Tag Archives: Aga baking

Salted peanut butter brownies

Salted peanut brownies

We are off to a friend’s straight after school tonight so I have made these brownies to take with us for a treat. I have also asked one of the students attending Sunday’s bread making course for cake requests and brownies are at the top of her cake list. It made sense then, to trial these and cook again on Saturday, ready for Sunday.

They are an adaptation of Ruby Tandoh’s excellent Salted Milk Chocolate Brownies from The Guardian Cook section published on 7 February this year. I can’t resist fiddling with recipes so I have added peanut butter, used dark chocolate instead of milk and used half and half of caster sugar and soft dark brown sugar. I have also swapped the plain flour with wholemeal spelt.

When I made Ruby’s brownies the first time, (with just a few changes), it became quite clear that by sprinkling sea salt on the top of these beauties just makes them even more tempting and addictive.

If you have a fancy for a gooey, deeply chocolatey, salty and nutty cake (and who wouldn’t?) get your teeth wrapped around one (or two, or three) of these.

Makes 9 brownies

175g unsalted butter
150g dark chocolate
50g cocoa powder
100g caster sugar
100g soft dark brown sugar
3 eggs
50g wholemeal spelt flour
¼ tsp fine salt
About 100g crunchy peanut butter
Sea salt flakes

Method

Melt the chocolate and the butter together in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir in the cocoa powder. Leave to cool slightly.

Whisk the sugars with the eggs in a large bowl until the mixture is thick and doubled in volume.

Pour the chocolate mixture onto the egg mixture and fold carefully together until well mixed. Add the flour and the salt and fold in. Pour the batter into a foil lined 20cm square cake tin. Drop blobs of peanut butter into the batter and swirl with a skewer. Sprinkle the sea salt flakes over the top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 for 25-30 minutes or in the Aga’s baking oven with the rack set on the bottom rung for 20 minutes until the brownie is crusted on top but still has a bit of a wobble. It should be undercooked so that when it cools it is fudge and dense in texture with a crust.

Blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffins

As we were shopping yesterday I spotted how reasonably priced a large punnet of blueberries was and couldn’t resist. I had some on my yoghurt for my first breakfast (this usually takes place at about 6 it, it was a bit later this morning) and then on some porridge for my second breakfast (usually about 9.30-10ish). I know I am greedy. I felt the need, this afternoon, to make muffins with them. I have made 24 small muffins and I will freeze most of them and pull out a couple each day to put into the girls’ lunchbox. They will either eat them or they won’t. I will find out when it comes to emptying their lunch box. Be assured though that just because my girls may leave them languishing in their lunch box doesn’t mean that they aren’t delicious, because they are.

As I was about to search for recipes I noticed that Choclette has made some very delicious blueberry and lemon cupcakes with an outrageously purple icing, which you must take a look at.

These muffins are ones that even I can eat without feeling guilty, as they are made with spelt flour.  This new diet that I have undertaken has really pointed out to me how rubbish I am at excluding foods in my diet. I have been quite strict about  not eating bread for the past two weeks, so that I cut down my consumption of wheat. Then this morning we popped into a café and I found myself eating a scone. Honestly, I am rubbish. I found this my being rubbish at food exclusion out when I was pregnant. At the time pregnant women were advised to not eat peanuts. I thought I had done a really good job of this until I thought about all the bowls of Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes and Snickers bars I had eaten. Honestly, I am rubbish!

So here is the recipe for the muffins that the girls will be eating (or not) for their lunches.

150g white spelt flour
70g wholemeal spelt flour
120g soft brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
220g melted butter
3 eggs, beaten
100ml greek yoghurt
200g blueberries

2 tablespoons of demerara sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon mixed together

Method

Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl. until thoroughly mixed.

In another large bowl mix together the eggs, melted butter and yogurt until well mixed. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and give a quick mix. Don’t be overzealous in the mixing, just enough to combine the ingredients. This will keep the muffins light. Add the blueberries and stir in gently.

Blob spoonfuls of the mixture into 24 cupcake cases or 12 muffin cases, sprinkle each one with a little of the demerara sugar mixture and bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the middle of the Aga’s baking oven for 15 minutes. Leave in the tin for a minute or two, then cool completely on wire racks.

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.