Technical Challenge Week 4 – Stroopwafels

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When I discovered that stroopwafels were the next technical challenge, I was worried – I thought it would be impossible to create these without a waffle iron. However, necessity is the mother of invention! I managed to ‘make’ one using two cast iron pans, which you can see below:

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With this setup, I heated up both pieces separately on a medium-high heat. Once heated, I added a ball of dough to the bottom, and (using oven gloves!) I put the smaller pan on top and squished it down for 30 seconds. I then left these to cook for a further minute and a half, and I think they turned out great! The smaller cast iron piece had a design on the base, so this also made them come out quite pretty, if I do say so myself!

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As with all the bakers in this challenge, my caramel also came out very grainy. If I were to make these again, I think I would try to melt the sugar alone first, and then add in the butter. The sugar just did not want to dissolve for some reason.

However, they tasted amazing, and I would definitely attempt them again in the future.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 300g (21/2 cups) plain flour
  • 65g (1/4 cup) butter
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • 1/tsp cinnamon
  • 65g (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 65mL (1/4 cup) warm water
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch of salt

For the caramel

  • 200g (1 cup packed) soft light brown sugar
  • 100g (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • You will also need a 10cm (4 inch) round cookie cutter.

Method

  1. In a large bowl, rub the butter and the flour together until it looks like breadcrumbs. Mix in the yeast, cinnamon, and sugar.
  2. Stir in the warm water and egg, and knead together for two minutes, until smooth. Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
  3. For the caramel, melt the butter and sugar together over a low heat until dissolved. Add the cinnamon and syrup and stir until it starts to bubble. Stir in the vanilla, and keep warm.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces, and cover with a damp cloth to prevent them drying out.
  5. Heat up the waffle iron or cast iron (see instructions above), and grease with butter. Place a ball on, and close the lid. Bake for 1-2 minutes until they are a dark golden colour.
  6. Quickly, remove the stroopwafel and place on a chopping board. Cut using a 10cm (4 inch) cutter, and slice in half with a sharp knife.
  7. Add a heaping tablespoon of caramel in the middle of one side, and gently push the two sides together to evenly distribute the caramel across the surface. Place on a wire rack to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough.

 

This recipe was originally from the Great British Bake Off’s website, which you can find here.

Welshcakes

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With only a few days until St. David’s Day, I thought it would be fitting to share the recipe I use to make welshcakes. Soft and delicious, these cake-biscuit hybrids are traditionally baked on a bakestone. But don’t worry if you don’t have one – a cast iron skillet will do the job. They are usually made with dried fruit, but I can’t resist chocolate chip welshcakes! These are best served warm and dusted with caster sugar, but are still delicious once cool. Cymru am byth!

Makes 20 welshcakes

Ingredients

  •  125g (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter (chilled)
  • 250g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 1/4tsp ground allspice
  •  100g (2/3 cup) sultanas (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 large egg

Method

  1. Cube the butter and add to a bowl with the flour. Rub the two together until you form fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and allspice, and mix to combine.
  2. Add the egg and fruit (or chocolate chips) to the dough and mix until just combined. Form into a flat disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Roll on a floured surface to a thickness of 1cm (2/5 inch) and cut using a fluted 7.5cm (3 inch) round cutter.
  4. Preheat an unoiled bakestone or cast iron skillet on a medium-low heat and cook for around 4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Leave to stand on a plate for a few minutes before eating.

The recipe used is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’.

Valentine’s Day Macarons

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Macarons may look difficult, but they are simple as long as you follow three easy rules. One – weigh your ingredients. Usually, I include cup measurements, but it’s important to be precise here. Two – make sure the almonds are as fine as possible. And three – ensure that you don’t lose the air in the egg whites. As long as you follow these rules, you shouldn’t have a problem.

There are many tutorials online on how to pipe heart-shaped macarons. Of course, this recipe also works well if you want to make round macarons. I also find it easier to trace 2cm (34inch) round or heart shapes onto parchment paper before piping. It’s extremely important to let the macarons rest for this recipe, otherwise the ‘feet’ won’t develop properly. They are better eaten the next day, but only if you can resist them for that long!

Makes 24 macarons (48 rounds)

Ingredients

Macarons

  •  71g almonds (blanched or ground)
  • 117g icing sugar
  • gel food colouring
  • 2 egg whites
  • 53g sugar
  • food flavouring (optional)

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 58g unsalted butter
  • 250g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 1/2tsp vanilla paste
  • 1-2tbsp milk

Method

  1. Add almonds and icing sugar to a food processor and blitz until fine. Pass this through a sieve. Repeat this process until around 2 tablespoons of large pieces remain – these can be discarded.
  2. Whisk the egg whites with the sugar in a separate bowl until you have stiff glossy peaks. Add the food colouring and flavouring (if using), and whisk until combined.
  3. Add the egg whites to the dry mixture. Fold gently around 35 times – it won’t seem like it will come together at first but be patient; it will happen all of a sudden.
  4. Transfer mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm (38inch) tip, and pipe 2cm (34inch) hearts or rounds onto a lined baking sheet. Forcefully bash the baking tray against the counter three times to disperse air pockets.
  5. Leave the macarons to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 175°c (350°f).
  6. Bake the macarons for around 13 minutes. They should not be browned, but be well risen and crisp to the touch. Leave to cool completely before removing.
  7. For the vanilla buttercream, beat all the ingredients together until light and fluffy.
  8. Using an offset spatula or knife, gently pry the macarons off the baking sheet and sandwich using the vanilla buttercream (or filling of your choice).

 

This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s website.