The best way to describe these is an upmarket iced bun. They have a rich, dense dough, a lemony perfume and are covered with a drizzle of lemon icing.
3 ¾ cups white bread flour
1 tsp instant yeast
¾ cup milk
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup butter
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
finely shredded zest of 1 lemon
1 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
Measure out the flour, yeast and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Gently warm the milk, sugar, butter and salt in a pan on a very low heat until the butter has just melted. Take the mixture off the heat and leave for a few minutes to cool.
When cool, pour the butter mixture into the bowl along with the eggs and yolk. Using a wooden spoon mix the ingredients until they form a rough dough. Then, pour the dough onto a work surface and knead until the dough passes the windowpane test. It should be almost tacky to the touch but not runny, you may need to add a little more flour as you kneed.
Clean out the bowl you were using, it doesn’t have to be spotless I normally don’t bother wiping it out but it makes for a better finish. Oil the bowl and turn the dough over in the oil so it has a fine layer over it. Leave the dough in the bowl, covered in a piece of cling film for 1 ½ hours to prove.
It should have doubled in size, if not, leave for another ½ hour.
Knock the dough back then divide it into 6 equal portions, making each into a small ball and leave covered in cling film on a baking tray.
Taking one ball at a time, cut it into 3 equal portions. Roll each section into a rope approximately 6 inches in length. Plait the 3 pieces together and place gently back on the baking tray, cover it with the cling film and repeat with the next ball.
Once they are all completed, leave to prove again for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 170 degree centigrade.
Remove the cling film and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. They may start to brown round the edges after 10 minutes, if so, cover them in foil for the rest of the baking time.
They are done when you tap the bottom of one of the twists and it sounds hollow.
Leave them on a cooling rack to cool for 20 minutes.
Prepare the icing: simply stir the icing sugar with the lemon juice, adding a little at a time until you get a pouring consistency.
Once the twists have had their 20min cooling time, drizzle the icing over them.
If you can wait, leave them for another 10 mins for the icing to harden slightly, then eat!
The problem that I have with the majority of fruit muffins is that they are too sweet. Rather than just cutting down the amount of sugar in my recipe I have incorporated yogurt instead of some of the butter; this gives them a more rounded finish.
185g caster sugar
75g butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
225ml natural yogurt
375g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
225g frozen raspberries
10g freeze dried strawberries
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees centigrade and line a 12 cup muffin tin with either butter or muffin cases.
Using a small whisk, whip together sugar, butter, eggs and yogurt.
Sieve together the flour and baking powder and fold into the wet ingredients.
Finally fold through the raspberries and strawberries and fill the muffin pan.
Bake the muffins for 25-30minutes. They should be turning brown on the top and a cake tester will come out clean.
Whilst looking through one of my mother’s old cookbooks I stumbled across a recipe for Viennese fingers. Even though the picture was yellowing they still looked delicious. This is my less artistic variation.
8oz butter (softened)
2oz icing sugar
8oz plain flour
finely grated rind of 1 orange
1 tbsp orange juice
8oz milk chocolate
4oz icing sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Cointreau or orange juice
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade.
To make the biscuits, cream together the butter and icing sugar until almost white in colour and fluffy. Fold in the flour, orange rind and juice.
To make the authentic shape, pipe the dough onto baking parchment lined baking sheets using a star shaped nozzle. However, if you don’t have a large star shaped piping nozzle, just pipe long tubes (like I did).
Bake them for 10-15 minutes dependent on how large you made your shapes. They should be going brown all over but not too dark.
Leave on the baking tray to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile make the buttercream filling. Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl and gently mix. Once the icing sugar is almost incorporated use a hand held whisk, food processing machine or if you are feeling energetic a wooden spoon; to beat the mixture till it is light and fluffy.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment for the next 2 steps.
Once the biscuits are cool pipe a line of buttercream onto the flat side of half of the biscuits and sandwich them with the other half; leaving them on the baking tray to harden slightly.
Then, melt down the chocolate and dip one end of the sandwiched biscuits in. Leave them to dry on the baking parchment for about 30 minutes then eat!
These are perfect for a little bite to go with coffee or an extra addition to an afternoon tea menu.
1 1/4 cups of raw peanuts
3/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
45ml melted butter
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown muscovado sugar
Preheat your oven to 170 degree centigrade.
Dry roast the peanuts in a frying pan until they are just starting to brown, leave them to cool then roughly chop them in a food processor.
Whisk together the butter, peanut butter, sugars, milk and egg.
Then, sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and fold in.
Finally, mix in the chopped peanuts.
Using a tablespoon measure, scoop rounds of the mixture onto a lined baking tray and bake for 15-18 minutes.
Leave on the baking tray for 5 mins then place onto a cooling tray to cool completely.
These brownies are chocolate heaven. I have forgone the usual nuts and berries and added mixed chocolate chips to the batter. As far as I am concerned this makes them the ultimate chocolate treat.
340g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
400g granulated sugar
225g white bread flour
½ tsp baking powder
300g mixed chocolate drops
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees centigrade.
Meanwhile warm the dark chocolate and butter together in a bowl over simmering water. When the chocolate has completely melted, take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
Line a 12 x 7 inch traybake pan with baking parchment.
Whip the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy, then fold into the cooled chocolate mixture.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into the batter and mix until just combined, then fold in the chocolate drops.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Leave in the pan to cool.
I know that I have posted a shortbread recipe before, but after spending 5 hours continuously making shortbread for a wedding I wanted to make a note of my definitive version.
250g salted butter (slightly softened)
250g plain flour
125g rice flour
125g castor sugar
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or equivalent.
Measure all the ingredients into a big bowl.
Rub the mixture between your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. This shouldn’t take any more than a couple of minutes.
Squeeze the breadcrumbs together to form a ball of dough.
Roll the dough between 2 pieces of baking parchment to a depth of approximately 1cm then cut out small rounds using your favourite cutter.
Put your biscuits onto a lined baking tray and bake for 10 – 14 minutes.
Leave on the tray for another 5 minutes before transferring them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.