Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 08:34 am
I've used baking as a form of stress relief - and to keep myself away from back-lit screens - off and on for years.
I received Nadiya’s Kitchen, the cookbook by 2015’s Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussein, as a birthday present last year. Apart from admiring the photos of her, her food and her adorable children making and eating the food, I hadn’t really done much with it. So I’ve decided to, you know, spend some time making the recipes. Since she won GBBO for cooking fancy desserts, I’m starting with the easiest baked goods recipes. Here’s what I’ve attempted thus far.
Biscotti: Oh man, these turned out really well. Better than Paul Hollywood's. (His “Bread” book is typically the one we turn to when making, er, bread.) I didn’t have everything in her recipe, so instead of cranberries there were sultanas and instead of currants there were chopped dried apricots. It didn’t matter in the slightest. They are delicious and are being yummed up by the family at an alarming rate.
Grapefruit cat’s tongues: These are a sort of madeleine-like biscuit, except thinner. Butter, icing sugar, egg whites, flour and a bit of salt. No bicarb - all the fluff comes from the egg whites. The biscuits are supposed to be piped onto the baking paper, which I couldn’t be bothered with, so I just treated the dough like I would for a drop-cookie and made little blobs that spread out into circles. Delicious, melt-in the mouth circles. Again, I didn’t have a grapefruit handy so I zested a lemon instead. I suspect any citrus flavouring, or vanilla, could be substituted into this recipe.
Honeycomb: This was my first failure. Honeycomb should be ridiculously easy to make. It is, after all, simply sugar, honey and bicarb. Somehow mine fell flat. I heated the sugar and honey and stirred until it all went golden, but my two teaspoons of bicarb produced only dispirited fizzing and not the vigorous bubbling it ought to have done. The bloke and I puzzled over this and tested the bicarb in some lemon juice, whereupon it behaved as normal. We concluded that perhaps our local Worcestershire honey was simply not acidic enough, and that next time I should add a splash of balsamic or lemon juice to produce the desired air bubbles. What I made is more like very chewy toffee. It still tastes good though.