Monday, 22 March 2010

Caramel Crown Cake

This weekend I took up the Claytons Bloggers' challenge to 'Pimp that Biscuit' - and I decided to make a big Caramel Crown.

The Caramel Crown is one of my favourite bought biscuits. It has a crunchy base topped with a layer of caramel, and the whole thing is coated in milk chocolate. Mmmmm......

After much close inspection of the Caramel Crown - slicing, dissecting, tasting etc - it was decided that the base was a quite plain and not particularly sweet biscuit - so I decided to use packaged biscuits and crush them up.

I chose a reasonably plain type of biscuit - kind of like an oaty digestive - and crushed two packs of them finely. Then I melted 200 g butter and stirred it in.

I lined a 22 cm springform pan with baking paper, and then formed the cake base by pressing in the crumb and butter mixture, and moulding it into a shallow bowl shape.

The original biscuit has tiny bumps around the biscuit edge, but after a few unsuccessful attempts at copying this effect, I decided that particular feature wasn't very important (except that it's probably the reason the word 'crown' is in the biscuit's name. Never mind).

I cooked it for 15 minutes on 180 C and let it cool completely before removing it from the tin and putting it on the serving plate.

The Caramel Crown has a layer of caramel (as you would expect) and as I have very little experience at making that type of thing, I decided to cheat and use caramel topping from a tin.

To be more authentic, it would need a smooth, home-made caramel, like the caramel you find in Twix and Mars bars.

Annoyingly, for some reason I stopped taking step-by-step photos at this point, but after I filled the biscuit case with the caramel, I then melted a 200 g bar of cooking chocolate, let it cool for a while, and poured it over the caramel part of the cake. Then I melted another bar of chocolate, and when that had cooled and thickened a bit, I used it to pour and spread over the edges and sides.

Quite a lot of chocolate pooled around the biscuit base, but that was fine because I had put strips of baking paper under the sides that I could remove afterwards.

I put the cake in the fridge to set the chocolate, and when it was starting to firm up, I drew a few lines in the top in an attempt to copy the ridges on the top of the original Caramel Crowns.

Then when the chocolate was completely set, I trimmed around the pooled chocolate at the base with a sharp knife, in order to remove the baking paper strips.

I had timed my Caramel Crown Cake-making so that it could be my Number One Son's (15th) birthday cake but didn't want to stick candles in my creation. So I stuck them in two obliging Caramel Crowns instead.

After the singing and blowing out of the candles, the cake was whipped back into the kitchen and cut with a sharp knife to reveal the interior, which looked pretty much like the original. It tasted similar but not identical, was very sweet and very popular.

400 g plain oatmeal biscuits
200 g unsalted butter
1 tin of top and fill caramel
400 g (approx) milk cooking chocolate (good quality)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Oaty Cranberry and Milo Cookies

I made these cookies for my children's lunchboxes - they are a variation of the Oaty Muesli Bars but with Milo to give it a slight chocolatey/malty taste, and some dried cranberries for some tangy sweetness.

(I imagine instead of the Milo, cocoa powder would work well too - although I would probably increase the amount of sugar to 100 g. I will try this variation next time.)

Cream together the soft butter and brown sugar, then add an egg.

Beat in the egg (add a tablespoon of the flour first as it makes the mixture smoother)...

...then fold in the rest of the flour, and then the Milo.

Stir in the cranberries...

...and then the oats, until the mixture is well combined.

Put on a baking sheet and heat the oven to 180 C. I made round cookies and some longer muesli bar shaped cookies which are good for school recess/morning tea.

Cook for 15 minutes. They will still be quite soft when they come out of the oven, but will firm up as they cool.

The cooked cookies! They keep their shape well because they are crammed full of oats.

50 g butter, softened
80 g light brown sugar
1 egg
50 g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp Milo
175 g rolled oats
50 g dried cranberries

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Refrigerator Naan

I often make naan for my children to take to school. Recently I've been making my naan dough the evening before and leaving it in the fridge overnight, and then I just cook it in the pan in the morning. Ta-dah! Fresh naan for the lunch boxes.

This is a small amount of dough that makes 6-8 little naans.

I've started using some wholemeal flour in my naan to make it a bit more substantial. Put flours, yeast, salt and a little sugar in a large bowl. In a jug mix together warm water, yogurt and oil.

My kitchen clock showing the time I was making the dough - nearly 11 pm. Yes I suppose I am a bit mad.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry with a spoon, then when it's looking shaggy start mixing by hand. It helps if you rub a little oil onto your hands to stop it sticking too much.

Bring it all together into a ball, adding a couple more drops of water if necessary, and knead for a few minutes (I do this in the bowl).

Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, get the dough out and remove it from the bowl.

Break it into the number of pieces you need, roll each piece into a ball, then roll them flat with an oiled rolling pin.

Heat a heavy-based pan to a medium heat and then lay some of the dough ovals in (don't add any oil to the pan).

Cook for a few minutes until golden underneath, then turn over. Turn the heat down if they are browning too quickly, or they will burn before they are cooked through.

Cook the other side for a few minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

150 g plain white flour or bread flour
100 g wholemeal flour
1 level tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp sugar
150 ml warm water
1 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp vegetable oil (I use olive oil)

My original naan recipe is here

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins (again!)

This time I used brown sugar instead of white sugar in this recipe and they are pretty good! Lovely crunchy top and fluffy interior.

So if you've got some blueberries and buttermilk hanging around, these (here and here) are good muffin recipes, and this blueberry buttermilk cake is worth making too.