Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Adventures in Baking

Last weekend my sister and I had a go at making croissants. We got the recipe from the book you see above, Baking: easy to make great home bakes. I was a bit worried about how the croissants would turn out, but they were delicious! We had them for morning tea on Saturday morning. They are a bit of a fiddle to make. Like most yeast recipes they need time to rise, and because the mixture is a pastry, you also need to allow time for the dough/pastry chill, too! We started on Friday afternoon, then left it to chill overnight before making up the croissants on Saturday morning. It does take time, but they're actually not all that difficult to make, and the end result is delicious - well worth the effort. I'll definitely be making them again. I won't post the recipe here - it's one of those recipes that needs step-by-step photos to make it easy to understand.

Another recipe from the same book that's much quicker to whip up is Oat and Raisin Muffins. They are wonderfully moist, so moist that they can be kept for a day or two without drying out too much, although of course they do taste best straight out of the oven. I don't know what it is about them; maybe it's the rolled oats that give them their moist, chewy texture. I think this would have to be my new favourite muffin recipe! I've made a few changes from the original recipe. Here's my adapted version:

Oat and Raisin

Makes 1 dozen
85g rolled oats

250ml milk (I used soy milk)
1 teaspoon vinegar
120g butter
100g dark brown sugar
1 egg
120g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
40 or 50g raisins (the recipe says to use 30g, but that's not enough!)

Pour the milk into a large bowl, add vinegar and leave for a few minutes to curdle. Add oats to milk, let soak for one hour.

Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin or use paper cases. (I use paper cases; less cleanup. I hate scrubbing muffin tins!) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. (I just used I wooden spoon and muscle power - again less cleanup. It's not like we're making spongecake, there's no need to beat the stuff to death.) Beat in the egg.

In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Stir into the butter mixture, alternating with the oat mixture. Fold in the raisins. Do not overmix.
Fill the prepared cups two-thirds full. Bake until a skewer inserted into the mixture comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Hint: make a double batch!!

is currently out of print, but if you wanted to you could buy it second-hand at Amazon or Alibris.

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