Lemon Halloween cheesecakes

My youngest is quite a fussy eater and only very rarely eat meat. For our (pre) Halloween celebration the other day I had made a lovely roast chicken with roast veg and potatoes. My little teddybear had a few roast potatoes and then pushed his plate aside while declaring he had finished. We tried to coax him to eat a bit more but he stubbornly refused. {I wonder where he gets that streak from!!}

In a final attempt to get him to eat, I showed him the Halloween inspired mini cheesecakes we were having for pudding. He immediately perked up and tried to grab one. Explained he could only have one if he would eat his food, and to my {and everyone else’s} great surprise he actually started eating, chicken and all, and practically cleared his plate! So I guess from now on we will just have to throw all good parenting rules to one side and give him a bit of an incentive to finish his food 🙂Halloween cheesecakes

The cheesecakes were supposed to have a nice spider web pattern on top of them, but due to a piping bag (or lack thereof) disaster, they ended up having weird artistic chocolate blob pattern on them instead. They still tasted great though!

Mini cheesecake

Lemon cheesecakes

Ingredients
160g digestive biscuits
50g butter, melted
150g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
50g sugar
5-6 sheets leaf gelatine (the original recipe called for 6 but I think 5 would be enough)
3 tbsp water
2 lemons, zest and juice
200 ml double cream, at room temperature
1 tin condensed milk (397g)
50g dark chocolate, melted

Method
1) Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
2) Put the digestive biscuits into a food processor and whiz until broken up into fine
crumbs.
3) Add the melted butter, mix until fully incorporated then divide the mixture between
the paper cases. Press down with a spoon, then transfer to the fridge to chill.
4) Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for about 5 mins, until the leaves
are soft.
5) Remove the leaves and place in a saucepan with the water, warm over a low heat,
stirring occasionally, until the gelatine has melted.
6) Put the cream cheese and sugar into a bowl and whisk until combined. Add the double
cream, lemon zest and juice, condensed milk and melted gelatine and whisk until smooth.
7) Divide the mixture between the paper cases.
8) Pour the melted chocolate into a piping bag and pipe a pattern on top of the mini
cheesecakes.
9) Chill for 3-4 hours. Remove from fridge 30 mins before serving.3 mini Halloween cheesecakes

Adapted from Sainsbury’s Magazine

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Chocolate fudge cookies

I can’t believe I never managed to bake anything chocolatey last week when it was National Chocolate Week! I had every intention to but life got in the way, and I ended up just eating lots of chocolate instead {which surely must have been in the spirit of the occasion – yum!}. I’m determined to make up for it this week instead, as it’s National Baking Week.    {I assume all these food related events have been thought up to make the shorter and colder days a bit more cheerful – not that I’m complaining!}.

Chocolate fudge cookie stack

Munchkin had a friend round to play today, so I made some cookies for them to munch on when they could tear themselves away from the fun and games.Chocolate fudge cookie dough

The cookie dough is a great base recipe that can be easily adapted for different flavour combination by changing an ingredient or two. I use the same recipe for my Moreish Double Chocolate Chip Cookies {which are the best home made cookies I’ve ever had, if I may say so myself – absolutely fantastic!!} and White Chocolate and Cranberry CookiesChocolate fudge cookies - ready for the oven

Chocolate fudge cookies

Ingredients
125 g soft unsalted butter
125 g soft brown sugar
2 tbsp condensed milk
175 g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
50 g fudge, cut into smallish pieces
50 g dark chocolate, cut into smallish pieces

Method
1) Preheat oven to 150C
2) Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
3) Beat in the condensed milk, then add the flour and a pinch of salt
4 ) Stir in the fudge and chocolate pieces
5) Roll into walnut sized balls and place on a baking sheet
6) Flatten them slightly then bake for about 25 mins, or slightly longer if wanting crisper cookies
7) Cool on a rack, then enjoy!

Chocolate fudge cookies

Adapted from Sainsbury’s Magazine

Cinnamon buns

The 4th October is National Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden, which is obviously cause for celebration! I hadn’t planned on baking any today as I thought we had a big bag from when I last made them in the freezer, however when I checked this morning it turned out there were only two left!! And when hubby then found out what day it was he demanded requested I’d bake more, so I did.Freshly made cinnamon buns

I saw somewhere that these types of buns seem to be served for breakfast in the US. I’m not sure if that’s actually true or if they are maybe just had by busy people who pop in to a coffee shop for some sustenance on their way to work. In Sweden they definitely belong at ‘fika’, be it in the (late) morning or afternoon, but not for breakfast. I would love to hear from any Americans readers what their thoughts are! And other nationalities – when do you enjoy them? Do you enjoy them?!

Cinnamon bun dough proving

I quite like adding a few additional flavours to the buns, particularly cardamom. It’s usually added to the dough, but I tend to forget to add it when making the dough, in which case I add it to the filling instead. Either way is delicious!Cinnamon buns with filling

Another flavour I frequently add is a bit of grated marzipan, just grate it on top of the other filling before rolling or folding the dough. Just don’t add to much as it will end up melting and make the buns all sticky. Lovely as that may sound, less is definitely more here! Cinnamon buns in progress

It’s traditional to decorate the buns with ‘nib’ or ‘pearl’ sugar, which seems to be typically Scandinavian. I’ve never seen any in a shop here in the UK, but I did notice Sarah-Jane using it on her buns last week in the Great British Bake-Off’s ‘Sweet Dough’ episode. Cinnamon buns proving

Thanks to the mighty interweb I discovered it’s still easy to get hold of, particularly from Swedish or Scandinavian online food shops, but also from Amazon. (Is there anything they don’t sell?)  
If you don’t have any at hand, or just want something different, sliced almonds or chopped hazelnuts work just as well, and gives the buns a slightly healthier feel. (Or is that just me?!)

Cinnamon buns fresh out the oven

Cinnamon buns

Dough
1 tbsp cardamom pods
300 ml milk
50 g fresh yeast or 14g (2 sachets) fast action dried yeast
150 ml sugar
0.5 tsp salt
150 g soft butter
1 egg
1.2 liter strong flour

Filling
100 g soft butter
100 ml sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Topping
1 beaten egg
Sugar / Flaked Almonds / Chopped hazelnuts

Method
1. Remove the seeds from the pods and grind the cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar
2. Add the cardamom and milk to a pan and heat until tepid
3. Crumble the yeast into a bowl and dissolve it with the milk, sugar, salt, diced butter and eggs. (If using dried yeast, mix the yeast with the flour and add to the other ingredients in next step)
4. Add a little flour at a time until you have a smooth dough, kneading for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable
5. Leave the dough to prove in a warm place, covered with a clean tea towel, until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes
6. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
7. Mix the butter, sugar and cinnamon for the filling.
8. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, roll out into a large thin rectangle, about 5mm. Spread the filling all over the dough
9. Roll it up into a tight roll and slice it into 3 cm thick slices or fold the dough in half lengthways and slice into 2 cm ribbons. Twist the ribbons into a bun
10. Place the slices/buns on a baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove until doubled in size, about 30-60 mins.
11. Brush the buns with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar / flaked almonds / chopped hazelnuts.
12. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes. Let cool on a rack, then enjoy with a glass of milk.

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The buns are nicest freshly baked, so freeze any that don’t get eaten right away and you will have fresh buns whenever you fancy one! (Unless you also have a little, or rather big, mouse who raids your freezer!!)