Sourdough Pumpkin Bread (Vegan)

Having recently revived my sourdough starter, my collection of sourdough discard has started up again. Since it’s the spooky season (a.k.a October), it only felt appropriate to make a vegan pumpkin bread version of my sourdough banana bread!! Using homemade pumpkin puree I had planned on doing this a few weeks ago but found I there was NO CANNED PUMPKIN PUREE in stock anywhere near me & ordering it online would’ve cost £3 a tin! Who’s buying up all the canned pumpkin!? Anywho, I’m no stranger to making my own purees so I went ahead and bought a cooking pumpkin, cut it in half & roasted for an hour then scooped the flesh out & blended it up to make some puree. However I found that this homemade puree was much more watery than the canned puree so the loaf turned out gummy and crumbly. An intense few weeks of shoots got in the way but this week I got round to retesting it with homemade pumpkin puree which I strained in a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl for 3 hours. I also gathered up the edges of the cheesecloth after this time and gently squeezed until no more […]

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sourdough pumpkin bread sliced with a cup of tea

Having recently revived my sourdough starter, my collection of sourdough discard has started up again. Since it’s the spooky season (a.k.a October), it only felt appropriate to make a vegan pumpkin bread version of my sourdough banana bread!!

a loaf of vegan sourdough pumpkin bread with tea being poured and winter squash

Using homemade pumpkin puree

I had planned on doing this a few weeks ago but found I there was NO CANNED PUMPKIN PUREE in stock anywhere near me & ordering it online would’ve cost £3 a tin! Who’s buying up all the canned pumpkin!? Anywho, I’m no stranger to making my own purees so I went ahead and bought a cooking pumpkin, cut it in half & roasted for an hour then scooped the flesh out & blended it up to make some puree. However I found that this homemade puree was much more watery than the canned puree so the loaf turned out gummy and crumbly.

An intense few weeks of shoots got in the way but this week I got round to retesting it with homemade pumpkin puree which I strained in a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl for 3 hours. I also gathered up the edges of the cheesecloth after this time and gently squeezed until no more water was coming out. This resulted in a texture which was much more like the canned pumpkin puree I buy. I tried it in a loaf and it worked a treat!!

a sliced sourdough pumpkin loaf on a plate with a cup of tea

Luckily, I’d had a conversation with someone on my IG DMs about converting my banana bread into a a pumpkin bread (shout out to Kelsey!!). She actually tested the recipe too – telling me her changes of increasing the sugar slightly & lowering the pumpkin slightly – and declared it a success 🙂 I’ve made it both with 150g sugar and 200g sugar and they both work out so it’s up to you and your preferred level of sweetness.

As well as these changes, I made a custom pumpkin spice blend for the cake with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves & ginger for that Autumnal flavour. As I had some oranges to hand, I grated in some zest too as I always find it helps to round out the spices in things like carrot cakes & pumpkin breads. This is such a delicious, soft loaf and is VERY moreish. Perfect for a cuppa as an afternoon snack!

Other sourdough discard recipes

Sourdough Pumpkin Bread (Vegan)

Sourdough Pumpkin Bread (Vegan)

Yield: 1 loaf (serves 12)

A warmly spiced vegan pumpkin bread which uses sourdough discard!

Ingredients

  • 200g (3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp) pumpkin puree* (SEE NOTES if using homemade)
  • 150g (3/4 cup) to 200g (1 cup) light brown sugar*
  • 90g (1/3 cup + 2 tsp) neutral oil or light olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp fine table salt
  • 150g (3/4 cup) sourdough starter/discard (100% hydration)
  • 120g (1 cup) plain white (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

Topping (optional):

  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds/pepitas

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (350°F). Grease a 2lb loaf tin with some oil and line with a sling of baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, spices, orange zest and salt until smooth. Stir in the sourdough starter. Lastly, add the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Fold together until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter into your lined loaf tin. Sprinkle with the topping of light brown sugar and pumpkin seeds, if using.
  4. Bake for 55-70 minutes - a toothpick inserted into the centre should come out clean. If the loaf looks like it's browning too much but is not cooked through yet, tent the top with foil for the last 20 minutes of baking.
  5. Allow to cool before removing from the tin, slicing & serving.

Notes

Adapted from my Sourdough Banana Bread (vegan)

Amount of sugar: use 150g for a slightly less sweet loaf or 200g if you prefer things sweeter

If using homemade pumpkin puree: it is essential that your pumpkin puree is drained before weighing & using in this recipe. To do this, line a sieve (mesh strainer) set over a bowl with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Fill with your homemade pumpkin puree and leave to drain for 2-3 hours. After this time, gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and twist together at the top. Gently squeeze the bundle of puree to remove any last bit of water - don't squeeze too hard or the puree may start to seep through the cheesecloth! The texture should be very thick just like canned pumpkin puree. You can now measure it out and use it in the recipe.

To make homemade pumpkin puree: cut your pumpkin in half. Place cut side down on a baking tray and roast at 180C fan (350F) for 1-2 hours until completely soft. Remove from the oven, flip over and scoop out the seeds then discard them. Scoop the flesh into a blender/food processor/bowl with sitck blender, discard the skin. Blitz the flesh until smooth then drain as instructed above.

What is 100% hydration sourdough starter? This means that when feeding your starter, you're using an equal weight of flour & water (e.g. feeding it with 50g flour & 50g water each time).

Non-Vegan option: use 100g butter, melted, in place of the oil.

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!

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Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

I have lots of mini pumpkins around my kitchen during the Halloween and Thanksgiving baking seasons. I always get a variety of sizes and, while I bake the larger sugar pumpkins, I generally use them as centerpieces and they show up as props in the background of lots of …

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Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

I have lots of mini pumpkins around my kitchen during the Halloween and Thanksgiving baking seasons. I always get a variety of sizes and, while I bake the larger sugar pumpkins, I generally use them as centerpieces and they show up as props in the background of lots of my seasonal pictures. These delicious Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes make a fantastic centerpiece, but they make an even better dessert because they are completely edible!

The cupcakes start out as chocolate cupcakes and turning them into pumpkins is surprisingly easy, though I should let you know in advance that you’re probably going to end up with some frosting on your fingers as you work. Decorating is slightly messy whenever you’re working on a round cake, but it is well worth a few sticky fingers!

In addition to the base chocolate cupcakes, you’re going to need a relatively big batch of buttercream frosting. The frosting not only covers the cake to give it a pumpkin shape, but a small portion of it is dyed green to pipe a vine (for a bit of color) on top of the finished pumpkins. When frosting cakes like these, it is better to have extra frosting than not enough. You can always make more if you run out, but I err on the side of caution and simply bake more cupcakes to use up leftovers.

The fun of these Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes is all in how they are put together. The lids are cut off the cupcakes and the stumps are sandwiched together with a bit of buttercream. The two-tier cakes are then shaped, with the help of a pairing knife, into a more rounded pumpkin shape by cutting off the sharp top and bottom edges. A crumb coat is applied and the cupcakes are chilled. The crumb coat will hold all the chocolate cake crumbs in place when you apply the final coat of frosting. Don’t skip the crumb coat because it makes decorating easier!

Once you apply the final coat of icing, drag the tip of a knife through the frosting to create vertical lines, giving the pumpkins a more realistic finished look. Chill again, then finish the icing by coating it with orange sanding sugar. This not only gives the pumpkins a slightly sparkly loo, but it makes them much easier to handle. Chocolate stumps are added to the top of the cakes, along with swirling green vines.

Don’t throw out your cake scraps when working on these cakes! They are used to make edible “dirt” to surround the cakes when it is time to serve them, finishing the pumpkin patch look. These pumpkins are made with chocolate cake batter, but you can actually use almost any cupcake recipe to make them. That said, chocolate cake or spice cake will give you the best look for your “dirt” crumbs.

If you do want to dress up your mini pumpkins for a spookier look, you have a couple of options. First, you could color a bit of buttercream with black icing and pipe on a jack o’ lantern face. Alternatively, you could poke mini chocolate chips into the pumpkin for an even easier face design. Finally, you could simply add on some candy eyes to give the pumpkins a little personality.

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes
1/4 cup butter
2 oz dark chocolate (chocolate chips are fine), chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup hot coffee (or hot water)

Frosting

1 cup butter, room temperature
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3-4 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
orange and green food coloring
1/2 cup orange sanding sugar
6 small chunks of chocolate (for the stems)
candy eyes (optional)

Make The Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt together butter and dark chocolate until smooth. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter mixture, cocoa powder, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and buttermilk until smooth and well-combined. Add in flour, baking soda and salt and whisk to incorporate. Pour in hot coffee and whisk until batter is smooth. Divide evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until the cupcakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Frosting

In a large bowl, beat butter until soft. Add in about half of the confectioners’ sugar, along with the milk and vanilla extract. Gradually blend in additional confectioners’ sugar until frosting is thick and smooth. Set aside a small portion of the frosting to be dyed green for the vines. Use orange food coloring (approx 1/4 – 1/2 tsp gel coloring or 1/2 – 3/4 tsp liquid food coloring) to dye the rest of the icing bright orange.

Assembly

Cut the tops off of two cupcakes and remove the wrappers. Place cupcake lids in a bowl for scraps.
Add a bit of frosting to the cut top of one cupcake and invert the second onto it, making an oblong cupcake. Using a paring knife, trim the top and bottom edges to round them off. Place trimmings into the scrap bowl. Repeat with remaining cupcakes to make 6 round cakes.
Carefully frost the round cakes with orange icing to make a crumb coat. Chill for 15 minutes.
Frost the cupcakes more generously to cover the crumb coat. If necessary, stick a skewer into the cupcake to hold it still while you frost. Use the tip of a knife to make ridges in the frosting and give it a more pumpkin-like shape. Chill for 20 minutes.
Coat pumpkins with sanding sugar, gently pressing it into the frosting and smoothing out any imperfections with your fingertips (chilling the cake should make them easy to handle).
Place a small piece of chocolate in the top of each cake to act as the stem, then pipe a swirl of green vine near the top for color. Add on candy eyes, if desired.

Take all the cake scraps and crumble them into small pieces. Make a pile of cake crumbs on a serving plate (or a small pile on each serving dish, if plating individually) and place the pumpkins on top of the “dirt” crumbs to serve.

Makes 6.

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Wassail

Lusciously spicy Holiday Wassail is perfect for your Christmas party.

The post Wassail appeared first on My Baking Addiction.

Wassail may be a traditional holiday drink, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it all autumn long! This warmly spiced hot mulled cider comes together in minutes and can be heated on the stove or in the slow cooker.

Three mugs of hot wassail garnished with sliced apples and cinnamon sticks with a dutch oven full of wassail in the background

INTRO

(more…)

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Tahini Caramel Apple Tart

I’ve been thinking about this French Apple Tart ever since I saw Ina make it – I’m usually not a tart kind of person because lining a pastry tin is not my idea of fun, but this recipe is SO simple, there’s no faffing around. You roll out a flaky pastry into a rectangle, top with sliced apples and sugar and bake. Now, Ina brushes the apples with an apricot jam glaze (a trick my mum always uses too) but I opted for a tahini caramel sauce instead – drizzled over the tart whilst still warm. It’s a little bit nutty and isn’t too sweet but if you’re daunted by caramel making you can always stick with the jam if you want!    

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slices of tahini caramel apple tart

I’ve been thinking about this French Apple Tart ever since I saw Ina make it – I’m usually not a tart kind of person because lining a pastry tin is not my idea of fun, but this recipe is SO simple, there’s no faffing around.

You roll out a flaky pastry into a rectangle, top with sliced apples and sugar and bake. Now, Ina brushes the apples with an apricot jam glaze (a trick my mum always uses too) but I opted for a tahini caramel sauce instead – drizzled over the tart whilst still warm.

A sliced apple tart drizzled with tahini caramel

It’s a little bit nutty and isn’t too sweet but if you’re daunted by caramel making you can always stick with the jam if you want!

 

 

slices of tahini caramel apple tart

Tahini Caramel Apple Tart

Yield: serves 8-12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

An easy tahini caramel sauce drizzled over a simple apple tart with homemade flaky pastry!

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 2 cups (240g) plain white (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup (165g) unsalted butter, cold, cubed
  • up to 1/2 cup (125ml) ice water

For the caramel:

  • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp (30g) unstalted butter
  • generous pinch salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean powder
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 4 tbsp milk

For the top:

  • 3 to 4 Bramley apples, peeled and cored
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into little cubes

Instructions

Make the pastry:

  1. Place the flour, salt, sugar and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to cut the butter in – you want a mealy mixture with a few pea-sized lumps of butter remaining. Drizzle in the water (start with 4 tablespoons) and pulse in, adding more water a tablespoon at a time if needed. The mixture should be moist enough so that if you squeeze some together, it’ll stick.
  2. Tip the pastry mixture out onto a piece of cling film. Pat together with your hands into a rectangle then wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile make the caramel:

  1. Place the sugar and water in a large saucepan (silver/white ones a best so you can see the colour change). Place over a medium heat on the stove and stir just until the sugar dissolves then stop stirring. Let the mixture cook, tilting and swirling the pan, until it has reached an even, golden colour.
  2. Turn the heat all the way down, add in the butter, salt and vanilla. Let that butter melt a bit before picking the spoon back up and mixing it in. Once smooth, add the tahini and milk and stir through until smooth. Take off the heat and set aside.

Rolling and baking:

  1. Once the pastry has rested, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) fan.
  2. Cut the apples in half and then slice into half-moons about ¼-inch (5mm) thick.
  3. Cut a piece of baking paper to fit a large baking tray. Unwrap the pastry, place onto the baking paper and dust with flour. Roll the pastry out into a rectangle slightly smaller than the piece of baking paper. Trim the edges so they are straight then transfer the pastry (on the baking paper) onto the baking tray.
  4. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the tart is dark golden around the edges and the apples have coloured slightly. Drizzle with the caramel (you may need to re-warm it over a low heat on the stove to get it drizzle-able again) then allow to cool before slicing and serving.

Notes

  • if you want to speed this recipe up, you can use a block of puff pastry or shortcrust pastry in place of making your own. 

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!

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Millionaire’s Shortbread – Baking Basics

I remember being in primary school and checking a baking book out of the library – once home I photocopied a bunch of recipes from it, one of which was for Millionaire’s shortbread (also known as caramel slice in some parts of the world). It was something I’d had the shop-bought version of (in those clamshell plastic tubs!) and LOVED but had never made before. Now that I had a recipe for a homemade version there was no turning back! My brother and I made it many times – it’s such an easy bake and really requires minimal effort. They’re also VERY rich (hence why they’re called ‘Millionaire’s shortbread) so I often only need one square to satisfy my sweet tooth. Recipes for millionaire’s shortbread are usually pretty similar. I think the BBC /Nigella /Jamie Oliver versions all have the same components with very similar ingredients. A shortbread base, a caramel filling made using sweetened condensed milk from a tin, and a plain chocolate topping. Some versions use golden syrup in the filling (I make it without) to prevent the sugar from crystallising. I’ve tweaked the recipe here and there to make my best version which is what I’m posting […]

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a stack of millionaire's shortbread

I remember being in primary school and checking a baking book out of the library – once home I photocopied a bunch of recipes from it, one of which was for Millionaire’s shortbread (also known as caramel slice in some parts of the world). It was something I’d had the shop-bought version of (in those clamshell plastic tubs!) and LOVED but had never made before. Now that I had a recipe for a homemade version there was no turning back! My brother and I made it many times – it’s such an easy bake and really requires minimal effort. They’re also VERY rich (hence why they’re called ‘Millionaire’s shortbread) so I often only need one square to satisfy my sweet tooth.

overhead shot of squares of millionaire's shortbread with marbled chocolate

Recipes for millionaire’s shortbread are usually pretty similar. I think the BBC /Nigella /Jamie Oliver versions all have the same components with very similar ingredients. A shortbread base, a caramel filling made using sweetened condensed milk from a tin, and a plain chocolate topping. Some versions use golden syrup in the filling (I make it without) to prevent the sugar from crystallising. I’ve tweaked the recipe here and there to make my best version which is what I’m posting today!

I’ve even got a lil video below so you can see step-by-step how to make it 🙂

How to make crumbly shortbread for the base:

My shortbread base includes ground almonds – they are optional as you can swap out for rice flour/plain flour, but they do help the shortbread base stay nice and crumbly. They also have a nice buttery note to them and, unlike rice flour, don’t add a gritty texture.

Can you make millionaire’s shortbread without condensed milk?

Usually the caramel is made with sweetened condensed milk cooked with sugar and butter until it caramelises and thickens. For my filling, I simply swap the condensed milk for tinned carnation caramel (a.k.a. dulce de leche) instead. This tinned caramel is actually made from sweetened condensed milk so it’s essentially the same thing but it’s pre-caramelised for you! I like using the pre-made carnation caramel instead of sweetened condensed milk as I think it (1) has a deeper flavour, (2) it doesn’t seem to burn as easily as plain sweetened condensed milk does (3) it seems that post-pandemic, sweetened condensed milk is often out of stock in my supermarket whereas the carnation caramel is plentiful! You can’t just use the caramel straight from the tin though as it won’t set properly so you do have to cook it with sugar & butter to get it to thicken up.

All that said, you can use sweetened condensed milk here instead of the tinned caramel if that’s all you can get. It will work just as well but you might have to cook it for longer to get the right consistency AND you’ll have to be more careful that it doesn’t burn.

How do you thicken the caramel?

The caramel & butter & sugar are cooked on the stove in a pot, stirring often to melt everything together and thicken things up. This happens because the heat causes the mixture to boil, releasing some of the water in the ingredients as steam. It takes around 7 to 10 minutes of cooking over a medium-low heat to get this effect. You have to be careful as you thicken the mixture though as the high sugar content means it’s likely to burn easily – this can be prevented by stirring often (and scraping the base and corners of the pan with a silicone spatula). Bare in mind that the caramel will also thicken & harden as it cools in the fridge so it will seem thinner when it’s hot.

Why is my caramel too thin?

The caramel will be too thin if you haven’t cooked it for long enough on the stove. To test whether you’ve cooked the caramel for long enough, I like to use a simple trick. I place a small plate in the freezer before I start making the caramel. Once the caramel is looking darker and thicker than before I remove the plate from the freezer and place a little blob of hot caramel onto it. I set the plate aside for a minute or two so the caramel can cool down. Once cool to the touch, I run my finger through the blob. If the caramel is correctly cooked, the line will remain in the caramel. If it needs to be cooked for longer, the caramel will start to run back together, filling in the line.

a side shot of a square of millionaire's shortbread

What type of chocolate should you use?

I quite like a dark chocolate for the topping as it really helps to balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients. A 70% or even 80% are great but go with what you know you like. For this batch, I swirled on a bit of white chocolate into the dark for decoration but that’s totally optional.

How to cut Millionaire’s shortbread neatly:

I have a kitchen blowtorch which I use to gently warm a sharp knife before cutting into the shortbread. This helps to create the neatest edge as it melts through the chocolate and caramel as you apply pressure, meaning the chocolate wont crack or cause the caramel to squash out! If you don’t want to mess around with a blowtorch, you can fill a jug with boiling water and pop your knife blade in there for a minute or so. Wipe the blade dry before using it as it’ll be wet! With both these methods be careful not to touch the blade while you cut as it’ll be very hot. Also, wipe the blade with a piece of kitchen roll between cuts to ensure the knife is clean & dry.

Can you put it in the fridge or freezer?

I recommend storing the cut squares in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll ensure they keep for longer (up to 1 week!) and will stop the chocolate/caramel getting all melty. You can freeze these too – cut them into squares and pop into a resealable sandwich bag for up to 1 month. Let them defrost at room temp before eating.

Other bar recipes:

Millonaire's Shortbread

Millonaire's Shortbread

Yield: 16 squares
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A British classic traybake, so easy & perfect for bakesales! Made with tinned carnation caramel (dulce de leche) or sweetened condensed milk on a crumbly shortbread base with a snappy dark chocolate topping.

Ingredients

Shortbread:

  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • 60g (1/4 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 200g (1 2/3 cup) plain white flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g (1/2 cup + 3 tbsp) unsalted butter, cold, cubed

Caramel:

  • 1 (397g/14 ounce) tin carnation caramel (dulce de leche) OR sweetened condensed milk
  • 100g (7 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate:

  • 150g (5.3 ounces) dark chocolate (I used a 70%), broken into chunks
  • 50g (1.8 ounces) white chocolate, broken into chunks

Instructions

For the shortbread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking tin with a sling of baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl place all of the shortbread ingredients. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingertips until crumbly. Knead a few times in the bowl to form a cohesive dough.
  3. Crumble up the dough into the lined tin. Use your hands to flatten into an even layer then use the back of a spoon to smooth out.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top.

For the caramel:

  1. Place the caramel (or dulce de leche or sweetened condensed milk) into a medium pot with the butter, sugar and salt.
  2. Heat on medium, stirring often, until the butter has melted. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring often, for 7-10 minutes until the caramel has thickened and darkened. (NB: if using sweetened condensed milk here, it may be necessary to cook for slightly longer to get it to the right colour. You will also have to watch the caramel more closely & stir more often as it is more likely to catch and burn).
  3. Pour the hot caramel over the baked shortbread and spread out into an even layer (an offset spatula works well but you can also use the back of a spoon). Chill for 10 minutes so the caramel can firm up as you prep the chocolate.

For the chocolate top:

  1. Place the dark chocolate and white chocolate into two separate, heatproof bowls. Place each bowl over a pan of simmering water on the stove, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted and then remove the bowls from the pans of water.
  2. Pour most of the melted dark chocolate over the cooled caramel. Spread out into an even layer and then rap the whole tray against the work surface a few times to help the chocolate settle into a smooth layer.
  3. Dollops random blobs and swirls of white chocolate over the dark chocolate. Dollop the remaining dark chocolate on top in random spots. Rap the whole tray against the work surface again a few times to help the chocolate settle. Use a toothpick to swirl the dark and white chocolate together to create a marbled pattern.
  4. Chill for 10-20 minutes until set.

Remove from tin & cut:

  1. To remove from the tin you can either use a kitchen blowtorch to briefly warm the edges of the tin (only if the tin is metal!) which will help melt the chocolate and caramel at the very edges so you can lift out the whole thing with the sling. The other method is to dip a butter knife into boiling water, wipe it dry, then run it around the inside edge of the tin to release the chocolate from the edge of the tin.
  2. Cut into 16 squares using a hot knife (warmed either by running a blowtorch over the blade or by dipping the blade into boiling water & wiping dry) making sure you clean the blade between cuts for the neatest edges.
  3. Store cut bars in an airtight container. I recommend keeping them in the fridge (especially if your kitchen is warm!) for up to 1 week. They're delicious cold from the fridge or at room temp.





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 Millionaire’s Shortbread – Baking Basics appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Coconut Peanut Rocky Road

This post was sponsored by Tropical Sun – thank you for supporting this blog! What better way to use up odds and ends of Easter chocolate than to make rocky road!? Such a delicious combo of textures and flavours for an indulgent yet easy dessert. This rocky road has an epic upgrade, though! I mixed in some of Tropical Sun’s coconut peanuts (which are roasted peanuts encased in a crunchy, coconutty shell) for that crispy, crunchy texture and delicious flavour – chocolate-peanut, and chocolate-coconut are ALWAYS winning combos. I love the pop of colour from using coloured chocolates on top, like M&Ms and I also like having a good amount of biscuit mixed in – something plain-ish like a digestive or hobnob as they’re mainly there for the texture. The chocolate gets melted down with a bit of butter and agave syrup to make a softer, slightly fudgy texture. Because of this, I keep the rocky road cubes in the fridge as otherwise they get too soft and melty (although I’m sure they’d be okay in a lunchbox for a few hours).

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a tray of Tropical Sun coconut peanut rocky road

This post was sponsored by Tropical Sun – thank you for supporting this blog!

What better way to use up odds and ends of Easter chocolate than to make rocky road!? Such a delicious combo of textures and flavours for an indulgent yet easy dessert.

coconut peanut rocky road cut up on a board with marshmallows

This rocky road has an epic upgrade, though! I mixed in some of Tropical Sun’s coconut peanuts (which are roasted peanuts encased in a crunchy, coconutty shell) for that crispy, crunchy texture and delicious flavour – chocolate-peanut, and chocolate-coconut are ALWAYS winning combos. I love the pop of colour from using coloured chocolates on top, like M&Ms and I also like having a good amount of biscuit mixed in – something plain-ish like a digestive or hobnob as they’re mainly there for the texture.

The chocolate gets melted down with a bit of butter and agave syrup to make a softer, slightly fudgy texture. Because of this, I keep the rocky road cubes in the fridge as otherwise they get too soft and melty (although I’m sure they’d be okay in a lunchbox for a few hours).

Coconut Peanut Rocky Road

Coconut Peanut Rocky Road

Yield: Serves 30
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp Tropical Sun agave syrup
  • 150g digestive biscuits
  • 100g Tropical Sun coconut peanuts
  • 100g mini marshmallows
  • 50g chocolate caramels (such as Rolos)

Topping ingredients:

  • Coconut peanuts
  • M&Ms
  • Marshmallows
  • Wafer biscuits

Instructions

  1. Line a 27 x 20 cm (or 20-cm square) baking tin with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Break the chocolate into chunks and add to a medium pot along with the butter and agave syrup. Melt over a low heat, stirring constantly, until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool so that it’s not so hot that it’ll melt the marshmallows.
  3. Roughly break the biscuits onto bite-sized chunks and add to a large bowl along with the coconut peanuts and marshmallows. Pour over the cooled chocolate-butter mixture and stir together until well coated. Add the chocolate caramels and stir through briefly being careful so as not to break the caramels.
  4. Tip the contents of the bowl into the baking tin you prepared earlier. Spread the mixture out with a spatula so that it’s as even as possible. Quickly sprinkle the top of the mixture with a few handfuls of topping ingredients, pressing them down to make sure they adhere to the surface.
  5. Chill for at least 2 hours to make sure the chocolate sets before cutting into 24-30 cubes. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Notes

- This is ideal for using up leftover Christmas and Easter chocolates!

Make it vegan:

  • use vegan dark chocolate and vegan stick butter (/margarine).
  • use vegan marshmallows (buy or make your own)
  • make sure any biscuits/mix ins are vegan friendly (e.g. use oreos instead of digestive biscuits).


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!

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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 […]

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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!

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Rhubarb Marshmallows (Vegan option)

Pink, cloud-like and a little bit tangy – these rhubarb marshmallows are just the ticket for brightening up these gloomy months. My rhubarb obsession continues this year as the forced Yorkshire rhubarb has started to appear in the shops once again. Just in time for my birthday! and for Valentine’s day! Those bright pink, tender stalks are so tart but that makes them the perfect match for the super sweet nature of marshmallow mixture. I used my vegan marshmallow recipe as the base recipe and made a few adjustments to allow me to incorporate rhubarb puree into the mixture. This time I used the carageenan and locust bean gum only, I didn’t try it out with the vege-gel stuff so I’m not 100% sure if that would work here (my assumption is that it would, though). The photos in this post are all of the vegan rhubarb marshmallows and you can see how puffy and fluffy they are! They do lose a bit of volume as they sit so I’d recommend making them in a small batch or consuming within a week-ish. I used the same rhubarb puree in a batch of gelatine-based marshmallows (no egg white) and those worked […]

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close up of vegan rhubarb marshmallows on baking paper, dusted with icing sugar

Pink, cloud-like and a little bit tangy – these rhubarb marshmallows are just the ticket for brightening up these gloomy months.

cut rhubarb marshmallows on baking paper, dusted with icing sugar

My rhubarb obsession continues this year as the forced Yorkshire rhubarb has started to appear in the shops once again. Just in time for my birthday! and for Valentine’s day! Those bright pink, tender stalks are so tart but that makes them the perfect match for the super sweet nature of marshmallow mixture.

I used my vegan marshmallow recipe as the base recipe and made a few adjustments to allow me to incorporate rhubarb puree into the mixture. This time I used the carageenan and locust bean gum only, I didn’t try it out with the vege-gel stuff so I’m not 100% sure if that would work here (my assumption is that it would, though). The photos in this post are all of the vegan rhubarb marshmallows and you can see how puffy and fluffy they are! They do lose a bit of volume as they sit so I’d recommend making them in a small batch or consuming within a week-ish.

I used the same rhubarb puree in a batch of gelatine-based marshmallows (no egg white) and those worked a treat as well. They were definitely a bit chewier but have held up better than the vegan ones. I’ve given both recipes below in case you need/want either.

vegan rhubarb marshmallows on an oval plate, overhead, on baking paper with a pair of scissors

I’ve found the marshmallows great for snacking on aaand they toast up well either by kitchen blow torch OR under the oven grill 😉

Other rhubarb goodies:

Rhubarb Puree

Rhubarb Puree

Ingredients

  • 200g (7 ounces) rhubarb
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • a few drops of red gel food colouring, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
  2. Cut the rhubarb into 5cm (2-inch) lengths. Toss with the sugar in a rimmed roasting dish.
  3. Roast for 15-20 minutes until fork-tender.
  4. Blend, either in the jug of a free standing blender or in a jug/bowl with an immersion (hand) blender. Blend in the food colouring now, if using.
  5. Allow to cool before using.

Notes

If you want the marshmallows to come out as pink as mine, add a few drops of red gel food colouring to the puree. I found without it that the puree wasn't dark enough to show through in the marshmallows. It is just a visual thing though so totally up to you! You can also use liquid red food colouring (rather than gel) - if you use this you'll need more like 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of food colouring.

Rhubarb Marshmallows (vegan)

Rhubarb Marshmallows (vegan)

Yield: 12 large (or 48 small) marshmallows

Ingredients

  • 80g (1/3 cup) aquafaba (chickpea water)
  • 1g (1/4 + 1/8 level tsp) xanthan gum
  • 65g (1/4 cup + 1 tsp) water
  • 200g (1 cup minus 1 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 65g (3 tbsp) golden syrup, glucose syrup or light corn syrup
  • 1g (1/4 + 1/8 level tsp) carob bean gum (locust bean gum)(see notes)
  • 1g (1/2 level tsp) kappa carageenan (see notes)
  • 75ml (1/3 cup) rhubarb puree (recipe above)

for dusting:

  • icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • starch for dusting (I prefer potato starch, superfine white rice flour or glutinous rice flour as they work the best. Cornstarch also works but not as well).

Instructions

    Read through all instructions and gather your ingredients + equipment before starting this recipe.

  1. Grease an 8 or 9-inch (20 or 23cm) square cake tin with a bit of vegetable oil. Line with baking paper and then brush the baking paper with a thin layer of vegetable oil too. Set aside.
  2. Place the aquafaba into the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment fitted. Sprinkle the xanthan gum over the surface of the aquafaba and then immediately start whisking the mixture on a high speed (if you let it sit around before whisking the xanthan may make clumps). Leave to beat until very thick and pale (similar to egg whites beaten to a stiff peak consistency). Once it reaches this thickness you can turn the mixer off.
  3. Meanwhile combine the water, granulated sugar and golden syrup (or glucose/corn syrup) in a large pot. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, place the carob bean gum and locust bean gum. Gradually pour in the rhubarb puree whilst stirring with a whisk to get a slightly goopy mixture. Press through a metal sieve (strainer) to remove any lumps. Set aside.
  5. Place the large pot of sugar mixture on the stove on a medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved and then stop stirring but keep heating the mixture until it reaches 127°C (260°F). Take off the heat, pour in the goopy rhubarb mixture and quickly stir together (I like to use a small whisk for this step). Return to the heat and bring back up to 100°C (212°F).
  6. Immediately remove from the heat and, with the mixer running on a medium speed, pour the hot sugar mixture into the aquafaba foam in a steady stream. It should remain fluffy! Once you've poured it all in, increase the speed to maximum for a few seconds to make sure it's all mixed together. Stop the mixer and pour the marshmallow mixture straight into the prepared cake tin as fast as possible! This is very important as the mixture will start to set really quickly so if you don't get it into the pan it wont set flat. Try to spread it out into as even a layer as possible. You can also press a piece of oiled baking paper over the top of the marshmallows in the pan to help smooth it out if you need to.
  7. Leave to set for about 30-60 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl, mix equal volumes of icing sugar and your preferred starch (I like potato starch here the best). You'll probably need around 5 to 8 tablespoons of each.
  9. Dust a work surface with the icing sugar/starch mixture using a small seive/sifter. Gently flip the set marshmallows out onto this and peel away the baking paper. Dust the top of the marshmallows with more icing sugar/starch mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut the marshmallows into squares (you may need to wipe the blade occasionally to keep things neat). Roll each marshmallow in more starch to coat them all over.
  10. Line a baking tray with baking paper and then dust with a bit of the icing sugar/starch mixture. Place the marshmallows on the tray and allow to sit out, uncovered, at room temperature for around 12-24 hours. You'll notice a lot of the starch will have disappeared at this point and they'll be a bit tacky. Re-roll the marshmallows in icing sugar/starch and then return to the tray to let them 'cure' for a further 12-24 hours. Now you should be able to pop them into an airtight container or, as I prefer, leave them out uncovered at room temp as they'll develop more of a sugary crust to them.
  11. They should keep for about 1 week like this, they may lose some fluffiness as they sit so are definitely better when fresh. You may find that if they're in a sealed container that they will need to be re-coated with starch but will become less sticky over time (even though they may appear 'shiny' and so you may think they're sticky, they won't be when you poke them).

Notes

If using volumes instead of weights, make sure you have accurate measuring spoons (I like these ones by OXO which I've tested the accuracy of with my micro scales).

I used THIS carageenan and THIS locust bean gum brand. I haven't tested with other brands which may have varying strengths so I can't say whether it will work first time with different brands. You may have to adjust the levels yourself after testing the recipe with your own ingredients if you have different ones to me.

Rhubarb Marshmallows (non-vegan)

Rhubarb Marshmallows (non-vegan)

Ingredients

  • 60ml (1/4 cup) rhubarb puree (recipe above)
  • 2 1/2 tsp powdered gelatine
  • 125g (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 100g (1/4 cup + 1 tbsp) golden syrup, glucose syrup or light corn syrup
  • 55g (1/4 cup) water
  • pinch salt

for dusting:

  • icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • cornflour (corn starch)

Instructions

  1. Grease an 8 or 9-inch (20 or 23cm) square cake tin with a bit of vegetable oil. Line with baking paper and then brush the baking paper with a thin layer of vegetable oil too. Set aside.
  2. Place the rhubarb puree into the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment fitted. Sprinkle the powdered gelatine over the rhubarb puree. Leave to sit for 5 minutes to allow the gelatine to soften.
  3. Combine the sugar, syrup, water and salt in a large pot. Place over a medium heat on the stove and stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Keep heating until the mixture reaches 114°C then remove from the heat.
  4. Turn the mixer onto a medium-low speed and gradually stream the hot syrup into the bowl (aim for the edge of the bowl, not the whisk, to prevent splattering!). Once all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to high and leave to whisk until cooled, very thick, pale and fluffy - about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Use an oiled spatula to scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and to spread it out into an even layer. Leave to cool and set for at least 3 hours at room temperature.
  6. Mix equal volumes of icing sugar and cornflour in a medium bowl. Use a small sieve to dust a work surface with this mixture. Turn the marshmallows out onto this and peel away the baking paper. Dust the top of the marshmallows with more of the mixture. Use a sharp knife (brushed with oil to prevent sticking, as needed) to cut the marshmallows into squares. Dip the cut edges into more of the icing sugar mixture to prevent them sticking together.
  7. Store in an airtight container.

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 Rhubarb Marshmallows (Vegan option) appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Recipe | Chewy Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

I feel like this week is like the movie Groundhog Day for my blog. Because last week I posted recipes involving sweet potatoes and candy canes. And this week? More sweet potatoes and more candy canes. I was going to save this Chewy Chocolate Candy Cane…

I feel like this week is like the movie Groundhog Day for my blog. Because last week I posted recipes involving sweet potatoes and candy canes. And this week? More sweet potatoes and more candy canes. I was going to save this Chewy Chocolate Candy Cane cookies recipe for next week, but I want to post it in time for holiday baking. Because it’s really good! (And if you don’t have candy canes on hand, you can use starlight mints too. I made these again to update the photos and they are just as good. Peppermint candy is peppermint candy, right?) I am not a crispy cookie person. For me, it’s all about the chewiness. And these cookies are the easiest, chewiest, yummiest cookies I make. The basic chocolate cookie is one of my go-to recipes (yup, it’s the one I used in my Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches) and I add whatever I have on hand to finish them. Toffee pieces, peanut butter chips, dried cherries, chopped nuts—they’re all great in these cookies. So since it’s Christmas cookie season, I decided to try adding broken candy cane pieces. They’re not the prettiest cookie, it’s true, but they make […]

Tree Stump Cake (Vertical Layer Chocolate & Coffee Yule Log)

I’m always in charge of Christmas desserts and usually like to make something that’s a bit of a showstopper. I made this vertically layered tree stump-esque yule log a few years ago but, as I actually made it for Christmas day, I didn’t actually post the recipe. So this year I’ve re-made that very same cake and even filmed some simple videos so you can see how to assemble it. I PROMISE it is not as hard as it seems. I actually think vertical layer cakes are easier and less stressful to make than a standard layer cake. I’ve posted a recipe for a vertical layer carrot cake before and this chocolatey one has a similar process but is actually even easier to make! Everyone is also baffled by how it is made so it’s a fun one to bring round to a party. You can make it a day ahead and just keep it in the fridge. I decorate mine with plastic succulents I got from Etsy but I really like making decorations out of fondant (just get the pre-made stuff from the super market and make your own succulents/flowers/mushrooms) or even using something like thyme, rosemary or holly […]

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a chocolate tree stump cake on a wooden cake stand

I’m always in charge of Christmas desserts and usually like to make something that’s a bit of a showstopper. I made this vertically layered tree stump-esque yule log a few years ago but, as I actually made it for Christmas day, I didn’t actually post the recipe.

a vertical layer chocolate yule log decorated as a tree stump

So this year I’ve re-made that very same cake and even filmed some simple videos so you can see how to assemble it. I PROMISE it is not as hard as it seems. I actually think vertical layer cakes are easier and less stressful to make than a standard layer cake. I’ve posted a recipe for a vertical layer carrot cake before and this chocolatey one has a similar process but is actually even easier to make!

Everyone is also baffled by how it is made so it’s a fun one to bring round to a party. You can make it a day ahead and just keep it in the fridge. I decorate mine with plastic succulents I got from Etsy but I really like making decorations out of fondant (just get the pre-made stuff from the super market and make your own succulents/flowers/mushrooms) or even using something like thyme, rosemary or holly leaves to decorate.

(The images in this grid above are from the vertical carrot cake recipe but they are still helpful here)

Vertically Layered Chocolate Yule Log

Vertically Layered Chocolate Yule Log

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 6 medium UK eggs (large US)
  • pinch of salt
  • 250g (1 1/3 cups) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 160g (1 1/3 cups) plain white (all purpose) flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • icing sugar/powdered sugar, for dusting

Ganache:

  • 150g (5.3 ounces) dark chocolate (I like a 70% here)
  • 300ml (1 1/4 cups) double cream (heavy cream)
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Coffee cream:

  • 2 tsp instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 200ml (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) double cream (heavy cream) or whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Instructions

For the cakes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line two 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33cm) deep rimmed baking trays or cake tins with baking paper and then brush the baking paper with a layer of oil too. Set aside.
  2. Place the eggs and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on a medium speed whilst gradually streaming in the sugar. Leave to whisk until very thick, pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a small bowl combine the flour and baking powder and stir together with a whisk. Add to the bowl of beaten eggs and fold together gently with a silicone spatula until just combined.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared trays/tins and spread out into an even layer.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until golden all over and puffy (don't worry about any large air bubbles on the surface).
  6. As you wait for the cakes to bake, prepare two clean tea towels by laying them flat on a work surface and dusting them with some powdered sugar all over.
  7. Flip one of the hot cakes out onto each tea towel, remove the baking paper, and dust the tops of the cake layers with more icing sugar. Starting at the short end, roll each one up with the towel into a tight log. The towel should look like the 'filling' of the cake and prevents it from sticking together when rolled up. Leave to cool completely.

For the ganache:

  1. Chop the chocolate into smallish pieces (I like a serrated knife for this as it stops the chocolate flying around so much). Scrape it all into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the milk in a small pot over a low heat until gently steaming (not boiling/simmering) and then remove from the heat and pour all over the chocolate in the bowl. Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes to melt the chocolate and then stir together until smooth.
  3. Taste it and see if you need to stir in the powdered sugar - you might want to if your chocolate is quite dark. Bare in the mind that the cake is pretty sweet so a slightly bitter ganache is a good thing here.

For the coffee cream:

  1. Combine the instant coffee and hot water in a small bowl, stirring to let it dissolve. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile whip the double cream/whipping cream in a large bowl with a whisk until you just notice is starting to thicken. Now keep stirring but slow down as you don't want to over-whip it - it needs to be fluffy and gently hold its shape but should not seem 'stiff'. If it does start to get too thick (and even if it starts to become grainy) you can quickly fix this by stirring a little more un-whipped cream into the bowl and very gently stirring it through.
  3. Gently stir in the cooled coffee and the powdered sugar and set aside.

To assemble (use video + images in the post above for help):

  1. Very gently un-roll the cooled cakes. Trim the very edges of each cake layer off (eat those scraps!). Re-roll each cake layer the same way but this time without the tea towel. Cut each log in half so you have four logs about 4 inches (10.5cm) long.
  2. Unroll one of the logs very gently and spread 1/4 of the coffee cream over the surface of it. Re-roll the same way and stand the rolled log up like a tree trunk.
  3. Unroll a second log of cake, spread on 1/4 of the whipped cream. Starting at the exposed edge of the 'tree trunk', wrap this second strip of cake around it.
  4. Repeat with the next two cake logs so you end up with a very fat, short roll cake sat upright.
  5. If your cakes crack/break in the process of doing this, don't worry about it. Just patch it back together with some cream and you really won't notice it!
  6. Place onto a cake stand and frost the top with around 1/3 of the ganache - the ganache should have cooled to a spreadable consistency by this point. If it's too firm, place over a bain marie briefly to melt some of the ganache and then remove from the heat and beat together with a whisk. If it's too runny still, pop it into the fridge for a few minutes and check on it until you get the right consistency.
  7. Use an offset spatula to smooth the ganache out to the edges. Then use the spatula to make a spiral pattern on the top of the cake (to look like tree rings). Next, frost the sides with the remaining ganache, smoothing out with an offset spatula before using the spatula to make upward strokes all around the sides to give it a 'bark' texture.
  8. Chill until ready to serve.

(for decorations I've used plastic succulents on mine! I also like chopped hazelnuts, meringue 'mushrooms' or fondant 'mushrooms' or even some fresh fruit or edible flowers/greenery (like thyme or rosemary) to decorate).

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!

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