Cookbook 176: The Violet Bakery Cookbook

The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak was one of those books that I lost the photos of cooking from a couple of years ago, and a gift from my sister. I remember cooking ginger snap biscuits and corn and chilli muffins from the first time I baked, with the biscuits turning out great and the corn and chilli muffins being both the driest and oiliest muffins I’d ever eaten – flavour good, texture bad.

This time I decided to bake some other recipes and it was ok, but nothing amazing. None of the recipes were better than the recipes for similar things in other cookbooks, and this won’t be one I keep. Overall I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Cinnamon Buns (makes 12)

Ingredients:

For the filling

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 250g light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

For the cinnamon buns

  • 560g plain flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 240g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 300g cold milk
  • sugar, for dipping
  • butter, for greasing the pan

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Butter a 12 cup deep muffin pan
  3. First, prepare the filling. Met the butter and leave in a warm place so that it remains liquid. Mix together the light brown sugar and cinnamon until no lumps remain, then set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine all the dry ingredients with the cubes of butter and mix until you have a coarse meal. Slowly pour in the cold milk while the mixer is running, until the dough forms into a ball and comes away from the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and leave to rest for a few minutes. Fold the dough gently over itself once or twice to pull it all together. Let dough rest for a second time, for 10 minutes.
  5. Clear a large surface, dust lightly with more flour, and roll out the dough into a large rectangle until about 5mm thick. Brush the surface of the dough with the melted butter and, before the butter hardens, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar onto the butter. You want a good, slightly thick layer.
  6. Now roll the dough up, starting at the long side, keeping it neat and tight. Gently tug the dough towards you to get a taut roll while rolling away from you into a spiral. Once it’s all rolled up, gently squeeze the roll to ensure it’s the same thickness throughout. Use a sharp knife to cut the roll crosswise into 12 even slices. Take the end of the cinnamon roll, peel back about 5cm and fold it back under the roll to loosely cover the bottom of the roll. Place in the muffin pan, flap side down. Repeat with the remaining slices.
  7. Bake the buns for 25 mins. As soon as they’re out of the oven, flip them over onto a wire cooling rack so they don’t stick to the tray. Dip each cinnamon bun into a bowl of sugar and serve straight away.

Notes on this recipe:

  • They were tasty but nothing particularly special. I was looking for a softer bun (probably a yeast bun) that was just all cinnamon. I’ve made this type of thing before, though not being baked in a muffin tin.
  • Also, I didn’t dip these in sugar, because they already had enough sugar

Sour cream, chive, and feta scones (makes 12)

Ingredients

  • 400g plain flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarb)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 180g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 200g sour cream
  • 30g fresh chives, chopped
  • 200g feta cheese, broken into pieces
  • 1 egg or egg yolk beaten with a little water or milk for the egg wash

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking power, baking soda (bicarb), salt and black pepper. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork (or use a stand mixer) until you have a crumbly mixture. Add the egg, sour cream and chives. Mix the ingredients together quickly, then add the feta pieces and mix again until just combined, then pat into a cube and place on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then flatten it to about 2.5cm thick with a rolling pin. Fold it in half as if you were closing a book so that you have a rectangle. Then fol it in half again so that you have a small square. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put in the fridge to rest for 10 mins. When it’s chilled, roll the dough into a square about 5cm thick. Use a sharp knife to cut the the square into three long pieces. Cut each log into two and then each smaller square into triangles. Freeze or bake right away.
  4. Place the chilled scones on the lined baking sheet and brush with the egg wash. Bake for 25 – 30 mins, until golden. These are best eaten on the same day they are made. You can also make the scones, freeze them individually, and then bake as and when you need them. They will keep well for a month in the freezer.

Notes on this recipe:

  • This is a book written by an American woman living in London. I do not understand what eggs have to do in scones.
  • It was tasty, as scones are. I wouldn’t bother with the whole cutting it into triangles though, just cut them into 12 evenly sized shapes and you’ll be fine.

Egg yolk chocolate chip cookies (makes 16 large cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 100g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 325g plain flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda (bicarb)
  • 250g chocolate chips (milk or dark, whatever you prefer)

Method:

  1. (This step is optional) Line a small baking sheet or pan (one that will fit inside your freezer) with baking paper
  2. Beat the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until well combined, but not too creamy – you are not aiming for light and fluffy here, as that would make the cookies too cakey. Add the vanilla and the egg yolks and mix well.
  3. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda (bicarb) and whisk together well (or sift them – same deal). Ad this to the butter and egg mixture along with the chocolate and mix well until combined.
  4. Scoop individual portions (what size? who knows?) of cookie dough onto the lined baking sheet or pan. If using spoons, pat each portion into a little ball. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour or up to a month. If you are pushed for time, or simply impatient, you can bake them right away (which is why the first step is optional), but the cookie will be slightly flatter as a result.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and arrange the cookies evenly on the pan, leaving enough space between each one so they have room to expand during baking (when they will almost double in size). If you are baking from frozen, allow the cookies 5 – 10 minutes out of the freezer before putting in the oven.
  6. Bake for 18 minutes, until the centre of each cookie is slightly soft and underbaked, but the edges are crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before serving. They keep for 5 days in an airtight container.

Notes on this recipe:

  • These are salty, I didn’t like the salty
  • If you have a large enough plastic container, you can stack them in a plastic container and then put all of that in the freezer, with baking paper in between any layers (which is what I did)
  • I much prefer the AWW recipe that I baked for chocolate chip cookies here, and don’t need one that made me mad again when typing it out.

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