Ham, Bacon and Cheddar Savoury Twist

While the majority of my baking is sweet I do enjoy having a go at savoury snacks every now and then. Dr B. is currently doing shift work and likes to take home baked treats in whenever he can. Also since we were celebrating Fathers Day a day early for him I was quite keen to do something extra special (even though we had already had apricot waffles for breakfast).

I used a yeast based dough but if you are more comfortable with your own scone recipe this will work just as well with that. The other great thing about savoury twists is that you can use whatever happens to be in your fridge to fill it. For example we had some left over bacon from our BLT bagels last night so that obviously needed to be used in this as everything is better with bacon!

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Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Ganache

Cupcakes have been a pretty big part of my life. I find them one of the best baked goods for sharing, they are easy to transport and everyone gets their own little individual treat.

They have quite a history during my PhD and even managed to get me in trouble at one stage but that is another story. When I went home to write my thesis people would tell me how much they missed having me at university. I knew what they really meant was that they missed the two tier cupcake container coming in every week or two with some new flavour combination that Dr B or I had dreamed up. They were excellent guinea pigs and never complained about having to eat our creations.

All the cupcakes I make need to be moist and full of flavour, I can’t stand dense dry cupcakes. This recipe is my go to chocolate cupcake/cake recipe, it is a one bowl wonder and so easy to whip up. Today I needed to make a birthday cake for a friend and decided to use all the same fillings and toppings to make a few cupcakes. This is the great thing about cupcake and cake recipes, they are easily interchangeable, you just need to keep an eye on baking times when changing from one to the other.

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Caramel, Coconut, Spiced Oven Baked Rice Pudding

Quite a mouthful of a title but appropriately this pudding is a mouthful of delicious flavours.

It was my Dad’s birthday yesterday and when I think about growing up with him I can often remember him making far too much rice to go with a meal so that he would have an excuse to make rice pudding for dessert. Usually he would make a mix of rice, milk and vanilla then make a giant bubbly mess in the microwave that would result in steaming bowls of very delicious pudding for us. Since I am a baking nerd it is obvious that I can’t help but want to spice it up and try out a few new flavour combinations when making Dad’s classic dessert.

As a side note it must be mentioned that his all time favourite dessert are the pumpkin pies that my Mom makes. He loves to boast about how she makes such good pies that my Nano would ask her to bring dessert to family functions (extremely high praise as my Nano is an amazing cook herself and has taught my Aunts well)! I may have to blog about the pumpkin pies one day but I hardly ever bake them as we have Mom to make them for us.

This rice pudding does take a little while to make as it spends two hours in the oven soaking up all the milk and coconut cream but the outcome is well worth it. It is not overly sweet and the flavours added by the vanilla, cinnamon, cardamon and star anise are well infused after the baking time. Just be sure to count your vanilla beans, cinnamon quills and star anise before they go in so you know how many to fish out at the end!

You start by making a butter and sugar caramel and then add the rice and continue to caramelise to a lovely amber colour.

Caramel Continue reading

Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

My first memories of baking have to be standing on a foot stool in the kitchen helping my Mom to make chocolate chip cookies. This recipe comes from a book that my parents received as a wedding present in 1983 and has been so well used that it no longer has a cover. I recently discovered that the book is in fact the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, most likely the 9th or 10th edition.

There are many traditions attached to these cookies. They must be eaten dipped in a glass of milk. They are customised for holidays, made with crushed candy coated Easter eggs at Easter time and with crushed candy canes at Chr*stmas.  Perhaps most importantly cookie dough must always be set aside for Dad to eat when he gets home. Even now as a married woman I set aside dough for Dad and take it around to leave in their fridge.

Cookie dough for Dad

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Chocolate Mousse Cakes with Salted Caramel Sauce.

As I mentioned in the last post the combination of sweet and salty is one to be tried. I almost always have a jar of salted caramel sauce in the fridge, it is great in fruit pies, on tarts, ice cream and just eaten straight off the spoon.

Dark chocolate is another staple in the baking cupboard. I made an excellent discovery at our supermarket that the good quality higher cocoa percent chocolate is cheaper than the dark baking chocolate. The darker you can get the better for these cakes (and for most baking purposes).

These would be an excellent dessert when entertaining, they are made the day before and left overnight to let the flavours develop.

Hopefully you will have a bit more luck than me when it comes to containing the mousse cake mixture.

Mess

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Chocolate Chilli Spiced Cookies

Sometimes flavour combinations sound a little out there, sweet and salty being one of my favourite examples. However another great combination is sweet and spicy. Chilli and chocolate go together so well, creamy dark chocolate with a slight kick at the end of every bite. As with anything spiced feel free to add less of the flavours you are unsure of when you start out, the next time you make it you can alter the amount again. I almost always add twice as much cinnamon and ginger as a recipe calls for…not so much of a scientist following exact recipes (Dr B would prefer it if I just changed one variable each time I play with a recipe, he is the good scientist in the family).

I first found the recipe on Pinterest and fittingly the recipe comes from the blog Scientifically Sweet. They are more of a pastry and not super sweet even with the brown sugar crispy topping.

Cookie Dough

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