Tag Archives: Aga baking

Singing Hinny

I was kindly sent a Kitzini silicone baking mat to review and I have been giving it a thorough test over the last couple of weeks. I started with a jammy dodger recipe, but the recipe needs more tweaking before it’s ready to share with you. They spread too much and needed to be a bit more substantial to be jammy dodgers that I would be proud to tell you about.  I made some buckwheat and almond cookies that are really good and will be shared at some point in the near future.

Jammy dodgers about to go in the oven

Jammy dodgers about to go in the oven

Buckwheat and almond cookies

Buckwheat and almond cookies

I have been impressed with the Kitzini mat. It has even heat distribution and is easy to clean, much easier than a buttered tray. Any spills wipe off very easily. The mats are oven, microwave and freezer safe and can also be used as pastry mats. They are available  at Amazon and are currently on sale.

I also made a Singing Hinny which worked really well with the mat on the simmering plate of the Aga. I have made a Singing Hinny a few times directly on the simmering plate and it works fine, but using the Kitzini mat did mean that it didn’t need turning as often to prevent the bottom scorching.

Singing Hinny

Singing Hinny dough with the underside cooking on the Aga

The Singing Hinny gets its name from the singing noise it makes when it hits the heat of the griddle. I sadly, have yet to experience a hinny singing to me yet. Maybe, one day.

The Singing Hinny is delicious served warm, sliced into wedges, split and buttered. Jam is optional but good.

Singing Hinny

Singing Hinny cooking on the Aga

This is supposed to cut into 8 wedges but Mr OC and I can eat it all in one sitting.

225g self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
50g butter (lard is more traditional but I don’t often have it in the fridge)
50g caster sugar
75g raisins or currants depending on what you have in the cupboard
1 egg
6 tbsp milk

Method

I make mine in a food processor which makes it very quick and easy. Put the flour, salt and butter into the processor and whizz together briefly. Add the sugar and whizz again. Add the egg and milk and whizz, then add the dried fruit and whizz very briefly. It should now be easy to bring together into a ball using your hands.

If you don’t have a food processor, rub the butter into the flour using the tips of your fingers. When it resembles breadcrumbs stir in the sugar and salt. Add the dried fruit, egg and milk and work gently together with a spoon or your hand until it forms a ball.

Place onto a lightly floured work surface and flatten to a disc using your hand. You can cook it on the simmering plate of the Aga or in a heavy based pan over a low-medium heat. Turn after about 8-10 minutes when it should be well browned. Cook for another 8-10 minutes. Leave to cool for a minute or two on a wire rack and then cut into wedges, split horizontally and spread with butter.

I was sent two silicone mats by Kitzini for review purposes. I received no other payment and any opinions expressed are honest and my own. 

Almond fingers

Almond fingers

These little bars of deliciousness are, like the Norfolk Scone, inspired by Jennie Reekie’s Cakes, Pastries and Bread book. I have altered her recipe though replacing half the flour with ground almonds to make them more almondy, taken out Jennie’s cinnamon addition and changing the method, so they really are only a doff of the hat to Jennie. Mine are more macaroon to Jennie’s shortbread. In fact, if you pinned me down to describing them I would say that they are a hybrid macaroon/shortbread. A bit like the Norfolk Scone being a hybrid scone/eccles cake. There seems to be a pattern forming here…

They are quick to make and very, very tempting.

100g butter
50g caster sugar
75g plain flour
75g ground almonds
1 egg, beaten, for glazing
25g flaked almonds
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Method

Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180°c, gas mark 4 or use the middle shelf of the Aga baking oven.

I use a food processor and whizz the butter, caster sugar, flour and almonds until the mixture begins to form a ball.

If you don’t have a processor then rub the butter into the flour, almonds and sugar. You will start with a breadcrumb texture and then it should start to bind together to form a ball.

Press the mixture into a 20cm square tin using the palm of your hand to level the surface. Using a pastry brush, brush all over with the beaten egg. Prick all over with the tines of a fork and sprinkle over the almonds and granulated sugar.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cut into fingers whilst still warm, lift the baking paper out of the tin and place onto a cooling tray.

Almond fingers

Rock cakes

Rock cakes

These little cakes are something else I have been making quite a bit recently. A few months ago my nine-year old daughter came home and said this: “Mum, my friend E has rock cakes in her lunch box and I really like them”. Ah yes, I recognise a gauntlet thrown when I see one.  So there I was at 6.19 am the next morning making rock cakes to go into her lunch box. You can’t make rock cakes the day before. They need to be made and then eaten, preferably still warm after only a few minutes spent relaxing on a wire rack. But they are also acceptable at lunchtime when baked in the morning. Apparently.

I hadn’t made them for years before this. I don’t know why because they are delicious. I do know why, I had forgotten how good they are. The name rock cake doesn’t exactly sell them to you I realise, but really they are soft, gently spicy and very, very good. Make them as soon as you can, but not necessarily at 6.19 am, if you can help it.

I make mine in the food processor which means they are a matter of minutes to make.

Makes 12 – 15 cakes

225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp mixed spice
100g butter, softened
50g demerara sugar
100g dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, candied peel, a mixture – anything you have in the cupboard)
1 egg and 1 tbsp milk, beaten lightly together

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°c, gas mark 6, or use towards the bottom of the roasting oven of the Aga. Grease a baking sheet.

Place the flour, baking powder and mixed spice in the bowl of a food processor or in a large bowl. Cube the butter and either pulse until it looks like fine breadcrumbs or if doing it by hand rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips and a light touch. Add the sugar and the fruit. Add the egg and milk mixture and pulse again until it comes together or mix with your hands until it comes together in a soft dough.

Spoon small mounds of mixture onto the greased baking sheet, you want them to look rough edged like a rock. Spoon a little extra demerara sugar over each one. Place in the preheated oven and cook for about ten minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack, leave for a minute or two and then eat or wait until lunchtime.

Chocolate chestnut cake

chocolate chestnut cake

 

I must share this cake with you. I have been making it a lot in recent weeks. Mostly because it keeps getting eaten before I have had chance to take a photo of it. Each time I fetch it out of the oven I say ‘now, I must get a photo of this cake this time’, then it’s gone. But I have also been making it because (and this is a really good excuse) chestnut flour doesn’t keep well, so you must use it quickly.

I buy my bread flour by the 25kg sack full from Shipton Mill. To get free delivery I always add to the order and this time I included chestnut flour. It’s not cheap but I have wanted to try it for ages. I am glad I did. It is seasonal so you may have to wait to make this cake.

This cake is fudgy and dense, like a brownie in texture. I have tried all caster sugar, all light brown sugar and half and half caster with muscovado. My favourite is to use all light brown sugar. It gives a caramel edge without being too heavy or bitter. The cake is even better the day after it is made as it just gets fudgier. Be careful not to overcook it though. You want a slight wobble left in the centre when you take it out of the oven. This will firm up when the cake is cooled and your cake will be lovely and moist.

If you have chestnuts rather than chestnut flour then I can recommend my other Chocolate Chestnut Cake as being equally delicious.

200g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids and stuff that you enjoy eating)
200g unsalted butter
200g soft light brown sugar
4 eggs, separated
100g chestnut flour

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°c, gas mark 3 or use towards the bottom of the baking oven of the Aga. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.

Break the chocolate into small pieces into a bowl. Cube the butter and add to the chocolate. Melt the butter and chocolate in the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (making sure the water does not touch the base of the bowl). When melted stir gently to combine.

Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together until well combined and slightly paler in colour.

Whisk the egg whites in a separate, scrupulously clean bowl to firm peaks.

Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture to the egg yolks and sugar mixture and combine well. Fold in the chestnut flour. Add one third of the egg whites, mixing in well so that the mixture is light and the remainder of the eggs can be very gently folded in, retaining as many of the tiny bubbles as possible. When all combined, gently pour the mixture into the lined tin and place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. It may take a few minutes longer depending on your oven but check at 20 minutes as you don’t want to overcook it.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes and then turn out onto a plate. You can dive in straight away or restrain yourself and keep until the next day.

 

Candied peel scones

candied peel scone

It felt like a scone morning this morning. I have made some marmalade and so felt the urge to make scones that would go well with marmalade. I have some candied peel in a kilner jar on the side and so was born a lovely scone.

scones with marmalade

You don’t have to make your own candied peel to make these but I urge you to give it a try. It’s very easy, lasts for ages and is much more delicious than any you can buy. Try the link above for my recipe for candied peel.

Makes 6-8 scones

300g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
20g caster sugar
50g butter, cut into dice
20g candied peel, cut into small pieces
1 egg
100ml plain yoghurt
50ml milk

Egg wash, made with 1 egg and a dessertspoon of milk whisked together
caster sugar for sprinkling on top

Method

Preheat the oven to 220°c, gas mark 7 or use the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga for ten minutes and then move to the top of the roasting oven for the last two minutes to brown.

I make my scones in a food processor, which makes it easy and quick. Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in the bowl of the processor. Add the butter and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs. Mix the yoghurt, milk and egg together in a jug and pour into the flour. Add the candied peel. Pulse until it just begins to come together. Tip out onto a surface and bring together into a disc.

If you don’t have a processor then place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Add the cubes of butter and rub in using your fingertips. Add the yoghurt, milk and egg (that you have lightly whisked together) and the candied peel and bring together with your hands. This will only take a few seconds.

I then tend to pat the mixture into a round with my hands, but you can use a light touch with a rolling pin, to about 2.5cm thick. Stamp out scones using a biscuit cutter. Do not rotate the cutter, just stamp down and lift out. If you rotate you prevent them rising properly. Re-roll the trimmings and stamp out until you have no mixture left. Place onto a floured baking tray, brush with egg wash just on the top and sprinkle over a layer of sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until golden and crusty on top. Leave for about 2 minutes and then eat. These are best eaten straight out of the oven.

 

 

Iced fingers

iced fingersIced fingers are simple fare. Enriched bread dough slathered with a plain, or if you want to push the boat out, lemon icing. But simple fare can be very good, and these are very good.

Talking of pushing the boat out, it almost came to that this week here. The girls’ school was closed due to a high risk of flooding and so these were baked as compensation. You know how terrible it is be sent home from school only an hour after you arrive. Both girls were bereft and in need of something comforting.

Of course they weren’t, they were as high as kites with the excitement of it all. Still comfort food was in order anyway and they wanted to bake.

These are very good with a cup of tea, or in your lunchbox the next day, if school is open again.

Thankfully, our home is high up from the river and only our drive is affected by the flood waters. However, many homes and businesses in the UK are under water right now and my heart goes out to them. Let’s hope the rain gives way to sunshine soon and the waters begin to subside and people can start to sort out the mess that they have been left with.

Makes 12 iced fingers

300g strong white flour
250g plain white flour
50g white sugar
5g easy bake yeast
10g fine sea salt
150ml warm milk
150ml warm water
50g softened butter
1 egg

For the icing:
200g icing sugar
3-4 tablespoons of water or lemon juice or a mix of both

Place the flours, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk, water, butter and egg (you may not need all the water so hold some back) and mix with your hands or with an electric dough hook until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead for about ten minutes until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in the bowl and cover with a large plastic bag. I use a bin bag. Leave to rise for about two hours. The time needed will depend on the warmth of your kitchen. When it has doubled in size, deflate it gently and divide into twelve pieces. Shape each piece into a sausage shape by folding the dough under itself so that you get a good strong structure. Place them all onto a greased baking tray and cover again with the plastic bag for about 30 minutes until they have doubled in size again. They may be touching each other on the tray now. This is fine, they tear easily away from one another when cooked.

Cook in a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 or on the bottom of the roasting oven of the Aga for 12-14 minutes until golden brown all over. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Mix the icing sugar with the water or lemon juice. Do this carefully as a few drops of liquid can make a huge difference to the consistency. You want an icing that spreads easily but won’t run off the bun. Ice each bun. If you are feeling really indulgent you can split each bun horizontally and spread with jam and whipped cream before icing, but why gild the lily?

 

Chocolate spread fairy cakes

In typical English weather fashion, the week before the Easter school holidays was glorious, then the girls broke up from school and it has rained and rained, and snowed and any other horrible weather that you might want to think of.

But in true English style we went for a picnic with friends yesterday anyway.  We sat on a bench in the playground just as it started hailing. Hey ho, these cakes cheered us up as we sat under our umbrella.

They are very easy to make as they make use of a jar of chocolate hazelnut spread instead of having to make a buttercream topping. There is also a lovely dollop of chocolate spread in the middle too to give the cakes a lovely gooeyness when you sink your teeth in.

Makes 12 small cupcakes

110g softened butter
110g caster sugar
2 eggs
120g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
20g cocoa powder
splash of milk

About 100g chocolate hazelnut spread

Method

Place the softened butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and milk in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.

Line a patty pan with cupcake cases and place a scant teaspoonful in the bottom of each case. Then put half a teaspoon of chocolate hazelnut spread on top of the batter.  Top with another scant teaspoonful of batter. Place the cakes into a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the centre shelf of the Baking Oven of the Aga for 15-20 minutes until firm to the touch.

Place the cakes onto a wire rack to cool.  Once cool, spread generously with chocolate spread and decorate to your heart’s content. Enjoy in the hail or the sunshine.