Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Beer Bacon Cupcakes

We thought we would come up with a quirky recipe idea. We've seen bacon used in cupcakes before, normally just with maple syrup to compliment maple bacon. We thought we'd take it one step further! So we created Beer Bacon Cupcakes.
Beer and Bacon? Well they actually compliment each other wonderfully especially as we used Innis and Gunn's Smokin' Gunn beer which has a wonderful smokey flavour with a wonderful aroma of vanilla and caramel which reminds you very much of butterscotch. A perfect pairing with these cupcakes!

The Ingredients:
The Cupcakes:
115g Butter
450g Silver Spoon® Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
1tbsp Nielsen Massey Vanilla Extract
180ml Innis and Gunn Smokin' Gunn Beer or Similar
180g Sour Cream
250g NEILL'S® Plain Flour
1tsp Bicarbonate Soda

The Frosting:
225g Butter
750g Silver Spoon®  Icing Sugar
40ml Innis and Gunn Smokin' Gunn Beer or Similar
1tsp Nielsen Massey Vanilla Extract
1tbsp Maple or Golden Syrup

1 Pack of Streaky Bacon (Smoked or Maple works best)
Some Billingtons® Light Brown Sugar for sprinkling

Recommended Equipment:
Food Mixer (Recommended Bosch MUM46A1)
Pyrex Mixing Bowls
Heston Blumenthal Dual Platform Precision Scale

The How-To:
Its best to make the bacon first so it has time to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200c.
Place the bacon on a baking tray, its a good idea to use a non stick baking sheet or some baking paper so its easier to remove after cooking.
Place the bacon on the baking tray and sprinkle liberally with light brown sugar.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 mins or until the bacon is crisp but not burnt.
Remove from the baking tray onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely where it will crisp up even more.
Now to make the cupcakes...
Turn the oven temp down to 175c.
Measure out the butter and sugar and add to the mixer. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Beat in the vanilla extract.
Transfer the creamed mixture to a large mixing bowl.
Mix in the sour cream until evenly combined.

Sieve in the flour and bicarbonate soda alternating with the beer and fold together until all the ingredients are incorporated. Do not over-stir.

Fill muffin cases 3/4 full with the batter and bake in the centre of the oven for 20 mins.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
This recipe makes approx 24 cupcakes.
Now to make the frosting...
Cream the butter until soft and smooth.
Using a spatula mix in the icing sugar in small amounts adding 1tbsp of beer between each edition.

Mix in the maple or golden syrup and vanilla extract. Depending on the thickness of frosting you want you can add a little more beer or a little more icing sugar to change the consistency easily.

Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cupcakes once they have completely cooled. Finish off with a piece of your wonderful crisp bacon.

You're Done!


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Judge Fru Fro Frozen Dessert Maker Competition

(Scroll down to the bottom of this article for the competition giveaway to grab yourself a Judge Fru Fro!)

With summer being in full swing when we heard about the Judge Fru Fro frozen dessert maker we couldn’t wait to give it a whirl! The Fru Fro is a very simple yet ingenious piece of equipment. Made  up of only a few pieces the machine takes frozen fruit and transforms it into a sorbet style dessert. When you use frozen bananas as a base it comes out creamy, just like ice-cream! The cool thing is, and parents will love this part, is that you completely control what is going into your dessert, no added sugar, e numbers or anything else. You have full control of what you push through the machine.

So how does it work exactly…. The first step is to choose some fruit, slice it up and freeze it in some freezer/sandwich bags for a few hours. Take it out of the freezer and allow it to stand for around 5-10 mins until it starts to soften a little.

You then take the frozen fruit and add it into the funnel of the Fro Fru machine, you will see now why you need to cut up the fruit before freezing it. Bananas can be simply peeled and cut in half before freezing, apples, peaches, pears and other similar shaped fruit can be cut into segments before freezing.
The combinations are limitless to what you can produce! For a creamy ice cream like consistency freeze ripe bananas and use this as a base adding other fruits to create interesting flavours. For a sorbet like consistency choose juicy fruits such as peaches, pears, apples, pineapple etc.

Although some people will see this machine as something to create alternatives to sweet and sugar filled desserts but we’re all allowed a treat from time to time. You can even add chocolate (not frozen) into the fru fro and the machine grinds it up into fine little pieces. Think chocolate chip icecream!

Remember if you’re adding lots of different ingredients into the Fro Fru, because you are feeding them individually into the funnel the frozen mixture itself may need gently stirred or mixed together in the bowl before serving to become more presentable.

Sounds messy doesn’t it? All that frozen fruit and grinding it up, you’ll be surprised to hear that the cleaning of the machine takes seconds! The funnel, grinding mechanism and spout all come apart. Rinse under some warm water and its clean in seconds.

We’ve been playing about with some flavour combinations which will have your mouth watering just thinking about them.

Mango and Peach Sorbet

Pineapple Sorbet

Although some people will see this a bit contradictory but there’s nothing wrong with adding a few spoonfulls of vanilla ice cream into the machine to create whatever crazy ice cream creations you want. 

You  can check out the Fru Fro on the Judge Cookware Website.

Judge Fru Fro Frozen Dessert Maker Competition
UK Only

Its competition time again at BakingBar! Details on how to win your very own Judge Fru Fro are below:

The prize consists of 1 x Judge Fru Fro Frozen Dessert Maker (RRP £100)

Competition open from 23rd July – 30th July (Midnight)

How to enter:
There are two steps which must be completed -
Step 1 –Simply Follow both Judge Cookware and BakingBar’s Twitter accounts.
Step 2 - Enter your contact details below to complete your entry and acknowledge you have completed step 1. The selected winner’s entry will be validated by checking they have completed step 1.

**BONUS Entry for following BakingBar on Instagram**

The boring bit (T and C’s):

One winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received. Anonymous entries will be exempt from the competition. The winner will be announced within 7 days of the closing date. The prize is for 1 x Judge Fru Fro Frozen Dessert Maker (RRP £100) as detailed above, supplied directly from Judge Cookware. There is no cash alternative. This competition is open to UK residents only. The winner has 2 weeks from when they receive the acknowledgement email to supply their contact details or the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be chosen. Delivery will be within 28 days of BakingBar receiving the winner's address. Entrants consent to the storage of their personal data for ascertaining the identity of the respective winner. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Art of Baking Blind - Book Review

We don’t often write reviews for books but when we do they are always recipe books, not novels. So we were intrigued and enticed when we were introduced to a baking novel for the first time. The whole concept seemed pretty strange to us and we couldn't imagine what the plot could be. We just loved the beautiful turquoise and pink cover!

You can buy the book here - The Art of Baking Blind

First of all we’ll give you a brief introduction on the author Sarah Vaughan. Sarah has always had a fascination in writing from a very young age and ended up working for The Guardian as a news reporter before her big break as a published author. And so the journey of ‘The Art of Baking Blind’ began…

The book itself runs two story-lines which are intertwined and linked but at the same time kept somewhat separate. The first storyline follows the life of a famous and extremely talented Mrs Eaden. Kathleen Eaden’s character is very much the 1960’s version of the likes of Nigella Lawson. A domestic goddess and wife of a supermarket magnate George Eaden. Determined to keep up the persona of the perfect housewife and fulfil her husband’s dreams of a large family.

After the icon of the Eaden and Sons supermarket chain, Kathleen Eaden passed away the family business decides to start the search for the new Mrs Eaden, a face to represent all the store’s key values and portray in image to match that of Mrs Eaden. This is where the story starts to intertwine.

The search for the new Mrs Eaden takes the form of a competition, much of which readers will see similarities in popular baking competitions such as The Great British Bake-Off and similar shows. This storyline introduces a selection of new characters all with their own stories to tell, all with their own secrets they are often hiding behind persona's of perfection.

You will find snip-its of Kathleen Eaden’s famous book ‘The Art of Baking’ throughout this novel perfectly placed into the storyline. This really adds to the overall feel of the book. You can tell that the author, Sarah loves baking herself as this book is written for someone with a love of baking as well as the excitement and competitiveness of a competition.

Just like a cake this book has many layers, and characters to savour and enjoy. Can you call a book delicious, yummy or even mouth-watering? Perhaps you can for this book.

We wait with anticipation for the next book by Sarah Vaughan!