Empire Biscuits

It’s Valentine’s Day… so let’s talk about love.

I love cookies, sometimes referred to as biscuits, more than any other dessert or treat.

Now, Scotland has some good shouts when it comes to biscuits and while the entire Tunnocks catalog is a great companion to any cup of tea… sometimes you just need something bigger and badder.

This is when the Empire Biscuit reigns supreme.

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Two thick (usually circular) shortbread biscuits sandwiched with raspberry jam, topped with a sugary glaze and a little bonus cherry on top. Yes! So much heft to a little unassuming, cute biscuit.

And, even though the biscuit doesn’t originate in Scotland, it’s often associated with the country. After all, they are the shortbread standard. So, this is me spreading the word on some local treats.

Also, I subconsciously rolled my dough out in the shape of Scotland.

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Biscuit Lovin’ Ahead

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Maple Pecan Snowballs

Well, the verdict is in.

Punxsutawney Phil has seen his own shadow which means six more weeks of winter.

And I couldn’t be happier about that.

More chances to wear cozy jumpers, drink hot chocolate and to wait by the window for any sign of snow.

Back in Texas it’s pretty rare to get snow and if we did in North Texas it would maybe be about an inch? Everything would shut down and we’d have to hope there were enough snacks in the house until it all melted away… about 12 hours later.

So, yeah. I get childishly excited about snow.

And despite all the chatter about snowfall heading to Glasgow- it’s definitely something that has been lacking this winter season.

So, I decided to create my own!

Pecan Snowballs, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Teacakes- this type of cookie has loads of different names, but still basically one delicious taste.

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The Cookie Continues

Happy Turkey Day!

So, it’s official. The holiday season has finally arrived.

It is my very favourite time of year. Cold weather, lots of food, lots of booze all wrapped in a big bow with ribbon curls.

I can hardly contain my Christmas cheer, genuinely. Today is Thanksgiving and I feel like I can now speak of the season without getting eyerolls and groans from the less-excited.

This year I’m preparing a big and rather traditional meal for me and Mr.Snacks. I’ve been slaving away all day and the turkey is still cooking as we speak… so there’s still even more work and more dishes to be done.

This year’s menu:

Citrus and Herb Turkey + Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole (oh, those little fried onions!)
Sweet Potato Casserole
Roasted Parmesan Broccoli and Cauliflower
Homemade Dinner Rolls
Mini Pumpkin Pies with Cinnamon Cream

I do it all for the leftover turkey sandwiches.

Now, Scottish winters are far too dark to get any decent photos of my dinner, but this way you can just assume it turned it good, just incase it doesn’t. I’ve already had a bit of drama this morning.

Part of that is around the pie. I like pie, I don’t love pie. And well, pie crust hates me. Even store-bought pie crust hates me. Look…

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I don’t know how I manage to mess it up, but I always do. And, it even has a soggy bottom.

But, you need pumpkin pie at a Thanksgiving feast regardless of how you feel about it- and luckily the pumpkin pie filling I whipped up is pretty damn delicious.

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I vow to brush up on my pie skills in the future. It’s definitely a work in progress and something I’d like to be good at… but tonight I’m all about the turkey.

2016 has generally been a bit of a shiter, but I hope there’s been a couple of bright spots for you!

 

xx

Happy Halloween!

OoooOooooh!

It’s Halloween and to be honest, this year like so many before it I’ve made minimum effort. I really love Halloween and all the fun size candy, but I usually spend the weekend curled up watching scary movies and munching away.

This year I picked up some fun Halloween sprinkles and thought I would put them to good use with some homemade vanilla funfetti spook cakes!

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While they were quite tasty, I had to settle for some last minute Dr. Oteker food colouring. As you can see the cakes are not nearly as vibrant as they should be and that’s with an entire tube. A Pinterest fail indeed.

Still though, I tried and if anything it’s a good excuse to work on my food styling.

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I also made some cookies with orange chocolate chips. Now the light was a little too dark for the photos … but I like the cute little pumpkin Mr.Snacks carved.

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And, just because it’s adorable – Here’s my wee dog back in Texas dressed up in the costume I bought him. Doubles as an outfit for every Taco Tuesday – Bargain!dsc_3641

So, that’s all the relevant images!

Happy Halloween!

Now onto Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s the best time of the year. 🙂

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xx

 

 

 

Cinnamon Nutella Babka

Hopefully, I had you at Nutella.

Babka is one of those Great British Bake Off buzzwords that gets thrown around every season – mainly on the much anticipated bread week. And I can’t deny that the reason I made this is because of all the chocolatey swirls that lit up my telly some two or three weeks ago. 

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I know, but I’ve been busy getting ready for this much needed trip home. I’m now a week into this holiday and it has been going amazing (check out social media fun on the side panel). I mean, currently I’m editing this post while watching The Golden Girls and waiting for breakfast tacos to arrive. Seriously feels like I am living the life. 

Any way, I can no longer resist sharing a little Sunday baking fun with you. It’s bready, chocolatey and has a good amount of cinnamon spice in it – so Hello Autumn! 

Cinnamon Nutella Babka

Dough + Filling, 1 loaf pan needed

2 teaspoons active dry yeast (I used 1 x7g packet)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1
00 grams salted butter (ideally room temperature)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white bread flour
1 jar of Nutella
100g of dark chocolate, chopped

1. Heat milk up in microwave for about 30 seconds. Pour in a large bowl, ideally attached to a stand mixer/dough hook attachment.
2. Add sugar and pour yeast on top. Swirl once or twice to cover yeast with milk.
3. Leave yeast mix to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.Yeast mix should be foamy before adding in other ingredients.
4. Add egg, butter and cinnamon to yeast and mix gently for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add in flour 1/2 cup at a time until each batch is fully incorporated. Once all flour is added beat on high for 7-10 minutes. Dough should be in one lump and not stick to the dough hook. (Or if you do not have a stand mixer then just mix dough completely by hand for 20-30 minutes)
6. Hand knead dough for an additional 2-3 minutes before placing on a lightly floured surface.

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***You can let your dough proof overnight or make the babka straight away. I did mine straight away. Make sure dough reaches room temperature again before you decide to roll it, if refrigerating***

7. Roll dough out into a rectangle, ideally until dough is between .5-1 cm
8. Spread Nutella all over the dough – as much as you want! I did a rather thin coat, because Nutella is quite rich.

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9. Sprinkle chocolate chunks over dough, then tightly roll up dough starting from the longest edge. Don’t worry about any spillage.
10. Cut dough in half vertically, exposing all the lovely chocolate-filled layers.

dsc_629811. With the two strips of dough facing up, mash the top end portions of each strip together then start a crossover or rope pattern. I did mine quite loose, as the dough is rather heavy. Once you reach the end, connect the remaining dough together as you did for the top. (Refer to photos)

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12. Fold into a greased loaf pan with parchment paper, making sure a few twists and layers and exposed on the top, but otherwise just get it in.
13. Cover and prove bread for 2-2.5 hours – should be about double in size.

dsc_637414. Bake in the oven for at 375F (190C) for 30-35 minutes depending on your oven. Top should be golden brown and well defined. Stick in a cake tester or toothpick to test dough, go for the middle and find a less chocolatey bit- nothing should stick expect maybe some chocolate. Don’t worry if some of the chocolate looks burnt – it probably isn’t.

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Syrup (make while babka is proofing)

1/2 granulated sugar
1/2 water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1.5 tablespoons honey

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1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and let boil on medium for about 4-5 minutes. Set aside to let cool.
2. Once babka is out of the oven, brush syrup over loaf and leave to cool inside the pan so the glaze soaks in.
3. Once babka is cool remove from the pan, cut into slices and devour! 

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I won’t restrict you, but this babka tastes better when heated up a little so you get the melty Nutella mess. I usually popped my slice into the microwave for a few seconds and enjoyed it with a cup of strong coffee.

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Ah, memories. I think this is definitely going to be baking staple in my kitchen. 

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xx

Mini Lime and Coconut Doughnuts

Autumn is still a couple of weeks away and even though I’ve already had a Pumpkin Spice Latte it still feels more like summer. 

I mean, it’s rare the sun is even out in Glasgow, but it is at this exact moment. And in full force – no jackets required.

So yeah, I cannot welcome Autumn properly yet. But that’s okay, because it means this lime/coconut recipe is still relevant. Lucky times!

I think a few years ago ‘baked doughnuts’ were a thing. Quite short-lived because obviously fried donuts are just genuinely better. I’m scared to fry things – I’ll work on it, I promise. For today though, we’re going with the ‘healthy’ alternative. They might not taste quite like doughnuts, but a baked doughnut is still damn tasty.

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Now, you will need a doughnut pan for this recipe, preferably a mini doughnut pan, but a standard size pan would suit.

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Baked Mini Lime Coconut Doughnuts

(should make about 2 dozen mini doughnuts)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice + 1/4 cup for glaze
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup Greek yogurt + 1 tablespoons more for glaze
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3-5 drops of green food coloring (optional)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 desiccated coconut

 To bake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (176C) and lightly grease your doughnut pan.
2. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg into a small bowl. Set aside.
3. In a larger bowl, mix together sugar and lime zest gently. Let sit for 5 minutes.
4.To the sugar bowl add in egg and mix well with a stand or handheld mixer, until sugar dissolves a little. Then add in all other wet ingredients: lime juice, oil, vanilla, and Greek yogurt. Mix until fully incorporated.
5. If you are adding food coloring then do it now and mix until coloring is even.
6. Place donut batter into a piping bag – no tips required. Snip off the end and fill doughnut pan until about 3/4 way full.
7. Bake donuts for 12 to 15 minutes. Bake until golden then let doughnuts cool on a wire rack before glazing.

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Glaze:

1. In a medium size bowl mix together powdered sugar, Greek yogurt, and lime juice until there are no lumps and glaze is smooth. If your glaze is too thick then add more lime juice or a splash of milk. If your glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar until you get your preferred consistency.
2. Once doughnuts are cooled, dip one side of them into the glaze, letting all excess glaze drip off before setting back on wire racks to dry.
3. Once all doughnuts have been glazed, get them back in for a double dip then sprinkle with coconut flakes.

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The taste should be similar to a glazed lime cake, except the doughnut base should be quite springy. 

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And there you have it. Adorable little pastel lime cakes sure to brighten any day. 

I’m pretty sure these would go down a treat with a gin and tonic. Just saying.

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xx

Bon Appétit’s Grapefruit and Poppy Seed Loaf

Happy Sunday!

Yet again it’s time for a little Sunday morning baking encouragement. I’m going to keep this short and sweet. 

Way back in March, Bon Appétit published a recipe for a Grapefruit and Poppy seed loaf cake that immediately caught my attention. I don’t know why. I actually don’t even like grapefruit that much, but for some reason I really enjoy it cocktails. More specifically the Hemingway Daiquiri at Ocho via Hotel Havana… but that is for another time.

It was something about a possibly bitter cake?  But since there’s yogurt in the recipe I knew it would be lovely and spongy. Also, it’s a combination I’ve never come across. I’m standard so I would usually make cake with lemon or lime citrus.

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So, for months it was constantly in the back of my mind. Spring was a bit busy between a few trips and actually getting the blog started with encouragement from Follow the River North, who is actually the best.

It wasn’t until summer that I actually made the cake and I must say it turned out excellent. Loaf cakes are always (or should be) quite easy and straightforward to make. This recipe is no different.

Bon Appétit’s Grapefruit and Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

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The only difference is that I used plain non-fat yogurt instead of Greek Yogurt. While I don’t think that would really make a difference in the baking or ‘spring’ of the cake, it did leave my glaze rather thin. Next time I make this I’ll be using Greek yogurt to hopefully get a slightly more tart and thicker glaze, but it was still delicious.

I also also added a little extra grapefruit juice and zest – just a pinch for good luck.

So, basically I just wanted to say – give this recipe a try and here is what it looks like when you don’t have amazing BA photographs of it. I really loved the recipe and just wanted to brag. 

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Even if you’re not keen on grapefruit, give it a shout. The grapefruit I used was really overripe and sweeter than I thought it would be. When the taste pulled through the cake it became almost like a general citrus cake – super moist and with that sticky glaze. Yes.

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Perfect for Sunday baking and Monday breakfast.

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Enjoy!

xx