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Chocolate Fruit Cake


2017 is coming to end and I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. I'm looking forward to my Christmas and New Year break, and I guess most of you must be looking for the holidays and spending time with family. I wish all my readers and friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May this new year bring you all happiness, prosperity and good health. This is my last post for the year, see you next year with new recipes :)

I have tried quiet a few fruit cake recipes, but this cake one of the best fruit cakes I ever tasted. It's dark, moist and rich with a slight hint of chocolate and spice. This chocolate fruit cake recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson. Usually for fruit cakes, we soak the dry fruits in rum or brandy for couple of weeks, but in this cake we boil the fruits and let it is sit for sometime to develop the flavors and plump the fruits. You can use any dry fruits, but I would recommend not to skip the prunes as it makes the cake rich and moist. For a non-alcoholic version, use orange juice or coffee extract. It's a simple and easy recipe that requires just one bowl. It does take few hours to prep, bake and rest but I promise you it's worth the wait.



Ingredients:

3 cups pitted prunes, chopped
1¾ cups raisins
1 cup currants
175 g unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup honey
½ cup Tia Maria or other coffee liqueur
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup almond meal
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

Method:

1. Preheat the oven 150°C/300°F. Line the sides and bottom of a  8-inch round spring form cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment. The paper should come up higher than the sides of the tin.

2. In a large saucepan, add the prunes, raisins, currants, butter, sugar, honey, Tia Maria, orange juice and zests, mixed spice and bring to the boil gently, stirring as the butter melts. Simmer for 10 minutes and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

3. Add the beaten eggs, all-purpose flour, almond meal, baking powder and baking soda and stir with a spatula to combine.

4. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for 1¾–2 hours till the top of the cake is firm but will have a shiny and sticky look. If you insert a cake tester into the centre of the cake it will still be a little gooey in the middle.

5.Put the cake on a cooling rack. Once it's cool, remove from the tin.


Notes and Tips
  • For a non-alcoholic version, use orange juice or coffee extract.
  • Mixed spice is a blend of coriander, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.
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Eggless Whole Wheat Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls #BreadBakers


For this month's Bread Bakers, Kalyani of Sizzling Taste Buds suggested to bake our favorite holiday breads made with whole grains as the theme. I chose to make these chocolate and cinnamon rolls made with whole wheat from Amy's Healthy Baking.

The recipe sounded easy with only one rise after the rolls are shaped and very healthy with whole wheat, coconut sugar and just 1 tablespoon of butter. I ran short of whole wheat, so added half cup all-purpose flour instead. I also increased the amount of butter and sugar, and added melted chocolate in the filling to make the rolls more decadent. The rolls turned out light and the chocolate filling was so delicious -  you don't need any glaze or icing. The rolls are great as a snack or with a cup of coffee.



Eggless Whole Wheat Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Ingredients:

For the dough:
¾ cup warm milk
2 tbsp / 28g unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp salt
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour

For the filling:
50 grams cup butter
3 ½ tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
100 grams chocolate

Method:

1. Lightly coat a 8" or 9” springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Add the wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar, salt to the food processor bowl and combine. Add the warm milk, butter and combine till it forms a dough.

3. Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough springs back when you gently press your finger into it.

4. Cover the dough with cling warp and let it rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.

5. To make the filling, melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Once cool, add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and combine.

6. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a 16x10” rectangle. Spread the chocolate-cinnamon mixture, leaving a 1” border on the two longer sides.

7. Carefully roll up the dough into a log, starting at one long edge and rolling towards the other one. Pinch the free end onto the roll to seal.

8. Slice into 12 pieces using a sharp knife. Place the rolls in the springform pan, and cover with a cling wrap. Keep in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.

9. Preheat the oven to 180 C | 350 F. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the sides feel firm. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes.



Notes and Tips

  • If you are using dry yeast,  proof the yeast in warm milk and sugar before adding to flour.
  • If the dough won’t stick together, gently brush the second longer edge with water before pinching to seal.

BreadBakers
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.



Check out other ‘Wholegrain Holiday Breads’ that our Bread Bakers baked this month:
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Cranberry Pistachio Orange Biscotti


Today's I'm sharing a crunchy and delicious biscotti recipe studded with sweet cranberries and salty pistachios with a slight hint of orange flavor. This is a very easy recipe from Donna Hay, which you can make during the holiday season and perfect as Christmas gift for your friends and family.

I think the recipe yielded about 40 or 50 biscotti but I lost count as we started munching on these delicious biscotti's while slicing them up and few more soon after the final bake! Trust me, these biscottis are very addictive and you will keep eating one after the other. A simple recipe with a very ingredients and quite healthy too.



Ingredients:

3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
¾ cup caster sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup salted pistachios

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 160°C.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat them lightly. Add the orange zest, vanilla extract, sugar and combine well.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder. Add to the egg mixture along with cranberry and pistachio. Mix until it forms a dough.

4. Place the dough on a floured surface. The dough will be slightly sticky. Sprinkle little flour and knead the dough until smooth.

5. Divide the dough into two and form logs. Place the logs in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Slightly flatten the logs. 

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until firm. Allow to cool completely. Once cool, cut into thin slices using a serrated knife. 

7. Place the slices on the baking tray. Place in the oven and bake at 180°C for 8-10 minutes or until crisp.



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