Weekend Brunch Cinnamon Rolls

I absolutely love cinnamon rolls. You might already know this because I talk about them A LOT..

However, I’ve never got around to baking them. All the recipes seem to take hours, and involve leaving dough overnight etc etc, and I’ve never had the patience for that. When you want cinnamon rolls, you want cinnamon rolls now, you know? Where is the fun in baking something you have to wait overnight to eat?

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There is no fun in that. This recipe, however, is different. They can be whipped up on a Saturday morning and eaten on a Saturday morning, which is perfect because Saturday morning is when you want to eat cinnamon rolls anyway.

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Last weekend I had a few friends over for brunch, which, let me just say, is the absolute best time of day to socialise, and I made these cinnamon rolls. They were a huge hit. Whatever you’re doing this weekend, try to fit these in somewhere!

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Cinnamon Rolls (recipe adapted from Joy the Baker)

For the dough:

120ml milk

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons dried active yeast

190g plain flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg yoke

Begin by combining the milk, butter and sugar in a  saucepan and gently heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, then remove from the heat.

Put the milk mixture into a bowl and stir in the yeast. Leave it to sit for about 5 minutes, or until it is bubbling and frothing. Then add the flour, salt and egg yoke. Stir until the dough starts to come together- you can either do this by hand or in a machine. Add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, if the dough feels too wet. You probably shouldn’t need to add too much, you want the dough to still be fairly soft.

Cover and leave to rest for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, make the filling:

For the filling:

85g butter, melted

100g caster sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder

pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients together until they form a paste.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a rectangle and spread the paste over it. Roll into up into a long sausage and slice into rolls. Place them, swirl facing up, on a greased baking tray, leaving about a 1/2 inch between them. Cover and leave to rise for 30-45 minutes.

Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for about 18-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and have puffed up.

For the icing:

50g icing sugar

about 2 tablespoons milk, or enough to make a thick glaze

Mix together the milk and icing sugar, until you have a thick but pourable icing. You don’t want it to be too thin and runny- so go carefully with the milk!

Drizzle over the rolls and enjoy with a big cup of coffee.

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xxR

Croissants

Croissants are one of those things I’ve always been a bit terrified to try making, mainly because its practically a twenty-four hour process and also there seem to be a lot of things that can go wrong!

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But there comes a time in life when one must face their fears, even if these fears are purely based in butter, yeast and a bit of sugar.

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Also, I finished uni on Friday (woo!) so I now have pretty much unlimited time to mess around with such things as butter and yeast and sugar. So croissants were a must.

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Croissants are kind of weird, because they start life as bread (flour and yeast, mixed together). But then, the dough is rolled out, and, as with puff pastry, a horrifyingly huge slab of butter is laid on top. Then comes the fairly painful process of rolling out, folding over, letting rest, rolling out, folding over, letting rest (x3) that gives the croissant its layers. This is pretty crucial, so do not attempt to make croissants in a rush!

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Finally, the dough is cut into triangles and rolled into crescents, then left for one final rise, then baked.

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Mine were (probably) not quite French patisserie quality, but hey, it was a first attempt! And they were pretty delicious for a Sunday morning treat!

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Croissants (for this recipe I looked at lots of different sources, including Paul Hollywood’s website)

500g flour (I used a mixture of plain and strong white bread flour)

10g salt

80g caster sugar

10g instant yeast

300ml cool water

300g butter

Put the flour in a large bowl or in a mixer. Put the salt and sugar on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other. Add the water and start to mix. Go slowly at first, then speed it up, until the dough is quite stiff. Shape into a ball and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle. Flatten the butter to a rectangle the same width and two thirds of the length (so, for example if your dough is 60 x 20 cm, flatten the butter to 40 x 19 cm. Making it a tiny bit smaller will ensure that it doesn’t seep out the edges.) Place the butter over one end of the pastry. Fold the exposed dough over the butter, like so:

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Then fold the other side over, so that you have alternating layers of butter and dough. Put back into the fridge to let the butter harden for an hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll into a rectangle, as before. Fold one third up to the centre, then the other third over the first, so that you have a neat square with three layers of dough. Put back into the fridge for an hour. Repeat this process twice more. Then let your dough rest in the fridge over night or for at least eight hours.

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When you are ready to shape, roll out to a rectangle, and cut into triangles with a longer base than sides.

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Roll up and shape into crescents. Place on a lined baking sheet and allow to rise for two hours, or until doubled in size. Heat your oven to 200 degree Celcius. Before baking, lightly egg wash each croissant to give it a shiny top, then bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Serve warm with butter, jam and lots of coffee.

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xxR

Breakfast at the Beach Blueberry Buckle

I grew up on the east coast of America, in a little town by the sea. One of the long standing traditions, and also one of the best things about growing up in suburban seaside Connecticut was ‘Breakfast at the Beach,’ which is as simple and self- explanatory as it sounds.

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Every Sunday in the summer, my family, and big group of other families too, would head down to the beach first thing in the morning and set up the most amazing breakfast you’ve ever seen. I’m talking bagels of every variety, fruit, doughnuts (it is America, after all), big jugs of coffee and orange juice. There would be a gas stove set up making pancakes and eggs and waffles, which were doused in maple syrup and devoured with a light sprinkling of sand.

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Breakfast at the Beach normally turned into lunch at the beach too, when everyone was still there, salty and sandy and still picking at pancakes late into the afternoon, and then normally dinner too, with the suggestion of ‘shall we order some pizzas and just stay here?’

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Blueberry Buckle was my mum’s best contribution to these feasts. It was such a huge winner that there were always complaints if there wasn’t some going on a Sunday morning.

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Blueberry Buckle is cake you eat for breakfast. As a child, this was basically the most wonderful invention ever. Even as a 20-year-old, it still is pretty darn wonderful. It’s a dense cake, laden with blueberries (my favourite fruit) and covered in a crumble topping. What’s not to love? It’s also super simple, so perfect to whip up on a Sunday morning.

IMG_3366 (it’s all about slippers on a Sunday morning!)

I have been making it for my friends ever since, especially when I am feeling nostalgic and longing for those days of Breakfast at the Beach.

 

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Blueberry Buckle 

(this is an American recipe, so I have put the measurements in their original form- cups, but have also converted to grams for non-Americans!)

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For the cake:

2 cups/ 250g plain flour

2/3 cups/ 135g caster sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup/ 55g butter, slightly melted

3/4 cup/ 175ml milk

1 large egg

1 punnet blueberries

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, milk and egg until smooth. Once the batter is well mixed, add the blueberries.

Spread evenly into a pie dish.

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For the topping:

1/2 cup/ 100g sugar (I used 50g each of caster and brown sugar- but it’s up to you!)

1/3 cup/ 40g flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup/ 55g butter

Rub the flour into the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, then mix in the sugar and cinnamon. Spread over the batter.

Bake at 180C or 375F for about 45 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch. Enjoy warm with a big cup of coffee!

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xxR

Sunday Morning Houseguest Pancakes (with blueberries and banana) (and love)

Moving is absolutely the worst. On Friday, we had to move out of our uni house, where we (me and seven lovely ladies) have lived (happily) for the last year. It was the worst for a couple of reasons:

1. CLEANING. Oh my gosh. We spent two whole days scrubbing, mopping, dusting, washing, re-painting, scrutinising and repeating the whole house (eight bedrooms, three bathrooms and a very very large kitchen.) It’s seriously amazing how filthy a fridge can get in just one year. Trust me. I got very down and dirty with the fridge and a large bottle of Mr Muscle. Yuck.

2. It was just sad! We’ve had such good memories in that house that all of us were definitely sad to leave. It has been pretty special. And, while five of us are living together again next year, some are going abroad to have further foreign adventures. It definitely won’t be the same. At our final supper, we reminisced about the memories of number 134- particularly the food! Thanksgiving, Pancake Day, Christmas, were named as some truly wonderful culinary occasions, my Rainbow Cake was named favourite cake of the year (which I’m extremely proud of because cake is the one thing the 134 gals do a lot and well!)

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The other thing about moving out is that all my junk (and I have a surprising amount of it) is now all just in a huge pile on my boyfriend’s floor, which I am extremely grateful for! Being a houseguest (especially one with this much baggage) is always tricky- you’re always sort of in the way, making a mess in the kitchen, using up all the hot water, leaving your empty mugs of tea all over the house…

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My advice in this sort of situation is always PANCAKES. Pancakes will win over the favour of almost anybody and make them forgive your mountain of luggage, the cold showers and empty mugs.

These pancakes are also a homage to my dear friend and co-134 resident Ella, who turned me onto banana pancakes (which we ate for dinner more times that I would care to admit!

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Banana and Blueberry Pancakes

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170g plain flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons caster sugar

280ml milk

2 eggs

4 tablespoons melted butter

a punnet of blueberries

one good sized banana

maple syrup to serve (golden syrup is just as good if you can’t get any maple)

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Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and eggs, then add the butter.

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a fork- any lumps will soon disappear with mixing.

Leave the mixture to stand for a few minutes. In this time, get a frying pan on a medium heat with a knob of butter in it. When the butter has melted, pour in a ladle of batter. It may seem very thick (especially if you are used to crepes, but don’t worry! That’s what you want!) When the top of the pancake begins to bubble, it is ready to be flipped. Turn it over and cook until both sides are a nice golden brown. Repeat until all the batter is used up.

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Drown in syrup and enjoy!

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xxR

Hangover Cure Granola

I woke up this morning with a very small hangover and a very big craving for granola- crunchy, oaty, sweet and delicious.

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I’m not really a fan of store bought granola, actually that’s a lie, I do like store bought granola, but home made is much better. If for nothing else- its much much cheaper to make your own. Also, my local shop didn’t have much to offer in the way of granola.

So, armed with a sack of porridge oats, maple syrup, raisons and seeds, I returned home, ready to fill the house with the delicious smell of cooking oats and cinnamon.

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I completely made this recipe up- so feel free to adapt as much or as little of it as you want!

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Put some oats in a big bowl, with a splash of vegetable oil, a generous dollop of maple syrup, a pinch of brown sugar, some cinnamon, raisons and seeds. I also put in some mince pie filling that I had left over from Christmas, which actually worked really well, making it more flavourful, and tasting, well, like Christmas! I’m not too sure about measurements, but I just mixed everything together until the were moist and the mixture became gooey and stuck together.

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Then, put the mixture into a greased baking tray, flatten it out a bit, and stick it in a 180 degree oven. I just kept an eye on it, taking it out every so often to stir it up.

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When it has gone sort of crunchy and a bit brown, it is finished and ready to eat! I had mine with a large helping of yogurt, but it would also work well with milk or even on its own (not gonna lie, I ate quite a lot of it that way too!)

xxR