Caramel & Pecan Banana Blondies

caramel & pecan banana blondies
Tomorrow is the one month mark of being home in Melbourne.
Surreal? Completely. A little bit disorientating? Absolutely.

After spending 18 months having the most incredible time living in London, I arrived back home to surprise my twin sister for our 21st birthday. After almost letting it slip mannnyyyy a times on Skype the surprise was successful! (Including jumping out of the pantry to surprise me mum – 100% worth it).

The past month has been a little bit of a whirlwind of catching up with friends (and therefore eating my weight in Melbourne brunches), hugging my dog daily against his own will, feeding the family and settling in. Then BAM before you know it, it’s November… how did this happen?!

caramel & pecan banana blondies
Amongst the craze of being home, a new self titled ‘folio’ website is up and running! With tabs for food photography & styling, cake orders, and supper clubs which will be going next year!
www.becdickinson.com 

Oh and I made these blondies too! They didn’t last long at all… I must get used to sharing my baked goods now at home with a family.. But you know how it is, I’ll take any excuse to bake more. Naturally.
The recipe couldn’t be simpler and more tempting to go back for thirds.
A melt and mix method, where caramel is the only minor concentration you’ll have to focus on (I have forgotten about many a caramels on the stove top before…).
Then cut to serve, or as my sister is doing in the picture – dig right out of the pan!
No judgement here. In fact, I’d respect that.

caramel & pecan banana blondies

CARAMEL & PECAN BANANA BLONDIES
 
Ingredients
200g light brown sugar
130g butter
1 egg
2 bananas, sliced roughly
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
200g pecans

Salted Caramel:
2 tsp light corn syrup/glucose syrup
4 tbsp water
100g caster sugar
120ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.
2. Make the caramel first by placing the corn syrup, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Do not stir the mixture while it’s boiling. Continue to boil until it thickens and turns a light brown caramel color. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the cream, vanilla, and salt with a wire whisk. If the caramel clumps unevenly, place back on the stove on low heat, and stir until it becomes smooth. Set to the side to cool completely, or place in the fridge to speed up the cooling time.
3. In a small saucepan, melt together the sugar and butter, pour into a mixing bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
4. Using a hand whisk, beat the egg into the sugar and butter mixture, then the banana and vanilla.
5. Fold in the flour and baking powder and pour into the prepared tin. Pour over 3/4 of the caramel, reserving the rest to spoon over once baked. Sprinkle over the pecans and bake for 30 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
6. Spoon over the remaining caramel and enjoy!

 

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Swiss Roll

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Swiss Roll
For being a logical minded person, I have a surprisingly big love and appreciation for creativity.
I think there can be a balance between logicality and creativity, where you are logically creative… or visa versa, is this another nature vs nurture debate i don’t know about?

Now working as a baker, I get the ultimate chance to practice and develop my creative ideas and let them flow in food!! (is it the dream or what). Getting a chance to play with flavours and how to put them in different desserts. Dabbling in sugar. Tinkering with chocolate. Pottering about with flour. (stop while you’re ahead bec)

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Swiss Roll

So when it comes to my days off, and still all I can think about doing is cranking up the oven, and bringing my butter to room temp (too bake with… nothing else) and maybe watching my decent weeks worth of tv…. and perhaps not leaving the house… except to go the shops to buy more chocolate… and maybe splash on MORE kitchen equipment (MAN, my bank account hates me). After channeling so much energy into new recipes and ideas, it seemed even more therapeutic to just kick back this time, and let the recipe do to the talking, and let the whisk do what it does, and let me lick the spatula… and the whole bowl without offending any Health and Safety regulations.

I was so in the mood for chocolate it was insane. The moment a ganache glazed anything crossed my gaze I was a goner.
Plus that weekend I completely doused myself in peanut butter by having the crazed freakshake (peanut butter flavoured…) so naturally I just wanted more…

This swiss roll is indulgent, salty, sweet and rich in all the right places.
I’m going to say it’s chocolate craving perfect, if I dare.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER SWISS ROLL
recipe by Kamran from the Sophisticated Gourmet

INGREDIENTS

Cake:
60g all-purpose flour
50g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
125g granulated white sugar
55g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mousse:
115g cream cheese, at room temperature
160g peanut butter (try to stick to a commercial brand because oil won’t separate out)
30g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
100g powdered sugar
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
Pinch of nutmeg
120 ml heavy whipping cream (double cream)

Peanut Brittle: (optional; refer to headnotes for substitute)
200g granulated white sugar
100g salted peanuts

Chocolate Ganache:
170g chopped dark chocolate (54 to 70 percent cacao)
180ml heavy whipping cream (double cream)
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup/ golden syrup / light agave nectar
METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 450F / 230C. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-in / 23-by-33-cm baking pan and line with parchment paper. Grease the top of the parchment and dust the pan with cocoa powder; tap out the excess.
In a medium bow, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, and salt on high speed until thick and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes.
3. With the mixer still on, steadily stream in all the granulated sugar; continue mixing on high speed for another 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light in color and thick in consistency, and leaves a trail when the whisk is dipped in and lifted out. To also check if the mixture is done, press a dot of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger; you shouldn’t be able to feel granules of sugar in the mixture
4. With a spatula gently fold in the cocoa flour mixture until just incorporated. Stream the butter down the side of the bowl, carefully stirring just to bring everything together.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and gradually tilt the pan back and forth so the mixture levels out and evenly spread into the corners.
6. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the edges of the pan, the cake is springy to the touch, and the cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached.
7. While the cake bakes, evenly dust a clean tea towel (it should be longer than the pan) with cocoa powder. Once the cake is baked, run a thin knife along the sides of the pan, then invert the cake onto the prepared towel. Carefully loosen and peel off the parchment from the bottom of the warm cake. Working quickly, make a cut 1-in / 2.5cm in from one of the shorter edges, being sure not to cut more than halfway through (this will allow the cake to roll neatly). Lightly dust the top of the cake with more cocoa powder.
8. Firmly, but gently, roll up the warm cake from the cut end, including the tea towel in the roll, and leave the cake to cool completely, for around 1 hour in the fridge.
9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C for the Peanut Brittle and prepare the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mousse by using an electric beater to whisk the cream until stiff peaks form. Scrape the whipped cream into a smaller bowl, and set aside.
In the same bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, then the butter and the vanilla extract. Turning down the mixture to low, beat in the icing sugar, salt and ground nutmeg. Thoroughly stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream then gently fold in the remaining. Cover and leave to chill in the fridge.
10. Now make the Peanut Brittle by lining a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and evenly sprinkle in the sugar. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until all the sugar is melted and golden. Once immediately out of the oven, carefully sprinkle over the chopped peanuts, and allow to cool completely before casually breaking into pieces.
11. Now make the Chocolate Ganache by putting the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a light simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for a minute, then add in the corn syrup and stir until smooth. Set aside.
12. Now to decorate! Once the cake is cool, gently unroll it and evenly spread the mousse onto the cake, leaving a 1/2-in / 12mm border all around. Re-roll the cake and place the cake on a clean cooling rack, over a sheet of parchment paper. Evenly pour the ganache onto the cake, use a spatula or knife to help spread it out. Allow the chocolate to drip off onto the parchment. Decorate the cake with the shards of peanut brittle, and put in the fridge to chill for 1 hour. Then cut and enjoy!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

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Rhubarb & Blood Orange Bakewell Tart

Rhubarb & Blood Orange Bakewell tart
I remember as a kid (although I still like to refer to myself as a child at 20, cause growing up is underrated, amma right?) the school years would drag on, and it always seemed like holidays were SO far away… and every time I used to mention that a week went quickly, mum would say ‘ahh you must be getting older’ because apparently the older you are, the quicker time goes…
And oh dayyyuumm do I testify to that now.

Example numero uno:
It’s almost been a year that I’ve been living in London. SAY WHAT?!
This is when mum would say ‘you ARE old now’… and I would laugh and then proceed to pass her her reading glasses. (love you mum)

Rhubarb & Blood Orange Bakewell tart

Funnily enough, the more time I spend here in England, the more time I spend dreaming about english food… funny that.
Scones? – the perfect afternoon stuff your mouth snack (speaking of which, i’ve become a major afternoon tea person, no complaints here!)
Eton Mess? – you’ve already seen me rave about meringue and berry smash goodness here
And now, I crave the sunday pub sorta roast meal complete with tones of gravy and the humble green peas… cause really.. who wouldn’t when it’s everywhere around you?

So, when the idea of a bakewell tart was constantly floating in and out of my consciousness, I knew I was dreaming about it for a reason. This all fell into place when I was walking past my absolute favourite fruit and veggie shop (hullo fresh seasonal & beautiful produce who sell rocket and spinach in bunches!! I got too excited over that…) and I saw blood oranges hailing me from the sidewalk, then to be greeted by rhubarb… I knew it was meant to be.
(Don’t you just love how what grows together in season, goes together? It makes me happy with tears just at the thought of it!)

Anyway, stocked up on the goods, and trotted myself back home to whip up the Bakewell tart I’d been dreaming of.
Complete with plenty of fresh zing from the oranges, buttery crumbles from the pastry, tartness from the rhubarb, and plenty of frangipane almondness to balance it all out.
Happy days? Happy days.

Rhubarb & Blood Orange Bakewell tart
Back to speaking of almost being in London a year (MADNESS), it was all made more real by a crazy week of transition into new work, and sorta a whole new chapter, but still in this grand city.
More to fill in on later, but for now (cause I’m so tired my fingers are typing all the wrong keys), busy days ahead, but exciting!
So I apologise in advance for the lack of posts… I’m gonna do my absolute best to squeeze in a cheeky recipe as much as I can!

But for now, please enjoy this tart with me….

RHUBARB & BLOOD ORANGE BAKEWELL TART

Ingredients

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:
90g butter, softened
65g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

Rhubarb:
2 large stalks of rhubarb, cut into around 3cm long chunks
3 tbsp sugar
juice 1 blood orange

Frangipane:
100g butter, softened
100g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
140g ground almond
75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
juice 2 blood oranges
handful sliced almonds

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Make the pastry first by creaming together the butter and sugar in a bowl until well combined, then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time until fully incorporated into the mixture.
2. Mix in the flour until the mixture comes together as a ball of dough. Tip the pastry out onto a floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth.
3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line a 6 inch loose bottomed tart tin, pressing it into the sides. Chill for 30 mins.
4. In the meantime, roast the rhubarb, by lining a baking tray, and tossing the rhubarb in the sugar and orange juice, and cooking in the oven until soft, but not falling apart. Around 10 minutes.
4. Line the pastry case with foil and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for about 15 minutes, then remove the beans and foil and cook for a further five minutes so the base of the pastry can dry out.
5. Whilst the pastry is baking, chug along with the frangipane by using an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one after the other, beating well between additions, then add the vanilla and beat to combine. Now stir through the almonds, flour and blood orange juice.
5. To put together the final tart, mash half of the rhubarb over the base of the tart case, then spoon and spread over the frangipane. Top with the remaining rhubarb, and sprinkle over the almonds.
6. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and frangipane has risen. Serve warm or room temperature with a generous dollop of cream or whatever takes your fancy!

Thanks for stopping by!

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