Category: biscuits

Figgy pudding bars made with Duchy Originals oaten biscuits!

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree!

Christmas is officially on it’s way. The big tree in Rockefeller Center has been lit for 2 weeks now, everyone has been shopping up a storm, and of course baking! Rightly so… it’s literally 8 days away! If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking of Christmas-y treats. Which brings me to today’s post. If you’re a longtime reader, you’ll remember both my figgy pudding cupcakes & also that last holiday season I made a recipe featuring Duchy Originals lemon shortbread cookies.

(If you’re a new reader- well, suffice it to say, one time I made figgy pudding cupcakes & another time I made a lemon cranberry cobbler recipe featuring Duchy Originals lemon shortbread cookies. Haha.)

Duchy Originals oaten biscuits... transformed into figgy pudding bars!

Anyway… the lovely folks at Duchy Originals wanted me to create a new recipe, this time for their Oaten biscuits. The oaten variety was the first one that was made for Duchy:

The Oaten Biscuit was the original Duchy Original – it was their first product back in 1992. Duchy Originals grow the wheat and oats themselves on farms in the UK. To get the perfect recipe and flavor, they teamed up with Walkers Shortbread who have been making shortbread in the Scottish Highlands for over 100 years.

Of course I said yes! I absolutely love the Duchy company & also the Walkers Shortbread company. In case you weren’t aware, Duchy was started by Prince Charles (yes-that Prince Charles!) in 1992 in order to promote organic food and farming and to help protect and sustain the local countryside and wildlife. it is one of the U.K.’s leading organic and sustainable food companies, producing a range of over 250 products from biscuits to preserves and gifts to garden seeds. A donation from the sale of Duchy Originals products is given to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation. More than $1 million is raised annually in this way for distribution to charitable causes all over the world. Duchy Originals from Waitrose shortbreads and cookies are baked by the world famous Walkers Shortbread in the Scottish Highlands.

And I thought it appropriate that being that they’re an English brand, and it’s Christmas, I make a “figgy pudding” reference.

Easy figgy pudding cookie bars! Made with Duchy Originals oaten biscuits & fig butter. You can use store-bought fig butter if you need to.

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Vanilla-strawberry jam cakes.

Sometimes you just want a really quick dessert that isn’t chocolate. Or maybe you don’t, but other people might. Some people are fruit people. I know a lot of folks that, when given the option, will take a fruit salad or blueberry pie over a dark chocolate cake or decadent seven layer salted caramel chocolate ganache thingy. Or maybe you want to start eating a bit lighter. Or perhaps you’re just wanting to use up some fruit jam or preserves.

I know how that is, sister.

Although in this particular case, I sort of made up the dessert around the fact that I had made the jam, not so much to get rid of it, but to showcase it. I was looking through the book Cake Ladies & I got inspired by all that Southern-ness. So I just decided spur-of-the-moment that I wanted to make a different spin on the strawberry shortcake. Well, that and it was 80 freakin’ degrees here in New York last week. I was not in the mood for heavy duty cakery or cupcakery. I wanted to make something fun & light. Strawberry shortcakes sounded fun, but I wanted to do a different twist on them, and so vanilla-strawberry jam cakes were born.

However, I cheated & used Bisquick because I wasn’t in the mood to labor over the dough. Plus… to be honest… I just felt like it. I’m not going to make any excuses. Sometimes you just have to take a shortcut. I’m not ashamed.

But if you’re anti-Bisquick or you just don’t have any/can’t get any, here’s a recipe for making your own. However, almost any drop-biscuit dough recipe will work here.

Or, you can make a traditional shortcake, if you have a family recipe you hold near & dear. A simple vanilla or unflavored scone recipe would work as well.

The jam is a great way to introduce yourself to making jam, if you’ve never made it before. It’s a really easy one, and it thickens easily. When it’s done, if you’re not making the cakes at all (and you just want the jam) or you aren’t making them right away, all you’ve gotta do is just put the jam in any clean, warm jar you’ve got. I say warm because the jam gets very hot (obviously) while it’s being cooked, and if you put it into a cold jar it could shatter or crack. I used canning jars, but old spaghetti sauce/pickle/mayonnaise jars or little jars with hinged lids work just fine since you won’t be “canning” it. Just be sure the jars are thoroughly cleaned.

VANILLA-STRAWBERRY JAM CAKES

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, washed & hulled (a little over a pound, depending on the size of the berries)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice
  • 2 1/3 cups Bisquick baking mix
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions:

  1. Slice the strawberries & using a potato masher or your (clean) fingers, mash & squish them together. If this doesn’t work, and the berries are too firm, cut them smaller.
  2. Place the strawberries in a large saucepan. Split and scrape the vanilla bean, adding the seeds to the berries. Add the empty vanilla bean along with the 1/2 cup sugar & lemon juice, stirring & cooking over medium-high heat, breaking up any large chunks of berry with a wooden spoon.
  3. Cook until it thickens and you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir, roughly 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the vanilla bean with tongs and add the jam to your clean, warm jars. You aren’t canning this so just make sure the jars are cool before refrigerating them. If making the cakes right away, there’s no need to refrigerate them (unless you prefer the contrast of cold fruit filling to warm dough).
  5. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425°F. Stir baking mix, melted butter, milk, and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a mixing bowl until soft dough forms. Drop by 6 spoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool until just slightly warm. Plate the cakes, spoon vanilla-strawberry jam on, then spoon some fresh whipped cream on top (see below). Dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired. Voila!


WHIPPED CREAM

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the three ingredients together with the whisk attachment until they’re thickened. Check the taste, add more sugar or vanilla as needed, by the 1/4 teaspoon.
  2. Continue beating until the whipped cream is the proper thickness, but don’t whip too much… you’ll get butter!

This very same recipe can be used without the jam, and with fresh strawberries. Or macerated strawberries if you prefer. I just think the vanilla-strawberry jam gives it a totally different spin. The jam is also great on oatmeal, English muffins, you name it. I should also say that this jam recipe would probably work well with raspberries or blueberries too, or even blackberries. The strawberries bright color lets you see the black vanilla bean flecks, but that doesn’t really matter. If you prefer blueberries, try making these jam cakes with them instead!

 

If you’d like to can the jam for shelf-stability, I’d recommend following a trusted canning-safe strawberry jam recipe and just adding the vanilla bean to that. Here’s a post I wrote up last year with more instructions on canning, and links to some reputable canning resources on the web.

English muffins that make use of all those jams, jellies, preserves… & extra canning rings.

It’s no secret I’ve made a LOT of canned items in the last year. I currently have in my “larder”: three different kinds of marmalade, five different jellies, five different conserves, one preserve, two kinds of curd and three jams (not to mention the pickles, pickled peppers, and the savory sort). Pretty nuts, although not as nuts as it would be if I hadn’t given so much away, if I had more room & if I preserved to actually get through the winter/for sustenance as opposed to just for fun. I started canning last June and I’ve done a ton of canning since then. Maybe too much- Jay actually mentioned the other day that the last time there were ‘actual cupcakes’ posted on Cupcake Rehab was back in early February. Uhm. Yeah. I do apologize for that, but you understand that I’m trying to expand my repertoire, right? By trying new things like making my own salsa & jelly. That means I’ve bought a lot of jars, which in turn translates to having a lot of lids/rings. Or bands, if you prefer that term.

And that’s not even all of them. There’s plenty more. If you’re a “canner” or preserver, you know that those rings/bands can be reused; so long as they aren’t rusty or there isn’t anything impeding them from doing their job. Lids are a one-off thing, so you never end up with extra boxes of used ones laying around. But rings? I have an assload. I can’t bear to just toss them, so I save them, and then I end up with way more rings than jars or lids. They’re tucked in plastic jars, in drawers, in boxes. What to do with them? Well.. how about make English muffins?

Yeah, seriously.

I’m just crazy about this idea. Talk about recycling! I don’t even like Alton Brown & yet between the amazing canning ring idea & how easy these were to make, I’m reconsidering my hatred. I enjoyed making these (and eating them) immensely. I’d like to make them again, perhaps this time using a little cornmeal to mimic Thomas’ English muffins. Also, a word to the wise: make sure you let them cook enough. They’ll seem like they’re fine, but the inside will still be a little undercooked. Be 100% sure about them but don’t let them burn!

ALTON BROWN’S ENGLISH MUFFINS MADE IN CANNING RINGS (adapted by Dishing the Divine)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup non-fat powdered milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • ⅛ teaspoon sugar
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Non-stick vegetable spray and oil for brushing
  • Wide-mouth canning jar rings

Directions:

  1. In a bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, ¼ teaspoon of salt, shortening, and hot water; stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and ⅛ teaspoon of sugar in ⅓ cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the dry milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 45-60 minutes (longer = more holes!).
  2. Preheat the griddle to 300° degrees F and brush the bottom of skillet with a thin coat of oil. I don’t have an electric griddle with a temperature gauge, so I just cooked my muffins on the stove-top with the heat set to low. If you are in the same situation, I recommend cooking one muffin as a tester muffin before filling your skillet with as many rings as you can. Because the muffins cook for 5 minutes per side, they are easy to burn. You want a temperature that will allow the outsides to brown nicely while the insides are just cooked.
  3. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Coat the metal rings with vegetable spray and place them on the griddle. Using an ice cream scoop, place 1-2 scoops of batter into each ring and cover with a lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve. Note that these must be split open with a fork. If you cut them open with a knife, you can kiss all those beautiful holes goodbye!

I personally like to make English muffins in a White Zombie t-shirt. Doesn’t everyone? No?

Anyway, not only does this make use of those extra rings, but it helps you use up some of those opened preserves, jellies, jams, curds & conserves you have in your fridge! Or maybe that’s just me. I’ve mentioned this before, but my fridge is jam-packed (pun intended!) with a crazy amount of preserves. So I made up some muffins and I had a little brunch-type thing, and I served thee muffins with a spread of various preserved items I’d made, and of course some delicious salted butter. There was Guinness jelly, Meyer lemon curd, two kinds of conserves (the cherry/cranberry/dark chocolate/almond & the fig/plum/walnut), vanilla-brandy chestnut jam, candy apple jelly, that blood orange marmalade from the other day, Meyer lemon-cranberry jelly, orange/lemon marmalade, c-lemon-tine marmalade (clementine/lemon) & lemon-orange whiskey marmalade at everyone’s disposal. But the option to have them plain was there, too.

If you don’t have canning rings, you can use muffin rings or mini-tart rings or cans that used to house tuna fish; just remove the top as well as the bottom and make sure to clean them thoroughly. You don’t want English muffins with the scent of tuna. As a matter of fact that’s kind of nauseating. And if you use the rings for this purpose, do not use them for canning again. Clean ‘em off and keep them for doing this, or toss ‘em.

And I do promise that very soon… there will be cupcakes!