Vanilla Spice Hot Cross Buns

 

With Easter fast approaching, my thoughts have turned towards festive baking and what could be more Easter-y than Hot Cross Buns. Every year seem to make a new variety – I was particularly pleased with the flavour combination of last years sticky toffee ones (actually i really must make some of them before the weekend!) and chocolate chip varieties of anything go down well in this household.

But by and large Easter baking means spice – hot cross buns, easter biscuits and simnel cake all have a mellow spice that is the taste of sweet easter baking (if you remove chocolate from the equation!). This hot cross buns variation leaves out the dried fruit (to please my kids) but ramps up the spice and adds the mellow sweetness of vanilla. It’s s great combination and I do recommend taking the time to make these for Easter – they’re so rewarding and fun to make.

Vanilla Spice Hot Cross Buns

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 9-12

550-575g strong bread flour

1 tsp dried yeast

3 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1and 1/5 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

seeds from 1/2 a vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

1 and 3/4 cups warm oat milk

2 tbsps melted dairy-free margarine

for the crosses:

2 tbsp flour

3 tbsp water

for the glaze:

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp water

  1.  In a large bowl mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, lemon zest, salt and spices. Make a well in the centre and pour in the dairy-free milk and melted dairy-free margarine, bring together to form a dough (adding more flour if too wet, or more liquid if too dry)
  2. Knead for about 5 mins until the dough is smooth
  3. Place in a bowl and cover, leave in a warm place to double in size
  4. Knock back, knead again and then form into 9-12 even sized balls. Place well spaced on a baking sheet lined with grease proof paper (or as i did, nearish so they link up when baked)
  5. Leave to rise again for 10-20 minutes
  6. Mix together the water and flour to make a paste and pipe onto the top of the buns in crosses
  7. Bake at 190 degrees/Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes until risen and the buns sound hollow
  8. Make the glaze by dissolving the sugar in the water and boiling briefly. Brush over the hot buns.
  9. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  10. These buns are best kept loosely covered or the glaze will make them go a bit soggy.

Triple Chocolate Swirl Buns

triple chocolate swirl buns, dairy-free and egg-free

I love making sweet swirled buns, there’s something magical about using a yeasted dough and making the swirls, then watching them come’ alive’ in the oven. They’re also a fantastic bake because they’re simple but look mightily impressive. As I’ve mentioned before Little S’s class gets a home-baked treat every Friday partly so she can enjoy sharing nice treats that she can have with her friends and partly to install in her friends that ‘friendly’ foods are also delicious (and I get to bake too)!

Since everyone always loves chocolate I thought we’d bring a ray of sunshine to cold dark January with these rather exciting and original triple chocolate swirl buns. Whilst we all love cinnamon buns sometimes it’s nice for a bit of variety and triple chocolate certainly hits the mark. The dough is subtly flavoured with cocoa, the swirl is a sugary cocoa paste flecked with chunks of white chocolate and the whole thing is drizzled with dairy-free milk chocolate. It makes for a stunning combination both to look at and eat. These have now been declared an all time favourite by some recipients so they must be ok!

making swirl buns

Triple Chocolate Swirl Buns

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan nut-free chocolate buns

100ml dairy-free yogurt, I used Alpo

220ml water

3 tbsp dairy-free spread, such as Pure

475g plain flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tsp dried yeast

75g soft brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp cornflour

For the filling:

1/3 cup caster sugar

2 tbsp cocoa powder

3 tbsp dairy-free margarine

1/2 tsp chocolate extract [optional]

75g dairy-free white chocolate, finely chopped [optional]

For the glaze:

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp pearl sugar/sugar crystals

And/or:

50g dairy-free ‘milk’ chocolate, melted

  1. Melt the margarine and water together – you want it to be warm and melted but not hot, stir in the yogurt
  2. In a bowl mx together the flour, yeast, sugar, cornflour and salt
  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm liquid mix
  4. Bring together to a soft dough and knead until its smooth and bounces back when poked. Cover and let double in size in a warm place.
  5. Mix together the filling ingredients (except the chopped chocolate) and set aside.
  6. Knock back and roll out to a large rectangle. Spread on the chocolate filling. Sprinkle over the chopped white chocolate, then roll up tightly into a long sausage
  7. Cut into even slices, probably about 1.5-2cm each – I managed to get 25 small slices from mine
  8. Place on lined baking sheets, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise again for another half an hour. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 4/375 degrees F
  9. Bake for 17-20 minutes until risen, golden and cooked through.
  10. Melt the brown sugar with the water and brush over the top and sprinkle with the pearl sugar (if using)
  11. Remove from the pans and peel off the paper. Drizzle with the melted chocolate if desired.

triple chocolate swirl yeasted buns

Gingerbread Spiced Swirl Buns

img_0648
Gingerbread cinnamon swirl buns

I reckon it’s about time to get a little bit festive and Christmassy round here – I’ve got so many ideas which have been simmering away since last Christmas and I just didn’t get time to action, and despite all my best intentions to be prepared, there’s just something that prevents me from Christmas cooking before the start of December!

These delightfully gingerbread scented swirl buns give a nod to the forthcoming festive season without seeming too full on Christmassy. In fact you could happily eat them at any time of year. I think spiced swirl buns are such a successful and rewarding bake – they take time but are essentially very simple, look delightfully irresistible and make the house smell heavenly! You can’t get better than that!

gingerbread spiced swirl buns, dairy-free, egg-free

Gingerbread Cinnamon Swirl Buns

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan gingerbread spiced swirl buns

makes about 24

250ml dairy-free milk, I used Oatly

3 tbsp dairy-free margarine, such as Pure

1tbsp black treacle

450g plain flour

2 tsp dried yeast

60g sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp dairy-free margarine

christmas swirl buns, vegan

For the glaze:

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp pearl sugar/sugar crystals

And/or:

1/4 cup icing sugar

Sprinkle cinnamon

Water to make into a runny paste

  1. Melt the spread and milk together – you want it to be warm and melted but not hot, stir in the treacle.
  2. In a bowl mx together the flour, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt
  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk mix
  4. Bring together to a soft dough and knead until its smooth and bounces back when poked
  5. Cover and let double in size
  6. Knock back and roll out to a large rectangle
  7. Smear on the dairy-free margarine. Sprinkle over the sugar and cinnamon and ginger, then roll up tightly into a long sausage
  8. Cut into even slices – I managed to get 24 small slices from mine
  9. Place on lined baking sheets and leave to rise again for another half an hour.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 4/375 degrees F. Bake for 17-20 minutes until risen, golden and cooked through
  11. Melt the brown sugar with the water and brush over the top and sprinkle with the pearl sugar (if using). Remove from the pans and peel off the paper. Drizzle with the cinnamon water icing.

dairy-free christmas spiced cinnamon swirls

Sticky Toffee Scones

sticky toffee scones, vegan

I do like scones, they’re such a delightful teatime snack. Not too sweet, light and fluffy, the perfect accompaniment to some tasty or interesting jam and a doddle to make as long as you’re light handed and respectful of the dough. I’ve made any varieties, with particular favourites being lemon drizzle and blueberry. I recently bought the fantastic 80 cakes by Claire Clark and its providing me with lots of inspiration. She features some ginger and molasses scones which for some reason got me thinking of combining the flavours of sticky toffee pudding and transporting them into a scone recipe. Sticky toffee scones! Now that sounds like a great idea.

In fact it turns out to be an awesome idea, why don’t people make sticky toffee scones all the time? The mellow sweetness of the whizzed up dates is perfect in the not so sweet scone template and who can resist a sticky, crunchy top?

Sticky Toffee Scones

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegan, vegetarian)

sticky toffee scones, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free

makes 10-12

100ml dairyfree milk

25g dates

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

220g flour

50g caster sugar

1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

75g dairy-free margarine

1 tbsp golden syrup

Extra dairyfree milk for brushing

2 tbsp Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade
  2. Simmer together half (50ml) of the milk with the dates until soft. Whizz up in a food processor/ blender to form a puree. Add the bicarbonate and set aside.
  3. Into a bowl sift the flour and baking powder, stir in the caster sugar.
  4. Rub in the margarine with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  5. Pour in the date puree and the remaining 50 ml of dairy-free milk. Gently bring together to a soft sticky dough. Do not knead.
  6. Turn out onto a floured surface and pat out to about 5cm thick. Cut out circles and place on a floured baking tray.
  7. Brush with the extra milk and sprinkle with Demerara.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden and risen.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.

sticky toffee scones, vegetarian and vegan

Dairy-free Pain au Chocolat

dairy-free pain au chocolat

We’ve just returned from a wonderful holiday in Corsica, it was the perfect holiday for us: French culture, warm sunny weather, beaches and sea and plenty of family time.

One of the true joys of a French holiday are morning trips to the boulangerie to buy fresh crusty baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolat for breakfast. Every morning, little S would come and buy the fresh bread and pastries first thing and then look enviously at our pain au chocolat on the breakfast table. So I made a promise to make a batch on return.

I have made croissants and pain au chocolat before, but since it is a fairly lengthy process of making a yeasted dough and them ‘laminating’ the layers with butter/margarine in a similar fashion to puff pastry, it’s not been a regular feature in my baking! But, there was no way little S was going to feel like she’d missed out on anything in our wonderful French holiday, so pain au chocolat was on the menu on our return.

I’m pretty pleased with the results and both girls were delighted with a new fancy breakfast option, maybe a bit too pleased as they’re going to have to be made with some regularity! Luckily they do freeze brilliantly, so next time it’ll have to be a double sized batch!

pain au chocolat, egg-free, nut-free

Dairy-free Homemade Pain au Chocolat

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan, egg-free, nut-free pain au chocolat

 

makes 8

250g plain flour

7g caster sugar

25g dairy-free margarine (I used Pure)

1 rounded tsp yeast

150ml dairy-free milk (I used Oatly)

125g dairy-free margarine

1 bar of dark dairy-free chocolate, about 50-60g, chopped

a sprinkle of caster sugar

melted dairy-free margarine for brushing

  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar and yeast. Add the dairy-free margarine and cut into tiny bits
  2. Pour in the dairy-free milk and stir. Once come together, knead well to form a soft dough.
  3. Cover and leave to rise for a couple of hours
  4. Meanwhile, put the remaining 125g dairy-free margarine on to some cling film and loosely wrap. Roll out to a square shape, and place in the fridge to harden.
  5. Once the dough has risen, turn out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth dough. Roll out to a large rectangle. Place the cooled spread in the middle and fold over the remaining dough.making vegan pain au chocolat
  6. Roll out and fold into thirds twice
  7. Place back in the fridge for thirty minutes or so, then roll out and fold back into thirds twice more. Repeat two or three times.
  8. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes more.
  9. Roll out to form a large rectangle. Cut into four long strips, halve each.dairy-free pain au chocolat
  10. Place a line of chocolate at each narrow end and roll both in to meet in the middle. Turn over
  11. Loosely cover with cling film and let rise on the baking tray for 30 minutes.proving vegan pain au chocolat
  12. Brush with the melted margarine and sprinkle with caster sugar
  13. Bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 20 minutespain au chocolat, no milk, no eggs , no nuts

Marmite Bagels

dairy-free marmite bagel

I love making bagels; ok it’s a slightly convoluted process but they make me feel like a real, proper baker! When I saw a picture of some marmite bagels on the cover of Olive Magazine, I just knew I had to make my own version. Big S loves bagels and marmite and isn’t so keen on sweet breakfast options – these bagels could have been made exclusively for her!

They really are a delicious savoury bagel variation – certainly not too ‘marmity’ but with add oomph and umami flavours, these certainly aren’t a bland plain bagel! Don’t worry though, if you’re not a marmite fan you will still enjoy these, they’re more savoury and moorish than overpoweringly marmite flavoured.

dairy-free bagels

We had them warm from the oven with Tofutti better than cream cheese, served with carrot soup – a complete winner of a lunch!

But make sure you leave some for breakfast, toasted and with added marmite if you’re a real marmite addict!

Marmite Bagels

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

egg-free nut-free bagels, marmite flavour

Makes 10

500g strong bread flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp dried yeast

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 and 1/2 tbsp marmite and 1 tbsp syrup dissolved in 300ml water

1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp marmite

1 tsp marmite dissolved in 1 tbsp dairy-free milk, for brushing

A few flakes of sea salt to sprinkle

  1. Sift the flour into bowl; add the salt, sugar and yeast.
  2. Pour in the water (with marmite and syrup dissolved in) and oil and and mix until you have a nice smooth, pliable dough (if you have a mixer with a dough hook use that)
  3. Knead until the dough is silky smooth and bounces back when you make an indentation (probably 5-10 minutes)
  4. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Bring a pan of water to the boil. Cut the dough into ten equal sized pieces, weigh them if you want them to be exact.
  6. Shape each into a ball, then insert a wooden spoon handle in the middle to make a hole. Twizzle about until the hole is at least 2cm/1 inch across. (Or leave as balls if making burger buns)
  7. Stir in the 1 tbsp marmite into the boiling water. Once all the bagels are shaped, tip the bicarbonate into the water.  Place each bagel in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, turning over once. Lift out, drain off the excess water by placing on a clean tea towel. Then place on the baking sheet. Leave to rise again for 30 minutes, covered with cling film bagel making, freefrom
  8. Heat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade/gas mark 7. Oil a baking sheet.
  9. Brush with the marmite infused dairy-free milk and sprinkle with the salt.
  10. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden
  11. Cool on a wire rack.

marmite bagels, vegan