Cinnamon Rolls & Pecan Glaze 

 

Newly turned home bakers take note. Fellow bakers will agree when I say that one of the most comforting and therapeutic things to make or bake is Bread.

Bread to me is the ultimate comfort food and go to snack whether it’s my late for anywhere breakfast, my lazy morning start up , my tea time companion or my late night craving. Bread compliments my every mood, not to mention anything in the kitchen too . If eating bread is not comforting enough, baking bread from scratch is even more therapeutic.

I was trained in Bread making during my short course at a culinary school and I remember nervously walking into our first bread class because all I had ever heard about bread baking from my family is that it’s a tricky thing to do. And then to begin your very first day at culinary school with a bread baking class was a little unimaginable. But hey , I was there to learn except that was the one thing had no clue about at the class with regard to prior baking experience. Little did I know I was in for a cardio session in the kitchen. We placed our allotted ingredients on the counter and we were warned to remove all hand jewellery, watches and other fancy items. What were heading in for ?

Welcome to baking bread. Without any machines. I will not try not to sound intimidating at this point but the next 30 minutes (first class chaos and madness) was spent kneading and kneading our bread dough . We were precisely instructed to knead and stretch our dough to activate the gluten for 100 times . 50 for the right hand and 50 for the left hand if you still had strength. Being our first hands on experience (literally), I could hear panting and sighing at the counters around me. Not your ideal “I woke up for class this morning and had a fancy breakfast situation.” We were in for a surprise cardio session right in the middle of the kitchen. Once the dough was pliable to our requirement we were given a break to prepare for the next class while our delicate dough stood on the side waiting for its ” Rise 1″.

Twenty minutes later we were called back to our counters and asked to prepare for Rise 2 after our our dough had been inverted, patted down and placed into our baking trays . Our instructors carefully took our precious dough trays and placed them in the main oven while excitement and anticipation took over the class. Turns out no one else had baked bread before either. And the result? 25 minutes later, risen to perfection, and perfect to the point our bread trays came our way. Believe me when I say, there was nothing more satisfying than this feeling. And there it happened, in no more than two seconds our fatigue from all the kneading vanished and soon our class was filled with the smell of baked bread. All the cardio exercise and all the kneading paid off. There is nothing better and nothing more comforting than watching your efforts turn into something this beautiful. That’s how I look at bread baking and today I will take you down this road again. Of course you need not tire yourself with the kneading. Bread making machines and mixers have cut down on all the effort in bread making with results just as same.

Cinnamon rolls are my new favorite when it comes to bread and I’m here to share the recipe I was trained with however just some fail proof modifications of my own and a pecan glaze topping if you love your cinnamon rolls with that extra special. Beware you will fall in love with these .

250 gms of all purpose flour

5 gms salt

15 gms instant yeast granules

15 gms white sugar + 1/2 tsp for activating the yeast

160 ml water

15 gms unsalted softened butter

For the filling:

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

1 tbsp  cinnamon powder

2-3 tbsp unsalted softened butter to rub

Milk to brush

  1. Let’s begin by activating the yeast. In a small bowl add to the yeast granules about 60-70 ml of room temperature water and 1/2 tsp of sugar and stir until the granules dissolve.Place the mixture in a warm place, I usually place mine in an oven so that the activation begins. Your yeast mixture is ready once the froth appears and the mixture has nearly doubled.
  2. If you have a food processor with a mixing bowl, should you wish to prepare this with a machine, attach the spiral dough hook. In the mixing bowl add ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, salt and the yeast mixture except water and begin the mixing process on slow speed until the ingredients come some what together.
  3. Increase the speed of the processor and add the water little by little and continue to process the dough until it comes together into a soft dough ball. Meanwhile pre heat your oven to 220℃.
  4. Remove dough from the mixing bowl and tip onto a dry surface dusted with flour. Place an inverted bowl over the dough to rise for about 20-30 minutes or until doubled. This is Rise 1.
  5. After the dough has doubled, remove the inverted bowl cover and invert the dough on to the same surface and pat down gently using your palms do get rid of any air bubbles. Once done , using a rolling pin gently roll down the dough keeping the general thickness of the dough to about 1cm.
  6. Using your fingers gently rub butter throughout the flattened dough and spread it right up to the edges. Spread brown sugar and sprikle with cinnamon powder depending on how strong you want the flavor of cinnamon to be .
  7. Gently roll the dough into a swiss roll cake like form ensuring to keep the sugar and cinnamon powder as much as you can within the roll itself. Pinch the edges so the filling doesn’t spill out.
  8. Using a sharp bread knife, cut cinnamon rolls about 2 inches thick or depending on your preference. I place my cut out rolls on to muffin or cupcake trays so that the rolls stay in shape for baking. Otherwise the other popular technique would be to place all the rolls in a casserole or baking tray. However in this case, pulling them out would be a little tricky unless you are okay with a pull apart bread situation.

 

  1. Once the rolls have been cut out and placed in their baking tray allow them to rise again for 10-15 minutes approximately. This is Rise 2.
  2. Once the rolls have risen, brush each roll with milk and place immediately in the oven to bake at 220℃ for about 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for around 30 minutes.

 

Meanwhile you can prepare the pecan glaze for the same, here’s my recipe to the best ever cinnamon roll pecan glaze, I promise 🙂

10-15 pecan nuts, halved

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

1 tbsp unsalted butter

3-4 tbsp milk

Pinch of cinnamon powder

In a non stick pan, heat brown sugar and butter. Stir over slow heat until caramelized. Add chopped pecans. Add milk one tablespoon at a time and continue stirring. Ensure sugar does not burn. Add a pinch of cinnamon powder. Add additional milk if you find the mixture too thick.

Finally, spread glaze over the cinnamon rolls and serve.

These have been the best cinnamon rolls I have had homemade. I do hope you take time to try it. You won’t have leftovers, I can assure you.

Thank you for being patient and reading this post. Believe me when I say there’s nothing more comforting than a good old homemade cinnamon roll 🙂 For more pictures and posts please follow me on Instagram too @annaceta89

Until my next therapeutic and comforting bake in the kitchen,

Happy baking!!

 

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Homemade Éclairs 

 

So it is decided.

I have ran out of excuses to keep myself away from something that is an extension of my thoughts and my way of letting whats in my head take form online in word. Blogging the world calls it. And I love it. So much that the guilt of not posting something has been bugging my mind and so to say my sleep from the last couple of days. Like most other problems I have recently faced I have decided to deal with my laziness that keeps me away from a keyboard and to challenge myself to try to get a post online once every week, the least I can say, safely. Running away from a problem is no solution.

I cannot make promises I cannot keep so challenging myself to get out of corners of the house that do not require me in my free time is what I need to do. If not baking through the week, I will be here making my appearances on the blog more frequent, even if its just a couple of tips I need to share with my fellow food bloggers. 

Thank you for understanding. 

I am back from vacation and longing to share a recipe that took me by surprise. For years I have been waiting to come across the perfect homemade eclairs. The right texture and the right custard filling. After my short bakery training course last year, bakers seem to be cropping up in the family and my aunt is my recent partner in crime. She shared this recipe and it’s been modified to be fail proof. 

Éclairs, these delicate petit french baked treats are simple to make and gorgeous to look at. If you have not made these yet, I intend to get you baking soon. And I will let you in on a secret. I have modified this recipe to taste just as great with lesser calories. So no excuses now are there ?

Ingredients you ask? I am pretty sure a normally stocked kitchen would have these. So why wait. 

Custard Filling: 

1 cup white granulated sugar

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

3 cups of milk

3 egg yolks

2 tsp of vanilla essence

2 tbsp of unsalted butter

Pastry Shells: 

1/2 cup of unsalted butter

1 cup of water

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup of all purpose flour

4 medium eggs

Chocolate Topping:

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 tsp of unsalted butter

  1. Beat the egg yolks and set aside. Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a small non stick pan. Slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk. Add egg yolks and bring to a boil after mixing it well with the whisk. Reduce the heat and continue to whisk until it reaches a pudding like consistency.
  2. Remove from heat and add to it vanilla essence and butter. Blend well. Cool and keep aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 190℃. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  4. Combine butter, water and salt in a pan and bring to simmering point. Add flour to the pan and stir until it forms a ball. Remove from heat and let to cool for around 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a mixing bowl, beat in eggs one at a time. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe out finger length éclairs and bake at 180℃ in the oven.
  6. Remove from the oven when golden brown and while still warm poke holes on to the sides of each éclair to let the steam escape. Return to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes to attain crisp éclair shells. Remove from the oven once baked and allow to cool completely.
  7. Slit each éclair carefully and pipe into each the custard filling.
  8. Melt chocolate chips using the double boiler method and add butter. Blend well. Dip each éclair and allow the chocolate to set.
  9. Chill before serving.

Hope you try these soon and enjoy them as much as my family did. For more frequent posts please follow me on Instagram @annaceta89

Until next week, Happy Baking! x

 

Chocolate Viennese Roses

It’s World Chocolate Day! And for the other million reasons we love chocolate here’s a recipe that will have anyone swooning in no time. 

Viennese biscuits have been my all time favorite biscuits (if only calories didn’t exist ). These rich in texture and melt in the mouth delights is sure to be a crowd pleaser anytime. Here’s my tried and tested recipe for the Chocolate special: 

125 gms , unsalted butter

6 tbsp , icing sugar

175 gms, self raising flour

3 tbsp cornflour 

75 gms, melted chocolate 

2-3 tablespoons, warm milk (if required)
1. In a mixing bowl, mix together butter and sugar using an electric beater for about 5-6 minutes or until light and fluffy. 

2. Add to this flour and cornflour and gently fold in. Add melted chocolate and continue mixing until the batter is soft enough to pipe. ( if you require the consistency to be softer, add warm milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached )

3. Place batter in a piping bag using a rosette tip or any desired tip of your choice. 

4. On a baking tray lined with baking paper, pipe out roses or any shape of the biscuits you prefer. Keep in mind to leave enough baking space between each other. 

5. In a preheated oven at 160℃ , bake the biscuits for 10-15 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow to cool. During this process the biscuits will harden . Store in an air tight box only. 

6. For a richer chocolate taste, these biscuits can even be dipped in melted chocolate and stored.
Hope you like this simple, quick and sinfully chocolate recipe. For more updates and pictures do follow me on Instagram @annaceta89

Until my next post, Happy Baking!

Eric Lanlard’s Gluten free Clementine and Pomegranate cake

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Back to this date in February I was lucky enough to have a food festival going on near to where I live and even more luckier to have met one of my all time favorite pastry chefs at a Tea and Cake session.  A last minute decision to attend the food festival with my aunt who shares the same baking passion as me ended up in being one of those unforgettable evenings one has in life having attended a free demo and bake sessions with a baking legend of the kitchen ….. (Wait for it )

Chef Eric Lanlard. 

As good looking as he is on Tv he is much more in real and let’s not forget overtly charming and down to earth. Having a picture taken with Chef Eric is a high in itself and then to be able to attend a baking session with him is a whole different thing. And of course getting to eat what he has prepared right in front of you is an experience never to forget. So many high points of that evening and it took me this long to get to the blog to post about it 🙂

Having said that, I hope to possibly make up for the time lost by trying out the very cake Chef Eric prepared at the baking demo. Inspired by Middle Eastern flavours and local ingredients here’s a cake with a twist and a notable favorite among his visitors at his London eatery.  And even better if I told you it’s easy, quick, Gluten free and of course delicious.  

4 clementines (350gms approx)

2 cinnamon sticks

6 large eggs 

250gms light muscovado sugar

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

300 gms ground almonds

2 pomegranates

1 tsp Orange blossom water

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsps apricot glaze, warm 

Icing sugar for dusting

Put whole unpeeled clementines and cinnamon sticks in a medium sized pan with cold water and bring to a boil with a closed lid.

Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours covered. 

Drain the fruit and remove cinnamon sticks. Leave to cool for 30 minutes.

Halve the fruits. Discard the pits and puree in a blender along with the skin until well blended and thick. 

Preheat the oven to 180℃ and line a 23 cms round tin which is about 8-9 inches deep. 

Using an electric beater, whisk together eggs and 225 gms of sugar in a mixing bowl over light simmering water in a pan until the mixture is pale and mousse like. Take the mixture off the heat and add to it baking powder, ground almonds and the fruit puree. Gently fold in. 

Transfer the mixture into the ready tin and allow to bake for 20 minutes at 160℃ and for a further 30 minutes at 140℃ or until the skewer comes clean.

Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool for 15-20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 

To prepare a syrup for the cake, slice into half, one of the pomegranates and squeeze both halves to remove its juice. Place juice in a saucepan over low heat and add remaining sugar. Bring to a boil and turn off heat. While still warm add vanilla extract and orange blossom water. Stir in until well blended.

Using a pastry brush soak cake with warm pomegranate syrup. After a while spread warm apricot glaze over the cake also covering its sides. 

Dust with icing sugar before serving.

I hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I have enjoyed reliving one of the greatest highs of my baking life. Truly, baker dreams are made of this. So here’s sharing a picture of the enigmatic chef himself. 

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For more updates, please do follow me on Instagram as well @annaceta89 and Happy Baking! 

Flourless Chocolate Cake

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Valentines day. 

Overrated for some and wonderful for the rest. While I may always belong to the former group of humans, for me valentines day is always a great excuse to bake up something sinfully beautiful and then later of course blog about it. 

This year no different from the others, and making up for my long absence I decided to put the words sinful, beautiful and chocolate into a recipe that seems just perfect for the occasion and just about any other day. Whether you are the occupational baker or the occasional baker, this gorgeous cake will tempt the taste buds of chocolate addicts and others too. Sinfully delicious and delightfuly simple. Wrap up your romantic day with this quick and easy Flourless Chocolate Cake. 

300 g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
150 g butter
5 eggs
50 g caster sugar
cocoa powder, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 180℃. Line the base of a 20 cm diameter spring-from/loose bottomed cake tin with a disc of baking parchment and grease the sides with butter. 

2. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt, then remove from the heat and set aside. 

3. Place the eggs and sugar in a separate bowl and, using a hand-held electric beater or electric mixer, whisk for 10 minutes or until the mixture forms a light, pale mousse. 

4. Fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs until fully combined, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 20 – 22 minutes or until the cake is almost set. Allow to cool down completely in the tin before removing, then dust with cocoa powder and cut into slices to serve. 

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Whether you beleive in celebrating this day or not, chocolate is always a good idea. Surprise your loved one with this easy to make quick dessert which will surely have people asking for a second helping. Single or not, here’s hoping you have a wonderdul day ! 

Happy Baking and catch my regular updates on my Instagram account @annaceta89. 

Eggless Carrot Cake

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You will get over it soon they said. And I did.

After a long hiatus from my blog and through the most confusing phase of my life till now I am back on my blog determined to make this one post through that I promised my readers about roughly 20 weeks back.

Shortly after my last post I was diagnosed with depression. And no I am not ashamed of mentioning it. It is something most of us even do not feel creeping right into us. Not always does it make itself prominent at difficult times. Sometimes you have it all, but you still lack purpose of life. Sometimes it makes you feel directionless. And sometimes, it makes you fearful of the very things you love. For me baking.  It does come to a shock when you intend to move your clogged up career towards something you feel is your calling and something that I thought was in my genes and the very bloodline of the family. But depression made me question myself. Am I  really that good a baker? Well circumstances that led me to this condition, is something I decide not to discuss on this blog but yes I decided to face it head on and bring myself back even better than what I was before.

And to be honest I think I am already there. Sometimes it is best to focus on what I call self therapy and do the things I love the most. Thus bringing me back to this platform of connecting with bakers worldwide. This for me is the best way to recovery. And of course, we bakers dont need an excuse to bake do we ? 😉

And well what a better day for a comeback. I heard its National Carrot Cake Day in the US. Perfect timing for my eggless version of this timeless classic!

 

Brown Sugar – 40 gms

Butter – 25 gms

Condensed milk – 100 gms

All purpose flour – 100 gms

Baking soda – ½ teaspoon

Baking powder – ½ teaspoon

Cinnamon powder – ¼ teaspoon

Milk – 100 ml

Vanilla Essense – ½ teaspoon

Carrot (freshly  grated, fine) – 50 gms

Cashew nuts, broken – 10 gms

Walnuts, broken – 10 gms

Raisins – 10 gms

Firstly, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

In a mixing bowl, using an electric beater mix together sugar, butter and condensed milk until smooth and creamy. Add finely grated carrot to this batter.

To this add all purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder and fold until well blended.

Add milk to the batter and stir in gently. Add raisins, walnuts and cashew nuts broken into small pieces. Lastly add vanilla essence.

Pour batter into a baking tin and bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve with frosting of your choice .

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Looking forward to more bakes and cakes in the coming weeks !

Happy baking !

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

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So my habit of realising things at the eleventh hour has also hit my blog.But I couldn’t really help this one. Midway through my day I realized it’s International Chocolate Day making it a perfect day to day to post about the quickest dessert I’ve baked so far and well deliciously chocolaty!

Like the recipe this post is going to be just as “express”!

In a baking dish or bowl, spread on the bottom layer about 2-3 slices of stale slice bread roughly cut into bite size pieces. Over the bread spread 2-3 tbsps of brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together a cup of milk, one whole egg and 1 tsp of vanilla essence.

Spread milk mixture over bread pieces and let the bread pieces soak completely in the milk.

Spread chocolate chips and another tablespoon of brown sugar over the bread bits. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180℃ for 20-25 minutes. 

And that brings me to the end of this extremely quick post…Until my next, Happy Baking!