Monday, 25 March 2013

Hot Cross Buns for Grown Ups

How good is Easter??

This is me making the most of being 34 weeks' pregnant at Easter.

I was thinking of making a batch of my own hot cross buns this year, so this Donna Hay recipe in last Sunday's Tele was perfectly timed.

As usual, I have put my own spin on the base recipe, adding dark choc chips, raisins and a decadent orange liqueur glaze. Yum!

Wishing you all a happy, safe and indulgent Easter,

Larissa x

Hot Cross Buns for Grown Ups
(Recipe based on Donna Hay's Classic Hot Cross Buns)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
4 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
50g butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup raisins
1/2 cups sultanas
1/4 cup candied mixed peel
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup plain flour, extra
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup water

1 gold gelatine leaf
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier liqueur

Place yeast, 2 teaspoons of the caster sugar and milk into a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. The mixture will start to foam, indicating the yeast is active.
Add the flour, remaining sugar, spices, butter, egg, raisins, sultanas, peel, and choc chipsto yeast mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 8 minutes or until elastic.
Place in a lightly oiled large bow, cover with a clean, damp cloth and set aside Ian warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
Divide dough into 12 even pieces and roll into balls. Arrange the balls in a lightly greased 22cm square cake tin lined with non stick baking paper.
Preheat oven to 200C.
Place extra flour, cocoa and water in a bowl and stir to combine into a thick paste.
Place into a small piping bag or plastic bag with the end snipped off (tip: an easy way to do this is by placing a sandwich bag into a mug and folding the edges over the top to keep the bag in place, then pour in the paste).
Pipe crosses on buns and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and springy to touch.
While buns are baking, make the glaze.
Soak gelatine leaf in cold water for 2-3 minutes.
Place caster sugar, water and Grand Marnier into a saucepan and stir gently over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Use a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals from the side of the pot.
Squeeze out gelatine leaf and add to the sugar mixture. Cook without stirring for 1-2 minutes until gelatine is dissolved.
Brush hot buns with the sticky glaze.
Serve warm with butter and try to stop at one :)

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Lemon polenta cakes

Everyone has a favourite cafe treat. In the lead up to Easter, I can't resist a hot cross bun with my latte - especially the ones with hidden melty chocolate chips inside.

More restrained types, like my big sister Bec, prefer a moderate indulgence.

She has been asking me for a while to have a go at copy-catting her favourite gluten free lemon polenta cakes from Sydney bakery Manna from Heaven.

I found a recipe for them on Wholesome Cook, and with some tweaks, I think I have come pretty close to achieving the lovely lemony-coconut flavour of the originals.

Here is my take on these yummy little cafe classics.

Enjoy them guilt-free ahead of the chocolate onslaught coming in a couple of weeks!!

Larissa x

Lemon Polenta Cakes

160g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
80g instant polenta (must be instant)
70g almond meal
50g desiccated coconut
1/4 cup lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Lemon Icing:
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 160C.
Grease a 24-hole mini-muffin tin with non-stick baking spray.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and beat until just combined.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.
Spoon into prepared tin, filling almost to the top, and bake for 20 mins or until golden on top.
Cool for five minutes in tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For icing, place icing sugar in a bowl and gradually add lemon juice, stirring until you have a thick and glossy icing. Top the cakes with it by dropping a small dollop on top of each with a teaspoon and letting it spread out on its own. If you try to spread it with a knife, it will gather crumbs and won't be smooth and even.
These bite-sized morsels will last up to a week in an airtight container.