The Great British Bake Along – Week 4 and 5

Apologies for the radio silence, rest assured I have been baking along as usual but a poorly toddler has taken up my available writing time. To make up for it, here’s a BOGOF post to get me back on track and ready for whatever pastry week has in store for me.

Week 4 – Stroopwafels

Prudence Margaret Leith, I have a bone to pick with you. Are you and Hollywood determined to BURN MY FINGERS OFF this year?? I can think of no reasonable explanation as to why you would once again have me make something that has to be shaped whilst hotter than the surface of the sun.

So, stroopwafels it is. I protest too much, because actually I thought this recipe had potential. First of all, it contains caramel, so I’m immediately interested and also calls for a waffle cone maker, which of course I didn’t already own – I get to eat caramel AND buy a near-pointless kitchen gadget (sorry, Kris), so win-win.

The dough for the waffles was pretty straightforward, I rubbed in the butter and then chucked everything in the KitchenAid, slowly adding the water until it started to come together. I added the egg and kneaded the dough with the dough hook for a minute or two – really not long at all. The dough came together quite easily into a soft ball, which I set aside to rest whilst attempting to make the caramel.

In the caramel episode, everyone seemed to be having issues with the caramel going grainy so I attempted to avoid that by scrutinising the recipe and following it to the exact letter. This was a challenge for me, because I really like tweaking recipes to my own taste. The sugar took a long time to dissolve completely, and I was surprised to see that the recipe called for constant, slow stirring. I always thought that stirring caramel was the thing that made it go grainy, but I trusted Queen P and did as I was told. The caramel did eventually come together and was creamy, as the recipe suggested. I then had to keep it warm whilst shaping the dough.

Whilst heating up my new gadget ready for the inaugural stroopwafel, I weighed and rolled the dough into 40g balls which I kept under a damp tea towel to stop them drying out. Like the pointless fortune cookies, this is a recipe where you can only make one at a time and you have to do it whilst the buggers are still hot. All this whilst trying to keep the caramel at the exact warmth to stop it going grainy. I placed one dough ball on the iron at a time and pressed the lid down for 1.5 – 2mins, until they were golden brown and a little puffed up. While the waffle is hot, remove to a cutting board and use a metal cutter (my plastic one melted) to make it into a perfect circle, split into two layers, put a big blob of caramel in the middle and sandwich the two halves back together, making sure the caramel covers all the way to the edge. I like to do this whilst singing ‘Stroop’ to the tune of ‘Shoop’ by Salt-N-Pepa.

This was all pretty straightforward, if lengthy and hot. Toward the end, I got a bit distracted and my caramel started to turn a little grainy. This was easily fixed with a small splash of boiling water, thankfully.

Unlike the fortune cookies which I doubt I will ever make again, these were TOTALLY WORTH the effort. I definitely did not eat 4 in one day, honest. Serve them with coffee if you can wait for the kettle to boil before you stuff them into your face like the Cookie Monster. I now have a waffle iron so basically everyone is getting stroopwafels for Christmas this year whether they like it or not.

You can (and should) find the official recipe here: Prue’s Stroopwafels

Week 5 – Molten Chocolate Peanut Butter Puddings

HELL YES, DESSERT WEEK! Now, THAT is more like it – a filthy pudding full of peanut butter. Before I’d even watched the episode I had multiple offers to come and be a taste tester for this one. Shocker.

As you will have seen from the episode, these babies come together pretty fast and need to be eaten right away (what a shame). I prepped all the ingredients whilst dinner was in the oven, ready to bring everything together and pop them in the oven right after.

The recipe calls for the chocolate and butter to be melted together and cooled, which allowed me enough time to melt everything before dinner and for it to be cool enough to use when we’d finished. I whipped the sugar, eggs and egg yolks together in the KitchenAid until it looked like mousse – this took a surprisingly long time, as I like to beat eggs on the lowest setting, to keep the air bubbles small. I find that the smaller bubbles give the eggs a stronger structure which means that you are less likely to lose too much air when you fold in the remaining ingredients.

Once the chocolate/butter is cool, fold into the mousse, then sift and fold in the flour. Fill your pudding mounds about halfway with mixture, then stick a big blob of peanut butter in the middle of each one and cover with the remaining mixture.

Paul’s recipe calls for the puddings to be baked for 8-12 minutes. I plumped for 10, texted my taste tester with a 10 minute warning and sat in front of the oven watching them nervously. After 10mins, one started to look like it might be on the verge of cracking, which the recipe said it should not do. I took them out and made Kris turn them out, while I danced about nervously behind him.

There was no need for nerves, they were spot on. Lovely cakey texture with a filthy, molten peanut butter centre.

These were simple to make, and now I know they take exactly 10mins in my oven I would absolutely try them again. Yum!

Find the official recipe here: Paul’s Molten Puddings

See you next week for tarts!

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