Cinnamon Palmiers – Mine

I tried out the basic cinnamon palmiers recipe I found on line then adjusted and tried again. Much better results the second time. I also adjusted the instructions to be suitable for children since I’m planning to have cub scouts bake these.

So here is my version

Cinnamon Palmiers

Ingredients

  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 55g butter
  • 250g puff pastry

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° C
  2. Put a layer of baking paper (parchment) on to 2 baking trays.
  3. Put the butter in a saucepan on a low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until it has melted. Then add the sugar and cinnamon, and mix until it forms a paste.
  4. Put a handful of flour on the counter or pastry sheet (this stops the dough sticking to the counter when you roll it out). Using a rolling pin roll the pastry dough into a large rectangle, (about 40cm by 30cm).
  5. Put a spoonful of sugar mixture onto the dough then using the back of the spoon spread the cinnamon sugar paste in a thin, even layer over the dough. (Use a spatula to get the last of the sugar mixture out of the saucepan).
  6. Put a small mark halfway down of the long sides so you know where the middle is. Starting at the long ends of the rectangle, loosely roll each side inward until they meet in the middle.
  7. Slice the pastry roll into 0.5cm palmiers, (they will look like little scrolls) and arrange them on the baking sheets.  Leave plenty of space as these will more than double in size.
  8. Bake them for 12-15 minutes, until they puff and turn golden brown. Remove them from the baking sheet and serve warm or at room temperature.
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Cub Bake-off Planning

Inspired by the Great British Bake-off I’ve been planning a baking evening for the cub scouts. This is a group of 23 boys aged between 8 and 10. One bakes regularly and is really quite accomplished. I don’t know about the rest although I suspect the majority rarely if ever bake. The plan is to invite parents along for tea afterwards so we need cakes/biscuits that are ready to eat not long out of the oven. and we only have one oven in the scout hut with the possibility of getting access to a second oven in the nearby Guide hut. I’d like them to work in small enough groups that they really feel they have done the baking, not just assisted an adult.

So a bit of a challenge!

Some recipes were obvious to include. A couple of years ago I made Star biscuits out of a very slim Usborne Christmas Cooking book aimed at children with the local brownie group. The biscuits look fabulous with the stained glass window effect and they weren’t hard to make. And kids love using cookie cutters.

I felt a muffin recipe was worth including, these are so easy and lumpy batter is good so I’ve included a banana and chocolate chip muffin recipe.

I’ll include a no bake Krispie cake but don’t know which one yet.

For the experienced baker I’m going to find a bundt recipe and I have a nordicware fleur de lis tin.

Flapjacks would be good in include but I’m a bit worried about the length of cooking time and the lower temperature. I watched Episode 2 of Lorraine Pascale Baking made easy and her flapjacks looked good. She also did a savoury palmier which made me wonder about trying a sweet palmier for the cubs.

So I tried out a sweet palmier using bought puff pastry, and dissolved sugar butter and cinnamon.  They proved to be very robust even straight from the oven. My cat Willow stuck her nose around the oven door as I opened it. I was worried she could burn herself and as I chased her away I dropped the tray. It landed right side up fortunately and although the baking parchment bounced off the tray the palmiers stayed on the parchment and none of them broke! They taste nice, I think I’ll increase the cinnamon and decrease the butter a little.

The cubs will need an adult hovering to help them keep the pastry rectangular as they roll it out and I suspect they will need some help rolling them up before cutting but they should be able to do a lot themselves. I’ll get Aidan to try tomorrow with the other half pack pastry following my typed up recipe and see how it goes.

Carrot and Artichoke Soup – Delia’s Vegetarian Collection

This is one of my favourite soups and since we have a patch of Jerusalem Artichokes in the garden it is a popular way of using them. This soup recipe is also from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection. This and the pumpkin and sweetcorn soup are probably the only two soup recipes I’ve tried so far from this book.

Ingredients

  • 450g carrots
  • 700g Jerusalem artichokes
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 75g butter
  • 1 medium onion peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1.5 litres hot stock made from Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper

To garnish

  • 2-3 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • flat leaf parsley
Instructions
  1. Peel and de-knob the artichokes, as you peel them cut them into rough chunks and pace in a bowl of cold salted water to prevent them from discolouring.
  2. Scrape the carrots and slice them into largish chunks.
  3. Roughly chop the celery.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan and soften the onion and celery for about 5mins on low heat.
  5. Drain the artichokes and add them to the pan, along with the carrots. Add some salt and keeping the heat low put a lid on and let the vegetables swear for 10 mins to release their juices.
  6. Pour in the stock stir well and simmer very gently for another 20mins until the vegetables are soft.
  7. Blend soup and check seasoning.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup – Darina Allen

This year I wanted to try a different pumpkin soup and since Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course has taken over from Delia’s Complete Cookery Course as my basic ‘how to cook’ book I thought I’d see if she had a pumpkin soup recipe.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Serves 6-8

  • 900g Pumpkin or winter squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 175g onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 25g butter
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 450g very ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped or 1 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1.2 litres home-made chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 35g butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon  cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon white mustard seeds
  • 5cm piece of cinnamon stick
  1. Put the pumpkin into a pan with the onion, garlic, butter and thyme. Cover a sweat over a low heat for 10mins stirring once or twice.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and cook until dissolved into a thick sauce.
  3. Stir in the stock, salt, pepper and nutmeg and simmer until the pumpkin is soft. Discard the thyme stalk then blend the soup. Add extra water or stock to taste.
  4. Melt the butter and cook the spices. Remove the cinnamon stick and pour the spiced butter into a swirl in the soup as you ladle it out.

The spiced butter is very nice in the soup but a bit of a faff if you are dishing up this soup as a quick lunch. However this soup does need spice, we found adding smoked paprika to the soup worked well.

Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Sweetcorn – Delia’s Vegetarian Collection

Halloween brings the question of what to do with all that pumpkin once the lanterns have been cut out. When our boys were younger we would do a children’s tea party for their friends then whilst the fathers escorted the children around trick or treating the mothers would have a chance to chat over a glass of wine. Pumpkin soups and fresh bread would be served for the adults.

One of my favourite pumpkin soup recipes is from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection

Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Sweetcorn

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 700g Pumpkin (or butternut squash) peeled, deseeded and chopped in 2-3cm chunks
  • Sweetcorn from 6 cobs (approx 570g)
  • 25g butter plus 1 extra teaspoon for sweetcorn
  • 1 medium onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 275ml whole milk
  • 725ml hot stock made with Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
Instructions
  1. Begin by melting 25g butter in a large saucepan, then add onion and soften for about 8 mins.
  2. Add the chopped pumpkin along with half the sweetcorn. Give everything a good stir and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Put the lid on and keeping the heat low allow the vegetables to sweat gently and release their juices – this should take about 10 mins.
  4. Next, pour in the milk and stock and simmer gently for about 20 mins. Put the lid on for this but leave it cracked so it doesn’t boil over.
  5. Whilst it’s simmering pre-heat the grill to its highest setting for 10 minutes. Melt the extra teaspoon of butter, mix the rest of the sweetcorn with it and spread out on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper and pop it under the grill about 5-8 cms from the heat. It will take about 8 mins to become nicely toasted. Stir around halfway through.
  6. When the soup is ready blend it to a puree leaving a little but of texture. Serve the soup with the toasted sweetcorn on top.

Smoked Salmon Pasta – Pizza and Pasta Susan Conte

I wanted to make a quick dinner with what I had in the fridge. Since I had a pack of fresh tagliatelle, smoked salmon and a pot of cream it was pasta with smoked salmon sauce. The original recipe was from one of my older recipe books; Pizza and Pasta by Susan Conte however we’ve adapted it since then.

The original recipe is as follows:

50g smoked salmon
25g butter
200ml single cream
salt
1 tablespoon grated parmesan chese

Prepare the sauce whilst the pasta is cooking.
Cut the smoked salmon into thin small strips.
Melt butter in a large pan and add cream.
Heat through and add smoked salmon and salt to taste.
Stir in a ladle of boiling pasta water.
When the sauce is cooked pour over the cooked pasta and top with grated parmesan (this is one of the rare fish pasta sauces that is improved by the addition of parmesan).

Variations

The most immediate change we made was to remove the salt. I rarely use salt when cooking and it really seems superfluous in a recipe with smoked salmon.
The next major change is to add a small red chilli into the sauce. This can be removed after cooking if you wish but it adds a much needed subtle kick to the sauce.
Lastly optionally add a tablespoon of capers to the sauce at the same time as the salmon.