November 27, 2015

Soft Garlic Knots

Oh my gosh, these garlic knots are absolutely delicious, and pretty easy to make!  Prepare yourself for extreme garlic action - the bread is soft, very garlicky and beautiful too.

If you don't want garlic, you could always put cinnamon and sugar on them and they'd be just as nice!

Recipe adapted from: King Arthur Flour
Ingredients - bread
270g plain flour
230g bread flour
1 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp dry instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
225g water

Ingredients - garlic glaze
45g butter
4 cloves garlic

1. Mix the dry ingredients (everything except the olive oil and water) in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.

2. Microwave the water until it's lukewarm.

3. Add the olive oil and lukewarm water to the dry ingredients, mix with the dough hook until smooth and combined.  If the dough is too dry, add a touch more water - if it's too wet, add a bit more flour.  Knead the dough in the mixer (or by hand) for a few minutes, until nice and elastic.

4. Lightly grease the bowl with olive oil then place the dough in to rise for about an hour, covered with cling wrap.  The dough should about double in size.

5. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and roll it out on a floured surface into a large rectangle.

6. Cut the rectangle into about 16 strips (along the long side, so you have 16 short strips).

7. Roll each strip into a round rope and then fold it into a knot.  See this link for some helpful pictures!  It's actually pretty simple to achieve.

8. Place the knots on baking trays lined with baking paper or silicone mats with a fair amount of space in between.

9. Cover the knots with cling wrap or a tea towel and let them rise for another hour.  While they're rising, preheat the oven to 175C (350F).

10. Bake the knots for 15-18 minutes.  They should be golden brown but still soft!  While they're baking, make your garlic glaze.

11. Melt the butter for the glaze, then chop the garlic finely and mix it into the butter.

12. When the knots come out of the oven, brush them generously with the garlic glaze.  The reason you don't bake them with the garlic on is because the garlic would burn!

14. These knots are best eaten warm, so enjoy them ASAP!  You can also reheat them in the microwave to soften them if you have any left the next day.


November 18, 2015

Choc Chip Cookies (Not Without Salt recipe)

Ladies and gentlemen, I've found a new favourite choc chip cookie recipe!  It's very versatile - I like to make the dough into a large log then chop it up pretty thinly.  When baked, this gives the edges a nice crunch and chewiness while the middle stays softer.

In addition to dark chocolate chips, sometimes I add white chocolate chips, pecans or hazelnuts to spice things up a bit.

Recipe adapted from: Not Without Salt
225g butter
55g white sugar
55g raw sugar (or Turbinado)
340g brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
455g flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
2 tsp salt plus extra for sprinkling
450g dark chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

1. Preheat the oven to 180C (360F).  Cream the butter and all sugars until light and fluffy.

2. Beat eggs into the mixture one at a time until incorporated, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Beat in the vanilla essence.

4. Add the flour, bicarb soda and salt to the bowl, mix gently until fully combined - don't overmix.

5. Finally, add the chocolate chips!  If you're adding nuts, or anything else, fold these in as well.

6. Place tablespoons of dough on baking trays covered with baking paper or silicone mats.  Alternatively, roll portions of dough into logs and let them chill in the freezer until hardened, then chop into slices.

7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.  You want the middle to still be soft so don't over bake them!

8. Allow the cookies to cool a bit and then enjoy!  They're amazing when they're warm.

November 9, 2015

Macarons at Savour Chocolate School

I attended the Decadent Chocolate Biscuits class at Savour Chocolate School a few months ago, which was an amazing experience.  I went back recently to go to their Macarons class

I learnt some great techniques for both macarons and fillings - previously I only used the 'French method' for macarons, which involves folding icing sugar and almond meal into beaten egg whites, but now I know a method which creates a much sturdier macaron!

We made six flavours all together - bergamot cream, salted caramel, peanut brittle, passionfruit lime cheesecake, coffee hazelnut and these really cute burger macarons (ganache 'patty', white chocolate 'cheese' and raspberry jam 'tomato sauce').

This is the salted caramel macaron - dusted with demerara sugar and filled with an amazing caramel.

This is the peanut brittle - my favourite!  Filled with chopped brittle and brittle-infused ganache (that actually tasted like peanut brittle!)  We splashed these with red-tinted cocoa butter which was really fun.

Next up is the passionfruit lime cheesecake.  I'm not a huge cheesecake person but my brother loved this.  The filling was a tart passionfruit lime jam surrounded by fluffy cream cheese buttercream.

This is the bergamot cream macaron - the biscuit itself was infused with tea and the bergamot cream filling was smooth and a bit tart.  I'd never used bergamot before but it tastes kind of like lemon, but different.