April 11, 2016

Meringue Kisses

You've probably seen meringue kisses floating around on the internet and social media - some of the most famous ones are the colourful creations of the Meringue Girls.  Good news; you can make them at home, and they aren't too difficult to achieve!

The only ingredients for these kisses are egg whites and sugar (and optional food colouring).  To achieve a smooth consistency the sugar is heated up a bit before being beaten into the egg whites.  I really love how they turned out!

Recipe adapted from: Meringue Girls via Bakerella
1 part egg whites to 2 parts sugar
e.g. 100g egg whites, 200g sugar

Gel food colouring (I use Wilton)

1. Preheat your oven to 205C (400F).

2. Once the oven is nearly heated to temperature, whisk the egg whites on low in a stand mixer or hand mixer until bubbles form, then increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form.

3. Line a baking tray (that has sides on it to prevent sugar spilling everywhere) with baking paper and pour the sugar onto it, making sure that it's spread evenly.

4. Bake the sugar in the oven for about 5 minutes, until the edges of the sugar begin to melt.

5. Remove the sugar from the oven.  Leave the oven on, and decrease the heat to 95C (200F).

6. Start whisking the egg whites again, on high speed.  Add large spoonfuls of sugar to the mixture, one at a time, whisking in between (you can keep the mixer going, and just spoon sugar in periodically).  Make sure that the mixture is at firm peaks again before you add more sugar.

7. Once all the sugar is incorporated, keep whisking for another few minutes.  When it's done, the mixture should look shiny, feel smooth between your fingers (without many or any flecks of sugar) and it should form stiff peaks.  If you want to make your kisses a single solid colour, this is the time to add your desired food colouring and beat it in until the colour is how you want it.

8. Prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper.

9. Fit a piping bag (I used a disposable plastic one) with a small round piping tip.  If you want to make colourful stripy kisses, you will need to paint the inside of the bag with food colouring.  Take the food colouring and paint stripes on the inside of the piping bag using a paintbrush.  For these kisses I alternated between blue and green stripes.  You can turn the bag inside out if you want but you can just take a long handled paintbrush and paint inside the bag without inverting it.

When you paint the stripes on the plastic bag, the food colouring won't look like a solid stripe - I found that mine kind of pooled together and made me think that it wouldn't look opaque and work - but don't worry, it will turn out fine!

You can use whatever colour combinations you want for your kisses.  Have fun experimenting!  However, I think it looks best if some of the white is left to peek out.

10. Carefully spoon the meringue mixture into the piping bag - you don't want to smudge the stripes too much!
11. Pipe kisses onto your baking tray.  This may require a bit of experimentation to get the desired shape, but you'll get into the groove of things!

12. Bake the kisses for 30-40 minutes, until they are dry and can be easily lifted off the baking paper.

13. Let the kisses cool.

Enjoy!  I'm looking forward to making these in heaps of colours!

March 24, 2016

Sweet Coconut Swirl Bread

This recipe makes a sweet, soft bread full of coconut flavour.

Recipe adapted from: Clockwork Lemon
Ingredients - 11 x 21 cm loaf (4 x 8 inch)
4.5g instant yeast
7.5g white sugar
187g coconut milk
150g bread flour (can substitute plain flour)

1 egg
4g salt 
25g white sugar
175g bread flour (can substitute plain flour)
63g butter (room temperature)

38g butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
12g white sugar
1 tbsp powdered milk (you can skip this ingredient if you don't have it on hand)

1. Microwave the coconut milk until lukewarm, then combine the sponge ingredients (yeast, sugar, coconut milk and bread flour), stirring until smooth.

2. Cover the mixture with cling wrap and let it double in volume, about 30 minutes.

3. Add the egg, salt, sugar and half of the flour (from the dough ingredients) to the risen sponge, stir until combined.  I used the dough hook attachment on my stand mixer.

4. Cut your butter up into pieces and add a few pieces at a time to the dough, mixing in between additions until all the butter has been combined.

5. Add the remaining flour and knead until smooth.  Continue kneading for another few minutes so that the dough becomes soft and elastic.

6. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap, let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

7. While the dough rises, mix the filling ingredients (butter, coconut, sugar and powdered milk) together until combined.

8. Once your dough has risen, punch out the air and roll it out to about a 25cm x 35cm rectangle.

9. Spread the filling mixture over the rectangle.

10. From one of the long sides, roll the dough up into a long log.  Cut the log down the middle, leaving a bit un-cut at the top.  Turn the pieces so that the cut side faces up, then wrap the pieces around each other to form a kind of plait.

11. Line your loaf tin with baking paper, then gently place the plait into the tin.  You may need to squish it up a bit so that it fits, but that's ok!

12. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and let the loaf rise again for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

13. While the loaf is rising, preheat the oven to 175C (350F).

14. When the loaf has risen, bake it for about 35 minutes.  The top should be golden.

15. Let the loaf cool a bit before slicing, and enjoy!

February 4, 2016

Pav Bread (Indian Bread Rolls)

These bread rolls are beautifully fluffy and would be great accompanying curry - and they're lovely on their own too!

Recipe adapted from: Mellow n spicy
Ingredients (9 rolls - 20 cm (8 inch) square baking tin)
187mL (3/4 cup) milk
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one sachet)
2 tbsp white sugar
310g flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp milk powder
4 tbsp butter (softened)

1. Microwave the milk until lukewarm.

2. Mix the yeast and sugar with the milk and let it sit until the mixture becomes frothy.

3. Add the flour, salt and milk powder to the yeast mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms.

4. Add the butter to the dough and knead until a smooth dough is formed.  I used my stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, but you could always use your hands.

5. Lightly grease a bowl with oil or butter and place the dough inside, cover it with a clean tea towel or cling wrap.  Let it rise for about an hour, or until roughly doubled in size

6. Line a 20cm (9 inch) baking tin with baking paper, and punch the dough down - knead it for a few minutes.

7. Divide the dough into nine portions and roll each into a ball.

8. Place the rolls evenly into the baking tin.  Cover with cling wrap or a tea towel and let rise for about 30 minutes, until roughly doubled in size.

9. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 175C (350F).

10. Bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

11. Let the rolls rest for a few minutes then you can either cool them completely or enjoy them warm!

January 19, 2016

Browned Butter Praline Blondies

Browned butter is a glorious thing and hazelnut praline paste is another glorious thing.  Combined...well, here you go! 

Recipe adapted from: F&B Department
Ingredients - 20 cm (8 inch) square baking tin
170g butter
270g brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
223g flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup hazelnut praline paste (or Nutella)

1. Brown your butter - place the butter in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until it foams, smells delicious and brown flecks form at the bottom of the pot.  Be careful that it doesn't burn.

2. Strain the butter into another bowl and set it aside to cool.

3. Once the butter's cooled a bit, preheat the oven to 175C (350F).  Line a 22cm square baking tin with baking paper.

4. Beat the cooled browned butter with the brown sugar until combined (the mixture will be pretty liquid).

5. Beat the eggs in one at a time, then add the vanilla and beat until well combined.

6. Gently fold the flour, baking powder and salt into the batter.

7. Spread the blondie batter into the baking tin and drop blobs of the hazelnut praline paste (or Nutella) on top.

Swirl the praline through the blondie batter with a knife.  Don't overswirl because then you'll just mix it together.

8. Bake the blondie for about 30 minutes, until lightly brown on the top.

9. Let it cool before slicing and enjoying!