Salted Caramel Choux Buns

Salted Caramel Choux BunsOh yeeeeah! This one got me really excited! I’ve always loved salted caramel but for some, incredibly bizarre reason, I have never actually made anything salted caramel in my life. I know, it’s like a crime against baking!

As soon as I realised, I decided to act immediately and make the most salted caramel thing I could think of. These sensational salted caramel choux buns! Now if you’ve never made choux pastry before, don’t be alarmed. It really isn’t as difficult as everyone says it is. It’s actually very easy once you know the basics. So just follow my step by step guide and I promise you good results.

Right, here is what you will need to make 14 of the most incredible pastries in the whole world – EVER:

The Salted Caramel

  • 75g Unsalted Butter
  • 50g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 50g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 100g Golden Syrup
  • 125ml Double Cream
  • approx 2 tsp Sea Salt

For The Choux Pastry

  • 220ml Water
  • 80g Unsalted Butter
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Generous Pinch of Sugar
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 220g Beaten Egg (approx 4 Eggs) Room Temp *

For the Filling

  • 750ml Double Cream
  • 1 Portion of Salted Caramel (Ingredients above)

The Caramel Icing

  • 60g Unsalted Butter
  • 110g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 120g Icing Sugar

The Chocolate Drizzle (Optional)

  • 75g Dark Chocolate
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk

*I do recommend that you weigh the beaten egg rather than just using 4 whole eggs. Obviously eggs come in various sizes but weight is absolute and will guarantee a good outcome.

Ok, yes there’s a lot of components and it’s a bit of a labour of love. I can assure you though, it is 100% worth it!

Let’s get started.

* Place a large glass bowl into the fridge to chill ready for the choux pastry later *

To make the salted caramel,  place the butter, both sugars and golden syrup in a small saucepan over a medium heat and melt together. Bring it to the boil and allow to simmer for 3 minutes. (Swirl once or twice if you need to.)

Salted Caramel Choux BunsTurn down the heat, add in the cream and give it a good stir. Now, half a tsp at a time – add the salt, stirring well and tasting in-between each addition. (WARNING – be very careful not to burn yourself as it will still be hot!)

When it’s right for you, decant into a bowl, cover with cling film and pop into the fridge to chill until needed later.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsOnto the choux pastry.

Lightly grease two large baking sheets (or line with silicone baking mats) and preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 190°C.

In a medium sized saucepan, add the water, butter, salt & sugar. Heat until the butter has melted and it just comes to the boil.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsWith the pan still over the heat, dump in the flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until it comes together to form one lump of dough.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsRemove from the heat and tip the dough into that bowl you chilled in the fridge earlier. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsNow you need the elbow grease!

A little at a time, add the beaten egg to the dough and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon in-between each addition.

At first it will split and seem like it is never going to come together – but it will, trust me. Just keep going.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsYou are after what they call a ‘dropping consistency.’ This basically means that when you lift up a large amount of the dough, it should drop back to the bowl within 5 seconds.

It will look a little something like this…

Salted Caramel Choux BunsPour the pastry into a large piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle.

Evenly spaced out, pipe 14 ‘blobs’ about 5cm in diameter. Try and keep them all the same shape and size if you can but don’t worry too much. I actually find the sporadic irregularity of choux pastry quite charming.

 (or line with silicone baking mats) Gently dampen the tops with a little cold water. (If there are any ‘spikes’ of pastry, carefully pat them down a little.)

Pop them straight into the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Take them out of the oven. Using either a skewer or a sharp knife, poke an air hole into each one then place straight back into the oven for a further 10 minutes. This will help to dry out the inside and prevent them from collapsing.

When they are crispy & golden – remove from the oven and place onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsMeanwhile, let’s make the filling.

You could use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment but I like to do this by hand as you can very easily over whisk cream and it will begin to churn into butter. Not what you want!

So, ideally using a large bowl and whisk – whip the cream until soft peaks form.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsRemove the salted caramel you made earlier from the fridge and add to the cream in thirds. Carefully fold in using a spatula until it’s all smooth & blended together.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsI used a Piping Tube nozzle which made life a lot easier but if you don’t have one, just use your judgement and pick one you do have. So, prepare your piping bag with your chosen nozzle and add in the filling.

If you need to, expand those air holes you made earlier. Then insert the nozzle and squeeze in the filling. Be careful not to over do it though or they may burst.

When they’re all filled, leave to one side whilst we make the caramel icing.

In a small saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar & milk. Bring it to the boil then simmer for 2 minutes.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsRemove from the heat and add in the icing sugar. Beat until smooth.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsIf it starts to set before you’ve covered all your buns – just pop it back over the heat again to melt a little and stir well.

Spoon the warm icing over each bun then allow to set at room temperature. (This should happen relatively quickly.)

Salted Caramel Choux BunsNow if you want to make them look really tempting, make this quick chocolate drizzle.

Simply break the dark chocolate into a large bowl and add in the milk. Then either in the microwave or over a pan of barely simmering water – gently melt until shiny and smooth.

Pour into a piping bag and snip the end. Pipe zig zags over each bun, stand back, and marvel at your beautiful creations…

Salted Caramel Choux BunsI mean seriously… look at them…

Salted Caramel Choux BunsOk, you’ve waited long enough. Now…. FILL YOUR FACE!! Hahahaha! They’re good right?? I told you they were worth it.

These are honestly one of the nicest things I have ever baked in my kitchen and salted caramel is, hands down, one of my all time favourite flavours.

I really hope you enjoyed the post, so much so – you give it a go yourself!

Until next time lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies!

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesOn a lazy Sunday, it’s very common for me to get the urge to bake. It almost always ends up being something sweet, and definitely needs to be quick & easy to create. These little beauties are no exception! Whenever I’m searching for a simple, ‘chuck it all in’ recipe, I usually need to look no further than the Hummingbird Bakery book. It always answers my baking prayers. So! Here is what you will need to make about 20-25 cookies. (Recipe adapted to what I had in my cupboards at the time.)

  • 60g Dark Chocolate
  • 110g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 40g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Peppermint Essence
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 30g Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

For the Filling

  • 80g White Chocolate
  • 3-4 tbsp Double Cream
  • 1 tsp Peppermint Essence
  • Green Food Colouring Gel (Optional)

Either in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in a microwave – gently melt the dark chocolate, mix until smooth and leave to one side to cool.

In a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using an electric hand whisk) cream together the butter, the golden caster sugar & brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesThen add in the egg yolk, vanilla extract & peppermint essence. Mix well until it’s all nice and smooth.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesPour in the cooled, melted chocolate and mix until it’s all blended in.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesLastly, sift in the flour, cocoa powder & salt. Mix it all together one last time until a smooth cookie dough forms and you can’t see any more flour.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesWrap the dough up in a piece of cling film, flatten into a disc and chill in the fridge for about 40 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 170°C/Fan 160°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper/silicone baking mat.

When the dough has chilled, roll tablespoon sized amounts into little balls.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesPlace as many as will fit on the baking tray and pop the rest in the fridge for the meantime. (They won’t spread a lot but allow a little room in-between just in case.)

Using your thumb (surprise surprise) press a reasonably deep dent into the middle of each cookie.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies-6Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for approx 15 mins or until they are slightly firm and just starting to crack a little on the edges.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies-6Allow to sit on the tray for a minute or two then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat the process for the remaining cookie balls.

Whilst they are cooling, make the filling.

Chop the white chocolate as finely as you can and place into a bowl. (This will help it to melt quickly.)

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies-6Either in the microwave or in a small saucepan over a low heat, bring the cream just up to boiling point then pour straight over the white chocolate.

Don’t mix it, just allow to stand for a minute until the chocolate has melted.

Then give it a good stir until smooth and shiny.

At this point, add in the peppermint essence and, if you like – a little green food colouring gel.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies-6Pour the filling into a piping bag and pipe blobs into the middle of each cookie. Place into the fridge for approx half an hour to let the filling set and there you have it! Mint chocolate thumbprint cookies.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesProvided you don’t scoff them all straight away (which is a very high risk!) store the cookies at room temperature in a metal tin lined with baking/greaseproof paper.

I love my biscuits. But me being British, I guess you wouldn’t expect anything less! Whether it’s a rich tea, a choc chip cookie or a thumbprint cookie, there’s nothing better than a good cuppa and a biccy. FACT!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Crushed Baby Potatoes

Crushed Baby PotatoesI always seem to run out of ideas for sides to have with meals.  But I definitely get bored with the usual pasta, rice & salads. This side dish is quick, easy and something a little bit different to the regular mashed, boiled, roast or baked. A really tasty and satisfying dish that appears to be creeping into my meals more & more often!

Here is what you will need to serve 2 as a side dish. (Easily doubled)

  • 450g Baby Potatoes
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Bring a large pan of generously salted water to the boil.

Add in the potatoes – being careful not to splash yourself. Bring back up to the boil then cook for 15mins until starting to soften.

Crushed Baby PotatoesDrain the potatoes well then gently crush with a fork. You want a good mix of large & small chunks.

Crushed Baby PotatoesSwap that fork for a spoon so you don’t crush the potatoes any further. Drizzle in the olive oil,  dot in the butter and add a fairly generous helping of salt & pepper to season. Give it a mix and that’s it!

Crushed Baby PotatoesAnd there you have it, a simple yet temptingly inviting side dish that’s ready in less than 30mins! Perfect for midweek meals or easy entertaining. You can even play about with the flavours. Got some fresh herbs to use up? Chop ‘em up and mix ‘em in. Mustard in the fridge? Add a teaspoon or 2 for an extra kick. You could just about chuck anything in to give it a flavourful boost or simply enjoy it as it is.

I hope you enjoyed the post lovelies!

Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

Croque Monsieur

Croque MonsieurMost Sunday mornings, I make the Mr a bacon sarnie. Me? I quite often desire something a little more… ‘fancy.’

This week I had some spare ham and cheese so thought I would use the opportunity to make myself a Croque Monsieur for breakfast. For those of you that haven’t heard of this french delight, it’s basically a glorified cheese & ham toastie. Though I can confirm – it’s WELL worth the extra effort!

Here is what you will need to make 1 sandwich.

Making for more? Simply times the ingredients by the amount of people you are feeding.

  • 2 Slices of Thick White Bread
  • 60g Cheddar Cheese, Grated
  • 1 Slice Ham
  • 1/2 tbsp (8g) Butter
  • 1/2 tbsp (4g) Plain Flour
  • 100ml Semi Skimmed Milk
  • Ground or Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 15g Parmesan, Grated
  • Honey Mustard (or Dijon Mustard)

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

In a toaster or under the grill, lightly toast the bread until just golden on both sides.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat then throw in the flour.

Stir constantly over the low heat for 2 minutes. It should look a little something like this…

Croque MonsieurGradually add in the milk bit by bit, stirring constantly and fairly vigorously to smooth out any lumps.

When the milk is all used up, you should end up with a slightly thick white sauce.

Croque MonsieurAdd in a little nutmeg & season well with salt and pepper. Then stir through the parmesan cheese. If the sauce is still a little runny, turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens.

You want it thick enough to be able to spoon on the top of the sandwich without it running off the sides.

Croque MonsieurNow you are ready for assembly!

Spread a thin layer of honey (or dijon) mustard onto one slice of bread…

Croque MonsieurNow top both slices with grated cheddar cheese, reserving a little for the top.

Croque MonsieurThen place the ham on top of the slice with mustard on it…

Croque MonsieurNext, place the bread with just cheddar cheese on top of the slice with ham on it.

Pour over the sauce and spread around evenly. Then top with the remaining cheddar cheese and place onto a baking tray.

Croque MonsieurBake in the oven for 5 minutes then turn on the grill.

Grill until the topping is all golden, bubbly and oh so sexy…

Croque Monsieur

Croque MonsieurAnd that is what you need to do to create one of the most incredible breakfast/brunch dishes in the entire world. I told you it was better than a ham and cheese toastie!

I mean, literally, as soon as you cast your eyes over that sultry, golden, bubbly topping – you won’t be able to resist it’s charm. I implore you not to skip on the honey mustard & nutmeg either. I swear to the gods – they make this sing like a celestial being sent from heaven to implement world peace! Genuinely… absolutely… divine. You NEED to make this!

The Mr was a little jealous when I sat down next to him with this vs. his humble bacon sarnie. I think I might be making two next time…

And on that note, I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies!

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

 

Tomato Soup with a Hint of Basil

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilNow, it may seem a little early for a soup recipe but in actual fact, it’s the perfect time of year to get started! With all the beautiful late summer veg in the gardens, it’s exactly the right time to start stocking your freezer ready for Autumn & Winter.

My lovely Gran is a very keen gardener. Every year she surprises me with how much she gets out of her garden! Recently, she’s had a lot of tomatoes ripening very quickly that she needs to get eaten. I thought I would help her out and turn all those beauties into a delicious soup for the both of us to enjoy.

Here is what you will need to make approx 6 portions.

  • 1kg – 1.25kg Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Celery Stick
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Tomato Purée
  • Generous pinch of Sugar
  • 2 Bay Leaves, each torn in half
  • 3 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1.2 litres Vegetable Stock *
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Basil

*I used 4 x Knorr Vegetable Stock Pots dissolved in 1.2 litres of boiling water.

Essential Equipment

  • Large pot with a Lid
  • Stick Blender or Food Processor

First thing’s first, you need to prepare your veg.

I removed the skins from my tomatoes. It’s totally optional but actually quite simple to do.

Simply fill a jug or bowl with boiling water and submerge your tomatoes for 30 secs or so. You should actually start to see some of the skins splitting.

Then, using a spoon – remove the tomatoes from the water and simply peel the skins straight off.

Tomato Soup

Tomato SoupBeing very careful, as they will be a little slippy, quarter the tomatoes and remove any hard bits of core.

Tomato SoupNow, peel & chop the onion, carrot & celery stick so they are all approx the same size.

Place the large pot over a low heat & add in the olive oil.

When you can feel the pan getting hot, add in the onion, carrot & celery. Give it a mix then cook over the low heat for about 10 mins until just starting to colour and soften.

Tomato Soup

Tomato SoupAdd in the tomato purée, the sugar, bay leaves & the dried basil. Give it all a good mix to ensure it’s all blended well.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilTip in the tomatoes and mix it all together.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilPop the lid on the pan and allow to simmer for 10 mins. Once or twice, give the pan a little shake to keep it all well mixed.

 

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilNext up, add in the vegetable stock and give it a really good stir.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilThen pop that lid back on and simmer over the low heat for 25 mins. Give the pan a good shake a couple of times during cooking.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilGive it a nice mix then find and remove the bay leaves.

Pull all the leaves from the bunch of basil and add them into the pot.

Then, whether it’s using a stick blender or a food processor, get blitzing until it’s all nice and smooth.

WARNING do take care if the soup is still very hot and never over fill your food processor as it has a tendency to explode!

I’ve recently obtained the new Stellar Cookware Stick Blender and  it’s absolutely fabulous!

Stellar Stick Blender

It breaks down into 2 parts for easy washing and storage and has a very comfortable & ergonomic grip. It’s also incredibly versatile with it’s settings – having a dial at the top to adjust the power and a turbo button when you need a little extra oomph.

Stellar Stick Blender

And it made mincemeat of this soup! Definitely a lot easier than making a huge mess trying to pour it all into a food processor. My days of that are now well and truly over!

Tomato Soup with a Hint of Basil - Stellar Stick Blender

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilLast thing to do is give the soup another stir and have a taste. Add more salt & pepper if you think it needs it.

Then either, eat it now or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Alternatively you could allow to cool completely then pour into ‘pour and store’ bags and place in the freezer ready for those colder nights.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilThere’s just something about tomato soup. It’s always been my favourite, ever since I was a little girl. I have tried to be more adventurous and try different soup flavours but I always come back to tomato! A definite winner in my book.

What would be lovely is if you served this with a little cream swirled through to add a bit of richness. And a good chunk of crusty bread with lashings of butter smeared all over it! Aaaahh, I can foresee nights by the fire with a bowl of this deliciousness in the near future. Autumn is coming… get your freezer prepared!

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

Orange Choc Chip Cookies

Orange Choc Chip CookiesChocolate orange, hands down, has to be one of my all time favourite flavour combinations! There’s just something so special about it, I don’t know what it is but it’s just incredible. And I love it. So there!

So I’m still making my Ultimate Chocolate Cookies but I fancied a change., and I was in the mood for chocolate orange. So! Here is what you will need to make some incredibly addictive, sensationally divine orange choc chip cookies.

  • 160g Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 x 100g Bars of Milk Chocolate
  • 1x 100g Bag of Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 220g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 110g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • Zest of 2 Oranges

Put the butter in a small saucepan and heat until melted. (Or melt in the microwave.) Leave to one side.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda & salt. Mix together and leave to one side.

Chop the milk chocolate bars into chunks & set to one side with the chocolate chips.

Either in a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – mix together the brown sugar, caster sugar & melted butter until it looks a little something like this…

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesAdd in the egg, the egg yolk & the orange zest and mix until it’s all smooth and blended well. (And by the way, now smells incredible!)

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesNext, in thirds, add the flour to the dough until there are only a couple of spoonfuls left. (Reserve this remaining flour.) Mix until no more flour is visible.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesThen toss the chocolate chips/chunks through the remaining flour until they are all coated.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesAdd the chocolate and mix until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

This next step is very important – place the dough into a glass bowl, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. Overnight is better if you have the time. Chilling the dough completely stops each cookie from spreading too much during baking, giving you a beautiful chunky cookie as opposed to a flat greasy cookie.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesWhen the dough is ready – preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C.

Using an ice cream scoop, (mine measures approx 5cm diameter x 2.5cm deep) place level scoopfuls of the dough onto a baking tray. I line mine with a silicone baking sheet but you don’t really need to. Make sure to leave room in between each dough ball for spreading.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesBake in the preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes. If necessary, turn the tray halfway to ensure an even bake.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesLeave on the tray for a few minutes to harden slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Orange Choc Chip CookiesAnd that’s how you make the most awesome cookies in all the land! Seriously, they are almost unbearably delicious and so very dangerously addictive. I warn you… make these at your own risk!

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Rocky Road!

Rocky RoadOk, no one wants to put the oven on in the middle of a heat wave – especially me! I don’t do well with heat. Which probably explains how I’ve survived so long – being born and raised in the typically bad weathered UK.

However, this does not take away from the fact that I am always pretty anxious to bake something. So what’s the answer? Rocky Road! Other than melting some chocolate, there is no cooking involved whatsoever but I still get to eat a tasty, indulgent, home made treat at the end of it. Well I say that’s a win. So! Here is what you will need to make approx 8 generously sized pieces.

  • 165g Unsalted Butter
  • 300g Milk Chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100g Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 4tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 200g Rich Tea Biscuits
  • 100g Mini Marshmallows
  • 10 x Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, cut into 6ths (Optional)

Equipiment

  • 18cm x 28cm Baking Tray

First – lightly grease and line the base and two sides of the baking tray. (The overhang will act like a handle making it easier for you to pull out the tray before cutting.)

In a large glass bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt together the butter, milk chocolate, dark chocolate & golden syrup.

Rocky RoadStir until smooth and completely melted then remove from the heat and set to one side to cool slightly.

Rocky RoadPlace the rich tea biscuits into a large bag. Now for the therapeutic bit – bash the hell out of it with a rolling pin until you get a good mixture of chunky pieces and crumbs.

Back to the chocolate. Pour about 150ml of the mixture into a jug and reserve for later.

Rocky RoadThrow the crushed biscuits & the marshmallows into the bowl with the bulk of the chocolate and mix until everything is completely covered.

Rocky RoadTip the mixture into the prepared baking tray and press down as firmly as you can using the back of a metal spoon.

Then pour over the remaining chocolate and spread around evenly.

Rocky RoadAt this point you can leave it at that and place it in the fridge for 2-3 hours to set completely.

OR you could make it even more epic by scattering Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups over the top, pressing gently then refrigerating in the same way. It’s entirely up to you.

Rocky RoadWhen it’s completely set, remove from the tray using the overhanging baking paper and slice into 8 large pieces.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. (Well, that’s if you haven’t devoured the lot already!)

Rocky Road

Rocky RoadThere is no treat in the world that is easier to make, I promise! It’s also a perfect recipe to make with your kids while they’re off school and a great way to get them involved in the kitchen.

You could even mix up the recipe by switching out the rich tea biscuits for another biscuit, or adding in some chopped hazelnuts, or even using 400g of white chocolate instead of the milk & dark.

The possibilities are endless but it’s a great ‘throw it together’ no fuss, no bake recipe for you and your family!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s recipe my lovelies – until next time.

Miss KitchenMason