treat myself to one after I’ve done my weekly food shop – or at least I used to, until the Tesco bakery decided to stuff their buns with raisins. Ugh! For the record, I don’t mind raisins at all – I just don’t want them anywhere near my buns, hun. I’m a purist, what can I say? (Although, clearly not that much of a purist since this whole post is about me meddling around with the basic cinnamon bun recipe!) So I decided to make my own Cinnamon Buns, and I wondered, how can I make them even better?
Another weekly shop treat of mine is a pack of Biscoff Biscuits – which barely last two days let alone the rest of the week (I mean they’ve literally got the word “Scoff” in their name). I’ve even got a jar of Biscoff Spread in my cupboard, a dollop of which usually finds its way into my morning bowl of porridge. So hey, I thought, why not work a dollop of the stuff into a Cinnamon Bun? Why not, eh?
Biscoff Buns (makes 6)
For the dough:
- 100ml warm milk
- 1 tsp of active yeast
- 1 egg (whisked)
- 50g caster sugar
- 25g butter (melted)
- 500g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the filling:
- 25g brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Biscoff Spread
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the frosting:
- 100g icing sugar mixed with a little water to make a drizzle
- A couple of crumbled Biscoff biscuits.
- Activate your yeast by sprinkling it over your warm milk and then leave for 15 minutes. When you come back, the milk should be foamy on top – a sign that the yeast is read to go!
- Pour in the caster sugar, egg and melted butter (make sure it’s cooled slightly otherwise it’ll scramble your egg!) and mix. Next, stir in your flour until everything comes together to form a sticky dough.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes, then leave to prove in an oily bowl for at least an hour.
- After an hour, knock back the dough and roll it out into a thin rectangle. Spread the Biscoff spread over the dough, leaving about an inch gap around the outside. Sprinkle the brown sugar and ground cinnamon on top, then roll it. Cut the dough into six equal rounds, then arrange on a baking tray (I used a circular cake tin to create a tear and share kind of bun 🙂 ) Cover with cling film and leave to prove for another hour.
- Set your oven to 170 and then bake the buns for 30 minutes.
- Drizzle, sprinkle with the crushed biscuits and then serve warm.
Anyone got any baking planned this weekend? What are you making? ♡
I’m no stranger to a good old Lemon Drizzle Cake – it’s easy to bake and perfect just the way it is – nice and gooey and warm on the plate (especially after getting stuck out in a less pleasant kind of drizzle, eh?). But it’s always nice to try a fresh twist on an old favourite. Last time I tried pistachio, and this time I’ve gone for rose – which sweetens the lemon a little and takes out it’s sour edge. So if you like your drizzle cake a little sweeter, then this one’s for you. 🙂
Lemon and Rose Drizzle Cake
- 2 Eggs
- 100g Butter
- 100g Caster Sugar
- 100g Self Raising Flour
- Zest of 2 Lemons
- Juice of 2 Lemons
- 200g Powdered Sugar
- 2 Tsp of Rosewater
- Handful of dried, edible rose petals
- Grease a small loaf tin and set your oven to 170°.
- Cream together the butter and caster sugar and then crack in the egg. Pour in the lemon zest and rosewater, then stir in the flour.
- Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- To make the drizzle, mix together the lemon juice and powdered sugar. While the loaf is still nice and warm (and still in its tin!), create some holes in it with a cocktail stick or a knife (make sure you only insert them half way or you’ll get a soggy bottom!), then pour the drizzle over the top.
- Once the loaf has cooled, remove it from the tin and then decorate it with the dried rose petals.
Happy Friday everyone! ♡
We’re stone’s deep into berry season now, and while I love a bowl of strawberries and ice cream as much as the next person, cherries, raspberries and plums for me are where it’s at (although – boring fact – technically plums aren’t botanical berries, they’re actually “drupes”). Plums are so underrated, but I love them for their slightly sour skins and juicy insides, and they’re even better when baked into a cake. Even Bungle loves plums 🙂
Anyway, M&S got in touch recently and asked if I’d like to try baking with some of their berries. They’re a huge fan of the Great British Berry (not to be confused with Mary Berry who is also great) – they’ve had relationships with some of their berry suppliers for over forty years and it absolutely shows; the damson plums they’ve got on offer at the moment are absolutely banging. This plum cake is incredibly simple to make and turned out so well when I served it up at a recent barbecue that I made it again a few days later. It’s a little bit like an upside down cake, except you bake it upright! It also stays lovely and moist for a few days because of the buttermilk and juice from the sliced plums… if you can resist scoffing it all at once, that is! 😉
Buttermilk Plum Cake
- 125g Butter
- 100g Plain Flour
- 125g Caster Sugar
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 50g Ground Almonds
- 100ml Buttermilk
- 4 Ripe Plums stoned and thinly sliced
- (Single Cream to serve)
- Heat the oven up to 170°, then grease a 20cm cake tin, dusting it with a little flour.
- Hold back 1 tbsp of sugar, then beat the rest with the butter in a large bowl. Beat in egg.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and then fold into the buttercream and egg mix along with the ground almonds.
- Gently stir in the buttermilk, then pour the mixture into the cake tin.
- Arrange the sliced plums over the surface, making sure to overlap them as the cake will rise and expand as it bakes. Sprinkle the surface with the extra sugar, then bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Serve up with fresh single cream. 🙂
Thanks to M&S for the ingredients and for sending this recipe my way – it’s a keeper! Have a lovely weekend everyone! ❤