Author Archives: BakingMad.com

BLONDIE’S KITCHEN

Blondie’s Kitchen – Milk and Cookie Bar 1ST

We’re so excited to indulge our sweet tooth by visiting London’s latest pop-up –The Milk and Cookie Bar by Blondie’s Kitchen in Selfridges, London.

Inspired by the bakeries and candy bars of New York- Magnolia Bakery and Dylan’s Candy Bar, to name just a few- the pop up will be fuelling lucky locals this May.

 

On the menu ar2NDe five different flavours of cookie, including classic milk choc chip, double chocolate tahini, peanut butter oat cookies, Nutella-stuffed Oreo ones, and cookie dough slabs as well as cookie sandwiches – where you can mix up the flavours and fill with a delicious honeycomb mousse. The Milk also comes in three flavours, with regular, almond and Coco Pops (infused) cereal milk on the menu.

And guess what? They have developed a very special milk recipe for us! Introducing the hot cross bun milk and we’re happy to share the special recipe with you

Hot Cross Bun Milk

3RD

Blondie’s Kitchen is the brainchild of chefs (and blondies) Chelsie Collins and Kristelle Levin. The girls gained a huge following after their trip to the big city last year inspired them to set up their own business making beautifully crafted bespoke celebration cakes and decadent feasts for private parties.

Chelsie said: “We came up with the idea after being in New York and thought why isn’t there anywhere like this at home!? We love milk and cookies and think it’s such a nostalgic treat so we hope everyone else will feel the same.

Blondie’s Kitchen will be opening on Monday, 1st May, Selfridges, so get down and indulge in an American-inspired treat – we will be!

The bar is open from 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, from October 17 to 29 October.

 

Grow Your Own Ingredients – Rhubarb

My first experience of rhubarb was when I was a child and came in the form of rhubarb crumble, warm, straight from the oven and served alongside my Nan’s homemade vanilla custard, with milk from the cows, eggs from the chickens and rhubarb grown straight outside her kitchen window. Now I am a thirty-something living in a suburban housing estate, I don’t have the luxury of a wealth of crops and livestock directly outside my back door but with the carefree nature of rhubarb it’s easy to still have some home grown goodness when baking a trip down memory lane.

Rhubarb and raspberry crumble - web

Rhubarb and raspberry crumble

Now Rhubarb season is upon us, what would be better than making your tasty creations using Rhubarb picked fresh from your own garden? Here is our handy guide to tell you all you need to know.

Very few crops are as easy to grow as rhubarb. Plants almost seem to take care of themselves, hiding away in garden corners producing a crop year after year. With how easy it is, it really is a plant that all kitchen gardeners should clear a space in their garden for.

Rhubarb is a long stalky Plant that varies from light pink to dark red in colour. Hard wearing and un-fussy, it will perform best in well-drained, fertile soil and preferably in full sunlight. A young plant can be planted at any time of the year but for best results early spring and autumn are the best times, whilst roots are still dormant and before the plants begin to grow and leaf out.

For the first year only harvest lightly, to allow th e plant to establish properly. After the first year, stalks can be harvested from April till July. When harvesting always leave half a dozen stalks intact so as to not weaken the plant. To harvest, hold stalk at base and pull whilst slightly twisting. Most recipes then call for the cleaned stems to be cut into bite-sized pieces. Freshly harvested rhubarb can be stored unwashed, in the refrigerator, for up to one week.

On no account eat the leaves. Only the stalks are edible; the leaves are toxic.

Richard Burr- Rhubard & Ginger Tart

 

Rhubarb and ginger bakewell tart

Although Rhubarb is a vegetable, when cooking with it, it must be treated like a fruit and stalks sweetened before eaten due to the naturally sharp flavour.

The classic way to cook rhubarb is by gently stewing it in sweetened liquid for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and cooked, but still holds its shape.

Vanilla is the classic accompaniment, usually in the form of:

Easy Vanilla Custard by Nielsen-Massey

Vanilla custard to use WEB

or

Nielsen-Massey vanilla ice cream

vanilla icecream

 

but spices such as cinnamon and ginger work well too. The tart tangy nature of the rhubarb flavor needs a sweetness to balance it out, but if you don’t want to consume too much added sugar then honey, maple syrup or orange juice could also be ideal alternatives. It also pairs well with sweet fruits such as apples, lemons, mangoes, pears and strawberries.

Rhubarb fool - Web

Rhubarb fool

This rhubarb fool is so simple and tastes yummy but most classic bakes such as crumbles, pies, tarts and cakes can all be adapted to feature this in season ingredient. For inspiration view all our rhubarb recipes here

What’s your favourite?

Pancakes, the Ultimate Guide

With Pancake Day fast approaching, it’s time to stock up on flour, eggs and milk. Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday is the traditional feast day in February or March before the start of lent on Ash Wednesday. Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients! We’ve looked for pancake inspiration across the world and brought you some simple recipes to follow – so why not mix it up this pancake day with these tried and tested favourites.

Basic pancakes

Basic Pancakes

English

Using just 3 core ingredients, it’s easy to see why so many people love this basic pancake recipe.

Top Tip: Don’t over mix the batter. When you mix the wet and dry ingredients together, gluten starts to develop. Overworked batter means you end up with chewy tough pancakes instead of light and fluffy ones.

 

 

American style pancakes

American Pancakes

American

Once you’ve mastered the basics, the sky is really the limit. Let’s head over the pond to our friends in America. With a few more ingredients, these pancakes are as fluffy and light as clouds. To achieve the ultimate American pancake dream, stack these high and pour some maple or golden syrup on top.

Don’t forget! It’s important to let your pancake batter rest. This allows pancakes to be softer and more tender.

 

Crepe Suzette

Crepe Suzette

French

If you prefer a thinner style pancake, then try making crepes. These originated in France and are usually served as a dessert. If you’re feeling brave, flambé these with some brandy for the ultimate in pancake showstopper.

Remember: High heat doesn’t make pancakes cook faster, it cooks them unevenly and makes them more likely to burn whist the inside remains raw. Keep the heat to medium so they turn golden brown on the outside and they’re cooked on the inside

 

 

 

Dutch Baby 2 (web)

Dutch Baby

Dutch/German

A Dutch baby pancake is sometimes called a German pancake. It’s normally served for breakfast and is seasoned with vanilla and nutmeg/cinnamon. It looks like a cross between a Yorkshire pudding and a pancake and it is baked in a metal or cast iron pan in the oven. You can serve it with freshly squeezed lemon, icing sugar, topped with fruit or syrup.

 

 

Smoked Salmon Blini

Smoked Salmon Blini

Russian

Celebrating their 1000th birthday – these delectable small pancakes originated in Russia. Traditionally served with jam or honey you will now see them classically served with sour cream and smoked salmon at dinner parties, but they don’t need to be saved for special occasions. Try whipping up a batch for a well deserved brunch.

 

 

 

 

Scotch Pancakes with Raspberries and Chocoalte

Scotch Pancakes with Raspberries and Chocolate

 

Scotch

Also known as drop scones, these pancakes are smaller than their American or English counterparts. They are served with Jam and cream traditionally, but we just adore it with raspberries and chocolate sauce – pure indulgence!

 

 

Whichever pancakes you choose to make, why not share your images with us on Facebook? You could be in with a chance of winning Baker of the Month!

lemon loaf large (WEB2)

Silver Spoon Sugar with Stevia

stevia 2Ever heard that little voice in your head telling you to steer clear of naughty treats? It’s hard to obey when you hit that 3pm brick wall which shouts “EAT ME” at you. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Our friends at Silver Spoon know exactly how you feel. They’ve been working away on a couple of new products; caster sugar with stevia and demerara sugar with stevia. By using this, it means you use 1/3 less sugar in your recipes.

 

stevia-web

 

Wondering what Stevia is? It’s a sweetener extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana.

Now, have you ever tried to bake with substitutions for sugar? Unless you have a specific recipe which has been written for the substitution, it can sometimes look and taste like you’ve baked with a blindfold on!

Our new sugars with stevia have been carefully developed so you don’t have this problem. All you need to do is use 1/3 less sugar in your recipe.

lemon loaf large (WEB2) We put it to the test! We baked two of everything to compare. One with usual caster sugar, and one version using caster sugar with Stevia. I don’t think we’ve ever had such a massive queue outside the BakingMad kitchen. The verdict for the lemon drizzle cake? 10 out of 10 for taste AND texture. It tastes exactly like sugar once baked yet you’re saving 1/3 of the sugar content (and get this; The sugar’s calories too!)

Lemon drizzle cake

shortbread (WEB2)

 

 

Why not try two other recipes we have put to the test. Shortbread,the texture is the same and they tasted wonderful. Have a go:

Shortbread

 

White Chocolate and Raspberry Traybake (WEB2)

We also tried baking a raspberry and white chocolate tray bake. This sponge cake was so moist and delicious, it was hard to believe we were eating a 1/3 less sugar. Want to try? Here’s the recipe:

Raspberry and White Chocolate Tray Bake Sponge

 

 

 

Sweetpea Pantry

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Introducing our new friends ‘Sweetpea Pantry’. If you’re stuck with ideas on how to keep those little hands occupied, then read on…

The ‘season to be jolly’ is here and before we all know it family and friends will be descending on our doorsteps for the annual festivities. It’s the week to get the final decorations up, get the guest rooms ready (or at least the sleeping bags out of the loft), to check all the pieces in the Monopoly set are still around, oh and to ensure you are stocked up on lots of festive nibbles and treats. Better get cracking then!

Although we can’t quite help with the first few jobs we can offer you a simple but scrummy solution to those Christmas treats. You see, here at Sweetpea Pantry we’d got our own little sweetpeas to entertain and feed, not just at Christmas but every day. So as two Mums, who wanted to feed our families snacks that were healthy but tasty, we decided to create something that would allow us to do just that but wouldn’t see us slaving in the kitchen and searching high and low for great, wholesome ingredients.

Fast forward just a year or two later and we’ve now got a range of quick, easy and delicious mixes that are packed with wholesome goodness so no matter if it’s breakfassweetpea-pantry-ginger-giggles-biscuit-mix-lifestyle-imaget, dinner or an afternoon treat, you can simply pick up one of our packs and create something that little ones and grown-ups alike will love.

Our favourite for the Christmas season is our Ginger Giggles Biscuit Mix. It’s packed with wholegrain barley, rye and flaxseed, so you know you’re doing your guests some good, as well as those all-important Christmas spices to give your biscuits that holiday feeling. Better still, they are so easy to make that the children will probably offer to help, especially if you let them choose the cookie cutter!
Or why not try some of our Grainy Brainy Pancakes? Serve up with fresh fruit and yogurt as a delicious start to the day for your Christmas guests, and they’ll be full of energy for all that present unwrapping. Or why not try them for dinner? Serve nice and thin with some wilted spinach, left-over turkey aninternal-sweetpeapantry-1d a hint of cranberry sauce … YUM.

You can find our Sweetpea Pantry mixes in Tesco’s wholefoods aisle, in M&S or on Ocardo. We hope they tick at least one job of the Christmas list and allow you to take a little ‘me time’ over the holidays!

 

Lots of love, from Philippa & Tanya at Sweetpea Pantry

 

 

 

 

Everything you need to know about icing

If you’re limited on space, the best icing for you to buy would be icing sugar. This is one of the most versatile ingredients you can buy when it comes to cake decorating and flavour.

What is icing sugar? It’s a powdered sugar made from finely milling normal granulated sugar into a powdered form. It’s so fine that we think it’s the best type of sugar for making any type of cake icing. We’re going to talk through some of our favourite icings and give you some top tips along the way.

Buttercream Icing

Buttercream is one of the most versatile toppings for cakes and is extremely popular spread between cakes too. Buttercream is made of 2 main ingredients; butter and icing sugar. Once you have these two mixed, you can add wide varieties of flavours or cobuttercreamlours to really bring it to life. The nation’s favourite flavour is vanilla – and using high quality vanilla is important as it makes such an incredible difference to the taste – why not try adding some Nielsen Massey vanilla extract – you’re sure to notice the difference.

 

Buttercream Icing Recipe

If you want to make it a chocolatey affair, try our chocolate buttercream made with melted chocolate in it.

chocolate-yule-log-web

Chocolate Yule Log Recipe

Buttercream can be piped into different textures to form some really dramatic results. If you don’t have a piping bag, start off with a sandwich bag. Simply fill the bag with the icing, squeezing it down to one of the bottom corners and snip the bottom corner off – and this is where you’ll pipe from! The size of the cut is up to you – we recommend you start small and keep getting bigger – much easier than trying to decant the mixture to another bag if you cut too big!

 

 

https://www.bakingmad.com/howtos/decorate-cake-buttercream-effecglace-icingts/

 

Glacé icing

This is probably the simplest of icings to make and children love it – simply mix your icing sugar with a small amount of water. You can use other liquids too – why not try adding flavoured juices such as orange to really make it pop. It can be applied thickly like a syrup (use less liquid if this is the result you want) or as a drizzle (simply add more water). Whether you opt for a syrup of a drizzle, make sure you work relatively quickly, as the glace sits, it starts to thicken slightly, making it more difficult to decorate.

Glace Icing Recipe

Cream cheese frosting

One of our favouritecream-cheeses here at BakingMad – Cream cheese frosting is a tasty combination of icing sugar and cream cheese. You tend to find this on the top of a carrot cake, or red velvet cupcakes. The only tricky thing with this particular icing is that it has a tendency to go really runny if it’s overmixed, and by overmixed, we mean any more than just mixed – so proceed with caution! We always make it using full fat cream cheese, as itl adds to a better flavour and texture.

 

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

Royal Icing
royal-icing

This mixture of egg whites, icing sugar, and often a touch of lemon has a consistency that can be piped, but it dries hard for a smooth surface and is often used to create ornate cookie decorations. It can also be used to pre-make flowers or other cake decorations to be used at a later date, and it’s also what you use to make homemade sprinkles.

If that seems like too much bother, why not try Silver Spoon ‘Royal Icing Sugar’ – it’s is perfect for a traditional hard royal icing finish and there’s no need to get the eggs out – simply add water and beat.

The hardest bit is to cover a cake. Watch this video to see how it’s done:

Royal Icing Recipe

How to cover a cake in Royal icing

Fondant Icingfondant-icing

Fondant icing is different to icing sugar because it includes dried glucose syrup. This gives you a smooth, glossy, soft iced finish which is perfect for icing cupcakes, sponges or bakewell tarts. You can even use it to create edible cake decorations. You make it by mixing icing sugar, water and cream of tartar or liquid glucose. Our friends at Silver Spoon have kindly taken the difficulty out of this task by offering fondant icing sugar! Just like the royal icing, simply add water.

(please For allergen information please refer to the icing sugar packs for details- please note that these products may contain traces of egg.

Fondant Icing Recipe

What’s your favourite icing? We’d love to know  – Why not share your icing creations on our Facebook page? We’d love to see what you’re up to in the kitchen.

nadiya hussain blog image

Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain, current title holder of the 2015 Great British Bake Off and the nation’s sweetheart will be headlining the Cake and Bake Show from 7-9 October at ExCeL London and 10-13 November  at EventCity Manchester

We take time to ask her a  few questions…

  • How old were you when you first started to bake? And what inspires you?

I started to bake properly at the age of 21 when I bought my first house with my husband Abdal.  He is obsessed with eating cake and turns out I’m obsessed with baking them. I take inspiration from most things around me when I’m baking. But my children and husband help me to create new flavours and help me test them too.

  • What’s your go to bake?

It has to be carrot cake. It’s the one thing I can bake for everyone where nobody will complain. My kids are not usually fussy but it’s all the extended family that can be tricky to please.

  • If you could only bake 1 thing what would it be?

Chocolate cake. It’s everyone’s favourite and so versatile. Paired with other flavours. Eaten with fruit, custard or ice cream. Eaten hot or cold.

nadiya h What’s your favourite ingredient?

At the moment my favourite ingredient to bake with is matcha green tea powder. It’s earthy, vibrant and aromatic. It’s also versatile.

  • After winning GBBO and all the media attention, do you still find passion in baking?

Absolutely it’s the one thing that helps me relax. Even though now I’m always making notes and typing in between it is given me a new appreciation for all the things I do and document in the kitchen.

  • Do you have any advice for the GBBO finalists?

Have fun !!! It’s a tough being in that tent but once you walk out there’s no coming back for enjoy and revel in every second.

  • nadiya cupcakeWhat do you find the most challenging baking technique?

I think meringues are very tricky as they can fail depend on external factors like weather and humidity. But practice makes perfect.

  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt filming your new TV show?

I’ve learnt that I can travel alone even though it’s petrifying at times and that otters can be trained!

  • Who would you invite to your ultimate dinner party and what would you make for dessert?

I would invite David Attenborough and make him a mango and parsley pavlova

  • Out of Mary and Paul which one gives the most difficult challenges?

Who did you want to impress the most? The challenges were equally difficult but I think when Paul does a technical with bread making he is the one to impress. He only has to look at bread to know whether it’s good or an utter disaster.

  • What you are most looking forward to about the Cake & Bake Show?

I was at the C&B after winning bake off and it’s safe to say I was nervous and not sure about what I was doing. I can’t wait to come back and do demos, something that I have really come to love. Looking forward to meeting all the cake mad bakers out there too.

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