Mint Zhoug

During the lockdown, I found myself with all sorts of things that needed to get used up sooner than I expected. I would buy too many lemons, thinking I’d need them. Then realize I had too many and make lemon curd. The grocery shopping delivery service that I use inexplicably had jalapeño peppers on their website (and a few times, padrón peppers!) and I couldn’t…

During the lockdown, I found myself with all sorts of things that needed to get used up sooner than I expected. I would buy too many lemons, thinking I’d need them. Then realize I had too many and make lemon curd. The grocery shopping delivery service that I use inexplicably had jalapeño peppers on their website (and a few times, padrón peppers!) and I couldn’t not buy those, since those are very rare around here. And because I’ve been doing Instagram Live apéro hour videos, I was concerned about running out of fresh mint, so bought them by the bundles (plural), until one day I realized I had way too much.

Continue Reading Mint Zhoug...

Graham Crackers (vegan option)

Light, crisp and sweet with a hint of spices to balance them, these graham crackers are surprisingly easy to make and very moreish! Whenever we visit the States, my mum and I always buy a box of Graham crackers to snack on (and some to bring home to the UK!). They have such a light, airy texture to them and a strong scent of vanilla, it’s very easy to eat a lot of them in one go. What is the UK equivalent of a graham cracker? We don’t really have anything that is specifically like a graham cracker in the UK. In cheesecake bases where recipes indicate using graham cracker crumbs, we would typically use digestive biscuits. Digestives are slightly similar in that they are quite plain, wholegrain-y, crisp ‘biscuits’/cookies. They have a very different flavour and texture though so it’s not really the same thing (however they will do in recipes like the cheesecake base mentioned). What is the ‘graham’ in graham crackers? Unlike what me and Andy joke about, ‘Graham’ is not just some dude who realllly likes crackers. It refers to the specific type of flour – graham flour- used in the crackers. It’s a fine, whole […]

The post Graham Crackers (vegan option) appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

homemade graham crackers separated on a baking sheet

Light, crisp and sweet with a hint of spices to balance them, these graham crackers are surprisingly easy to make and very moreish!

a bowl of ingredients for making homemade graham crackers

Whenever we visit the States, my mum and I always buy a box of Graham crackers to snack on (and some to bring home to the UK!). They have such a light, airy texture to them and a strong scent of vanilla, it’s very easy to eat a lot of them in one go.

What is the UK equivalent of a graham cracker?

We don’t really have anything that is specifically like a graham cracker in the UK. In cheesecake bases where recipes indicate using graham cracker crumbs, we would typically use digestive biscuits. Digestives are slightly similar in that they are quite plain, wholegrain-y, crisp ‘biscuits’/cookies. They have a very different flavour and texture though so it’s not really the same thing (however they will do in recipes like the cheesecake base mentioned).

homemade graham cracker dough with hands holding it

What is the ‘graham’ in graham crackers?

Unlike what me and Andy joke about, ‘Graham’ is not just some dude who realllly likes crackers. It refers to the specific type of flour – graham flour- used in the crackers. It’s a fine, whole wheat flour which seems pretty hard to get hold of outside of the US. I just use a wholemeal pastry flour which has a low protein content to make sure the crackers are tender. You can’t use a wholemeal bread flour here as that will make the dough heavy.

What gives graham crackers their flavour?

In regular graham crackers, the flavour comes from honey, cinnamon and vanilla. I’ve found that the vanilla flavouring used commercially is an artificial vanilla flavouring which is particularly strong. So, if you want to mimic that specific flavour, you’ll need to get some of the clear vanilla imitation flavouring (e.g. this Wilton one). You can use a ‘real’ vanilla extract in the dough but it will taste less like the shop bought ones.

I’ve used golden syrup in these crackers instead of honey as I prefer the flavour and I like the very crisp texture you get in the end. I’ve tested them with a runny, light honey too and that works well (plus is easier to get in some parts of the world).

cutting out graham cracker dough
docking graham cracker dough with a chopstick

How are graham crackers made?

A dough is formed from dry ingredients of the whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt, sugar and raising agents. I like to use baker’s ammonia (ammonium bicarbonate) as the raising agent as it provides the lightest, crispest texture to baked goods like this. However, you can use bicarbonate of soda as I know most people won’t have baker’s ammonia to hand! I add a lil bit of ground cardamom to the dough as well for a slightly spicy, background note.

We rub butter (or vegan butter) into the dry ingredients which coats the flour particles in fat, preventing some gluten formation once the liquids are added. That helps to give a nice ‘short’ (i.e. crumbly, snappy) texture to the crackers and prevents them becoming chewy.

Last of all, the wet ingredients – some syrup, a bit of milk and the vanilla. That’s mixed until we get a soft dough and then chilled so it gets less sticky and easier to roll out.

I like to roll the chilled disk out on a piece of baking paper so that I can get the dough really thin. I score the dough and then bake it straight on the same piece of baking paper. I also dock the dough before baking – I used a chopstick end (a la Bravetart) to get a more authentic look. You can use a fork to dock it though to speed things up! The docking helps the dough rise more evenly and become less puffy when baking. I bake the dough as one huge sheet so that as it spreads, the lines stay straight. If you cut them and bake the crackers as individual squares, the edges spread out and become less clean. This is also why I leave the uneven edges in place as the cracker bakes (plus it provides a buffer for if any of the dough around the edges darkens too much).

Once baked, you can finally snap the huge cracker along the score lines into lil squares! Pop them into an airtight container and they’ll actually stay crisp for ages – a few weeks at least.

snapping a large homemade graham cracker sheet into smaller crackers

Graham Crackers

Graham Crackers

Yield: 70-80, 5cm (2-inch) square crackers
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 120g (1 cup) plain white (all-purpose) flour
  • 110g (1 cup minus 1 tbsp) wholemeal (whole wheat) pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) or bakers ammonia
  • 1/4 tsp fine table salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 pods green cardamom
  • 70g (5 tbsp) unsalted butter or vegan butter
  • 75g (3 1/2 tbsp) golden syrup (see notes)
  • 2-3 tbsp milk or non-dairy milk (I use oat milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the dough:

  1. Combine both of the flours, the bicarb (or ammonia), salt, cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl. Bash the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar to break them open, push out the seeds and discard the papery skin. Grind the seeds in the pestle and mortar into a fine powder. Add this to the bowl of dry ingredients too. (If you want to make the dough in a food processor, see the recipe notes below)
  2. Cut the butter into smallish cubes and add to the bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture is crubmly. Add the golden syrup, milk (start with 2 tbsp for now) and vanilla extract to the bowl. Use a spoon to stir together to make a moist, soft dough. If it seems too dry, drizzle in a bit more milk and knead it in with your hands.
  3. Divide the dough in half, form into 2 balls and then flatten into disks. Place into a reusable sandwich bag and chill for at least 30 minutes so the dough can firm up.

Roll, shape & bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan (320°F) and grab a large cookie sheet/baking tray (I like to use one without a rim for this but a rimmed sheet is fine).
  2. Cut a piece of baking paper to the size of your baking tray. Place the baking paper on your work surface and dust with some plain flour. Take one disk of dough from the fridge and place onto the baking paper. Dust with more flour. Use a rolling pin to roll it out until the dough is about 2mm thick, dusting with flour as needed to prevent it sticking to the rolling pin.
  3. Cut into 5cm (2-inch) squares and leave them connected like this. We will bake the dough as one big sheet so that the crackers stay in a neat shape, then break them up once they're baked! Dock the crackers all over with a fork (or the small end of a chopstick if you want a more authentic look).
  4. Lift the sheet of dough up with the baking paper still underneath it, and lay onto your cookie sheet. Get them into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet so that the crackers can bake evenly. Lower the oven temperature to 140°C fan (280°F) and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and break along the score lines into squares. Allow to cool and then transfer to an airtight container. Repeat with the remaining disk of dough as above.
  6. They will keep for a couple of weeks like this, if they start to soften just lay on a cookie sheet in an oven at 120°C fan (250°F) and bake for 5-10 minutes until crisp again.

Notes

- Make the dough in a food processor: combine the dry ingredients (as in step 1) but place them into the bowl of a food processor. Add the cubed butter and pulse together until no large pieces of butter remain. Add the syrup, milk and vanilla and blend until you get a soft dough.

- You can also use a light, runny honey in place of some/all of the golden syrup (although this won't be vegan).

- I add cardamom to the dough for a bit more of a fragrant flavour. You don't have to do this if you don't like it though.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Graham Crackers (vegan option) appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Easy Masala Chai Recipe

Behold, a seriously dreamy cup of chai. It’s creamy, dairy-free, naturally sweetened, caffeine optional, and perfectly spiced.
We already have recipes on the blog for Caffeine-Free Chai Mix and a Vegan Chai Latte. But as we’ve played around…

Easy Masala Chai Recipe

Behold, a seriously dreamy cup of chai. It’s creamy, dairy-free, naturally sweetened, caffeine optional, and perfectly spiced.

We already have recipes on the blog for Caffeine-Free Chai Mix and a Vegan Chai Latte. But as we’ve played around more with customizing the spices and perfecting the flavor, we came up with this version, which uses fresh ginger and whole spices.

We must say, this is our perfect cup of chai. Swoon!

Easy Masala Chai Recipe from Minimalist Baker →

Sourdough Cardamom Rolls Are Our Ideal Weekend Baking Project

Award-winning author Sarah Owens’ latest cookbook, Heirloom, is not about heirloom tomatoes—although you do see one peeking its way into the cover, and you will find a couple recipes using them, like kvass soup and tangy bread salad, when you flip thro…

Award-winning author Sarah Owens’ latest cookbook, Heirloom, is not about heirloom tomatoes—although you do see one peeking its way into the cover, and you will find a couple recipes using them, like kvass soup and tangy bread salad, when you flip through.

“While those beloved plump orbs of the nightshade family are indeed a fine place to begin our exploration into the superior flavor that most heirloom plants possess,” she writes in the introduction, “this book encompasses more substantial topics.”

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Easy Vegan Eggnog

The holidays are upon us, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with some seriously rich, comforting eggnog.
Let us show you how easy it is to make this 6-ingredient, 1-blender, naturally-sweetened vegan eggnog, perfect for the…

Easy Vegan Eggnog

The holidays are upon us, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with some seriously rich, comforting eggnog.

Let us show you how easy it is to make this 6-ingredient, 1-blender, naturally-sweetened vegan eggnog, perfect for the holidays and beyond!

What is Eggnog?

Eggnog is a rich, seasonal beverage traditionally made with eggs, milk, sugar, nutmeg, and bourbon.

Our version, however, is a little different.

Easy Vegan Eggnog from Minimalist Baker →

Chai Sugar Cookies

Chewy Sugar Cookies with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice and black pepper.

The post Chai Sugar Cookies appeared first on My Baking Addiction.

Chewy Chai Sugar Cookies pack a flavor punch with a blend of chai-inspired spices. If you love chai, these are the cookies for you!

Glass of milk next to chai sugar cookies scattered on a piece of parchment paper

INTRO
(more…)

The post Chai Sugar Cookies appeared first on My Baking Addiction.

Claudia Fleming’s Stout Gingerbread

I could probably name about a dozen people who could be called baking legends. One of them is Claudia Fleming, who was the pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, and whose book, The Last Course, became a cookbook classic. Claudia was known for desserts that managed to balance seasonal fruits, as well as chocolate, spices, herbs, grains, and even vegetables, not by using fancy techniques, but…

I could probably name about a dozen people who could be called baking legends. One of them is Claudia Fleming, who was the pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, and whose book, The Last Course, became a cookbook classic.

Claudia was known for desserts that managed to balance seasonal fruits, as well as chocolate, spices, herbs, grains, and even vegetables, not by using fancy techniques, but by presenting them with contrasting or complementary ingredients. The Last Course is a compilation of some of her best desserts, which came out in 2001. (My copy, above, is a first edition and I’m proud to say I was one of the first people to buy it.) As books do, this one eventually sailed out of print and used copies went for steep prices. I held on to mine, resisting offers to sell it. But I’m happy to report that The Last Course is back in print, and available to all.

Continue Reading Claudia Fleming’s Stout Gingerbread...

Easy 1-Pot Massaman Curry

Excuse us while we dive head-first into this creamy, luxurious, 1-pot Massaman-inspired curry.
What makes this recipe easy, you ask?

It’s made without store-bought Massaman curry paste, which can be difficult to find, utilizing red curry paste …

Easy 1-Pot Massaman Curry

Excuse us while we dive head-first into this creamy, luxurious, 1-pot Massaman-inspired curry.

What makes this recipe easy, you ask?

  • It’s made without store-bought Massaman curry paste, which can be difficult to find, utilizing red curry paste instead!
  • It uses ingredients you likely have on hand right now.
  • We include protein options for vegans, pescatarians, and meat-eaters so you can customize and simplify as needed!

Easy 1-Pot Massaman Curry from Minimalist Baker →

Apple-Cardamom Chelsea Buns

Swirly, flaky and perfumed with cardamom. These apple chelsea buns are so bloody good. The slices of sticky apple through the layers are so delicious and help keep the buns moist too! As with my hot cross Chelsea buns, the dough is laminated with a single ‘business letter’ fold before filling and rolling. This helps get even more thin, flakey layers into each bun for maximum peeling-of-layers-as-you-eat satisfaction (my favourite part of eating any swirly bun) . These guys can be made vegan by using a non-dairy milk and vegan butter. After a couple of days they do start to get stale so need a few minutes in a warm oven to become soft again!

The post Apple-Cardamom Chelsea Buns appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

Two trays of swirly Apple Chelsea buns with pearl sugar. One bun on a plate with a mug of tea.

Swirly, flaky and perfumed with cardamom. These apple chelsea buns are so bloody good. The slices of sticky apple through the layers are so delicious and help keep the buns moist too!

Two trays of swirly Apple Chelsea buns with pearl sugar

As with my hot cross Chelsea buns, the dough is laminated with a single ‘business letter’ fold before filling and rolling. This helps get even more thin, flakey layers into each bun for maximum peeling-of-layers-as-you-eat satisfaction (my favourite part of eating any swirly bun) . These guys can be made vegan by using a non-dairy milk and vegan butter. After a couple of days they do start to get stale so need a few minutes in a warm oven to become soft again!

Apple Cardamom Chelsea Buns

Apple Cardamom Chelsea Buns

Yield: 12 buns

A slightly laminated dough swirled with dark brown sugar, cardamom and apples to make these sticky soft apple chelsea buns. A delicious tea time treat!

Ingredients

Paste:

  • 2 tablespoons plain white flour or strong white flour
  • 90g (1/3 cup) water

Dough:

  • 200ml milk (you can use a dairy-free milk here)
  • 50ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • 50g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons easy-bake yeast ('instant' yeast)
  • 450g (3 3/4 cups) strong white flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt

Filling:

  • 100g unsalted butter (or vegan butter)
  • 2 eating apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
  • 6-10 pods green cardamom, depending on how much you like it!
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp pearl sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

Make the paste:

  1. Combine the paste ingredients in a small pot. Stir together until mostly smooth. Place over a medium heat on the stove and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened into a loose paste texture. Remove from the stove and set aside to cool.

Make the dough:

  1. Place the cooled paste into the bowl of a stand mixer (SEE NOTES if you don't have a stand mixer for hand-kneading method) with the hook attachment fitted. Add the milk to the bowl and mash up the paste a bit so it breaks up. Add the oil, sugar, yeast, flour and salt to the bowl.
  2. Mix on medium speed in the mixer for 6-10 minutes until the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl, looks smooth, and is slightly sticky.
  3. Pour a bit of extra oil over a dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm for 1-2 hours until doubled in volume.

Make the filling:

  1. Place half of the butter into a medium saucepan. Place on the stove and melt over a medium-low heat. Once melted, pour into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining butter to the same pan. Add your peeled/cored/ sliced apples and return to a medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple slices are softened but still holding together. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a pestle and mortar, bash the cardamom pods to open them up. Remove the papery casing and discard, leaving the little black seeds in the mortar. Grind the seeds into a powder then mix with the cinnamon and dark brown sugar in a small bowl.

Roll and fill the buns:

  1. Lightly flour a work surface and tip the risen dough out onto it. Lightly flour the dough and roll it out into a 15 x 26 inch (35 x 65cm) rectangle. Spread the melted butter you set aside earlier over the surface of the dough. Evenly sprinkle on half of the spiced sugar and press it into the dough gently. Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter. (see above for a video to explain).
  2. Roll this out again into a 15 x 26 inch (35 x 65cm) rectangle. Spread the remaining spiced sugar over the surface then evenly distribute the cooked apples and any butter from the pan over this. Starting at the short edge of the rectangle, roll the dough up tightly into a log.
  3. Cut the log into 12 equal pieces. Place onto 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm to rise for 30-45 minutes until almost doubled in volume. Sprinkle with pearl sugar, if using.

Bake the buns:

  1. While the buns rise, pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan / 350°F).
  2. Remove the tea towels covering the buns and bake them for 20-25 minutes until golden brown all over.
  3. Allow to cool slightly before eating. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

NO STAND MIXER - kneading by hand:

  1. Place the cooled paste into a large bowl. Add the milk to the bowl and mash up the paste a bit so it breaks up. Add the oil, sugar, flour, yeast and salt to the bowl. Stir together with your fingertips to form a shaggy dough. Knead it a bit in the bowl to help bring in some dry bits then tip the contents of the bowl out onto a clean work surface.
  2. Knead by hand for ~10 minutes, dusting lightly with flour as needed to stop it sticking to your hands and surface (but try to add as little flour as possible). The dough should be smooth, stretchy and only slightly sticky. Pour a little oil into the bowl and turn to coat.
  3. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm for 1-2 hours until doubled in volume.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Apple-Cardamom Chelsea Buns appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.