my jar of cookies is half full

i made cookies, look

ready

You guys know how much I love cookies. I devoted an entire month to them last year and while you might have thought that I had then had enough, you would be wrong.

the set up

sugar and syrup

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salted butter caramels

Good morning, starshine! The earth says hello. Particularly this little corner of it, over here in PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA!

I’m just a little excited to be here, I don’t know if you can tell. It’s sunny, the mangoes are abundant and there are lots of awesome people around. Also, I got my nails done and they’re pretty. There’s a lot to be exited about. Continue reading

caramel cake

“Cake! Everybody likes cake. Cake has layers. “

“Ogres are not like cakes. “

I like cakes.

Lots of cakes.

Big cakes

Little cakes.

Red cakes.

Blue cakes.

Green cakes!

Cakes to share.

Not any cake that isn’t to share, really. Where’s the fun in eating a cake on your own?

No, really.

This particular cake is a yellow cake and is best eaten at the end of a spontaneous dinner party with seven other people. Coffee is optional but not recommended if you’re about to go to bed. Which we were, pretty much. So coffee was out. But caramel cake is amazing on its own. Even a day later after being in the fridge, uncovered.

It is also really easy to make and it’s likely you’ll have all the ingredients on hand.

So get on it!

[PS: I know it’s been a while. A long while. I was away, and then I was away again, and then I was sick, and it’s been difficult to get myself back in the groove. But here I am! And ready for a spring/summer of amazing food that I can’t wait to share with you.]

[PPS: You’ll notice a lot of the photos here (the fantasticly shot and styled ones that look amazing) are not of my own doing – I like to share some link love every now and then. Check these people out! They’re amazing.)

Caramel Layer Cake

Adapted (not much!) from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups and 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

125g unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken (or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tbsp white vinegar, set out for ten minutes and well-shaken)

For the Caramel:

1 cup heavy cream (I used 300ml)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tbsp light corn syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Butter a 20cm cake pan (I used a square one), line with baking paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Sift (again) the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients in three batches until they are just incorporated. Fold in the buttermilk.

Pour into prepared pan, smooth out top and rap on counter to release air bubbles. Bake 20-30 minutes. Let rest in pan five minutes, then cool on rack until completely cool.

For the caramel:

First, a note. I did not use a candy thermometer – I didn’t feel the need to, plus I don’t have one (which makes it kinda difficult). I will, however, put the necessary temperatures so that those of you who do have candy thermometers can use them.

Onward!

Bring cream, brown sugar, corn syrup and a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium heavy based saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until it reaches 98-100 degrees celsius. Stir in vanilla.

Place completely cooled cake on a cooling rack, over a baking tray. Pour the hot caramel glaze over the cake and let cool before you gobble it up with those seven other people I mentioned, after a spontaneous dinner party and movie night.

DFTBA.

 

caramel breakfast rolls

These are actually titled ‘Dulce de Leche Brioche Rolls’ but as it’s kind of a mouthful and also, no one I know knows what dulche de leche is or even brioche… I know, it’s tragic. I’m moving towards an education, however, which started with these.

Which are amazing.

Dulce de leche, for those of you who are fifty seven words into this post and still don’t know and are wondering why someone’s been holding out on you your whole life, is caramelised milk which comes traditionally from Argentina. There is a recipe for homemade dulce de leche here. I went the lazy route. Brioche is a sweet French breakfast bread; you can halve the dough for the rolls and make a loaf of it if you want.

And so. Tartelette via Smitten Kitchen via slumber party breakfast deliciousness, here we come.

Dulce de Leche Brioche Rolls

1/3 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)

1/3 cup warm milk (105°F to 115°F)

2 envelopes instant yeast

3 3/4 cups plain flour

3 large eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups (375 grams) salted butter (I use salted and I don’t add salt. Feel free to do what you please here), cut into 12 pieces, room temperature

1 egg, beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water (for glaze)

Place 1/3 cup warm water, warm milk, and yeast in bowl of standing heavy-duty mixer; stir until yeast dissolves. Fit mixer with dough hook. Add flour and salt to bowl; mix on low speed just until flour is moistened, about 10 seconds. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl.
Beat in 3 eggs on low speed, then add sugar. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding next (dough will be soft and batter-like). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 7 minutes.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Lift up dough around edges and allow dough to fall and deflate in bowl.
Cover bowl with plastic and chill until dough stops rising, lifting up dough around edges and allowing dough to fall and deflate in bowl every 30 minutes, about 2 hours total. Cover bowl with plastic and refrigerate an hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge and divide in half. Roll out the dough to a 14×9 inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup softened cream cheese, leaving a 1 inch border. Spread the Dulce de Leche on top, it is messy, it will spread but hey! it’s good. Roll into a log and cut into 12 pieces. Place them in a buttered 9 inch round pan, cover and refrigerate until the next morning. The dough will rise slowly overnight.

In the morning, bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Repeat with the other half or make a brioche loaf.

The lazy method of making dulce de leche: Take a can of condensed milk and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water and 3-4 hours. If you put it in at about the same time you start making the rolls, it’ll be about done by the time you have to use it, and it’s the exact amount you need for the amount of dough you have here. I suspect that the homemade version is better; but that’s a story for another post.