The cubs baking evening I’ve mentioned before went really well. Huge amounts of excitement (and even more noise) and they had a good selection of cakes & biscuits at the end to serve to parents with a cup of tea.
- Bundt cake (using a fleur de lis nordiware tin)
- Banana & chocolate chip muffins
- Cinnamon palmiers
- White chocolate and cranberry cookies
Most of the recipes we made I’ve mentioned in previous posts; the white chocolate and cranberry cookies was a recipe from Fiona (one of the other cub scout leaders). I think she’d got the recipe from a BBC Good Food magazine. Before trying them I thought the combination of cranberry and white chocolate a slightly odd combination but the tartness of the cranberries cuts through the slightly too sweetness of white chocolate very well. I’ve rewritten some of the steps to make them clearer for children to follow.
White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies
- 110g/4oz unsalted butter
- 110g/4oz golden caster sugar
- 110g/4oz light muscovado sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 170g/6oz plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 150g/5oz white chocolate, cut into small chunks
- 85g/3oz dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 190c/375f/gas 5.
- Line four baking trays with non stick baking paper.
- Beat the butter together with the sugar in a large bowl.
- Beat the egg together with the vanilla essence (using a fork or chopsticks) and add this to the butter mixture.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
- Add this to the butter and egg mixture and blend well. Mix in the chunks of white chocolate and cranberries.
- Using your hands, form the dough into walnut sized balls and arrange on the baking trays, spaced well apart. (makes approx 30 cookies).
- Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 mins. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Note These cookies should be quite soft when they are taken out of the oven, so that when they cool down they are crisp on the outside but moist and chewy inside.
The cubs baking session is this coming Tuesday and we have one cub that bakes a lot at home and is very good (his millionaire shortbread is amazing). So to give him a bit of a challenge and a chance to make something more impressive I’ve bought a fleur de lis Nordicware bundt tin. I’ve been looking through my nordicware bundt cookbook and I have to say I’ve not found any inspiring recipes. It may be partly because they are all in American measurements and the thought of converting is a bit off putting but I’m not sure that’s the only reason.
Anyway in the absence of anything inspiring me in the bundt book I’ve decided to get him to use the recipe in Nigella’s Christmas book for the vanilla spruce cake. I’d bought the nordicware spruce tin and made this cake a number of times in previous years and it’s the tin shape that’s christmassy rather than the cake flavour. This cake uses a lot of eggs and since his family keep a lot of chickens this may well be a cake that he’ll want to make again at home. Since this needs to cook for a while and we’ll be opening and closing the scout hut oven with the other cubs cakes I’m hoping we can use the brownie hut oven for this cake.
- 225g soft butter, plus more for greasing (or use flavourless oil)
- 300g caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- 350g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 250ml (250g) plain fat-free yogurt
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1–2 x 15ml tablespoons icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and put a baking sheet in at the same time. Butter or oil your bundt tin (2.5 litres capacity) very, very thoroughly. (I use oil-sodden kitchen paper.)
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, whisking each one in with a tablespoon of flour.
- Fold in the rest of the flour together with the bicarbonate of soda,
- Fold in the yogurt and vanilla extract.
- Pour and spoon the mixture into your greased tin and spread about evenly.
- Place the tin on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and cook for 45–60 minutes until well risen and golden.
- After 45 minutes, push a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Let it sit out of the oven for 15 minutes.
- Gently pull away the edges of the cake from the tin with your fingers, then turn out the cake, hoping for the best.
- Once cool, dust with the icing sugar pushed through a small sieve,
My request to Aidan for my mothers day treat was a cup of tea in bed with a home made biscuit (or two). He could of course make the biscuits on Saturday. He spent an age browsing through books and decided to try Snickerdoodles from Nigella’s Domestic Goddess cookbook – I suspect it was the name. These were really quick to make and rolling the dough around in cinnamon sugar was fun. We agreed that they would be rather a good recipe for cubs to make. We also noted it made less snickerdoodles than the recipe suggested. We concluded that Nigella must use small walnuts so it’s slightly flawed as a unit of measure. (I should probably get some walnuts to give out as a guide to size if we do this with cubs – fortunately we don’t have any with nut allergies at the moment.)
These are rather moreish.
- 250g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 125g butter (at room temperature)
- 100g (plus 2 tbsp) caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 180 C
- Line or grease 2 baking trays
- Sieve flour, nutmeg and baking powder into a medium bowl
- Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl until light in texture and colour
- Beat in egg and vanilla extract
- Stir flour mixture into butter/egg mixture until you have a smooth dough
- Spoon out remaining sugar and cinnamon onto a plate
- Roll the dough into walnut size balls
- Roll each dough ball in the sugar mixture and arrange on your baking sheets (if you want cookie shape flatten a little with the palm of your hand)
- Bake in oven for 15 minutes
Variations: Nigella suggests replacing 25g of the flour with cocoa
Despite Madeira cake being the first recipe in Nigella’s Domestic Goddess book I’d never baked one. I think because I always associated it with the boring basic cake wrapped in cellophane that old people seem fond of. It really is a very easy cake to mix up and anything that just needs to be dolloped into a loaf tin is a good thing to make on a Saturday morning when I really ought to be doing something more useful.
I modified Nigella’s recipe to make it easier.. For a start she calls for 240g butter, butter comes in 250g packs! I’m really not going to waste time shaving off 10g. She also calls for a mix of plain and self raising flour. I can see why people use self raising flour in a recipe. If the mix of baking powder to plain flour in self raising flour is exactly what is needed for that recipe it saves a little effort. But if you need a mix of both why not use plain and baking powder ? I had to look up the ratio of baking powder to plain flour and went with 1/2 tsp baking powder to 100g plain. I also only used about half the quantity of sugar Nigella does for sprinkling on top before baking. The quantities below are what I used.
- 250g butter
- 200g caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling
- grated zest and juice of one lemon
- 3 large eggs
- 300g plain flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees C
- Cream butter and sugar and add lemon zest
- Add eggs one at a time with a little of the flour between each egg
- Then gently mix in rest of flour followed by lemon juice
- Dollop into a loaf tin and sprinkle with tbsp caster sugar
- Bake for 1hr to 1.25hrs (until a cake tester comes out clean)
Cake is melt in the mouth soft.
Nigella mentions a few possible variants, it would be very easy to come up with your own.