Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dark chocolate and raspberry muffins from bourke street bakery

As you probably know it rains a bit in brisbane this time of year. I love to bake, as you know, but something about baking whilst it rains makes me feel like I am doing something useful with my time. Having two children, young children, stuck at home whilst it is raining fairly solidly for many days can be a hard task though. So my solution on this day was to bake some muffins.

We also had visitors coming for breakfast...I say breakfast not brunch because most people with little ones know that they wake up at the crack of dawn. So, I thought some yummy muffins would go down well for breakfast. My favourite muffins are the Bourke street bakery dark chocolate and raspberry muffins, and I love that they are simple, yummy and have a little more sophisticated taste, due to the two main components, chocolate and raspberries.

The recipe is fairly basic and makes 12 large muffins, though I like to make smaller ones. I do like to make mine in little muffin cases and I only bake them for 15 minutes, but do check your oven and keep an eye on them.

Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Muffins from Bourke Street Bakery
Makes 12
• 400g (2 2/3 cups) plain flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 300g caster sugar
• 310g unsalted butter
• 480ml buttermilk (I make my own buttermilk by adding 1 tsp of white vinegar per cup of milk)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 eggs
• 225g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
• 225g raspberries, fresh or frozen
• 55g raw sugar
• Icing sugar, for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin and line with paper cases.
2. Sift the flour and baking paper into a bowl and add the sugar, mixing well to combine.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, then remove from the heat and stir in the buttermilk. Using a whisk stir in the eggs to combine. Pour over the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Use a large spoon to gently fold through the chocolate and raspberries. Don't overmix.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle the tops with raw sugar. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) and bake for 20-25 minutes. For smaller ones, cook for around 10 -15 minutes. It may be necessary to drop the temperature about 10 minutes before the end of baking time if the muffins are starting to brown on top.
5. To test if the muffins are done, push the top gently to feel that it is firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before eating. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

This is a good recipe to make with kids as it is fairly simple. They are moist and a little sweet, but not too sweet. Oh and as you have probably noticed I always forget to dust with icing sugar. They also freeze really well and are a great 'rush' morning breakfast. The little people in my life are not crazy about them, but I am yet to find a muffin recipe that they do like. Me on the other hand, I love them.
Now if only I could get to the bakery to try them for real!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gluten free cakes - and Indulge

Gluten free baking can be a difficult thing to get right as anyone who has tried it would know. Whilst I am not a coeliac I have suffered from gluten intolerance and so tried to avoid it in my diet for a few years. Recently, a friend of mine found out she was gluten intolerant and so when my hubby was going to their place I offered to bake some gluten free goods.

Now last year I bought 'Indulge' by Rowie Dillon , an ex-ad agency creative, coeliac and cake-baker extraordinaire - a woman on a mission to save the world from tasteless, unattractive food and change gluten-free cooking forever. Her successful business has restored the joy in eating to allergy sufferers, making yummy food accessible to all.

I also purchased a bag of quinoa flour, with the expectation of cooking something from this beautiful book. I love this is beautiful to look at, and inspiring as she has beautiful photos of beautiful food and what's best is that she has pastry recipes. Something most gluten free books don't have. 

For my first time I decided to go with a simple recipe, something I know most people love - chocolate, and make the Cocoa Sponge Cakes.I am sharing it below for you (although you can find it on a few places on the net). I did change the recipe slightly and I used cupcake moulds as I wanted smaller versions of these.

The Quinoa flour is an interesting touch, it smells very nutty and I love that she uses alternative flours, and there is explanations in the book as well.

Cocoa Sponge Cakes by Rowie Dillon from Indulge

1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder (gluten free)
1 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup coffee, chilled
2 tsps vanilla extract (gluten free)
2 tsp white vinegar

125g dairy free margarine (as my friend has no issue with dairy I used stock standard margarine)
1 1/4 cups icing sugar (gluten free)
1/2 tbs cocoa powder (gluten free)

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line two 12 hole cupcake tins with paper cases
  2. Mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl
  3. Combine the oil, coffee and vanilla in a separate bowl, then add to the dry ingredients and stir well. Add the vinegar and quickly stir to combine. Pour immediately into the paper cases
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin and turn out onto a wire rack for icing
  5. To make the icing, beat the margarine and sugar in a small bowl with beater until well combined. Add the cocoa powder and beat until well combined and the icing is smooth and thick. Using a palette knife (or metal spatula), spread the icing generously over the cakes

I think my oven was a little too hot as my cupcakes cracked, but all in all they tasted, fudgy, chocolatey (if that is a word) and went down a treat with everyone, not just the gluten free gal.

I have another gluten free recipe from this book that I baked and will share that with you another time. Happy Baking and I hope this is of use to some of you...Do you have any favourite gluten free recipes reader?

Note: no one paid me to write this post or share this book with you, it is just one book in my bakers shelf!