Snowballs…of the meringue variety

Week four in the bake off tent…DESSERT WEEK!

What’s in common this week…eggs? Errmmm yumminess?

Based on Mary Berry’s tower of meringue, I decided to follow the egg white trend and make some meringue  snowballs. I have attempted meringue once before, it didn’t turn out so well, but then again I just through some egg white in the oven because I didn’t want to waste!

Meringue balls

Meringue balls

Again this came from my Big Book of Baking. I didn’t have any cream of tartar and wasn’t prepared to by a tub for the sake of a pinch so instead subsidised in for just over a quarter teaspoon of lemon juice to stabilise the egg whites. Everything else I tried to follow exactly.

creamed up

 

Evaluation? Oh okay then.

I thought they were going to be much harder! Not often it works out that way. Winning. Having everything measured out and prepared first made a big difference to my normal panicked running around baking state. As is the nature of meringue it tests your patience, the hands on time is short but the bake time is extremely long for little balls of sugary egg.

Snowballs

The cream covering was a little messy, if you make them more than once it is probably an easy problem to iron out. I covered mine in coconut because they are sweet enough that I think the white chocolate idea would be overkill. I think they look great, and turned out bigger than I expected! Star taster this week goes, joint to, Steve and Olivia. It was a pleasure to have them and feed them up!

And your left over egg yolks? I totally turned mine into some yummy carbonara sauce! Dinner and pudding sorted!

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Plaited rich saffron loaf

Week three in the bake off tent: BREAD WEEK!

This is the most exciting week by far, I’m salivating just thinking back. You can’t beat a good bread, soft and light with crisp crust oh yes please! ….pretty please! …with cheese and ham and spice please!

This week I wanted to keep pushing myself to bake out of my comfort zone which unfortunately stopped me cribbing a recipe from my overnight artisan loaf. I picked this recipe from the official Big Book of Baking from last year and, some might say optimistically, picked out a four stranded saffron plaited loaf. If I had known about the sourdough round before buying all my ingredients I dare so I wouldn’t  have stayed so brave.

GBBO bake along!

 

Again being one of Hollywood’s recipes and being a rather virgin bread maker I had do some quick Goggle searches on how to “punch down” my proved dough and the correct way to “flatten” my strands pre-plaiting. With some extra research I felt this was at least a do-able task.

Safron loaf

Evaluation? Oh ok then.

Time consuming is the first thing that comes to mind. With soaking the saffron, two proves and forming a plait you need a good half a day at home where you can pick up the different stages easily. Not a waste of time, just a lot of it.

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inside

It was a three spoon rating in my baking book, which translates to tricky, which translates to very difficult, in normal people terms. Enough to say that it lived up to its’ spoons. It got a little burnt so I blame the timings in the book obviously 😛 but otherwise I am very glad that I tried it and tasted pretty delicious with some salted butter. I’m still not convinced on saffron, sorry Paul and Mary.

Star taster this weeks goes to my beautiful sister, Fiona,  who enjoyed the super soft texture for a bit of breakfast this morning. Cheers Fee!

UNTIL NEXT WEEK!

Pecan and Cranberry Biscotti

Week two in the Bake Off tent: BISCUIT WEEK!

This week I didn’t fancy making an edible vessel for other edibales, biscuit-ception, and for the fact I have never even tasted biscotti that sounds like a challenge enough. So challenge two biscotti creations, followed by an attempt to brew the perfect coffee.

Pecan and cranberry biscotti

I settled on a recipe from Paul Hollywood’s website, keeping it in the family. The recipe is here, but be warned I didn’t like using it much unless you know what you’re doing it isn’t very helpful for the beginner. 2 or 3 eggs – that’s not a recipe! I’m not supposed to decide. I also struggled when to take them out after the first bake – I had no idea what to be looking for so settled for slightly browned.

I opted for the pistachio and cranberry mix, but had no pistachios so swapped them out for pecans, which I ran out of so topped up with flaked almonds. I ate the “ends” after bake one, second baked and then I coated half the surviving batch in dark chocolate and rolled them in some chopped nuts to finish off.

Biscotti dunked in dark chocolate and chopped nuts

Evaluation? Oh OK then.

After bake one

After bake one, before slicing and bake two

Quite difficult really.

I found my dough too sticky , for all of Paul’s warnings, which gave me grief when trying to make with the log shaping. They also didn’t spread out or rise as much as I would have liked (which means at all) which left me with rather close delicious biscuits that I don’t think can be called biscotti as much as I tried. Any ideas?

What I made taste delicious, sugary and crunchy, nutty and fruity, but that’s more a combination of great ingredients than baking genius.

Star taster this week was a toughie but I am happy to say goes to George, on the basis that he ate at least 6 which means they must be good!

Until next week!

Coffee AND Walnut Cake

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The Great British Bake Along Challenge begins, because I may be pants but I want to get involved anyway! I love The Great British Bake Off, what great characters and bakes, so let’s celebrate another season has started!

During my aptly named Great British Bake Along Challenge I plan to bake along with the contestants every week based on the themes laid out in the show. I am but a lowly amateur so won’t necessarily bake exact recipes however will use them for inspiration and stick to the episode themes tightly (until it gets too tough and then loosely, very loosely)!

Week one in the Bake Off tent: CAKE WEEK

Caaaake

Oooo who doesn’t like a light fluffy sponge covered in sugary smooth icing or chocolate. No one worth listening too that is! This week’s technical challenge was Mary Berry’s walnut cake, but if you going to make a walnut cake I reckon you may as well go the whole hog and make a coffee and walnut cake. I also wasn’t too sure about that meringue nonsense.

Mooore cake

 

I went with a simple recipe from a trusted source, my student baking book! Shhh Paul put away those disappointed eyes! If anyone is desperate for the recipe I’ll post it up but with baking every week don’t have time to do them all. Pesky day job!

Evaluation? Oh ok then.

A nice easy bake to start this challenge covering all the basics. Good recipe and I would make again! I would give myself a whooping nine out of ten. There was a good distribution on my walnuts (cut into eighths!) and they didn’t sink to the bottom hurrah! Cake rose well and evenly and most of all tastes delicious! I suppose it could have looked a little prettier *sigh*

Star taster this week goes to… Jackie! That lovely colleague commented “It’s really lovely Brenda, not too sweet” – Oh but you are!

Until next week!