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Maple, Candied Bacon and Cinnamon Buns

In celebration of one of the world’s greatest combos thanks to our friend’s across the pond, I bring you a little twist on the traditional Cinnamon bun.


Something I should probably mention quite early on is like any bread based bake, you’re going to need some time (a lot of time) set aside for this. The kneading, proving, rolling, all play a big part in this recipe so I often use the whole of my Sunday morning for pastry making. I mean, someone’s got to do it and I’d say the rewards are pretty sweet.

Soft, sticky and oozing with sugar, these little poppets are so delicious and the candied bacon (yes, CANDIED BACON) paired with the sweetness of the cinnamon sugar and maple glaze will satisfy your tummies beyond belief. If you’d rather stick to tradition, see the serving tip below for an equally satisfying cream cheese drizzle.


Serving: Now whilst I may rave about the maple/bacon duo, I have of course made a batch of these with cream cheese icing. Just simply mix together 50g full-fat cream cheese, 25g unsalted butter and 125g icing sugar to form a thick frosting.

Preparation time: 4 hours

Cooking time: 12-20 mins for the buns, 20-25 mins for the candied bacon

Ingredients makes 8 individual buns or one 23cm round tear-and-share loaf:

For the dough 

  • 180ml milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 7g fast action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 500g Homepride Bread Flour
  • 2 medium eggs

For the cinnamon filling

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g light soft brown sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened

For the maple drizzle

  • 40g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Splash of water

For the candied bacon 

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 3-4 rashers of smoked bacon

Method:

  1. First, place the butter and milk into a small saucepan, heating gently until all the butter has melted. Leave to cool until lukewarm. Add the flour, sugar and ground cardamom into a large mixing bowl then place the yeast on one side, and the salt on another – this is crucial as the salt can damage the yeast, preventing a good rise
  2. Beat the two eggs into your cooled milk/butter liquid then add to your dry ingredients (mixing as you pour) until you have a sticky dough. Place the dough onto a slightly greased work surface (to avoid sticking) then knead for around 10 minutes until you have a soft, smooth, elasticated dough. Place into a greased bowl and pop into a warm place to prove for 1 -2 hours. You can increase the proving slightly by popping a damp tea towel on top of the bowl, or just use cling film
  3. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn out and knead a couple of times to rid of any air bubbles and roll out to a 40/50cm long and 20/30cm wide rectangle – now it’s time for the filling!  Mix together the brown sugar and ground cinnamon into a bowl and spread your softened butter onto the flattened dough, covering the entire surface. Sprinkle all of the cinnamon sugar on top of the butter and flatten slightly with the palms of your hand or a flat plastic spatula so it sticks to the butter
  4. Once the filling is in place, roll the dough tightly towards you (so starting length ways) and you will end up with a long sausage shape. Trim the edges and if serving individually, cut 8 5cm wide rolls or 10-12 4cm rolls if packing into a round tin. Place the rolls onto a lined baking tray with room to spread or tightly into a round 23cm wide tin and cover with cling film so they can prove for 45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 6
  5. Once doubled in size, brush with a beaten egg and pop into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown in colour and the cinnamon sugar is bubbling and oozing out of the pastries. Leave to cool and make the maple icing by mixing together the syrup, icing sugar and a splash of water – it should be quite runny so it is easy to drizzle over the tops of the buns
  6. For a finishing touch, mix together soft brown sugar and maple syrup to create a brown sticky glaze and coat one side of the bacon rashers. Place the rashers onto a metal rack (glazed side up) and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Once the time is up, rotate the bacon and coat the other side with the maple glaze. Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes, then continue to rotate and glaze on and off for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven when the bacon looks glassy and the sugar has crystallised around the edges. Leave to cool
  7. Drizzle the cooled buns with the maple icing before sprinkling with candied bacon for a delicious and alternative morning treat. Ideally, they will be gobbled in one day but if you’re not up to the challenge the pastries can be consumed the next day but I would recommend reheating slightly or blasting in the microwave for 10 seconds

Enjoy those buns, huns. Nic x

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Hazelnut Brownies

I can’t quite remember how we came to have an abundance of Forrero Rocher’s in our house, I suspect it was the result of some hungover/slightly intoxicated journey I now don’t have any recollection of, but we did and it was glorious. The only trouble when having big boxes of chocolates/sweets however is when you get to the end and there are only the rejects left. These usually consist of coconut, dark chocolate or really hard toffee varieties in our case.

It’s always a shame to throw them away, and this often results in me attempting to eat them in a bid to spare their feelings but noone wins in that scenario – until I came up with the idea to just simply add them to something we already love, BROWNIES.

Using my go to brownie recipe and throwing in some chopped Hazelnuts (I searched far and wide for a Hazelnut liquor too but no success) and the remaining dark chocolate balls, I served up an extra special treat to impress some mates who came over for dinner. They’re great homemade treats too for birthdays and Christmas – and if you do stumble upon some liquor, I salute you!


NOTE: The brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to three days but best demolished shortly after baking.

Ingredients (makes 12 when baked in a 20cm Brownie tin):

  • 185g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 85g plain flour, sifted
  • 275g golden caster sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 eggs
  • 185g dark chocolate
  • 150g chopped Hazelnuts
  • 12 Forrero Rocher’s (refrigerated)
  • 1 tsp Hazelnut flavouring (optional)

Method:

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 170 degrees C and line a 20cm square baking tin. Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring continuously. Once completely melted, set aside
  2. Place the sugar and eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk for a few minutes until the mixture has almost double in size and resembles an almost mousse like texture
  3. Pour the chocolate/butter mixture into the mixing bowl and mix with the egg/sugar mixture. Pour the sifted flour, cocoa powder, hazelnut flavouring (if using) and chopped hazelnuts into the bowl and gently fold it in with a metal spoon until just combined
  4. Pour the brownie mixture into the baking tray and set a timer for 30-35 minutes – at 25 minutes, or a few minutes before removing from the oven (the brownie shouldn’t be wobbling in the middle at this stage) mark with a sharp knife where you will cut the brownies into 12 squares and place a Forrero Rocher in the middle of each piece. Place back in the oven for the remaining time and remove once baked through
  5. Leave the brownies to cool in the tin and then place in the fridge for 2 hours before serving (this last step is optional but I find it makes them easier to cut and enhances the fudgy texture). Return to room temp before serving and enjoy!

Nic x

Love this recipe? Why not try my some of my other brownie recipes here. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter too.

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Unicorn Rocky Road

Remember that game you stumble across at School Fete’s or raffles where you have to guess how many sweets are in a jar? I feel like this recipe is the food version of just that. A colourful and magical take on my Oreo Rocky Road, this super delicious treat is bursting with almost every sweet you can think of and it’s made better by all the pretty colours, swoon. 

Made up of white chocolate, flumps, mini marshmallows, Oreos, Dolly Mixtures and Party Rings, this dessert isn’t short on calories or sugar but it tastes sensational and looks just as sassy as it sounds thanks to some pastel gel colours adding to the array of pastel colours. It’s the perfect party number to bring along to girls night.

Note: To create the pretty unicorn colouring of the Rocky Road I use food colouring gels. They are much better than liquid as you can control the colour you want and only need the tiniest amount. Just dip a cocktail stick into the pot of food colouring and work it into the chocolate/icing adding more gradually if you need to.

Ingredients (makes 12 Rocky Road pieces using a 20cm square tin): 

  • 400g white chocolate
  • 80g Dolly Mixtures
  • 120g of crushed Oreos
  • 120g mini marshmallows
  • 2 large flumps, cut into pieces
  • 2 bags of mini party rings
  • Coloured sprinkles
  • Gel food colours in Rose and Baby Blue

Method:

  1. Line a square brownie tin with butter and cling film and set aside. Break the Oreos and half of the amount of party rings into small chunks and place all of the biscuit crumbs into a mixing bowl along with the mini marshmallows and Dolly Mixtures
  2. Begin to melt the white chocolate in a microwave, checking every few seconds. Once it has thoroughly melted, place a quarter of the white chocolate in one bowl and another quarter in another. Add the pink food gel to one and the blue to the other – not too much, see tip above to achieve a pastel colour
  3. Pour three quarters of the white chocolate over the biscuits, Dolly Mixtures and marshmallows (leaving the rest and the coloured chocolate for later) so the fillings begin to stick together and are suitably coated. Pour into the lined tin and spread so the tin is completely covered. Next, add tablespoons of each chocolate (the coloured and the remaining white) into random spots until all has been used.Spread again to create a slight marble effect and gently tap the tin onto your surface so all the chocolate seeps to the bottom
  4. Press the flumps and remaining pieces of Party Rings on top of the Rocky Road before covering in sprinkles. Place in the fridge for an hour to set or until ready to serve then cut into pieces

Enjoy! Nic x

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more foodie posts.

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Millionaire’s Pavlova

Warning: The following post mentions the C word, Christmas, because let’s face it…we’re all a little bit excited for the return of SANTAAAAA.


What is Christmas without an abundance of chocolate? This extra indulgent twist on a classic dessert is the perfect showstopper for the festive season and guaranteed to impress the hoard of family members.

Known for usually being covered in layers of delicious fruit, I decided to give Pavlova a bit of a makeover by incorporating one of my favourite bakes, Millionaire Shortbread. This delicious biscuit always makes an appearance over Christmas – usually in Trifle form – so I decided to do things a little differently this year especially after I was asked to contribute towards the Wren’s Christmas Kitchen Campaign which inspires bloggers to create delicious festive recipes, with a twist.


Whilst I’ve strayed from the tradition in terms of the base and toppings, this dessert is still really simple to make – you just need to have time and maybe a little patience. The meringue itself takes 1 hour 45 mins to make and the same to cool in the oven but what you’re left with is a chocolatey and slightly nutty tasting meringue, packed with a creamy filling and sweet, sweet toppings.


Ingredients (serves 8-10):

For the Pavlova –

  • 4 large free range eggs (whites only)
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

For the toppings –

  • 300g double cream
  • Caramel sauce (homemade or shop bought)
  • 60g melted chocolate
  • 4 shortbread biscuits, crushed
  • Gold sprinkles (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees C and line a baking tray wide enough to hold a Pavlova the size of an average dinner late. To make the Pavlova you will need a free standing mixer with a balloon whisk attachment. Ensure both the whisk and mixing bowl of your mixer are free of grease and then add the egg whites and white wine vinegar to the bowl. Whisk on a medium setting until bubbles begin to form and the egg whites look slightly foamy, then turn to a high setting so the egg whites stiffen and turn white (this should take around 5-6 minutes)
  2. Whilst your mixer is doing its thing, add the cocoa powder, sugar and corn flour to a bowl and stir with a spoon/whisk. Return the speed to a medium setting then gradually spoon in the cocoa/sugar mixture to the egg whites – once all the mixture has been added, increase your mixture to the high setting and leave to form a glossy, chocolate meringue (this should take around 8 minutes)
  3. To check your meringue mixture is ready, return your mixer to a low setting and rub a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger to ensure all sugar granules have dissolved. If they haven’t, just give your mixture a further mix for another minute or two
  4. Spoon your ready meringue mixture onto the lined baking tray creating a circular nest then place in your preheated oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes – don’t be tempted to sneak a peak at your creation because the change in temperature causes cracks. Once the cooking time is up, turn off your oven and leave the Pavlova to cool inside the oven
  5. Just before your Pavlova is ready to be removed from the oven or before you intend to serve, whip the double cream with a handheld or electric whisk until it reaches soft peaks. Spoon into the middle of your Pavlova then finish with lashings of caramel, chocolate and the crushed shortbread biscuits.

ENJOY! Nic x

Note: Pavlova’s are best consumed on the day of baking but will otherwise keep one day after.

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Visiting Copenhagen: The Homeland of the Danish (the patisserie kind)

At the start of this year I set myself a NY resolution to travel outside of Europe. So far in 2016 I’ve traveled to Paris, Rome, Dublin and now Copenhagen. Whilst I’ve learnt never to set myself resolutions again, its very hard to be annoyed at the fact that I have (accidentally) substituted America or Asia for some beautiful European cities.

Mostly honoured for its colourful buildings nestled along a winding canal, Copenhagen is a dreamboat in itself and this post details just some of the things I learnt about this quiet but very trendy city – without detailing my failure to navigate us anywhere without Google Maps.

The Danish know a thing or two about Cinnamon Buns 

I think the main reason why I loved Copenhagen so much is because it represents my ginormous sweet tooth. Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar as they are called in Denmark, make note) are rife in Copenhagen and there are SO many varieties. There is a CinnaBun which is a Danish twist on the American CinnaBon meaning you can expect lots of cream cheese frosting, then you have a Cremesnegl a classic circular snail shaped pastry half dipped in dark chocolate with a creamy filling but the favourite of mine has to be the classic Kannelbullar as it completely shows off all the spices. Flavoured with cardamom and twisted with a cinnamon filling, these buns are then dusted in a little cinnamon sugar and the pastry is so soft it’ll feel like its all melting in your mouth, its to die for!

Coming in lots of different shapes and sizes, it can be tricky to pick one but take comfort in the fact that you really can’t go wrong…

I haven’t been to the US but my god, Danish Hot Dogs(!)

Just as I scoffed a sausage (steady!) wrapped in smoky bacon I received an urgent text from a friend which read ‘MAKE SURE YOU GET THE HOT DOGS’. I can confirm it was worthy of the capitals because if you’re really stuck on where to go for lunch/don’t want to ruin your big dinner plans/or just simply need a good afternoon snack, the Hot Dogs are the one.

Found on most street corners, they’re definitely worth the 20 Kroner (a small price for a snack in Copenhagen). If it’s a sweet thing you’re after, there’s something for that too…

Street Feasts don’t just exist in London

We really are spoiled for choice when it comes to foodie pop ups in London and the Danish are close behind – or perhaps they saw us coming?

During the day, the market at Torvehallerne is where to head. Boasting 60 stalls there is everything from health and beauty, patisserie, cheese, gourmet chocolate and spices. For food, well you’re guaranteed to leave with a full belly as there are cakes galore at Laura’s Bakery (try the Red Velvet cake – you won’t be sorry), traditional cinnamon and cardomom buns at Cafe Rosa and some mouth watering Danish chocolate at Xocolatl which has everything from caramelised white chocolate, salted caramel, licorice and more. For savoury, there’s Italian Pizza from Gorm’s and fresh deli sandwiches at Ma Poule.

If you’re flagging after too many food samples, stop by The Coffee Collective, a favourite among the locals and said to be the best coffee vendor in the city. Not hard to see why, the coffee is so creamy and smooth it rivals many of the small hipster coffee roasters in London.


For the evening, make sure you head to Copenhagen Street Food in PapirØen. Based in a giant warehouse, this market is super trendy and has everything from all corners of the world. With Pulled Duck, freshly made Italian Pizza and Pasta, Thai and Indian Curries and BBQ’d meat, I had to do about 4 laps before finally opting for Cooper and Wheat’s homemade fried chicken with duck fat fries – there were no regrets. The chicken was juicy and soft and not at all greasy when cutting through the batter and the fries were some of the best I’ve had. For dessert, it was a toss up between Pancake Cottage (all the pancake combos you can think of), cheesecake or the Creme Brulee doughnuts from the sweet food stall. My boyfriend opted for the latter but only so I could also choose a slice of cheesecake from the stall too – I  would definitely recommend Oreo or Salted Caramel. The doughnuts however win star prize here. Each soft doughnut encasing a creamy filling is rolled in sugar before being crystalised with a blow torch,then topped with ice cream and caramel sauce. It’s a gift from the gods.

Open until 9/10pm most nights, you can get your cocktail or Carlsberg fix from many of the bars and with such a good atmosphere it’s definitely worth the unintentional early night thanks to the food coma.

Breakfast is crazy good 

When I researched places to go in Copenhagen, it became evident that the city is very well suited to the food obsessed. With guides to the ‘perfect Copenhagen brunch’ apparent on every Google page, the Danish certainly take pride in their breakfast. Though the traditional sounds more like a mini buffet (they appear to favour mini plates as opposed to one big breakfast – perfect however if you fancy a danish after scoffing down some meat) you can also opt for a more safe bet by getting bacon and eggs and pancakes but with a Danish twist. I urge you to try the chilli sausages and the small oven baked potatoes you get with most larger breakfasts – don’t be put off by their love of Rye Bread either, it works!

My recommendation would be Kalaset for their beautiful walnut and raspberry or banana and chocolate pancakes or the equally trendy Granola for its bigger breakfast. For something a bit different, head to GRØD, the home of great tasting, colourful porridge (it ONLY serves porridge FYI), Copenhagen’s answer to the Cereal Cafe.

There’s a frickin Polar Bear in Copenhagen Zoo

After failing to research the opening times of Tivoli during Halloween (this is unlike me, but if you’re a better person and research attractions before going on a trip as opposed to food, PLEASE go here) we went to the next best thing by taking a bus ride to Copenhagen Zoo and it’s quite possibly the best Zoo I’ve been to in terms of wildlife.

Everything from Polar Bears, Brown Bears, Elephants, Hippos, Lions, Tigers, Wolves can be found at the Zoo, but what makes it so unique is the homes they are placed in. A lot of them are surrounded by motes or deep ditches, resulting in smaller walls and the illusion that the animals are out in the open and super close. Within The Arctic Ring, home to the Polar Bear and other arctic animals (duh), you can go below the water service and come face to face with the big white fella as he glides past you – it was so amazing I think we sat there for an hour. If smaller creatures are your thing, there is a big Kangaroo farm which you can walk through and watch the Kangraoos hop alongside you and there’s also a Rainforest Hall where amazonian birds, small animals, fish and butterflies are all left to fly/swim/walk at their leisure.

I know it may seem too touristy but there’s a Polar Bear and Churros so you’d be silly not to pay this place a visit.

Walt Disney told ‘The Little Mermaid’ a little different

Rested upon a rock on the shore of the Langelinie Promenade is a small statue inspired by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen’s tale ‘The Little Mermaid’. Unveiled in 1913, the statue is one of Copenhagen’s most visited tourist spots and all because a man fell in love with the ballet version of Andersen’s slightly depressing story.

I absolutely loved the 1950s ‘Hans Christian Andersen’ film when I was younger (I still have a slight crush on Danny Kaye) so I was devastated when I revisited the tale of The Little Mermaid because it is SUPER sad. To cut a relatively long story short, the Prince (to which The Little Mermaid trades in her tail for) decides to marry someone else leaving our fav mermaid to die and never see her family again. There’s slightly more to the story (detailing more sad times) but it’s made me seriously reconsider watching Walt Disney’s version again.

Be warned (as I was) the statue itself is only about 4 feet high so some visitors appear underwhelmed but I think its worth seeing if you’re a fan of the stories. You can make the trip more worthwhile too by paying for a seat on one of the many covered tourist boats in Nyhavn.


The Danish are SO nice 

Despite what you may have heard, I didn’t encounter a single rude person in Denmark – in fact, it was quite the opposite. Everyone was always really polite and helpful, even when we were stealing all their change to pay for the Metro (TIP: you can only pay with coins at the Metro machines so if you’ve been handed a load of 100/200 Kroner notes, get them changed up at local shops). I don’t know if its because the city is so clean or that they’re all living off a Cinnamon Pastry only diet but, I love the Danish and I’ll be coming back soon!