The History Behind the Humble Hot Cross Bun

Here's a chocolaty variation for all you chocoholics out there!

Hot cross buns come in all kinds of different varieties, here we have some shop bought chocolate ones, great for a light snack or a good breakfast.

The humble hot cross bun is something you either loathe or love, but believe it or not this little, spiced, bun is steeped in history and superstitious folklore.

Hot cross buns are usually eaten in historically Christian countries, where the cross is put on the buns as a symbol of the crucifixion. They are usually eaten during the period of Lent, beginning with the evening of Shrove Tuesday to midday on Good Friday.

English folklore states that if you share a hot cross bun with someone it is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, and so the following phrase was coined: “Half for you and half for me, between us two shall goodwill be.” Many Victorians believed in keeping hot cross buns for medicinal purposes as well, believing that it would help them fight illnesses they had.

Hot cross buns have become a baked hallmark of Easter and each year they are sold in and around the UK. So next time you dig into your toasted, buttery, bun just remember that you’re eating something that is steeped in history.

Why not have a go baking you’re very own hot cross buns.  Below is quick simple guide taken from: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2066661/hot-cross-buns

Ingredients

For the buns

  • 300ml full-fat milk, plus 2 tbsp more
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the cross

  • 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the glaze

  • 3 tbsp apricot jam

Method

  1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (see Tip, below) into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
  2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
  3. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.
  4. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece – see Tip below). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.
  5. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses (see Tip below). Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  6. Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.

By James Busby

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Healthy and delicious snacks: Apple & Cinnamon Muffins recipe.

Busy? Hungry? Fighting the temptation to have an unhealthy, quick fix?  Apple and Cinnamon muffins to the rescue.

These delicious little muffins contain only 140 calories and 8 grams of fat so yes, they are still a little bit naughty but not as naughty as that packet of crisps or that chocolate bar that you find yourself reaching for.

Quick and easy to make, Apple and Cinnamon Muffins can be enjoyed breakfast, dinner and tea and will be much more satisfying than the sat-fat-alicious treats you normally divulge in.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of apple sauce (odd, but makes the muffins moist)

There were several more ingredients but they are unnecessary to the recipe and a little more expensive. When you’re pinching your pocket until next pay day like me, it doesn’t help when you want a cheap healthy snack and have to fork out more to make your own than it would be to just simply buy them.

Follow these 4 easy steps to make your own:

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C

2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and oil until smooth. Stir in applesauce and sugar. Combine both mixtures.

4. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin cups. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool on a wire rack.
Done! Thank me later when you notice your pants starting to fit better.
John Elsworth

Chocolatey protein bars

If you’re a bit of an exercise nut or perhaps you feel your arms resemble twigs somewhat and you should do something about it, well then this recipe is for you. Protein powder forms the basis of this treat; as with trying to keep fit protein supports muscle growth and repair.

My boyfriend came up with this recipe for himself as he tried drinking protein powder but wasn’t too keen on the taste. Instead of giving up on the stuff, he persevered; trying and testing different ways he could take the powder. He has tried cakes and brownies in the past but has found these protein bars to be the most flavoursome. These protein bars are derived from a simple flap jack recipe with a couple of beneficial alterations.

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Ingredients:
500g oats
200g bran flakes
250g golden syrup
200g butter
100g protein powder
200g melted chocolate

You may think putting protein powder with these other fatty ingredients may cancel out the overall positive effects. But in fact you are gaining added protein from the oats, bran flakes and butter. Also the butter provides you with essential fats… admittedly the rest is all for good taste. For building muscle in general an increased intake of calories is needed.

So, to start get your oats and bran flakes and give them a quick blits in a processor.

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Then melt your chocolate, add this and all of the other remaining ingredients and give it a good mix. You should have a very sticky and rather tough mixture.

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Get your baking tray out and pour in the mixture. This recipe does not require baking, rather just storing in your fridge for an overnight period. In this time your protein bars will gain structure.

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Having been patient you are now ready to cut your protein mix into bars and eat.

Do you have any fitness treats? Let us know through Facebook , follow us on Twitter or get in touch with us at 5crumbybakers@gmail.com!

 

By Karen Coe

Grendon Underwood Primary School Bakes a Treat

Grendon Underwood Primary School

Grendon Underwood Primary School

They say to never work with animals or children, but this was not the case for staff at Grendon Underwood Primary School in Buckinghamshire, who saw this recipe when I contacted them with regards to our website.

I knew this particular school had a cooking club from previous work experience I had done for them. So I phoned and asked if they would be interested in following one of my recipes and take a look at our website which they kindly agreed to do.

This is where the magic happens!

This is where the magic happens!

I spoke to the cooking club organiser as well pupils who took part in the club, Mrs Shirley, the cooking club teacher said: “We saw this recipe and thought it was easy enough for school children of all ages and abilities in my club to make. They had great fun and the result was both great tasting and it smelled wonderful too. I am certainly going to keep an eye on this site’’.

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It is nice to see that our website has been used by a local school and one of its recipes has been used in a cooking club.

Pupils at the school voiced their views below:

A year one child said: ‘’It was really easy to follow the recipe and it tastes lovely and sweet. We ate it last night!’’

A year two child said: “I loved the mashing the best it was really messy.”

A year one child said: “Mum wants to make this again it was really tasty.”

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I would like to give a special thanks to the staff and children at Grendon Underwood Primary School, who kindly took part in baking one of my recipes and kindly submitted the pictures seen above. I hope you enjoyed the recipe and be sure to check our website for regular updates on more tasty, simple, and healthy treats.

Check out the recipe here: https://5crumbybakers.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/vegan-banana-bread/

By James Busby

Here’s what we thought of The Custom Cupcake Company, Liverpool

We have been on another baking adventure this week, and this time we dropped in to The Custom Cupcake Company for a spot of tea and cake and a quick chat with one of the owners, Matt Blakey. We’d like to thank 5crumbybakers fan Elly Groves who suggested we visit this super cute place by leaving a comment on a post we did about Dafna’s Cheese Cake Factory, a quaint bakery on Smithdown Road.

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Niamh (left) Owner Matt Blakey, Karen (right)

The Custom Cupcake Company is located in one of Liverpool’s most animated areas- Bold Street, A vibrant high street that’s constantly bustling with shoppers heading down towards Liverpool town centre. We agreed this lively cobbled street is the perfect location for a cupcake shop, and certainly a great place to stop off for a sweet treat when you’re on your way into town.

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The exterior of the cute Bold Street cupcake shop and one of Matt’s particularly special flavoured cupcake.

The interior of the bakery/café is fresh and simplistic. There’s a large bar on one side displaying the bakery’s delicious treats a few tables dotted here and there for those (like us) who can’t have a cupcake without a cup of tea to go with it! The counter that stretches all the way along the bakery wall is stacked with piles of heavenly looking cupcakes.  Having to choose a single cake can prove great difficulty (we were forced to purchase two each… just for market research of course!)

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The interior of the bakery and their delicious triple chocolate brownies on offer.

Matt and his wife Kelly opened the bakery last November. In their short time of running it, it sure has made its mark. They provide over 130 wildly unique flavours on rotation, and even have their own celebrity following which include; Russell Brand, Eddie Izzard, Little Mix and Taylor Swift, who all chose the bakery on Bold Street for its imaginative creations.

ImageThe Custom Cupcake Company caters for any occasion, here’s some of spectacular ideas for Birthday celebrations.

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The Custom Cupcake Company’s Black forest cupcake

Owner Matt tells us the best-selling has to be the Mars cupcake, and we can see why! Its chocolate and caramel mixture gives it a rich and gooey texture, very much replicating a real life Mars bar. It would make a seriously great Easter-time treat for any chocoholics who’ve given “the good stuff” up for lent!

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Some special (and very unusual) treats the Custom Cupcake Company has to offer

When asking Matt about his weirdest creation, He told us about “cuptails,” a list of classic cocktails the CCC has recreated in cupcakes. One even includes an absinth shot but we won’t talk about that! “We also do a cupcake called pigs can fly” he said. It’s a sweet and meaty combination: a caramel flavoured cake, with a caramel filling and topping, all sprinkled with bits of bacon. We weren’t daring enough to try this flavour but why don’t you pop in and give The Custom Cupcake Company a go? We’d definitely recommend it!

Here’s our interview with Matt, the owner of The Custom Cupcake Company

Don’t forget to tell us what you think!

If there’s any other bakeries in Liverpool you think might be worth checking out, feel free to leave us a comment below!

Niamh Conway and Karen Coe

Five minutes with…The Baking Explorer

I think it is safe to say that since starting out on our baking blog experience here at 5crumbybakers, I have been bitten by the baking bug.
Hours that would normally have been spent watching soaps are now dedicated to catching up on my favourite baking blogs.
I stumbled across ‘The Baking Explorer’  blog quite some time ago now and I fell in love with it’s quirky design and delicious recipe ideas.
 Having become quite the fangirl, I got in touch with Kat, the baking explorer to spend five minutes with her to find out more about the baker.
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H: Hi Kat, What inspired you to start ‘The Baking Explorer?’
K: I decided to ‘bake along’ to The Great British Bake Off and I thought it would be a great way to record my baking.
H: What tips would you give to anybody starting out in baking?
K: Have fun, don’t be afraid to experiment, and don’t be put off if you get it wrong.
H: What is the hardest thing you have ever baked? Any huge baking disasters?
K: My biggest disaster was probably a Tarte Tatin, I burnt it so badly and it was unedible!
It was my first time making caramel and it went completely wrong.
I tried it again and got it right, which was a big relief.
Whenever I mess something up, I always have to make it again to get it right.
H: What do you think has made ‘The Baking Explorer’ so successful?
K: I’m not sure exactly, but I like to think it’s because my bakes are things people can see themselves producing at home. I don’t make unacheivable or overly perfect things and I hope that it makes me and my bakes more relatable for readers.
H:  Who is your baking inspiration?
K: I love Mary Berry! Who doesn’t?! She’s fab and I like her attitude such as taking shortcuts when needed, for example buying ready made pastry, and getting children involved in baking. She’s a wonderful lady. I also really like Stacie Stewart and John Whaite.
H: Which of your recipes has received the most attention?
K: The recipe on my blog that has received the most hits are the Custard Tarts I made for week 4 of last year’s GBBO. They were quite stressful to make, but really delicious and worth the effort!
H: What would be a piece of baking wisdom you could share with the 5 Crumby Bakers?
K: Try out new things. It’s the best way to grow your range of baking skills and experience. And to discover new delicious treats!
H: What has been the best thing about writing a baking blog?
K: There have been so many great things. Meeting other people who have the same passion for baking as me definitely comes high on the list. It’s inspiring to see what other bloggers create and also it’s lovely to receive positive feedback about my own bakes.
H: What is your favourite bake?
K: Gosh that is a tough question! It’s hard to pick as it depends what you’re in the mood for, but something I could never turn down is a slice of Coconut & Lime Loaf.
H: Where do you see your baking blog in the future?
K: I’d be so thankful if it continues to grow and I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities come along in the future.
You can find Kat over at ‘The Baking Explorer.com’
Do you know of any fabulous baking blogs to recommend to us?
Who would you like to see us spend 5 minutes with…
Leave a comment below
And don’t forget, you can also like us on Facebook , follow us on Twitter or get in touch with us at 5crumbybakers@gmail.com!
By Hollie Bradbury

Which celebration bake looks the tastiest? LETS VOTE!

Celebration bakes are our very favourite treats as you may already know from some of our recent posts Choco-vanilla birthday cupcakes, Queen Victoria crowns and St David’s Day treats. These bakes don’t just make the kitchen smell divine, they put smiles on the faces of our best friends and mark that occasion that’s special to us all, one way or another.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our posts and recipes for celebration bakes just as much as we’ve enjoyed writing them, but now that you’ve seen what the 5 crumby bakers can do, we thought that this week we’d hand our website over to you, so everyone can see what our users and fellow baking enthusiasts have been up to.

So as promised, here are the lovely pictures of your very own celebration bakes that you’ve been emailing us. Whoever is voted the TASTIEST looking celebration bake by this time next week will hand their recipe over, into the (perhaps not so safe) hands of the 5 crumby bakers and we’ll see how our attempt compares to your original.

Wish us luck.

Get voting in our poll below!

1. Kathryn Swarbrick’s Disney princess castle

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2. Chloe O’Neill’s Triple chocolate fudge brownie cake

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3. Fionnula Conway’s Jubilee lemon sponge

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4. Laura Carroll’s Banoffee fudge layer cake

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5. Adam Paul’s Chocolate cake with chocolate cream

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6. Amy Elliot’s Giant chocolate and vanilla cupcake

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7. Alice Currie’s Christmassy spiced gingerbread men (Ok so we know they’re not really a celebration bake but they’re so cute!)

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8. Monica Carroll’s Easter treat chocolate cake

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9. Katie Robinson’s Kit-cat surprise

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10. Ben Smith’s White chocolate and toffee birthday bananza

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 11. Maureen Brown’s Easter chick

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By Niamh Conway