Plum + Hazelnut Brownies

 Prep Time : 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! A friend of mine is having a brownie vs blondie battle at her office. It’s too good an idea to pass by. This week we’re on team brownie. Next week team blondie. The good kind of fighting in the lead up to Valentines. These deep dark brownies are adapted from my favourite base recipe by Michelle at Hummingbird High. We are adding crunchy hazelnuts and dark rich Black Doris plum slices to the mix. Dark plums add all kind of fruity goodness to chocolate. Use a good quality chocolate to get the best flavour – you’re worth it. We are cutting these darkly glorious treats into triangles today because I like triangles. Feel free to pull out a large heart cutter to get a good amount of Valentines bang for your buck if you go in for that sort of thing. You can get 4 good sized hearts from an 8 inch pan and then chop up the trimmings and fold them into ice cream for another day. Or later that day. You’re your own person.

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LIFE: Jolly AF

Hello my lovelies! Two weeks to go. The last week has been a blur of small jobs and preparations. All the Christmas odd-jobs. It’s been mega hot. Sleeping has been a challenge. I had a lovely end of year dinner with the GBB HQ crew. And we taught our last bread class for the year.

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LIFE: In the Wars

Hello my lovelies! Long time no chat. Just as I was getting over my germs I slipped and twisted my knee.I’m also fighting aphids. And my sourdough starter is having a sulk because of the weather. But guess what? 4 weeks to Christmas! So much seasonal joy to be had. There are Christmas recipes coming your way. I have started making my tree decorations. And my snug bug’s advent calendar. I really need to do some menu planning.

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Pan de Muerto

 Prep Time : 45 Minutes | Cook Time : 35 Minutes | Total Time : 5 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! I love Dia de Los Muertos. I find the aesthetic of it beautiful and interesting. The meaning of it is sweet and joyous. And I love the flavours of all things Mexican. So it was odd that I have never made Pan de Muerto before. Since it is my life’s work to make (and eat) all the breads in existence it’s time to correct this oversight. I took my cues from Fany Gerson and her fabulous book My Sweet Mexico. I pared down the recipe to make it more manageable at home. Pan de Muerto is a sweet enriched bread with a lot of eggs and butter. Brioche style. It’s flavoured with orange and orange blossom and decorated with bones fashioned from the dough. Pan de Muerto is made to honour those who are no longer with us. What a delicious way to remember them. This is best made using a mixer with a dough hook as the dough is very soft and sticky. Orange blossom can be seem very overwhelming but trust me (and Fany) it is balanced by the orange zest and is much milder once baked. The final bread is buttery and soft with the perfect note of fruit and floral. Utterly delicious. You will need about 30 minutes to get all the initial bits done before the dough is left to rise.

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Toasted Sesame Baby Bao

 Prep Time : 20 + 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 8 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! We are mixing up our bread efforts today. Making fluffy delicious bao. Steaming rather than baking. You can get a bamboo steamer for hardly any money at any asian supermarket. Mine has two layers and a lid and cost around $12. These bao are soft and fluffy with a hint of nuttiness from the sesame seeds. It balances perfectly with the sweetness of the dough. You can shape these in the traditional bao ‘foldover’ style or just make neat round buns to slice and fill. They will look small when they have proved but they puff up even more as they steam. Use them where you would normally use a small roll or even to make a warm sandwich. The are also addictive on their own to be honest. Be careful if you have gas burners that the flames don’t curl around the bottom of the pot. Hijinks will ensue.

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Cacao Nib Shortbread

 Prep Time : 10 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! I like butter. I like cookies that are crisp. So naturally shortbread is a go-to. There are other shortbreads up on the site already but this is one of my favourites. The nuttiness of the butter goes beautifully with the fruitiness of the raw cacao nibs. We need something quick and simple after our bread efforts earlier this week. I exhort you to bake your shortbread until it is golden. It gives it so much delicious toasted butter flavour. This is a small batch, just enough for a couple of people. If you want more just scale up as needed. I used Roar raw cacao nibs. You should be able to find cacao nibs in your local health food store. They have quite a different flavour to processed cocoa and cocoa nibs. They are very fruity and much more interesting so well worth the effort to seek them out.

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Brown Butter + Cinnamon Kugelhupf

 Prep Time : 30 Minutes | Cook Time : 25 Minutes | Total Time : 4 hours | Difficulty : Fiddly

Hello my lovelies! I’ve been going on about it enough. So here is a delicious buttery, spicy version of my new favourite thing. I am here to help you get over a fear of yeast. And show you it makes more than just bread. It takes a bit of planning. NBD. But the results are delicious and easy on the sugar. 1/4 cup is the extent of the damage. This makes a small cake. I haven’t tested a double recipe in a larger pan or cupcakes yet. I will get onto it. This cake will serve 8 people a slice. Serve it on it’s own with a cuppa or dress it up with raspberries and a little yoghurt or whipped cream for dessert. The only raspberries around here are frozen so it’s coulis for me. You lucky northern hemisphere people can go for fresh. A standing mixer is the recommended tool. A food processor can do the job so long as the bowl isn’t too big. You can opt to do it by hand but be prepared to mix for a bit. Get some children *coughslavelabourcough* to help. Mixing is key. Lumps are the enemy. It’s easier than you think. And totally worth it.

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