So I made Nigella’s Christmas cake again in time for the season.
The flavour is rich. There’s crunchiness in every bite.
My father liked the fruit-cake part of it courtesy of the panettone.
I can’t resist how it looks.
Someone is cherry picking the pomegranate… Guess who?
3 cups (720 ml) (400 grams) pitted dried dates
1 cup (240 ml) water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups (480 ml) (200 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup crushed walnuts or pecan nuts
1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (160 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, softened
Place the pitted dates and water in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the dates are soft and have absorbed most of the water (about 5 – 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter (or use a non stick cooking spray) a 9 inch (23 cm) square baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment or wax paper.
In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, walnuts and baking powder. Add the butter and stir to combine.
Press about 2/3 of the mixture onto the base of the prepared pan.
Spread the date filling evenly over the oatmeal crisp. Sprinkle the remaining dough evenly over the top of the dates, press down gently to compact. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool. Once the squares have cooled, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator at least one hour or until firm enough to cut easily into squares.
So we are in the thick of winter.
Rainy, cold and gloomy for almost a week!
All my babyccinos got sick. Baby Kiko got my most feared enemy, bronchiolitis.
I was about to cry myself through it all.
Then I realized that there are better things to do when you are stuck at home than to be blue.
I decided to bake.
Cakes never failed to pick me up.
I tried two new cakes which I have never dared to test before.
1. Blueberry Cheesecake
I almost forgot I was dipping into depression when I tasted this cake.
It lifts you out of the blue.
2. Red Velvet Cake.
I was blaming myself for taking me this long to bake this cake.
It’s moist, dreamy and absolutely delicious.
It reminded me of our anniversary date at Beatrix.
It takes you to special places.
Just baked That Chocolate Cake for Clare, babyccinos’ favorite cousin.
I first made the vanilla egg custard cake version with Sasha and Pio. It was a smashing success. I had to stop my babyccinos from finishing it all off at once.
It warranted a repeat of course. This time the kids added a great twist, chocolate.
I let them do it themselves.
Tastes even better when all you have to do is eat.
Once you take a bite, you can’t resist another one. And another one. You have to fool yourself that it’s okay (to your weight) when you are having your sixth slice.
Luis said that it is the yummiest thing in the world!
I made this rolls as an enhancement from the simple white bread I have always been using.
It was mostly trial and error until we got the fluffiness I wanted in these rolls.
Basically follow this soft white bread recipe.
Enlist everyone’s help.
Then cut the risen dough to 4 parts.
Spread each part thinly. As thin and as rectangular shape as possible. It doesn’t matter if the shape is not perfect.
If the dough becomes stubbornly hard to press for little hands, kindly ask a muscular dad to help in rolling. Rolls came out better this way.
Then spread about 2 tablespoons melted butter on top of the flattened dough. Sprinkle as much ground cinnamon as you like. Then spread about 5 tablespoons of white sugar, plus or minus depending on how sweet you want it to be.
Roll it into a cylinders. Then ask your little helpers to cut it and place it into your baking pans or whatever you have which can go into the oven.
Place them with breathing space from each other. This will allow the dough to expand and rise some more.
Now cover this with cling wrap. Make sure no air can come in. For some reason which I forgot.
Leave it to do its thing overnight. Have sweet dreams.
Then first thing in the morning, preheat oven to 200 C for 10 minutes. Put in these gorgeous rolls into the oven. Keep it at 200 C for 10 minutes then lower it to 180 C for another 20 minutes.
I usually spread some more butter on top because it’s creamier that way. Then I sprinkle about a tablespoon of icing sugar to make it look as good as it taste.
Melts in your mouth.
It doesn’t last long in our house.