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Cinnamon raisin Bagels

At the end of the busy week, I had an extensive roll in my mind of   to do list. I truly wanted to bake something out of the ordinary for the weekend.  My mind was inundated with ideas I thought, I would have been able to get through it even if I had a whole year off just to bake, but that’s okay,  I will get to it all sooner or later!  These dazzling cinnamon and raisin bagels were right at the pinnacle of my roll.  I initially made   bagels last summer, and after making them fruitfully quite a few times since, I have been in the making to endeavor some variations.  Cinnamon raisin was reasonably the foremost picking, and trust me these bagels were oh heavens.  I used the recipe from  Peter Reinhart's Break Baker's Apprentice.  I had no idea that it will get so enhanced than just the ordinary home-made bagels, but now we’ve gone to a whole other altitude of these awe-inspiring beauties.  I am now absolutely motivated to try loads more flavoured adaptations, some customary and perhaps some not so traditional. Oh everyone will find these homemade bagels so irresistible! 

1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups (18 oz) bread flour
2 1/2 cups (20 oz) water, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 3/4 cups (17 oz) bread flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
2 cups loosely packed raisins, rinsed 

To Finish
1 tablespoon baking soda
cornmeal for dusting

To make the sponge: Whisk the yeast and flour together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water and whisk until incorporated - the mixture will be fairly thick and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very bubbly and swells to almost double its original size. 

To make the dough: Add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir to incorporate. Add 3 cups of the flour, the cinnamon, sugar, salt and brown sugar (or honey) and attach the bowl to your stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until the ingredients come together in a ball, gradually adding the remaining 3/4 cup flour to stiffen the dough. In the last few minutes of mixing, add the raisins and allow the mixer to incorporate them into the dough. 

Kneading the dough: You can continue to knead in your mixer, but fair warning, the dough is very heavy. I didn't want to risk damaging my mixer so I did it by hand. By hand you'll have to knead the dough for at least 10 minutes - you want a pliable, smooth dough that's satiny and not tacky to the touch. You can add additional water or flour as necessary to achieve the right consistency. 

Divide the dough into 4 1/2 oz pieces for the bagels (that will make a fairly large bagel so feel free to use smaller portions if you prefer). Shape each piece into a roll and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rest for about 20 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment and spray them lightly with nonstick cooking spray. 

To shape the bagels: Flatten the ball of dough slightly then poke a hole through the center. Stretch and rotate the dough until the hole is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter (or slightly smaller if you've made your portions less than 4 1/2 oz each). Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with all of the dough balls (dividing them evenly between the two baking sheets). Spray the tops of the bagels lightly with nonstick cooking spray and cover each baking sheet loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. 

To determine whether the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator use the "float test." Fill a small bowl with room temperature water and place one of the bagels in the water. If the bagel floats within 10 seconds of being placed in the water, they are ready to move to the fridge. If so, remove the bagel from the water, pat dry and place back on the baking sheet. (Note: you only need to test one bagel - not all of them.) If the bagel doesn't float, continue to proof at room temperature and perform the float test again every 10-20 minutes, or until it floats. When the bagels are ready to be retarded, place the loosely covered baking sheets in the refrigerator overnight (or up to 2 days). 

When you're ready to bake the bagels, preheat oven to 500 F, with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Bring a large pot (the wider the pot, the better) of water to a boil, then add the baking soda.

Remove the bagels from the refrigerator. A few at a time (as many as can comfortably fit in your pot), drop them into the boiling water. They should float to the top fairly quickly. Boil for 1 minute per side, flipping them with a spider strainer. While the bagels are boiling, dust the baking sheets they were on with cornmeal. Remove the bagels to the dusted baking sheets and repeat until they've all been boiled. 

Bake both pans of bagels in the oven for about 5 minutes, then rotate the pans (switch the racks they're on and give them a 180-degree flip). Reduce the oven temperature to 450 F and continue baking for another 5 minutes, or until the bagels are light golden brown. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the bagels cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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Devil's Food Cake

It’s the commencement of September and here I am to excite the devil in you with this luscious Devil’s Food cake. This devil's food cake is an absolute quintessential chocolate cake. It is so dense, so moist and so rich with the dark chocolate frosting .   This cake is absolutely gratifying only a true chocolate love would know.  . The frosting is a dark chocolate frosting, so thick just sticks to the palate of your mouth.  The combination of muscavado sugar and unsweetened chocolate, brings out this frosting so dark, so rich,   and so intense. This frosting combined with the devil's food cake, this is simply a heavenly   combination. There is something so special about this chocolate cake,  no heaps of the densely sweet butter-cream, oh just the chocolate cake and the chocolate frosting. Don’t go by the name, you simply would love this chocolate cake. I choose the recipe from Nigella Lawson’s recipe and I simply adore all her recipes, they work out miracles for me. Everyone was so impressed with the Cake, they asked me more than once, ‘Did you make it?’


The Cake
50 Grams Cocoa powder sifted
100 Grams Dark muscovado sugar
250 Millilitres Water boiling
125 Grams Unsalted butter soft - (plus some for greasing)
150 Grams Caster sugar
225 Grams Plain flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 Medium Eggs


125 Millilitres Water
30 Grams Dark muscovado sugar
175 Grams Unsalted butter cubed
300 Grams Dark chocolate finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
Line the bottoms of both sandwich tins with baking parchment and butter the sides.
Put the cocoa and 100g dark muscovado sugar into a bowl with a bit of space to spare, and pour in the boiling water. Whisk to mix, then set aside.
Cream the butter and caster sugar together, beating well until pale and fluffy; 

While this is going on – or as soon as you stop if you’re mixing by hand – stir the flour, baking powder and bicarb together in another bowl, and set aside for a moment.
Dribble the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and sugar – mixing all the while – then drop in 1 egg, quickly followed by a scoopful of flour mixture, then the second egg.
Keep mixing and incorporate the rest of the dried ingredients for the cake, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture, scraping its bowl well with a spatula.
Divide this fabulously chocolatey batter between the 2 prepared tins and put in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Take the tins out and leave them on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes, before turning the cakes out to cool.
But as soon as the cakes are in the oven, get started on your frosting: put the water, 30g muscovado sugar and 175g butter in a pan over a low heat to melt.
When this mixture begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan so that all the chocolate is hit with heat, then leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.
Leave for about 1 hour, whisking now and again – when you’re passing the pan – by which time the cakes will be cooled, and ready for the frosting.
Set one of the cooled cakes, with its top side down, on a cake stand or plate, and spread with about a third of the frosting, then top that with the second cake, regular way up, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides, swirling away with your spatula. You can go for a smooth look, but I never do and probably couldn’t.

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