Easy Easter Baking: Chocolate Mini Egg Swirls

 

Easter mini egg swirls

I love chocolate mini eggs and I REALLY love the fact that Easter means that they’re usually on special offer, I even love them enough to want to get the pastry out and get baking.

If you haven’t bought the book Bread Revolution by Thoughtful Bread yet or borrowed it from the library then I highly recommend it, thanks to that ace book I made the best cinnamon swirls ever which were my inspiration for these little beauties.

Instead of making a dough I just bought a pack of ready made, ready rolled puff pastry, it cost just £1 and was brilliant, life’s too short for making your own puff pastry I reckon.

Ingredients: Makes about 10 swirls.

  • 150g soft brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 100g plain flour
  • 120g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1 x 375g pack ready rolled puff pastry
  • 300g chocolate mini eggs
  • milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Combine the sugar, flour, butter and ground almonds in a food processor and blitz until completely mixed and powdery.
  2. Lay out the puff pastry, brush with some milk then cover with the flour mix then dot with the mini eggs.
  3. Roll up the pastry very tightly and brush the ends with more milk to help the seams stick, then using a very sharp knife cut a thick slice (about 3cm thick) then use a second knife to help transfer the slice onto a baking paper covered roasting tray. Repeat leaving about 3cms around each round.

Easter chocolate mini egg swirls5. Bake for 15minutes on the middle shelf then reduce temp to 180C and continue to            cook for about 8-10 minutes or until pastry is lightly golden. My oven is really  temperamental so just keep an eye on the first batch. Once cooked transfer onto a cooling rack, dust with vanilla icing sugar whilst hot then once again when cold if you have any swirls that made it that long without being snaffled.

Easter chocolate mini egg swirls

Great to make with kids over Easter

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Soda Bread

Straight out of the oven

I had a really crap night last night so this morning I decided I needed cheering up and what better to cheer the soul than freshly baked bread.  I turned to my new favourite baking book Bread Revolution by The Thoughtful Bread Company for Patrick’s recipe.  Marvelous, I thought, I have all of that except the red wine vinegar so out came the big bowl, in went the dry ingredients (including the wonderfully coarse Whissendine organic wholemeal flour) and then I realised we were almost out of milk. Arse.  I did however have Buttermilk in the fridge that I was saving for scones so I used that instead and swapped red wine vinegar for some Womersley Golden Raspberry and Apache Chilli vinegar.

Whilst mixing the sloppy dough (it’s meant to be that way) I realised that my loaf tin was out on loan so ended up adding extra flour so that the dough could be shaped and baked without a tin.  I then kicked myself for ONCE AGAIN starting a recipe without checking to see if I had all the ingredients and equipment (another reason I don’t really use recipes or bake much!).

Luckily it turned out really well, if a little more crumbly than it perhaps should have due to my substitutions but oh my it tastes so good! It has absolutely cheered my morning and I can now see soda bread being a much welcome and more frequent addition to the table. I used to eat quite a bit of soda bread as a kid, my Dad is Irish and so it was almost a staple loaf of the bread bin but for some reason I have just kinda stopped eating it, until now that is.  Next time I am going to try Thoughtful Bread‘s recipe to the letter though and you never know, I might even check to see if I have everything I need before ploughing in!

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Cinnamon Swirls

Recently I visited the ultra lovely folk of The Thoughtful Bread Company at their pop-up cafè in Bath.  I love these guys, their attitude, their bread (and cakes!) and now their book too.  “Bread Revolution – Rise Up & Bake” has been in my possession for less than 48 hours now and I am already smitten.  It was my fella’s birthday yesterday and I felt bad that the only package that the postie delivered was my copy of Bread Revolution so I told him to pick out absolutely any recipe he liked and I would make it for his birthday (I’m nice like that see).

Now, I don’t really do baking.  I’m not one for weighing and measuring anything and much prefer to rely on my instinct.  I’m a bit odd, I see tastes in terms of shapes and colours (recently I found out it has a name and is called Synesthesia), it’s totally normal for me and I grew up thinking everyone was the same – it actually came as a real shock to find out that other people weren’t manipulating triangles when cooking!  Anyway, Glen picked out their recipe for Cinnamon Swirls which was really handy as I already had all the ingredients in the pantry.  I’ve never made a sweet dough before and wasn’t entirely sure about whether I should keep flouring the worktop as I was kneading the dough (it was really sticky), but I did, and probably shouldn’t have as the dough was a bit tight as I went, but I carried on anyway.

I decided to try their Sugared Raisin version. I’m not a huge fan of raisins in any food (heaven forbid I find a raisin in a pot of curry sauce) but I had some jumbo sultanas and raisins set aside for making more smoked tea booze concoctions so I used them and threw in a load of flaked almonds too for good measure.

 So I rolled up my dough creation, and after some Twitter reassurance from Thoughtful Bread that a water sprayer wasn’t essential (massive relief as mine were all still full of last year’s Black Fly beating mix of washing up liquid and water), I sliced it and left them to prove for about 90 minutes.  My intention was to pop most of them in the fridge overnight but I could only fit one tray of 4 in there (damn) so I had to cook the rest, all 12 of them (double damn!).

Just 15 short minutes later and the first batch of 6 were ready.  I decided to add a good dose of cinnamon to the sugar glaze that was bubbling away on the hob (I love cinnamon), glazed them then waited for them to cool before scattering a few more flaked almonds on them and drizzling with icing.

I can honestly say I was pretty shocked by the result, they tasted even better than I imagined, in fact they tasted amazing!  The dough was so soft and light, the buns sticky and sweet, and the filling was just wonderfully sweet/soft/cinnamony/crunchy.  I have a new addiction.  The buns that went into the fridge overnight were brought to room temp today and baked off – they turned out to be even better.  I think the overnight cold prove helped the dough become even lighter and if I can manage to resist eating them all on the same day I will from now on always do it that way.

I have completely fallen in love with this recipe and for the first time ever I am actually really excited about working my way around a baking cook book.  Bread Revolution’s sweet dough has been quite the bread revelation (sorry) for me and I can’t wait to experiment more. I don’t own a food mixer, which they recommend in order to make their brioche, so it looks as if it may be their Bacon Fougasse next, or their Nettle and Chive Flowerpot Breads, or doughnuts, or rye crackers – there are just SO many I want to crack on with,  but seeing as though I have eaten nothing but cinnamon swirls today perhaps a bit of a foraging walk first for ingredients…..

Thoughtful Bread

 I was born in Bath and whenever I head back for a visit I become so terribly homesick for many reasons, but one of them is the abundance of fantastic bread there.  I don’t know why but great bread is really thin on the ground round my way.  The upside of this though is that I bake quite a bit of my own, which I love doing, but my oven has a mind of its own (and its a bit of a nightmare) so it would be so lovely to have fantastic sourdough bread readily available.

I first heard about The Thoughtful Bread Company last year through BBC 2’s The Big Bread Experiment in which founder Duncan Glendinning and head baker Patrick Ryan help a Yorkshire community set up their own bakery.  I knew that they had a stall in Bath’s Green Park Station so vowed to visit them.  I did just that last year and was not only really impressed by their amazing breads and cakes (oh my god their cakes!) but by the guys that make up the company itself. Ross was running the stall that day and we got chatting about the company and their eco-friendly business. Not only are they absolutely lovely guys but their passion for bread is really inspiring.

Ross at the Thoughtful Bread stand last year

 So when I headed off to Bath last week for my big sister’s birthday I made sure I popped over to see them once more. It was only 12:30pm by the time I got to the Farmer’s Market at Green Park Station and met up with Ross but he was already sold out. Gutted. All was not lost though because Thoughtful Bread had a pop up cafè in The Guildhall for 2 weeks during the Bath Literary Festival – HOORAY!

Ross and Duncan were busy behind their counter and their cafè was a quirky mix of mismatched crockery, hay bale seating and trestle tables all surrounded by their gorgeous breads.

How beautiful do these loaves look? They make so many variations of loaves depending on what’s in season – cider, beetroot, walnut, wild garlic – all beautifully made and most importantly tasting amazing.

Flatbreads for homemade dips

Oh and their cakes really are something special. “Try our gluten free spiced orange cake” said Ross.  For some reason I avoid gluten free cakes but I won’t anymore.  The wheat flour had been replaced by ground almonds and the sweet, sticky orange cake was absolute heaven. Their Guinness cake, although I didn’t try it, completely inspired my Guinness free Guinness cake that I made for my Domestic Sluttery posting on Friday and those chocolate and raspberry tarts are just beyond delicious.

Gluten free spiced Orange and Almond, Guinness cake and Dark chocolate and raspberry tarts....swoon

They even have a book so you can make their breads at home!

I bought one of their sourdough loaves to take back to my sister’s later that day.

I stopped off on my way back that afternoon to pick some wild garlic so I could have my favourite Spring treat…sourdough, wild garlic and cheese sandwiches – hell yeah! Plus my gorgeous niece Nyla tried wild garlic for the first time and loved it!

 Nyla gave their sourdough an almighty thumbs up too!

So if you find yourself in Bath make sure you head to see the fab fellows of The Thoughtful Bread Company, say hello from me, try their goodies and stock up.  Oh, and if you happen to be heading up to Melton Mowbray, bring me a loaf too!

And no, they haven’t paid me to say all these lovely things about them!