Baked Goods

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns

Ingredients (buns):

  • 4¼ cups bread flour, sifted
  • 1 tab active dry yeast
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1½ cups lukewarm milk
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps mixed spice
  • 1½ cups sultanas
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ⅓ cup water
  • Butter, to serve
  • Golden syrup, to serve

Ingredients (glaze):

  • 1 tab water
  • 2 tsps gelatine powder
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ¼ cup water, extra

Method:

  1. Lightly grease a 22cm square cake tin and line it with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the yeast and the milk in a large bowl. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes. The mixture will start to foam, indicating that the yeast is active.
  3. Add the remaining sugar, flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, sultanas, butter and egg to the yeast mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 8 minutes or until elastic. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Arrange the dough balls in the cake tin, then cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until risen. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  5. For the crosses, place the extra flour and the water in a bowl and stir to combine. Put the mix in a piping bag, and pipe crosses on the buns.
  6. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until golden and springy to touch.
  7. While the hot cross buns are baking, make the glaze. Add the water to a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatine. Stir for 1–2 minutes or until the gelatine is dissolved, then set aside.
  8. Place the sugar and extra water in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Use a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals on the side of the pan. Add the gelatin mixture and cook for 1–2 minutes or until the gelatin is fully dissolved. While the buns are still hot, brush them with the warm glaze.
  9. Serve buns warm with butter and golden syrup. Makes 12.
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Anzac biscuits

Whether you like them chewy or crisp, homemade Anzac biscuits are an Aussie classic! Often made in time for Anzac Day (25 April), these popular treats make great lunchbox fillers.

Anzac biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tabs golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tabs water

Method:

  1. Sift the flour and sugar into a bowl. Add the rolled oats and coconut.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the golden syrup and water.
  3. Stir the bicarb soda into the liquid mixture.
  4. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Roll small balls of mixture and place on a greased tray.
  6. Bake at 175C for 15-20 minutes. The longer they are cooked, the less chewy they will be.
  7. Biscuits will harden when cool.

(photo credit: Sugar Rush Creations via photopin cc)

Damper

Damper is an easy-to-prepare Australian bread, traditionally cooked in a campfire or camp oven. Similar to puftaloons, damper is great served with a generous spread of butter, or with golden syrup.

Damper

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 25g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 175ml milk

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  3. Use a butter knife to stir in the milk to make a soft, non-sticky dough.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, shape the dough into a soft, smooth ball.
  5. Set the ball of dough onto a baking tray and flatten it to a 17cm round. Cut a deep cross in the dough and brush lightly with milk.
  6. Bake the damper for 30 minutes or until golden. Best served warm.

Cheesy Vegemite scrolls

Keep these cheesy Vegemite scrolls on hand as a great addition to any lunchbox, handy afternoon snack or tasty grab-and-go breakfast when you’re short on time.

Cheesy Vegemite scrolls

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 2 tabs Vegemite
  • 200g grated tasty cheese
  • 50g butter
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/8 tsp table salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub the butter into flour mixture until consistent in texture.
  3. Add enough milk to make a soft dough. Knead the dough gently on a lightly floured surface, and then roll it out to rectangle (25cm x 40cm in size).
  4. Spread the Vegemite over the dough, then sprinkle evenly with cheese.
  5. From the long side, roll the dough to enclose the cheese. Cut the rolled dough into 10 sections place close together on a greased baking tray.
  6. Bake in a hot oven 220ºC until golden brown (approx. 15-20 minutes).

Note:  You can make a variety of scrolls by replacing the filling. E.g. to make pizza scrolls, fill with tomato paste spread, sliced mushrooms and chopped ham. To make dessert scrolls, fill with Nutella spread and cinnamon sugar (replace the salt in the dough 1 tsp sugar also).

(photo credit: stratman² (2 many pix!) via photopin cc)

Gingerbread men

I love gingerbread men! These ones are designed not to spread while cooking, and have just the right amount of spice. My son loves helping to decorate them too.

Gingerbread men

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter, at room temperature
  • Extra butter, to grease
  • 110g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 2 tabs caster sugar
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 300g (2 1/3 cups) plain flour
  • Extra flour, to dust
  • 2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 150g (1 cup) pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 8-10 drops red liquid food colouring
  • 8-10 drops green liquid food colouring
  • Smarties, to decorate (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (or 150°C fan-forced).
  2. Grease two flat baking trays with butter.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolk and golden syrup and beat until combined.
  4. Stir in the flour, ginger and mixed spice.
  5. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Press dough into a disc, and place it between two sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 5mm thick. Use a gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes, but do not separate shapes from the dough yet. Place the rolled dough in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
  6. After 30 minutes, remove from freezer separate the cut-out men, placing them on trays about 2cm apart.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the leftover dough.
  8. Bake in oven for 7-10 minutes or until brown. Remove gingerbread from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Place egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Divide icing among 3 bowls. Add red colouring to 1 bowl and stir until combined. Add green colouring to remaining bowl and stir until combined.
  10. Place each of the prepared icings in small plastic bags (sandwich bags work well). Cut a small hole in a corner of each bag. Pipe icing over gingerbread men to decorate.
  11. If desired, add Smarties while the icing is still wet.

Blueberry muffins

Nothing beats a blueberry muffin for an on-the-go breakfast or a quick and tasty snack.

Blueberry muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) macadamia oil (or your preferred nut/seed oil)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsps vanilla essence
  • 1 1/3 cups (200 grams) fresh blueberries
  • 1 tsp extra sugar for muffin tops, to decorate (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 190° C. Line 10 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Fill any empty muffin cups with 1 tablespoon of water to ensure the muffins bake evenly.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour and salt with the 3/4 cup of sugar until evenly combined.
  3. Add the oil and the egg to a 500 ml measuring jug. Fill the jug with milk only until it reaches the 1 cup line marking. Add vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
  4. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients, then stir with a fork until just combined.
  5. Use a spatula to gently fold the blueberries into the mixture.
  6. Divide the muffin mixture between the 10 muffin cups. If desired, sprinkle a little of the extra sugar on each of the muffin tops (for a little crunch).
  7. Bake blueberry muffins for 10 minutes, then test with a skewer inserted into one of the muffins. The skewer should come out clean or crumb-covered, not sticky. If the tops are cooked but the insides are not, cover the muffin pan with foil (being careful not to burn yourself!) and return it to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes.
  8. Turn muffins out onto to a cooling rack and allow to cool.

Tip:  These muffins can be frozen in freezer bags for up to 3 months.

Blueberry muffins

Rustic steak and mushroom pie

Rustic steak and mushroom pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets shortcrust pastry
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 800g beef rump steak (with most fat removed), diced
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup liquid vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine (I used Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2009)
  • 2 tabs salt-reduced gravy powder (roast beef flavour, or similar)
  • 1 tab cornflour
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (fan-forced) or 200° C (convection).
  2. Grease and flour a pie dish. If using frozen pastry, put the sheets out to thaw.
  3. Place a sheet of shortcrust pasty in the dish. Fill in any gaps with the second pastry sheet.
  4. Trim the pastry in the dish, leaving a 2 cm overhang.
  5. Cover with baking paper, and use either pastry beads or rice to weigh down the pastry.
  6. Blind bake the pastry for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
  7. Dice the onion and fry in a pan until soft and clear.
  8. Add the meat and wine to the pan. Cook until just brown, then add the mushrooms.
  9. Allow meat to cook for a further 2 minutes at low heat, stirring occasionally.
  10. Without draining the pan, scoop out the meat, mushrooms and onion and set aside.
  11. In the same pan, add gravy powder to the remaining liquid and stir.
  12. Add vegetable stock gradually, stirring constantly, until desired consistency is achieved.
  13. Taste and check if the gravy needs salt. Add pepper (and salt if required).
  14. If gravy is not thickening scoop some liquid from the pan to a cup, add the cornflour and stir until smooth. Return the liquid to the pan and stir well.
  15. Once gravy is thick, return the meat mixture to the pan and stir until combined.
  16. Pour the meat and gravy mixture into the pie crust.
  17. Place a puff pastry sheet on top of the pie (you may need 2 sheets to cover the pie).
  18. Trim edges and push them down with the prongs of a fork.
  19. Cut leftover puff pastry into 3 leaf shapes, and place in centre of pie to decorate.
  20. Use a skewer to make a hole in the middle of the pie for air to escape.
  21. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  22. Allow pie to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
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