11 TIPS ON USING EGGS IN YOUR BAKING…

1. If you add a beaten egg slowly to your batter mix it prevents the batter from becoming too stiff.

2. Always use eggs at room temperature when baking with them.

3. Eggs will whip more easily if left for 10 minutes in cold water before breaking.

4. Place the egg in a bowl of water, if it sinks and lies on its side, it’s fresh. If it sinks and stands large-end up, it’s on the turn so use within a couple of days. If it floats, bin it, as it’s gone off.

5. If you weigh four whole eggs in their shells, then whatever the weight is, that’s how much each of flour, sugar and butter you should add. This will ensure an delicious cake every time.

6. If you’re making soft meringue for a pie topping, say, for our Classic Lemon Meringue Pie, add a teaspoon of cornflour to your sugar. It’ll aid in absorbing any extra water the sugar will attract.

7. To make sure the essence you use adds flavour to the whole cake, mix it into the egg before adding the egg to the mixture.

8. Eggs will stay fresher longer if you store them pointed end down.

9. If you forgot to get your eggs out for baking then just pop them into a bowl and cover with hot water. Take them out after a couple of minutes and use for baking as normal.

10. To separate eggs for baking, tap the shell against the side of a mixing bowl to crack, then break open, letting the white run out into the bowl and holding the yolk in one half of shell. Tip the yolk backwards and forwards from shell to shell to let all the white run into the bowl.

11. When you’re making sponge cakes, beat the eggs together in a jug and add to the butter and sugar mixture gradually, whisking well between additions. If the mixture looks like it’s going to curdle, add a spoonful of the weighed flour and beat again until smooth.

TEN HEALTHY BAKING TIPS…

Simple changes to make your baking a little bit more healthy.

1.Avocado – Use this healthy fat to make a frosting, pudding, or replace butter in recipes for cakes, brownies, bread, and other baked goods.

2. Apple Sauce – Use this instead of oil adding unsweetened applesauce into those moist baked treats.

3. Fitness Magazine suggest paying a little extra for high-quality products, like premium chocolate and pure vanilla extract, can pay off. “More-flavorful ingredients make you less likely to miss any calories you’ve cut,” says Kim Macy, the pastry chef at Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona

4. Beets add sweetness and moisture without taking away from the flavor,” says pastry chef Marisa Churchill, the author of Sweet & Skinny. Add two-thirds of a cup of finely grated raw beets to brownie batter and you can reduce the sugar by a quarter cup.

5. Another one from Fitness Magazine is for a lighter spin on cream cheese frosting, which is typically made with full-fat cream cheese and butter, beat together with an eight-ounce block of reduced-fat cream cheese, one cup of powdered sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. The fluffy icing contains a mere 59 calories and three grams of fat per tablespoon.

6. Eat This also says when you’re baking try substituting the recommended oil or fat in the recipe with Greek yogurt. You won’t lose any flavor and still have plenty of moisture in the consistency.

7. The British Heart Foundation says using an unsaturated spread instead of butter has more benefits than simply reducing the amount of saturated fat: it actually gives a lighter texture, especially if you’re making an all-in-one sponge cake.

8. They also point out that try using a drizzle of glacé (water) icing rather than butter icing for cake toppings. Or, a light sprinkle of icing sugar may be all you need to give your bake the final touch.

9. Eat Right suggest you try a Whole-Grain Flour. White whole-wheat flour can be substituted one-for-one for all-purpose flour in most recipes. You also can replace up to half the all-purpose flour in a recipe with a whole-grain flour without making any major adjustments to the recipe.

10.  Sainsbury’s tip is if you significantly reduce the sugar in a cake, try adding naturally sweet spices such as cinnamon, mixed spice, and vanilla, says Inman, or drizzle a small amount of honey or maple syrup over the top when serving. ‘It fools you into believing it is sweeter than it is,’ explains Bourke.

7 HANDY BAKING TIPS FROM AFTERNOON TEA4TWO…

1.When baking shortbread cookies, substitute half of your plain flour with cornflour. It gives them a really nice taste.

2. Before icing a cake, sprinkle the top with some flour, this will stop the icing from running down over the edges of the cake.

3. To make sure the essence you use adds flavour to the whole cake, mix it into the egg before adding the egg to the mixture.

4. Don’t crowd the oven with Baking tins. The pans should never touch each other or the sides of the oven or be placed over or under each other on the racks.

5. Grease pans using a piece of paper towel, rub a small amount of shortening, butter or margarine evenly over the bottom and on sides of pans, if directed. A small amount of pan spray may be used and spread over the pan, also using the paper towel technique.

6. Prevent sharp edges on muffins, bar cookies or quick breads by greasing the muffin cups or pans only on the bottom and halfway up the sides so the batter is higher than the grease line. This is one time you might not want to use a pan spray.

7. To test for doneness in cakes, quick breads and bar cookies, use a toothpick inserted in the centre. The toothpick should come out clean and dry or have only a few crumbs clinging.

A TOUCH OF CINNAMON FOR TASTE AND TO HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS…

Cinnamon is a great addition to your diet as it lowers blood sugar levels. They suggest you only have one teaspoon to help lower your blood sugar level.

Cinnamon is a popular spice, especially for baked goods and desserts. Aside from its distinctive aroma, cinnamon is believed to help lower the blood sugar level, making it suitable for obese patients who are at higher risk of diabetes. However, consumption should be limited to one teaspoon per day, as excessive amounts can result in liver problems.

Very Well Fit says that Cinnamon has been used in the medical arena for thousands of years. Europeans in the Middle Ages mixed cinnamon with meat as a preservative and sixth-century Greeks prescribed cinnamon to help with indigestion and other ailments. But today we’re talking about the popular claims regarding cinnamon as a weight-loss aid. A little cinnamon adds a lot of flavour to food for minimal calories, and that’s always a good thing when it comes to your diet. An entire teaspoon has just six calories and about 2g carbs, plus a little more than a gram of fiber.3 Cinnamon can also enhance the sweetness in your food, which means less need for sugar or other sweeteners.

So, why not add a sprinkle to your oatmeal or over fruit especially for crumbles as it goes with any fruit. You could try adding some to low far greek yoghurt or when making a chilly.

7 QUICK TIPS ON BAKING CAKES…

  1. When baking shortbread cookies, substitute half of your plain flour with cornflour. It gives them a really nice taste.
  2. Before icing a cake, sprinkle the top with some flour, this will stop the icing from running down over the edges of the cake.
  3. To make sure the essence you use adds flavour to the whole cake, mix it into the egg before adding the egg to the mixture.
  4. Don’t crowd the oven with Baking tins. The pans should never touch each other or the sides of the oven or be placed over or under each other on the racks.
  5. Grease pans using a piece of paper towel, rub a small amount of shortening, butter or margarine evenly over the bottom and on sides of pans if directed. A small amount of pan spray may be used and spread over the pan, also using the paper towel technique.
  6. Prevent sharp edges on muffins, bar cookies by greasing the muffin cups or pans only on the bottom and halfway up the sides so the batter is higher than the grease line. This is one time you might not want to use a pan spray.
  7. To test for doneness in cakes, quick breads and bar cookies, use a toothpick inserted in the center. The toothpick should come out clean and dry or have only a few crumbs clinging to it.

For more great tips on baking check out my book on Amazon.

A Little Book On Tea, Cake and Chocolate: TEA pairings, TEA and chocolate, TEA and its health benefits plus over 100 tips on BAKING cakes.

A GREAT GIFT FOR ANY TEA, CAKE AND CHOCOLATE DEVOTEE…

I have just published my book ‘A Little Book on Tea Cake & Chocolatewhich would make a great gift for anyone who loves tea, cake and chocolate. 

This little book on tea and cake is a guide about one of our favourite beverages. It explains tea pairings, tea and chocolate, tea and health, tea and sandwiches, fascinating tea facts, buying the right tea, tea to help you sleep and tea cozies and teapots. It also features over one hundred tips on baking cakes and has some recipes for delicious loaf cakes. It finishes with several lovely tea quotes.

A great book for any tea devotee. It’s available on Amazon for £2.99

Over the last three months of spending hours after hours and days after days at the hospital, where my Dad was,  I started making notes of some of my posts on tea, cake and chocolate as I felt sure I could use it in a book.

There are nineteen chapters which cover all the tea topics I have mentioned above plus tips on how to make the best cake, pastry, and more. I also cover baking apps and recipe books old and new.

I finally finished it at the weekend and it is now available to buy as a paperback and hopefully as a kindle read soon. I would love some feedback if any readers bought the book.

 

BEAUTIFUL DANISH PASTRY IN SKAGEN, DENMARK…

We had a recent one week’s cruise to Bruges in Brussels, Copenhagen and Skagen in Denmark and Oslo in Sweden. The weather was beautiful apart from in Oslo where it was dull and damp but that certainly didn’t spoil our visit.

Our first port of call was Bruges where we could easily walk to from the ship and where we were determined to have some of their famous moules frites.

Our second port of call was Copenhagen where we were told before we embarked that eating a meal in Copenhagen was very very expensive so we decided to just have a drink then go back to the ship for lunch. We had a lovely boat ride around Copenhagen, which was stunning.

Our third port of call was Skagen also in Denmark where we were taken to a little village with lots and lots and lots of little coffee shops and restaurants but this time we decided we would have a Danish Pastry and a cup of tea.

It was the nicest, lightest danish I had ever had and was worth every penny to pay for it. I loved Skagen and it’s quirky interior shops. Our final port of call was Oslo, the home of the troll which was another expensive stop but well worth walking around the town and the views as we left Oslo were something I will never forget. It seemed to go on for ages with little island after little island and yellow painted houses and ski lifts. I would love to make a visit back to Oslo as I felt out of all three it would make a great place for a weekend break.

5 TIPS TO HELP YOU MASTER THE ART OF BAKING BREAD…

Bread making can be pretty intimidating and everybody that has tried it has had at least one major disaster. There’s nothing more disappointing than opening the oven hoping to find a beautifully risen loaf of delicious bread and finding a flat lump of hard dough instead. But you shouldn’t let that put you off trying to make bread because once you master it, it’s great fun. Often, you just need practice but there are some great tips and tricks that you can use to make your loaves better.

Use A Bread Maker

Master bakers might consider bread makers cheating but if you’re just trying to bake a nice loaf for the family, there’s no shame in having a little help. If you get certain steps wrong you can ruin the loaf so having a bread maker is a good way to get to grips with the recipe before you start learning the process itself. Once you’ve mastered the art of making great loaves with a bread maker (which shouldn’t take long) you can start doing it the traditional way. Bread making can also be time-consuming so having a bread maker is good for those busy days when you haven’t got time to do it properly.

Sugar And Yeast

The yeast is the most important ingredient because it’s what makes the bread rise, so you’ve got to be careful how you treat it. If you mix salt directly with the yeast you can kill it, which is a mistake people often make. If you’re having trouble getting the yeast to rise properly, you can add a little sugar to it when you mix it with the warm water. It feeds the yeast and activates it which helps it rise better.

Measure Properly

This is a big one when it comes to the baking of any kind. When you’re cooking normally, you can get away with estimating amounts and throwing things in to see what happens but when it comes to baking, you can’t. Always make sure that you’re following the recipe properly and measuring things out exactly. Even the slightest variation can ruin a loaf of bread.

Resist Adding Extra Flour

Too much flour in a dough is an easy way to ruin your bread but many of us are tempted to add more than the recipe says because the dough is sticky. The amount that a recipe calls for varies a lot depending on the type of bread and some breads just have a stickier dough. You’ll just have to trust the recipe and resist the urge to add more flour, you’ll only end up ruining your bread.

Don’t Use Flour When Kneading

Most recipes will tell you to do this but it isn’t always the best idea. We’ve already learned that adding extra flour isn’t a good idea and if you knead the dough using flour to stop it from sticking, you’re doing exactly that. It’s a lot better to just use an olive oil spray instead, that way, you don’t risk ruining the dough with too much excess flour.

Follow these tips and you should get better results from your bread baking every single time.

 

#SCRUMPTIOUS FOOD SATURDAY…

It’s back again, Scrumptious Food Saturday, I have no idea where the last seven days disappeared to but I’m back with my choice of three websites with Scrumptious in their title.

The three I am going to cover this week is Purely Scrumptious‘ Cakes, Clearly  Scrumptious’  The Healthy Treat Company and Scrumptious‘ blog from South Africa.

Purely Scrumptious specialise in Cupcakes with a Conscience. Gorgeous hand baked little cakes with a BIG difference… ALL their cupcakes are dairy and egg free so YES that makes every flavour suitable for vegans! Many months of testing and tasting have gone into the creation of these recipes to ensure that neither flavour nor texture was compromised.

Each batch of Purely Scrumptios cakes are home baked to order to ensure that they reach you in perfect condition. They use only the finest quality organic and Fairtrade ingredients and NO animal products are used in any of our recipes or decorations. All their flavourings are as natural as possible – some are even home grown! 

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Clearly Scrumptious The Healthy Treat Company was formed from an idea when the two founders were out enjoying the Yorkshire Dales. They wanted to produce scrumptious snacks to keep you going that were good for you. They sourced the finest of ingredients which had to be unprocessed, free from, tasty and nutritious.

Clearly Scrumptious

Their treats are the perfect natural break from the busy lives of kids to grown-ups.

Scrumptious a blog in South Africa is written by Jane Ann Hobbs who is an award-winning social media strategist, a cook, a food writer, a recipe developer and professional freelance journalist & editor with over 25 years’ worth of experience in print & digital media.

Scrumptious South Africa

She is the author of three books, and lives with her husband Philip Rayner and their three children in Hout Bay, not far from Cape Town, South Africa. Her first cookbook was published in hardback by Random House Struik in July 2012.

The site Scrumptious, which pioneered recipe blogging in South Africa nine years ago, is an independent food blog all about careful, patient home cooking, and about how to prepare excellent food for family and friends.

The recipes on the blog are, with a few early exceptions, her original work: She has devised, developed and thoroughly tested them herself. Of course, there are very few recipes these days that can be called truly original: every recipe builds on the work and patient testing of many generations of talented cooks, chefs and alchemists.