Cranberry and Dark chocolate cookies

Cranberry and Dark chocolate cookies

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Welcome to Day 2 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!

These cookies are really quick to make, perfect for baking when unexpected visitors pop in! They’re best eaten straight from the oven, while the chocolate is still melted. They work really well with cranberries and dark chocolate, but you can use whatever chocolate you have in the cupboard. Orange zest also works really well in place of the cinnamon.

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Orange hot cross buns

Orange hot cross buns

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Easter just wouldn’t be Easter without Hot Cross buns, and they are the perfect thing to bake on Easter Saturday: leave them to prove during the day, bake them in the evening, and they’ll be ready for Easter Sunday breakfast!  When I was little I used to call them ‘hot scone buns’, but now I think they’re much better than scones – especially flavoured with orange and cinnamon and studded with raisins and citrus peel like these ones.

These are best eaten freshly baked from the oven, but are just as good up to 3 days after, lightly toasted and spread with butter. Image

For the buns:
  • 300ml milk
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 200g mix of raisins, sultanas and mixed peel
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the cross

  • 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the glaze

  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (see Tip, below) into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
  2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
  3. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.
  4. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece – see Tip below). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.
  5. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses (see Tip below). Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  6. Bubble the honey and sugar in a saucepan until syrupy, then brush over the buns to glaze.

Recipe adapted from Paul Hollywood

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Cinnamon buns

Cinnamon buns

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Baking with yeast has always scared me slightly, as there seem to be so many possible ways it could go wrong! The apricot couronne (https://elliespinkcakes.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/apricot-couronne/) I made back in September was my first real foray into the world of yeast, so I decided it was high time I conquered my fear!

I had a couple of problem making these, the first being that my mixing bowl has acquired a hole, and has now made its way to the bin. 😦 I wasn’t going to let this stop me however, so I decided the only course of action was to make the dough on the kitchen table! My second problem was that I don’t actually have a rolling pin here at uni… cue new use for a lemondade bottle!

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These cinnamon buns are surprisingly easy to make, as they only require one rise. The dough is very quick to make, and only needs 5 minutes of kneading, so they are perfect if you don’t have much time. I made the dough and rolled the buns, then left them to prove whilst I went to a lecture, then came back and baked them – heaven! These buns are incredibly moreish, and they also make your kitchen smell amazing!

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Cinnamon buns

(recipe from http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/05/08/easy-cinnamon-rolls-from-scratch/)

For the dough:

345g strong white bread flour

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 packet dried yeast

120ml water

60ml milk

40g butter

1 large egg

 

For the Filling:

45g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 and 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

50g granulated sugar

 

For the Glaze:

120g icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons milk

Directions:

  1. For the dough, set aside 50g of flour. In a large bowl, (or on the table…!) mix the remaining flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast together until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
  2. Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture.
  3. Add the egg and enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough. The dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  5. Make the filling: After 10 minutes, roll the dough out in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top.
  6. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Add more cinnamon/sugar if desired. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 11 even pieces and place in a lightly greased dish.
  7. Leave to rise for about 2 hours at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.
  8. After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 190°C. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. You might need to cover them with silver foil.
  9. Right before serving, top your cinnamon rolls with glaze. Mix the icing sugar and milk together until smooth and drizzle over the rolls.

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