Saturday, 21 April 2012

CWA Damper with Clear Apple Jam

Why hello!

It's a hard life, isn't it? Popping over to New Caledonia pour ameliorer ma francais pendant une semaine, coming back to find that your dear mother has bought you an AMAZING PRESENT - the County Women's Association Cookbook (eeeek!), and proceeding to bake... and bake... and bake.

Ah, what a life I lead - oh wait, school goes back tomorrow. Waah! Too much of a good thing, right?

Seeing as my AMAZING mum bought me the CWA cookbook (of biblical standards in the world of Australian baking), and seeing as it's ANZAC day on Wednesday, I thought I would make something simple, and quintessentially Australian - damper. Damper is so easy to make, filling, and goes with a lot of things - this is why it has remained a traditional Australian food for the past 200 or so years. I can just imagine my Nan making it for her 5 kids while Pop was away at war. 

To accompany this glorious bread, I decided to make an Apple "Jelly", or "Clear Apple Jam". We had heaps of apples, and I adore making homemade jams, so I figured, what they hey? I didn't have a muslin cloth to strain the juice through, so it's just a teensy bit cloudy, but I call that 'rustic'. There's a word for everything, you know! So if you do have a muslin cloth, feel free to strain it so the jam is crystal clear!

The flavour of the jam is so fresh. I love bits of fruit in jam, but I really don't think this one needs it. It has enough self-confidence to get by on its own! It complements the damper perfectly - soft, dense bread with the not-too-sweet jam spread on top - perfect for breakfast, lunch or tea!

To tell you the truth, I could just eat the jam on its own! But for the sake of common courtesy, try to refrain from doing so!

CWA Damper with Clear Apple Jam
Makes one large loaf/ 1 1/2 cups of jam

{Recipes from CWA Cookbook "Jam Drops and Marble Cake", and David Lebovitz' Apple Jelly}

450g self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
310ml milk
1 kilo red apples
3 cups water
1 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice


We'll do the jam first, because it takes longer.

Peel apples, chop into large chunks, and put into a large, deep saucepan, cores and seeds included. Add the water, cover and bring to the boil. Once bubbling violently, reduce heat to a simmer, leave the lid askew, and let cook for 30 minutes, until apples are soft and cooked through.

Using a fine colander/sieve (with or without a muslin cloth on top) set over a deep, large bowl, sit the apples and liquid over it so that the liquid drips through. Leave for minimum 3 hours WITHOUT PRESSING DOWN ON THE APPLES.

Measure out the juice after the time. I had about one cup, but you might have more if you leave it overnight. Pour into a saucepan, add sugar and lemon juice, and bring to the boil.

Chill a plate in the freezer for 5 minutes. Once you've been boiling the mixture for about 5 minutes, turn the heat off. Now the testing begins. Drop a dab of the jam onto the chilled plate, and place back in the freezer for about 5 minutes. If the jam shrinks and is firm to touch, rather than a liquid, your jam is ready! Pour into a sterilised jar and refrigerate.


Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and mix with a butter knife to a dough, not too sticky and with no flour remaining.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead to a smooth round. Place on the baking tray, and cut a cross in the top of the dough. Bake for 30 minutes on the bottom shelf of the oven.

Spread warm damper with jam!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Vanilla Bean Bundt with Strawberry Glaze

Bonjour mes amis.

Well, Easter is over. Boo. I love the colours and happiness of everybody at Easter time. I wish everybody was in such good spirits all of the time. Easter certainly says one thing:

But, I don't know about you lovely folk, but I am a teeny bit over it. GASP! Now don't be like that. It's just that it's been everywhere and supposedly Australians are the biggest chocolate-consumers at Easter in the world and I JUST NEED A BREAK OK?!

So with that in mind, I have decided to steer away from the chocolate until I have recovered somewhat from the mayhem that has encapsulated the citizens of the world.

So in order to escape the Easter craziness, I turned back to Christmas (such logic!). Most of my Christmas presents, I admit, were to do with baking. Cupcake cases, an icing bag set, cookbooks, and... A bundt tin!

I have never made a bundt cake before, but looking at different blogs around the place, they photography beautifully, and the possibilites are endless! So I knew that I had to have one. I had a bit of bundt fever.

Even the word 'bundt' is addictive. Go on, say it.


Bundt bundt bundt.

The word is looking extremely strange to me as I type now.

Anyway, my grandparents' birthday's are about a week apart from each other, so I made them a Birthday Bundt! It was the first opportunity I had to use my new tin, so I was a bit nervous. But the cake turned out pretty well, I think! I pinched the recipe from Always With Butter, one of my favourite blogs, except I eliminated the almond flavouring because I don't really like that distinct almond essence flavouring. I replaced it with vanilla essence, which, combined with the vanilla bean paste, made for a simple and utterly delicious cake. I did, however, want to reproduce the design of Julie's cake, because the photos were just stunning. The vanilla, the pink of the glaze, and the contrast of the blueberries just took my breath away. If it ain't broke, don't fix it,  right?


I think I'm in Bundt-Love. That's a thing, I'll have you know. Expect more bundts coming your way from FBC!

Vanilla Bean Bundt with Strawberry Glaze

{Recipe adapted from Always With Butter}


3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3 strawberries
Icing sugar


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. In a bundt pan, grease the inside surface evenly with butter, and then dust with flour.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla essence and vanilla bean paste and mix until well-incorporated.Add the eggs in, one at a time, mixing well.

In alternating batches, gradually pour the flour mixture and buttermilk into the butter-sugar mixture bowl. Pour the batter into the bundt pan, smooth the top, and bake in the oven for 1 hour.

Wait to cool completely, then invert onto a wire rack.

Strawberry Glaze:

In a food processor, puree the strawberries until smooth. Gradually add sifted icing sugar until the glaze comes to the desired consistency (thicker will make it run nicely down the cake). Process until smooth, and pour over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with blueberries.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Caramel Easter Egg Fudge Brownies


(and by FBC, I mean the Fairy Bread Chronicles, the name of my temporarily abandoned blog which I have been neglecting painstakingly throughout the last month because of all my big scary HSC exam prep.)



My exams are officially over as of yesterday, and since I have gone into an uncontrollable baking frenzy.

Exhibit A: These bad boys right here.

Yesterday I was like HOLY WOW it's like 5 days till Easter!

And because of my stupid important exams, I had (almost) completely forgotten, and could not bake any delicious and bunny/egg related treats for y'all.

Soooo yesterday I came out of my exam coma and said to myself, you know what Angela? Today, you're going to buy 4 packets of caramel easter eggs, and you're going to make an amazingly sugary baked treat.

And so... I did!

By the by, today I am including many photos, as I am attempting to make up for the lack of material during my absence. So consider this a MONSTER POST.

And what better treat to include in my  MONSTER POST than possibly the most chocolate-y and sugary treat I have ever created?!

I give you: Caramel Easter Egg Fudge Brownies.

I tweaked a glorious recipe for Rolo Brownies that I saw here on Cookies and Cups, a fabulous blog that is always jam-packed with baking inspiration!

But, seeing as it's Easter soon, I figured I'd use caramel eggs instead. 2 cups of them!

I had to chop up the poor little eggs. I was shocked at how ruthlessly I massacred them:

Their caramel blood leaking out everywhere... Not pretty.

I made too much batter too, so I put some of the mixture into little circus cupcake cases that I got for Christmas. They are so cute!

These brownies are not pretty. And they're not polite either. Do they care what you think? Not one bit.

Is it possible for something to be ugly, and yet incredibly beautiful at the same time?

In this case, yes.

The brownies are soft and gooey and the caramel sauce/eggs balance out the sheer sweetness of the chocolate.

I dare you to give them a go!

Caramel Easter Egg Fudge Brownies

{Recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups, Brownie + Caramel Sauce recipe adapted from 'Sweet Serendipity' Cookbook}

Makes 1 and a half 20x25cm tins (or you can put the mixture into cupcake cases!)

Brownie Base:
250g unsalted butter
250g dark chocolate
2 cups caster sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla essence

Caramel Sauce:
(You could use store-bought caramel sauce, but just in case...)
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup thickened cream
2 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt

2 cups Mini Caramel Easter Eggs

400ml can sweetened condensed milk
250g milk chocolate
2 tsp vanilla essence

Optional: Rainbow sprinkles


For the Brownie base:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, and grease/line a 20x25cm brownie pan.

Combine chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water on medium-high heat. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water!

Remove from heat and mix in caster sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Sift flour and salt into the bowl, mix until just combined. Add vanilla.

Scrape the batter into the pan(s)/cases. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Let cool completely before adding the caramel sauce.

For the caramel sauce:
Either use store-bought, or make from scratch:
Combine sugar and 1/2 cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved and mixture has started to turn golden brown. Swirl the pan around to prevent the sugar on the edges of the pan burning.

When mixture is a dark amber colour, remove from heat and add the cream slowly (mixture will bubble up!) Allow mixture to settle and add the butter and salt. If lumps remain, cook slowly over low heat until smooth.

Pour caramel sauce over the cooled brownies, spread so a thin layer covers the top of the brownie.

Chop easter eggs and spread evenly over the top of the sauce. Make sure the eggs don't add too much height to the pan, keep them low.

Fudge: In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt together the condensed milk and chocolate. Once smooth, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Using a spatula, evenly spread the fudge over the top of the easter eggs, ensuring it doesn't spill over the side of the pan. (Optional: sprinkle rainbow sprinkles on top for some Easter-y magic!)

Let set for at least 2 hours before consuming (if you can wait that long!). Cut into squares.

Happy Almost-Easter everybody! May your day be peaceful and filled with chocolate eggs!