Roasted almond and dark chocolate shortbread

Roasted almond and dark chocolate shortbread

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These shortbread are the ultimate dunking biscuits – tea, coffee or hot chocolate, it doesn’t matter, they are just perfect! The chocolate layer melts so they can soak up just enough of the liquid while still retaining a crunch from the roasted almonds. They would be perfect served with scones as part of an afternoon tea, or simply on pretty, floral china as a spring afternoon treat!

This shortbread uses the classic 3-2-1 recipe, with 3 parts flour (with a little bit of rice flour for crumbliness!), 2 parts good quality salted butter and one part caster sugar, but the nuttiness of the roasted almonds takes them to another level entirely! It’s really important not to roll the dough out too thinly, as you want thick, crumbly shortbread and not thin biscuits.

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Roasted almond and dark chocolate shortbread:

  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 dessert spoons of rice flour or ground rice
  • 200g good quality salted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 80g whole almonds
  • 200g dark chocolate
  1. Heat the oven to 180C, then spread the almonds out on a baking tray and cook for 10 minutes, then take them out of the oven and allow to cool completely.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then stir in the flours until you have a smooth dough (you may need to use your hands at the end!)
  3. Roughly chop the almonds and then mix them into the shortbread dough.
  4. Form the dough into a ball and then roll out to a thickness of 2cm.
  5. Either cut the shortbread into squares or use a cutter, then place the shapes onto a lined baking tray and bake for 18 minutes until lightly golden.
  6. Transfer the shortbread onto a wire rack to cool.
  7. When they are completely cool, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, then tip each shortbread into the chocolate so a third of it is covered, then leave to set on the rack.
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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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Baking (with essays!)

Baking (with essays!)

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Sorry I haven’t posted for a little while, but the reality of essays and deadlines caught up with me a little bit last week, and I had to impose a baking ban! I am happy to say that these have all been handed in now, and I can bake freely again! This post will basically be a round up of everything I’ve baked in the last couple of days.

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So, it was Halloween on Thursday, and, not being able to choose between making a cake or biscuits, I decided to do both, and make this graveyard cake! I made the inside of this a chequerboard cake – inspired by Kimberley’s one in the Great British Bake Off final. The pink cake was supposed to be blood red, but for some reason our campus shop doesn’t stock red gel food colouring…!

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Today it’s my flatmate’s birthday, so to celebrate I made her a brownie stack! This is basically brownies stacked up and drizzled with melted chocolate, then sprinkled with chocolate chips, to make a chocolatey browniey (yes that is a word!) pile, which is perfect to share.

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